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From crimes against women to juvenile offenders, Indian courts acted tough in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A debatable amendment in juvenile law paved the way for prosecution of children between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences with a 17-year-old rape accused becoming the first such offender to be tried in 2016 by one of the city trial courts, which acted tough in dealing with crime against women.From renowned climate scientist R K Pachauri to Peepli Live director Mahmood Farooqui to sacked AAP minister Sandeep Kumar, several well-known faces came under the lens for crime against women, as courts dealt with several cases of betrayal of relationships.”These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes. Such offences require exemplary punishment,” Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain remarked in his verdict in one of the cases.While the maximum punishment of death for two was pronounced in the Jigisha Ghosh murder case of 2009, the progress of a case which was keenly watched globally was the 2014 case of gangrape of a Danish national in which five vagabonds were sentenced to life.Several offences against women and children by their trusted friends or family members and persons in authority also shocked the conscience of the nation, with courts acting tough on the accused and saying perpetrators of such crimes do not deserve any sympathy.Courts “cannot and should not give a licence to those who keep on looking for opportunities to exploit the sentiments and vulnerability of girls”, Additional Sessions Judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj said in another order. A widely-reported case was the award of seven-year jail term to Farooqui for raping an American friend at his residence.Pachauri, the ex-TERI boss, was under constant media glare in a case of sexual harassment lodged by his former colleague and continued to remain on bail. However, he was allowed to go abroad several times by various courts.While some activists criticised the latest amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 for treating offenders aged between 16-18 years as adults for heinous offences like rape and murder, a juvenile board this August transferred a rape case against a 17-year-old for prosecution by a regular court under the penal law.Among other such cases, two men were sentenced to life term and 10 years, one for raping a step-daughter and the other for violating his daughter and making her pregnant, with judges observing that the “sacrosanct relationship” of father and daughter was “demolished” and the children could not be given a safe environment.While a teacher was sent to jail for six months for sexually harassing a girl student in 2013, one of the Delhi courts sent JNU student, Anmol Ratan, to custody for betraying the trust of a fellow student who was allegedly raped by him after spiking her drink.Several Delhi courts dealt with over half-a-dozen cases of crime against women involving AAP leaders and MLAs including that of sacked minister Sandeep Kumar who spent two months in jail in a rape case after a CD of an alleged sex scandal surfaced. AAP members also faced prosecution in cases of crime against women ranging from sexual assault, molestation, attempt to murder, domestic violence, threat and abetment to suicide with controversial Okhla, Narela, Sangam Vihar and Deoli MLAs, Amanatullah Khan, Sharad Chauhan, Dinesh Mohaniya and Prakash Jarwal, respectively cooling their heels in Tihar jail for sometime in connection with one or the other offences against women.Former AAP minister Somnath Bharti’s encounter with law was far from over as the case lodged by his estranged wife for alleged domestic violence continued in a trial court. Another AAP worker Ramesh Bhardwaj, allegedly involved in abetting suicide of a woman party worker, was given bail by a court here after he remained in jail for some days.Cases of stalking and voyeurism affecting privacy of women were also dealt with sternly as the perpetrators got varying jail terms by courts which stressed the need for “zero tolerance” to crime against women and asked the government to formulate policies to sensitise youth towards gender equality.”Whether it is a public transport system or public place or shopping malls or multiplexes, women find themselves vulnerable to the threat of stalking everywhere,” a court observed.Even women, who lodged false rape cases, were not spared by the courts which pulled them up and directed initiation of perjury proceedings against them for misusing laws meant to protect them, with a court observing in one such case that a woman had humiliated the accused and “made a mockery of the judicial system”.A court here also felt it was time now to have laws to protect and restore the dignity of men charged with false rape cases “as everyone is just fighting to protect the honour of women”, and it has to be examined whether a person acquitted of rape charges be considered as a “rape survivor”.So was the position in a domestic violence case in which the court imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on a woman for lodging a false case against her second husband and condemned it saying if she was spared, “a wrong message would go that laws to protect women are being misused.”To sum up the courts’ role in dealing with crimes against women, another judge observed “the increasing trend of crimes against women can be arrested only once the society realises that any form of deviance against women would not be tolerated and more so in extreme cases of brutality”. “Hence the criminal justice system must instill confidence in the minds of people, especially women.”

Tackle ‘human wrong’ in the region: Hamid Ansari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday emphasised that there is a “crying need” to address ‘human security and human wrong’ in the region to ensure that perception and capacity can be developed for correctives. Ansari was in the city to release the book, ‘August Voices: What they said on 14-15 August 1947’ authored by Sudheendra Kulkarni, who heads Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Ansari also spoke of better respect of rights and dignity of citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and encouraging movement of people and trade including that of films for better relations in the region even as SAARC was failing. The function was held at the Fort Campus of Mumbai University after the venue was shifted from Anjuman-e-Islam in CST due to security reasons. It was attended by Vinod Tawde, education minister, Subhash Deshmukh, vice chancellor of Mumbai Univeristy, Dr. Zahir Kazi, president of Anjuman-E-Islam among others. The book pitches for rapproachment of India-Pakistan, and in Kulkarni’s words looks to “end the poisonous two-nation theory into three peace promoting nations” and bring “reconciliation and reunion” among them. For it, the book has speeches of eight eminent personalities from the freedom struggle and what they said. This, Kulkarni said, can be core for better relations and bigger union of the entirety of South Asia. “The thought did persist with some decision-makers that the impending happening was somewhat unreal, not altogether desirable, and hopefully transitory. The latter aspect, however, was not investigated or spelt out… The theme of the book before us is to project a scenario of the possibility of South Asian Union with the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation at the core,” said Ansari. Backing solutions to ease relations between people that Kulkarni advocates, Ansari said, “Our author seeks a solution of plunging headlong into the core differences. He suggests a ‘cultural and spiritual confederation’ that would subdue and overcome extremist perceptions.” Such solutions, said Ansari come from common actions that are easier in times of convergence by moving beyond the “traditional paradigm of conventional security into those of human security and human wrong.”Ansari advocated this by better human security, movement of people, and trade without reasonable restrictions, and “conscious promotion” rather than “studied prevention of cultural exchanges, films and other cultural activities”. “The experience of SAARC has not been encouraging and therefore alternate strategies need to be explored. The proposed new structure would have to be voluntary and devoid of overt or covert coercion… Political commitment and modalities have to surface to resolve outstanding areas of disagreement. Foremost amongst these is what the Simla Agreement of 1972 called ‘a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir’. Its domestic dimensions as well as trans-LOC incursions have been in the news of late. The state is doing all that is necessary to confront and repel terrorism. The state also has a duty to ensure that rights and dignity of our citizens in the state are respected and ensured and shortcomings effectively addressed.”

PM Modi should bring together India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: Sudheendra Kulkarni

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Observer Research Foundation chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the lead in bringing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh together in a “family reconciliation” for the better future of coming generations. “The idea of an India-Pakistan confederation was also mooted by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, the ideological guru of the BJP, and Dr Rammanohar Lohia, the great socialist leader, in 1964. In a recent speech, PM Modi has described Mahatma Gandhi, Deendayal Upadhyaya and Dr Lohia as three Great Indians of the 20th century,” Kulkarni said. “Since all three of them were in favour of a confederation, I urge PM Modi to take the lead in bringing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh together in a family reconciliation, leading ultimately to a family re-union,” he said addressing a gathering here at the launch of his book ‘August Voices: What they said on 14-15 August 1947’. He said that the people and governments of our three countries must refuse to live as prisoners of the past.”We must create a better future for our coming generations. A future of peace, shared progress, eradication of poverty, justice and dignity for every human being in our subcontinent. To do so is our moral responsibility towards humanity,” Kulkarni said. He added, that all three nations have the world’s largest number of poor, deprived and divided people with common civilisational ancestry.”Besides, neither India nor Pakistan nor Bangladesh can develop to their full potential without transitioning from discord to concord, from hostility to cooperation,” he said.Kulkarni said there is no lasting solution, acceptable to India and Pakistan, without some form of a confederal agreement between both nations.He said that neither the solution to the Kashmir issue, nor the larger idea of a confederation, can move even an inch without Pakistan taking firm measures to eliminate terrorism from its soil.”Pakistan must rid itself of terrorism and religious extremism for its own survival,” he said, adding that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh today have an unprecedented opportunity to move towards economic and infrastructural integration in a big way.”This can be done by India taking the lead in connecting the BCIM or Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and extending it further to Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.Kulkarni said new trade, business and people-to- people connectivities will create inter-dependence.

J&K HC orders release of hardline Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam Bhat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered release of senior hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Masarat Alam Bhat who has been in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act since April 2015. Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while allowing Bhat’s plea challenging the latest of the detention orders under Public Safety Act, held his detention illegal on several grounds. “By issuance of writ of certiorari, order of detention bearing No. 85/DMB/PSA/2016 dated 1.9.2016, passed by the (deputy commissioner Baramulla) is quashed with a further direction to the (government) to release Alam forthwith from preventive custody,” the court said in its order.Bhat has been booked under PSA several times since April 2015 and the latest order in the series was issued by District Magistrate Baramulla. According to the order, Bhat was accused of making the ongoing agitation “successful” while in custody of the state authorities. The order was passed on the basis of Bhat’s meeting on August 11 this year with four persons who visited him at District Jail, Baramulla. The persons had requested authorities to allow them meet one Assadullah Parray, who is allegedly affiliated with Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani. The authorities claimed that instead of meeting Parray, they met Bhat, who allegedly advised them to activate the workers for a more visible and prominent role in the turmoil. A case was registered against Bhat at police station Baramulla on August 30, two days before the detention order under PSA against Alam was passed by the deputy commissioner.”Even otherwise, record would show statements of four police personnel, who were posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have been recorded.Their statements would show that Assadullah Parray was lodged in Barrack No.7, whereas (Bhat) was lodged in Barrac No.8.”The allegation in the FIR and statements of all these police personnel would, prima facie, show that all the police authorities, posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have failed to discharge their duties in accordance with law because it was within the competence and authority of these police personnel to ensure that the visitors would meet Parray, for meeting with whom they had sought permission and not (Alam),” the court observed.The court also rendered the detention order illegal for the reason that the bail application of Bhat had been rejected by a court and he continued to languish in state custody. The detaining authority, in this situation, could not assume that there is every likelihood of (Bhat) being released on bail. The Court said, “democratic society not only swears but lives by democratic values and principles. Even in the face of extreme provocations, the laws of the land are to be implemented. Laws possess unique quality, in as much as, they, even at times, protect those who break them. Thus, they prove to be better than many human beings”. Bhat was released after four-and-half years of detention soon after the PDP-BJP government took charge in March last year. However, he was re-arrested on April 17, 2015 and detained under the PSA for alleged anti-national activities during a rally to welcome Geelani home from Delhi.

Jammu and Kashmir: Masarat Alam’s detention held illegal, HC orders release of hardline Hurriyat leader

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has ordered release of senior hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Masrat Alam Bhat, who has been in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act since April 2015.

Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while allowing Masarat’s plea challenging the latest of the detention orders under Public Safety Act, held his detention illegal on several grounds.

“By issuance of writ of certiorari, order of detention bearing No. 85/DMB/PSA/2016 dated 1.9.2016, passed by the (deputy commissioner Baramulla) is quashed with a further direction to the (government) to release Alam forthwith from preventive custody,” the court said in its order on Wednesday.

Bhat has been booked under PSA several times since April 2015 and the latest order in the series was issued by District Magistrate Baramulla. According to the order, Masarat was accused of making the ongoing agitation “successful” while in custody of the state authorities.

Masarat Alam in a file photo. AFP

Masarat Alam in a file photo. AFP

The order was passed on the basis of Masarat’s meeting on 11 August this year with four persons who visited him at District Jail, Baramulla. The persons had requested authorities to allow them meet one Assadullah Parray, who is allegedly affiliated with Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.

The authorities claimed that instead of meeting Parray, they met Masarat, who allegedly advised them to activate the workers for a more visible and prominent role in the turmoil. A case was registered against Masarat at police station Baramulla on 30 August, two days before the detention order under PSA against Alam was passed by the deputy commissioner.

“Even otherwise, record would show statements of four police personnel, who were posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have been recorded.Their statements would show that Assadullah Parray was lodged in Barrack No.7, whereas (Masarst) was lodged in Barrac No.8.

“The allegation in the FIR and statements of all these police personnel would, prima facie, show that all the police authorities, posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have failed to discharge their duties in accordance with law because it was within the competence and authority of these police personnel to ensure that the visitors would meet Parray, for meeting with whom they had sought permission and not (Alam),” the court observed.

The court also rendered the detention order illegal for the reason that the bail application of Masarat had been rejected by a court and he continued to languish in state custody.

The detaining authority, in this situation, could not assume that there is every likelihood of (Masarat) being released on bail.

The Court said, “democratic society not only swears but lives by democratic values and principles. Even in the face of extreme provocations, the laws of the land are to be implemented. Laws possess unique quality, in as much as, they, even at times, protect those who break them. Thus, they prove to be better than many human beings”.

Masarat was released after four-and-half years of detention soon after the PDP-BJP government took charge in March last year.

However, he was re-arrested on 17 April, 2015 and detained under the PSA for alleged anti-national activities during a rally to welcome Geelani home from Delhi.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:07 IST

Road permit blocks Patna women auto drivers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2013, when eight women, for the very first time, stepped outside the confines of their home and took the driver’s seat in commercial auto-rickshaws in Patna, passengers wondered whether they were visiting a metropolis where it was not so uncommon to see female auto-drivers.For a state like Bihar, it was a novelty. Auto-rickshaw unions, the district administration and the transport authorities combined their efforts to make it possible and promised all help to the women drivers. However, half of them eventually left the profession.Three years on, in April 2016, more than 100 women expressed an interest to take up commercial three-wheeler driving. Top administrative and traffic officials inaugurated the training programme and again promised help—facilitating driving licenses, getting road permits and coaxing banks to disburse, finance among other things. But, over six months after the training programme ended, all but five are yet to hit the roads.The reasons are many, but the major hindrance is denial of road permits to women auto-drivers. “The regional transport authority (RTA), despite promising to grant road permits to women drivers, has failed to do so,” said Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of Bihar State Auto Chalak Sangh.Jha said it was the same in 2013, when the state government had assured tax benefits in registration and facilitation in issuing necessary permits commercial licenses to women drivers, but failed to do so, resulting in only eight of the 35 trained drivers hitting the roads.This time, a few of them are on the road without permits. Among them is Ranjana Chauhan, who rues the apathy of the government, which “so vocally promises women empowerment”. “Every day we are harassed by cops because we don’t have permits. After the training was complete, my loan was sanctioned by the bank. What would I have done if not plied an auto-rickshaw?” asks the mother of three who started in August and earns Rs 500-600 per day.Most women drivers operate only prepaid rickshaws, either from Patna airport or railway station. “Prepaid is safer. One cannot haggle with a male passenger at their destination,” says another female auto-driver. Listing other hiccups faced by them, another woman driver said the auto-stands do not have basic facilities. “Competing with male drivers for passengers and at times facing indecent behaviour from travellers also a deterrent for many,” she adds. Naveen Mishra, rued absence of female-only auto stands.

Delhi police opposes perjury proceedings against Kanhaiya Kumar, JNU professor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>City police opposed in Delhi High Court a plea seeking initiation of perjury proceedings against former JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and a JNU professor on Monday, saying there was no material to substantiate the allegation that they had filed false affidavits along with the bail plea of the student leader in a sedition case.Justice SP Garg was informed by the investigating officer (IO) that the court on August 11 had already dismissed pleas to cancel interim bail of Kanhaiya in the sedition case on the ground that nothing was shown that the student leader had made any anti-national speech after his release. “Perusal of petition, under reply, lacks materials and the contents/averments made therein are vehemently denied and, in view of the order dated August 11, 2016 of this court, the petition deserves to dismissed,” the affidavit filed by the Delhi Police said.The reply of the police came in the backdrop of a court notice issued to it on a plea claiming that a JNU professor had “deliberately” filed a false affidavit in the high court along with the bail petition of Kanhaiya in the case. The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on February 23 next year.In his plea, petitioner Prashant Kumar Umrao has contended that the professor had wrongly vouched on oath that Kanhaiya was not involved in any “anti-national activity” and that he was a man of proper conduct. Advocate RP Luthra, appearing for the petitioner, had said the professor should have been aware that the student leader was fined for inappropriate conduct on campus a year ago and there was nothing to show that he was not involved in any anti-national sloganeering. On March 2, Kanhaiya was granted six month interim bail by the high court. He was later granted regular bail by the trial court in connection with the case relating to an event inside JNU campus on February 9 in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.While the court at first had felt that since the student leader had been granted bail nothing remained in the petition seeking perjury proceedings, the petitioner however convinced the court that it had nothing to do with him being released on regular bail. Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 this year on charges of alleged sedition. Two other students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were later arrested in connection with the case and they were granted interim bail.A trial court had on August 26 granted regular bail to the three accused.

Box Office: ‘Rogue One’ scores massive $155 million debut as Star Wars fans flock to theaters | Reuters

By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” sold out multiplexes around the country and brought fanboys and fangirls out in force over the weekend. The “Star Wars” prequel scored the second largest December opening in history, the second largest launch of the year, and one of the top debuts in history, opening to a massive $155 million.Globally, the film has earned $290.5 million, after touching down in nearly every major foreign market save for China and South Korea.Disney, which shelled out $4 billion to buy “Star Wars” creator LucasFilm in 2012, had been trying to downplay expectations for “Rogue One.” Executives noted that the film is the first “Star Wars” movie to exist outside of the main Skywalker clan storyline. It’s also a darker, war-themed tale; one that has an unusually high body count for a popcorn flick.But the “Star Wars” pedigree proved irresistible to audiences, and the film seems positioned to play well through the holidays. Disney is planning to do more “Rogue One”-style spinoffs. The company is already working on a film about the early years of Han Solo that will star Alden Ehrenreich.

Most studios steered clear of “Rogue One,” but Warner Bros. and New Line offered up “Collateral Beauty” as counter-programming for audiences unmoved by tales of Jedi warriors. The drama about a grieving ad executive (Will Smith) was savaged by critics, and only managed to eke out a paltry $7 million debut for a fourth place finish. That’s a rough start for the picture and continues Smith’s bumpy period at the box office. The actor scored with last summer’s “Suicide Squad,” but struck out with the likes of “Focus,” “After Earth,” and “Concussion.” “Collateral Beauty” cost $36 million to produce. Village Roadshow also backed the picture. The opening weekend crowd skewed female and older, with women comprising 59% of the audience and 58% of ticket buyers clocking in over the age of 35.Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. domestic distribution president, acknowledged that the poor reviews hurt the film, but stressed that its A-minus CinemaScore indicated that audiences were enjoying “Collateral Beauty.”

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “But the film plays well with an older audience, and we hope that over Christmas, they’ll have more free time available to go out and discover it.”Disney’s “Moana” snagged second place, picking up $11.7 million and pushing its stateside gross to $161.9 million. Paramount’s “Office Christmas Party” nabbed third, earning $8.4 million and bringing the raunchy comedy’s total to $31.5 million after two weeks of release.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” rounded out the top five, picking up $5 million to push the Harry Potter spinoff’s domestic total to $207.7 million.Oscar-frontrunner “La La Land” performed nicely in its expansion. The acclaimed musical picked up $4 million after moving from five to 200 theaters. That brings its total to $5.3 million. Lionsgate is backing the film, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as two Angelenos in love.Amazon and Roadside’s “Manchester by the Sea” capitalized on a slew of Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, adding $4.2 million to its $14 million haul while moving from 356 to 1,200 theaters.In limited release, “Fences” picked up $128,000 in two theaters. Paramount is backing the adaptation of the August Wilson play, with Denzel Washington directing the film and co-starring opposite Viola Davis. It cost just over $20 million to make.

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

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 22:35 IST

Joint Naga Civil Society wants separation from Manipur, vows to intensify agitation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Joint Naga Civil Societies (CJNCSD) on Friday vowed to intensify the agitation and asserts that nothing short of total separation from the State of Manipur would resolve the Naga issue. CJNCSD decries the forcible inauguration of Kangpokpi, Jiribam and Tengnaopal as new districts despite the staunch opposition from the Nagas and consequently appeals UNC to convene Naga people’s convention to declare the Naga areas in Manipur a separate statehood and run the existing institutions as per the Naga customary law and practices. “CJNCSD invokes all the Tribal Hohos to burn down every Manipuri textbook and appeals them to notify every educational institution for immediate termination of Manipuri/meiteilon as the medium of instruction in schools. CJNCSD further implores all the Tribal Hohos to henceforth boycott any posting or deputation of any valley-based Government employees to any Government institutions in the Naga areas,” said a statement issued by the society.CJNCSD also took a jibe at the deliberate silence of the Centre in creating the seven new districts in Manipur which very act amounts to redrawing of Naga boundaries without any constitutional mandate and jurisdiction.It also questions if the Centre?s sole intention is to retract the August 3, 2015 Framework Agreement by deploying additional armed forces in aid of the unconstitutional and anti-Naga policies of Ibobi Government.CJNCSD questions the wisdom of Manipur Government as to how it expects UNC to call off the ongoing agitation prior to the release of the two UNC leaders and recalls the formation of the new seven districts. “CJNCSD states that the state government?s project not only disrespects the aspiration of the Nagas, but also insults the Naga people beyond tolerance and the Nagas will resort to any democratic means of protest available in defending their land, identity and culture as land and the Nagas are inseparable.”

JD (U) lodges complaint with I-T dept over BJP land deals ahead of demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling JD U on Friday filed a complaint with the income tax department seeking lawful action into the land purchased by the BJP in various districts of Bihar for establishing their party offices just ahead of demonetization.In a memorandum submitted to the taxmen, JD (U) spokespersons Sanjay Singh, Neeraj Kumar and Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, have alleged irregularities in the deals made by the saffron party office bearers in the state and sought action under Income Tax Act, 1961 into the matter.The complaint comes after the expiry of the JD (U)’s 24 hour ultimatum to the Bihar BJP unit to declare the funding sources behind the deals as well as answer various other queries relating to the large-scale purchases. The party has also said it will review its stand on demonetization after looking at situation post December 30.“A part of the payments have been made in cash and as per our information, black money has been used in the dealings,” they said. The party had earlier made public the registry documents of land purchases in different districts of the state in support of their allegation of corruption. They had also claimed of having details of land purchase by the BJP in 31 places in Bihar between August and November.According to the complaint, “The registration of the lands have been made in the name of BJP, the payment has been made by somebody else. In most cases, the PAN number provided are of persons other than those who made the payment.”It may be recalled that Bihar Registration, Excise and Prohibition minister and congress MLA Abdul Jalil Mastan too had said he had asked for the registry papers from the districts and will look into the matter.

Shock continues for home ministry, as renewal of more NGOs tumble out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More shock was in store for the union home ministry on Thursday when it discovered that cancelled foreign funding licenses of three more NGOs were renewed earlier, in addition ot the three it had discovered on Wednesday. Top home ministry were taken aback on Wednesday after finding that ministry’s online process was compromised to renew FCRA licenses of three NGOs – activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust and Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Greenpeace India.The scrutiny of online data led to the discovery that cancelled license of Gujarat based Navsarjan Trust, Delhi based Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) and one other Gujarat based NGO Rural Development Research Centre were renewed in the month of August 2016.All the renewals that have come to the light so far, incidentally, were done in the month of August this year, the period when televangelist Zakir Naik’s now banned NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) license was also renewed. The blunder had led to the removal of the then joint secretary, G K Dwivedi and suspension of three junior officials.The ministry has shot an express circular revising the renewal order of all the in question NGOs and declaring the renewal as non-est-ab-initio meaning null and void.Highly placed sources said, the ministry has taken the goof up very seriously and has already instituted an inquiry to find out the guilty, as such glaring mistakes, despite putting red flags, can only happen when an insider is compromised.Besides, the ministry has also tasked the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to find out if the online renewal system was hacked or compromised. Besides, ordering re-vetting of all the 13,000 odd NGOs whose licenses were renewed before March 31 and October 31, the ministry has also asked the national informatics centre (NIC) to make the online system more secure by making the red flagged NGOs as read only file for all the officials below the level of joint secretary official.“This would allow only the joint secretary to give nod for the renewal of red flagged NGOs,” said sources.

Dogs have a field day at canine crèches

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“It used to be a task to feed Kian…,” says Vivek Singhal of the time when he and his wife Suraksha would have to goad their dog to eat. “That changed since his first month at the day care. Now he is always excited about meal times and gobbles his food within minutes.”The Singhals credit Pet Stepin, a half-acre retreat for dogs, cats, guinea pigs, birds and other pets, in the heart of Bengaluru, for this change in Kian. It was here that the rescued mongrel observed and learned from other dogs, who eat their meals with no fuss and perfect manners.Day care centres — places where pet owners can keep their dog for a few hours — as opposed to a kennel, are becoming a prefered choice for urban pet owners, who don’t have a dependable ward to help. A good doggie crèche also helps with behavioural issues, such as Kian’s fussy eating.The working couple, who became pet parents this August to the rescued pup with a missing paw, started dropping off Kian at Dr Nezhat Belgamvala’s facility for a few hours every day about two months ago. Given that Kian, now five months old, was still very young, they didn’t want to leave him alone but what really clinched the deal for Pet Stepin was the space and it’s friendly staff. “They also take care not to admit a dog, who may not be good for the rest of the dogs. “This bode well for Kian… since he was rescued, he’d get stressed with other dogs around,” says 29-year-old Singhal.Offering a space for urban pets to engage with others, is a the primary reason why Dr Belgamvala started Pet Stepin in 2009. “It is important for dogs to socialise with other dogs, humans and children,” says Dr Belgamvala, a practising vet. “When a dog first comes to us, he or she is gradually initiated into socialising, starting first with only half-an-hour interactions, before they are taken in for day care or boarding.”Modern-day crèches continue training programmes, and organise supervised play sessions that burn off excess energy. So instead of coming home to a bored dog, who has shredded the furniture and chewed on the shoes, the dog leaves for his/her day care with the parents and joins them after hours. Such attention has been a boon for Champ, who has been a regular day boarder at Pet Stepin for three years. “Champ was the first pet in our apartment complex when we brought him home four years ago. He had no one to mingle with,” says Sharath Keshava, one half of another working couple, with jobs that involve a lot of travel. After trying a few centres, the Keshavas felt Pet Stepin was a second home. “We’ve never had Champ throw a tantrum to not go there,” he says.Passion for poochThe convenience of day care also puts pressure on pet parents to raise well-behaved dogs. At Tail Magic in Gurugram, Pravin Kora runs parents and their wards through stringent assessment standards for attitude and behaviour to enter this ‘home stay/boarding for pooches’. Kora tries to retain the rules the pet has at home, though they have the run of his ground-plus-two-storied residence and backyard. “I try to replicate the experience the dog has at home,” he says. “If it is used to sleeping in bed at home, then s/he is allowed to come into the bed at my place, too.”The 39-year-old takes charge of everything — cooking the food, taking them for a walk, playing with them and engaging in what he calls “dawg talk”. “I don’t intervene when they play or are communicating among themselves” says Kora. One of his regulars is Cookie, who has been spend seven to eight hours at Tail Magic every day. “We first took him to Pravin when he was a pup, and we can see the difference,” says Antra Tyagi, who brought home the golden retriever two years ago. “He is well-balanced and friendly with other dogs and people, too. Unlike other dogs at the park, he doesn’t growl or have anxiety issues. He’s the kind of kid all the dog parents are fond of!”What to look for in a day careSurveillanceNearly all centers send pictures and videos of dogs engaged in games and activities via Whatsapp or Facebook to their parents. Some like Pet Stepin, and Shyamax Presswalla’s The Bark Club also share CCTV cameras feeds.Dietary PlanLook into their attention to dietary specifications. Dorothy Ghosh’s Chhaya Dog House in Chhatarpur, Delhi; Meera Thosar’s Happytails Boarding in Pune, and the about-to-open The Bark Club at Byculla in Mumbai, consider pet food preferences due to age or health conditions, and allgeriesVet-on-callAn on-call vet or a dedicated vehicle to take pets to veterinarians if needed

Pansare murder case: Virendra Tawde approaches Bombay HC, seeks to be impleaded as respondent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virendra Tawde, accused in the murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and activist Govind Pansare, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to be impleaded as a respondent in the petition filed by Maharashtra government seeking stay in the Pansare trial.The state CID, probing the Pansare murder case, had earlier this year filed a petition in the high court seeking stay on the trial till a forensic report from Scotland Yard Police laboratory was obtained. The impending report pertains to a bullet and some cartridges recovered in the Pansare murder case that were sent by CBI, which is probing the Dabholkar case, to the UK for forensic tests last month.The CID petition had earlier sought the high court to stay the framing of charges against the arrested accused, Sameer Gaikwad. The HC had then granted the stay. Tawde, an alleged member of right wing group Sanathan Sanstha, who was arrested on June 10 this year by CBI in the Dabholkar case, was recently also arraigned as accused by CID in the Pansare case.Following this, Tawde filed an application in the high court seeking to be included as respondent in CID petition. “If the applicant is not joined as a respondent in the petition, there would be grave and irreparable harm and prejudice to the interests of the applicant,” said the application filed recently.The CBI, through the forensic reports, wants to ascertain if there is any link between the Pansare, Dabholkar and Prof MM Kalburgi murder cases. The high court had in June this year granted interim stay on the trial against Gaikwad. While Dabholkar was murdered in Pune on August 20, 2013, Pansare was shot on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur. He died on February 20. Prof Kalburgi was murdered on August 30 last year.

Campaign to employ acid attack victims goes viral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Like most Indian women, Mamta had an arranged marriage. She didn’t want to get married, but just like the rest, she had no say in the matter. While speaking to Humans of Bombay, Mamta said she went along with it hoping for the best. However, the husband was physically and emotionally abusive. When Mamta became pregnant, she decided that the best option would be to abort the foetus. “My mother agreed but he found out somehow and filed a case against us. I was forced to carry my son to term. I believed that since he fought so hard to make sure that I gave birth to our son, he must surely want him. I believed he wanted to be a good father to him.”However, things took a turn for the worse. Mamta’s husband stopped letting her see their son and demanded Rs 50,000 to let her see him. On August 21, 2010, while Mamta was sleeping in her family home, her husband crept into the house with their son’s milk bottle filled with acid and emptied it all over her face. “I woke up screaming in agony. My mother tried washing the acid off but the damage was already done. I lost my left eye,” she says. Mamta, an acid attack survivor, is a beauticianWhile Mamta can carry on with the fact that she has to live with her scars, she finds it difficult to live not knowing the whereabouts of her son. The police say that they cannot do anything until she locates her son.Mamta was then approached by the NGO Make Love Not Scars, which is teaming up with Humans of Bombay and The Logical Indian to provide employment opportunities to women who are victims of acid attacks. The initiative called ‘Skills Not Scars’ was also promoted through a BuzzFeed India video starring comedian Tanmay Bhat that went viral on the internet on Tuesday with over 2,500 shares on Facebook.Skills Not Scars has a list of acid attack survivors, which includes eight women and one man. Each of these individuals has a unique story. Take the case of Reshma. This 19-year-old, who has been the face of the Make Love,Not Scars campaign recently walked the ramp during the New York Fashion Week.

New documents show Netaji died in air crash, says Grandnephew Ashish Ray

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew and researcher Ashish Ray on Sunday claimed he has “irrefutable evidence” to prove that Bose died in an air crash in Taipei (Taiwan) on August 18, 1945.Demanding that the ashes in the Renkoji temple should be brought back to India, Ray said, “There are three reports which clearly state that Bose had died in the air crash in 1945 and did not have the opportunity to enter Soviet Union.” Two reports by the Japanese government have clearly stated that he died in the air crash and another report which is lying with the Russian state archives unambiguously says that Netaji didn’t have the opportunity to enter the erstwhile Soviet Union on 1945 or afterwards, Ray said.”He was never held as prisoner in USSR,” he said.Ray said Netaji, however, might have plans to move to Russia as he had always believed that Russia, a Communist state, would support his cause to liberate India from the British rule.”He felt Japan would not be able to protect him because it had surrendered. He felt although he might be detained in Soviet Union, he stood a better chance of convincing the Soviet authorities about his mission to liberate India,” Ray added.Coming to contrary views on the issue, Ray said though he understands the emotional attachment with Netaji but there is a need to confront the truth.”For how long can we be in denial, irrespective of so much evidence which points towards his death in plane crash.We have accounts of six or seven persons, including Habibur Rehman. I think if possible a DNA test of the ashes in Renkiji temple should be done and the ashes should be brought back to India,” Ray said.

ED proceedings against Karti: P Chidambaram objects in Madras HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday alleged in the Madras High Court that the Enforcement Directorate proceedings against his son Karti under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had been launched to cause political embarrassment to him.He made his submissions in an affidavit before Justice B Rajendran who reserved orders on a petition filed by Karti challenging the summons issued by the ED seeking his appearance in connection with its money laundering probe in the Aircel-Maxis deal of the 2G scam. The judge reserved orders after hearing elaborate arguments by senior Supreme Court counsel Gopal Subramaniam on behalf of Karti Chidambaram and Anand Grover for ED. Chidambaram in his affidavit claimed that the ED lacked jurisdiction under the PMLA to proceed against his son and contended that CBI had not found any offence under any law in respect of FIPB approval over which his son was being probed.”No scheduled offence exists, proceeds of crime do not exist and thus the respondents (ED) absolutely lack jurisdiction under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to proceed further,” he said.He further said, “I regret to submit that the proceedings initiated against the petitioner (Karti) have been undertaken in order to cause political embarrassment to me and besmirch myreputation and that of my family members.” In the petition filed on his behalf by his power of attorney N R R Arun Natarajan, Karti sought to quash the ED’s August 19 summons contending that it was motivated by malice in law.He said he had reasons to believe that there had been determined campaign to bring discredit and harm to the reputation of his father Chidambaram. ED’s probe against Karti pertains to firms identified as Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited and Chess Global Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, where he had been a Director, and a few others for alleged violations under PMLA. The ED had told the court that further probe relating to the FIPB approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal and related issues were subject of further investigation under the anti-money laundering laws.The agency had also told the court that further probe relating to Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in the Aircel-Maxis deal and related issues are subject of further investigation under anti-money laundering laws. Chidambaram, during whose tenure as Finance Minister in 2006 the FIPB approval was given, submitted that the approval matter was investigated by the CBI fully and the agency had submitted its status reports to the Supreme Court.He said CBI had recorded his statement in 2014 December and that of FIPB officials. “In their statements to the CBI, all the persons affirmed that the approval was granted by FIPB and recommended to the Finance Minister for his approval in accordance with the guidelines. The Finance Minister granted approval in the ordinary course of government business.”Chidambaram pointed out that the charge sheet in the Aircel-Maxis case was filed on August 28, 2014 and the statements in respect of the FIPB approval from the officials concerned were recorded thereafter in the course of further probe under CrPc. “It is thereafter that the status reports were filed in the Supreme Court. The CBI has not found or reported any offence under any law in respect of the said FIPB approval,” he submitted adding thus no offence was made out.

Army’s Cheetah chopper crashes near Sukna in Bengal; 3 army officers killed, one critical

Three army officers lost their lives on Wednesday when a Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Army crashed near Sukna region in Bengal. One Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) has been critically injured in the accident, according to CNN-News 18.

The Cheetah helicopter was reportedly on a routine sortie when, at around 11:45 am, the helicopter crashed while returning to the camp’s helipad at Sukna, near Silgirui, Army officials said.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While three officers died on the spot, a JCO was evacuated and admitted to a hospital in a critical condition. The army’s 33 Corps is based at Sukna and all aircraft of the Army are run by Army Aviation Corps.

A Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

The reason behind the crash is not clear. However, there had earlier been reports of army officers’ families demanding phasing out of these archaic machines.

According to a report in India Today, the wives of several army personnel had demanded that the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters of the Army’s aviation unit be phased out as they have been involved in numerous incidents. The report, published in November 2014, stated that the choppers had been involved in over 190 crashes and had claimed 294 lives till the end of 2014, and were involved in three to four Army aviation crashes every year on an average.

Another report by NDTV from August this year states that the Indian Air Force has already ceased to use these archaic machines in its Siachen Pioneers unit, citing its dated technology.

This is not the first incident when an army aviation unit has crashed. A Cheetah chopper was involved in a similar accident in October 2014 in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, wherein three officers lost their lives, according to a report in News 18

In Febreuary 2015 too, a Cheetah chopper crashed  in Nagaland’s Dimapur district. However, the two pilots and an army official on board fortunately escaped unhurt, according to NDTV.

According to another report in The Indian Express, “the Army has for long been pressing for the need to replace these ‘60s helicopters.” The reports further states that in 2007, the then defence minister AK Antony proposed to withdraw Chetak and Cheetah helicopters from the Army, stating that the vintage choppers are “inadequate for the present operational requirement of the Indian Army”.

However, as this report in NDTV points out, since then, the army has scrapped tenders to procure new helicopters at least three times. The last effort to procure new choppers was dropped in August 2015, as army again scrapped a tender worth Rs 6,000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters from foreign vendors. The army then decided to allow domestic manufacturers to offer a replacement of these helicopters.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:26 IST

Sonia Gandhi recovers from viral fever, discharged from hospital

Sonia Gandhi recovers from viral fever, discharged from hospital

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi was discharged from a private hospital on Wednesday, two days after she was admitted to the facility following viral fever.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. File photo. PTI

“Gandhi has recovered from fever and has been discharged in stable condition,” said Arun Kumar Basu, senior consultant, department of chest and pulmonology medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. She was discharged around 11.30 am.

She was admitted to the hospital around 8 pm on 28 November.

Gandhi had been hospitalised for 12 days in August after she had fallen ill during a roadshow in Varanasi. She was operated upon for a shoulder injury also.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:06 IST

Sonia Gandhi hospitalised

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Monday after she contracted a viral infection and fever. “Gandhi visited the hospital on Monday for a check up because she was suffering from fever.Her routine tests are being conducted and she is better today. She will likely be discharged in a day or two,” said Dr DS Rana, Chairman (Board of Management), Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.69-year-old Gandhi is admitted under the care of Dr Arun Kumar Basu, senior consultant in Department of Chest and Pulmonology Medicine and his team of consultants. “The Congress President will resume her Parliament duty soon. There is no cause for worry,” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. Gandhi had to cut short her roadshow in Varanasi earlier in August after she fell ill and had to be hospitalised. She was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for a medical check-up.

Sonia Gandhi hospitalised for second time: Congress chief has viral fever, confirms party

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was hospitalised on Tuesday as reports said that she may be suffering from a viral fever. This is the second time this year the Congress president has been hospitalised.

According to ANI, Sonia has been admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala confirmed and said that Sonia will be in hospital for two days.

Sources said that 69-year-old Gandhi was down with viral fever and doctors advised her to be under medical supervision.

She will also undergo some tests at Sir Gangaram hospital, they said.

On 3 August, the Congress chief had to cut her visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s constituency Varanasi short, as she was unwell and had to be hospitalised. She had been taken to the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital at that time but was soon shifted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

PTI had then reported that she had undergone a surgery on her left shoulder and doctors had said that she had recovered from the injury. She had been discharged from the hospital on 14 August after 11 days of hospitalisation.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 14:51 IST

Congress President Sonia Gandhi admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi was on Tuesday admitted to a hospital in Delhi.It was not immediately known whether she has been admitted to Sir Gangaram hospital for some routine tests or due to illness.”The Congress President has been admitted to a hospital following viral fever. She will be discharged within two days. She will resume her Parliament duty soon. There is no cause for worry,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.The 69-year-old leader was admitted to the hospital on August 3 after being taken ill during a roadshow in Varanasi.She was discharged on August 14 and doctors treating her at the hospital had then said she had recovered from her illness and injury to the left shoulder and was stable.She was again admitted to the hospital for a routine medical check up on August 18.(More details are awaited)

AAP’s understanding of constitution causes conflicts but Kejriwal’s a gentleman: Jung

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AAP government’s reading of the Constitution in terms of Delhi’s status leads to conflicts with the Centre, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung said today.”The conflict will arise only when if you have a different understanding of the Constitution…I cannot interpret even a comma of the papers under the Constitution in front of me,” he said at the ‘Times Litfest’ here.”Their (AAP) understanding of the Constitution was different from that of the court,” he said alluding to the August 4 verdict of the Delhi High Court that stamped the LG’s primacy as the city’s administrative head.Jung, who shares an embittered relationship with the AAP government, said the Constitution is clear in terms of Article 239 AA, which determines Delhi’s status and charts out its administrative hierarchy.He said the Centre has a major say in criticial policy initiatives of Delhi pertaining to law and order, police, land and services, and that there are “caveats” on dealing with issues that fall outside the purview of these areas.The Lieutenant Governor said that he was not bound by the advice of an elected government and takes decisions depending on the overall situation in the country.”…whatever the Delhi government approves should be examined by the Union to see if it falls in the broad policy of the Government of India.”For that it comes to the LG and therefore the clear distinction here is that he needs an advice of the Council of Ministers in Delhi. He is not bound by that and will take decisions depending on the overall situation in the country,” Jung stated. The Lt Governor added that he shared a “personal rapport” with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and that the latter “has always been good and a gentleman.””We never had any altercation,” Jung said.

Payal Abdullah’s plea on government accomodation reserved by Delhi High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its order on a plea of Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, for government accommodation for her and her sons on the ground that they enjoyed ‘Z’ and ‘Z plus’ security status. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice VK Rao said that it will consider whether Payal and her kids was entitled to get the government accommodation on parity with some of the political leaders who have been granted the same on security ground.The petitioners, including the couple’s two children, have sought parity with others who enjoyed similar security status and have been given government accommodation. The court was hearing an appeal against a single judge’s August 19 order asking her to vacate the 7, Akbar Road bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi that she was residing in.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), however, opposed her contention for government accommodation on the ground of security threat and said it is for Delhi Police to ensure safety for her stay here. Her counsel claimed that she and her sons were living in a rented flat which is not appropriate on security ground as they have to house around 90 security personnel, who have to stay on roads near their accommodation.
ALSO READ Payal Abdullah loses court battle, rendered homelessIn her appeal, she has contended that the August 19 order of the single judge mentioned no date and time of eviction and “hence the very act of summoning and pressing into service of armed public auxiliary/servants of different forces” for giving effect to the order was in violation of The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act.The counsel argued that under the Act, possession of a public premises cannot be taken after sunset, whereas she and her sons were evicted on the evening of August 22. Payal has also challenged the single judge’s observation that if her husband and father-in-law, both of whom are ‘Z plus’ protectees, could be secure in private accommodation, there is “no reason” why she and her sons cannot be.
ALSO READ Payal Abdullah evicted from Lutyen’s: Omar’s nameplate removed from govt bungalowShe contended that her husband, Omar, and father-in-law, Farooq Abdullah, were temporary visitors to Delhi and can be protected in private premises for a short duration, unlike her who is a permanent resident here. The single judge had said Payal and her sons were “liable to be evicted forthwith”, after terming their entitlement to retain the bungalow as “wholly illegal”.Justice Indermeet Kaur had said that Payal’s apprehension that she and her sons would not be given adequate security cover was “misconceived” and dismissed her plea to retain the bungalow. Prior to the high court’s August 19 decision, a trial court here had on Augusut 16 asked her to move out of the house. Three days later, Justice Kaur had asked Payal’s counsel, “Will you gracefully evict or I should pass an order?” However, her counsel had refused to do so.
ALSO READ Delhi HC to hear Payal Abdullah’s plea for retaining Lutyen residenceIt had also rejected Payal’s argument that she and her sons were central protectees by saying that as per a secret document submitted by MHA, their security status was granted by the state of Jammu and Kashmir because they were the wife and children of Omar Abdullah.

Major train accidents in India since 1988

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The following is the chronology of major train accidents in India since 1988:# Nov 20, 2016: Over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur dehat district of Uttar Pradesh.# May 28, 2010: At least 148 people were killed after the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed by Naxals in West Midnapore district of West Bengal.# September 9, 2002: 100 passengers were killed and 150 hurt after a bogie of Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express plunged into the Dhave river in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.# August 2, 1999: At least 290 passengers were killed after two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collided at Gaisal in Assam# November 26, 1998: At least 212 people were killed as the Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with derailed coaches of the Frontier Mail near Khanna in Punjab.# September 14, 1997: 81 people were killed when five bogies of Ahmedabad-Howrah express fell into a river in Bilaspur district of Madhya Pradesh.# August 20, 1995: 400 people were killed after the Puroshottam Express rammed into Kalindi Express near Firozabad railway station in Uttar Pradesh.# April 18, 1988: At least 75 people were killed when the Karnataka Express derailed near Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh.# July 8, 1988: 107 were killed, when the Island Express plunged into Ashtamudi lake in Kerala.

Punjab election: Arvind Kejriwal to release AAP’s ‘Dalit manifesto’ soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will release the Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘Dalit manifesto’ in poll-bound Punjab this week, where the scheduled caste community makes up around 32% of the population. Kejriwal will release the first-of-its-kind document, targeting a specific community and detailing its “systemic oppression”, during his 10-day-long visit to the state, which began today. The manifesto is a product of the ‘Dalit Dialogue’ series held by the party across Punjab that began in August. “Around 10-12 dialogues have been organised in Dalit-majority areas of the state. Essentially members of the community came and freely exchanged views and gave suggestions to be included in the document,” AAP’s national organisation- building head Durgesh Pathak said.Its launch will be the highlight of Kejriwal’s tour, where he will address 21 rallies, Pathak said. During the open sessions, members of the Dalit community were also given a form where they could put in their feedback and recommendations which have been factored in while drafting it, Pathak said. The issue of demonetization is also expected to prominently feature in the rallies that the AAP chief is scheduled to address. AAP is locked in a triangular contest with the Congress and incumbent BJP-SAD alliance in the state which goes to polls early next year. The party had targeted the BJP and dubbed it “anti-Dalit”, using the assault against few youth by alleged cow vigilantes in Gujarat’s Una as a pivot. Kejriwal has visited Gujarat multiple times in the recent months.As per 2011 Census, Punjab’s over 88 lakh SC population accounts for nearly 32% of the total population of the state, the highest percentage among all the states.

Conservationists cry foul over India’s landmark forest rights law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Almost four times as many individual as community claims have been lodged under a landmark Indian law to protect the rights of forest dwellers and tribal communities, sparking criticism it is being exploited for financial gain and leading to deforestation.The Forest Rights Act (FRA) gives indigenous people and forest dwellers rights to manage and govern their traditional forests and resources. The law recognises individual and community rights of those who have lived there since before 2005.More than four million individual claims and about 1.1 million community claims were filed as of August 31, according to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. About 1.7 million individual and 47,443 community claims have been distributed, it said. The high number of individual claims is cited by some conservationists as a reason to oppose the law, amid an ongoing clash between activists and environmentalists over its impact.They say states are under pressure to accept even bogus claims and that individual claims must not be allowed as many are motivated by financial gain. “People are predictably keen to claim individual rights as this enables them to encash real estate and other financial opportunities,” leading conservationist Bittu Sahgal wrote in a blog this week. “No rights can be championed, nor wildlife saved, if the forests at the centre of the tussle vanish,” he said, adding that deforestation and denting of wildlife numbers was evident in states including Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.SLOW IMPLEMENTATIONUnder the law, at least 150 million people could have their rights recognised to at least 40 million hectares (154,400 sq miles) of forest land, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has estimated. But few states have implemented the FRA fully and more than half of all claims for titles have been rejected, data shows. States have held back from implementing the law because they view it as an obstacle to development projects, with consensus required from village councils for any project that requires forest land to be cleared.Conservationists who are in favour of the law say it must be implemented in full, and that disregarding it or undermining it “will greatly damage environmental protection”. In a recent letter to the environment minister, more than 40 conservationists and environmentalists said the FRA empowers forest communities to be a part of the decision-making process, and “therefore encourages a bottom-up approach to natural resource governance”. But, they said, evictions and harassment of rights holders had led to a situation of “continuous conflict” in forest areas. They said settling individual rights was not leading to deforestation as these rights largely correspond to historically settled or cultivated land that does not contain forest cover.Last month, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs said it was concerned about the large number of claims that are rejected and asked all states to speed up the clearance of claims. “Communities are pivotal in the reversal of destruction and degradation of India’s forests,” Kundan Kumar, RRI’s Asia director said. “The government should pay heed to the combined wisdom of India’s conservationists,” he said.

DNA Exclusive: Banks shower loans ‘wilful defaulter’ Niranjan Hiranandani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Defaulter!” This is exactly how India’s premier institution, the RBI, had described property tycoon and co-founder of the Hiranandani Group — Niranjan Hiranandani. But despite the RBI declaring Hiranandani as a “wilful defaulter” as far back as 2014, the group continues to receive loans from premier banks across the country.Documents exclusive to DNA reveal that the Hiranandani Group has received Rs 5,500 crore from the State Bank of India and Axis Bank, which was given to two firms belonging to the group. The SBI loan was given in February 2015 and March 2016 by Axis Bank. These loans, the documents make clear, come well after the RBI listed Hiranandani as a defaulter.When contacted, Hiranandani insisted that he had done nothing wrong. A spokesperson authorised to speak on behalf of him and the Group admits that Hiranandani’s name had figured in the RBI’s list of wilful defaulters. But he claimed that it was an “error” and has now been struck off.Niranjan Hiranandani’s name had first appeared in the RBI’s wilful defaulters’ list on June 30, 2014 following a default of Rs 350 crore loan with Punjab National Bank-led consortium by his company Sunny Vista Realtors Pvt Ltd (SVRPL). Other banks in this consortium were UCO and Andhra Bank. But eight months later while his name was still on the wilful defaulters’ list, SBI seemingly decided to deviate from RBI rules and lend his company – Hiranandani Builders – Rs 1,250 crore in February 2015.All these loans were sanctioned despite an RBI’s master circular on wilful defaulters, which reads: “No additional facilities (loan) should be granted by any bank/FI to the listed wilful defaulters”.What is even more shocking is that SBI was seemingly aware that they were flouting RBI rules. In a document issued while sanctioning the loan, SBI officials wrote: “…deviation from loan policy guidelines in respect to name of one partners, Niranjan Hiranandani appearing in the RBI wilful defaulters list dated 30 June 2014.”It’s not just the RBI. The SBI seems to have flouted its own guidelines when sanctioning the loans to the Hiranandani Group. The documents available with DNA show that the above loan of Rs 750 crore to Hiranadani Builders were sanctioned against the securitisation of rental income known as Lease Rental Discounting or LRD scheme with a tenure of 12 years. However, SBI policy allows that such a loan is only up to Rs 100 crore and that too only for a 10-year period.Asked about this, the Hiranandani Group maintained that this loan was pre-closed in March 2016, stating that “the funds were raised from private sources for closure”.But while the Hiranandani Group may have clarified this loan, other loans continue to have been given to them. Axis Bank pre-funded Rs 2,815 crore (Rs 1,480 crore to Lakeview Developers and Rs 1,335 crore to Hiranandani Builders in March 2016). Later on, Axis bank sold down the majority of the loan to SBI. SBI sanctioned Rs 750 crore loan with syndication of Axis Bank to Hiranandani Builders in August this year.The group, however, insists that it has flouted no guidelines. Asked about the date of removal of Hiranandani’s name from the RBI’s wilful defaulter list, his team forwarded a letter of Andhra Bank written to Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) addressing concerns regarding Sunny Vista Realtors Private Limited (SVRPL) — a company belonging to the Group.The Andhra Bank letter dated December 11, 2015, addressed to CIBIL, says, “We request you to delete the name of company and its directors as wilful defaulters from your records.” Another letter released by the group, shows a communication from Andhra Bank to SVRPL, dated December 9, 2015, where the bank has recommended to its officials, “for deletion of company and its director’s name from RBI wilful defaulter list.”Despite these letters, questions continue to surround the Group. SBI documents show Niranjan Hiranandani to be a wilful defaulter during the loan process in 2015. Again, in August 2016, SBI cites a similar request letter of Andhra Bank during its risk analysis discussion for a new loan of Rs 750 crore requested by Hiranandani Builders from Axis Bank.When asked to comment, SBI and Axis bank officials have maintained that they can’t comments on any individual’s account status. In a statement, Axis Bank says, “As a matter of policy we don’t comment on individual borrowers. However, as a normal practice, we follow prudent underwriting, well-defined credit principles and effective loan approval process.” Similarly, RBI says in its response to DNA, “As a matter of policy, we do not reply to media queries relating to individual bank accounts.”Group denies chargesThe Hiranandani Group has denied all the allegations raised against it. A spokesperson for the Group said: “Mr Hiranandani’s name appeared in the RBI wilful defaulters list but on clarification by the bankers was removed from the wilful defaulter list. The listing of his name in the RBI defaulters list was an error and consequently rectified. Irrespective of the above, Mr. Hiranandani took over all the projects along with its loans and made sure that all banks were fully paid.”TimelineJune, 2014 – RBI declares Hiranandani ‘wilful defaulter’
February 2015 – SBI loan of Rs1,250 cr was given to Hiranandani Builders was in violation of rules
December, 2015 – Andhra Bank requested CIBIL to delete wilful defaulter tag from the HiranandaniGroup
March 2016 Axis Bank pre-funded Rs 1,335 cr to Hiranandani Builders Definition of a wilful defaulterAnyone who has enough cash, but is not willing to pay banks’ dues is a wilful defaulter.
Siphoning off funds, fabrication of bank records and fraudulent transactions by the borrower can also invite the chip of wilful defaulter. Action against a wilful defaulterRBI rules state that a “wilful defaulter can’t float new ventures for a period of five years from the date the name appeared in RBI “wilful defaulter” list.
Further, if a bank identifies siphoning or diversion of funds, misrepresentation, falsification of accounts and fraudulent transactions then that bank should debarred from that account.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan said that wilful defaulter tag is a necessary tool in the hands of creditors to resolve distressed assets. Outstanding Loans: How much wilful defaulters owe banksSource-AIBEA

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: Modi govt’s intention was fair, but failed those who don’t have bank accounts

Sticking points in implementation of the Jan Dhan Yojna showed us how weak our banking sector is in dealing with such changes. And these points should have been factored in.

Usha Rani, 55, resident of Chilla Village in East Delhi is clueless as to how she would buy groceries for her evening meal. She, like lot of other women of her locality, who work as house help, prefers to keep a larger part of their savings with themselves and buy groceries and vegetables on daily basis.

Sadly, all her employers gave her Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes this month, which she is clueless about where to use.

Using debit card is still an ‘unimaginable’ thing for the likes of Usha, who do not know to read and write.

With the help of one of her employers, Usha deposits a regular sum in her bank account, but visiting a bank branch or an ATM to deposit or withdraw money is still a very rare thing for her.

Chennai: People scuffle to exchange Rs 1000 and 500 notes at a bank in Chennai on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI11_11_2016_000144B)Chennai: People scuffle to exchange Rs 1000 and 500 notes at a bank in Chennai on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI11_11_2016_000144B)

Representational image. PTI

For Usha, her old and rusted iron trunk is still her most accessible bank, and for millions like her.

In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his very ambitious financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY). The idea was to instill the banking habit among people by giving each households at least one bank account.

As stated by the vision document of the PMJDY, the plan envisaged “universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility. In addition, the beneficiaries would get RuPay Debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of र 1 lakh”.

In January 2015, in less that five months, 11.5 crore accounts were opened under Jan Dhan Yojana. The figure fetches the government a Guinness Book of World Records entry for opening the maximum number of bank accounts in the shortest possible time.

But along with this motivating figure was another that raised serious concern that was of non-operational or zero balance account. Out of total 11.5 crore accounts that were opened only 28 percent were operational.

At that time Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking on this issue of zero-balance accounts, had said that the direct benefit transfer will make sure that non-operational accounts are made operative in coming times.

That happened to a great extent. But that only made the accounts operational. That did not mean that banking habits were instilled among people at large.

As of now, under the scheme, 23.37 crore accounts were opened till 2 November. According to official statistics, 100 percent household coverage in majority of the states have been achieved.

Now consider this: According to official data 23.37 percent of the accounts are still having zero balance. When converted into numbers it runs into crores.

A report published in The Indian Express in September revealed how banks concerned about the huge number of non-operational accounts, were “quietly making one-rupee deposits, many from their own allowances, some from money kept aside for office maintenance. Their ostensible goal: to reduce the branch’s tally of zero-balance accounts”.

The report stated, “As many as 20 branch managers and officials told The Indian Express, on the condition that they not be identified, that there is ‘pressure’ on them to show that zero-balance accounts are falling in number.”

In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his very ambitious financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY). The idea was to instill the banking habit among people by giving each households at least one bank account.

During the field visit to different states to report about the implementation of the PMJDY in 2014 and 2015, it became evident that lack of financial literacy and appropriate banking infrastructure were some of the biggest sticking points.

The sudden launch of the PMJDY with a massive target of opening 7.5 crore accounts, which was later revised to 10 crore, left the banking infrastructure in lurch. Duplication of accounts, wrong seeding with Aadhaar for DBT, that followed the launch of the scheme highlighted the problems in banking infrastructure and lack of financial literacy.

Apart from the media glare of the national capital, in smaller towns and villages, people had to struggle to get their subsidy money. In many cases in Bihar, people were not regularly getting their DBT and LPG subsidy and intense apathy of the bank officials were evident.

In the entire PMJDY, it was complementary components of the plan (in-built accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, and an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000) that motivated people to open accounts and not the fact that they were to become part of the formal banking structure.

And this is the reason a resentment is being slowly building among the people as they are clueless as to how to deal with the situation.

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Bimal Jalan while commenting upon government’s decision said, “This is a very good move. Nobody can say that we should not do anything to tackle black money. It will have a clear impact on unaccounted transactions. The question now is of implementing it in a way that it does not cause any disruption in trade and daily transactions made by people. We have to see if we have the enough banking infrastructure in our country that can help the smooth implementation of this decision. Like in the rural areas people might face problem as there is still lots of cash transactions.”

As highlighted by Jalan, formal banking and use of debit cards is still not a regular feat for millions of people living in rural and semi-urban areas. During the implementation of the PMJDY, it became evident that India’s banking infrastructure was under immense constrain due to huge numbers of accounts that were to be opened under the scheme.

In this context, the government was supposed to have dealt this issue with some sincerity before launching the scheme.

The consequences of ignoring it are apparent. With a host of ATMs not working, banking staff grappling with insane amount of crowd and all sort of rumours doing rounds, the situation is becoming difficult.

In many cases, people when trying to exchange their Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are forcefully given Rs 2,000 notes. For a person belonging to lower income group, buying vegetables for Rs 40 is becoming an impossible task. For someone like Ravi, who works as janitor at a private firm, it is like being “robbed of your ability to live in one stroke”.

DK Singh, who works as caretaker of a hosing society in Delhi, says, “The problem is not that government has banned these notes. But the issue is that whether they made enough provisions to help customers replace it. Yesterday, after standing for three hours in the queue, I got one Rs 2,000 note. Do you think it is very easy to exchange it if you buy something even for Rs 500, when Rs 100 notes have suddenly become so scare?”

While there can be little doubt about the fair intention of the government behind the decision, the problem lies somewhere else. The problem lies in the inability of the government to aptly ascertain the capability of its banking structure, the extent of population which is still not part of formal banking structure and huge magnitude of cash transactions. If only government could have weighed in these factors and then acted, it would have been win-win situation for all honest stakeholders.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 16:07 IST

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: Modi govt’s intention fair, but failed those without bank accounts

Sticking points in implementation of the Jan Dhan Yojna showed us how weak our banking sector is in dealing with such changes. And these points should have been factored in.

Usha Rani, 55, resident of Chilla Village in East Delhi is clueless as to how she would buy groceries for her evening meal. She, like lot of other women of her locality, who work as house help, prefers to keep a larger part of their savings with themselves and buy groceries and vegetables on daily basis.

Sadly, all her employers gave her Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes this month, which she is clueless about where to use.

Using debit card is still an ‘unimaginable’ thing for the likes of Usha, who do not know to read and write.

With the help of one of her employers, Usha deposits a regular sum in her bank account, but visiting a bank branch or an ATM to deposit or withdraw money is still a very rare thing for her.

Chennai: People scuffle to exchange Rs 1000 and 500 notes at a bank in Chennai on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI11_11_2016_000144B)Chennai: People scuffle to exchange Rs 1000 and 500 notes at a bank in Chennai on Friday. PTI Photo by R Senthil Kumar(PTI11_11_2016_000144B)

Representational image. PTI

For Usha, her old and rusted iron trunk is still her most accessible bank, and for millions like her.

In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his very ambitious financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY). The idea was to instill the banking habit among people by giving each households at least one bank account.

As stated by the vision document of the PMJDY, the plan envisaged “universal access to banking facilities with at least one basic banking account for every household, financial literacy, access to credit, insurance and pension facility. In addition, the beneficiaries would get RuPay Debit card having inbuilt accident insurance cover of र 1 lakh”.

In January 2015, in less that five months, 11.5 crore accounts were opened under Jan Dhan Yojana. The figure fetches the government a Guinness Book of World Records entry for opening the maximum number of bank accounts in the shortest possible time.

But along with this motivating figure was another that raised serious concern that was of non-operational or zero balance account. Out of total 11.5 crore accounts that were opened only 28 percent were operational.

At that time Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking on this issue of zero-balance accounts, had said that the direct benefit transfer will make sure that non-operational accounts are made operative in coming times.

That happened to a great extent. But that only made the accounts operational. That did not mean that banking habits were instilled among people at large.

As of now, under the scheme, 23.37 crore accounts were opened till 2 November. According to official statistics, 100 percent household coverage in majority of the states have been achieved.

Now consider this: According to official data 23.37 percent of the accounts are still having zero balance. When converted into numbers it runs into crores.

A report published in The Indian Express in September revealed how banks concerned about the huge number of non-operational accounts, were “quietly making one-rupee deposits, many from their own allowances, some from money kept aside for office maintenance. Their ostensible goal: to reduce the branch’s tally of zero-balance accounts”.

The report stated, “As many as 20 branch managers and officials told The Indian Express, on the condition that they not be identified, that there is ‘pressure’ on them to show that zero-balance accounts are falling in number.”

In August 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his very ambitious financial inclusion scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY). The idea was to instill the banking habit among people by giving each households at least one bank account.

During the field visit to different states to report about the implementation of the PMJDY in 2014 and 2015, it became evident that lack of financial literacy and appropriate banking infrastructure were some of the biggest sticking points.

The sudden launch of the PMJDY with a massive target of opening 7.5 crore accounts, which was later revised to 10 crore, left the banking infrastructure in lurch. Duplication of accounts, wrong seeding with Aadhaar for DBT, that followed the launch of the scheme highlighted the problems in banking infrastructure and lack of financial literacy.

Apart from the media glare of the national capital, in smaller towns and villages, people had to struggle to get their subsidy money. In many cases in Bihar, people were not regularly getting their DBT and LPG subsidy and intense apathy of the bank officials were evident.

In the entire PMJDY, it was complementary components of the plan (in-built accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh, and an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000) that motivated people to open accounts and not the fact that they were to become part of the formal banking structure.

And this is the reason a resentment is being slowly building among the people as they are clueless as to how to deal with the situation.

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Bimal Jalan while commenting upon government’s decision said, “This is a very good move. Nobody can say that we should not do anything to tackle black money. It will have a clear impact on unaccounted transactions. The question now is of implementing it in a way that it does not cause any disruption in trade and daily transactions made by people. We have to see if we have the enough banking infrastructure in our country that can help the smooth implementation of this decision. Like in the rural areas people might face problem as there is still lots of cash transactions.”

As highlighted by Jalan, formal banking and use of debit cards is still not a regular feat for millions of people living in rural and semi-urban areas. During the implementation of the PMJDY, it became evident that India’s banking infrastructure was under immense constrain due to huge numbers of accounts that were to be opened under the scheme.

In this context, the government was supposed to have dealt this issue with some sincerity before launching the scheme.

The consequences of ignoring it are apparent. With a host of ATMs not working, banking staff grappling with insane amount of crowd and all sort of rumours doing rounds, the situation is becoming difficult.

In many cases, people when trying to exchange their Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are forcefully given Rs 2,000 notes. For a person belonging to lower income group, buying vegetables for Rs 40 is becoming an impossible task. For someone like Ravi, who works as janitor at a private firm, it is like being “robbed of your ability to live in one stroke”.

DK Singh, who works as caretaker of a hosing society in Delhi, says, “The problem is not that government has banned these notes. But the issue is that whether they made enough provisions to help customers replace it. Yesterday, after standing for three hours in the queue, I got one Rs 2,000 note. Do you think it is very easy to exchange it if you buy something even for Rs 500, when Rs 100 notes have suddenly become so scare?”

While there can be little doubt about the fair intention of the government behind the decision, the problem lies somewhere else. The problem lies in the inability of the government to aptly ascertain the capability of its banking structure, the extent of population which is still not part of formal banking structure and huge magnitude of cash transactions. If only government could have weighed in these factors and then acted, it would have been win-win situation for all honest stakeholders.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 16:07 IST

34 out of 77 names cleared for appointment as High Court judges: Govt to SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a hearing on the matter of appointment of judges, the government on Friday, told the Supreme Court it has cleared 34 out of 77 names recommended by the collegium for appointment in High Court. It added that the remaining 43 names have been returned to the collegium.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, “Out of 77 names recommended by the collegium, 34 have been cleared for appointment as High Court judges.” The AG told SC that not a single file on appointment of judges is pending with the government. The fresh Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) draft sent by government to the Supreme Court on August 3 is yet to receive reply. The Supreme Court had rapped the government in late October for not appointing judges despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard. “There should not be a deadlock in appointment of judges. You (Centre) cannot bring the institution to a grinding halt,” said the top court hearing a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts.Stating that courtrooms across the country were being locked out because of lack of judges, the apex court said, “Government can’t sit over a situation where executive inaction is decimating the judiciary. You have committed that process of appointment will continue without finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure (MoP). Finalisation of MoP has nothing to do with the ongoing appointment process in judiciary,” the court told the Centre.

Returning land to Singur farmers almost complete: Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said as much as 846 acres of the 997.11 acres of land acquired by Tata Motors for a small car project at Singur in Hooghly district had been returned to the farmers after dismantling the factory shed on it.”Of the remaining land, there is a dispute regarding about 71 acres. Either there is no existence of it or some fake people had taken money against it. If the genuine claimants come forward to take it back, the administration will take steps accordingly,” she said after visiting the site. “Nobody had claimed for the return of the land till the last day on which such claims were to be made, which was today,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said.The Supreme Court had, on August 31, ordered that the land acquired by Tata Motors in Singur be returned to the farmers within 12 weeks. The chief minister’s visit to Singur today was to thank the Hooghly district administration for completing the task within the stipulated time “against all odds”.She also assured the government officials and others involved in executing the order during festival time that they would be “adequately compensated by way of holidays and other benefits”.On October 20, Banerjee had formally started the process of returning land by handing over the physical possession of 90 acres to 2,216 farmers. On that day, she had also symbolically commenced farming on the land by sprinkling mustard seeds on it.

Missing JNU student: Delhi police team reaches Darbhanga

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi police team is in Darbhanga in Bihar in search of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing since October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with some members of ABVP the night before, police said on Tuesday.”Whenever and from wherever any information is coming about Najeeb, teams are being sent there. A team has also been sent to Darbhanga,” a senior police officer said.Meanwhile, a Delhi Police team will also be going to Badaun to speak to a doctor, who was treating Najeeb for depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), even as his family members claimed that he was suffering from insomnia only and no other mental disorder.”Najeeb was undergoing treatment for depression since 2012 in his hometown Badaun. A team will be visiting Badaun to question the doctor to know about Najeeb’s personality, his behaviour and his thought process,” said a senior police officer.Sources said Najeeb’s family has not shared details that the JNU student was undergoing in Badaun. However, on the basis the prescriptions found in Najeeb’s hostel room, police questioned the doctor whom he had consulted in Delhi.”According to prescriptions, Najeeb had been prescribed an anti-depressant and sleep inducer medicines in August by a doctor at VIMHANS,” he said.On September 9, Najeeb had visited the hospital again with his mother and he was prescribed the anti-depressant drug and another drug to treat fits, police said, adding that he didn’t visit the hospital after that day. A psychiatrist from VIMHANS, who had been consulted by Najeeb and his mother twice in August and September was questioned by the SIT on October 23 to know about Najeeb’s mental condition.”In her statement, she said that she was told by Najeeb’s family that he was undergoing treatment for depression in Badaun since 2012. She concluded in her diagnosis after speaking to Najeeb that he is suffering from OCD and depression,” said a senior police officer. She stated that people who are suffering from OCD tend to have negative thoughts in their mind, get upset with small things, answer only in ‘yes’ or ‘no’.The doctor also told police that people suffering from OCD are not sure about themselves, tend to forget things and the medication prescribed to them has to be taken daily. If patients don’t take medicines regularly, their condition might worsen and may develop suicidal tendencies, she wrote in her statement given to the police.Police is also mulling over the possibility of seeking the opinion of a mental health expert to decode Najeeb’s personality.”We are thinking about making the investigating officer, Najeeb’s mother and a psychiatrist sit together and do a construction of Najeeb’s personality. It is possible we might seek the assistance of the VIMHANS doctor since she has met him or we might consult some other expert,” said the officer. The police is also considering issuing an appeal from Najeeb’s mother to urge him to come back.”It is being considered to ask Najeeb’s mother to issue a message to her son asking him to come back. The video message will be aired across news channels. But it is still a suggestion and no final call has been taken,” added the officer.More than 25 people have been questioned in the case, including the doctor who was treating Najeeb, his roommate Qasim, ABVP members, JNUSU president Mohit Pandey and former members of students union, but police hasn’t got any actionable clues that could lead them to Najeeb, who has been missing for over three weeks now.A team is also working to gain clues to Najeeb’s personality through his social media profiles. He was active on social media and he had two Facebook profiles and his posts and messages are being analysed, said the officer.Meanwhile, Najeeb’s family denied that he was suffering from OCD and claimed that he was only suffering from insomnia.”All these claims about him being mentally unstable are false. We have told police right from the start that Najeeb was suffering from insomnia. He was a studious person and many persons who study for long hours suffer from insomnia. He was only taking medicines for that,” Najeeb’s brother Mujeeb said.Police is making these claims just to hide their inefficiency in tracing my brother, he said, adding he was not mentally unstable.Earlier, Najeeb’s family met Delhi police commissioner Alok Kumar Verma and today they had a meeting with home minister Rajnath Singh.”It’s been 25 days since our brother went missing. Whether the police is conducting investigation promptly or slowly, the result has been zero,” Mujeeb said.Najeeb’s brother also said that they also urged the Home Minister to initiate a CBI inquiry in the matter.”He patiently heard us. We also discussed with him possibility of initiating a CBI inquiry. The SIT hasn’t been able to find Najeeb for the last so many days. It’s high time now that a CBI inquiry should be ordered,” Mujeeb said.Najeeb (27) went missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with some members of ABVP the night before.

Sex CD: Sacked Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar gets bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sacked Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar, arrested on alleged rape charges, was granted bail on Monday by a Delhi court which directed him not to tamper with the evidence. Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry enlarged the AAP MLA on bail on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs one lakh and surety of a like amount.The court directed Kumar, who was arrested on September 3 and was in custody since then, to deposit his passport and not to influence witnesses. Kumar had sought bail on the ground that probe in the case was over and his custodial interrogation was no longer required.The police had opposed his bail plea saying he was an influential person and could scuttle the investigation. It had contended that the victim lived in the same constituency which Kumar represented and if he was released from jail, he might tamper with the evidence.Kumar sought relief saying he has been in custody for two months and his conduct since the lodging of FIR was good and “unquestionable” and he had himself surrendered before the police. Kumar was arrested after a woman had lodged a complaint at Sultanpuri police station in North Delhi alleging sexual harassment by the former Social Welfare and Women and Child Development minister, following which a case was filed. She had allegedly figured in an objectionable video with him.The MLA from Sultanpur Majra was sacked from AAP government and the party on August 31 after the CD surfaced. He had defended himself saying he had been targeted.

Amity student from Telangana commits suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 21-year-old student of Amity University here allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his hostel room, police said. G Sai Krishna, a native of Telangana, was a first year student of post graduate diploma in facilities management and had joined the course recently, a senior police officer said. He allegedly hanged himself last evening. He has left a note written in Telugu, addressed to his parents. The hostel was empty at that time as other students had gone for Diwali holidays, SHO of Sector 39 Police Station, Amarnath Yadav, said. Krishna was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the SHO said. A few days back, Krishna was scolded by his father regarding his studies and also for borrowing money from someone and not being able to pay it back, he said. Krishna’s father is an advocate. In his note, Krishna wrote that committing suicide is not easy and told his parents that they have done a lot for him, Yadav said. The body has been handed over to his family after post-mortem, police said. In August, a student of BA-LLB course in the university, had allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Delhi. The deceased, who was the son of a joint secretary-level official in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, was debarred from appearing in the sixth semester exams in May due to “shortage of attendance”.

Jung v/s Kejriwal: Delhi govt rejects LG decision to revoke appointment of 15 lawyers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi government on Friday rejected Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s decision to revoke the appointment of 15 lawyers by it, setting another stage for fresh round of confrontation between the LG office and AAP dispensation.However, LG office has slammed the Kejriwal government over the move, saying that after the August 4 High Court verdict, the Lt Governor is the final authority in all administrative issues.On Thursday, Jung had revoked the appointment of a panel of 15 Supreme Court lawyers while refusing to give his post-facto approval on the appointment of these advocate. The decision to reject the LG’s decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday.”The Cabinet has rejected the LG’s decision to revoke the appointment of panel of Delhi Government’s SC lawyers. “Cabinet also resolved that Law is a transferred subject and as per August 4, 2016 Delhi HC Judgement power to appoint lawyers lies with the elected government,” said a senior government official.Sources in the LG office said that the AAP government had appointed 15 lawyers without prior approval of Lt Governor and in view of this, if the city administration gives salaries of these advocates, it will be their own responsibility.”Law is not a transferred subject. It falls only under the LG’s jurisdiction. By rejecting the LG’s decision to revoke appointment of 15 lawyers, government is overlooking all constitutional and judicial machineries,” LG office’s sources said.The Kejriwal government had appointed 15 lawyers without prior approval of the Lt Governor in 2014 and 2015. Recently, government had sent the file to LG seeking his post facto approval.

Trouble for Rakhi Sawant, FIR filed for wearing attire with PM Modi’s pictures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wearing an attire with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed Bollywood actress Rakhi Sawant in trouble.An FIR has been lodged against her at the Kankroli police station for “allegedly indulging in obscenity and defaming the PM.””On the basis of the photos circulated on social media, a local advocate Prajeet Tiwari had lodged the complaint yesterday,” SHO Kankroli police station Laxman Ram said.”The complainant has alleged that Sawant insulted the PM by wearing a dress with pictures of the PM in August,” he said.The FIR was registered under several sections of IPC and relevant sections of Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act. The matter is being investigated, he added.Sawant wore a dress which had pictures of PM Modi printed all over it on her US trip in August.

Previous Indian governments disappointed us, thank PM Modi for support: Baloch leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A prominent Baloch leader said on Tuesday Indian governments in the past disappointed her people, who are fighting for independence from Pakistan, and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “extending moral support” to their movement. “We were disappointed with earlier Indian governments but I thank the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extending moral support for the freedom fight of Balochistan (in his August 15 speech),” said Naela Quadri Baloch, president of World Baloch Forum, in Mumbai.”We are using all forms of struggle, including armed struggle, for independence,” she said, in an interaction at the Mumbai Press Club. Pakistan was using chemical weapons against the Balochs, abducting women and killing children, Quadri alleged.Atrocities increased after China’s entry into Balochistan (for infrastructure projects it is developing in the region), she said. “We are not Pakistanis, we know it,” said Quadri. “Where was the UN when Pakistan invaded Balochistan,” she said.Pakistan could not claim that insurgency in Balochistan was its internal matter, the Baloch leader added. Quadri also alleged that Pakistan was nurturing terror with funds obtained (from foreign countries) for the war on terror. Between seven and ten lakh Balochs live in India, according to Quadri. Balochs have been living in India for the last 500 years, she added. “Balochistan issue is not human rights violations. It’s the issue of independence,” Quadri said.In a major shift in India’s foreign policy, Modi, in his Independence Day speech this year, had hit back at Pakistan when he talked about human rights violations in Balochistan. It was in apparent retaliation for Pakistan dedicating its Independence Day to the freedom of Jammu and Kashmir.

SC raps Centre for not appointing judges; says cannot bring the institution to grinding halt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday rapped the government for not appointing judges despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard.”There should not be a deadlock in appointment of judges. You (Centre) cannot bring the institution to a grinding halt,” said the top court hearing a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts.Stating that courtrooms across the country were being locked out because of lack of judges, the apex court said, “Government can’t sit over a situation where executive inaction is decimating the judiciary.””You have committed that process of appointment will continue without finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure,” the court told the Centre.The next hearing on the matter has been scheduled for November 11.The apex court is particularly peeved at the pendency of 35 appointments it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court the first batch of eight on January 28 and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August. Both are yet to be notified.The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50 % of its strength with just 77 judges against the approved strength of 160. These appointments assume significance considering that the country’s largest high court accounts for about 25% of nearly 40 lakh cases pending in all 24 high courts and would have helped bring down vacancies from a high of 83 to 48, improving the bench strength to 112.In the last week of September, the government notified appointment of at least 25 judges. The SC collegium is believed to have cleared more than 100 names for appointment to several high courts after scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015.(With agency inputs)

SC to hear delay in appointment of judges to high courts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts.The apex court is particularly peeved at the pendency of 35 appointments it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court the first batch of eight on January 28 and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August – both are yet to be notified. The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50% of its strength with just 77 judges against the approved strength of 160. These appointments assume significance considering that the country’s largest High Court accounts for about 25 percent of nearly 40 lakh cases pending in all 24 high courts and would have helped bring down vacancies from a high of 83 to 48, improving the bench strength to 112.Annoyed by the inordinate delay in notifying appointments, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur had during the last hearing warned the government of passing an order and ‘fastening accountability’ if the logjam continued which, he said, stifled judicial work. In the last week of September, the government notified appointment of at least 25 judges. The SC collegium is believed to have cleared more than 100 names for appointment to several high courts after scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015.In the first batch of recommendations sent to the government in January for the Allahabad high court, the apex court collegium is believed to have recommended eight out of 19 advocates approved by the Allahabad High Court collegium and rejected 11.

Louis Berger case: Ex-CM Digambar Kamat among 7 listed in charge sheet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Thursday filed charge sheet in the Louis Berger pay-off scandal naming senior Congress leader and former Goa chief minister Digambar Kamat as the “prime conspirator”.Six others, including the then PWD minister Churchill Alemao, were also listed in the charge sheet in the scam in which the US firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials to win two water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati. The charge sheet, running into around 1,000 pages, was filed by Crime Branch before special court.Police also named Louis Berger official James McClung, former India Vice-President of the company Satyakam Mohanty, head of (Japan International Cooperation Agency) JICA-aided project in Goa Anand Wachasunder, suspected Hawala dealer Raychand Soni and former Margao municipal council chairperson Arthur D’Silva.The accused are charged under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, and under sections 7,8 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.On July 21, 2015, the Crime Branch had registered an FIR against unknown ministers of then Congress government of 2010.The alleged bribery had come to light after Louis Berger company admitted to the violations under US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay penalty of USD 17.1 million to resolve the charge that it had bribed foreign officials. The Rs 1,031-crore project, funded by JICA, was approved when the Digamber Kamat government was in power for augmenting water supply in south Goa and laying sewerage lines in the state’s major cities.Louis Berger was part of a consultancy consortium appointed by two Japanese firms and an Indian partner for managing USD 311 million Goa Water Supply and Sewerage Project awarded in 2009. Crime branch had interrogated Kamat many times during the probe. He had secured anticipatory bail from local court on August 19, 2015.Alemao was arrested on August 5, 2015 after he was called by crime branch officials to record his statement. In the interim charge sheet filed on September 29 last year, police charged Alemao and others under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.Kamat’s name was not included in that charge sheet though he was shown as a suspect. In the charge sheet filed today, crime branch has termed Kamat as the prime conspirator.”Kamat was instrumental in aiding then PWD minister Churchill Alemao in formation of different committees by approving the same for JICA project, contrary to JICA guidelines. Prime conspirator Digambar Kamat is also the criminal conspirator in concealing the main noting file of awarding JICA consultancy in Goa in connivance with other co-accused Alemao in order to hide the notings in the main file which would put light on the misdeeds of accused Wachasunder,” the charge sheet stated.

Tainted self-styled guru Asaram Bapu moves Supreme Court, seeks to undergo treatment at Delhi’s AIIMS

New Delhi: Self-styled religious figure Asaram Bapu, facing trial in rape cases, on Thursday moved Supreme Court seeking modification of its order directing him to undergo treatment at AIIMS in Jodhpur. A bench of Justices A R Dave, R K Agarwal and A M Khanwilkar agreed to hear the plea on Friday after it was mentioned before it for urgent hearing on the ground that Asaram’s health was deteorating.

Counsel for Asaram sought modification of the October 24 order of the apex court saying that AIIMS, Jodhpur does not have in-patient facility and direction be issued to bring him to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi for further treatment.

Self-styled Asaram Bapu. PTI

Self-styled Asaram Bapu. PTI

The lawyer said that the court had directed Asaram to undergo treatment at AIIMS, Jodhpur or the Ayurvedic hospital there, while being in judicial custody. The bench agreed to hear the matter on Friday.

The apex court had on 24 October rejected his interim bail plea sought on health grounds. The apex court’s direction had come after controversial religious figure said he wanted to undergo ayurvedic treatment in Delhi for which he needed a month’s interim bail.

A seven-member medical board of AIIMS Delhi had told the apex court that Asaram’s health condition was stable and that he had refused to undergo several tests. On 11 August, the apex court had denied interim bail to Asaram in a rape case and directed AIIMS Delhi to set up the medical board to ascertain his health condition before taking up his regular bail plea.

Asaram was arrested by Jodhpur Police on 31 August, 2013 and has been in jail since then. On 9 August, the High Court had rejected his bail application in the rape case. A teenage girl had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.

Asaram Bapu moves SC, seeks to undergo treatment at AIIMS, Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Self-styled religious figure Asaram Bapu, facing trial in rape cases, on Thursday moved Supreme Court seeking modification of its order directing him to undergo treatment at AIIMS in Jodhpur. A bench of Justices A R Dave, R K Agarwal and A M Khanwilkar agreed to hear the plea tomorrow after it was mentioned before it for urgent hearing on the ground that Asaram’s health was deteriorating.Counsel for Asaram sought modification of the October 24 order of the apex court saying that AIIMS, Jodhpur does not have in-patient facility and direction be issued to bring him to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi for further treatment.The lawyer said that the court had directed Asaram to undergo treatment at AIIMS, Jodhpur or the Ayurvedic hospital there, while being in judicial custody. The bench agreed to hear the matter tomorrow.The apex court had on October 24 rejected his interim bail plea sought on health grounds. The apex court’s direction had come after controversial religious figure said he wanted to undergo ayurvedic treatment in Delhi for which he needed a month’s interim bail.A seven-member medical board of AIIMS Delhi had told the apex court that Asaram’s health condition was stable and that he had refused to undergo several tests. On August 11, the apex court had denied interim bail to Asaram in a rape case and directed AIIMS Delhi to set up the medical board to ascertain his health condition before taking up his regular bail plea.Asaram was arrested by Jodhpur Police on August 31, 2013 and has been in jail since then. On August 9, the High Court had rejected his bail application in the rape case. A teenage girl had accused him of sexual assault at his ashram in Manai village near Jodhpur. The girl, who belonged to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, was a student living in the ashram.

‘Won’t call it suicide or murder’: JP Rajkhowa seeks CBI inquiry into Kalikho Pul’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Arunachal Pradesh governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on Thursday demanded a CBI inquiry into former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul’s reported suicide.Rajkhowa said, people of Arunachal are generally very skeptical about the facts and circumstances leading to the unwanted, uncalled for and most sudden death of Kalikho Pul. “I won’t call it suicide, nor call it murder because judiciary has to decide this. People have been demanding, the intellectual, senior citizens, intellectuals, various public organisation on media and social media that there should be thorough investigation on death of their popular leader Kalikho Pul. He was named the ‘people’s chief Minister’ by the people of Arunachal Pradesh. There should be investigation with an agency like CBI because there is public outcry without any political pressure. As a governor, I have to send reports. There should be a thorough investigation,” he said.”He (Kalikho Pul) has done miracles. People are very agitated over his sudden death in a tragic manner which has never happened to any Chief Minister. Many senior citizens and intellectuals met me after I resumed that the matter has to be taken very seriously. Some people claims that it is a suicide and some others say it wasn’t,” he added.Pul’s body was found hanging at his Itanagar chief minister’s bungalow on August 9. Pul had led a group of dissident Congress legislators against then chief minister Nabam Tuki before taking over the reins of the state on February 19. He had to give up his Chief Minister’s post in July following the Supreme Court’s reinstating the government of Nabam Tuki who made way for Pema Khandu as the 10th Chief Minister of the state.

Haji Ali Trust concedes in Supreme Court: Women can now enter the inner sanctum

Ending the protracted struggle of the Muslim women to enter into the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah, the Trust conceded to the demand in the Supreme Court on Monday, reported Times Now.

The Trust, which had not been able to justify the ban legally or otherwise, had earlier moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay.

Haji Ali Dargah. Reuters

Haji Ali Dargah. Reuters

The high court had allowed a PIL filed by two women, Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012.

The high court had said that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group.

The Trust’s justification that the ban was imposed for the safety and security of women was shrugged by the high court. The court had noted that the aims, objectives and activities of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust were not governed by any custom or tradition and held that it was a public charitable trust and hence, open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.

Soman, one of the co-founders of (BMMA), had told Firstpost in August that the dargah trustees should gracefully accept the HC verdict and implement its order because it was in the same dargah women were allowed to enter the inner sanctum till 2011. They should accept that they made a mistake by barring the women.

With inputs from PTI

Supreme Court to hear Asaram’s bail plea today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the bail plea of self-styled religious figure Asaram Bapu, an accused in a rape case of a minor girl. A medical board of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had on October 3 told the apex court that the health of Asaram Bapu was stable. Asaram had earlier refused to undergo several tests, the seven-member board said in its report filed before the bench of Justices AK Sikri and NV Ramana. On August 11, the top court had denied interim bail to Asaram in a rape case and directed the AIIMS to set up a medical board to ascertain his health before taking up his regular plea for bail. The Rajasthan High Court had earlier rejected Asaram’s bail plea citing that the case had reached its “fag end” and thus it was not “appropriate” to grant him bail. This was his ninth regular bail application to be rejected. In 2013, a minor girl had alleged that Asaram had sexually assaulted her at his ashram in Jodhpur. The self-styled godman was subsequently arrested on August 31, 2013, and has been in jail since. Asaram’s counsel had sought bail citing that the accused has been suffering several ailments.

PMO silence signals no ordinance in Maternity Bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three months after the Ministry of Labour asked the PMO to approve an ordinance with the provisions of the Maternity Benefits Bill, 2015, to benefit pregnant women between the passage of the bill in both the houses of the Parliament, the PMO is yet to respond. With just a month to go before the start of the winter session of the Parliament, it is unlikely that the government pass the ordinance.When the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in August, the Ministry of Labour wrote to the PMO asking for an ordinance that would benefit women who are already pregnant. The idea was to help as many women as possible, and the idea was initially mooted by Maneka Gandhi, Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development.The Parliament session starts in a month and without any reply, it looks like the ordinance will not come in place. “We had written to the PMO in August, and are still awaiting for any comments or confirmation,” said a labour ministry official.This year alone, there have been five instances of the government passing ordinances, including four in The Enemy Property Act, and one in the The Dentists (Amendment) Act. In 2015, there were 12 ordinances, including three in The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Act, and two in the The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act. There were also ordinances in the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act in 2015 and 2014. There were six ordinances in 2014.Ordinances have a validity of six months, and after it lapses, the government needs to promulgate for a fresh one. If an ordinance has been issued in a particular bill, and it is not passed in the succeeding session of the Parliament within four weeks, it lapses.The government’s stand is baffling, considering the number of ordinances it has okayed till it came to power in 2014.The bill, drafted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya. It proposes to increase the existing maternity leave benefit of 12 weeks to 26 weeks. It also seeks to increase the mandatory minimum time of six weeks of pregnancy to eight weeks to avail the benefits of the bill.Apart from that, benefits of 12 weeks of maternity leave will be extended to adoptive and commissioning mothers. The option to work from home and crèche facilities are other provisions that the bill proposes.However, the bill will benefit only 18 lakh women in the organised sector, leaving out over the 96% of women engaged in the unorganised sector. Also, in the case of women with two or more children, the benefits will continue to be 12 weeks, and the benefits cannot be availed before six weeks from the date of the expected delivery.

2002 Gujarat riots accused extradited from UK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old man wanted in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat was on Tuesday extradited from the UK to stand trial in India, becoming the first person to be sent back from Britain 24 years after the two countries signed an extradition treaty.Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel had been arrested by Scotland Yard in west London in August on a Red Corner Notice issued by Indian authorities. His extradition order was signed by UK home secretary Amber Rudd on September 22 and the “surrender arrangements” were finalised for his departure. It marks the first extradition from the UK since the signing of the India-UK Extradition Treaty in 1992.”Following Government of India’s request for extradition, Mr Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, an Indian national, is being extradited on 18th October, 2016 to face trial in India,” the High Commission said in a statement.”Mr Patel is facing trial in connection with post-Godhra riots in India in 2002. He is charged with the offence under Section 302 of IPC, along with 43 other accused. The offences include being member of an unlawful assembly; rioting and murder. The accused was arrested in India and was on bail and after jumping bail had escaped to UK,” the statement added.According to Gujarat Police, Patel is wanted in connection with riots in Ode village of Anand district. A team of officials from India will take him into their custody to fly him back to India today.”On 22 September the Secretary of State (Amber Rudd), having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel’s extradition to India. He is accused, whilst being part of a rioting mob, of three counts of murder, two counts of using unlawful violence with others for a common purpose and one count of arson,” a UK Home Office spokesperson had confirmed last week.On March 1, 2002, 23 people from the Muslim community were burnt alive in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village. Patel along with two other accused, who are still at large, are accused of being part of the rioting mob at the time. Patel’s whereabouts were traced to a home in Hounslow, west London, after which Scotland Yard nabbed him on August 9.”On 9 August officers from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) extradition unit attended an address in Beavers Lane, Hounslow and arrested Samir Vinubhai Patel, aged 40, on a warrant issued under section 71 Extradition Act 2003. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on August 10, 2016,” a Scotland Yard statement said.”We can confirm that Mr Patel has consented to his extradition to India. However, we are unable to comment on any surrender arrangements as this is an operational matter for the police,” a UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) statement added.

Irom Chanu Sharmila launches People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance, her new political front

Manipuri human rights activist Irom Sharmila on Tuesday launched a new political front to take forward her battle to get Afspa (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) repealed from the state.

Her political front will be called People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance, which she formally launched at a press meet in Imphal, according to ANI. Sharmila who ended her 16-year-old hunger strike in August this year, had vowed to press on with her fight by entering politics. She had expressed her desire to become the chief minister of the state to pursue her battle.

“I’ll never forget this moment… I want to be the Chief Minister of Manipur to take positive steps,” Sharmila had said after breaking her fast. “I know nothing about politics. My education is very, very low…But I will use everything I have for the society,” an emotional Sharmila added.

Irom Sharmila breaking her 16-year-long fast on 9 August 2016. PTI

However, there was widespread discontent amid Manipuris as Sharmila decided to break her fast. From being revered as a shining icon of unbending will, the 44-year-old activist was suddenly transformed into an object of furious disapproval, writes Shuma Raha for Firstpost. The article further states that after being released on bail, Sharmila had to strufggle to look for a home to stay. She was denied entry twice into a colony in Imphal, where she wanted to live. Even an Iskcon temple denied her the permission to stay.

The Iron Lady however stood by her decision. An emotional Sharmila had said that she will still try to become a CM to push her demands, even if her own people did not support her. “People have reacted negatively to my decision to enter politics. But this is my decision,” she said. Stressing on the point that she was not afraid of the consequences of her actions, Sharmila said, “Let them kill me the way they killed Mahatma Gandhi.”

Sharmila’s 16-year-long battle clearly had won her inetrnational recognition and widespread support from the Manipuris, but her decision to deny (or later accept) food had multiple dimensions which went beyond her fasting. The toughest one was not to go home and meet her 84-year-old mother Shakhi Devi till achieving her goal of getting Afspa revoked. Sharmila has not visited her house at Kongpal Kongkham Leikai, on the edge of Imphal city, even once all these years.

But despite breaking her fast she has decided that she will only meet her once she has succeded in her aim to get Afspa repealed from Manipur. “I will see my mother only after I achieve my goal of repealing Afspa,” she said.

With all major political parties extending support to Sharmila after she expressed her desire to join mainstream politics, the Iron lady had made it clear that she will form a new front to do justice to her battle. However, Sharmila had earlier in September met with AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal giving rise to speculations about her next move. She met Kejriwal on 26 September  and sought his advice on how to defeat “major political parties” in her state while Kejriwal assured her of all possible support for fighting the election, according to PTI. She also sought to know how Kejriwal managed the feat of handing out a crushing defeat to traditional political players with his newly floated political front. Sharmila had also expressed her desire to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi expecting “good advice” from him.

Sharmila, who is often referred to as the Iron lady of India had been forced fed through a nasal tube for all these years, as she decided to go on a hunger strike against the army law that she said led to atrocities in her northeastern state. Sharmila, in tears, broke her fast in front of reporters by dripping honey into her mouth on 9 August, 2016. She said she would continue to fight a law that gives security forces wide powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight in parts of remote Manipur state.

She launched her hunger strike in 2000 after security forces killed 10 people near her home following a rebel attack on a military convoy. Her long protest won her worldwide recognition and the rights group Amnesty International described her as a prisoner of conscience.

Manipur, a state with a population of 2.5 million, has struggled for decades with an insurgency even as other northeastern states have become more stable. Last year, 20 soldiers were killed in an attack there.

Irom Sharmila launches political party, calls it People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irom Sharmila launched her party in Imphal on Tuesday and named it People’s Resurgence Justice Alliance. Sharmila had been on a hunger strike for 16 years, demanding a repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Manipur and was force-fed during this period. She ended her fast on August 9, 2016. At the time, she had told reporters that after being released that she would launch her political party to contest the Manipur Assembly election due early next year. Sharmila had declared in August that she wanted to become the state CM so that she could repeal the contentious AFSPA.

Traffic grinds to a halt as tussle between Delhi govt and LG Najeeb Jung continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s plan to curb traffic congestion and build infrastructure in the capital has been stalled as 400 files from various Delhi government departments are now pending with Lieutenant-Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung. Jung had asked the government to stop work on this in August. The LG has the authority do this as a Delhi High Court order declared him the ‘administrative head’ of the national capital on August 4.The key plans for upgrading the capital’s road infrastructure have been put on hold even as lakhs of commuters suffer every day. The state government had decided to set up a Road Redesigning Cell under the Public Works Department (PWD) for redesigning 11 arterial roads, which link one end of the city to the other. However, the plan is pending approval from Jung.Jung had sought the 400 files towards the end of August to check for ‘infirmities and irregularities.’ He then sent them to be examined by a three-member committee set up in August, comprising former CAG VK Shunglu, former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar. Jung said that the government did not seek his approval on the files.The proposed Road Redesigning Cell focuses on the city’s lifeline, including Ring Road (from Dhaula Kuan to Wazirpur) and crucial stretches including AIIMS to Ashram Chowk, Vikas Marg, BRT Corridor, Naraina Road, Moti-Bagh to Wazirpur (18 km) Trans-Yamuna (from Wazirpur to Rithala metro station), Janakpuri to Sarai Kale Khan and Britannia Chowk to West Enclave, among others. These stretches were to be redeveloped according to standards prescribed under the UTTIPEC and as per guidelines set by the urban development ministry.Officials said the government’s plans for these stretches includes lanes for non-motorised vehicles (NMVs), cycle tracks, greenery, pedestrian-friendly footpaths, toilets, kiosks, CCTVs and well-lit bus stops.”No real work has taken place in the city since 2011. In the years that followed, no new schemes or major projects were announced or taken up. The Delhi government has been a mess all through this year as well. Files pertaining to transfers of even four-grade employees have been sought by the LG. As a result, no major work has been done,” said a senior government official.In other departments, the government’s decision to set up a creative team in the PWD by hiring private consultants, including architects, urban designers and experts, for making concept buildings to house public utilities, has not seen the light of day.”Most of these stretches are wearing out with potholes and unpaved stretches, leading to accidents. All these roads, besides basic repair, require streetscaping. The consultants have submitted the designs, but the file has not come back to us yet. Each file is under scrutiny,” added another senior official from the concerned department.In the education sector, officials say big-ticket fellowships like ‘Changemakers for Education’ and ‘Chief Minister’s Urban Leadership Fellows (CMULF)’, providing opportunities to young leaders, have not come back to the respective departments.On August 30, the LG had asked for over 400 files from the government, saying a number of them violated rules. “After a preliminary scrutiny of these files, we discovered that over the last one-and-a-half years, several decisions taken were in violation of acts/rules with attendant legal and financial implications. It has become necessary to examine them thoroughly and suggest forward action. The committee has been constituted,” the LG’s office said in a statement.Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said, “The LG must dissolve the panel and return all the files immediately to ensure development work resumes.”

India joins ‘Nuclear Triad’ club with INS Arihant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the INS Arihant now becoming fully operational, India has joined the ‘Nuclear triad’ club of superpowers who can launch nuclear weapons from sea, land and air-based systems, reports News X.INS Arihant, a 6,000-tonne submarine, is country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine and can launch nuclear weapons from underwater. The vessel was declared as ready for operation in February 2016. It was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel Project at the Ship Building Centre. In August 2016, INS Arihant had been commissioned by PM Modi into the Indian Navy.An advantage of such a submarine is that they are harder to track and destroy than land and air nuclear launch platforms.India has now joined group of five other elite countries – USA, UK, France, Russia, China – to have developed nuclear-armed submarines. INS Arihant gives India the power to hold the threat of a ‘second strike’ in a nuclear counter attack, even if the country is completely destroyed. This finds relevance in India’s ‘No First Strike’ policy in contrast to Pakistan’s “First strike” policy. The ‘First Strike’ policy allows Pakistan to use nuclear weapons against India even if India does not.

Maharashtra: Lawmakers mess up their own salary, unlikely to get pay

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s lawmakers are unlikely to get their salary – which was held up ever since it was revised in August – before January next year, thanks to the mistakes that have creeped into the Bill.The Maharashtra Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly Salaries and Allowances Bill, raising the salary of the lawmakers, was passed in the last day of the monsoon session. “While passing the Bill in a hurry, a few errors were left unattended which are are now causing obstructions in releasing their salary,” said a senior finance official, requesting anonymity. DNA has a copy of the Act.Explaining one such error, the official said in the words ‘basic pay and dearness allowances and other allowances…’ – mentioned in all six chapters of the Act – ‘other allowances’ were wrongly included in some contexts and should have been deleted.A senior official said that the government will now have to present the corrected Bill in the upcoming winter session in Nagpur, scheduled on December 5. “Other option is to issue an ordinance and subsequently approve the changes in the winter session. We have given our suggestions. Now, the chief minister has to take a call,” he said.Kapil Patil, MLC, belonging to Lok Bharati, who had opposed the decision to hike the salary of the lawmakers, said they did not even get a copy of the Bill to read, the reason why the government is now in an embarrassing situation. “We fail to understand the need to pass this error-ridden Bill in such a hurry. We alone are responsible for this goof-up,” he said.Patil pointed out that Maharashtra is already neck deep in debt. It has to pay back Rs 3.5 lakh-crore loans, for which the annual interest alone comes to almost Rs 28,000 crore. “The move to hike the salary of lawmakers will put an additional annual burden of Rs 60 crore over the cash-strapped state exchequer. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should not amend this Bill again. It should be completely dropped. The lawmakers do not need to be paid this big a salary. They are there for serving the people and not to make money,” Patil said.As per the revised pay structure, the ministers will draw a salary of Rs 1.92 lakh every month as against the earlier salary of Rs 57,000 while the MLAs and MLCs will earn Rs 1.68 lakh every month as against the previous Rs75,000. The ministers’ salary will be equivalent to the state chief secretary and that of MLAs/MLCs to that of principal secretaries.

22 highway stretches pan-India may double up as airstrips: Nitin Gadkari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Road Transport and Highways Ministry is working on a proposal with Ministry of Defence to construct runways on highway stretches and 22 such spots have been identified across the country.”There are proposals to develop highway stretches in such a fashion that they may double up as airstrips. This will provide connectivity in difficult places,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI.Gadkari said his Ministry is shortly going to convene a meeting with the Defence Ministry to firm up the proposal.According to an official, a committee comprising officials of both ministries has been constituted to come out with specifications of such highway stretches which can double up as airstrips.The committee will look into details like feasibility of the stretches, their length and breadth apart from other issues.The official said that 22 identified stretches are located in various parts of the country.In August, Gadkari had mentioned about construction of such an airport in Rajasthan and said that similar projects were being planned in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and some other border districts.In Rajasthan, such an airport could serve as an airstrip for landing and take off when it is closed and traffic can restore later.The government is working on ways to boost regional air connectivity in the country. In new civil aviation policy, the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) has been mooted that provides for various concessions to airlines.Under the scheme, air ticket prices would be capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights on unserved and under-served routes.There are 394 unserved and 16 under-served airports in the country.As part of the RCS, the government plans to provide a Viability Gap Funding, which would be financed through the Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF).

Wreath laying ceremony for Jawan Ghanshyam who lost his life in Zakura terror attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The wreath laying ceremony took place for Jawan Ghanshyam who lost his life in terror attack in Zakura (J&K) yesterday. DG SSB Archana Ramasundaram paid tribute to jawan Ghanshyam who lost his life in Zakura terror attack. Militants attacked a paramilitary force convoy on the outskirts of the city this evening, killing Jawan Ghanshyam and injuring eight others. The incident took place at Zakura when militants fired at the vehicles of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) carrying its personnel to their camp after performing law and order duties in the city, officials said here.The injured, who included a policeman, have been admitted to a hospital for treatment. Security forces immediately cordoned off the area and launched search operations to track down the militants.This is the first militant attack in the city since the encounter at Nowhatta on August 15 in which a CRPF commandant was killed and nine other personnel were injured.

Para cyclist asked to remove prosthetic limb at airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month and a half after he apprised the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Union Civil Aviation Ministry of ‘insensitive security checks’ for specially abled people at international airports, para cyclist, Aditya Mehta was again asked to remove his prosthetic leg at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International airport. On Tuesday, the two-time silver medalist at the Para-Asian Cycling Games, was stopped by a CISF official at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, who asked him to remove his prosthetic leg during security checks. The leg was then run through the X-ray scanner.Mehta, who had to catch a flight in the next 45 minutes, pleaded with officials to let him go. However, he claimed that after being forced to remove his prosthetic leg, he tried to put it on quickly, after which he started bleeding.Mehta also added that removing the prosthetic limb every time is humiliating for amputees.On August 26, at the same airport, he had gone through the same treatment, after which he decided to voice his complaint. On August 29, he wrote to the PMO, Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) complaining about the humiliating treatment he had faced at the hands of CISF officials.”On August 29, I wrote a letter to Ashok Gajapathi Raju, the union civil aviation minister in which I urged him to introduce a security check system in place whereby special paper or gloves can lightly pat the prosthetic limb or wheelchair and then the paper could be passed through the X-ray machine,” Mehta told DNA.“This is the state of affairs in our country. The only response I got was from the Prime Minister’s Office which said they have petitioned the civil aviation ministry,” Mehta said. He added that while the DGCA had acknowledged receiving his letter, no action had so far been taken.Mehta also alleged that officials has misbehaved with him during his ordeal, with some even saying that his injury was not their problem.However, CISF officials stationed at Bengaluru airport, refuted Mehta’s allegations. They said that an enquiry into the case has already been initiated.”We have been following the procedure of asking the physically challenged people for removing prosthetic limbs. On Tuesday, we asked Aditya to remove his prosthetic limb in the presence of the crew members of the airlines by which he was travelling. There was no misbehaviour from our side. An enquiry into the case is going on,” a CISF official in the control room of the Kempegowda International Airport told DNA.

Mumbai leather bag case: Barun Kashyap confesses to making false allegations against driver

In a new revelation, film executive Barun Kashyap, who in August had made allegations of harassment for carrying a leather bag, has confessed that he had spun a story to disrupt communal harmony in Mumbai fuelled by his ‘hatred for Hindus’.

According to a report by the Mumbai Mirror, Kashyap gave a confessional statement in police custody where he said, “I accept that I lied about the entire incident. No such incident ever took place. My Facebook post was a lie. I lied because have hatred towards Hindus.”

Police claim that Kashyap intended to play the victim to ‘gau rakshaks‘ (cow vigilantes) to spark outrage in public.

On 19 August, Kashyap had filed a complaint at Amboli police station of an alleged harassment for carrying a leather bag by an autorickshaw driver and two unidentified men believed to be gau rakshaks. He had claimed that the auto driver insisted that he was carrying a cow-leather bag despite clarifications by Kashyap that he was carrying camel-hide. According to Kashyap’s version, the driver stopped driving and called on a few men to threaten him.

A file photo of Barun Kashyap. Facebook.A file photo of Barun Kashyap. Facebook.

A file photo of Barun Kashyap. Facebook.

The police investigated the incident and checked CCTV footage of the day Kashyap made his claims about. They found irregularities in Kashyap’s version as the footage proved that the auto could not have taken a detour as Kashyap claimed. The time-stamp on the videos and the statements of the witnesses made police’s case stronger against Kashyap.

The 24-year-old ad professional was arrested on 4 October by a policeman named Daya Nayak from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Preeti Sharma Menon’s car in Chembur along with her driver. He was then sent to police custody till 8 October by Andheri court.

Menon has been a vocal supporter of Kashyap and has been helping him seek legal counsel in the matter. Menon alleged that the police noted a wrong time in the report. “The police claim they have footage of start and end but all cameras en route were conveniently not working. They further claim, very conveniently, that Amboli cameras also stopped working 10 days ago,” she said in the statement.

Menon also lashed out on reports alleging AAP’s hand in Kashyap faking the alleged harassment by gau rakshaks with a statement on Twitter, where she clarified that Kashyap is not an AAP member.

According to a previous report by Firstpost, Kashyap has on various occasions used social media to share his views against cow vigilantes.

According to the Mumbai Mirror report, Kashyap has been booked under section 153 A (promoting enmity between groups) and 182 B (for use of lawful power of a public servant to injure or annoy any person) of the Indian Penal Code. If the court convicts him, he can face upto five years in jail.

Gujarat: Two suspected ISI agents arrested by ATS from Kutch

Thu, 13 Oct 2016-12:02am , Bhuj , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested two suspected Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents from Kutch district in Gujarat. Earlier, in a joint operation, the Uttar Pradesh ATS and the Rajasthan Crime Investigation Department (CID) had arrested a suspected ISI agent in Lucknow on August 23.The suspected agent has been identified as Jamal-ud-din. It is reported that Jamal-ud-din used to distribute money to other agents at ISI’s order after completion of their work.

With deadline a month away, 73% homes for UP’s urban poor still under construction

By Sumit Chaturvedi

Although 60 percent of the money has been released, no more than 27 percent of 24,310 free homes intended for the urban poor have been built till August 2016 across 53 districts in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, states a new data released by the state government.

Apart from the 6,442 homes completed under Aasra (assistance), the state government’s free housing programme for the urban poor, 5,500 homes (23 percent) have not been started, and 12,248 (50 percent) are under construction, the data show. All these homes were to be finished by November 2016, according to a right-to-information (RTI) response this writer received from UP’s urban development authority on 25 May, 2015.

Source: Programme Implementation Department, Uttar Pradesh

One in four people in UP’s urban areas – or 8.5 million of 34.5 million – lives in a slum, and the state’s cities and towns host India’s highest proportion of homeless people (18.5 percent).

Until May 2015, no homes had been finished, according to the RTI response, IndiaSpend reported in June 2015. So while the newly completed homes indicate some progress, it is apparent the housing scheme is faltering.

We found that the UP government had got the data wrong for 10 districts. The figures for houses being built, completed, and yet to be started do not tally with the target of homes to be built. With inconsistencies in data, it becomes difficult to gauge the extent of progress of the project.

A home in Uttar Pradesh's Barsana region. Representational image. Reuters

A home in Uttar Pradesh’s Barsana region. Representational image. Reuters

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes for the construction of two million homes for the urban poor by 2020, the Aasra programme reveals how tardy implementation can stymie government-run housing efforts.

In one Agra housing colony for the poor built under the earlier government’s housing programme, Manyawar Kanshi Ramji Shahari Gareeb Awaas Yojana (MKSGY, or Kanshi Ramji Urban Poor Housing Programme), we found clogged drains, overflowing sewage, broken pipes and floors, dirty septic tanks, broken water-storage tanks and dismayed residents.

60 percent of budget released, biggest target set in housing minister’s district

Aasra’s budget is Rs 1,370 crore, of which Rs 826.86 crore (60 percent) has been released; Rs 582 crore has been spent on building homes and related infrastructure.

Although the programme has been officially launched in all of UP’s districts, until August, 15 districts had not been assigned construction targets, although two of these districts had been given money to build homes.

In the eastern district of Sonbhadra, Rs 63 lakh has been spent, but there are no homes under construction or completed, according to the website of UP’s programme implementation department.

Source: Programme Implementation Department, Uttar Pradesh

The highest target (4,402 homes) has been set for the eastern district of Rampur, the constituency of UP’s minister of urban employment and poverty alleviation, Azam Khan, who is in charge of implementing the Aasra programme.

The constituency has also been allocated the largest amount, followed by Mahoba in the southern region of Bundelkhand.

At least 85 percent of the work has been completed in Ambedkar Nagar and Baharaich, with Basti and Faizabad coming in second at 78 percent. Barring those districts where work has not yet started, the slowest rate of home-building is in Agra, followed by Kanpur-Suburban.

Although the new scheme was started in 2012-13, replacing MKSGY, the first homes were completed only over the past year.

IndiaSpend-Logo11 (1)

The Aasra scheme will fall short when compared to MKSGY, started by the previous government, headed by Mayawati, which built 1,32,700 houses between 2008 and 2010.

Despite the poor quality and infrastructure, homes built under the scheme were sought after by homeless people, IndiaSpend reported in June 2015.

Sumit Chaturvedi is an independent journalist and a blogger at OpinionTandoor.in)

Centre trying to declare ‘null void’ all Delhi govt’s decisions: CM Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday accused the Centre of starting a process to declare “null and void” all Delhi government’s decisions taken in the last one-and-a-half-year through the Lt Governor, claiming the move will only lead to “chaos”.Referring to the August 4 High Court order that stamped the primacy of Lt Governor, the Delhi Chief Minister said the HC order cannot have retrospective effect, it can only have prospective effect instead. His accusation came days after Lt Governor Najeeb Jung quashed the AAP government’s notification on increasing circle rates of agricultural land and dissolved the Delhi Waqf Board besides scrapping the appointment of DERC chairman. “LG has scrapped the appointment of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman saying his prior approval was not sought. Will all the DERC’s decisions taken in the last one-and-a-half-year be declared null and void? “He also quashed the government’s decision to increase circle rates for agricultural land. Citing that LG’s prior nod was not taken, whether those farmers who sold their land would have to return money to purchaser now?” he asked.Kejriwal said whether 8,000 new classrooms which were built by his government would be demolished as no prior approval was taken. “Process is going on to declare null and void all our decisions taken in the last one-and-a-half year which is a very unfortunate. I request the Centre not to make governance in Delhi a laughing stock as it is very serious business and it will only lead to chaos.”Asserting that after the HC order, the AAP government was sending all files to Lt Governor for his prior approval he said, we would request Jung to give his ex-post facto approval on those files which were not sent for his prior approval. Similarly, the LG has stopped salaries of government’s lawyers as his prior approval was not sought.”In the past, ex-post facto approval of LG has been given to the government’s various decisions. How could we turn the clock back? The High Court order cannot have retrospective effect, instead it can only have prospective effect,” the Delhi CM said while addressing a press conference at his official residence.On the issue of transfer and posting of bureaucrats, he said that Delhi government should have a say in transfer and posting of officers working with it. Speaking on dissolution of Delhi Waqf Board by Jung, Kejriwal said the body appointed by the government has been dissolved as its chairman Amanatullah Khan was allegedly exposing scam in the Board.