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AAP announces Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh as candidate against Punjab CM from home turf Lambi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After declaring MP Bhagwant Mann as candidate from Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal’s constituency Jalalabad, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced Delhi MLA and Sikh rights activist Jarnail Singh as candidate to contest in the electoral battle against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from his home turf Lambi in Muktsar district.While making the announcement, AAP President, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the party will field its strongest candidates against senior Akali leaders. “Captain (Amarinder Singh) and CM Prakash Singh Badal are working in collusion to rule Punjab turn by turn. This is why Congress had fielded its weakest candidates against Badals in last elections, but AAP will challenge Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),” said Kejriwal.Calling Bhagwant Mann the party’s ‘sabse bada neta’ (biggest leader), Kejriwal said Mann would give a tough fight to Sukhbir Badal in Jalalabad and Jarnail Singh would contest against Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi. “Ye Punjab ka sher hai, Delhi se aaya hai (This is Punjab’s tiger, come from Delhi),” said Kejriwal, referring to Singh after he announced his nomination from Lambi.A former journalist, Singh had garnered attention when he flung a shoe at senior Congress leader P Chidambaram during a press conference in April 2009 in Delhi. He later said that it was to show his resentment against Congress for giving tickets to leaders who were accused of instigating anti-Sikh riots in Punjab.Singh unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Assembly elections from West Delhi. In 2015, he was elected as the AAP MLA from Rajouri Garden. He was recently elevated as party spokesperson and co-incharge of AAP’s affairs in Punjab.Evoking examples of Bhagat Singh and Kartar Singh Sarabha, Singh said that if elected to power, AAP will not let the accused involved in desecration of Guru Granth Sahib go scott free. “Over ten thousand farmers have committed suicides and drug trafficking continues unabated. Punjab nashe ki dharti ban chukya hai (Punjab has become haven of drugs). We will take the drug lords to jails,” he said.Soon after the announcement, Punjab Congress President, Captain Amarinder Singh said AAP’s nomination of Jarnail Singh from Lambi against Parkash Singh Badal appeared to be a ploy to ensure the latter’s victory.“Jarnail Singh was a complete non-entity, with no standing in Punjab,” he said, adding that his nomination against Badal has further proved that the party neither cared for Punjab nor for its people. Keeping cards close to its chest, Congress is yet to announce its candidate against CM Badal in Lambi.

Air safety incidents at Delhi and Goa: Is it ‘human’ factor or shortage of staff at ATC?

New Delhi: Two air safety incidents on a single day, at Delhi and Goa airports, have led many of us to once again question India’s air safety record. Remember, India was downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States in 2014 for failing to have enough safety personnel, and a restoration of the rating took several months. Though it won’t be clear till a probe is completed on what lead to incidents this morning at Goa and Delhi, the fact is that manpower shortage in critical air functions could be a factor in frequent air incidents.

Take the critical ATC function – the Air Traffic Control (ATC) is still short staffed. Sources tell us the manpower needed is 3,600 personnel and only about 2,900 have been recruited till now. “These positions are being filled,”said an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official. A short staffed ATC apart, this story from Bloomberg quotes data from India’s safety regulator DGCA to say that air safety incidents, which prompted regulatory action, reached 280 this year till August, beating the 275 all of last year. It went on to predict that “At this pace, the number may rise to more than 400 by the end of 2016, making it the worst in three years for aviation safety”.



India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets across the globe and any increase in safety-related incidents is obviously a cause for worry. DGCA officials say there is no cause for worry and incidents sometimes happen due to the “human” factor. They also add that the country is following all internationally mandated safety protocols.

Earlier this month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party TMC had created a furore by alleging that an IndiGo flight carrying the CM was not allowed priority landing at Kolkata airport despite the pilots seeking emergency landing due to fuel shortage. This was stoutly denied by the airline, which said there was probably a miscommunication between the flight crew and the ATC about how much fuel the flight was left with. Instead of seeking an explanation from the ATC personnel, aviation regulator DGCA grounded IndiGo pilots in this case.

Meanwhile, early this morning, 9W 2374 Goa-Mumbai Jet Airways’ flight “veered off the runway while aligning for takeoff”, the airline tweeted. It later said 12 passengers had sustained injuries and still later, it said all but five have been discharged. This incident made Goa’s Dabolim airport inoperational for a few hours.

A regulatory source told Firstpost that the Goa incident is being treated as an accident and a team from Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will reach Goa by the evening to begin inquiries. This person also said a preliminary idea about what caused the aircraft to turn 180 degrees will be there only by Thursday.

Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju tweeted that “thorough time-bound investigation and corrective action shall be ensured. Action will also be taken in case there is violation of procedures”. The second incident involved a just-landed IndiGo flight and a ready-to-take-off Spicejet aircraft, with some news reports describing the two aircraft coming “Face to face”.

The regulatory source quoted above said as per preliminary findings, the ATC at Delhi allowed the SpiceJet flight to take off from the same taxiway where an IndiGo aircraft had landed minutes earlier. This indicates the possibility of it being an ATC error, though like we said earlier, the final picture will emerge only after the probe by DGCA is completed.

The regulatory source further said it could be a case of human error too. SpiceJet said in a statement that “SpiceJet flight SG 123 operating Delhi-Hyderabad was following ATC instructions at all times at the Delhi airport. While taxiing, the SpiceJet crew observed another aircraft on the same taxiway in the opposite direction. Acting promptly, the SpiceJet crew immediately stopped the aircraft and intimated the ATC. Safety is of utmost and primary concern at SpiceJet. At no stage the safety of passengers, crew and aircraft was compromised. All concerned authorities were immediately informed.”

And IndiGO also said in a statement that flight 6E 769 Lucknow-Delhi observed another aircraft in front of it while taxiing. “The Captain took the decision to switch off the engine and reported the incident to ATC. All 176 passengers and crew are safe…..flight was observing ATC instructions all the time at the Delhi airport”. According to data provided by MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in Lok Sabha earlier this month, there were 409 safety violations by the crew of scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation aircraft in the last three years.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:59 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: Mumbai-bound Jet Airways veers off runway; ED to investigate Mayawati’s kin; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Jet Airways Goa-Mumbai flight with 161 on-board veers off runway, passengers safeJet Airways flight from Goa to Mumbai skids off the runway, Airport operations closed til 12.30 PM. Read more.2. Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to revive Oppn unity coming a cropperCongress’ allies in Bihar—Left and the JD(U) decide to stay away from Tuesday’s meeting. Read more.3. Political parties relying on dubious sources of funding: reportThe report, commissioned during the UPA regime in 2011, explains how political parties receive funds. Read more.4. Rs 104 cr deposited in BSP accounts after note recall, blow to Mayawati as ED investigatesBig blow to Mayawati as ED officials investigate the bank account of her brother as well. Read more.5. IND vs AUS: Nearly two months to go but Smith starts battle with Virat KohliOz captain says India skipper is emotional and will use it against him when they tour subcontinent in February. Read more.

De Villiers quits as South Africa test captain | Reuters

CAPE TOWN AB de Villiers has resigned as South Africa’s test captain, opening the way for childhood friend Faf du Plessis to take over on a permanent basis.De Villiers, 32, has been struggling with an elbow injury for six months and is out of the three-match home test series against Sri Lanka that starts on Dec. 26.”The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual including me,” he said in a Cricket South Africa news release on Monday.Du Plessis was praised for leading South Africa to a 2-1 test series victory in Australia last month in the absence of De Villiers but was found guilty of tampering with the ball in the second test in Hobart, a verdict he will appeal against on Dec. 19.De Villiers was appointed captain in January following the resignation of Hashim Amla but led the side in just two tests against England at the start of the year, and also missed a home series win over New Zealand in August.

“It was a fantastic honour for me to be asked to captain the test side but I have missed two series,” said De Villiers.”Following the squad’s outstanding performances in Australia, it is clearly in the greater interests of the team that Faf du Plessis should be confirmed as permanent test captain.”I have known Faf for almost 20 years, ever since we played in the same school side at Afrikaans Hoer Seunskool, and he will have my unequivocal support.”

De Villiers is not targeting a return to the side for the one-day series against Sri Lanka that starts at the end of January.”AB’s left elbow is much improved but he is still regaining the last few degrees of straightening,” said team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.

“Fitness to play requires a full range of elbow movement and this may take another three to four weeks to achieve. He will be unavailable for the test series against Sri Lanka and will target a return for the ODI series.”Du Plessis will be the third permanent captain for South Africa since the retirement of long-serving Graeme Smith in March 2014. (Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond and Tony Jimenez)

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

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 22:54 IST

Cyclone Vardah: Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF geared up for relief missions

New Delhi: The Indian Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF are all geared up to undertake relief and rescue operations as cyclone Vardah made a landfall near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, official sources said on Monday.

Naval ships Shivalik and Kadmatt sailed out from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh early Monday morning to Chennai to augment relief efforts in the Tamil Nadu capital as part of ‘Operation Madad’, the Navy said.

The ships are carrying medical teams, divers, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopter, and relief material that includes food, tents, clothes, medicines and blankets etc.

Representational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

Additional naval ships have been kept on standby to supplement efforts for undertaking humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations, should the situation demand, the Navy said.

“Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, reviewed the preparedness of the Naval Command to undertake relief operations at Chennai,” Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.

Apart from 10 diving teams stationed on the Shivalik and Kadmatt ships, the Flag Officer of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Naval Area has readied six diving teams for immediate deployment in consultation with the state administration.

“As many as 22 diving teams have been kept on standby at Visakhapatnam for immediate deployment, should the situation warrant. Shelter places have been identified and medical teams kept ready for providing humanitarian assistance,” the Navy spokesperson said.

“A survey ship has been kept on standby to undertake harbour survey if required. Naval aircraft are also on standby at the Naval Air Stations Rajali and Dega to augment HADR operations,” he added.

The Indian Coast Guard are also on standby.

“All necessary rescue materials have been kept on standby at all Coast Guard stations along the coast across these states. Coast Guard Regional Headquarters East at Chennai is closely coordinating with the state administration for rendering assistance if sought,” the Coast Guard said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has kept ready eight flood rescue teams comprising more than 250 members. Equipped with 23 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment, these have been pre-positioned in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

“One team each has been pre-positioned at in Prakasam district and Vishakhapatnam, two teams at Sri Kala Hasti in Chittoor district and four teams at Sullurupeta, Nellore and Tada block areas of Nellore district,” the NDRF said.

Eleven flood rescue teams comprising 428 rescuers, equipped with 48 inflatable rubber boats and communication equipment have been pre-positioned in low-lying parts of Tamil Nadu.

One team each has been pre-positioned at Mahabalipuram and Tambram in Kanchipuram district, two teams at Chennai and three teams at Tiruvallur.

Three teams are en route to the NDRF base at Arrakonam in Tamil Nadu from Pune in Maharashtra. In addition, one team is at Puducherry,” the statement said.

“Some additional teams are kept on standby and shall be mobilised as per the demand. NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda is closely monitoring the situation round the clock.”

“The NDRF control room in Delhi is in touch with India Meteorological Department and state administration,” the statement added.

Cyclone Vardah on Monday afternoon crossed the Tamil Nadu coast near Chennai, leading to strong winds. The landfall will continue for around four hours, accompanied by rains and strong winds.

The Tamil Nadu government said over 7,350 people were shifted to 54 relief camps set up in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Villupuram districts.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 16:23 IST

Delay in candidates’ list unnerves Cong leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday attempted to sooth nerves of his partymen who are getting uneasy in the wake of delay in declaration of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections. Singh said that the delay in announcement would not impact the campaigning by the Congress candidates, who would get ample time. On speculation surrounding ticket allocation for senior party leader Manish Tiwari, he said the decision is vested with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He said that the state unit would request Priyanka Gandhi to join the electioneering to boost party’s fortunes.Singh, the face of Congress in Punjab said that he would move the court over the demonetisation related deaths. He also extended full support to the proposed strike by the industries over the issue on December 16.Extending his support to the Chamber of Industrial & Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, also said that the impact of demonetization on the state’s industries, already in the doldrums.

India close in on victory after Kohli’s third double ton | Reuters

By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI India captain Virat Kohli struck a sublime double century before his bowlers picked up six England wickets to put the hosts on course for a series-clinching victory in the fourth and penultimate test at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.Trailing 2-0 in the series, England needed a win in Mumbai to keep alive the series but the tourists now require something extraordinary to even save the match following Kohli’s batting masterclass.India piled on 631 in their first innings on the fourth day, a lead of 231 runs over England, after Kohli’s third double century of the year.The touring side were 182 for six in their second innings at stumps, still trailing by 49. Jonny Bairstow was unbeaten on 50 with nightwatchman Jake Ball falling for two in the last over before the close.Paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar dismissed first-innings centurion Keaton Jennings for a golden duck and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja sent back England captain Alastair Cook for 18 and Moeen Ali for nought to leave England tottering at 49-3 at tea.Joe Root and Bairstow hit brisk fifties during their stand of 92 for the fourth wicket before the former fell leg before to off-spinner Jayant Yadav for 77.The wickets of Ben Stokes, who made 18, and Ball to off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin towards the end further dampened England’s hopes of saving the match.

Bairstow was given out by umpire Bruce Oxenford first on 32 and then on 37 but the England wicketkeeper managed to overturn the decisions both times on review.KOHLI DOUBLE
Earlier, the 28-year-old Kohli was out for a career-best 235 and added 241 for the eighth wicket, the highest for India, with Yadav, who scored 104, his maiden test hundred.

Kohli, who was on 147 overnight, and Yadav continued to torment the England bowlers who went wicketless in the first session after India resumed on 451 for seven.The right-handed batsman has now scored a double hundred in all three series India have played in 2016 — in West Indies, against New Zealand and now against England.Kohli, who has already scored 640 runs in the series at an average of 128, drove Ball for a straight four on the fifth delivery of the day to get past 150, signalling another harrowing session for the England bowlers.

Kohli, who hit 25 fours and a six in his knock, got past his 200 with a single to mid-wicket off leg-spinner Adil Rashid but his celebration was quite muted compared to when he completed his hundred on Saturday.He raised both his hands while completing the run and took off his helmet before acknowledging the applause from the sizeable Sunday crowd at the ground, overlooking the Arabian Sea.Kohli accelerated after the fall of Yadav and was out caught at the cover boundary off Chris Woakes. Yadav, whose previous highest score was 55, hit 15 boundaries in his knock and looked in discomfort only against a couple of short deliveries from the England fast bowlers.Rashid finished with four wickets. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty and Clare Fallon)

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

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 17:02 IST

Mamata flight row: No shortage of fuel, pilots ‘cried wolf’ for early landing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cockpit crew of the three aircraft reporting short on fuel over Kolkata recently was “crying wolf” and played “naughty” to seek early landing to show good on-time performance, a top DGCA official said today and justified the action of de-rostering them.All the three aircraft had, in fact, “enough” fuel and the pilots wanted “early” landing to show “good on-time performance”, the official said, requesting anonymity. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights, including the IndiGo aircraft which had West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee onboard along with other passengers, could fly low on fuel into Kolkata at the same time.Subsequently, it directed the three airlines — IndiGo, Air India and SpiceJet — to take off duty the entire cockpit crew of the three aircraft. A row had erupted after the Trinamool Congress alleged that the IndiGo aircraft carrying its chief Banerjee was not accorded priority in landing despite fuel shortage.”All three aircraft had enough fuel, enough not only for holding pattern but also to land twice at the diversionary airport, which in this case was Bhubaneswar. In the landing sequence, Air India was on sixth position while IndiGo flight was on eighth slot. SpiceJet aircraft was on the last position of the three. “However, despite, this IndiGo pilot sought early landing from the ATC saying it was short on fuel. Before giving it clearance, the ATC asked Air India pilot since it was ahead in slot, but he also reported low on fuel. Just then, SpiceJet pilot also jumped in and reported short fuel. But none of them sought priority landing as that would have put them under scrutiny,” the official said.”These pilots actually played naughty. It was like cry wolf,” he said. Norms mandate an aircraft to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar. As a fallout of the entire row, all the six pilots were taken off duty for one week while the air traffic controller, who handled these flights was directed to undergo “corrective training”. “The ATC was instructed to undergo corrective training as he should have taken a decision on his own,” the official said.IndiGo on its part had said that its November 30 flight carrying the Trinamool Congress supremo was delayed due to congestion over Kolkata before making a normal landing and had adequate fuel. In a statement, IndiGo had said the flight made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between ATC and the pilot.

INS Betwa mishap: Sailor’s remains cremated, professional salvers arrive to rescue the frigate

Teams of professionals are assisting the Indian Navy salvage INS Betwa, a naval frigate that tipped over at the Mumbai docks while it was being undocked on Monday.

According to The Asian Age report, “Teams of professional salvers, including from abroad, have reached the accident site to assess the damage with more teams expected to arrive later.”

The Navy said that it’s determined to salvage the frigate and make it fighting-fit by 2018. “Come what may, INS Betwa will be salvaged. The Indian Navy is looking at first to make the flipped ship stand upright, then to assess the damage and to undertake salvage operations and finally to make it battle-ready by 2018. Every equipment that the ship had can be made indigenously,” Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma told the newspaper.

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

According to a report in Free Press Journal, the team is expected to complete its initial assessment within a couple of days on the extent of damage the battleship has suffered and chalk out plans to make the 126-metre frigate upright.

INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile warship (F-39), slipped on the dock blocks during a refit at about 1.50 pm on Monday. Weighing around 3,850-tonne, with a length of 126 metres, the ship fell sideways while it was being undocked for return to water thus breaking the main mast of the frigate. The accident claimed two lives  and injured 15 others.

Mortal remains of sailors consigned to flames

The mortal remains of sailor Ashutosh Pande, who lost his life in the mishap were consigned to flames with full military honours at his hometown in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.

His body was brought by a Navy plane to Dhana airstrip near here and then was taken to his home in Sadbhavna Nagar in a military vehicle for the last rites. His kin and a large number of people were present for the cremation which took place on the 10th Battalion cremation ground on Wednesday.

However, reportedly no senior official from the district administration attended the cremation.

A “miscalculation of balance”

Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar has called the incident a “miscalculation of balance”. Parrikar explained that when a ship undergoes refit, a lot of machines and fixtures like propeller, engine, etc are removed due to which the balance gets disturbed.

“You are supposed to maintain it. Something must have gone wrong in that,” he said on Wednesday while responding to a question as to whether the INS Betwa accident showed Navy’s inability to absorb high technology.

He also said that a Board of Inquiry is on and it will pinpoint the reasons.

The Board of Inquiry, formed on Tuesday, is headed by rear Admiral Deepak Bali and Flag-Officer Offshore Defence Advisory Group.

The ship had run aground in January 2014 and collided with an unidentified object which led to a crack in its sonar system, and had also seen salt water ingress into sensitive equipment.

Named after the river Betwa, the frigate has been in service for over 12 years. It was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots.

It is one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command. It is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.

With input from agencies

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 16:08 IST

Politics make strange bedfellows: BJP takes dig at Navjot Kaur for joining Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab BJP on Tuesday took a dig at former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu for joining Congress, alleging that it reeked of sheer opportunism on part of the Sidhus and Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh. “Politics does make strange bedfellows. It is the same Navjot Kaur Sidhu who used to deride Amarinder Singh and slam his lifestyle as socially unacceptable and now she has shown no qualms in joining his party,” Punjab BJP secretary Vineet Joshi, in a release issued here, said.”Kaur had termed the PPCC chief as power hungry slamming him for going into ‘hibernation’ for four years and earning profits sitting in Dubai without showing any concern either for his party, his workers or for Punjab. She had said that with elections round the corner, Captain had suddenly started paying lip-service. Sidhu had once given Amarinder a big zero out of ten for his performance as Amritsar’s representative in the Parliament,” he alleged.Joshi said, “Similarly Amarinder Singh’s feelings about the couple are not hidden from anyone. He had ridiculed Navjot Singh Sidhu by stating that politics was serious business not a comedy show and that he never wanted another trouble-maker after Jagmeet Brar to be in his party.”Now, when both husband and wife were left lurching high and dry, they suddenly found an alternative and that too in the same person who according to her bore an unacceptable behaviour. This is sheer opportunism at play.”Kaur, who had contested last Punjab assembly polls on BJP ticket, has joined Congress along with former hockey captain Pargat Singh.

Indo-Pak DGMOs speak after Army retribution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst tensions along the LoC, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, in an unscheduled hotline interaction, spoke to each other on Wednesday.This conversation between Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Major General Sahar Shamshad Mirza took place even as reports on Wednesday stated that the Indian Army had launched a massive retribution offensive to avenge the killing of three soldiers in the Machhal sector of Kupwara.Two BSF jawans were injured in cross-border action on Wednesday. Since September 29, when India launched “surgical strikes” inside Pakistani-controlled territory, the country has lost 18 jawans, 13 from the Army and five from the BSF, with many others injured.Sources said that Pakistan had asked for the DGMO talks, which came close after the Pakistan Foreign Office confirmed that Sartaj Aziz, who functions as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, will attend a regional conference in Amritsar early next month. This ignites the hope of easing of tensions.Pakistan DGMO who called his Indian counterpart on Wednesday morning informed him about the civilian casualities. He said a minibus was hit with small and big arms in the town of Lawat in Neelam Valley, killing nine passengers and injuring 11 others. The minibus was on its way to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).Lt Gen. Singh expressed grief at the civilian casualties, but emphatically stated that the retaliatory firing by Indian troops was carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations on Indian posts. He also raised the issue of civilians and soldiers being killed on the Indian side, due to unprovoked firing by Pakistani troops.Earlier in the day, from Poonch to Rajouri and from Machil to Keran, the Indian Army has gone on an all-out offensive to target Pakistani posts on the other side of Line of Control across Jammu and Kashmir.”We are carrying out the fire assaults,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman, in Srinagar.Army sources said that massive damage was inflicted on Pakistani posts after the Indian fire assault. They added that the Army used light artillery to target Pakistani posts, decimating several of them on the LoC.On the other side, Pakistani media reports quoting Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) admitted that three Pakistani soldiers—Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain—were killed.In retaliatory fire, two BSF soldiers were injured when Pakistani shells landed near their post on the LoC in the Keran sector of Kupwara district. Indian Army launched the fire assaults soon after it vowed to avenge the killing of three soldiers saying “retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act.”It was reported that the Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan had badly mutilated the body of one soldier and killed two others when they ambushed a counter infiltration patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) at the Machhal sector of Kupwara district on Tuesday. BAT is a mix of Pakistani Special Forces, which are used as the force multiplier by Pakistan army on the LoC.During the telephone conversation, the Indian DGMO also raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists. He described the mutilation of the body one Indian soldier as “unethical”. Pakistan, however, rejected as “false and baseless” the reports regarding the alleged mutilation of the solider.”These reports are a fabrication and a blatant attempt to malign Pakistan,” said Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya.General Singh also asked his Pakistani counterpart to exercise strict control on his troops and to refrain from any nefarious activities. “This will lead to the return of normalcy along the LoC,” he said. He also stated that any case of ceasefire violations or infiltration attempts from Pakistan on Indian territory, would receive an appropriate response from the Indian Army.On the diplomatic front, Pakistan’s Director General (SAARC) Dr. Mohammad Faisal, summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, on Wednesday morning, to protest against the firing.Later in the evening, India also summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah, on Wednesday, to issue a demarche.

Punjab Elections 2017- Navjot Kaur, Pargat Singh to join Congress, confirms Amarinder Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ending speculation, former BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu and Awaaz-E-Punjab leader Pargat Singh will be formally join the Congress on November 28, while her husband is also likely to follow suit.Announcing the decision, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh welcomed them in the party fold, saying Congress will be further strengthened ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections with the joining of like-minded people.”I am pleased to announce that Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu and Pargat Singh will be formally joining Congress on November 28,” Amarinder said. Kaur, wife of former cricketer and Awaaz-e-Punjab chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Pargat Singh met the Congress high command here to seal the deal, a statement from Amarinder said.Sources said the two met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today and decided to join the party fold. The two later met Amarinder Singh at his residence here and discussed the formalities of their joining. Party sources said Sidhu was away in Mumbai and was likely to meet the Congres leadership in the days to come and likely to join along with his wife and Pargat Singh on November 28. Navjot Kaur Sidhu is a former MLA and represented Amritsar in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. She resign ed recently after quitting the state assembly. Pargat Singh is also a former Punjab MLA after he quit the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. He is a former Hockey Olympian and was captain of the Indian hockey team.Sidhu along with Pargat and the Bains brothers had recently formed an outfit Awaaz-e-Punjab, but was not ready to go out alone in Punjab polls and has expressed its desire to align with like-minded parties.The Bains brothers Simarjit and Balwinder Singh, both of whom were independent MLAs from Ludhiana, have since tied up with AAP. P SKC/JTR VJ AKA

Pakistan Army says 4 civillians, 3 soldiers killed in shelling by India

Islamabad: Pakistan Army on Wednesday said that seven persons, including three of its soldiers, were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops on the LoC, taking the death toll in such incidents to 14 since last week.

The clash occurred a day after India had warned of retribution after losing three soldiers due to firing by Pakistani troops.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Three Pakistani soldiers valiantly sacrificed their lives at the Line of Control while responding to Indian unprovoked firing,” army said.

Those killed were identified as Captain Taimoor Ali Khan, Havaldar Mushtaq Hussain and Lance Naik Ghulam Hussain.

The statement also claimed that seven Indian troops were killed in retaliatory fire.

In an earlier statement, the army said four civilians were killed as Indian troops targeted a passenger bus near Dhudnial in Neelam valley.

However, media reports said that up to 10 civilians were killed today due to firing by Indian troops.

Meanwhile, Pakistan yesterday rejected as “false” and “baseless” the charges that the body of an Indian soldier was mutilated by Pakistani soldiers in a cross LoC-attack.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in a series of tweets said the reports about the mutilation were aimed at maligning Pakistan.

“Pakistan strongly rejects the false & baseless Indian media reports regarding the alleged mutilation of an Indian solider on the LoC. These reports are a fabrication and a blatant attempt to malign Pakistan,” he had said.

Zakaria said as a professional force, Pakistan Army isn’t involved in any such “unethical & non-professional” activity.

He had said the Pakistan Army never supported any such action.

However, he said, Pakistan is fully prepared and ready to respond to any misadventure across the LoC, Working Boundary or the International Border.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 19:07 IST

India’s first female Merchant Navy captain Radhika Menon awarded for exceptional bravery

London: India’s first female Merchant Navy captain has become the first woman to be awarded by the IMO for her exceptional bravery in the dramatic rescue of seven fishermen from a sinking fishing boat in tumultuous Bay of Bengal waters last year.

Captain Radhika Menon. Twitter@WISTAInt

Captain Radhika Menon. [email protected]

Captain Radhika Menon received her medal and certificate of commendation at an awards ceremony at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) headquarters here on Wednesday evening.

“I am honoured and humbled by this great honour for me and my team. It is a seafarer’s duty to help souls in distress and I did my duty. Seafaring is a noble profession which contributes massively to world trade and economy as well as cultural integration. It does not always get the recognition it deserves,” said Menon in her acceptance speech.

Menon, who was nominated by the Indian government, became the first woman to receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, an annual award established by IMO to provide international recognition for those who, at the risk of losing their own life, perform acts of exceptional bravery.

“Seafaring is a gender-neutral profession and if you work hard, like in any other field, you will win appreciation,” said the Kerala-born ship captain.

Her award related to her successful rescue of all seven fishermen from the fishing boat ‘Durgamma’, which was adrift following engine failure and loss of anchor in severe weather.

Food and water had been washed away and they were surviving on ice from the cold storage.

Through wave heights of more than 25 feet, winds of more than 60 knots and heavy rain in June 2015, the ‘Sampurna Swarajya’ vessel operated by the Shipping Corporation of India Ltd spotted the boat 2.5 kilometres away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Orissa.

Menon, who was in charge of the vessel, ordered a rescue operation, utilising the pilot ladder, with life jackets and buoys on standby.

It took three arduous attempts in the lashing wind and rain before all seven weak and starving fishermen, aged from 15 to 50 years old, were brought to safety on board the ship.

“This act of exceptional bravery and the award will go a long way in raising the profile of this great profession. We will plan a publication to publicise this widely,” said Dinesh Patnaik, the Indian Acting High Commissioner to the UK.

The IMO Council had also endorsed the recommendation of its panel of judges that out of a total of 23 nominations, received from nine member states and one inter-governmental organisation, four should receive Certificates of Commendation and six should receive Letters of Commendation.

Another Indian to receive a commendation during the ceremony in London was B M Das, Uttam Navik, a winch operator and the diver of the rescue helicopter CG 822, Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman.

He was also nominated by India for rescuing all 14 crew members of the merchant ship ‘Coastal Pride’, which capsized and eventually sank.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 18:38 IST

SYL verdict: Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh resigns from Lok Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh has resigned from the Lok Sabha after meeting Speaker on Wednesday. Following the Supreme Court verdict in the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row wherein it declared the legislation passed by the Punjab Government as ‘null and void’, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Captain Amarinder Singh had decided to resign as MP in protest of the apex court ruling.In a big setback for Prakash Singh Badal-led Punjab Government, the apex court earlier in the day quashed its legislation involving water issue with neighbouring state Haryana. The top court termed the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act, 2004, as invalid. The controversy is on sharing of waters by states, including Punjab and Haryana.

Kashmir: Three Indian soldiers killed in Machhal, one jawan mutilated along LoC

Three Indian soldiers were killed “in action” along the Line of Control (LoC) in Machhal, Jammu and Kashmir, while the body of one soldier was mutilated, the Indian Army said on Tuesday.

The Northern Command also vowed “heavy retribution for the cowardly act”.

“Three soldiers killed in action on LC in Machhal. Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” the Northern Command said.

This is the second such incident of mutilation of an Indian soldier by Pakistan in a month’s time.

The last time the body of an Indian soldier mutilated was in October, when terrorists aided by the cover fire by Pakistani Army, crossed the Line of Control and killed an Indian Army jawan and mutilated his body in Macchal sector of Kupwara district of Kashmir on 28 October.

One attacker was killed in the incident.

A day after the Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by terrorists, who escaped back into Pakistani side under covering fire from Pakistani troops, the Indian army hit back, destroying four Pakistani posts and inflicting “heavy casualties”.

The posts were destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, said the army’s Northern Command.

This is not the first time Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.

During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, Sepoys Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of four Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.

The soldiers had their ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burned with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.

In another incident, on 8 January, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers — Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj’s body was decapitated.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 17:02 IST

Demonetisation: Arvind Kejriwal must end noisy street politics and return to work

I don’t care about Arvind Kejriwal — and it doesn’t matter for me at all even if he is a “chief minister” — as a politician. A veteran (former) academician who watched his theatrics since the days of the ill-fated India Against Corruption told me that the Aam Aadmi Party was “the most dangerous infection on India’s body politic and society”.

Think about it: his first stint as Delhi’s chief minister was remarkable for setting the ignoble record of a sitting chief minister taking to the streets like an irresponsible anarchist, his aide-de-camp Somnath Bharti’s infamous “midnight urine test”, and in general, doing everything but discharging his constitutional duty of governance. Small wonder then that he decamped in haste, earning widespread public ire as a “bhagoda“.

And as we see, even in his second innings, he’s back on the street.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee join hands at a mass rally against demonetisation of currency notes in New Delhi. PTI

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee join hands at a mass rally against demonetisation of currency notes in New Delhi. PTI

It takes hard work, patience, and calmness, and an ability to deal with, sustain and digest monotony, to govern. The easy route is what Kejriwal is familiar with: constitutional nihilism (for example, his notorious confrontation with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung which could have been avoided), campaigns targeting the Prime Minister, maintaining radio silence on the record number of AAP MLAs being arrested and disqualified and the “internal inquiries” that have unfailingly absolved even the most criminal of his party’s elements.

Indeed, when you get a nihilist as a chief minister, your state plunges into smog-encompassed chaos. The October cover story of Open magazine, dedicated to the “unravelling of Kejriwal” exposes how he has almost turned Delhi into a surveillance state. The story also claims that AAP “made possible a near impossibility in traditional Indian politics: it drastically lowered old entry barriers to parliamentary politics that had been raised over the decades by parties that tended to handpick poll contestants either from prominent families or party cadres”.

But the route that AAP took to lower “old entry barriers” to politics was marked at every step by cynicism and flagrancy: it continues to regard itself above the Constitution. No wonder that it continues to attract disgruntled elements from across the spectrum comprising of existing political parties, wheeler-dealers, journalists, and NGO do-gooders. Indeed, it’s reasonable to say that Kejriwal’s style of operation resembles that of the head of an NGO-in-perpetual-protest.

This style of operation initially helped him score spectacularly but this is a gift that stops giving sooner than later as he must’ve learnt (or has he?) when he launched his tirade against PM Modi’s demonetisation. This latest version of anti-Modi stance truly marks the moment “when life came to a full circle for Kejriwal”: the doughty anti-corruption crusader has now transformed himself as a champion of anti anti-corruption. And his newfound best comrade-in-arms in this endeavour is Mamata Banerjee, the “first angry respondent” against Modi’s demonetisation announcement. Together, they have embarked on a “historic fight” against the move.

Indeed, with good reason, because both have much to worry about.

The PM’s demonetisation exercise is believed to have choked the supply of illegal money in the upcoming elections. To give only the latest instance, we can examine some of the deadly revelations (also see this Firstpost story for example) emanating from West Bengal’s Malda district as a great hub of fake currency and black money, which has now been rendered useless. Needless to say, this will have an impact on future elections, not just in West Bengal but across India. Indeed, it’s an open secret that the use of illicit money to bribe voters has almost become de rigeur in Indian politics.

Former chief election commissioner, SY Qureshi reportedly said last week that political parties start mobilising money months before elections are announced. However, “As elections are due in early 2017, the money must have begun to circulate already,” he said. But a bribe of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, even if distributed already, will be of little use now.

But Kejriwal’s woes run far deeper. In July this year, the Income Tax department raided the house of AAP MLA Kartar Singh Tanwar and found Rs 130 crore worth of unaccounted money. After smarting under this for a month, Kejriwal hit back with a promise that he would “put an end to ‘raid raj'”.

One could also cite the cases of AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan (his office was raided by the anti-corruption officials with regard to a recruitment scam), MLA Gulab Singh and MLA Ritu Raj Govind. Helpfully, The Indian Express has provided a complete (and perhaps growing) list of all AAP MLAs “on the wrong side of the law”.

Meanwhile, the fleetingly short public memory — the same public which was once seduced by his only poll promise of sending “all corrupt politicians to jail” — has helped ensure that his promise lies permanently in cold storage. The most recent instance of Kejriwal trying to pull his cleaner-than-thou act on Captain Amarinder Singh on Twitter grandly exploded on his face.

But then even that doesn’t seem like a cause for Kejriwal’s current worry. Could it be that that Kejriwal and his outfit have run out of cash? Why else would AAP pull out of the upcoming Mumbai and Chandigarh civic polls within a week of demonetisation?

And even as I write this, Daily Mail has reported an explosive story captioned “Black Day for Kejriwal” in which, among other things, Kejriwal’s ex-colleague blogged about his former boss’ relationship with a “colleague 16-years younger”. However, Firstpost cannot independently verify the claims made in the blog. On the same day, UNI reported that Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra has sued Kejriwal for criminal defamation.

And if this was not enough, in a classic case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread, Kejriwal’s foolhardy move of trying to instigate people against demonetisation (watch this video) has earned him the spontaneous public sloganeering of “Kejriwal chor hai” (Kejriwal is a thief).

That should ideally tell him a thing or two but then he epitomises the classic proverb that says that you cannot wake up a man who pretends he’s fast asleep.

The author’s views are personal.

First Published On : Nov 19, 2016 16:47 IST

SYL canal: SC denies urgent hearing on plea against Parkash and Sukhbir Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant urgent hearing to a fresh plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab for their alleged statements against the verdict in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement.A five judge constitution bench had recently termed as “unconstitutional” the 2004 Punjab law which terminated the SYL water pact, saying the state cannot “unilaterally” terminate it or legislate to “nullify” the verdict of the highest court. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud today told lawyer Rakesh Dahiya, who sought urgent listing of a criminal contempt petition, that the plea would come up in due course.The plea, which was filed by one Satbir Hooda, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana who runs an NGO, alleged that Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab respectively, have made statements that the apex court verdict in the case will not be allowed to be implemented. “This constitutes the offence of criminal contempt,” the lawyer said.In its verdict, the apex court recently responded in the “negative” to all the four questions referred to it for the opinion by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-dacade old SYL water sharing agreement. The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.

Demonetisation | BJP should declare it will contest polls with cheques only: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at Modi government, Congress leader Salman Khurshid has alleged that anybody who questions it is labelled a traitor, and said BJP should declare it will contest the next elections by only using cheques if it is serious about the fight against blackmoney.The former external affairs minister also urged all parties to refrain from playing politics over the SYL canal issue, saying, “It would be better if they get together and resolve it or they will have to go by the SC decision”.At a function at a private school here last evening, Khurshid said, “Anyone who questions the government is being labelled a traitor or an irresponsible person”.Speaking on the issue of black money, he said that the central government should also focus on the fake currency being pushed into the country from outside. “Modi government should disclose the amount of fake currency seized till now…. If the BJP says that it will contest the next elections only by using a cheque, then I will admit that black money has been wiped away”.On reports of infighting between Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and Pratap Singh Bajwa, Khurshid said that Congress high command was aware of the situation and will take apt measures when required. “Captain’s hardwork and the enthusiasm of the cadres will lead Congress to a thumping victory in Punjab,” he added.Targeting AAP over SYL issue, Khurshid said, “AAP likes to point fingers at others, but it doesn t want to be questioned”. “Their leaders are used to giving irresponsible statements on serious issues,” he said, adding, “This might have helped them in the past, but they stand exposed now”.

Air Navigation Services may go out of AAI soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The aviation sector is likely to see a major shake-up soon with Air Navigation Services (ANS), a critical source of revenue for airport operator Airports Authority of India (AAI), being made a separate entity following a recommendation by a government-appointed panel.The two-member expert committee, comprising former Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla and former Directorate General of Civil Aviation Satinder Singh, submitted its report recommending autonomy for ANS to the ministry on Friday, sources said.The recommendation, which is likely to be implemented as part of the ministry’s reform agenda, will impact AAI in a big way as almost one-fifth of its revenue comes from ANS.According to AAI’s annual report for 2014-15, Rs 2,355 crore of its total revenue of Rs.9,284 crore came from ANS. This includes charges for route navigation facilities, terminal navigation and instrument landing. Moreover, an international flight pays a fee for Air Traffic Control (ATC) services, an arm of ANS, each time it uses India’s airspace.Aviation analysts say ANS needs specialised attention to manage growing air traffic, expected to rise further in years to come. “ANS should have been made independent of AAI long ago. The recommendations of the expert panel should be implemented. People at AAI, who have been running ANS, are not even qualified to do so. Making ANS a separate entity would give undivided, focussed attention to augmentation, upgradation and improvement of communication network surveillance and air traffic management, which is much needed,” said civil aviation expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan.He said that the AAI could suffer the same fate as Air India if it didn’t take tough measures to manage its finances. “If ANS becomes a separate entity, AAI will have to get its act together.”Many of India’s busiest airports, including Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru — which generate about 60 per cent of AAI’s revenue from airport operations — are run by private operators. AAI’s share is not even half the total revenue generated at these airports. There are also plans of leasing out more airports to private entrepreneurs.The idea to make ANS a separate and independent unit was first mooted in 1970, but there was not much movement. Things might be different now with the government in the mood for reforms, ministry sources saidCivil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju had announced soon after taking charge that he had plans to corporatise AAI and list it on the stock exchange — a move designed to take off only after hiving off ANS. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has also been been hinting at policy, organisational and infrastructural changes in the aviation sector in the backdrop of rising domestic air traffic.While making its recommendation, the committee, which was set up in June, has placed reliance on guidelines laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and on countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where airport management and airspace management are handled by separate bodies.”Various options such as whether the new entity should be an autonomous organisation or a corporate entity wholly owned by the government or a subsidiary of AAI were explored. But the committee concluded that giving an autonomous structure to ANS would fetch the best results,” an official said.An autonomous ANS would be able to take decisions swiftly, without, for instance, having to wait for approval from AAI or the ministry for purchasing equipment. The move would aid ANS in finding solutions to its staff crunch – there are only 3,000 ATCOs of the total sanctioned strength of 3,890 — and shortage of advanced equipment as it will no longer be dependent.The coffersApart from ANS, AAI earns a major chunk of its revenue from airport operations and also earns some revenue from cargo operations. In 2014-2015, AAI earned Rs 2,449 crore and Rs 196 crore from airport operations and cargo, respectively.
During January-August 2016, domestic air passenger traffic rose 23.14 per cent – from 52.36 million to 64.47 million.
Air India is surviving on a Rs 30,000-crore government bailout package and had a debt of Rs 51,000 crore as on March 31, 2016,

Questioning SC’s order means democracy has failed – Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The firebrand leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Subramanian Swamy on Friday said questioning the Supreme Court’s decision on the Satluj Yamuna Link issue is equivalent for failure of democracy.”Once the Supreme Court has ruled and I have taken the stand in the case of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Questioning the Supreme Court order means democracy in fail. The whole idea of court system is that both sides have strong case and ultimately somebody has to decide ,” he said.Swamy took a jibe at Congress Punjab state president Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation moments after the verdict by the Supreme Court, terming him as a non serious politician.”His resignation is meaningless because he was supposed to represent state in the Centre and not in the Supreme Court. It shows lack of application of mind in part of Amarinder Singh. He is just not a serious politician,? he said.Swamy further advised Punjab government not to take extremist position on SYL issue, but should examine whether there is any scope within the law. to appeal against the verdict. Yesterday, the Supreme Court held the 2004 law passed by Punjab to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement between neighbouring states as unconstitutional.Following which, Congress Punjab state president Captain Amarinder Singh decided to quit as a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from the Amritsar constituency in Punjab with immediate effect “as a mark of protest against the deprivation of the people of Punjab of the much-needed Sutlej river water.”

Has anyone seen Captain Amarinder Singh in Lok Sabha: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday questioned the resignation of the president of the Punjab unit of the Congress party, Captain Amarinder Singh, from the 16th Lok Sabha moments after the Supreme Court ruling declared a 2004 law passed by the state assembly to deny Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal water to Haryana as illegal and unconstitutional.”Has anyone seen Captain Amarinder Singh in the Lok Sabha? A person who has not gone to the Lok Sabha automatically becomes eligible for resignation. He should have been dismissed, he has just done some face saving exercise,” Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and BJP MP Vijay Sampla said. “About the Punjab MLAs, their term was about to get over by next month, that is why this is a drama,” he added.Sampla also blamed the Congress for being the root cause of the water sharing problem. “When the SYL was constructed by Indira Gandhi, then Captain Amarinder Singh was prominently behind it,” Sampla added.Post his resignation from the Lok Sabha, Captain Amarinder Singh has sought a personal meeting with the speaker next week. Congress MLAs have also sent their resignations to the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, and will meet him this morning to personally hand over their letters. The Supreme Court held as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by Punjab to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states. In his resignation letter, Captain Amarinder said he had decided to quit as a member of the 16th Lok Sabha from Amritsar constituency in Punjab with immediate effect “as a mark of protest against the deprivation of the people of my state of the much-needed Sutlej river water.The Centre had said that it was having a neutral stand in the matter in which the court has recorded the stand of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

Army hits back for jawan’s mutilation with ‘heavy casualties’, destroys 4 Pakistani posts

A day after an Indian soldier’s body was mutilated by terrorists who escaped back into Pakistani side under covering fire from Pakistani troops, the Indian army said on Saturday it had hit back, destroying four Pakistani posts and inflicting “heavy casualties”.

The posts were destroyed in a massive fire assault in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara, said the army’s Northern Command.

“Heavy casualties were inflicted on the other side,” it said.

Sepoy Mandeep Singh, who was killed in the gunfight with the infiltrators on Friday, was beheaded by the terrorists who fled back to Pakistan-administered Kashmir under covering fire from Pakistan Army.

The Indian Army had said an “appropriate response” will be given.

The barbaric incident sparked an outrage even as a pall of gloom descended on Mandeep Singh’s native village in Haryana.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh condemned the mutilation of the soldier’s body as “atrocious” while senior Congress leader Manish Tewari called it “depraved behaviour”.

The jawan’s family members demanded that Pakistan be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists while former Army officers expressed their sadness. His brother Sandeep Singh demanded that the family wanted 10 Pakistani heads for the price of one.

The family members of the 30-year-old soldier were inconsolable. Several women from Aantehri village in Kurukshetra reached the soldier’s house and tried to console Mandeep’s widow. The couple had got married two years ago, family members said. Mandeep’s widow Prerna is a Head Constable with Haryana police and posted at Shahbad Markanda in Kurukshetra.

Mandeep’s father said the Indian army should give a befitting reply to Pakistan. “It was his duty, he has done it. He sacrificed his life. We should give a befitting reply to Pakistan,” he said, adding that he got the news of his son’s death when army personnel visited him at his home at 1am.

Prerna said Pakistan must be taught a lesson for harbouring terrorists.

“Pakistan should be taught a lesson once for all so that no other family of a soldier has to go through such pain,” she said breaking down several times.

She said that Mandeep had come for vacation six months back. “He was supposed to visit home again on Diwali but his leave was cancelled in view of the tension on the border at Machil sector.”

Kurukshetra’s Deputy Commissioner Sumedha Kataria also visited the jawan’s home and offered her condolences.

Mandeep’s neighbours described him as a “go-getter” who always had a smile on his face.

Subhash, husband of the Sarpanch of the village, said Mandeep was a helpful person who always offered help to anyone who approached him in need.

“There can’t be anything more atrocious than this (on terrorists mutilated the body of a soldier),” Jitendra Singh told reporters in Jammu.

“I am always of the view that the human rights of soldiers should enjoy precedence over human rights of anybody else”, he said.

“These are acts of cowardice and these are happening at the time of desperation of the part of the Pakistan army as well as Islamabad. Indian forces are capable of standing up to this challenge.”

Tewari while condemning the mutilation as “absolutely depraved behaviour” said it “violates you as a human being”.

“There are certain rules of engagement and conduct even in a conflict situation. Pakistan is expected to respect the rules of engagement,” he said.

“I am very sad being a soldier. It is a very sad mentality to take your anger on an injured or dead person,” said Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri.

This is not the first time Pakistan has mutilated the bodies of Indian soldiers.

During the Kargil war in 1999, Captain Saurabh Kalia, Sepoys Arjunram Baswana, Mula Ram Bidiasar, Naresh Singh Sinsinwar, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria and Bhika Ram Mudh of 4 Jat Regiment were captured by Pakistani troops and brutally tortured.

The soldiers had their ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyes punctured and genitals cut off. The autopsy of the bodies also revealed that they were burned with cigarettes butts. Their limbs were also chopped off, teeth broken and skull fractured during the torture. Even their nose and lips were sliced off.

In another incident, on 8 January, 2013, Pakistani soldiers entered Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers – Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh. Indian officials said both the bodies were mutilated, and Hemraj’s body was decapitated.

Just before retiring, former army chief General Bikram Singh, who headed the Indian Army when the incident happened, had said India gave a “befitting reply”.

General Dalbir Singh, just after taking over as the Army chief, had then said if a similar incident occurred the Indian Army’s response “will be more than adequate in future”.

Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians. It applies from the moment a prisoner is captured until he or she is released or repatriated. One of the main provisions of the convention makes it illegal to torture prisoners and states that a prisoner can only be required to give his name, date of birth, rank and service number if applicable.

With inputs from agencies

New Zealand beat India by 19 runs to square series | Reuters

New Zealand beat India by 19 runs to square series | Reuters

Updated: Oct 26, 2016 22:03 IST


New Zealand beat India by 19 runs in the fourth one-day international to level the five-match series at 2-2 as the hosts suffered a mid-innings collapse at Ranchi on Wednesday.Chasing 261 for a series clinching win, India were all out for 241 with eight balls to spare.Opener Ajinkya Rahane’s fluent 57 put India on course for the chase and the right-handed batsman added 79 for the second wicket with the in-form Virat Kohli (45).India looked firmly in the driver’s seat when Rahane and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (11) were batting but then they lost five wickets for just 39 runs which put paid to their hopes of bagging the series with a match to spare.Seamer James Neesham dismissed Rahane and Dhoni in successive overs and paceman Tim Southee (3-40) picked up two wickets in consecutive deliveries as India were reduced from 128-2 to 167-7 in the space of a few overs.Axar Patel (38) and Amit Mishra (14) added 38 for the eighth wicket while tailenders Dhawal Kulkarni (25 not out) and Umesh Yadav added 34 for the last wicket to take India close but their efforts were not enough.

Earlier, openers Martin Guptill (72) and Tom Latham (39) gave New Zealand a brisk start after the visiting captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat on a slow surface.The duo added 80 in the first 10 overs of fielding restrictions but Dhoni then brought on his spinners to restrict the flow of runs.

Guptill and Latham added another 16 for their opening stand before the latter fell to left-arm spinner Patel midway through the 16th over.Mishra made a diving effort but could not hold on to a chance from Guptill on 29 and the batsman had another life on 62 when the same fielder misjudged a chance in the deep and let the ball narrowly go over his head for a boundary.Leg-spinner Mishra made amends by dismissing the dangerous Williamson (41) and Neesham in quick succession.

BJ Watling, who replaced Luke Ronchi behind the stumps, and Ross Taylor (35), who was run out by a superb back-handed flick by Dhoni, also fell in the space of an over to rob the momentum off New Zealand’s innings.The two teams will now travel to Visakhapatnam for the series decider on Saturday. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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

Navjot Sidhu is a ‘human bomb’, will explode once he enters Congress: Sukhbir Singh Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa said former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu would join their party on the auspicious day of Diwali, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said “Sidhu is a human bomb and will explode once he enters the Congress party.”Badal told media persons that Congress’ state party chief Captain Amarinder Singh is trying to downplay Bajwa by saying that he has no objection to Sidhu joining the party, as both Bajwa and Capt Amarinder Singh abuse each other.”At places they abuse each other. They are not gifting anything to the people, they are giving gifts to each other. They want to harm each other and Sidhu is a human bomb and will go and explode there,” Badal said.Earlier, Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday said the matter of Sidhu joining the Congress was under the high command’s consideration. It was Diwali time and Sidhu may get a “Diwali gift”.When asked whether it meant that Sidhu would be joining the party, he said, “It could be.” Replying to another query, the Rajya Sabha MP said, “If Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asks me to fight the assembly elections, I will contest. I am ready to leave the Rajya Sabha and contest polls to strengthen the party, if he says.”To which, Captain Amarinder said that he has no objection to Sidhu and other Awaaz-e-Punjab leaders joining the Congress. He said he was actually the first person to invite Sidhu to join the Congress when the former cricketer had quit the BJP, days after he termed Sidhu “another clown”Amarinder had taken a U-turn over the issue after meeting AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi last week, indicating that talks were on between Sidhu and the party high command.

Punjab Congress terms Arvind Kejriwal a ‘bhagoda’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress on Wednesday called Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a ”bhagoda” (escapist), a day after war of words erupted between AAP”s national convener and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh on Twitter.”After being forced to cow down before Captain Amarinder Singh”s factually substantiated and sharply aimed salvos during their 24-hour Twitter war, the ”bhagoda” (escapist) AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal seems to have decided to sulk,” alleged Punjab Congress in a statement here. PPCC leaders Kewal Singh Dhillon, OP Sonia and Rana Gurjit Singh in a statement here pointed out that even his remaining scheduled programmes, as part of his three-day visit to Punjab, appeared to have completely “fizzled out”, with hardly any takers for “Brand Kejriwal”.”Kejriwal has already disappeared from the Punjab election scene, even before the announcement of the poll dates,” said the PPCC leaders, asking the AAP leader, “Have you lost your tongue, or are you simply sulking – a trait you have evidently mastered as Delhi chief minister?” Just last month, in September 2016, the Congress in Delhi had observed ”Bhagoda Divas” to protest against the chief minister”s continued “absence” from the national capital while the people were battling a “virtual epidemic” of diseases, the Punjab Congress said.Noting that Kejriwal has been “baselessly alleging a nexus between Captain Amarinder and the ruling Badals of Shiromani Akali Dal” they said, he “backed off the moment” he was asked to “prove his charges publicly”.Yesterday, war of words between Arvind Kejriwal and Amarinder Singh turned ugly on Twitter after the Delhi Chief Minister accused the Punjab Congress chief of using an Akali leader”s “drug money” to fund his election campaign and the latter shot back, saying the AAP leader was “hallucinating” and challenged him to a debate.

Armed forces upset over status downgrade; Parrikar assures intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After crying foul over OROP and disability pension, officers in the armed forces are upset over a Defence Ministry circular which purportedly downgrades their status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to say he would personally look into it and resolve the issue.The order has brought an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) on par with a principal director at the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service. A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore would be equal in status to a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain equivalent to a joint director in the civil service. The circular issued by the Defence Ministry, dated October 18, on rank equivalence between defence officers and armed forces headquarters (AFHQ) civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.As per the new circular, a civilian principal director, who was earlier equivalent to a Brigadier, would now have the status of a two star general, a director rank officer to a Brigadier and a joint director to a Colonel, a development which has not gone down well with the armed forces. A Major General earlier had the rank of a joint secretary. The circular says that the equations are to be followed at service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon”ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, when asked to comment on the development, said some people were trying to “misguide” as the issue related to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts. “These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference here. “First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities…this is not status….there are some people who are trying to misguide,” he said. The Minister said he will take a look at all previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the issues related to the armed forces. “I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. The moment they are brought out, I act on them. The only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.

DNA Morning Must Reads: BSF jawan killed as Pak violates ceasefire; latest in Yadav family feud; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Live | J&K: Another BSF jawan killed as Pakistani troops target 13 BoPs & civilian areas along IBOne Border Security Force (BSF) ​jawan was killed and another injured in heavy Pakistan shelling and firing along International Border in Jammu’s RS Pura sector. Read more.2. Yadav vs Yadav: PariWar pushes Samajwadi to verge of split; BJP demands floor testMulayam Singh Yadav will be holding a high-level meeting of party leaders to assess the situation. Read more.3. CBI’s ‘untraceable’ 1984 witness Narinder Singh Khaira speaksThough the CBI has filed a status report in a Delhi court claiming Narinder Khaira ‘untraceable’, DNA spoke to him at length about the riots, his father and the case. Read more.4. India v/s New Zealand: Kohli’s finish, Dhoni’s touch dismantle KiwisVice-captain takes India to 7-wicket win with 154*, shares 151 for 3rd wicket with captain. Read more.5. I don’t know how much money I have: Sushant Singh RajputSushant Singh Rajput talks about success, regrets and the choices he’s made in life… Read more.

Punjab polls 2017: Rahul Gandhi reaches out to farmers through recorded message

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a recorded voice message, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is reaching out to farmers of Punjab and “promising” to waive their agriculture debt if his party comes to power in the state after the 2017 assembly elections.Rahul’s ‘message’, conceptualised by Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor, is part of the party’s mega farmer outreach programme ‘Karza Kurki Khatam-Fasal Di Poori Rakam’ where it promises farmers, who sign ‘Maang Patr’ (debt waiver form), that their loans will be waived if it forms the government in the state. In the message, the Congress leader, while thanking farmers for being “associated” with ‘Kisan Abhiyan’, says, “You are aware that farmers are facing problems. When our government was in power, we helped them a lot. We raised Minimum Support Price (MSP) and you may be remembering that in 2008 we helped farmers by waiving off Rs 70,000 crore as debt. I promise you that Congress will hear out the voice of growers. When our government comes, we will waive off the debt”.After he finishes his message, a jingle in Punjabi is played where the singer “promises” that happiness will “return” to the state- “Phir to ek var, Chaunda e Punjab, Captain di Sarkar.” “Farmers, who are signing ‘Maang Patr’ during the Kisan campaign, are asked to give a missed call to a number given to them. A recorded voice message of Rahul Gandhi will be sent to each of them,”an IPAC member said. Congress, which has been eyeing to wrest power from Akali-BJP regime, is wooing Punjab’s small and marginal farmers which form the major chunk of the vote bank in the state. Earlier, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh had undertaken a 500-km long ‘Kisan bus yatra’ in seven districts, including Moga, Faridkot, Ludhiana and Bathinda, to assure the the farming community that his party would “safeguard their interests and alleviate their sufferings”. Aam Aadmi Party, which had already released its farmers manifesto, had also promised loan waiver.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Parl panel to not discuss surgical strike; Trump denies groping allegations; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Govt changes agenda, parliamentary panel won’t discuss surgical strikeAt last minute, govt changes agenda for meet of Standing Committee on Defence to electronic voting facility for personnel, drawing Oppn’s criticism. Read more.2. ‘Absolutely false’: Trump denies groping allegations brought up by multiple womenEstablishment Republicans have struggled to get behind Trump. He’s trailing Clinton by several points in the polls. Read more.3. How much should we know about Jayalalithaa’s health?Or for that matter, any other politician’s? Can there be a balance between public interest and the right to privacy? Read more.4. 10 years after elimination, leprosy rears its head in India againAn exhausted teenager, who can barely keep his eyes open, sits in a long line outside The Leprosy Mission Hospital (TLMH) in Shahdara on the outskirts of Delhi. Read more.5. From Gambhir to Ashwin, we rate Team India’s performance against KiwisIndia captain Virat Kohli insisted that their dominating win over Kiwis was due to a complete team effort. He was spot on. G Krishnan rates the men who produced the goods for a handsome 3-0 series victory over the struggling New Zealanders. Read more.

?CBI books 40 people for Haryana violence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 40 people have come under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) scanner for their suspected role in the violence that rocked Haryana in February this year – otherwise known as the Jat agitation.The 40 people have been booked for conspiring to target Haryana’s Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu at his residence. The probe agency took over the case from the police on the direction of the state government.On Thursday, the agency spokesperson said three cases have been registered in connection with the stir that was led by the Jat community to demand their inclusion in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. Officials told DNA that of the three FIRs, two pertain to the arson and rioting that took place at Abhimanyu’s house. The third relates to allegations of looting of weapons from a company of Border Security Force (BSF) and Haryana police at Delhi bypass in Rohtak.”Allegations include attacking, looting of weapons from the police guard, attempting to murder the family members of the Finance Minister in the government of Haryana and burning down his house. The CBI took over the investigation on the request of the Haryana government and further orders from the government of India,” CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh said.According to the Haryana police, most of the accused are absconding. A team of CBI sleuths has been camping in Haryana since last Friday. They have also recreated the scene of crime with the help of forensic experts. Sources said a number of witnesses have come forward to aid the probe into the massive agitation, which resulted in the death of 30 people and financial losses worth hundreds of crores.While, for now, the agency is focusing on three cases only, it is possible that the sleuths will probe incidents of violence that took place across Haryana, due to the possibility of common people being involved in the violence.The accused have been booked under sections 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs50), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), and 452 (house-trespass) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).The second FIR includes the same charges with an addition of sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and section 120 B (punishment of criminal conspiracy).The third FIR, related to the looting of weapons from a BSF company, also has sections 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) of the IPC and section 8B of the National Highways Act, 1956 (punishment for mischief by injury to national highway).

FIR against flyer after he strips on plane, harasses crew members

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A flyer using the IndiGo’s Bhubaneswar-Delhi flight misbehaved with the crew members and was later held by the police, reports TOI.According to The Times of India which cited the IndiGo’s press release, the passenger tripped himself in the lavatory of an aircraft and passed derogatory comments on a female crew member. The incident happened in the IndiGo’s Bhubaneswar-Delhi flight 6E-256. The airline press release says: “During the course of the flight, the male passenger in question expressed to the crew that he does not know how to tie the seat belt. The crew assisted him on the same. The passenger then went to the lavatory where he pressed the lavatory call bell requesting assistance in the aircraft lavatory. The crew immediately went to the lavatory to help him but saw him in an objectionable state. The female crew member refused to go inside and politely requested him to maintain some level of decency while using the lavatory.” The statement says he passed lewd comments on a female crew member as the staff secured passengers for landing.The staff told the captain of the flight 6E-256 who alerted security personnel. The passenger was later offloaded and taken by the police. An FIR has been lodged by the police. “Consequently the FIR was lodged in a local police station in Delhi. The matter is being investigated by the concerned authorities. Customer satisfaction is core to our business, however any untoward conduct, which compromises on the security of our crew and passengers is of a serious concern to us, and as a responsible corporate citizen we will take all necessary action to address this violation,”said the statement.

Pujara, Ashwin lead India to series sweep | Reuters

Pujara, Ashwin lead India to series sweep | Reuters

Updated: Oct 11, 2016 17:36 IST


INDORE, India Cheteshwar Pujara struck his eighth test century and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin engineered another spectacular batting collapse to help India crush New Zealand by 321 runs in the third test and complete a 3-0 series sweep on Tuesday.Ashwin, who claimed 6-81 in the first innings, resumed his role as New Zealand’s wrecker-in-chief, claiming 7-59 as the tourists, chasing 475 for an improbable win, were dismissed for 153 to lose inside four days.After Umesh Yadav dismissed Tom Latham to earn an early breakthrough, Ashwin spun a web around the batsmen as New Zealand lost nine wickets in the final session.Ashwin dismissed captain Kane Williamson (27) for the second time in the match, ended Ross Taylor’s breezy 32 and sent back Luke Ronchi to rip out the Kiwi top order before returning to blow away the tail.Fittingly, Ashwin caught Trent Boult off his own bowling to end New Zealand’s innings with career-best bowling figures.The spinner finished the series with 27 wickets and was the obvious choice for the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards.

“Could not have asked for anything better,” India captain Virat Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.”The bowlers have responded beautifully in the series every time we’ve been under a bit of pressure. Every time the Kiwis had a partnership, someone put his hands up and brought those breakthroughs for us.”Earlier, Gautam Gambhir struck 50 on his test return and Pujara scored 101 not out as India declared their second innings on 216 for three around an hour before tea.

Resuming on 18-0, the hosts lost opener Murali Vijay cheaply but Gambhir, who had retired hurt with an injured shoulder on Monday, returned to score fluently.Gambhir hit six boundaries before completing his 22nd test fifty off 54 balls but was dismissed when he drove off-spinner Jeetan Patel to Guptill at cover.

Patel removed Kohli (17) lbw for the second time in the match but Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out) added 58 quick runs before India declared.”It was important that we get a big total in the first innings but it was not to be,” Williamson said.”Credit to India, obviously they’re the number one in the world now. A fantastic effort and well-deserved.” (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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

dna Morning Must Reads: Trump vows to jail Clinton over emails if he wins; JeM may target Indian Parl; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. US Presidential Debate: Trump vows to jail Clinton over emails if he wins White HouseRepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter because Democratic rival Hillary Clinton had endangered national security while she served as President Barack Obama’s chief diplomat from 2009-2013. Read more.2. As revenge against surgical strikes, JeM may target Indian Parliament, says report​Afzal Guru had carried out an attack on the parliament in 2011.. Read more.3. Samsung recall crisis deepens; report says Galaxy Note 7 production haltSamsung suspends Note 7 production. Read more. 4. Karan Johar to replace Fawad Khan’s face with that of Saif Ali Khan in ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’?Fawad’s face to come off? Speculations are rife that Karan might replace Fawad Khan with Saif Ali Khan and change his lead female characters’ country of origin (Pakistan) in ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. Read more.5. Kohli goes the ‘Sachin’ way as his partnership with Rahane poses double trouble for KiwisCaptain Virat Kohli’s second Test double century and his record fourth-wicket stand with Ajinkya Rahane (188) spells doom for tiring New Zealanders. Read more.

Indian Army’s surgical strikes: ‘Us versus Them’ buffet served in Indian living rooms

Bollywood conducted a surgical strike on Indian TV news channels on Thursday. The result was erasing the Line of Control in TV journalism as anchors with high-decibel support from former army veterans, ushered in a Sunny Deol’s dhai kilo ka haath (two and a half kilo arm) moment.

Congratulations, the equivalent of jhappis (hugs) across TV screen windows, were being exchanged liberally. Pakistani guests (wonder why the ‘ban’ on Pakistani artists does not apply to them also because they also are essentially actors in the Indo-Pak theatre of the absurd every other night) were taunted and ridiculed. I guess the money for the TV appearances must be really good enough to swallow the insults.

The 56-inch chest had been cloned across TV studios as anchors and panelists exulted in the feat of brave Indian soldiers wandering into our part of Kashmir, illegally occupied since 1948, only to find Pakistan army soldiers in bed with terrorists. India avenged Uri where 19 Indian soldiers became martyrs, by killing 40 Pakistanis. ‘Kill one, Lose two’ sounding like a pre-Diwali bumper offer.

Indian media has realised that jingoism dressed up as patriotism is the shortest route to TRPs. Viewers are served an adrenalin-pumping Us versus Them buffet spread on the remote. But the real ‘Us’ is every TV channel, with `Them’ referring to the rivals. In the bargain, just about every channel crossed the LoC of what has traditionally defined good journalism, which says whipping up a war cry is a No-No.


What’s in includes over-the-top war mongering, with TV anchors exulting kid-like after winning a video game, having vanquished enemies, firing on all cylinders. Draped in the tricolour, it is a moment tailor-made for television, with the villain clearly identified. And any sceptic on the Indian side, labelled and targeted as a Trojan horse.

The Pakistan defence minister fell prey to the desire for chest-beating on the other side of the Wagah, threatening to drop nukes on India. But the debate in Indian TV studios on the threat reduced it to a joke, making a mockery of it. The machismo of ‘a rattled Pakistan will not exist in its present form’ has been the underlying emotion in all TV debates, without enlightening the country on the costs of war, what it means for those on the border, what it means for India’s economy and the environment should some madcap in Pakistan press the nuclear button. On show on most channels are cardboard debates, amidst the surround sound of four windows shouting at each other at the same time. Kashmir, which is at the heart of the problem, is rarely ever discussed. On show all the time is a ‘tu jaanta nahin main kaun hoon’ (You don’t know who you’re dealing with) like street fight.

News television revels in reducing news to events. Elections and Budgets have hitherto been the ones to bank on, when the advertisers come calling. But a televised war, with tu-tu main-main (bickering) that would inspire Salim-Javed, is what the numbers game is all about. In this festival season, expect advertisers to put their money where the barrel of the gun is. War on poverty, drought, casteism et al pale in comparison to this noisy rhetoric that revels in a jaw for a tooth.

This is what must be called a dental surgical strike deep inside Pakistan’s cavity to clear the terror plaque.

But in a sense, TV channels had recognised the mood of the country. That citizens were angry at the ‘Hum ninda karte hain’ (We condemn it) template of the Indian government’s response each time Pakistan-trained terrorists hit India. That the anger this time mirrored and matched the post-Nirbhaya outrage.

Naturally, TV channels decided to dish out news in the manner of a soap opera, far more gripping than the stuff Balaji Telefilms put on entertainment channels. TV journalism is no longer about only information. It is info-tainment, the news equivalent of the IPL. Hashtags of the variety of #IndiaStrikesBack, #IndiaGivesItBack, the cheerleaders on the ticker.

Jokes circulating on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp are often an indicator of the mood in urban India. On Thursday, jokes on Whatsapp recalled actor Rajkumar’s epic lines from Saudagar: Hum tumhe maarenge aur zaroor maarenge, lekin wo bandook bhi hamari hogi, goli bhi hamari hogi aur waqt bhi hamara hoga (We will definitely strike you hard, but the weapon, bullet and time of that strike will be our choice). Others advised Pakistan not to bother sending fidayeens across the LoC to get killed as Indian Army had started doing ‘home delivery’. I thought this was retribution for banning MS Dhoni’s biopic in Pakistan as those across the LoC suffered the brunt of helicopter shots.

The sports arena was not immune to the jingoism either. Indian hockey captain PR Sreejesh vowed to defeat Pakistan when the two teams met at the Asian Champions Trophy. In Dhaka, the under-18 Indian hockey team defeated Pakistan 3-1 prompting even Home minister Rajnath Singh to tweet that the victory was made possible with ‘surgical precision’. And at the Eden Gardens, if India defeats New Zealand, it will end up dethroning Pakistan as the Number one Test team. India may be trying to isolate Pakistan internationally but the mind space of its population seems entirely Pakistan-focused.

The Director General of Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) also came in for shelling. Gen Asim Bajwa’s Facebook page was attacked by the Kerala cyber army as they trolled him with comments written in Malayalam.

As I write this, I hear a media organisation has cancelled the leave of all employees. This message that went out, will give you an idea of what to expect in the days to come.

‘All reporter/assignment offs and leaves cancelled for the next two weeks. All hands on board. 24-7. Our level of alertness must match that of the Indian army. Every story on this big development must break first on our channels. Jai Hind.’

Punjab Elections 2017: Awaaz-e-Punjab to decide on alliance shortly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Awaaz-e- Punjab’, a forum launched by former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, will hold a meeting in a day or two to clear the air about forging of an alliance for the state polls.”We shall have a meeting in a day or two to take a call on alliance,” Independent MLA Simarjit Singh Bains said today. Bains, who is part of the forum, said Sidhu is expected to come to Ludhiana in a day or two and then the meeting might take place. All members, including former hockey captain Pargat Singh, will have a meeting, he said.On Monday, ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’ had said it is looking at forging alliance for the upcoming Punjab Assembly election, while ruling out the possibility of joining any fourth front so as not to play a “spoilsport” by dividing anti-incumbency votes. However, Bains said the front would not align with Amarinder Singh-led Congress in Punjab.”Amarinder is hand-in-glove with the Badals, his dubious and behind-the-curtain deals with the Badals are an open secret. There is no question of betraying the people of Punjab. Politics is a mission not a profession. This is a war between the right and wrong. We will be on the right side and back Punjab,” Bains said in a statement. Cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu a few days back had announced that he would not float a party to contest the Assembly election as he did not wish to play a “spoilsport” by dividing anti-incumbency votes.He had said they had decided against forming a political party as it is too short a time to prepare for the polls, but added they were open to an “alliance” for betterment of Punjab.Bains said he has sought time from Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for a meeting to discuss with him an issue pertaining to water.”I today came to meet Badal in Chandigarh. But when I reached here I came to know that he is unwell,” he said. “I will try to meet him once he recovers from illness,” he said.

Haryana: Girl raped by uncle, attempts suicide outside SP’s residence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking case, a class X student today attempted suicide by consuming a poisonous substance outside the official residence of the SP here after she was allegedly raped repeatedly by her maternal uncle and was forced into a settlement by the village panchayat when she lodged a police complaint over the issue.The girl, who is a resident of Kaithal’s Dayora Khurana, was living with her maternal uncle in a village under Sadar Police Station area, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Captain Singh said. The uncle had been repeatedly raping her following which a month ago she lodged complaint at Woman Police Station against him but she was forced into a settlement by the village panchayat, he said.However, her uncle continued to rape her and also tried to kill her.The girl consumed some posionous substance in front of the residence of the Superintendent of Police and was admitted to a hospital here in a critical condition from where she was referred to PGI, Rohtak. On receiving information about the incident, the DSP, Women Police Station in-charge Santosh Singh and other officials reached the hospital. The police registered a case of rape against the maternal uncle after recording the victim’s statement. Raids are being carried out to nab the accused, Singh added.

Uri attack: Kargil war braveheart Saurabh Kalia’s father blames ‘lopsided’ Indian foreign policies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NK Kalia, father of Kargil war braveheart Captain Saurabh Kalia, on Monday blamed India’s policies against Pakistan for terror attacks, like the one in Uri that took place yesterday, which killed 17 Indian Army soldiers.Condemning the Uri terror attack, Kalia told ANI that it is a highly painful and unfortunate news for all the Indians. “It is very painful to see such incidents on our soil. I don’t think we can conclude that Uri attack may be due to lapse on part of security system because the brave soldiers are on duty 24/7. This is due to the lopsided policy of Indian Government, at present and past towards Pakistan, terrorists and in particular towards Hurriyat conference. It is unfortunate that even after 70 years India failed to understand whether Pakistan is its friend or enemy,” he added.A terror attack on an army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir claimed the lives of 17 soldiers and has raised an alarm regarding the security situation in the state. Meanwhile, a high-level review meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital. Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma, Army chief Dalbir Singh, DGMO Lt. Gen Ranbir Singh are present in the meeting. Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will visit Srinagar today to assess the situation in wake of Uri attack. Mehrishi will meet the top officials of the state government and take stock of the situation. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited Kashmir yesterday to take stock of the situation and review the overall security in Kashmir. They were briefed by the Northern Army and Chinar Corps Commanders Lt. General D.S. Hooda and Lt. General Satish Dua respectively at Srinagar on the Uri attack and the operation launched to neutralise the terrorists. Earlier the Army Chief also visited Uri to get a first-hand account where he was briefed on the latest situation by the Commanders on ground.Parrikar and the Army chief later met the casualties at the Army Base Hospital in BB Cantonment.

DCW notice to police in Sardar Singh sexual assault case

The Delhi Commission of Women on Wednesday sent a legal notice to the Delhi police, seeking an explanation on why has an FIR been registered in the Sardar Singh case. The notice, dated June 22 was sent to DCP New Delhi District, Jatin Narwal.A British-Indian woman, who was part of the National British Hockey team, had alleged that she was married to the captain of the Indian hockey team, and that he has sexually assaulted her on different occasions. Singh, has however, refuted the allegations. The victim has also alleged that Hockey India had also booked plane tickets for her on more than one occasion.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She had filed a case in Ludhiana, which was turned down as the Punjab police said it did not come under their jurisdiction.DCW chief Swati Maliwal, in her notice, wrote: “The Commission has been informed that despite a complaint being lodged at P.S Chanakyapuri vide DD No 34B dated 14/06/2016, no FIR has been registered till date. The Commission views this seriously as it is a contravention of a judgment by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Lalita Kumari Vs. Govt. of UP and Ors, (AIR 2014 SC 187) wherein it was held that the registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 CrPC, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.”In the note, Maliwal states that a male ACP interrogated the complainant about “physical relations with the accused”, and not a lady officer. It further states that the victim was made to Go to the police station at 9pm on the 16th of June, 2016 and was made to stay in the police station till close to midnight. “The complainant was contacted by a lady officer only on the 20th of June, 2016 – seven days after the receipt of the complaint,” the note states.The DCW has now asked the police for an explanation of why the FIR was not filed even eight days after the complaint, within 48 hours, failing which they will take further action.The DCW had earlier sent a notice to SHO, Chanakya Puri to find out why an FIR was not registered. A legal notice was sent to Hockey India, too, to explain why was Sardar Singh not asked to quit despite such serious allegation. Hockey India has sought ten weeks for a reply.”The Hockey India simply wants to save Sardar till the Rio Olympics. It is apparent,” said the victim.

A Thank You letter from a crony-capitalist to PM Narendra Modi on Raghuram Rajan

Dearest Modiji,

At the outset, let me thank your esteemed colleague in the BJP, Subramanian Swamy, for his brave fight against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Thanks to you too for, in a way, letting Swamy loose to unleash such a historic tirade against Rajan. It has more credibility since Swamy is now a senior member in the party, a lawmaker and an influential voice in the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS).

Your silence on Swamy’s attacks on Rajan embolden me and my fellow cronies. It reinforces our faith in the system that not every day will be the same in the rest of our lives. We are fed up with constant threat calls from bankers to impose undesirable and unjust actions on us.

There is no justification in forcing us to repay money to banks (what is that word called? Oh, wilful defaulter), asking us to use the funds drawn for the intended purpose (for what? Ye koi tarika hota hai kya?), threaten us not to amass personal wealth, divert bank money abroad and, force our banker friends not to masquerade NPAs (non-performing assets) as standard loans.

Isn’t this aggression of the highest order on the nation’s wealth creators in a free-market economy? But, unfortunately, that’s how our life has been for a while.

I, however, have such faith in the establishment that once Rajan is out (who wants a Chicago school economist anyway. We have so many of them here), normalcy will be reinstated in our lives.

Frankly, Modiji, ever since Rajan took over as the RBI governor on that fateful day of 4 September, 2013 and especially for the last 2-3 months, I have never slept on my bed at my home in the serenity of Bharat. And guess why I amm haunted for defaulting a few thousand crores to some public sector banks! Phew.. Everyone does that!

I have been floating ever since at one of the swimming pools in my summer homes in UK or in one of my yachts ‘somewhere in the Mediterranean’ (only my captain knows the location, Yeah!!!) because anytime the banker or a investigating official can knock on my door asking me to pay back the money I owe them.

I can’t blame them though.

They narrate, with a heavy heart, that they have been given a deadline of March, 2017 by this Rajan to clean up the bank balance sheets (disclose the NPAs). These guys are unnecessarily panicking and asking me to pay back. Never have I done that in my life, mind you.

But I’m not afraid anymore. I have such immense confidence in our political system. I can’t express my joy seeing Swamy’s daily tirade against that ‘not mentally fully Indian’ guy.

I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with Swamyji. I don’t think he is even half-Indian. I have never seen Rajan wearing a North Indian kurta or South Indian lungi. He always in a western suit. Why? There is something seriously wrong with Rajan. I strongly suspect he is a double agent for ISI and CIA. Look at the way he utters all sorts of unnecessary words such as ‘intolerance’, ‘autonomy’, ‘one-eyed King’ and ‘Make for India’. Who does he thinks he is by the way? Well, if he predicted 2008 global financial crisis, even I did. Just that no one was around.

And what is this “I’m Rajan. I do what I do”. Is he Rajnikant of the Indian economy or what? Enough of this Bu***hit Modiji. I’m running out of patience.

Who will tell him to limit his gyan on what he is getting his salary for—‘macroeconomic stability’, ‘monetary policy dynamics’, ‘yield curves’ and ‘asset-liability mismatch’. There are the things he could talk on (I can get back on him after a short read. Bloody economics).

Swamy is again right when he accuses Rajan of leaking sensitive information through the use of unauthorized email ids. I strongly suspect, Modiji, that Rajan has already leaked last week’s sector-wise credit growth data to someone in the US treasury. Mind you, this data is not public yet. As for the allegation on deliberately destroying the economic growth and jobs, Swamy is again spot on.

In a country with Hong Kong-like infrastructure, with abundant supply of power and water, so much of foreign investments (Oh, God), and easy environmental clearance, high interest rate is the only thing that stands between us and economic growth.

Had Rajan cut interest rates by 300 basis points immediately in his first week in office, India would have attained minimum 10% GDP growth and millions of jobs (and mind you, this is a conservative estimate). One could always argue that inflation would have crossed GDP growth then. But, that’s only a lame excuse. Why shouldn’t someone mistrust an economist like Swamy?

Modiji, you have rightly observed that Rajan’s reappointment is not of media’s interest and is an administrative issue. I agree. In fact, nothing that impacts us crony capitalists should be of media’s interest. What you think is the reason for me closing down my airline, my resignation from companies which were my family jewels and my current plight—just imagine. I am forced to write to you even this letter from ‘somewhere in the Mediterranean’. This has never happened since Independence.

I urge you to continue to let our ‘Swamy and friends’ unleash their tirade against Rajan. I amm sure, after a point, Rajan would decide himself not to continue here, even if you approach him with the request.

I see  signs of that’s already happening. Already some are accusing us of supporting the ouster of Rajan. They have got it correct. Once Rajan is out and someone more acceptable to you and me and, more importantly ‘ek dam fully Indian’, comes to the post of RBI governor, at that point, I promise, I will come back.

With love and respects,

(From somewhere in the Mediterranean)


From Eden to Nabanna: Minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla ‘ready’ for 2nd innings

His cricket career had its share of regrets but Laxmi Ratan Shukla wants to forget all about it as he begins a new innings, albeit on the political pitch, by becoming one of the youngest ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s newly-sworn-in cabinet.Just three weeks after his 35th birthday, the former Bengal captain Shukla, who had played 3 ODIs for India in 1999, traded his white flannels for white kurta pyjama. Shukla, who had also played for Bengal this season, announced his retirement in not so happy circumstances, having relinquished his captaincy at the start of the season. He was, in fact, playing club cricket in CAB league when Banerjee told him that he has to fight the elections from Howrah, always a tricky area.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From today, I want to forget the past. What led to my retirement and why could not play more than 3 matches for India, why I did not get a recall after 1999. I might have had some regrets on field but off it, in my second innings, I would like to start with a clean slate and make up by working for the development of people,” said Shukla.It was the hallowed turf of Eden Gardens that made Shukla a Bengal legend and as he settles down at ‘Nabanna’ (Government headquarters), Shukla is keen to do justice to the resounding mandate that people of North Howrah has given him.”It’s a different ‘pitch’ but as it has been the case with me, I am ready to slog it out. Earlier, for the cover drive, I had to ‘reach’ to the pitch of the delivery. Now I have to again ‘reach’ but it will be to the people of my constituency and the state. The people of Howrah (North) has blessed me as they had faith in Mamata Banerjee’s candidate,” Shukla told PTI while getting ready after the CM summoned a meeting of the new ministers.While the buzz is that he will be given the sports ministry, Shukla said he has not been told about the portfolio. “Didi’s (Banerjee) wish is my command. I am ready to do anything for the development of the people. You don’t get this kind of a mandate had there been no development in the state. My job is to be one of the soldiers, who will be the torch-bearer of that development,” said the former all-rounder, who scored 6217 first-class runs and took 172 wickets.At the centre, there has been instances of sportspersons getting ministerial berth during various regimes. It has not been the case in West Bengal, where professional sportspersons have been perceived as potential ministerial candidates because not many could win tough elections.Shukla’s rival was BJP’s actress-turned politician Roopa Ganguly but the former KKR and Delhi Daredevils all-rounder never had any doubts about his victory. “Self belief is something which I have always had in abundance. I had no doubts in my mind that my victory margin will be a big one,” said Shukla.

New Delhi: Pilot of air ambulance that crash-landed had 10 seconds to take final decision

The pilots of Beech King Air C-90A air ambulance had a window of just about “ten seconds” to make the decision for crash-landing the ill-fated flight after both its engine had failed.Captain Amit Kumar, the man who piloted the aircraft and whose prompt decision-making saved the lives on board and avoided casualty on the ground on Tuesday, recalling the last moments said his aim was to ensure safety of people. The air ambulance coming from Patna with a patient, who had suffered a brain stroke, and six others on board crash landed in Najafgarh area in south-west Delhi after both its engines shut down one after the other but all passengers escaped unhurt. Delhi was around 40 kms away when the first engine failed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The airplane had sufficient fuel. When the first engine collapsed, there was still possibility of making it to the airport, so we went ahead. Within another eight to ten minutes, the second engine also failed. We were around 15 km away from the airport and now we knew that we could not reach our destination,” Kumar said. “At that crucial moment, we did not have to think twice before turning right, which is towards Haryana. To our left was the crowded Najafgarh town,” he added.
ALSO READ Air ambulance crashes near Delhi, all 7 surviveThe airplane was flying at an altitude of less then 3,000 ft, for the pilots to have a closer look on the ground. However, they were in touch with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) throughout. “We had ten more seconds to go when we spotted the field (located at Kair village in Najafgarh). There were no electric poles there and the closest village was nearly 100 metres away. The decision was taken,” he said.Seconds after the touchdown, the aircraft bumped on a cemented plane in the field and its landing gear was shorn off. “My only aim was to ensure safety of the passengers and I am happy that I succeeded,” said the pilot, who has been piloting airplanes since 2011.
ALSO READ Najafgarh air ambulance crash: Pilots lauded for quick thinking which avoided civilian casualtiesThe 27-year-old six-seater aircraft had crash landed at around 2:40 PM on a field in Kair village in Najafgarh, about 10 km from the IGI Airport in New Delhi.The plane was co-piloted by Rohit Singh.
ALSO READ Delhi: Air ambulance carrying at least seven people crash lands in Najafgarh area; injured rushed to hospitalMeanwhile, a posse of police personnel remain deployed at the site on Thursday as the aircraft was inspected by multiple agencies, probing the technical causes behind the crash landing.The police have registered a case under 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC against unknown persons at Jafar Kalan Police Station in connection with the incident.61-year-old patient Virender Rai, who was being flown to Delhi, was rushed to the Medanta hospital in Gurgaon immediately after the mishap. The four other onboard included Rupesh (doctor), Jung Bahadur (aircraft technician), Juhi and Bhagwan Rai (both relatives of the patient), besides the pilot and the co-pilot.A small 20-year-old BSF plane had crashed near Dwarka in December last year in which all 10 people on board had been killled. A DGCA official said the final investigation into the matter will be conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.

Arunachal Pradesh: Jawan dies during training, Army says not a case of ‘mutiny’

Itanagar: An Army jawan died on Sunday during a routine training activity in Arunachal Pradesh, leading to an outburst where a few of the jawan’s colleagues roughed up a Captain.

Indian army soldiers march near an army base on India's Tezpur-Tawang highway, which runs to the Chinese border, in Arunachal Pradesh. File photo ReutersIndian army soldiers march near an army base on India's Tezpur-Tawang highway, which runs to the Chinese border, in Arunachal Pradesh. File photo Reuters

Representational image. Reuters.

An Army officer said that following the jawan’s death, his colleagues, who were being consoled by their adjuant (the Captain) got emotional. Agitated, the jawans got into a scuffle with their Captain.

“The jawan complained of chest pain prior to a route march and was checked by the unit medical officer who found him fit. He later collapsed during the march. He was rushed to the field ambulance where he died,” the officer said.

ANI tweeted that,

The officer further said that the incident is being investigated like all cases of death during training.

Even as the Indian Army denied that there was any case of mutiny in the infantry unit, it confirmed that an officer was injured following the scuffle.

The incident is being investigated.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Siddaramaiah will ensure he is the last Congress CM in Karnataka: BJP

Hitting out at the Congress government in Karnataka for its “failures” as it completed three years in office today, BJP said Siddaramaiah will ensure that he will be the last Congress Chief Minister in the state. Calling Siddaramaiah the captain of a “zero development” government, BJP claimed the public mood is against the Congress government which is “anti-farmer, anti-dalit and also anti-minority.” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The three-year rule of Siddaramaiah has pushed the people of the state in a misery. After looking at three-year rule it looks like Siddaramaiah will ensure that he will be the last Congress Chief Minister in the state,” BJP state President B S Yeddyurappa told reporters here. He alleged that there was no coordination within the cabinet and law and order situation has worsened. Siddaramaiah was on 13 May 2013, sworn in as 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka, marking the return of the Congress to power after more than seven years. Siddaramaiah had led the Congress battle against the then ruling BJP, winning 121 seats in the 224-member Assembly in the polls. Targeting the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues for their “inability” in handling drought situation, Yeddyurappa said “Siddaramaiah’s government could not rescue farmers’ from distress leading to 1,450 of them committing suicide.” Yeddyurappa also targeted the government for not properly utilising the relief funds given to the state by the Centre. Further criticising the Siddaramaiah government, he said “for the first time in the history of the country, a Prime Minister had meeting with the Chief Minister of the state regarding drought for more than an hour, still you did not stop speaking lightly against him.” He also alleged the Anti-Corruption Bureau was created to make Lokayukta “toothless” and “without any sanctity”.”You have destroyed it, why did you do it? What is your intention behind creating it? Is to protect yourself and your cabinet colleagues against whom there are charges,” he asked. Pointing out that the Chief Minister has lost the confidence of leaders within his party and the government, Yeddyurappa accused Siddarmaiah of “nepotism”, citing that his younger son was permitted to set up lab and diagnostic facility at government-run hospitals in alleged violation code of conduct for Ministers. Alleging that state government and Chief Minister were claiming ownership over welfare schemes which has funding from the Centre, he challenged Siddaramaiah to share the detailed figures with the people of the state. He said BJP is discussing about a programme aimed at targeting the government against its failures.

Marine engineer Santosh Bharadwaj reaches home, thanks Centre for rescue efforts

Santosh Bhardwaj, the marine engineer who was rescued after being held in captivity in Niger delta in Nigeria for over a month, on Thursday expressed gratitude towards Union Government for its efforts to rescue him from the clutches of the pirates.Bhardwaj, who reached his residence in Varanasi on Wednesday, said the pirates took away all their money and belongings.”They took over the ship, we hid but they held the ship captain hostage. Later on the pirates took all our money, and other belongings then held us captive in their hideaway. The Indian Government contributed a lot, especially External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj. The government was in constant touch with the Embassy and our company,” Bhardwaj told ANI. “The pirates basically wanted money, they then contacted the company we worked for and asked for ransom money. We were very scared at first. We didn?t know what to expect but the pirates said they wanted money, and won’t harm us,”he added.Swaraj had yesterday informed that Bhardwaj, who was kidnapped by pirates near Nigeria on March 26, has been rescued. Swaraj took to Twitter and said, “I am extremely happy to inform that Shri Santosh Bhardwaj has been rescued from pirates in Nigeria.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhardwaj, an engineer in Singapore-based shipping company Transocean Limited, was kidnapped along with four colleagues from different countries when their ship Sampatiki was at sea, around 30 nautical miles off Nigerian capital Lagos.

Not so ‘Adarsh’ now: Bureaucrats, ministers acted dishonestly, says Bombay HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court, while ordering demolition of the multi-storeyed Adarsh Housing Society, has squarely blamed its members for conspiring with politicians and bureaucrats to grab a plot “which was not in existence” in the development plan as a residential area.

It was “carved out” by eating into a road, it said.

Members of the Society happened to be close relatives of highly-placed bureaucrats and or related to politicians or ministers, said a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Rajesh Ketkar in the 223 page-judgement which became available on Monday.

On 29 April, delivering the operating part, the HC had sought criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows, was constructed illegally.

“We are more than satisfied that the allotment was not made in a transparent manner and it clearly smacks of favouritism and/or nepotism,” the judgement said.

“It cannot be disputed that bureaucrats and ministers are the custodians of government property….People repose confidence in them that the government property is safe in the hands of bureaucrats and ministers.

“Prima facie, they have dishonestly disposed of the property in violation of law,” the bench observed.

“…the bureaucrats and the ministers are guilty of various offences in acquiring the plot as also misuse and/or abuse of powers. We hereby direct the state government to consider initiating appropriate civil/criminal proceedings against the concerned bureaucrats, ministers and politicians,” the judges further said.

A file photo of Adarsh Co-op society. AFPA file photo of Adarsh Co-op society. AFP

A file photo of Adarsh Housing society. AFP

The lower courts will, however, decide the cases as per the merit and evidence, uninfluenced by HC’s observations, it added.

The judges also directed the state government and the Centre to consider departmental inquiry against the officials.

It also directed the Ministry of Defence to hold an in-depth inquiry to find out the lapses or reasons on the part of its officers for not filing a writ petition in the matter at the earliest.

The court asked the Defence Ministry to hold an inquiry to find out whether the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) between 1999 and 13 July, 2010, namely, Maj General A R Kumar, Maj General V S Yadav, Maj General T K Kaul, Maj General Tejinder Singh and Maj General R K Hooda compromised the security of CMS (Colaba Military Station) in return for allotment of flats in Adarsh.

The bench drew on the report of Justice J A Patil Commission, appointed by the state government to probe the role of senior bureaucrats and politicians including former Chief Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan, in the judgement.

On whether clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was required, the HC said that considering the object of Environment Protection Act and the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notifications of 12.11.1997, the clearance of MoEF or authorities at state level was needed.

“On 10 April, 2002, the state government reduced the width of Captain Prakash Pethe Marg from 60.97 metres to 18.40 metres. The area so deleted was included partly in residential among others (for Adarsh Society),” the judgement said.

“Without obtaining prior approval of Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), the state government could not have changed the reservation from road to residential.”

The High Court refused to accept the Society’s contention that a letter sent by MoEF to the state Urban Development Department (UDD) on 11 March, 2003, can be held as a clearance for construction from the union ministry.

The letter dated 15 March, 2003, written by P V Deshmukh, then Deputy Secretary of state UDD, to Adarsh Society stating that MoEF had given clearance for construction was “totally uncalled for” and this letter was issued a few days before Deshmukh himself applied for membership in the society, the court noted.

The adjoining BEST plot and the land on which the Adarsh building was constructed were two separate plots, hence the Society cannot use the FSI from the BEST plot, the HC said.

“Petitioners have not obtained environmental clearance either from MoEF or from state-level agency and we have held that the recommendations of MCZMA are mandatory and environmental clearance is also necessary,” HC said.

“We have come across cases where people by using money or muscle power as also political influence try to secure allotment of land. This case goes one step further,” the court observed.

Regarding reduction of the width of Prakash Pethe Marg, the bench referred to Patil Commission’s finding that it was not at all in public interest and was meant only to serve the interests of the private Society (Adarsh).

Considerations of traffic congestion and security operations of Army during emergency were totally ignored, the HC said citing the report.

“Ultimately, the Commission findings said that the reduction of the proposed width and change of reservation from road to residential in respect of Capt Prakash Pethe Marg was not in accordance with the provisions of MRTP Act (Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act) and it was illegal and mala fide,” the judges said.

“…no notice was given (as per the Act) to the Minister of Defence which is an affected party by the said modification (in Development Plan) pertaining to reduction in the width,” the HC noted.

dna Morning Must Reads: Why Uttarakhand is prone to forest fires; Rising Pune Supergiants losing Steve Smith to injury; and more

Uttarakhand loses 1,900 hectares of forests to fire; role of timber mafia being investigatedWhy is the hill-state of Uttarakhand so prone to forest fires? In the last one month itself, the state has seen 1,233 incidents of forest fires. Read more here <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmiri separatist leaders are Indian citizens, can meet representatives of any country, says govtThe government has said just like other citizens of India, Hurriyat leaders are also not barred from meeting representatives of other countries. However, it clarified that there would be no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between the two countries. Read more hereIPL 2016: Massive blow for Rising Pune Supergiants again, Steve Smith heads home with wrist injuryAustralia cricket captain Steve Smith has pulled out of the Indian Premier League to head home for treatment on a wrist injury. It is another big blow to MS Dhoni led Rising Pune Supergiants. Read more here ‘Steady economic growth has failed to revive jobs in India’Notwithstanding the Indian economy’s steady growth, sectors such as telecom, engineering and electronics have witnessed a decline in employment rate over the last four years, says a report. Read more hereGame of Thrones: Four theories about Melisandre’s reveal in episode oneThe first episode of Game of Thrones season six sent fans into a tizzy after it ended with a huge reveal about Melisandre. Read more here

Oil tanker returning to Libya after U.N. blacklisting – rival NOC | Reuters

LONDON An Indian-flagged oil tanker is returning to Libya, the North African country’s rival oil corporation said on Thursday, after its failed first attempt to export crude oil led to the ship being blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council.

The Distya Ameya tanker is heading to the western Libyan port of Zawiya, said Nagi al-Maghrabi, chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) set up by Libya’s rival eastern government in parallel to the Tripoli-based NOC. The Tripoli NOC is recognised internationally as the legitimate seller of Libyan oil.

Magrabi told Reuters he would continue to fight for the right of the eastern NOC to export crude, describing the situation as “a legal issue and we will work on it.”

The Tripoli NOC and its international backers say that if the eastern government succeeds in its long-held aim of selling oil independently, it would undermine a U.N.-backed unity government that arrived in Tripoli last month and put the political and economic future of Libya at risk.

The U.N. Security Council Libya sanctions committee blacklisted the Distya Ameya on Wednesday after receiving a request from the Libyan U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi. This requires states to ban it from entering any port.

The ship left Libya’s Marsa el-Hariga port late on Monday carrying 650,000 barrels of crude and was currently near Malta. A source close to the situation said the cargo was to be offloaded at Zawiya and processed for use within the country.

Deepak Shetty, director general of shipping with India’s Ministry of Shipping, said he had told the vessel’s operator and the charterer to instruct the captain not to discharge the cargo “at all, anywhere.”

“They will follow the U.N. guidance which will come to them through us,” Shetty said. “They are now staying put … no oil will be discharged even if the charterer wants them to. They will wait for the U.N. to tell us where the vessel will have to go.”

However, the U.N. spokesman’s office in New York said the U.N. Libya mission was not involved in the issue at all.

Under U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted since 2014 on the illicit export of Libyan oil, it is up to states – not the United Nations – to direct designated vessels “to take appropriate actions to return the crude oil, with the consent of and in coordination with the Government of Libya, to Libya.”

(Additional reporting by Nidhi Verma in NEW DELHI, Libby George in London, Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau at the UNITED NATIONS and Aidan Lewis, writing by Jonathan Saul and Michelle Nichols, editing by Dale Hudson and Marguerita Choy)

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

In Parliament Today: Rajya Sabha MPs demand law to make celebrities endorsing ads liable

MPs from Congress and Samajwadi Party (SP) in Rajya Sabha on Thursday demanded enacting a law to make celebrities liable for the products they endorse in a bid to ensure consumers are not misguided.SP member Naresh Agarwal raised the issue during Zero Hour saying that a new fashion of becoming brand ambassadors has emerged and there were filmstars, sports personalities or religious figures who endorsed products which people buy believing them. He said Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had to face the opposition of people in Noida for endorsing a real estate company.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Actor Salman Khan too endorsed a medical product, Agrawal said, after which SP member Jaya Bachchan suggested that Agrawal should not get “filmy”. Continuing further, Agrawal said that in other countries, there are laws which make celebrities endorsing a product, which fails to make up to the standards projected, liable.There is a need for strong law in India too so that people are not cheated, he said. He noted that a Parliamentary Committee has submitted a report in this regard and it should be considered by the government.Later, Shantaram Naik of Congress raised the issue, pressing for a legislation to protect the interests of the consumers. Naik said there is a need to ensure that consumers are protected from being “misguided by celebrity endorsements of consumer products”.Earlier this week, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended stringent provisions including jail term up to five years and hefty penalty of up to 50 lakh in order to protect consumer interest in a bid to make celebrities accountable for misleading ads.Discussion on fire safety arrangements in buildingsAnother demand made in the Zero Hour, which found support of members from all sides, was to issue strict instructions to CPWD and other agencies incharge of buildings to put in place appropriate fire safety arrangements and remove encroachments to prevent accidents.The issue was raised by Shiv Sena member Anil Desai in the context of the recent blaze which gutted the National Museum of Natural History in Delhi. He said people across the world take care of their museums and there are adequate fire fighting systems.”Why was there no fool-proof fire safety arrangement,” Desai asked while raising questions about the responsibility of the Director of the museum and the concerned ministry. He urged the government to take appropriate steps in this regard after which Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said all members associate with this demand.Raising the Odd-Even policy, Congress member Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu said it was creating a divide between the “haves and have-nots”, claiming that such experiments in Latin America and China were not successful. He said Delhi Government was behaving like an “emperor” and not concerned about the condition of the people especially those belonging to poor and middle class.JMM member Sanjiv Kumar raised the issue of land aquisition and problems of displaced people especially in Jharkhand, while Congress member Sanjay Kumar Singh said clear instructions should be given to include members of ‘gadariya’ (shepherd) community in the Scheduled Castes list.

ICC blasts Windies for World T20 outburst over pay | Reuters

MELBOURNE The International Cricket Council has criticised West Indies for using their victory speech at the World Twenty20 tournament to complain about their cricket board after a long drawn-out pay dispute.

During the televised broadcast, West Indies captain Darren Sammy referred to the dispute which saw the team threaten to withdraw from the tournament in India before a last-minute deal was brokered with the board.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo later criticised the West Indies Cricket Board in an interview with a local broadcaster.

The ICC said in a media release that the players comments had “inappropriate”.

“The (ICC) Board considered the behaviour of some of the West Indies players in the immediate aftermath of the final, and unanimously agreed that certain comments and actions were inappropriate, disrespectful and brought the event into disrepute,” the ICC said.

“The Board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final.”

The ICC added that “serious consideration” had been given to bringing code of conduct charges against the players.

After West Indies’ four-wicket win over England in Kolkata, skipper Sammy said in an interview: “People were wondering whether we would play this tournament.

“We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board … I’m yet to hear from (them). That is very disappointing.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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

CSE Chief Sunita Narain hits out at Richard Verma for ‘leaving’ her out of Time’s Influential List congratulatory message

The CSE chief and environmentalist Sunita Narain, who was listed among six other Indians in the Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people, called out on the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma when he did not include her in the congratulatory message.Richard Verma on Friday posted a tweet congratulating six of the seven Indians on the Times list including RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, tennis player Sania Mirza, Microsoft CEO Sundar Pichai, actress Priyanka Chopra and Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. However, the situation soon became uncomfortable when the seventh person named on the list, Sunita Narain asked Verma if he had left her out of the message due to her critical views against the US government on climate change.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Verma tweeted:Sunita Narain replied to Verma’s post with a tweet:The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) in a report titled ‘Captain America’ had taken a critical stance against the US government and its consumerist tendencies.Verma soon replied to Narain’s post saying that his post did not intend to contain the complete list. He tweeted:

Jet did the right thing by deplaning Kanhaiya and assailant: Here’s why

One of the senior editors wrote to me a while back to say that old Kanhaiya Kumar of JNU was dead in the water and not getting any traction. Since he is my pet peeve (KK not the editor), I was disappointed that the story was dying and the public was switching off.

Now that Kanhaiya has found the fountain of wealth (youth he already has), he is jetting around the country. He is on the lecture circuit largely to badmouth Modi (which can get a bit boring) and sneer at the government (which can get even more boring when all you do is attack with a rare viciousness) but is not getting the attention he believes he deserves. In such a case there is nothing like a little bit of controversy to whip up some excitement.

Since I was not on the aircraft where he alleges he was nearly strangled but have been writing on aviation safety for thirty three years and have lectured round the world and spent time at Boeing and Airbus, let me tell you this KK.

Maybe you were assaulted by this Manas Deka guy. But when you go around having vituperative outbursts on the mike and being petty in that the comments on the IPL and linking it to the drought were pointless since the courts have already issued marching orders, you will make enemies. You have become mean and cheap and tacky and your speeches are now demagoguery at best. And when all you do is underscore problems and not offer a scintilla of solution then you have great nuisance value but that is it.

A file photo of Kanhaiya KumarA file photo of Kanhaiya Kumar

A file photo of Kanhaiya Kumar

So stop whining. Sir, hostility goes with the territory when you set the pace.

Also, Jet Airways is not at fault. You must have also raised your voice, shouted in alarm, yelled for help (assuming, of course, that your version is true) as you were being strangled and wrestled to get out of the death hold. Now, you cannot expect the captain and crew to play judge and jury. There are 150 odd passengers on the plane and safety is a perquisite, safety of the plane and the manifest. The captain must decide for the greater good.

The captain did not throw out Manas Deka and Kanhaiya Kumar. He did not say, oh that JNU troublemaker, chance to fix him.

He saw two people fighting and he said, okay, get off my plane, call the cops, let them figure it out.

So do not flatter yourself.

No pilot in this day and age is going to tolerate an on-board physical scuffle.The sabotage Convention or the Montreal Convention is a multi-lateral agreement calling for severe action against those who disturb flight. Clause one states: Committing an act of violence against a person on board an aircraft in flight if it is likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft. This is a criminal offense.

If you were being murdered old son make a complaint to that effect. Strangling is pretty serious stuff. Have the fellow arrested. He is a criminal.

Accuse Deka of trying to kill you. Show the medical report indicating the lesions on you neck. Take legal recourse. You have the right. This is your life.

But no one sees you doing that. File the FIR. Instead you are attacking the airline, for doing the right thing.

Which means you are using the incident to create a little bit of instant martyrdom and attract some attention.

Maybe the senior editor of Firstpost is right. You are just yesterday’s people.

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