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Emotional Sasikala takes charge as AIADMK Gen Secy, says she’ll sacrifice life for party & people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VK Sasikala Natarajan, 54, a close aide of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, took charge as General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Saturday at the party’s headquarters in Chennai.AIADMK party members had in a unanimous resolution adopted at the party’s general council meeting earlier this week, appointed Sasikala to the post.Chinnamma addressed AIADMK cadres at the party Head Quarters. She began by thanking her supporters for choosing her to be the next General Secretaryafter Jayalalithaa’s death.Breaking down with tears, she said that the despite Jayalalithaa’s demise party under her leadership will continue to rule the state. “Amma is not with us now but our party will rule here for the next 100 years,” she said.Sasikala said that she had dedicated her life to serving Jayalalithaa. “For Amma party was life and for me Amma is my life.We have tried our best to safeguard Amma; but unfortunately she passed away.”She reminded party workers to be loyal and committed towards the party to fulfil Jayalalithaa’s dream for the state. “Amma always expected loyalty and true work from all cadre and functionaries. I will sacrifice my life for my party and the crores of people. Amma’s dream will continue for Tamil Nadu,” she said. “This government is people’s government. We will follow the path shown by our Amma. If we stand united, future is ours,” she said. “In those days Indira Gandhi was the only woman leader in politics but Amma broke the tradition and made history,” said Sasikala about Jayalalithaa’s ascension to power as a woman. Sasikala also promised grand celebrations for entire year in 2017 for the centenary of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran. “Centenary of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran will be celebrated in a grand manner throughout the year,” said the new AIADMK General SecretaryAhead of taking charge, Sasikala paid tribute to Jayalalithaa.The AIADMK in its general body meeting passed a resolution to work under the leadership of Sasikala on Friday. The resolution was accepted by Sasikala, the confirmation of which was posted on the party’s Twitter handle. The close aide of late Jayalalithaa first garlanded the statue of party founder MG Ramachandran at the AIADMK headquarters after she arrived in the midst of tight security. She then proceeded to pay floral tributes to the portrait of Jayalalithaa. Sasikala formally assumed charge by signing papers after which she addressed the gathering outside.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam handed over a copy of the resolution to Sasikala.En route to the party office, she was given a rousing welcome by party leaders, functionaries and cadres who had gathered in large numbers. Party activists had lined up on both sides of the road from the Poes Garden residence to the party headquarters at Royapettah to welcome her.Sasikala, clad in a light green saree with a pink border, greeted them with folded hands. Party flags, banners and festoons sporting bright images of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were put up on roads, all along from Poes garden to Royapettah. Banners and hoardings hailed Sasikala as Chinnamma everywhere.After Jayalalithaa died, the party had announced that Natarajan would replace her as the chief of her party even though she is not technically qualified. The general secretary has to have completed five years as an active member. Jayalalithaa who passed away on December 5 evening after suffering cardiac arrest was the party’s general secretary from 1989 to 2016. With PTI/ANI inputs.

‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala to formally take over as AIADMK chief on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VK Sasikala, who was appointed to the top post in the AIADMK on Thursday, will formally take charge as its general secretary here on Saturday, the party has said.The AIADMK headquarters at Royapettah here is being spruced up for the occasion with a dais being set up near the MGR statue to facilitate Sasikala to pay tributes to the party founder before taking charge.In keeping with the Dravidian political ethos of paying tributes at memorials of leaders before key events, Sasikala placed a wreath and paid floral tributes to Jayalalithaa at her burial site in the MGR Memorial at Marina beach this evening.She also laid wreaths and paid floral tributes at the memorials of MG Ramachandran and Dravidian ideologue and former Tamil Nadu chief minister CN Annadurai.Amid chants of “compassionate mother Chinnamma” by her partymen, Sasikala showered flower petals on Jayalalithaa’s burial site.With moist eyes, she placed a copy of the party resolution appointing her as the AIADMK general secretary at the burial site.After silently praying for a while, she went around the site during which she paused and touched it twice as a mark of respect.On her arrival at the MGR Memorial, Sasikala was received by AIADMK presidium chairman E Madusudanan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and senior party leader M Thambidurai and state ministers, including Dindigul C Srinivasan and Edappadi K Palanisami.They accompanied her as she paid her respects to the late leaders.Party MPs, MLAs former ministers and legislators were also present on the occasion even as a large number of AIADMK cadre thronged the place.Earlier, former Puducherry chief minister and chief of the All India NR Congress (AINRC) N Rangaswamy met Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence and congratulated her on being appointed as the AIADMK chief.

RSS pays for 6.5 lakh pants via cheque

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cashless? No problem. That’s the attitude the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) exuded as it settled the bill for an order of 6.5 lakh pants entirely in cheque. Not only that, the resulting Rs 19 lakh due in sales tax was all settled in cheque by the Sangh, sending a firm message to black money hoarders and demonetization doubters, that going cashless was not really a problem.“The RSS does not go in for any transaction other than the regular day-to-day expenditure of the Pracharaks so we faced no problem after the decision to demonetize old currency was announced,” said RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya.Vaidya also stated that training exercises were also underway for the cadre and senior pracharaks to help them better understand how to conduct digital transactions. He also pointed out that RSS Pracharaks or offices handle very little cash which is why the Sangh was not much affected with the decision to demonetize currency.The 6.5 lakh pants were ordered over four months ago, when the Sangh had taken the momentous decision to shed their shorts for khakhi brown full pants. More than four months ago in July 2016, the RSS gave orders to 3-4 mills from Bhilwada to make 13 lakh meters of cloth. Vaidya revealed that while the RSS had sent three lakh meters of cloth outside Maharashtra so that the pants would be stitched at respective places, the RSS on its own had used the remaining cloth to make 6.5 lakh full pants which were stitched by giving the orders to the tailors.As a result of this, the RSS were able to conduct the Vijayadashami Sanchalan or march in Dussehra in October this year, in their changed attire of full pants, instead of the traditional half pants.Apart from the RSS, Vaidya said that he believed that demonetization was for the good of the people and generally it was being seen as a positive move. “I have been getting feedback from a cross section of society which says that they are happy about the decision to demonetize currency.”

Centre wants states to nominate more women, SC, STs for central deputation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has asked state governments to nominate more women and SC and ST officers for central deputation under the Central Staffing Scheme for 2017 with an aim to provide them adequate representation. In a letter to chief secretaries of the states, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said movement of officers from states to the Centre and back is crucial for building capabilities at the state-level and contributing towards developing national perspectives at the decision- making levels in the government.”It would, therefore, be appropriate if a conscious attempt is made to forward the names of officers for deputation under the Government of India in such a manner that every eligible officer has an opportunity to serve at the Centre at least once at the middle management level,” it said.It further stated that there was a general shortage of IAS officers at Deputy Secretary or Director level and the state may like to recommend a sufficiently large number of officers for appointment to posts at these positions at the Centre at least in proportion to actual strength so as to share the shortage appropriately between the Centre and the states.Asking the state governments to pay particular attention while recommending the names of officers under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS), the DoPT said, “Sufficient names of women, SC and ST officers may be sponsored so that adequate representation can be provided to them on posts under the CSS.” It asked the state governments to ensure that an officer once placed on the offer list for central deputation continues to be available for consideration throughout the year.It said that very often the Cadre Controlling Authorities CCAs withdraw the names of officers at later stage which results in undue delay in placement of officers. An officer being nominated should be willing to serve anywhere in India and his preference, if any, be explicitly indicated. The names of officers, who have been debarred from being taken on central deputation, should not be considered and those whose names have been offered should have completed the necessary “cooling off”. The names has to be sent by January 31, 2017.

Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh to contest 40 seats in Punjab polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), led by Prakash Ambedkar, which has only one legislator in Maharashtra, has decided to contest 40 seats in the upcoming Punjab assembly polls.The party has no presence outside Akola and Washim district in Vidarbha region of the state.Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, father of the Indian constitution.”In Punjab, Dalit community is prevalent in almost each assembly constituency and are 32% of the total population. To rope in these voters, BBM has decided to contest 40 seats out of total 117 seats,” Ambedkar said.”The Republican Party of India (RPI) has no presence in Punjab. Earlier, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party had a hold in a few pockets, but has lost supporters in the last few years. Which is why I think that BBM has strong chances of opening its account in the state,” he added.A team of 40 retired bureaucrats from the Punjab cadre will do the leg work for Ambedkar in Punjab.”Today, I held a meeting of these retired IAS officers who had expressed their desire to join politics directly or indirectly. They will handle rallies and campaign in the state in our support,” Ambedkar, who is on a tour of Punjab from the last Wednesday said and added that the process to select candidates will begin very soon.BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance is currently in power in Punjab.A party leader said that Aam Aadami Party has expressed its desire to tie up with the BBM for the assembly polls. However Ambedkar said he has not received any official communication from AAP as yet. BBM’s lone legislator Baliram Siraskar won the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls from Akola constituency.The party has a complete hold over Akola Zilla Parishad, and 5 Panchayat Samitis from the same district. Party’s Nafisa Shaikh won president’s post of Buldhana Municipal Council in recently concluded civic polls.Punjab government’s Assembly tenure will end in March 2017.

CISF to get 37,000 more troops to boost airport, metro security

New Delhi: Augmenting the manpower of CISF guarding critical infrastructure like airports and
assets in the nuclear domain, the government has sanctioned raising the strength of the force with 37,000 more troops in order to bolster security at these facilities.

A CISF personnel. Reuters.A CISF personnel. Reuters.

A CISF personnel. Reuters.

The force has been seeking enhancement of its manpower, from the existing 1.45 lakh, for quite some time now as it is being increasingly entrusted with security duties like with the expansion of the Delhi Metro network in the national capital and transfer of more civil airports and private sector units under its cover.

The Union home ministry recently approved raising the strength of the force to 1.80 lakh, by having 35,000 more
personnel, with sanctions to raise two more battalions (about 2,000 personnel) once the new strength is achieved fully in about two years time.

“This has come as a shot in the arm for us. Our tasks are increasing gradually and the enhancement in our strength will act as a great boon to ensure better operational preparedness, faster promotions and effective supervisory control,” CISF Director General OP Singh told PTI while confirming the development.

He added the force will soon begin recruitments to fill up these sanctioned numbers.

“We are also going for a full cadre review of the force. The new strength will also help in undertaking a better
organisation of posts and services,” the DG said.

Central Industrial Security Force officials said that with the government making clear its intention of entrusting more and more civil airports to it and an increasing task in the domain of VVIP security, the force required more numbers.

While the CISF guards 59 civil airports in the country as of now, it also has an elite VVIP security wing under its command called the Special Security Group (SSG).

At least 3,000 personnel, they said, are only required to cater to the security needs of the transport lifeline of the national capital, the Delhi Metro, which is not only expanding its network but is also witnessing an increasing passenger load from the current about 27 lakh commuters per day.

Some manpower is also required to beef up security at sensitive aerospace and nuclear installations in the country and the new manpower when raised, will also be sent to these locations.

After it was tasked to secure vital infrastructure in the private domain post the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the
forces’ role in this domain is also increasing with eight facilities already under it command and manpower for the ninth is set to be deployed soon.

Early this year, the government had ordered deployment of about 35 CISF personnel to guard Baba Ramdev‘s Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Private Limited in Haridwar.

The other seven private sector units being guarded by CISF are: Electronics City in Bengaluru and Infosys campuses in Bengaluru, Mysore and Pune, Reliance Refinery and Petrochemicals in Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd project executed by the Tata group in Mundra and the Tata Steel project based in Odisha’s Kalinganagar.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 22:27 IST

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung submits his resignation, Kejriwal ‘surprised’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Najeeb Jung, the 20th Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, stepped down from his position on Thursday. He was appointed to the post of Lt. Governor in 2013, replacing Tajender Khanna, another IAS officer. He was the Vice chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia University from 2009-2013. The Lt Governor’s officer has confirmed that after demitting​ office he will return to his first love “academics”.Taking to Twitter on Jung’s resignation, CM Kejriwal said, “Sh Jung’s resignation is a surprise to me. My best wishes in all his future endeavours.”Jung, in an official statement issued, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his cooperation during his tenure as the LG of Delhi. The exact reason behind his reasons, however, behind his resignation is yet to be known. Jung had been constantly in news for the past two years for his confrontation with the AAP’s Delhi Government and CM Arvind Kejriwal. According to India Today report, Kejriwal spoke to Jung to enquire about his resignation and Jung cited personal reasons. Speaking to the channel, Jung said, “I believe I have served Delhi & have done my job, want to spend more time with my family. I have a house in Goa also where I intend to move.”He also added that he wasn’t in the race for next Vice President. “I also intend to spend time in academic works & writing. I’m looking at universities in both America & Singapore,” he added.Union Home Secretary said that he had met Jung day before and there was no inkling of it, he said he was not aware of his resignation.Jung also thanked the people of Delhi for their support and affection, especially during the one year’s President Rule in Delhi, when received unstinted support from the people of the national capital, which in turn helped run the administration in Delhi smoothly and effortlessly. He has thanked Arvind Kejriwal “for his association in the last two years”. He had joined Indian Administrative Service in Madhya Pradesh cadre in 1973. He later served as the Joint Secretary to Government of India in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from 1994 onwards, and resigned in 1999.This is a developing story.(With inputs from Mohit Sharma)

Rajiv Jain to be new IB chief, Anil Dhasmana to head RAW

New Delhi: Jharkhand cadre IPS officer Rajiv Jain was on Saturday appointed as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) while Anil Dhasmana will head external intelligence agency RAW.

Both the officers will have a tenure of two years.

Intelligence Bureau logo. IBNLiveIntelligence Bureau logo. IBNLive

Intelligence Bureau logo. IBNLive

Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on 1 January after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on 31 December.

A recipient of President’s Police Medal, the 1980-batch officer has served in various departments of the IB including the sensitive Kashmir desk.

He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir KC Pant when talks were held with
separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah.

In another appointment, Anil Dhasmana will take over the reins of the Research and Analysis Wing, an organisation which looks after the external intelligence of the country.

He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his tenure this year end.

Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 22:35 IST

Rajiv Jain appointed as new IB chief, Anil Dhasmana to head RAW

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand cadre IPS officer Rajiv Jain was on Saturday appointed as the new chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB) while Anil Dhasmana will head external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).Both the officers will have a tenure of two years. Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on January 1 after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on December 31. A recipient of President’s Police Medal, the 1980-batch officer has served in various departments of the IB including the sensitive Kashmir desk.He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant when talks were held with separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah. In another appointment, Anil Dhasmana will take over the reins of the Research and Analysis Wing, an organisation which looks after the external intelligence of the country. He succeeds Rajinder Khanna who completes his tenure this year end. Dhasmana, a 1981-batch officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been with RAW for the last 23 years during which he has served on important desks including Pakistan.

BJP leaders arrested forts against fatwa by Muslim cleric

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Protesting against the ‘fatwa’ issued by Imam of Tipu Sultan Masjid Syed Md Nurur Rahman Barkati, state BJP leaders had organised a protest rally from party state headquarters at 6 Muralidhar Sen Lane in north Kolkata to Tipu Sultan Masjid in Esplanade area of Central Kolkata but police stopped protestors near their party office itself.There had been a huge police posting since morning near the BJP office and the entire proposed length of the rally. Protestors tried to break police barricade and a scuffle between them and police officials followed. When BJP workers tried to put up a blockade on the second lane of CR Avenue where they were stopped, police opened a lathi charge to disperse protestors.As many as 48 BJP supporters including party MLA Swadhin Sarkar and senior state party leaders such as Krishna Bhattacharya, Locket Chatterjee and Amitava Roy were arrested. An effigy of Barkati was also burnt.”Police are acting as the cadre of TMC. On the behest of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, police had hit our people who were protesting peacefully. We will fight it to the finish,” Chatterjee said as she was taken to the prison van.State BJP vice president Jayprakash Majumder said, “Mamata is the Chief Minister of a state which comprises 72 per cent Hindus and yet it is sad to see that she has to take refuge behind a Muslim cleric.”Later at a press conference, party state president Dilip Ghosh said that what police had done was undemocratic. “Section 144 has been imposed at the Reserve Bank of India area and TMC leaders have been protesting there for the last two days. No police action has been taken there. Our supporters had taken out a peaceful rally police rained sticks on them injuring at least eight who had been sent to the hospital. It is highly undemocratic,” Ghosh said.Coming down on Mamata he said, “She is the Chief Minister of West Bengal but it seems Barkati is calling the shots. What authority does he have to issue a ‘fatwa’ against me?”On December 12, Barkati had said that he had issued a fatwa according to which stones should be pelted at Ghosh wherever he is sighted and that he should be thrown out of Bengal.It was found out that state BJP would put up protest demonstrations across the state till December 21 when it culminate into a bigger protest movement. “On December 21 we will put up sit in demonstrations in front of all district magistrate and superintendent of police’s offices across the state,” he said.

Bureaucrats provoked by PMO, LG to revolt against Delhi govt: CM Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that IAS officers in the city were being “threatened” and “provoked” by PMO and Lt Governor to revolt against him, even as he asked the bureaucrats to “fall in line”.He told a press conference that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was using Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and the bureaucrats as “pawns” to take revenge against the AAP government. The AAP leader also took on the IAS Officers Association, which had recently passed a resolution against “misbehaviour” by political executives in the Delhi government, saying “it has turned into a forum that only shields the corrupt and the inefficient.” “They (IAS officers) are being threatened with ACB, police and CBI. They are being provoked to revolt against me. I know who all are taking money. IAS officers are being forced to meet and speak out against the Delhi government. LG is getting it done on the prodding of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” he said. When asked what action he would take against the ‘erring’ officers, Kejriwal said they will “fall in line” once the Supreme Court gives power to the elected government or the Anti-Corruption Branch comes under its jurisdiction.The Aam Aadmi Party chief accused the Prime Minister of shooting off from the shoulders of the LG and the bureaucrats, saying, “Modiji does not do politics directly”.Accusing the Health Secretary of not showing up during a recent inspection in LNJP hospital despite the orders, Kejriwal said strong action should be taken against him, so that no officer shows such “insensitivity” in the future.The IAS association has put a blot on the entire IAS service by shielding corrupt and inefficient officers. Have they ever discussed the hurdles put up by the LG on mohalla clinics or unorganised colonies? Have they discussed any issue concerning public interest? “They have nothing to do with the public. They are content with their cars and bungalows. When I had joined the service, it was about serving the country. Stealing and defending it audaciously won’t be tolerated,” Kejriwal, a former IRS officer, said.The AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa- Mizoram and Union Territory)-cadre IAS Officers Association and DANICS Officers Association had jointly passed a resolution on December 13 against “misbehaviour” by political executives in the Delhi government.

Cyclone Vardah: O Panneerselvam survives the storm with the right political optics

In his first week as third time chief minister, O Panneerselvam has impressed. It helped that expectations from him were very low. For a government known for its opacity, the fact that the AIADMK dispensation found a voice and communicated effectively in the run-up to Cyclone Vardah and through it, was commendable. All forms of social media were extensively used to ensure the messaging reached far and wide.

Once it was clear that the cyclone was headed towards north of Chennai and not between Kakinada and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh as it was initially predicted, work on warning people began 24 hours before 12 December. The first advisory asked people to stay indoors. Experience in other cities like Hyderabad during the 2016 floods and Visakhapatnam during the 2014 ‘Cyclone Hudhud’ has shown human misery can be minimised to a great extent by ensuring citizens did not venture outdoors. It was also ensured that those living in the low-lying areas were moved to safer locations and vigil posted on the Marina to keep an eye on any fishermen who tried to venture into the sea.

Area-wise groups were created on Whatsapp by the Chennai police, the city corporation and even some MLAs to disseminate information on real time basis. The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority used its Twitter handle to keep a two-way communication going, informing people about the movement of Cyclone Vardah and asking people to send information about blockades and uprooting of trees in their areas. Electricity minister Thangamani was giving updates on when power will be restored in Chennai. Amma Canteens were kept open to serve food, free of cost.

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTIFile image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

File image of O Panneerselvam. PTI

The Tamil Nadu Public Relations department also was putting out information about what its ministers and bureaucrats were doing to tackle the devastation caused by the cyclone. Photographs of Panneerselvam at review meetings and distributing relief material were shared. As did the AIADMK twitter handle, which focused on reaching out to people in distress rather than scoring political brownie points.

Disaster management expert WG Prasanna Kumar says the government’s response was effective. “Northeast monsoon increasingly throws these challenges. Regular preparatory drill is a must. Chennai, in the long run, needs effective community-based disaster risk reduction management system where local communities along with local bodies should be able to alert and support each other,” says Prasanna Kumar.

Contrast this with December last year, when Jayalalithaa was at the helm of affairs. Barring the Chennai municipal commissioner who was drafted to be the face of the government and defend it, the political administration was clueless and completely absent. AIADMK spokespersons tried every trick in the book to ensure the buck did not stop with Poes Garden, even suggesting that it was because of Amma that Chennai was not devastated.

The distribution of relief material was largely a private affair, with several citizens including film stars, pitching in as volunteers. But overenthusiastic AIADMK cadre stopped several vehicles carrying relief material and allegedly pasted photographs of Jayalalithaa on the packets containing food, water, medicines, blankets and so on. That left a bad taste in the mouth.

AIADMK paid the price for this crass behaviour. In several localities of Chennai, the anger against the AIADMK representatives was so much they many were booed away after they made an appearance after the waters had receded. The people of Chennai showed their anger on the EVM in May this year, when 10 of the 16 AIADMK candidates in the Chennai constituencies lost.

But it is not as if the response to Cyclone Vardah was perfect. The AIADMK leadership was still in mourning after former chief minister Jayalalithaa’s demise on 5 December. And till Saturday, it was obsessed more with requesting Sasikala to take over the reins of the party as the next general secretary.

Chennai-based social activist Chandramohan points out that the city would not have lost more than 500 trees if the Corporation had planned for a stormy and wet December. “Common sense would suggest that when a cyclone approaches with over 100 kilometres per hour speed, the best way to deal with it is by trimming as many trees as you can so they do not get uprooted in the manner so many have in Chennai,” says Chandramohan.

Given that the cyclones frequently ravage the Andhra and Tamil Nadu coast, Vishakhapatnam and its experience with Cyclone Hudhud should be a template. A centralised control room that branches out to disseminate information to people, media and other agencies is critical to keep losses to the minimum. It will take several years for Chennai to replace the kind of green cover it has lost to Cyclone Vardah. Fortunately, human loss was kept low, unlike last December, when over 500 people were killed.

The sight of Chennai airport going under water each time the city faces rain fury is terrible advertisement for a metropolis. It urgently needs to ensure against flooding of the runway so that unless visibility is very low, the airport can still be operational. Last December saw Chennai airport cut off for close to a week, this year, the closure will be for a shorter period.

Chennai on Tuesday morning is picking up the pieces. It is a city ravaged with streets lined with uprooted trees, smashed cars, broken windowpanes and blown away hoardings. Life will return to normal soon but hopefully it has learnt its lessons and will better its response the next time a system in the Indian Ocean decides to test it.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 12:31 IST

AIADMK senior functionaries urge Sasikala to lead the party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AIADMK on Saturday rejected reports of rift in the party and jockeying for the top post of General Secretary held by Jayalalithaa and said election will take place soon to choose her successor, amid speculation that Sasikala is the frontrunner.AIADMK Organisational Secretary C Ponnaiyan also strongly defended Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, saying there is nothing wrong in its leaders, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, calling on her as she is a key member. “The party high command has taken a decision to elect a General Secretary and the election will happen soon,” he told reporters.The AIADMK twitter handle also issued a statement in favour of Sasikala.To a question related to state ministers’ recent meetings with Sasikala, he said, “Even if somebody (belonging to the party) met Sasikala Amma, what is wrong in it? Is she not an important member of the party? What you say is wrong.” Asked about reported competition for the post of General Secretary, Ponnaiyan said he had already clarified that such reports are just rumours.”There is no such thing like competition or problems…. There is nothing like this or that person competing (for the top post),” he said, adding AIADMK was a united party which has been built like a fortress by ‘Amma’.On a query about the role of Sasikala’s husband Natarajan and other family members in the party, he said “this is an unnecessary question. The party is led and guarded by over 1.5 crore members.”Drawing a distinction between government-led by AIADMK and the party organisation, he said at the party headquarters here that while the government was led by O Panneerselvam, the party was steered by elected bodies.”AIADMK is steered by party bodies, including general and executive committees and functionaries at multiple levels and Sasikala is a key member,” Ponnaiyan, who is also the party spokesperson, said.”Sasikala Amma lived with Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’s (revolutionary leader Jayalalithaa’s) last breath. Such questions are unnecessary.”Asked who the chief minister, ministers and other top officials are consulting by visiting the Poes Garden residence of the departed AIADMK supremo and if it is Sasikala, he said, “they are having a meeting with the Chief Minister there.” “It (Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden) is Amma’s house where Amma’s portrait is there…. We are in mourning and it is still not over. They are going there (also) to pay homage. It is not good to invent imaginative reasons for everything.”The party will soon elect a General Secretary who will guard the party and cadres, who follow the footsteps of Amma with godly devotion, and Tamil Nadu people,” he added.On the reported anger among some cadres against Sasikala as access was not provided to anyone to visit Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation, he said, “It is a planned rumour and spread wantonly… blaming this or that person is a deliberate rumour.” Ponnaiyan alleged some people were propagating several “rumours” and “falsehoods” through a section of the media about who will be the next General Secretary of the party.”News being spread that this or that person may become the General Secretary are all only rumours. There is no truth in it,” he said, adding there is no “jealousy” or “competition” in AIADMK, which is like a fortress and stayed united.Ponnaiyan said AIADMK is an ideological fort with a boundless sense of unity and there was no room for questions like which person would be the General Secretary. “Only rumours are being spread and I am making this clear to you,” he said.He said though Jayalalithaa was no more, “Amma (mother, as she was fondly referred to by party cadres) continued to live as God” for them.She had built the AIADMK as a “big banyan tree” infusing discipline and a sense of unity, he said.Asked if there was a void in AIADMK in view of Jayalalithaa’s demise, he said “till such time the ‘atma’ (soul) of MGR and that of Puratchi Thalaivi guard this party, there is no scope for saying that there is a void.” On the claim that the absence of a second rung leadership was responsible for the present void, he said, “why should you imagine this? There is no such thing like an atmosphere of void.”In this party, each and every cadre is a leader. Amma made ordinary workers as MLAs and Ministers. This is a party of workers, built by them and this is the philosophy of Amma and that is being followed.”

Why was senior-most officer RK Dutta shifted out of CBI: SC asks Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response on a plea challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI after allegedly shifting out a senior officer who was supervising high profile cases of 2G spectrum and coal scams, by curtailing his tenure.”Why was senior-most officer R K Dutta, supervising high profile 2G and coal scam cases, shifted out of agency without the nod of this court,” a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman said while issuing notice to the government. “You have to reply on two questions, as to why Dutta was shifted out of CBI by curtailing his tenure and how the CBI’s interim director was appointed,” the bench said.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said a meeting of the selection committee to appoint CBI director will be convened soon and letters have been issued to Chief Justice of India and leader of largest opposition party in Parliament. The three-member selection committee to appoint CBI director comprises the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India.Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, claimed that Dutta was shifted out of CBI by curtailing his tenure to ensure that Asthana, a senior Gujarat cadre offier, was made the interim chief of the probe agency. “They are trying to destroy CBI,” Bhushan alleged after Mehta sought some time to file the reply, and urged the court not to give so much time to the government.Mehta argued that Asthana has been serving the agency for long and also handled several high profile cases.The court, however, asked Mehta to file reply to the petition within a week and posted the matter for hearing on December 16. The petition, filed by the NGO, alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of CBI director”. Asthana, an IPS officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as CBI’s Additional Director on December 2 when its Special Director R K Dutta, who was reportedly among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a Special Secretary.The plea has claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee, even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI director on December 2.It alleged that the government had “prematurely curtailed” Dutta’s tenure and transferred him to MHA on November 30 just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.

Demonetization: Rise of the new ‘middleman’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As investigative agencies continue to crack down on the financial crimes across India, a new breed of middlemen has emerged after demonetization. These individuals— many of who do not have a criminal background—are targeting banks, and, more recently, post offices, making them a hub for illegal activities.One of the men on the CBI’s radar is K Sudheer Babu. Accused of masterminding illegal activities in the registered post offices in Hyderabad, Babu, who belongs to the 2011 cadre of the Indian Postal Service (IPS), was serving as the Senior Superintendent of Post Office, Hyderabad City Division, when his name popped up on the CBI’s radar.Four others working with him — Shaikh Abdul Ghani, G Ravi Teja, K Suresh Kumar and G Srinivas — have been arrested. Babu, however, is absconding. The modus operandi of Babu and his men was simple. Investigating officials revealed that old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, exceeding the limits announced by RBI, were brought into post offices and banks in Hyderabad for replacement and then fraudulently exchanged for new Rs 2,000 notes. Officials estimate that the total amount involved in illegal transactions from these post offices in Hyderabad was Rs 2.95 crore. “The criminal cases so far have been reported from Hyderabad city but investigators are keeping a close watch on post offices across India,” said a CBI source. Sources also added that searches have been conducted at 11 places so far which include residential/office premises of the accused persons in Hyderabad.They add that incriminating documents, laptops and mobile phones with cash worth Rs 17.02 lakh in new currency notes of Rs 2,000 denominations were seized.These middlemen carried out the crimes almost after the Prime Minister’s announcement on demonetization. CBI sources said that the first case was registered on November 24. In this case, an individual, yet to be identified, brought in Rs 36 lakh into the post office of Hyderabad City Division, when the CBI revealed that Babu instructed G Revathi, the Sub Post Master (SPM), Himayat Nagar branch, to falsify records that this money in new currency notes had been disbursed to multiple individuals. This however was not the case.Further investigations have revealed that apart from the four officials arrested, close to half a dozen post office officials are currently under the scanner of the CBI. In three fraud cases filed between November 24 and December 6, these officials are alleged to have involved in illegal activity, along with two office assistants.

Who will head AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the death of its most charismatic leader, the question that is engaging the AIADMK leaders, cadre and others is who will now head the party after Jayalalithaa and whether it could be her close aide Sasikala.Filling the void may not be quite easy given the absence of a second line of leadership and the absence of any “heir” identified by the late leader, who had the party under her total command.An indication of things to come may be had from the fact that Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held two-hour long discussions with Sasikala, who is widely perceived to be a power centre in the party, more so after Jayalalithaa’s death.Sasikala’s supporters in the party claim that she should be the “natural choice,” for the post of General Secretary held by Jayalalithaa, not all others are willing to concede it. Her mentor MGR had held the post from the party’s inception in 1971 till his death in 1987. Sasikala’s supporters say that she had been Amma’s “aide, sister, friend and confidante,” for 30 years through Jayalalithaa’s “ups and downs.” With O Panneerselvam taking over as Chief Minister, she should be the “ideal choice,” they say.A senior party functionary requesting anonymity said, “go back in history and make your own inference if Amma’s loyalists and people will accept her (Sasikala).” He recalled Jayalalithaa expelling Sasikala twice from the party, once in 1996 after the AIADMK’s electoral drubbing and in 2011 months after the party wrested power again from DMK. Such factors had cast a shadow on her as a potential choice to lead the party, he said.He said Amma herself had announced in 1996 that she was distancing herself from Sasikala and her family to respect the wishes of partymen. Sasikala’s expulsion came against the background of allegations of corruption during the 1991-96 AIADMK regime. The DMK government had arrested Jayalalitha and Sasikala and filed cases against them.It was also in deference to a public perception that AIADMK was routed in the 1996 Assembly polls only because of Jayalalithaa’s association with Sasikala and her kin.In particular, the extravagant wedding of Jayalalithaa’s foster son VN Sudhakaran, since disowned, in 1995 as among the reasons for her expulsion.On December 19, 2011, Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan, and 12 others who were their close relatives were expelled from the primary membership of the party. Sasikala, who was staying with Jayalalithaa in her Poes Garden residence was also made to move out. However, on both instances, the expulsion was revoked in a matter of months and Sasikala made a comeback winning back the trust of Amma. Called “Chinnamma,” (Younger Amma) by her supporters she undoubtedly wielded significant clout in the party and continues to do so. The question is whether her role will be formalised now.Political analyst Gnani Shankaran said people knew that Sasikala was a “power centre” in AIADMK even while Jayalalithaa was alive. Asked if people would accept her as AIADMK chief, in the role previously held by Jayalalithaa, he said,”it would be known only during elections.” An AIADMK former Minister said, “we are not thinking about it now…we are in mourning…where is the hurry about all that…it is not something that can be decided by holding discussions with journalists or the media.” Without going deep into the issue, he said there are several deserving contenders in any party for any position.The question of who should be elected as General Secretary had to go through several stages at multiple levels like a general council meeting, he added. Coimbatore party workers said the western belt of Tamil Nadu (called “Kongunadu” in Tamil), “actually propelled” the prospects of party in several elections and it has senior leaders like K A Sengottaiyan and M Thambidurai from the region.While Sengottaiyan was a staunch MGR and Jayalalithaa loyalist, he stood behind Amma when she began piecing together the party after AIADMK founder chief MGR’s death in 1987, they said.Mentioning the name of Thambidurai, they said he was similarly a long-time follower of Amma, who was chosen by her for the post of Deputy Lok Sabha speaker like MGR did in 1985.Party workers from Madurai region including Theni cited names of “grassroots leaders” including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s name. Like the Western belt, the AIADMK has an edge over DMK in Madurai and its neighbouring districts given its core support base among the dominant caste group of Mukkulathor. Though there are other names including those belonging to the “old school” of the party like Panruti S Ramachandran, it is unlikely that their names could gain traction given the present party dynamics, they said.

A day later, thousands flock to Jayalalithaa’s burial spot

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after she was laid to rest near the memorial site of her political mentor M G Ramachandran at Marina beach in Chennai, thousands of people from all over Tamil Nadu continued to make a beeline to the spot to pay homage to late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.Teary-eyed party cadres and public stood in long queues to pay their homage to their beloved “Amma”. Besides, a group of people tonsured their heads as a mark of love and affection to the late AIADMK supremo, in keeping with the customary practice of tonsuring head when a close member of the family dies.Police personnel, who came in for praise from public for effectively maintaining peace in the city after Jayalalithaa’s death, were seen regulating the crowds.
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa laid to rest near mentor MGR, Prez, PM attend last ritesPopular Tamil film actor Ajith Kumar who had gone overseas for shooting of his coming film paid his respects at the burial site soon after arriving in the city along with his actress-wife Shalini.An emotional woman party cadre with a ring on her finger with a photograph of Jayalalithaa said “Amma” continues to live in the hearts of the public. Some cadres also visited ‘Veda Nilayam’, the residence at Jayalalithaa at Poes Garden.Some workers said they wished to see the residence of their favourite leader converted into a memorial as a mark of respect. 68-year-old Jayalalithaa, who died on Monday night, was laid to rest on Tuesday.

SC to hear plea against CBI interim boss Rakesh Asthana’s appointment on Dec 9

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on December 9 a plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI.”Okay. It will come up on Friday,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, mentioned the plea. The petition, filed by the NGO, alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of CBI director”.It has claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee comprising the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India, even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI director on December 2.
ALSO READ PIL against government’s decision to appoint Gujarat cadre IPS as interim chief of CBIAsthana, an IPS officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as the Additional Director in the agency on December 2 when CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was reportedly among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as a Special Secretary.The PIL claimed that the government had “prematurely curtailed” the tenure and transferred Dutta to MHA on November 30 — just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.
ALSO READ Rakesh Asthana to be interim chief of CBI

Jayalalithaa’s health: Tamil media reports CM dead, Apollo Hospitals denies reports

At around 5.30 pm on Monday, Tamil media channels began reporting the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Namely, Thanthi TV and Puthiya Thalaimurai, which later retracted the information.

The Indian Express too followed suit, only to retract its tweet after a few minutes and change its copy to ‘Apollo denies reports of Jayalalithaa’s death, says she is on life support’. The url still reads “jayalalithaa-dies-of-heart-attack-tamil-nadu-chennai-cardiac-arrest-aiadmk”.


This misinformation gave rise to violence outside Apollo Hospitals on Greams Road. Tempers and emotions ran high and AIADMK cadre, on hearing the news, pelted stones outside the hospital. At their party headquarters in Royapettah, the AIADMK flag was lowered to half-mast, though there was no official word on Jayalalithaa’s latest condition.

Sangita Reddy, the MD of Apollo Hospitals, tweeted that a large team of doctors from Apollo and Aiims continue to provide all life saving measures to Jayalalithaa. Immediately after, the AIADMK cadre raised the flag at full mast at the party headquarters after Apollo Hospitals’ denial of reports on Jayalalithaa’s health condition.

Apollo Hospitals said that a team of its doctors and those from Aiims were continuously monitoring the health of the chief minister and denied as “totally baseless and false” reports that she was no more. “Some TV channels are wrongly reporting that the Honourable CM is no more. It is totally baseless and false. They are advised to rectify this mistake based on this press release,” the hospital said in a statement.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 19:03 IST

Demonetisation: ‘Tough day’ for the common man, but we all know who’s having ‘sleepless nights’

The ‘stupid common man’ is happy about the cleaning and with a masochistic smile, sipping the ‘strong tea’, to which in any case, he has become accustomed over the years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) on Monday, said, “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich.”

The prime minister has indeed served very strong tea to the people. But it is essentially spoiling the taste buds of those who had in many ways legitimised the illegitimate. While the stories of people struggling in long queues have made the headlines, those who were never part of these queues are intelligently concealing their pain. After all, their expression of dissent is illegitimate.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

When did we last find a top ranking bureaucrat, a politician of some standing, a celebrity or a Porsche-driving businessman standing in the queue for an ATM? It was not that their absence ever made the news, rather it was the other way round.

It was always the common man who was seen standing there, in those long queues. Why is it that the ‘harassed’ lot who are smilingly bearing the brunt of the sudden demonetisation — with great dignity for the greater good — are projected as victims, when they are acting like dutiful soldiers in this battle against corruption?

Why instead we are not talking about those who are having sleepless nights, those who are calling their relatives and friends with generous offers of depositing Rs 2.5 lakh in their bank accounts.

While these people might not be profiled like the ‘60-year-old man who fainted standing the queue’, their numbers are no fewer.

Consider this:

Case 1: On a WhatsApp group of a family from Uttar Pradesh, with most of the members in white collar jobs and one in the civil services (details of the group were shared by one of the non-confirming members), a discussion progressed on 9 November around the topic of demonetisation. While most of the members discussed both pros and cons of the move, one among them was all resentful and dissenting. He was the one who wore the white collar with all ‘civility’. The reason was clear to all the members but no one spoke of it.

Case 2: A marriage venue was shifted from a fancy and expensive heritage site in Rajasthan to a modest banquet hall in Delhi. Nobody asked the reason for the change but everyone who was informed about it could not help a wry smile.

Case 3: At an upscale eating joint in Central Delhi, a man swiped his cards many times and the beads of sweat increased on his forehead with each declined transaction. He had heard the very same morning that the income tax (I-T) department had been instructed to monitor bank accounts and report any ‘abnormal’ transaction. He called a friend and informed him about declined transaction and asks him to ‘do something’.

These are the people who are finding this attack on their accounted wealth absurd.

These are the people who are hit hardest, but then they are using all their sophistication to hide their angst.

In a country where upari kamaai is seen as an achievement and ‘just salary’ is frowned upon, who in his right senses can argue against the existence of huge amounts of black money?

In August last year, CID officials raided a flat in Bengaluru owned by a Karnataka cadre IAS and found cash worth Rs 4.37 crore. Last year in a raid at the premises of former Noida chief engineer Yadav Singh, CBI sleuths found, along with documentary proof of 38 properties, Rs 10 crore in cash. A long list of such cases can be put forward to stress how corrupt government officials and politicians have hoarded crores of rupees in cash, by selling out the entire system.

The common man might be having a tough day in dealing with the cash crunch, but it is the corrupt who are having sleepless nights. And it is evident in memes and jokes on demonetisation doing the rounds on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The best humour is often designed by sad realities.

On 8 November, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag supported Modi’s decision and tweeted:

In this context, it is fairly ironic that the real victims are not talked about. Sehwag’s wonderful homour was designed by the reality that the corrupt were having a gala time till 8 November.

Abhishek Waghmare, an analyst with IndiaSpend, in an article published on Firstpost,wrote, “The sudden announcement will directly affect black money hoarded by Indians, and will possibly present them two alternatives: either deposit the money after identifying themselves to banks, or exchange the money by 24 November, 2016. According to basic calculations, with a daily limit of Rs 4,000 a day, a maximum of Rs 60,000 can be exchanged by a person, in 15 days from 10 November to 24 November. From 24 November onwards, the exchange process will be eased for convenience, meaning the exchange limit will be increased. However, there is no limit on deposits”.

He added, “As the deadline for Indian individuals to declare undisclosed income — the Income Declaration Scheme — ended on 30 September, 2016, no ‘unaccounted for’ money can be declared now. It ceases to be money; instead it will be a ‘worthless piece of paper’, as (Modi) termed it in his speech”.

The extent of unaccounted wealth and black money is vast and it is no secret. Given this fact, just focusing on the problems faced by the people in the implementation of the demonetisation, and calling for its withdrawal is a perfect case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 13:01 IST

PM Modi to IAS officers: Politics should never override policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Politics should never override policy.” This was the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to IAS officers as a young batch met him in New Delhi.”The Prime Minister urged the officers to inculcate team spirit, and work towards breaking silos, in whatever capacity they serve,” a PMO statement said.”Stating that politics should never override policy, the Prime Minister urged the officers to use two touchstones to help them in their decision-making: that the decisions should never be counter to national interest, and that the decisions should not harm the poorest of the poor,” it added.The IAS officers of 2014 batch who have completed their three-month stint at Centre as Assistant Secretaries made eight presentations before Modi on various themes of governance such as DBT, Swachh Bharat, e-Courts, Tourism, Health and Satellite Applications in Governance. The Prime Minister complimented the young officers, for their in-depth presentations. He said the attachment of IAS officers as Assistant Secretaries with the Union Government had been envisaged as a mechanism that would bring the best out of the blend of youth and experience, the PMO statement said.The results as presented on Thursday, gave him satisfaction that this vision was well on the road to realization, Modi told the young officers. These officers started working as Assistant Secretaries in 58 central government departments from August 1, instead of starting their career from the cadre states assigned to them, after their training at the Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.The officers were assigned important desks related to policy and flagship programmes of the concerned ministries and departments. They were groomed by principal mentors at the level of Secretary. This is the second batch of IAS Officers to have commenced their career with a stint in the central government.”During their three-month posting with the central government, they were provided a holistic overview of the functioning of the central government. However, they started their office work from day one and disposed files related to their desk,” according to a statement by Ministry of Personnel.”The objective of this initiative is to provide exposure of government of India functioning to the IAS officers at a very early stage in their career,” it added.As primary implementers in the field, this exposure would also facilitate a broader macro perspective even when the officers work in the field, the statement said on Wednesday.

As JNU student Najeeb Ahmad saga drags on, the real issue is in danger of being obscured

It was a surreal scene.

On 23 October, at a distance of a foot or so from the vice-chancellor’s gate, the mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad broke down in tears. Pleading for her son back, she left the gathered crowd looking on in complete silence. They had no answers for her, only vows of solidarity. Students, teachers, and security guards all bore mute witness to this sad culmination of Najeeb’s unexplained absence, which is fast gaining disturbing undertones.

Fresh off the heels of a ‘scuffle’ during which he allegedly slapped a fellow student at the Mahi-Mandavi hostel, he was allegedly thrashed by around 10 people at the same hostel, reportedly in front of the warden. At some point after this, he made a call to his mother in Badaun, telling her what had transpired, and mysteriously disappeared the day after. The campus took its own time to erupt, and it was days before the student body eventually accosted the administration. Nearly two weeks since Najeeb’s disappearance, gheraos, hoarse throats and a human chain later, nothing has changed. A student is missing from the university and there are all kinds of possibilities.

. Image courtesy: News18

Jawaharlal Nehru University. Representational image. Courtesy: News18

Najeeb was allegedly beaten up by a group comprising of mostly BJP-affiliated ABVP cadre and sympathisers on 14 October at around 11.30 pm. It is unclear as to whether the issue of religious identity was even a factor in all this. At this time, only speculation is possible and all angles need consideration. With every passing day (it is now 12 days) that Najeeb remains untraceable, theories are increasing in number and getting darker, without any new information to prove or debunk anything.

There are a few theories floating around:

1) He is safe and being kept hidden (for reasons unknown) by a political faction. This, however would be at odds with the various political groups and JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) asking “Where’s Najeeb?”, and would cause a storm in JNU
2) He is somewhere on campus somewhere, hiding alone or with aid. This is most unlikely. With the issue permeating the entire campus, a person who wants to be out of sight will likely leave. The police, too, do not seem to regard this as a viable lead as they have not scanned the university.
3) He has been abducted by persons unknown and taken somewhere for personal or communal reasons. Here, the potential ramifications are unnerving.
4) Succumbing to the stress of the entire affair, he ended his life. A scary thought indeed.
5) He left campus and went to an apolitical, unrelated contact in fear and emotional upheaval. He did not know too many people at JNU, having recently joined the university.

These theories vary in terms of plausibility and even the ones that seem likely throw up some curious questions.

Najeeb’s mother and sister have been in JNU for days. Would he, if safe and well, not have decided to make contact, especially given that he had called his mother soon after the alleged thrashing? There is a missing person’s report and a Rs 1 lakh reward for information on his whereabouts. It has been in the media and is steadily getting political. Perhaps, if safe, Najeeb would have gotten in touch with someone, considering the increasing scale of the matter and his mother’s condition. Unless of course, he has been so consumed by fear and stress that he wishes to delay the inevitable attention and is delaying things.

Other possibilities that do not assume Najeeb’s well-being hinge on his prolonged absence from campus. It does not make sense at this time, however, why a new student with no political affiliations, studying at the Department of Biotechnology, would be a target of any foul play. It is hard to imagine that slapping somebody, while brutish and unacceptable, would illicit the kind of backlash that would see a person abducted. In any case, it is all just speculative at the present and the best lead may well be eyewitness accounts of Najeeb taking an autorickshaw shortly before he went missing.

On the other hand, what is quite clear is that the matter is being prematurely politicised.

The facts just aren’t there yet. Accounts of incidents vary from student to student and faction to faction. In this confused and contradictory atmosphere, there is much presumption and a hasty jumping to agenda-informed conclusions. Three days after Najeeb was allegedly thrashed, the JNU Student’s Union (the president of which is from the CPI-ML-affiliated AISA) printed a pamphlet demanding strict action against ‘communal hate-mongering’ and claimed that there were ‘repeated attacks’ even afterwards, without offering any proof. The very next day, another JNUSU pamphlet claimed that Najeeb had been ‘brutally mob-lynched’ by ABVP and security and students alike bore witness to the ‘heinous lynching’.

Terms like that carry serious connotations and have been incorrectly applied by all accounts. It was highly irresponsible of JNUSU to print such things and it smacks of a political agenda. Such loaded, deliberate usage of language heightens tensions, spreads misinformation and gives wind to rumours. The student body should know better than to risk further polarisation. Just as the ABVP — sections of which are claiming without evidence that the Najeeb is ‘with AISA’ — should. The students’ union cannot give ammunition to the forces that are keen on destabilising the hitherto academic, secular and democratic fabric of JNU.

In all this, the real point is getting obscured; a student is missing after a controversial incident and needs to be located. That is what energies need to be focused on. Political posturing can at least wait till Najeeb is traced and facts are found. Students from any political hue need to come together to press the Vasant Kunj North thana’s SHO and investigating officer and station house officer for a report on progress in the case. They could pose questions and provide clues to the police instead of blaming and shaming each other without the full picture.

Instead, this was and continues to be a tense and extremely urgent issue, the alleviation of which sorely requires new information. Najeeb has been missing now for 12 days. Instilling political dimensions is of no practical use when the need of the hour is to singlemindedly track him down. Anything else is just providing fodder to those actors, inside and outside JNU, who would use the student bodies’ hasty words to malign the university once again. Faced with a crisis, the campus cannot afford to display its own infighting and further polarise the scenario.

As Najeeb’s sister said, “We want Najeeb back, but we want him back the right way.”

Can blame game actually end bloodbath in Kannur?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Less than an hour’s drive from where BJP’s Koothuparamba candidate Sadanandan Master campaigned during the Kerala assembly elections this year was the home of KV Sudheesh, a CPM activist. Both were victims of Kannur’s bloodthirsty eye for an eye political violence on the same day, two decades ago.While Sadanandan master had lost both his legs, Sudheesh was killed in front of his parents. In the recent spurt of violence after the elections, the scoresheet of CPM and BJP on killings of their workers in Kannur district stand at three each.The nearly five-decade old Kannur bloodbath seems all set to resonate louder in Delhi as the RSS-BJP and CPM spar over the violence and its history. The BJP plans to raise the issue in the winter session of Parliament beginning in November saying it was a “question of threat to life and liberty”. The party has stepped up its campaign against its ideological foe saying killings of BJP and RSS workers had increased in the CPM bastion ever since the Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power. Meanwhile, RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, along with leaders Indresh Kumar and PVB Menon, visited families of the victims in the state, sources said.The CPM is planning its own counter-campaign. In Kerala, the party is holding “jathas” and carrying out a campaign with pamphlets and history of the violence. Party sources said an exhibition on the violence against its cadre was likely to be brought to Delhi and all state capitals in November.CPM leader Prakash Karat recalled how the violence began with clashes between beedi unit workers and owners in the late sixties. He said owners hired men from Karnataka, where the RSS had a presence. A decade later RSS shakhas came up in Kannur, a CPM bastion.The RSS has its own version of the history of violence. According to RSS, it was in 1940s that it began work in the state and Left cadre disillusioned with communism started joining it. Briefing the media at the RSS meeting in Hyderabad on Monday, J Nandakumar said the first victim was Vaddikal Ramakrishnan, a tailor of Thalassery. He also alleged that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was involved in the 1969 murder.The RSS asked the state and central government to take action against the perpetrators of violence and ensure the rule of law in Kerala prevailed.The CPM polit bureau issued a statement on Tuesday saying the RSS has repeated its fabricated charge against the Left.”Our party has said we are prepared to have talks to see that this violence ends,” Karat said.A BJP leader, however, said it was futile to talk to CPM. BJP president Amit Shah has repeatedly expressed concern about “attacks on his party workers in the CM’s home constituency.””We have demanded that government should make efforts to establish peace. We will expose CPM if they do not,” said state BJP leader V Muralidharan.CPM has listed five Left workers “assassinated” since Vijayan’s victory rally in Dharmadam constituency after elections. The BJP has alleged that four of its workers have been killed since then.For the BJP, which has made inroads into the state’s electoral map for the first time, Kerala is one of the states that it has set eyes on in its mission 2019. A state leader said Shah has asked the party to target all 20 seats. A three-member party team headed by General secretary Bhupendra Yadav has submitted a report on Kannur violence from 1968, in which it said 82 of RSS-BJP cadre had been killed.CPM suspects that BJP has a larger political motive of pinning down the LDF government over breakdown of law and order and taking it on in its bastions. Sources said violence had also surfaced in Trishur, where the Left won nine of the ten seats, but BJP got around 20,000 votes in every constituency, eating into the UDF vote.A BJP leader said victims of violence had been mostly those who had changed their affiliations from the Left to the Right.

Police attacked Maoist meeting near Andhra-Odisha border, killing over 20: Varavara Rao

Police attacked Maoist meeting near Andhra-Odisha border, killing over 20: Varavara Rao


Hyderabad: Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao on Monday alleged that police killed Maoists after attacking one of their meetings near the Andhra-Odisha border.

Disputing police claim that Maoists were killed in an exchange of fire, he said it was deliberate attack on a Maoist meeting.

Representational image. CNN News 18Representational image. CNN News 18

Representational image. CNN News 18

Over 20 Maoists were killed in the alleged gunbattle in Malkangiri district of Odisha on Monday. The incident occurred during a joint search operation by police forces of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

Some top Maoist leaders are suspected to be among those killed. Most of the slain Maoist cadre hailed from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Varavara Rao demanded that a murder case be booked against the policemen involved in the attack.

“Did Maoists carry out any attack after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh? Then where was the need for this fake encounter?” asked Rao, a leader of Veerasam, a body of revolutionary writers.

Rao also demanded an inquiry into the incident by a sitting judge of the high court. He said the bodies of Maoists should be brought to Visakhapatnam.

Communists indulging in politically motivated murders: RSS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Accusing the communists in Kerala of indulging in “politically motivated murders”, the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meet of RSS which commenced on Sunday, will pass a resolution in this regard. Addressing the media on the sidelines of the three-day annual meet, RSS All India Joint General Secretary Bhagaiah said the meet will also “discuss attacks on Hindus in West Bengal during Durga Puja by Jehadi elements besides killing of members of other Hindu organisations in Tamil Nadu.” “The ABKM meetings review the progress of Sangh work related to various dimensions of society. ABKM will discuss on issues related to ‘dharmic’, cultural awareness, building family values, integrated village development and other social issues,” he said. In addition to the review of the organisational growth, ABKM will discuss key issues concerning the Hindu society and nation, he said. Bhagaiah alleged that the “intolerant Communists, especially the CPM cadre in Kerala, under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have been indulging in politically motivated murders of Hindus, particularly RSS and BJP workers and damaging their properties.” The second resolution will be passed on Ekatma Maanava Darashan (Integral Humanism), he said. The present year is the birth centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who propounded the philosophy of Ekatma Manava Darashan based on Bharatiya philosophical foundations.”We would be marking the 51st year of this philosophy. Ekatma Manava Darshan gives a global view of sustainable development, sustainable consumption and humane treatment of nature,” Bhagaiah said.The senior RSS leader alleged that “some members of minority community have been involved in molestation and killing of Hindu girls, and many of those victims belong to SC/ST community in West Bengal. This is with the blessings of the Trinamool Congress government there.”He said the Calcutta High Court had recently slammed the West Bengal government for imposing curbs on immersion of Durga idols by stating, “do not pamper and appease minority community at the cost of majority section.” Sangh believes that discrimination on the basis of caste (jaati) is anti-human, unconstitutional and does not have sanction of the Hindu ‘Shastras’, he said.To address social issues, the Sangh has conducted extensive surveys to find out whether all Hindus have access to common cremation ground, water bodies, and entry to temples, Bhagaiah said. The Sangh is committed to ensure that the marginalised sections of Hindu society receive government grants. “Sangh is actively working with other organisations for empowerment of SCs and STs,” Bhagaiah added.Earlier, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat inaugurated the three-day annual Akhil Bharateeya Karyakari Mandal meet, which will see participation from nearly 400 senior RSS Karyakartas representing every province across the nation.

14 international drama schools to meet at NSD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ninth edition of the Asia-Pacific Bureau Meet of drama schools will kick start at the National School of Drama (NSD) on October 19 with ‘The strength of Asia in Contemporary Performance Culture’ as the theme of the event.Waman Kendre, Director of National School of Drama said that the meet, where 14 drama schools from 10 countries including India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Bangladesh, will serve as a platform to exchange and promote India’s theater legacy internationally.Kendre said, “This is yet another occasion where all Asia Pacific Bureau schools will show their strength and exchange it to each other. This is also a platform for NSD to show rich Indian performance heritage and showcase contemporary and traditional theatre variety to the world.”The festival, which was held in Singapore last year, provides an opportunity to exchange and promote India’s unique historic culture and rich traditions with other nations,” he added.Tripurari Sharma, Professor, NSD, said, “The spirit of the meet is one of coming together, sharing, interacting, and learning something that is very essential and valuable to the teaching and practice of theatre.”During this seven days saga, which will end on October 25, each school will conduct a workshop for participants, providing a glimpse of their respective training methodologies, she said.To ensure that language does not become a barrier, the school has also arranged for interpreters of all the foreign languages.

Live: PM Modi, Arvind Kejriwal to address Dussehra gathering, attend festivities

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Security was heightened in Lucknow on Tuesday ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s participation in the Dussehra celebrations, police said.

Other than deploying the companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF), traffic was also diverted and security has been set in place for the high profile event in the Aishbagh locality.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Inspector General of Police (Lucknow) A Satish Ganesh said that despite security, efforts are being made to ensure that citizen did not face any problem.

Convenor of the event, city Mayor and BJP national Vice President Dinesh Sharma informed that Modi would be witnessing the ‘Ravan Vadh‘ during the Ram Leela programme.

Modi along with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Governor Ram Naik and the minister representing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav would attend the event.

Singh reached Lucknow on Monday evening ahead of Modi’s visit. The prime minister is expected to land in Lucknow at 6 pm and will further head for the venue of the celebrations, reported The Financial Express.

Yadav has been invited but his presence has not yet been confirmed.

Sharma’s disclaimer of “no politics” behind the Modi’s visit to Lucknow on Dussehra, all eyes and ears are on his visit and public address, according to a report by The Times of India.

The Hindustan Times speculates that terror could be the main topic of his speech.

Following an ‘aarti‘ of the actors essaying the mythological characters, Modi and Rajnath Singh would address the gathering.

Organisers informed that Modi would be gifted with a rare portrait of Hindu poet-saint Goswami Tulsidas and a copy of Ram Charit Manas among others.

They also said that the event would be broadcast live.

The Ram Leela in Aishbagh will complete 70 years, but this would be the first time that such a high-profile dignitary will attend the event, Mayor Sharma pointed out.

Apart from Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will also deliver speeches on Tuesday.

Rahul’s speech will be at the Ramlila maidan in New Delhi, which is expected to take place after 5 pm. Kejriwal is also expected to attend the Dussehra festivities at the Luv Kush Ramlila Maidan, reported

With inputs from agencies.

Tamil Nadu: Who is running the show in CM Jayalalithaa’s absence?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With little clarity on the malaise afflicting its supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa or any specific progress reports of her recovery, the AIADMK, as a party, is finding itself on the edge.Even as the Centre, BJP and Congress are monitoring the situation closely, a visible sense of uneasiness is growing among the AIADMK rank and file in the state. Rigidly a personality-centric party, the AIADMK has no second-rung leadership which can hold the party together, be it in Parliament, the state assembly or at the organisational level.So with Jayalalithaa in the infirmary for almost two weeks, who exactly is running the show in Tamil Nadu and the party?”We don’t answer such questions,” said AIADMK spokesperson V Maitreyan. “She is better and will be discharged after a few more days,” added Maitreyan.People close to the CM say that the party in her absence is being run by her confidante Sasikala Natrajan. “The AIADMK has no formal hierarchy in organisational structure. In her absence the party is run de facto by Sasikala and her loyalists. The party was being run when she was in prison and so it will be managed the same way now,” says political observer Gnani Sankaran.But there is a stark difference between a Jayalalithaa in control of the party from jail and the Jayalalithaa behind a curtain of medical ambiguity incommunicado with her party brass. Reports suggest that even the acting TN governor Vidyasagar Rao wasn’t allowed to meet her in hospital and had to contend with meeting her doctors instead. Sources revealed that the chairman of Apollo Hospitals, Dr Prathap Reddy, was personally involved in the treatment of Jayalalithaa’s “infection”.Meanwhile, there is a growing distrust of Sasikala in the party, with even leaders of her own Thevar community bearing a dislike towards her. In Jayalalithaa’s absence and with the local body polls scheduled on October 17 and 19, the cadre has been left without the leader on whom the party’s existence rests.The AIADMK, like its rival the DMK, has an organisational structure. But unlike the DMK, the AIADMK leaders do not harbor an opinion different from their leader. The other prominent faces of the party are former CM Paneerselvam and the party’s leader in Lok Sabha and the lower house’s deputy speaker, N Thambidurai. Paneerselvam has twice served as acting chief minister in Jayalalithaa’s absence – in 2001 and in 2014. In his second stint lasting over six months, Pannerselvam refused to shave or eat meat till Jayalalithaa was released from jail. Party observers revealed that both of them have little authority over Sasikala and her loyalists.This lack of clarity on where AIADMK stands minus Jayalalithaa is what has made the Centre anxious and the BJP and Congress curious. The Centre is worried about the impact on law and order in the absence of credible information on Jayalalithaa’s actual health parameters. Reports from across the state suggest that AIADMK cadre are running out of patience with the customary “responding well to treatment” bulletins being issued by the hospital. AIADMK cadre on the streets want to know just exactly what treatment is their leader responding to. The Centre fears that with little news on their leader’s health, AIADMK cadre may let their emotions get the better of them.The BJP is curious because apart from being PM Modi’s ‘friend’, the BJP’s top brass has earmarked TN among six other states (including the North-East), where the party wants to increase its vote share in the 2019 parliamentary elections. The Congress, the only non-Dravidian party to rule TN over four decades ago, is sensing an opportunity to revive its dormant fortunes in the state. With Sasikala now calling the shots in the AIADMK, the two national parties are playing a wait and watch game.BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, “There is no semblance of anyone capable of filling her shoes in the party. Her special friend Sasikala is not acceptable to other AIADMK leaders. In the absence of Jayalalithaa, I expect the AIADMK to break into pieces.”

India exports software, Pak terror: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his first public speech after the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Pakistan and said the sacrifice of the 18 soldiers will not go in vain. Yet, he drew a distinction between Pakistan’s ‘hukmaran’ (rulers) and ‘awam’ (people) and challenged the country for a battle on poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and infant mortality.Modi’s combative tone resounded with the setting sun in the backdrop of the Arabian Sea as he sent a message “directly to Pakistan”, reminding its people of their pre-independence links with India.Raising the pitch, Modi said Pakistan is the only country in Asia exporting terror and wanting bloodshed and killing. He took it to a crescendo saying India was ready to face the challenge to fight, but amidst the stillness of anticipation among the thousands who had gathered on the Calicut beach, gave the idea of war a new twist — that of a fight over development.After elating the BJP cadre with his tough line against Pakistan, Modi went on to take a statesman like approach saying “let’s fight poverty and see who wins, let’s fight unemployment and see who wins, let’s fight illiteracy and see who wins, let’s fight child mortality and see who wins.”Modi said a time will come when the people of Pakistan will rise against their own rulers on the issue of terrorism. “Pakistan’s people should ask their rulers: If both countries got freedom at the same time, why is it that India is exporting software and Pakistan terror.”In an apparent reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address at the United Nations General Assembly, Modi said: “Today’s rulers were reading a speech of patrons of terrorism and talking of Kashmir.” He said the Pakistani rulers were misleading people by talking of fighting for thousand years and by reading out scripts written by terrorists. Over a month after raising the Balochistan issue, the PM again asked Islamabad to look into its backyard.”You can’t control PoK. You failed to handle Bangladesh which was earlier with you. You couldn’t control Gilgit and Balochistan,” he said.He said there was anger in the entire country over Uri and said “terrorists, open your ears and listen, this is not something this country will ever forget.” Pointing out that Pakistan had tried to export terrorists to India 17 times in the last few months “but the army stopped them and around 110 terrorists have been killed”.Most of the time he referred to Pakistan as “that country” and neighbouring country and repeatedly spoke of its ‘hukmaran’ and ‘Awam’.”There is one nation in Asia whose aim is that this century does not become Asia’s and is associated with terrorism. Wherever terrorism is happening across Asia, the affected nations are blaming only that nation,” the PM said.He began his speech referring to Kerala as God’s Own Country, which he said had an impression of purity and holiness.Modi, who expressed the commitment of his government and party to Deendayal Upadhyay, said the 21st century should be pledged to freedom from poverty, injustice, corruption, unemployment, atrocities on women and hopelessness.

Ideology brought BJP to power, time to deliver on promises: Amit Shah tells party leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst mounting pressure from the cadre to take a tough line against Pakistan in the aftermath of Uri, BJP President Amit Shah has told party leaders that it was time for unwavering commitment to the party’s core ideology which had brought it to power.Shah neither mentioned Uri nor Pakistan, but the message to the party was crisp and clear– deliver on the promises not just in words and with no time to waste, according to sources. Shah was tracing the party’s journey from the 1967 when Deendayal Upadhyay was elected Jan Sangh president, when he said the party’s phenomenal growth since then was made possible because of its distinct ideology, according to the sources.There is anticipation in the party that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is making his first public speech after the Uri attack at a rally here, will mention the issue and reflect the government’s approach on it.A day before the Prime Minister’s address, party leaders evaded spelling out their stand on Uri, even as the issue loomed over the conclave. Shah is expected to reflect the party’s view when he addresses the national council on Sunday, sources said.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who held a press conference here, evaded questions on Uri saying it will be taken up at an appropriate time. “We are a party of grassroot workers. We understand this sentiment in the country. We get inputs from people. All important issues are raised at the right time and its essence will be conveyed to you,” he said.Asked if the party had toned down, he said “you want statement or action? Action will continue to happen. Wait and watch,” he said. Madhav had made the “jaw for a tooth remark” within hours of the Uri attack.Giving details of the party conclave, he said the national council dedicated to the ideas of integral humanism and antyodaya of Upadhyay, the ideological mentor of the Parivar, had set a new trend that a party meeting can be held for constructive thinking and not just for election.Sources said at the meeting with party office bearers, Shah asked BJP-ruled states to ensure that the Modi regime’s 80 schemes reach the last man in the queue within the centenary year of Deendayal Upadhyay, which begins on Sunday. Shah wants the organisation and government to focus on “garib Kalyan”, they said.

Uttarakhand elections 2017: BJP to prepare ‘chargesheet’ against CM Harish Rawat to remove ‘the most corrupt government’

Ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttarakhand, BJP asked its party cadre on Thursday to “publicise” Centre’s “achievements” and prepare a “chargesheet” against Harish Rawat government terming it as “the most corrupt government” in the state’s history.The appeal to publicise the Centre’s “achievements”, especially what it has done for the empowerment of the poor and women and expose the current dispensation was made by BJP national secretary and media incharge Shrikant Sharma at a day-long party workshop in Dehradun.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Taking Centre’s achievements especially in the field of empowering poor and women through schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana and Ujjwala Yojana to people and exposing the state’s most corrupt government alone can power the BJP to victory in the next Assembly polls,” Sharma said.Describing Rawat’s continuance in office as a “plain political manipulation”, he said the state Cabinet s decision to pass the Appropriation Bill once again proves that the legislation had been defeated in the House and the government had fallen on March 18. “Rawat s continuance in office despite being reduced to a minority is pure political manoeuvre,” he said.Calling the Rawat government as “the most corrupt government” Uttarakhand had seen since its creation, he said the sting operation against the CM bore testimony to the fact.He asked party workers to go to people and convince them that 2017 Assembly elections was an opportunity for them to get rid of a government “steeped in corruption” and install a “development-oriented” government.

ACC takes 16 months to decline whistleblower Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s cadre deputation to Delhi

After three directives by the court, sixteen months of struggle, IFS officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s inter cadre deputation request to the Delhi government has been declined by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.In an order dated June 21, the ACC rejected Chaturvedi’s request to transfer from the Uttarakhand cadre to the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Chaturvedi had been fighting to get his cadre changed for months and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal even wrote to the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change in 2015 requesting Chaturvedi. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ACC has rejected the inter cadre deputation on the basis of mandatory three-year cooling-off period that, it says, Chaturvedi has to fulfil on completion of his central deputation at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, which ends on June 28. The order also says that the Uttarakhand government had not granted Chaturvedi the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) he needed for the deputation. Interestingly, the order adds that the state government had said it would have no objection if the Centre waived off the cooling period. Neither of which has happened. The curious part of the ACC order is that it comes on the heels of a highly exasperated order by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), dated June 2, that had pulled up the ACC for keeping the matter pending deposited three reminders. It had directed the committee to decide on the deputation within two weeks so as to not cause “irreparable loss” for the applicant, Chaturvedi. The Tribunal had previously issued orders on April 27 and on November 5, 2015. The order against Chaturvedi comes after many reminders and a slap on the wrist. Chaturvedi, who won the Magsaysay award in 2015 has had many run-ins with the government. The Centre declined the donation of his award winnings to AIIMS and also held up his previous inter-cadre deputation from the Government of Haryana to the Government of Uttarakahand, which was finally pushed through “on grounds of extreme hardship”. A career whistleblower, he had unearthed many scams during his Haryana tenure, getting him in trouble with the state government.

Centre to create specialised central marine police

Centre is actively considering creating a separate central marine police force (CMPF) on the lines of other central forces like CRPF and BSF to handle the security of 7,516 kilometre long Indian coastline up to the distance of 12 nautical miles in the sea.An official in the union home ministry said the proposal mooted by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis during the recent meeting of coastal security has caught home minister Rajnath Singh’s attention who has asked the senior officials to serious consider the creation of CMPF.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis had suggested that marine policing being a specialized job, a Central Marine Police Force be created to protect sea, coast, ports and vital institutions. He also suggested that all landing points and non-major ports should be brought under tech based e-surveillance. Both these suggestions were supported by some States and UTs. The Indian Coast Guards is already in sync with the idea.Centre also thinks that given the limited resources available with state police and jurisdictional problems in the sea where state boundaries are not demarcated, a central marine police, having a dedicated cadre, can be really effective in tackling crimes up to 12 nautical miles (NM), after which the Indian Coast Guard takes over the charge up to 200 nautical miles.”This will also solve jurisdictional problems between the state marine police and the ICG as most of the crimes up to 12 NM fall under police and are not related to defence. Moreover, states really don’t have enough resources to equip its police to guard sea up to 12 NM. A specialised central police will also be better prepared and equipped to handle 26/11 type of terrorists,” said a top home ministry official.Given the huge Indian sea coastline and a number of important installations along it, the CMPF will have to have a huge cadre along with specialised state of the art equipment besides boats and choppers and would require vast resources, conceded the official.”We are planning to have another round of meeting of coastal states on this issue where we would take their suggestions and move ahead. It may take a few years as it is a gigantic task and would also need a separate Act,” the official added.

Ishrat Jahan missing files case: Probe officer tutored witness during investigation, says report

Union Home Ministry official BK Prasad, who led the investigation into the ‘missing documents’ in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, informed a witness about the questions he would ask and also tutored him on how to answer them, reports The Indian Express.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The probe was being carried out to find out the circumstances under which the UPA government dropped references in the second affidavit to Ishrat’s alleged connection to Lashkar-e-Toiba, and led to a CBI probe into her June 15, 2004 encounter.According to an IE phone recording on 25 April, 2016, BK Prasad was reportedly talking to Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary (Parliament, Hindi Division and Nodal Officer for monitoring of court cases) in the Department of Commerce. The report says Prasad told Kumar that while giving his statement, he would be asked whether he had seen the paper (belonging to the Ishrat Jahan case). Prasad then tutors Kumar to say that he should reply to the question saying that he had not seen the paper. He then reportedly tells Kumar that if he gives a different response, then questions would be raised about him having played a role in the disappearance of the files.Kumar was supposed to give his statement the next day of the phone call. He was Director in the Internal Security division of the Home Ministry from 1 March, 2011 to 23 December, 2011, which was in-charge of the Ishrat Jahan case at that time.While Kumar has not denied getting a call from Prasad regarding the inquiry, he did not give details about the conversation. Meanwhile, Prasad gave a statement to IE denying that officers responded to his questions based on any tutoring as suggested by the report. Prasad is a 1983 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre and was supposed to retire on May 31 but his service was extended till July 31.Meanwhile, former UPA Home Minister P Chidambaram who was in hot water over the missing files issue said, “The report comprehensively exposes the fake controversy created by the NDA government on the two affidavits filed by the Central government in the Ishrat Jahan case. It completely vindicates the position that I had taken on the two affidavits.”I take full responsibility for filing the ‘further affidavit’ which was absolutely the correct thing to do. “The moral of the story is that even a doctored report (of the Inquiry Officer) cannot hide the truth. The real issue is whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in a genuine encounter or a fake encounter. Only the trial of the case, pending since July 2013, will bring out the truth.”

CAT tells ACC to decide on whistleblower Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s cadre deputation for the third time

For the third time in past few months, the Central Administrative Tribunal has directed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) to take decision on the inter-cadre deputation of IFS officer and Magsaysay Award winner Sanjeev Chaturvedi. The Tribunal has told the respondents, the ACC, the Department of Personnel and Training and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, to decide within three weeks. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaturvedi has been fighting to get his cadre to the Delhi government and the CAT express surprise that the ACC had not “complied with the pointed directions”. This, the order, dated June 2, read, that this caused the applicant, Chaturvedi to file the present application, and that he was “compelled to repeatedly approach this Tribunal for redressal of his grievance”.Chaturvedi’s period of deputation as the deputy secretary at AIIMS will end on June 28 and the order notes, “in the interest of justice” the respondents are “directed to decide the matter of inter-cadre deputation” before that date, else the applicant will suffer “irreparable loss in this regard”.
ALSO READ All you need to know about whistleblower and Magsaysay award winner Sanjeev ChaturvediThe previous order by the Tribunal was issued on April 27, where the ACC had been directed to decide on the matter within two weeks but “in vain” as the recent order said. Previously, on November 5, 2015, the Tribunal had given the ACC a deadline of January 5. This order too came after an extended period of time, the matter of Chaturvedi’s cadre deputation to the Delhi government has been going on now for 15 months without a decision.In April, Chaturvedi had hit out against the ACC, saying that the committee lead by the Prime Minister, was handling his case in a “partisan and biased” manner.

US lawmakers ask Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss religious freedom in India with Modi

A bipartisan group of 18 American lawmakers has written to House Speaker Paul Ryan, asking him to raise the issue of religious freedom in India during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Religious minority communities including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs have endured ongoing violence and harassment for decades in India, and continue to live in a climate where known perpetrators commit violence with impunity,” the members of the Congress, led by Trent Franks and Betty McCollum, wrote.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We respectfully request that during your meetings with the Prime Minister, the ‘shared value’ of the fundamental right of religious freedom will be a priority in your conversation,” they said ahead of the Ryan Modi meeting.”It is in the best interest of the US and India to reaffirm religious freedom as a shared value in this growing partnership and ensure that conversation concerning justice and accountability for such horrific acts of violence continues,” the letter said.In the letter, the lawmakers cite several specific examples of violent attacks that have killed or displaced religious minorities.Human rights groups in India have investigated and traced these attacks to specific groups, but a current climate of impunity exists in India around such attacks and many victims never receive justice, they said.”As we consider the shared values of the US and India, due attention to the fundamental human right of religious freedom is of the utmost importance,” Franks said.”Religious minority communities in India have endured incidents of harassment, discrimination, intimidation and violent attacks for decades, often with little hope for justice.”It is my sincere hope that every person in India will experience true freedom of faith, regardless of religion,” he said.”The important relationship between India and the US is based on our shared democratic values. Religious minorities in India Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs deserve the freedom to live out their faith without fear,” McCollum said.The Congressmen who signed the letter were Chris Smith, Juan Vargas, Andre Carson, Keith Ellison, Patrick Meehan, Keith Rothfus, Randy Weber, Dan Kildee, Mike Honda, John Conyers Jr, John Garamendi, Robert Aderholt, Anna Eshoo, Joe Pitts, Barbara Lee and David Valadao.Modi is scheduled to address a joint session of the US Congress today.

AAP plans to contest all 182 seats in 2017 Gujarat elections

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday said it is planning to contest all 182 Assembly seats in Gujarat where elections are due next year. The party said that it is working to strengthen itself across the state in view of the upcoming elections, scheduled for the second half of 2017. At a press conference here addressed by AAP Delhi MLA, Gulab Singh Yadav, a video clip of AAP National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal backing Hardik Patel was shown. Yadav, however, remained circumspect over the issue of providing reservation to the community members, maintaining that the party supports “provisions of reservation as laid down in the Constitution.” He said AAP has enrolled over 1 lakh members, of which over 25,000 of them supporting it over its promises to cut down per unit electricity price by half. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”AAP has organised its cadre across all 182 Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) seats in the state, keeping in view the upcoming Assembly elections where we plan to contest on all the seats,” Yadav, who is also party in-charge for Gujarat, said. “Party in-charges have been appointed on all Assembly seats and party organisers from Delhi have been appointed as in-charge on each of 26 Lok Sabha seats,” he added. “We have so far enrolled over one lakh members, and 25-30,000 persons have supported our promise to halve the price of power units in the state,” Yadav claimed. Yadav also said the 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) offered by the Gujarat government through a recently issued ordinance remains a “lollipop given to the people.” “It has been given as a lollipop like in Haryana. We support Patidar anamat agitation as long as it conforms to the provisions of reservation given in the Constitution,” the MLA added.

Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Tariq Pandit surrenders in Kashmir

Srinagar: A Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander in Pulwama district of Kashmir region surrendered on Saturday, dealing a major blow to the Burhan group of militants in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Tariq Pandit, a close associate of Burhan Wani, and a commander of HM outfit surrendered before the security forces”, a senior police officer told IANS in Srinagar.

Defence sources said the militant commander surrendered before the officers of 55 Rashtriya Rifles deployed for anti-militancy operations.

Pandit had been prominent in pictures posted on the social media that showed Wani and his associates wielding weapons and wearing army fatigues.

For over six months now, a 22-year-old youth from Pulwama district, Burhan Wani, has become a militant icon to lure educated local youth into the cadre of insurgent groups.

Despite their best efforts, Wani is still at large and the security forces have not been able to arrest or eliminate him.

A reward of Rs 10 lakh has been announced by the security forces for anyone leading to actionable information on Wani.

IM key operative’s NIA custody extended by 7 days

A special court on Friday extended by seven days NIA custody of Indian Mujahideen’s alleged key operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa after the agency said his further custodial interrogation was needed in connection with fund transfer to the terror outfit.32-year-old Siddibapa, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was produced before Special Judge Rakesh Pandit, after expiry of his seven days NIA custody.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”NIA submits that the accused has disclosed some facts regarding money transaction. He is likely to be further quizzed… The accused is sent to police custody for 7 days. He be produced on June 4,” the court said.While seeking his further remand by 15 days, National Investigating Agency (NIA) told the court that during the interrogation, the accused disclosed that he was the handler in sever transactions through hawala for terror activities.It submitted that after the disclosure made by Siddibapa, a number of teams have been sent to several spots for verification of fund transactions in places like Mumbai. It also told the court that several other places including Dubai also needed to be verified in connection with fund transaction and teams will be sent to these places soon.While opposing the NIA application, defence advocate M S Khan submitted before the court that Siddibapa was earlier apprehended in Dubai in 2014 on request of Indian government and for two months the government could not give any evidence against him, after which he was let off.”What new evidences you (NIA) have gathered so far after that? The accused should instead be sent to judicial custody,” the counsel said.Earlier, the NIA had told the court that Siddibapa was in Dubai and had assumed the name of Khan and he was an important cadre of IM organisation for regularly transferring funds from Pakistan to UAE and then to India for terror activities here.The agency had also told the court that the accused was in touch with several IM members through electronic devices. Siddibapa, cousin of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, was held at Indira Gandhi International Airport on May 20 after his arrival from Dubai.According to NIA’s FIR lodged in September 2012, members of IM, in association with other IM sleeper cells based in the country and others, were conspiring to commit terror acts, by making preparations for targeting various important and prominent places in India especially in Delhi by causing bomb blasts with the active aid and support from their Pakistan- based operatives and associates, thus, waging war against the government of India.NIA had alleged that Siddibapa played an active role as the main conduit in the chain of fund supply from Pakistan via Dubai to other IM operatives based in India for the commission of terrorist acts. The court had on November 6, 2013 issued a non-bailable warrant against Siddibapa which was extended time to time and thereafter, a Red Corner Notice was issued against him on December 3, 2013.

Madhya Pradesh: IAS officer transferred for praising Nehru, criticising Asaram, Ramdev on social media

An IAS officer who had praised Jawaharlal Nehru in a Facebook post, has been transferred by the Madhya Pradesh government.Ajay Singh Gangwar who was the Barwani District Collector, was transferred last night as Deputy Secretary in the Secretariat in Bhopal. Gangwar had been promoted to the IAS cadre from the state service in 2005.'”The state government has transferred Barwani Collector Gangwar as Deputy Secretary in the Mantralaya in Bhopal,” a state Public Relation Department official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Facebook post written in Hindi, which has gone viral on other social media platforms, Gangwar has written that “let me know the mistakes that Nehru should not have committed…Is it his mistake that he prevented all of us from becoming Hindu Talibani Rashtra in 1947?”Is it his mistake to open IIT, ISRO, BARC, IISB, IIM, BHEL steel plant, dams, thermal power? Is it his mistake that he honoured Sarabhai, Homi Jehangir in place of intellectuals like Asaram and Ramdev?”According to the government official, the FB post had not gone down well with the top officials as it was in “violation” of the service rules, following which an initial probe was conducted and Gangwar was transferred.Ever since the Facebook post had gone viral, there was talk that Gangwar could be shunted out of the district.However, his transfer order did not mention anything about his Facebook post on Nehru, the official added.

dna Morning Must Reads: India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD; CPM-BJP feud; Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win; and more

1. CPM-BJP feud in Kerala echoes in Delhi, Gadkari-led delegation knocks at President’s doorThe BJP has brought the feud between the Marxists and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the state to the capital, with Union minister Nitin Gadkari leading a party delegation to seek President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention in restraining violence and his party cadre protesting at the CPI-M headquarters. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Thailand: At least 17 girls dead in private school fire, several injured”The fire broke out at 11 pm on Sunday (local time) Seventeen girls were killed and two are still missing, with five injured,” Police Colonel Prayad Singsin, Commander of Vingpatao district in Chiang Rai said. Read more here3. India’s first-ever indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD​ successfully tested from SriharikotaThe first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), that can launch satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, was flight tested on Monday morning. Read more here4. Watch: Ten-man Barcelona win Copa del Rey after scoring twice in extra timeTen-man Barcelona retained the King’s Cup with a 2-0 victory over Sevilla to complete a domestic double thanks to extra-time goals by Jordi Alba and Neymar at the Vicente Calderon stadium on Sunday. Read more here5. I am here to stay: Arjun Kapoor on his Bollywood journeyHe has juggled small films, unknown directors, an English film and a TV show host along with his big budget commercial dramas. All that is (365×4) days. He has managed to change the perception about him in very short period of time. Today, any director big or small will approach him for any kind of role. Because he has proved he is versatile. Read more here

CPM-BJP feud in Kerala echoes in Delhi, Gadkari-led delegation knocks at President’s door

In the aftermath of the Kerala election results, the hostilities between the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are taking a fiercer turn.The BJP has brought the feud between the Marxists and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the state to the capital, with Union minister Nitin Gadkari leading a party delegation to seek President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention in restraining violence and his party cadre protesting at the CPI-M headquarters. Both sides accused each other of initiating violence in the state and gave detailed accounts of attacks on its leaders.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gadkari, who led a delegation of Union ministers and state leaders, told reporters that they had conveyed to the President the details of attacks on RSS and BJP workers.Photograph by: Manit Balmiki”We have given the President details of these cases, including photographs. Our worker Pramod was killed. Houses of more than 100 workers have been vandalised. The situation is not good. He has assured us that he will take appropriate action. Unfortunately, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Congress are keeping quiet. This is not good for democracy,” he said.According to BJP sources, the party’s strategy was aimed at “exposing” the CPM as an “anti-democratic” party at the national level.In the memorandum to the President, the BJP said that with the “Left Front assuming power, there are visible signs of large-scale violence being escalated against BJP workers.” It also alleged that several cases against the gruesome violence across the state, particularly in Kannur, Kasargod, Kottayam and Chalakudy, had to be investigated.While the delegation claimed that there was a general apprehension that the state may witness large-scale organised “crusade” by the LDF government to decimate the growing strength of BJP through violent means, the CPI-M said that the saffron party was not ready to accept the verdict, which had given a clear majority to the Left.”It’s the BJP and the RSS which have initiated violence after the results in the state,” CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.PTIIn a statement on Sunday, the CPI-M said that the BJP was levelling false allegations about violence and that its party workers have held a demonstration at the CPI-M office and indulged in vandalism.”The BJP leadership is adopting a hypocritical and dishonest position about what has actually happened in Kerala. On May 19, when the results were declared, CPI-M workers took out a victory procession in Pinarayi, the constituency of chief minister-designate Pinarayi Vijayan. This procession was attacked by the BJP-RSS workers, resulting in the death of CV Raveendran, a 53-year-old member of the CPI-M. His son Jishen and four others were injured,” the statement said, giving an account of attacks on CPI-M workers.The CPI-M also took exception to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s remarks on Saturday saying “instead of issuing threats, the CPI-M should ensure that the party units in Kerala stop such violent attacks.” Prasad had said that violence on RSS and BJP workers will not be tolerated.The CPI-M said that the attacks by the BJP will not be tolerated by the people. Its statement said that, in Kasargode district’s Kanhangad constituency, the victory procession of the LDF candidate and sitting CPI MLA E Chandrashekaran was attacked by BJP workers, and, the same day, a bomb was hurled at a CPI-M rally in Mattanoor, Kannur, where four people were injured.

‘We will not sit quiet’: BJP warns Left over party worker’s killing

New Delhi: Attacking the Left Front, which has stormed to power in Kerala, over a party worker’s murder, BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday accused it of violating the people’s mandate even as his party said it will not sit quiet and fight on the streets if violence continues.

Emboldened by securing its first seat and over 15 per cent of votes in assembly elections, BJP said it will not sit quiet if the cycle of violence continues in the state as it claimed that it has emerged as a powerful alternative voice to the two main fronts led by CPI(M) and Congress.

File image of Amit Shah. ReutersFile image of Amit Shah. Reuters

File image of Amit Shah. Reuters

“I am deeply anguished to learn about merciless killing of our karyakarta (worker) Pramod. This act by supporters of ruling Left violates the democratic spirit and mandate that the people of Kerala gave them just two days back.We are concerned about safety of our karyakartas and assure them our full support in their fight against an undemocratic Left regime. I have ordered constitution of a central committee which will visit and investigate this violence,” Shah said.

While Shah attacked the Left in a series of tweets, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad later addressed a press conference to hit out at the Left and do some tough-talking.

Prasad said violence began soon after the polls, adding that 55 criminal cases have been registered against CPI(M) workers in Kannur district, a hotbed of struggle between the Left and RSS, BJP and its affiliates.

“I want to warn them that BJP will not tolerate violence against its cadre and swayamsewaks (RSS volunteers)in Kerala. This will not be tolerated. CPI(M) needs to recognise one thing very clearly that BJP is ruling over the country and is ruling in 14 states.”

“BJP has very powerful electoral support in Kerala as we view this reckless attack on our cadre very very seriously. Therefore, this cycle of violence must be stopped. We will expect the new CPI(M) government and the party to give serious thought to it. Otherwise, we will fight on the street, in Parliament and the entire country,” he said.

Asked what the party intended to do, he shot back “we will not sit quiet.”

Of erotic sorties, beaut damsels: Language of court rulings can be quite dense

Anthony Gonzalves was clever enough to get it right after having only just hatching out of an Easter egg: “You know the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the hemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity!”


Anyone attempting to read Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India, the imposing, 268 page long tome of text authored by Justice Dipak Misra, settling the question of the constitutionality of criminal defamation in India, will be as perplexed as the party audience in Amar Akbar Anthony’s famously catchy song.

The language used by our courts is so flowery, it might even give Shakespeare a case of envyThe language used by our courts is so flowery, it might even give Shakespeare a case of envy

The language used by our courts is so flowery, it might even give Shakespeare a case of envy

Intoxicated by the exuberance of their own verbosity, our Courts have been guilty of making their decisions virtually impenetrable by the common man for whom they are purportedly written.

Attempts have already been made elsewhere to decipher this judgment. Strangely, this does not appear to be the usual literary style adopted by Justice Misra in his other decisions.

The precedent for such writing seems to stem from the inimitable VR Krishna Iyer. In 1979’s Phul Singh vs State of Punjab, the opening paragraph, narrating the facts of the case, reads thus: “A philanderer of 22, appellant Phul Singh, overpowered by sex stress in excess, hoisted himself into his cousin’s house next door, and in broad day-light, overpowered the temptingly lonely prosecutrix of twenty four, Pushpa, raped her in hurried heat and made an urgent exit having fulfilled his erotic sortie.”

He justified the reduction of the Appellant’s sentence from four years to two with this reasoning: “A hyper-sexed homo sapiens cannot be habilitated by humiliating or harsh treatment, but that is precisely the perversion of unreformed Jail Justice which some criminologists have described as the crime of punishment” (emphasis mine).

You’d be hard pressed to justify this sort of writing in today’s world. And yet, the flattering imitators persist. Subordinate Courts, bound as they are by stare decisis, take their literary cues from such prose. So the opening lines of the Special CBI Court’s judgment in the Arushi Talwar murder trial goes: “The cynosure of judicial determination is the fluctuating fortunes of the dentist couple Dr Rajesh Talwar and Dr Nupur Talwar…”

judgment quotejudgment quote

At the other end of the spectrum, the state of Maharashtra has been attempting to spread the use of Marathi in lower Courts for well over two decades. Attempts are now underway to conquer the last bastion of English, the stubbornly ‘Bombay’ High Court by making the official language Marathi. Obviously, this would present a peculiarly Indian problem where the Supreme Court gravitates towards a kind of written English which even the British probably never dreamed of, but subordinate Courts are driven towards local language.

Caught between this schism is the High Court, which is called upon to consider Appeals drafted in English from decisions rendered in Marathi. Between the inherent ambiguity of overly complicated judgments like Phul Singh and Subramanian Swamy, and the expectation of all Courts to translate and then apply their ratios to the cases tried by them, a recipe for disaster is in the making, to the detriment of ordinary Indian litigants.

Legal language is a subject that’s taught in the first year of LLB. But instead of teaching prospective lawyers (and therefore, judges) how to write lucidly, much emphasis is laid on memorising the English translations of Latin maxims (which, incidentally, are of limited use even in every day practice), the short forms of different law journals and the meanings of an assortment of commonly used ‘legal words’.

The only redeeming features are a section on essay writing, and another on grammar. This is not to suggest that good language skills necessarily translate into good advocacy or good judgments, or that those with poor language skills cannot make great lawyers and judges. The question is one of accessibility to the ordinary litigating public.

judgment quote 2judgment quote 2

As long ago as 1986, Lawyers Collective magazine carried an article on the need for a Plain Language Movement in India, of the kind that is already well established abroad, to simplify language in Courts. Decrying what was already a dire predicament then, it was noted that “The highest court of the land has very often to assume the role of a philologist (linguist) and consider the minute nuances of a word after consulting various dictionaries and authorities, before coming to a possible conclusion. Then again what is true in one context need not apply to another and this does not preclude other interpretations and other delays on account of them. In many cases the judgement too is baffling, even to the legal pundits.”

Perhaps a solution is already close at hand. In journalism, another language-based profession, it is subeditors who are tasked with modulating the often unintelligible stories filed by reporters, and are expected to lend a unifying voice to the publications they work for. If our Courts continue in the vein of Subramanian Swamy, the time may come when recourse may have to be made to a similar solution — even a separate cadre of Court staff entrusted only with the editing of judgments — to enable litigants to hurdle over the Courts’ language barrier.

The author practices in Bombay High Court

Till Congress replaces blue-blood culture, there is no future, says Himanta Biswa Sarma

Reflecting the growing unease and concern within the Congress after its election defeat, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were today urged to don the role of “surgeons” to put the organisation back on the path of recovery.Senior leader who heads the party group in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said wherever there are shortcomings the party should go into it and remove them. Congress rivals and former Congress rebels who have now joined hands with BJP gunned for Rahul and said no surgery could save Congress because it was afflicted with the “cancer of corruption”. At the AICC briefing, party spokesman PC Chacko said the party had given freedom to state units to decide on poll strategies. “We are not saying the national leadership is not responsible,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after his remarks about the need for surgery in the Congress created flutters, senior leader Digvijay Singh said the surgeons are Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and they should “take action forthwith” to set right matters in the party. In a bid to shield the leadership from any attack in the wake of crushing defeat in Assam and other states, he said, “Everyone is accountable and responsible for victory or defeat, no one individual.” He made it clear that Sonia and Rahul cannot be blamed for the electoral debacle.
ALSO READ Till Congress replaces blue-blood culture, there is no future, says Himanta Biswa SarmaApparently referring to the aftermath of the Lok Sabha debacle, Singh said discussions and introspection have taken place and was now time for taking action. “The surgeon does surgery and not we people. The surgeon is the Congress president. It is she and Rahul Gandhi who have to decide what action needs to be taken,” he said. Singh called for “fresh ideas and fresh functioning style” to revive the party. Asked to explain his pitch for a “major surgery”, Singh said a number of reports to improve the state of affairs in the party were submitted to the leadership and it’s time to implement those suggestions.He recalled that after the 2014 general elections, a committee headed by AK Antony was set up to look into the issue (of Congress defeat). After discussions with leaders from states, it submitted a report. “After that Rahul Gandhi discussed with every senior Congress man, who has been influential in the Congress party in past and present. After that he asked party general secretaries to discuss with state leaders,” Singh recalled saying that the general secretaries submitted a report on the suggestions received to Sonia Gandhi way back on February 28 last year.Kharge said, “Wherever there are shortcomings in Congress, work needs to be done. What has gone wrong and where, we will have to see on how to remove them (shortcomings). We will surely remove them. If there are any shortcomings, they (leaders) are ready to rectify them.”Former Uttarakhand chief minister and Congress rebel Vijay Bahuguna, who quit the party to join BJP, said, “Congress leadership has no connect with the cadre or senior state leaders.” He added, “They are surrounded by a coterie of state or of the leaders in Delhi who cannot win in the Lok Sabha elections in their own states but influence all party decisions.”Himanta Biswa Sarma, another Congress rebel in Assam who switched sides to join BJP, said, “Till Congress replaces blue-blood culture, there is no future.”Attacking Rahul, he said, “Problem is that when you talk to Rahul, the discussion is so light that even the dogs came in between. He starts playing with dogs, not humans.”

Court sends IM’s Abdul Wahid Siddibapa to seven-day NIA custody

New Delhi: A special court on Friday sent the alleged Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) key operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa to NIA custody for seven days after the agency said he was required to be interrogated in connection with fund transfer to the terror outfit.

Siddibapa, 32, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was produced before Special NIA Judge Rakesh Pandit, who said, “It is appropriate to say that custodial interrogation is required. I grant his custody to NIA for seven days.”

In the application, the National Investigating Agency (NIA) sought 15 days custody of Siddibapa, submitting that he was in Dubai, had assumed the name of Khan and that he was an important cadre of the IM for regularly transferring funds from Pakistan to UAE and then to India for terror activities here.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The agency also told the court that the accused was in touch with several IM members through electronic devices.

Advocate MS Khan, who appeared for Siddibapa, opposed the plea for NIA custody saying that the NIA has already concluded arguments on charge in the case, in which the accused has been arrested.

He also argued that his client’s name never appeared anywhere in the chargesheet filed by NIA or in the list of proclaimed offenders or wanted persons.

Siddibapa, cousin of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, was held at Indira Gandhi International Airport today after his arrival from Dubai.

According to NIA’s FIR lodged in September 2012, members of IM, in association with other IM sleeper cells based in the country and others, were conspiring to commit terror acts, by making preparations for targeting various important and prominent places in India especially in Delhi by causing bomb blasts with the active aid and support from their Pakistan-based operatives and associates, thus, waging war against the government of India.

NIA had alleged that Siddibapa played an active role as the main conduit in the chain of fund supply from Pakistan via Dubai to other IM operatives based in India for the commission of terrorist acts.

The court had on 6 November 2013 issued a non-bailable warrant against Siddibapa that was extended from time to time and thereafter, a Red Corner Notice was issued against him on 3 December 2013.

Special court sends IM’s key operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa to 7-day NIA custody

A special court on Friday sent alleged Indian Mujahideen’s key operative Abdul Wahid Siddibapa to NIA custody for seven days after the agency said he was required to be interrogated in connection with fund transfer to the terror outfit. Thirty-two-year-old Siddibapa, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka, was produced before Special NIA Judge Rakesh Pandit, who said, “It is appropriate to say that custodial interrogation is required. I grant his custody to NIA for seven days.” In the application.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigating Agency(NIA) sought 15 days custody of Siddibapa, submitting that he was in Dubai and had assumed the name of Khan and he was an important cadre of IM organisation for regularly transferring funds from Pakistan to UAE and then to India for terror activities here. The agency also told the court that the accused was in touch with several IM members through electronic devices. Advocate M S Khan, who appeared for Siddibapa, opposed the plea for NIA custody saying that the NIA has already concluded arguments on charge in the case in which the accused has been arrested. He also argued that his client’s name never appeared anywhere in the charge sheet filed by NIA or in the list of proclaimed offenders or wanted persons. Siddibapa, cousin of Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, was held at Indira Gandhi International Airport today after his arrival from Dubai. According to NIA’s FIR lodged in September 2012, members of IM, in association with other IM sleeper cells based in the country and others, were conspiring to commit terror acts, by making preparations for targeting various important and prominent places in India especially in Delhi by causing bomb blasts with the active aid and support from their Pakistan- based operatives and associates, thus, waging war against the government of India. NIA had alleged that Siddibapa played an active role as the main conduit in the chain of fund supply from Pakistan via Dubai to other IM operatives based in India for the commission of terrorist acts. The court had on November 6, 2013 issued a non-bailable warrant against Siddibapa which was extended time to time and thereafter, a Red Corner Notice was issued against him on December 3, 2013.

SC’s no to urgent hearing of plea against appointments in AMU

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to accord urgent hearing to a plea seeking a direction to restrain the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) from issuing appointment letters to selected candidates for various posts including teachers in the varsity.The plea was mentioned before a vacation bench of Justices A M Sapre and Ashok Bhushan which said that their is no urgency and the matter will come up for hearing in regular course.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ramesh Kumar Mishra, counsel for petitioners Ashraf Mateen and others, said that it is urgent matter as appointment letters are being issued to different selectees by Vice Chancellor whose own appointment is under challenge before the apex court.”There is no urgency in the matter. You are creating problems for others. Matter will come up for hearing in regular course,” the bench said.The petitioners who are Associate/ Assistant Professor serving at the AMU have in the petition sought quashing and setting aside the notification convening General Selection Committee (GSC) for various academic posts in Department/ Faculties of Engineering and Management of the varsity.They have further challenged the recommendations of the committee made on June 25, 2015, by which the eligibility criteria for appointment for the post of Associate Professors have been allegedly arbitrarily watered down in violation of binding UGC Regulations 2010. The selection of professors is to be done in various centres of AMU including at Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar.”During pendency of challenge to his own appointment before this Court the present Vice Chancellor is in hurry to make selection and appointment of Cadre and CAS posts by prescribing lower qualifications, enabling unqualified and unfit persons to occupy said posts,” the plea said.The petition further said that “the committee prescribed qualifications reducing the minimum teaching experience from eight to five years and making the mandatory PhD qualification merely desirable for the post of associate professor.” Earlier, the apex court had asked whether a university can term itself a minority institution, while hearing the plea seeking a direction to quash the appointment of AMU vice-chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah.

Ishrat Jahan row: Home ministry asks panel to finish work by 31 May

New Delhi: A one-man inquiry committee of the Home Ministry, probing the missing files case related to the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan, has been asked to expedite its work and finish the task by 31 May.

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is said to have told Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry BK Prasad to speed up the probe and submit his report by the end of this month.

Prasad, a Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, is retiring on 31 May and the government wants the task given to him to be completed before his service comes to an end, official sources said.

Ishrat Jahan. File photo. PTIIshrat Jahan. File photo. PTI

Ishrat Jahan. File photo. PTI

Prasad is also embroiled in a controversy after an under secretary serving in the Home Ministry’s Foreigners Division accused him of pressuring him (the junior officer) of giving clean chit to Ford Foundation, which allegedly violated provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. Prasad has denied the allegation.

Top Home Ministry officials are of the opinion that the Ishrat-related files were misplaced and could be found if a concerted effort is made.

Government seems to be unhappy over the delay in finding the files and wants a quick report and Prasad has been told this in clear terms, the sources said.

The panel, constituted on 14 March following an uproar in Parliament, was asked to inquire into the circumstances in which the files related to the case of Ishrat, who was killed in the alleged fake encounter in Gujarat in 2004, went missing.

It was asked to find out the person responsible for keeping the files and relevant issues.

The papers which went missing from the Home Ministry include the copy of an affidavit vetted by the Attorney General and submitted in the Gujarat High Court in 2009 and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.

Two letters written by the then Home Secretary GK Pillai to the then Attorney General late GE Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untraceable.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disclosed in Parliament on March 10 that the files were missing.

The first affidavit was filed on the basis of inputs from Maharashtra and Gujarat Police besides the Intelligence Bureau where it was said the 19-year-old girl from Mumbai outskirts was a Lashkar-e-Taiba activist but it was ignored in the second affidavit, Home Ministry officials said.

The second affidavit, claimed to have been drafted by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram, said there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Ishrat was a terrorist, the officials said.

Bayern win record fourth straight Bundesliga title | Reuters

BERLIN Bayern Munich secured a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, with a game to spare, on Saturday after a 2-1 victory at Ingolstadt 04 eased the disappointment of their midweek Champions League exit.

The Bavarians clinched a 26th German league crown, and their first silverware of the season, thanks to two goals from top scorer Robert Lewandowski in the first half.

Four days after their away-goals defeat by Atletico Madrid ensured a third consecutive Champions League semi-final exit, Bayern went eight points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund who lost 1-0 at struggling Eintracht Frankfurt.

“A big compliment to everyone in the team. I am happy to have lived these experiences here,” said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola who will join Manchester City at the end of the season.

“I want to share this title with (predecessor) Jupp Heynckes. We achieved something very special, four league titles in a row.”

Heynckes started the run during the 2012-13 treble-winning season before Spaniard Guardiola took over.

Bayern can secure the double when they meet Dortmund in the German Cup final on May 21 in Berlin.

The final whistle sparked a party at the 15,000-seater Audi Sportpark, with forward Thomas Mueller grabbing a loudhailer to lead singing with the fans.

In Guardiola’s penultimate league game after three seasons in charge, Bayern went ahead when Lewandowski scored from the penalty spot in the 15th minute.

The visitors took their foot off the gas and let Ingolstadt back into the game with a 42nd-minute penalty converted by Moritz Hartmann.


“It is no small feat to win the league four times in a row,” said Mueller. “It required a lot of work, quality is not enough if you don’t put the work into it.

“The consistency we have shown in the last few years is incredible. The beer glasses will be in full swing this evening.”

Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Andre Hahn scored twice in a 2-1 comeback victory over Bayer Leverkusen that all but secured fourth place and a Champions League qualifying round spot.

Gladbach, who lost their opening five league matches of the season, have 52 points. Mainz 05, Hertha Berlin and Schalke 04 are all on 49.

Schalke conceded an 89th-minute equaliser in their 1-1 home draw with Augsburg while Hertha slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Darmstadt 98.

Sandro Wagner’s 83rd-minute winner delighted Darmstadt and made sure of their Bundesliga status next season.

Former champions Werder Bremen drew 0-0 at Cologne and now meet Eintracht in their last game of the regular season.

Werder are in the relegation playoff spot on 35 points with Eintracht one place above on 36. VfB Stuttgart, champions in 2007, are second from bottom on 33 after a 3-1 defeat by Mainz 05.

(Editing by Toby Davis and Tony Jimenez)

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

Bayern Munich secure record fourth straight Bundesliga title | Reuters

BERLIN Bayern Munich secured a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title with a game to spare on Saturday after a 2-1 victory at Ingolstadt helped them put the disappointment of their midweek Champions League semi-final exit behind them.

The Bavarians made sure of their 26th German league crown and the first silverware of their season thanks to two goals from top scorer Robert Lewandowski in the first half.

Four days after their away goals defeat to Atletico Madrid ensured a third consecutive Champions League semi-final exit, Bayern went eight points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who lost 1-0 at strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt.

They can clinch the double when they take on Dortmund in the German Cup final on May 21 in Berlin, ensuring coach Pep Guardiola will leave the club to join Manchester City in the close season on a high after tightening Bayern’s domestic stranglehold.

The final whistle sparked a Bayern party at the 15,000-seater Audi Sportpark, with forward Thomas Mueller grabbing a loud hailer to lead chants with the fans.

In Guardiola’s penultimate league game after three seasons in charge, Bayern set the tone with two goals in the first half, with Lewandowski opening the scoring from the penalty spot.

They took their foot off the gas, however, to let Ingolstadt back into the game with a 42nd-minute penalty of their own with the hosts also missing several good chances in the second half.

“It is no small feat to win the league four times in a row,” Mueller told reporters.

“It required a lot of work. Quality is not enough if you don’t put the work into it. The consistency we have shown in the last few years is incredible. The beer glasses will be in full swing this evening.”

Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Andre Hahn scored twice in a 2-1 comeback victory over Bayer Leverkusen that all but secured fourth place and a Champions League qualifying round spot.

Gladbach, who lost their opening five league matches of the season, are on 52 in fourth with Mainz 05, Hertha Berlin and Schalke 04 on 49.

Schalke conceded an 89th-minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw against Augsburg and Hertha slumped to a 2-1 loss against Darmstadt 98.

Sandro Wagner’s 82nd-minute goal secured all three points for Darmstadt and made sure of their Bundesliga place next season.

Former champions Werder Bremen managed only a goalless draw at Cologne and will now battle it out with Frankfurt on the last matchday to avoid relegation.

Werder are in the relegation playoff spot on 35 with Frankfurt on 36. VfB Stuttgart, Bundesliga champions in 2007, are in 17th on 33 points after their 3-1 loss to Mainz 05.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)

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

CAT asks Centre to submit fresh proposal regarding Sanjiv Chaturvedi’s deputation

The Central Administrative Tribunal has asked the Centre to submit afresh the proposal regarding the deputation of IFoS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi to Delhi government.The CAT bench headed by Justice M S Sullar pronounced the order while directing the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to submit the proposal within two weeks and said that the “Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) may take a decision in the matter as expeditiously as possible.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The request for the deputation posting of Ex CVO of AIIMS and Uttarakhand cadre officer Chaturvedi to Delhi government is pending for a year now. “Undoubtedly a lot of delay has taken place in processing this case considering the fact that the request letter of the Chief Minister of GNCTD to Minister of State, MoEFCC, is dated February 16, 2015… “Regarding waiving off cooling of requirement of applicant (Chaturvedi) for his proposed inter-carder deputation to GNCTD as OSD to the Chief Minister, we would like to say that it is solely the domain of the ACC to grant special dispensation, as has been in quite a few cases in the past or take a decision otherwise.”What really important is that the ACC should take a decision in this matter,” the tribunal said.The officer had moved the tribunal against the pendency of his deputation proposal to Delhi government.

Gujarat issues ordinance to provide 10% quota for economically backward

Gujarat government on Sunday issued the ordinance providing 10 % reservation for the economically backward among upper castes, two days after it announced the politically-sensitive measure.The Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Ordinance, 2016, issued on the occasion of state Foundation Day, grants 10 % reservation to economically weaker people from unreserved category whose annual family income does not exceed Rs 6 lakh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ordinance clarified that reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) was apart from the policy for reservation for SC, ST and SEBC which was being followed by the state government.”Economically weaker section of unreserved categories of the society have expressed their inability to compete with the higher strata who are economically sound and as a result of which, such EWS feel disadvantaged in terms of their representation in the matter of admissions in educational institutions and in the services and posts under the state,” the ordinance stated.”It is considered necessary to provide for 10 % reservation on the basis of economic status to economically weaker sections of the society other than the SC, ST and SEBC for admissions in the educational institutions and for appointments in the services and posts under the state,” it stated.According to the order, “Such reservation shall be available to the persons of EWS of the society as per the criteria as are applicable to the persons belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes in the state”. The government stated that such reservation shall not be applied in the matters of promotion, or for the post which is single in any cadre or grade. Stating that the reservation for EWS is apart from the policy for reservation for SC, ST and SEBC, the ordinance said, “The state government is aware of this situation and considers it prime duty to strive for inclusive development and address the reasonable requirement of such EWS of unreserved categories of the society, so that they may also share the fruits of the policies of the government”.The 10 % quota was announced on Friday after the meeting of the state BJP’s core group, which was attended by party president Amit Shah. The announcement came against the backdrop of reverses suffered by the BJP in the civic polls and the aggressive Patidar agitation, ahead of Assembly elections slated in 2017.

Retired judges to be reappointed to tackle pending cases: CJI Thakur

New Delhi: In a significant step to tackle mounting cases, a conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts on Sunday adopted a resolution to invoke a constitutional provision to appoint retired judicial officers as ad hoc judges.

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur announced that the conference adopted a resolution that Article 224 A will be invoked to allow chief justices of high courts to appoint retired judicial officers as ad hoc judges.

“There is a provision in the Constitution. It means that it is meant to be invoked,” he said.

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur. IBNLiveChief Justice of India TS Thakur. IBNLive

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur. IBNLive

Article 224 A of the Constitution states that the Chief Justice of a high court, with the previous consent of the President (Centre), request any person who has held the office of a judge of that court or any other high court to sit and act as a judge of the high court for that state.

There are nearly 3 crore cases pending before the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, the 24 high courts and various subordinate courts.

He said these ad hoc judges will tackle criminal cases where appeals have not been heard for the past five years.

These judges will be appointed for a period of two years or upto the time they attain the age of 65.

The CJI said these judges can also preside over ‘holiday courts’ on Saturdays and Sundays.

The conference also resolved that vacancies will be filled up in lower courts and the cadre strength will be increased by 10 per cent per annum till the review of the cadre strength is carried out in the near future.

According to latest Law Ministry figures, the approved strength of the subordinate judiciary is 20,214 with 4,580 vacancies. The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1,056 and the vacancy was pegged at 458 as on March one.

In the apex court, there are six vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, including the CJI.

No need to advise Muslims how many children they should have: SP

Samajwadi Party on Saturday said there was no need to advise Muslims on how many children they should have as the Constitution has given them the right to decide.Talking to reporters, SP National General Secretary Mohammad Arshad Khan said “The Constitution had given them freedom to decide on how many children they should have. There is no need for advise Muslims in this regard.”He was replying to a question on Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s controversial remark that if the country’s population policy is not changed to mandate a two-child norm across religions then “our daughters” will not be “safe” and might have to be kept “under the veil” like in Pakistan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I want a law in which Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians can have only two children. If we want the country to develop then it will not happen without population control,” Singh said at an event in Bihar’s Champaran two days ago.On chanting of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, Khan said he has no objection to it as ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and ‘Madre vatan Hindustan’ are same. Khan claimed that under the SP government not a single innocent Muslim had gone to jail on terror charges and his party will bag more than 300 seat in the coming elections. To another question, he said there was nothing wrong if mosques were used for political activities.

Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Gandhi gets French honour

Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee has been decorated with one of France’s top honour The Order of Arts and Letters for her contribution in promoting peace, solidarity, culture, education, and development.On behalf of the French President Bhattacharjee, 82, was conferred the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) honour in Delhi late Wednesday evening by French Ambassador Francois Richier. Accepting the award Bhattacharjee said there was need “to learn the fearlessness of Gandhi.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The fearlessness of Gandhi was different. His was made of love and compassion. I remember his room, his doors were always open. One hardly had to take an appointment to meet him.”I remember politicians coming out of the room saying they disagree with his view. They probably didn’t change their view, but did become his friends for sure. That’s the fearlessness we need today, ” she said.”This honour comes in recognition of Bhattacharjee’s remarkable work for promoting peace, solidarity, culture, education, and development through her commitment to perpetuating the memory and legacy of her grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi,” a statement by the Embassy said.The daughter of late Devadas Gandhi and the late Lakshmi Devadas Gandhi, is the widow of the late Jyoti Prasad Bhattacharjee, a leading economist. For the past 28 years, she has been working for the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in memory of his wife to serve needy women and children of rural India.The L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is a French government distinction for “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.” Some noted Indian recipients of this honour in the past include Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Shahrukh Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai, Raghu Rai, Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, and Upamanyu Chatterjee.

BJP slams Uttar Pradesh Police over NIA officer Tanzil Ahmad’s murder, says it works for Samajwadi Party

In light of the killing of an NIA officer in Bijnor and inmates setting afire a prison barrack in Varanasi, BJP on Tuesday hit out at Uttar Pradesh Police and accused it of working as a cadre of the ruling Samajwadi Party.”When will the police administration, which is working as cadre of ruling SP, wake up and realise its responsibilities,” BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said. He claimed that police came into action in the killing of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) officer Tanzil Ahmad only after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav intervened in the matter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Incidents took place in Varanasi jail, but the top officers did not bother to act. When will the state’s administrative apparatus become sensitive on these incidents,” Pathak asked in a statement. He alleged that police officers get postings on senior designations because of political connections but fail to execute their responsibilities.He said Akhilesh had appealed to officers during IAS and IPS weeks to work so that his party could remain in power.

Windies skipper Sammy wins toss, sends Sri Lanka to bat | Reuters

West Indies captain Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to bowl against Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20 Super 10 match at Bengaluru’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday.

West Indies, champions in 2012, completed a six-wicket win over England in their Group One opener in Mumbai on Wednesday thanks to an unbeaten Chris Gayle century.

Sammy made one change to the side that beat England, bringing in Andre Fletcher in place of medium-pacer Jerome Taylor.

Defending champions Sri Lanka, missing pace spearhead Lasith Malinga due to a knee injury, beat Afghanistan by six wickets on Thursday and skipper Angelo Matthews also made one change.

Malinga’s replacement, leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, comes straight into the side in place of off-spinner Shehan Jayasuriya.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Toby Davis)

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

Attracting youths not primary motive behind new uniform: RSS

The RSS on Tuesday sought to dispel suggestion that it has replaced its conventional uniform of khaki knickers with brown trousers in a bid to attract youths to its fold.The decision to change its ‘ganvesh’ (uniform), in vogue for 91 years, was taken at annual meeting of RSS’ Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha, its highest decision-making body, at Nagaur in Rajasthan recently. “This is not correct to say that the Sangh went for the change in its dress primarily to attract youths who shy away from wearing shorts,” said Prakash Shastri, chief of RSS’ Malwa Prant, which comprises Indore and Ujjain divisions. He reasoned that youths would not go along with RSS for long if they failed to imbibe its ideology and merely a changed uniform could not do much.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Sangh works with devotion. If young people don’t embrace Sangh’s ideology, they won’t get along with RSS for long,” Shastri said responding to a query whether the move aimed at attracting youths. The RSS leader said khaki shorts made way for trousers following a long pondering on suggestions made to this effect by its cadre and the change is in sync with time.To another query, he said RSS is not in favour of whole privatisation of health and education sectors. “Rather, the government and society should join hands to make health and education affordable and easily accessible,” he added.Shastri said as many as 247 shakhas of RSS have come up in Indore and Ujjain divisions in the past one year, taking their total number to 2,607. Of them, 80 per cent are located in rural areas, he added.

From khaki to coffee brown: RSS swaps shorts for trousers to attract latte-sipping urban youth

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has chosen ‘coffee brown’ to connect with the coffee-sipping urban youth of India.

Now, coffee brown trousers and white shirts will be the new uniform (ganavesh) of the Sangh. This has replaced the age-old traditional ‘khaki knickers’.

File image of RSS cadres. PTI

File image of RSS cadres. PTI

Putting an end to speculation on colour, the RSS on Sunday at the end of its three-day national conclave — the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) at Nagaur in Rajasthan — announced the change in uniform.

RSS general secretary (sarakaryavah) Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi said that the traditional khaki shorts will be replaced by wooden brown or coffee-coloured trousers.

There has been a growing concern within the organisation that certain practices are archaic and out of tune with today’s youth. This has been the reason the average age of the RSS cadre is growing older, while the nation is getting younger. Many have been viewing this new look — the makeover — as the first visible step in course correction.

“This new uniform is a major morphological change within the organisation. There has been a churn within the Sangh at various levels for replacing the age-old traditional flared knee-length khaki shorts or knickers with full-length trousers.  This new look in ganavesh will help the RSS achieve resonance with the youth, especially from urban centres. It was observed that a section of urban youth, who despite an inclination to connect with the Sangh Shakhas, backed out due to the uniform. This change will help us to increase our urban cadre base,” an RSS member told Firstpost.

Every year in March, the RSS holds its Pratinidhi Sabha and conducts an annual review of work done by its cadre and members across the country, prepares its future plan of action and presents its annual report. This year’s ABPS will be considered as a milestone, as the Sangh, which is usually considered a ‘rigid and orthodox’ right-wing organisation, has taken a bold decision to go for a makeover.

“Whenever, a need had arisen, the Sangh introduced change. It even allowed its members from the IT sector to attend Shakhas in track pants. The RSS is not rigid, but it is a disciplined cadre-based organisation that follows the cultural ethos of this country,” the member added.

Another important function of the Pratinidhi Sabha is to elect its new office bearers during the conclave.

However, this time, there has been no change in its office bearers and the Sangh has decided to retain the entire national office bearers’ team of 2015-16 headed by Mohan Rao Bhagwat as Sarasanghchalak, followed by Joshi as general secretary and Dattatreya Hosabale, Suresh Soni, Krishna Gopal and V Bhagaiah as Sahasarakaryavah (joint general secretaries). Manmohan Vaidya continues to be Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh.

Concluding the conclave, the RSS through its resolutions has laid strong emphasis on affordable and quality healthcare and medical facilities, and education to the poor and people from rural India. It has also given a strong message to the government that in the name of freedom of expression, ‘anti-national activities’ in the universities and in the public domain won’t be tolerated.