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Jharkhand: Coal mine collapses in Lalmatia, at least 50 people feared trapped

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 50 people are feared trapped after a coal mine collapsed in Jharkhand’s Lalmatia in Godda district on Thursday night.According to initial information, some machineries of a private company along with around 50 workers are suspected to be trapped inside the debris.“As of now, there are different versions of how many machines, vehicles and people are trapped. Relief and rescue operations are being initiated,” a police official told Indian Express. Administration officials and NDRF team were rushed to the spot to carry out rescue operations.Those who were injured have been admitted to Urjanagar hospital.

Another train derails near Kanpur: 62 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 60 passengers were injured in Wednesday’s Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailment accident near Kanpur, raising serious questions on the safety of train passengers in the country. While the cause of the accident could not be ascertained, sources said railway fracture was suspected to be the possible reason for derailment of 15 coaches Ajmer-Sealdeh Express.The incident comes just a month after 150 people were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express train derailed in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh on November 20. While the investigation report of that incident is yet to come out, initial report had suggested rail fracture as possible reason for that accident too. Incidentally, both these accidents occured in the early hours of morning.Wednesday’s mishap took place when the train was crossing a bridge overhead a dry canal in the area and reportedly two coaches of the train also fell in the canal. Some railway officials, who did not wish to be named, said it was almost miraculous that there were no casualties. They added that had the train been running on a high speed, the impact of the accident would have been much more. “The train had just pulled out of a railway station and its speed was rather slow. The train was travelling at a speed of 108km per hour,” an official said.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced a thorough investigation into the accident and Commissioner Railway Safety of Northern Circle was put in charge of the inquiry. Sources in Railways said a possible fracture in the track appeared to be the prima facie cause of the mishap. Maintenance issues coupled with drop in temperature cause fracture in rails. A senior railway official, however, said that weather and fog had no role to play in Tuesday’s accident.There has been an increase in incidents of derailments this year. According to railways data, there have been 67 derailment cases this year since April while it was 52 in the corresponding period last year. Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed however, said that the total number of accident cases has come down in comparison to previous years though the railways’ plan of action is to achieve zero accident target. The total number of accidents was 137 three years back which has come down to 87 this year, Jamshed said. Prabhu announced ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 for seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries. 62 people suffered injuries and 11 of them had grievous injuries, a railway official said.

Dhulagarh riots: West Bengal town on the boil after communal violence

Dhulagarh, a town 25 kilometres west of Kolkata, has been simmering for the past fortnight, following communal clashes that saw people’s houses and shops being targetted and set on fire. A Times Now report said 65 people have been arrested, and the state administration has asked the DGP Surajit Kar Purakayastha to take prompt action against the culprits and to ensure peace.

The tension erupted on 12 December, when two groups clashed as a procession was brought out in the area last week. After the groups were not allowed to carry out the procession, the Times Now website reported, they hurled bombs at each other, and the angry mob also looted and torched people’s homes.

The next day, on 13 December, the occasion of Milad-ul-Nabi, there were further clashes in the area. A section of locals claim the clashes were unprovoked, according to a report in the DNA newspaper. Local residents claim that they had to flee with their children and elderly as soon as the mob hurled country-made bombs at their houses. Later, the mob allegedly looted the houses and fled with the money and jewellery, later also setting it on fire.

People's houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212People's houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212

People’s houses were targeted in Dhulagarh. Image courtesy: Twitter/@Leopard212

“Nothing is left. We are looted of all our belongings. They ransacked and vandalised our houses and eventually set them on fire. We could not save a single penny from our houses, only managed to save our children and ran for life,” said a local, Lakshmi Mallya.

The violence didn’t stop there, however. The next day, a Muslim mob allegedly attacked Hindu homes and shops and them ablaze, reported The Indian Express. “Policemen rushed to the spot and managed to diffuse the tension. But the next day, for almost two hours, there was a stand-off between the police and rioters from both communities. They were carrying bombs. We used tear gas shells. Finally, we had to call in reinforcements to bring the situation under control,” an officer said.

A case of rioting and breaking communal harmony was registered against members of both communities. “The situation is under control. Forces, including RAF, have been posted at Dhulagarh to maintain peace,” the newspaper quoted the officer as saying.

However, despite the heavy presence of police and armed forces in the area, things didn’t return to normalcy. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation — comprising party leaders Jagdambika Pal, Satpal Singh, state president Dilip Ghosh and national secretary Rahul Sinha, and several volunteers — was stopped at Ekabbarapur Road, about one kilometre away from the spot where the clashes had taken place a few days ago, reported The Quint.

Angered by this, the BJP delegation, along with thousand-odd supporters, blocked the road in protest. Alleging that there is no law and order in the state, Pal said the government was following “appeasement politics towards a particular community”. Ghosh alleged right-wing Muslim outfits and Simi activists have entered the area and were creating trouble. He also said BJP was not given prior any information about prohibitory orders being imposed in Dhulagarh. “We are surprised that police did not allow us to approach the people in the area to know about their plight of sufferings,” Ghosh said.

However, perhaps in an attempt to prove that they weren’t targeting one specific political party, the police also stopped a CPM delegation from entering the violence-scarred area. The CPM team comprised party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Lok Sabha MP Mohammad Salim and MLA Sujan Chakraborty, among others, said another report in The Indian Express.

Having addressed a public rally at Dhulagarh Chaurasta (crossing) and appealed for peace, the CPM leaders tried marching to the locality where arson and clashes had occurred, but the police stopped them. “If we are not being allowed to enter even now, and there is Section 144 of CrPC imposed, it means the situation still hasn’t been brought under control,” Salim said. “Our demand is for the state government to bring normalcy immediately, and paying monetary compensation for those affected by violence.”

Under fire from various quarters, the state government imposed restrictions on the media regarding coverage of the Dhulagarh violence. According to The New Indian Express, the state government even went a step ahead and slapped a non-bailable offence against three employees of the TV channel Zee News, including editor Sudhir Chaudhary, West Bengal correspondent Pooja Mehta and cameraperson Tanmay Mukherjee under Section 153A (promoting enmity) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the Sankrail police didn’t confirm registering an FIR. “We register over 30 FIRs on a daily basis. We can’t distinguish which are related to Dhulagarh,” said a police officer at the Sankrail police station.

Chaudhary took to social networking site Facebook to call the action taken against his channel an example of the West Bengal government’s “intolerance”. “It’s another low point in our democracy to see a democratically elected govt using police force to curb media in an effort to suppress uncomfortable facts and reality. When you can’t manage media,use the state machinery to conquer the media only to conceal the failures of your administration. It shows the intolerance of a chief minister who is using the state machinery as her personal fiefdom and acting like a feudal lord,” he wrote.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:29 IST

Sealdah-Ajmer Express derails near Kanpur: two killed and 26 injured

Two passengers were killed and 26 injured when fifteen coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express, train no 12987, derailed near Rura, around 70 kilometres from Kanpur, PTI said.

Though initial reports claimed casualties, Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed told PTI that two passengers have been killed in the accident which took place at around 5.20 am. According to reports, rail traffic between between Etawah and Kanpur is affected.

Speaking to ANI, Anil Saxena, ADG, PR Railway said, “No casualties have been reported so far. Ambulances are already on the spot and rescue work is in progress. A medical train from Kanpur has also arrived on the spot, and another from Tundla is on its way. All trains between Etawah and Kanpur are affected, and we are trying to divert them to an alternate route.” Saxena also told ANI that:

According to Times Now, the injured have been rushed to a nearby hospital. As per local sources, a few of the bogies of the train also fell into a canal, and travellers stuck in it will be rescued soon, the news channel said.

Meanwhile, railway minister Suresh Prabhu said has announced an ex-gratia to the injured, on Twitter. He said, “I have directed CRB, all senior officials to personally ensure best possible help,” he tweeted, adding that a thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the cause. He also tweeted:

According to local police, the railway authorities have not arrived on the spot. The reason for the accident is not known as yet.

The Indian railways has also announced that four trains — 12826/Jharkhand Sampark Kranti Express, 12382/Poorva Express, 12312/Kalka Mail, 12488/Seemanchal Express — have been diverted.

The railway has also announced special helpline numbers:

More details awaited.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 08:55 IST

As cashless shift makes tax evasion tough, resentment becomes obvious

Evading tax is intrinsic to us and we do it with an uncanny ease. And the fact that cashless transactions are spoiling the victory dance of stealing tax is making us even more resentful to the demonetisation process.

Let’s accept this; Narendra Modi government has been completely unfair in compelling us to change this habit.

Consider this: On a regular day a person visits a furniture shop in Jangpura-Bhogal in New Delhi. He selects furniture worth Rs 20,000 and offers to pay through his debit card. The shopkeeper conveniently informs the buyer that he needs to pay the amount at a nearby chemist shop. Reason: If the furniture shop owner takes the amount in his name extra 12.5 tax would be added to the bill and this “would make the purchase unnecessary costly for both; the customer and the buyer”.

A shop assistant uses an eftpos system at a Specialty Fashion Group owned Katies store in Sydney December 11, 2012. Australia is being invaded by a swathe of foreign retailers, piling pressure on a local industry already battered by weak consumer spending and ruthless internet competition. Picture taken December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS FASHION) - RTR3BNKDA shop assistant uses an eftpos system at a Specialty Fashion Group owned Katies store in Sydney December 11, 2012. Australia is being invaded by a swathe of foreign retailers, piling pressure on a local industry already battered by weak consumer spending and ruthless internet competition. Picture taken December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS FASHION) - RTR3BNKD

Reuters

The buyer trying to be a law-abiding citizen, offers to pay the tax but the shopkeeper declines to accept the deal.”Either cash or payment at the chemist shop”, he puts forward conditions of selling his goods in categorical terms.

Visit to other markets in the city confirms the same pattern. Jugaad transaction is thriving and tax is being evaded. Let’s accept it again we are essentially compulsive tax evaders.

Demonetisation leading to cashless economy might help in curbing tax-evasion and that is precisely why the ‘great Indian middle class’ is resenting the demonetisation so much.

Post-demonetisation announcement on 8 November, reports started emerging about shops selling gold jewellery in the national capital, indulging in massive tax evasion by accepting demonetised currency notes.

Experts have stressed for long time that cashless economy will help the income-tax (I-T) department audit various transactions more accurately and help check the parallel economy. Also, it will help in curbing tax evasion and increase the taxpayers’ base.

Cash transactions have always facilitated the tax evasion. According to report published in the Mint a “significant number of transactions used to evade taxes by trading in penny stocks were cash deals”.

According the report an investigation by the tax department last year “uncovered a trail of Rs 38,000 crore involving manipulation in 84 BSE-listed penny stocks and through 5,000 listed and unlisted firms, many of them shell companies. The taxman’s report said at least 64,811 entities evaded taxes through such fraudulent methods”.

Ashutosh Dikshit formerly, joint secretary, ministry of finance, Government of India in an article published in the Financial Express, writes, “Tax evasion due to the prevalence of the informal sector starts with suppression of turnover to evade value-added tax and service tax by small and medium businesses and professionals which automatically results in under-reporting of incomes for income tax. The informal sector also absorbs capital from gains made through corruption and violation of regulatory acts which therefore cannot be reported as taxable income”.

He adds, “The systemic solutions to this are the rapid introduction of digital, mobile-based payment systems to replace cash transactions, a stringent reporting and penalty mechanism for benami transactions and assets (which has been pending for long) and the introduction of the nation-wide invoice based GST which is substantially self-regulating as a business needs a tax-paid invoice to claim credit against its own GST liability”.

According to an IANS report published on Firstpost, under Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) announced by Modi government this year, Rs 67,382 crore was received from 71,726 declarants excluding two high-value disclosures”.

The report stated that, “The Income Tax Department did not take into consideration the Rs 13,860 crore declarations made by Ahemdabad-based Maheshkumar Champaklal Shah, which was reported prominently, as well as another made from Mumbai”. This makes the extent of tax evasion clear.

An Indian Express report published recently talking about how cashless transaction can help in curbing tax evasion writes, “A move to digital payments would, indeed, make transactions more transparent and trackable by the taxman and to that extent, tax evasion more difficult. (It is important to keep the distinction between corruption and tax-evasion, though. In the popular mind, these two are synonymous, but as we have seen, they NEED NOT BE. There can be mammoth corruption that involves no tax evasion, and there can be plain vanilla tax evasion that involves no other corrupt deed than the evasion itself)”.

Hindustan Times in an article published last year states that cash deals keep India’s parallel economy afloat and the ultimate loser is the government.

“Nearly two-thirds of India’s GDP, ($1.4 trillion or Rs 90 lakh crore), is a cash economy where buying goods, paying for services, or paying wages are all in cash. And while some of this is legitimate tax-paid money, quite a bit of it is not. Just how big is India’s black money economy? In 2011, three government think tanks were asked to estimate that. Their final report remains unpublished. But other, unauthorised estimates peg it at 25-30% of GDP or $600 billion annually”, states the report.

It adds, “The real loser is, of course, the government: it is deprived of an estimated $200 billion (or Rs 13 lakh crore) in yearly tax revenues because of black money. Consider this: India’s revenue, including indirect and direct taxes, is currently around Rs 9.1 lakh crore; if the black money that is swirling in the economy is reined in and accounted for, then (albeit theoretically) the government could declare a tax-free year!.”

In this context as cashless transactions are making tax evasion difficult, resentment becomes obvious.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 17:28 IST

Has Sanjay Bhandari fled India? Middleman played havoc with defence sector

The Bofors Scandal that rocked the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1987 brought to light the nefarious presence of middlemen in defence deals. It was a syndicate that brokered big defence deals, flaunted enviable contacts, and wielded immense influence in the corridors of power and bent the rules to its huge benefits. In April 2015, when income tax officials raided a house in a Delhi’s upscale Greater Kailash area, a new face from this intriguing world of ‘defence dealers’ came before the world. The man in question was Sanjay Bhandari, whose contact list stunned investigating agencies.

According to a Hindustan Times report in 2014, after the BJP came to power, “a top secret report of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) listed Bhandari as a close aide of (Robert) Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and mentioned that he was friends with the son of a former senior BJP leader”.

File image of Sanjay Bhandari. News18

File image of Sanjay Bhandari. News18

The same report states, “Bhandari’s contact list was so impressive that after the I-T raids, he could send word to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through two influential people to explore possibility of immunity in exchange of information. However, his request received a cold response and he went into a shell, deserted by his powerful friends, including cabinet ministers, senior intelligence officials, industrialists, senior judicial functionaries and power brokers”.

Now a less than two years into the investigation, Bhandari is feared to have fled the country.

According to a report published in the New Indian Express, government sources are suspecting that Bhandari might have fled the country, ditching the investigating agencies. The report states:

Government sources suspect Bhandari might have reached London via Nepal, evading a look -out notice issued against him. Bhandari was earlier stopped from boarding a London-bound British Airways flight in June.  He was charged under sections 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) by Delhi Police in October after the Income Tax sleuths recovered confidential defence documents during the search operation on his premises in April

Bhandari, who like many of his professional confederates, led a luxurious shadow life and would have been under wraps, notwithstanding the bad timing of his shadow-world being exposed. In an article about Bhandari, Outlook wrote:

Bhandari was barely known to the public even though he led a five-star lifestyle and had a raft of VIP contacts, among them, as enforcement agencies claim, (Vadra), son-in-law of (Sonia). Bhandari’s shadow world would have remained hidden were it not for a routine raid by income-tax officials on some Delhi-based hawala operators early this year. While probing a particular dealer, one entry was for Rs 116 crore, on beh­alf of a Delhi-based company. A probe into this company led them to Bhandari. On 26 April, Bhandari’s offices and houses in Delhi were raided

The clout, reach, influence and access to the highest echelons of power that likes of Bhandari wield can be gauged from the fact of his alleged relation with the most powerful political family of the country. “The documents seized showed, had a range of high-level contacts, was in possession of classified documents from the defence ministry and also had properties in the UAE and London, as well as a Panama-based company. For the media, the focus remained largely on his Vadra link,” stated the Outlook report.

The extent of Bhandari’s ‘reach’ can be assessed by the fact that “documents recovered from Bhandari’s premises reveals that he made investment in two properties in Dubai and London using companies registered in tax haven countries”. The agencies are likely to question individuals linked with Bhandari. As reported by the New Indian Express, Bhandari was in touch with some top guns of the country including a top officer of the finance ministry, who retired from the service last year.

The report goes on to add that the probe that is underway has also put under the scanner ties between Bhandari, a French multinational called the Thales Group and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

While the escape of Bhandari has yet to be authenticated and rests in the realm of ‘fear’, it could prove to be a major embarrassment for the Centre and investigating agencies if these fears fructify and turn to reality. Given that in March this year, liquor baron Vijay Mallya fled to London — causing much criticism to the government, Bhandari’s escape can cause more problems for the government.

The reason for the concern in the ‘feared’ fleeing of Bhandari lies the fact that his escape can derail the investigations into the kickback links between politicians, businessmen and the intermediaries running this illegal multi-million-dollar commission syndicate in the country’s defence sector.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 16:01 IST

Dalit Christians face discrimination and untouchability, admits Indian Catholic Church

A policy document released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) contained admissions of the Indian Catholic Church accepting for the first time in history that Dalit Christians face discrimination and untouchability, reported The Indian Express.

Representational image. News 18

Representational image. News 18

The document released by the apex body sought a detailed report and plans from 171 dioceses on how to end these caste-based discriminations against the Dalit Christians, added the report. According to The Telegraph, of the 19 million Dalit population, 12 million are Catholics.

Fr. Z Devasagayaraj, executive secretary of the CBCI Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, was quoted as saying, “untouchability was prevalent in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh”. Not only are the Dalits forced to have separate graveyards, but also have separate feasts, added the report.

The policy documents stated that though there have been positive changes with more participation from the younger generation, but greater awareness and sensitivity is required to address the issues of discrimination and untouchability.

The document also claims that Dalit Christians are “sandwiched between the State and the Church”, reported The Indian Express.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 14:27 IST

J-K: Security forces kill terrorist in Anantnag; search operations underway in Sopore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An encounter between the security forces and terrorists is underway on Wednesday in Bomai area of Sopore in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, reports the Financial Express. The army and the police have cordoned off the area and have launched search operations where terrorists are believed to be hiding.Meanwhile in a separate incident, a terrorist has been killed in an encounter with security forces in Bijbehara, Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. In a heavy gunfire on December 8, three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed in an encounter in Arwani area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag.With ANI inputs.

Hindutva outfits want ban on Sunburn festival in Pune

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trouble could be brewing for the Sunburn electronic dance music festival as Hindutva outfits in Pune have come together to protest against it claiming that it is against Indian culture, reports The Indian Express. The festival will be held at Kesnand on Pune-Ahmednagar highway this year. It used to be held in Goa for the past nine years. The outfits have claimed that the festival promoted obscene activities and abuse of narcotic substances. The members from women’s wing of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad sloganeered at Lokmanya Tilak statue in Mahatma Phule Mandai and sent out pamphlets. They also started a signature campaign against the festival. “In 2009, a girl died at Sunburn in Goa due to drug overdose… Such events mislead the youth,” said Pratiksha Korgaonkar, state organiser of Ranragini.Sunburn CEO Karan Singh said, “We do nothing illegal…. We work very closely with all government authorities to ensure a safe event.”

Cyclone Vardah: Over 9,400 evacuated in SPS Nellore in Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati: Over 9,400 people living along the Bay of Bengal coast in SPS Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh were on Monday evacuated to relief camps amid heavy rains due to the influence of severe cyclonic storm Vardah.

Eight fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu were rescued from the sea near the Sriharikota High Altitude Range while search was on for ten more persons feared trapped at sea.

With the cyclonic storm Vardah set to make landfall between Sriharikota and Chennai, a state of high alert is being maintained in SPS Nellore district.

“The police and CISF personnel are on the job and all the ten fishermen are safe. But they are somehow reluctant to come to the shore. We will soon bring them out,” Nellore Superintendent of Police Vishal Gunni told PTI over phone.

Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, who is camping in Nellore to oversee the rescue and relief operations, said Vakadu and Tada received 4.8 and 3 cms of rain, respectively, since on Monday morning.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“We have already moved over 9,400 persons in seven vulnerable mandals to safety. All necessary measures have been taken to ensure safety of people,” he said.

Earlier, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had directed the Nellore district administration to evacuate people in about 255 low-lying areas to safer places.

The Chief Minister reviewed the situation through teleconference and asked the official machinery to remain on high alert to prevent loss of lives.

The holy Tirumala Hills have been receiving rainfall since last night, causing some hardship to devotees visiting the shrine of Lord Venkateswara.

Temple Executive Officer D Sambasiva Rao has directed the temple staff to make necessary arrangements for the comfort of the pilgrims in view of the inclement weather.

Under the influence of Vardah, Nellore and Chittoor districts are expected to receive heavy rainfall.

In Sullurpeta mandal in Nellore district, 30 persons were shifted to a relief camp this morning.

The South Central Railway has cancelled some passenger trains between Sullurpeta and Chennai in view of the cyclone.

The Vijayawada-Chennai-Vijayawada Pinakini Express has been diverted via Renigunta and Arrakkonam. Some other Express trains on the Chennai route have also been diverted via Arrakkonam.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:59 IST

Delhi: 82 trains delayed, 16 cancelled because of drop in visibility caused by fog

New Delhi: Thousands of people were stranded as 82 trains were delayed and 16 cancelled due to dense fog in parts of north India on Monday, railway officials said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A Northern Railway official said 23 trains were rescheduled as the visibility dropped to 400 metres on Monday.

The 14005 Lichchvi Express was running 34 hours behind its schedule, 12459 Amritsar New Delhi Express was running 30 hours late and 12401 Islampur-New Delhi Magadh Express was delayed by 25 hours, the official said.

Meanwhile, according to the Delhi International Airport Limited, which manages operations at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, said no flight was cancelled on Monday.

While few of the international flights arriving in Delhi were delayed.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 13:05 IST

Chennai: Three youths beaten up for not standing during national anthem in theatre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Less than a month after the Supreme Court directed cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem in theatres, a youth and two students were allegedly beaten up in a theatre in Chennai for not standing up when the national anthem was being played.According to Times of India, the incident took place in Kasi Theatre in Ashok Nagar. When the national anthem was played and seven to eight people reportedly remained seated.The report said that during the interval, one Vijayakumar grabbed Viji, a freelancing movie reviewer, by the collar and demanded why he did not stand up for the national anthem. In an argument that ensued, 20 people ganged up and rained blows on Viji and two women Sabaritha and Shreela.”We were harassed and manhandled by the men. They issued life threats and assaulted us. We did not have any intention to show disrespect,” Shreela, told the daily.28-year old Vijayakumar who is accused of assaulting them claimed that the group of eight were taking selfies, clapping and whistling when the anthem was played. “Angered by this, along with around twenty others in the theatre, I questioned the group during the interval. And a verbal fight erupted. Immediately the manager from the theatre pacified us and we continued watching the movie along with a security guard,” Vijayakumar told The New Indian Express.”We strongly believe that a cinema hall is not the place to play national anthem and mandatorily ask everyone to stand up for it. We had already decided that we wouldn’t do so,” said Leenus, one of the people in the group, told The NewsMinute.The victims also alleged that none from the audience came to the rescue.”People must feel this is my country and this is my motherland,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy had said while stressing that it was the duty of every citizen of the country to show respect to the national anthem and the flag.

Unhappy with demonetization, SP leader announces reward for beheading PM Modi, Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Samajwadi Party leader from Baghpat has promised reward for beheading Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for creating an emergency-like situation in the country following demonetization. In the video below, Tarun Deo reads out a letter from what seems to be youth wing meeting, saying that people have been badly affected by the demonetization move taken by Modi and Shah. Deo blamed Modi and Shah for creating an emergency-like situation in the country and also for the 2002 Godhra riots. He said that an appropriate reward for beheading Modi and Amit Shah would be given. Though Deo calls himself party’s Baghpat district youth wing president, SP president Shivpal Yadav had reportedly dismissed all district units, including frontal organisations in December, as per Financial Express report.

DGCA asks airlines to follow advisory on operating in low visibility after 362 flights delayed

New Delhi: A day after 362 flights were delayed at IGI Airport due to weather and other issues, DGCA on Thursday directed domestic airlines to adhere to its advisory on operating aircraft in low visibility, making it clear that no flights be planned during zero visibility and only CAT III aircraft be scheduled in fog.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The aviation regulator has also directed the airlines to reschedule non CAT III aircraft between 10 am to 8 pm.

While the regulator observed that 38 flights including 24 departures were also cancelled and three flights diverted during the low visibility period at IGIA on Wednesday, the Delhi Airport put out a small figure.

DIAL in its statement said only 24 flights were delayed because of weather and 34 cancelled during low visibility period due to “other reasons”. It had also said that no flight was cancelled during the low visibility period on Wednesday.

In a communication to all airline heads and Delhi Airport authorities, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, “Once again all are directed to obey (its) instructions in letter and spirit.”

As per the communication, DGCA has asked the airlines to “closely monitor and plan the flights as per weather forecast with proper coordination with dedicated teams of IMD, DIAL, DGCA and AAI.

“In case of low visibility/fog forecast exists, flights not to be planned for Delhi during zero visibility conditions and flights may be scheduled from point of origin. Besides, only CAT III aircraft to be scheduled during fog period along with CAT III qualified flight crew including the co-pilot as per visibility/ runway visual range (RVR),” the DGCA said.

Observing that at no stage of the LVP, RVR on both the runways had gone below 125 meter on Wednesday, the DGCA said, “During the LVP period, there were three diversions one each of Air India, Air India Express and SpiceJet. Further there had been 38 cancellations (24 departures and 14 arrivals) and 362 delays with 179 departures and 183 arrivals.”

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 12:21 IST

Dense fog blankets Delhi, trains, flights affected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dense fog engulfed the national capital on Thursday morning leading to biting cold and poor visibility.Several railway passengers had a tough time with at least 94 trains running late. Two trains were cancelled and over 16 were rescheduled due to poor visibility.Over six international and seven domestic flights operating from the Indira Gandhi International Airport have also been delayed. As of now, one domestic flight has been cancelled.The Delhi-NCR region, Amritsar and Lucknow also witnessed thick blanket of fog disrupting normal lives. The MeT department has forecasted dense to very dense fog at few places over Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and dense fog at isolated places over South Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. “It is very cold here, passengers can’t travel and it is difficult for us to drive as we can’t see anything due to fog.” Sonu Yadav, an auto-driver from Gorakhpur said.Another auto-driver, Rajesh Gupta said, “The number of passengers has reduced because of cold and fog. We are facing problems in driving.”Rail and air traffic have been badly hit due to dense fog in Bihar. Several trains including Rajdhani Express and Garib Rath are running late by 10-15 hours. Delhi-bound Jansadharan Express train has been cancelled.The flights from Delhi and Lucknow have been cancelled due to low visibility at the Patna airport.The state government has ordered to open all government and private schools from nine in the morning in view of severe cold.

Mumbai physiotherapist raped and murdered, police yet to catch accused

In a yet another case of crimes against women, a 25-year-old physiotherapist was found raped and murdered at her residence in Vile Parle, Mumbai early on Tuesday. Two people have been arrested in connection to the case, reports Mumbai Mirror.

The Indian Express report says that the Vile Parle police registered a case under sections 302, 376, 377 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The police says that victim was strangulated by a pair of jeans and that the place had been set on fire.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Mumbai Mirror report stated that the police reached the spot at 4.30 am after neighbours alerted the victim’s parents of the smoke emanating from her room, which was the first floor of the building. The victim’s parents lived on the ground floor.

The post-mortem report by Cooper Hospital came out at 9 am on Tuesday. “She was sexually assaulted, hit on the head, and then strangled. The murderers tried to set her body on fire,” Mumbai Mirror quoted one of the doctors on the condition of anonymity.

According to a Mid Day report, the victim had gone out for a birthday party at a restaurant close to her home at around 8 pm on Monday, and reached home at around at midnight. The murder might have taken place before 3.30 am on early Tuesday, states a Hindustan Times report quoting the cops.

The police are now looking for CCTV footage to get a breakthrough in the case. The police are suspecting the hand of her friends in the incident and are currently questioning them, the Mid Day report added. The victim was also robbed of some cash and gold.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 13:31 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: TN’s political future without Jaya, train derailment in WB, RBI policy review & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Post Jayalalithaa, where does Tamil Nadu’s political future lie?Jayalalithaa’s death has brought Tamil Nadu’s political arena to the crossroads. While the ruling AIADMK was generally at least five per cent ahead of its main rival DMK during MGR’s rule, and later during her reign as well, the death of the AIADMK supremo is now being seen as a great leveller. Analysts believe it could bring unexpected, windfall gains for the DMK, and bring it closer to the strength of the ruling party. Read in detailAll eyes on remonetization in RBI policy review todayThe roadmap for remonetization is what the markets are anxiously waiting to hear from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel, who has barely spoken on the subject. While the markets have factored in a 0.25% cut in repo rate, it’s the roadmap for the currency management that will be of greater interest. Read moreWest Bengal: Two dead & 6 injured in Capital Express train derailmentThe engine and two coaches of Rajendra Nagar-Guwahati Capital Express derailed at Samuktala Road near Assam-West Bengal border on Tuesday night. The Capital Express train derailment left two passengers dead and six injured, according to a statement issued by the Northeast Frontier Railway. The accident that took place around 9.15 pm. Read full storyIndonesia: Earthquake of 6.4 magnitude near Banda Aceh, several buildings collapseDozens of buildings collapsed on Wednesday in Indonesia’s northern province of Aceh, when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck in the early hours. Social media images showed buildings reduced to rubble, fallen electricity poles, and people gathering outside at street corners. Read detailsDense fog cripples Delhi: 81 trains running late, 8 international flights delayedThe national capital woke up to a chilly Wednesday and witnessed a thick, dense blanket of fog, rendering them almost blind as visibility levels were severe, taking a toll on the morning traffic. The Met has predicted that New Delhi will continue to reel under dense fog this week. Read more

Dense fog cripples Delhi: 81 trains running late, 8 international flights delayed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The national capital woke up to a chilly Wednesday and witnessed a thick, dense blanket of fog, rendering them almost blind as visibility levels were severe, taking a toll on the morning traffic.Also, the Met has predicted that New Delhi will continue to reel under dense fog this week.Meanwhile, 81 trains are running late, 21 have been rescheduled and three cancelled due to poor visibility in Delhi, while eight international flights are delayed, three have been diverted and five domestic flights have been delayed at the IGI Airport here.In Uttar Pradesh, foggy weather and biting cold have disrupted normal life in most parts of the state since last three days.Several trains including Sealdah Delhi Sampark Kranti Express, which passes through UP, were cancelled while over two dozen trains were either running late or very late.Road transportation has also been affected in most parts of the state especially in the morning and evening hours.

West Bengal: Two dead & 6 injured in Capital Express train derailment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The engine and two coaches of Rajendra Nagar-Guwahati Capital Express derailed at Samuktala Road near Assam-West Bengal border on Tuesday night. The Capital Express train derailment left two passengers dead and six injured, according to a statement issued by the Northeast Frontier Railway. The accident that took place around 9.15 p.m. Of the two dead, one is male and the other female. Both are yet to be identified. The other six injured continue to be in a critical situation.The Accident Relief Train was at the site of the accident with railway doctors and relief materials when reports last came in. Divisional Railway Manager of Alipurduar Division Sanjeev Kishor is supervising rescue and relief operations. According to the statement issued by the Northeast Frontier Railway, the cause of derailment was overshooting of red signal by the driver of the train. However, a thorough probe will reveal the actual cause of the derailment.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the accident. The 150 stranded passengers of the train were taken back to Alipurduar on the Khamakya-Alipurduar Junction Intercity Express.Helpline numbers at Samuktala accident site are 9002052957, 8585082833 and 03564-259935.With inputs from ANI.

Remember Jayalalithaa’s political success, but don’t forget her corrupt legacy

It was an irony that Jayaram Jayalalithaa (her name is sometimes spelled Jayalalitha) was called the Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader).

Jayalalithaa behaved — and she liked to be seen as well — as a 15th Century empress who walked down the royal palace with a host of minions prostrating themselves before her. A truly revolutionary leader — even a truly democratic leader — would have come down hard on such a practice, even if her followers thought that was the only way to show respect to her; but Jayalalithaa seemed to revel in this naked display of power and encouraged it as the standard public display of loyalty. She had that unashamed streak of a feudal leader.

Like most feudal benefactors, she looked after the interest of her wards very well. The Amma Canteens and Amma Medicines have been the envy of political leaders in every other state and many state governments have devised schemes taking the cue from the Tamil Nadu experiment.

File image of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. Reuters

File image of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. Reuters

In a largely feudal society like ours, for a woman to make it big in politics needs extraordinary talent and charisma. Jayalalithaa happened to be one of the three successful women politicians of India today who went on to become chief ministers, the other two being Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati. All three happened to be unmarried, with no immediate family encumbrances to face.

Mamata’s success was on her own account. She had no godfather in politics. Mayawati had her political godfather in Kanshi Ram. Jayalalithaa was groomed by MG Ramachandran, her lead actor in several films and her mentor in Tamil Nadu politics, to be her successor. But she worked hard to step into the big shoes of a charismatic leader like MGR. But what distinguished Jayalalithaa, in a negative way, was a series of corruption charges against her. She had the dubious distinction of vacating the office of chief minister twice as the trial court found her guilty but she managed to return to office when a higher court stayed or dismissed the lower court order.

In the TANSI case, she finally got relief from the Supreme Court. But in the disproportionate assets case, the matter is pending in the Supreme Court. She came back to office as the Karnataka High Court nullified the order of the trial court that had convicted Jayalalithaa and had sent her to jail.

But there were innumerable cases of complicity in corrupt deals in which she was not legally indicted but her involvement was all over there for everyone to see. For her, the redeeming feature was that in all such deals she alone was not the accused; the accusing finger could be pointed against her fierce political rival, M Karunanidhi, the other mega star of the Tamil Nadu politics. Both the DMK and AIADMK governments helped institutionalise corruption in Tamil Nadu. And both were greatly helped with successive judicial interventions.

It was not just the government system and the two major political parties that favoured the mining mafia; the judiciary too played a part, with over hundred orders favouring private miners; there were lots of stay orders issued against cancellation of licences or actions against miners.

This indictment pointed to the plunder by the granite mining barons at Melur near Madurai in Tamil Nadu and the manner in which Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, two political leaders at the helm of the state apparatus, facilitated the creation of an illegal mining empire in cahoots with the judiciary. Mind you, the above was not an indictment by a journalist or a social activist; it was the anguished voice of a former judge of the Madras High Court who had spoken to The Indian Express on record.

It was a sordid story. In 1990, Jayalalithaa changed the mining law of the state and allowed private mining. And there emerged a mining baron, PR Palanichami, who built an illegal empire, with the Jayalalithaa government looking the other way. Not to be left behind, the grandson of her arch rival Karunanidhi, Dayanidhi, also entered the lucrative granite business when the DMK came to power. Palanichami’s PRP Granites and Dayanidhi’s Olympus Granites became the vehicles of plunder by these two ‘beloved’ leaders of the state.

The plunder went on with impunity — with the local media also looking the other way as they were also in thrall to these larger-than-life leaders — until an RTI activist of Melur named S Murugesan filed an RTI queries in 2008 asking for information on the granite business of the PRP Group. As he did not get the answer he sought, Murugesan filed a petition in the Madras High Court.

And here comes the dubious role of certain judges of the honourable court. Justice K Chandru, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, who had heard Murugesan’s petition in the court, was candid enough to speak to The Indian Express about the corruption in the higher judiciary: “We ordered an enquiry into PRP Granites’s exports for a year and found discrepancies there too — there was a huge difference between the volume he exported and what he was permitted to mine. PRP Granites filed an appeal against the probe and another bench of the court stayed it. That stay is still on.”

With top politicians and top judges acting in unison to protect the illegal empire, the state exchequer lost a staggering Rs 16000 crore (an estimate by a daring Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, U Sagayam, who is supposed to have faced 24 transfers in 23 years for taking on corruption at high places.

Now, with Jayalalithaa dead and Karunanidhi battling it out in another ICU in Chennai, Tamil Nadu has entered a new phase of politics. Hopefully, it will give rise to the dawn of a new brand of politics that is corruption-free.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 08:12 IST

PIL against government’s decision to appoint Gujarat cadre IPS as interim chief of CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Public-Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking quashing of government’s decision of appointing Rakesh Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, as the interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The PIL also seeks appointment of a Court-selected person as the interim Director of CBI as well as a meeting of the selection committee, which consists of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India, to appoint a regular director of the probe agency. The PIL states that the government took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide,arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Rakesh Asthana was given the charge of CBI Director and “prematurely curtailed the tenure of and transferred Mr. R K Dutta,Special Director, CBI, to the Ministry of Home Affairs”.The PIL has been filed by Kamal Kant Jaswal, the president of Delhi based Common Cause through his counsel Prashant Bhushan. The PIL cited landmark judgment in Vineet Narain case in which the court had directed that there should be a selection committee to identify a panel of names for the appointment of Director CBI, and thereafter the final selection to be made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).The PIL also cited that the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, , which governs the CBI, was amended in 2003 vide the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Act, 2003 to state that the Director CBI shall be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, the Vigilance Commissioners and two Secretaries to the Government of India.”As the above mechanism was not found sufficient to insulate the CBI Director, Section 4A of the DSPE Act, 1946 was further amended vide the Lokpal andLokayuktas Act, 2013 (the Lokpal Act) to provide that the CBI Director shall be appointed by the Central Government on there commendations of the selection committee,” the PIL read.Th petitioner has claimed that the Central Government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee ” even though it was fully aware that Mr. Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI Director on 02.12.2016″. The central government had last week made Asthana, a Gujarat cadre 1984 batch IPS officer, the interim director as the current chief probe agency Anil Sinha relinquished his charge. The decision came two days after CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary leaving the agency without a director for the first time in 10 years. Asthana,who was serving as the additional director of the probe agency had previously headed the state SIT that probed burning of Sabarmati Express train at Godhra in February 2002. The SIT had then found that the burning of a coach of Sabarmati Express, which claimed lives of 59 people, was a “carefully planned and meticulously executed criminal conspiracy”. The 1984 batch officer has also supervised the fodder scam probe allegedly involving then chief minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Mumbai: Three drunk men misbehave with Finance Ministry officer in train

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior law officer in Union Finance Ministry has lodged a complaint stating that three co-passengers allegedly misbehaved with her when she objected to their consumption of alcohol inside a train, the GRP said on Monday.The alleged incident occurred last night in the Mumbai-bound Amravati Express, as per the copy of the complaint made available on Monday. According to the complainant, the personal assistant of a state minister asked her not to file a complaint against the trio saying they are “our men.”The complainant stated that she noticed the three men drinking alcohol inside the coach and creating nuisance. She alleged that when she tried to stop them, they started abusing her. She said one of the men threatened her saying he is a relative of a minister in the state government. The trio were identified as Arvind Lawande, Yogesh Sriram and Pramod Gaikwad.The woman alleged that she received no help from RPF helpline, following which she pulled chain of the train, after which though the RPF personnel visited her coach, they did not take any action against the men.A non-cognisable offence has been registered against Lawande, Sriram and Gaikwad at Dadar GRP (Government Railway Police) here under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC. However, the designation of the woman officer and exact bogie where the incident occurred is not mentioned in the complaint copy.

Pakistan media notes Modi-Aziz handshake in Amritsar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani media on Sunday took note of the handshake and exchange of niceties between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz at Amritsar amid deadly border skirmishes and rhetoric.Aziz reached Amritsar last evening to attend the Heart of Asia conference, instead of this morning apparently to dodge early morning fog.The change of schedule provided a subtle opportunity for a handshake and exchange of pleasantries with Modi who hosted a banquet for the delegates.The Express Tribune under the front page headline “Aziz-Modi handshake sets off media frenzy” wrote that “After months of war rhetoric and deadly border skirmishes, Indian and Pakistani officials exchanged niceties and set the media abuzz on Saturday”.”With a broad smile on his face, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shook hands with Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz at a banquet he had hosted for the participants of the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar,” it reported.The paper reported that Modi also asked about the health of his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif who had recently undergone open heart surgery in a London hospital.Aziz conveyed “good wishes” to the Indian leader on behalf of Sharif.The Dawn reported that Aziz was received by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and the joint secretary of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.”Sartaj Aziz also sent a bouquet to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence, extending his sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery,” it said.The News International reported that Modi shook hands with Aziz and inquired after the well-being of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from him.”Aziz said Nawaz Sharif is well and he has also expressed good wishes for him,” it further reported.It also reported that Aziz sent a bouquet to Swaraj at her residence extending good wishes for her speedy recovery.Pakistan was unanimous that no meeting between Pakistani and Indian officials on the sidelines was expected due to the ongoing bilateral tension.”Contrary to Indian media reports, no actual talks took place during the banquet. Nonetheless, the customary handshake after months of belligerence and hostilities set off media frenzy in both countries,” according to the Express Tribune.Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained following the Uri terror attack in September that killed 19 Indian soldiers.

Post demonetisation, BMC to go cashless, accept online payments only

Post the demonetisation move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for a cashless economy on Mann ki Baat last week. “Our dream is a cashless society. But why can’t India move towards a ‘less-cash society’. I know you will not disappoint me,” the Prime Minister had said.

Representational image. REUTERSRepresentational image. REUTERS

Representational image. REUTERS

Now, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to adopt real-time gross settlement (RTGS) as a form of payment, reported The Indian Express.

Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta was quoted as saying that to maintain transparency the BMC will go completely cashless and accept only online payments. Soon, even cheques will not be accepted. “The BMC would devise a unified software and all payments could be made through it,” he told The Indian Express.

While the BMC accepts online payments for property tax, water bills, octroi, it is the contractors who depend on cash payments, according to Hindustan Times. The report said that as many as 8,000 workers from 1,000 different organisations are employed by contractors.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:53 IST

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Toll mounts to 151

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll in the Indore-Patna Express accident has risen to 151, Kanpur Chief Medical Officer Ramayan Prasad said on Thursday. When the body of one of the victims was going to be placed in deep freezer in Mati hospital in Kanpur Rural district, the authorities found on Wednesday that the torso belonged to a man while the legs, which had anklets, were of a woman, he said.The matter came to light during checking of six unidentified bodies at the mortuary of the hospital, Prasad said. The woman’s body was badly mutilated, he said, adding as the two parts were of different persons, the death toll in the train accident, which was kept at 150, is now being taken as 151, he added. The body has not been unidentified yet.The medical staff is inquiring into the matter, Prasad said. Now the health officials are looking for the legs of the man whose torso was found and the torso of the woman, the CMO said, adding parts like legs and arms of several victims of the train accident are missing.Indore-Patna Express had met with an accident on Sunday.

Pakistan is well capable of replying to Indian agression: Air force chief

Islamabad: Pakistan is not worried at all about any threat from India and its “battle hardened” military is capable of responding to aggression, air force chief Marshal Sohail Aman said on Wednesday.

“We are not worried about India at all,” the Air Chief said, speaking at the ninth International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS).

Pakistan's Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. ReutersPakistan's Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. Reuters

Pakistan’s Air Force Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. Reuters

He said it is better if India showed restraint and solved the Kashmir issue to prevent escalation of tension. “India should show restraint and instead solve the issue of Kashmir as that would be better for them,” he was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

Aman said that Pakistan does not want war but cannot ignore this kind of pressure. “We are well capable of responding in the face of any aggression,” he asserted.

He said Pakistan had “readied all of its (battle) plans following threats from India” after the terror attack in Uri sector.

The Air chief asserted that Pakistan, engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azab, has a “battle hardened military” to respond to threats.

The air chief’s remarks came a day after Pakistan claimed that Indian forces targeted a passenger bus in PoK killing at least nine people and wounding another nine.It also claimed that seven Indian troops were killed in retaliatory fire when India opened fire on the Line of Control (LoC) and killed three Pakistani soldiers.

Indian Army on Thursday launched a counter offensive against Pakistan along the LoC after three Indian soldiers were killed, with body of one of them mutilated in a cross-LoC attack, even as Pakistani troops continued to shell Indian positions, injuring six jawans.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan will not tolerate “deliberate targeting” of innocent civilians particularly children and women, ambulances and civilian transport.

“Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint despite continuing ceasefire violations from Indian security forces along LoC,” he added.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 16:37 IST

Air India Express plane makes emergency landing in Kochi, no damages

Kochi: A Dammam-bound Air India Express plane from Mangaluru with 131 passengers and crew onboard landed under emergency conditions at Kochi after sparks were seen by the Air Traffic Control as the aircraft got airborne.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed safely and there was no harm to any passenger or crew, an Air India Express spokesperson said, adding that after an inspection the aircraft was cleared for onward journey.

The flight IXE 885 took off at 1813 hours on Wednesday from Mangaluru airport for Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

“However, Mangaluru Air Traffic Control noticed sparks in the aircraft and reported the same to the flight commander.

“The aircraft was subsequently diverted to Kochi following permission from the ATC there,” the spokesperson said.

The flight made a “precautionary” landing at Kochi International airport at 1930 hours, he said.

Air India Express engineers carried out a thorough inspection of the aircraft upon its arrival at Kochi but did not find any “snag” in it, the spokesperson said adding the aircraft departed for its destination at 1030 hours from Kochi.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 12:41 IST

UPSC 2015 topper Tina Dabi to tie the knot with 2nd rank holder Athar Amir Khan

Athar Amir-ul-Shafi Khan, a Kashmiri youth, lost the opportunity to top the prestigious Indian Civil Services exam by a few point to Delhi’s Tina Dabi. He has, however, floored the Delhi girl with his “wit and charm” and the two are due to tie the knot quite soon.

According to a report in The Times of India, Dabi says the duo will announce their engagement soon. The duo first met at the department of personnel and training (DoPT) office in North Block for a felicitation function in May. For Aamir, it was love at first sight, as Dabi tells the newspaper “Uske liye pehli nazar mein pyaar ho gaya”, she however, only said yes by August. Dabi, however, “Thanks him for his perseverance every day. He is a wonderful person,” she says.

Dabi, who is born in a Dalit family, quickly came into the public eye after her success, and Amir, a Kashmiri, who stood second in the UPSC exam became a role model to many. However, it is the love story of the duo, that is truly significant as it defies the set cultural norms that still continue to chain the Indian society.

Dabi is quite vocal about her relationship with Amir, sharing their pictures on social media. And the posts fetch a slew of blessings and best wishes to the new couple, as social media is taken by a flurry by their love story.

However, that does not stop a select few from issuing unsolicited advice and being critical on Dabi’s choice of partner, mainly because of his religion. A few stray comments on her timeline come as a sharp reminder of the bigotry and religious prejudices raft in our society. A social media user cautions her of Muslim personal law and advises her to be vary of triple talaq, while another user called it ‘love jihad’.

Dabi, however, is happy for all the love she receives on social media. Though, she admits that some of the messages and comments disturb her sometimes, but she says that its only a 5 percent minority that will pass negative comments. According to The Indian ExpressDabi says that both the families have agreed for the match, and the duo will tie the knot soon.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 17:59 IST

PM Modi’s note ban, Nitish Kumar’s liquor ban hit Bihar’s Beguserai district

In the age of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s bullet train, Bihar’s Beguserai district’s fascination with ‘Ranthi express’ was quite instructive, if not outright amusing. But what was Ranthi Express?

Ranthi Express was a brand of country liquor, brewed locally by liquor barons with huge political connections. The brew was so strong that one would metaphorically ‘drop dead’ after consuming just one pouch of the liquor. The consumer would be as good or worst as a corpse for a few hours after. And herein lies the reason from where this brew derived its brand – ranthi, in local parlance, refers to a stretcher used for carrying corpses.

Until Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dealt a deathly blow to Ranthi Express, by imposing a liquor ban in the state, it was a craze among the delinquent and unemployed youth. Thousands were hooked on to the promise that one pouch of this liquor would transport its consumers to a blissful netherworld, beyond pain and anxiety.

Bihar's Beguserai district's fascination with 'Ranthi express' was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Agencies.Bihar's Beguserai district's fascination with 'Ranthi express' was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Agencies.

Beguserai’s fascination with ‘Ranthi express’ was seen as quite instructive, if not outright amusing. Reuters

Though bliss and netherworld may appear to be oxymoronic, Beguserai is a land of umpteen such paradoxes. This immensely fertile Gangetic plain of Bihar is now highly industrialised. It was called the Leningrad of Marxists till it fell to the saffron wave in the recent past. The rich and the poor co-exist amicably, as they have realised over the years that power does indeed flow through the barrel of the gun.

But the people of this land have now been hit by two bans: On the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and on liquor. The denizens of the netherworld found both the bans to be quite devastating. Liquor barons have shut their shops and breweries have been locked. The roadside vends have turned into tea shops. People are not seen roaming on the streets in an inebriated state anymore, a sight which was common in the district till the ban on liquor was enforced.

“Accidents have drastically reduced and street brawls are less in number,” said Dr Hemant, who owns the Life line hospital in Barauni. The positive impact of the liquor ban is quite palpable in the district.

But what about the currency ban? Raj Kumar Singh, who runs the KDM Hotel and an agency for the Enfield motorcycle (commonly known as bullet) points out that life was initially hit but is now returning to normalcy. “Bihar is a low economy state where an informal economy does not allow the life to be disrupted substantially,” he said. In hotels, the business is picking up pace after an initial decline. But buyers for bullet motorcycles have increased two-fold. The reason for that is not far to seek.

In fact, those found in possession of excess cash rushed to the banks and deposited their money in substantial numbers in order to facilitate the purchase of the motorcycle. “They are coming with drafts and cheques to buy bullets (a motorcycle that symbolises masculinity in the region). “We expect to sell nearly 200 motorcycles this month, nearly double the sales of the previous month,” Singh added.

Similarly, in the low-economy rural areas of Beguserai, life has not come to a halt. People have found innovative jugaads (simple work-arounds) to run their economy. For instance, a large section of grocers and street vendors are still accepting the banned currency notes as most of them are confident that they would get the cash deposited in their accounts and get the money back when the situation normalises.

The biggest worry in the region, however, comes from the farmers’ inability to purchase fertiliser and seeds for the Rabi crop. But in Ramdiri village, barely ten kilometers from the district headquarter, villagers do not seem unduly alarmed over being cashless in their routine life. “In rural society, inter-dependence is so strong that we get support,” they point out. “Even micro-ATMs are functioning in the region,” they claimed, giving an air of self-assurance that didn’t appear to be contrived.

Yet some are worried about the agriculture. “If a situation of cash-crunch persists, it would hit the hard wheat sowing,” a farmer said. Do they foresee a disaster following the demonetisation? “Not at all, what we see in media is not reflected on the ground,” they point out.

However, a communist leader in the midst of the crowd rejected this optimism and pointed out that the move was ill-conceived and had caused misery for the poor.

In this cacophony of a debate, local BJP MP Bhola Singh took the discourse to another level. While speaking with Firstpost, Singh, known for his loquaciousness, closed his eyes and compared the present ordeal with a mythological parable.

“You see Kunti sought a blessing from Lord Krishna to give her perpetual sorrow in order to remember God,” he said. On being asked if Modi was Lord Krishna in his reference, he said, “No he is not, but this pain is for the good of people.” Singh is a known party-hopper who began his career as a communist and ended up in the BJP.

Close to Ramdiri village lies Simaria, the birthplace of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, the famous bard who valiantly fought against the emergency and coined the phrase, “singhasan khali karo ki janata aati hai (vacate the throne, lest the people will come)”. In this erstwhile bastion of communists, the bans on currency notes and liquor are hardly frowned upon. In Bhola Singh’s hyperbole it is seen as a blessing in a curse.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 14:33 IST

Toll mounts to 148 in Indore-Patna Express derailment, rail services resumes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll today mounted to 148 in the Indore-Patna Express derailment here even as railway services resumed on Jhansi-Kanpur section after damaged tracks were replaced between Pukhrayan and Malasa stations.”The death toll has risen to 148 after fresh casualties were reported from the hospital. The deceased have not been identified yet,” Kanpur IG Zaki Ahmed said.Some of the injured are still in a critical situation, he said.The Railway official said that besides replacing rails, electrical works were completed to ensure train operation on the busy route. After conducting the trial run, train services resumed today, the official said.”The route became operational last night after the damaged tracks were removed from the site. A trial run was conducted on the tracks before the resumption of train services,” he said.A government helpline has been set up for the victim’s families in Kanpur.Earlier, four trains were cancelled and 14 diverted after 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed due to suspected rail fracture, disrupting traffic on the route.Officials had said that prima facie the cause of the accident could be due to track fracture.A high-level probe was yesterday ordered by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who promised “strictest possible action” against the guilty.Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, he said a separate investigation will be held aided by latest technical and forensic analysis.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Passenger heard strange sound one week prior, asked to depose

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after he claimed that wheels of Indore-Patna Express had made some strange sound long before it derailed in Kanpur Rural district of Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Sharma, who had travelled between Indore and Ujjain, was on Monday asked to depose before competent authority. “A railway officer from Kanpur rang me up and asked me to be ready to depose before the competent officer regarding my statement that wheels of Indore-Patna Express made some strange sounds on November 19,” Sharma (35), a resident of Kherkheda village in MP’s Mandsaur district, said on Monday.Sharma said he was ready to cooperate and record his statement in any probe “though I have not been informed when and where I am supposed to depose.” He said four officers of Ratlam Railway Division under Western Railway came to his place on Monday and connected him to a higher official, whom he apprised about his claim in detail.”On November 19, I boarded (sleeper coach) S-2 of Indore-Patna Express around 2 PM at Indore and after an hour I alighted at Ujjain. I informed an officer in railway uniform in my coach about the strange sound of the wheels. But he didn’t take it seriously,” he had told reporters on Sunday.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Toll mounts to 146, probe into derailment beginsSharma had said that he didn’t know the name of that official. In the worst rail accident in recent years, 146 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, when 14 coaches of the Patna-bound train derailed near Kanpur rural district early on Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.The probe into the accident began on Monday with Commissioner of Railway Safety, PK Acharya visiting the accident site and inspecting the broken track and the mangled bogies. Earlier on Monday, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told Lok Sabha that a statutory inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety has been ordered to find the cause of the accident.

Patna-Indore Express tragedy: Death toll rises to 146, rescue operations called off

Kanpur/New Delhi: The death toll in Sunday’s train derailment tragedy rose to 146 on Monday as 25 more bodies were pulled out of the mangled coaches, officials said.

“The death toll of the Indore-Patna Express has gone up to 146,” North Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar told IANS.

“While 25 more bodies were taken out the mangled coaches, another person died at Regency hospital in Kanpur,” Kumar added.

Rescue work in progress at the accident spot. PTI

Rescue work in progress at the accident spot. PTI

The Railways official said that of the 179 injured many were discharged after first aid, while those seriously injured were still admitted in hospital.

The tragedy occurred when 14 coaches of the train went off the rails near Pukhrayan station, about 60 km from Kanpur city.

Rescue operations conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as well as the local police and the Army was called off by the Railways.

“The rescue operations were called off around 2 pm (Monday),” Railways spokesperson Anil Kumar Saxena told IANS in Delhi.

He also said that the rail tracks were also cleared. “The damaged coaches have been removed from the railway tracks,” Saxena added.

Earlier in the day, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said in the Lok Sabha that the Railways has ordered a forensic probe to find the exact reasons of the rail accident.

“There shall be separate comprehensive investigation aided by latest technical and forensic analysis by an appropriate agency to look into all possible angles,” Prabhu said.

On Sunday, Prabhu ordered a high-level probe. He also said that the Railway Ministry has collaborated with the Uttar Pradesh government to provide all necessary help.

Prabhu and Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha on Sunday visited the hospitals where the injured were being treated, as well as the accident site.

While the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, Sinha had earlier said the accident could have been caused due to “fracture” of the tracks.

The worst hit were the sleeper coaches S1, S2, S3 and S4.

This was the worst train accident in the country after the May 2010 disaster in West Bengal involving Gyaneshwari Express in which some 170 people were killed.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 19:26 IST

From Jnaneshwari to Indore-Patna: Accidents portray Indian Railways in poor light

The Indore-Patna Express derailment in Pukhrayan in Kanpur will go down in history as one of the most tragical train accidents in India. As of Monday, it had killed 142 and injured more than 200. While a probe has been ordered, and compensations announced, the history of Indian Railways is not very bright when it comes to safety. And this isn’t the first time that precious lives were lost in the tracks, as reports indicate that Indian Railways has a very poor track record. Here are some of the deadliest train accidents from 2010.

2010

28 May: Jnaneshwari Deluxe Express, West Bengal, 170 killed

The most tragic of all train accidents in India, on 28 May, 2010 night, five coaches of the Jnaneshwari Deluxe Express derailed from the tracks and collided with a goods train, killing 170 passengers. According to BBC, the tracks were sabotaged by Maoist rebels. However, Maoists declined any involvement in the accident. The accident took place in the Jhargram area of West Midnapore, about 150 km (90 miles) west of Calcutta. A railway official told BBC that “the incident happened at 0130 IST when it was still dark, which meant the driver had failed to see the damaged track”.

Onlookers stand at the site of a train accident at Sainthia in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal July 19, 2010. A speeding passenger train crashed into another waiting at a station in eastern India early on Monday, killing at least 60 people in India's second major accident in as many months, officials said. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2GJA4Onlookers stand at the site of a train accident at Sainthia in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal July 19, 2010. A speeding passenger train crashed into another waiting at a station in eastern India early on Monday, killing at least 60 people in India's second major accident in as many months, officials said. REUTERS/Stringer (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2GJA4

Onlookers stand at the site of Vananchal Express accident at Sainthia station in West Bengal. The accident killed at least 60 people and injured 80. Reuters

18 July: Vananchal Express at Sainthia station, West Bengal, 60 killed and 80 injured

At 2 am on 18 July, 2010, the Vananchal Express running between Cooch Bihar and Kolkata crashed into a train waiting at Sainthia Station in West Bengal. Officials said they believed driver error was responsible for the incident, but Mamata Banerjee, who was then railways minister said she was suspicious about the cause, NYT had reported. The train accident killed around 60 people and injured 80. This was the second train accident in less than two months after Jnaneshwari Deluxe Express.

2011

July 11: Delhi-bound Howrah-Kalka Mail, 80 killed and more than 350 injured

A passenger train derailed near Fatehpur, about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Kanpur city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on 11 July, 2011. Rain made rescue work very difficult, and according to a report by The Indian Express, there were no survivors in two bogies, S1 and S2.

2012

30 July: Tamil Nadu Express, 32 killed and 25 injured

A coach of the Tamil Nadu Express, running from Delhi to Chennai, caught fire near Nellore, around 500 kilometres from Hyderabad, when most of the passengers were asleep. The fire killed 30 passengers

2013

28 December: Bangalore-Nanded Express, fire kills 26 and injures 8

According to The Times of India, 26 passengers in coach B1 of the Bangalore-Nanded Express were charred to death and eight injured in the fire that started around 3.45 am on 28 December 2013 at Kothacheruvu station near Puttaparthy in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh.

2014

26 May: Gorakhdham Express, 40 killded and more than 150 injured

More than 40 people died and over 150 were injured in the Gorakhdham Express train accident as the Gorakhpur-bound train rammed into a goods train at Chureb station between Basti and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on 26 May, 2014. According to Rediff.com, the accident took place around 10.45 am when the Gorakhdham Express hit a stationary goods train near the outer signal of Chureb railway station. The passenger train was running behind schedule but apparently due to some fault, it was given a green signal to move on even as a goods train was waiting on the same track.

2015

20 March: Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express, 38 killed and 150 injured

The engine and two coaches of the Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derailed near Bachrawan railway station in UP’s Rae Bareli on 20 March, 2015 killing 38 and injuring more than 150. According to a news report, published by The Times of India, the locomotive driver apparently overshot the signal and as a result, the engine and two adjoining coaches derailed.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:39 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: 120 killed as Indore-Patna Express derails, ceasefire violation in J&K & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tragedy at dawn jolts nation; 120 killed as Indore-Patna Express derails in UPAt least 120 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed here, just a little after 3 am on Sunday due to a suspected rail fracture. Read moreJammu and Kashmir: 1 jawan killed, 3 injured as Pak violates ceasefire in RajouriOne army jawan was killed and three others were injured as Pakistani army resorted to heavy cross-border firing in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday night, in third ceasefire violation since Saturday. Read moreStrong quake of magnitude 6.4 hits near Argentina, Chile borderA strong quake hit western Argentina, shaking buildings as far away as Santiago, the capital of neighbouring Chile, though there were no preliminary reports of damage to people, infrastructure or basic services. Read moreBanks replenish money chest with soiled notes, Rs 10 coinsWith a surge in demand for smaller denomination notes, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put soiled notes—mainly of Rs 100 and lower denominations—back into the system, along with a fresh supply of Rs 10 coins. Read moreDemonetization row: Government, Opposition play wait and watch gameAs the war of nerves over demonetization casts a shadow on business in Parliament, the Government and Opposition are hoping the other side will blink first to find a way out of the Parliament logjam. Read more

Indore-Patna express derailment: Survivors recount horror, say they ‘saw death whisk past us’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We saw death whisk past us,” was the common refrain among the survivors of the ill- fated Indore-Patna Express, with the scenario inside the bogies reflecting the horror they experienced. The interiors of the less-affected coaches also bore hallmarks of the tragedy, with bed sheets, blankets, pillows, half-eaten food, suitcases and bags lying scattered after passengers rushed out in panic when they were jolted out of sleep as the disaster struck just a little after 0300 hrs.Outside, a 17-year-old girl was seen desperately trying to locate her brother, both of whom were returning to Patna after a swimming competition in Bhopal, accompanied by their mother. In the midst of the devastation, there were stories of individual heroics too, with one rescue worker narrating how he managed to pull out five persons alive, one of them oblivious that her limb had got severed. “I pulled out one old day, who was yet to realise that she had lost one of her legs. One person had blood oozing out of his mouth. And the coach had bodies and blood splattered all across it,” Shakti Singh, a rapid reaction force member, said.The survivors thanked the locals who were the first to reach the accident spot in pitch dark to find people in daze, still reeling under the sheer impact of the tragedy. Rescue workers had no time to spare as they said that the mangled coaches contained a large number of bodies. “Those alive have been already rescued. All that is left are bodies. We have just managed to clear half of the worst- affected coaches,” a volunteer said, pointing towards a bogie which looked like a metallic coil after the accident.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna express derailment: 4 trains cancelled, 14 divertedThe army joined the rescue operations, deploying 90 personnel besides a 50-member medical team which included five doctors. Kanpur Station Commander of the army Brig. BM Sharma said: “We have plans to work through the night. We have put up lights. Our teams are already here. Though the railway cranes are working, we have got our armoured recovery vehicle here to speed up the operation.”He said that the army is in touch with the civil administration and all other agencies, including the NDRF. “All are functioning together,” he said.
ALSO READ Major train accidents in India since 1988Over 115 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, nearly half of them grievously, in the worst train accident in recent years when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed here in Kanpur rural area. Brig Anurag Chibber said the force personnel were using metal cutters to open up the mangled bogies of the train.Over 600 kms away, scenes of tragedy also played out at Patna railway station, with relatives of the passengers making frantic attempts to contact their near and dear ones and pleading officials for information. “I have been calling my father, who was returning from Ujjain, since morning. Calls are going through, but he is not picking up,” said Ranjan.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna express derailment will be probed, let’s work to achieve zero accidents: PM ModiIn another corner of the station, the brother of one of the passengers, Ranjan Kumar Singh, begged officials to share some information. “We have not seen a tragedy of this scale ever in our lives. We are still trying to trace five members of our family,” Deepika Tripathi, a passenger, told reporters.Another passenger said: “We had minor injuries, there was no chance of coming out of the mangled bogie. We somehow managed to escape through the toilet door. All members of my family are safe.”

Major train accidents in India since 1988

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

LIVE: Patna-Indore Express derails; PM Modi addresses Agra rally, says rescue ops on

Nov 20, 2016

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Kanpur: At least 96 passengers were killed and 226 injured, 76 of them seriously, when 14
coaches of the Indore-Patna express train derailed near Pukhrayan area in Kanpur Dehat district on Sunday, with railways officials saying the number of casualties could rise.

The incident took place at around 3 am near Pukhrayan, about 100 kms from here.

Over 150 injured people have been rushed to nearby hospitals in the area. All hospitals have been asked to be alert. More than 30 ambulances are pressed into service, the IG said, adding that over 250 police officials are helping carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Railways Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said several people have been rushed to nearby hospitals with injuries, and the casualties may go up.

Accident relief train was rushed to the spot, he said.

The mangled bogies of the train. PTI

The mangled bogies of the train. PTI

Northern Central Railways spokesperson Vijay Kumar said that doctors and senior railway officials have reached the spot. Rescue and relief operations were being carried out by district administration and railway officials.

Though the cause of the derailment was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture. However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

Buses are pressed into service to help passengers complete their journey, Kumar said, adding that the S2 coach was severely damaged. Four AC coaches have also been derailed.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the train tragedy.

“All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Railways has also released helpline numbers — Indore 07411072, Ujjain 07342560906, Ratlam 074121072, Orai 051621072, Jhansi 05101072, Pokhraya 05113270239.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told NDTV that an enquiry is being ordered while the situation is being monitored closely.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 16:06 IST

Indore-Patna express derailment: Two children pulled out alive from mangled bogie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two childrenTwo children were pulled out alive from an overturned bogie of the Indore-Patna Express here, offering a glimmer of hope to rescuers looking for survivors among the heaps of metal and scattered baggage.The two boys aged six and seven were pulled out from the S3 bogie of the train, police officials said. A woman, probably the mother of the boys, was found dead near them, they said.Two girls are also trapped in another smashed coach, AK Singh, NDRF Commandant said. “There is another coach which is smashed and two girls are still trapped inside it. We can’t use cranes to pull them out. But I want to assure you that they will be rescued. After that, we will execute a search operation to find the bodies before closing the operation,” he said.Singh said crowd management was posing as a big problem. A huge crowd has gathered at the spot and is posing as an obstruction, he said.

Indore-Patna express derailment: Sonia Gandhi puts onus on Railway Admin to take ‘suitable, corrective action’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday called on the Railway authorities to undertake a thorough probe into the reasons that caused the enormous tragedy of the derailment of the Indore-Patna Express in Kanpur, in which 95 people have lost their lives so far and over 100 people are injured.Expressing deep distress over the tragic deaths of rail passengers, Sonia said that words can’t describe the pain and anguish of those who lost their near and dear ones and the entire country stands in solidarity to share this unbearable sorrow.”Mrs. Gandhi hoped that rescue and relief operations are being effectively undertaken to save as many lives as possible and those injured are being given effective treatment. Smt Gandhi expressed hope that railway authorities will undertake a thorough probe into the reasons that caused this enormous tragedy, fix responsibility and take suitable corrective action,” the Congress said in a statement. Gandhi further instructed the Congress unit to assist in the relief and rescue along with the authorities and provide all assistance to those injured as also to next of kin.
ALSO READ Patna-Indore express derailment: Centre announces Rs. 3.5 lakh ex-gratia for kin of deceasedMeanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of those killed in the train tragedy that took place near Kanpur on Sunday. The Prime Minister also announced Rs. 50,000 as compensation to the survivors of the incident. This compensation is over and above any assistance that would be announced by the railways.The announcement came after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh, earlier, announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 Lakh to deceased families, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured people and Rs 25,000 for people having minor injuries. Similarly Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of deceased and Rs 50,000 for the critically injured.
ALSO READ Patna-Indore Express disaster: UP CM Akhilesh Yadav announces ex-gratiaMeanwhile, the casualty rose to 95 even as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is conducting rescue operation at the spot. A help desk has been set up at the Patna Railway Station to assist family members of those on board Indore-Patna Express.Taking stock of the situation, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will be rushing to the spot to monitor the situation. “I shall be rushing to the accident site to personally monitor the situation,” tweeted Prabhu.At least 153 people have been injured so far after the train derailed early morning at the Hanshi-Kanpur intersection in Uttar Pradesh at 3:20 am. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha has ordered for a high-level probe into the incident. Almost 14 coaches of the train derailed in the wee hours on resulting in severe loss of lives.

Indore-Patna Express derails: Bride-to-be searches for father after train mishap

Pukhraya (Kanpur Dehat): The whole world came crashing down around 20-year-old bride-to-be Ruby Gupta after the Indore-Patna Express derailed on Sunday as she is yet to trace her father.

Ruby, who was left with a fractured arm, was on her way to Mau in Azamagarh from Indore for her wedding scheduled on 1 December when the train derailed.

The eldest of her siblings, Ruby was travelling with sisters Archna (18), Khushi (16), brothers Abhishek and Vishal, and father Ram Prasad Gupta, who is missing.

Kanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTIKanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTI

Kanpur: A bride-to-be who was travelling on the ill-fated Indore-Patna express that derailed in Kanpur Dehat and lost her father in the mishap, looks on inconsolably. PTI

Also travelling with them was a family friend Ram Parmesh Singh.

“I cannot find my father and I have been looking everywhere for him. Some people told me to look in hospitals and in morgues but I am clueless as to what to do. I have a fractured arm and my sisters have also sustained injuries,”
she said.

“I do not know if my marriage, which was to be held on 1 December, will go as planned or not. I want to find my father now. I have tried calling everywhere, but I do not know what to do now,” she said.

Ruby also cannot trace the wedding clothes and jewellery she was carrying along.

She has not filed a complaint yet.

Though the cause of the derailment that has left 98 dead was not known immediately, sources said the nature and timing shows that the accident was caused by a rail fracture.

However, the exact reason would be known only after an inquiry.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 12:35 IST

Kanpur train accident: Anguished on the loss of lives, tweets PM Modi

Kanpur train accident: Anguished on the loss of lives, tweets PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed grief over the loss of lives in the derailment of the Patna-Indore Express.

“Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.

The Prime Minister said that Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring the situation. “Prayers with those injured in the tragic train accident. I’ve spoken to @sureshpprabhu, who is personally monitoring the situation closely,” Modi said.

At least 45 people have been killed and over 150 injured in the derailment of the Indore-Patna Express in Kanpur dehat district in the wee hours of Sunday.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 08:58 IST

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Indian army’s toll double as compared to ours: Pakistan army commander

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A top Pakistani military commander claimed on Saturday that Indian army’s casualties were double as compared to Pakistan in the ongoing clashes at the Line of Control. “Only 20 of our soldiers were killed while they lost more than 40 soldiers,” Commander of 10 Corps Lt-Gen Malik Zafar Iqbal told a selected gathering of parliamentarians and journalists in Gilgit yesterday. Lt Gen Iqbal was on a visit to the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the north wherein he addressed a gathering of civil and military officials, the Express Tribune reported. Iqbal claimed that rising army casualties were making the cost of ceasefire violations unbearable for the adversary. “If they violate the ceasefire during the day, we manage to settle the score before evening, but if it the violation occurs during night, we respond in kind before dawn,” he said.His remarks came days after Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif claimed that Indian army suffered at least 40 causalities in the recent border clashes. He also accused that Indian army was hiding its losses due to fear of public backlash. Earlier, the Corps commander visited the Khunjerab Top the entry point of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor where he inaugurated an ATM machine. He claimed that India had set up a special section within its intelligence apparatus for obstructing the CPEC. “But we are ready to foil the enemy’s nefarious designs,” he added.

Haryana board exam results: Check BSEH results for Class 10 and Class 12 here

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students from the Board of School Education Haryana (BSEH) can breathe a sigh of relief as the secondary and senior secondary reappear exam results have been declared.As per the Indian Express, the board in a statement said that the passing percentage of high school students is 34.51% in urban areas while in rural areas it is 30.68%. The pass percentage of high school students in urban areas is 34.51% and that if students in rural areas is 36.50%. Here’s what students can so to check results:1. The students should first go to the board’s official website.2. Senior secondary students can go visit this page for checking their results3. Secondary students can visit this page to check the results4. The students will have to enter their roll no or name to get the result. 5. They can save the results or get it printed. About the BSEH board as per the website:The Board of School Education Haryana, Bhiwani came into existence in 1969. The BSEH conducts the exams middle, high school and senior secondary school exams twice a year in Haryana in its affiliated schools.

Demonetisation: From Modi rally to Maratha Morcha, how crash crunch is affecting politics

The government’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes will help curb black money in elections and its impact will be visible in the upcoming Assembly polls in five states, say experts, while Opposition leaders called it hasty or questioned its effect.

Former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi said the move will definitely have a positive impact on the election system, but more steps were needed to tackle the problem of black money in polls.

“It will definitely have some impact on the free flow of money in elections but I don’t think it will curb the whole menace. We all know that in the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections, money plays a big role. There will be some control after the decision,” Quraishi told IANS.

However, he added that the political parties would find different routes to convert their unaccounted money into accounted money.

People queued outside an ATM. PTIPeople queued outside an ATM. PTI

People queued outside an ATM. PTI

Political parties in Maharashtra, which are in the midst of election campaigns for the upcoming polls to the local bodies, seem to have been hit by the sudden demonetisation as it has affected the disbursal of election funds to party offices.

The move has also put some candidates in tight spot, who were otherwise aiming to lure voters with high-value notes, sources said.

One hundred and ninety-two municipal councils and 20 nagar panchayats are going to polls in the state between 27 November and 8 January.

A senior functionary of a political party requesting anonymity said that demonetisation has affected the disbursal of election funds for party units at the district and local level.

“The move has hit the political parties as well as the candidates, most of whom woo voters with cash,” he said.

In New Delhi, the Kranti Maratha Morcha (KMM) has cancelled its rally scheduled on 20 November citing financial crunch, reports The Indian Express.

“The demonetisation has hit our plans to proceed with the rallies in talukas and cities in Maharashtra and outside,” a senior KMM functionary told The Indian Express.

Even BJP itself have been hit by the cash crunch. In Agra, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a rally on 20 November, from tents to chairs and lights, party workers had to arrange almost everything on credit from local traders, reports The Times of India.

According to the report, the time expenditure of would run around Rs 25-30 lakh and “like everyboy else”, the organisers have run out of cash.

Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), told IANS that the decision will bring about reduction in black money in the country.

“This will absolutely impact the elections, particularly those parties which are gearing up for next year’s Assembly elections in five states.

“If political parties have organised their money then it will have no impact on them but those who would not have organised, they may find themselves in trouble. Now they will not be able to organise their unaccounted money. This will obviously impact the elections but will take much more time to completely curb the menace,” he added.

Sangeet Kumar Ragi, who teaches at Delhi University’s Political Science department, said those who use money power in elections will be severely impacted.

“Candidates who rely on wooing voters by using money will find the going difficult,” Ragi said, adding that all political parties will be impacted in some way and those opposing it are doing so for petty politics.

While Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said that the measure will lead to election expenses of candidates coming down and “sincere” politicians would be happy with it, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav linked it to the upcoming Assembly polls and said it was not a permanent solution.

“It is quite possible that decision might have been taken in view of Assembly elections. It seems that the decision has been taken in hurry. They could have discussed it in parliament as the session is likely to begin this month itself,” Akhilesh told reporters in Lucknow.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, assembly polls are expected to be held early next year in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, said the decision had no connection with elections.

“After this decision, if elections get cheaper, it will be a great service to nation. If elections get cheaper, it will be a good beginning,” Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi.

His predecessor, P Chidambaram of the Congress, said that his party will fight elections according to rules and regulations.

“I don’t know… You must ask people who spend large amounts of money in elections. I don’t know if people stash cash three months ahead of elections. I don’t know. I know that people pull out money at the time of elections and spend it for elections. I don’t know if people put it in gunny bags or suitcases and store it somewhere. I don’t know,” he said to queries on the impact of the government’s decision on political parties.

“The Congress party, in anyway, did not have too much money even in the last elections,” he said.

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav told IANS that he supports the decision but it is mainly aimed at checking counterfeit currency notes.

“The prime minister has tried to make virtue of this necessity. His party has made grand claims about this decision being a historic game changer in the fight against black money and terror. There is not much to justify this propaganda.

“This decision would not affect much of the black money that has entered the stock market or real estate or has been parked outside the country via dubious financial instruments,” he said.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 12:16 IST

PM Narendra Modi in demonetisation: ‘Govt has implemented Nehru’s vision’

Amid raging opposition from Congress and Left parties on the issue of demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday invoked Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary to garner support for the Centre’s move to ban old currency notes.

“Pt. Nehru’s party may curse me all they want, but I have implemented his vision for the poor,” Modi said while addressing a rally in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, adding that the Congress has entirely missed his message.

Rubbishing Congress party’s allegations that the move is anti-poor, Modi said that it was the rich who were spending sleepless nights.

“Poor people are sleeping peacefully, it is the rich who are running from pillar to post to buy sleeping pills,” he said.

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

The Prime Minister was in Ghazipur to flag off the weekly Shabd Bhedi Superfast Express from Ghazipur to Kolkata and inaugurated the newly constructed perishable cargo centre in Ghazipur. He also laid the foundation stone for doubling of the railway track between Ghazipur and Ballia, rail-cum-road bridge on the river Ganga on Mau-Tadighat rail route.

Modi, however, also took the opportunity to justify his move to demonetise higher denomination currency notes in the poll-bound state. “I had no other option to crackdown on black money. This move has brought the rich and poor on the same tangent,” Modi said.

Acknowledging the problems caused to the common man, Modi said, “I feel your pain and I am spending sleepless nights to do all I can to facilitate the situation,” adding that the inconvenience faced by the common man will not go in vain.

Addressing his first public rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh post the demonetisation drive, Modi said: “I want to assure you that your inconveniences will not go in vain.” Modi urged people to bear with the “short term inconvenience for a corruption free India.”

Koi bhi kaam karo thodi bohot takleef to hoti hai irada nek hona chahiye. (Every new effort causes a little inconvenience but the intent behind it should be righteous),” the prime minister said.

He also asked a cheering crowd whether he was right in implementing certain “hard measures for the greater good” and whether people were ready to face “slight inconvenience” for this. His appeals were largely greeted with resounding applause.

Modi also played up his “chai-walah” days, stating that his decision to crack down on black money was a little “Kadak (strong)” just like his tea.

Mujhe yaad hai mujhe gareeb log kehte the Modi ji chai jara kadak banana. Gareeb ko jara kadak chai achi lagti hai, magar ameer ka muh bigad jaata hai. (I remember poor people used to ask me to keep their tea a little strong. Well, the poor love their brew on the stronger side but it usually spoils the taste buds of the elite),” Modi said taking on the black money holders, who he said are spending sleepless nights since the crackdown.

Modi said the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency was to target those with unaccounted cash. “But I will not spare those with unaccounted Rs 2.5 crore cash, and those who have stashed money under the bed.”

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 14:25 IST

Rs 500, Rs 1,000 note ban: 20% notes may not be exchanged, people burn some in UP

Many possessing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are unlikely to come forward and exchange or deposit the notes in bank accounts. Their situation was possibly exacerbated by the government’s announcement that cash deposits above Rs 2.5 lakh threshold under the 50-day window could attract tax and a 200 percent penalty in case of income mismatch.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Any mismatch with income declared by the account holder will be treated as a case of tax evasion. “This would be treated as a case of tax evasion and the tax amount plus a penalty of 200 percent of the tax payable would be levied as per the Section 270(A) of the Income Tax Act,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.

People are now resorting to various ways to get rid of that stashed away cash. There is also a possibility that almost 20 percent of the notes won’t be exchanged. The Indian Express quoted Ritesh Jain, chief investment officer, Tata Asset Management as saying, “There could be permanent wealth destruction of Rs 3 trillion (or Rs 3,00,000 crore) if 20 percent of these notes are not exchanged which could impact inter-personal lending, real-estate, jewellery and banks with such exposure.”

Burning these paper notes is the quickest way to get rid. The process had reportedly begun in Uttar Pradesh.

The burnt remnants of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were found at a place in Bareilly on Wednesday, police said. Informed sources said the burnt currency notes were reportedly brought in sacks and then dumped by workers of a company on Parsa Kheda road at CB Ganj in Bareilly.

Police officials said prima facie, the currency notes appeared to have been cut, damaged and then burnt. The police has since taken over the remains of the currency notes and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials have been informed of the incident.

With inputs from agencies

Govt, media, opposition: No one comes out smelling of roses from l’affaire NDTV

The view that there should be complete synergy between the stakeholders of democracy is dangerous. On the contrary, the character of a robust democracy is defined by the friction between its four pillars — executive, legislature, judiciary and a free media. An existence of tension between these forces is a good thing and ultimately works to strengthen the institutions.

But this tension is a force of good as long as it is not allowed to degenerate into an ugly free-for-all, the kind of which we witnessed over the weekend since the government first proposed and then put on hold a move to take NDTV India off the air for a day on 9 November. None of the dramatis personae — the government, media or the opposition — emerge from this macabre play without sullying their credibility.

The Narendra Modi government’s image has taken yet another heavy beating, and this time it has only itself to blame. Its actions lacked conviction, its communication strategy was in a shambles, and it moved with all the deftness of a bull in a china shop. An interplay between democracy’s stakeholders must follow a clearly defined set of guiding principles rather than ad hocism. The Centre erred in slapping even a token “ban” — howsoever grave the channel’s error might have been — and then botched it up further in an attempt to sound magnanimous.

NDTV_twitter

The government believes that NDTV India jeopardised national security while covering the Pathankot terror attack and that it violated the newly introduced clause — 6(1)p — to the Programme Code of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, that restricts live coverage of terrorist attacks in the interest of national security. The amended rules prohibit any telecasting of strategically important information during a counter-terrorist operation and restrict the channels to periodic official briefings.

There are two important points to be made here. One, it is undeniable that terrorists and its handlers can exploit real-time dissemination of information from electronic medium to plan their strategy and there have been cases — noticeably during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks — where these have been used to devastating effect.

The Supreme Court in 2012 had lambasted the “reckless” coverage of Mumbai terror attacks and found that “by covering live the terrorist attack on Mumbai in the way it was done, Indian TV channels were not serving any national interest or social cause. On the contrary, they were acting in their own commercial interest, putting national security in jeopardy.” As Times of India had reported, “the court found from the transcripts of conversations between terrorists holed up in Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House and their handlers in Pakistan that the terror masterminds were watching the live telecast and got important inputs about the positioning of security forces.”

However, and now we come to the second point, as terrorists bring their violence close to us and into our living rooms, media is also trying to keep up with evolution. Mainstream media around the world are increasingly putting self-regulation in place while covering these “live” situations and Indian channels are also following suit. It is instructive to remember that even while ripping apart media’s handling of the 26/11 attacks, the Supreme Court did not advise press freedom to be subjected to government scrutiny.

And therein lies the crux of the problem. NDTV India may or may not have erred in airing information that the government says was “sensitive”, but which according to the channel was anyway available in public domain. But the moment the government took it upon itself to scrutinise and then penalise the channel — even if it was a token penalty — it embarked on the slippery slope of media censorship. While evaluating the role of one pillar of democracy — a free media — it vested too much power on bureaucracy and opened itself to criticism that the bar may be lowered in the future.

It wasn’t as if there were no options before the government to send a message across that media must behave more responsibly when it comes to matters of national security. The ministry could have, as The Hindu points out in its editorial, approached the News Broadcasting Standards Authority which was set up by the News Broadcasters Association in the light of the 2008 Mumbai attacks recognising the need for a more restrained and responsible coverage. It could have also set up a quasi-judicial body or formed an independent panel to scrutinise NDTV India’s coverage. Instead, in its actions, the government came across as a heavy-handed bully and not nearly as a power guided by “liberal, democratic ethos”, as Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has claimed.

The media, on the other hand, has emerged from the incident as a shrill, hyperbolic force that instead of reason, relies on rhetoric to get a point across to the detriment of its credibility. The abundant equivalences comparing the I&B ministry’s decision to the 1975 Emergency were amusing and worrying in equal measure. Amusing because, the plethora of articles in every medium — print, electronic or digital — accusing Modi government of declaring “undeclared Emergency” are the greatest proof that such accusations were ridiculous. While they were right to criticise the government for its ham-handed ways, such rhetorical gymnastics devalue the real horrors of Emergency.

During the 21-month period starting June 1975, the Indira Gandhi government, recalls a recent Indian Express article, muzzled the press by censoring or banning most mainstream dailies. “The Indian Express and The Statesman left the lead editorial space blank as a mark of protest. Correspondents of The Times of London, The Daily Telegraph, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and The Los Angeles Times were expelled. Reporters of The Economist and The Guardian left after receiving threats. The BBC withdrew its correspondent. The home ministry told Parliament in May 1976 that 7,000 persons had been held for circulating clandestine literature opposing the Emergency. Kishore Kumar was banned by All India Radio after he refused to support the Youth Congress.”

By equating the Modi government’s decision with Emergency, the media has shown itself to be not worthy of the responsibility that is vested upon it. It risks devaluing itself to a political force instead of the being the neutral watchdog.

The most disgraced lot to have emerged from this fiasco are the political parties who tried to claim the moral high ground by going along with the media’s assumptions that an Emergency has been promulgated In India. The Congress appeared to be burning in righteous indignation led by its vice-president whose knowledge of history is matched only by his leadership abilities. Rahul Gandhi may have forgotten that the UPA had banned 21 channels during its tenure due to various reasons and that his grandmother subjected Indian citizens to the sole instance of Emergency.

AAP supremo, and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal exhorted all TV channels to go off the air on 9 November to show solidarity with NDTV. “I hope the whole media goes off (the) air for a day in solidarity with NDTV,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

For someone who is such a staunch believer in press freedom, it was odd that Kejriwal would threaten to send media persons to jail for allegedly promoting Narendra Modi. As Times of India reported in 2014, a video of Kejriwal’s diatribe against the media at a fundraiser in Nagpur saw him promise an inquiry against media persons if AAP came to power. “If our government comes to power then we will set an inquiry into this. And along with media people, all will be sent to jail,” he was heard saying in the clip.

Another of Modi’s virulent critics, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has an even “greater record” when it comes to tolerating criticism. Apart from the well-publicised instance of a Jadavpur University professor who was sent to jail for sharing a cartoon, there have been reports of a youth in Malda getting arrested for making a derogatory remark against the TMC chief on Facebook.

As mentioned before, friction between pillars of democracy is welcome. But all stakeholders must act with equal responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t become a free-for-all.

Senior journalist Girish Nikam dies of heart attack

Mon, 7 Nov 2016-09:23pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior journalist and TV anchor Girish Nikam died in Delhi on Monday following a massive heart attack. Nikam, 59, complained of uneasiness after a programme shoot in the studios and was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he breathed his last, according to his associates.Nikam started his journalistic career with “Star of Mysore” in Mysuru and later shifted to Indian Express, Bengaluru. He had worked in other media organisations including India Today, Deccan Chronicle and News Today before doing programmes for Rajya Sabha TV.Nikam’s body is being taken to Bengaluru on Tuesday for the last rites. Prasar Bharati Chairman A Suryaprakash was among others who condoled the death of Nikam. Suryaprakash said Nikam was an extremely versatile mediaperson who traversed the worlds of print, television and social media.

Pakistan, India to temporarily recall diplomats after New Delhi busts spy ring

Islamabad: Signalling a fresh slide in ties, Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their high commissioners and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions in the wake of the latest diplomatic spat over the spying episode, a media report said on Friday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The latest spat started last week after a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was detained by police for questioning over espionage charges, the Express Tribune reported.

The fresh slide in ties may also lead to a ‘scaling down’ of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours, the paper said.

The tension intensified after tit-fit-tat naming of diplomatic staff for alleged spy work by both sides.

Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.

“However, India, using a statement Delhi police extracted from Akhtar through coercive means, implicated other Pakistani staffers. The identities of at least six such officials were leaked to the media, jeopardising their security. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi,” it said.

In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan on Thursday claimed that eight officials posted in India’s High Commission in Islamabad were agents of India’s intelligence agencies, RAW and IB. The disclosure left New Delhi with no other options but to withdraw the named officials, the paper said.

An official with knowledge of latest developments said that India had breached an ‘understanding’ by revealing the identities of certain Pakistani officials posted in New Delhi, the paper said.

The official said both sides knew that certain officials worked under cover and they did so with the full official knowledge, it said.

“What India did was unthinkable,” the official added, saying the Indian move would have serious implications for the two countries.

He said the immediate fallout of this controversy could be the recalling of high commissioners by the two countries for the time being, the paper said.

The official said another implication might be ‘cutting down’ the size of diplomatic staff posted in each other’s countries till the situation normalised, it added.

Goods train derails in Madhya Pradesh; rail traffic hit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A goods train derailed between Manjhouli and Devgram stations on Singrauli-Jabalpur railway line in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, disrupting rail traffic on the route, but nobody was injured in the incident.The incident took place around 8.20 AM. A total of 31 box wagons of the goods train derailed damaging rail tracks and affecting the running of a number of trains, a railway official said.Soon after getting information about the incident, senior railway officials rushed to the spot.Because of the derailment, 11448 Howrah-Jabalpur Shaktipunj Express is being diverted via Mirzapur-Choupan- Manikpur-Satna-Katni route, he said, adding a number of passenger trains are being short terminated.

Diplomatic spat: Pakistan, India may temporarily recall their envoys, says report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signalling a fresh slide in ties, Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their high commissioners and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions in the wake of the latest diplomatic spat over the spying episode, a media report said.The latest spat started last week after a staff member of Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi was detained by police for questioning over espionage charges, the Express Tribune reported.The fresh slide in ties may also lead to a ‘scaling down’ of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours, the paper said.
ALSO READ Pakistan risking lives of Indian diplomats by putting their details in public domain: IndiaThe tension intensified after tit-fit-tat naming of diplomatic staff for alleged spy work by both sides.Mahmood Akhtar, who was working as a visa officer at the Pakistani High Commission, was later expelled from India.
ALSO READ Cotton farmers suffer as India-Pakistan tensions rise”However, India, using a statement Delhi police extracted from Akhtar through coercive means, implicated other Pakistani staffers. The identities of at least six such officials were leaked to the media, jeopardising their security. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi,” it said.In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan yesterday claimed that eight officials posted in India’s High Commission in Islamabad were agents of RAW and IB. The disclosure left New Delhi with no other options but to withdraw the named officials, the paper said.
ALSO READ Amid rising tensions, Pakistani media names 8 Indian mission staffers for anti-Pak activitiesAn official with knowledge of latest developments said that India had breached an ‘understanding’ by revealing the identities of certain Pakistani officials posted in New Delhi, the paper said.The official said both sides knew that certain officials worked under cover and they did so with the full official knowledge, it said.”What India did was unthinkable,” the official added, saying the Indian move would have serious implications for the two countries.He said the immediate fallout of this controversy could be the recalling of high commissioners by the two countries for the time being, the paper said.The official said another implication might be ‘cutting down’ the size of diplomatic staff posted in each other s countries till the situation normalised, it added.

Jammu and Kashmir: LeT militant Omar Khaliq arrested in Sopore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant Umar Khaliq Mir alias Sameer has been arrested from Sopore district in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. As per The Hindustan Times, he is around 23-25 years old and has been allegedly trained in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).Khaliq hails from Tujjar sector. He was apprehended in a joint operation by the police and 22nd regiment of Rajputana Rifles, reports The Financial Express. Arms and ammunitions such as AK rifles and grenades have been seized from him. In September, 20 Indian Army jawans were killed and 19 others were injured in the Uri terror strike in which four terrorists were neutralised.

UP has highest number of convicts, over 55% of undertrials are Muslims and Dalits: NCRB

There was a lot of uproar in the nation following the prison break on 31 October by eight members of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) from Bhopal Central Jail after slitting the throat of the jail guard. However, eight hours after their escape, all the eight activists were killed a few kilometres away from the city in a shootout with the police.

In the wake of Bhopal prison break, let’s take a look at the prison statistics of 2015 recently published by National Crime Records Bureau. The 21st edition of prison statistics data reveals that Madhya Pradesh is the second state with highest number of inmates (38,458), highest being Uttar Pradesh (88,747).

Furthermore, out of the 59.6 percent of the total murder convicts, 15.8 percent were reported from Madhya Pradesh and of the 26.5 percent of total undertrials charged with murder under IPC crimes MP accounts to about 8.5 percent.

In an analysis done by The Indian Express, the data for Madhya Pradesh reveals wide gaps between the share of Muslims in their population and the share of Muslims in its jails. In MP, with a share of 7 percent in population, Muslims made up 13 percent of undertrials and 10 percent of convicts.

Religion-wise distribution of  inmates at the end of 2015. (Image: NCRB)

Religion-wise distribution of inmates at the end of 2015. (Image: NCRB)

Religion-wise distribution of inmates

In a religion-wise distribution of inmates at the end of 2015, the data reveals that 72.6 percent (97,471 out of 1,34,168) of convicts lodged in jails profess Hindu religion while 15.8 percent (21,220) were from the Muslim community and the remaining were from other religions.

While that under the classification of undertrial prisoners (total of 67.2 percent), people following Hindu religion account for 69.8 percent (1,96,814 out of 2,82,076), while people from Muslim community (59,053) accounted for 20.9 percent and the rest belonged to other religions.

Of the 74.2 percent of the total detainees, 67.1 percent belong to the Hindu community while 23.8 percent belong to the Muslim community.

Journalist refuses to accept Ramnath Goenka award from PM Narendra Modi

Akshaya Mukul, a journalist from The Times of India, refused to accept the celebrated Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for 2016 on the grounds that it was being given away by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says a report by The New Indian Express.

Narendra Modi at the Ramnath Goenka award ceremony. Image courtesy: Twitter, @thecaravanindia

Narendra Modi at the Ramnath Goenka award ceremony. Image courtesy: Twitter/@thecaravanindia

According to an India Samvad report, Mukul boycotted the ceremony and Krishan Chopra, the publisher and chief editor at Harper Collins India, received the award on his behalf. Mukul was conferred the prize in the category of Books (non-fiction) for his work — Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, which gives an account of the nationalist and militant history of the Hindutva ideologue in India, and ironically the background of the Prime Minister’s politics. The book has also won the Book of the Year Award, and the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize.

In a Caravan report, Mukul stated that it is an honour to have won the RNG award, but could not “live with the idea of Modi (and him) in the same frame, smiling at the camera even as he hands over the award.” He referred to the Patiala House Court incident in February where journalists and students were attacked by alleged lawyers and BJP’s OP Sharma, strongly indicating the government’s frequent clampdown on the media. The Indian Express management’s decision to invite “someone as polarising as” Modi left many journalists unhappy, he wrote.

Modi, on the other hand, congratulated all awardees on Wednesday. Paying tribute to former media baron Goenka, Modi said in a tweet: “There were few in the media who challenged the Emergency and this was led by Ramnathji and the Indian Express”. Also noting that, “Ramnathji was always committed to his ideals.”

At the ceremony, he spoke on the freedom struggle, and how newspapers became a very strong medium of expression. Further saying that technology poses a challenge to the media and news that could earlier be disseminated in 24 hours now happens in 24 seconds.

Here are some Twitter reactions on the issue:

Gunmen try to enter Pak school, open fire

Mon, 31 Oct 2016-01:00pm , Lahore , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two armed men tried to enter a school in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Monday and opened fire, injuring a school guard, but their bid was thwarted by security personnel.Panic and fear gripped as two armed men tried to enter a private school in Haroonabad area of Bahawalnagar, Express News reported.According to reports, the men opened fire as they tried to enter the school. However, heavy contingents of police reached the site and the gunmen fled.All students were safely evacuated from the school. The school guard was reportedly injured during the gunfire.

Uri attack: Lashkar-e-Taiba claims responsibility in posters, says report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeThas claimed responsibility for the Uri attack that killed 20 jawans, the Indian Express reported Tuesday. The claim comes in spite of Pakistan’s rejection of India’s allegations that terrorists based in that country were involved in the Uri attack, According to The Indian Express, LeT posters were seen in Gujranwala in the Pakistani part of Punjab saying it would hold last rites in absentia for one of the four terrorists involved in the Uri attack.The report said that the poster had named one perpetrator as Gujranwala resident Muhammad Anas, who operated under the alias Abu Siraqa.The posters reportedly carried images of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. “Ghaybana namaaz janaza (last rites held in the absence of the body of the deceased), will be held at Bada Nullah, near Girjakh, in the Punjab town of Gujranwala,” the poster said.Last month, 20 Indian Army jawans were killed and 19 others were injured in the terror strike in which four terrorists were neutralised.Two maps depicting the general topography of Uri were recovered from the terrorists who stormed into the Army camp even as the army intensified efforts to identify the exact stretch along the Line of Control (LoC) from where they entered India.The maps showed various places of Uri including the Brigade Headquarters and other installations of this town, about 75 km North of Srinagar. The place is strategically important in view of the power project operated by the National Hydel Power Corporation (NHPC).Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had denied any Pakistani angle to the attack, terming such an assertion as “India’s long-time habit”..

BJP poster in Varanasi features American soldiers instead of Indian Army!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the aftermath of the Uri attack, India’s surgical strike against Pakistan is an easy connect to make with voters in poll bound Uttar Pradesh.A Bharatiya Janata Party poster welcoming PM Modi in Varanasi on Monday featured a silhouetted image of soldiers. However, according to an Indian Express report, the photograph is actually of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of the US armed forces. It was reportedly clicked in Iraq during American military operations. The poster put up at Mahanagar features PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, local BJP leaders like Pradeep Agrahari, Naveen Kapoor, Maneesh Kapoor and other BJP leaders.A similar silhouetted image of American soldiers had also appeared in the form of a banner in the TV series Band of Brothers as well. Addressing a public rally in his Lok Sabha constituency on Monday, PM Modi said people celebrated ‘choti Diwali’ when the Army destroyed terrorist launch pads across LoC on September 29. He also asked citizens to also remember soldiers even when there are no sounds of firing of bullets and shelling on borders.

Indian attempts to isolate us have backfired, claims Pak Foreign Secretary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Turning a blind eye to the looming threat of global isolation, Pakistan”s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has said that New Delhi”s attempts to isolate Islamabad have backfired.On Thursday Chaudhry told a Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, “India wants to use the United Nations platform to defame Pakistan” (but) its efforts to isolate Pakistan have backfired. In fact, New Delhi itself stands isolated because of its policies.” The Foreign Secretary added that the issue of Masood Azhar, chief of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad whom India is trying to get on the global list of terrorists by the UN—would be tackled according to the National Action Plan, reports the Express Tribune.He told the panel that tackling the issue was not as simple. Tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours soared after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army base camp in Uri Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which India blames on Pakistan. Since then, constant efforts have been made by the Indian Government to isolate Pakistan on the international platform. Expressing its anguish, New Delhi boycotted the 19th SAARC summit which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad from November 9 to 12.Stepping up the efforts, Indian Prime Narendra Modi dubbed Pakistan as the ‘mothership of terrorism’ while addressing the BRICS Summit in Goa last week. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a regional political party in India, also called for a ban on Pakistan artistes working in the country following the ghastly Uri terror attack. Since the attack, the US has also continually urged Pakistan to eliminate all nefarious groups active on its soil.

9 coaches of goods train derail in Odisha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine wagons of a goods train on Friday derailed between Maligura and Jarati stations in Odisha affecting train services on the Koraput-Jeypore railway section under Waltier Division of East Coast Railway.The goods train derailed on its way to Visakhapatnam from Bathili in Chhattisgarh Friday morning, a railway official said, adding that no loss of life or injury to anyone has been reported in the accident.Following the accident, six passenger trains were cancelled while Samaleshwari Express was short-terminated at Jeypore station and will return to Jagadalpur on Friday.Bhubaneswar-Jagadalpur Hirakhand Express will originate from Koraput instead of Jagadalpue.Visakhapatanam-Kiranul passanger left Visakhapatanam on Friday and will be short terminated at Koraput and return to Vishakhapatanam as Kirandul-Vishakhapatanam passenger from Koraput.Kirandul-Visakhapatanam passenger will be short terminated at Jagdalpur and return to Kirandul from Jagdalpur.The service of Vishakhapatanam-Kirandul-Vishakhapatanam will remain cancelled on Friday between Koraput and Jagadalpur from both the directions.Jagadalpur-Durg Express scheduled to leave jagadalpur on Friday will also remain cancelled while Durg-Jagadalpur Express scheduled to leave Durg on October 23 will also remain cancelled for cancellation of connecting train, an ECoR statement said.

RSS demands removal of English as medium of instruction, ahead of new education policy formulation

The RSS education wing, on Friday, demanded that the use of English language as the medium of instruction should be eliminated and emphasis instead should be on the mother tongue, from the HRD ministry, ahead of the constitution of the new education policy, as reported by The Indian Express.

File photo of Prakash Javadekar. ReutersFile photo of Prakash Javadekar. Reuters

File photo of Prakash Javadekar. Reuters

The RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN) made a number of suggestions such as that foreign languages be removed completely from the curriculum — even as an alternative; that all research should be connected to “national requirements” and those projects that do not fulfill this criteria should be taken off UGC scholarships, and that references that insult Indian culture and offer incorrect explanations should also be removed, says The Indian Express.

According to India TV, the RSS wing has also recommended that the ministry must attempt to gradually remove English at all levels of education, both in private and government schools, colleges and universities, in a meeting between Atul Kothari, leader of the SSUN and HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Allegedly the government was asked to “immediately provide facilities to introduce education in Indian languages in English-medium institutions like IIT, IIM and NIT”, by the SSUN. An email response by the ministry on 14 October read that his list of recommendations is noted and shall be discussed.

The Deccan Chronicle alleges that the RSS affiliate has even asked for legal action against schools that do not let students speak in their mother tongue, as many schools have existing punishment systems, including remarks and fines, for students speaking in their native tongue. Kothari was reported as saying that many of his suggestions were appreciated.

‘Saffronisation of education’ has been a popular phrase associated with Dinanath Batra, another RSS veteran of Shiksha Bachao Andolan, and leader of the SSUN. Times Of India reports that Batra and the Shiksha Bachao Andolan have been heading a movement to change UPA era textbooks. According to The Indian Express article, the Haryana government was looking to introduce six of his books in the state syllabus last year, all of which preached moral Indian values and culture.

However, Javadekar had earlier announced the government role must be of a facilitator and not a controller, for which it proposes to give more autonomy to premier institutions of higher learning, based on their performance during a review meeting, that he chaired, with directors of five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research located at Pune, Kolkata, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru in September, accordimg to an IANS report.

A Livemint report claims that the new education policy is aimed at encouraging innovation over rote learning, making education both the emancipator as well as the enabler. The drafting process is open to suggestions by district level and block-level consultation to make the policy more relevant and inclusive. Where gross enrollment was the earlier focus in schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Right to Education and National Literacy Mission, the poor quality of education is the problem tackled by the new policy. Several national-level surveys, third party assessments and consultation is directed to making it a participatory process, to avoid further high-handedness in the education sector.

An article in the Asian Age says that Javadekar hopes to evoke a consensus on a range of issues including the no-detention policy till class 8 and provisional Class 10 Board exams and so on. A detailed discussion is due to take place on 25 October between the HRD minister and the education ministers at the Central Advisory Board of Education.

With inputs from IANS

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