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Drug users increase, as smoking goes down

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Grappling with drug menace, Punjab records decline in smoking cases, as recent results of National Family Health Survey (2015-16) indicate that the percentage of men who consume tobacco has gone down from 33.8 per cent to 19.2 per cent in the last ten years.The survey was carried by International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai, which has been appointed as the nodal agency for the survey by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. As many as 19,484 women, 3,027 men from over 16,449 households were interviewed from January 28 to June 20 for the study.The figures offer a glimmer of hope for the state which has been fighting to crack down on the drug problem. The issue was also raised in the Rajya Sabha in August this year, when leaders pointed out the large number of drug-related cases being reported from the state.As per the survey, one third of the male population (33.8 %) were tobacco consumers in 2005-06 when the survey was last carried out, which has gone down to 19.2 per cent in 2016. Among women it has reduced from 0.8 per cent to 0.1 per cent. Out of the total number of men consuming tobacco, 17.1 per cent belonged to urban sections while 20 per cent were from rural section. The studies also indicated that a total of 24.4 per cent men admitted that they tried to stop smoking in last 12 months. In neighbouring Haryana, the prevalence of tobacco use was found to be 35.8 per cent among men.Smoking or tobacco consumption is prohibited in Sikhism, so it’s also associated with an article of faith, due to which public consumption is not that common, say public health experts. But, government health officials highlight that the number has begun to come down in last six years, due to strict implementation of laws governing sale of tobacco.”Punjab had been making serious efforts to tackle the problem of tobacco use,” said Vini Mahajan, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Punjab. He added, “as per the survey, tobacco in Punjab is the lowest among all the states. This is significant considering the fact that there are 2,200 deaths attributed to tobacco use and 5,500 children/youth that start using tobacco daily in India.”Elaborating on the issue, Dr Rakesh Gupta, Deputy Director, Punjab Health Department said that prevalence of chewable tobacco is more compared to cigarettes or bidis. “It is common among the large section of workforce especially migrant labourers who work on the fields, but with strict implementation of laws and awareness, the number has come down,” he said.Gupta also highlighted that Punjab was the first state where e-cigarettes were banned and other states followed suit. “All districts of Punjab were declared as ‘Tobacco Smoke Free’ (TSF) on the basis of compliance study and Punjab received WHO World No Tobacco Day 2015 award.” said Gupta.Next, the department plans to crack down on sale of loose cigarettes and encourage more people to quit smoking through active sessions in De-addiction centres in hospitals.

Centre launches anti-cancer crusade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the Delhi Government for its inability to implement laws on tobacco ban, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said that the capital needed to step up its actions for tobacco control.“Sale of tobacco has been banned in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In Delhi though, the ban on tobacco reflects only on papers,” he said at an event on Monday, where he launched, ‘Cancel Cancer’, a cancer awareness campaign.According to the latest data available with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, between April 2012 to September 2015, at least 13 states, including Delhi, didn’t issue any challan or fine for smoking in public.Speaking at the event held at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, he said, “Tobacco products are easily available at every nook and corner of our country and are being consumed mainly by the youth, specially school-going kids of the middle and poor class.” As part of the campaign on cancer, they aim to raise awareness on the lethal effects of tobacco, how it causes cancer and measures to control it. “Among other things, the campaign aims at educating people against the hazards of tobacco that is the root cause of cancer. The government supports this cause,” Kulaste said.According to a report released in 2013 by the Central Government one in every five person under 21 years of age is addicted to tobacco. The report also mentions that out of 2 crore homeless children in India, 40-70 per cent come in contact with some or the other form of intoxication.The Centre recently issued a complete ban on sale of food products containing tobacco and nicotine across India. These would include Gutka, Paan Masala, Zarda and tobacco-based flavoured mouth fresheners. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed all states to issue strict directions for banning the production, promotion and sale of these food products.

Indian Railways doubles compensation amount for deaths

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Railways on Monday doubled the compensation amount in case of death during accidents w.e.f. from January 1, 2017. The Indian Railways has doubled the compensation for those killed/ injured in rail accident with effect from January 1, 2017,’ Ministry of Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said. Till now, in case of rail accidents, the family members of deceased used to get Rs. 4 lakh as compensation. But as per the new rules to be implemented from January 1, 2017, the new compensation amount will be Rs 8 lakh. The ministry has done so by amending the Railways Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990, which were last amended in 1997.

Punjab: 9 women injured in acid attack after land dispute turns violent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine women, including the wife of a sarpanch were injured in an acid attack after a heated altercation over a Panchayat land turned violent, in Bhui village in Kapurthala district, here on Monday.The incident took place when Vinod Kumar, who is Sarpanch of Bhui village went to the land site alongwith his wife Reena and four other women for construction of a community centre. However, another family belonging to the same village had been locked in a conflict over the land and alleged that it belonged to them. When the family stood their ground on not allowing any construction activity on the land, it led to a heated argument between the two groups. The situation turned ugly, when some members of the family allegedly threw acid on the sarpanch’s wife and women accompanying her.All the injured were rushed to the Civil hospital, where they are currently admitted. However, the sarpanch’s wife, Reena had to be referred to a government hospital in Jalandhar with serious injuries.”It was a land dispute between the two groups. The Panchayat wanted to construct a community centre, which the other group opposed and it led to an argument between them. We have registered a case and investigation is on. One of the accused, who is the husband of the woman who allegedly threw acid has been arrested. We will arrest others, after recording statements of all victims, who are currently in hospital,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Kapurthala, Rajinder Singh while talking to DNA.SSP Singh said all the victims are undergoing treatment and are out of danger.

Kashmir’s Christian community keeps X’mas a low-key affair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Standing in solidarity with the victims of unrest, Kashmir’s Christian community on Sunday won the hearts of the majority Muslim community by keeping Christmas celebrations a low-key affair Unlike past, the churches were not decorated and Carol singing was missing too. Churches had deliberately done away with the decorative exterior lighting.Even the customary Santa Claus was missing in the churches as a mark of respect for the people who suffered during the five months of unrest in Kashmir. “So many people have suffered. So many people have died. Kashmiris did not celebrate Eid this year. So therefore we decided to celebrate Christmas with simplicity,” Shami Joseph, an official at the Holy Family Catholic Church, told DNA.More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in the unrest which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8.Over 1,100 people mostly teenagers have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir. Over 5000 persons have been arrested of whom 500 detained under Public Safety Act, under which a person can be jailed without trial and bail up to two years.“So many of our brothers and sisters suffered due to the unrest. We focused on the spiritual aspect of the celebration rather than the external aspects,” said Father Roy Mathews of Holy Family Catholic Church.

Sushma Swaraj working from hospital; promises help in bringing body of Indian from Japan

New Delhi: Recuperating after a kidney transplant at AIIMS, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj continues to promptly respond to pleas for helping Indians abroad — this time from a family which is unable to bring back the mortal remains of a member who died in Tokyo.

Swaraj reassured the family on Sunday in a tweet she sent out from the hospital bed in Delhi, a day after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) sought her help for the family of Gopal Ram who died eight days ago in the Japanese capital.

DCW Chief Swati Maliwal had written to Swaraj seeking intervention after Radha Debi, wife of Gopal, approached the Commission seeking help, saying the family was unable to bring the body due to financial constraints.

The External Affairs Minister is known for her prompt response in addressing problems of distressed Indians abroad, many of whom have approached her through twitter. Even during her hospitalisation, Swaraj, 64, who underwent a kidney transplant on December 10, has continued to respond to requests for help.

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFPUnion External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

48-year-old Gopal Ram, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar in delhi, had gone to Tokyo in September last year looking for greener pastures. He died of a cardiac arrest in the Japanese capital on 10 December.

“The family is severely distressed and needs your kind support.

“As we all aware you have been extremely pro-active in resolving such matters. Therefore, I am forwarding the representation along with this letter for your kind perusal. Hoping for your support in this matter,” Maliwal said in a letter to Swaraj on Saturday.

Gopal was working in Tokyo as a cook in a hotel and, according to a family member, he was fired within three months after which he started working in some local shop.

His financial condition was bad because of which he was in distress, he said.

On 10 December, the family received a call from a person who worked with Gopal, saying that he has passed away following a heart attack.

“Since then we have been in touch with Indian Embassy officials in Japan and also have written to the MEA but they have asked us to arrange for several documents and it is becoming extremely difficult for us to arrange things as we are financially not sound.

“We want the government of India to help us bring back the body of my father so that we can perform his last rites,” Gopal’s son Jatin said.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:56 IST

Maternal mortality: A silent killer that claims a life every five minutes in India

The soldier is dying. The farmer is dying. The mother, just a 20-something-year-old girl stretching her pelvis to bring a new life into the world, is also dying. According to Lancet, an independent medical journal, the global maternal mortality rate has come down by nearly half (44 percent) since 1990. In 2015, a total of 45,000 maternal deaths in India along with 58,000 in Nigeria accounted for one-third of the global total.

“It’s like a plane crashing every day. These girls are also martyrs, the system is failing them. A majority of the deaths are avoidable if a set of minimum standards for childbirth, that are practical, effective and universally applicable, are implemented,” said Hema Divakar, former president of FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India).

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, out of the total 5.29 lakh pregnancy-related deaths recorded world over, 1.36 lakh occur in India; a woman dies every five minutes in child birth or during pregnancy in India. This grim state-of-affairs exists despite the fact that India has come a long way in reducing maternal mortality due to a range of government-led efforts.

Various schemes like the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) have contributed to a large upsurge in institutional deliveries, which stand at more than 80 percent as of today. But despite this phenomenal rise in deliveries at healthcare facilities, it does not reflect in the rate of reduction in maternal and especially neonatal mortality.

The missing link in this anomaly is quality. According to the study conducted to understand the impact of JSY on maternal mortality in Madhya Pradesh (MP), one of India’s largest provinces, the proportion of JSY-supported institutional deliveries rose from 14 percent (2005) to 80 percent (2010). A community-based survey in Delhi revealed a poor quality of a range of maternity care practices across the healthcare spectrum in Delhi and points to a systemic absence of quality of care.

The survey highlighted the overuse of ultrasound, caesarean section, induction, and episiotomy, especially in private facilities, and a deficiency of patient-centred practices (such as counselling and labour support) particularly in public hospitals. For example, while a significantly higher proportion of the deliveries at private facilities were attended by a child specialist, non-ideal norms such as routine shifting of the baby to the nursery and delayed initiation of breastfeeding continued to be widely prevalent. A minority of the babies stayed with the mother in the first hour after birth across the health care spectrum.

An entry level NABH certification will standardise maternal healthcare across the countryAn entry level NABH certification will standardise maternal healthcare across the country

An entry level NABH certification will standardise maternal healthcare across the country. Photo courtesy: Jhpiego

To address this issue of lagging quality care in the private healthcare sector, especially during the critical periods of just before, during and immediately after childbirth, in 2012, Jhpiego (a non-profit health organisation affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University) with support from MSD for Mothers (a 10-year $500 million initiative focused on well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth by MSD, a global healthcare company with a history of 125 years) and in partnership with FOGSI developed a quality assurance model for maternity institutions in the country. The pilot project that recently concluded has started a revolution in the sector.

Here’s why the move was necessary: The nursing staff at Zanana Hospital in Alwar, Rajasthan has recently been oriented on the use of the Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC). Here, a 20-year-old Mamta arrived at the facility with strong labour pains and a pounding headache. Babita Sen, who was then the nurse on duty, looked for danger signs. Babita checked her urine for protein, which was one of the several steps on the checklist attached to her chart. As Babita suspected, Mamta had an elevated protein level, a symptom of pre-eclampsia that can be fatal for the mother and the child. In the process, two lives were saved.

Similarly, in Bikaner district, Kiran Khatri is known as a one-woman army. She was the only nurse on duty at the Community Health Centre in Bajju when Geeta Sumersingh, from the neighbouring village of Gandhi, came in with labour pains, in the wee hours of the morning. The moment the membrane ruptured, Khatri noticed that there was meconium-stained liquor. She describes how she was listening to the baby’s FHR and found it to be low.

“The moment the baby was delivered, with the help of a mucus extractor the mouth and nose were cleaned. The baby was starting to turn blue and its heart rate was slowing down. We quickly clamped the baby’s cord and put her in the baby warmer. We then used the ambu bag to help the baby breathe,” she recounts, adding that timely orientation helps medical staff tackle with not just new-born resuscitation or pre-eclampsia, but also postpartum haemorrhage.

“Testing the skills of the providers before and after the training showed a remarkable improvement in their knowledge and skills. As a follow up to the training, regular supportive supervision visits have been carried out to assist in institutionalisation of services,” said Bulbul Sood, country director, Jhpiego.

The task at hand is huge, because nearly 26 million deliveries happen each year. India need to build at least 50,000 centres and a healthcare workforce of one million to match up to developed countries. So, collaboration of public and private forces is key. Under this pilot-project, a quality of care framework has been implemented at 146 select private sector facilities spread over 11 cities in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The problem will offer customised, on-site support by FOGSI or FOGSI-recommended centres or organisations for improving the quality of care for maternity services, and improving general hospital practices and protocols in line with the NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare) recommendations.

It will also provide certification of quality of services by NABH after assessing adherence of the facilities to its entry level pre-accreditation standards and FOGSI-recommended clinical standards of maternity care.

Up until 2013, a NABH certification was only limited to larger structures like trust-run bodies, multi-specialities and large corporate hospitals that fulfilled its 64 requirements. “By way of accreditation, we want to minimise medical errors and bring about standardisation in a sector that is poorly regulated,” said KK Kalra, who has recently retired as the CEO of NABH.

“Our definition of small healthcare facilities is anything less than 50 beds. By starting an entry-level standardisation, we are looking to bring into the umbrella of quality a majority of the nearly 80,000 medical facilities in the country,” said Kalra, who spearheaded the movement.

Earlier, NABH was focussed on systems and infrastructure, such as whether delivery rooms are fire-safe, or if there’s a new born baby corner or if birth certificates are being issued on time. With the more functional entry-level certification, clinical procedures like the right dosage, monitoring of labour and after care are also stressed upon.

Experts feel that this is a historic and much-needed shift in approach and it’s high time that patients start recognising a seal of quality in healthcare, just like they do while buying gold or consumer durables. Only once that happens will small nursing homes strive harder to earn the prestigious badge of quality, because then it will also affect business.

“It’s more profitable to work hard and acquire a certification because effectiveness of the staff improves,” said Neelima Yadav, who works at the recently-certified Galaxy Hospital in Lucknow. There is an effective distribution of roles especially between nurses, ward aayas and attendants.

While central India lags behind, Divakar reveals that areas like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Assam also require a lot of attention. FOGSI, a 32,000-strong medical fraternity is tying up with local NGOs to facilitate the shift toward quality across the country.

Parallely, there is the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust that runs the Merrygold Health Network in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Bihar and has a total of 1,500 facilities. In Kerala, their mobile medical units had reached out to 8,194 mothers during 2013-2014. They have tied up with Asian Research & Training Institute for Skill Transfer (ARTIST) and taken up capacity and quality building in 70 facilities in Rajasthan, in the first phase that started in 2015.

Once these centres attain a degree of quality, in about a year, they will apply for the NABH-FOGSI accreditation.

“It’s high time that basic practices like giving drugs to contract the uterus, a uterine massage and controlled cord-traction become common knowledge because these will minimise the bleeding by 60 to 70 percent,” she explains. The incidents of pregnancy anaemia is over 50 percent and this itself pushes them in a risk category, so they just cannot afford to lose a little bit of extra blood, warn the doctors.

The gap that needs plugging is checking if the drugs are given at the right time and that people are trained in actionable skills. The experts say that the Clinical Establishments Act 2010 cannot be limited to statutes and must be enforced in all states, and must go beyond drug stocks and expiry dates of medicines.

It’s not a question of private vis-à-vis government healthcare anymore, it’s about a basic degree of uniformity; the ‘McDonaldisation’ of healthcare in India is the clarion call of those dedicating their lives toward this cause. Why should any life be lost? To war, to demonetisation, or to the natural desire to create life?

Three decades ago, this exact week, stage and cinema prodigy Smita Patil died of childbirth complications. Whether it’s Smita Patil’s or someone else’s, why should any life be lost to reasons painlessly avoidable?

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 17:41 IST

Demonetisation: UP CM Akhilesh Yadav announces ex gratia for victims’ kin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking note of the suicide by a woman allegedly after failing to exchange old notes in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for her family and Rs 2 lakh each to those who died in similar incidents.”The CM has announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of Razia, who committed suicide in Aligarh.He has also announced assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to families of victims who died while exchanging notes or in ATM queues after verification,” an official spokesman said here.Yadav said it was unfortunate that people are losing lives to withdraw their own money, he said.Razia, a 45-year-old daily wage labourer died on December 4 at a Delhi hospital after she immolated herself on the evening of November 20 allegedly due to “failing to exchange six notes of Rs 500 despite attempts at different branches of banks in the old city area for five days”.Razia was a resident of Shahjamal locality in Delhi Gate area of Aligarh. On the night of November 20 when she was rushed to the district hospital in a critical condition she told mediapersons that she took the extreme step “out of total helplessness as her four children had not eaten any thing for three days”.

IIM-Shillong student found dead in hostel room, reason of suicide not known

Mon, 5 Dec 2016-11:20pm , Shillong , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An IIM-Shillong student was on Monday found dead in her room at the women’s hostel in Shillong and a purported suicide note recovered in which she sought forgiveness from her parents for the action, police said.The 28-year-old deceased was a first year post-graduate programme student and hailed from Kerala, city superintendent of police Vivek Syiem said.She was found hanging from a ventilation rod inside her room at around 11:15 am, he said.She had joined M Shillong in June. In the purported suicide note left behind by her, the student said she was taking her own life and sought forgiveness from her parents and grandparents, Syiem said. Police said her family members have been informed and they are expected to arrive on Tuesday.

MH370 families want investigation to focus more on debris from plane | Reuters

By Aislinn Laing
| ANTANANARIVO

ANTANANARIVO Family members of those lost aboard a Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing in 2014 criticised Malaysian investigators on Sunday for not doing enough to find debris, which could give more clues about what happened.Flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, sparking a search in the southern Indian Ocean that continues.Grace Nathan, who lost her mother, said families wanted authorities to focus more on finding debris from the plane. The search has so far been entirely funded by well-wishers and the families of the missing, she said. “There should not be a situation where the relatives of people on the plane have to keep funding the search,” she told Reuters in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Aslam Khan, one of the Malaysian investigators who arrived in Antananarivo on Sunday, said it was incorrect to suggest the inquiry was winding down. He said criticism of the investigation team for failing to collect the debris was “fair comment.””We are here now,” he said. “Once we have had a physical examination of it (the debris) we will be in a position to say more.”

Seven representatives of the families are expected to meet investigators on Monday and see the investigators take custody of six pieces of debris that have washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar over the past six months. A total of 33 pieces suspected to be from the plane have been found so far, including parts of the wings and tail, in La Reunion, Mozambique, South Africa, Mauritius and Tanzania. Three pieces have been confirmed by the Malaysian authorities as belonging to MH370, including a flaperon from the tail which they said showed the pilots were not in control of the plane when it crashed. But more suspected pieces remain with local authorities.

“The fact that in six months they haven’t collected this debris reflects their lack of seriousness about the search,” said Nathan.Blaine Gibson, an American lawyer turned self-funded sleuth, has spent more than a year combing beaches across the region where the plane disappeared. He found part of a wing in Mozambique that authorities confirmed was probably from MH370 and more than 10 pieces of debris in Madagascar, including a seat back. The wreckage could reveal how the plane was downed, he said.

“They can test for traces of explosive or any sort of shrapnel, if it was a high-speed forceful impact, which is what it looks like because the pieces are small and shredded,” he said.For the past two years, the search for the body of the plane has focused on a deep sea area of more than 120,000 square kilometres (46,300 square miles) in the Indian Ocean. Ghislain Wattrelos, a Frenchman who lost his wife and two teenage children in the crash, said the families wanted more focus on debris. “We are spending quite a big amount of money trying to find a plane (in the sea) where it is not,” he said. “I don’t know why they are spending so much money doing this when it’s easier to try and find the debris.””It’s been 1,000 days and we still have no clue what happened to my family.”  (Editing by Katharine Houreld and Susan Fenton)

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

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 18:45 IST

Soon, pay hospital bills via mobile wallet platforms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Online and mobile transactions would soon become a common mode of payment at government hospitals across the country. The credit goes to demonetization following which the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed all the states to opt for cashless modes of transactions such as mobile wallets like paytm, Mobikwik, Oxygen wallet and PayPal etc.Having shown inability to handle the hassles faced by patients in private and government hospitals, Union Health Ministry has already reached out to Finance Ministry seeking a solution to the problem; meanwhile they are finding ways to ease out the situation.“We had directed all the states to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes till November 24, 2016 as per the direction of Finance Ministry. Following an extension from Finance Ministry, though public hospitals will accept only Rs 500 notes till December 15, 2016, the challenge stands tall. We are aware that public is facing problems but we have to abide by the directives of Finance Ministry,” said Dr Arun K Panda, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.“We cannot device our own directives in this situation. We have already requested the hospitals to accept cheques and demand drafts. We have asked them to use other modes of payments also. Gradually, everything will settle down. We appeal people not to panic,” he said.The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has already started using Paytm and other wallets for transactions in the Out Patient Department (OPD)s. Interestingly, the hospital will have kiosks near OPDs where volunteers will guide and teach patients how to use their mobiles for making payment.“In government hospitals, OPD charges are already minimal. People come to AIIMS from faraway places, it is always better to go for cashless payments due to varied reasons. Mobile technology is being used at its best,” said Dr D K Sharma, Medical Superintendant and Head, Hospital Administration, AIIMS.The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also issued an advisory for hospitals in interest of patients. According to the advisory, all doctors in practice should accept cheques and if facility available credit or debit cards. Most bank account holders have access to ATM cards. All private hospitals and medical stores should consider installing card payment machine and also most big hospitals have banks within their premises. Hospitals should also consider taking available money as advance at admission with an undertaking.Private hospitals have also become in tune to the current situation. “We being a corporate hospital, receive patients that already have health insurance. As far as foreign patients are concerned, embassies are in touch with our relative teams. We already have online banking facilities. There was a minor problem earlier, but now it is running smoothly,” said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals.ADVISORY ISSUEDThe Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also issued an advisory for hospitals in interest of patients. According to the advisory, all doctors in practice should accept cheques and if facility available credit or debit cards. Most bank account holders have access to ATM cards.
All private hospitals and medical stores should consider installing card payment machine and also most big hospitals have banks within their premises. Hospitals should also consider taking available money as advance at admission with an undertaking.

Uttar Pradesh: Dalit shot at, family members thrashed over ‘stolen’ radish

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 30-year-old Dalit was shot at allegedly by a gram pradhan and three others who also thrashed the victim’s family members after accusing them of stealing a radish, police said.The incident took place on Sunday when the four accused, including gram pradhan Anil, his son Nishant and nephew Sarouttem, reached Sunil Kumar’s house in a car and started beating his family members, Circle Officer Bhushan Verma said.They accused the family of stealing a radish from the gram pradhan’s fields. When Kumar protested, the accused fired at him, the CO said.He was taken to the hospital in a serious condition, he said, adding that police have registered a case against the four accused who are absconding.Senior police officers have impounded the gram pradhan’s car. Security has been tightened and extra police has been deployed in the area, the official added.

Demonetization woes: Daily wager from Aligarh says gets himself sterilized for money

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident, a resident of Aligarh has allegedly got himself sterilized so that his family could come out of its cash crunch post demonetization of high-value currency notes. Puran Sharma, a daily wager, couldn’t afford a daily meal for his family after the demonetization drive and got sterilized at a nearby camp in return for monetary compensation. “I was very tired because of this demonetization, wasn’t getting money. From somewhere, I heard that monetary compensation is being given for getting sterilized. So, I went there and got it done,” said Puran Singh.Aligarh’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rupendra Goyal, however, narrated a different story altogether.Dr Goyal said Puran came to the sterilization camp organised in Khair with his wife. As his wife couldn’t be sterilized due to her poor health, the doctors on duty persuaded him to undergo the operation as part of the government’s family planning programme. “He came with his wife and was willing to sterilize his wife. But as she is deaf and dumb, we refused to do so,” said a doctor.Puran’s father claims that many people in the village undergo sterilization to collect money for their meals.

In the name of the cow, we must now rise: Activist Vandana Shiva

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Award-winning biodiversity activist Vandana Shiva makes an economic and climatic case for the protection of bovine animals and emphasises their importance in the modern context. She calls upon people to create a culture of diversity, non-violence and love. In an exclusive interview, she talks to Pooja Bhula about the history and perils of polarisation, and how the cattle can lead us to compassionWe consider the cow sacred, but ancient India has worshipped a great number of animals. Why did the cow gain such prominence?In our culture based on Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, all beings, including all human beings are sacred. Killing humans in the name of cow protection is politics, not spirituality.Why is it that be it in the modern context or in the past, beef-eating has caused the most polarisation, whereas the consumption of other animal-meat hasn’t. A case in point—Ambedkar notes in The Untouchables: The touchables whether they are vegetarians or flesh-eaters are united in their objection to eat cow’s flesh. As against them stand the untouchables who eat cow’s flesh without compunction and as a matter of course and habit.The British used religion to divide and rule India. We need to look at our genetically modified history to understand our current divisions.What are your views on the beef ban? Is it right for us to discriminate between animals in such a manner?We should have a strong law to protect all animals, including the cow. A constructive approach to cow protection is to ensure the living cow has a sacred place in society.But PETA India calls our treatment of cows the cruelest and speaks of a leather industry that thrives on cows and other cattle. Why turn a blind eye to this, but go on vigilante-mode regarding its consumption as food?Leather from cows that die naturally does not involve violence to animals. We need to distinguish between this and industrial leather industry.In the FIAPO speech you mentioned that in olden times cows provided nutrition through dairy, and bullocks provided energy for transport and farm operations. But animal activists consider all commercial use of animals cruel. What would be your take in this light?Living with cows and bullocks as your extended family is not commercial activity, it is living. Just as farmers work, they also work with farm animals. The animals work, and the human work have the same quality, dignity and creativity which we need to recognise. Seeing work as disposable creating disposability of humans and animals. Animals being sent to slaugher houses is a tragic symbol of disposability of farm animals in the same systems. And we need to return to that thinking where animals are part of the family, because if we don’t, not only will we spread intolerence and hatred against the animal world, we will also spread the virus of intolerence and hatred in the society.Given that we have modern machines and mechanisms, and are moving away from being an agrarian society, why does the cow still hold such great importance?When I worked in the IIM Bangalore in the late 1970’s, Dr NS Ramaswamy was famously known as the ‘cartman’ for emphasising the contribution of animals to India’s economy. Animals ploughed 100 million hectares, and hauled 25 billion kilometre-tons of freight in 15 million ox-carts. He estimated that 74 million oxen and 8 million buffaloes make available 40 million horsepower of energy (worth Rs 100 billion per year.) Animal energy saves 6 million tons of petroleum (worth Rs 120 billion per year). The asset value of our pashu dhan is Rs 250 billion. The replacement of animal energy by mechanised systems would require an investment of $200-$300 billion. We are and always will be an agrarian society. Or we will be finished as a civilisation. The cow is a keystone species for our agrarian economy and agrarian ecosystems. We are already destroying $1.2 trillion worth of ecosystem functions because of chemical farming. Neither India nor the planet can bear the burden of chemical industrial agriculture.And what about the economic perspective? Post the ban, many pointed out that it’s causing many to lose their livelihood.Living animals on a farm sustain the soil, and lives and livelihoods of small farmers. As the Viniyog parivar calculated, in the case of the foreign owned Al Kabeer slaughter house in Andhra Pradesh, if the animals had been allowed to live, they would save foreign exchange worth Rs 910.25 crores. Just in terms fertility of soil, the slaughtered farm animals would have provided Rs 36.41 crore of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium-NPK, for which we pay the ‘fertilizer’ industry. But besides this, the savings will also be in terms of green house gases, contraction of soil and every aspect of destruction, such as drought, not drought due to atmosphere, but drought in the soil because farm animals contribute 1% organic, which stores 160,000 litres of water.Furthermore, at a time when a large section of urban masses is looking for rapid ‘development’, quick produce, and consumption, will the government support the idea of small farms with cattle being central?Our farms are small by design, by law. Small farms produce more food as the Navdanya experience shows. Everyone eats, including those living in cities. When they eat good food from small farms based on the care of the earth, of humans, of animals, they become food smart. When they eat toxic junk, they fall prey to diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, neurological problems, cancers. Either we will all have well being through small ecological farms, or we will all suffer. The choice is ours.India has become the biggest beef exporter, having sold 13.4 lakh tonnes in 2014 – 2015. What has led to this?Reducing the sacred cow to a meat machine, producing a commodity to be traded.Referring to a World Bank conference, you had spoken of how they felt the “holy cow was coming in the way of livestock trade and that to trade more, a change in cultural milieu would be required”. Given the export statistics, surely they’ve succeeded. How did they influence this change in India?World Bank gets countries into debt, then uses indebtedness to impose structural adjustment, and policies—export of meat was part of the 1991 Structural Adjustment they imposed. Colonisers and Enslavers succeded as long as we are willing to be enslaved.Finally, you urged everyone at FIAPO to realise that it’s time to unite on beef. How do we make it happen? What steps should be taken, and by whom, for it to become a reality?I did not use the word ‘beef’. I talked of living animals who give us living soil, living food, living culture. The minute you talk ‘beef’, you have already killed the cow in your mind. You have separated her from a product that comes from her carcass. And you have sowed the seeds of hate and division in society. We need to unite along the living cow through a living economy that respects all life. And the animal movement has to take a lead for it because all this polarisation is taking place in the name of the cow. We need to unite by thinking and living as one Earth Family, in which all species, all people are members, deserve protection, deserve respect, love, compassion.LOOKING BACK1527When Babur, the first Mughal Emperor, conquered Delhi, one of his commands was to forbid the killing of cows because the slaughter was considered offensive to Hindus. Babur thought that banning the act would win him goodwill among the Hindus.1857Babur’s orders of cow slaughter ban were openly flouted by many Hindu and Muslim princes. However, in 1857, the British introduced catridges greased with beef and pork fat in India. Some Indian sepoys disapproved of the catridges as they had to be bitten in oreder to load the rifles. This is what prompted the biggest rebellion in the history, against the British East India Company which is now famously refered to as the Revolt of 1857.TIMELINEIn India, there is an absence of a national law that bans the sale or consumption of beef.Cow slaughter is banned in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Puducherry, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh. Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland have allowed cow slaughter.Despite the large scale ban on cow slaughter (some places including buffaloes), India remains the world’s second-largest producer of beef (after Brazil).March 4, 2015President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill 1995, thereby banning beef in Maharashtra.The legislation came 19 years after BJP-Shiv Sena had passed the Bill in Maharashtra Assembly in 1995. Anyone found to be trading in beef or consuming it would invite a 5 year prison time and a fine of Rs 10,000.Sept 10, 2015Jammu and Kashmir too banned the sale of beef. Protests exploded across the valley against the High Court law which directed the government to impose a strict ban on the sale of beef in the state.At least 12 people, including journalists were injured in the beef-ban protests that erupted during Eid on September 26, 2015.Sept 30, 2015A 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq died after being beaten up by a mob in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district after rumours surfaced that his family had consumed beef.His 22-year-old son was also beaten up with bricks and was seriously injured. The family claimed that they only had mutton in their fridge. The police sent the meat to be examined and arrested 6 people.

Chhattisgarh sterilisation deaths: No action taken against guilty, alleges Congress

Raipur: Congress on Monday tried to corner the BJP government in the Chhattisgarh Assembly over the deaths of 13 women after sterilisation surgeries in the Bilaspur district in 2014, alleging that no action has been taken against guilty officials.

A heated discussion took place on the last day of Winter Session on the judicial commission’s report on the deaths of women after sterilisation surgeries.

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13 women had died in Bilaspur in 2014 after sterilisation surgeries. PTI

The Leader of opposition TS Singhdeo alleged no action was taken against the guilty officials even after the judicial inquiry report came out.

The report had noted that negligence in following the standard operating procedure for tubectomy camps and poison-laced medicines led to the incident, he said.

Reports from laboratories and doctors had confirmed that medicines administered to victims had poisonous substances. Even the room where the operation was performed was not properly sterilised, he added.

Government ordered probe but never revealed the action taken on the report, he said.

Singhdeo also sought to know whether the action was taken against the drug manufacturer under Drug and Cosmetics Act.

Replying to the discussion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ajay Chandrakar said the state government was not trying to save anyone.

Doctors from Aiims Delhi, Apollo Hyderabad and other medical institutes were pressed into service for the treatment of affected women. Government ordered probe on next day of the incident, Chandrakar said, describing the incident as serious and unfortunate.

Compensation of Rs 4 lakh was given to the family members of each deceased woman while the government made arrangements for a better future of children of these women, he said.

The minister assured the House that as soon as the court cases are over, all necessary action will be taken for implementation of commission’s recommendations.

New guidelines have been issued, wherein, such camps can be held only at places which meet the norms fixed by the state government, he said.

Health facilities were expanded during the BJP regime in the state, he claimed.

While 12 women who were operated upon at the camp in Pendari village of Bilaspur on 8 November, 2014, died, a protected Baiga tribe woman was the lone casualty from the camps in Pendra block on 10 November, 2014.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 08:10 IST

Japanese Encephalitis: Children death toll mounts to 96 as Odisha plans vaccination

Bhubaneswar/Malkangiri: Less than 24 hours after the Odisha government claimed that the Japanese Encephalitis was under control, three more children died of the disease in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district, taking the death toll to 96.

Three children, including two girls, died while receiving treatment in the ICU of the District Headquarters Hospital at Malkangiri, additional district medical officer K K Sarkar said.

He said that the total number of children facing the risk of death in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district had gone up to 96 within a span of two months.

Japanese Encephalitis has killed 98 children in Odisha. PTI

Japanese Encephalitis has killed 96 children in Odisha. PTI

Odisha’s health and family welfare minister Pradip Kumar Amat, however, refused to admit that the 96 children had died of JE. Amat insisted that the JE death toll remained at 32 because the children were dying because of other reasons like malaria. “The JE is well under the control,” Amat said.

Meanwhile, hospital sources at Malkangiri said that the condition of three more children admitted in the ICU of the district headquarters hospital was also critical.

The hospital received as many as 328 children during the last two months, of whom 222 have been cured, Sarkar said, adding that eight other children are receiving treatment in the JE ward.

The vaccination in the first phase will be done in the districts of Malkangiri, Jajapur, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj. The children in the age group of one to 15 years will be vaccinated, Health and Family Welfare Secretary Arati Ahuja said.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 23:24 IST

Orop issue LIVE: I just tried to share grief of Grewal’s family, that’s it, says Rahul Gandhi

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An ex-serviceman allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison over the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP) in New Delhi.

The 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal from Haryana’s Bhiwani district ended his life in the lawns behind the Jawahar Bhavan, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs, on Tuesday evening.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he was saddened over the death of Grewal.

“Saddened by the death of subedar Ram Kishen Grewal. I express my heartfelt condolences. I have asked officials to provide me with details,” Parrikar said in a tweet.

According to his friends, Grewal, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the issue for sometime.

Defence Ministry sources said as per records, no request for appointment with Parrikar was made.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the suicide of an ex-serviceman here, saying both farmers and soldiers were ending their lives in his regime.

Kejriwal, a bitter critic of Modi, also alleged that the Prime Minister was “lying” that the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme was being implemented by the Centre, contending that ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, would not have committed suicide if the scheme was being executed by the Centre.

A group of ex-servicemen led by Major General Satbir Singh (Retd) have been protesting against the OROP scheme introduced by the government.

He is now an advisor to a new political party, Fauji Janta Party, which will fight in the upcoming Punjab Assembly Polls.

The alleged suicide came just days after a one-man judicial committee on OROP submitted its report to Parrikar.

The Centre, which has implemented the OROP, a demand which had been pending for decades, had appointed the committee under the Chairmanship of Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.

The Ministry is currently studying the report and sources had said it will take a decision soon.

The ex-serviceman have been holding protests at Jantar Mantar, Delhi’s designated site for protests, to demand changes in OROP. Protesters say four of their primary conditions have not been met by the government.

The main demands are revision of pension every year rather than the five years as decided by the government and OROP being extended to pre-mature retirees.

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said he is anguished by the suicide of Grewal of 105 Infantry Btn (TA) and DSC.

“He died at Jantar Mantar where veterans have protested in the past and some continue to protest despite my calls to call off the protest. My deepest condolences to his family and his friends,” he said in a statement.

The MP urged Parrikar to urgently resolve the outstanding issues/anomalies of OROP and also the 7th Central Pay Commission that continue to agitate and worry those serving and the veterans.

“I urge him, as I have done repeatedly, to involve direct representation from the armed forces in resolving these issues and not leave it only to the bureaucrats and to do so urgently,” he said.

With inputs from PTI

Forced by tradition to give up inheritance, Indian women embrace property ownership | Reuters

By Rina Chandran

CHAKSU, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Days before she was married 18 years ago, K. Bina Devi and her sister were called to the living room of the family home where they lived with their parents and four brothers.There, in a short ceremony witnessed by village elders, she and her sister signed a piece of paper giving up their share of the family property to their brothers. Sweets were distributed and everyone congratulated her and her sister.The custom of “haq tyag”, or sacrifice of right, entails a person – usually a woman – relinquishing their claim on ancestral property. It is widely practised in the Indian state of Rajasthan despite a 2005 national law that gave women equal inheritance rights.While haq tyag is voluntary, women come under enormous pressure to comply, activists said.”If we don’t do it, our family will boycott us,” said Devi, 36, her head covered with the end of her green saree.”Our relationship with the family will break, and people will speak ill of us,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Chaksu village, about 30 km (19 miles) from Jaipur city.Haq tyag is justified on grounds that the father pays for his daughter’s wedding, and therefore only the sons are entitled to a share of the family property.Also, once she is married, a woman is seen as belonging to her husband’s family with no claim on ancestral property.In a bid to address the imbalance, Rajasthan and other states now offer lower rate mortgages and cheaper registration when a property is registered in the name of a woman.”Haq tyag is a tradition, and it is voluntary,” said Rajendra Singh Shekhawat, a joint secretary in the state government.”In some cases, it may not be voluntary. But how can we check if the woman is signing willingly or not? That is why we have laws that encourage property ownership by women,” he said.

NO SECURITY
One of India’s poorest states, Rajasthan is known as much for its beautiful palaces and majestic forts as for its centuries-old traditions of honour and chivalry.This is the state where the custom of sati, where widows threw themselves into their husband’s funeral pyre, prevailed long after it was declared illegal in the 19th century. The law was strengthened in 1987 following the death of a young widow in Rajasthan watched by thousands.Across India, only 13 percent of farmland is owned by women, according to census data.Amendments in 2005 to the Hindu Succession Act, which governs matters of inheritance among Hindus who make up about 80 percent of India’s population, made women’s inheritance rights equal to those of men.Yet some state laws run contrary to the legislation, and in states such as Rajasthan, women are made to forgo their claims.

Haq tyag itself is rooted in misogynistic customs and traditions, particularly in India’s villages. These include limited education for girls, early marriage, financial dependence, and denial of the right to property.”It is a deep-rooted patriarchy that tells women they are okay only as long as they have the protection of a man,” said Varsha Joshi, an associate professor at the Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur, who has studied property ownership among women in rural Rajasthan.”Women have no security, no guarantee of a roof over their heads. And it is assumed they will never go against their families or go to court over being denied their right to property,” she said.FINANCIALLY LITERATE
Increasingly though, women in Chaksu village and elsewhere in the northwestern state are having to tend to the land as their husbands migrate in search of work.

With their names missing from property titles, women are often unable to take loans or access government subsidies. They are in danger of being thrown out when the husband dies, as the property then goes to the sons or the husband’s brothers.Rights activists are raising awareness of the law among women, and encouraging men to take advantage of the perks.”We have to be respectful of customs: we can’t just go tell women to claim their rights, they will be ostracised if they do,” said Kavita Mishra, head of the Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON).”Having a financial incentive is a great way to make the men see the benefit of registering property in the name of the women,” she said.Women are also becoming more independent and financially literate. Once confined to their homes and dependent on their husbands, women in villages are running small businesses with the help of microfinance, and working in state welfare programmes that provide 100 days’ employment to rural families.”They now have bank accounts and some financial independence. That has given them the ambition and the confidence to own a home or a plot of land,” said Mishra.In Chaksu, Devi belongs to a self-help group that sews camel-leather slippers for sale to a retailer in Jaipur, and helps members source loans to buy property.”It’s important that we women have something in our name. Otherwise we have no security,” said Manju Devikumar, who heads the 10-member group.”Things are changing. Laws give us equal rights even to own property, which we could never dream of,” she said. (Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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

Orop issue LIVE: After Rahul Gandhi’s detention, Congress holds special press meet

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An ex-serviceman allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison over the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP) in New Delhi.

The 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal from Haryana’s Bhiwani district ended his life in the lawns behind the Jawahar Bhavan, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs, on Tuesday evening.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

Police said he along with three of his companions had come to the city apparently to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he was saddened over the death of Grewal.

“Saddened by the death of subedar Ram Kishen Grewal. I express my heartfelt condolences. I have asked officials to provide me with details,” Parrikar said in a tweet.

According to his friends, Grewal, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the issue for sometime.

Defence Ministry sources said as per records, no request for appointment with Parrikar was made.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the suicide of an ex-serviceman here, saying both farmers and soldiers were ending their lives in his regime.

Kejriwal, a bitter critic of Modi, also alleged that the Prime Minister was “lying” that the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme was being implemented by the Centre, contending that ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, would not have committed suicide if the scheme was being executed by the Centre.

A group of ex-servicemen led by Major General Satbir Singh (Retd) have been protesting against the OROP scheme introduced by the government.

He is now an advisor to a new political party, Fauji Janta Party, which will fight in the upcoming Punjab Assembly Polls.

The alleged suicide came just days after a one-man judicial committee on OROP submitted its report to Parrikar.

The Centre, which has implemented the OROP, a demand which had been pending for decades, had appointed the committee under the Chairmanship of Justice L Narasimha Reddy, retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP.

The Ministry is currently studying the report and sources had said it will take a decision soon.

The ex-serviceman have been holding protests at Jantar Mantar, Delhi’s designated site for protests, to demand changes in OROP. Protesters say four of their primary conditions have not been met by the government.

The main demands are revision of pension every year rather than the five years as decided by the government and OROP being extended to pre-mature retirees.

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said he is anguished by the suicide of Grewal of 105 Infantry Btn (TA) and DSC.

“He died at Jantar Mantar where veterans have protested in the past and some continue to protest despite my calls to call off the protest. My deepest condolences to his family and his friends,” he said in a statement.

The MP urged Parrikar to urgently resolve the outstanding issues/anomalies of OROP and also the 7th Central Pay Commission that continue to agitate and worry those serving and the veterans.

“I urge him, as I have done repeatedly, to involve direct representation from the armed forces in resolving these issues and not leave it only to the bureaucrats and to do so urgently,” he said.

With inputs from PTI

Bombay HC allows US couple to make representation to Govt on embryos

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed a US couple to make a representation to the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and Department of Family Welfare of the Centre to allow them to take back to their country eight embryos kept by them in a hospital following a recent ban by India on commercial surrogacy.A division bench headed by Justice Shantunu Kemkar allowed the couple to make a representation to the respondents and asked the Centre to decide on it within three weeks. The bench gave liberty to the respondents to file an affidavit in case they decided to reject the representation. The lawyer of the US couple Ashutosh Kumbhkoni made a request on their behalf to the bench urging that they may be allowed to submit a representation to the DGFT and the concerned Ministry through the lawyer of the respondents.Since Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh is appearing on behalf of the Centre, the representation to the government would be forwarded through him. Kumbhkoni also informed that the embryos had to be kept at a low temperature in cold storage at their (US couple’s) own cost every day and thus they had to incur expenditure on this. Almost a week ago, the same bench had directed the US couple to make DGFT and Ministry of Family Welfare as party respondents to their petition.The Judges were of the view that import and export regulations are governed by DGFT and it should be made a party. Moreover, the petition concerned embryos and hence Family Welfare department should be heard in this matter. Kumbhkoni had argued that the government should not adopt an adversarial approach and must find out a solution to the problem.”These are our embryos and what will the government do with them. We had brought them to India in accordance with the laws of this country and after seeking permission of the authorities. Now that surrogacy is banned in India, we want to take them back,” the couple’s lawyer had argued.Earlier, hearing a petition filed by the American couple, the court had served notices to the respondents and asked them to spell out the government policy on the issue.During the hearing of petition last month, the bench had asked the couple how they could file this petition because the Constitution gave such right only to Indian citizens. However, Kumbhkoni argued that Article 21 of the Constitution gave such a right to every person, even to foreign nationals.”This is because right to life includes right to have a baby and hence the couple has a right to file such petition in the high court,” the lawyer had argued.The petition said the couple tried to have a baby for many years but failed. The doctors had advised them surrogacy. Accordingly, the American doctors, with the help of the couple’s sperms and eggs, created the embryos and advised them to get a surrogate mother. The couple sent the embryos to India by a special courier (in a frozen state). All the embryos are currently lying in a hospital at Powai in Mumbai. The couple had also obtained surrogacy visa and came to India by following the procedure.In April 2015, the Indian Council for Medial Research had given no objection certificate to the couple to import their frozen embryos from USA. Accordingly, they were sent to India.Meanwhile, in November 2015, the Centre announced a change in policy and banned surrogacy for foreign couples. The couple then asked the hospital authorities to return their embryos but they refused to part with the embryos saying that import and export of embryos was banned in India as per the new policy rules. Thereafter, the couple approached the Indian government which also refused to allow them take back the embryos saying that while banning surrogacy it had also banned import and export of foetus also.The couple argued that taking back their embryos did not amount to exporting them and the authorities should not interpret or make policy decisions that were against the basic tenets of fairness, law and human rights. Their lawyer had submitted that technically taking back the embryos was not an export because they were seeking to restore them back to the place from where they had originated.

Pakistan arrests ‘Afghan Girl’ from iconic photo, on ID fraud charge | Reuters

Pakistan arrests ‘Afghan Girl’ from iconic photo, on ID fraud charge | Reuters

Updated: Oct 26, 2016 23:17 IST

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By Sami Yousafzai
| ISLAMABAD

ISLAMABAD Pakistani authorities on Wednesday arrested the green-eyed Afghan woman who became a symbol of her country’s wars 30 years ago when her photo as a girl appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine, her family said.Sharbat Gula, who grew up in a refugee camp and is now in her 40s, is accused of having a forged Pakistani identity card.Gula is being held in jail in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, said her brother-in-law Shahshad Khan, who added that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided her home early on Wednesday morning.”FIA along with security forces came, entered her house, searched all belongings and took important papers including $2,800,” Khan said.Officials with the FIA and Pakistan’s national identity authority were not available for comment.Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported on its website that Gula was arrested over alleged forgery of a Pakistani national identity card that allowed her to remain in the country.

She faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted of fraud.Gula was for years an unnamed celebrity after an image of her a teenage Afghan refugee was featured on National Geographic magazine’s cover in 1985, her striking green eyes peering out from a headscarf with a mixture of ferocity and pain.The image became a symbol of Afghanistan’s suffering during the 1980s Soviet occupation and U.S.-backed mujahadeen insurgency against it.

The Soviet withdrawal in 1989 led to the collapse of the Kabul government and years of civil war until the Islamist Taliban movement seized power in the mid-1990s.After the Taliban regime fell to the U.S.-backed military action in 2001, National Geographic sent photographer Steve McCurry to find the girl in the photo, eventually identified as Gula.At the time, she was living in Afghanistan but she later moved to Peshawar to be with her husband, her brother-in-law said.

Gula’s arrest comes amid new Pakistani pressure to send 2.5 million Afghan refugees back to their home country, despite offensives by Taliban insurgents that kill and maim thousands each year.Khan argued that Gula is not a refugee but a legal Pakistan resident because she was married to his brother, Rahmat Khan, who was born in Pakistan and died five years ago, leaving her with four children.”Her children are not sleeping since last night. She is a poor widow. Her children need her and she needs justice,” he said. (Writing by Kay Johnson; editing by Andrew Roche)

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

CBI Director breaks silence on BK Bansal suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the alleged suicide of senior bureaucrat BK Bansal and his family as a “painful and unfortunate incident”, Anil Sinha, director of Central Bureau of Investigation, said that if agency officials are found guilty they will be brought to justice. Bansal, who was Corporate Affairs Director-General when CBI arrested him on bribery charges in July this year, in his suicide note, had accused agency officials of torturing him and his family.”This (suicide) is an extremely painful and unfortunate incident.I have personally initiated an internal inquiry into the allegations made by the deceased in the note believed to be written by him before his death,” said Anil Sinha adding that the probe agency wanted to get to the bottom of the case.”Our intention is to get to the bottom of the case and if any wrong doing is established on part of any of our officials they will be brought to justice,” the director while speaking at the sidelines of D P Kohli Memorial event which is organised annually by the CBI in honour of its founder Director, late D P Kohli.Another senior official told dna that the internal inquiry into the allegations made by Bansal “will conclude very soon”. “The Delhi police is probing the alleged suicide of Mr Bansal and three of his family members.Investigators from Delhi police had recently asked for some documents relating to the case of Mr Bansal and we provided the same. On our part, we are probing the allegations of harassment made against CBI officials and will soon conclude our internal probe,” the official said.On July 19, BK Bansal was arrested by the CBI on alleged charges of bribery and attempting to scuttle a probe against a Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company. The probe agency had also allegedly caught him accepting a bribe of Rs 9 lakh. Three days after Bansal’s arrest his wife Satyabala, 57, and daughter Neha, 27, committed suicide by hanging themselves. Bansal himself was granted bail in August however on September 27, bodies of BK Bansal and his son were found at their Madhu Vihar residence. In a note left behind and sent to some media house as well, Bansal said he had taken the extreme step due to the harassment and “torture” that his family witnessed at the hands of some officials of the CBI, as claimed in the suicide note.”The inquiry will be fair and conclusive,” said the CBI director at the annual event in National Capital. The event saw lectures delivered by Bob Paulson, the Chief of Royal Canadian Mounted Police , who emphasised on greater co-operation between Indian and Canadian law enforcement agencies.”We have nearly 392 investigation matters underway in over 66 countries and the International Component of investigations is expected to grow manifold in coming years. As the nodal agency for Transnational Organized Crime, Interpol, Anti-corruption and Bank Frauds, CBI has been alive to these unfolding challenges. We have recognized the need to enhance investigation capacity in all emerging areas of investigation and forging partnership with law enforcement agencies of major countries,” the director said.”Time has also come in India to enhance use of technology in trial processes and undertake comprehensive simplification of procedural laws to expedite the delivery of justice,” he added. According to senior CBI officials among the topics discussed between the Canadian and Indian officials were relating to 1984 anti-Sikh riots witness along with 13 extradition pleas from India. The agency has also sought co-operation from its Canadian counterparts to investigate Ottawa businessman Nazir Karigar who is accused arranging bribes to Air India officials in India in a failed bid to win a security contract from the airline.

Cabinet nod for AIIMS redevelopment project worth Rs 4441 crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved redevelopment of residential colonies at West Ansari Nagar and Ayur Vigyan Nagar Campuses of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AllMS), New Delhi on Thursday.At a total estimated cost of Rs 4441 crore including maintenance and operational costs for thirty years, it is the by far one of the largest projects approved for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) will undertake the exercise to replace the existing housing stock of 1,444 dwelling units of Type I to IV with approximately 3,928 dwelling units of Type II to VI during the revamp. It will also create social infrastructure facilities including a Dharamshala in the residential campus.The project will be completed in five years in a phased manner. “This will ease acute shortage of residential accommodation by providing 3928 residential quarters,” said JP Nadda, Minister of Health.The present residential accommodations at West Ansari Nagar and Ayur Vigyan Nagar campuses are more than 50-60 years old and have outlived their utility. They are unsafe to live in. The rapidly deteriorating condition of these old houses entails very high expenditure on their maintenance. The existing housing stock in AllMS, New Delhi demonstrates highly inefficient use of the land. Thus, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare moved this proposal for redevelopment of existing old dilapidated housing stocks. “This will entail optimum utilization of land resources as per Master Plan Delhi (MPD) – 2021 and using modern construction technology with green building norms and in-house solid and liquid waste management facilities,” said a MoHFW PIB release.

Ranchi: 22-year-old arrested over ‘objectionable’ Whatsapp message dies in police custody

A 22-year-old youth, Minhaj Ansari, from Dighari village, Jamtara district, in Jharkhand was arrested for a Whatsapp message on beef, touted as objectionable, reported Outlook India. According to his family, he was tortured while in custody. But the police have pointed to his medical records saying he had encephalitis, as the reason for his death.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to India Live Today, the comment on Whatsapp, had the potential to incite communal violence, especially before Muharram and Dussehra, said the police. And the arrest was made on 3 October by the Narayanpur police, after the message started circulating locally. After two days, he was moved to Dhanbad for treatment. And his family lodged an FIR for attempt to murder and outraging the modesty of a woman against Sub-Inspector Harish Pathak, the officer-in-charge which led to his suspension. But an enquiry as to the cause of death is still ongoing.

In The Indian Express report, the police admitted to some lapses on the part of the officer in charge. A few were detained as suspects but were later released. However, Minhaj Ansari was not. The youth’s father, Umar Sheikh, his family and a few villagers went to the police station and engaged in a scuffle with the police. The youth was then shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi on Sunday, where he succumbed to injuries. Security forces are keeping a strict watch, while the district administration has ordered a joint inquiry by the Sub Divisional Officer and Sub Divisional Police Officer.

In another report by The Indian Express, the Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has directed a compensation sum of Rs 2 lakh to be given to the youth’s family. The district administration has paid a sum of Rs 30,000 additionally and an Indira Awas has also been given. Jamtara SP Manoj Kumar Singh said that the officer-in-charge, Harish Pathak did not check on the young man’s medical reports, the family was aware of his condition even prior to his arrest.

Dadri accused cremated, UP govt hikes compensation to Rs 20 lakh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ravi, accused in the Dadri lynching case, was cremated on Friday at his native Bishada village in Dadri after local MP and Union minister Mahesh Sharma handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to his family members and the Uttar Pradesh government announced increasing the compensation from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.Ravi, an accused in the murder case of Mohammad Akhlaq, had fallen ill in prison. He was referred to a Delhi hospital with “suspected dengue symptoms”. He died at the hospital of kidney and respiratory failure on Wednesday.Ever since Ravi’s death, villagers at Bishada had been staging protests, alleging “foul play” and demanding a compensation of Rs one crore to his family. The protesters had also been demanding the arrest of Jaan Mohammad, brother of Akhlaq, for allegedly slaughtering a cow. Sharma paid a visit to the village and gave a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to Ravi’s family. He also held talks with the family members of the deceased and the other protesting villagers.The Uttar Pradesh government, which had earlier announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family, today increased the amount to Rs 20 lakh and promised a job to one of the family members. Ravi’s body on Thursday was handed over to the family members who had refused to cremate it, alleging that police torture had led to his death.They had kept the body in the freezer and maintained vigil throughout the night to ensure that the police did not forcibly take it for cremation. A large police contingent was kept deployed in the village due to tension.The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the state government over Ravi’s death. Akhlaq was dragged out of his house by a mob at Dadri last year and killed for allegedly storing and consuming beef.

Bihar: Minor rape victim expresses fear over release of suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minor girl, the victim in the alleged rape case in which suspended RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav was released on bail recently, has expressed concern for her and her family’s safety even as the Bihar government on Wednesday appealed against the bail order in the Supreme Court.The girl has expressed her anxiety in a message to reporters, saying she and her family were “living in fear” after the release of Yadav.”He (Yadav) is out of jail…I am scared and afraid for my family. What will happen to them? I am already dead after what happened to me. I have nothing more to lose,” said the Nalanda schoolgirl in a WhatsApp message to reporters.She said she was scared that her family might be “eliminated”, along with her, after the Patna High Court granted bail to Yadav on September 30.The girl, who had cleared the matriculation examination earlier this year, was allegedly raped by Yadav, the RJD MLA from Nawada, and has been living in trauma since the sordid event.She had appeared for the matriculation examination after the state school examination board facilitated her to write the papers at a secluded centre due to fear of humiliation.She cleared the examination in first division.Meanwhile, The Nitish Kumar government today moved the Supreme Court, challenging the bail granted to Yadav by the Patna High Court.The apex court is scheduled to hear the matter on October 7.Yadav had surrendered before a local court in March in connection with the incident.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust shouldn’t get tax exemption, says ex-CAG’s report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Travancore Royal Family was once again put in the dock by the former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai. Rai, who has been assigned by the Supreme Court to audit the management of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust funds, stated in his report submitted to the apex court, that gross malpractices had been carried out by the royal family in their accounting and income tax returns.”In the income tax returns for the financial year 2008-09 to 2013-14 filed by the Trust, Rs 22.75 lakh had been shown as capital expenditure for purchase of vessels for the temple and Rs 59.16 lakh towards addition/improvements to landed properties of the temple. But these additions actually stood included in the fixed assets of the Trust which would indicate that there was “misrepresentation” in the IT returns filed,” Rai’s report said.In the report, of which dna has a copy, Rai has also revealed that the financial irregularities by the temple management including 769 missing pots (776 kg) of gold from the treasury of the temple,which is worth an estimated Rs 186 crore. He sought a detailed probe into the incident.The report also estimated that the total income that was taxable from 2009-10 to 2014-15 was Rs 680.15 lakh but only Rs 98.05 lakh had been shown in the IT returns filed by the Temple Trust during that period.Rai has recommended that no income tax exemption be given to the temple trust. He has also stated that the money given towards maintaining the temple and temple activities has been apittance and not in accordance with the tax laws of the country.The Trust has been availing of tax exemption under the Income Tax Act for a long time now. ButRai pointed out in his report that the rental of kalyan mandapam (marriage halls) owned by the trust has resulted in revenue for which tax has not been paid. The renting out of these marriage halls is the main source of revenue for the temple trust.”The accounts of the Trust for the year 2008-09 to 2012-13 produced before the authority did not include security deposits of Rs 42.37 lakh collected during those years from those who booked the kalyan mandapams, amount pending, refund, case, SB and FD accounts in which the amount refundable were retained. Keeping such amounts out of the accounts was a serious irregularity as there is a chance of misuse of amounts not accounted for,” the report said.The Trust also receives huge donations from devotees across the country but the report claims this money has been used for maintaining buildings other than the temple.”As funds can be applied only for the purpose of the Temple, including of expenditure on repairs and maintenance of buildings not owned by the Trust is tantamount to clear violation for which the Trust is formed,” the report said.Reacting to the report, sources close to the royal family said, “The report has been prepared without consulting any of the family members. It is completely one sided as the material and information supplied was not considered.”Ex-CAG report: Taxable income to be paid by Temple TrustAssessment year Taxable Income (Rs in lakh)2009-10 93.452010-11 93.382011-12 107.272012-13 114.702013-14 141.972014-15 129.38————- ———————————–Total 680.15 lakhThe report alleges that only Rs 98.05 lakh was shown as taxable income by the Temple Trust during this period

SC dismisses plea seeking CBI inquiry in Mulayam Singh’s DA case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed plea seeking CBI inquiry into the disproportionate assets case filed against Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family.Advocate Vishwanath Chaturvedi, who had filed a plea against Yadav in 2005, has approached the apex court and urged it to pronounce the verdict on his plea against the probe agency for its repeatedly changing stance. Chaturvedi claimed that he had filed an application against the probe agency in 2008 and the apex court had reserved the order but it has not been pronounced.Filing the application, Chaturvedi said that in March, 2007, the Court had ordered a CBI inquiry into the alleged disproportionate assets by Mulayam Singh and his family.It was alleged that they had illegally accumulated assets worth over Rs.100 crores between 1999 and 2005 during Mulayam Singh’s tenure as chief minister (2003-07). The petition sought an investigation against Mulayam and other family members. Being aggrieved, Chaturvedi had filed a plea in court to direct the CBI to go ahead with its probe and not to be influenced by the government which is dismissed by the apex court today.

Woman in Salem commits suicide after morphed images uploaded on Facebook

A 21-year-old woman has committed suicide in Salem district of Tamil Nadu after her morphed nude images were uploaded on Facebook, according to The Hindu.

Upset over the social stigma and sexual harassment on the public site, the woman hanged herself on Monday afternoon while her parents were away. Her uncle found her and rushed her to the hospital, where she was declared brought dead.

The girl had finished her B.Sc and was looking for a job. According to The Hindu, the girl found her morphed pictures tagged on her account last week. Upset over the incident, she informed her parents, who registered a complaint with the police on 23 June. However, after the police took on the case, another picture was uploaded on the site along with her father’s mobile number, which spurred the girl to commit suicide.

The family of the girl have blamed delay in action on the police. The father of the girl has said that no action was taken in the matter even after a complaint was filed, which is why his daughter took the extreme step, ANI reported.

I have lost faith in the police dept: Family member of girl who allegedly committed suicide after facing harassment on Facebook

— ANI (@ANI_news) June 28, 2016

The Times of India also reported that the girl’s father has said he will not accept his daughter’s dead body until action is taken against the people behind the social media post. “If they had taken action against the miscreants, they would not have uploaded the second photograph and my daughter would still be alive,” article quoted him as saying.

A report by the Indian Express says that the family members allege that despite a complaint, the police did not even begin the process of blocking or removing the post.

The police on the other hand has denied such allegations and said that the victim ended her life while investigation was still underway, CNN News 18 reported. The police had apprehended a youth known to the family but later let him go stating that the investigation revealed he was not involved in the matter.

According to The Hindu report, the police informed the girl’s father that they would need to collaborate with the cyber crime cell to nab the culprits and sought 15 days time for the investigation. However, the girl, after seeing the second image decided to end her life.

The Times of India also reported that a suicide note was found at the girl’s home, which suggested that the girl was upset because her parents suspected she had something to do with images and that she could not deal with the predicaments.

The southern Indian state has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Last week an IT company employee, S. Swathi was murdered in broad daylight in Chennai, raising severe questions on the safety and security of women in the state. Drawing much flak from the opposition over the degrading law and order situation in the state, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has ordered an emergency meeting with the state’s DGP.

Meanwhile, the parents of the girl have demanded prompt action and justice for their daughter.

Here’s why PM Modi met a retired school teacher in Pune

When 67-year-old Chandrakant Damodar Kulkarni wanted to contribute to a good cause, Prime Minister Narendra Modi objected.In a way, what the retired drawing teacher wanted to do was to help the Prime Minister himself. After hearing Modi’s August 15 address to the nation, he wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that he wished to contribute Rs 5,000 every month towards the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan scheme. In fact, he even sent a few cheques.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For Kulkarni, who retired as a drawing teacher from the St. Joseph Boys’ High School in Khadki in February 2007, this was nothing new. Throughout his life, he has donated money to social causes. He has helped pilgrims, he has donated Rs 2,100 every month for a year to the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune and more.But the cheques he sent to the PMO returned. Officials at the PMO told him that the Prime Minister did not feel it good to accept a pensioner’s money. Kulkarni then informed the PMO that all his family members are independent, nobody is dependent upon him and insisted on donating money.The PMO finally yielded and directed him to send money to the Swachh Bharat fund and not in the Prime Minister’s name. What Kulkarni did next was to prepare 52 cheques from September 2015. The figure 52 has a little story to it. Modi has 52 more months to complete his five-year term and that’s why Kulkarni decided to sign 52 leaves. And his total contribution added up to Rs 2.6 lakh.On Saturday, at 10.30 am, when Kulkarni’s son Mangalkumar attended a phone call, he was in for a big surprise. The caller at the other end was from the PMO and he told Mangalkumar that the Prime Minister wanted to meet his dad at Balewadi. Mangalkumar said that the family came to know about his dad’s Modi connection only after a letter from the PMO reached home.The family members were instructed to reach the Badminton hall, where a Smart Cities programme was being held.Kulkarni and his family finally met Modi. When Modi called him Chandrakant-ji, he said he felt like an elder brother. Kulkarni had only two requests to the PM: improve the conditions at the Sassoon General Hospital and install a bio-gas plant, developed by Dr Suhas Mhapuskar, at Dehu Road, to help pilgrims.Modi also made a young and naughty friend at the function – Kulkarni’s grandson Aadi. When Modi asked the class V student whether he would help his grandfather, he replied in the negative. Modi pinched Aadi’s ears and told him to give his grandfather a chocolate.

Shocking: Upper castes refuse to give land for CRPF jawan’s funeral who was martyred in Pampore

In a shocking display of class prejudice, villagers in martyred constable Vir Singh’s village in Nagla Kewal in Shikohabad, Firozabad district refused to allow public land to be used for the cremation. Vir Singh was one of the eight CRPF jawans killed in the militant attack in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.Gram Pradhan, Vijay Singh of Kanthari Gram Panchayat told TOI: “In the morning, the local villagers had raised objections over martyred soldier’s family’s demand to cremate his body on public land and then erect a statue of him. But later, after long hours of talk with SDM, the villagers agreed to respect the family demand.” Even after that, only a 10*10 metre land was given for the funeral. Vir Singh’s family is obviously shocked with this apathy, where caste considerations eclipsed respect towards a slain jawan. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vir Singh was the sole bread earner of his family and had joined the CRPF in 1981. His family stays in a one room home with a tin shed as a roof and he has three children who are still studying.

Lack of sexual health knowledge, and contraceptives result in maximum abortions, says study

Failure to use contraceptives, or a lack of knowledge about them, among young women is the biggest cause for abortions in India, says a new study; with 80 per cent abortion stemming from contraceptive failure.In a study of 1,381 married and unmarried women in India, Ipas, a global NGO that works for women’s’ sexual and reproductive rights, pointed out the frequent lack of contraceptive usage among young women aged 15 to 24.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Among those below 24 the percentage of such abortions is 79 per cent, those above 24 it goes to 82 per cent.In a statement, Ipas Senior Director, Research and Evaluation said such figures suggest “even those young women who have exposure to modern technologies (amenities and thoughts) are not aware of sexual and reproductive health issues.” A previous Ipas study said that more than 90 per cent young women did not have any knowledge about sex and pregnancy and a large number did not have correct knowledge on oral contraceptive pills.For the remaining cases, the study showed that risk to life or grave injury to mother’s mental and physical health accounted for 16 per cent abortions among women over 25 years of age and 18 per cent for those below 24 years. Only 1-2 per cent pregnancies were terminated for congenital abnormalities in the fetus while abortion in the case of rape survivors is negligible.Married women had access to more information, definitely more so on abortion, than their unmarried counterparts, said the study, as they were more likely to receive it from outreach programmes while the latter from mass media. However, for both the primary means was word of mouth knowledge from friends and family.The Ipas study feeds into data collected and studied by the centre, as both the 2014 census and the National Family Health Survey 4 (2015-2016) showed low use of contraceptives across India.According to the Census, 94.5 per cent of women in India know about contraceptives but 50.2 per cent practice them. In Maharashtra, 95.6 per cent women know and 50.9 per cent practice. In Delhi, 95.5 per cent women know about contraceptives and 51.2 per cent practice using them. Bihar had one of the biggest gaps, with 95.3 per cent women knowing and 30.2 per cent practicing. West Bengal had the smallest gap where 95.9 per cent women know about contraceptives and 67.2 per cent practice using them.The study pokes holes in the extent of knowledge among women, as 55 per cent of the young married participants could not correctly answer questions on abortions. Ten per cent did not know abortions are legal in India, have been for four decades.Most worryingly, a majority of women went to private or illegal providers for abortions or other treatments regarding sexual and reproductive health, instead of government services which are free and have trained practitioners.Worse off were women with lower levels of education and standards of living. Those with middle or secondary education and those with “a high standard of living” had better knowledge about all three issues, sex, pregnancy and abortions.

A ‘filmi’ re-union: Army man presumed dead in 2009 accident returns home

Jaipur: In a scene straight out of a Bollywood tear-jerker, an army man, who was presumed to have died in an accident nearly seven years ago, returned home to the astonishment of his family in Alwar’s Behror town in Rajasthan.

Dharmveer Yadav, who was an Indian army soldier, had gone missing following a car accident in Dehradun on 27 November 2009 and even his family pension was started in 2012 after the force presumed him dead.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

It was a road accident that had separated Yadav from his family and it was a similar mishap which brought them together.

Five or six days back, a motorcycle hit Dharmveer when he was wandering on the streets of Haridwar. He received a mild injury to the head which brought his memory back.

After regaining his memory, he reached Behror in a bus from Delhi on Monday night using the Rs 500 the motorcyclist had given him after the accident.

His father Kailash Yadav initially did not answer his call to open the door thinking he was either dreaming or there was some drunken man at the door.

“After second or third knock, I realised that I was not dreaming and rushed to the door. I went numb after seeing my son who for us was dead. I could not even utter a word. My elder son and his wife also came and brought Dharmveer and me into the room. No one could believe that he had returned,” Kailash, also an ex-serviceman, told PTI.

Alwar district Soldier Welfare Officer RP Yadav said he has informed Dharmveer’s unit about his return.

“I have communicated to the CO of his unit, who advised to get his medical check up done. Dharmveer will be handed over to his unit,” the officer said.

Dharmveer’s wife and two daughters were very happy to see him back.

His father said Dharmveer told them after the first accident, he was rescued by locals. Beyond that, he remembers nothing.

“It is a filmy story which I and my family have lived,” the elated father said.

Disproportionate assets case: CBI to quiz Virbhadra Singh’s wife

The Central Bureau of Investigation which is probing Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in an alleged disproportionate assets case said that the senior Congress leader “had no explanation when confronted with evidences against him and his family members”.The probe agency also told dna that family members of the octogenarian leader, that includes his wife Pratibha Singh, will also be questioned soon. The agency claimed that its investigators were in possession of foolproof evidence against Virbhadra Singh, his associates and partners in criminal conspiracy regarding the assets acquired in the name of his wife and children.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI source also told dna that the senior Congress leader, when asked about the involvement of his family members in the alleged case, responded by saying, “They are answerable for themselves.”Singh on Thursday reached the CBI headquarters around 11 am. His questioning lasted till 2 pm. This is the first time the senior Congress leader was questioned by the probe agency which had had carried out searches at his residences in Delhi and Shimla in September 26 last year.”Mr Singh during his questioning said that he had no idea on how to make assets or acquire the same in the name of his wife and children. Our investigators are likely to summon the other accused in the case which includes Mr Singh’s family members as well,” the source said.It is alleged that during his 2009-12 stint as a steel minister in the UPA II government, Singh accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore in his name and in the name of his family members, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.”The preliminary inquiry had revealed that Mr Virbhadra Singh, during 2009-2012, had allegedly accumulated assets worth Rs 6.03 crore in his name and in the name of his family members,” an official said. The case was registered in September last year under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the Himachal chief minister, his wife Pratibha, his associate Chunni Lal and Life Insurance Corporation agent Anand Chauhan.Chauhan, has been accused of showing the accumulated money as proceeds of agricultural income – not taxed in India – from Singh’s apple orchard ‘Shrikhand’, located in the state.

Congress’ problem is that no leadership develops outside family: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Congress has been reduced to “crowd around a family”, which faces all the challenges faced by a political party centred around a family.”The hold of BJP is growing in the politics of all states be it Bengal or Kerala… what will happen to Congress no one knows”, Jaitley said on Friday at the Vikas parv of the party to observe two years of Modi government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Congress has been reduced to a crowd around a family….their problem is the one faced by a party which is centred around a family”, he said.”The first problem of such a party is to see that no leadership develops outside the family, the second is that if there is a powerful generation like Nehru or Indira they make the party strong but if the next generation does not have that strength it drowns alongwith the party”, Jaitley said.”Their problem is that they cannot attract crowd without the family and if the family is kept together the crowd does not grow”, he said.”It does not seem to now improve…the meaning of Congress free country does not mean the end of the party but the political culture followed by it and remove the blot it had put on way of governance. As an opponent we want Congress to remain in opposition”, he said.Making a mention of the idea of federal front mooted by Lalu Prasad, Jaitley said “it was a tried tested and failed idea tried many times in the past”.”The nucleus of any party should have power…for winning Bihar they needed the support of Lalu and now are talking about a federal front”, he said adding that a party having 15 to 20 seats cannot give stability.Stressing that BJP has been a nationalist party, Jaitley lashed out at the mainstream parties for aligning with fringe elements.”Some people felt they would be regarded as progressive if they aligned with those raising a ‘bharat todo ‘ campaign in Jadavpur and Jawaharlal Nehru University..they have been rejected by the country”, he said.”We hope that Congress will learn something from it…they made a historical mistake in this …we have a historical opportunity to strengthen party, take the country ahead towards development and show that an honest governance is possible. In the history of BJP, it today is at its peak in strength,” he said.

Maneka Gandhi unveils new policy for women

New Delhi: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday unveiled the draft National Policy for Women 2016, Awhich focuses on issues like housing, issues related to single women, and cyber crime against of women.

The policy has been put up on the ministry website for recommendations.

Maneka Gandhi. File photo. AFPManeka Gandhi. File photo. AFP

Maneka Gandhi. File photo. AFP

The new policy will enable the government to recognise single women — “divorced, widowed and unmarried women” — as independent entities.

Noting the last national policy on women was formulated was in 2001, Gandhi said: “This policy has come after 15 years… The attitude of women towards themselves has changed.

“Fifteen years ago, women were happy to get what they were given. Now we demand… and our demands are more defined.”

The draft policy says maternal and pre-natal mortality remains a key priority, but also focuses on issues like “gender transformative health strategy”, which recognises women’s reproductive rights with a shift. The draft, as an example, cited shifting the focus of family planning from female sterilisation to male sterilisation.

It also calls for ushering in changes in the societal attitude towards women and usher in behavioural changes involving men and boys and institutions of family and women’s organisations.

Puducherry to work towards malaria eradication by 2022

On World Malaria Day, Kalimuthu, Mission Director, Puducherry State Health Mission, said that they were working towards making Puducherry a malaria-free state by 2022.The Hindu reports that around 40 cases of malaria were found in Puducherry last year and the plan is to bring it down to zero in six years. Kalimuthu was speaking at the World Malaria Day programme conducted as part of the National Vector Borne Control Programme (NVBCP) by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Service, in Puducherry on Tuesday. World Malaria Day has been marked since the last nine years in order to create awareness and educate people about the infectious disease. Numerous seminars, programmes and rallies have been undertaken by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services in this regard. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at the event, J.Ramesh, HOD, Department of Medicine, IGGGH and PGI, said that malaria is considered more dangerous after Tuberculosis and Pneumococcal Respiratory Disease. He added that statistics show that at least one child affected by malaria dies every 12 seconds around the world. Pregnant women, babies and the elderly are more prone to malaria. V. Sundarraj, State Programme Officer (SPO), NVCP, told the daily that malaria cases have reduced drastically in India from 2 million cases in 2001 to 1.13 million in 2015. Deaths due to malaria in India have dropped from 1005 in 2001 to 562 in 2014 and 287 in 2015. Due to this success, National Malaria Control Programme was converted to National Malaria Eradication Programme.

Families of Dabholkar, Pansare say the govt is not serious enough to probe the murders

Pune: Family members of the slain rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare on Thursday asked whether the government was serious about the probe into two cases.

Govind Pansare. IBNLokmat

Govind Pansare. IBNLokmat

While Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was murdered in Pune in August 2013, CPI leader Pansare was murdered in Kolhapur in February 2015. Maharashtra police have arrested one person in Pansare case, while CBI has failed to make any arrest in the Dabholkar murder case.

“It has been 32 months since Dabholkar was murdered and 16 months since Pansare was murdered. However, there is no concrete development in both cases. It seems the government is not serious enough to solve them,” said Shaila Dabholkar, Narendra Dabholkar’s wife.

If the government did not take murders of rationalists seriously, India would have the same situation as in the neighbouring Bangladesh where secular bloggers and activists were being killed with impunity, she said.

Hamid Dabholkar, the murdered rationalist’s son, said the family had sought a meeting with the Prime Minister.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured us that he would facilitate a meeting with the honourable PM, however, to date, we have not succeeded (in meeting the PM),” he said.

Pansare’s wife Uma said the Maharashtra police’s SIT arrested Sameer Gaikwad, former follower of the conservative Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha, in connection with the murder, but then the probe stalled, showing lack of political will to take it to the conclusion.

“SIT officers do not have time to look after the case, so despite having evidence against Gaikwad, the probe has slowed down,” she alleged.

“Now they are framing charges against Gaikwad…with incomplete evidence, he might be acquitted,” she said.

The question, therefore, arises whether the state government was shielding the masterminds of the murder, she said.

Parliamentary panel stresses better rural medical infrastructure; exposes budget discrepancies

New Delhi: Noting that there is a “yawning gap” between approved outlays and sanctioned budget, a parliamentary panel has recomended higher budgetary allocation for National Health Mission (NHM) to boost public health standards.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare in its 93rd report on Demands for Grants 2016-17 said that it seems the priority towards NHM and the health sector as a whole has been a “soft” target whenever the government faces a resource crunch.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The committee recommends that given the need to augment rural health infrastructure and fill the vacancies of various categories of health professionals, this trend of the yawning gap between the approved outlays and sanctioned budget should be reversed and a much higher magnitude of the union budget allocation for NHM than what is prevailing should be made so that the central health spending could be ramped up to boost Indian public health standards. Only then will NHM be able to guarantee universal access to equitable, affordable and quality healthcare,” the committee chaired by Ram Gopal Yadav said in the report tabled in Parliament.

The committee also observed that if the government wants to enhance access to quality healthcare for the people, it will have to alter the health financing landscape of NHM by allocating adequate financial resources.

The committee said it was “revealing” after it scrutinised the total 12th Plan approved outlays for NHM and the entire Health Department.

“The committee notes that the Planning Commission had approved a total outlay of Rs 1,93,405.71 crore for NHM and Rs 2,68,551.00 crore for the whole department for the 12th Plan.

“However, the total budget allocation made by the union government in the five years (2012-13 to 2016-17) is Rs 90,000.82 crore for NHM and Rs 1,25,117.00 crore for the department of Health and Family Welfare which works out to measly 46.50 percent of the funding originally envisaged for NHM as well as the department under 12th Plan,” it said.

It further said the overall NHM releases made are as high as 98.13 percent, implying that the allocated amounts are utilised effectively.

“The committee observes that the avowed vision of NHM is the attainment of universal access to equitable, affordable and quality healthcare services accountable and responsive to people’s needs with effective inter-sectoral convergent action to address the wider social determinants of health and the Mission has huge potential to transform healthcare delivery in the country,” the committee said.

It also observed that had the government allocated the entire 12th Plan approved outlays, the country would have seen much improved primary healthcare services, fulfillment of the free medicines and diagnostic policy, reduced out of pocket expenditure and probably 1.5 percent of GDP as public health expenditure reached by 2015.

The committee also said that as against the projected demands of Rs 31,492.95 crore for NHM for 2016-17, the allocation made in Budget Estimate 2016-17 is only Rs 19,000.00 crore, leaving a shortfall of more than Rs 12,000 crore.

“In comparison to the Revised Estimate allocation 2015-16 of Rs 18,295 crore, the increase in the Budget Estimate 2016-17 is of Rs 705 crore, which is grossly inadequate and will be eaten up by inflation.

“Taking note of the submissions of the representatives of department of health that in order to undertake new initiatives like free drugs, diagnostics and dialysis, the minimum required increase in allocation for 2016-17 would be Rs 5,000 crore, the committee lends its support to the allocation of Rs 5,000 crore if not full projected amount for NHM which may be raised in the Revised Estimate stage,” the committee said.

It observed that given the projection of a promising economic growth which is pegged at 7.5 percent, the government should have the fiscal space to provide this amount of Rs 5,000 crore in 2016-17.

Missing in Kashmir, found in Pune…after 14 years

For the security agencies in Kashmir, Adil Rashid was a suspected terrorist. For his family, he was missing in custody. But the truth lied somewhere in between.A phone call from a doctor in Pune to Jammu and Kashmir Police blew the lid off the mystery behind the disappearance of Adil Rashid 14 years ago.Adil has finally been traced to a psychiatric hospital in Pune where he regained memory partially after undergoing treatment for six years.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Adil was a class X student when he mysteriously went missing in February 2002 from his ancestral home at Batamaloo in Srinagar. Ever since, the family has been going from pillar to post to track his whereabouts but to no avail.”It was the fourth day of Eid-ul-Azha when he went missing. I later lodged a missing person report in the police station. I visited different places, including border areas, to seek his whereabouts but to no avail. His mother suffered a bout of depression and for three years she was not in the proper state of mind,” Abdul Rashid Khan, father of Adil, told dna.The family got another rude shock when Rashid was picked by the security forces on the suspicion that his son might had crossed the Line of Control for arms training.”I was picked up and bundled in the godown (of a camp). They told me that they have arrested people (militants) in connection with the grenade blast at Radio Kashmir and I have to identify whether anyone of them is my son.But he was not one of them. On another occasion, I told them if it is true that my son has become a militant, I will shoot him in front of you,” said Rashid.The situation took yet another turn later when Rashid was told by some shopkeepers that his son was arrested during a crackdown (cordon and search operations) in Lal Chowk. “We thought he might have been picked by the forces and subjected to enforced disappearance,” he said.It was the reason that on 10th of every month, Rashid was joining scores of parents in a local park for a peaceful sit-in organised by the Association of Parents of Disappeared People (APDP) to force the government to locate their loved ones. APDP figures say around 9,000 people are missing in custody.”I presumed he might have been missing in custody. We wanted the authorities to tell us the truth. If he is alive, please let me know his whereabouts and if he is dead please show us the place where he is buried,” he said.Luck smiled on the family last week when police broke the news that Adil was recuperating in a Pune hospital. “I was told that they have found my son. They have congratulated me. I hope to see him soon,” he said.Station house officer of Batamaloo police station Aftab Ahmad told dna that Adil has been found in a psychiatric hospital in Pune and they are sending a team to bring him back to Srinagar.”Adil’s parents in their missing person report lodged in 2003, stated that Adil was not mentally fit. We do not know how he reached Maharashtra. Someone had found him and admitted him in a psychiatric hospital in Pune in 2010. Last week, he regained memory and told the doctors his name and residence address,” Ahmad said.Aftab said doctors later contacted them and they exchanged the pictures. “We showed the pictures to his family and they identified him. We are sending a team along with a family member to bring him back. So far, Adil has been able to remember the name of his father and sister. Doctors have said the police should bring along someone from Adil’s family so that he could recognise them which will help in his recovery,” said Aftab.

Sushma Swaraj meets Russian acid attack victim’s mother

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday met mother of a 23-year-old Russian woman who was attacked with acid in Varanasi in November last year and assured her of severe punishment to the guilty. Swaraj told Antonina Prokina, the mother of the victim, that trial in the case has begun and that she was in touch with Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav in connection with the case so that the man behind the attack does not escape strong punishment. The 23-year-old Russian national had suffered 46% burn injuries after a local youth threw acid on her on November 13 in Nand Nagar area of Varanasi. “He (the accused) had applied for bail but a court has rejected it. The trial in the case has already begun. I am in touch with Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and told him that he must get harshest of the punishment,” Swaraj told Antonina.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mother of the girl met Swaraj – who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit – at the hotel where the Minister is staying. Antonina, accompanied by her elder daughter Yana, explained to Swaraj the trauma the family was undergoing following the incident. The family stays at the Moscow region.Earlier, in her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Swaraj expressed sadness and regret over the acid attack on the girl and apprised him about the investigation into the case.The victim was first shifted to a Delhi hospital after initial treatment in Varanasi. On November 16, she came to Moscow. The Indian Embassy here has been helping the family in treatment of the girl.The accused, identified as Siddharth Srivastava, had fled to Allahabad after the incident and was arrested later. Swaraj had sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government following the attack on the girl and promised all possible help to her and the family.

Bombay HC refuses Uddhav’s plea to remove family history from caveat

Mumbai: On Monday, the Bombay High Court refused to entertain an application filed by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, seeking a direction to his estranged brother Jaidev to withdraw the family history cited in the latter’s caveat regarding the ‘will’ of their father Bal Thackeray.

The Sena patriarch passed away on 17 November, 2012 and his son Uddhav filed a probate petition in January 2013, which was converted into ‘a testamentary suit’ as it was opposed by Jaidev, who has not got any share in the property.

A probate petition is a process by which a will is proved as valid or not valid.

Jaidev, who did not get a farthing in father’s property, had filed a caveat in the probate petition urging that he may be heard in this matter.

A file photo of Uddhav Thackeray. PTIA file photo of Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

A file photo of Uddhav Thackeray. PTI

Uddhav’s application (Chamber Summons) seeking withdrawal of family history cited by Jaidev in the caveat, on Monday came under criticism from the court, which plainly told Uddhav that it cannot be considered.

Justice Gautam Patel was of the opinion that Jaidev had submitted documents to show that he was an integral part of the family and this cannot be challenged by the other side.

The court, therefore, allowed him to submit documents showing that he was close to the family patriarch.

On Monday, Jaidev submitted nine documents, of which two were admitted by the court. These pertained to the records of Lilavati Hospital about admission of the then Shiv Sena chief after he had taken ill prior to his demise and reply received from the hospital authorities about the treatment.

Rest of the documents were kept for identification by the court.

Meanwhile, Jaidev moved an application for summoning witnesses, including the editor of party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, representative of Lilavati hospital and other media editors.

The court said it would decide about the same on a later date.

Although Jaidev was present in the court on Monday, the judge deferred his cross-examination by Uddhav’s lawyer as the latter placed before the court a letter written by Jaidev saying he would not depose.

The matter has been kept on 20 June for directions.

In July 2014, the high court had framed issues on Uddhav’s plea. Jaidev had then contended that his father was not of sound mind when he had signed it.

The first issue framed by the high court is whether the will, dated 13 December, 2011, was executed and attested by Bal Thackeray.

The second issue is “whether the deceased was of sound and disposable mind at the time of executing the will” as Jaidev’s lawyer today contended that it was not so.

Jaidev’s counsel also alleged that Uddhav misled his father, which led to he (Uddhav) being bequeathed most of the property.

Following the allegation, the court framed another issue, “Whether plaintiff no. 3 (Uddhav) has played fraud and exercised undue influence on the deceased.”

The last issue is “whether Uddhav is entitled to probate (court’s certificate about validity) of the will.”

Earlier, Uddhav had refused court’s suggestion to arrive at an amicable settlement with Jaidev over the dispute on late Bal Thackeray’s ‘will’, saying Jaidev’s allegations against him and his father has caused “lot of bitterness”.

Cops pressured Handwara girl to testify before magistrate, claims lawyer

Srinagar: The counsel for the girl, who is at the centre of the Handwara molestation storm, on Monday claimed that her statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate was not made “voluntarily” and that she had been pressured to testify in a manner directed by the police.

Neither of her statements — one made in a video recorded by police and the other made before the CJM under Section 164-A of CrPC — were made voluntarily, claimed a spokesman of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which represents the girl and her family.

He said the girl, who did not blame any army personnel for molestation as alleged earlier, had been pressured to testify in a manner directed by the police.

He said the girl’s statement before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Handwara on Sunday was recorded in the absence of her father and her lawyers.

“The minor girl’s statement under Section 164-A CrPC was recorded before the judicial magistrate at Handwara. Her father was not present in court during the recording of the statement. No lawyer was present in court accompanying her.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“In the courtroom, besides the Judge, there were four other persons who the minor girl could not identify,” the spokesman said.

He said the case is listed before the High Court on 20 April but the ensuing 48 hours are crucial for the minor girl and family and their safety.

The legal team of JKCCS met the girl and her family last night at her maternal uncle’s home in Zachaldara area of Handwara and alleged the family was under constant police surveillance and control.

In the meeting, the minor girl and the family re-affirmed that they wish the legal team to continue to represent them, the spokesman said.

They stated that they have effectively been kept in illegal police detention and wrongful confinement from 12 April to date and have been intimidated, abused and kept under constant surveillance, the spokesman claimed.

He said JKCCS has contacted Nayeema Mehjoor, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, who promised to assist in the appropriate relocation of the family to a private and safe place, away from media and police or other official interference but with unhindered access to the right of the family to lawyers.

The JKCCS has also written to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, director general of J&K Police, IGP Kashmir, DIG North Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and DC Kupwara for “unhindered access of the legal counsels to the family. So far, the government has chosen to not respond”, he said.

On Monday, JKCCS has also sought an appointment with the IGP Kashmir to emphasize the need to immediately end the harassment of the minor girl and her family, the spokesman said.

Mumbai: Nurse haied as ‘hero’ after she reunites train mishap victim with family

When Rekha (42) came to Mumbai from Kolkata five years ago to work as a caretaker in a hospital, she would not have thought that one day she will be hailed as a hero for her selfless service.Rekha, who works as a private caretaker for patients at the civic-run Cooper hospital, has been taking care of a woman, who had fallen off a running train, for the last eight months. Not only did she not charge anything from mishap victim Jaswanti Tandel, but also played a crucial role in tracing her family.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tandel fell off a local on August 16 and was brought to the Cooper hospital with a broken femur and other injuries. According to the nurses, she remained completely disoriented for the next 20 days, after which she was shifted to the Orthopaedic ward. It was here that Rekha, who still refers to Tandel as “Unknown” as she couldn’t be identified initially, met the patient.”I came to the hospital to take care of one of the patients. Four days later, Unknown was brought to the ward. A couple of days later, I heard her asking for water. I walked up to her and saw her broken leg was elevated and fitted with metals. She had soiled her clothes,” said Rekha, who gets Rs 300 for one shift working as a caretaker.Rekha further said that seeing the woman lying helpless, she decided to help her. “I cleaned her up and gave her water. Soon, I realised that she was all alone without any relatives or family. I do not have an elder sister. So I decided that she would be my elder sister and I will take the responsibility to get her back on her feet. Not even once did I think about money because she was helpless and helping her was more important,” she said, adding that from August to March, her daily routine included giving bath to Tandel, helping her eat, changing her adult diapers and cleaning her.Soon, Tandel became the most loved patient in the hospital with all nurses and doctors taking special care of her. In fact, the Orthopaedic and plastic surgeons went out of the way to help her. “She told us that she left her home after a fight with her husband, who was an alcoholic. But she could not tell us her address. Her language was also not clear, though we gathered that she was from Valsad. Now that she was recuperating well and it had been almost nine months, we all wished her to be reunited with her family,” said Rekha, who was almost in tears while recollecting that Tandel asked her to come along with her to Valsad.Finally a week ago, Rekha approached Dipesh Tank, founder of NGO Youth for People, for help. “All we could understand was that she came from some place called Kosamba in Valsad. She gave us the names of her father and mother, and we put them up on Facebook along with her picture. A friend from Valsad, Mehul Patel, then managed to trace her house. We informed her family members, who came to the hospital and took her,” said Tank.Meanwhile, a Bandra Government Railway Police (GRP) cop, who carried out the formalities of handing over Tandel to her relatives, said, “The family claimed that Tandel had left home earlier as well, but returned after a few months. We have asked her family to take good care of her now.”

Govt pursuing case of mysterious death of Indian in Saudi Arabia

India has been pursuing a case of death of a young Indian under mysterious circumstance in Saudi Arabia last year and is awaiting full details of the probe into the matter.27-year-old Mohammed Afsar Ansari, hailing from Jharkhand, was allegedly killed by his employers in Saudi Arabia apparently after he wanted to come back to India. His family has been demanding justice for him.Official sources said Indian Embassy in Riyadh had assisted the brother of the deceased in filing a complaint with the Bureau of Investigation (BoI) about Ansari’s death. “With great difficulty and against usual practice, we managed to persuade BoI to agree to a second post-mortem and another investigation,” they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, the Embassy requested the Saudi Foreign Office to share with it outcome of this second post mortem. “We await the full details of this report and of the further investigations,” the sources said adding the consent of the family is a must for the mortal remains to be brought back to India or to be buried in Saudi Arabia.The sources said the Embassy has been urging the family to complete the remaining paperwork and convey their consent for the return of the mortal remains.

Handwara incident: Family says girl pressurised into giving statement, demands independent probe

The family of the girl, whose alleged harassment led to a spate of violence in Kashmir, on Saturday claimed that she was pressurised into giving a video statement denying she was molested and has approached the court seeking an independent probe into the incident.”My girl is just 16 years old and was alone in the police station when her statement was recorded. She was pressurised by police to give that statement,” her mother claimed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A civil society group scheduled a press conference here for the family but it was not allowed by police.Talking to reporters, the girl’s mother alleged that police detained her daughter without informing the family and revealed her identity by recording the video statement without covering her face.She said, “When the girl was returning home after school on Tuesday, she went to a bathroom and was followed by an army man. When she saw the army man in the bathroom, she raised an alarm, attracting attention of the nearby shopkeepers. The policemen also came to the scene but the army man fled.” “She was then taken to a police station without our knowledge,” the mother said.”We have approached court and demanded an independent inquiry into the incident. We do not want police or Army, those who have done this, to inquire it,” she said.Five persons have been killed since Tuesday after violence broke out following allegations that the girl was harassed by a soldier.”Were not allowed to meet our girl. Her father and aunt were also detained. We do not have any information of our arrested daughter for the last five days,” she alleged and accused the police of “defaming” her daughter by revealing her identity to the media.

Student groups allege ‘Hyderabad varsity students, faculty beaten up in police custody’

Hyderabad: An umbrella organisation of student groups at Hyderabad Central University has alleged that students arrested on the campus on March 22 were beaten up in police custody.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice, which comprises 14 student groups, has condemned the ‘heinous, brutal, and communally violent’ treatment of the 24 students, two faculty members and one media person.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

In a statement on Friday, it alleged that they were beaten up in police custody after being picked up from the campus when they were staging a protest over return of P. Appa Rao as the vice chancellor.

It said the police resorted to criminal action in this case by assaulting the arrested in the police vehicles and later in police stations. They were also mentally tortured by constantly moving them from one police station to other.

It claimed that those arrested were not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of their detention. The group was remanded only late in the evening of March 23.

The group was also beaten up in the police van while being shifted to Cherlapally Jail in the early hours of March 24.

A city court on March 24 adjourned hearing on the bail petitions of the students to March 28.

JAC said no official information on the whereabouts of the arrested people was provided by the police to their family or friends. “Family members who called police stations were either refused information, or given misleading information,” the statement said.

The faculty members who tried to intervene when policemen were beating up students in police vehicles, were punched and slapped and abused for teaching aanti-nationals’.

“Muslim students were especially targeted and were branded ‘anti-nationals’, Pakistanis, drug peddlers and naxalites,” it said.

The arrests were made on the campus when students were staging a sit-in to protest Appa Rao resuming charge as vice chancellor after nearly two month long leave.

Appa Rao had gone on leave in January after he was named in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged after the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

IANS

Central govt to award doctors, relatives who donate organs

In a move that will promote organ donation in the country, the Central government has decided to award the relatives of those who come forward to donate the cadaver of their loved ones for the benefit of the society.A provision for honouring such noble hearts, as well as institutions, doctors and transplant coordinators, has been incorportated under the national organ transplant programme of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, stated Health Minister JP Nadda in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha recently.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nadda further said that an inter-ministerial committee, headed by secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has been constituted to coordinate all activities related to promotion of organ donation in the country.”The government decision to recognise organ donors is a welcome move. In times of grief, they are imparting new lease of life to others. It is is a noble decision and needs to be appreciated,” remarked Arnity Homji, mother of Bandra-based Hovovi whose heart was transplanted in Chennai.She suggested that the government should go beyond and also get medical insurance support to the donor and recipient family. “Also it should ensure availability of immunosuppressant drugs, required post transplant, at subsidised rates,” she said.”A transplant patient spends Rs 15,000-20,000 every month for rest of his/her life. In Tamil Nadu, government ensures the medicines required for post transplant period are available at concessional rates,” said Homji.

‘Zootopia’ rules, Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Brothers Grimsby’ bombs | Reuters

(Variety.com) – Disney’s “Zootopia” cruised to another box office victory this weekend, picking up $50 million and barreling across the $100 million mark domestically.

After two weeks of release, “Zootopia,” the critically acclaimed story of a plucky rabbit policewoman, has earned $142.6 million stateside. In its second weekend, “Zootopia” only dropped 33% — an impressive show of endurance at a time when major releases routinely see their grosses cut in half after a big opening. The animated offering is benefiting from a lack of family fare. It’s been more than six weeks since “Kung Fu Panda 3” landed in theaters and the next big film aimed at younger audiences doesn’t hit until April 15 with “The Jungle Book.”

“Family audiences have been underserved for months, so this movie is perfectly timed to get more bang for the buck,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.

Despite the continued strength of “Zootopia,” Paramount and Bad Robot’s “10 Cloverfield Lane” was able to connect with audiences, earning $25.2 million from 3,391 locations. That’s a strong return given that the film about a woman who finds herself trapped in a doomsday bunker, waiting out the apocalypse with the neighborhood survivalists, cost $13 million to produce. The studio also kept marketing costs in check, holding off its campaign until eight weeks before the film opening, with its biggest spending coming with a Super Bowl teaser.

Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore credited Bad Robot chief J.J. Abrams with coming up with the concept for the twisty thriller while he was in production on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He said the key was to make sure that none of the advertisements revealed any of the film’s surprises.

“We wanted to give people just enough clues to keep them excited, interested, and wanting more,” said Moore. “That’s rare in this day and age, when so much [information] is given out so early.”

All was not well with “The Brothers Grimsby.” The Sony spy comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen opened to a terminal $3.2 million from 2,235 locations, raising questions about the comic mind behind “Borat” and “Bruno’s” continued bankability.

“We certainly wanted more,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief. “Sacha is amazing and we love him, and we tried to crack the code on it, but it just didn’t happen for us.”

Cohen’s most recent starring effort, 2012’s “The Dictator,” disappointed with roughly $180 million on a $65 million budget, and he tends to have a long period of time between projects, which may have diminished his popularity. Whatever the case, “The Brothers Grimsby,” with a $35 million budget, ranks as the biggest flop of Cohen’s career. He will try to rebound with a supporting turn in next summer’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” a sequel to “Alice in Wonderland.”

Focus’ faith-based play, “The Young Messiah,” had a lackluster launch, debuting to $3.4 million from 1,761 locations. Also opening, Lionsgate’s romance “The Perfect Match,” which unfolded in 925 locations to $4.2 million for the weekend.

In limited release, Bleecker Street’s drone thriller “Eye in the Sky” generated $117,050 from five locations for a $23,410 per-theater average. Roadside Attractions and Sony’s Stage 6 Films also opened “Hello, My Name is Doris,” an off-beat comedy about an older woman (Sally Field) who becomes smitten with a young co-worker, in four screens in New York and Los Angeles, where it pulled in $85,240 for a per-screen average of $21,310.

The domestic box office year-to-date was up more than 9% after last weekend. However, those gains have largely been on the backs of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which opened in 2015, but did more than $400 million worth of business this year, as well as recent hits like “Zootopia,” “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Deadpool.” That’s led to a severe case of haves and have nots. There have been a litany of wide releases that have stumbled or fallen flat in recent months — a collection of also-runs and bombs that includes “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “Gods of Egypt,” “The 5th Wave,” “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” and “Eddie the Eagle.”

“It’s a traffic jam out there,” said Dergarabedian. “The marketplace is monumentally overcrowded and there are too many films that don’t have a solid chance to do well.”

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

Miracle or apathy? West Bengal hospital forced to re-admit ‘dead’ baby

In a serious lapse, a state-run district hospital in Nadia allegedly issued delivery death certificate to a new-born but had to re-admit it after it suddenly showed signs of life. A district health official, confirming the incident, told PTI a high-level committee has been formed to investigate the matter which allegedly took place at Krishnanagar Sadar Hospital. Family members of the new-born’s father Bulbul Mondal claimed that as they took away Bulbul’s male baby after being issued a delivery death certificate by the hospital, it suddenly showed signs of life on reaching the family’s Bahirgachhi home and they then took back the new born to the same hospital who then got him re-admitted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The baby, later taken to the SNCU department of Krishnagar ‘Sadar’ hospital, was now kept under observation, a hospital spokesman said.District Chief Medical Officer of Health, Tapas Roy said, “we have formed a six-member committee to investigate the case.”An official of Chapra Police station said, as per their information the family took the baby to police station this afternoon and was advised by the policemen to get it re-admitted to the same hospital.Bulbul’s family said no complaint has been lodged with the police.

Lawyers say Soni Sori’s sister, brother-in-law picked up by police, taken to undisclosed location

Chhattisgarh Adivasi activist Soni Soir’ sister Dhani Markam and her husband Ajay Markam have been allegedly picked up the police officials in Bastar and taken to undisclosed location with no reason for this detention, said Soni Sori’s lawyers in a complaint filed on Friday.According to the complaint, addressed to the DC police Chhattisgarh, the lawyers say that Ajay “Markam has been in police custody for a day and a half as of Friday evening, with no intimation to his family about his whereabouts and the reasons for his detention”. Calling the matter urgent, the lawyers added that on Friday, his wife and Sori’s sister Dhani was picked up by the “Bastar police” and taken to an “undisclosed location”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The complaint details how these detention tie into the recent attack on Sori with corrosive chemicals on 20 February. According to the lawyers, the SIT set up to investigate the matter instead started using it as a pretext for the “harassment” of Sori’s relatives.Ajay, a resident of Geedam, Dantewada was first taken in for questioning on 1 March and “extensively interrogated” by ASP Sukma, Mr Santosh Singh, in the presence of other SIT officials at PS Geedam, Dantewada. He was allegedly told by the interrogating team that the police would arrest him for orchestrating the attack on Sori, and made to submit his phone number.Later that evening, he received a call from an unknown number from someone he apparently he didn’t recognise. This person, said the complaint, spoke in Halbi, insinuating that Ajay had ordered the chemical attack on Sori.When Ajay took a letter with detailed information of the call to the PS Geedam, he was advised to go to PS Kuakonda, whose jurisdic tion he had been in at the time of the call. He then submitted written information about this call to PS Kuakonda on March 3.On 9 March then, Ajay was picked up by TI of PS Kuakonda, Sharat Chandra, taken to the Kuakonda PS, kept there till late at night, and interrogated for the entire duration. On 10 March again, he was picked up from his house by Chandra and taken in for questioning in Jagdalpur. He has not been heard from since, and no information has been forthcoming to his family as to the reasons for his prolonged detention. The complaint adds that this detention is well beyond the 24 hours limit, it is clearly illegal and violates Ajay’s fundamental rights.On Friday, Sori’s father and Ajay’s mother went to speak with the IG of Bastar Range, SRP Kalluri, about Ajay’s detention. However, according to the lawyers, Kalluri spoke to them in “vulgar, abusive language” and openly “threatened and intimidated the family members” that he would destroy the entire family. He, allegedly, specifically mentioned that he would ensure that Ajay not be released from custody and that the family would suffer for Sori’s “indiscretions in questioning” Kalluri. Kalluri, allegedly also threatened that Sori would be killed and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi will also be jailed.On Thursday itself, the Bastar police visited the hostel of the nursing training institute wherne Dhani studies, wanting to take her away, said the complaint. However, the warden did not allow it without proper warrants. A “three-member police team again visited the hostel today and has reportedly taken away Ms. Markam from the hostel with them, without giving any information to the family or to the hostel authorities”, it adds.The lawyers appealed to the DG to take note of the ‘illegal activities of Bastar police”, calling it “open harassment and intimidation” of Sori’s family.

When it comes to donating organs, women lead the way

Eight-year-old Dhruv Ranalkar will get a new lease of life on Tuesday, thanks to his mother who will be donating her kidney to save him.A mother’s love for her son. True. But talk to Dr Jatin Kothari, nephrologist at the PD Hinduja hospital, who will be operating Dhruv, and a broader picture emerges. “In 48 hours, we have done four kidney transplants, and three of the donors were women,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you are planning to raise a toast to the three caring souls, remember. This is not a one-off case. It’s a trend. That’s what a cross section of doctors, across many hospitals in Mumbai dna spoke to, said. “This has always been the trend. When it comes to donating organs, 70-75% are women,” they said. “Mothers and sisters counted for the most frequent donors after wives,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, chairperson of the Maharashtra state authorisation committee. In kidney transplants, in Hinduja hospital alone, 75% donors are women and 80% recipients men, said Dr Kothari.“Women are more attached to the family and think that they can take care of the whole family. For them, family comes first. Economic, attitudinal, or psychosocial factors are the most likely explanations, ” said Dr Rajesh Kumar, nephrologist at Dr LH Hiranandani hospital. This trend is not limited to Mumbai alone. The pattern plays out across all hospitals, including corporate hospital chains, across the country. Doctors say that the predominant donor in a kidney or liver transplant is the wife of the recipient. Female relatives, sisters, mothers, grandmothers and even mothers-in-law are called in sometimes to give a new lease of life to their male family members.According to Dr Bharat Shah, director of renal science, Global hospital, “When the need comes, we see them at the forefront to donate organs to their brothers, husbands or sons”.“Role compulsions such as ‘my husband/ brother/ son is more important than me’ create pressure and cultural stereotyping of the sacrificial role played by the wife/ mother/ sister,” said Dr Kothari. That’s what we will be seeing in Dhruv’s case. By donating her kidney, Dhruv’s mother has saved him from the agony of undergoing dialysis thrice a week. In fact, the trend is not restricted to husbands and wives and mothers and sons. “Even divorced and widowed women feel obliged to repay their families when it comes to donating organs,” said Kothari.Let’s raise a toast now – to the real women power. Family first“Women are more attached to the family and think that they can take care of the whole family. For them, family comes first. Economic, attitudinal, or psychosocial factors are the most likely explanations, ” said Dr Rajesh Kumar, nephrologist at Dr LH Hiranandani hospital. This trend is not limited to Mumbai alone. The pattern plays out across all hospitals, including corporate hospital chains, across the country.

No honour in this killing: Rajasthan cops arrest man for murdering sister who married outside their caste

Jaipur: Seven people have been arrested in connection with the burning alive of a 27-year-old woman allegedly by her family members for marrying a man from another caste eight years ago in Rajasthan’s Dungarpur district, police said on Sunday.

According to police, the incident occurred on Friday over 530 km from Jaipur while Rama Kumwar was visiting her family to meet them along with her little daughter.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The woman, Rama Kumwar, after marrying Prakash Sevak of another community had eloped from her village Pachlasa in Dungarpur district around eight years ago,” a police official told IANS on Sunday.

“After living somewhere else for all these years she returned to her village along with her three-year-old daughter to meet her family and in-laws.”

“Her brother Laxman Singh and other relatives who were still angry with her (Rama Kumwar), dragged her out of my house. They beat her up badly and burnt her alive. To destroy evidence, they cremated her late in the evening,” Kalavati, mother-in-law of Rama Kunwar, said in her police complaint.

Kalavati also claimed to have been beaten up badly when she tried to save Rama Kumwar. “We have registered a case on her complaint and investigations are going on,” the official said.

“We have so far arrested seven people including her brother Laxman Singh,” he added.

IANS

Child marriage will not automatically become void: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court has held that a wedding between minor girl and boy will not become void automatically without either of them obtaining a decree of divorce from family court within two years of their attaining the legal age for marriage.A division bench here comprising justices S Manikumar and C T Selvam gave the ruling while setting aside the order of a lower court in Tirunelveli in April last refusing to take on file a woman’s divorce petition on the ground that she was a minor while getting married in 1995 and hence the wedding had automatically become void then itself.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench said that though the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, prescribed a minimum age for marriage, the breach of the Act would render the marriage void under Section 11 or Section 12.However, section 13 of the act, which lists out grounds for divorce, states that every child marriage shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party, provided that such marriage, whether consummated or not, was repudiated within two years of either of them attaining the marraige age — 18 for women and 21 for men.This anomaly was taken note of by a full bench of the high court, which had expressed hope that Parliament would carry out necessary amendments to avoid complications, the division bench noted.It was apparent that the Tirunelveli court was under the mistaken impression of a marriage involving a child being void.Hence, it directed the Family Court in Tirunelveli to number the divorce petition and proceed in accordance with law.

Andhra Pradesh: 17-year-old girl dies after stalkers set her on fire

A 17 year-old girl died after being set on fire allegedly by two men who were stalking her, report NDTV. The two men allegedly broke into the girl’s house on Saturday when she was alone and set her on fire. The girl was a college-going student and lived in West Godavari district’s Eliru. She died in a hospital on Sunday. The two accused are yet to be arrested. The girl’s family has said that she had complained to them about the stalkers since some time. The accused duo had made an attempt to enter their house earlier too, the family said.

Police probing possibility of split personality disorder in the murder of 14 family members in Thane

Thane: Investigators probing the Thane massacre are burning the midnight oil to explore the possibility of killer Hasnain Warekar suffering from a split personality disorder that might have drove him to slaughter 14 members of his family.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A senior police officer, who is a member of the probe team, on Thursday said that they are trying to put together all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to figure out the behavioural pattern of the 35-year-old accused with the help of several mental health experts and criminologists to arrive at a conclusion as to what led him to execute the mass murders and whether he was a victim of a spilt or multiple personality.

Also, during searches at his house, certain medicines pointing to psychological symptoms/illness were recovered, which the officer said is likely to give some leads into Hasnain’s state of mind before the macabre killings.

Now, police are trying to locate the pharmacist from where the medicines were procured and the doctor who prescribed them, he said.

According to police, even though locals remember Hasnain as a good-natured and religious man, his dark side came to light on Sunday when he mercilessly butchered 14 his family members and then ended his life after a weekend feast.

In the last couple of days, the police team has been recording statements of Hasnain’s relatives and friends besides the caretaker of the Pardesi Baba Darghah (also known as Durgha Hazrat Gaji Salauddin Shah Baba) which he used to visit often.

Police are also probing into the black magic angle to ascertain whether he was influenced by any such practise or followed any self-styled godman.

When contacted in this regard, the caretaker, however refused to make any comments.

Police had also learnt from neighbours that Hasnain used to slaughter goats for ‘kurbani‘ (sacrifice) ritual and therefore knew how to use a butcher’s knife that was used in the crime.

A police official from Kasarwadavali station said they have collected the blood and nail samples of the lone survivor of the incident, Subiya Barmar.

Among those killed in the shocking incident were Hasnain’s parents, wife, sisters and children. The accused slit their throats with a knife after offering them drinks laced with sedatives at the family house in Kasarvadawali area on Thane outskirts, and then committed suicide by hanging himself.

In a chilling testimony, a traumatised Subiya (22) on Wednesday told a team of investigators at a hospital in Thane that she saw her brother holding a blood-stained butcher’s knife in his hand and menacingly approaching her shouting that he has killed everyone in the family and it was her turn now.

Meanwhile, an uneasy calm prevailed at the ‘Warekar Manzil’ (Hasnain’s house) in Wadavali. The residence that was a mute witness to the abominable act, has been sealed by police and it would be handed over to relatives only after the probe is over and an abatement summary report filed before the court, the official from Kasarwadavalli police station said.

Even locals are yet to recover from the shock.

Rajesh Gavli, one of the villagers who knew the family very well told visiting newsmen that Warekars displayed a very good conduct and never got involved in any issues.

“How this happened is astounding,” he said.

A local Congress leader and the first elected Municipal Corporator of the Thane Municipal Corporation Janardhan Atmaram Patil was also acquainted with the Warekars.

“I have been here for years together. The family was a respectable one. Hasnain rushed to help anyone who was in need. Even when I was the village sarpanch and corporator I knew them very well and was in close contact with them. The family had no issues. They did not not have any property disputes. What drove them to this is unimaginable”, he said.

At about ten minutes distance is the renowned Pardesi Baba Dargah. A board put up at the Dargah entrance contains the name of the alleged accused’s father (Anwar Warekar) as one of the trustees. It states that any one wanting to donate for the Dargah in kind or cash may contact the trustees.

According to police, Hasnain, a commerce graduate, used to prepare Income Tax-related documents with a CA firm in Navi Mumbai and did not have any permanent job.

PTI