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Demonetisation: 56% of Kerala’s economic activity in doldrums, finds govt panel

The NDA government’s surprise demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has hit both leading and struggling sectors of the Kerala economy hard, pulling the state’s economy down and affecting potential resource mobilisation, a study by a panel has found.

The committee, set up on 23 November, is headed C P Chandrasekhar of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.



“Cash-intensive sectors such as retail trade, hotels, and restaurants and transportation account for over 40 percent of the Kerala economy, and the primary sector accounts for another 16 percent of the economy. Thus, 56 percent of the economic activity of Kerala is immediately affected by the withdrawal of specified bank notes,” an interim report submitted by the five-member committee has said.

According to the report, the impact of demonetisation in terms of the cash deficit and its consequences has been particularly severe in the state also because of the distinct character of its banking sector, where the cooperative sector and the primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) play a central role.

Prime minister Narendra Modi on 8 November announced the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, sucking out about 86 percent of Rs 15.44 lakh crore currency in circulation. As the RBI was not ready with the replacement currency, this resulted in a cash crunch, which has negatively impacted the daily lives of common people across the country and in turn the economy.

People have been given time until 30 December to deposit their old notes at banks and RBI counters. The government had also allowed exchange of these notes during the period, but did a U-turn and withdrew the facility from 25 November.

According to the Kerala government panel’s report – the first study on demonetisation and its impact – the notifications issued by the RBI, particularly the one that was issued on 14 November, which kept the cooperative banks and societies out of the note exchange process, were particularly damaging for Kerala.

The study estimates that there are about 14,000 co-operative societies in the state, including the state co-operative bank, the state agricultural and rural development bank, district co-operative banks, urban banks, primary agricultural and rural development banks and primary lending societies. These institutions are central to financial intermediation and inclusion in Kerala, the report has said.

Around 60 percent of all deposits are in the co-operatives in the state, according to the report.

Rolling out the figures, the report said besides not being allowed to exchange the notes, the access of PACS to currency was cut off. This forced these institutions to shut down their operations.

As far as the fisheries sector is concerned, cash crunch has hit the payments for fish auctioned at the point of landing, payments of wages by boat owners, supply to wholesalers and retailers, etc.

“As business has declined, workers get less work and lower earnings, and have had to get into debt to meet their daily expenses,” the report said.

In the tourism sector, the report estimates that the domestic tourist arrivals in November fell by 17.7 percent on year and foreign tourist arrivals by 8.7 percent. In October, the tourist arrivals had seen 5.2 percent and 6 percent increase respectively.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 15:48 IST

Congress should clarify if it thinks of Afzal Guru as terrorist or nationalist: Anurag Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Alleging that Rahul Gandhi sides with those who raise anti-India slogans, senior BJP leader Anurag Thakur today said Congress should make it clear whether it thinks of Afzal Guru as a “terrorist or a nationalist”.”Gandhi sides with those who shout anti-India slogans in Jawaharlal Nehru University. It speaks about Congress’ ideology,” he said addressing the students of law college here. “Events are organised in JNU in support of Afzal Guru and Congress leaders can be spotted there. The party should make it clear if it thinks of Afzal Guru as a terrorist or a nationalist,” Thakur said. He said Congress was a “sinking ship” and it was evident from the result of various elections post demonetization.”In Chandigarh municipal corporation polls, BJP won 20 out of 26 seats. It shows people are with BJP and Prime Minister,” he said. Thakur said the Modi government is focusing on skill development programmes to help youths bag jobs. State Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf was in for some criticism from the students when he claimed that the Vasundhara Raje government gave jobs to more than 11 lakh youths.Hooted at by students, the minister said “they are not willing to listen to him” and returned to his seat.

Najeeb Ahmed missing case: JNUSU promises full cooperation to police search in campus

File image of the JNU campus. JNU websiteFile image of the JNU campus. JNU website

File image of the JNU campus. JNU website

New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union (JNUSU) on Thursday promised “full cooperation” to police search on the campus to trace MSc student Najeeb Ahmed who went missing two months back after a scuffle allegedly with ABVP affiliated students.

“JNUSU will extend its full cooperation in finding Najeeb. Delhi High Court’s direction to the Delhi police to search the university campus accommodation, ad-block, and the green areas using sniffer dogs, has long been a demand of JNUSU,” president of the students union Mohit Pandey said in a statement.

The Delhi High Court today directed the police to “scan” the entire campus, including hostels, classrooms and rooftops, of the varsity by using sniffer dogs. The court also asked Delhi Police to take all necessary steps without further loss of time to trace Najeeb, saying there has been delay in recording statements of some students suspected of thrashing him a day before his disappearance. Pandey said that, the Delhi police should have done this right in the beginning when they could not find Najeeb.

“JNUSU has been pointing out this lapse on the part of Delhi police even in its submission to the petition in the Court. We appeal to everyone to please cooperate with the High Court directions and in our struggle to find Najeeb” he said. Najeeb disappeared after scuffle with alleged ABVP students at his hostel.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 09:11 IST

JNU’s ‘Freedom Square’ barricaded by steel wall, students cry foul

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) barred its students from organising protests at its administration block, the varsity barricaded the space on Monday.The area outside the administration block is popularly known as “Freedom Square” after the February 9 incident, when anti-national slogans were allegedly raised by a few students, following which three were arrested, including the then students’ union President Kanhaiya Kumar.The varsity administration has been at loggerheads with students following the mysterious disappearance of MSc student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing on October 15 after a scuffle with ABVP members at the Mahi Mandavi hostel.Students said they noticed the barricade late on Sunday night when they reached the spot after organising a protest march over the varsity’s alleged attempt to shield Najeeb’s “assaulters”.”We were returning after a protest march against the Vice-Chancellor’s attempt to shield ABVP members who assaulted Najeeb at about 1 am on Sunday when we saw the barricade obstructing Freedom Square,” said JNU Students’ Union President Mohit Pandey.Terming it as an attempt to crush students’ freedom to dissent, Pandey said, “The VC is constantly trying to crush the voices raised against him and his administration. First they sent us notices telling us not to organise protests at the administration block, and now they have turned it into a jail-like structure.”The administration officials, however, claimed the decision was taken due to a space crunch at the building. The barricaded space will now be used for official purposes only. “The fence has been put up on the inner side of the block to make some space,” an official said.Recently, the VC’s office issued notices against some students, including Pandey, for putting up posters at the administration block. They has also barred students from organising protests in the area.

Sedition, hate speech laws are being revised, says Law Commission chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move that is likely to trigger intense political debate, the Law Commission is working actively on revising existing laws related to the controversial offences of sedition and hate speech.Law Commission Chairman Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan told DNA, “The biggest job we have right now is revision of criminal law. We are revising chapters related to sedition and hate speech.”The commission is working on providing an exact definition for sedition and hate speech—the laws on which are often misused in the name of nationalism.A source in the commission, on condition of anonymity, said, “We are presently in a dilemma as to what exactly constitutes hate speech and when can a person be booked for sedition. These are no specific guidelines on them. In fact there are contradictory judgments from the Supreme Court on the definition of sedition and hate speech. The commission has realized the problem and has prioritized working on these two laws.”Section 124 (a) of IPC which relates to sedition had come under focus after the JNU row in which three students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University were arrested for allegedly raising anti-national slogans.Section 153 of IPC, dealing with hate speech came to the fore, in 2015 when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenged the constitutional validity of the section in the Supreme Court. Swamy approached the apex court after he was booked in a hate speech case for writing a book which allegedly promotes enmity between two communities.Critics of sedition law have even demanding scrapping of the law by calling it a “draconian law”. Over the years, the governments have been accused of abusing the law for targeting people who speak against the government. Earlier this year, even the government had admitted in Parliament that the definition of sedition is “very wide”.Justice Chauhan said the commission received a special reference for consideration of the law on sedition from the government while the reference for consideration of the law on hate speech had come from the apex court.He said that the commission has had several discussions with stakeholders to discuss problems related the two laws. Sources said that the commission recently had a high-level meeting with officials of the Bureau of police research and development in this regard.In November, the commission organised a conference on the two laws in which many judges—both retired and sitting, senior lawyers, and academicians participated. Some of the attendees of the conference were Justice Multa Gupta, former chairman of law commission Justice AP Shah, senior advocates Indira Jaising and Pinky Anand.Justice Chauhan said that many stakeholders have sent written suggestions to the commission on revising these two laws, adding that commission is examining those suggestions and will soon come out with a report on revising the two laws.It is worth pointing out that in May 2014, Justice Chauhan, then judge at Supreme Court, had himself sent a referral to the then Law Commission to define the expression of “hate speech” and make recommendations to Parliament to strengthen the Election Commission to curb the menace of “hate speeches”.However, nothing much happened in this regard and things started moving forward only after Justice Chauhan himself took over the charge of Commission in March, this year.According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2015 alone, 424 cases were registered and 888 people were arrested under sections of 153 IPC. If the government and Parliament decide to go by the Law Commission’s revised version of these laws, the misuse of these laws would certainly come down.

Flocking to bird paradise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The second edition of the international UP Bird festival (UPBF), 2016 held between December 2 and December 4 was organised by Akhliesh Yadav-led UP government, the state forest department, UP Eco Tourism and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI.)The festival which was held at Chambal Safari located in Bah, 80 kms from Agra, UP also promoted it as an ornithologist’s paradise and to boost the state’s ecotourism. Home to birds such as the Brown Hawk Owl, Sarus Cranes, the Black Bellied Tern and Indian skimmers, the sanctuary which is watered by the Chambal also supports the largest population of fresh water crocodile — gharials.“This is the only bird festival in Asia. It has majorly helped create awareness on the conservation of natural habitats all across the country. It is a great initiative,” said, Nikhil Devasar, founder of the Delhi Bird Group and organiser, UPBF. “The festival brings together bird lovers from everywhere. This helps in spreading the word that it has a massive outreach, a crucial step in the conservation of birds for it is still a lesser known phenomenon in comparison to other wildlife species such as tigers or lions,” said, Dr Surya Prakash, professor of zoology, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a bird watcher for over 30 years. “The Tern needs extremely clean water to survive which is why they are seen at the Chambal river is clean. The number of bird and animal species it supports, is symbolic of a healthy eco system,” he said. Another vulnerable bird, people come down to spot is the Indian skimmer — found mostly in India, Bangladesh, Combodia, Myanmar and Pakistan. “India holds the only known remaining breeding grounds for Skimmers, found in Chambal. The bird is rare and vulnerable with its population declining because of loss of nesting area. Festivals such as these help build community support and create awareness and involvement in saving the nesting areas for the bird to breed and flourish,” said, Panchami Ukli, founder of The Bhubhneshwar Bird Walks and a participant, as she presented her work on saving the Skimmers in Orissa along with the state government.The festival is also significant for tagging of the local and migratory birds here. Dr S Balachandran of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), an expert in the fair, said, as he ringed a yellow River Lapwing, “Ringing is an important exercise for studying birds and data keeping. I have ringed 30 birds so far at the festival. At last year’s fest, I tagged around 70 birds of which two I found here again this time.”Delhi-based Bikram Grewal, bird author, believed it was one of its kind initiative but how much of it translates into conservation is yet to be seen. “At last year’s fest an MoU was signed for conserving the Skimmers, but nothing concrete has come out of it yet. During the three days, we could not spot any Skimmers ideally found here. More efforts are needed in this direction,” he said.

Narendra Modi is better than Donald Trump, says JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar

Mumbai: JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “better” than US President-elect Donald Trump.

Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI file imageKanhaiya Kumar. PTI file image

Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI file image

Kumar was speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘From Bihar to Tihar‘ at Times LitFest. “Despite several differences (he may have with Narendra Modi), Modi is better than Trump. There has been a rise in authoritative sentiment across the world and if you see the kind of language that was used in (US) presidential election, the comments made against migrants and women were unprecedented,” said Kumar, who earlier this year faced a sedition case over “anti-national” slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru

The student leader quoted the iconic African American leader Martin Luther King, saying, “Bad people are shouting not because they are more powerful but because the good people are quiet.”

Speaking about Najeeb Ahmed, the JNU student who has been missing for the past several weeks, Kumar said, “The government is actually doing nothing but throwing some issues before us. It is happening because there is no powerful opposition that would keep a check on this government. The issues of Dadri (lynching by cow-vigilantes), JNU’s anti-national slogans and Najeeb’s missing are being diverted. In Dadri, the committee is focusing on whether it was beef or not, in Rohith Vemula case, the committee was set up to decide his caste, in JNU’s anti-national slogan case, the committee was set up to find out whether footage was doctored or not. There are many other similar cases,” he said.

“Why was no chargesheet filed in the JNU anti-national slogans case even after nine months if the government was serious?” Kumar asked.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 22:55 IST

PM Modi better than Donald Trump: Kanhaiya Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “better” than the US President-elect Donald Trump. Kumar was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘From Bihar to Tihar’ at Times LitFest here.”Despite several differences (he may have with Narendra Modi), Modi is better than Trump. There has been a rise in authoritative sentiment across the world and if you see the kind of language that was used in (US) presidential election, the comments made against migrants and women were unprecedented,” said Kumar, who earlier this year faced a sedition case over ‘anti-national’ slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University.The student leader quoted the iconic African American leader Martin Luther King, saying “bad people are shouting not because they are more powerful but because the good people are quiet.”Speaking about Najeeb Ahmed, JNU student who has been missing for the past several weeks, Kumar said, “Government is actually doing nothing but throwing some issues before us. It is happening because there is no powerful opposition that would keep a check on this government. The issues of Dadri (lynching by cow-vigilantes), JNU’s anti-national slogans and Najeeb’s missing are being diverted.”In Dadri case, the committee is focusing on whether it was beef or not, in Rohith Vemula case the committee was set up to decide his caste, in JNU’s anti-national slogan case the committee was set up to find out whether footage was doctored or not and there are many other similar cases,” he said. Why no charge sheet was filed in the JNU anti-national slogans case even after nine months if the government was serious, Kumar asked.

Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana takes charge as new CBI Director

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI Director Anil Sinha on Friday retired from the post handing over the baton to his second-in-command, Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, as the government did not name any full-time chief.Asthana, a Gujarat-cadre officer of 1984-batch, got elevated as the second-in-command in CBI two days ago when Special Director R K Dutta, who was among the frontrunners for the top post, was shifted to the Home Ministry as a Special Secretary. The post of second special secretary was created for the first time in the ministry.It is the first time in last 10 years, that no new CBI chief has been named to succeed an incumbent. Sinha completed his two-year tenure on Friday. “The competent authority has approved assignment of additional charge of the post of Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to Rakesh Asthana, IPS (GJ: 1984), Additional Director, CBI with effect from the date of relinquishment of charge by Anil Kumar Sinha, IPS (BH:1979) on completion of his tenure with immediate effect and until further orders,” an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.The CBI chief is selected through a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition or largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India. The collegium has not been able to meet.60-year-old Sinha took charge of the agency when it was earning sobriquet of “caged parrot” and “closure bureau of investigation” and he managed to steady the ship by keeping away from media and ensuring a low profile with limited social circle. Sinha proved to be a soft-spoken yet assertive leader for the agency who guided investigation in a number of important cases like the Sheena Bora murder case and Vijay Mallya loan default case.In Mallya’s case, Sinha ensured that a case is registered against the flamboyant liquor baron for his alleged default of loans extended to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines even though banks did not approach CBI with a complaint. He directed his teams to explore role of media baron Peter Mukerjea in the Sheena Bora murder case after the agency was handed over the investigation.Sinha ensured that CBI rigorously follows cases of piling of Non-performing Assets in public sector banks even though banks were reluctant to initiate a probe in these cases fearing loss of possible middle path which can be arrived at through discussions with defaulters. Sinha, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University where he studied during the first decade of its inception, follows his interests in psychology and economics and loves to spend a quiet time with his family.

Mamata’s photo should be kept in every household: TMC MP Idris Ali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A TMC MP on Wednesday compared party chief Mamata Banerjee to national icons like Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and said the West Bengal Chief Minister’s photograph should be kept in every household in the country.TMC MP from West Bengal’s Basirhat, Idris Ali, today came to Parliament sporting an orange kurta, specially created and designed in College Street in Kolkata, with the face of Banerjee drawn on it. Ali told PTI the photograph of the West Bengal Chief Minister is kept in almost all the households of the state nowadays.”Just like people keep the photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, I think, her (Banerjee’s) picture should also be hung in every household across the country,” he said. He said she is a very popular leader who has lead from the front to oppose the government’s demonetisation decision from the very first day. He said Banerjee leads a very simple life and she has also taken up the cause of the poor. Many leaders from various parties also greeted him after they saw the kurta in Parliament, he added.

Find Najeeb in a day or I’m going to UP cops: Mother to Delhi Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a month after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed went missing under mysterious circumstances, his mother Fatima Nafees has challenged the Delhi Police to find her son within 24 hours, or she will knock the doors of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police.”This is really shameful. The Delhi Police have not been able to trace my son even after 38 days. I challenge them to get him back to me within 24 hours or I’ll file an FIR in UP,” she said during a protest at the Parliament Street on Wednesday. “If I had known that the Delhi Police was this inefficient, I would have contacted the UP Police in the beginning only,” she added.Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at JNU, has been missing since October 15 following an altercation with some ABVP members the night before at Mahi Mandavi hostel.Najeeb’s kin and some JNU students had met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on November 20, seeking his intervention in the case. “The Chief Minister had assured us of taking all possible measures top trace Najeeb. He also said he will rope in the UP Police in the matter,” Nafees said.Last month, a SIT was formed to trace Najeeb following a direction from Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who also announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for any information on the student. The reward amount was later raised to Rs 5 lakh.

Patna-Indore Express tragedy reveals Suresh Prabhu has been all talk no action

On 27 November, 1956, an Indian Railways train met with an accident at Arilayur in Tamil Nadu, killing 144 passengers. Exactly 60 years after that incident, Indians woke up to the news of the Indore-Patna train disaster killing 142 passengers.

This is where the tragic coincidences end.

Back then, when 142 passengers died, Railways minister Lal Bahadur Shastri decided to perform penance and resign. “I am responsible,” Shastri said and quit in Parliament. Accepting the resignation, prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru told the House: “All of us are very unhappy over the tragedy but I am sure — in fact I know it — that probably the unhappiest among all of us is the Railway Minister.” And now we have Suresh Prabhu, a railways minister who offers nothing except self-congratulatory propaganda on Twitter.

“Enhanced amount of ex-gratia compensation to the victims of this unfortunate accident: Rs 3.5 lakh in case of death,” Prabhu informs the applauding nation.

Hope the relief would be in new currency notes, sent to banks that have ATMs that work.

Then he fires a Twitter warning: Guilty won’t be spared. Ah, that’s another way of passing the buck.

Who is guilty, Mr Prabhu?

File image of Suresh Prabhu. AFPFile image of Suresh Prabhu. AFP

File image of Suresh Prabhu. AFP

Since your government came to power, fares and fees have gone up dramatically. Your ministry now charges exorbitant amounts for cancellations, doesn’t give a full berth to kids if full fare is not paid and has increased fares and freight rates under various pretexts. On top of that, we have the harebrained scheme of dynamic pricing that sometimes lead to the hilarious situation of train fares being more expensive than air travel?

According to a white paper put out by Prabhu last year, Indian Railway’s network has 1,14,907 kilometres of total track length. Of this, 4500 kilometres of track should be renewed annually. However, due to financial constraints, the progress in track renewals is constantly coming down over the last six years. As on 1 July, 2014, 5300 kilometres track length is due for renewal. The target for the current year is only 2100 kilometres. Arrears of track renewal are accumulating which will result in disproportionately high maintenance effort. This will also result in reduced reliability of assets.

Please tweet, Mr Prabhu, how much of the earnings were spent on passenger safety? On replacing old tracks, installing automatic train protection system to minimise manual errors?

Please tweet, what is the status of your Rs 1,20,000 crore safety fund called the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh?

Please tweet, whether this fund was cleared by the ministry of finance or it remained just what your government is famous for — a mere jumla?

Please tweet, how have your new ideas like dynamic pricing helped the railways? Last heard, the national carrier was suffering a loss of Rs 30,000 crore because of your ministry’s decision to hike prices and fares without providing additional safety and services.

Please tweet, what is the status of the recommendations of the Anil Kakodkar panel on Railways? What happened to its suggestion that there be an independent safety regulator? Last heard, your junior minister was telling the Parliament that the regulator was under consideration. How many more deaths and accidents will help you make up your mind?

The truth is, the entire railways is guilty of murder of passengers who boarded the ill-fated train. It is the result of lack of urgency for making train travel safe, carrying on with the historical legacies of previous governments that used it just for addressing its political constituency.

Two years ago, when Prabhu had presented his first budget, Firstpost had hailed his decision to eschew populism and work on making Railways a top-class service provider. But, since then, most of his early promise has been belied and reforms halted. Falling revenues, inadequate safety measures reveal that he has been all talk and very little action.

Prabhu is right when he says the guilty should be punished.

Ever heard of moral responsibility? Ever heard of a gentleman called Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mr Minister?

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 15:13 IST

JNU missing student case: Delhi Police trace auto driver who ferried Najeeb on 15 Oct; reward on info raised

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday claimed to have traced the auto driver who ferried Najeeb Ahmed from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) the day he went missing, even as it raised the reward from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for anyone providing information that could help locate the missing student.

The Delhi Police’s crime branch team investigating the case said that the auto driver told them he had dropped Najeeb to Jamia Millia Islamia. “We have been able to trace the movement of Najeeb on October 15, the day he went missing. He took an auto from JNU and reached Jamia Millia Islamia campus. He had taken the auto himslef and wasn’t accompanied by anyone,” said a senior police officer.

The police is now trying to find out whether Najeeb had any friend in Jamia whom he had gone to meet, sources said. The crime branch also spoke with Najeeb’s family today and apprised them of the status of investigation.



Earlier in the day, Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma approved the increase in the reward amount from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Initially, the reward amount was Rs 50,000 but later on, it was increased to Rs 1 lakh and subsequently to Rs 2 lakh last month. Verma today raised the amount to Rs 5 lakh, said a senior police officer.

The team, which is investigating the matter, has started from scratch and is re-looking at all the clues and evidence, the officer said. Najeeb has gone missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with ABVP members the night before.

Last month, an SIT was formed to trace the missing student following an instruction from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to the Delhi Police Commissioner. The SIT, headed by Additional DCP-II(South) Manishi Chandra, could not to gain any actionable clue in the matter.

The SIT was focusing on psychiatric angle in the probe after it was learnt that Najeeb was suffering from OCD with depression. The team was also mulling to seek help of psychiatrists from AIIMS or RML to chalk out a plan for investigation.

However, the Crime Branch is now investigating all probable angles rather than focusing on any one perspective, sources said. While the case was being investigated by the SIT, teams were sent to Darbhanga in Bihar and Nepal after they got leads hinting that Najeeb might be there, but they could not find him.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 21:06 IST

SC defers hearing of PIL seeking Indus Water Treaty disqualification till January

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing of a petition calling for scrapping of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan till January.The plea has been filed by a Delhi-based lawyer M L Sharma, who has said that the treaty is unconstitutional.Sharma says the treaty is invalid as it was signed by Nehru and Khan, and that it should have been signed by the President of India.The treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan. It is one of the most liberal water-sharing pacts in the world.The agreement covers six rivers – the three eastern rivers of Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and their tributaries and the three western rivers of Indus, Jhelum, Chenab and their tributaries.Water from the eastern rivers has been allocated to India, and New Delhi is obligated to let 80 percent water from the western rivers flow to Pakistan. The treaty gives the lower riparian Pakistan more ‘than four times’ the water available to India.

National Herald relaunches with an internet edition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fear of losing prime property in the commercial heart of the national capital forced the Congress to launch the Internet edition of its newspaper National Herald. The Associated Journals Limited (AJL) owners of the newspaper had earlier planned to revive print edition – which had died a slow death seven years ago, to mark the birth anniversary of its founder Jawaharlal Nehru on Monday. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday tweeted to greet the relaunch of the National Herald on the web. “A fitting tribute to Pt Nehru on his 127th birth anniv! Wishing team @NH_India the very best in this new innings,” he said.In a statement, the AJL said, “In keeping with the changing times, the newspaper group resumes phased publication as a multimedia outlet with a strong digital presence.” The statement stressed that the digital websites will follow the same editorial vision and principles as that of its founder Nehru who launched the daily in 1938 as the vanguard of the Indian freedom movement.The company, which is owned by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, treasurer Motilal Vora, and other Senior Congress leaders, said the newspaper will remain committed to furthering the values it has always cherished as the best values of the freedom movement – that of building a modern, democratic, just, equitable, liberal, and socially harmonious nation, free of sectarian strife.But insiders said at the centre of the party’s ‘media initiative’ was to save the prime Herald House at the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, often known as Delhi’s Fleet Street with the offices of major newspapers. The building had been leased out to AJL – of which the Gandhis are majority shareholders – for the newspaper business alone. With the papers going out of print in 2008, the urban development ministry had sought an explanation from the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son on why the lease should not be cancelled.Alarmed at the prospect, the Congress started drawing plans to revive the newspaper to mark the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. Last year, during a routine inspection of buildings, the Land and Development Office of the urban development ministry found that there is no newspaper office on the premises. The ground and the first floors of the building house the Passport Seva Kendra of the Regional Passport Office of Ministry of External Affairs. The other two floors have been rented out to Tata Consultancy Services. The fourth floor also has an office of Young Indian, another entity of the Congress party. The owners are getting a rent of approximately Rs.1 crore a month.

India’s efforts to protect children fail due lack of budget – Kailash Satyarthi | Reuters

By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – India’s efforts to improve the lives of its children are failing due to meagre government spending on the youth, Nobel peace laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi said on Monday, as the country marked its annual “Children’s Day”.Children’s Day, or Bal Divas, coinciding with the birthday of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is marked by events such as cultural performances in schools.”Our nation has the world’s highest number of malnourished children, child labour and children vulnerable to sexual offences, (yet) it is unfortunate this section of the society receives the lowest budgetary allocation,” Satyarthi said.”All our efforts for the development of children fail with such disproportionate investment,” he said in a statement.Children make up more than 40 percent of India’s almost 1.3 billion population, yet only four percent of the budget is allocated to under-18s, he said.India has made considerable progress in curbing the exploitation of children over the last decade. It has introduced laws to protect children and ensure their schooling, as well as a range of social welfare schemes. But activists say implementation is lacking in combating issues such as child labour and sexual exploitation.

A February 2015 report by the International Labour Organization puts the number of child workers in India aged between five and 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally.More than half are in agriculture, toiling in cotton, sugarcane and rice paddy fields where they are often exposed to pesticides and risk injury from sharp tools and heavy equipment.Over a quarter work in manufacturing – confined to poorly lit, barely ventilated rooms in slums, embroidering clothes, weaving carpets, making matchsticks or rolling beedi cigarettes.

Children also work in restaurants and hotels, washing dishes and chopping vegetables, or in middle-class homes, cleaning and scrubbing floors.Other crimes against children are also a serious concern, say activists. There were over 94,000 crimes against children recorded in 2015, an increase of more than five percent from the previous year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).Crimes included murder, infanticide, kidnapping and abduction, abandonment and procuration of minor girls. Almost 30 percent were sexual offences, including rape, said NCRB data.

Satyarthi, whose charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) is credited with rescuing more than 80,000 enslaved children, said a child goes missing in India every eight minutes. He appealed to legislators across all political parties to devote one day to the discussion of child rights during the last session of parliament this year, which begins on Wednesday.”Although significant progress has been made for the protection of child rights, critical challenges continue due to gaps in policy and their implementation,” he said.”The fight against child labour, child trafficking and child sexual abuse need higher political will,” added Satyarthi, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai. (Reporting by Nita Bhalla, 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

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

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 22:28 IST

Demonetization: Modi targets Congress; says poor enjoying sound sleep, rich running to buy sleeping pills

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the poor in the country are supporting his demonetization decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took on the opposition parties, especially Congress, saying it is the corrupt who are sleepless now.”After demonetisation, the poor are enjoying a sound sleep while rich are running from pillar to post to buy sleeping pills,” Modi said at BJP’s Parivartan Yatra here, as he continued to rally public support for his move.Scoffing at opposition for blaming him for the problems being faced by the poor, the Prime Minister said he was better aware of the hardships being faced by commoners.”You (Congress) issue statements. I feel the pulse of the poor,” he said.Lashing out at opposition, he said, “Some political parties are worried after demonitisation…they used to get huge garlands of notes…only option now is to put the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in waste paper basket.” “Some people wear a smile on the face, they even say Modi ji you have done a good job. But they instigate their party workers to oppose my decision,” he said, without taking any names.His apparent reference was to leaders of BSP, SP and AAP who have been critical of the move.Modi said the action will affect very powerful people people but he is prepared to fight for the poor.”I know I will face a lot of hardships as those having lots of cash are very powerful people but I have undertaken this fight for the poor,” the PM said.Referring to people dumping wads of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in rivers, the Prime Minister said, “You cannot wash your sins off just by putting currency notes in the river Ganges.””My decision is a little harsh… when I was young poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea as they like strong tea but it spoils the mood of the rich,” he said amid applause from the gathering.Modi said he was aware of the hardships being faced by people in the wake of his demonetisaion decision. However, he said had it not been for people’s support, the corrupt and blackmarketeers would not have been so worried today.Making his opening remarks in Bhojpuri to strike a rapport with the people of eastern UP, Modi said there was no change in the plight of people of Purvanchal since 1962 and he chose November 14 (Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary) purposely to complete the works for development of the region.He said there was no dearth of money for development, but the fact was that money was stashed away somewhere else and not where it should have been.He said some political parties are facing a major problem due to demonetization.”There is no option left for the dishonest in the country now. I am only fulfilling the promise made at election time to fight corruption,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nation remembers Jawaharlal Nehru on his 127 birth anniversary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 127th birth anniversary on Monday.”Tributes to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.Besides Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi’s former chief minister Sheila Dikshit paid floral tributes to Nehru at his memorial ‘Shanti Van’ here.At the end of the ceremony, the dignitaries released tricolour balloons in the air amid playing of bands and patriotic songs by school children.Nehru was born to Motilal Nehru and Swaroop Rani on November 14, 1889, in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and his birthday is celebrated as Children’s Day in the country as he was fond of children. He remained in office until his death in 1964.

Missing JNU student: Students blame Delhi Police for delay in efforts to find Najeeb Ahmed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus criticized the Delhi Police on Saturday for delayed efforts to in find Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing from last 28 days after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising mostly of ABVP members. JNUSU President Mohit Pandey said, “Police has not taken any action for finding Najeeb. They have not followed the procedures and responsibilities. Those who had beaten him were not interrogated. Constantly the members of ABVP are saved. We will go to police time and again. We will not let Najeeb forget our responsibility. Police is delaying the investigation. Why is the basic investigation not happening? We want only Najeeb to be searched. We doubt that whether the Delhi police is really doing the investigation or not?” Former President Akbar said. “The police have delayed the investigation in the beginning and are creating rumors. It is complete failure of the police and the state. They are not investigating footage of metros and Bus stoppages,” Another student Shashi told ANI.According to reports, police sources said that Missing Jawaharlal Nehru University student Najeeb Ahmed was on anti-depressants and taking medicines for insomnia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Ahmed, a 27-year-old first-year MSc student, went missing from campus on October 15 after getting into an altercation with members of the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. There has been no information about Ahmed’s whereabouts so far.

Rajnath Singh assures action to missing JNU student’s mother, says he is personally taking stock of probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mother of missing student of JNU Najeeb Ahmed today met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who assured her of his intervention to find out the youth who has been untraceable since October 15. Fatima Nafees and other family members urged the Home Minister to trace Najeeb, a student of School of Biotechnology in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. The Home Minister gave a patient hearing to Najeeb’s mother and other family mothers and listened to all their grievances, official sources said.Assuring Najeeb’s mother of timely action in the case, Singh said that proper action will be taken to find her son. Singh told them that Delhi Police has set up a special team to pursue the case and he was personally taking stock of the progress in the probe. The Home Minister assured the family all kind of assistance, the sources said.SP MP from Badaun Dharmendra Yadav, who accompanied Najeeb’s family, said the Home Minister has assured them that efforts are being made to trace him at the earliest. “If police are not able to trace him, we will approach court and raise the issue in Parliament,” Yadav told reporters after the meeting. Najeeb’s sister Sadaf rubbished allegations that he was mentally unstable and said efforts are being made to “defame” him instead of tracing him. “He had cracked university exams, he is a studious child. Do you think a person studying at such a prestigious institution can be mentally unstable? I request (all) that please don’t defame him. He had sleeping problems that children who are studying often have due to pressure. He had no other problem,” she said. Najeeb (27) went missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with some members of ABVP the night before. His mother claimed that she had spoken to Najeeb on the night of brawl and that she was sure that he did not leave the campus on his own. “I spoke to him at 11.00 pm , he wasn’t depressed. He was waiting for me, he had called me up. He did not go anywhere on his own he has been kidnapped…I am sure about it,” Nafees said. Najeeb’s mother was detained on Sunday by police while attempting to take out a protest march to India Gate.

JNU missing student – 8 special teams formed to investigate case: Delhi Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that there are some vested interests by those who are creating misplaced apprehensions among the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, Joint Commissioner of Police, Southwest, Deependra Pathak on Tuesday said eight separate teams have been formed to investigate the missing Najeeb Ahmed’s case. Pathak said the police are constantly communicating with Ahmed’s family and have been informing them about the investigation’s progress. “These protesting students are aloof from the truth. Eight separate teams are investigating the case. We have been communicating with the victim’s family on a daily basis and informing them of our progress,” Pathak said.The Joint Commissioner further said that special emphasis is being put on the reconstruction of the incident and of the personality to asses different dimensions of the case. “Under reconstruction of personality, we examine individuals’ health condition and psychosomatic condition. The fundamental aim of the police is to find different dimensions arising out of this,” he added.On Sunday, the Delhi Police detained JNU students who were staging protest against the authorities at the India Gate here for not taking firm steps to locate their Ahmed. Najeeb’s sister Sadaf Mosharraf, who was also among those detained by the police, vented her ire at the men in uniform. “We were protesting very peacefully but the Delhi Police detained us without any reason,” she said.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal criticised the incident saying the Centre is adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures. Kejriwal also met President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday to seek his intervention into the matter. Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

Delhi: Pollution, pooja and protests take toll on traffic

New Delhi: Chhath festivities, smog-filled air and protest by Jawaharlal Nehru University students over the missing student led to traffic snarls in the city on Monday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Tight security was in place in Lutyens Delhi amid reports of protest by Jawaharlal Nehru University students over the missing of Najeeb Ahmed.

Security personnel were posted around the roads leading to India Gate and traffic restrictions and diversions were put in place in anticipation of the protest, police said.

C Hexagon was closed for traffic movement, they said.

As students were detained around 5 pm while marching towards India Gate, traffic snarls were observed in the area.

Amid accusations of manhandling of students and missing Najeeb’s mother, Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police spokesperson and joint commissioner of police (Southwest) said, “We took all the precautions. Najeeb’s mother was not manhandled by our cops. When police were making the protesters sit inside buses, she lied down on the road. Our female officers waited for a while and tried to explain to her, but then they picked her up to ensure that she was not trampled in the crowd.”

The protesting students were taken to Mandir Marg police station. Mandir Marg was closed for a couple of hours as many students stood outside the police station, said a traffic police officer.

27-year-old Najeeb Ahmed, a student of School of Biotechnology and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, went missing on 15 October following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with the members of ABVP the night before.

Traffic was also affected in the city due to Chhath Puja celebrations and poor visibility over smog.

Heavy traffic was observed between Chandgi Ram Akhada and ISBT, Kalindi Kunj and Noida due to Chhath Puja, the traffic police officer added.

Missing JNU student: After police detain Najeeb’s mother, Kejriwal accuses Modi of adopting ‘dictatorship’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the Delhi Police stopped the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students from staging protest at the India Gate over missing student Najeeb Ahmed, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the Centre was adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures. Due to Chaat celebrations, Section 144 had been imposed at India Gate. ‘Why is the Prime Minister afraid of protests’ If one student is missing since the last 22 days then other students have the right to protest. This is their constitutional right and the government is trying to snatch their rights from them,’ said Kejriwal. Commenting on the Delhi Police’s move to summon nine people in connection with this case, Kejriwal said that the men in uniform have just done a formality in the name of investigation.’The BJP is ruling the nation and Delhi Police is afraid of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). So, they didn’t have the courage to call the ABVP people from past 22 days and just for formality they called few ABVP members for interrogation yesterday,’ he said. Earlier today, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention into the matter.Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report both from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well. Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal then said.Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

BJP leader Giriraj Singh blames Nehru’s ‘faulty’ education policy for nation’s unemployment woes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Stoking yet another controversy, BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh blamed the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for “faulty” educational policy which “failed to create required skilled manpower” in the country. “It is unfortunate that policy makers of this country have not been able to create skilled manpower. I do not want to name Nehruji, but due to his faulty policy, the country has only 2.5 per cent of its population as skilled hands, while 96 per cent people are skilled in developed nations,” he told reporters at the sidelines of a function here.”As all of you know it is the education policy that shapes the future of a nation. His (Nehru’s) policies were faulty,” he said, adding the method only educated people but failed to make them skilled and employable.The youths of today need employment and this is the biggest challenge before the nation, the Union Minister of State for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises said.”This is the biggest problem today because India adds the population of Australia every year. Therefore, we need to create skilled manpower in order to make them employable,” he said and asked the people to have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modiji will take forward both Odisha and India,” Singh said. The Odisha Congress state unit was quick to criticise the minister’s remarks. “The Union Minister has no knowledge about the first prime minister of the country. This is BJP’s petty politics,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.

Dear Vivek Agnihotri, let’s be clear: JNU’s Najeeb Ahmad going missing is not a film script

In an extremely journalistic piece, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri blamed the disappearance of Najeeb — the student from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) —on Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and called it a larger conspiracy to overthrow the Narendra Modi government.

He has got ‘facts’ to back his argument which only God could have whispered into his ears because nobody else, let alone in the JNU, is aware of these ‘facts’. For lesser mortals like me and other readers I would like to counter his heavenly ‘facts’ with earthly ones.

Agnihotri argues that JNUSU is being controlled by the students wings of CPI(M) and CPI(M-L). “These are the same parties which are the strategic forces behind the Naxal/Maoist movement.” One should be aware that the Communist movement has many internal contradictions and not every party with a name communist in it shares its whole interest with the other such outfit. Politically-aware readers might remember that Maoists sided with the Trinmool Congress in order to overthrow CPI(M)-led Left government in West Bengal.

I hope Agnihotri starts reading newspapers too and stops relying fiction like he has written in his article:

“These are the same parties which are the strategic forces behind the Naxal/Maoist movement in India which alone is responsible for the loss of over 13,000 innocent lives in India. This is more than the killing of innocent people and soldiers in the insurgent Kashmir and North East.”

Kashmir alone has seen around 100,000 civilian deaths since late 1980s.

Now, coming to the 14 October incident, Agnihotri has written a good story but it is important for him to remember that it is not one of the scripts of his movies. At the very outset, one should understand that the whole incident is being investigated by the Delhi Police as well as the University Proctor. Since matter is subjudice, comments should be made very carefully about the case.

Only Najeeb or Vikrant and his two friends can tell what happened inside that room that night. While Vikrant’s version of the story can be confirmed through him and his friends other party in the case is still missing. Vikrant and his two other friends who were in that room came out with a public pamphlet on 23 October, eight days after Najeeb went missing, where they levelled a few charges against him. What the pamphlet claimed is that Najeeb slapped Vikrant ‘twice’ in an unprovoked manner and later pointed towards his wrist and asked that why did you wear this. Truth in this story is under investigation and a student is still missing. This pamphlet while gives us a description of what happened in that room it does not corroborate the “fact” any sort of “violence” perpetuated upon Najeeb.

Agnihotri's article on Najeeb Ahmed has nothing to do with facts. Image courtesy: News18

Agnihotri’s article on Najeeb Ahmed has nothing to do with facts. Image courtesy: News18

While there are no other witnesses to this incident, there are many who witnessed the violence against Najeeb. According to witnesses, he was beaten in the corridor, at the stairs and even in presence of the warden of the hostel.

Agnihotri, you have extrapolated the accusations levelled by one party in this case and totally ignored the other side of the story. Not just that, but Agnihotri’s article does not even honestly narrate Vikrant’s version.

Agnihotri’s article is not only not factual, it also makes sweeping statements about many things without really getting a good grip of his subject. While Agnihotri, in his article, sympathises with the turn of events and mentions that students like Najeeb are the future of the nation, he suddenly shifts gears and claims that the case of the missing student is part of the larger conspiracy by Left parties who are conspiring to overthrow the Modi government.

Fact: Left parties are fighting for their own existence.

By which stretch of imagination are the Left parties, the power-players in the Indian political arena? And the idea that “political parties pushing their own agenda” and “Opposition is bad-mouthing the ruling party” has no novelty to it.

Jumping from one assumption to another — that’s how Agnihotri’s article reads. Moving further, Agnihotri writes:

Soon, Bapsa began putting up posters on campus glorifying ‘Dalit-Muslim’ unity and presented Najeeb as a victim of Hindu oppression. They attacked ABVP, BJP and RSS. The posters screamed of Brahminism (a very old and stale plank of the Leftists). The posters mentioned the Una incident to underline their narrative. The tactics used during the Umar Khalid episode in February and later Rohit Vemula episode, start repeating again. Another poster by the SIO screamed, ‘Violence against Muslims can be seen as a common denominator of Indian social existence’. It seems these parties have already assumed that Najeeb is a victim of communal politics. How can they assume this? Or is it that they know the plot? Who is the author of this script? Why is this similar to the earlier Umar and Rohit scripts?

We don’t know where Agnihotri is getting these newsbits, but as far as official sources are concerned, no parties have come out with any poster. Bapsa and NSUI did, but after 23 October. JNUSU also did not come out with any pamphlet or poster till that day. Yes, ABVP of course has pasted a number of posters in order to try to shift complete blame on Najeeb.

Agnihotri has written a great piece and I hope that one day he makes another movie with this script.

Author is a research scholar of Modern History at JNU, New Delhi and inmate of the same hostel where Najeeb and Vikrant resides

Najeeb Ahmed row: JNU protests defy logic, will yield little for its present protagonists

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus is once again reverberating with protests. Dharna pradarshans are being staged for last one week, human chains are being formed, ‘solidarity marches’ are being carried on with fascinating slogans; raised in full tempo: “Zulmi jab jab zulm karega satta ke hathiyaron se chappa chappa goonj uthe ga Najeeb Najeeb ke naaron se”.

New hashtag #JusticeforNajeeb is doing rounds and the obvious topping to this is a “Sanghi Vice chancellor” and “Dalal media” playing the perpetual ‘antagonist’.

Former JNU Student Union (JNUSU) vice-president Shehla Rashid on Sunday evening shared a Facebook post that read, “Our Sanghi Vice chancellor can only do one thing and that is TWEET and call the Dalal media. We have not confined you Shameless VC. Please come out of your soundproof room and listen to us. See how we students want our fellow student NAJEEB back among us safely”.

The post was in reaction to a series of tweets by the JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, who on Sunday alleged that protesting students had blocked the entrance of his residence. In one of his tweets he said, “Agitating students.. please understand, by shouting slogans and blocking entrance to my residence, we cannot trace Najeeb”.

Campus tensions. Image courtesy News18Campus tensions. Image courtesy News18

File photo of Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Image courtesy News18

Another tweet by Kumar added, “Repeated appeals to cooperate and not agitate have fallen on deaf ears of student agitators. This is unfortunate.”

As expected, Kumar was attacked for playing the “damsel in distress” and the victim, as many accused him of playing in the hands of the ‘sanghi goons’.

Following the arrest of former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar (in relation to 9 February incident) the protests that followed, garnered support from different quarters as it had an underlying logic to it. The support that poured in for a student leader, who allegedly participated in “anti-India” programme and was arrested like a local thug and slapped with a sedition charge, without any concrete evidence hinting at his culpability.

Merely nine months after that incident, a protest is again being held at the JNU campus, demanding quick action against the alleged culprits and against the “lackadaisical attitude of the JNU administration” in dealing with the issue of a missing student.

The ongoing protest at the JNU campus is in regard to missing Najeeb Ahmed, a student of MSc, who has been missing since 11 am on 15 October, after an alleged altercation with students belonging to the ABVP at the Mahi-Mandavi hostel. The intensity of the protest, the support it is attracting is nothing in comparison to post 9 February incident and the reason is obvious: The current protest, in spite of all its pretensions, is devoid of certain logic.

In a series of appeal that was posted on the official website of the university, the Vice-Chancellor has made it clear that “Efforts to keep in contact with the police are constantly on. The Vice-Chancellor of JNU is meeting the Police Commissioner on Monday morning in this regard. The JNU security is also on the vigil to locate him within the campus”.

In another appeal on Saturday, the JNU administration stated that “The missing of a student from the campus is everybody’s concern in JNU and the entire JNU community should make combined endeavours to trace Najeeb”.

All the appeals, however, have fallen flat to the shrill cries of protesting students, who on Sunday evening in large numbers marched to V-Cs house and held protests and demonstrations.

While fear of communalisation of the issue has been expressed by the JNU authorities and the police, the way the entire issue has been tackled has also given way to various conspiracy theories; some laughable, some raising concern and then some hinting at how JNU has become the microcosm of party-politics where winning the game by hook or crook remains the sole prerogative of its leaders.

According to some of the students in the campus, the entire twist given to the ‘minor’ fight between some students have been done deliberately. “During the current JNUSU elections, the Left parties felt their ground slipping so they joined hand together is spite of their intense ideological differences. They also felt threatened by the sudden rise of the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA), which has gained good support from students belonging to Other Backward Castes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Muslim communities and also from the Kashmiris students,” said a student of School of International Studies.

He adds, “Left parties are using this incident to regain the ground they feel they have lost to BAPSA.”

While such theories can be ignored as ideologically and politically motivated, it speaks in volume how politicised the entire discourse on the campus has become. To an extent that, an unfortunate event of beating up of a student has led to fierce political allegations and counter allegations and communalisation of the entire issue.

While concern over the security of the missing student was expressed by some of the faculty members and protesting students when Firstpost spoke to them, it cannot be dismissed that what is apparently falling short of some justifiable logic is the method of protest that has rocked the campus.

With host new and of old faces, the current protests in JNU over the missing student looks nothing more than a turf war fought between contending ideologies, some with firm ground and some trying to make space.

Protest that followed 9 February incident was waged in the name of free speech and expression and was against the arbitrariness of the sedition law. It had a well-crafted trajectory and a purpose. However, the current politics over the missing MSc student reminds one of the bewilderment of the Lewis Carroll’s Alice and ironically honest remark of her Cheshire Puss (cat) that, whatever direction she takes, she is bound to encounter madness, defied of any concrete logic.

Given the fact that Home Minister himself has instructed the Delhi police to probe the case, it will not be too long now that police will be able to find Najeeb, or god forbid, will let the world know if something unfortunate happened to the 27-year-old student. Till then, however, JNU will be held hostage to a fierce ‘ideological’ war in which no matter which side you fall and what direction you take, madness will abound.

Diversity should not be converted into uniformity, says President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India should celebrate diversity and must not artificially try to convert it into “uniformity”, President Pranab Mukherjee said in Gandhinagar on Sunday. Observing that the country’s economy is growing at very fast pace, Mukherjee said it was not an accident or an achievement of one or two years. “Today, we have 1.25 billion people on land. We have 1,800 dialects, 200 languages used in every day life, have seven religions, three major ethnic groups,” Mukherjee said at a function of Bapu Gujarat Knowledge Village, a college run by senior Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela.”It’s possible because of our cultural liberalisation. It’s because of our spirit that we must celebrate our diversity. We must not try to remove diversity and artificially try to convert diversity into uniformity,” he said.Mukherjee said this is the teaching of our ancient saints, philosophers and leaders. Many septics have expressed their doubts over makers of Indian constitution that it is a poor country, illiterate, diseased. How could any highly sophisticated parliamentary constitutional mechanism be established there… “One of the personal friends of (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Sir Frank, who later became the Prime Minister of England, said Constitution was your idealism. However, after successful conduct of two general elections, the same person said it (Constitution) is most significant, magnificent, Magna Carta (a significant document in British history) of socio-economic transformation,” he said.The President said the country had embarked on the road of socio-economic transformation through the Constitution. He said Indian economy has been growing at a very fast rate which is a result of sustained efforts.”Indian economy is growing very fast and this is not accident or the achievement of one or two years. Over last one-and-a-half decades, our GDP growth has been more than 7.5 per cent.”(For) couple of years, we had 8.5 per cent (growth).Yes, we have left behind us the age when one of the noted economist jokingly told us that 3.5 per cent was Hindu growth rate of economy,” Mukherjee said. He warned of a “demographic explosion” if India fails to provide necessary skills to the youth for securing jobs. “By 2030 or within 14 years from now, India will have the largest working population but this won’t pay us dividend and may turn into demographic explosion if we do not give them necessary skills required for jobs,” Mukherjee added.

Contrary to students’ claims, JNU teachers say proposal for yoga, culture courses not rejected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Friday said the varsity has not rejected the proposal to introduce certificate courses in yoga and Indian culture and was deliberating it even as the students union claimed otherwise.JNU Students’ Union maintained that the Academic Council, which is the varsity’s statutory decision-making body, has rejected the proposal to introduce these courses “with majority”.”At a recently convened meeting of the Academic Council, certificate course in computational linguistics was approved and two other courses — yoga philosophy and Indian culture — received wonderful suggestions. It was decided that the centre concerned might improve the courses in the light of suggestions made and then come back to the Council. At no stage the proposal was rejected outright,” a statement issued by JNUTA said.However, JNUSU in a statement said, “While the students continued to protest outside the AC meeting venue, the proposal to introduce short-term courses in yoga and Indian culture was rejected with majority.”When contacted, the university administration did not comment on the “actual status” of the courses.The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come last year against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including RSS, insisting on propagation of culture in educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and restore its cultural identity.Following various communications from the HRD Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC), JNU had last year circulated a draft of three courses among its various schools and departments for their feedback. The proposal was rejected by the Academic Council in November.However, the varsity had in May decided to reconsider it and the departments were asked to rework on the proposed course structure and place the same before the council.The matter was placed before the AC which was held last week amid protests by a section of students.

Brics summit in Goa: Forget Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai and get tough with China

Dealing with Pakistan’s export of terror is difficult enough for India. Add to this tragedy a third player, China, which not only backs Pakistan but even plays nasty economic games against India, and then it’s quite a tough job to handle.

That’s what Prime Minister Narendra Modi must remember as he hosts the summit of the five-nation Brics and a retreat for the leaders of the seven-nation Bimstec this weekend in Goa. Pakistan is part of neither Brics nor Bimstec but will be at the back of Modi’s mind when he talks to President Xi Jinping of China in Goa.

India must reconcile to the fact that, in foreseeable future, both Pakistan and China will continue to be its adversaries. Having already made enough gullible attempts to turn both those countries into friends, India must now begin to find ways to “manage” its relations with the rogue country on the west and its ally on the east in a manner that would be to its best advantage.

India’s recipe to fight China must have more of economics than diplomacy. Then as a spin-off, India can hope for a more sober Pakistan, though there is no guarantee of that since nobody knows who is — and who will be, in future — in charge of Pakistan’s affairs.

What makes the cash route a better bet to fight China is the slow-down in China’s economy. The dragon is breathing less economic fire now, and though it’s not ready to have its wings clipped, it’s more vulnerable than ever before.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

But it would take only a fool or a jingoist to believe that India is better off than China. Though India’s economy is showing impressive signs of improvement, Chinese economy, even with its present mess, is still many times larger than India’s, and the Chinese military much stronger.

It’s also preposterous to even suggest that India must curb trade ties with China, in retaliation for the latter’s brazen backing for Pakistan. Economically, India needs China as much as China does India.

Western economists differ on whether China’s economic troubles are subsiding, and their assessments are not proving to be reliable. Yet the stories that continue to come out of China of job losses, unemployment and salary cuts are good news for India.

That’s what India must leverage to perk up its own economy and to bring down its own unemployment and poverty levels, say some well-meaning experts.

Like India has replied to Pakistan’s terror in its own langue with surgical strikes, India must deal with China by employing the same methodology of chicanery that the eastern neighbour has made itself notorious for: by dropping a subtle hint here and there, and by making it clear that India will do business with China on its own terms.

Brics is a good place to start, and China is already getting the right message not only from India but other countries of the bloc as well. Media reports suggest that India, along with other Brics members, are showing no interest in a “Brics Free Trade Agreement” that China wants to peddle to them at this week’s summit. This proposal is designed in a way to further China’s own interests, not anybody else’s.

Paying for its past follies, China is indeed a desperate nation today.

AFP reported on 10 October that China’s foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, have fallen to a five-year-low to less than US $3.18 trillion this week. But India’s reserves — $371.2 billion this week, though a fraction of China’s—are showing an upward trend.

But that’s not the point. What matters more is what the world thinks of the Chinese and what India should do to rein the Communist nation that has no respect for international rule of law, human rights, treaties or the global fight against terrorism, and for whom transparency is a dirty word.

But even China—where most things are shrouded in a sinister secrecy and where the very composition of its foreign reserves itself is a state secret—can occasionally be candid. That, again, perhaps is part of the Chinese passion to surprise the enemy.

On 5 October, a Xinhua report quoted a Chinese official as having made an oblique confession that the world at large thinks of the Chinese as fraudsters who are unreliable to do business with.

The official said China’s trade remained under heavy downward pressure, partly due to “increasing trade frictions” with nations around the world

In the last eight months, he admitted, 20 countries including the US launched 85 “trade remedy probes” against Chinese deals worth US $ 10.3 billion, almost double the amount for the same period last year. These relate to patent or trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, false advertising and violation of antitrust laws.

A recent Reuters report said: “China’s offshore ambitions have come under increasing scrutiny this year by governments in Europe and the United States.”

The Chinese are learning, though slowly, that their policies could one day lead to their isolation in the world. Already, China finds itself to be somewhat of a pariah within Brics, though not to the same extent as Pakistan is in Saarc — yet.

Among Brics members, India suffers from a trade deficit of $ 52.7 billion with China. This means China’s exports to India far outstrip its imports from India. Russia has its own $-12-billion trade deficit with China. Though Brazil and South Africa enjoy trade surpluses with China, all four countries are suspicious of any move that China makes that they think can even remotely affect the balance unfairly.

Pakistan may be a vassal state of China, but Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa are not. They would be ready to call China’s economic bluff, though the four countries together don’t present a pretty picture of unity themselves.

There are some who argue that India must do more business with China to offset the security threat from Pakistan. One of them is, Niti Aayog’s Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, who told India Today: “… our economic engagement with China can trump the security engagement of China with Pakistan.”

But those like Subhash Kapila, former Indian diplomat in Japan and the US, don’t agree. Kapila argues in this article: “The China-Pakistan Axis with strategic underpinnings pointedly aimed at India is also an established strategic reality. India vainly keeps hoping that economics would ultimately prevail and modulate China’s patent targeting of India’s strategic rise in Indo Pacific Asia.”

The way to grapple with the China problem lies in both politics and economics in right proportions. While using its own significant economic clout, India must raise its voice against China’s hypocritical and hegemonistc advances in the region.

It is clear that, whatever Modi does or says in Goa this week, a meek surrender to the Chinese blackmail is not an option. The days of Jawaharlal Nehru’s gullible Hindi-Chini bhai bhai are long gone. Having called Pakistan’s bluff, India must now call China’s.

The author tweets @sprasadindia

Uniform Civil Code row: Religion should not dictate rights of individuals, says Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday asserted that religion cannot dictate upon the rights of an individual and attacked Congress over its stand on the Uniform Civil Code, saying it was the Constituent Assembly controlled by the party that had envisaged a common civil law for all Indians.”The Constitution today guarantees each individual right to equality, right to live with dignity. Therefore as far as personal laws are concerned I am one of those who believe that set of rights that personal law has… will have to be regulated by the Constitution.”Personal law cannot practise, propagate discrimination; cannot allow a compromise with human dignity. Personal law and practises can certainly deal with religion, can dictate upon rituals. The religion cannot dictate upon rights of individuals,” the Finance Minister said.The government’s affidavit on triple talaq is a secular approach, an approach that cuts upon religion, he said.He rejected the criticism of the government by various Muslim bodies, saying personal laws have been amended by the various governments and cited the amendment brought in by the first NDA government in divorce laws governing Christians. The Church fully supported it, he said.The Manmohan Singh government had also brought changes in Hindu Succession Act to bring the woman at par with the man in inheritance, Jaitley told Times Now.Taking a dig at Congress, he said he was “amazed” at its stand as he recalled that the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, who belonged to the party, had envisaged an Uniform Civil Code.He added that the Law Commission, which has sought views of various stake holders on the UCC, is carrying out an academic exercise following a judicial order and it was not the government’s decision.

Soon, swanky seaports to see tourists cruising into India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cruise tourism is something that the tourism ministry is keen on promoting. As a result, the ministry is working on a project to attract travellers by developing seaports and providing ease of access to e-visas for travellers in theseports.So soon, travellers arriving in India from other countries by sea will be greeted by swanky seaports in prominent coastal cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi.The ministry has written to the ministry of external affairs last month to clear this idea. The MEA has replied by saying that the idea still needs to be developed, as several ports in India are currently not ready to handle tourists.”The MEA has spoken about better infrastructure, and the need to rope in the bureau of immigration and the CISF to man these ports,” said Vinod Zutshi, secretary, ministry of tourism.The 7,400-kilometer coastline along southern India remains unexploited, and in December, Mumbai’s first cruise ship will set sail. It will be themed on Bollywood and cricket, and will travel to Mangalore, Cochin and thereafter to Maldives. There are 13 major ports in India, apart from 185 minor and private ports. Of these, only 61 ports function all around the year.Of these, traditional visas are currently allowed to tourists arriving at 21 seaports. These include Alang, Bhavnagar, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Cuddalore, Kakinada, Kandla, Kolkata, Mandvi, Mangalore, Marmagoa, Morech, Mumbai, Nagapattinam, Nhava Sheva, Paradeep, Porbandar, Port Blair, Tuticorin and Visakhapatnam.Zutshi however says that currently, despite this visa facility, the number of tourists arriving at these ports are negligible due to lack of infrastructure in this area. “Without facilities, there’s no footfall. And the travel trade players are keen on developing cruise tourism along the coastline,” he said. “We will also provide e-visas to foreign travellers arriving at these seaports.”Some of the most prominent seaports are the Kandla Port on the Gulf of Kutch, which was incidentally the first special economic zone in India as well as Asia. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port, also known as the Nhava Sheva, located on the West coast, has the distinction of being the biggest container port in the country. The Mumbai port is the largest in India.There are two types of arrivals that take place in India — turnaround entries and port of call. Turnaround entries are when cruises pass by seaports in India, and anchor for a day. In these cases, visas are not needed, and passports are retained by the shipowners.In port of call, cruise ships take in new passengers or offload them. Cruise liners like the Royal Caribbean halt at Cochin and Mumbai. The ministry is mooting e-visas for passengers entering India under port of call.The ministry is expecting over 90 lakh tourists this year, up from the 80 lakh tourists that arrived last year. In 2015, India registered 4,45,300 arrivals via e-visa. In comparison, this year there was a steep jump of over 300% with 6,06,493 arrivals by e-visa till August.The move will come as a boon to the tourism industry, says Tejbir Singh Anand of the Adventure Tour Operator Association of India (ATOAI). “We have an exceptional coastline, but the ports are ill-managed. This step will take be a step-up for the sector,” said Anand. He added that ports in Gujarat, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin and Kolkata portsmust be developed.

Rise above politics: Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on JNU rejecting yoga course

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the JNU Academic Council rejecting introduction of short-term course in yoga, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma called for rising above politics on Monday when it comes to the ancient Indian art, saying it is being accepted all over the world.”We are here for the people who support yoga… When we talk of yoga, everybody should rise above politics,” he said after a press conference to announce ‘Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav-2016’.He was asked about the decision of the top decision making body of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Sharma said yoga is an individual’s choice and not a “compulsion” on anybody. He said yoga is being accepted all over the world and it was a moment of pride for India when International Yoga Day was declared by the United Nations.International Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21, the date suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Academic Council (AC), the statutory decision making body of JNU which had been in the centre of controversy over anti-India slogans, has rejected a proposal regarding introduction of short-term courses in Indian culture and yoga second time.The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come last year against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including RSS, insisting on propagation of culture in educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and restore its cultural identity.On Modi’s decision to celebrate this year’s Dussehra in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Sharma said, “Modiji is Prime Minister of the whole country. Wherever he wish, he can go. UP is also part of India. (Earlier) he had celebrated Diwali in Jammu and Kashmir and this time he is going to celebrate Dussehra in UP.”Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav took a dig at Modi for his decision to attend the Dussehra festivities in Lucknow, saying “had there been elections in Bihar, he would have slain Ravana there”.

Jawaharlal Nehru, as an individual, was a genuine secularist: Nalini Rajan

Nalini Rajan has written about and taught democracy, secularism and identity issues. She is the dean of studies at the Asian College Of Journalism. Here she talks about secularism, Nehru and the complexities that have in the past proven that it is not as easily implementable as it may be definable. Her book, The Story of Secularism: 15th-21st Century, has recently been published.

Nalini RajanNalini Rajan

Nalini Rajan

Has the idea of ‘Indian secularism’ succumbed to the very characteristics it has boasted of keeping together – pluralism? Is that one of the biggest challenges facing the idea, one that struggles between a proportional approach (Hindu dominated population) or a flat-denomination approach (where even a one-man religion may sustain)?

Has secularism succumbed to pluralism?  I wouldn’t put it that way, because I believe that almost all states and societies are pluralistic today, in one way or the other — and that’s a positive thing.  Pluralism [though], then, poses challenges to secularism. But as I have shown in my book, it does so almost everywhere — in the USA, in France, and in India.

France’s struggle and near capitulation over the past few centuries is indicative of something. But is a ‘Laïcité-like’ secularism not possible in India?  When there are entirely too many elements to consider, wouldn’t an evasive politics work or can at least be tried? What do you think?

France faces challenges to secularism or ‘Laïcité’ because of its inability to deal with its Maghrebian population, the majority of whom belong to the Islamic faith. Laïcité worked in France till the 1950s, as long as it had a largely Judaeo-Christian population.  The problem with Laïcité is that it does not easily lend itself to adaptability over time. As far as India is concerned, I would call for a principled, contextual, negotiated position of secularism, rather than for ‘evasive politics’ as you call it. In fact, evasive politics is what has been followed in India since the Nehruvian epoch.

Nehru is remembered, and now re-eulogised for his secular ideas. What were his successes and failures according to you?

I believe that as an individual, Jawaharlal Nehru was a genuine secularist. As a Prime Minister, however, he did little beyond calling for ‘a scientific temper’ among the citizenry, or promoting films that criticised religious superstition like Satyajit Ray’s Devi. By adopting a policy of benign neglect, a government can hardly expect people to miraculously become secular on their own!  But even so, Nehru had far more integrity as a secularist as compared to his daughter or his grandson, or indeed any other Indian Prime Minister.

One of the more elaborate ideas put forth in the book is that of the secular triangle with the State, Religion and the Individual as its vertices. You say that it is important to keep the triangle in whatever shape or form. While the French have tried to distance religion from the state, over the years in India, the two have come closer. Is that why we exist in a religion-as-ideology, or the nation-state era? Are those two vertices now too close for comfort, perhaps even inseparable? What are the risks then?


In the book, I talk about the ‘secular triangle’, with its three axes of state neutrality, freedom of religion, and equal citizenship. The problem today is that all three axes are in jeopardy.  Democracy itself is in danger, when we do not treat all our citizens equally.  If people cannot eat what they want, or dress the way they want, or pray the way they want, or even love whom they want, we cannot exist as a modern secular democracy. We are at risk of becoming a communally violent state and society.

If secularism treats all religions as equal, how does it address the issue of practice (some are different than the other)? Most religions, as you mention are patriarchal in nature, and therefore is a uniform civil code more of a necessity (to flatten the landscape) to establish humanism before it establishes a person’s religion?

Yes, I do believe that practice can be different.  At the same time, I believe that — even within one religion — there can be a huge variation in terms of practices.  For the sake of expediency, we say ‘Hinduism’, ‘Islam’, or ‘Christianity’, as if all these labels are mutually exclusive.  Yet a lot of people have seen themselves (and some continue to do so) as ‘Hindu-Muslims’ or ‘Hindu-Christians’.  I will concede, however, that almost all religious practice is patriarchal, and bringing in gender justice (perhaps in the form of a uniform civil code that would be acceptable to women) would be a way of re-appropriating our humanity.

A question that most people with secular ideas or theories fail to answer is that of atheism. How do you fit atheists in any of the secular triangles which no longer even look like a triangle? Is that also indicative of how religion grants privilege (by way of having the extra vertex and thereby a way to engage the state)?

If you look closely at the images of the secular triangle in the book, you will notice that the axis, ‘Freedom of Religion’, has ‘Religion’ at one end, and ‘Individual/Group’ at the other.  What this demonstrates is the following:  Freedom of Religion implies the group’s freedom to believe in any religion or cult and the individual’s freedom not to believe in any religion or cult.  That is how the atheist or agnostic is included in the secular triangle.  Of course the other part of the triangle is about the relationship between Religion and the State.  State Neutrality is admittedly a tricky question in India, because of Constitutional provisions like Articles 17, 25(2), and 30(2) that call for active state intervention in religious affairs. Here is where the state should take a contextual and principled stance (to which I refer in one of your earlier questions, with respect to judicial cases concerning state neutrality.

8th February 1947: Indian statesman Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964, facing camera) attends a meeting of the Constituent Assembly in the Council House Library, New Delhi, to decide on the constitution of the newly independent India. Nehru was to serve as prime minister of India from this time until his death in 1964. Original Publication: Picture Post - 4325 - India: The Last Chance - pub. 1947 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)8th February 1947: Indian statesman Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 - 1964, facing camera) attends a meeting of the Constituent Assembly in the Council House Library, New Delhi, to decide on the constitution of the newly independent India. Nehru was to serve as prime minister of India from this time until his death in 1964. Original Publication: Picture Post - 4325 - India: The Last Chance - pub. 1947 (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Says Nalini Rajan, “I believe that as an individual, Jawaharlal Nehru was a genuine secularist. As a Prime Minister, however, he did little beyond calling for ‘a scientific temper’ among the citizenry.” Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images

The school years and childhood are when most people get inducted into religion by instruction and do not necessarily arrive by choice. Can we perhaps address that in some way? Does our discourse even allow that? What has your experience been as a teacher?

This is a tricky question, because it refers to the differentiation between ‘freedom of conscience’ and ‘freedom of choice’ as delineated by the American philosopher, Michael Sandel.  As far as most people are concerned, religious faith is not a matter of choice.  They are born into one or other faith, and they conduct their worship and other rites, accordingly. These people demand that the state give them the freedom to follow the religious dictates of their conscience. But there are others who want the freedom to change their faith or religion, and therefore want the state to allow them the freedom of choice for religious conversion. As a teacher, I can only say that both these freedoms are important and the state should honour them.

Finally, you say in the book that Dalits and people belonging to lower castes will carry the baton of secularism, and stand to gain from modern secularism in India. Could we then say that instances like Una, now Maharashtra etc are the face of modern secularism in India? Are we inching closer to whatever the idea of ‘Indian secularism’ is?

In a hierarchical society guided by the dogmas of caste, it is very hard to achieve the ideal of equal citizenship.  As long as the upper castes practise endogamous marriages, and believe in their own superiority, and refuse to acknowledge the fact that their privileges have a long lineage, it would be difficult to see them as the guardians of a secular democracy.  Dalits and other lower castes and tribes have a far greater stake in equality and in secular modernity.  After all, these are the values they are fighting for in Una and elsewhere.  Thanks to their struggles, are we inching closer to the idea of secularism?  I very much hope so!

India’s surgical strikes: Destroying terrorist camps is apt, govt must now be prepared

The army deserves high praise for the destruction of militant launch pads across the Line of Control on Wednesday night. That the soldiers who participated in the daring operation got back without casualty or even injury is admirable.

The disastrous US operation — also using helicopters and para-commandos — to rescue its diplomatic staff from Iran in 1980 highlighted the military and political risks of such operations in hostile territories (where the home government and army have not been persuaded to turn a blind eye).

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Equally commendable is the maturity with which India’s political and military leadership opted for this proportionate response to the Uri attack ten days earlier. Destroying those launch pads in a coordinated triple strike from three different army division headquarters was an adequate response, but not an overly belligerent one.

The government deserves even more praise for building consensus immediately after. It reached out to explain its actions not only to the media, the spectrum of political party leaders, and the international community, but also to the range of state governments. This last gesture, reminiscent of Jawaharlal Nehru’s federal inclusiveness, is laudable.

This operation has revived faith in the country’s intelligence-gathering abilities too. One hears the army had information of 300 trained militants at those launch pads, ready to infiltrate into the Indian side of the Line of Control. In light of the mayhem they would have caused, the strike was legitimate defence against aggression — even if one did not view it as a response to the Uri attack.

Getting past nuclear blackmail

By penetrating only a couple of kilometres across the Line of Control within the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India has finally worked out an appropriate response to the nuclear blackmail which Pakistan has used for 30 years.

It was in 1986 that General Zia-ul-Haq indicated to India’s interlocutors such as former foreign secretary MK Rasgotra that Pakistan too had a nuclear weapon. True, the two countries only announced to the world that they had nukes in 1998, but India had tested one in 1974 and Pakistan had developed one (with Chinese help) by the mid-1980s.

It was only with that weapon-shield in place that Pakistan propped up Kashmir’s militant insurgency from 1988. Of course, the Indian government committed enough mistakes between 1984 and 1987 to put things in place for Pakistan. It split the National Conference and dislodged Farooq Abdullah. The replacement government, known as ‘curfew raj’, was replaced with Governor’s rule and then a shotgun Congress-NC alliance. Then came the rigging of the 1987 elections and violence against candidates and election agents who then became militants assuming names such as Syed Salahuddin and Yasin Malik.

Successive Indian governments considered going to war against Pakistan over the Kashmir militancy at least thrice during the 1990s, but were deterred by Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. So jittery had the US become in May 1990 that Deputy National Security Advisor Robert Gates was told to fly from Moscow, where he was on a visit, directly to Islamabad and New Delhi. He met both prime ministers, but it is said that neither of them knew of the Pakistan Army’s suspicious (probably nuclear weapons-related) moves over the past couple of days — of which Gates showed both premiers satellite pictures.

In that context, the news that Secretary of State Kerry called External Affairs Minister Swaraj twice in the previous two days, and that the current US National Security Advisor too called her Indian counterpart on the eve of the Indian strike, is interesting. It would seem that the US was once again well-informed about what was afoot.

Preparedness and balance

The US’s will not be the only intelligence set-up that will now be keenly watching what will ensue.

No doubt there will be militant strikes within the Kashmir Valley, sooner or later. For, though the strike prevented the crossing of a large number of potential infiltrators, a larger number has already entered the Valley over the past couple of years.

Battles between militants and forces within the Valley are not new. But now that the government has so successfully taken the battle to the opponent’s half of the field, it must be ready to face more aggressive responses without losing the moral upper hand by coming across as irresponsible.

The government has already announced that it is ready for ‘anything’. The question is whether Pakistan will opt for other sorts of responses than militancy within Kashmir and, if so, whether these will be on the borders or within India.

Another key question is whether Pakistan’s chief benefactor, China, will now urge it against escalation or back further belligerence against India.

An apocryphal Chinese curse says: ‘May you live in interesting times.’ We surely do.

Home Ministry sends Brahamdagh Bugti’s asylum application for security vetting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s application seeking political asylum in India has been referred to security agencies for vetting before a final decision by the Union Cabinet.”After examination of Bugti’s application for political asylum, we have sent it to security agencies for an in-dept vetting. A security vetting is necessary for such applications before a final decision is taken,” a Home Ministry official said. The decision on Bugti’s application for political asylum in India is likely to be taken by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Bugti had applied for asylum in Indian consulate in Geneva last week and the application was subsequently forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn sent it to the Home Ministry. India does not have a comprehensive asylum policy. As per the United Nations, there are at least 6,480 asylum seekers in India but the government does not recognise them. The situation is so complex that the officials in the Home Ministry are digging through 1959 records to check the process.In 1959, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers were granted asylum by the Jawaharlal Nehru government. Even the term ‘refugee’ is not mentioned in any domestic law.India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees, or its 1967 Protocol that stipulates the rights and services the host states must provide refugees.Bugti is President and founder of Baloch Republican Party.He is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader killed by the Pakistani army in 2006. Pakistan government had blamed India for helping Bugti flee Pakistan to Geneva in 2010 via Afghanistan.If granted asylum, Bugti could be given a long-term visa to be renewed every year.Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has been living in India since 1994 under long-term visa renewable every year. The other scenario is that he will get registration certificate based on which he can travel anywhere in the world using it as a travel document, an official said.

Will approach UN if India violates Indus Water Treaty: Pak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan will approach the UN and the International Court of Justice if India suspends the 58-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, the country’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday, insisting the revocation of the treaty can be taken as an “act of war”.”The international law states that India cannot unilaterally separate itself from the treaty,” Aziz, Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, said while briefing the National Assembly on the issue. He said unilateral revocation of the treaty can pose a threat to Pakistan and its economy. He said that if India violates the treaty Pakistan can approach the International Court of Justice. “This Indian act can be taken as breach of international peace and hence giving Pakistan a good reason to approach the UN Security Council,” Aziz said.He said Pakistan is considering to draw attention of the international community on the dangers of such an action if it is considered seriously. “Between the two countries, this act of revocation can be taken as an act of war,” he said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday chaired a review meeting of 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty during which it was decided that India will “exploit to the maximum” the water of Pakistan-controlled rivers, including Jhelum, as per the water sharing pact.The meeting came as India weighed its options to hit back at Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack that left 18 soldiers dead, triggering demands that the government scrap the water distribution pact to mount pressure on that country. Under the treaty, which was signed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan in September 1960, water of six rivers – Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – were to be shared between the two countries. Pakistan has been complaining about not receiving enough water and gone for international arbitration in a couple of cases.

Lahore High Court quashes plea by Hafiz Saeed to raise Kashmir issue at UNSC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Lahore High Court has dismissed a writ petition by JuD chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed seeking to direct the Pakistan government to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council and other international fora.LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali dismissed the petition, observing “the matter raised by the petitioner is not justifiable before the court and falls within the domain of politics”. The court announced the verdict on Friday which it had reserved last month after hearing arguments from Saeed’s counsel A K Dogar. Dogar said Saeed will challenge the verdict in the intra-court. In the petition Saeed said India had been “committing atrocities on Kashmiris and violating the UN resolutions”.He alleged that Indian forces were killing innocent Kashmiris and had ruined their daily life. Saeed, who carries a USD 10 million bounty on his head, further said India also did not give Kashmiris their right to self-determination. Dogar in his arguments said “(former Prime Minister) Jawaharlal Nehru had taken the Kashmir dispute to the UN Security Council and announced that if Kashmiris wanted to go with Pakistan then India would not send its army to Kashmir, however, the Indian government later betrayed its undertaking”.Citing different judgements, Dogar said if an issue involves public interest the court can interfere in political and foreign issues. “Indian army is killing innocent Kashmiris but Pakistan government is doing nothing practically except issuing statements,” Dogar said. Criticising the LHC verdict, Dogar said the single bench in its dismissal order did not notice that the appellant was seeking enforcement of fundamental right to live with peace and security and without fear of another war with India.”It is the duty of superior courts to practically enforce the provisions of a fundamental right and issue directions to this effect,” he said. Diplomatic tensions between India and Pakistan have been rising since the September 18 attack on an army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 18 Indian soldiers. Pakistan has rejected allegations of its involvement in the assault with both countries hitting out at each other including at the UN General Assembly.

Home Ministry examining Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s asylum application in India

New Delhi: Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s application seeking political asylum in India was on Thursday received by the Home Ministry which is examining it. “We have received Bugti’s application for political asylum and it is under examination,” a Home Ministry official said.

File image of Brahamdagh Bugti. YouTube screengrab

File image of Brahamdagh Bugti. YouTube screengrab

Bugti had applied for asylum in Indian consulate in Geneva three days ago and the application was subsequently forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn sent it to the Home Ministry.

India does not have a comprehensive asylum policy. As per the United Nations, there are at least 6,480 asylum seekers in India but the government does not recognise them. The situation is so complex that the officials in the Home Ministry are digging through 1959 records to check the process.

In 1959, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers were granted asylum by the Jawaharlal Nehru government. “Ultimately, it is a political decision at the highest level but we need to follow the process for the requisite paperwork,” the official said.

Even the term ‘refugee’ is not mentioned in any domestic law. India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees, or its 1967 Protocol that stipulates the rights and services host states must provide refugees.

Bugti is President and founder of Baloch Republican Party. He is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader killed by the Pakistani army in 2006. Pakistan government had blamed India for helping Bugti flee Pakistan to Geneva in 2010 via Afghanistan. If granted asylum, Bugti could be given a long-term visa to be renewed every year.

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has been living in India since 1994 under long-term visa renewable every year. The other scenario is that he will get registration certificate based on which he can travel anywhere in the world using it as a travel document, the official said.

Baloch leader Bugti wants Pak to be declared a terrorist state; MHA examines his asylum appeal

New Delhi: Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti’s application seeking political asylum in India was on Thursday received by the Home Ministry which is examining it. “We have received Bugti’s application for political asylum and it is under examination,” a Home Ministry official said.

File image of Brahamdagh Bugti. YouTube screengrab

File image of Brahamdagh Bugti. YouTube screengrab

Bugti had applied for asylum in Indian consulate in Geneva three days ago and the application was subsequently forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn sent it to the Home Ministry.

India does not have a comprehensive asylum policy. As per the United Nations, there are at least 6,480 asylum seekers in India but the government does not recognise them. The situation is so complex that the officials in the Home Ministry are digging through 1959 records to check the process.

In 1959, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers were granted asylum by the Jawaharlal Nehru government. “Ultimately, it is a political decision at the highest level but we need to follow the process for the requisite paperwork,” the official said.

Even the term ‘refugee’ is not mentioned in any domestic law. India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees, or its 1967 Protocol that stipulates the rights and services host states must provide refugees.

Bugti is President and founder of Baloch Republican Party. He is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader killed by the Pakistani army in 2006. Pakistan government had blamed India for helping Bugti flee Pakistan to Geneva in 2010 via Afghanistan. If granted asylum, Bugti could be given a long-term visa to be renewed every year.

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has been living in India since 1994 under long-term visa renewable every year. The other scenario is that he will get registration certificate based on which he can travel anywhere in the world using it as a travel document, the official said.

On Thursday, Bugti said that he was hoping for a positive response from India, ANI reported. He further referred to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly and said that raising only the issue of Kashmir shows their hypocricy.

He also said that Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state.

Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities: Who will put money on table? What it means for urban poor?

On the paper, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities plan has impressed everyone from the very beginning. The announcement of 27 new smart cities, on Tuesday afternoon, takes the total number of smart cities announced so far to 60.

The latest round includes Modi’s constituency, Varanasi. The Modi government’s plan to make 100 smart cities with a total state-funding of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, is ambitious in every sense, for the reason that it carries the potential to kick off the private investment cycle in India’s urban infrastructure and, if succeeds, set an example for other aspiring cities.


A file photo of GIFT city in Gujarat. Reuters

Let’s look at what is a smart city. The website of Ministry of Urban Development, “the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.”

It’s an ambitious plan indeed, even though political parties have been questioning Modi’s smart city scheme with respect to the choice of cities and the fate of existing cities. What one should note is that most experts agree that, at least on paper, Modi’s smart city project is a much better version of what has been experimented in the past to improve housing and infrastructure facilities in India.

The Congress-led UPA government’s years have seen schemes such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana, which were later renamed later after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sardar Patel. Smart cities are next level of taking this experiment ahead. There is no harm in the repackaging and renaming exercise as long as the job is done in a better way.

But, the problem is on implementation and how the government will handle the socio-economic-jurisdiction issues ‘smart’ cities will bring in. The past experience, beginning with the PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) scheme in 1990s, should make one cautious while embarking on a fresh housing infrastructure revolution.

Consider these points:

For one, the biggest challenge for Modi’s smart city dream is securing the capital from domestic private investors and foreigners. This isn’t easy since profit-hungry private investors will be worried about the returns from the Day One, which should ultimately come from the user fees. As per the current plan, each new smart city will receive Rs 200 crore in the first year and the Rs 300 crore over the next three years. The state governments and local bodies which will have partnership in the special purpose vehicles (SPVs) at city level will match the center’s contribution. But, the contribution from the state will only account for only a fifth of the total fund requirement needed by the five-year plan.

According to Deloitte the 100 smart cities mission will require an investment of over $150 billion over the next few years with private sector contributing $120 billion. In other words, one fifth of the total investments in smart cities need to come from private sector.

The rest of the money should come from the private sector. “The government funding cannot be sufficient,” said Devendra Pant, chief economist at India Ratings and Research. “And it is a big challenge to get private investments. When you talk about urban infra projects, recovery will not be immediate. You should find out alternate way of revenue generation. Can private sector investor get returns to his investments? Nobody will come for charity.”

Though big cities still have a better chance to get funds, but the smaller ones in the list of hundred, will have to struggle, Pant says.

If one goes by the recent reports, the signals so far is that foreign investors, who are supposedly enthused about the prospects of investing in smart cities, haven’t really put money on the table. A 1 September Hindu Business Line article, which cited an RTI query, said no investment has come from foreign investors ever since Modi embarked on the 100-cities smart city journey some two years back. What does this mean? Foreigners aren’t as thrilled as us on India’s smart cities and are still skeptical to put money on the table.

Secondly, how will the SPVs raise funds is a question. The government has clarified that the Centre’s contribution to smart cities will be strictly in the form of grant and the ULB is exercising its own discretion in utilising these funds as its equity contribution to the SPV. The SPV can access funds from other sources including debt and loans besides user charges.

But, raising money from bond issuances will not be easy for SPVs considering the experience of municipal bond issuances in the past, said Pant of India Ratings. “What will be the revenue model of that SPV? Till now, response to municipal bonds has been lukewarm. Not much money has been raised. It will be a test whether these SPVs will be able to leverage the grants given by central and state governments and raise money in the debt market.

Third, there is a likelihood of new smart city plans clashing with the existing limited infrastructure of cities. In cities where already there is chaos on account of inadequate infrastructure, such as a congested roads and land scarcity, how the designers of the new smart cities will prepare ground for world-class infrastructure is a question. So is how will smart cities accommodate the urban poor and migrant unskilled workers. One of the ways for the investors to recover the money they invest in such smart cities is through charging inhabitants for better services. This can make smart cities a costlier option for a large section of urban poor and can lead to social imbalance.

The bottom line is this: There aren’t two thoughts on the potential of the 100 -smart city plan. It is an idea that deserves attention. But, convincing investors to put in money in these new cities will be a huge challenge. Much of its success will lie in in execution. And even if that happens, the government will have to find out the answer for how the new world of smart cities will mean to the urban poor.

(Data support from Kishor Kadam)

JNU VC forms panel for appeal proceedings on Afzal Guru anniversary row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Appellate Authority of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Vice Chancellor, has constituted a committee comprising of four members to assist him in conducting appellate proceedings against students related to a February 9 event (on Afzal Guru’s third death anniversary) on the university campus.The event organisers had pasted posters across the campus inviting students to gather for a protest march against ‘judicial killing’ of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat and to express solidarity with Kashmiri migrants at the Sabarmati Dhaba on the campus. In the light of the recommendation of the HLEC and subsequently the recommendation of the committee constituted to assist the Appellate Authority, the Vice Chancellor put his mind to various dimensions of the concerned issue to come to a conclusion and has taken the final decision on the appeals made by the students, said a statement, adding that every student was called for deposition before the appeals committee. It further said every student was given a copy of the HLEC report and the enclosed evidences and was given an opportunity to make an appeal in writing. “The principle of natural justice was minutely followed. Each one of those who appealed were shown the entire documents and given time to go through it before they would depose. The appellate authority, after a thorough analysis of each case, has issued the final report to be implemented by the Chief Proctor,” it added.The university officials said the act amounted to ‘indiscipline’ as any talk about disintegration of nation cannot be ‘national’.”It is an act of indiscipline, as permission for the programme was sought by providing incomplete information. A committee headed by the Chief Proctor will examine the footage of the event and speak to the witnesses. The varsity will take appropriate action based on the report,” JNU Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar said.Earlier, the university had ordered the inquiry after members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staged a protest outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office, demanding expulsion of students who organised the event on Guru’s third death anniversary, who was hanged at Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013.Members of the ABVP had on Tuesday objected to the event and wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, saying such marches should not be held at an educational institution, prompting the university administration to order cancellation of the march fearing it might ‘disrupt peace on the campus’.However, the organisers went ahead with their plan and held a programme, which led to the ABVP members gathering outside the V-C’s office and shouting slogans, demanding their expulsion.

Netaji files: Government declassifies 25 more, includes Russian Parliament’s question

New Delhi: The central government on Wednesday released another batch of declassified files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on portal

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. ReutersNetaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Reuters

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Reuters

“The fifth batch of 25 declassified files relating to #NetajiSubhasChandraBose was released online on web portal on Wednesday,” Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a tweet.

The new files include report of Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry on the alleged disappearance of Bose and Action Taken Report of 2006.

The new batch of files consists among others files containing photographs of interior view of Renkoji Temple showing how Netaji’s ashes are kept, Russia Parliament question on Netaji and letter from Amiya Nath Bose to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru regarding conversion of Netaji’s house into National museum and disposal of properties of Indian National army.

The government had earlier released four files including on 27 May from the Prime Minister’s Office, from the Home Ministry, and also from the External Affairs Ministry pertaining to the period 1968 to 2008.

The government has earlier released three batches of files pertaining to Bose in March and April this year.

The first lot of 100 files relating to Bose were put in the public domain by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 23 January, on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji.

UGC-DU study contradicts Subramanian’s view on student politics

Against the backdrop of recent clashes between student unions and their administration on university campuses, the TSR Subramanian committee in its draft report on the New Education Policy recommends curtailing student politics on campus.The human resource development ministry is, however, looking the other way. A study undertaken by two Delhi University professors under the aegis of the University Grants Commission (UGC) goes on to recommend that student politics cannot be separated from the campus.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first of its kind study, ‘Mapping Exclusion and Inclusion in Student Union Bodies in India’, Professor Ravi Ranjan and N Sukumar of Delhi University have covered eight central universities. Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Hyderabad (UoH), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), North Eastern Hill University, Banaras Hindu University, Visva Bharti University and Pondicherry University have been included in the study, keeping in mind the political lineage of these universities and the study is inclusive of tribal populations and minorities.The draft education policy report suggests self-imposed restrictions on campuses so that the primary work (academics) is carried out without a hindrance. “Ideally universities ought not to lend themselves as playgrounds for the larger national rivalries, inequalities, inequities, and social/cultural faultlines; these need to be tackled by society as a whole, in other fora such as parliament, courts, elections, etc,” reads the report. The report also says that it is time to find a balance between free speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the Constitution.Sharing some of the insights from their study and reacting to the observation made by the Subramanian committee report, Professor N Sukumar, one of the co-authors of the UGC report said that politics cannot be excluded from the campus. “Curbing politics from the campus is dangerous for the survival of democracy. Where else will dialogue take place, if unions are banned on campus? Politics on campus is a reflection of society,” said the professor.The UGC – DU study is also contradictory of Subramanian’s view on the Lyngdoh committee report which abjures student groups based on caste, religion or a political party from participating in governing universities and institutions.Delhi University professors in their report have observed that the findings of the Lyngdoh committee have been criticised by student unions across the country. The duo in their report cover student groups affiliated to various political bodies, minorities, women and other social groups. “The Lyngdoh committee report restricts students from raising issues relevant to them and discourages electoral politics on campus. Students were unhappy with the observation of the Lyngdoh reports,” adds Professor Sukumar.The report which is being published in the form of a book should have been out in the next few months, but its launch has been rescheduled for early next year. “Both JNU and UoH are reeling under student union crises. We have decided to add a chapter each on the ongoing turmoil. Our book should be out early next year,” adds the professor.

Check: JNUEE Vica Voce 2016 results declared on

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has declared the list of shortlisted candidates for Viva Voce selected through the NET/JRF examination conducted earlier between May 16-19. The list for shortlisted candidates fron JNUEE 2016 examination is uploaded on JNU’s official site – have been selected for the following courses – JNU’s Mhil/MTech/Pre-PhD/PhD programme for Monsoon Semester 2016.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The final merit list of the candidates selected through JNUEE will be declared in July. Admission for various courses will commence on July 18 and will be open till August 1. Results of viva voce will be declared on July 22.Steps to check the list of candidates shortlisted for Viva Voce:1) Go to the official Jawaharlal Nehru University site – On the home page, under the Admission section, there is hyperlink – List of Candidates for viva-voce for admission to MPhil/MTech/Pre-PhD/PhD prog under NET/JRF category for Monsoon Semester 20163) Click on it.4) A word document will be downloaded.You will get your results. You can keep the link with you for future reference. About JNU: JNU offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level programmes. According to NIRF ranking, it has been ranked third amongst other universities, while NAAC has accredited it with 3.91 CGPA, which gives the university A grade. The exams were conducted for admission to 34 PG programmes for 1,025 seats.All the best!

Emergency-like situation in every university: Kanhaiya Kumar writes to Modi

New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, targeting him on a range of issues.

Saying that “a situation of emergency has been created in every university”, Kumar in his Facebook page wrote the open letter to Modi asking him: “Is this the situation that you were promising when you were chanting the slogan of ‘achche din’ across the length and breadth of the nation?”

“You (Modi) have handed the reins of our temples of learning into the hands of those who are not just averse to knowledge, but also determined and proven opponents of history, art, culture and logic,” the JNUSU president wrote.



Kumar accused Modi for returning favours to those who financially paved his ascent to power.

Kumar said that no new jobs have been created, farmers are killing themselves, poor are increasingly becoming poorer, students can’t afford to study, those who do make it to the various universities face caste-based humiliation and discrimination.

“Brilliant students are forced to hang themselves from fans. Or else they are raped and/or murdered. And if by some miracle they manage to save themselves from such vile acts then their fellowships are stopped in order to deter them pursuing higher studies,” he mentioned in his letter.

He added that even the basic rights of teachers and workers have been targeted forcing them to come out on the streets and protest against the system and getting arrested.

“It seems that a situation of emergency has been created in every university,” he wrote.

The open letter targets the Prime Minister with words that “the country won’t change by changing the meat or the video. The nation will be transformed when the condition of its people are improved.”

Kumar said that under Modi’s regime, things have only gone from bad to worse.

Kumar asked: “Had you (Modi) delivered development in the last two years, you would not have to spend crores of rupees to advertise it.”

He said that the apparent reality is that Modi has done nothing to improve the lives of the people.

“I question you here as a student. You spend Rs 200 crore on advertisements, but you don’t have Rs 99 crore for non-NET scholarships for the research scholars,” Kumar said.

“You have thousands of crore of rupees to buy battle tanks, but you don’t have money to pay minimum wages to workers. You have thousands of crores of rupees for air trips but you can’t give farmers fair minimum support prices for their crop.”

He claimed Modi’s policies seem like “a series of misfortune for the common masses”.

Kumar said the “next generation” will ask Modi why he remained silent on the issue of ministers spreading hatred against a particular community, ministers framing false cases against students on the basis of fake tweets.

“Why were you silent when meat samples were switched and communal venom was being spread? The main question is – whether you have been elected to bring development or to strengthen those who spread hatred and violence,” the letter questioned.

He also accused Modi of forgetting the issue of price rise and inflation in the Indian economy, citing one of the taglines of his election campaign – “Bahut hui mahangai ki maar, Abki baar Modi Sarkar”.

“You (Modi) mocked Manmohan Singh for his silence. But neither do you speak for us. And when you do speak, it is not for the impoverished masses of this country, but for America, where lawmakers give you a standing ovation,” Kumar wrote in the letter.

Ujjain: Tehsildar ‘mocks’ ‘Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai’ tagline on Facebook, deletes post later

A tehsildar in Khachrod town of Ujjain district purportedly took a jibe at the famous tagline “Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai”, which encapsulates various initiatives of the Narendra Modi government, by posting a comment on a social networking site, but deleted it following a flutter.In his Facebook post on Thursday, the officer, identified as Sanjay Waghmare, purportedly stated that “nothing is actually changing on ground”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When contacted, Waghmare said today, “I have removed the post and I don’t want to comment on it”. He struck off the post apparently after it went viral and started attracting ‘likes and comments’.The incident came on the heels of two IAS officers from state inviting the wrath of the government for their comments on the social media. The government recently issued a show cause notice to Narsinghpur district Collector Sibi Chakraborthy for purportedly posting a post congratulating Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The FB post was, however, deleted within few hours.A few days back, Barwani collector Ajay Singh Gangwar was shunted out after he had praised former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his Facebook post. He was slapped a show cause notice on Monday for allegedly advocating a ‘jan kranti’ (people’s revolution) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a Facebook comment.

Rs 95,000 crore projects for Maha shores: Will it add shine to state’s port sector?

Maharashtra is set to get Rs 95,000 crore port related projects under Centre’s ambitious port and port-led development programme.

JNPT_Jawaharlal-Nehru-Port-Trust_reutersAddressing a Video-Link Press Conference of Coastal States from Mumbai today, the Union Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari said the mega projects include two expressways connecting Ahmedabad–Mumbai industrial corridor and the Sanathnagar Industrial cluster near Hyderabad with the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT)  in Navi Mumbai.

Gadkari said while the Ahmedabad Expressway project would cost Rs 18,000 crores, the Hyderabad – Mumbai project is likely to be implemented at Rs 22,000 crores cost.  In addition, a new green field port is being set up at Wadhavan near Dahanu with an investment outlay of Rs 9,300 crores, Gadkari said.

Gadkari announced that as part of the port based industrialization programme a steel cluster will be coming up in Southern Maharashtra / Goa region with an investment potential of Rs 10,500 crores. There is also a proposal to set up a port based mega food park , also in Southern Maharashtra, he added.

Earlier in January, the government had cleared a revised port development policy that will be in force for five years creating connectivity through rail, road and water transport network.

Gadkari said the government had resolved to increase the share of water transport as means of providing competitive logistics support for the ‘Make in India’ program’. The Minister said the government is aiming to attract Rs 4 lakh crores of investment in development, port connectivity and inland water transport sector under the ambitious Sagarmala project. He said more than 140 agreements worth Rs 83,000 crores were signed during the Maritime India Summit held in Mumbai in April 2016.

However, experts have raised doubts on the government’s ambitious port connectivity and inland water transport sector as it has not focussed on operations.

Madhya Pradesh IAS officer gets show cause notice over FB comment against PM Modi

IAS officer Ajay Singh Gangwar, shunted out as district collector after he praised Jawaharlal Nehru on Facebook, has been issued a show cause notice by Madhya Pradesh government for allegedly advocating a ‘jankranti’ (people’s revolution) against Prime Minister Narendra Modi through another post.The state government slapped the notice on Gangwar through an e-mail to him yesterday for allegedly ‘liking’ a post against the Prime Minister in January and commenting, “Modi ke khilaf jankranti honi chaia (sic)”, a charge refuted by the 55-year-old IAS officer.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gangwar, who was transferred as deputy secretary, contested the charge stating he had neither posted nor ‘liked’ anything against Modi on his Facebook account on January 23, 2016, for which he had been issued the show cause notice.”If I had posted or ‘liked’ anything on the Facebook on January 23, why so much time was taken to serve show cause notice to me now. I have been asked to reply to the show cause notice in a week. I am going to ask in my reply that my timeline on Facebook doesn’t have any post or ‘like’ against Modi,” Gangwar told PTI today.Before Gangwar was shunted out from Barwani last week, he had posted on Facebook on the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in Hindi, saying “Let me know the mistakes that Nehru should not have committed. Is it his mistake that he prevented all of us from becoming Hindu Talibani Rashtra in 1947?””Is it his mistake to open IIT, ISRO, BARC, IISB, IIM, BHEL steel plant, dams, thermal power? Is it his mistake that he honoured Sarabhai, Homi Jehangir in place of intellectuals like Asaram and Ramdev?,” he allegedly posted on the social networking site.Gangwar maintained that he was transferred over his “Facebook post”.”I have been transferred primarily due to my post on former Prime Minister Nehru,” he claimed.He said the post was his personal opinion and nothing more should be read into it.

Netaji files declassified: Was Subhas Chandra Bose living in Shalumari Ashram in 1963?

Netaji files declassified on May 27 reportedly seem to suggest that Subhas Chandra Bose was living under the identity of KK Bhandari in Shalumari Ashram in north Bengal in 1963. According to a report in The Times of India, the topmost government officials in Jawaharlal Nehru’s government were talking about KK Bhandari. One of the declassified files repeatedly refers to a file ‘Netaji-as-Bhandari’ which has not been made available yet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the report in The Times of India, the discussion began when secretary of Shalumari Ashram, Ramani Ranjan Das, wrote to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963. Immediately after which principal private secretary to the PM, K Ram, spoke to BN Mallik, the director of Intelligence Bureau on May 23, 1963. A confidential note No III(51)/63(6) from Mallik on June 12 spoke about KK Bhandari.
ALSO READ Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s driver is alive and he may have just created a world record! In a chain of communications kept undercover by the government, the PMO had over the period of September and November 1963 followed up with the Intelligence Bureau on the matter. Finally, on November 16 the bureau responded to it.Even in 1999, when Justice Mukherjee Commission was set up to look into the issue, PMO averred from the discussions. The commission pressurised Prime Minister’s office to hand over the files, which was when the officials contemplated if the files should be downgraded from top secret to secret in order to make them available, says the report.In a note dated July 5, 2000 written by the Under Secretary (NGO), it says: “As discussed with Director (A) where Under Secretary (Political) was also present, we may ask IB to concur with the downgradation of the two letters dated 12/6/1963 and 16/11/1963 sent to Director IB by Shri K Ram, PPS to PM about Shri KK Bhandari (believed to be Shri Subhas Chandra Bose).”Justice Mukherjee Commission also denied all reports of Shalumari Baba being Netaji as rumours in those days suggested.

Hating Jawaharlal Nehru: Opponents envy him because they can never be him

Jawaharlal Nehru was a freedom fighter who spent 11 years in jail. After Mahatma Gandhi, he was the tallest leader of his generation, a popular mass leader who roused Indians with his inimitable Hindustani oratory. He was a scholar of international repute, a writer whose impressive body of work gives rare glimpses into the history of India.

Year after year, several generations of Indians voted in large numbers for this towering icon of India’s freedom movement, making him India’s longest-serving Prime Minister. When he died, India came to a standstill and thousands turned up from all across the country to mourn him.

“At 2 p.m. local time today (May 27, 1964), 460,000,000 people in this country that has been forged on the anvil of this one man’s dreams and conflicts were plunged into the nightmare world which they have, in the last decade, come to dread as the ‘after Nehru’ era.

Fear was the one dominant feeling one experienced as one came out. Fear that at this moment one had to avoid the reality of Nehru’s death and the Pandora’s box of suppressed ambitions it will release,” The Guardian wrote on his demise.

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Getty Images

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Getty Images

Back home, in Parliament, a young Atal Bihari Vajpayee remembered Nehru as the chief actor of the world stage. Vajpayee implored: “With unity, discipline and self-confidence we must make this Republic of ours flourish. The leader has gone, but the followers remain. The sun has set, yet by the shadow of stars we must find our way. These are testing times, but we must dedicate ourselves to his great aim, so that India can become strong, capable and prosperous.”

He built some of the defining monuments and institutions of modern India; nurtured its fledgling democracy when all around dictatorships were blooming; contributed to India’s liberal, secular, socialist ethos; argued for a scientific temperament; built several new cities and gave the country an identity on the world stage because of charisma and intellect.

For more than three decades, Nehru was India’s pride and joy. He was symbol of our syncretic culture and rich cultural heritage, a rare blend of idealism, intellect, penmanship and statesmanship. And now we want to punish the PM our ancestors elected for almost two decades? Want our future generations to think of him as a villain? In fact, not to talk about him at all?

Two days ago, the Madhya Pradesh government transferred Barwani district collector Ajay Gangwar for praising India’s first PM in his Facebook post. If remembering Nehru’s contribution to India is a crime, let me take the state’s chief minister — in case he has not read Vajpayee’s tribute to Nehru — back to a balmy morning in April 2014. Back then, standing on his home turf, with the CM in attendance, BJP patriarch LK Advani told a huge crowd that India’s democracy owes its strength to Nehru. Did Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s earns turn red then?

In his lifetime, Nehru survived at least four assassination attempts. But, it is clear that another attempt is now being on his life, reputation and legacy. References to his name are being omitted from history books, his iconic tryst-with-destiny speech is being removed from school syllabi. To supplant the image of India’s erstwhile hero, an entirely new persona is being created for Nehru with fake pictures, twisted facts and manufactured history. In the fertile imaginations of his assailants, an entirely new Nehru is being created for mass consumption and hatred.

The reasons behind this demonisation of Nehru are easy to explain. To his ideological enemies, Nehru is the epitome of the very idea of India — a secular, liberal, syncretic nation — they want to replace with their narrow, communal, conservative narrative of India. An assault on Nehru is actually a proxy for an attack on the Nehruvian legacy embedded deep in the Indian psyche.

The other reason is psychological. Hatred of the good is a manifestation of a deep-seated human hatred for a person who possesses virtues and qualities they themselves lack and find desirable. At the sub-conscious level, many of Nehru’s opponents envy him, detest in him what their own personalities lack.

As Ayn Rand argues in Atlas Shrugged: “They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man.”

This is not to argue that Nehru did not have his shortcomings or failures. His handling of the Chinese attack in 1962, decision to take Kashmir to the UN (morally right, diplomatically wrong) and focus on socialism could have led to long-term consequences. By all means, these should be debated, argued and discussed in the public domain, in the right context and with the proper intent.

In the long run, attempts to erase Nehru from India’s history will backfire. So interlinked is India’s pre and post Independence history with him that several chapters of it could be written as a biography of Nehru. To separate Nehru from India would be impossible. In fact, recent attempts to vilify him will entice people to study him closely in an attempt to separate the truth from propaganda. Ultimately, his critics will end up reviving interest in Nehru and Nehruvianism.

Nehru will live on, he will survive his enemies.

IAS officer who praised Nehru and criticised Asaram and Ramdev transferred by MP government

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

JNU row: Umar, Anirban move Delhi HC for same relief given to Kanhaiya,others

New Delhi: Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who were rusticated from JNU, have moved Delhi High Court seeking the same relief that was extended to JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others against whom disciplinary action was taken by the varsity for a controversial event there on 9 February this year.

Justice Manmohan on 13 May had put on hold the decision of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) till the appeals of Kanhaiya and the other students, against the disciplinary action, were decided by the appellate authority of the varsity.

The court had issued the direction after Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) undertook to immediately withdraw its hunger strike and not to indulge in any further agitation.

The court in its order had also said if the appeals of the students were rejected, then the order of appellate authority would not be given effect to till a period of two weeks.

A file photo of Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, and Umar Khalid. PTIA file photo of Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, and Umar Khalid. PTI

A file photo of Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, and Umar Khalid. PTI

Anirban and Umar, who along with Kanhaiya have been accused of sedition for what happened during the 9 February event, had moved the court on 9 May against their rustication from the varsity, a decision which was taken on the basis of recommendations of a high level enquiry committee (HLEC).

While Umar was rusticated for one semester and slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000, Anirban was rusticated till 15 July and after 23 July he was barred from the university campus for five years. Anirban was only given a week between 16-22 July to complete his thesis.

However, on May 10 when their matter was taken up, JNU had agreed in court to extend the date of deposit of fine, by Umar, to 30 May.

Check | TS EAMCET Result 2016, Engineering, Agriultural, Medical Common Entrance Test (TS EAMCET) Result declared

TS EAMCET examination for Engineering, Agriculture, and Medical, Common Entrances was conducted on 15-05-2016 from 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM for engineering (E) stream and from 2.30 PM to 5.30 PM for agriculture and medical (AM) stream.Over 2 lakh students were awaiting results for TS EAMCET Result 2016. The wait ends now.Here’s how you can check the TS EAMCET Result 2016.Steps to check your EAMCET Results 2016:1. Visit the website,<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Enter your roll number, name and other credentials3. Click ‘Submit’4. Your result will be displayed on the screen5. Download your scores and save it for future referenceAbout TS EAMCET Examination:The TS EAMCET Exam is conducted by the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad on behalf of TSCHE.Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad (JNTUH) situated in the heart of Telangana state’s capital city, Hyderabad.Bringing the spark of knowledge to young minds and instilling a new confidence and vigour to face the world, it is providing quality education for nearly four decades.Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) has delegated the task to JNTUH for conducting the most prestigious entrance examination of Telangana – Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET) for this year 2016.

TS EAMCET Result 2016: Check for Engineering, Agriultural, Medical Common Entrance Test (TS EAMCET) Result to be declared today on May 26,…

The TS EAMCET (Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test) results are going to be announced today at 11 am.All you have to do is visit the official website and check your scores.Steps to check your result:1. Visit the website www.tseamcet.in2. Enter your roll number, name and other credentials<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>3. Click ‘Submit’4. Your result will be displayed on the screen5. Download your scores and save it for future referenceAbout TS EAMCET 2016:A total of 2,46,522 candidates registered for the TS EAMCET examination this year. Out of them, 1,44,510 registered for engineering and 1,02,012 for agriculture and medical streams.The examination was conducted on 15-05-2016 from 10.00 AM to 1.00 PM for engineering (E) stream and from 2.30 PM to 5.30 PM for agriculture and medical (AM) stream. In Hyderabad zones a total of 94,402 candidates registered, out of which 61,637 candidates registered for engineering and 32,765 candidates registered for agriculture and medical.About TS EAMCET Examination:The TS EAMCET Exam is conducted by the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad on behalf of TSCHE.Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad (JNTUH) situated in the heart of Telangana state’s capital city, Hyderabad.Bringing the spark of knowledge to young minds and instilling a new confidence and vigour to face the world, it is providing quality education for nearly four decades.Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) has delegated the task to JNTUH for conducting the most prestigious entrance examination of Telangana – Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET) for this year 2016.Good luck to all the students.

India eyes Iran’s energy resources, commits over Rs 1 lakh crore investment in Chabahar

Tehran: India will invest billions of dollars in setting up industries — ranging from aluminum smelter to urea plants — in Iran’s Chabahar free trade zone after it signed a pact to operate a strategic port on the Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast.

The inking of commercial contract to build and run the strategic port of Chabahar will help India gain a foothold in Iran and win access to Afghanistan, Russia and Europe, thus circumventing Pakistan, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI.

Nitin Gadkari. PTINitin Gadkari. PTI

Nitin Gadkari. PTI

“The distance between Kandla and the Chabahar port is less than the distance between New Delhi and Mumbai, and so what this agreement does is to enable us quick movement of goods first to Iran and then onwards to Afghanistan and Russia through a new rail and road link,” he explained.

“Over Rs 1 lakh crore investment can happen in Chabahar free trade zone,” Gadkari said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit seeking to further cement Indo-Iranian ties and explore avenues to bolster trade in a big way in the wake of lifting of sanctions against Iran.

Iran, Gadkari said, has cheap natural gas and power that Indian firms are keen to tap to build a 0.5-million tonne aluminium smelter plant as well as urea manufacturing units.

“We spend Rs 45,000 crore annually on urea subsidy, and if we can manufacture it in the Chabahar free trade zone and move it through the port to Kandla and onward to hinterland, we can save that amount,” he said.

Gadkari said Nalco will set up the aluminium smelter while private and co-operative fertiliser firms are keen to build urea plants provided they get gas at less than USD 2 per mmBtu.

Railway PSU IRCON will build a rail line at Chabahar to move goods right up to Afghanistan, he said.

Gadkari said India Ports Global Pvt, a joint venture of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the Kandla Port Trust, will invest USD 85 million in developing two container berths with a length of 640 metres and three multi cargo berths.

The Indian consortium has signed the port pact with Aria Banader Iranian.

“The contract is for 10 years and can be extended. We will take 18 months to complete phase one of the construction,” he said, adding that first two years of the contract are grace period where India doesn’t have to guarantee any cargo.

From the third year, India will guarantee 30,000 TEUs of cargo at the Chabahar port which will go up to 2,50,000 TEUs by the 10th year.

An initial pact to build the Chabahar port was first inked during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government in 2003, but the deal slipped through during subsequent years. It has been aggressively pushed in the past one year, leading to signing of the agreement for phase-1 today, Gadkari said.

“This is a historic event which will herald in a new era of development. We can now go to Afghanistan and further to Russia and Europe without going through Pakistan,” he said.

The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

India is also reported to finance another road network inside Afghanistan to enable Iran to access as far as Tajikistan through a shorter route.

The Indian joint venture company will invest more than USD 85.2 million in development of the port. India’s Exim Bank will provide a credit line of another USD 150 million.

India will install equipment and operate two berths in the first phase of the Chabahar port with an investment of USD 85.2 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.9 million on a 10-year lease, Gadkari said.

Gadkari also said India will build a 500-km railway between Chabahar and Zahedan which will connect Chabahar to Central Asia.

Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran’s southern coast, is of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast.

The port project will be the first overseas venture for an Indian state-owned port.

Now, Nehru missing from Mumbai University textbook; Gandhi, Tilak called ‘anti-secular’: Report

Even as the issue of Jawaharlal Nehru’s references being dropped from Rajasthan Board textbooks is fresh, his name is also reportedly missing from Mumbai University textbooks, while Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak have been labelled as ‘anti-secular’.According to a Mid-Day report, while there are chapters on several important Indian leaders in MU’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning textbook for the Political Science course, there is not a single one on India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Highlighting excerpts from the textbook titled ‘Modern Indian Political Thought’, the report said that the book calls Bal Gangadhar Tilak as ‘anti-secular’ and has not even spared Mahatma Gandhi.
ALSO READ Now, Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech goes missing from textbooks in Rajasthan”The book blames Mahatma Gandhi for using too many ‘Hindu idioms and similes’ and pushing Muhammad Ali Jinnah to break away and form Pakistan. According to the book, the only side that didn’t play with politics of religion is the Left front,” the report said.On Tilak, the excerpt from the book reads “Starting of Ganesh Festival and invoking religious scriptures such as Bhagvad Gita for political actions were clear examples of mixing religion with politics and attitude that was categorically anti-secular.”
ALSO READ Revised syllabus has Jawaharlal Nehru’s name at 15 places, claims Rajasthan Education MinisterHowever, Surendra Jondhale, who compiled the book and is also the university’s course coordinator and the head of the Civics and Politics department, told the daily, “With this statement, it was actually meant to present that politics has to be kept away from religion and shouldn’t be mixed. But Tilak’s actions were contrary to this.”

Delhi HC stays JNU action against Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya

The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed all disciplinary action of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), against its students Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid till their appeal against University order is decided by appellate authority. Earlier in the day, the HC had asked JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar to immediately bring an end to the indefinite hunger strike by the students. It said that it would hear their writ petitions challenging the varsity’s disciplinary action only if they end the agitation. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Manmohan said, “You (Kanhaiya) can ‘articulate’ to the students sitting on hunger strike from past 16 days to end the agitation, allowing the university to ‘function properly’.”They (JNU students) will have to end their agitation/strike. You will have to withdraw the strike immediately. No one should be on hunger strike.”Varying actions, ranging from rustication, debarment from the varsity and fines, were taken against them and several other students based on a high-level enquiry committee’s (HLEC) report regarding the controversial incident that had occurred on February 9 at JNU.Apart from Kanhaiya, Ashwati A Nair, Aishwariya Adhikari, Komal Mohite, Chintu Kumari, Anwesha Chakraborty and two others had challenged the order of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) against them.Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya moved the court earlier this week against their rustication. Umar had also been slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000, while Anirban had been barred from JNU campus for five years from July 23.(With PTI Inputs)