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Kashmir Reader back on stands after govt vacates three-month ban on daily

Prominent daily newspaper Kashmir Reader was back on the stands on Wednesday after a gap of three months. A ban was imposed on the newspaper on 2 October by the state government during the unrest in Kashmir Valley. The government had called the newspaper a threat to “public tranquility.”

An order issued by the deputy commissioner of Srinagar had said that the material and content published by the newspaper “tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquility.” Now in its order for revocation, the deputy commissioner said, “Kashmir Reader was directed to abstain from printing and publishing under Section 144 of the CRPC. That order remains enforceable for two months only as such has lapsed on 30 November, 2016. Since no extension has been ordered by the government, there is no ban on publishing of the newspaper as on date.”

Screen grab of Wednesday's edition of Kashmir Reader

Screen grab of Wednesday’s edition of Kashmir Reader

During the unrest nearly 100 people were shot dead and 14,000 injured in the street protests and stone-throwing incidents, bringing the state to a halt. It was the media that continued to highlight the stories of killings and injuries caused by the pellets fired by the security forces to control the protests. In many incidents, journalists were threatened, beaten up or not allowed to perform their duties.

The government’s anti-press sentiments were clear when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti walked out of a press conference in August after being questioned about the public protests. She had ridiculed the journalists and said, “Thank you, now have a cup of tea,” while walking off the podium, where she was accompanied by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. It is believed that the government’s behaviour towards the media only angered the people protesting on the streets more.

In Kashmir, the ban on Kashmir Reader was seen as a warning to the whole media fraternity. In their first editorial after resuming publication, the newspaper wrote, “When a government decides to ban a newspaper, unheard of in the 21st century until we were arbitrarily barred from publishing, it could either mean the administration’s lack of confidence in addressing the cause(s) of such widespread unrest or a failure to muster required political resources for a process of resolution.”

Now it looks like the government wants to make amends with the media. After the Kashmir Editors Guild elections selected Fayaz Kaloo as its president, the chief minister met the guild members along with Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu.

According to a spokesperson, the chief minister during the meeting with the guild, said, “She hoped the guild would play its role in strengthening the institution of journalism in the state and assured the government’s support.”

The guild members later visited the Kashmir Reader office on Tuesday, where Kaloo said that the curbs on the media are nothing new but every time there was a crisis, the media has dealt with it head on and will continue to do so. “Our strength comes from the challenges we face on a day to day basis but it has its own costs,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:38 IST

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi and his exceptional talent of courting public opinion

No leader in India and perhaps no other political figure in any modern democracy could have survived the demonetisation crisis for seven weeks as Narendra Modi has.

If one is looking for evidence of his talents as a mass leader, it has been on display in this entire period. Let us look at it and appreciate it, because we are in the presence of a true master.

We have a few clues that the currency exchange crisis may not have been fully anticipated y the government. The first clue is Modi’s initial announcement where he made some predictions on a return to normalcy that were incorrect. The second is that he continued on a scheduled visit to Japan, at the time when the extent to which the note shortage would affect the economy was just being realised. By the time he returned from Japan it was clear that the queues were not going to disappear quickly.

His initial announcement was so powerful and energetic that it carried popular opinion. The media was fully on his side and a nervous Congress lacking in confidence also announced support for the move. Only two grassroots leaders, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, recognised the danger and opposed it. Modi was in fact able to recruit large parts of the population on his side, probably including millions who did not vote for him, but who did not mind the inconvenience because they anticipated major change.

File image of Narendra Modi. APFile image of Narendra Modi. AP

File image of Narendra Modi. AP

It is difficult to imagine the Manmohan Singh government producing this kind of euphoria in either the media or the middle class urban population if it had chosen to demonetise. The reaction would likely have been the opposite: resentment at being made to go through the trouble. And if it had carried on for seven weeks there would have been extreme anger.

Perhaps that anger is building now when it is clear that the disturbance is going to stay for months, but for Modi to have sustained it even for this length of time is remarkable.

The second demonstration of his talent was how quickly he grasped that the negative consequence of the policy was bigger than anticipated. Immediately on his return from Japan he made a couple of speeches in which he did two things. First he said to Indians that he meant well and that he had sacrificed his family life for his mission. The uncharacteristically emotional moment of that speech, when he briefly broke down, may also have been the moment when he acknowledged to himself that the issue was out of hand. Second, he said that normalcy would not return before 50 days. With this second move, he bought himself time and space to recalibrate his strategy. Once again, he got the media on his side and the discourse over the immediate problems that people were facing was diverted.

Now Modi could have waited for things to settle on their own, but he chose instead to voluntarily offer a time-frame before being pressed on it by the Opposition.

It is this comment on 50 days of inconvenience that allowed him the freedom to think of how to re-position demonetisation. As some publications have noted, there was no reference to a digital economy in his initial announcement, which was limited to black money, counterfeit currency amd terrorism. It is after his return from Japan and those speeches that suddenly the discourse shifted and it shifted because of Modi’s talent and credibility. One can picture him thinking about it alone. The opposition said this was a shifting of goalposts, but they should understand that this is not a university debate. So long as Modi can convince large parts of the population that the policy is good and the inconvenience will ultimately be beneficial, he will continue to do so. The specific benefits of the policy are unimportant to politics.

Proof of this appeared when the Bharatiya Janata Party continued its electoral successes across India even a month after demonetisation, including in Punjab where it is in power and suffering anti-incumbency. There is actually no opposition to Modi at the moment and he is still in full control of the narrative, which is astonishing because it has affected every single Indian negatively.

The Congress had the opportunity to exploit mass inconvenience but it has so far been unable to.

Many people are hesistant to publicly voice their dislike of demonetisation because they are afraid that they will be abused.

No other Indian leader, and few politicians in democratic politics anywhere could have achieved what Modi has since 8 November. Perhaps this will change in 2017 when the medium term effects of demonetisation are on display in the second salary cycle after 8 November.

For now, it must be acknowledged that so far, the prime minister has shown that he is where he is not because of luck but pure talent at bringing public opinion to his side and keeping it there.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 08:24 IST

Bollywood challenges India’s mental health taboo

Media and medical professionals praise a new Bollywood film for shining a spotlight on the issue of mental health.

Food and Beverage Alliance policy guidelines are a good step, but India’s public health framework is a worry

In July, 2016, the Food and Beverage Alliance of India (FBAI) published a pledge by all its member companies, under the patronage of a global self-regulatory alliance of foods and beverage companies on ‘India’s Policy on Marketing Communications to Children’. Keeping in line with this pledge, several top food and beverage corporate brands such as Kellogg, Pepsi-Co, Mondelez India, Nestle and Coca-Cola, are preparing for the 31 December deadline for halting all advertisements of products directed at children below 12 years of age. This policy could, in many ways, completely change the ways in which the largest foods brands in the country are promoted. Moreover, it could also mean enormous changes in the public health landscape of the country.

Fatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFPFatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFP

Fatty foods must be discouraged and a national health policy framework should be in place. AFP

The FBAI policy states that all its members will either commit to “only advertise products to children under the age of 12 years that meet common FBAI pledge nutrition criteria” or not to advertise their products at all to children below the age of 12. The former commitment would require member companies to adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for the establishment of nutrient profiles, which is used for various applications, including marketing of foods to children, health and nutrition claims, product labelling logos or symbols, information and education, provision of food to public institutions, and the use of economic tools to orient food consumption.. The policy will apply to marketing communications in a range of media — television, radio, print, cinema, online (including company-owned websites), DVD/CD-ROM, direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing mobile and SMS marketing. The FBAI, the policy states, will also publish periodic reports to demonstrate compliance with this policy.

A number of countries have already established legislations and policy guidelines on food advertising for children and youth, understanding the implications of advertisements on the dietary practices of these age groups.

South Korea passed the Special Act on Safety Control of Children’s Dietary Life in 2009. The objective of the law is to contribute to the promotion of children’s health by regulating necessary matters for providing safe and well-balanced nutritional foods to help children develop good eating habits. To promote this objective, the act banned television advertisements on specific food categories during children’s prime time viewing, and also proscribed against gratuitous incentives when advertising children’s foods on TV, radio, and internet (such as offering free toys or gifts with the purchase of nutritionally inadequate foods). In the United Kingdom, the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has prohibited advertising foods high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on children’s television, stating the media has a responsibility to help curb the rise in childhood obesity and levels of diabetes.

The EU Health Coalition has also come up with a campaign called ‘AVMSD: What about our kids?’, describing it as “a key opportunity to free Europe’s young people from health-harmful marketing”. It targets the current Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) by restricting the hours in which advertising for harmful and unhealthy foods and beverages would be aired. The three key measures in this campaign is that no television advertisements for alcohol or HFSS would run between 6 am to 11 pm, there would be effective marketing techniques in place against product placement, and it would be ensured that these rules would apply to foreign broadcasts as well.

Responsible advertising and marketing of food and drinks directed towards children and the youth is a World Health Organisation (WHO) prerogative, and it’s a key policy action within the WHO Global Action Plan 2013–2020 for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2013. A recommendation from WHO is that governments play a leading role in reducing children’s overall exposure to food marketing and setting rules on the persuasive techniques companies can use, with a view to protect children from the adverse effects of unhealthy foods. Other key recommendations included that private sector markets understand that marketing of foods and drinks to children is an “international issue” and that there is a need for the corporate sector to be equally accountable for the outcome “…to promote responsible marketing including the development of a set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, in order to reduce the impact of foods high in saturated fats, transfatty acids, free sugars, or salt, in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including private-sector parties, while ensuring avoidance of potential conflict of interest”.

At this point, India lacks a framework of public health, legal and economic policies for effective implementation of the WHO recommendations that provide for a comprehensive reduction of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars and salt to children. However, the FBAI policy guidelines seem like a good first step towards tackling this issue. That being said there needs to be regulations in place within the National Health Policy to cater to this issue, and it must be driven by the Ministry of Health, rather than being anchored by an alliance of private sector companies.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 08:47 IST

Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani schemer and manipulator, says secret witness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indrani Mukerjea was a “schemer and a lady of dominant nature” who used to interfere in the affairs of a media group through her husband Peter who was the CEO, though not being on payroll, a ‘secret witness’ in the Sheena Bora murder case has claimed. Peter was arrested in November last year on the charge of murder conspiracy.A special court on Tuesday opened the statement of ‘secret witness’ Ravina Raj Kohli, former president of Star News, from a sealed cover and handed it over to the defence lawyers. On November 21, the CBI had told the Bombay High Court that it will give a copy of the secret witness’s statement, withheld so far by the agency, to Peter and other accused after deleting a portion of it. “To my understanding, Indrani is a schemer, manipulator and a lady of dominant nature,” Kohli said in a four-page statement recorded on February 10.Sheena, daughter of Indrani from her previous relationship, was killed in a car on April 24, 2012, and her body was later dumped and set afire in neighbouring Raigad district. Police had last year arrested Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyamvar Rai for murder and destruction of evidence. Rai later turned approver.
ALSO READ Sheena Bora case: CBI agrees to give Peter Mukerjea statement copy of ‘secret’ witnessPeter and Indrani were said to be against Sheena’s relationship with Rahul Mukerjea, Peter’s son from his former wife. Kohli stated that before Indrani’s marriage with Peter, she had received a message from her saying that the latter had settled everything with Khanna. “In my view it (the message) was sent by her (Indrani) to avoid any problem in her marriage with Peter,” Kohli told CBI.Peter was the chief executive officer of Star India network from 1999-2007. He and Indrani got married in 2002. After leaving Star in 2007, Indrani established news channel INX News, and Peter managed its two channels, 9X and 9XM. Peter and Indrani exited the company in 2009. Kohli stated that Indrani had told her she was running a recruitment agency in Kolkata before shifting to Mumbai.
ALSO READ Sheena Bora murder: Bombay High Court rejects Peter Mukerjea’s bail pleaIndrani later opened branch offices of the agency in Delhi and Bengaluru. “In due course, she (Indrani) started providing HR support to Star and at the time of her marriage with Peter, she was providing maximum human resources to Star. “I came to know from my sources that Indrani had manipulated this contract of recruitment with Star through Peter by throwing the threat of poaching to the media company,” Kohli said.Kohli claimed Peter was allowing Indrani to ‘interfere’ in the affairs of the company (Star) so much that she used to influence all major decisions of his, despite being not on the payroll. “Once I had an occasion to interact with Peter about Indrani and during the discussion Peter mentioned about Indrani as his retirement plan. It was the reason that she was being promoted by Peter in media business circle,” she said in her statement. She claimed Peter had ‘controlled’ all activities of Star and used to ‘manipulate’ things according to his choice and in a manner which used to be beneficial to him. “Indrani was taking advantage of his power on her personal benefit,” according to Kohli.
ALSO READ Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s bail plea rejected by High CourtShe said Peter resigned from Star in 2006-07 and floated INX media along with Indrani. “In fact, Peter and Indrani had planned to create this media company (INX Media) with he was still with Star. Before floating the company, he also did management diploma from Chicago,” Kohli stated.She further said that since Peter was a British national and there was a non-compete clause in the agreement with Star Channel, Peter made Indrani as CEO of INX Media. According to Kohli, though the planning and execution of concept of launching the firm was conceived by Peter, he kept Indrani as the face of the company but himself used to run the day to day functioning. “The company did not succeed mainly because of funds problem but Indrani’s inexperienced background of this profession also played a major role,” she stated.In her statement, Kohli also said Peter contacted her to join the company but she refused because they were giving her a “low profile job”. “But I came to know from sources that my name was shown by them in their media company records. Moreover, Indrani was not interested in keeping me in their company,” she claimed.Kohli told the CBI that she had learnt through her sources in media that Indrani and Peter had siphoned off money of their media company “through kickbacks” and parked the amount in some unknown bank accounts abroad, which she said “may be HSBC Singapore or Hong Kong.” “I came to know that Indrani and Peter used the company money to receive kickback from the dummy production companies (sic),” Kohli said.In 2009, Peter and Indrani both left India and settled in UK, although they kept coming to India. “I heard that Peter and Indani were planning to again start their media business in India and in this regard, they had arranged New Year Party in 2013-2014,” she stated. Kohli’s statement also said that Peter and Indrani were known as “Bunty and Babli” (names of the characters of con artists in the 2005 Bollywood movie). She further told CBI that she never met Sheena but came to know from media sources that she was daughter of Indrani, who used to project Sheena as her sister. “It was also a rumour that Indrani and Peter had floated some company in the name of Sheena and both of them had parked huge money in the bank accounts in India and abroad,” Kohli added.

NIA wraps up raids in 17 Zakir Naik’s IRF premises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said it had so far completed raids at 17 premises connected to controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation, while searches at two other premises were still underway. The raids began early on Saturday morning at IRF’s Dongri office. The agency has also blocked all social media content with Naik’s speeches, including IRF’s official website.”We have seized a large stash of data from Harmony Media, which used to produce and supply media content for Peace TV. We have seized incriminating documents and digital devices from the premises. We will start scrutinising all digital material and documents seized from Tuesday onwards,” an NIA source said.”As part of the investigation, all action that needs to be taken against a proscribed organisation, including banning of its online activities, are being undertaken,” an NIA officer said.An employee of Harmony Media, on the condition of anonymity, said, “We have been asked not to conduct any kind of activity, but have been told to cooperate with the agency in the investigation. All the offices, including IRF and Harmony Media, were rented premises. The owners have also removed the board from IRF’s office.”The NIA had on Saturday carried out searches at 12 IRF premises in Mumbai after registering a case against Naik and others under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The agency had seized Rs 12 lakh cash and incriminating documents, during their raids on various premises, including IRF’s head office.Naik allegedly transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV to make objectionable programmes. Most of which “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV. “NIA has started the process for blocking the URLs of online platforms connected to IRF and Zakir Naik including but not restricted to websites, Facebook and YouTube. It is being done following the due process of the extant statutes,” NIA spokesperson said.

NIA searches 12 premises of Zakir Naik’s IRF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After filing an FIR against controversial televangelist Zakir Naik under Sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday morning searched the offices of Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and residences of his associates.NIA sources said electronic evidence in the form of laptops and mobile phones as well as many documents were seized during searches at 12 locations in Mumbai.After the IRF was banned by the Centre for five years as an unlawful association under UAPA, the Mumbai Police had on Thursday served a copy of the notification at the organisation’s Dongri office.NIA’s Mumbai unit on Friday registered an offence against Naik and others under UAPA Sections 10 (Penalty for being a member of an unlawful association), 13 (Punishment for unlawful activities) and 18 (Whoever conspires or attempts to commit, or advocates, abets, advises or incites or knowingly facilitates the commission of a terrorist act or any act preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act) and Section 153(A) of the Indian Penal Code (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony).”On November 19, nine NIA teams have conducted search operations at 12 premises connected to the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in Mumbai simultaneously and seized incriminating documents /files, electronic storage devices and about Rs 12 lakh in cash. The recovered documents relate to various activities including financial transactions and property details of Zakir Naik and the IRF. To assist the search teams, a team of IT experts was flown in from the NIA headquarters in Delhi to Mumbai. The searches are still going on and are likely to continue till late in the night,” an NIA spokesperson said. The search operations were photographed.On Saturday, around 5 am, a team of NIA officers and the local police searched the IRF’s head office at Tandel Street in Dongri and a few other places related to the NGO, including IRF Ladies Wing, Islamic Books International, Global Education and Harmony Media Pvt Ltd.According to sources, the agency had initially searched 10 places and two more places were searched later. The locations searched, which include office complexes of IRF, residential premises of Naik and his close associates and office-bearers of his trust are located in and around Dongri.Sources said that electronic devices, including mobiles and laptops, have been seized. They added that several storage devices were found in Harmony Media’s office. Financial documents and other documents were also being scanned by the NIA. A team is sifting through the documents and will seize only those documents relevant to the investigation, sources said.”Around 4.30 am, we received a call from an NIA officer and were told toopen the offices. We were told that they wanted to search the premises of IRF. The searches are still on and are likely to continue till late night,” an IRF employee, who did not wish to be named, told DNA.”CDs and computer data from all IRF offices are being scrutinised.Telephonic and email conversations will be checked. Telecom experts have also been roped in,” said an official. Around 30-40 Mumbai police team members have been deployed at all IRF premises where the searches are on.The Maharashtra police’s anti-terrorism squad had earlier arrested IRF members for allegedly radicalising youths to join the terrorist organisation Daesh.The Mumbai police, too, had registered an offence against IRF members for motivating group of youths from Kasargode in Kerala, who left thecountry to join Daesh on a complaint from the father of Ashfaq Majid, one of the youths in the group, at the Nagpada police station. After a few days, this case was transferred to the NIA.Naik allegedly transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes. Most of the programmes, which were made in India, contained alleged hate speeches by Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV.An educational trust run by Naik has already been prevented from receiving foreign funds and agencies are looking into its activities.Bank accounts of school frozenThe bank accounts of Islamic International School (IIS) in Mumbai, run by Zakir Naik, have been frozen. The school, which has around 165 students (89 boys and remaining girls) has pre-primary, primary and secondary levels and imparts education in the IGCSE curriculum, Quranic and Arabic.”Our administration informed us that the accounts were frozen on Thursday evening,” said Imran Qureshi, principal of IIS. “Daily activities like providing mid-day meals to pre-primary students, snacks to the staff and daily chores are affected. Today I managed expenses from my pocket but I request thegovernment and everyone that the teaching and learning process not get disturbed. It is their exam time right now,” said Qureshi.

Demonetization and digital democracy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There has been a barrage of criticism against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in November 8, 2016, to render Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 useless starting midnight that night. In one fell stroke, the move has been estimated to wipe out crores of black money held in high-denomination cash across the nation.Panic struck almost immediately, at least among those who had stashed away their illicit income in cash troves. Reports of frenetic late-night jewellery buying immediately came to the fore, as desperate holders of black money tried to re-invest their money in other assets. Given that the announcement was made after 8 pm, well after currency bazaars had closed, gold remained the only viable asset that black money could be converted into.However, the days that followed saw spikes in panic withdrawals at banks by common citizens, who struggled to meet daily cash needs (and some to hoard). Media reports also spoke of instances of those who also tried to game the system by having multiple persons withdraw or exchange their now-useless currency notes. Lines snaked around blocks where branches or ATMs were. Smaller denomination notes, once at the bottom of the respectability ladder, suddenly became objects of desire. Even those who operate largely using plastic or digital platforms struggled for cash to meet daily needs such as auto-rickshaws or for vegetables or even that streetside tea.TV presenter Gautam Bhimani gets ‘cashless’ aloo parathas!Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the great Indian jugaad kicked in. Only this time, it was savvy, digital and has the potential to forever change the way small businesses operate. Given that one of the goals of the demonetization move was to nudge more people into going cashless, and use formal and informal banking channels, including digital wallets, the sudden spurt in acceptance of digital payments by even micro businesses must count as one of the most suble, yet critical accomplishments of the move.From vegetable vendors to cobblers to chaiwallahs – as PM Modi often refers to himself as – a slew of retail and services providers decided to adopt new-age payment methods to get around the severe restrictions on withdrawals and the sudden shortage of small denomination notes that they typically dealt in. We present a cross-section of India that shows how India’’s micro entrepreneurs have taken the demonetization step in their stride, even made a virtue of it.

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NDTV India ban: Modi government’s shown us how we’re turning into Pakistan

Two days ago, while speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Awards function, Prime Minister Narendra Modi argued that the Emergency should be repeatedly analysed and talked about, lest we forget.

“Every generation must keep reflecting on the Emergency period in an unbiased manner so that no future political leader can even wish to commit the same paap [sin],” Modi said.

The PM needn’t worry. Around the time he was talking about the Emergency, the government’s inter-ministerial committee on information and broadcasting was suggesting a decision the BJP may have derided as paap during the Emergency: A one-day ban on NDTV India for “broadcasting sensitive information” during the attack on the Pathankot air base.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

The committee’s decision, obviously, violates the basic principle of natural justice. With its unilateral decision to punish the channel, the government is trying to unequivocally convey that when it comes to the media, it can act as the judge, jury and the executioner. The message is simple: If the government does not agree or approve, you better shut up and pay a price.

A few days ago, Indians were gloating over their democratic values and freedoms guaranteed to the media, while criticising the restrictions imposed on Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida, who was put on the exit control list for breaking a story on the tiff between his country’s civil and military leadership.

With its harsh, punitive action against NDTV, the government has unfortunately reminded us of how we have started imbibing the undemocratic, tyrannical practices of the neighbour we so love to despise and ridicule.

As the Editors Guild of India has argued: “The decision to take the channel off the air for a day is a direct violation of the freedom of the media and therefore the citizens of India, and amounts to harsh censorship imposed by the government reminiscent of the Emergency. This first-of-its-kind order to impose a blackout has seen the Central government entrust itself with the power to intervene in the functioning of the media and take arbitrary punitive action as and when it does not agree with the coverage.”

The very premise of the ban — that the channel’s broadcast compromised national security — is bogus. On the night of 31 December, at least six terrorists crossed the border, held the Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh at gun point and then sneaked into the high-security air base without any restrictions.

Their unrestricted movement in the high-security zone was a massive intelligence failure. That an important air base on the India-Pakistan border is so porous that anybody can merrily walk in and hide there for several hours without being noticed is a damning indictment of our security apparatus.

Even a year after the attack, we do not know how the terrorists crossed the border, walked into the airbase and launched an attack that lasted at least 48 hours. Since the security agencies failed to capture even one of the infiltrators alive, nobody knows who helped them enter a high-security defence installation. Nobody has been punished so far, nobody has been held accountable. No wonder, since the right lessons were not learnt from Pathankot, similar incidents happened in military camps in Jammu and Kashmir barely a few months later.

Ironically, while the big questions remain unanswered, the committee has already identified the fall guy: A TV channel reporting on the incident. Coincidentally, the only channel identified for punishment has always been perceived to be among the few independent voices in the country that is being increasingly dominated by media houses that kowtow to the government, crawl when asked to bend. And its anchors have always been high on the hit list of cheerleaders of the government and right-wing trolls.

Representational image. ScreenshotRepresentational image. Screenshot

Representational image. Screenshot

How is a TV channel to be blamed for reporting a terror attack? Soon after the 26/11 terror strikes on Mumbai, Firstpost Editor-in-Chief BV Rao had debunked this TV-helped-terrorists theory. “It presumes that the terrorists left the crucial job of intelligence gathering at ground zero to India’s news channels! Which in turn presumes the terrorists were cocksure the Indian security establishment would goof up its most elementary job of securing the war zone and keeping the media at bay,” he argued.

Similar questions can be raised about the Pathankot attack. Did the terrorists leave their base in Pakistan relying on the Indian media for inputs? Were they relying on the happenstance of a TV reporter informing them on the exact number of planes and nature and amount of ammo at the base? If that be the case, did they bring GPS sets, maps and other communication devices to play Pokemon during the 48-hour encounter?

As Rao had argued then, by accusing the media of helping the terrorists, the government manages to deftly deflect the debate from uncomfortable questions about the quality of our response. By pinning the media down with absurd charges of complicity with the enemy, it ensures the media was on the defensive and did not raise any questions about the efficiency of the 60-hour operation.

I see some gaps, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had admitted after the lapses that allowed terrorists a walk in the Pathankot base. News reports had pointed at a lot of confusion within the government ranks over the response to the attack and its handling by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Writing on the incident, defence expert Ajai Shukla had argued that India was lucky to get away with limited losses in spite of inept handling of the attack. He pointed out that the security agencies were warned 24 hours in advance about the attack and yet, “when the NSA met the army chief on Friday, he asked for only two columns of soldiers (some 50 troops). Intent on directly controlling what he anticipated would be a walk in the park, and without anticipating that there might be more than one group of terrorists, Mr Doval led with his trump card — he ordered 150-160 National Security Guard (NSG) troopers to be flown down immediately from New Delhi. The army was placed on the sidelines”.

Even a year after the attack, we do not know how the terrorists crossed the border, walked into the airbase and launched an attack that lasted at least 48 hours

Clearly, diverting the blame to a TV channel helps everyone in the government. It takes the debate in a different direction, taking the attention away from the real flaws and problems, finds a convenient scapegoat, and gives its cheerleaders an opportunity to applaud punitive action against a TV channel and anchors they want tamed.

The only problem with the decision is this: By embracing the Emergency’s code of punishment, how will the BJP help us forget the paap committed by Indira Gandhi?

PS: A few weeks ago, NDTV decided to drop former home minister P Chidambaram’s interview after running its promos the entire day. The government’s decision to ban it for a day would perhaps remind it of the essence of Martin Niemoller’s immortal words: When they came for Chidambaram, I didn’t speak up. One day when they came for me, I cried but everyone said my complaint was just ‘drivel’.

Credibility biggest challenge facing media: PM Modi at journalism awards

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that credibility is the biggest challenge for media in the age of technology and it is important for media establishments to maintain it.

Speaking after giving away the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards organised by The Indian Express, he said earlier people with certain training and qualification came to journalism but today anybody with a mobile phone can click a picture and upload it.

“People now have a lot of news. In this context, maintaining credibility is a big issue and the biggest demand of time,” he said.

In a lighter vein, the Prime Minister said while media had full freedom to comment on everything and everybody, it does not like others’ views on it.

A file photo of PM Modi. PTIA file photo of PM Modi. PTI

A file photo of PM Modi. PTI

Tongue-in-cheek, he said he must be the only privileged politician after Independence to have got so much of media
attention and he is eternally grateful to it.

Setting two important matters before the media, Modi said he does not have any issue with the government being criticised by the media but there should be no mistake in reporting. National unity, he added, should be the priority as India is a diverse country.

“Any compromise is a news for you and you move on to the next news but such a compromise leaves behind deep wounds. We (politicians) may be making more mistakes than you but please strengthen forces of national unity.

He also pitched for a world-class Indian media organisation to propagate the country’s view strongly across the globe and cited current debate on environment and global warming. He said such an organisation should not belong to the government.

He said all big countries are working for having a strong media voice at the global level and for India it is an opportunity as well as a challenge.

Awards were given to journalists in print, TV and digital media in various disciplines.

Viveck Goenka, Chairman and Managing Director of the Express Group in his welcome address said that apart from these awards, the group would also be giving a new award to district-level officers for making a positive impact on governance.

Social media ‘going haywire’, no regulation of news media: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There can be no regulation of the media in a democracy, feels Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who says self-regulation is good. However, he says, there is a feeling that social media is “going haywire”.”In a democracy, in a free society where freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Constitution, you cannot have regulation of the media, this is my conviction,” Naidu told PTI in an interview. He said self-regulation is good and what is required is not a new bill but political will and administrative skill. “That is lacking at some places,” he added.The minister, however, added that if at the end of the day, there are violations, there are laws of the land which are available already.Freedom of expression is best utilised only when the value of such freedom is fully appreciated, he added. “When this freedom is not exercised is judiciously, our existing laws provide for necessary interventions. We are not thinking of any new restrictions on any media. But the government expects all stakeholders to be responsible in using different platforms.” the I&B minister said.He said for the media, there are some regulations like it should not preach something which is anti-national, not propagate against the interest of the country aspects like obscenity, vulgarity, encouraging violence etc. “There are already broad guidelines and stipulations under the law also and they will take care of these aspects,” he said.”For the mainstream journalists, there is some regulation by their organisations and management. But for social media there is no censorship, things go directly, he said.”There is slowly a growing feeling of social media going haywire. And we have to find ways and means to go about it. But at the same time if you start regulating media, the effect will not be positive. Keeping that in mind, regarding social media also, there are enough laws to take care of social media also and those laws should be effectively and properly used,” Naidu said. Naidu said that politicians, at times, may not have the will to apply these laws as they do not want to pick up quarrel with media which is quite powerful. “Media is so powerful and some of the politicians are so weak they don’t want to use the law which is already available – Why should I quarrel with them? I say it is not a quarrel, as long as you are within line, you have every right, you must fight. We have the great examples of Ram Nath Goenka, late C R Irani, Ramoji Rao. They have fought against the mighty,” he said.Speaking about social media, Naidu said it is an area of concern because it is immensely popular. Naidu said that while there are concerns about the unregulated content on social media, he emphasised that regulation was unlikely to bring any positive results.On the role of media, he said that the duty of media is is to inform but stories should not be invented or created. “News should be news, views should be separate. Of late, this tendency has erupted in certain sections of Indian media, to distort, combine news and views,” he added.He said that news organisations should never get identified with any party as it affects their credibility.Naidu also said that the media should avoid sensationalism as well as obscenity, vulgarity, violence should be reduced while terrorism, extremism and anti-social activities — they should not be highlighted as if they are heroic acts.Citing his own experience in Parliament, Naidu said that he once gave a comprehensive speech on agriculture which the media almost entirely ignored. “If Naidu had torn some papers or gone to the Well of the House, then it becomes news. This is a development of recent years, which is bad,” he said. Media should try to support the constructive, he said. Naidu also said that there are about one lakh newspapers in the country and about 890 TV channels which are set to expand more and more as the appetite for information and entertainment of 125 crore people keeps on increasing.”Our people fiercely guard the right to freedom of expression. This is valued even more than economic advancement,” he said. He said that social media is a new tool of communication with its own distinct features and advantages.”It is spontaneous and interactive. Such a medium is both an opportunity and a challenge. While we believe in people taking full advantage of this new medium, we expect them to make judicious use of it in the larger national and individual good,” Naidu said.

To enhance mutual trust and get India-China closer, media needs to build on ‘positive energies’: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst the negativity in Sino- India ties, a senior Chinese Communist Party official on Thursday underlined the need for the media in both countries to build on the “positive energies” in bilateral relations to enhance mutual trust and bring the two Asian giants closer.Addressing the 3rd India-China Media Dialogue here, Tuo Zhen, Vice-Minister, Publicity Department of the ruling Communist Party of China Central Committee, said journalists in the two countries could help forge better bilateral relations by projecting what was “good and positive” in the two neighbouring nations, also ancient civilisations.”It can generate a lot of positive energy” if the media in both countries highlight the positive news that has been taking place, he said. Tuo said the field for bilateral cooperation was vast and there was great potential to develop fast, including in areas like media and culture. By jointly exploring opportunities in these areas, the two countries could improve mutual understanding among each other, the senior official said.Tuo also called for stepped up cooperation among the media in the BRICS grouping, saying it would also lead to enhanced mutual understanding among the people of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Senior journalists from China, who participated in the dialogue, said that there was an urgent need to improve perceptions that has a very important role in molding public opinion in both countries.Deputy Editor of China Daily, Gao Anming said the two countries should focus on developing their economies and take help from each other on their strengths. For example, China should tap India’s strength in areas like Information Technology, financial services and pharmaceuticals while India can focus on China’s strengths in infrastructure and other areas.Interestingly, the media dialogue took place at a time when China-India ties have witnessed stress due to issues like China’s opposition to India’s efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN and Beijing’s efforts to scuttle India’s membership bid at NSG. Indian journalists at the dialogue also raised India’s concerns on these issues and the need for China to be sensitive to New Delhi’s interests.

NDTV’s stand on Chidambaram interview raises troubling ethical questions

When asked to bend they crawled

This remark described the spinelessness of the Indian media during the Emergency years in the mid-1970s. Forty years on, the media, at least a major section of it, appears to have turned crawling into a fine art. There’s no Emergency around, no visible pressure from the government to toe the line and no low-ranking official vetting content, yet many news outfits are on sycophantic overdrive. The impression that the media is the publicity arm of the ruling establishment is getting so strong that someday the government might actually intervene and ask them to develop a spine and stand up because it is getting too embarrassing.

File image of P Chidambaram. PTI

File image of P Chidambaram. PTI

Former Union minister P Chidambaram’s assessment of the media in his interview to The Indian Express doesn’t come without a context. “I want to raise a more fundamental question. Why are people falling in line? You are looking at it as a criticism of the government’s action. I am asking a different question, I am asking the media: why are you guys falling like nine pins to unjustified demands, if any, from the powers that be? I don’t know, if the powers that be made any demand. But why are you guys falling like nine pins? It’s sad. If the media, which fiercely protests, or used to fiercely protest any suggestion that the media should be restrained — why is it capitulating?” he told the paper.

There’s a backdrop to his remark.

Speaking to NDTV he sought proof of Indian military’s surgical strike on terrorist camps in PoK. The interview was never aired by the channel. The apparent reason: National security. When asked about this by website The Wire, NDTV responded thus: “…Like all decisions we take at NDTV, we are driven by editorial and journalistic integrity and the belief that the political mud slinging regarding the surgical strikes without a shred of evidence was actually damaging to our national security. We do not believe that we are obliged to carry every shred of drivel that has now come to pass as public discourse. I’d also like to stress that this is part of our normal editorial policy not to provide a platform to outrageous and wild accusations that thrive only on publicity…”

In his interview to The Indian Express, the former finance minister sought answers from the channel on three questions: One, which part of it constituted a threat to national security; two, which part is drivel, and three, which part of it was bizarre political bickering. He said he was still waiting for a response. If the development is indeed true, then it is one more case of a respectable channel losing its moral-ethical compass.

News organisations ensure that the content they produce pass through several filters, for reasons both quality and credibility, but consideration of national security — an expression that could be politically-loaded — was never one of those. It’s a new ‘new’ in Indian journalism. And it raises some troubling questions.

If BJP president Amit Shah’s views on the surgical strikes could be aired then why not Chidambaram’s?

How do you define national security? Is it an arbitrary call, suitably elastic in its moral aspect depending on the needs of those making newsroom decisions? In times when the government-media nexus can create and perpetuate artificial reality through the official narrative sanctified by the expression national security, shouldn’t there be scope for the counter-narrative? What if the same statement was made by a few former generals and not a political leader; would it still be against national interest? Where does all that leave journalists who are supposed to dig the truth out by asking questions? When the editors have the right to decide what is in national interest then why question the right of the government to do the same?

It’s curious that a respectable news outfit would seek to dismiss as drivel doubts expressed by someone who has been in the thick of India security matters for long years. This would be acceptable if the other view, which again comes without ‘any shred of evidence’ was treated with equal disdain as well. If proof is expected of one side, then it is only fair that the other is asked to do the same too. If BJP president Amit Shah’s views on the surgical strikes could be aired then why not Chidambaram’s? Again, as editors how do you draw the line in such cases?

There is nothing on record so far to show that this has been done at the behest of the government. But even if it is a purely editorial decision, it still raises troubling questions. Editors can and do excise stuff for reasons of quality, clarity and journalistic standards. But that rarely involves blocking out one part of a narrative. That would be less about editing and more about censoring.
That’s why NDTV‘s decision to put ‘national security above politics’ — whether voluntary or forced — is hard to digest.

Kim Kardashian sues over claims she faked Paris robbery | Reuters

Kim Kardashian sues over claims she faked Paris robbery | Reuters

Updated: Oct 12, 2016 00:17 IST

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NEW YORK Kim Kardashian on Tuesday sued a website for claiming she had staged an armed robbery in Paris that her sister said had left her terrorized and traumatized.The reality TV star filed a defamation lawsuit in federal court in New York against the U.S. celebrity gossip site MediaTakeOut.com for reporting that she had faked the robbery, and then filed a fraudulent insurance claim.Paris police said the 35-year-old celebrity was robbed at gunpoint of some $10 million in jewelry by masked men who tied her up in her Paris apartment early on Oct. 3. The website did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Kardashian’s TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been put on hold since the robbery and Kim has stopped her other business and social engagements.In the first TV appearance on Tuesday by a Kardashian member since the Paris incident, her sister Khloe said the robbery had proved a “wake-up call” to the family, who chronicle almost every aspect of their lives on TV and social media.

“She’s not doing that well. I mean, it’s incredibly traumatic what happened to her, but our family is super close and great and we’ll get through it together,” Khloe Kardashian told U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres.”It’s just a wake up call to make a lot of life adjustments. This is a really serious matter for Kim I think that’s really personal,” she said, adding that Kim had suffered “emotional terror.”Tuesday’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for defamation and names both MediaTakeOut.com and its founder, Fred Mwangaguhunga, as defendants.

“After having been the victim of a horrific and traumatic armed robbery in France, Kim Kardashian returned to the United States only to again be victimized, but this time by an online gossip tabloid that published a series of articles in early October 2016 referring to her a liar and thief,” the lawsuit said.It said that Mwangaguhunga refused to publish a retraction and an apology.

Kardashian has been criticized for making herself vulnerable by posting photos of her $4 million dollar engagement ring and other jewelry in the days before the Paris attack.Others have made fun of the robbery. One California-based company is selling a Halloween costume called “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim” that consists of a long black wig, sunglasses, a white bathrobe, rope, a mouth gag and a large plastic ring. (Reporting by Joseph Ax and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Alan Crosby and Andrew Hay)

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

Hyderabad girl’s death: Jain Samaj president blasts media for twisting facts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing grief over the death of a 13-year-old girl in Hyderabad last week after fasting for 68 days during the holy period of ‘Chaumasa’, Jain Samaj president Ashok Kumar Sanklecha on Monday said that she might have died due to some complications, adding that it would not be appropriate to hold the religion responsible for the same.”If someone is no more then it’s definitely sad news. But the manner in which it has been circulated in the media that her death was a conspiracy and a result of blindly following the Jain religion then I must tell you all that the Jain religion is a scientific religion, every step taken by us is scientific,” Sanklecha told the media.”We will prove this in a press conference tomorrow. We don’t force anyone to sit on a fast,” he added.Aradhana, a class 8 student, was admitted to the hospital two days after completing her fast where she died of cardiac arrest. However, certain reports claim that the girl was brought dead.Questions are being raised why the girl’s family allowed her to give up school and sit on a fast. The incident prompted city police to launch an inquiry into the incident after a child rights NGO sought a probe.

Alibaba Pictures, Amblin to co-produce films for global, Chinese audiences | Reuters

Alibaba Pictures, Amblin to co-produce films for global, Chinese audiences | Reuters

Updated: Oct 9, 2016 19:43 IST

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BEIJING Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd, the film unit of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said on Sunday they will co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences. They will also collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partner films in China, the companies said in a joint statement. Amblin Partners creates film, television and digital content under the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media brands. Big Chinese companies including Dalian Wanda Group Co are looking to bring more Western films and movie-making prowess into China even as they seek to expand their footprint in Hollywood.China’s masses have the ability to keep Hollywood movies afloat, industry watchers say. They expect China to soon surpass the United States as the world’s biggest movie market.This year’s ‘Warcraft’, which was a box office flop in the United States, raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in China, making it one of the country’s highest-grossing films of the year.

“Some of the stories I’m hoping Jack and I can tell in this new partnership between Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures will be able to bring Chinese-themed stories to the American audience, and we can do co-productions between our company and your company,” Spielberg said at a briefing in Beijing. “And we can bring more of China to America, and bring some more of America to China.”Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures has yet to release any films, although the company formerly known as ChinaVision Media Group Ltd has several projects in production.

Alibaba Pictures began investing in Hollywood films in 2015 with its stake in ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’. It was an investor in this year’s blockbusters ‘Star Trek Beyond’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group paid about $800 million for a controlling stake in ChinaVision Media in 2014. Under the terms of the partnership, Alibaba Pictures will also acquire a minority stake in Amblin Partners, which is chaired by Spielberg, the award-winning U.S. movie director and producer.

Dalian Wanda, the conglomerate controlled by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, is partnering with Sony Pictures under which Wanda will market Sony Pictures’ films and co-finance some upcoming movie releases of Sony Corp’s film unit in China.In January, Wanda paid $3.5 billion for a controlling stake in U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment. The group has also since said it would start co-investing in global blockbusters next year.”I heard a lot of people say the movie industries are dead. I think that’s a lack of imagination,” Ma said at the briefing. “All the cinemas in the future are going to be changed because of technology. So people will definitely have all kinds of experiences watching movies.” (Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Paul Tait and Clelia Oziel)

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

Pakistan banning Indian channels a sign of insecurity: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over reports of Pakistan banning the broadcast of Indian channels in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Sunday that Islamabad’s move shows it does not want its citizens to know about the state’s misdoings as they are insecure.”Pakistan banning Indian channels is a sign of their insecurity because they want to keep away from their misdoings and some information at the public at large. My sympathies go out to the people of Pakistan, who are unaware of the incompetence of its military and even more incompetence of its government,” BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said.The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Saturday announced to ban all ‘illegal’ Indian channels across the nation from October 15th.The PEMRA has warned that strict action would be taken according to law after October 15 if TV channels and distribution networks failed to follow the directions.The authority said it has been receiving complaints that several local private channels were showing Indian talk shows, reality programmes and dramas without permission.The decision was taken after looking at the current situation of India and Pakistan, following which authorities have been urged to impose immediate ban on broadcast and distribution of illegal Indian content and illegal Indian DTH.This development comes in the wake of Pakistani artistes and actors facing a ban from the Indian movie industry.

Uri terror attack: India’s culture of shying from conflict is why such attacks will recur

The Modi government is understood to have given the army, its diplomats and its spooks a cautious go-ahead for some kind of calibrated, but not brash, response to the Pakistan-backed terrorist attack in Uri, which killed 18 soldiers. Nothing wrong with this, but it will achieve little. None of this has worked in the past, and none of this will amount to much beyond political optics even now or in the future. This is because underlying all this is a reactive approach, and hence our actions can be easily anticipated by the world’s original Islamic State, aka Pakistan.

The truth is countering Pakistan’s death-by-a-thousand cuts terror policy needs a long-term strategy, not a tactical reaction to events. But despite have seen over three decades of Pakistani perfidies, we do not have a coherent strategy. If we had one, by now the costs of Uri could have been clear to Pakistan. That we are still debating what to do, with media speculating on options loudly, means Pakistan is ready to face whatever we throw at them. Whatever we do will thus be ineffective.

18 soldiers were killed in Sunday's attack on Uri Army base. PTI18 soldiers were killed in Sunday's attack on Uri Army base. PTI

18 soldiers were killed in Sunday’s attack on Uri Army base. PTI

What we have been doing so far is blundering through with a non-strategy. Consider these points:

1. A sitting ducks strategy

Whether it is terror against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir or the army, our approach is defensive and non-purposeful. The truism is that a terrorist has to succeed only once, while the defence has to win all the time to be successful. While we can certainly protect our army camps and airbases better, dealing with terrorists who have the element of surprise with them needs a more flexible and mobile strategy, which means creating a light, effective and disciplined commando force that blends with the population to both feed intelligence and take direct action against jihadis when they are discovered. Our National Security Guards are busy protecting politicians instead of our security assets. We need a force that works under the army or the central police forces, but which is mobile and effective.

2. Learn-no-lessons strategy

Pakistan constantly adapts to new conditions based on how the last one worked or failed. When 26/11 made Pakistan a global pariah, it shifted strategy to target the army and police, as strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney notes, but even after Pathankot we have not changed our strategy to meet this threat. This is why Uri happened.

3. The hugs-and-kisses strategy

This is where we allow hope and naivete to trump good sense. We are always ready to hop onto a bus to Lahore or hug a Pakistani Prime Minister when the Pakistani army and Deep State have repeatedly demonstrated that they are not willing to give up their enmity or terror assets. Hugs-and-kisses are fine for global optics, but they can never substitute for realism driven by hard power and firepower. WE don’t have to abandon the optics or even talks, but we have to have an underlying iron-fist-in-velvet glove strategy. We should be able to bare our fangs whenever we choose to.

4. The outrage-and-bluster routine

Every time there is a terror attack, we get angry as though this is the first time we have been stabbed in the back. We demand solid responses from a pusillanimous government, and we get promises of action. But a few weeks later, we forget all this and are back to business-as-usual. Media bluster and political statement-mongering will get us nowhere.

5. The playing-by-our-rules strategy

Indians are particularly foolish to think that our opponent will play by our rules, or ever play fair. When you are in a war of long-term attrition, you have to know your enemy. You can’t fight with bow and arrow when the enemy has guns. But we spend very little time asking ourselves what the Pakistanis are going to do next, what atrocity they are going to commit to provoke us. If we do not learn to think like the enemy, if we are not regularly studying alternate scenarios on what the Pakistani generals will be upto next, we are going to be surprised every time. We need a permanent war-room under the National Security Advisor that will constantly ask itself what it would do if it were in the ISI’s or Pakistani army’s shoes, and prepare for that eventuality. We might still get surprised, but at least we can learn from our mistakes. War is not a play-by-my-rules affair. You have to make your rules only after understanding what rules the opponent follows. Your rules depend on knowing your enemy.

6. The dossier strategy

Every time there is a terror event, we build dossiers on Pakistan’s involvement. Nothing wrong in this, but we have to understand who or what this dossier is for. It is to show the world, and build a domestic case for trials in case the persons named happen to get caught in India. Giving these dossiers to Pakistan is like giving them ultimate pleasure. They will dismiss it as “literature” and throw it in the dustbin and then ask for more evidence. Nothing pleases the Pakistanis more than to let us do all the work and then throw it into the trash can. Why are we doing this repeatedly?

7. The diplomatic isolation gambit

Once again, this is useful in order to build global opinion against Pakistan. We should continue doing so, and also repeatedly brand Pakistan as the oldest and most dangerous version of Islamic State. ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has no nuclear weapons. It can be bombed out of existence. Pakistan cannot. So the purpose of diplomacy should be to make Pakistan a pariah, but it won’t reduce terrorism from Pakistani soil. The only country which has leverage over China is Pakistan, but China is happy to covertly support Pakistani terror in order to keep us permanently off balance. If at all diplomacy is to work, our strategy should be to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan by giving the former evidence of terrorism against China being plotted by Pakistani jihadis.

8. The turn-the-other-cheek strategy

This is pure stupidity, and entirely homegrown. Our media will keep telling us that India as the big brother must tolerate some Pakistani perfidy, and even provide justification for it, by showing how Pakistanis are good people, who even pay for visiting journos’ lunch. It is true that civil society people can be warm towards Indians, but it is not Pakistani civil society that we are fighting with. It is the army and ISI. Turning the other cheek and playing benevolent big brother to the Deep State is not an option.

9. The look-at-root-causes strategy

This also masquerades as the look-at-our-own-mistakes strategy. Or we-brought-it-on-ourselves rationalisation. Doves in the media and analysts will routinely tell us that we goofed in J&K, and that Pakistan would not find traction if we only won the Kashmiris over. While it can be no one’s claim that we did all the right things in Kashmir, it is rubbish to suggest that the current wave of violence is all our own doing. Remember, Pakistan was a key player in Islamising the Valley and played an active role in the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits. Once the Valley became 100 percent Muslim, Kashimiryat was over. Where earlier Pakistan had to send jihadis over, now jihad is home-grown with a self-radicalising population which thinks Islamism is the answer. De-radicalisation should be our goal, but we still have to fight Pakistan in this battle.

10. The good boy strategy

India seems keener to get good certificates of tolerance and restraint from the global community than to protect its strategic interests in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. Many Indian media writers feed this narrative by saying India should not support war-mongering. Anyone demanding effective action against Pakistani terror can be dubbed a warmonger, and we keep fighting shy of this tag. The fact is every nation has a duty to protect its interests, and retaliation against terror is not war-mongering. A rising global power cannot decide its actions based on what other people will think. We can explain our point of view to the world cogently, but we cannot let them decide what is in our interests, even if they think less of us in the bargain. The US, Russia, China, Israel, UK and no country worth its salt decides on strategic actions based on what the world will think. We should not either.

Our real problem is this: there is something in the Indian cultural DNA that shies away from conflict, avoids hard decisions, and offers a rationalisation for inaction and cowardice. Not standing up to a regular bully is passed off (by us) as some kind of peace-loving Indian attitude when internally we are seething with anger over repeated humiliations by a terrorist nation.

The Pakistanis have figured this out about us, which is why they target us with impunity, knowing how we will respond. Isn’t it time we showed them we can be different? We owe it to ourselves and the future of Indian nationhood to show them we are not what they think we are: sissies afraid to stand up for our national interests.

No CBI raid in Shimla Doordarshan: DDG Doordarshan

“There were no CBI raids in Shimla Doordarshan on June 10 as reported in section of media and all allegations regarding irregularities, bribe and claiming false bills are baseless,” Deputy Director General (DDG) Doordarshan said on Sunday.”It was a surprise inspection by CBI team in which officials of Prasar Bharti were also involved and reports regarding sealing of office, seizing the hard disc of computers and restriction on movements of officers and employees, appearing in the media were also not based on facts and there was no disruption in DD office which functioned normally on June 10,” he said<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the allegations appearing in the media, he said that all payments to artists and other employees are transferred directly into the bank accounts through RTGS and as such the question of making bogus payments did not arise.

CBI to question Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat tomorrow

CBI will question Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday for the second time in connection with a preliminary inquiry into a sting operation to get information on some specific issues on which it said his responses were not satisfactory.CBI sources said he has been asked to come tomorrow in connection with the inquiry. Sources in the agency had claimed after his first round of question that Rawat could not “furnish full and complete details” on many issues for which he has been called again. Rawat had countered it saying he fully cooperated with CBI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The sources, however, failed to elaborate on what specific points Rawat did not furnish details.After coming out from the session, Rawat said he cannot reveal the questions asked by the probe team.”I need not produce any evidence. I have neither done any horse trading nor given any money to anyone. I never said I want MLAs. People of electronic media reach anywhere. I accorded that journalist respect and he blackmailed me. Media needs to ponder over this,” he said.The agency has registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with the alleged sting operation on April 29 purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly. It was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government.The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency can only “request” a person “to join the probe” and cannot summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.

Unfazed by criticism over its focus on publicity, AAP government to appoint ‘communications consultant’

Unfazed by the severe criticism it drew on its alleged publicity overdrive and the expenses incurred in the process, the Aam Aadmi Party government has now decided to appoint a communication services firm.dna has learnt that the job of the ‘communication consultant’ –as advertised by the Delhi government– will be similar to that of a public relations agency.The selected firm will be responsible for creating content and disseminating government information– packaged well– to the people and the media, and will be paid anywhere between Rs3 crore and Rs5crore annually.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to sources, the government has received four applications.Communication has always been the priority of the AAP government, who has decided to allocate over Rs200 crore this budget for publicity as against Rs526 crore last financial year.Currently, the publicity activities for the Delhi government are carried out by a core team of Delhi government, which were also responsible for the two round of advertorials recently published in prominent dailies across the country. One of its departments, the directorate of information and publicity (DIP) is in charge of coordinating with the media.Last year, the Arvind Kejriwal government had formed its own ad agency ‘Shabdarth’ to manage government advertisements and release them to the media. The AAP also has a strong network of volunteers, who regularly publicise different schemes and achievements of the AAP government on social media.According to sources, the firm should have a communication adviser, a strategy & public affairs expert, a digital and social media expert, an editorial and content expert and a media management expert.”The job of the consultancy would be to set up a robust news desk to disseminate news and information regarding the various public welfare programmes, analyse the reports in print, electronic and other media about the government and its various functionaries,” a source said.”It will also provide information and updates on a regular basis to the national and international media, organise regular briefings to inform the media about the various initiatives of the government, invite the media for government events, and analyse the impact of various advertisement/awareness campaigns of the government,” the source said.The AAP government had constantly received criticism for its publicity overdrive, the latest instances being the phase II of the odd even scheme and its publicity campaigns in its first year in power, which went on for several days.An RTI reply on Sunday had revealed that he Delhi government disbursed a total amount of Rs14.56 crore for advertising in the print media from February 10 to May 11, included dailies from Kerala , Karnataka , Odisha and Tamil Nadu among others.

Man who lodged case against PM Modi claims assault, threat in Court

A man, who has filed a complaint against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly “insulting” the national flag, on Saturday told a Delhi court that he was recently assaulted and warned not to pursue the case.Complainant Ashish Sharma, who has sought registration of an FIR against the Prime Minister, recorded the pre-summoning evidence before Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria in the complaint. The court has now fixed the matter for July 30.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”…on May 11, 2016, about mid-night, an attempt to kill took place near my house and I was warned that if I do not stop the complaint, I will soon be dead,” Sharma said.”On that day (international yoga day) PM was wearing the tricolour which is the national flag of India. The PM cleaned his face and sweat of his body all over and clean his nose as well, he wiped his face with national flag in front of the world… All the media worldwide as well as Indian Media took photos of PM insulting our national flag,” Sharma said.He claimed Modi insulted the flag more than 20 times.”I strongly believe that PM knows the Constitution of India and the act of insulting the Indian national flag, I am sure that the PM did insult to our national national flag knowingly, willingly and intentionally,” he said.During the proceedings, Sharma also submitted a list of witnesses to be called for in the case. The court had on April 6 taken cognisance of the complaint against the prime minister in the case.

Progeria finally claims 15-year-old Nihal’s life

Nihal Bitla (15), Mumbai’s only child with progeria, passed away at his home town in Telangana late on Monday evening. The Bhiwandi resident was attending a family wedding when he suffered brain stroke and was admitted to a hospital in Karim Nagar.It was a gene test at the Parel-based National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health by Dr Parag Tamhankar which confirmed that Nihal had Hutchinson Gilford Progeria – a genetic disorder that accelerates ageing– when he was 10 years old.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He is one of the 60 children in India who has been diagnosed with progeria. Nihal was treated at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, US, to receive the only known treatment for progeria.A team of doctors, including Dr Leslie Gordon, co-founder and medical director at Progeria Research Foundation (PRF), first identified the drug – lonafarnib – that could improve the cardiovascular health and lifespan of these children.”I met him two weeks back on a Progeria Day event. He was helping us with the awareness programme. When I thanked him, he said, ‘In friendship, no thank you and no sorry!'” said Dinesh Chindarkar, co-founder and director of Media Medic Communication, which is handling PRF’s communication in India.He added that Nihal was witty and full of life. “He was hail and hearty when we met last. He was a gadget freak and encyclopedia of robotics and automobiles,” said Chindarkar.With the help of Dr Thamankar, Nihal was sent to this foundation where he spent a month and received treatment and his movements became more flexible.Nihal had to stop his schooling when he was in class IV because of deteriorating health. In an interview to dna in August 2015, Nihal had said he wanted to be a painter.Most kids with progeria do not live past the age of 13. The disease affects both sexes and all races equally. It affects about 1 in every 4 million births worldwide. PRF has been undertaking a national donation campaign on April 15 – Progeria Day – for the last four years.Chindarkar said that Nihal was the face of progeria in India and was actively promoting awareness programme on the disease, along with PRF, which is on a mission to find others in India who suffer from the disease.According to the foundation, there are an estimated 300-350 children worldwide with the disorder. Of these, 60 children are believed to be from India. Right now, only 125 cases are known. PRF has launched a campaign to find out the others and treat them.”Currently, there is no proper treatment available across the world. This is the only foundation that is working on drugs for the disease. Of the estimated 60 children in India with the disease, we know only five. One was Nihal. He was the eldest. The other four are from Bihar,” said Chindarkar.

Accused pleads to turn approver against Jindal, Koda

Accused number 11 in the Naveen Jindal coal scam is all set to turn government approver and spill the beans.Suresh Singhal, who had appealed to the special court for pardon, recorded his statement in front of the magistrate on April 26. The contents of the confession were presented to special CBI judge Bharat Parashar for consideration in a sealed cover the same day. Singhal is the director of New Delhi Exims Pvt Ltd (NDEPL) and one of the 15 accused in the Jindal coal scam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am ready to disclose the true facts of the case regarding the transfer of Rs 2 crore from Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd (JRPL) to NDEPL further to Sowbhagya Media Ltd (SML) in the form of the purchase of shares,” sources who attended his deposition before Parashar quoted Singhal as saying.In his six-page application to the court, he said, “I further pray to your honour to please allow me to be government approver and also request your honour to pardon me for the truth brought by me to the honourable court.”Claiming his family members were undergoing huge mental pressure, he said, “now it has gone beyond the level of tolerance. So (I) wish to speak out the whole truth in front of your honour for which I have been stopped many times under dire threats and consequences.”On April 21, Singhal, a chartered accountant, had submitted an application stating his role in the transfer of money from Jindal to a company favoured by former minister of state Dasari Narayan Rao. In the application, Singhal also alleged the role of accused number 12 – Rajeev Jain, director of JRPL, and Sushil Maroo “who was working with Naveen Jindal Group at a very senior position.”The court has issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and 14 accused on Singhal’s plea for pardon and turning approver in the case. The next hearing in the case is on May 11.On Friday, a special court at Patiala House ordered framing of charges against Jindal, Rao, former chief minster Madhu Koda and 12 others in the coal scam case. “Charges to be framed against all accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 409 and 420 of IPC and under sections 13(1)(c), 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the court said.Besides Jindal, Koda and Rao, 12 others, including former Coal secretary HC Gupta were charge-sheeted by the CBI in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of the Amarkonda Murgadangal coal block to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and Gagan Sponge Iron Pvt Ltd (GSIPL) in 2008.The other accused in the case are Rajeev Jain, director of Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Girish Kumar Suneja and Radha Krishna Saraf, directors of GSIPL, Suresh Singhal, director of New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd, K Ramakrishna Prasad, managing director of Sowbhagya Media Ltd and chartered accountant Gyan Swaroop Garg. All accused are currently out on bail.Five firms, JSPL, Jindal Realty Pvt Ltd, Gagan Infraenergy Ltd (formerly known as GSIPL), Sowbhagya Media Ltd and New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd are also on trial.In its 144-page order, judge Parashar observed, the money trail of the aforementioned Rs. 2 crore and its cover-up is the crux of investigation. “A facade of companies prima facie appears to have been created as a smokescreen to cover up the actual transfer of money so as to avoid liability under any law/rules/regulations,” the court said.The court further observed “prima facie reflects the active collusion between the public servants involved in the process and the private parties in whose favour the coal block stood allotted.” In its chargesheet, the CBI stated that Naveen Jindal criminally conspired and roped in various accused as conspirators at different points of time to get allocation of the alleged coal block.The CBI had alleged that in lieu of the recommendation of allocation of ‘Amarkonda Murgadangal Coal Block’, Jindal conspired with Koda and “promised him to garner support of the Congress for his unstable government and help him in continuing as Jharkhand chief minister.”During the course of investigation, it was found that M/s GSIPL had misrepresented on several counts in the feedback form submitted before the screening committee and managed to procure the allocation of impugned coal block in its favour.The CBI also found that soon after the allocation of the block, an amount of Rs 2 crore was invested by M/s New Delhi Exim Pvt Ltd (M/s NDEPL) into M/s Sowbhagya Media Ltd, of which Rao was not only one of the directors, but also its main promotor.The CBI alleged that in order to facilitate payment of Rs 2 crore to Rao by the Jindal group, a number of transactions between different companies owned by Singhal and Gyan Swaroop Garg was adopted. However, it was found that all the said transactions between various companies were found to be linked to Jindal Group of companies to camouflage the alleged payoff of Rs 2 crore to Dasari Narayan Rao by Naveen Jindal promoter of M/s JSPL and M/s GSIPL.The JSPL, however, denied the charges. An e-mail from its spokesperson to media said: We deny all allegations made against our company and its management. We have full faith in the Indian judicial system and are confident to come out clean during the process. The said allocation was made to the company purely on merits and all along the course of the investigation the company and its officials have fully cooperated with the authorities, and whenever asked, explained and provided all the supporting documents.Coal scam: when and howThe coal scam refers to a draft report released in March 2014, by the comptroller audit general (CAG) stating that the government exchequer lost Rs 1.86 crore since it allotted the coal blocks to private entities and PSUs, instead of auctioning it during 2004-2009. However, in 2012, following a complaint lodged by the BJP, the CBI initiated an inquiry to probe allegations of corruption. Consequently, a first information report (FIR) report was filed by the probe agency that accused almost a dozen firms overstating their net worth, failing to disclose prior coal allocations and hoarding, rather than developing coal allocations.

Survey says PM Modi ‘indifferent’ to security for journalists in India

Washington: India ranks an abysmally low at 133 among 180 countries in the latest annual World Press Freedom Index which says Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems “indifferent” to the threats against journalists.

The 2016 ‘World Press Freedom Index’ released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is led by Finland, which retained its top spot for the sixth consecutive year, followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

India jumped three spots from the 136th position it had in 2015.

“Journalists and bloggers are attacked and anathematised by various religious groups that are quick to take offense,” the report said.

At the same time, it is hard for journalists to cover regions such as Kashmir that are regarded as sensitive by the government, it said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems indifferent to these threats and problems, and there is no mechanism for protecting journalists,” the report said.

“Instead, in a desire to increase control of media coverage, Modi envisages opening a journalism university run by former propaganda ministry officials,” it alleged, without substantiating what it refers to.

Among India’s neighbouring countries, Pakistan ranks 147, Sri Lanka (141), Afghanistan (120), Bangladesh (144), Nepal (105) and Bhutan (94). China is ranked 176.

The United States is ranked 44th and Russia is placed at the 148th place.

The report shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.

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EC bans political ads in print media for second phase in West Bengal

The Election Commission has barred political parties and candidates in West Bengal from giving any print media advertisement on April 16 and 17 for the second phase of the assembly polls without pre-certification.The polling for the second phase of the assembly elections in the state will be held on April 17.In a letter to the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer, the EC said that instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature published in the print media have been brought to the notice of the commission in the past.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said such advertisements in the last stage of elections vitiate the election, and the affected candidates and parties will not have opportunity of providing clarification and rebuttal in such cases. It said direction should also be issued to all news papers in the state that they will not publish any advertisement in the print media on both days, which has not been certified by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee.

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India captain Dhoni not ready to retire

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Cameron chairs steel crisis meeting

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JNU Row: Police asked me to prove patriotism, says Umar Khalid

New Delhi: JNU student Umar Khalid, who was released on interim bail on Friday after being arrested for sedition, said it was a big victory for them and said that he was asked to prove his patriotism by police during questioning.

Addressing a gathering of cheering supporters at the campus after his return, Khalid attacked the questions put to him by police during his custody and also accused sections of media of not acting independently.

Students celebrate at JNU Campus in New Delhi after Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday granted six-month interim bail to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, slapped with sedition charges. PTIStudents celebrate at JNU Campus in New Delhi after Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday granted six-month interim bail to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, slapped with sedition charges. PTI

Students celebrate at JNU Campus in New Delhi after Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Friday granted six-month interim bail to JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, slapped with sedition charges. PTI

“I don’t think media was acting independently,” Khalid said, alleging that there were instructions to sections of media.

He said that normally police conducts the investigation and briefs the media but in their case the media was conducting the trial and “investigation was taking place on the basis of information given to police (by the media)”.

“Questions (by police) were framed in a way (as to ask me) to prove my patriotism,” he said.

Referring to police questioning of Anirban Bhattacharya, who was also released on interim bail on Friday, Khalid said: “If I was a traitor by virtue of birth, not only was he to his nation, but to his religion and to his caste.”

Khalid said getting bail was a big victory for them, noting freedom fighters of the country had also been booked under sedition charges.

“Arundhati Roy, Binayak Sen were also booked under sedition.. We have joined their league,” he said.

Earlier, the gathering erupted with joy and applause as Khalid and Bhattacharya reached the administrative block to address them.

Khalid said people were “made to fight each others on the name of patriotism.”

His younger sister Sara, who also addressed the gathering, said she was happy over release of Umar and Anirban.

“The fight shall go on till everyone is served justice,” she said.

JNUTA president Ajay Patnaik were among those present.

Both Khalid and Bhattacharya were arrested last month on charges of sedition after they had surrendered to police.

Both had sought bail on the ground of “parity “, saying that Kanhaiya Kumar, who was also arrested on the same charge, was already granted interim bail by the Delhi High Court.

Delhi Police had opposed the bail plea saying their case was different from that of Kanhaiya Kumar as they were the organisers of a controversial event on the varsity campus on February 9 where anti-national slogans were raised.

IANS

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Delhi CM Kejriwal, five others summoned by court in defamation case

A trial court here on Wednesday summoned Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a criminal defamation case filed against them by finance minister Arun Jaitley. Besides, Kejriwal, the chief metropolitan magistrate has also summoned Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai to appear before the court on April 7.The court has summoned the five AAP leaders for alleged offenses under section 500 (criminal defamation) 34(common intent) of the Indian Penal Code. While summoning the six alleged accused, the court said it found enough evidence placed on record, and now they must answer the allegations made by Jaitley.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the court order, “From a perusal of the pre-summoning evidence led on record, it is beyond the pale of dispute that the respondents had spoken about the complainant and casted imputations complained of.” The court went on to state that during the arguments for pre-summoning of evidence, the complainant had provided enough proof in the form of tweets, retweets and allegations made in the media. The court said, “The complainant relied upon ample statements…allegations made in press conferences, thus spelling out their individual role in the transaction.”The court further stated that it has come on record, that the statements made on the social media site has through Facebook, has attracted huge viewership and were shared and followed by a “significant number of persons” and that tantamount to “publication of the same.”The leaders of the AAP must now face Jaitlety in court and defend the allegations made against him.In December 2015, the finance minister had filed a criminal defamation suit against Kejriwal, after the Chief Minister had alleged in a press conference that Jaitley – who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 13 years, had profited from his alleged relationship with a firm called 21st Century Media Private Limited, a sports management firm. Speaking to the press after the court order was announced, Jaitley’s counsel Manoj Taneja stated, “We are very pleased with the order passed and the reasons given by the learned CMM.”Apart from this case, Kejriwal has been accused of defamation in two other cases. Nitin Gadkar, the transport minister and Kapil Sibal’s son Amit have also filed defamation suits against Kejriwal.

Muzaffarnagar riots panel blames officials, silent on Akhilesh Yadav

The one-man judicial commission of inquiry that probed the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots has done the predictable. It has virtually exonerated the Alhilesh Yadav government which appointed the Justice Vishnu Sahai inquiry panel. It has rather conveniently concluded that intelligence failure and laxity on the part of police led to the violence that left 62 people dead and about 50,000 homeless. The report says nothing on the role of the incumbent state government in the conflagration.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The commission’s 700-page report was tabled in the state assembly on Sunday. Interestingly, the report accuses the media of exaggerating reports and spreading rumours that fuelled violence.The BJP has rejected the Sahai panel report as “incomplete” and demanded a CBI inquiry into the riots.”The inquiry report tabled in the Assembly is a mixture of half-truths,” BJP Legislature Party leader Suresh Khanna said.He alleged the report was biased and did not reveal the real culprits, provocation of riots and how they spread.UP minister Azam Khan also targeted the media for the riots, saying “Media had a big role in exaggerating the riots. In America you can’t show bodies and bloodshed.”The commission said polarisation along communal lines following the murder of two young men by a youth from minority community in Kawal town on August 27, 2013, was the trigger behind the riots.It said failure of the intelligence unit was an important reason behind the violence.The panel said the riots took place as the then Inspector of intelligence unit Prabal Pratap Singh failed to give exact figure of people going to attend a Mahapanchayat at Mandaur. The Hindus, particularly Jats, returning from the Mahapanchayat were allegedly attacked by the minorities, fuelling tensions further.The proceedings of the Mahapanchayat were not recorded and there was laxity on the part of the then SSP Subhash Dube, due to which violence spread to Saharanpur, Shamli, Baghpat and Meerut, the panel said. Apart from the killing of 62 people, the riots saw thousands rendered homeless in these districts.Though the report did not mention anything against the Akhilesh Yadav regime, leaders of opposition parties are in no mood to spare the state government.”The Chief Minister cannot escape the blame as law and order is a state subject,” said UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri. “The BJP and SP were hand in glove in engineering the riots for electoral gains in the 2014 Lok Sabha election,” he alleged.

India budget to focus on rural economy

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Plea for leads on Jat protest ‘rapes’

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I am not a terrorist: Umar Khalid says upon his return to JNU

‘My name is Umar Khalid, and I am not a terrorist,” is what Umar Khalid said as soon as he resurfaced after going missing following Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest over sedition charges. Khalid was one of the six students accused of raising ‘anti-national’ slogans at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Khalid addressed his supporters late on Sunday night upon his return. He said that he was hurt by the way his sister was targetted on social media. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also refuted all reports about him having made ‘800 calls to Gulf or Kashmir’ few days prior to the program organised at JNU. Khalid said that he was amused by the way media said that he had ‘visited Pakistan two times, when actually he doesn’t have a passport.’He also condemned the his media trial. “The media, all this while, presented a lot of things about me. The media trial, this propaganda… I know what my family is going through,” he said. The five students who went missing since were- Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar and Anant Prakash.Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi on Monday asked the students, who surfaced on Sunday night, to join the join probe and present evidence of their innocence.”I would say if the police is looking for them then they should join the police investigation. And if they are innocent, they should present evidence of their innocence,” Bassi said. When asked if the police would enter the JNU campus to arrest the students, the top cop said that his men are competent enough to deal with the situation. “The investigating officer would exercise the best available option. As far as the Delhi Police is concerned, we always aim for maintaining the law and order situation of the city,” he added.He further said that the police entering the JNU campus won’t deteriorate the situation in the varsity. “I don’t want to comment on what the students told the media, the officers of the Delhi Police are competent enough to deal with it,” he added.

JNU Row – Don’t brand my son as ‘traitor’ because of my SIMI past: Umar Khalid’s father

Umar Khalid’s father Syed Qasim Ilyas on Friday expressed disappointment over his son being branded as a ‘terrorist’ because of his past and said it was extremely unfortunate that he was being singled out from among the ten organisers of the event at the JNU because he is a Muslim. Ilyas said that the court must decide whether his son is guilty. “I appeal through the media that Umar must surrender before the court,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ilyas, who was a Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) member three decades ago, further said that his son was being branded as the chief organiser and mastermind because he is a Muslim. “He doesn’t believe in Islam. He is an atheist and doesn’t subscribe to our ideology, and you are branding him as the chief culprit, chief organiser and mastermind. What is this vocabulary,” he asked.Stating that he doesn’t subscribe to the slogans that have been raised in the JNU campus, Ilyas, “Who have raised these slogans? Let it be proved in the court of law. And, if it is seditious, let the law take its own course.””But the way the media trial is going on, it is very unfortunate. Will the media decide who is culprit, who is guilty and who is innocent? Has this authority been given to the media, don’t we have a judicial system? From lower courts up to the Supreme Court, we have a very strong judicial system. Let the court decide, why we are becoming judgemental, why we are branding a person as terrorist,” he asked.He said his son doesn’t have even a passport, adding there is an allegation in the media that he had been to Pakistan.”As a father, I know that his total life is dedicated for the cause of the Dalit, tribal and poor. He got an offer to study abroad, but he refused as he did not want to move out of the country for the people here, and you are branding him as a terrorist,” he rued. “How’re you associating my past with SIMI to Umar Khalid? I retired from SIMI in 1985, and Umar was born after that,” stated Ilyas.Convinced that he was the organiser of the event to mark the death anniversary of Afzal Guru on February 9 on the JNU campus leading to students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, the Delhi Police is making all attempts to arrest him at the earliest.Umar, a native of Bihar, is a leader of Democratic Student’s Union (DSU), an extreme Left group active in JNU. Even though he was born in a Muslim family, he identifies himself as an atheist. He is a PhD student at the School of Social Sciences at JNU. He also did his MA and MPhil from JNU and has been doing field work in Jharkhand.

Lawyers attack Kanhaiya Kumar, inside and outside court

Student union president of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Kanhaiya Kumar, was beaten up by the lawyers outside the Patiala House court complex on Wednesday. Kanhaiya was brought to be produced before the metropolitan magistrate (MM) Loveleen’s court for trial proceedings when, despite the unprecedented security, a mob of lawyers descended upon him.Kanhaiya was brought in via a visitors/lawyers’ entrance, not normally used to bring in arrested accused, at 2:50 pm after a medical check-up. This move by the Delhi Police is puzzling since gate no.1 on Tilak Marg, which is close to the lock-up, is the de facto entrance used to bring in arrested prisoners and high-profile accused.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That was the first attack. Kumar was attacked for the second time inside the court complex by a “lawyer”, in a grey-checked coat, wearing goggles (brown sunglasses) and with rings on fingers. He was intercepted by his attacker in the corridor leading to the courtroom where Kumar was to be produced.According to eyewitnesses, this “lawyer” then sidled up to three Delhi police officials – Subhash, Kapil Kumar and Banay Singh – and was heard boasting about his act. The entire group then shared a laugh, hi-fi-ed each other and said, “Good, job well done.”The scene at the trial court complex was nothing short of a war zone. The security at the perimeter and inside the court complex saw heavy police presence since 8 am. Police personnel had made arrangements for water cannons, tear gas and lathis to disperse unruly crowds.An hour before Kanhaiya was to be produced, a group of lawyers who claimed they practiced in Haryana, raised slogans in his favour. The situation quickly turned ugly when lawyers protesting against Kanhaiya accused the Haryana lawyers of being traitors. Within moments, the lawyers who were sloganeering and interacting with the media outside the Patiala court, were dragged in by those inside and thrashed. An All India Students Federation (AISF) activist was also thrashed in the process. When mediapersons who were standing nearby started to record the incident, including this dna reporter, they were threatened.The same set of lawyers who were opposing Kumar then shoved around the media personnel and police posted at the spot then hurriedly tried to close the main gate to the Patiala court. While all the reporters managed to leave the premise, First Post reporter Tariq Anwar was left inside.Moments later a batch of 8-10 lawyers spotted him and after repeated pleas by journalists stating that Tariq was from the media, he was beaten for the next 2-3 minutes. “I kept on telling them that I was from the media but they wouldn’t just listen,” Tariq told dna soon after the incident.When Kumar was finally brought to the court, he was first attacked by lawyers at the entrance. Simultaneously, stones were being thrown at the media present outside the court premises. The situation was brought under control by the police but not before the entire area around the main gates of the court complex were barricaded.To cover the court proceedings, the Supreme Court had allowed five reporters from agencies and 25 media personnel within the complex. Mediapersons who were boxed in between barricades outside MM Loveleen’s court were heckled and abused by the lawyers beyond it. The waiting scribes were threatened with violence and some from the mob even tried to cross over. Had the lawyers succeeded in jumping over, the scribes who were basically sitting ducks with no way to escape would have been picked off like fish in a barrel.After repeated requests, the Delhi police finally swung into action and deployed troops to protect the reporters. However, even this additional layer of security did not deter the mob. “We do not care for any Supreme Court directive,” they replied when told that the apex court had allowed the media to cover the proceedings.It is interesting to note that the same lawyers who are thought to have orchestrated the Monday attacks were seen walking about. The ‘lawyer’ who led the assault on Pandey on Monday also threatened correspondents on Wednesday, “Why did you save your colleague from the attack inside the courtroom (on Monday)?,” he asked. Another lawyer Vikram Chauhan who is seen as one of the perpetrators of the Monday attacks was also seen roaming about. Surendra Tyagi, the lawyer who claimed to have attacked Kumar outside the court premises had earlier in the day (before the attack) come up to this dna correspondent and stated, “Why don’t you portray this (the violence donning the hat of “patriotism”) as a positive thing. Why are you making it sound negative?” This intimidation and fear of an imminent attack by the unruly mob did not abate till 4 pm when court proceedings were adjourned for the day by the Supreme Court.

UP Governor Ram Naik rejects British daily editor’s stand on renaming of Bombay

“Media reports cited the editor of British daily ‘The Independent’, Amol Rajan, as having said he will revert to using ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’ to take a stand against a nastier strain of Hindu nationalism. This is painful to me,” Naik said. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik has taken strong exception to a comment by an editor of a British daily attributing the renaming of Bombay as Mumbai to Hindu nationalism.”Media reports cited the editor of British daily ‘The Independent’, Amol Rajan, as having said he will revert to using ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’ to take a stand against a nastier strain of Hindu nationalism. This is painful to me,” Naik told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naik, who was instrumental in the name change, said, “There was nothing to do with Hindutva behind the move.Changing the name was solely based on public sentiments.” “The editor, whose roots are in Bengal, is dishonouring the sentiments of the people,” said the former Union petroleum minister, who hails from Mumbai and had represented it in the Lok Sabha several times.According to media reports, Ranjan said his newspaper will switch to using Bombay rather than Mumbai while referring to the financial capital of India.

ZeeTV.com wins ‘Best Website Of The Year’ for second consecutive year

The world is going digital and in the third phase of the internet, it’s all about the internet of things. In this endeavour to help people enjoy their favourite content online, Zee Digital Convergence Limited (ZDCL) has emerged a winner in driving www.zeetv.com towards maintaining the top spot. Zee TV’s official website has won the Best Website Of The Year Award for the second consecutive year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>MetrixLab – MarketTools Research Pvt. Ltd hosted the Website of the Year award function recently where Zee TV website was chosen winner in two categories – Best Website and Most Popular Website in the Media category. This award function has earned credibility by becoming India’s most important people’s choice award for websites.This year, 252 websites were nominated across 21 categories. The vote count crossed more than 185,000 votes between October 19 and November 27. Zee TV website gained the top spot by being chosen as Best Website of the Year for being the website with the highest average score on content, navigation, design and recommendation intention, followed by Most Popular Website award for the highest number of votes.“We ensure all our products adapt to different devices and across varied bandwidths so that the need of the end user is met and their experience is seamless,” said Karan Jaitapkar, Business Head, ZEEL Sites.”Our focus is to drive larger market share of consumer eyeballs, push for inorganic growth through improved content and services and leverage constant innovation to engage and ensure consumer stickiness on our media platforms, ” said Debashish Ghosh, CEO, ZDCL.

Elephant rampage causes panic in India

A wild elephant went on an hours-long rampage in India’s West Bengal state, sending residents fleeing in panic.

Sonu on-air: DGCA releases violations committed by the cabin crew

A controversy raged on Friday over Jet Airways suspending five cabin crew members after singer Sonu Nigam was allowed to belt out Bollywood numbers using the in-flight public address system on a chartered flight with the action being slammed by him as “Real Intolerance”.However, in its defence, DGCA cites the following reasons as violations:1) PM system was used for singing which is violation of procedures<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Forward galley was unattended3) Number of passengers standing in the aisle area4) Aircraft was descending when the performance was going on 5) Passengers could have been hurt in case of clear weather turbulence6) Crew wasn’t aware of cabin activityThe incident occurred on a chartered flight from Jodhpur to Mumbai on January 4, when the “errant” crew members allowed Nigam, 42, to hold a sort of musical concert on board following a request from fellow passengers, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) sources said. The matter came to DGCA’s notice after a video of Nigam singing on board the flight went viral on social media.The Bollywood fraternity and social media reacted with outrage to the punishment handed out by the private airline after aviation regulator DGCA took serious note of the episode but the Civil Aviation Ministry justified the action.Action has been initiated against the crew members since allowing a passenger to use the public address system on board a flight amounts to violation of safety norms, the sources said.”All cabin crew on the flight have been taken off flight duty for inquiry and corrective training to reinforce strict adherence to operating procedures,” Jet Airways said in a statement.As per a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on training and licensing of cabin crew, issued by DGCA in 2010, “the PA (public address) system and interphone system are tools for relaying safety information”.But Nigam in a sharp retort said that when he sang there were no announcements that needed to be made and the action against the cabin crew was “utter nonsense”.”To suspend crew members for asking me to sing on the address system, when the seat belt signs were off, and no announcements were to be made, is nothing less than punishing someone for spreading happiness. Pity there’s no one to question such harshness except the Media perhaps. Indians, need to loosen up. This act of lack of Common Sense, according to me, is Real Intolerance,” Nigam said in a statement.”I have witnessed an elaborate fashion show in an aircraft. I have heard of small concerts happening in an aircraft. I have seen Pilots and Crew Members cracking humorous jokes to loosen up passengers in other countries, which is so cool.”Civil Aviation Minister Mahesh Sharma defended the action by the airline, saying safety protocols have to be followed.On the social media, one tweet said, “Personally not a fan of Sonu Nigam but suspending airhostesses for his singing is over reaction.””Why would Jet Airways suspend air hostesses because Mr Sonu Nigam sang? What did he or they do wrong,” said another tweet. According to M Sathiyavathy, the Director General of Civil Aviation, Jet Airways has been asked to sensitise its cabin crew about safety guidelines.”The point is the entire system was used for entertainment. Now they (the airline) have been asked to give guidelines to their crew properly,” she said.On video, Nigam is seen dressed casually in a T-shirt and jeans leaning against a wall in the plane as he sings two of his most popular songs from the films Veer Zaara and Refugee.At one point he said, “Arrey wah, aap bhi gaatein hain. My God, saare singers hain (amazing, everyone here is a singer),” as passengers sang along with him. Watch the video:Sonu Nigam’s Spontaneous Performance For Flight Passengers MissMalini Exclusive: Sonu Nigam recently surprised all the travellers on a flight when he went up to the in-flight intercom and started performing some of his best songs for them! They were definitely surprised! 🙂
Posted by MissMalini on Tuesday, January 19, 2016With Inputs from agencies

Remembering the golden days of Kathakali

Part-dance and part-mime, Kathakali originated in the state of Kerala between the 16th and 17th Centuries, but some fear its old form may be dying out.

Anupam Kher visa fiasco: Actor claims he was denied visa, Pak claims he never applied

Bollywood actor and BJP sympathiser Anupam Kher said he had been denied a visa by Pakistan to attend a literary festival in Karachi beginning Friday. The Pakistani High Commission in Delhi, however, claimed today he had never applied for a visa. Kher was one of the 18 Indians invited to the prestigious four-day event by the organisers but he is the only one who has been denied the visa. The other 17 Indian participants who have been given the travel document include senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actress Nandita Das.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a series of tweets, Kher said: “Have been informed that Pakistan MoFA has denied permission for my visa to participate in the Karachi Literature festival. Sad to have been denied visa on second time in a year. While around 17 people will participate in the Karachi Literature Festival as guests. Has my visa been denied because I speak about India’s rich tradition of tolerance or I am a Kashmiri Pandit who may expose Pak terror nexus? Indian Govt welcomes Pakistan based writers, artists, actors etc. Pakistan Govt. bans entry of Indian actors. Why fear a free dialogue? Didn’t Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs red flag my name to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi? Why hide facts deliberately? Pak High Commission shud know their own rules. #KarachiLitFest had given my name to authorities 1 month back & have my name in every poster. For the Media: It is not possible to take calls from all media people. Pls come to my school at 5.30pm today. Wil talk. #PakistanVisitDenied Will be presenting all proofs/documents to prove Pakistan High Commission’s Lie that i didn’t apply for visa. Press Con at 5.30 in my school I feel bad for all those people who were looking forward to meet me in Pakistan and vice versa. Sorry to them. Hopefully one day …”The noted actor, who was recently honoured with the Padma Bhushan by the government, said on Tuesday that he was very “sad and disappointed” over the matter and wondered whether he was denied a visa for raising the issue of Kashmiri Pandits, supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for being a patriot. “I am very sad and disappointed that so many people were given visa but I was the only one who has been denied it. We welcome their artistes in India. If there are objections to their performance at one place in India they are welcome at other places. But there is no reciprocity,” he told PTI.When contacted, Pakistan High Commission’s head of media Manzoor Memon said Kher had never submitted a visa application to Pakistan High Commission. “So the question of issuing or denying him visa does not arise.”The organisers of the annual Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) said they are unaware of the reasons for rejection of visa to the actor. Ameena Syed, the spokesperson for the KLF, told PTI that they had been advised by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to tell Kher not to submit a visa application as he would not be issued one. “That is all we have been told. They told us that the remaining 17 guests invited from India should be asked to submit applications as they would be issued visas,” she said. Kher was also denied a visa in May 2014 to visit Lahore on the invitation of a Pakistani NGO and security reasons were cited for the decision. Rejecting Pakistan High Commission’s contention that he had not applied for a visa, Kher called it a “laughable explanation”. He said organisers had completed the formalities for the visa. “I do not know why they denied me the visa. Is it because of my patriotism, because I talk about my country. Is it because I do not go to that country and criticise my country there. I do not speak the language of terrorists. There can be millions of reasons,” said Kher.The actor said he would request the government to take up the issue with Pakistan, adding he had planned to speak about India, its tolerance among other issues.Sources in the Pakistan government in Karachi told PTI that since Kher is very active and vocal on social media on sensitive issues pertaining to religion and Indo-Pak relations he was not asked to submit his application. The KLF spokesperson said around 35 invitees from abroad were participating in the festival besides Inda, including delegates from the US, Britain and Bangladesh. On Pakistan High Commission’s claim that he had not applied for the visa, Kher said if that was true then how did the 17 others get documents and why had the organisers had put his name on their posters. “They are telling a lie. I do not have to do it. The organisers had done it,” the actor said.Kher said the visa denial has left the festival organisers embarrassed and they have apologised to him. “We welcome their artistes in India. If there are objections to their performance at one place in India they are welcome at other places. But there is no reciprocity,” he said. As to why his visa has not been issued, Kher said, “I wish I knew. I am wondering if it is because I am a Kashmiri Pandit or because of my views on the tolerance debate in India or because of my pro-PM talk.” KLF’s Sayed felt the Bollywood star’s presence would have given the Karachi audience a different perspective. “We had organised an exclusive session for him with Ashok Chopra with a very large audience. People would have asked him questions about his views. He would have had a chance to talk to them, to engage with them, to answer their questions and in the process some understanding would have developed… His coming here could have made such a difference. It might even have led to some change in his opinions or it might have changed or would have resulted in more understanding of his views, but it is only when you come face to face,” she said. With inputs from agencies

Arrest over mum-in-law assault video

Police in India arrest a woman for beating her mother-in-the law after a CCTV footage of the assault goes viral.

PM’s Pathankot visit conveys gravity India accords to the attack

The PM also undertook an aerial survey of the forward positions along the India-Pakistan border to see the possible gaps from where the terrorists would have infiltrated.

dna Correspondent

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Chaiwala in Kanpur gets CBI summons in Vyapam scam

The MP STF has listed as many as 54 students of this medical college as accused in this scam. The accused students belong to batches from 2009 to 2014. Out of these, 22 students have re-joined the college, six are in jail and eight are missing from the college. The remaining 18 students were from 2009 batch about whom the college didn’t have any information.

Deepak Gidwani

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Air India pilot lifts sunglasses from shop, fined Rs 2.4 lakh

The incident was a private matter between two parties that had been amicably settled, a spokesperson for Air India said to HT.

dna Web Team

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DA case: SC to commence hearing against Jayalalithaa’s acquittal on February 2

The special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

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Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train elevated corridor to increase cost by Rs 10,000 crore

According to initial proposal, the high-speed train would have halts at Thane (that will connect both Central and Navi Mumbai), Virar, Palghar, Vapi, Valsad and Ahmedabad.

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FTII students manhandled and detained by police yet again

The banners put up by the students are being removed by the staff before arrival of Chauhan. Students sit in the institution premises with black bands to continue protest while their fellow students are detained. The students were given a notice last night by the police that if they agitate they would have to face actions.

Anvi Mehta

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Mulayam, Nitish, Mamata, Kejriwal are a danger to nation, says Sakshi Maharaj

“If people of the country want Ram Mandir to be built at Ayodhya then what is the controversy,” he said.

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AAP government to tone down its VAT collection target by Rs3,000 crore

“That will make the collection to Rs23,400 crore, which is close to the original target,” the official said, adding that the difference wouldn’t reflect much in the revised budget estimates of other departments.

Amrita Nayak Dutta

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Pathankot attack: Shoe prints near Ugh river point to terrorists’ Pakistan links

Meanwhile, combing operations at the Pathankot airbase continued for the fifth day on Wednesday.

Deevakar Anand

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AAP government scraps management quota in Delhi’s private schools

“There is no problem about admissions of children of the school’s staff. No one from the Delhi government will intercede for admissions in the city’s schools,” he said.

dna Correspondent

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India reacts to North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test, calls it a matter of deep concern

Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, several diplomats said the meeting was scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT). The diplomats said the meeting would likely be held behind closed doors.

dna Web Team

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