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Missionaries won’t be succesful in converting Hindus, because they don’t have strength: Mohan Bhagwat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raking up the issue of conversions, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said such attempts are unlikely to be successful in the country as the missionaries “do not have the strength”.Bhagwat pitched for Hindu unity and asked members of the community to come together irrespective of caste and language.”…after converting people to Christianity in the US, Europe, they (missionaries) are eyeing Asia. China calls itself secular, but will it allow itself to come under Christianity? No. Will Middle-East countries let it happen? No. They now think India is the place.”But they should keep it in mind, notwithstanding their strong push over 300 years, only six per cent of Indian population could be converted to Christianity. Because they do not have strength,” he said.The chief made the remarks while delivering valedictory address at Virat Hindu Sammelan, organised by Bharat Sevashram Sangh in Vansda in the district.Bhagwat sought to buttress his point by saying how two churches, one in the US and another in Birmingham in the UK, were converted into Ganesh temple and offices of Vishwa Hindu Parishad respectively, by a Hindu businessman in America.”This is the condition (of missionaries) in their own countries and they want to convert us. They cannot do it, they do not have that strength,” he added.Bhagwat asked Hindus to remember “who they are” and that their culture is “superior”.”Hindu community is in trouble. Which country are we living in? Our own country. This is our land, from the Himalayas (in the north) to the sea (in south). This is the land of our ancestors. Bharat Mata is mother of us all.”We have forgotten ourselves. We are all Hindus. Let our castes, languages we speak, regions we come from, gods we worship be different. Those who are sons of Bharat Mata, are Hindus. Hence, India is called Hindustan,” he said.Terming Hindu religion as one based on truth, Bhagwat said Hindus never tried to convert people pursuing other religions as they believe in co-existence.He urged people of all religions to “walk together” to make the world a better place and India a world leader.He reaffirmed the RSS stand that Hindus and non-Hindus living in “integrated India” have common ancestors who share the same DNA.Bhagwat urged the attendees to reach out to their “brothers”, to whom they have not gone for ages, keeping aside differences of caste, religion and language.”We should go to our brothers whom we have not gone to for ages. We did not go to them and hence these things (spread of other religions) are happening. We should go to them to share their pain, cooperate with them and perform our long-forgotten duty to make them aware of who they are, that we have common ancestors,” he added.

Religious revolutions of ’16

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the passing year witnessed greater disputes over various laws, people also came out disagreeing with beliefs and customary practices that had been kept on a pedestal. Not only did women come out protesting against age old traditions barring them from being as devotional as others. They also opposed religious personal laws demanding a better quality of life, denying being a victim of things which don’t hold relevance in the 21st century.While 2016 might go down in history as one of the worst years for a few, it did have some redeeming qualities. It was a good year for many a believers who received a huge return on their spiritual investment.The greatest of all victories was when the Shani Shignapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra finally agreed to let female worshippers in after 400 years. This was the result of a long-drawn-out battle spearheaded by the Bhumata Brigade, led by the firebrand Trupti Desai. The women waged a pitched battle for their right to worship and questioned age old patriarchal practices. Not stopping here, the group of feisty women are taking their battle to other temples like the Sabrimala in Kerela where women of a menstruating age are forbidden from entering and offering prayers.The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) led by Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, pitched a similar battle to enter the inner sanctum of Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah. The ban that was just instituted four years ago, prohibited women from entering the inner sanctum of the dargah. In August this year the Bombay High Court held that the ban against women entering the inner sanctorm of the dargah contravenes Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution of India. The court ordered the Dargah Trust to lift the ban. Though the matter went to the Supreme Court, the women emerged victorious finally entering the shrine on November 30. It was indeed a moment of pride for the Christians across the world as well, as they rejoiced at Mother Teresa being granted ‘sainthood’. The Catholic nun who had devoted her life to caring for the dying and the destitute on the streets of Kolkata, was officially canonized at the Vatican this year and rechristened Saint Teresa of Calcutta by Pope Francis. From rationalists debating over the importance given to ‘miracles’ and amid the constant accusations of conversions, no one can doubt that the Missionaries of Charity have given hope and dignity to some poorest and most miserable people in the city.Meanwhile, Pope Francis also revealed a more inclusive face of the Roman Catholic Church by asking Christians to stop hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBT community. He said that the church must apologise to gay people for marginalising them. While he did not budge from the church’s stand on marriages as being an exclusive heterosexual privilege and did not endorse same sex marriages, this has been seen as a big step forward in making the church more rainbow friendly. Mumbai’s Cardinal Oswald Gracious too asserted that gay people were not criminals and all Christians must be welcomed by the church. With the rising debate over triple talaq and the growing demand to revise the Article, the Law Commission of India released a questionnaire in October on Uniform Civil Code (UCC) asking citizens for their suggestions. With the possible introduction of UCC giving rise to a heated debate across the country many fear that the law is actually a tool to erase cultural practices and religious identities. However, the UCC, at least prima facie, is merely a uniform law that would subvert all religion based personal laws in matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. Different faiths see UCC as a way to do away with mysogistic practices like triple talaq in Islam, polygamy in both Islam and Hinduism (permitted in Goa) and the practice of ‘maitri karar’ or ‘friendship agreement’, a practice in Gujarat that legally allows a man to have another women in his life apart from his wife. Women also hope matters related to mehr and dowry become clear. It remains to be seen how the UCC plays its part in bringing about greater gender justice.

AMU students’ union now demands CBI inquiry into Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance

Aligarh: AMU Students’ Union on Wednesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 74 days.

In a memorandum sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, the union alleged that instead of trying to trace Ahmed, police was harassing the family of the missing student and shielding criminals.

Ahmed, an MSc Biotechnology student, went missing on 15 October after a scuffle, allegedly with ABVP affiliated students at his hostel inside the JNU campus.

JNU. Image courtesy News18

JNU. Image courtesy News18

His mother Fatima Nafees and sister Sadaf were detained by police when they along with scores of agitating students tried to take out a protest march to India Gate in New Delhi on 6 November. Fatima was virtually dragged into a bus by police along with other students.

The memorandum said the same forces which had compelled Dalit student Rohit Vemula to commit suicide in Hyderabad earlier this year were behind Ahmed’s disappearance.

AMU students led by their union president Faizul Hasan held a demonstration in Aligarh on Tuesday and threatened to intensify their stir if government did not fulfil their demand.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has also asserted that they will continue with their protest on the issue.

Delhi Police has announced a reward of Rs ten lakh for information about Ahmed, while the Crime Branch is trying to trace him without any success so far.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:18 IST

Father Thomas Uzhunnalil abduction: Sushma Swaraj responds to plea of Indian priest

On Tuesday, Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs responded to an appeal made by an Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year who through a video asked Pope Francis and the Union government to secure his release from his captors.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, Swaraj said she has seen the video sent by Father Tom Uzhunnalil and that her department will spare no effort in securing his release.

In the video appeal, Father Uzhunnalil explained his deteriorating condition and sought help.

“If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value,” said priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a weak voice in the video, aired by news channels in Kerala.

“Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating,” he said in the video, a day after Christmas.

Father Uzhunnalil, who looked very weak, appeared to be reading out from a text placed before him.

The veracity of the video, which was uploaded from YouTube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.

Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden.

He claimed his captors have made many contacts with the Government of India — president and prime minister.

“I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard,” he said.

He said reports had said everything has been done to get his release, “but in reality nothing” has been done.

Father Uzhunnalil said a news reporter abducted in the Middle East was released as she was from France.

“I am from India and not considered. Dear people, I pray you all, ask you all, beg you all to do your might to help me to save my life. I need hospitalisation soon. Please come to my help quickly,” he said.

The Union government has said efforts are being made to secure Uzhunnalil’s release, but such attempts take time.

Earlier, Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen.

Swaraj had said it takes more time to secure release of people who are held captive and asked the MPs to keep “faith” in government’s efforts to trace the abducted priest.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 10:29 IST

ISIS sympathizer Musa had planned Dhaka-style attack at Mother Teresa house in Kolkata : NIA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleged terrorist Mohd Mosiuddin was plotting ISIS-style chilling execution of foreigners, especially those from the US, Russia and the UK, visiting the Mother House in Kolkata as it would be a “heart pleasing” experience for him, the NIA has claimed. The NIA, in a charge sheet filed before a special court in Kolkata recently, claimed that Mosiuddin alias Musa was planning to stab and kill foreigners, a style frequently chosen by the ISIS to eliminate its targets. The Mother House in West Bengal capital is the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.In its charge sheet, the anti-terror probe agency has said Musa termed the militants operating in Kashmir as “Mujahids (holy warriors) with impure ideologies” who were fighting for Kashmiri land when they should have fought in support of Sharia, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet (Hadith and Sunna).The agency has provided Musa’s photographs in Kashmir to buttress its claim that the terrorist had visited the Valley.NIA alleged it had proof of his having bought a big knife to commit the terror crimes before fleeing away.He also allegedly procured pepper spray from Snapdeal, an online marketplace to facilitate his proposed criminal acts as the intended target would be rendered temporarily blinded by it.The charge sheet alleged that Musa discussed plans for conducting such attacks at the Mother House, which is frequented by foreigners from the US, Russia and the UK. Armed forces of these countries are locked in fierce battles with the ISIS in many nations.Musa had discussed with some others the exact location of the Mother House and was claimed to have told them that foreigners, particularly Russians, Britishers and Americans often visited the place. He wanted them killed as the governments of their countries had bombarded the ISIS in Syria and Libya, the charge sheet alleged.The NIA had taken over investigation in the case from Howrah police on July 22. During Musa’ arrest, a .38 bore six-chamber revolver, three rounds of ammunition, a knife, a Samsung mobile phone and other incriminating articles were seized. Subsequently, one Apple Macbook and a sword were seized from his residence at Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu.

Kolkata: Suspected IS militant, Musa planned execution of foreigners at Mother House, says NIA

New Delhi: Alleged terrorist Mohd Mosiuddin was plotting Islamic State-style chilling execution of foreigners, especially those from the US, Russia and the UK, visiting the Mother House in Kolkata as it would be a “heart pleasing” experience for him, the NIA has claimed.

The NIA, in a charge sheet filed before a special court in Kolkata recently, claimed that Mosiuddin alias Musa was planning to stab and kill foreigners, a style frequently chosen by the IS to eliminate its targets.

The Mother House in West Bengal capital is the headquarters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. In its charge sheet, the anti-terror probe agency has said Musa termed the militants operating in Kashmir as “Mujahids (holy warriors) with impure ideologies” who were fighting for Kashmiri land when they should have fought in support of Sharia, the Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet
(Hadith and Sunna).

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The agency has provided Musa’s photographs in Kashmir to buttress its claim that the terrorist had visited the Valley.

NIA alleged it had proof of his having bought a big knife to commit the terror crimes before fleeing away. He also allegedly procured pepper spray from Snapdeal, an online marketplace to facilitate his proposed criminal acts as the intended target would be rendered temporarily blinded by it.

The charge sheet alleged that Musa discussed plans for conducting such attacks at the Mother House, which is frequented by foreigners from the US, Russia and the UK. Armed forces of these countries are locked in fierce battles with the IS in many nations.

Musa had discussed with some others the exact location of the Mother House and was claimed to have told them that foreigners, particularly Russians, Britishers and Americans often visited the place. He wanted them killed as the governments of their countries had bombarded the IS in Syria and Libya, the charge sheet alleged.

The NIA had taken over investigation in the case from Howrah police on 22 July.

During Musa’ arrest, a .38 bore six-chamber revolver, three rounds of ammunition, a knife, a Samsung mobile phone and other incriminating articles were seized. Subsequently, one Apple Macbook and a sword were seized from his residence at Tiruppur, Tamilnadu.

During investigation, two more accused, namely Saddam Hossain alias Kalu and Abbasudin Sk alias Amin were arrested by West Bengal CID.

“Mosiuddin was found involved in furthering the illegal activities of the IS in India and Bangladesh and had been in touch with Shafi Armar…and was also linked to the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operatives in Bangladesh,” NIA had said in a statement.

Armar is a former Indian Mujahideen operative who was later claimed to have joined the IS. It was Armar who had radicalised him by sending the links of jihadi sites like Jihadology.net, Al-Shabab media and Just-Paste-it links, etc.

Armar also allegedly sent him videos released by Ansar Ut Tawid (AuT) which included footages of the war between the IS and Iraqi forces. The videos and speeches of ‘Anwar ul Awlaki’, a jihadist ideologue and preacher who was killed in a US drone attack in Yemen, were also sent to him by Armar, a native of Bhatkal in Karnataka and one of the main recruiters for IS in India.

Abu Suleiman, a Bangladeshi IS/JMB operative, visited India to meet Musa twice in March, 2015, and May, 2016. He encouraged Musa to use encrypted chat applications like Telegram, Surespot, Threema, Chatsecure, to communicate with him and other IS operatives, NIA has alleged.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 21:14 IST

‘Nothing’ has been done to secure my release, laments abducted Indian Catholic priest Father Tom

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year appealed to Pope Francis and the Union government through a purported video to secure his release from his captors.”If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value,” said priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a weak voice in the video, aired by news channels in Kerala.”Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating,” he said in the video, a day after Christmas.Father Uzhunnalil, who looked very weak, appeared to be reading out from a text placed before him.The veracity of the video, which was uploaded from You tube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden.He claimed his captors have made many contacts with the Government of India–President and Prime Minister. “I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard,” he said.He said reports had said everything has been done to get his release, “but in reality nothing” has been done.Father Uzhunnalil said a news reporter abducted in the Middle East was released as she was from France.”I am from India and not considered. Dear people, I pray you all, ask you all, beg you all to do your might to help me to save my life. I need hospitalisation soon. Please come to my help quickly,” he said.The Union Government has said efforts are being made to secure Uzhunnalil’s release, but such attempts take time.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen.Swaraj had said it takes more time to secure release of people who are held captive and asked the MPs to keep “faith” in government’s efforts to trace the abducted priest.

Dutch woman claims child kidnapped by estranged husband, approaches Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Dutch woman in the process of getting a divorce from her Mumbai-based husband and fighting over the custody of their daughter has shared her story with the famous ‘Humans of Amsterdam’ Facebook page, about how her estranged husband has kidnapped their two-year-old.Her story has been shared thousands of times on the social media page, with several Indians tagging Minster of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who is known for her quick response on social media platforms like Twitter, and has gained the goodwill of the people of resolving the issues of many Indians worldwide. Nadia Rashid, the woman in question in the story, met Shezad Hemani, her now-estranged husband in 2010 while volunteering at the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Amsterdam. “He seemed friendly and through the organisation, he got my phone number. He texted me, and every now and then we kept in touch. I don’t think you can call it a friendship but we were acquaintances,” she said.Rashid said Hemani told her that was a businessman from Mumbai who travelled a lot. In 2010, he visited her and immediately asked her to marry him. Since she barely knew him at the time, Rashid refused, she said, but he refused to give up. “He kept sending me messages and kept travelling to Amsterdam to come and meet me. He made me feel special and put me on a pedestal. He said he loved me and I started to fall in love with him. When he proposed again, I said yes. We got married in 2011 and that’s when everything changed,” said RashidThings changed from the wedding day, when Rashid said she noticed a change in his behaviour. “He changed from a loving man to a dominant husband. He told me that I dressed terribly and destroyed my self-confidence. He would not let me meet his friends, saying that they were the types that did drugs and cheated on their wives. I later found out that he told them that I was an abusive wife who married him for money,” she added.Things took a turn for the worse when Rashid was pregnant three years into the marriage. She alleged that Hemani was never there for the child and it felt like she was a single-mother raising their daughter. “I remember one night Insiya (their daughter) woke up in the middle of the night and we could hear her cry through the baby phone. He got really mad at me and when she woke up for the third time he said I had to go sleep in her room because he could not sleep.”Nadia Rashid’s story on Humans of Amsterdam: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5She also alleged that her husband abused her. “I never told anyone because I was too ashamed. He would then apologise and that it was his fault. He would tell me that I was the better person and that is why I would be able to forgive him,” she said.When Rashid decided to stop travelling to India, both she and Hemani agreed that the husband would visit Amsterdam every two weeks, she assumed that things would get better, but the violence continued.“Once when he was in India, he didn’t answer my calls or call me. Once when he did answer, he said that he was busy. But I could hear the cricket commentary in the background. I then told him that if he didn’t make us a priority, then we would do the same to him,” she said.After this, the husband sent a Facebook message to all her friends with the same message, where he asked them to meet so that they could talk about her. “I then texted him asking him what he was playing at. He responded by calling me a loser because I didn’t dare to file for a divorce and that he would sue me. He had written (to) my brother and said that I was going to pay for this and that he was going to shame my name. He said that he would tell everyone in Amsterdam and the rest of the world what a terrible woman I was. He ended his message with: ‘This game has just begun’”.Rashid filed for divorce, but ensured that he had time with their daughter. “One time, Insiya was sitting on his lap when he told me that he would send his friends over to have me killed. I took Insiya and ran to the police station to file a complaint against him, but the threats continued. He said that he would kidnap our daughter and that he would take her to India,” she said.She realised that her movements were being monitored and finally found a GPS tracker in her car. She then went to the police, following which both mother and daughter went into hiding. “The police attached an AWARE system to my body in case of an emergency. The following months he couldn’t see us because of the threats; we were legally not allowed to have direct contact,” she added.One day, two policemen knocked on her door because they spotted a suspected vehicle. Rashid saw her Hemani in the car that had a child seat in the back. “We had to go into hiding again until we were sure that he had left the country. He kept filing lawsuits but losing them. Finally, the judge gave me sole custody of our daughter.”On September 29, Rashid, who was living with her mother at the time, went to the grocery store. On her way, she got a call from her nephew, who was frantic. “Men! They took her, They took Insiya.” My heart stopped, Rashid said.In the complaint filed with the police, she said that a few men dressed as municipality workers came and kidnapped Insiya. They beat up her mother and shot her sister with a tazer gun. One of the kidnappers, however, was caught thanks to an alert neighbour.“As far as I know, she’s in Mumbai with her father who she barely knows. He has said that if I will go to India he will have me arrested. He is a wealthy and powerful man and he easily buys people off. He has hired one of the best lawyers of The Netherlands to defend him. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch government we are trying our utmost best to get Insiya back. Every day from morning until night I am working on this. I will not stop until I can hold my daughter again,” Nadia said. (All the incidents described in this story are as per the Facebook updates posted on Humans of Amsterdam.)

Jharkhand native on streets after thrown out by in-laws, gurudwara

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Manjeet Kaur, a native of Bokaro in Jharkhand, pays Rs 25 at the Rakab Ganj Gurudwara every time she needs to use the washroom, ever since the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara authorities allegedly forced her to leave their premises.At the time of her menstrual cycle, she changes in the Delhi Police bus standing outside the Parliament Street police station. Kaur was thrown out of her house by her in-laws nearly nine months ago, and she has been making rounds of various Gurudwaras in the Capital since then. She has now filed a complaint against the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara authorities. Kaur got married in December 2015, and soon afterwards, her husband left the house saying his parents had dispossessed him of their property. A month later, Kaur was also allegedly evicted.Since then, the BSc graduate has been staying in various gurudwaras after selling off her belongings. “My in-laws asked me to leave. Then the Gurudwara authority also told me to leave the premises. Now, I am on the streets in the winters with all my belongings. My phone is not working and I cannot contact anyone,” said Kaur.The complaint registered at the Parliament Street police station, accessed by DNA, stated on December 4, the manager and two lady guards of the Gurudwara asked her to leave.Defending their stance, the Gurudwara authorities said a person was not allowed to stay inside the premises for more than 2 to 4 days. “In case a person wishes to stay in the premises, they need to write an application to the management. If the request and the reason is valid, only then he or she would be allowed to stay,” said Parminder Singh Pal, Media Advisor of the Delhi Gurudwara Committee.He added: “Resources are limited and we cannot allow everyone to stay here for long. The place is meant for people who are travelling and need to rest or who have made prior bookings.”When asked why she was not going to shelter homes, Kaur said the facilities have strict rules and she cannot use her laptop or mobile phone. “At shelter homes, everyone has to deposit their mobiles and laptops. I want to look for a job but I will be unable to do it there. Also, the washrooms are very dirty,” she said.She also said her mother has a meagre pension of Rs 1,600 and lives in a rented house in Bokaro. “I have not told my mother that I am living on the streets. I cannot go and live with her as I don’t want to be a burden on her,” Kaur said.She has also written to President Pranab Mukherjee and the head of all the Gurudwaras in Delhi, for justice. Often, she can be seen asking for help from people on the Parliament Street, and even makes calls from mobile phones of people working in buildings around the Parliament Street area. She now plans to sell her vanity case so that she can repair her phone and look for a job.

India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.

Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse. While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.

“I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.

Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

“The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

“Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.”

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Later, briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Embassy in Oslo is following up the matter.

“Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child. The mother, however, is an Indian passport holder. Following the custody of the child by Norway’s Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody,” he said.

The ministry has been informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court, Swarup said.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our Embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:55 IST

Snapchatters from across the world save a 20-year-old pregnant Delhi girl from committing suicide

For her, it was the end of the world as she could only foresee a dark future for herself. When this 20-year-old Delhi girl became pregnant she became so distraught that she expressed her intention on social media to kill herself to guard the family’s reputation. Shocked at her intention, folks on Snapchat took it upon themselves to prevent a tragedy, emerge the girl out of depression and show her the bright path ahead. And, they did that successfully.

She posted an image on The Artidote’s Snapchat channel– it was curating a feed of responses from around the world—and she received supportive messages in response to her post that said she was on the verge of committing suicide due to an unexpected pregnancy.

Artidote/Facebook

The other Snapchatters who saw the post quickly responded with supportive messages and encouraged her to brave the storm.

Artidote/Facebook

People from across the world raised her spirits. In addition to empathising with her, some even offered to talk her out of the situation.

They tried different ways and persuaded her to refrain from taking the drastic step.

Artidote/Facebook

new delhinew delhi

Artidote/Facebook

Messages from Delhi, Kuwait and different parts of the world poured in and helped the Delhi girl gather courage and confront her mother.

Artidote/Facebook

kuwautkuwaut

Artidote/Facebook

After confronting her mother, she posted a picture that said she was going to see the gynecologist with her mother. She also replied to The Artidote and thanked everyone who instilled the courage in her, and “saved” her life.

responseresponse

Artidote/Facebook

finalefinale

Artidote/Facebook

This episode of kindness and humanity is proof that the power of Social media stands tall in the face adversities.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:22 IST

Norway child ‘abuse’: India to provide help on boy’s mother’s request, says Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse.While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.
ALSO READ Sushma Swaraj seeks report on 5-year-old child taken from Indian couple in Norway”I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.”The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.” This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Taimur is to India what Hitler is to Israel: Saif and Kareena, please pay attention

When I first read the following tweet by Karan Johar about Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s newborn son, I was flabbergasted:

This was equivalent to an Israeli Muslim naming his or her son ‘Hitler’.

How could anyone in India name their son after a man who ordered so much bloodshed in India?

Then I thought, perhaps this was just the parents liking the sound of the name and that ‘Saifeena’ did not know of Taimur, the genocidal maniac who not just slaughtered tens of thousands of Hindus in Delhi, but massacred countless Muslims in Iran and Turkey ending up reducing the world’s population by five percent (17 million back then). Not even Hitler came close to being such a marauding hate-mongering symbol of racial and religious fanaticism.

However, Kareena herself quashed the benefit of doubt I gave to the parents. It has been widely reported that in a candid conversation with actor Neha Dhupia, Kareena revealed the background to naming her son Taimur: “Saif is a historian and would want a traditional old school name”.

What this says is that it wasn’t some innocent affection of a nice sounding name that caught papa’s attention, but rather a well-thought out process to name his son equivalent to his own war-like name Saif Ali’ (the sword of Prophet Mohammad’s son-in-law Ali).

Perhaps Saif overlooked the record of Taimur vis-à-vis Hindustan and Delhi, where he ordered the slaughter of 100,000 Hindus in just one night.

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Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and the newborn Taimur Ali Khan. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

Justin Marozzi, in his 2004 book Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the world, writes:

The capture of the Delhi Sultanate was one of Timur’s (Taimur) greatest victories, arguably surpassing the likes of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan because of the harsh conditions of the journey and the achievement of taking down one of the richest cities at the time. After Delhi fell to Timur’s army, uprisings by its citizens against the Turkic-Mongols began to occur, causing a bloody massacre within the city walls. After three days of citizens uprising within Delhi, it was said that the city reeked of the decomposing bodies of its citizens with their heads being erected like structures and the bodies left as food for the birds. Timur’s invasion and destruction of Delhi continued the chaos that was still consuming India, and the city would not be able to recover from the great loss it suffered for almost a century.

Notwithstanding the hatred Taimur had for Indians — Hindus and Muslims alike, the keeping of such warlike names for one’s son is also contrary to the Prophetic traditions of Islam and a betrayal of Mohammad’s guidance to Muslims. The late internationally renowned scholar on Islam and Sufism, Professor Annemarie Schimmel in her book Islamic Names, quotes a saying (hadith) by Prophet Mohammad that among the three obligations a Muslim father has towards his son “to select a good name for him”.

In suggesting a ‘good name’, the Prophet’s pronouncement was directed against ancient Arab custom of calling sons by frightening or harsh names like Harb (War), Sakhr (Rock), Murra (Bitterness). Or, may I add, Taimur (Steel).

Schimmel writes, “As outward signs are supposed to reflect the inner condition, children bearing such (harsh) names were certainly unfortunate, for a beautiful name — so one thought — was also the expression of a beautiful character: Adi guzel tadi guzel (Whose name is nice, his taste is also nice), as the Turkish proverb has it.

Alas, in the Indian subcontinent, Allah’s Islam is pitted against the mullah’s Islam and more often than not, the latter prevails.

Just imagine the outburst of goodwill in India if newborn Taimur Ali Khan had been named Tagore Ali Khan instead

I am told that countless other Indians outraged at the honouring of Taimur by Saif and Kareena have no right to interfere in their personal matters. I’m sorry, but unlike many star-struck Bollywood addicts, I consider critique of public figures, politicians or film stars; priests or princes fair game, especially when they are from my faith and when their actions have consequences on millions more.

This incident is not just about Taimur.

It’s a reflection of a larger ailment in Muslim society inside the Indian sub-continent. Its their comfort level with mass murdering invaders who still believe are their heroes. As one Islamic cleric told me on Zee TV, he considered invaders and marauders like Mahmud Ghaznawi, Muhammad Bin Qasim as his heroes, that he considered the murderous jihadi Mughal emperor Aurangzeb a saint.

As an Indian born in Pakistan and a Punjabi in Islam, I have often scratched my head wondering what is it about the culture and history of Mother India or Hindustan that we Muslims find unworthy of a tight cultural embrace?

What is so offensive about Bharat that hardly any of us in the last 1,000 years has been given a name that reflects this ancient civilisation nurtured by the Indus, Ganga, Narmada and the Brahmaputra rivers and protected by the Himalayas that rise in the West from Balochistan in the Arabian Sea, tower over us in the north across the K2 and the Everest before sweeping down into the Bay of Bengal in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Charity, or in this case ignominy begins at home so let me start by my own name ‘Tarek’ and ‘Mahmood’, my brother. Why would our parents give us names of two men who invaded and looted Spain and India?

We could have been named Dara (after Dara Shikoh) and Bulle (after Bulle Shah). A more daring Indian Muslim parents could even have named us Atish and Ashok, but no, both of us and countless other Muslim boys in the Indian subcontinents are given Arab, Afghan, Turkish, Uzbek, or Persian names, but never ever names rooted in Hindustan’s history. Not necessarily with Hinduism, but plain Indian culture.

For instance, there are countless boys names Shams (Sun in Arabic), but hardly any with the Suraj (Sun in Hindi, Punjabi etc). What is it about Shams that is so different from Suraj, I wonder? Could it be that we Muslims of the Indian subcontinent harbour contempt for the very land that gave the Prophet’s progeny sanctuary?

Around the world, Muslims of Indonesia carry Indonesian names; the Turks do too and the Iranians and Kurds as well as the Baloch and Bosnians have distinct names that are not Arab. After all Megawati Sukarnoputri and Brahamdagh Bugti are not lesser Muslim for not wearing Arab names not is Turkey’s Erdogan or Iran’s Dariush Forouhar.

And considering the racism and insults that Muslims from India-Pakistan-Bangladesh suffer at the hands of Arabs in West Asia, it makes the rejection of Bharatiya names by us Muslims even more tragic. Of course it’s the parent’s prerogative to name their children, but if Saif is a historian (as Kareena has claimed) and as a Muslim father, has sought a traditional Muslim name from history, I suggest he follow Allah’s Islam and ensure he does not violate the prophetic guidance in naming names.

How about Mansour? The great medieval Muslim rationalist and Sufi saint Mansour Hallaj who gave his life for standing up for the truth and who is admired universally.

In addition, the name Mansour should be familiar to you, isn’t it Saif? Or how about Tagore Ali Khan, that should ring a bell?

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 14:10 IST

10 things all Indian teens have heard at least once

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Being an Indian teen is certainly not without its share of tantrums and overbearing relatives. Whether it is uncles, aunties or even our parents, we’ve all had to sit through these moments. So, who is the new boy/girl now?Just because some family member gives you a creepy glance and wiggles their eyebrows, it doesn’t mean you’re going to spill all your inner gossip to them. On the other hand, it is quite flattering that they think you’re attractive enough to have a new love interest every month.Do you remember me, beta? I held you in my arms when you were so small.No, random aunty at the raksha bandhan celebration, I actually do not remember you. And having four more aunties stare me down with fake smiles while trying to remember you actually doesn’t make this any more comfortable.But you know Ramesh uncle’s son goes to Berkeley/IIT/Harvard?Thank you, random chacha. Now, I can get some more disappointing nods from my father and raised eyebrows from my mother. “Did you hear that? He goes to Berkeley. Tell her how many hours he studied everyday?” Why does every Indian kid have to have that one relative who goes to some kind of Ivy League? You have no idea how much your cousins have cursed you.Beta take some more mithaai. Are you dieting? You have become so thin!Actually, nani/dadi/chaachi I’ve put on like four kilos so if you don’t mind, I’ll be avoiding that. Why do Indian relatives think that the only way to show true hospitality is to fill someone up till they can’t even breathe anymore? Do they know how many calories one dhokla has?I am just your maid here. This is a guest house for you, no?Said every mother ever. And this just doesn’t make sense at all, because you actually did offer to help her, to which she said no. And now, she’s complaining about how nobody helps her and she’s just a maid. Also, just because you come back late or sleep in, how does that have any correlation to a guest house?Did you accept me on Facebook? Maine abhi “whats up” bhi banaaya hai.The worst part is when your family members add you on Facebook and you need to go through the pain of accepting them and then blocking them, and then trying to explain why you mysteriously ‘deleted Facebook’. It gets even worse when they try to be ‘cool’ and make Instagram/Snapchat accounts.There is a hole in your pantsIt is an impossible thing to even attempt meeting your family in ripped jeans. Like, one person will call you out for the holes and then some other aunty will say “Arre yeh toh aaj kal ka fashion hai” and then they’ll all laugh as if they’ve never seen anything funnier.‘Beta ye message kaise delete karu?’ Or ‘open kaise karu?A grandparent buying an iphone is all fun and games until you have to do every single thing. From deleting messages to reading messages to downloading apps for them, it’s a tough journey. The only plus point is when you get those cute messages that you know they typed (e.g. “love you my kuttu from nani).Stupid idiot/naalayak/bloody foolThese are every father’s favourite words to their son, and every mother’s favourite words to their daughter, son, daughter’s boyfriend, house servants and most of her children’s friends. If aimed towards children, in good cases this comes with a slap and in the bad cases maybe a chappal or belan.Beta, you can marry anyone you want, except for *insert three castes, four different areas and 12 different physical characteristics*This is every girl’s life story. The worst part is you’re not even sure if they’re being serious about this. The best part is, that they don’t even choose your clothes, no way they are going to choose your husband.

Bene Israeli, Baghdadi Indian Jews celebrate Hannukah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The traditional lighting of the nine-branched hanukiah lamp, gorging on delicious donuts… the Jewish festival of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Observed for eight nights, it starts on the 25th day of Kislev (this year, December 24 to January 1), according to the Hebrew calendar.A story of victoryIn 200 BC, Judea (Israel) fell under the rule of the Seleucid king of Syria, Antiochus III, who allowed the Jews freedom to practice Judaism. His son Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was not as kind, forced them to worship the Greek gods. But, his soldiers massacred several Jews in Jerusalem and desecrated the Second Temple. Not long after, Mattathias, a Jewish priest, led a revolt against the Seleucid monarchy. When he died, his son Judah took his place, bringing the Jews to victory. The temple was cleansed and rededicated; “it was a reaffirmation of their faith,” shares Solomon Sopher, president of the Baghdadi Jewish community. According to the Talmud, the menorah in the Temple could only be lit with undefiled olive oil. The oil they had should have been sufficient for only one night, but “it lasted for eight nights,” says Sopher.Lighting the HanukiahThe hanukiah “must be lit each evening after sunset, in every Jewish home,” shares Sopher. It has eight branches—one candle for each of the eight nights—and an additional ninth branch called the shamash that is distinctly placed either higher or lower than the rest, from which the eight are lit.“While some families continue using oil lamps, many feel that candles are easier,” says Daniel David, a tour guide from Mumbai. The hanukiah is kept near a window or in the balcony, so people can see it and “should burn at least for 30 minutes,” adds Myer Moses, a Bene Israeli Jew from Thane.A few paragraphs from the Torah are read and songs are sung before the candles are lit. “Everyone in the family gets a chance to light the hanukiah,” he says.As this year Hanukkah begins on Saturday, which is the Sabbath (a day of religious observance and abstinence from work kept by Jews), “the Havdalah candle that marks the end of the Sabbath will be lit first at sunset. This signifies that the Sabbath laws are no more effective and only then is the Hanukkah lamp lit,” says David.One of the few Jewish festivals that doesn’t have any restrictions, “it can be celebrated in any way; there are Hanukkah camps and parties, games for kids, and people invite friends over,” adds David.Sweet treatsWhat’s a festival without its food? For Hanukkah, “we generally make oil-based food like deep-fried donuts,” shares Chef Moshe Shek, one-time founder of Moshe’s. “Our meals would be different from our daily food, but there’s nothing specially made for the festival. We try and use oil and fat rich foods that signify the miracle of the oil,” explains Chef Moshe.As an Indianised version, David’s family makes halwa and Moses remembers his mother making pancakes, narali bhat and marzipan. While European Jews make rugelach, a cream-cheese pastry with jam or fruit filling, Chef Moshe, who has worked in Israel says, “Sufganiyot—a round donut without the hole—is traditionally eaten in Israel. It is filled with jam and there are modern takes like the sesame seed Jewish halwa, hazelnuts and praline and chocolate”. Of course, it is celebrated on a larger scale in Israel. “Bakeries prepare huge trays of donuts and huge hanukiahs are lit in parks. The whole country celebrates,” recalls Chef Moshe.

Asif Karadia to return to Pakistan? After spending 49 years in India, he might be deported

Asif Karadia, a 51-year-old Pakistani national, was denied long-term visa extension by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. Karadia, whose parents are India, is not a tourist in the country, but has been living in India for the last 49 years.

File image of Bombay high court. IBNliveFile image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

File image of Bombay high court. IBNlive

According to Mumbai Mirror, Karadia was born in Karachi, and his mother is a naturalised Indian. Karadia had applied for an Indian passport in 2012, but the authorities rejected the application and asked Karadia to apply for a long term-visa. This was extended twice and it was valid till last December.

Karadia, 51, could face deportation after having lived in the country for 49 years as the court said that it would not be able to decide on renewing his visa. Karadia’s case has been postponed to 17 January and he has been denied interim relief by the division bench comprising of AS Oka and Anuja Prabhudesai.

Abbas Karadia, his father, was quoted by Mumbai Mirror saying: “We never thought this would become such a big issue…Asif has never been to Pakistan again and doesn’t want citizenship of that country.”

An Asian Age report claims that the court rejected Karadia’s application on grounds that Karadia did not have a Pakistani passport and a visa couldn’t be issued without a passport. According to a report in Hindustan Times, the court ordered a probe into how the central government had been issuing Karadia long-term visas for so many years without Karadia possessing neither an Indian not a Pakistani passport.

Karadia’s father Abbas and his wife Zaibunnisa were born in India. Karadia’s mother Zaibunnisa migrated to Pakistan with her family in 1947, therefore becoming a Pakistani national, but almost twenty years after that, she came back to India and married Abbas. Karadia was born in Karachi because his mother went to Pakistan for the delivery and at the time there was no system to issue a passport to the infant.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 11:23 IST

Delhi: 17-year-old girl allegedly shot dead by male friend in Najafgarh area

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 17-year-old girl was shot dead allegedly by one of her male friends in southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh area on Tuesday night.The victim and her two friends, Shubham and Yogesh had gone to Rajouri Garden to have lunch on Tuesday.”While coming back they stopped at Dwarka for shopping. The girl’s mother called her around 7:30 PM,” said a senior police officer.After reaching her place, one of her friends came out of the car while the victim and her friend Shubham were inside the car, he said.Her mother told police that she suddenly heard the sound of a bullet and saw her daughter lying in a pool of blood, he added.Shubham fled from the spot. The victim’s mother and her friend Yogesh took her to a hospital where she was declared brought dead, police said.The murder weapon has been recovered. Shubham and his family are absconding. Police is trying to ascertain the motive behind the murder.Further details are awaited.

Road permit blocks Patna women auto drivers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2013, when eight women, for the very first time, stepped outside the confines of their home and took the driver’s seat in commercial auto-rickshaws in Patna, passengers wondered whether they were visiting a metropolis where it was not so uncommon to see female auto-drivers.For a state like Bihar, it was a novelty. Auto-rickshaw unions, the district administration and the transport authorities combined their efforts to make it possible and promised all help to the women drivers. However, half of them eventually left the profession.Three years on, in April 2016, more than 100 women expressed an interest to take up commercial three-wheeler driving. Top administrative and traffic officials inaugurated the training programme and again promised help—facilitating driving licenses, getting road permits and coaxing banks to disburse, finance among other things. But, over six months after the training programme ended, all but five are yet to hit the roads.The reasons are many, but the major hindrance is denial of road permits to women auto-drivers. “The regional transport authority (RTA), despite promising to grant road permits to women drivers, has failed to do so,” said Raj Kumar Jha, general secretary of Bihar State Auto Chalak Sangh.Jha said it was the same in 2013, when the state government had assured tax benefits in registration and facilitation in issuing necessary permits commercial licenses to women drivers, but failed to do so, resulting in only eight of the 35 trained drivers hitting the roads.This time, a few of them are on the road without permits. Among them is Ranjana Chauhan, who rues the apathy of the government, which “so vocally promises women empowerment”. “Every day we are harassed by cops because we don’t have permits. After the training was complete, my loan was sanctioned by the bank. What would I have done if not plied an auto-rickshaw?” asks the mother of three who started in August and earns Rs 500-600 per day.Most women drivers operate only prepaid rickshaws, either from Patna airport or railway station. “Prepaid is safer. One cannot haggle with a male passenger at their destination,” says another female auto-driver. Listing other hiccups faced by them, another woman driver said the auto-stands do not have basic facilities. “Competing with male drivers for passengers and at times facing indecent behaviour from travellers also a deterrent for many,” she adds. Naveen Mishra, rued absence of female-only auto stands.

New Pak Army chief Gen Bajwa has close links with the Hafeez Saeed’s JuD, reveals report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s 16th Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is said to be not only a very proud Muslim and a follower of the Sharia, but unknown to most, seems to have close links with the fundamentalist Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is led by 26/11 mastermind Hafeez Saeed.According to a report published by Roznama Dunya, a venture of Dunya News, Pakistan’s leading news and current affairs channel, the JuD appears to have endorsed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s selection of General Bajwa as army chief, describing him as a ‘religious man’ who while simple and humble in approach, possesses the grit of a soldier who can firmly convey Pakistan’s message to its immediate neighbours (read India) as well as to the rest of the world.Recently, Amir Hamza, one of the central leaders of the JuD, which India has held responsible for the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that claimed over 160 lives and left more than 300 others injured through its militant wing, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), extolled the special qualities and virtues of General Qamar Bajwa, and said that it was to the Pakistan government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s credit that they had selected a simple yet religious man to head the country’s all-powerful army.Globally, the JuD has been widely acknowledged as the front of the militant Lashkar-e-Toiba. On December 11, 2008 the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on the JuD, declaring it a global terrorist group. Hafiz Saeed had then declared that he would challenge the sanctions imposed on his group in all forums, as he has repeatedly maintained that his outfit is only involved in charitable works.On June 25, 2014, the United States said that several LeT affiliates, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Al-Anfal Trust, Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, and Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awwal needed to be added to the list of foreign terrorist organisations.Hamza said, “It is the mercy of Allah that such a noble and humble religious man has become the head of the army”. Hamza further suggests that while General Bajwa may not be the traditional and proverbial in your face Pakistani general in so far as issues with India are concerned, he possesses the ability to send across the right message at the right time.To substantiate this claim of his, Hamza recalls General Bajwa’s recent message to India – “That if the right to self-determination is given to Kashmiris, then there is ‘Qamar’, i.e. moon light, (and) if not given, then India won’t rest in peace.”In the article published in the Roznama Dunya, Hamza, claims that he believes that General Bajwa is a follower of the ‘Hadith’ (a collection of traditions containing sayings of Prophet Mohammad which act as a major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Koran).Hamza, in his article, recalls one of the prophet’s sayings. The prophet has said should a person commit a sin and his mother is not alive for atonement and forgiveness, that person should go to his maternal aunt, behave well with her, and he will be forgiven by Allah. He (Hamza) says a ‘pious’ General Bajwa did the same thing when he was announced as Pakistan’s next army chief. He went first to his mother’s grave, raised his hands, prayed and cried, and thereafter, paid a visit to his childless maternal aunt ‘Safiya Begum’ and made her feel that he was her child in the absence of his mother.”Thus, the General salutes his important relatives after becoming Army Chief,” says Hamza in his article.Emphasizing that General Bajwa is a man who follows protocol, but knows when to keep it aside, Hamza recalls that when the former was formally declared Chief of Army Staff, superseding several of his seniors, he was particular about not making them feel awkward, and categorically told two of them, Lt Gen. Asfaq Nadeem and Lt. Gen. Javed Iqbal Ramday, that they need not follow protocol and resign, but should continue as Corp Commanders and complete their respective tenures.Both commanders were told by General Bajwa that life is short and protocol should not be allowed to come in between them.

Man who travels on wheels is opening doors of hope for many

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2012, Nipun Malhotra was studying at the Delhi School of Economics, after graduating from St. Stephen’s College, when he appeared for campus placements. Despite a good academic record, he was not hired by any of the eight companies he applied to.His world came crashing down when he realised the stumbling block between his dreams and his abilities, had nothing to do with him and in a perverse way, everything to do with him. Nipun is born with a rare congenital condition, Arthrogryposis, which led to a lack of muscles in arms and legs, forcing him to commute with a wheelchair.“One recruiter told me that he did not think I could sit in a wheelchair and work for eight hours. Another told me that they did not have a disabled-friendly restroom. To the first, I responded that I have studied and commuted on my wheelchair all my life. To the second, I replied that I could hold my bladders for eight hours,” says Nipun, now 29, seated in his swank office at Gurgaon’s Park Centra. “My parents had given me all the best opportunities in life. I was a country topper in business studies. I thought all of that had gone waste. For three months after that I was very depressed. I stopped going to college,” says Nipun. He decided that it was futile to mull over the placements debacle and joined his family business, Nipman Fasteners, a company that manufactures automotive fasteners, where he is now executive director.He also founded the Nipman Foundation to work with persons with disabilities. And in a fitting reply to the companies which looked past his abilities, Nipun instituted the Nipman Foundation Equal Opportunities Awards, now in its third year, to recognise companies that employee persons with disabilities.The Nipman Foundation partnered with Ernst and Young who took care of the task of auditing the companies and the two entities set up an independent jury to vet the applicants. The application form asks questions like ratio of disabled employees in the company’s workforce, the challenges the company faced in employing disabled employees, and the metrics used to evaluate the success of the initiative like productivity level, career growth and attrition rate. 21 companies from across India applied for the 2016 awards and the winners were ANZ (Bengaluru hub), IBM (Bengaluru centre) and Sunrise Candles (Maharashtra).At ANZ, PwD staff was more than two per cent of the total workforce. All the 2,280 employees at Sunrise Candles, a Mahabaleshwar-based candle making company, were visually impaired individuals.An E&Y executive, who coordinated the application and audit process, said the auditor also conducted field visits to verify the claims made by the companies. She said that more and more companies were realising the importance of equal opportunity practices.“The companies I visited which have equal opportunity practices was an eyeopener. They treat the disabled employees as one among them. At one place, I met a man without both hands. He would use his leg to write but he had the most beautiful handwriting. All the company had to do to accommodate him was to arrange a shorter desk,” said the E&Y executive.Nipun credits his mother Priyanka Malhotra for driving him towards taking up the cause of persons with disabilities. Priyanka was a homemaker who was focused on ensuring that all of Nipun’s needs were taken care of.“Then as a child he asked me, ‘Mamma, what about all the other Nipuns in the world,” says Priyanka.That set her on the course of activism and she was a consultant with the Delhi Metro and the DTC on accessibility issues. “She would tell me to become so important that people inviting me for events will stage them only at those venues which are accessible to me,” says Nipun.The 29-year-old is also passionately involved in another project, “Wheels for Life”, which connects people willing to donate wheelchairs with those who need them.

Rahul baba can’t see change brought out by BJP because of his ‘Italian chasma’: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP President Amit Shah targeted Rahul Gandhi, saying instead of embarking on roadshows against demonetization, he should take out “yatras against unemployment, poverty and starvation”.Addressing BJP’s ‘Parivartan Rally’, he also hit out at other opposition parties, including SP, BSP and Trinamool Congress, for “ganging up” against demonetizationand disrupting parliamentary proceedings leading to a virtual washout of the winter session.”Rahul Baba is undertaking padyatras daily. It will be better if Rahul takes out yatras against unemployment, poverty and starvation,” Shah said while targeting the Congress leader who has been aggressively campaigning against demonetization.”He (Rahul) asks what change has come after BJP came to power… He will not be able to see as he has ‘Italian chashma’ (Italian glasses) on his eyes,” Shah said, in an apparent reference to Italian roots of Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi.The BJP chief likened the unity among opposition parties on the issue of demonetizationto all animals in a jungle climbing the same tree to save their lives from raging floods. He likened SP, BSP and Congress to “naagnath and saanpnath” (snakes) sitting over schemes for development of Uttar Pradesh forcing youths to migrate to other states for menial jobs, and asserted that “come what may, BJP will come to power” after the coming Assembly election. He said demonetizationhas taken the wind out of BSP supremo Mayawati’s sails.Shah said till November 7 these parties used to ask “Modiji what have you done to check black money. Now, these very parties ask ‘Modiji why have you done this to check black money,” the BJP chief said.The tough step has caused discomfort to those having lakhs of crores of rupees ill-gotten money, Shah said.Noting that it was his duty to answer the questions being raised by the opposition parties on note ban, Shah said every single paisa being deposited after deducting the 75 to 85 per cent penalty by the black money holders will be used for the development and welfare works.Attacking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Shah said he should give an account of his achievements during his nearly five-year rule rather than trying to divert the people’s attention by raising the issue of demonetization.”SP, BSP and Congress and at some places Ajit Singh (RLD) are together stalling the development of Uttar Pradesh as saapnath and naagnath,” the BJP President said.Shah was particularly critical of Akhilesh and said central assistance for the welfare of the poor and farmers in Uttar Pradesh went in vain as the benefits did not reach the targeted people and instead swelled the coffers of Samajwadi Party leaders. “You can see that their dwelling units had changed to palaces during the SP rule.. Massive dose of financial assistance was given to the state but it was usurped by ‘chacha-bhatija’ (uncle-nephew),” he said, referring to Akhilesh and state party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav.Akhilesh will have to answer for the “wrongs” done during his five-year rule, the BJP chief said.”Akhilesh will first have to answer for Mathura where government land was encroached for years, Bulandshahr where gangrape was committed and his minister Azam Khan made mockery of it and here in Etah 100 people lost their lives in hooch tragedy,” Shah said.”I feel bad to see youths from UP drive taxis and work as labourers in other states as there is no opportunity in their home state,” he said, adding only a BJP government can ensure that they work in their native district, stay with their parents and family. “It is corruption, corruption and nothing but corruption in Uttar Pradesh,” he rued.Referring to the CM’s claims of getting more that 300 seats in case of an alliance with Congress, Shah said he should not leave his ‘Buaji’ (Mayawati). “But, it will be BJP which will come to power in UP,” he asserted.Claiming that incidents of rape increased by a staggering 161 per cent during the Akhilesh Yadav regime, Shah recalled that when the state had a BJP government headed by Kalyan Singh, criminals kept a low profile.He said senior SP leader and UP minister Azam Khan made a mockery of law and order with his comments on rape cases.Shah said the Modi government had done away with interview of youths for Class III and IV jobs, but the SP government was so deep into corruption that it did not comply with the order unlike BJP-ruled states.

Four years after horrific December 16 gangrape, Nirbhaya’s mother still awaits justice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Extremely upset with the fact that justice has not been meted out to her daughter despite four years after the horrific December 16 gang-rape incident, Nirbhaya’s mother on Friday said that no action has yet been taken against the accused despite the matter being heard in the Supreme Court and added that the situation remains the same as nobody is scared of the law.”It has been four years today, but till now justice has not been served to her (Nirbhaya). We have been trying a lot from the past four years to ensure that she gets justice, yet the accused have not been punished. The case is pending in the Supreme Court, but still we don’t know when she will get justice,” said Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi.”Even today the same thing is happening, small children are being assaulted which indicate that the law of the country is not working properly as it should. Nobody is scared of the law,” she said.
ALSO READ Nirbhaya rape convict Vinay Sharma attempts suicide in Tihar Jail, admitted to hospitalNirbhaya was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. The incident took place while she was returning with a friend after watching a movie.She died 13 days after the incident at a hospital in Singapore.
ALSO READ Delhi gangrape: Delhi HC rejects plea seeking seizure of ‘India’s Daughter’ documentaryOf the six men arrested in the case, one of the accused Ram Singh hanged himself in prison in March 2013, while another man, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted in August and will serve the maximum sentence of three years in a reform home.The other four — Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh — were found guilty and sentenced to death by the Delhi High Court in September 2013.
ALSO READ Amid reports of placing Delhi gangrape juvenile convict under NGO monitoring, Nirbhaya’s parents say he should remain in jailThe men have challenged the death sentence in the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing their appeal.

SC accepts Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’ for remarks on Bulandshahr gangrape case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has accepted Azam Khan’s affidavit, saying he has expressed ‘sincere and heartful remorse’ for his comments on the Bulandshahr gangrape case on Thursday.The Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan tendered unconditional apology in Supreme Court for his remarks in November pertaining to the gangrape case.The Supreme Court had earlier this month rejected Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’ for his alleged remarks on the Bulandshahr gangrape case.The apex court had earlier on December 7 asked Khan to submit a fresh affidavit. An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had asked the Samajwadi Party leader to file a fresh affidavit after noting that the earlier one filed by him has errors in it.The Attorney General also raised questions about the draft copy submitted by Khan in connection with the apology given by him.Earlier on November 18, the Samajwadi Party leader had told the apex court that he was ready to unconditionally apologise for describing as “political conspiracy” the gangrape of two women near Bulandshahr in July.Appearing for Khan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that his client had made a general remark which was not targeted at the family of the victim. However, the judges were not convinced and they asked Sibal as to how a public figure like Khan could make such a comment.The apex court had earlier directed media organisations to submit the video clip of the press conference in which Khan had made this statement.The Uttar Pradesh Minister created a controversy after he alleged that a “political conspiracy” is involved in the gangrape of a minor girl and her mother on the highway in Bulandshahr on July 29.On August 29, the apex court issued a notice to Khan for his reported comment. The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). With agency inputs.

Bulandshahr gangrape: Supreme Court to hear Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court, which had earlier this month rejected Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’ for his alleged remarks on the Bulandshahr gang rape case, will hear the matter afresh on Thursday.The apex court had earlier on December 7 asked Khan to submit a fresh affidavit. An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had asked the Samajwadi Party leader to file a fresh affidavit after noting that the earlier one filed by him has errors in it.The Attorney General also raised questions about the draft copy submitted by Khan in connection with the apology given by him. Earlier on November 18, the Samajwadi Party leader had told the apex court that he was ready to unconditionally apologise for describing as “political conspiracy” the gang-rape of two women near Bulandshahr in July.Appearing for Khan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that his client had made a general remark which was not targeted at the family of the victim. However, the judges were not convinced and they asked Sibal as to how a public figure like Khan could make such a comment.The apex court had earlier directed media organisations to submit the video clip of the press conference in which Khan had made this statement.The Uttar Pradesh Minister created a controversy after he alleged that a “political conspiracy” is involved in the gang-rape of a minor girl and her mother on the highway in Bulandshahr on July 29.On August 29, the apex court issued a notice to Khan for his reported comment. The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Burhan Wani ex-gratia: Ashoke Pandit slams J-K govt, seeks PM Modi’s intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upping the ante on the Mehbooba Mufti government for announcing an ex-gratia payment to Burhan Wani’s brother Khalid Wani, social activist Ashoke Pandit on Wednesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention into the matter.”I as a citizen of this country make an appeal to our Prime Minister that he should intervene in this matter and see to it that this mistake is rectified, because the signal which we are giving to the neighbouring country is to send your terrorist and we will take care of them?,” he said here adding that the decision is dangerous step.The Mehbooba Mufti government had earlier on Tuesday sanctioned ex-gratia compensation to slain terrorist Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s father in the case of killing of his other son, Khalid Wani.”Compensation to a family of a terrorist, who has killed people and raped women and who has been busy with anti-national activities, nothing can be sad and dark than this. I am amazed and shocked that what the family of a security forces must be feeling. Probably we have made a mistake by not picking up the guns. If terrorist is being given compensation then I think things are going on very wrong track,” he said.Questioning the motive behind state government’s decision, he further said, “We should not be shocked the way things are going. Tomorrow the next compensation will be given to Hafiz Saeed, Yakub Memon family. This hypocrisy and entire mindset of state government is absolutely questionable.”According to a notification issued on Monday by the deputy commissioner of Pulwama, ex-gratia relief under rules were cleared by the district-level screening-cum-consultative committee (DLSCC) in favour of next of kin of those persons who died in militancy-related incidents.As per report, the ex-gratia relief entitles a victim’s family to a payment of Rs four lakh or employment for a member of the family.Burhan had left home at the age of 15 in October 2010 to join the Hizbul Mujahideen, while his brother Khalid lived in Tral in Pulwama with his family.Twenty five-year-old Khalid was pursuing a Masters in political science from IGNOU, reportedly told his mother on the afternoon of April 13, 2015 that he was going for a picnic. However, his body was found in the nearby jungle hours later.

J-K govt aid for Burhan’s kin will generate more sympathisers in Valley: Defence expert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the Mehbooba Mufti government for announcing an ex-gratia payment to Burhan Wani’s brother Khalid Wani, in the next of kin killed in militancy-related incidents in the Valley, defence expert Colonel Sunil Deshpande has said the government’s decision would only encourage terrorists to generate more sympathisers and give boost to terrorism in the valley.”Khalid Wani, the brother of Burhan Wani, was killed in action and he was a supporter of terrorists. It was proved that he was working for the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the civilian authorities announced the list of the supporters who were working for terrorists, and he was ranked ninth on the list. It is incorrect on the part of the government to give money to Khalid Wani,” said Deshpande.Deshpande further said, “Khalid Wani was not an innocent person. He was a known sympathiser and, after his death, a payment of Rs. 4 lakhs is absolutely incorrect on the part of Mufti government. This money is given to those who are killed in action. This will help terrorists to create more sympathisers in the valley and it will give a boost to terrorist activity in the valley.”The government yesterday cleared ex-gratia payments to the next of kin of 17 persons, including Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s brother, killed in militancy-related incidents in the valley.The government has given one week’s time for filing of any objection before formal orders are issued.According to a notification issued on Monday by the deputy commissioner of Pulwama, ex-gratia relief under rules were cleared by the district-level screening-cum-consultative committee (DLSCC) in favour of next of kin of those persons who died in militancy-related incidents.As per report, the ex-gratia relief entitles a victim’s family to a payment of Rs. four lakh or employment for a member of the family.Burhan had left home at the age of 15 in October 2010 to join the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen, while his brother Khalid lived in Tral in Pulwama with his family.Twenty five-year-old Khalid was pursuing a Masters in political science from IGNOU, reportedly told his mother on the afternoon of April 13, 2015 that he was going for a picnic. However, his body was found in the nearby jungle hours later.

National anthem: Can the Supreme Court also ask for CCTVs in movie theatres to ensure compliance?

Twelve persons, including two women, were detained by police for not standing up while the national anthem was in progress at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, said a report. That was a day after eight youths were beaten up in a Chennai cinema hall for not standing up during the anthem.

These are the first such instances since a recent Supreme Court interim order made it mandatory to play the national anthem in theatres before movies are screened. The Kerala and Tamil Nadu incidents would surely help to instill fear in the minds of anyone at a public place listening to the anthem either by choice or by accident. These would offer them one more valid reason to display their patriotism besides the feeling of patriotism itself — the fear of being prosecuted.

The Chennai incident gives us hope of the emergence of a new breed of vigilantes, let’s call this group, national anthem vigilantes. Remember those days, when self-appointed gaurakshaks went berserk, days when people were beaten up at several places for either eating beef or ‘harming’ the cow. Even tanners who made a modest living skinning abandoned dead cow carcasses weren’t spared. That uncomfortable phase prevailed for a while and of late one doesn’t hear much about cow vigilantes.

Can patriotism be checked? AFPCan patriotism be checked? AFP

Can patriotism be checked? AFP

But, that void will now be filled by a different kind of vigilantes. Here too, the mode of employment is self-appointment. The job profile is to guard the nationalist cause. The mandate is to beat up people who are found (to the discretionary power of vigilantes) to disrespect the national anthem. The places of their postings are theatres and international film festival venues. They have begun the job self-appointing themselves for the role after the Supreme Court order. It does not matter that you are at the air-conditioned, dark hall to unwind after a hectic week of work to watch that long-awaited film or even to watch your favorite adult movie, you are supposed to stand up first and remember your nationalist commitments.

Enjoyment later, patriotism first.

If not, you are likely to get heckled, abused and manhandled by the new breed of vigilantes. That’s what happened in Chennai when youths were assaulted for not standing up during the national anthem and even taking selfies. Let’s get one thing clear. There is no question about how we all should respect the mother nation, not just the anthem — all ideals it stands for. If the youths in question were taking selfies with the intention of insulting the nation, their action is questionable.

But, come on, they were students, who came for a movie — not to attend a republic day parade. Why in the world should someone be forced to show display of patriotism in a theatre of all places? Or, why only in theater, shouldn’t this be forced on people on bus stands, railway stations, offices and even bars (Why not?). If this brings on the true patriot in every Indian, shouldn’t this be done first in the august house of Parliament and state assemblies at the beginning of every day of Parliament session, where public representatives often behave worse than street thugs? But, then of course, there is a court order for cinema theaters. And you must follow the rule. No questions asked. But, of course, questions will keep coming. Questions that have been already asked and questions that will be asked again, till answers come. Here goes some of them.

One, should the feeling of patriotism come from within or forced upon by someone else? Should one do it fearing the crowd around? Two, how do citizen or police measure the feeling of patriotism in his fellow citizen? Three, how different is display of patriotism from the feeling of patriotism? Four, how does one decide the show of display is indeed a display of patriotism or a dishonest action? For instance, is someone technically standing up in a theater during the national anthem but makes a face, would they still be tagged as an honest patriot? And, how on earth would the vigilantes or police standing around him even know that he is making a face unless then cease to display their respect to the anthem and start looking at the subject in question? Unless a movie theatre fixes CCTVs all around the hall that capture the faces during the anthem and an ethics committee in theatres inspects the footage during the movie so that the fake patriots can be booked by the end of the show, implementing this rule isn’t possible.

Can we, thus, conclude that checking patriotism isn’t an easy task unless vigilantes turn out to be the investigators, the judge and the executioners? Last month, there was an incident reported from Goa where a wheelchair-bound man who couldn’t rise up during the national anthem was reportedly attacked at a multiplex. The Supreme Court later clarified that the disabled doesn’t need to stand up and the doors needn’t be bolted.

But, the Supreme Court order to make the national anthem mandatory alone is sufficient to embolden the self-appointed guardians of national anthem in cinema theaters. The Supreme Court order, though an interim one, lacked logic. Make it mandatory to respect the national anthem wouldn’t alone safe guard the symbols the constitution bestows respect. If Supreme Court is so determined to force patriotism on citizens, shouldn’t it also ask zoos in the country take out peacocks and tigers (national bird and animal) out of their confinements too. Aren’t we insulting the national symbols by putting them in cage?

Like mentioned earlier, as the next step, to ensure theaters do follow the rule, the Supreme Court should also ask theater owners to install CCTV cameras in all theaters and constitution of an ethics committee to ensure movie-goers pay real respect to national anthem. If these measures aren’t possible, the other way is to simply let the citizen use his individual freedom and discretion to fulfill his moral and constitutional responsibilities to the motherland.

Within us, each of us cherish being an Indian and feel lucky to be born here. Fear of prosecution shouldn’t necessarily be the motivating reason to bow to the mother and feeling of patriotism and fear of being watched and prosecuted shouldn’t come in the same breath.

Makes sense my Lord?

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 11:53 IST

Russian woman who sacrificed freedom for faith gets ‘moksha’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For 41-year-old Russian Bonetekia Zoia, it is freedom at last. Zoia had embarked on a spiritual journey to the abode of Lord Shiva at the Holy Amarnath cave in search of Zoia and world peace. Zoia, a mother of two, has been deported to Russia after serving one-year sentence for illegally entering the Valley.Faith transcended all boundaries for Zoia when she embarked on the spiritual journey from St Petersburg to the Amarnath cave in August last year. Luck, however, was not on her side. She was arrested by the police near Domeal Sonamarg last year and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, was sentenced to one-year jail by a trial court.Though there was a bail provision, she could not get it as nobody in Kashmir was ready to stand surety for her.“I could have bailed her out during the course of trial. But nobody stood surety. Later, we confessed, and, on that basis, she was convicted. Her sentence expired on August 24. But she was released only on November 23. It was a lapse on the part of the government. They bought time to make arrangements for her deportation,” Umar Rashid Wani, Zoia’s counsel, told DNA.Superintendent of Kot Bhalwal Jail, Jammu, Dinesh Sharma, told DNA that she was lodged under the Public Safety Act (from August 24 to November 23) to make arrangements for her deportation. “Later, she got clearance and she was handed over to the Russian embassy,” he said. Zoia converted to Hinduism a few years ago and started her spiritual journey from Pushupatinath temple in Nepal to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. Amarnath shrine was the next destination. But before she could visit the cave shrine to take a darshan of the Holy Lingam, police arrested her near Sonamarg. “Her entire journey was for moksha and world peace,” said Umar. Zoia, according to her counsel, lost her passport in Nepal and entered India on an ID card. Later, she visited Kedarnath temple and took the Manali-Leh-Sonamarg route for Amarnath yatra.“However, she was not allowed in the cave. She protested and there was a tussle, in the melee, she lost her ID card. She could not prove her identity and the police were trying to arrest her but she ran away and spent a night at Domeal. A day later, she was arrested,” said Umar.

‘Pakistan will be splintered into 10 parts if it does not mend ways,’ warns Rajnath Singh

Kathua: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday accused Pakistan of “conspiring” to divide India along religious lines and warned the neighbouring country that it would be “splintered” into 10 nations if it failed to quell terrorism.

“Pakistan is conspiring to divide India on religious lines but it will not succeed. We were divided in 1947 on religious basis. We have not been able to forget that… All Indians are brothers, whether they are born from the womb of a Hindu mother or a Muslim mother,” he said addressing a Martyrs’ Day function in Kathua district.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. ReutersUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Singh accused Pakistan of waging a proxy war against India. “We want to live in peace with Pakistan but it has indulged in sponsoring a proxy war against India. Every Prime Minister of India wanted to mend relations with Pakistan but it did not understand the language of peace and attacked India four times. But our brave soldiers gave them a befitting reply.”

The Home Minister said Pakistan was waging the proxy war through terrorism, which is a weapon of the weak. “Terrorism is the weapon of the weak and not the brave,” he said. “Pakistan came into existence after India got divided on religious lines but it could not keep itself united. In 1971, it got split into two and, if it does not mend its ways, it will get splintered into 10 pieces and India will have no role in it,” he said.

Singh said terror groups like Islamic State (IS) had the whole world worried because of its activities but failed to spread its roots in India because of the Muslims. “When the entire world is worried about IS, I can say it as the Home Minister of the country, as I know the reality that IS has not been able to spread its roots in India and the credit for this goes to the Muslims of the country, the followers of Islam,” he said. He said people might not know but when a member of somebody’s family got radicalised, others came to him to seek his help to save the child from the clutches of the IS. He also offered India’s cooperation to Pakistan to help eradicate the menace of terrorism from its soil.

“If Pakistan is serious about eradicating terrorism but is incapable of doing that and wants cooperation, we are ready to help it eradicate terrorism from there,” the Minister said. Singh said India always wanted to have friendly relations with all its neighbours but Pakistan betrayed India and returned peace initiatives with terrorist attacks.

Narendra Modi, before the formation of his government, had held a party meeting and we decided if we want to make India a powerful country we need cooperation of all the neighbouring countries. So we decided to invite all the neighbouring heads of state/government and we invited Nawaz Sharif also, and he had come,” Singh said. “Sharif was invited not just to shake hands but let the hearts of the two countries to meet,” he said, adding Pakistan should understand “our intentions but it has failed to do so”.

He also said Modi, “breaking all protocol”, went to attend a function in Sharif’s family while returning from Afghanistan. “We try our best that our neighbours live in peace with us. We want development of India as well as that of Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. All should progress. We want this. But what has Pakistan given us in return for our large-heartedness? “We got Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Uri where terrorists entered and launched cowardly attacks on our soldiers,” Singh said. “But we also showed them what we are capable of,” he added.

“I thank our soldiers who succeeded in giving the message we cannot only hit them here but if need arises we can hit them anywhere,” Singh said, referring to the surgical strikes carried by the army inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He said after Gurdaspur and Pathankot terror attacks, Pakistan had stated it wanted to cooperate and sent a team to India. “But after the team’s return to Pakistan, they refused to allow Indian SIT to visit Pakistan,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 09:00 IST

The women scientists who took India into space

The BBC meets three Indian female scientists who prove that rocket science is not a male preserve.

Man held for beating septuagenarian mother

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old man was arrested for allegedly beating his mother in northeast Delhi’s Shahdara area, police said on Saturday.The accused was later released on bail.A neighbour of Rajindari Devi (70) had shot a video on November 24 where her son Nand Kishore was seen beating her at their home.The neighbour had filed a complaint at Shahdara police station against Kishore but later withdrew it “due to pressure” from her son and other locals, but yesterday activist Kundan Srivastava filed another complaint and the accused was arrested and sent to Tihar Jail.The videos posted on Facebook by Srivastava showed the elderly woman lying on the ground, wrapped in blood-stained clothes. She was taken to GTB hospital for treatment.Acting on the complaint filed against victim’s son, he was arrested and sent to jail.”We have booked the accused under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 352 (assault) of IPC,” a senior police officer said.The case is under investigation, the officer said.

Najeeb disappearance: Has Modi govt catapulted AVBP into a parallel power centre in Indian universities?

The Delhi High Court has rightly pulled up the police for failing to trace Najeeb Ahmed, a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who has been missing since October.

“It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police have no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench consisting of justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel said.

Campus tensions. Image courtesy News18Campus tensions. Image courtesy News18

Campus tensions. Image courtesy News18

Next week will mark two months since Najeeb disappeared from the JNU campus. Till date, the investigating agencies have failed to come up with any concrete information — reassuring or otherwise — about the student’s whereabouts. We don’t know what happened to Najeeb after he went missing following a physical scuffle with students of the BJP–backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The police’s lack of interest in fast–tracking the case is all the more glaring when considered in light of their swift reaction in acting against Najeeb’s family and the concerned student community. It can be argued that the police have been far more zealous in restraining Najeeb’s mother and family, who were protesting alongside the students, than in tracing the disappeared person.

Who can forget the disturbing media image last month of a distraught Fatima Nafees (Najeeb’s mother,) being dragged by the police outside the National Archives of India in Delhi while protesting alongside the JNU community?

“Najeeb’s mother, Fatima Nafees, was taken to Mayapuri police station, his cousin Sadaf Musharraf and other family members were taken to Mandir Marg police station. The protesting students were also detained and taken to South Avenue police station,” said a report in The Indian Express.

If the police have been dragging their feet, so have the JNU authorities. If Najeeb’s family — particularly his mother — and campus Left student organisations did not refuse to back off, neither university authorities nor the police would have done even the bare minimum that they have so far. Even these bare minimum interventions on the part of JNU authorities have been far too little, and perhaps already, too late.

Earlier this week — nearly two months after Najeeb went missing — the university administration finally sat up.

They “identified” four ABVP activists as having been involved in a “scuffle” with Najeeb. In a lenient punishment, the administration recommended the students’ “immediate transfer” from their hostels alongside a “strong warning” not to engage in such “scuffles” in future.

The lackadaisical response of the police and university authorities to Najeeb’s disappearance represents a microcosm of the state of affairs in India. The systems in place to supposedly guarantee citizens’ safety and security are willfully manipulated to serve the interests of politicians and those in power.

Given the larger context of the politicisation of the police, and the immediate memory of the bitterness between JNU students and Central government, the callousness in Najeeb’s case, does not really come as a surprise. Nor is it particularly shocking that university authorities – not just in JNU but across India’s higher educational institutions – are treating the ABVP with kid gloves. This student organisation, as everyone can plainly see, operates more like an ideological and political arm of the BJP and less like an organisation concerned with issues on campus plaguing the student community.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 16:55 IST

Modi meets his mother in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Gujarat for a day, visited his mother Hiraba on Saturday at Raisan village near here and sought her blessings before heading for a BJP meet. Modi, who addressed a public rally in Deesa town of Banaskantha district earlier in the day, reached the residence of his brother Pankaj Modi in Raisan village near the state capital where his 97-year-old mother Hiraba stays.”Before arriving for the party meeting at the BJP headquarters in Koba, which is around 7 kms from Raisan, the Prime Minister decided to meet his mother and take her blessings,” said a BJP leader. “Modi ji spent around 20 minutes with his mother after arriving at Gandhinagar. He then came to the party headquarters for the meeting,” the leader said. Earlier, during his Gujarat visit on September 17, which was his 66th birthday, Modi had met Hiraba and took her blessings.

Missing JNU student: Delhi HC slams cops for failure to trace him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court slammed the police on Friday for remaining clueless about missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 55 days, asking how can a man just “vanish suddenly”.Maintaining that it was concerned with the recovery of the boy whose mother has been running from pillar to post to be united with her son, the Court said a situation, in which a missing person has not been traced for over 50 days, would create a sense of insecurity among the people. “It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police has no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench of Justices GS Sistani and Vinod Goel said.Najeeb went missing from JNU’s Mahi-Mandvi hostel on October 15 allegedly after an on-campus scuffle between him and some members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has denied involvement in his disappearance. The bench said, “We are not concerned with the scuffle. We only want that the boy is recovered and he returns to his house. We are concerned that the mother should get her child.”The court’s oral observation came after the police and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) informed it that Najeeb has remained untraceable till date and they were making all efforts to locate him. The varsity and the police were responding to the habeus corpus plea filed by Najeeb’s 45-year old mother Fatima Nafees who was also present in the court today. She has sought directions to the authorities to trace her 27-year-old son who was pursuing MSc in Biotechnology from JNU.During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, told the bench that the Crime Branch was exploring all angles to trace Najeeb and even issued advertisements. “We are diligent, We will do whatever is to be done at our level,” Mehra said.

Thane youth who joined ISIS found life with terrorist organisation ‘cushy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 28-year-old Thane youth, who has allegedly joined ISIS along with his friend, had told his family members to join him, saying life with the terrorist organisation was ‘cushy’, a senior ATS official said on Friday.Tabrez Mohammad Tambe, a resident of Mumbra, had asked his family members to ‘settle’ in the country from where he is operating now, the official said. “Sensing that he was in the wrong place, his (Tabrez’s) brother asked him to return to India but he rejected the plea and said you (family members) come here as life is cushy,” the official said.Tabrez was in contact with his wife, brother and mother via cell phones, social media and other modes of communications and told the family about his activities for the Islamic State. ATS feels Tabrez, who completed his post graduation in cargo management and transportation and got married three years ago, has actively participated in ISIS operations.He visited some countries in the last five years for jobs, the official said. In January, he left India, and said he has got a job in Egypt. “From Egypt, he went to Libya to join ISIS with his friend Ali,” the official said, adding it was Ali who prompted Tabrez to join ISIS. Both knew each other as they worked together at Riyadh in Saudi Arabia a year ago, he said.”We are collecting information about Ali. We are not sure whether Ali is Indian or not. As per our information, he has visited India before,” ATS chief Atulchandra Kulkarni said.

Justice Katju wants SC to hear contempt case before winter vacation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju moved the apex court on Friday seeking early hearing of a contempt case against him for allegedly using “intemperate” language and “scandalising” the judiciary. A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi agreed to look into the submission made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of Justice Katju, who mentioned the matter for early hearing, saying it should be listed before the winter vacation. To this, the bench said, “You file a proper application and we will look into it”. Dhavan said that he has already filed the application. On November 11, the apex court had issued contempt notice to Justice Katju after taking note of Katju’s statement in a blog and said that it constituted a serious assault on judges and not on the judgement. Justice Katju had appeared in the court following its October 17 direction asking him to be present and debate his Facebook post criticising an SC verdict by which the convict in Soumya rape case had escaped gallows as he was acquitted of the murder charge.It had asked him to appear before the court to point out the “fundamental flaws” in the case. The issue of contempt was raised after the bench had dismissed the review petitions filed by the Kerala government and the mother of Soumya challenging the acquittal of the convict of the murder charge.Justice Katju had protested against the decision to issue contempt notice and said the judges were threatening him and it was not proper for them to behave in such manner with a former judge of the apex court. He was summoned as he in his blog had claimed that there was “grave error” in the judgement acquitting the accused in the murder case and he was asked to assist the bench during the hearing of the review petition. Justice Katju, through his Facebook post on September 15, had criticised the verdict commuting to life the death sentence awarded to Govindachamy for raping 23-year-old sales representative Soumya on February 1, 2011, after she fell out a moving train in Kerala.While issuing notice to Justice Katju, the bench had also quoted the post which said, “It is regrettable that the court has not read section 300 IPC (culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death) carefully. The judgement needs to be reviewed in an open court hearing.”

JNU’s missing student: How can a man suddenly vanish, asks Delhi HC, slams cops for remaining clueless

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday slammed the police for remaining clueless about missing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 55 days, asking how can a man just “vanish suddenly”.

Maintaining that it was concerned with the recovery of the boy whose mother has been running from pillar to post to be united with her son, the Court said a situation, in which a missing person has not been traced for over 50 days, would create a sense of insecurity among the people.

“It is over 50 days. Still you (police) do not know about his whereabouts. How can somebody vanish suddenly and police has no clue about it? Even if we think of the worst, something has to be found out. We are pained that the missing person has not been traced till date,” a bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice Vinod Goel said.

Najeeb went missing from JNU’s Mahi-Mandvi hostel on 15 October allegedly after an on-campus scuffle between him and some members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP has denied involvement in his disappearance.

The bench said, “We are not concerned with the scuffle. We only want that the boy is recovered and he returns to his house. We are concerned that the mother should get her child.”

The court’s oral observation came after the police and the JNU informed it that Najeeb has remained untraceable till date and they were making all efforts to locate him.

The varsity and the police were responding to the habeus corpus plea filed by Najeeb’s 45-year old mother Fatima Nafees who was also present in the court today. She has sought directions to the authorities to trace her 27-year-old son who was pursuing MSc in Biotechnology from JNU.

Delhi High Court. AFP

Delhi High Court. AFP

During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the police, told the bench that the Crime Branch was exploring all angles to trace Najeeb and even issued advertisements. “We are diligent, We will do whatever is to be done at our level,” Mehra said.

On the other hand, JNU’s counsel Monika Arora submitted before that “since day one, the university is in regular contact with the Delhi police obtaining updates and providing relevant information to the police regarding the incident.

“It is also stated that university has carried out its own search operation in the hostel and the campus of the JNU. Moreover, the security guards alongwith police teams have been coordinating in search of Najeeb in the adjoining and adjacent forest areas of the JNU campus,” Arora said, adding that “the university’s Vice Chancellor has written to the senior police officials and SHO concerned to expedite the search of missing student Najeeb”.

To this, the bench said, “this is something very serious. If a person disappears and remains untraced, it would create a sense of insecurity in the public of the city.”

The bench asked the police to “explore all angles” and listed the matter for further hearing on 14 December .

Arora, in a status report, said soon after the incident, the hostel warden had called a meeting including Najeeb and other persons involved in the altercation.

“All persons involved in the altercation including Najeeb were called by the warden, some disciplinary measures were taken after Najeeb admitted his mistake for initiating the brawl/altercation with his fellow students. The said issue was resolved in presence of JNUSU President and other college staff and students,” JNU submitted.

It also told the bench that the students involved in the scuffle on the fateful night have been identified and their immediate transfer from the hostel was recommended.

The counsel said the office of the Chief Proctor has acknowledged that there was a scuffle and submitted the Proctorial Board report on the incident at the hostel.

“After Najeeb is found, the disciplinary action awarded to these persons will be again looked into,” the court was told.

On 28 November , the High Court had sternly asked the city police to “cut across all political barriers” and find Najeeb.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 18:56 IST

New tigers in Jai’s territory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Almost eight months after its dominant male disappeared from the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWLS), two males have moved in to replace the missing tiger Jai. What’s more, the number of adult tigers in the sanctuary has increased from four last year to seven now, with two pregnant tigresses likely to deliver fresh litters soon. A senior forest department official told DNA that camera trap monitoring which was being carried out in the sanctuary had revealed the presence of seven adult tigers, including two males and five females. The final results of this Phase IV monitoring exercise are expected shortly. The exercise carried out last year had thrown up the presence of just four individuals. “Two female tigers are pregnant and may deliver cubs very soon,” said another official. He added the presence of two males would ensure diversity in the gene pool. One of the males is Jai’s three-year old offspring ‘Jaichand’ (a combination of the names of his father Jai and mother Chandi) and the other tiger is supposed to have entered Maharashtra from adjoining areas since he has not been captured in camera traps earlier.Officials said there were chances that another male tiger was also trying to enter the UKWLS habitat. When 250 kg Jai — named after Amitabh Bachchan’s character from Sholay — went missing, it led to a massive outcry with fears that the iconic tiger, the largest in India, may have been poached. The NTCA tiger census, which is conducted every four years detected 190 tigers in Maharashtra in 2014. However, last year’s Phase IV monitoring by the forest department to confirm these figures had identified 203 tigers.

JNU missing student: Students involved in scuffle with Najeeb identified

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students involved in the scuffle at Mahi-Mandvi hostel of JNU in October, that allegedly led to the mysterious disappearance of MSc student Najeeb Ahmad, have been identified and their immediate transfer from the hostel recommended. The office of the Chief Proctor has submitted its Proctorial Board report on the incident at the hostel, according to a statement from the office of Dean of Students at JNU.Sources said four students were identified by the university in connection with the scuffle. Najeeb had gone missing on October 15 following the scuffle allegedly with ABVP members the night before. “The report has identified the students involved in the reported scuffle, and has recommended their immediate transfer from their present hostel. It has also recommended that a strong warning should be issued to these students against repeating such scuffle in future,” the statement read.It also noted that the Vice-chancellor has approved the report and has suggested that after Ahmad is found, the disciplinary action awarded by the Warden’s Committee for vacating hostel premises by him may be “revisited”. The JNU administration has repeated its appeal to Ahmad, a MSc Biotechnology student, to return to university and resume academic pursuits without apprehensions.Delhi Police is trying to trace Ahmad but it has not been able to make any breakthrough even though a reward of Rs 10 lakh was announced by it for any information about him. The case was initially handled by a special investigation team of south Delhi Police but later the case was handed over to the force’s Crime Branch.The crime branch team was able to trace Ahmad’s movement on October 15 after they had found the auto driver who claimed to have dropped the student to Jamia Millia Islamia that day. The mysterious disappearance of Ahmad and failure of police to trace him led to protests by JNU students and various political outfits.The mother and sister of the missing student also participated in these protests with several political leaders including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slamming police for not being able to trace him.

Mick Jagger a dad again at 73 | Reuters

NEW YORK Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger became a father for the eighth time on Thursday when his ballet dancer girlfriend gave birth to a son in New York, his publicist said.”Melanie Hamrick & Mick Jagger’s son was born today in New York and they are both delighted.”Mick was at the hospital for the arrival. Mother and baby are doing well and we request that the media respect their privacy at this time,” Fran Curtis, the long-time publicist for the Rolling Stones, said in a statement.

The 73-year-old singer already has seven children with previous partners, as well as five grandchildren, and he became a great-grandfather in May 2014.

Jagger and Hamrick, 29, began dating about two years ago, according to media reports.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 21:58 IST

CBI files chargesheet against ex-Gurgaon CJM, kin for his wife’s murder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a chargesheet against Former Chief Judicial Magistrate of Gurgaon, Ravneet Garg, and his parents for the murder of his wife Geetanjali Garg, then 27 years old, three years after her bullet-ridden body was discovered in a Police Lines park.By the time Ravneet was arrested in September this year, he had become a Senior Division Civil Judge in Haryana’s Kaithal region.According to the agency, Ravneet, his father KK Garg and mother Rachna were charge-sheeted under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 304B (dowry death) and 498A (cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 30 of the Arms Act, 1959.The sensational case came to light when Geetanjali’s body was found on July 17, 2013, along with a service revolver registered under her husband’s name. On the day of the incident, Geetanjali had left home around 3 pm. Her body was found in the bushes near a playground within a few hours.The case in this regard was registered at the Civil Lines police station on July 20, 2013. The CBI took over the case after a series of controversial statements by the Haryana police, which had initially dubbed the incident as a suicide.Senior Haryana police officers were forced to change their statements repeatedly after investigators kept recovering bullets every few days from the park where the body was found.FACT FILEThe case attracted attention when the Haryana police, during the first few days of the investigation, dubbed it a suicide. Two days after the incident, however, Geetanjali’s family accused Ravneet of murder, following which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up and a case was registered on July 20, 2013. The Haryana police had declared that Geetanjali was shot twice, a statement contrary to the post-mortem report, which established that the 27-year-old had three bullet injuries – one on her stomach, another on the chin with the bullet piercing through her head and the third one on her neck.Police then claimed that they recovered, on two occasions, the casings of the third and even a fourth bullet. Finally, CBI took over the case on August 7, 2013. Ravneet was arrested for the suspected murder in September, 2016.

Campaign to employ acid attack victims goes viral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Like most Indian women, Mamta had an arranged marriage. She didn’t want to get married, but just like the rest, she had no say in the matter. While speaking to Humans of Bombay, Mamta said she went along with it hoping for the best. However, the husband was physically and emotionally abusive. When Mamta became pregnant, she decided that the best option would be to abort the foetus. “My mother agreed but he found out somehow and filed a case against us. I was forced to carry my son to term. I believed that since he fought so hard to make sure that I gave birth to our son, he must surely want him. I believed he wanted to be a good father to him.”However, things took a turn for the worse. Mamta’s husband stopped letting her see their son and demanded Rs 50,000 to let her see him. On August 21, 2010, while Mamta was sleeping in her family home, her husband crept into the house with their son’s milk bottle filled with acid and emptied it all over her face. “I woke up screaming in agony. My mother tried washing the acid off but the damage was already done. I lost my left eye,” she says. Mamta, an acid attack survivor, is a beauticianWhile Mamta can carry on with the fact that she has to live with her scars, she finds it difficult to live not knowing the whereabouts of her son. The police say that they cannot do anything until she locates her son.Mamta was then approached by the NGO Make Love Not Scars, which is teaming up with Humans of Bombay and The Logical Indian to provide employment opportunities to women who are victims of acid attacks. The initiative called ‘Skills Not Scars’ was also promoted through a BuzzFeed India video starring comedian Tanmay Bhat that went viral on the internet on Tuesday with over 2,500 shares on Facebook.Skills Not Scars has a list of acid attack survivors, which includes eight women and one man. Each of these individuals has a unique story. Take the case of Reshma. This 19-year-old, who has been the face of the Make Love,Not Scars campaign recently walked the ramp during the New York Fashion Week.

India doctor to operate on ‘500kg’ Egyptian woman

An Egyptian woman, said to weigh 500kg, is to be airlifted to India for weight reduction surgery.

Fashion show under fire for Kashmir pellet makeup

Find out what’s buzzing in the social media world today.

Woman who lost husband in 26/11 set to complete HSC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>November 26, 2008 is a day Mumbai never forgets. The terrorist attack resulted in hundreds of deaths and left citizens on edge. While the day affected everyone, several individuals have shared inspiring stories of how they picked themselves up after losing a loved one. An anonymous woman, who was profiled on Humans of Bombay on Sunday, shared her story of how she completed her education after she lost her husband at Mumbai CST.“I’ve always been a homemaker while my husband worked at the railway station. We were very content with our lives,” she said.The woman spent most of her time raising her two daughters, while her husband would work. One day, she fell ill and the family faced difficulties. It was at this time when her husband requested his mother to come from their native place in Bihar to take care of his wife. “After a few months when I recovered and my mother-in-law was leaving to return to Patna, my husband went alone to drop her off at the station, sometime around 9 pm. I was sleeping when my sister-in-law called me around 10 pm, told me about the attacks and said my husband wasn’t answering his phone. I rushed down to the phone booth to call him and after trying many times someone finally picked up and said, ‘the person who’s phone this is, is dead; come claim the body’.It took the woman a few months to recover, but as time went by she began pulling herself together. “I had two daughters who had their whole lives in front of them and I had to make sure that I did everything I could to educate them better. I received compensation from the government which I used for their education and to take care of the house and my mother. I was also offered a job by the Railways, but since I had only studied till Class VIII, I couldn’t get a job that paid me half as well, but I took it anyway. I wanted to set a better example for my daughters, so after a few months I decided to join school again,” she recalls.During that period, she would prepare food for her children, drop them to school, go to work, return to make dinner, do her homework and then attend night school. “I have no idea where the strength came from. I just loved that I was educating myself to never feel helpless again—I finally passed my SSC and I am on my way to clearing my HSC and through this time I got my promotion as well.”While remembering her husband, the woman says she knows that he would be proud. “Sometimes life takes people away. I still sometimes question why 26/11 had to ever happen, but the only way to fight back is to not give up. Every year, that day marks the death anniversary of my partner, but it also remains the day I became independent, where I didn’t succumb to the terror but used the pain to make my girls and me stronger.”

‘Goddess’

Jayaram Jayalalitha, one of India’s most flamboyant and controversial politicians, inspired a cult following and held her own in the masculine world of Tamil politics.

Nashik: 8th standard girl gang-raped by classmates, six accused held

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A minor school-going girl was allegedly gang-raped by boys from her class, two months ago. The case appears to be a consequence of over indulgence in social media.While six boys have been named as accused in this case, one of them, 21-year-old has been remanded to four days police custody.The mother of the girl who was studying in 8th standard in a well known English-medium school in Cidco locality in Nashik, reported to the police that her daughter was gang raped in September 2016.The case came to fore when on Sunday, the mother found a objectionable message on her daughter’s phone. She then probed the girl who alleged that she was raped by six boys during the Diwali holidays. The girl said she was threatened by the boys not to speak about the incident.Police said that the girl’s friend had formed a group on social media in which the victim was added along with many other boys from the class and school. Some of the boys had shared some “inappropriate” messages and images.The FIR mentions that the girl was asked to come out of the house under the pretext of getting her notebook. One of her classmates then asked her to accompany her to a house in the locality where there were other boys too. The girl stated that she was given a drink which made her drowsy after which she was raped.After the case was reported on Sunday evening, the police immediately held six boys, one of them being 21 years old. They were arrested and produced in the court on Monday. The court has remanded him to police custody for four days. The case is being investigated by Ambad police.Speaking about the increasing cyber activity, Commissioner of police Dr Ravinder Singal said, “This is a very sensitive issue. From the cases that we see, we find that children are indulging increasingly with social media and they don’t understand the gravity of it. This over indulgence in cyber activity is disturbing and there has to happen a discussion amongst parents and teachers. A serious dialogue on the issue which makes the children aware of responsible behaviour on the social media is necessary. They need to know that illegal writing on such media can land them under the scanner of the law enforcing agency and such inappropriate cyber activity can land their future in trouble”.

A touch of the special

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From three to a million lives,” is how Mithu Alur describes the long journey of the NGO ADAPT, formerly called the Spastic Society of India (SSI), on Friday evening. Sitting a few feet away from her in the drawing room of their Colaba home is daughter Malini Chib, an employee with Tata Consultancy Services. Malini, who suffers from cerebral palsy (CP), has come down from London to attend the launch of Alur’s book A Birth That Changed a Nation: A New Model of Care and Inclusion, which was released on Saturday, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. SSI owes its birth to Malini. She is one of the many success stories of the 44-year-old organisation that was set up in 1972 in Colaba, Mumbai, at a time when in India the word spastic was often confused with plastic, and ignorance and discrimination went hand-in-hand.A Birth… of sensibility“The main purpose of the book was to alleviate the sufferings of millions of children tucked away in the remote corners of the country who do not have access to quality health-care services. At the core of this book is a new scientific method of rehabilitation and care developed by SSI in the early 1970s for children with multiple disabilities like CP as well as other physical disabilities, says Alur. After reading this book, Alur feels, parents, especially the mother, should be able to understand what to do with the child — how to carry the child, how to feed him/her and how to teach a kid suffering from a chronic neurological disorder the 3 R’s (reading, writing and numbers). At the same time she emphasises that to reach out to a wider audience, A Birth That Changed a Nation: A New Model of Care and Inclusion needs to be translated in regional languages.One of the key points in the book is the human aspect of being disabled in India, about those who have suffered years of neglect in this country. It narrates stories of how children with a slight modification in curriculum and examination systems, with a little help from skilled teachers and therapists and a close partnership with parents, passed examinations effortlessly. A shining example in this regard is Alur’s daughter Malini, who is an academician with a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from the Institute of Education, University of London.Government policiesIt is important to view SSI’s work against the backdrop of government policies for the country’s disabled population. Curiously, in India, no proper statistics regarding the prevalence and incidence of disability are available.The National Sample Survey Organisation survey in 2002 put the figure of the population suffering from disabilities at 1.85 crore, which was then considered a gross underestimation by experts. The 2011 Census puts the figure at 2.68 crore, a marginal increase from the 2.19 crore estimated after the 2001 head-count exercise. United Nations’ specialists believe that disabled people comprise 10-15 per cent of the current population. Even by conservative estimates, there are 10 lakh spastics in India. Activists have long railed against the raft of legislations such as National Trust Act (1999), Persons With Disability Act (1995), Rehabilitation Council of India Act (1992) and Mental Health Act (1987), as they are essentially discriminatory in nature. The Disabilities Bill, supposed to replace the PDA, is still languishing in cold storage. It has been reported that although the Integrated Child Development Scheme, under the Women and Child Development department, targets disadvantaged population, it has conveniently left out children with disabilities. This has resulted in the exclusion of nearly five million children in the age group of 0-5. This winter session, the Lok Sabha is also scheduled to vote on the Mental Health Care Bill (2013), which is slated to replace its 1987 predecessor. The new Act protects the rights of persons with mental illness and pushes for their access to mental healthcare. Even today in India, a majority of services for the disabled child is delivered through the voluntary sector. Where there are state-supported schools for the specially-abled, it defeats the government’s policy of integration of these children into the educational system. In the absence of institutional support, it is NGOs like SSI that have become crucial to cater to kids with special needs. From the bungalow in Colaba, SSI has spread to 21 centres across India, including the four metros and smaller cities like Pune, Baroda, Tepur, Guwahati, Allahabad and Cochin.SSI and their aim“SSI was built from scratch and it brought about a sea change in an environment where apathy, indifference, hostility and ignorance reigned supreme,” says Dr Samiran Nundy, a renowned surgeon. He is the chairman of the Institutional Review Board set up by Alur to critique the performance of the organisation under 10 domains such as education, treatment and rehabilitation unit, child and parents’ partnership, training of teachers or therapists, and capacity building in the community. Nundy’s wife started SSI in northern India and his mother was instrumental for setting up a centre in Kolkata. “SSI focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach involving a team of doctors, psychologists, special educators, physiotherapists, job counsellors for the overall well being of the child,” says Dr Nundy, who is also Alur’s brother-in-law.SSI is considered a trailblazer for the unique model it developed over the years. It draws inspiration from what Alur witnessed in England when she took Malini for treatment in 1968 since there was no proper facility in India.“The doctors there treated my daughter with love and affection. Their whole approach to us changed our lives. They said Malini has a 150 IQ. Gradually she began walking with a walker, rode a tricycle, swam with a tyre, and began to read and write,” recounts Alur. “In the six years I was in England, I worked hard to get a diploma as a special educator so that I could take proper care of Malini,” she said. Inspired by the principles of nation-building, her relatives closed ranks with her and with the help of the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, she got the premises in Colaba to set up SSI. Nargis and Sunil Dutt became ardent champions of the cause.Right from the birth of SSI, the focus was to train and educate the parents and counsel them for which we introduced a course called home management, she says. “Our approach also emphasises on love and compassion, without which no amount of expertise will work. When the parents became experts, they became equal partners in the initiative. With our input and their input, the kid started registering improvement. Gradually, a whole cadre of people came together only because they wanted to do the right thing for their child.”From Colaba, SSI branched out to Kolkata and then to Delhi. It subsequently spread to different parts of India after people who took the teacher training programme from the NGO-opened centres in their respective towns and cities. “That’s how SSI reached Chennai through my first student Poonam Natrajan whose son Ishwar suffers from CP,” recalls Alur.Coming togetherTo fill the shortage of trained manpower, SSI began training teachers, therapists, social workers and psychologists in 1977. The first postgraduate diploma course in the education of the physically handicapped was set up in the country in 1978. It was renamed to Postgraduate Diploma in Special Education Multiple Disabilities: Physical and Neurological in 2003. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with specialists from the British Council, Spastics Society of UK and the Institute of Education, University of London. Its aim was to develop the skills, abilities and knowledge of teacher trainees to meet the physical, educational, social and emotional needs of persons with physical and neurological disability. Over 400 teachers across the country have received training.While looking back at her life and work and the unstinted support she has received from various quarters — from celebrities to commoners — Alur quotes lines from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem ‘The Little Lamp’. “Who will do my duties?” asked the Setting Sun… “I shall do what I can, my Master,” said the Little Lamp.“I have tried to light as many lamps as possible so that special children can be part of the society and not be treated as outsiders. Though there has been marked improvement in the attitude of the people, India still practices discrimination at both crude and subtle levels,” she says. Alur’s book, replete with photographs, shows what her untiring efforts have yielded — the many happy faces of children and their mothers who fought to overcome their limitations.

Accident due to fog kills 4, injures 2

Thu, 1 Dec 2016-07:20pm , Jaipur , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four persons were killed and two others injured on Thursday as a bus collided with two cars in Hanumangarh district here due to dense fog. The cars were heading to Hanumangarh from Sriganganagar before they collided with a private bus near Jhandawali village, police said.Shrawan Kaur (45), Nakshatra Singh (45), his wife Rano Kaur (40) and his mother Jeeto (65) died on the spot while the injured were rushed to a nearby hospital. The bodies of the deceased have been shifted to the hospital for postmortem, police said.

Nagrota attack: Martyr Sukhraj’s last rites held with full state honours

Batala: The last rites of Hawildar Sukhraj Singh, who was killed in the Nagrota terror attack, was held with full state honours in his native place on Thursday. Singh, 32, was among the seven army personnel killed when heavily armed terrorists in police uniform stormed an Army unit at Nagrota, about three kilometers from the Corps headquarters on the outskirts of Jammu city.

Nagrota-Kashmir-PTI

Nagrota attack claimed lives of at least 7 Indian soldiers. PTI

The martyr’s body wrapped in the tricolor was brought in a bedecked Army vehicle and a large number of people reached here to pay their last respects to Sukhraj Singh, who had joined the Indian Army 11 years ago.

His elder brother Dhanraj Singh lit the pyre, amidst chanting of patriotic slogans. He is survived by wife Harmeet Kaur, mother Swanjeet Kaur, elder brother Dhanrah Singh, seven-year-old daughter Subhpreet and five-year-old son Sargundev Singh.

Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Pardeep Sabharwal placed a wreath on behalf of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, DSP city Ravinder Pal Singh Dhillon on the behalf of director general police and Major Hari Chandera and JCO Baljinder Singh placed wreaths on belhaf of the army.

An army contingent of 21 soldiers paid tributes by reversing their arms and firing shots in the air. Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia and a government job to the next kin of martyr Sukhraj Singh.

His wife Harmeet Kaur had said yesterday that her husband was posted at Nagrota in Jammu six months ago and was to come home on leave on 29 November. “But instead of going on leave, he fought the terrorists and attained martyrdom,” she had said. The soldier’s family members demanded that Pakistan be “taught a lesson” for harbouring terrorists.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 17:49 IST

Meet Fitness Kaur, the UK-based Sikh girl that can probably dead-lift you

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fitness enthusiasts swear by different methods, based on their preferences and lifestyles. Some prefer weight training and aerobics, others gravitate towards zumba and power yoga, and still others swear martial arts is the key. But for one Sikh girl, the only ‘standard’ thing about her workouts is to break stereotypes.Gurpreet Kaur is a 21-year-old Sikh girl living in the UK. Going by the handle ‘Fitness Kaur’ on Instagram, she’s been steadily gaining popularity for her insane calisthenics workout routines (a form of gymnastics that focuses on overall fitness and balance) as well as weight training and yoga. Her photos, which regularly receive over a thousand likes, depict her performing ridiculously hard routines – explosive pushups, horizontal planches, human flag planks, and even pushups with a bed on her back.Born to an English mother and Punjabi father, Kaur says she feels a strong connection to her Sikh heritage, even preferring shabads (Sikh hymns) as a workout groove instead of typical gym music fare. That being said, Kaur is a force to be reckoned with, even participating in the UK’s version of ‘Ninja Warrior’ known to be one of television’s most gruelling obstacle courses. But while the young Sikhni has been a fitness buff from an early age, she says it was more to do with proving herself than anything else.Born premature, Kaur says those around would constantly “coddle” her, telling her she couldn’t do things. The well-intentioned advice only served to spur her on with added fervor. Eventually, three years before starting at university in the UK, Kaur gave up junk food, began eating healthy, and her incredible journey to fitness and fame began.

The nine-year-old Kashmiri girl who rules the kickboxing world

Nine-year-old kickboxing champion Tajamul Islam from Kashmir is an unlikely heroine.

HC says son can stay with parents only at their ‘mercy’: How this millennial is dealing with it

On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court ruled that an adult son had no legal right to stay in his parents’ house and that a person can reside in his parents’ house only at their “mercy.” FP Special Forces asked the totally non-fictional Ascharya Singh (‘Ash’ to his friends) — a 28 years old millennial-filmmaker-turned-short filmmaker-turned-investment banker-turned-finding himself in his parents’ house — about how he feels about the High Court ruling. He wasn’t very pleased and was taking ‘demomeisation’ quite badly.

I mean, can you imagine the ignominy of having to queue up everyday at an ATM to withdraw enough to be able to pay his equally non-fictional friend Haze (real name Harminder) for Coldplay tickets? Tickets, it must be noted, that ‘Haze’ procured from her father, whose best friend’s second cousin was a co-sponsor of the event. So strings had to be pulled. But so what? I mean, how often can you take a selfie in BKC with Chris Martin and his cohorts in the background? I mean, bro, come on! All because ‘Ash’s’ mother wouldn’t stump up the cash herself.

Anyway, ‘Ash’, as you’ve probably guessed, relies rather heavily on his parents for… well, pretty much everything.

Here’s a typical exchange between him and his mother, who somewhat unfairly is not entirely pleased with her directionless son who is continuing to mooch off her. Bear in mind, their conversations are largely conducted on the platform of text messaging.

Ash’s things are now in a box in his mother’s garage, but his last whereabouts are unknown. But, his social media is buzzing with updates.

Ash-Singh

Starbucks (1)Starbucks (1)

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 14:24 IST

Maan Ki Baat: Modi misusing government machinery, says Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking strong exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged that government machinery is being misused for personal vendetta and the radio address has now become ‘Modi ki Baat’ which does not find solutions to the sufferings of the nation.”Maan Ki Baat has now become Modi Ki Baat. Misusing government machinery. Instead of finding solutions to the suffering & pain of millions of people he is doing personal vendetta personal publicity and business. Modiji, you have finished India’s economy and growth,” Mamata tweeted.Escalating her attack on the Prime Minister?s assertion of the need for a cashless economy, the Trinamool Congress chief further said, “We don’t trust you or your mismatched wrong technology which you are advertising for. We want technology and progress. But no section of society is to be left out and tortured while doing this. The women of our country will give you a befitting reply. They are the mother of India. They are the mother of all, Mr Today’s PM.”Prime Minister Modi made the biggest public push for a ‘cashless economy’ on his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address. He acknowledged that while a ‘cashless’ society is not immediately possible, he appealed to the people to work towards it by being part of a ‘less-cash’ society immediately. “Learn how this digital economy works. Learn the different ways you can use your bank accounts and internet banking. Learn how to effectively use the apps of various banks on your phones. Learn how to run your business without cash,” Prime Minister Modi said. He also appealed to the people to be patient in the face of inconvenience caused by the demonetization.

Manohar Parrikar says India doesn’t want war, but ‘will gouge out enemy’s eyes if provoked’

Panaji: Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said India did not seek war, but would “gouge out eyes” of the enemy if provoked.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“We don’t itch for a fight, but if someone looks at the country with an evil eye, we will gouge his eyes out and put them back in his hand, we have that much power,” he said, while addressing a rally in Aldona Assembly constituency in Goa. “Goans can tell the world that they had sent a man to the Centre who slapped the enemy across the face.”

“There was no firing on the border for the last three days, because if they (Pakistan) fire once, we fire twice at them. We are giving a tit-for-tat response, and when they realised it, they approached us, seeking to stop it,” Parrikar said, in an apparent referrence to Pakistan’s request for DGMO-level talks three days ago.

Asserting that the armed forces were fully prepared, Parrikar said his mother had taught him that “even if you are going to
hunt a rabbit, be prepared to kill a tiger”.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 22:20 IST

SP leader Amar Mani Tripathi’s son Aman sent to 3-day CBI custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party leader Aman Mani Tripathi, son of jailed politician Amar Mani Tripathi, was on Saturday sent to three days’ CBI custody by a Delhi court in connection with the alleged murder of his wife.Metropolitan Magistrate Arvind Bansal sent the accused to CBI’s custody after the probe agency claimed that he was required for custodial interrogation to unearth the entire conspiracy behind the crime. While seeking 10 days’ custody of Aman, the CBI told the court that he was required to be taken to several places. It also said that he was to be confronted with some witnesses in the case.The plea, however, was opposed by the defence counsel, advocate Khalil Ansari, who said that there no fresh evidence was there against his client. The counsel said that the accused has always joined the probe, whenever he was asked by the agency and there was no need for his being taken into custody.
ALSO READ Arrested for murder, SP leader Aman Tripathi to be produced in court todayAman was on Friday for the alleged murder of his 27-year-old wife Sara, who had reportedly died in a car accident in Firozabad on National Highway 2 in July last year. However, Aman Mani had escaped unhurt.Based on a complaint by Sara’s mother Seema Singh an FIR was registered against Aman Mani in Firozabad district. Singh had alleged that her daughter, who had married Aman Mani at an Arya Samaj temple in Lucknow in July 2013, was murdered. Aman Mani’s parents, Amar Mani and Madhu Mani, were against the marriage, Singh had said.Aman Mani, however, had claimed that Sara died in the road accident when they were on their way to New Delhi for a holiday. After Singh had demanded that Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav order a CBI investigation into the incident, the matter was referred to the central agency, which took over the probe from UP Police a few days later. Aman Mani was recently given ticket by the Samajwadi Party to contest Assembly election in the state.

Government and cops get notice after Najeeb Ahmed’s mother moves HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than a month after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed went missing under mysterious circumstances, his mother Fatima Nafees on Friday filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the High Court, expressing dissatisfaction over the police investigation in the case.The matter was listed before the Division Bench comprising Justices G S Sistani and Sunita Gupta, which issued notices to the Delhi government and the police, asking them to come up with explanations. The Bench also directed the Delhi Police to come up with their investigation report within three days.Najeeb Ahmed, a resident of Badaun district in Uttar Pradesh and a first-year MSc student at JNU, has been missing since October 15 following an altercation with some ABVP members on the night before at the Mahi Mandavi hostel.In her petition, Nafees expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Delhi Police have been conducting the investigation and accused the varsity administration of “shielding the persons responsible for her son’s disappearance”.The case was recently transferred to the Crime Branch of Delhi Police from the special Investigation Team formed by the Commissioner of Police, Alok Kumar Verma.Last week, the Crime Branch traced the initial movement of Najeeb, stating that he had taken an auto-rickshaw from outside JNU for the Jamia Millia University after calling his mother.The revelation came after the sleuths managed to trace the auto driver who ferried Najeeb. The driver even took the police to the spot where he dropped the student. Before shifting to Mahi Mandavi hostel in JNU campus, Ahmad was living with his relatives in Jamia.Earlier, the Delhi Police had raised the reward from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for anyone providing information that could help locate Najeeb.The issue had almost paralysed the functioning of the varsity with agitating JNU Students Union keeping Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and other university officials under siege for over 20 hours.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had also pulled up the force and asked the CP Verma to make all efforts to trace the missing student.

Assam forest dept files FIR against Patanjali Food Park after elephant’s death due to neglience

Ghoramari (Assam): The Assam Forest Department on Thursday filed an FIR against the builder of Patanjali Mega Herbal and Food Park in Sonitpur district for negligence in providing safety to wild elephants and digging pits at the construction site causing an elephant to die on Thursday.

Jasim Ahmed, Additional Conservator of Forest, West Sonitpur Forest Division, said the FIR was lodged at Salanibari police outpost under Tezpur police station.

He said the case was filed against the park’s builder, Uday Goswami, who is also the coordinator of the Patanjali Park at Ghoramari Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) complex.

There were more than 14 open pits and some of them were filled up with earth after Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma visited the site following the death of an adult female elephant on Thursday, said Ahmed.

Video of the elephant falling into the pit

Regarding Goswami’s assurance of erecting a low-voltage solar-powered fence at the site, the Forest official said such a fence needed to be checked by the specialists of the Forest Department and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) before being erected.

The forest minister instructed the builder to keep half of the over-200-acre land free from construction through which the elephants could move.

On Wednesday morning, a calf ran out of an elephant herd towards the construction site, followed by its mother and another male elephant calf which was later rescued from the pit and sent to the wildlife rescue centre at Kaziranga.

The foundation stone of the Rs 1,300-crore Patanjali Mega Herbal and Food Park was laid on November 6 by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of Patanjali founder and yoga guru Ramdev, Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries Babul Supriyo and state Industries Minister Chandramohan Patowary among others.

Dilip Nath, member of Aranya Surakha Samittee, Sonitpur, told PTI that the place was known to be an elephant zone often frequented by the pachyderms from the nearby forest.

Meanwhile, state Congress spokesman Apurba Bhattacharya claimed that as the area was an elephant corridor and used by the animals for giving birth to their calves, the previous Congress administration in the state had not allowed the government land to be given to anyone.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 22:05 IST

Indian cash crunch hits gold demand during peak wedding season | Reuters

By Rajendra Jadhav and Sethuraman N R
| MUMBAI/BENGALURU

MUMBAI/BENGALURU Mumbai resident Shashikant Zhalte’s wedding this weekend will be less sparkling than his family had hoped, thanks to a cash shortage following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s shock withdrawal of high-value notes to fight “black money”.Zhalte bought gold jewellery for his wife-to-be months ago, but had delayed purchases for his mother and sisters.Then came the Modi bombshell on Nov. 8, in the middle of the wedding season when gold demand spikes, forcing Zhalte to drop his plans to buy an additional 50 gms, worth around $2,200.The scenario is being played out across India, the world’s second biggest consumer of gold, where it is customary to gift jewellery in marriages.The wedding season stretches from September to April, and Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS says it accounts for more than half of the country’s annual demand for gold.More than two-thirds of that demand of around 800 tonnes a year comes from the countryside, where farmers are struggling to get enough cash to buy seeds and fertilisers in the sowing season. Penetration of credit or debit cards and money apps is very low in rural India.The resulting drop in incomes and tepid buying in the wedding season means gold imports, which spiked in the immediate aftermath of the banknote announcement amid panic buying, are likely to drop sharply in the coming months, said traders in India and in the supply hubs of Dubai and Hong Kong.”Instead of shopping, we were busy visiting banks and government offices to prove that there is a wedding in the family,” said Rahul Ahire, a cousin of Zhalte.The Indian government has put strict limits on the amount of money people can withdraw from banks, although a larger sum, 250,000 rupees ($3,600), is allowed for weddings, as long as participants can prove that the marriage is genuine.Gold demand from India is not a major factor in global prices, but has historically provided support when the international market is falling.

Gold is trading at its lowest levels in nearly 10 months in anticipation of a U.S. interest rate hike in December. Higher U.S. rates would boost the dollar and increase the opportunity cost of holding the metal.A senior official with a Hong Kong bank, which caters mainly to Indian and Chinese gold buyers, said that it was worrying that the slowdown in Indian buying was overlapping with an expected rate hike by the U.S. Federal reserve next month.”In the past, physical Indian demand gave support whenever there was a sharp fall in global prices,” said the official. “Without Indian buying, prices could fall steeply.”SLOWDOWN IN INDIAN GROWTH

Surendra Mehta, secretary of the India Bullion and Jewellers Association, said imports would be “negligible” in December and January, but did not give any numbers.Traders said that a year ago India bought 182.2 tonnes in those two months, a figure that could fall to 60 to 70 tonnes this time around.”Retail demand is very weak and since prices are falling, jewellers are not willing to build inventory,” Mehta said. “They are postponing purchases.”Another factor that could hit imports is a plan reportedly being considered by the government to impose curbs on domestic holdings of gold. A third of India’s gold demand is paid for by unaccounted money.The scrapping of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes, or 86 percent of the value of cash in circulation, is part of a crackdown on corruption, tax evasion and militant financing.

But brokerage Ambit Capital says the decision could pull down economic growth, which was 7.6 percent last year, by as much as 4.1 percentage points in the year to March 2017.”It wasn’t possible to change the wedding date at the last moment, so I curtailed spending,” says Dashrath Jagtap, whose daughter got married this week in a small village in the western state of Maharashtra.Most Indian weddings are held on days considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar. Between Nov. 8 and end-December, there are 15 such days, or nearly a quarter of the total in 2016, making the note ban particularly painful for service industries that rely on weddings.”There is a huge drop in the wedding demand as many people don’t have the new currency,” said Chirag Thakkar, a director at gold wholesaler Amrapali Group in the western city of Ahmedabad.”It could be more than 50 percent (on a) year-on-year basis. Most people used to purchase in cash and now they are confused whether to buy gold or spend on something else.”A wholesale trader in Dubai said demand will continue to be weak until people feel comfortable with their cash levels. The government expects the cancelled notes to be replaced in a few months, but some experts say it could take up to a year. ($1 = 68.4250 Indian rupees) (Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in LONDON; Editing by Krishna N. Das and Mike Collett-White)

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

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 20:24 IST

15-year-old girl kidnapped, gangraped in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A 15-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and gangraped by five to seven persons here, who also filmed the incident, police said on Thursday.The girl was found in a semi-conscious state on the roadside near her home late on Tuesday night. She narrated the incident her to her parents while undergoing treatment at a hospital, a police officer said.The victim, belonging to Rajput community, was kidnapped on Sunday night after she went to search for her elder sister who, on becoming angry over some issue had rushed out of the home, SHO of Railway Colony Police Station Shivraj Gujjar said.Even as the elder sister returned late in the night, the victim didn’t come back, following which her mother lodged a missing complaint the next day, the SHO said.After gaining a little consciousness at the hospital, the victim said she was abducted by five to seven persons in an SUV who took her to a jungle and raped her in the vehicle, Gujjar said.She also said the accused made video recording of the crime and threatened to make it public if she told anyone about it, the SHO said.Police have not recorded the statement of the victim yet as she is not recovered enough. Currently, a case of abduction has been registered and rape charges will be added after the victim recovers and medical report is received, he said.

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