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Sheila Dikshit’s son-in-law denied bail in case theft, misappropriation of his wife’s property

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s son-in-law was on Friday denied bail by a court in New Delhi in a case of theft and misappropriation of his wife’s property. Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma denied the relief to Syed Mohammad Imran, who was arrested from Bangalore and brought here on transit remand, and sent him to judicial custody till December 2.The court had on Thursday denied the police plea for extension of Imran’s two days remand for custodial interrogation which expired on Thursday, saying enough time was given to the police. During the arguments on Imran’s bail plea, the probe agency opposed the application moved by the accused, saying that if granted bail, he was likely to tamper with the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. It also said that the probe was still on. The counsel appearing for complainant also opposed the bail plea, saying that the offences were very serious and there were charges against the accused that he attempted to murder his wife. Dikshit’s daughter Latika and Imran had got married in 1996, but were living separately for the last 10 months. In her complaint filed in June, Latika had alleged that Imran’s attitude had changed towards her and had become aggressive and rude after her mother lost in the Delhi Assembly polls. Latika had alleged that Imran took away papers of a piece of land owned by her in Nainital, despite having been told not to do so in May.According to the police, she also alleged that some of the belongings, kept at her Hailey Road house in central Delhi, had gone missing and whenever she asked for these, Imran was evasive. She also alleged that he took away jewellery and other expensive items from there. Latika also alleged that one of her female relatives was “in connivance” with Imran, they said.A case was registered against Imran under Sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 120 B (Criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence)and 420 (cheating) of IPC and under 66 of the IT Act.

A not so ‘Happy Diwali’ for owls in Delhi!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Diwali around the corner, people in the city are busy buying sweets, gifts, but some are also making beelines for owls. The illegal trade is thriving at Delhi’s Kabootar Bazaar’ in Chandni chowk, a ground investigation by DNA revealed.Based on a centuries-old tradition, owls make way to the Indian bird markets during Diwali to be slaughtered to make the goddess happy. Some believe that sacrificing this nocturnal bird, which is the ‘vaahan’ of Goddess Lakshmi, known to be the goddess of wealth and prosperity, makes her stay for an entire year.All the 32 species of Indian owls are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Under the Act, any killing or trading of owls is strictly prohibited and has serious risks/penalties. The bird has a varied reputation across cultures — some believe that they bring wealth and prosperity as it is associated with Goddess Lakshmi. In some cultures, it is considered to bring bad omen as well.Rameshwar Yadav, a doctor at the charity bird hospital run by the Digambar Jain community, located merely 500 metres away from the Kabootar Bazar, says that the wounded owls are often brought for medical aid. “Ahead of Diwali, the numbers go up. Three or four owls are brought every week. We hand them over to the wildlife department after treatment,”he said.After passing a few bird shops in the dingy lanes of Kabootar Bazaar, there is a shop where a young bearded man speaks about the owl trade. He confidently reveals,”Owls bring good fortune to people (and bad luck to their rivals) and thus amulets made of owl bones or nails are very high in demand in the market. I can get one to show you, but you will have to shell some big money for the trader as they come from outside the city.”On being probed, he confirmed the price, a small owl costs anywhere between Rs 4,000-7,000 and the price of a bigger one would land between Rs 11,000-14,000.Despite full awareness of the consequences, the traders are not discouraged to deal in the bird, especially during Diwali time. While every bird seller seemed reluctant to speak about it, he admitted, that they are being sold, but he doesn’t know who sells them.After further inquiry, one of the shopkeepers confirmed that this is the peak season of owl selling and if paid in advance, he can show us one.Traders from outside Delhi, mainly Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut and parts of Uttarakhand (Nainital and Haldwani) come to this market to deal in Owls. Since ‘forest owl’ is the highest in demand, it fears the most threat. Abrar Ahmed, an ornithologist, in his report on this topic for the wildlife protection organisation TRAFFIC and WWF India in 2010, writes that there are probably at least 50 active wild-bird selling points/localities in India. Twenty-one of these are major bird markets with an estimated annual turnover of between 20,000 and 50,000 wild birds, including a trade in owls.In 2006, a case widely reported in the media stated that an owl weighing 3 kg was allegedly sold for Rs 3 million. Four wealthy people, assisted by a claim to be from Ahmedabad (Gujarat), visited well-known bird markets in northern and eastern India seeking a large owl. It is unclear how the weight of an owl is related to its magical properties, even amongst black magic practitioners, although one in Delhi suggested that the heavier the owl, the older and therefore wiser it was.

Uttarakhand roads blocked after heavy rains, landslides

Dehradun: Heavy rains and landslides have blocked many roads in the hill state of Uttarakhand, an official said on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The roads include the Kedarnath highway and the Badrinath highway at Nandprayag.

Efforts were on to clear the roads and bring the disrupted traffic back to track, the official said.

“The Border Road Organisation is trying its best to clear these roads as many pilgrims of the Chaar Dhaam Yatra have been stranded at various places due to the block” an official told IANS.

Meanwhile, the state’s Met department has sounded a 72-hour alert for heavy rains beginning 30 June.

The districts where the alert has been sounded include Almora, Pauri, Uttarkashi, Dehradun, Udhamsinghnagar, Champawat and Nainital.

So far, most parts of the state have received moderate rainfall.

Two held for triple murder in Delhi’s Brahmapuri area

A 30-year-old man along with his friend has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of a woman and her two daughters at their residence in northeast Delhi’s Brahmapuri area earlier this week, police said.According to police, prime accused Raheesuddin had a one-sided love affair with Mehrunisha (19), one of the victims, who was in a relationship with another boy in the locality.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reheesuddin also supported Mehrunisha’s family after her step-father’s death, and claimed that her mother, Saira (50), the other victim, tried to extort money from him, aware about Raheesuddin’s feeling about her daughter.Last week, he allegedly conspired a plot with his friend Javed (27) and went to Mehrunisha’s house, with butcher knives. They allegedly hacked to death Saira and her daughters Mehrunisha and Shabnam (9).During investigation it came to light that Mehrunisha was Saira’s daughter from her first marriage in UP’s Etah. After divorce, Saira married another man and Shabnam was her daughter from the second marriage, an official said.Saira’s second husband was in a relationship with another woman and started living separate. He passed away around two years ago, after which Mehrunisha started living with her mother. She soon became friends with Raheesuddin, the official said.The incident came to light on Sunday when locals complained of severe stench emanating from Saira’s house. When a police team reached there, they found the three decomposed bodies with multiple stab injuries.Prima facie, they died at least three days ago.After questioning over 100 persons in connection with the incident, police zeroed down on Raheesuddin. He had, however, left home on the pretext of a religious programme.A team was sent to Nainital, where he was last tracked but by then he had fled from there. He was finally tracked down in Delhi last night, the official added.After the incident was reported, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, accusing him of “not paying attention to law and order in Delhi” and “creating hurdles” in the functioning of his government. He had alleged that “jungle raj” prevails all over the city.On the sidelines of the press brief on the triple murder, Delhi Police PRO Rajan Bhagat today said that the city has witnessed 10 per cent fall in murder cases compared to previous year.He further said, in eight per cent cases, the killer is a close one and in 10 per cent cases, the accused and victim are found to be involved in sexual relationship. Around 17 per cent cases originate from sudden provocation.When asked whether his comments were in context of the CM’s allegations of jungle raj in Delhi, Bhagat refused to comment.

8 killed, 20 injured as bus falls into gorge in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand: Eight persons were killed and over 20 sustained injuries when the bus they were travelling in plunged into a gorge at Churighatti in Almora district on Wednesday.

Eight bodies have been recovered from the spot and more than 20 people who sustained injuries have been rushed to PHC Bhatrokhan and the civil hospital Ranikhet, district disaster management officer Rakesh Joshi said.

Rescue operations are underway in the supervision of senior officials, he said, adding, the bus was going from Masi in Almora district to Ramnagar in neighbouring Nainital district.

The bodies are yet to be identified, Joshi said.

A switch in time: Rebel Congress legislators of Uttarakhand join BJP

New Delhi: The nine disqualified rebel Congress legislators of Uttarakhand, whose shifting loyalty led to a political upheaval in the hill state, joined the BJP on Wednesday.

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test. Getty images

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test. Getty images

The rebel Congress leaders joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at its headquarters here in the presence of Uttarakhand in-charge Shyam Jaju.

The move was decided at a meeting of the Uttarakhand BJP core group leaders with BJP president Amit Shah and other senior leaders.

The meeting was attended by BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, former Uttarakhand chief ministers Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Ramesh Pokharial Nishank and senior leader Satpal Maharaj, among others.

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test.

Congress legislator Rekha Arya, who changed her loyalty to BJP on the day of the floor test, has also given her consent to join the saffron party.

Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had disqualified the nine, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Other than Bahuguna, the nine rebel Congress leaders were Harak Singh Rawat, Subodh Unial, Amrita Rawat, Umesh Sharma, Shailendra Mohan Singhal, Pradeep Batra, Pranav Singh and Shailarani Rawat.

They had challenged their disqualification earlier in the Nainital High Court and then in Supreme Court, but didn’t get any relief.

Uttarakhand crisis: Harish Rawat volunteers for Narco test

Continuing his tirade against the BJP leadership over the Uttarakhand political crisis, ousted chief minister Harish Rawat, presently under the scanner following the leak of a purported sting video, on Monday said that he would volunteer himself for the Narco test before the CBI.”If Kailash Vijayvargiya ji, Amit Shah ji and Shyam Jaju ji, the people, who were involved in horse trading, are ready for the Narco test, then I will present myself as first volunteer for the Narco test,” he told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rawat also welcomed the Nainital High Court’s decision to dismiss the petition by the nine rebel MLAs seeking to vote in the confidence motion.”We are very thankful to the High Court. We welcome their decision? We believe that we would be given justice. We are hopeful that tomorrow also, we will get justice in the assembly during the floor test,” he said.Following the Nainital High Court’s decision, the rebel Congress MLAs have approached the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing. The apex court is likely to hear their plea at 2 p.m.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, and senior advocate Amit Sibal, the counsel for Congress chief whip Indira Hridayesh, concluded their arguments in the High Court, stressing on the legitimacy of disqualification. The nine Congress MLAs had stood against their party on March 18 and supported the BJP by asking for a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill.Meanwhile, the Centre has also moved the Supreme Court, seeking modification of its earlier order on the Uttarakhand crisis. The Centre has demanded that the Principle Secretary of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs should be made observer for floor test proceedings.Earlier, the apex court had said that the disqualified MLAs would not be able to cast their votes as long as their disqualification remained. The floor test is scheduled to take place on May 10.Excluding the nine disqualified Congress MLAs, the floor test will involve 27 Congress MLAs, 28 BJP MLAs, six PDF members and one nominated member. The total members to vote being 62, Rawat will need 32 votes to be reinstated as the chief minister.

Uttarakhand: Experts say raging forest fires could cause glaciers to melt faster

The raging Uttarakhand forest fires that engulfed large parts of the hill state have raised serious concerns about the adverse and long-lasting effects it could have on the glaciers in the region.The ‘black carbon’ from smog and ash covering the glaciers could reportedly make them more prone to melting. The concerns have been raised by experts at Nainital’s Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences (ARIES) and Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) in Almora.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Glaciers such as Gangotri, Milam, Sundardunga, Newla and Cheepa, which are also the source of many rivers are majorly at risk, Manish Kumar, a senior scientist at the atmospherics department in ARIES told the Times of India .
ALSO READ Two more days to put out forest fire in Uttarakhand, says Prakash Javadekar”Black carbon is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass. It absorbs light and increases heat, which is why it can cause glaciers to melt faster,” Kumar told the daily.Meanwhile, at least four people have been arrested in connection with the forest fires in the region.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand forest fire: A burning problemAt least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.Nearly 10,000 people and three IAF helicopters are engaged in operations to douse forest fires, which have so far dropped 30,000 litres of water to douse fires.The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75% of the affected area in the hill state.

Uttarakhand forest fire: Four people arrested, situation under control

At least four people have been arrested in connection with the Uttarakhand forest fire that engulfed large part of the hill state.When asked if the fire in the forest was man-made, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said, “We have arrested four people.”Javadekar also said that he has asked to deploy more than 10,000 employees to put out the Uttarakhand forest fire in three-four days. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”More than 6,000 employees are already on the job, while DG (Forest) is leading and coordinating the operation from the front for the past two days,” he said, adding that the government has already sanctioned the required amount.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand forest fire: 3 IAF chopper, 6100 personnel deployed to douse fire(Nainital: IAF’s Mi-17 v5 continues fire fighting operations in areas affected by – ANI)At least seven people have died and 15 others injured in the fires so far. About 2,269 hectares of forested land have been destroyed with Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Almora districts bearing most of the brunt.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand forest fire: Nearly 6000 people firefighting in state, 130 NDRF men join to combat blazeThe Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and Indian Air Force are working in tandem to douse the fire.As forest fires continue to rage, three Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday dumped loads of water on the blaze in Nainital and Pauri districts.The authorities claimed the situation was gradually getting better, and the latest satellite imagery of forest fires shows the blaze has been extinguished in over 75% of the affected area in the hill state.(With ANI inputs)

Uttarakhand forest fire: 3 IAF chopper, 6100 personnel deployed to douse fire

More than 6,100 personnel, three IAF choppers fitted with Bambi bucket to carry water have been deployed in Uttarakhand to douse the forest fire that engulfed large part of the hill state. As many as 6,000 personnel comprising NDRF, SDRF, state police, forest staff and volunteers have been deployed to douse the fire.Three Indian Air Force helicopters (1 ALH and 2 Mi 17) with Bambi bucket and 116 rescuers of National Disaster Response Force were also deployed to help the state government in controlling the situation.The situation is under control now, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A four-member Central team of experts, including Special Director Centre for Fire Explosives K C Wadha and director of Delhi Fire Services G C Misra have reached Uttarakhand to assess the situation and suggest possible remedies.
ALSO READ Watch: IAF team sprays water to douse Uttarakhand forest fireIn view of the urgency of the matter, the team will submit it’s report to the Home Ministry within a week with its recommendations. Earlier in the day, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the forest fire situation with top officials of the Uttarakhand government and assured them of all Central assistance. Singh had yesterday spoken to Governor K K Paul, who briefed him about the prevailing crisis.The three IAF choppers on Sunday dumped loads of water on forest fires raging for days in Nainital and Pauri districts in Uttarakhand. The authorities claimed that the situation is gradually getting under control, latest satellite imagery of the forest fires has reported that the blaze has been extinguished in over 75 per cent of the affected area in the hill state.The water sprinkling operations commenced today as part of efforts to douse the fires that has killed seven persons and destroyed 2,269 hectares of forested land. The fire has also spread to sparsely populated remote hill areas.

Watch: IAF team sprays water to douse Uttarakhand forest fire

An IAF Mi 17 chopper today flew several sorties in Nainital district sprinkling water lifted from a lake to douse the raging forest fires that have destroyed vast swathes of forested land across Uttarakhand.The chopper has collected water from Shrinagar dam but will make a sortie over areas where fires are active only when visibility improves. The Mi 17 chopper, which has a capacity to carry 3,000 litres of water, is collecting water from Bhimtal lake and making sorties over Almakhan, Kilbari and Nalena areas of Nainital district to douse the fires. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Watch IAF team spraying water over forest area in Srinagar & Koteshwar:

Uttarakhand forest fire: Nearly 6000 people firefighting in state, 130 NDRF men join to combat blaze

NDRF has deployed over 130 personnel as part of multiple fire fighting teams to combat the raging forest fire in the jungles of Uttarakhand that have destroyed about 2,269 hectares of jungles in several districts and claimed at least seven lives till now. At least 6000 people deployed for fire fighting operations in Uttarakhand, aerial view of Srinagar and Koteshwar areas. The teams of the specialised National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have fanned out in 13 affected areas of three districts of Pauri Garhwal, Almora and Chamoli to tackle the massive blaze. “Our teams are working in 13 sectors in coordination with the officials and personnel of the state fire and forest department. “The teams have been instructed to adopt the conventional method of cutting the fire line and containing the fire. We are using fire beaters and green bushes to cut the fire from spreading. About 135 personnel as part of multiple teams are working in Uttarakhand at present,” NDRF Director General O P Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said while in Chamoli the NDRF is working in Pakhi and Gopeshwar areas, in Almora the teams are working in areas like Binsar, Someshwar, Bikisen, Siplakhet and Dhauladevi. Each team is covering an area of 8-10 sq km, the DG said, adding additional NDRF teams have been kept in standby near here in Ghaziabad.Chamoli the NDRF is working in Pakhi and Gopeshwar areas, in Almora the teams are working in areas like Binsar, Someshwar, Bikisen, Siplakhet and Dhauladevi. Each team is covering an area of 8-10 sq km, the DG said, adding additional NDRF teams have been kept in standby near here in Ghaziabad.Watch security teams at work in UttarakhandThe force also saved a house in which a family of four lived from the blaze in the hilly area of Mehlchori in Pauri district. Singh said he is in constant touch with his team leaders working in the state.Earlier today, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held discussions with the Chief Secretary and other officials of the state government on the situation arising due to the forest fire and offered all assistance from the Centre. The Home Minister had yesterday spoken to Governor K K Paul, who briefed him about the situation in the hill state. Mi-17 choppers of the IAF have also been sprinkling water in Nainital to control the forest fire.Seven persons have been killed so far. Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag and Tehri are among the worst-hit districts. With inputs from ANI

Uttarakhand: IAF undertakes water sprinkling operations to control raging forest fires; seven dead

A Mi 17 chopper of the IAF began water sprinkling operations in Nainital on Sunday to control raging forest fires which have destroyed 2269 hectares of forested area across Uttarakhand, even as another chopper engaged for the same mission failed to take off due to low visibility.The chopper, which has the capacity of carrying 3000 litres of water, is collecting water from Bhimtal lake and making sorties of Almakhan, Kilbari and Nalena areas of the district to douse the fires, Principal Conservator of Forest and nodal officer BP Gupta told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, another IAF chopper engaged for the same purpose in Pauri has not been able to take off due to low visibility, Pauri District Magistrate Chandrasekhar Bhatt said.The chopper has collected water from Shrinagar dam but will make a sortie over areas where fires are active only when visibility improves, he said.However, with the two choppers pressed into service and all security agencies besides locals involved in fire extinguishing operations the situation is likely to be brought under control in a couple of days, the PCF said.Seven persons have been killed due to forest fires, which have spread to sparsely populated remote hill areas.Pauri, Nainital, Rudraprayag and Tehri are among the worst hit districts, Gupta said but hoped with all agencies activated the situation was bound to improve.Three companies of the NDRF, one of SDRF besides PRD and homeguard personnel are currently engaged in the operations, he said.With the MeT department predicting a significant fall in day temperatures after May 2, forest fires may get under control after a couple of days, he said but added that the administration will have to remain alert for the next 35 days to prevent fresh forest fire incidents.2269 hectares of forest land have been engulfed in flames this season which has witnessed a total of 1082 forest fire incidents.Since the beginning of forest fire season in the state in February, 922 incidents have occurred so far in which seven were injured.Worried over forest fires which are still raging in different parts of the state, Governor K K Paul had reviewed the rescue efforts underway via videoconferencing with officials in the field and asked them to speed up their efforts.IG Sanjay Gunjyal is coordinating with the NDRF, the district magistrates concerned and Principal Conservator of Forest to supervise the rescue operations.Locals are being encouraged to report a fire incident to the district magistrate concerned as soon as they sight it so that it can be controlled in time.The governor haD doubled the number of personnel deployed to control the fires from 3000 to 6000 and asked all agencies including the SDRF, district administration and the rural population to contribute their bit in the exercise.Forest fires are natural during summer but this time they have occurred on a bigger scale as the fire season which normally begins by February 15 and ends by June 15, began on February 2.Former chief minister Harish Rawat has asked the governor to declare Uttarakhand as a fire disaster struck state and involve locals as much as possible in fire extinguishing efforts.The PCF said the scale of forest fires in Uttarakhand this time has been bigger due to little or no rain during winter at most places.Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas are being made available on forest department’s website www.forest.uk.govt. an official release here said.The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is rushing Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) refullers to replenish IAF choppers deployed to douse the massive fire in Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand forest fires: IAF deploys 11-member team with Mi-17 helicopter to control the fire

Major forest fires raged on Saturday across Uttarakhand even as three teams of NDRF were deployed in Almora, Gauchar and Pauri and one team of SDRF in Nainital to extinguish the flames.Since the beginning of forest fire incidents in the state in early February this year, 922 incidents have occurred so far killing six people including three women and a child, in separate incidents, injuring seven and blighting 1890.79 hectares of green cover, Principal Conservator of Forest (Research) B P Gupta told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rudraprayag forest division is taking the army’s help for fire-fighting operations especially along the highways, Gupta said. Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Almora and Nainital are the worst-affected districts, he said.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Guv Paul on Saturday and assured full assistance from the Centre to control forest fires and help in containing the damage. The casualties due to forest fires which have spread to sparsely-populated remote hill areas, rose to six with another life lost in Nainital district on Friday evening. 1890.79 hectares of green cover have been destroyed by the fires which had an early start on February 2 this year due to a dry winter.Governor K K Paul reviewed the rescue efforts underway via videoconferencing with officials in the field and asked them to speed up their efforts. NDRF companies, assisted by expert teams and locals, are conducting fire-fighting and rescue operations in Garhwal and Kumaon regions.IG Sanjay Gunjyal is cordinating with NDRF, District Magistrates concerned and the Principal Conservator of Forest to supervise the rescue operations.Locals are being encouraged to report a fire incident to the District Magistrate concerned as soon as they see it so that it can be controlled in time.The Governor has doubled the number of personnel deployed to control the fires from 3000 to 6000 and asked all agencies including SDRF, district administration and the rural population to contribute their bits in the exercise saying the forest department alone cannot accomplish the onerous task, Gupta said.Forest fires are a natural phenomena in summer but this time they have occurred on a bigger scale as the fire season which normally begins by February 15 and ends by June 15 began on February 2 itself. Deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has asked the Governor to declare Uttarakhand as a fire disaster struck state and involve locals as much as possible in fire-extinguishing efforts.Pradesh Congress president Kishore Upadhyay has also written to party workers asking them to work unitedly to pull the state out of the “crisis.” The PCF said the scale of forest fires in Uttarakhand this time has been bigger due to little or no rain during winter at most places.Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas is being made available on forest department’s website www.forest.uk. govt, an official release here said.

Uttarakhand: Bail granted to professor who made objectionable Facebook post on Ambedkar

A professor, who was arrested in Uttarakhand recently for an alleged objectionable Facebook post on BR Ambedkar on his 125th birth anniversary, was granted bail on Wednesday.Chamoli District Judge Alok Kumar Verma granted bail to Professor Bhagwati Purohit after hearing the arguments of the police and the defence counsel.Purohit was arrested from Nainital on April 20 and sent to judicial custody. Purohit is an assistant professor of Political Science at Government Post Graduate College, Gopeshwar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was lodged against him at Gopeshwar police station under various sections of the IT Act, IPC and SC/ST Act.

Uttarakhand crisis: You are cutting at root of democracy, HC tells Centre

The Nainital high court on Monday cautioned the Union government for treading on a dangerous path by imposing President’s rule in Uttarakhand.In scathing remarks, the double judge bench of Nainital high court led by chief justice K M Jospeh observed, “This colours our mind. Can you remove a government based on a solitary incident and the government, which is in its fifth year? Root of the matter is you are cutting at root of democracy. Interference in the affairs of states is not to be seen lightly, emergency power should be used in extraordinary cases.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court reminded the Union government that the “Governor is not an agent of the Centre” and the “interference in the state’s affairs is not be seen lightly”. The court asked, if it was not “totally extraneous” for the Union government to be concerned over disqualification of nine rebel MLAs and ‘interfere’ in the affairs of the state which is done only in “extraordinary instances”? The court’s observation came while hearing former chief minister Harish Rawat’s petition challenging President’s rule in Uttarakhand imposed in controversial circumstances last month.The high court may give a decision after summing up of Centre’s arguments by attorney general Mukul Rohtagi on Tuesday.The Central government had imposed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand on March 27, a day before governor had asked the chief minister to prove his majority in the state Assembly.The court also said, “Can the Centre topple a democratically elected government in its fifth year? It is the Governor who must call the shots. He is not an agent of the Centre. He had taken a call to ask for a floor test.”Defending its decision, Centre filed an affidavit in court claiming that the constitutional machinery had broken down in the state.The central government has submitted eight reports to the court including Governor KK Paul’s report to the President. Rohtagi argued that the state budget was never passed in the assembly and Speaker Govind Kunjwal had “misused his powers” by declaring a failed finance bill passed and did not allow voting on the bill despite members asking for it.To this the court asked, “What is passing through our mind is, is it the lookout of the Central government as to what would have happened on March 28 (date given for the floor test) in view of the changed composition and in view of the nine ousted MLAs?”“Will it not be totally extraneous for Central government, which is ruled by another political party, to be concerned by changed composition?” the bench asked Rohatgi.To this Rohatgi contended that the Speaker’s decision of not allowing 35 MLAs to vote on their demand for division on introduction of money bill amounted to “destroying democracy” as the 35 constituted the majority view.He also alleged that state CM Harish Rawat and the Speaker were “in cahoots” to scuttle the demand for division and there has been “twisting of facts to show division occurred after passage of Bill.”

Uttarakhand crisis: Too many legal brains spoil the case, Congress learns the hard way

As the maxim goes that too many cooks spoil the broth, so is that too many legal brains spoil the case. Congress leaders are divided over whether the legal team that sought to test of strength on the floor of Assembly in Uttarakhand before the Nanital High Court did the right thing, rather than straight away contesting the presidential proclamation.Noted lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday got a major reprieve for the ousted Congress government led by Harish Rawat as the High Court agreed with his argument and allowed the government to prove majority on the floor of Assembly. But just a day after, the order was stayed by the court, which also adjourned the hearing till April 6 to look into the larger issue of the legality of the presidential proclamation, thereby, giving a lever to the Centre.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another group of party’s senior lawyers, who are rushing to Nainital to challenge the Ordinance issued by the Centre for allowing expenditure in the new fiscal in Uttarakhand under the President’s rule, say that legal team should have on Tuesday itself contested the imposition of Article 356 and sought ruling on that, rather than just satisfying themselves by getting an order on the floor test without the restoration of the government.Asserting that the Union Cabinet has no authority to decide whether the Assembly passed the budget or not, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said it can be decided either by the Assembly Speaker or the Court. “The Government has come out with the Ordinance only to justify its wrong decision of invoking Article 356 to clamp President’s rule in the hill state,” he said. Sibal, also a senior lawyer, said he is going to Nainital to challenge on Friday the petition of the nine disqualified Congress MLAs and plead before the Uttarakhand High Court that the decision of the Speaker in the matter is final and not justiciable.He hoped the Court will see the BJP’s mala fide attempt to engineer defections and set aside the order passed by it on Monday to allow the rebel MLAs to participate in the floor test. The case is listed before the same single judge bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Dhyani who had ordered the floor test on Thursday that was stayed by a division bench headed by the High Court chief justice on Wednesday.Sibal said the Speaker had declared the budget passed by a voice vote on March 18 and if the Centre thought it were not so, it should not have kept silence for all these days. “Obviously the Centre thought the BJP will be able to form the government in the state by getting a stay on the disqualification of the Congress rebels. On realising that the Harish Rawat government would survive in the floor test on March 28 as ordered by the Governor, they imposed the President’s rule on the pretext that the Appropriation Bill was not passed.” Congress has now divided labour between its two top legal teams. While Sibal-led team will deal with the disqualification case on Friday, Singhvi will handle ousted Rawat’s petition challenging the President’s rule that has been now listed before the division bench headed by Chief Justice KM Joseph in Nainital next Wednesday.

Uttarakhand crisis: High Court vindicated our stand on speaker, says BJP

After the Nainital bench of the Uttarakhand High Court said that the nine dissident Congress MLAs, disqualified by the assembly speaker under the anti-defection law, will have the right to vote, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said that it clearly pointed out that the speaker had acted in a wrong way.Live England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final T20, ICC World T20 2016, March 30, 2016The Uttarakhand High Court had yesterday ruled that fresh voting must take place on March 31 when “the vote of confidence will be put to the floor test.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The court in its order has noted that speaker’s move to disqualify nine rebel Congress members was not the correct one and that their voting rights can’t be ignored and as a result there votings would also be counted. It has clearly pointed out that the speaker is acting in a wrong way,” BJP leader Shyam Jaju said.”The BJP had demanded voting division on March 18, which the speaker refused and yesterday’s court verdict has said that even if one member demands voting division then it should be done,” he added. Jaju further said that the speaker should have gone ahead with the voting division and said that the court now wants the voting division to be done in front of it. “We are totally confident of our MLA, the rebel MLAs of Congress have made it clear that they are not with the Congress Party,” he added.The Uttarakhand high court on Tuesday asked the deposed Harish Rawat government to seek a trust vote on March 31, in an unusual order that added to the political flux in the state. While the rebellion-hit Congress welcomed the verdict and its ousted chief minister, Rawat, expressed confidence that he has the numbers to prove majority, the BJP termed the decision ‘unprecedented’.President’s Rule was imposed in the hill state on Sunday following days of political upheaval after nine dissident Congress lawmakers threatened to take power by joining hands with the BJP.

Uttarakhand crisis: Congress seeks legal advice over Nainital HC order

Ambika Soni, the Congress Party general secretary in charge of the party’s affairs in Uttarakhand, on Tuesday said that the grand old party has sought legal and political advice over Nainital High Court’s order allowing nine rebel MLA’s to vote during the floor test, which is the party’s last chance to prove its majority in the state.Soni while talking to the media here said that the Congress has welcomed the high court’s verdict, but some tenets in the order are difficult to comprehend.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We fully trust the judiciary, but we don’t understand how will the nine disqualified MLA’s will vote in the floor test, as according to the rules, disqualified MLAs are not allowed to participate in assembly matters, and the say of the honourable speaker is considered paramount. We cannot question his decision, which was taken after fulfilling the due legal procedure. However, we have sought political advice in this regard, to find a way through this situation,” she said.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: Congress delegation to meet President Pranab MukherjeeSoni further ridiculed Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his anti- Congress remarks, saying the court has given a befitting reply to the high-headed BJP who has resorted to misusing its power.”We saw Arun Jaitley telling media that such an incident has happened for first time in Independent India. I would like to tell him that for the first time in Independent India, a chief minister has not been allowed to prove his majority, and a day before the allotted day, presidents rule was imposed in the state,” she said.
ALSO READ Centre to challenge Nainital HC’s verdict in Uttarakhand crisis?”I also would like to say that the way the democratic institutions of our country are being challenged by the BJP is not a good sign. If you want a Congress free nation, then you must contest elections. You should not misuse the power you hold. This is like murdering democracy,” she added.In a major relief for the Congress in the state, the Nainital High Court on Tuesday allowed a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on March 31st and the nine suspended rebel MLAs have been allowed to take part.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: Tremendous setback to Centre, says ousted CM Harish Rawat Meanwhile , the President’s rule has been stayed in the state.The Centre dismissed the Congress government and imposed President’s rule in the state citing breakdown of governance. Former chief minister Harish Rawat termed it as the ‘murder of democracy’.

Uttarakhand crisis: Congress delegation to meet President Pranab Mukherjee

Upping the ante against government’s recommendation to impose President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, a Congress delegation will on Tuesday meet President Pranab Mukherjee to brief him on the situation. The delegation of senior Congress leaders led by Mallikrajun Kharge, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sheila Dikshit, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Maken, Randeep Singh Surjewala and RPN Singh will be meeting the President Mukherjee at 6.30pm at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the Nainital High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in the Assembly to determine which party enjoys a majority even as President’s rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand. The High Court said the results of the floor test should not be declared in the Assembly and instead, should be presented before it in a sealed envelope.However, according to sources, the Congress is likely to challenge the part of Nainital High Court’s verdict, wherein it says that the rebel MLAs would be allowed to vote in the floor test. Congress party’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the court order states that while the nine disqualified MLAs can vote but it will be kept separately. “The votes of the disqualified MLAs will be counted only as per the outcome,” he said.However, the court allowed President’s rule in the state to continue. The Centre had dismissed the Congress government in Uttarakhand and imposed President’s rule citing breakdown of governance on March 27. (

Delhi: Jobless man who plotted his own abduction, arrested

A jobless man who allegedly plotted his own abduction to shell out money from his parents was arrested in New Delhi for misleading police.According to the police, the accused, Mahipal Singh, who lives in a rented accommodation in south Delhi called up his father in Nainital on Tuesday and informed that he has been abducted and the kidnappers have demanded Rs 1 lakh ransom for his safe release. His brother-in-law informed the police, following which a case was registered at south Delhi’s Fatehpur Beri police station.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With technical intelligence, police soon traced the location of the abducted person and it later emerged that it was his fiance’s residence in Sriniwaspuri. On being questioned, he initially tried to mislead investigators but later broke down.During the interrogation, Singh disclosed that he was working as cashier at a restaurant in Gurgaon but later lost his job, and failed to get any job after that. He conspired the entire act to get money from his parents. He informed his father about his kidnapping and took shelter at his fiance’s house in Sriniwas Puri. The police has recovered two mobile phones used by Singh in the incident and arrested him under appropriate IPC sections.

Horse assault: BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi accused of attacking ‘Shaktiman’ sent to 14 days judicial custody

BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi was on Friday sent to 14 days judicial custody, for allegedly assaulting a police horse ‘Shaktiman’ during a protest march in Dehradun.Josh was arrested on Friday morning from outside a hotel in Patel Nagar area on the basis of an FIR lodged against him and his associates at Nehru Colony police station.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Joshi should get five years sentence,” said PETA activist speaking to ANI.However, Joshi’s daughter Neha said, “His arrest is only because of a political reason. He is not guilty at all. Police have acted under government’s pressure.”The injured horse whose fractured hind leg had to be amputated late Thursday night by a team of doctors at the police lines can now stand with the help of an artificial leg.Stating that Shaktiman will take a month to recover from the surgery, Uttarakhand DGP B S Sidhu said that in the meantime he will be given temporary prosthetic aid in the form of artificial legs which will be tailor made to his specifications.Reacting sharply to the development, BJP lodged a protest with Governor K K Paul and alleged it was “abduction” of its MLA.”The manner in which Joshi was picked up from outside a hotel suggests he was abducted. Those who picked him up were in plain clothes and it is not clear whether they were police personnel or goondas,” Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Ajay Bhatt said.Bhatt said he had called on Governor K K Paul to register his protest against the manner in which the party legislator was picked up.The action against Joshi comes a day after the arrest of another party worker Pramod Bora from Haldwani in Nainital district on Wednesday.(With PTI input)

Para commando who killed 10 ultras awarded Ashok Chakra posthumously

Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami’s bravery has become a touchstone in the Indian Army.The brave-heart Para commando, who eliminated 10 militants in the span of 11 days in high altitude jungles of Kupwara and Baramulla August-September last, has been awarded the ‘Ashok Chakra’, the country’s highest peace time gallantry award posthumously for displaying exemplary courage and valour in the war against terror.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A resident of Indira Nagar, Nainital, Goswami had volunteered to join the elite Special Forces of the Indian Army in 2002 and went on to gain the reputation of being one of the toughest soldiers of his unit.Such was his bravery that he used to volunteer for operations against militants in the highly treacherous and inhospitable mountainous terrains on the high altitude areas of north Kashmir.”Lance Naik Goswami, who is fondly and proudly remembered by his comrades as one who could inspire and ignite patriotic fervour by his sheer presence alone, would volunteer for all risky missions. And within the preceding ten days of the fateful day of September 2, he had been part of two more major operations in which 10 terrorists had been eliminated in the Kashmir Valley,” said an army spokesman.On August 23, he was part of the operation in Khurmur, Handwara in which three hardcore Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tioba militants were gunned down. He volunteered for a second back to back operation in Rafiabad, Kashmir. The operation was conducted over two days on August 26 and 27. It witnessed a fierce gunfight that led to the elimination of three more Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists.It was the same operation in which Indian army was able to nut out 22-year-old Pakistani terrorist Sajjad Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah of Muzzafargarh alive. The operation was conducted in the area dotted by caves and rock cavities at the altitude of 14,000 feet in extremely bad weather. Sajad was part of five member Lashkar group that had infiltrated from Uri sector in last week of August 2015.Goswami once again volunteered to be part of operation launched in the dense Hafruda forest near Kupwara, Kashmir. This proved to be his last operation but not before elimination of four terrorists in a heavy gun battle”On September 2 he was engaged in a fierce encounter with terrorists hiding in the Hafruda forest in Kupwara. As the encounter raged, two of his comrades were wounded. Undeterred by the intense volley of fire, he immediately rushed to rescue them and in the act, despite getting grievously wounded himself, he not only eliminated two terrorists but also saved the lives of his comrades,” the spokesman said.

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