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Home ministry cancels FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs for violating norms

New Delhi: FCRA licences of around 20,000 of 33,000 NGOs have been cancelled by the government after they were found to be allegedly violating various provisions of the FCRA, thus barring them from receiving foreign funds.

This was conveyed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh during a review of the Foreigners Division of the Home Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTIUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Giving a detailed presentation, home ministry officials said after cancellation of FCRA licences of around 20,000
NGOs, only 13,000 NGOs in the country are legally valid now to receive foreign funds.

“The exercise of reviewing the working of the NGOs was started about a year ago and the process is still continuing. The cancellation of the FCRA licences of the NGOs done over a period of one year,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

Among the 13,000 valid NGOs, around 3,000 have submitted applications for renewal while home ministry received 2,000 new applications for registration under the FCRA for the first time.

An additional 300 NGOs are currently under prior permission category but not registered under the FCRA.

However, FCRA licences of around 16 NGOs were renewed by the home ministry under the “automatic” route and all the cases were reviewed thoroughly and except in two cases, 14 NGOs have been put under the prior permission category while papers of the two NGOs are under examination.

As per FCRA, if an NGO is put under prior permission category, it is barred to receive foreign funding from abroad without taking permission from the home ministry.

A home ministry official said on Tuesday of the around 33,000 NGOs registered under the FCRA, 27,000 were due for renewal this year.

Of these 27,000 NGOs, around 19,000 NGOs have submitted applications for renewal under the FCRA.

And of the 19,000 NGOs, FCRA licences of 15,500 NGOs were renewed.

Among the total 27,000 NGOs, 8,000 have time till February for renewal of their licences under FCRA.

The official said just FCRA licences of just 222 NGOs were cancelled in recent past.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 22:44 IST

IAS, DANICS officers meet Rajnath over resolution against ‘misbehaviour’ by Delhi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IAS and DANICS Officer associations, which passed a resolution last week against “misbehaviour” by Delhi government political executives, has met Union Minister Rajnath Singh and handed over the resolution to him.”We met the Union Home Minister yesterday and handed over our resolution passed last week against ‘misbehaviour’ by political executives in the Delhi government and other issues,” a member of the associations claimed. Both the associations had expressed “anguish and pain” at the alleged “misbehaviour by political executives” and appealed to the Kejriwal government not to resort to “misdemeanour, unfounded allegations, mis-information” campaign against officers, under any circumstance, according to the resolution which was adopted jointly by the Associations of AGMUT cadre IAS and DANICS officers. Ministry of Home Affairs is the cadre-controlling authority of AGMUT cadre IAS and DANICS officers.In the resolution, IAS officer Association and DANICS (Delhi, Andaman Nicobar Island Civil Services) officer Association had allegedly voiced against “injustices” of any kind by the political executives of Delhi government meted out to the officers working under it. Following the Associations’ move, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that IAS officers working in the Delhi government were being “threatened” and “provoked” by PMO and Lt Governor to revolt against him.In January, all DANICS officers’ association had gone on a one-day mass leave after the city administration had suspended two of their colleagues.

India’s dream of splitting Pakistan is ‘nothing but a fallacy’: Nisar Ali Khan

Islamabad: India’s dream of splitting Pakistan into several geographical entities is “nothing but a fallacy”, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said on Monday, a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh warned that Pakistan would get “splintered” into 10 pieces if it failed to quell terrorism.

“BJP’s dream of splitting Pakistan is nothing but a fallacy,” Nisar said, describing Rajnath’s remarks as just a “shallow claim”.

“India is being divided not by any other country, but its own policies,” Khan was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan.

Rajnath Singh. PTIRajnath Singh. PTI

Rajnath Singh. PTI

Addressing a Martyrs’ Day function in Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said on Sunday, “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.”

Responding to Singh’s remarks, Khan claimed that life has become miserable for minorities in India and they are “facing risks and threats under the Modi government.”

“Indian government has erected a wall of hatred in the whole country. BJP government’s hands are stained with the blood of innocent Kashmiris,” he said.

Khan went on to accuse India of openly interfering in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan.

“We wish peace in the region, however, will not accept Indian hegemony,” he asserted.

Khan claimed arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav and other Indian agents in Pakistan is “clear proof of Indian meddling into Pakistan affairs.”

Jadhav, who was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran, has been accused by Pakistan of planning “subversive activities” in the country.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 20:05 IST

Cyclone Vardah: Home Minister Rajnath Singh enquires about situation, assures help

Chennai: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh ON Monday assured the Tamil Nadu government of extending all help to the state in the wake of cyclone ‘Vardah’.

“Singh called up Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and enquired about the situation in the aftermath of cyclone Vardah crossing the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur,” a government statement said.

Home minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Home minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“The Union Home Minister assured the Chief Minister that the Centre would extend all help required by the State Government in this regard,” it added.

Panneerselvam told Singh that the state’s administrative machinery is kept in readiness in all respects to face the cyclone, even as senior IAS Officers have been posted in the affected districts to oversee rescue and relief operations, it said.

He also informed the Home Minister that NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed and that the armed forces, besides the Coast Guard, have been kept on alert.

The State machinery has been pressed effectively for rescue and relief work undertaken on a war footing, Panneerselvam was quoted as telling the Home Minister.

Cyclone ‘VardaH’ today made landfall near here, affecting normal life in the northern coastal districts of Chennai, Tiruvallore and Kancheepuram.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 18:42 IST

Rahul Gandhi always sympathises whenever India exposes Pakistan: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s drawing of parallels between Pakistan and the Narendra Modi-led NDA regime in India, and him suggesting that a policy of divide and rule along the religious lines was being promoted, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said the Congress party have always been Islamabad’s sympathisers.”It is quite appalling to observe that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress on various fronts have tried to act as Pakistan sympathisers. Even yesterday, we see the same when the Indian Prime Minister and the Indian Home Minister attack Pakistan and expose them. I don’t understand why Rahul Gandhi is so pained. Only a few days ago, when the surgical strike was on terrorism in Pakistan, he was pained, and yet again, we see he is pained,” said BJP leader Sambit Patra .Patra’s comment was in response to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet, “Yes, Rajnath Singhji, Pakistan is trying to divide India along religious lines; has it struck you that you & your boss (PM) have been doing the same.”
ALSO READ Pakistan paying one crore per terrorist to cross LoC, reveals PoK leaderThe Congress vice president was responding to Rajnath Singh saying that Pakistan has been conspiring to divide India along religious lines.

Political bigwigs to attend marriage of Nitin Gadkari’s daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The who’s who of politics, including BJP chief Amit Shah, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray are expected to attend the marriage ceremony of Nitin Gadkari’s daughter in Nagpur on Sunday.Gadkari’s daughter Ketki, youngest of his three children, will tie the knot with Aditya Kaskhedikar, who works with Facebook in the US. According to sources, BJP president Amit Shah will come to Nagpur tonight from Delhi and return after the wedding. Apart from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of State for Power, Coal Piyush Goyal and some other BJP national leaders are also likely to be present on the occasion.Maharastra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, his counterparts from neighbouring states- Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray are also expected to be in attendance. As the Winter session of Maharashtra Legislature is beginning from December 5, a number of ministers from the state have planned to attend the ceremony.Sources said Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit have expressed their inability to be present at the event, but said they would attend the reception to be held on December 8 in New Delhi. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who belongs to Nagpur, has two sons- Nikhil and Sarang.

Rajnath Singh asks police to ensure no innocent is harassed in the name of radicalisation

Hyderabad: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday told top police officers of the country not to arrest or harass anyone on basis of allegation of radicalisation unless solid proof is available.

Singh also said that genuine NGOs are free to carry out development works but warned that those organisations which allegedly indulge in anti-national activities will not be spared.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTIUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

This was conveyed by Singh at the concluding day of the three-day conference of DGPs and IGPs in Hyderabad. The Home Minister told the top police brass categorically that no innocent should be arrested or harassed merely on the allegation of radicalisation and one should be nabbed only after getting adequate proof against the accused, official sources said.

Home Minister, however, directed the DGPs and IGPs to remain alert against attempt to radicalise youths through online and strengthen cyber security apparatus of states. On Friday, Singh had said that due to close coordination between state and Central forces, Indian youths, who were influenced by the dreaded terror group ISIS through online radicalisation, have not been able to successful to carry out any terror attack in the country yet.

“So far, 67 youths, who were influenced by the ISIS, were arrested while planning to carry out terror attack,” he had said.

In Sunday’s meeting, the Home Minister also raised the issue of crack down on NGOs saying that no bonafide NGO doing public service will have to face any kind of government scrutiny. But those NGOs which are allegedly trying to hamper development works or indugle in anti-national activities would not be spared.

Government recently had banned an NGO run by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik for alleged terror acts. Besides, FCRA registration of around 20,000 NGOs were also cancelled in last two years for various alleged irregularities.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 21:59 IST

UP polls: BJP to swarm state with 403 campaign vehicles

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With state-of-the-art technology and LED lights, the BJP will set off 403 campaign vehicles in Uttar Pradesh to touch each of the poll-bound state’s assembly constituency.This will follow the four ‘parivartan yatras’ beginning from Sahranpur on Saturday in a Volvo buses with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah besides four leaders from state, in the absence of a chief ministerial candidate.The four state leaders are union ministers Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Uma Bharti besides the BJP’s UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, underlining the BJP’s strategy to reach out to non-Yadav OBC vote and the Upper castes. Singh, a former chief minister, is a Thakur, Mishra a Brahmin while both Bharti and Maurya are non-Yadav OBCs.The party is also roping in central ministers belonging to other states into the UP yatras. Sources said the ministers have been asked to spend at least three-four days in the state in the run-up to the polls early next year.They said the 403 campaign vehicles will be launched in December in a bid to connect the workers on the ground with the people. However, the details were still being worked out, they said.BJP General Secretary Arun Singh said the party has decided on seven radio jingles in Hindi with themes like atrocities against women, land mafia and corruption and take on the ruling Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP.Besides, the party’s theme number for the state rendered by Udit Narayan will be played in the backdrop of the campaign. The yatra buses have slogans like “na goonda raj, na bhrashtachar, abki baar BJP sarkar (neither goonda raj, nor corruption, this time it will BJP govt)” and “poorna bahumat, sampoorna vikas, BJP par hai vishwas (complete majority, comprehensive development, we have faith in BJP).”

J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti says separatists are using children as ‘cannon fodder’

Udhampur: Lashing out at the separatists, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday alleged they were not allowing schools in the Kashmir Valley to function because they wanted a new generation of uneducated youths who can pelt stones and can be used as “cannon fodder”.

She said the separatists were exploiting children from the poor families by instigating them to attack army camps, police stations and CRPF camps and were using them as shields, while their own children were safe.

“If the youths gets education they won’t pelt stones for them. The (separatist) leadership want a generation of uneducated youths who can pelt stones for them,” Mehbooba said in a scathing attack on separatists during a passing out parade of police officers.

A file photo of Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

A file photo of Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

“Today, I see that big leaders feel if schools open, poor children will get education and then they will not have time for stone pelting or might not be ready for that,” she said.

Stressing that leaders who give preference to the future and education of the children are needed and not the ones who use them as cannon fodder, she said, “for three months our schools are closed, we tried and even Delhi sent big delegations”.

“Our Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) came thrice, our Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) went there and an all-party delegation also went to meet them but they closed doors for them. The reply to the request of a civil society delegation led by Yashwant Sinha, which completed its three-day visit to Kashmir on Thursday, was given by burning of two schools,” the chief minister said.

“A civil society delegation went to meet them (separatists) and they opened their doors for them. The team
requested them that the future of children was getting spoiled and for God’s sake help to let the schools open and the reply came in the form of burning of two schools,” Mehbooba said.

With the unrest in the valley continuing for over a hundred days, she alleged that the separatists wanted that the children should get hurt to keep the “pot boiling”.

“They feel that let the children of poor people die. What will happen if they get injured or die they are not rich kids. It is a big challenge for us because till now they have handed over the gun to poor children and now they are using them as shields,” she added.

“Among all those killed or injured, 99 percent were small kids, not one from the rich family, not a single child of those leaders have been injured, only poor kids” Mehbooba said. She said that first the separatists thought that the uneducated youths would pick guns for them, but the youths in the past 25 years has realised that gun will not solve any problem.

“Children are not ready to pick up guns. Now they want a generation of illiterate children who can pelt stones for them, not only pelt the stones but in the process lose their lives. I was told that girl students want to go to school but are afraid that they would be attacked by stone-pelters when they see them in the white uniform,” Mehbooba said.

Explosion in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk: Rajnath speakes to Delhi top cop over blast that killed 1

Explosion in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk: Rajnath speakes to Delhi top cop over blast that killed 1

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New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Verma over the death of a person in an explosion in north Delhi’s Naya Bazar area in Chandni Chowk on Tuesday.

The Home Minister, who is in Bahrain, telephoned the Delhi police commissioner to take stock of the situation in the national capital. Verma briefed him about the incident and the steps taken in this regard, official sources said.

Union Finance Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union Finance Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

The home minister instructed the Delhi police commissioner to arrest those involved in the incident and take all possible measures to ensure peace in the city. One person was killed and two others were injured in the explosion. A senior police officer said the cause of the explosion was yet to be ascertained.

Forensic teams and officers from the Special Cell are on the spot and collecting samples. Further details are awaited. Delhi Police personnel have been maintaining a tight vigil in view of the festive season.

JNU, freedom of speech and the Left’s licence to bully

A line needs to be drawn in the sand between freedom of expression and unadulterated bullying by the left-wing student unions in the ‘prestigious’ Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The unholy fiasco over 27-year-old student Najeeb Ahmed, who still remains untraceable, is indicative of a larger political ploy where no anarchical behaviour is out of bounds and legality, and logic and reasoning become cuss words on the altar of regressive leftist politics.

To be clear, one isn’t talking of the burning of Dussehra effigies inside the JNU campus, where ‘the triumph of good over evil’ was celebrated by lighting up Ravana’s 10 heads, that included those of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Baba Ramdev and V-C Jagadesh Kumar. Even if in poor taste, the acts fall within the students’ right to dissent and should draw no penal action.

But it is difficult to understand what right was being upheld when 12 of the JNU’s top brass, including a diabetic lady official, were kept confined for nearly 24 hours within the administrative block, without access to food and water by the left-backed JNUSU.

JNU V-C Jagadesh Kumar coming out of his office. PTIJNU V-C Jagadesh Kumar coming out of his office. PTI

JNU V-C Jagadesh Kumar coming out of his office. PTI

The demands of the nearly 200 agitating students ranged from the fantastic “bring back Najeeb immediately” — as if the varsity administration knew about his whereabouts — to the ridiculous “administration acted in an insensitive manner and is trying to shield ABVP culprits”, that indicates either a misunderstanding of the legal-criminal procedure or worse still, a callous disregard for the laws of the land with an eye to score political points.

The events leading to the disappearance of the first-year MSc Biotechnology student on Saturday, following a brawl on campus the night before, are unclear. Contradictory eyewitness reports have emerged, recounting that Najeeb was last seen boarding an auto on 15 October. According to his mother however, Najeeb had called her around 11 am on that day and said that he was waiting for her at the hostel, but was nowhere to be found thereafter.

Meanwhile, JNU has once again turned into a battle zone between ABVP, who allege that they are being wrongfully accused of a crime they did not commit, and left-backed students’ unions who are convinced that the right-wing students’ outfit is responsible for Najeeb going ‘missing’.

The point that should not be lost sight of, however, is that the disappearance of a student from campus is a matter for the police and relevant authorities to investigate.

An FIR has been lodged at the Vasant Kunj North Police Station, the police has launched an inquiry, multiple students have been summoned and the procedure has kicked off in right earnest.

“We have some leads and these are being explored to ensure a safe rescue. Details cannot be shared now,” additional DCP (South) Nupur Prasad was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. A cash reward of Rs 50,000 has been announced for information about him.

About 10 squads investigators have left for Najeeb’s hometown in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, and are gathering information about his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced the formation of a Special Investigative Team (SIT) and has asked the police commissioner to expedite the probe.

It’s not as if the wheels of the machinery aren’t moving but when the aim is to turn every issue into a political game and try and score points against the administration – and in turn against the Narendra Modi government at the Centre – then the truth can be bent and subverted to meet narrow ends.

According to the V-C, who along with his colleagues was locked inside their rooms for close to a day, pleading with the agitators that they (administration) are as concerned about the missing student and is determined to help the police in every way to help trace him, bore no fruit.

“They have wrongfully confined us since 2.30 pm with unreasonable demands like bring Najeeb immediately. These things are not in our hands but with the police. We are doing whatever we can. We also want the safe return of Najeeb. But they (students) have not even listened to our pleas. There is a lady official who is unwell and she too is inside,” the V-C was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

On JNUSU president Mohit Pandey’s claim, that the confined officials had access to food and water, India Today quoted the V-C as saying: “We slept on the floor. This is a complete lie that we had been provided food. Our several colleagues are sick and they spent the whole night without any facility…Students have become relentless and adamant and think that we are not doing our best.”

On the students’ charges of insensitivity and laxity in taking action, the V-C said, while speaking to the media, that they have been in constant touch with the police with regards to the search for Najeeb and that the proctorial investigation into the violence had already started.

“How can we take action against any student before the investigation is over. We have to hear all versions and come to a fair decision,” the V-C said.

In between, as the gherao was called off, the issue created a rift between the left-wing student organisations – with some going on to blame JNUSU president Pandey of taking a unilateral decision.

According to a student leader, as quoted by The Telegraph: “Demands from small radical student groups had forced us to do a gherao that wasn’t feasible because it is exam time and the support is low,”

“It’s not yielding anything and the teachers too have withdrawn support,” the student leader said.

The regressive politics of the left has gained in aggression ever since a left alliance of CPIM-backed SFI and CPI-ML’s AISA won the recent student union polls over the right-wing ABVP. Just a few days back, PTI reported about an incident where a section of JNU teachers had accused the student union members of resorting to violence, while a discussion on the feasibility of introducing courses in yoga and Indian culture was going on at a meeting.

Professor Amrita Singh, according to a DNA report, was allegedly abused and attacked inside the university campus by a group of students on 7 October.

“I stepped out of the academic council meeting late Saturday evening, and was immediately surrounded by around 20 students. They started calling me out, abusing me, calling me “sanghi” and didn’t even let me move. When I, along with the JNU registrar and proctor tried to get into our car, we were stopped and surrounded by the students who started banging on the car. Some of them even laid down in front of the car,” Professor Amita Singh, Dean of School of Law and Governance, was quoted, as saying by the newspaper.

For the regressive left, which finds itself increasingly redundant, academic institutions like JNU are an ideal battleground from where political campaigns against the current NDA government can be launched.

Reports have already emerged of an effort to communalise Najeeb’s disappearance, which may come in handy during the upcoming Assembly polls in UP. One won’t be surprised if Najeeb becomes the victim of a larger, more sinister game.

Pakistan’s entire establishment is engaged in fuelling terrorism in India: Rajnath Singh

Chandigarh: Mounting a scathing attack on Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said its entire establishment is engaged in fuelling terrorism in India making management of the Indo-Pak border “challenging” and warned that “those who breed snakes get bitten by them”.

He slammed Islamabad for adopting a “very flexible” approach to deal with terrorism and said if it wanted, India can help it carry out an anti-terror campaign in PoK. Singh asserted that India is against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and does not breed any hatred towards Pakistani people.

Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Addressing a two-day Regional Editors Conference from north and northeast states, he said, “Pakistan is so obsessed with Kashmir that it cannot see the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist. When there is a talk about state and non-state actors, the argument put forward is that Pakistan is a non-state actor.

“The truth remains that the entire establishment in Pakistan is engaged in fuelling terrorism in India. And that is why managing our borders with Pakistan, as compared to other countries, has become a challenging task.” Pakistan has adopted terrorism as its state policy and is getting isolated in the entire international community, the minister said.

“Pakistan is so obsessed with some issues that it cannot do any good, nor can it see its own good. By adopting terrorism as state policy, it is isolating itself not only in south Asia, but in the entire international community. “In Brics’ Goa declaration, terror was strongly condemned.

It was stated that no state should allow its territory to be used for terror activities,” he said. He also denounced Pakistan for adopting a “very flexible” approach to deal with terrorism.

“As far as our relations with Pakistan are concerned, the biggest hurdle is that Pakistan’s approach towards terror remains very flexible. Those who breed snakes get bitten by them. Pakistan should understand this. India wants that terrorism should be wiped out from the entire region,” Singh said.

The minister said, “We want to say that we do not breed any hatred towards Pakistani people, but if we have hatred, it is towards Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. “If Pakistan’s intention to act against terrorism remains clear, India will help it conduct an anti-terror campaign in PoK. It can also take help from anyone in the global community, but its intention is not clear. If terror factories operating across the border are closed down, it can usher peace in the region and open doors for development.”

Singh said that four months ago a committee was formed to give suggestions on sealing the border with Pakistan. “The Madhukar Gupta Committee has submitted its report. We have also prepared an action plan. We will completely secure the Indo-Pakistan border by 2018,” he said.

Physical barriers have been put up along 2,034.96 km of the 2,289.66 km-long Indo-Pak border, he told the gathering. “The rest of the boundary is 254.80 km long. It includes riverine areas and tough terrain. We have decided to create physical barriers wherever possible. Where physical barriers like erecting fencing is not possible, non-physical barriers should be created,” he said.

“For non-physical barriers, there are solutions like sensors, radars and laser wall. These all will be used,” he said, adding a pilot project in this direction is being implemented by BSF in Jammu, Punjab and Gujarat. “The use of non-physical barriers on experimental basis will help ascertain up to what extent it is helpful and what sort of loopholes are there which need to be addressed. A report in this regard is expected to come by the end of the year,” he said.

Talking about the surgical strikes by the Army across the LoC, Singh said it was a counter-terror operation. “Our forces did not cross the LoC to carry out an attack on Pakistan, but they carried out pre-emptive anti-terror surgical action to destroy the terror launch pads there,” he said.

The minister said India’s ties with China are “good to a large extent” and that there was a drop in the cases of transgression in the past two years. “We consider our borders with China and Pakistan as strategic and sensitive. As far as our border with China goes, ITPB is entrusted with guarding it. We keep talking on perceptional differences (related to border).

“Overall, I can say our relations with China are good to a large extent. Its result is that after 2014, there has been a drop in cases of transgression. Till September, 170 such incidents took place. The number was 270 in the corresponding period last year and 432 in 2014,” he said.

“Earlier, transgression cases were high, but there has been a decline in the past two years. We have tried to resolve our border issues with China from time to time. We have focused on development and trade,” Singh said.

Singh also touched on insurgent groups in northeast. “India is actively engaging with neighbouring countries that share border with our northeastern states to put a stop to any anti-India activity. “Talks were held to urge the insurgents groups which are active in northeast to leave the path of violence. We have acted strongly against those were adamant,” he said.

“A framework agreement has been signed with NSCN-IM and there has been a good progress in it,” he said. As a result of steps undertaken by the Narendra Modi government over the last two years, there is peace in large parts of Tripura, Assam, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Also, there has been a decline in incidents of violence in Manipur and Nagaland, he said.

The violence in northeast is at its lowest level in the last 20 years, he claimed. The Home Minister said that for effective border management, India is engaging with neighbouring countries at diplomatic level to find solutions to the problems. “The Bangladesh government has entered an agreement with India to tackle the problem of fake Indian currency notes. Terror outfits get their funding from fake currency notes and narcotics. To end this, our government has taken several steps,” the minister said.

“I can say that after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, we have brought changes in the national security structure…our agencies are better prepared. As far as the coastal security is concerned, we have taken several effective steps,” he said. Talking about the Left-wing extremism, he said, “We have deployed more forces in 10 affected states. In 2009, 37 battalions of paramilitary forces were deployed in Naxalism-hit regions. Now 100 battalions are deployed in the affected areas.”

“Our security forces do not want to kill anyone, but some times they have to act in self defence. Till September, 140 Naxals were killed. There has been a considerable decline in Left-wing extremism,” he said.

“We are also working to deal with the challenges posed by cyber crime and cyber terrorism,” Singh said. Singh said steps are being taken to bolster security at the Indo-Bangladesh border and more forces have been deployed. Taking potshots at those trying to “politicise” the surgical strikes, he said there should be no debate on issues concerning national security. “It is very unfortunate”.

Asked about the evacuation of people living within 10 km of the International Border after Army’s action, Singh said, “Sometimes such precautions have to be taken. We thought Pakistan will retaliate, but you must pat the back of our forces, nothing happened.”

Rajnath Singh warns Pakistan, says ‘those who rear snakes would be bitten’

Chandigarh: In a blistering attack on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said its entire establishment is engaged in fueling terrorism in India and warned that “those who rear snakes would be bitten”.

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. CNN-News18

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. CNN-News18

India is against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, but does not hate “its people”, the minister said and offered help to conduct anti-terrorism campaign in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir for the “closure of terror factories”.

The Home Minister’s attack on Pakistan comes a day after Prime Minsister Narendra Modi dubbed it as the mothership of terrorism. Addressing the two-day Regional Editors Conference from north and northeast states, he said, “Pakistan’s
entire establishment is engaged in fueling terrorism in India and that’s why, the management of areas along the Indo-Pak border has become a challenging task…But those who rear snakes should know they would bite them.”

By adopting terrorism as its state policy, Pakistan is getting isolated not only in South Asia but also in the international community, Singh said. “Pakistan is so much obsessed with some issues that neither can it benefit others nor can it see its own welfare.

Its obsession with Kashmir has reached such a level that it cannot tell apart a terrorist from a freedom fighter,” the Minister said. He termed Pakistan’s flexible attitude towards terrorism as “the biggest hindrance” in the bilateral relationship.

“As far as the relationship between India and Pakistan is concerned, the biggest hindrance is Pakistan as its attitude towards terrorism is quite flexible. As far as India’s intention is concerned, we want to eliminate terrorism from the entire region,” Singh said.

He said the logic of state and non-state actors which used to be given in connection with Pakistan has now turned “hollow”. The Home Minister stressed that India “hates” Pakistan sponsored terrorism and not its people.

“No hatred towards people of Pakistan. We do not hate people of Pakistan and we do not want to keep a distance from them. We hate Pakistan-sponsored terrorism only. “If its intentions remain clear, India can help Pakistan carry out an anti-terror campaign in PoK. If Pakistan wishes, it can seek our help and India is ready to help it. It can also take help from anyone in the global community. But its intentions are not clear,” he said.

Singh said that with the closure of “terror factories in Pakistan, peace and harmony will prevail in South Asia and a way to development and prosperity will open.”

Jayalalithaa’s health rumours: Arbitrary interpretation of law by Tamil Nadu police is wrong

Even God cannot save you if you are a curious sort, interested in politics and given to gossip. Add to the mix, a tech-savvy nature and a mischievous mind and you are more than likely to land behind bars in present-day Tamil Nadu.

In the last three weeks, seven people have been arrested and thrown into jail, most of them on charges of “spreading rumours” about Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. Cases have been booked against more than 40 people. Most of them on charges of spreading canards about the health status of the CM, by uploading fake videos and audio chats on different social media platforms including Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp and Twitter.

But the latest arrests in Coimbatore has taken things a bit too far. On October 13, cops in this city in western Tamil Nadu arrested a bank clerk and a jewellery appraiser for allegedly speaking about Jayalalithaa’s health condition in “a mocking manner”. The complaint was lodged by an AIADMK party member Punitha Devi who claimed that on 7 October, she overheard L Ramesh, the bank clerk and R Suresh, the appraiser making adverse comments about the CM’s condition. Devi alleges that when she objected to the conversation, the two persons threatened her.

Newspaper reports suggest that CCTV images at the bank have no evidence of any heated exchange of words between Punitha Devi and the two accused. It is bizarre that two people have been thrown into jail, going merely by an allegation made by, in this case, someone who could well be looking to score brownie points within her party structure.

While the police is entitled to throw the rulebook at anyone who indulges in rumour mongering that leads to a breakdown in law and order, causes unrest or violence, this particular case does not do any of the above. So how does a conversation between two individuals become the basis to send them to judicial custody?

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

It is also important to consider the circumstances. Since Monday, there has been no medical bulletin issued by Apollo Hospitals, leading to much speculation about the CM’s health condition. Access is denied even to senior ministers of the AIADMK government. None of the political VIPs like Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah or Arun Jaitley who visited Apollo Hospital, got to see Jayalalithaa. When a PIL was filed in the Madras High court seeking details of the CM’s health, it was dismissed as a `Publicity Interest Litigation’. It is but natural that in the absence of trustworthy information, rumours will take over.

While any individual is entitled to his or her privacy, Jayalalithaa’s case is a bit different. She is the chief minister and therefore the people of Tamil Nadu have a right to know the state of her health. It is because of this opacity in releasing credible information that anxious AIADMK cadre have attempted self-immolation, leading to the death of one activist in Chennai. Another party member committed suicide in Vadugapatti.

The fact that Apollo Hospitals also moved from a narrative of “fever and dehydration” to “respiratory support” has not inspired confidence. People suspect the entire truth is not being said. Local Tamil Nadu politicians like Thirumavalavan of VCK who came visiting two weeks ago said the CM will be discharged in 2-3 days. The fact that it has not happened means people do not believe the story being spun out of Apollo Hospitals.

Which begs the question : Who is to decide what is the truth and what is not? This arbitrary and high-handed manner of interpreting the law does not make Tamil Nadu police look too good.

The problem with Tamil Nadu is that the AIADMK regime has always operated behind an iron curtain and ruled with an iron hand. After all, folk singer Kovan was slapped with sedition charge, no less, for criticising the government’s prohibition policy in his songs last year. The police dumped three social activists in Chennai central prison for pulling down AIADMK hoardings that had taken over every single pavement in Chennai during their meeting in December 2015. But instead of taking action against party cadre who assaulted the activists, the three citizens were given the treatment.

The media also has been muzzled with over 200 defamation cases filed since 2011, making every journalist extremely circumspect and scared while reporting. Journalism has become a casualty, in the process.

The AIADMK IT wing is on overdrive monitoring different social media for anyone posting anything negative about its leader and complains to the police who are ready to carry out its bidding.

Two weeks back, Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy wrote to the Union Home minister Rajnath Singh, urging him to impose President’s rule in Tamil Nadu for six months, citing law and order issues. While the reasons he mentioned were a bit over the top, the fact remains this kind of a merciless crackdown on common people of Tamil Nadu will only alienate the government from the people.

It is time fear stopped being a constant in Tamil Nadu.

Varanasi stampede: At least 24 killed, 50 injured; Opposition blames UP govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>24 people were killed and 50 injured in a stampede on an overcrowded Rajghat bridge on the border of Varanasi and Chandauli when followers of a religious leader were crossing it to attend a congregation on Saturday afternoon. The incident took place in Ramnagar police station area of Varanasi when thousands of followers of Jai Gurudev were proceeding towards Domri village in Chandauli for the two-day samagam (camp) which began today, ADG (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary said.PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi, MP from Varanasi, expressed anguish over the incident and asked senior officials in Varanasi to take stock of the situation. He also announced a solatium of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the Commissioner, Varanasi, to institute a magisterial inquiry into the incident. He extended an ex gratia of Rs five lakh each to next of kin of those killed and free treatment to the injured, who have been admitted to different hospitals in Varanasi and Chandauli.RAJNATH SINGH SPEAKS TO VARANASI COMMISSIONER”I’ve spoken to the Commissioner of Varanasi who apprised me of the situation. I also asked the Varanasi Commissioner to provide all possible help to those affected by the tragedy. There have been loss of lives and people have been injured also. It is a sad incident,” Rajnath Singh said. “Deeply pained by the loss of lives in stampede at Varanasi. My condolences with bereaved families. Prayers for speedy recovery of injured. Health Secretary, GOI has spoken to the Health Sec & other Senior Officials of Uttar Pradesh & have assured them all the necessary support,” Union Health Minister JP Nadda tweeted.OPPN HOLD UP GOVT RESPONSIBLEBJP blamed authorities for lack of arrangements and management at the bridge which led to the stampede in which several lives were lost.”Proper arrangements should have been made for such a big congregation at the Jai Gurudev samagam which was not done…Even the local intelligence unit failed to give any input in this regard which resulted in mismanagement and loss of life,” BJP state unit president Keshav Prasad Maurya said.PTIBSP supremo Mayawati said it is the responsibility of the state government and local administration to ensure proper arrangements and police force for such public functions so that no untoward incident occurs which was however not done in Varanasi.Congress communications department chairman Satyadev Tripathi said Varanasi incident is the fallout of “administrative failure”.(With Agency Inputs)

India will continue to give visa to Pakistani artistes, says Home Ministry

New Delhi: India has has no problem in issuing visas to Pakistani artistes, a Union Home Ministry official said on Friday.

File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

File photo of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

“Government of India has no problem in giving visa to any Pakistani artiste,” a Home Ministry official told IANS.

“We have no problem in granting visas. If a person applies for visa and he fulfills the conditions, he gets it. It’s not that we don’t have to issue visa to Pakistani nationals,” he added.

Terrorism is being used as state policy by some nations and the world must unite against it, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday. “Some nations are using terror as their state policy. Those nations must be isolated,” Rajnath Singh said at the All India Christian Council (AICC) meet here, hinting at Pakistan without naming it. Terming India as the “university of tolerance”, Rajnath Singh said: “Terrorism has no religion, still some people try to link the two.”

The Minister said India was a secular state and there should not be any discrimination on the basis of religion.

The statement comes after the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association of India on Friday announced it will not allow release of films with Pakistani artistes in single screens in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. The decision comes ahead of the scheduled release of Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, which stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. While it was slated to hit the screens on October 28, the COEAI decision has cast doubts if it will see the light of the day any time soon. COEAI President Nitin Datar said after a meeting of members: “It was decided that keeping in mind the patriotic feelings and national interest, we have requested all member exhibitors to refrain from screening movies which have involvement of any Pakistani artiste, technician, director or music director.

In wake of the 18 September terror attack on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir, that left 19 Indian soldiers dead, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena told Pakistani artistes to quit India, and threatened action against films like “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and “Raees”, which have Pakistani artistes in them.

Subsequently, the Indian Motion Picture Producer Association said it has passed a resolution urging Indian filmmakers to avoid working with Pakistani artistes until bilateral tensions between the two countries subside.

Modi first PM to hold country’s head high at global level: Rajnath Singh

Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday hailed Narendra Modi as the first Prime Minister of independent India who has been able to hold country’s head high at the international level and give the message that “we are not a weak nation”.

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. Reuters

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. Reuters

“I want to welcome Modiji here as for the first time in the history of Independent India he has succeeded in holding country’s head high at international level. He has succeeded in giving the message to the world that Bharat is not weak but it’s a ‘damdar‘ (powerful) nation,” Singh said while welcoming Modi’s in his parliamentary constituency.

Singh represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha.

He said Modi has succeeded in checking “wholesale corruption at the top” and should be congratulated for that.

Giving message of following good values, Singh said Ram had, till the last moment, tried to give message of peace but in the end, killed Ravana, “who was synonymous to terror”.

Mayor Dinesh Sharma in his speech tried to refute the Opposition allegation that the event was organised for taking political mileage sating that the theme — ‘Atank ka samool naash ho‘ (Let Terrorism be finished entirely) of this year’s ‘Ravana Dahan’ was decided last year.

“We have decided the theme last year. Every year Ramlila has a different theme and it’s decided a year in advance. The Ramlila Samiti used to invite presidents, prime ministers and chief ministers every year but no one came. This year also we have sent a routine letter to PM and we came to know that PM has accepted it through news channels,” he said.

Sealing India-Pakistan border: Good beginning but govt should relook border infrastructure

The Home Minister on Friday stated that the government has decided to seal the entire stretch of the 3,323-km-long Indo-Pak border (1,225 km in Jammu and Kashmir, 553 km in Punjab, 1,037 km in Rajasthan and 508 km in Gujarat) by December 2018. Rajnath Singh also said that the development of the procedure will be done in a planned way, with a monitoring framework set up to review the progress, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually and annually. On the question of securing the riverine belts and areas where it is geographically unfeasible to put the physical barrier along the border, Singh said that the government will look into technological solutions to ensure every inch of our land is guarded. It may be recalled that similar indications had also been given by the government after the recent terrorist attacks in Gurdaspur and the IAF base at Pathankot.

On the question of securing the riverine belts and areas where it is geographically unfeasible to put the physical barrier along the border, Singh said that the government will look into technological solutions to ensure every inch of our land is guarded. It may be recalled that similar indications had also been given by the government after the recent terrorist attacks in Gurdaspur and the IAF base at Pathankot.

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

The decision is warranted with heightened proxy war by Pakistan that is likely to escalate further. Incidents of infiltration have gone up and 100 terrorists are reportedly ready to infiltrate from launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Infiltration has also been attempted through the international border in Punjab and J&K in addition to trans-border smuggling of goods, narcotics and fake Indian currency in Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

India fenced and floodlit 461 km of Punjab’s border with Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. The 1,048 km Rajasthan-Pakistan border was fenced and floodlit by 1999. Of the construction of 340 km of border roads and 137 km of link roads along Pakistan border in Gujarat sector sanctioned, 294 km of border roads and 136 Km of link roads had been completed till a few years back. The challenges remained along the LoC in J&K and the unfenced 93 km of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. BSF had also proposed shifting of 23.380 km of fencing closer to the border in certain stretches of Ferozepur sector in Punjab due to the problems being faced by farmers in cultivating their lands. A dozen laser walls are already installed in the India-Pakistan border in Punjab in areas prone to infiltration.

India has erected 407 km border fencing in J&K in areas where there is high threat but the gaps between posts can only be covered through patrolling or ambushes which spread the security forces thin on the ground and is not 100 percent foolproof despite best efforts especially in hours of darkness, fog and adverse weather. Pakistan has been employing heavy cross-border firing to assist the infiltration and terrorists have also been using explosives to make gaps in the fencing or dig holes under the fence. In addition, heavy snows buried the fence especially in north Kashmir and large portions are also destroyed annually because of avalanches.

The new fence tried out – in consultation with the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) – uses stronger material and will have night-vision cameras, alarms and visual map displays integrated with the fence, all linked to a monitoring room, giving the local military commanders real-time data enabling quick reaction against any attempt to tamper with the fence. The fence is also proposed to be lit up using LED lighting where feasible. Existing fence in Jammu Sector is already lighted.

There is no denying that we need ‘smart’ borders. As per news reports, Israel has evinced interest in helping out in this venture. We need to optimize the best technology. Abroad, solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and diesel generators support extensive floodlighting with enough power. Operators pan and tilt the cameras remotely whenever any suspicious activity is observed. However, such arrangements are not feasible along active borders where Pakistan resorts to unprovoked firingy. Modern electronic surveillance involves detection of movement, and is largely based on seismic, acoustic, inductive sensors, and infrared sensors. Seismic sensors can distinguish between people and vehicles. Inductive sensors detect metal in an object that is moving, while an IR sensors can detect human body heat from a distance of up to 100 metres. The Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) in use by the Army are mostly imported and primarily meant for guarding houses or premises. These are ineffective with snowfall and the DRDO has not been able to come up with one suitable for snow conditions.

However, despite smart fence fitted with cameras and consoles with commanders, limitations of adverse weather and visibility conditions will continue. This needs to be beefed up with Night Vision Devices (NVDs), Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) and Hand Held Thermal Imagers (HHTIs) which are in very limited numbers. The army post at Uri, which recently suffered a ghastly terrorist attack, did not have a single thermal imager despite being under enemy observation from three directions. The use of radars, as done abroad to detect smugglers as along the US-Mexico border, has the danger of giving away the electronic signatures of the equipment to the enemy. Besides, radars also have a dead zone. A mix of electronic surveillance and dogs would be very successful.

We use the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) for surveillance but in limited numbers, because of the paucity of resources and restrictions on flying of multiple UAVs simultaneously in the same area or zone. There is a need to speed up the induction of the Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS), Battlefield Management System (BMS) in the army, and equipping infantry with hand-held Mini Aerial Vehicles (MAVs). Modern MAVs with forward-looking IR can identify objects at extremely long distances. America’s MQ-9 Reaper UAV used for homeland security has cameras capable of identifying an object the size of a milk carton from altitudes of 60,000 feet, forward-looking IR detecting humans at distance of 60 km. MAVs are also being weaponised. The US military is developing swarms of tiny unarmed drones that can hover, crawl and even kill targets. These micro UAVs will work in swarms to provide complex surveillance of borders and battlefields. Aside from a laser weapon they can also be armed with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives for precision targeting.

Despite excellent achievements of Isro, we still have not gone for 24×7 satellite surveillance along our borders with both China and Pakistan. China already has 24×7 satellite surveillance along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India. A recent media report of a 45km-deep Chinese incursion in Arunachal points to this critical void. Iran is building a 700km-long, 10-feet-high and a three-feet-thick wall along its border with Pakistan, which is still not complete. If we are going for a similar 3,323-km-long Indo-Pak border wall with Israeli assistance, it is unlikely to be completed by December 2018. Nevertheless, it would be a good beginning and we must ‘not’ neglect other borders especially border infrastructure in the northeast, which remains pathetic because of gross neglect over a decade by the previous government.

The government must also seriously consider three issues. Firstly, the Army’s Technical Support Division (TSD) that the UPA government disbanded to the great advantage of Pakistan’s ISI, must be re-established if the NDA government is serious about countering Pakistan’s proxy war on India. Secondly, the government needs to examine the villages located close to the border. When Farooq Abdullah, then the chief minister of J&K, was asked why the few border villages very close to the LoC could not be relocated in hinterland J&K by a foreign student at the National Defence College Course in 2000, he said he had thought about it and had already asked the Centre for Rs 120 crores to shift the first village. Creating a vacant belt would deter infiltration since any movement can be engaged by fire. Also, we may not mine the LoC but certainly patrols can keep adding IEDs.

Third, the principle of ‘One Border, One Force’ that we have muddled up completely because of turf wars. China has put her entire border along Myanmar, India and Afghanistan under the newly-created Western Theatre Command, which includes militias and border forces. The least we can do is putting our entire land and sea borders under the MoD. This would pay off immensely when it comes to defending India.

The author is veteran Lt. General

Indian Army giving befitting reply to terrorists: Rajnath Singh

Indian Army giving befitting reply to terrorists: Rajnath Singh

Updated: Oct 3, 2016 18:37 IST

#India #Pakistan #Rajnath Singh #Terrorism #TheySaidIt

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Leh: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the Indian Army is giving a “befitting reply” to the terrorists as well as to continuous ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Our soldiers and army are giving a befitting reply,” Singh said in reaction to Sunday night’s attack on a Border Security Force (BSF) camp in Baramulla town of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as continuous ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

Militants attacked a camp of the counter-insurgency 46 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Janbazpora area of Baramulla on Sunday night. One BSF trooper was killed and another injured in exchange of fire during the attack.

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

Rajnath Singh made the remarks after reaching Leh on his two-day visit to Ladakh as part of the central government’s efforts to bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

The visit comes as tension escalated along the Line of Control and the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at seven terror launch pads on September 29 in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Singh also said that he will meet the delegation from Leh and Ladakh people and listen to their problems. “I will try to resolve their problems,” Singh added.

Earlier, 19 soldiers were martyred in the 18 September terror attack at an army camp in Uri town of north Kashmir.

MoS Defence Subhash Bhamre meets family of Indian soldier in Pakistan custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr Subhash Bhamre, minister of state for defence, reassured the family of Chandu Chavan, the soldier who is believed to be in Pakistan custody for accidentally crossing the border, that the government is trying everything possible to bring him back.Chavan hails from Borvihir village in Dhule district and had joined the army following the foot steps of his brother. His grandmother who had brought him up, suffered a heart attack upon hearing the news and succumbed to it.”Meetings are being held at very high levels and the government is very serious about bringing Chandu back,” Dr Bhamre told Bhushan Chavan, Chandu’s brother. Union home minister Rajnath Singh is also making efforts to ensure the safe return of Chandu from Pakistan. “The government is with you. Do not loose hope,” he told the family.

Efforts on to secure release of Chandu Babulal Chauhan in Pakistan, says Manohar Parrikar

Efforts on to secure release of Chandu Babulal Chauhan in Pakistan, says Manohar Parrikar

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Pune: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said a well-established mechanism through the DGMO has been activated to bring back Army jawan Chandu Babulal Chauhan, who is in Pakistan’s custody after inadvertently crossing over.

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“He had crossed over which happens in border areas. There is a well established mechanism through DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) which has been activated,” he said.

On 30 September, Chauhan from 37 RR had inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control following which Pakistan had been informed by the DGMO on the hotline.

“Such inadvertent crossing by Army and civilians are not unusual on either side. They are returned through existing mechanisms,” the army had said.

On Friday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had called up the family of the solider and assured them that efforts are being made to secure his releae. Chauhan’s grandmother had passed away after hearing the news of his crossing over to Pakistan.

Parrikar also said that people should remain alert and report anything unsusal to the police.

Rajnath reviews security situation along Indo-Pak border in wake of surgical strikes by Army on LoC

New Delhi: On Friday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in the country, particular along the border with Pakistan in the wake of the surgical strikes by the Army on terror launch pads in PoK.

During the hour-long meeting, the top security brass of the country briefed the Home Minister about the situation along the border and steps being taken to foil any Pakistani design to attack BSF posts besides safety of civilian population living in forward areas.

The Home Minister instructed the officials to ensure that the forces posted along the border remain on alert as situation along the Indo-Pak border continues to be volatile after Thursday’s surgical strike by Army, official sources said.

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. ReutersA file photo of Rajnath Singh. Reuters

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Those who attended the meeting include National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and top officials of security and intelligence agencies.

BSF, which comes under the Home Ministry, has already put all its units along the Indo-Pak border on “high alert”.

Orders have been issued to all its units along IB in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat to step up vigil and bolster their numbers at the posts by bringing in all personnel who are in the reserve.

BSF has also restricted all civilian movement along borders with Pakistan. The border guarding force has also been asked by the Home Ministry to provide manpower to local administration for helping in evacuating people from border villages to safer locations.

India carried out ‘surgical strikes’ on terror launch pads across LoC on Thursday, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists and those who are trying to support them.

The announcement of the sudden action by the Army was made on Thursday by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, 11 days after the terror strike by Pakistan-based JeM on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Kashmir which left 18 Indian soldiers dead.

Surgical strikes show just how badly Pakistan misunderstood Narendra Modi

Jung bahut karli. Jung karke kya paya, na zameen mili na jannat paya (What has war yielded? Neither land nor heaven).”

These words spoken firmly in the ear of Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz at the Raiwind Palace — albeit not in quite as sophisticated and chaste Urdu — by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lahore exactly 11 months ago must be resonating rather loudly now.

The Sharif brothers seem to have mistaken Modi’s utterances as a sign of his love for Urdu shaayari. In his book The Pakistan Paradox by Christophe Jafferlot, the French scholar on South Asia aptly writes: “The idea of Pakistan (is) riddled with tensions. Initiated by a small group of select Urdu-speaking Muslims who envisioned a unified Islamic state, today Pakistan suffers the divisive forces of various separatist movements and religious fundamentalism”.

File iamge of Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. AFP

File iamge of Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. AFP

Perhaps attuned to dealing with Indian politicians prone to display their love for shaayari more than realpolitik, there is nothing amiss if the Pakistan establishment regarded Modi’s utterances as the usual platitudes. But those who know Modi could vouch for the fact that the prime minister is not known for lowering his guard and talking inanities to please someone.

Take for instance, the following: His silence after the India’s surgical strikes inside Pakistan is indicative of his focused approach to the task at hand. Those who met him or spoke to him over the past three days admit that Modi did not let anyone know about his steely resolve to carry out the operations. Not even once did he lend credence to the notion of warmongering. His speeches at Kozhikode were measured and calculated to address the domestic and international audience. In his public meeting, he talked about fighting a “thousand-year war with Pakistan” to end poverty, illiteracy and infant-mortality. In his BJP’s national council, he was particularly emphatic on his party’s attempt to co-opt Muslims as “our own”.

The astute politician that he is, Modi is acutely conscious of the fact that the war hysteria in India must be contained to check the divisiveness on Hindu-Muslim fault line. That is the precise reason that he selectively used his silence and eloquence, both, as strategic assets. And this is not the first time Modi did it. There is a discernible pattern.

Recall 26 July, 2008 when Ahmedabad witnessed multiple bomb blasts triggered by Indian Mujahideen group that claimed the lives of 60-odd people. Modi, as a chief minister, was requested by the then police commissioner to not visit the site. He not only ignored the police officials’ advise but also visited the hospitals where injured were brought in the midst of reports of successive blasts. He looked supremely calm and avoided rhetoric. However, in a secret operation conducted with the help of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), his police teams conducted raids across the country and nabbed all culprits. The operation’s secrecy was blown away when the UP government headed by Mayawati prevented the Gujarat Police from carting away a terrorist arrested from Azamgarh in a secret raid.

Modi’s discreet behaviour is deeply internalised in his political personae. Those closely watching his behaviour would see discernible pattern. For example he dissuaded the Ministry of External Affairs after the Pathankot attack to go all out against Pakistan. The MEA’s reaction after the Pathankot attacks was quite restraint and avoided mentioning Pakistan to give the Pakistani establishment space to manoeuvre. Despite stiff resistance by the Indian agencies and the home ministry, a team of Pakistani investigators was allowed to conduct the probe in Pathankot airbase. However this magnanimity was taken by the Pakistani establishment as consistent with the old Indian approach.

In sharp contrast to the Pathankot attacks, the government adopted a silent approach after the attack on the Uri brigade headquarters of the army. Apart from Modi’s tweet assuring people to get even with perpetrators of the attack, Modi avoided war rhetoric. The investigative agency too did not bother to seek any help from the Pakistani establishment. Right from the word go, there was no ambiguity in the prime minister’s mind that it was military action by Pakistan camouflaged as terrorism.

Those who know Modi could vouch for the fact that the prime minister is not known for lowering his guard and talking inanities to please someone

Although Modi let other colleagues like Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj manage the domestic and external fronts respectively, he was totally immersed in operational details of India’s response. He did factor in the inherent instability of Pakistan, its own fault-lines and the jihadist mindset of a section of its army while fashioning India’s response. And he started making preparations for such an eventuality after the Uri attack. In fact, his soft message delivered on 25 December, 2015 at Raiwind Palace was an abstract for the text he has been preparing for Pakistan.

Unfortunately, the Sharif household and Pakistani establishment failed to understand its meaning.

Major offensive against terrorists on the anvil in Jammu and Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major offensive by security forces to flush out terrorists from Jammu and Kashmir looks all set to begin very soon along with efforts to bring stakeholders on the table for talks to start the process of finding a lasting solution to Kashmir imbroglio.Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was in Srinagar on Tuesday to hold parleys with governor N N Vohra and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to bring both the state government and Centre on the same page on the twin issues, sources said.Mehbooba being the chief minister heads the unified command in J&K and has to be taken onboard before starting an offensive of high magnitude as it could fuel public sentiments further like what happened after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s encounter death.Mehrishi also held a security review meeting which was attended by top officials from security forces, police and intelligence agencies. Mehrishi understood to have discussed preparedness of security forces in the valley in case of escalation with Pakistan that is very much on the cards after terror attack on Uri Army base camp by Pak trained Jaish fidayeens.Intelligence agencies suspect that during more than two months of unrest when counter insurgency operations almost came to a halt Pakistan succeeded in infiltrating a large number of terrorists into India.According to analysis of collated intelligence, as much as 200-220 terrorists may have managed to infiltrate J&K since January this year. The massive unrest that triggered after Wani’s encounter death provided them ample opportunity to travel to various towns and mingle with crowds.During the time of unrest, intelligence agencies painstakingly worked on the movement of terrorists with the help of intercepts and human intelligence and mapped and jotted down their area of operations which will come handy in launching operations against them, said highly placed sources.Officials believe that once the security agencies are able to flush out or neutralise a sizeable number of terrorists and militants, it will not only reduce the intensity of violent protests but will also impact the morale of the resistance group and separatist leaders thus making it possible to bring them on the table for talks.The government will discuss and fine-tune the diplomatic offensive in the meeting of cabinet committee on security on Wednesday. In an unscheduled meeting at the house of minister of parliamentary affairs, Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Manohar Parrikar discussed the strategy with other cabinet colleagues – home minister Rajnath Singh and finance minister Arun Jaitley. The meeting also discussed pre- poning the winter session parliament to bring the GST bill for passage.

2 days after Uri attack, Army foils two infiltration bids; kills 10 terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two infiltration bids were made from across the border in Kashmir on Tuesday but army foiled the attempts killing some of the terrorists while losing a jawan, barely two days after the terror attack in Uri. The attempts to cross the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri and Nowgam sectors came even as Pakistani troops violated ceasefire and fired at Indian positions in Uri sector.”Two infiltration bids by militants from across the Line of Control (LoC) have been foiled in Uri and Nowgam sectors today. At both places the operations are in progress,” an army spokesman said in Srinagar.The spokesman refused to comment on the number of militants killed in the ongoing operations so far, saying details will be made public in due course. He, however, said one soldier was killed in the operation in Nowgam sector.Army sources in Delhi which had initially put the number of terrorists killed at 10 later clarified that the extent of casualties can be ascertained only after the retrieval of the bodies from the dense jungles and that the operations were still underway. The sources said a group of 15 terrorists had attempted to infiltrate into Indian territory through the LoC.As the Government mulled various options on India’s response to the cross-border terror attack on Sunday in which 18 jawans were killed, a crucial meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) has been convened tomorrow. On the ceasefire violation incident, an army official in Srinagar said the firing from across the LoC took place between 1.10 pm and 1.30 pm. However, there was no damage in the incident, he said.”Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing by small arms towards Indian positions in Uri sector this afternoon,” the official said in Srinagar, amid reports that the firing took place apparently to give cover to terrorists trying to sneak into the Indian territory. The official said while there were no reports of any casualty in the firing, further details of the incident were awaited.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh again reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting in Delhi with top officials, including NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. Separately, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that any action against terrorists based in Pakistan will be taken only after examining all relevant issues.The infiltration bids and the ceasefire violation came two days after four militants of Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad stormed an army base in Uri Sector, killing 18 soldiers and injuring several others. All the four militants were also killed.At the meeting convened by Rajnath Singh, Doval and top officials of the ministries of Home and Defence, paramilitary forces and chiefs of intelligence agencies briefed him on the prevailing situation in the Kashmir Valley as well as along the LoC, official sources said.

Kashmir violence: 11 killed as Indian forces battle ‘militants’

One soldier dies as Indian security forces say they have killed 10 suspected militants in battles near an army base that was attacked on Sunday.

India set to prepare dossier on Pakistan’s involvement in Uri attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home minister Rajnath Singh is currently engaged in a high-level security review meeting with NSA Ajit Doval and other top security officials. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who was asked to cut short his visit to Vienna and Geneva, is also attending the meeting at the North block office.Ostensibly, the meeting is reviewing the evidence that intelligence agencies have gathered on the Uri terror attack. BSF, military intelligence and other central security agencies have handed over their respective reports on the infiltration by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. Sources said that the agencies are looking into the possible role played by the locals in helping foreign terrorists.Sources said that the meeting also discussed dossier that India plans to give the world community to expose Pakistan’s role in Uri terror attack.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told the officials of security establishment to prepare a full dossier detailing Pakistan’s involvement at the earliest and take it to different global fora, including the ongoing UN general assembly meet, to name and shame Pakistan.

Uri attack: PM-level meet decides to isolate Pakistan at all international groupings

In an all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to discuss the response to the deadly Uri attack, it was decided that Pakistan will be isolated diplomatically at every international grouping.

ANI reported that India will present all actionable evidence at international bodies if the need arises.

Pakistan has accused India of misleading the world to cover up its “reign of terror” in Kashmir by a spate of “vitriolic” and “unsubstantiated” statements.

Sartaj Aziz, the adviser to Pakistan prime minister on foreign affairs, said: “Pakistan categorically rejects the baseless and irresponsible accusations being levelled by senior officials in Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government.”

He further said that that it is deplorable that the Indian Minister (Rajnath Singh) chose to blame Pakistan for the incident even prior to conducting a proper investigation.

Singh had tweeted on Sunday that “Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such.”

ANI quoted some sources as saying that the evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the Uri attack are the GPS tracker movements which can be traced back to the country, Pashto literature and Pakistani army even marked the arms to be given to Pakistan at DGMO level.

Pakistani media reported that the Uri terror attack was staged. An article in The News International also spewed vitriol at Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W).

The Pakistan media blamed India for the Uri attacks, saying its timing was suspicious because it coincided with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif heading to the UN General Assembly to talk about Kashmir.

In his Firspost piece, Sreemoy Talukdar too suggested isolating Pakistan globally as a response to the Uri attack. He also suggests lobbying hard to make it a pariah nation and call for debilitating sanctions.

Apart from this, the article suggests that on the military front, India should take a proactive stance and launch counter-ops to demolish terror-training camps across the LoC using local intelligence inputs.

With inputs from PTI.

#UriAttack: Clamour grows to hit back at Pakistan; experts say we must have our military option open

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the clamour grew for a military offensive against Pakistan following the deadly attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri on Sunday that killed 17 soldiers and injured 19, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said here that “all four (terrorists) killed were foreign terrorists and had some items with them which had Pakistani markings.”Initial reports, he said, indicated the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed Tanzeem. “Four AK 47 rifles and four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers along with a large number of other war-like stores were recovered from them,” said DGMO. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said, “I have spoken to Pakistan DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns on the same.”Even as Army didn’t release the names of the deceased soldiers, sources told dna that they included 15 from 6 Bihar Regiment and two from 10 Dogra Regiment.Sources also said that a map carried by militants was found which was marked and indicated in Pashtun language.Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh who postponed his scheduled visits to Russia and the US held a high-level crisis meeting here with the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, home secretary, Intelligence Bureau chief, defence secretary, DGMO and CRPF DG. Rajnath Singh later briefed the PM on the developments of the day.“Those behind this terror incident would be brought to justice. There are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped,” Singh said. He also said that “Pakistan is a terrorist state and it should be identified and isolated as such.”Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retired), a fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses here, told dna that “India’s response needs to be reviewed and upgraded to a more pro-active one that increases Pakistan’s cost for waging a proxy war.”“It is high time we hit back and hurt Pakistan physically,” Brigadier Kanwal said. On questions of India’s military response leading to escalation, he said that India was comfortably placed militarily and diplomatically to take this war on Pakistan’s door. “There are plenty of ways to strike back effectively without crossing the LoC. These include artillery strikes to destroy their bunkers and forward posts, communication centres, logistic infrastructure and ammunition depots. India can launch air-to-ground strikes and also let the Special Forces conduct raids on Pakistani posts through which infiltration takes places,” Kanwal said.Another expert, Lt Gen (retd) B S Jaswal, said, “We must have our military option open, if required to strike at certain places.”“Bring pickets, which have launch pad to the ground, raze them to the ground. The reason is that till the time it does not hurt Pakistan physically, they would not respect our decency,” Lt Gen Jaswal, who was GOC-in-C of the Northern Command, said.“Pakistan keeps doing it (terror strikes) again and again knowing that we would not take any action,” said Major (retd) Gaurav Arya, who has expertise in Jammu and Kashmir security situation.The problems in Kashmir are “systematically manufactured” at the GHQ in Rawalpindi, he alleged, adding “We must take immediate action. Stop trade with Pakistan, downgrade (its) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. The world must know we are serious.”Former military secretary and former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), however said that, “Knee jerk reactions are the worst in this kind of conflict situation which is hybrid in nature. The cause-effect needs greater analysis for a suitable response at the right time. This is a campaign being fought and campaigns are not fought by one-off responses to losses. The responses have to be thought through for relative strategic advantage rather than tactical satisfaction and ego.”He told dna, “The government and the army would obviously be contemplating that and the Prime Minister has done well in giving his mind early. Direct action is good for public solace, but it is always the indirect method which has greater impact. No doubt an army as experienced as the Indian Army is not going to sit on its haunches without a response. The range of options will all be under analysis and the most suitable one will be chosen both by the army and the political leadership in due course. Clearly, Pakistan, which has been carefully calibrating the interference in Kashmir for all these years and attempting to keep it below the threshold of India’s tolerance, may have just crossed that line, the consequences of which it will have to bear.”

Two-finger test conducted on Motihari gang-rape victim: NCW report

A report prepared by the National Commission of Women (NCW) states that the surgeon looking at the gang-rape case in Motihari in Bihar has conducted the prohibited two-finger test. The report will be submitted to the PMO and minister of home affairs Rajnath Singh on Wednesday.The two-member committee, which went to Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district on July 25, says in its report that the surgeon in Sadar Hospital in Motihari conducted the two-finger rape test on the victim.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The victim was picked up by the police from her home and taken to the Sadar hospital, was made to undergo the two-finger test. The test, the police claims, did not confirm rape,” said NCW member Sushma Sahu.”We have summoned the surgeon of the civil hospital on July 1, as we are not sure how many such cases have been discarded. We will now find out how many such cases were taken up by the surgeon in the last decade,” said Sahu. “On the surface, this looks like a case that the police is clearly trying to brush under the carpet.”The incident occurred on July 13 when the accused was dragged out of her hut and gang-raped by five men, including a neighbour. The victim was allegedly violated by a pistol and sticks.

Rajnath Singh hopes to root out naxalism from Jharkhand

Ranchi: Rooting for complete eradication of Naxalism from the country, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday hoped that Jharkhand becomes the first state to be freed of extremism among other Naxal-affected states.

“Solution to the Maoist problem in Jharkhand will be found,” Singh said, adding that he was convinced of the capability of Jharkhand Jaguar (special force) to root out Naxalism.

File image of Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Rajnath Singh. PTI

Addressing jawans after inaugurating an administrative building, parade ground and other newly constructed buildings here, Singh appreciated the valour of the Jharkhand Jaguar force.

He said that the martyrs not only shed blood for Jharkhand but also for the country. He said even a single incident of killing in the hands of extremists had pained him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Emphasising that infrastructure should be adequate so that the forces would not face difficulties, Singh regretted that the special infrastructure scheme (SIS) had been stopped two years ago.

He said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in this regard and noted that “they assured him of its revival”.

He said that Maoists were declining continuously in strength and their big groups had no capacity to work. He felt that the focus should be on the splinter groups. Wondering what ideology the Maoists professed, Singh said while the government intended to work for the poor, the rebels were putting hurdles.

“If anyone is the enemy of the poor and the people, it is the Maoists,” the Home Minister asserted. The Centre and the state governments are working for the poor to eliminate poverty and develop Jharkhand, but the Maoists are sabotaging it and yet claim they are the “well wishers of the poor”.

Branding Maoists as “anti-democracy and anti-poor”, Singh said, “To help the poor, the Prime Minister is giving free gas
cylinder connections but the Maoists are playing with their feelings.” He asked the Jharkhand government to initiate what he
called perception management or establishing communication with the poor.

The minister also lauded the effort of Jharkhand police chief DK Pandey in steering the anti-Naxal campaign and suggested that the state government coordinate with bordering states to surround the rebels.

Centre to create specialised central marine police

Centre is actively considering creating a separate central marine police force (CMPF) on the lines of other central forces like CRPF and BSF to handle the security of 7,516 kilometre long Indian coastline up to the distance of 12 nautical miles in the sea.An official in the union home ministry said the proposal mooted by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis during the recent meeting of coastal security has caught home minister Rajnath Singh’s attention who has asked the senior officials to serious consider the creation of CMPF.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis had suggested that marine policing being a specialized job, a Central Marine Police Force be created to protect sea, coast, ports and vital institutions. He also suggested that all landing points and non-major ports should be brought under tech based e-surveillance. Both these suggestions were supported by some States and UTs. The Indian Coast Guards is already in sync with the idea.Centre also thinks that given the limited resources available with state police and jurisdictional problems in the sea where state boundaries are not demarcated, a central marine police, having a dedicated cadre, can be really effective in tackling crimes up to 12 nautical miles (NM), after which the Indian Coast Guard takes over the charge up to 200 nautical miles.”This will also solve jurisdictional problems between the state marine police and the ICG as most of the crimes up to 12 NM fall under police and are not related to defence. Moreover, states really don’t have enough resources to equip its police to guard sea up to 12 NM. A specialised central police will also be better prepared and equipped to handle 26/11 type of terrorists,” said a top home ministry official.Given the huge Indian sea coastline and a number of important installations along it, the CMPF will have to have a huge cadre along with specialised state of the art equipment besides boats and choppers and would require vast resources, conceded the official.”We are planning to have another round of meeting of coastal states on this issue where we would take their suggestions and move ahead. It may take a few years as it is a gigantic task and would also need a separate Act,” the official added.

Maritime terrorism a big threat with huge economic implications: Rajnath

Mumbai: Maritime terrorism is a big threat with huge economic implications and the government is carrying out a security audit of all major and non major ports to identify vulnerable points in coastal security, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.

“The vulnerability of our coasts was exposed in 1993 when explosives were smuggled to Raigad and then in 2008 when terrorists attacked Mumbai,” the HMO tweeted Rajnath as saying at a meeting in Mumbai to review coastal security.

“We need to make our coastal security foolproof and impregnable,” he further tweeted.

“Maritime terrorism is a big threat and it has huge economic implications,” Rajnath said at the meeting.

On coastal security after the deadly 26/11 attacks, he said, “Many initiatives have been taken to strengthen our coastal security post 2008 attacks on Mumbai.”

“We are securing the Indian coastline by creating a chain of Radars and Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers,” he further tweeted.

Referring to Coastal Security Scheme (CSS), the Home Minister said, “After the success of CSS 1 and 2 we are preparing concept paper for CSS 3. We need your inputs for CSS3”.

Rajnath also said that, “To identify vulnerable points in our coastal security we are carrying out security audits of all major and non major ports”.

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. PTIA file photo of Rajnath Singh. PTI

A file photo of Rajnath Singh. PTI

Indian Coastguard is working to integrate the fisherman community through Community Interaction Programme, he said.

Home ministers and top officials from nine coastal states (West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat) and four Union Territories, (Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Inter-State Council Secretariat (ISCS), Registrar General of India, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Shipping, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and Indian Coast Guard are participating in the meeting.

Nigerians welcome in Goa, says CM Laxmikant Parsekar

Seeking to play down the recent row over his remarks that people of Goa in general are unhappy with Nigerians, CM Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday said all foreigners, including Nigerians, are welcome in the state which is committed to providing security to everyone. “Goa is a tourist state. How can we ask someone not to come or ban them? Everyone is welcome in Goa – be it Nigerians or Africans. We will provide security to everyone,” he told reporters here after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parsekar, however, said there might be one or two incidents involving a few Nigerians but for that a generalised opinion cannot be formed. “We can’t generalise about all Nigerians or Africans for that matter,” he said. On May 30, Parsekar had sparked a controversy by saying in Panaji that “in general, people are angry with Nigerians and not other foreigners. I feel they (Nigerians) have a different attitude”.
ALSO READ Amid row over attacks on Africans, Goa CM says ‘Goans not happy with behaviour & attitude of Nigerians’The CM was responding to a question on recent allegations of rape against a Nigerian national in Goa and racial attacks in Delhi. “We get people from all other countries, but in general the people of Goa are very much annoyed with their behaviour, attitude, their way of life…because on many occasions I hear complaints against Nigerians,” Parsekar had said.His remarks drew flak from opposition Congress which alleged that it reflected the “racist attitude” of the BJP government.The Chief Minister said today that he discussed with Rajnath Singh the forthcoming BRICS summit to be held in Goa in October. “There will be 8,000 to 10,000 delegates but we have a very small airport. I have requested the Home Minister to enhance the immigration and other facilities for the benefit of the visiting foreign guests from the five BRICS nations,” he said.

Kejriwal seeks information on Modi govt’s consultants and officials

New Delhi: In a fresh salvo against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged Home Minister Rajnath Singh to name consultants hired by the Modi government since 2014.

In a hard-hitting response after the home ministry sought information about officials and consultants with the Delhi government, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader hoped similar facts were also being sought from other states.

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

“You have sought to know the number of IAS posts now held by other officers. As per my knowledge, there won’t be more than two or three such officers.

“I am confident that the central government would have also asked for this information from N Chandrababu Naidu, Vasundhara Raje, Devendra Fadnavis and Shivraj Singh Chouhan as well,” Kejriwal wrote in a letter.

The AAP leader said legal experts had told him the central government had no authority to seek this information from him.

Kejriwal remarked sarcastically that he was happy Modi was taking so much interest in the affairs of the Delhi government.

“The prime minister spends much of his time abroad. But when he is in India, much of his time is consumed on matters related to the Delhi government.”

Kejriwal then sought information about the number of consultants hired by the Modi government in the last two years.

He asked Rajnath Singh to tell him how many officers not from the IAS held posts meant for IAS officers in Uttar Pradesh when he (Rajnath Singh) was its chief minister.

Kejriwal’s letter came in response to a home ministry letter of May seeking details from the Delhi government about officers on deputation.

Kejriwal also asked Rajnath Singh to detail the steps taken by the central government to contain what he said was the deteriorating law and order situation in Delhi.

He said he was “worried” over rising incidents of crime in the capital.

“Day-by-day, incidents of rape are increasing. The law and order situation has been badly hit… There is jungle raj… As Chief Minister, I am worried.

“I request you to tell me what steps have been taken by the central government and the Lt. Governor to contain the situation.”

He asked Rajnath Singh to dedicate at least an hour every day on issues related to law and order in Delhi – till such time Delhi Police was made accountable to the elected government.

Earlier in the day, AAP leader Sanjay Singh accused Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung of “spying for the PMO” and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to destabilize the Delhi government.

Kejriwal also reiterated the claims made by Sanjay Singh.

“Shocking! LG snooping on CM (and) Ministers,” Kejriwal tweeted.

The remarks by the AAP leaders came after a published report said that Jung had complained to Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Modi, that a railway officer was found working with the Delhi government while on study leave from his department.

Because of the national capital’s unique status, Delhi Police reports to the central government, not to the government headed by Kejriwal.

Kejriwal and his government have been feuding with the central government since taking power in February 2015 over issues of governance.

Kejriwal is pushing for full statehood for Delhi.

BJP to repeat Amit Shah’s LS strategy in UP during state polls

When Amit Shah took charge as BJP’s Uttar Pradesh prabhari in 2013 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, he had to first familiarise with the deep-rooted caste affiliations in the state. Eleven months later, Shah and his team conquered the state, cutting across caste lines.The BJP is all set to repeat the Lok Sabha strategy in the assembly polls in the state in 2017. Shah, now the party president, will connect directly with 1.25 lakh party workers assigned at the booth level, a party leader said on Monday. In the nearly 200 assembly seats, which the BJP has not won in the past three elections in the state, the party will motivate the workers, sources said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Lok Sabha elections, however, the party had won 72 of the 80 seats, surpassing its own expectations. Like in the run-up to the general elections, the party is planning to hold booth-level sammelans in the state’s six kshetras– Kashi, Gorakhpur, Awadh, Kanpur Bundelkhand, Braj and Paschim. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh and Shah are expected to hold rallies across the state. Modi’s next rally will be in Allahabad, after the party’s national executive meet ends on June 13.With BSP supremo Mayawati planning to support some Congress candidates in Uttarakhand, UP and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP is hoping to occupy the space of the main Opposition party against the Samajwadi Party government. After 15 years of being out of power in the state, the BJP leadership is confident of capturing the state, where the party is making law and order and corruption two major planks to take on the ruling Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP.While keeping its focus on development, the party will chant “gram uday se Bharat uday tak”. The BJP, which lost Bihar last year, sees the UP elections as a precursor to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.The BJP has set its eyes on the Brahmin, non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits in the state. In the Lok Sabha elections, the party had fielded 25 OBC candidates, 17 Scheduled Castes, 16 Brahmins and 14 Rajputs.

From Greenpeace to Ford Foundation: Modi govt’s controversial crackdown on NGOs

As the Modi government completes two years at the Centre, one of the major criticisms it has drawn is in its handling of NGOs run by international bodies or funded by them in India.

On Wednesday, senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising’s NGO, Lawyers Collective (LC) was served a notice suspending its FCRA registration for six months on Monday by the Home Ministry. This means that the association is now barred from receiving any foreign funds.

Jaising launched an attack on the government in a televised interview with NDTV. She termed the move as an “intimidating tactic by the government” to clamp down on her NGO. She further said that LC has not yet received a formal notice from the Centre, and that it has only been released to the press. She also pointed out that the first time the notice was mentioned in the press was the day Amit Shah had to appear in court in the Sohrabuddin murder case.

Jaising has actively protested against the decision of the court discharging Shah in the case.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. ReutersHome Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Reuters

The home ministry headed by Rajnath Singh has cracked down on a number of NGOs which have got foreign funding in the past couple of years, but controversy and criticism have marred many of his  ministry’s decisions.

In 2015, the government cancelled Greenpeace’s registration under Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) for allegedly working against the country’s economic progress.

The decision of the home ministry came five months after it suspended its licence under FCRA for 180 days. It had also frozen its seven bank accounts, alleging that the environmental group was working against the country’s economic progress and public interest.

The government had cited alleged violation of norms by the NGO by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing the authorities concerned.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the report cites various incidents including protests against nuclear and coal power plants in the country, and also accuses the organisation of receiving foreign funding in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 2010 (FCRA).

“It is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence,” it notes. The efforts are focused on “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy”, The Indian Express quotes the IB report as saying.

While suspending its registration under the FCRA, government had also said the NGO under-reported and repeatedly mentioned inaccurate amounts of its foreign contributions.

The government had cited alleged violation of norms by the NGO by opening five accounts to use foreign donations without informing the authorities concerned.

Greenpeace, however, maintained that it did not receive any funding from government bodies or corporates and relied only on individual contributions to fund their campaigns. It termed the government action as an attempt to “silence campaigns”.

In April 2015, the government placed the Ford Foundation, an American charitable organisation on a watch list saying it was funding groups which acted against the national interest.

“Among the violations noticed, it was found that the Ford Foundation had been involved in funding non-FCRA registered entities which amounts to serious violation of the FCRA 2010 law,” a home ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying.

On 15 April, the Gujarat government sought a probe into the role of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO alleging that it misused funds received from Ford Foundation to create ‘communal disharmony’.

“We learnt that the funds which they received, especially from the (US-based) Ford Foundation, were actually used for disturbing the communal harmony and carrying out anti-national propaganda against India in foreign countries,” Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajnikant Patel told PTI. “We have written a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking probe into the role of Setalvad’s NGO (Sabrang Trust) after we found out funds given to the NGO were misused.”

“During the investigation of Gulberg Society museum funds embezzlement case, these things came to light,” Patel said. The Ford Foundation had given more than $500,000 to Setalvad’s NGO, he said.

Setalvad was pursuing legal cases against Modi, accusing him of failing to stop anti-Muslim rioting that killed at least 1,000 people when he was chief minister of Gujarat. Modi denied the charges and was exonerated in a Special Investigation Team (SIT) inquiry in 2012.

A top official at the charity had said the fallout has hit projects that fight child marriage, provide clean water in slums and feed pregnant women.

Around the same time, the government placed the Catholic charity Caritas on a government watch list. The group has been operating in India for more than 50 years and works on health, education and poverty-related issues. A home ministry official told AFP that Caritas had violated India’s foreign funding laws by financing groups that were working “against the country”.

The government in all cancelled the foreign funding licences of nearly 9,000 charities last year.

The Prime Minister has criticised what he calls “five-star activists” and a government intelligence report in 2014 reportedly said they were working with foreign powers to undermine India’s economic growth.

With inputs from agencies.

Attacks on Africans: Two arrested, three detained as police intensifies investigation

Two persons were arrested and three others detained on Sunday in connection with the attack on a number of African nationals in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area as police intensified its investigation into the case.”We have arrested two persons from South Delhi and three others have been detained,” DCP (South) Ishwar Singh said.Three separate cases have already been registered by police in connection with the incident which took place at Mehrauli area on Thursday night.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least six African nationals had sustained injuries in the incidents. Police attributed two of the incidents to a dispute over African nationals playing loud music and other to a scuffle over public drinking.These incidents happened close on the heels of murder of 23-year-old Congolese national M K Oliver in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area last week.
ALSO READ Attacks on Africans: 3 assault cases lodged; Rajnath Singh instructs Delhi police to take strict actionEnvoys of African countries on Thursday had expressed shock over the killing of Oliver, following which India assured them of safety and security of all African nationals.The victims in Thursday’s cases include two women — one from Uganda and the other from South Africa — and at least two Nigerian men who alleged they were abused on racial lines.While two of the cases have been registered under the charge of criminal intimidation, the other has been registered under charges of causing hurt and wrongful confinement, police had said.The police officials had also claimed no African National was seriously injured.”No African National was seriously injured. A Nigerian national, identified as Leuchy, sustained minor injuries on his nose and he was taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre,” police had said.

BJP to launch series of programmes to highlight Modi govt’s achievements

With its focus on Uttar Pradesh which goes to polls early next year, BJP will launch a series of programmes to highlight the achievement of its government that completes two years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a major public rally in Saharanpur on Tuesday. BJP national general secretary Anil Jain said that top cabinet ministers and party leaders will also hold various programmes to highlight the achievement of the government across the country from May 27 to June 15. “With Prime Minister’s event, programmes to highlight the achievement of government which completes two years tomorrow will begin. Prime Minister will address a programme on May 26 at Saharanpur,” Jain said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked whether Saharanpur has been selected by the party as Uttar Pradesh is going to polls early next year, Jain said UP is a poll bound state and one cannot deny that the decision to hold PM’s programme there is because of that. “Prime Minister’s programme had to be started from some place or the other. Party leadership decided on Saharanpur. It is well known that elections are there and its a poll bound state. Last year, PM’s programme was in Mathura. “Then there was no election. But one cannot rule out the reason of elections for picking Saharanpur,” he said adding that PM will be in Shillong on May 27 while Party chief Amit Shah will interact with media on the same day.The BJP leader said that from May 27, the programme will be launched all over the country covering almost all the states. “The programme will cover 198 cities while 33 teams have been formed in which Cabinet ministers, Minister of States and party leaders are there. These three member team will visit six states,” he said.On May 27, Ministers and prominent party leaders will hold programmes all over the country. This include programmes of Rajnath Singh in Delhi, Sushma Swaraj and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Jaipur, Arun Jaitley in Lucknow, Venkaiah Naidu in Bangalore and Manohar Parrikar in Chennai.

No threat to India from IS, claims Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said there is no threat to India from Islamic State (IS) as people of the Muslim community are against the IS.

Rajnath Singh. AFPRajnath Singh. AFP

Rajnath Singh. AFP

“Along with the alertness of the security, the Muslims in India are against the IS. They cannot grow in India as Muslims won’t allow them,” Singh said in an interview to ETV.

Speaking about underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Singh said: “He would be nabbed and brought back to India.”

“Dawood is an international terrorist and there is need to take the help of international agencies to nab him. All the relevant documents against Dawood have been given to Pakistan,” the home minister said.

Singh claimed that in last two years the internal security of the nation has been strengthened and Terrorism, Naxalism and Maoism was controlled to a large extent.

He said both official and non-official reports justify this. On Pathankot attack, the minister said the security agencies have given right reply to the 2 January attack.

Singh also said Congress was gradually “losing people’s faith”. “In coming days Congress will lose its political clout,” the minister said.
When asked about the “surgery” needed in Congress, Singh said: “It is their internal matter”, adding that there was a need for Congress to introspect.

‘Unwell’ Rahul Gandhi cancels Puducherry trip after receiving death threat

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi has cancelled his two-day visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which was to commence on Tuesday, as he is suffering from high fever.

Gandhi tweeted:

On Monday, top Congress leaders had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking adequate security to the party Vice President following an anonymous letter threatening to attack Gandhi and former union minister V Narayanasamy at an election meeting in Puducherry.

AICC General Secretary Narayanasamy had said in Puducherry that he had received an “unsigned letter” threatening to attack him and Gandhi.

The Special Protection Group and the Intelligence Bureau were on Monday ordered by the Government to take maximum precautions for Rahul Gandhi‘s security in the wake of the threat letter.

Rahul was scheduled to address a rally of the Congress-DMK alliance on Tuesday at Karaikal in Puducherry.

Acting swiftly, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi directed the SPG, responsible for the protection of the Congress Vice President, and the IB to take all necessary precautionary measures in this regard.

Mehrishi’s missive to the two agencies came soon after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked him to take up the issue seriously and ensure protection to Rahul, official sources said.

Cases registered against Mamata Banerjee, Derek O’Brien over morphed picture of Prakash Karat

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and TMC spokesman Derek O’Brien, who are in a spot over use of a morphed picture of Home Minister Rajnath Singh by the party, on Sunday saw cases registered against them in Kolkata and New Delhi.

The BJP lodged a police complaint against Trinamool Congress supremo Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi and Derek O’Brien alleging that they were responsible for the use of a morphed picture of Singh and demanded their immediate arrest.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. PTI

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. PTI

BJP state spokesperson Joy Prakash Majumdar along with other leaders and party workers met Joint Commissioner (Crime) of Kolkata Police, Debasish Boral and lodged a complaint against the three TMC leaders.

“Today we have lodged a complaint with the Kolkata Police in connection with the morphed picture showing Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh offering sweets to CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat.

“In our complaint we have held three — TMC party chairperson Mamata Banerjee, all India general secretary Subrata Bakshi and national spokesperson Derek O’Brien, who held yesterday’s press conference, responsible for the entire episode and demanded their immediate arrest,” Majumdar told PTI.

In Delhi, Karat filed a complaint against O’Brien with Mandir Marg police station.

“He (O’Brien) has used morphed picture in his press conference and it has also been put on website of Trinamool Congress and this is being widely shown on the (news) channels also.

“So, it is politically defamatory and got the party (CPI-M) and myself into disrepute among people. So, action should be taken,” Karat said in his complaint.

The TMC, following a press conference by Derek O’Brien in Kolkata, had on Saturday posted two videos and six pictures on its website. The morphed photograph showed Singh offering sweets to Karat. The original picture had the Union Home Minister offering sweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party, however, removed the morphed picture from its website after the controversy erupted.

“We have seen so many things happening in Indian politics but TMC has broken all records and stooped to such a low level,” Majumdar said.

“We have received a complaint from the BJP today. They have lodged a complaint with our Cyber Crime section. We are looking into the matter,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Debasish Boral said in Kolkata.

“…along with these two videos, six pictures were posted on our party website, out of which one had shown Rajnath Singh offering sweets to Prakash Karat. This picture was there on our website for quite some time. But as soon as we came to know that the picture is morphed, we removed it. We have apologised. The matter should end there,” Brien had told PTI following the controversy.

BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said the incident shows the “frustration of TMC out of fear of losing”.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who was campaigning in West Bengal, said he will raise the issue in Parliament which reconvenes tomorrow.

“I will raise the morphed picture issue in Parliament. Our party has already lodged a police complaint in this connection in Delhi,” Yechury said at an election meeting in Hooghly district.

TMC Photoshop row: Prakash Karat files complaint against Derek O’ Brien

CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat has filed a complaint against TMC leader and MP Derek O’ Brien for using his morphed picture with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Both CPI(M) and BJP earlier threatened to file complaint against TMC spokersperson Derek for showing a morphed picture to give example of CPI(M)- BJP bonhomie. TMC were left red-faced on Saturday after Derek O’Brien called a press conference in which the Rajya Sabha MP showed a bunch of pictures and videos to the press to attack the Left, Congress and BJP. Among them was a picture of Rajnath Singh offering a laddu to CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat. He had said at a press conference: “I would not like to comment much on this, but would want everyone to see these pictures and the alliance between CPM, BJP and the Congress, which has been hidden from the people. Andar dosti, bahar kushti.” However, the picture was photoshopped, which led TMC to release a statement which said: “Two videos & 6 pics were shown at our press conference. We removed one pic immediately when our research team learnt it was photoshopped.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fake picture Real Picture ‘We put up six pictures on the website and two important videos. Now out of those six pictures, one as it turned out to be had been morphed by someone else. As soon as they research team got to know about his, we took it off the website immediately. The matter ends there and I thought we did the most dignified thing by taking it off,’ Derek O’Brien told ANI. Asserting that there were political parties in existence who have made a hobby out of photoshopping pictures, he added that the TMC did not morph the picture and had taken it straight from the internet. ‘We have taken the picture off, it is done and doing anything further will be making a mountain out of a molehill,’ he added. Talking about the threat of legal action from the BJP, O’ Brien said that, ‘Yes, anyone can take a legal way in the matter. But this is nothing to get so uptight about.’ In a humble note, he further added that the research team could have been more careful in their research and being a ‘quiz master’, he was feeling a little angry with himself. However, this did not seem to pacify the BJP, who have threatened to proceed with legal action over the blunder.

Landslide in Arunachal buries 16 workers alive

Sixteen construction labourers from Assam were buried alive in landslides, triggered by incessant rains, near Tawang on the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.Tragedy struck the victims in their sleep at Famla village, located five kilometres away from Tawang, in the wee hours. They were engaged in the construction of a five-star hotel. The family of former Arunachal chief minister, the late Dorjee Khandu, owns the land and the under-construction hotel. The hotel was being built under the supervision of Khandu’s son Pema, who is an MLA.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to officials, the victims were staying in a camp near the construction site. Tonnes of mud and stones came crashing on them, burying them instantly. Later, the bodies were retrieved by the Army with assistance from the district administration and locals.”Seventeen workers were lodged in the camp. While 15 of them were killed on the spot, two were critically injured. One of them succumbed to his injuries later. When reports last came in, the other injured person was being taken to Tezpur (in Assam),” chief minister Kalikho Pul told dna.All the victims were from Tezpur and Dhekiajuli areas of Assam. The chief minister said the rains had wreaked havoc in his state.”The situation in most parts of the state is critical due to the rains. There is artificial flood even in Itanagar. We urgently need the support of Central government to combat the situation,” Pul said.According to officials, the entire stretch of National Highway 13, which connects Tawang to the rest of the world, has either been blocked by landslides or washed away due to the continuous rainfall.The rains have also thrown life out of gear in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland.Union home minister Rajnath Singh called up Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul to discuss the floods and the landslide situation in the state.”Singh has assured full central assistance to Arunachal Pradesh to tackle the floods situation arising due to a swollen Noa Dehing river. He has asked director general of National Disaster Response Force OP Singh to rush rescue teams to the landslide-hit Famla village in Tawang, bordering China,” said an official.A high-level committee chaired by the home minister also approved assistance of Rs.84.33 crore for Arunachal Pradesh to tackle floods.

Mehbooba Mufti asks Centre to modify militant repatriation policy

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti demand to modify the militant repatriation policy by increasing the entry points and ensure rehabilitation of all Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) based militants wanting to return back and join the mainstream has put the Centre in a bind.Sources in the union home ministry said as there are security implications to Mehbooba’s demand it has been referred by union home minister Rajnath Singh to the security agencies, especially the Intelligence Bureau, for a comprehensive review.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though formally the government recognises IGI international airport, Wagah-Attari border, Uri and Muzaffarabad as the four valid entry points for POK based militants, there is hardly any movement from these places for obvious difficulties from Pakistan side and most surrendering militants have returned via informal Nepal route.However, lately the Nepal route has also come under the scrutiny of Pakistan’s and its espionage agency ISI is keeping a close watch on it. Moreover, return of militants has also come to a trickle because of raw deal handed over to many surrendered militants, sources said.Flagging the issue of increasing attacks on women, allegedly by the security troops as well as the militants in the Valley, Mehbooba proposed to raise two all women police battalions in the state with full funding support from the Centre.She also apprised Rajnath Singh about the first decision she took was after becoming chief minister was to raise four all women police stations in the state and creation of 208 posts for the same.Presently two women police stations are functional in the state at Srinagar and Jammu besides four women cells at Anantnag, Baramulla, Rajouri and Udhampur.Rajnath Singh understood to have appreciated the proposal and promised to look into her demand of funds for raising the woman battalion in the state where the incidents of kidnapping, rape, assault or murder are not unheard of.During her first visit to Delhi, Mehbooba also held key meeting with external affairs Sushma Swaraj in which she discussed measures required for broadening the scope of cross-LoC trade and travel in J&K. Cross LoC trade that was scheduled to be increased between POK and J&K has suffered because of the ongoing frigid relations.Mehbooba has proposed opening of new routes across the LoC for better connectivity, which she said will take people-to-people contact beyond the ritual of meetings between divided families.

Mobile diaries: How politics over immigration from Bangladesh has affected Assam

One of the most important issues of the Assam Assembly polls is that of immigration from Bangladesh.

Accusing the Congress government in Assam of having failed to stop infiltration from Bangladesh, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that the NDA government at the Centre will completely seal the Indo-Bangladesh border to stop intrusion.

“Intruders have been continuously entering India since the day Bangladesh was created. Bangladeshi intruders are coming to India through the Indo-Bangladesh border. What is the reason, why didn’t you (Congress) stop them? Why didn’t you completely seal the Indo-Bangladesh border?” he had asked at an election rally in Duliajan.

Highlighting the steps taken by his government in this regard, Singh said that a few months ago he had visited the India-Bangladesh border and held “talks with the Bangladesh government”.

(With inputs from PTI)

Congress to question Narendra Modi’s Pak policy in Parliament

The Congress on Friday made it clear that it will question Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his Pakistan policy in Parliament, accusing him of falling in Pakistani trap by accepting the theory of demarcation between state and non-state actors. The party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Modi government’s decision to invite Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has legitimised Pakistan’s ‘singsong’ and has contradicted India’s long-standing firm stand that there is no difference between state and non-state actors and in fact the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI was behind all terror attacks in India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another Congress leader, Anand Sharma, said since the attack happened in India and was plotted in Pakistan, the NIA team should go to Pakistan and interrogate Masood Azhar. India should have compelled Pakistan to agree on this. But just an hour later, the NIA in a statement said, a team of Indian investigators will be travelling to Islamabad, in an unprecedented sign of cooperation between the two countries. But, the Congress leaders recalling the BJP’s shrill rhetoric on Pakistan while in Opposition, believe that Modi government has fallen into a deadly trap by allowing the probe team into the air base and that nothing except embarrassment and dismay would come out of it. They suspect the government either caved in under pressure or took the step out of inexperience.Sharma also claimed that strategy had not been discussed with the cabinet committee on security as home minister Rajnath Singh had admitted he came to know of the team’s visit through the media.”After the Ufa meet, two major attacks took place — in Udhampur and Gurdaspur. The government has not told the nation what assurances Pakistan gave on these attacks. Still, a decision was taken to allow a Pakistani team to probe in India. We don’t even know what the two national security advisers are discussing,” he said.Singhvi said the very decision to invite the Pakistani investigators and not objecting to the ISI, master of all terror attacks in India, despite the countrywide opposition,”not only gave the status of an investigator to the accused/guilty party but also accepted unconditionally Pakistan’s oft-repeated distinction between state and non-state actors, contrary to India’s consistent stand to never recognise this artificial distinction made by Pakistan.”He also hit out at home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP president Amit Shah presenting a strange spectacle of exhorting Indians to have faith in Pakistan as its JIT would confirm involvement of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and its chief Maulana Masood Azhar in the Pathankot terror attack. He wondered how would they now react since the JIT has reportedly concluded that they found nothing to link JeM or Azhar to the dastardly Pathankot attack.

PM Narendra Modi is God’s gift to India, messiah of poor, says Venkaiah Naidu Naidu

In a party that has frowned upon sycophancy, a senior minister on Sunday described prime minister Narendra Modi as “God’s gift to India”.Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu made this statement while moving a political resolution at the BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi. Calling him the “Modifier of developing India”, Naidu also said that Modi was a messiah of the poor, one of the most popular leaders in the world and a prime minister on a mission to transform India, according to a statement issued by his office.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statement said that Naidu had pointed out that Modi had made it to Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2015 and this year, and his wax statue will now be unveiled in London’s Madame Tussauds museum.When asked about Naidu’s statement describing Modi as ‘God’s gift’, home minister Rajnath Singh said during a press conference, “I have not heard what he has said.”The adulation did not reflect in the political resolution, which focused on nationalism, national security, decisive leadership, poverty elimination, social justice, foreign policy and the BJP’s expansion.The theme of nationalism was also reinforced in the resolution, which referred to India as Bharat and said that “talking of the destruction of Bharat cannot be supported in the name of freedom of expression” and that a refusal to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ shows disrespect to the Constitution. “The BJP wishes to make it clear that it will firmly oppose any attempt to disrespect Bharat and weaken its unity and integrity,” the resolution said.Briefing reporters on the resolution, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “We support freedom of expression. Free speech and nationalism do necessarily co-exist… The Constitution gives the right to dissent but does not allow the destruction of the country.”He said that although on the first day of the JNU controversy, some people did come out and raise anti-national slogans in the university campus, the ultra-left is in the forefront in the entire debate over the anti-national slogans. “In fact, the members or leaders of the minority community did not speak out. Most of them didn’t comment or participate in that debate,” Jaitley said.

PM Narendra Modi harps on development agenda at BJP meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked his party workers not to get distracted by “irrelevant” issues raked up by the opposition and said their sole focus should be to move ahead with government’s mantra of development. If tough nationalist discourse was the highlight of party chief Amit Shah’s address and the political resolution adopted by the meeting, Modi chose to dwell on his government’s works, saying the party has always taken up the cause of nationalism and now is the time for development. “We should not engage in irrelevant issues. We should work on our agenda. Our rivals will try that we remain engaged in irrelevant issues and the government’s work is not discussed among the people. “We should move ahead with one mantra: vikas, vikas, vikas. This is the answer to our country’s all problems and we are working in this direction. Change is happening and the wheel of progress is moving fast. The party and government are working shoulder to shoulder,” Modi said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed reporters about the Prime Minister’s address, which was not open to the media, and said Modi told the audience that a lot of work was done in the 22 months the party has been in power and no allegation of corruption has been levelled against it. In an apparent dig at opposition parties, Modi cautioned party workers against those who are not happy with the government’s “unprecedented” development works, saying they will rake up futile issues to make things difficult for them. “You should remain unaffected.”Asked about what Modi spoke on nationalism, a issue that has dominated the two-day meet, Singh said, “He (Modi) said nationalism is our strength… We have alsways done agitation on the issue of nationalism and moved forward. Now time has come for development. There is a need for development.” Highlighting the government’s schemes, like providing LPG connection to the poor, electrification of over 6500 villages so far and disbursement of Mudra loans to lakhs of people, he asked party workers to reach out to the beneficiaries.Earlier, moving the political resolution, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu hailed Modi as a “God’s gift to India” but Singh insisted that it was not part of political resolution. A statement from the Naidu’s office had attributed the remarks to him in which he also called the Prime Minister messiah for the poor. The party also announced that Modi will go to Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s birthplace in Madhya Pradesh on his birth anniversary on April 14, a move also likely aimed at wooing crucial Dalit votes ahead of UP assembly election early next year. Modi also praised the BJP’s organisational growth and said now there is a need for “capacity building” among party workers so that they could play a robust role in building the nation. There was a need for them to engage with constructive government works like ‘swachh bharat’ and ‘beti padhao, beti bachao’.Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said he connected people with the freedom movement by taking up their causes. Hailing the budget, he asked party leaders to publicise its smaller highlights, like the provision of allowing small shops to remain open seven days a week. Speaking about the government’s ongoing work to provide 18,500 villages to electricity, he said the party should go to the newly-electrified villages and celebrate ‘urja utsav’ with the beneficiaries. He also emphasised on the use of technology, saying it is a tool for development. Shah in his remarks announced that the party would observe between April 14, Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, and April 24, Panchayati Raj day, various programmes across the country focusing on the weaker sections and farmers.Modi will also address a meeting of panchayat representatives on April 24, Rajnath Singh said. Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar and Narendra Singh Tomar also made presentations about their ministry’s works at the meet.

Centre and Haryana prepare in advance to handle Jat stir

In the wake of impending Jat agitation in Haryana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed union home minister Rajnath Singh and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take more than adequate precautions and not allow the Centre and the state get caught on the wrong foot like the last time.Sources said the PM reviewed the Haryana situation along with Rajnath Singh on Wednesday and also spoke to Khattar over phone.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding their inclusion in the 27% OBC reservation, the powerful and influential Jat community comprising nearly 26% of Haryana’s total population has threatened to launch its agitation afresh from Friday.During 20 day long violent agitation last month 30 people had lost lives and the state had suffered an estimated loss of Rs. 40,000 crore.”Subsequent to PM’s instructions top officials of Centre and Haryana have held a couple of meetings and thrashed out everything in detail including deployment of central armed police forces near possible flash points,” sources said.Taking no chances, the security forces have been sent to secure the Munak canal that supplies bulk of water to southwest and northwest Delhi. Adding to the strength of already deployed forces, the Centre has rushed in 30 more companies of CAPFs, said sources.”We are paying attention to the areas that had become major flash points last months like Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bahadurgarh, Sonipat, Gohana and Panipat etc.,” said sources.The state government has requisitioned more than 100 companies of paramilitary forces and Army. Sources said more companies would be sent as and we find the need to send them. They are on standby.According to Haryana government, district commissioners of all the 21 districts of Haryana have been asked to make preventive arrests under the National Security Act (NSA) to stop any possible outbreak of violence.Haryana additional chief secretary (home) PK Das, who chaired a meeting of senior police officials on Wednesday evening said the district administration will take a final call in invoking NSA even as powers have been given to them by the state government.On being asked if the agitating Jats will again put rail and road blockade across the state, All India Jat Mahasabha chief Yashpal Malik said, “Our course of action post midnight will depend on Government’s response to our call for agitation.”

No gay sex please: BJP MPs stick to "colonial era" 377

Even as its leaders have spoken in different voices on the issue, BJP MPs have yet again voted against introduction of a private members bill brought by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to decriminalise homosexuality.The introduction of the bill, which seeks to amend section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises homosexuality, was struck down with 54 of the 73 members present in Lok Sabha voting against it. While 14 voted in favour of the bill, one member abstained. Tharoor had brought the bill earlier in December last year, but the BJP, which is in a majority in the Lower House, had rejected it.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill it “expressly decriminalises consensual sexual acts between consenting adults in private, rather than leaving it to interference or interpretation.”BJP sources said no whip is issued for a private member’s bill and it is left to the individual’s judgment. The BJP has not categorically spelt out its stand on the bill, but the rejection of Tharoor’s bill, for the second time in two months, reflects the party’s reluctance to go against the conservative line.In November last year finance minister Arun Jaitley indicated his support for gay rights when he said the Supreme Court should review its 2013 judgment to do away with the penal provision in colonial era section 377 on homosexuality. However, home minister Rajnath Singh, as BJP President in 2013, had opposed any move to nullify the apex court’s order re-criminalising gay sex saying the party “cannot support something which is unnatural.”Singh’s statement had put to rest speculation over the position of the BJP, then the main opposition party, if the UPA government planned any move to render ineffective the SC order, which overturned the Delhi High Court verdict that Section 377 was unconstitutional.Meanwhile, Tharoor has blamed the BJP for using its “brute majority to prevail over the right of a member” to bring a bill saying Parliament was a place for open deliberations on all issues. He said that the House was not allowed to deliberate on a law which was framed by the British rulers on the principles of Victorian morality. He extended support to a private member’s bill on rights of transgenders, which has been approved by Rajya Sabha, saying Indian culture and tradition have several references to them and they should be treated with dignity.

India is secular, only country where people of all faiths live: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said India is the most secular country in the world despite its diversity and the fact that people of all faiths live here.

Rajnath Singh. ReutersRajnath Singh. Reuters

Rajnath Singh. Reuters

“If there is any secular country in the world, it is India,” the home minister told the Rajya Sabha while responding to a calling attention motion on alleged inflammatory speeches by union ministers and elected representatives in violation of the Constitution and oath of office.

“India is the only country in the world where people of all faiths live,” he said, adding that “not only this, all major sects of all religions, including Islam and Christianity, are found here, which is not the case with any other country”.

The minister also called upon all political parties to join hands in protecting India’s unity and integrity.

“A single political party cannot protect the country’s unity and integrity. We all will have to make collective efforts for that,” he added.

Rajnath Singh ruled out any action against union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shankar Katheria, who allegedly made a hate speech during a function in Agra.

“I heard Katheria’s speech and I made others hear it. We all agreed there is nothing inflammatory in the speech,” he said.

Rajnath Singh also said that communal harmony “should not be measured in terms of political gain or loss”.

“It should only be measured in terms of justice and humanity.”

IANS

Govt examining TN govt’s plea seeking release of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, says Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: The government is examining a Tamil Nadu government’s plea seeking the release of those linked to the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.

“We have received the letter yesterday and the government is examining it. The apex court has already given its decision on the matter. Now it is the constitutional and moral responsibility of the government to abide by the decision of the apex court,” Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha.

Rajnath Singh. IbnliveRajnath Singh. Ibnlive

Rajnath Singh. Ibnlive

Earlier, the issue was raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who urged the government not to entertain the letter from the Tamil Nadu government.

“The letter should not be entertained at all. The assassins must not be released — to uphold the integrity of the country for which Rajivji gave his life,” he said.

Deciding to release all seven convicts in the Gandhi assassination case now in jail, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday sought the views of the central government.

In a letter to union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan said the state government had received petitions from the seven convicts requesting their release as they had spent over 24 years in jail.

The seven convicts are V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan, AG Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas, Ravichandran and Nalini Sriharan, wife of Murugan.

All seven have been in prison since 1991, the year a woman Tamil Tiger suicide bomber blew up Rajiv Gandhi at an election rally near Chennai.

IANS

BJP closes ranks: Senior Union Ministers take on Rahul after his scathing attack on PM Modi

Returning the fire after his onslaught on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, three senior ministers on Wednesday contested his claim that the PM did not consult cabinet colleagues and raised questions about the “maturity” of the Congress vice president.Rejecting Gandhi’s charge that Modi hardly consulted senior ministers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the more he hears him, the more he wonders “how much does he know and when will he know” while Home Minister Rajnath Singh condemned his attempts to “mislead” Parliament over consultations on Naga peace accord. Gandhi also came under attack from BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma who said his speech in the Lok Sabha was “devoid” of facts and “full of drama but lacked in content” and called him a “lying machine” and a “non-serious, part-time politician”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a Facebook post, Jaitley said the prime minister not only works hard and involves himself in the functioning of the various departments of the government but also inspires his team to work harder.”The Prime Minister should be the natural leader of the party and the Government. In the NDA it is so. The UPA was quite different. The Prime Minister is to lead by example.” Jaitley said all ministers including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and he himself were responsible for each important decision taken by their departments. “We do not by-pass the Prime Minister who is always available for consultation and guidance,” he said.Jaitley was reacting to Gandhi’s claim that Swaraj was not consulted on the Pakistan policy, Rajnath Singh was unware of the Nagaland accord and Jaitley did not know of the Budget proposals. The Finance Minister said Gandhi s views are “shaped” by the environment of a political party which has evolved into a “crowd around a family”. “The UPA model of governance was that if a person outside the family is the Prime Minister, he should be reduced to being a figure-head. Given a choice between a ‘hands-on’ Prime Minister or a ‘nominal’ head, I would unhesitatingly choose the former,” he said.Taunting Gandhi, Jaitley said, “As one evolves from a young to a middle-aged one, we certainly expect a certain level of maturity. The more I hear Shri Rahul Gandhi, the more I start wondering ‘how much does he know when will he know’. In the post titled ‘How much does he know when will he know’, the minister went on to say that after hearing Gandhi, “I think India has made the right choice between the Prime Minister who leads the Government and a Prime Minister who is merely implementing decisions taken elsewhere.” Rajnath Singh refuted Gandhi’s claim that he was not informed before signing a peace pact with Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM, saying his statement was “completely false and baseless” and he “misled” the Parliament.”Rahul Gandhi’s statement on Naga peace accord in Lok Sabha today is completely false and baseless. I had several rounds of consultations with the PM on Naga peace process. I strongly condemn Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to mislead the House,” Singh tweeted. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday rejected Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that even the Foreign Minister was unaware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden de-tour to Lahore. In an exclusive to ANI, Swaraj said, ” I would like to correct the record. After a conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Modi called me, seeking my opinion on his visit to Lahore.””I told him that it would be an ‘out of the box initiative’ and he should go to Lahore, said Swaraj adding, “This was a novel initiative, which got appreciated in the country.” Swaraj said that since she was not present in the lower house today, she could not respond to Gandhi’s statements.” “If I would have been present there, I would have responded to his statement. I reached home and saw his speech, which is not correct,” she added.

India rules out troop withdrawal from Siachen, says Pakistan cannot be trusted

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the loss of 10 soldiers in avalanche in Siachen recently, India on Friday ruled out withdrawal of army from the icy heights in Jammu and Kashmir, saying Pakistan cannot be trusted and it may occupy the strategic area if India vacates.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in Lok Sabha that vacating Siachen could lead to bigger loss of lives and reminded about the “experience” of 1984 when India evicted Pakistan from the strategically critical heights after a bloody fight.

“I know we have to pay the price and I salute our armed forces personnel. But we have to maintain this position. We have to man the strategic position. The position is very important from the strategic point,” Parrikar said while replying to questions against the backdrop of the recent loss of 10 soldiers in an avalanche.

“I don’t think anyone in this House can take Pakistan’s words for granted…If we vacate the position, the enemy can occupy the position and they would have the strategic advantage. Then we would have to lose many more lives. We know the experience of 1984 (Siachen conflict),” he said.

India occupies the highest point in Siachen glaciers, the Saltoro Ridge which is located at 23,000 feet, he said.

On 3 February, an avalanche hit an army post in a forward location in Siachen glacier, burying 10 soldiers, including a JCO. One of them was found alive under a huge mass of ice after six days but he died a few days later.

The Defence Minister said so far 915 people have lost their lives in the last 32 years in Siachen, which comes to 28 lives every year. This has now been reduced to 10 lives every year.

Parrikar said constant medical support is given to those serving in the Siachen glaciers which is six times more than the normal medical care. A total of 19 categories of clothing are provided to the soldiers in addition to various other assistance like snow scooters.

“There is no supply shortage. … We can’t totally conquer nature,” he said.

In Rajya Sabha, JD(U) member KC Tyagi voiced concern over the death of soldiers in Siachen recently and said India and Pakistan should work towards withdrawal of troops from such tough areas to save the lives from both sides.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Tyagi referred to the avalanche mishap and said many Indian and Pakistani soldiers die due to difficult working conditions in Siachen.

He recalled that during the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi, an attempt was made to withdraw forces from both sides from such difficult terrain.

This issue should figure in talks between India and Pakistan whenever it happens next time so that untimely deaths of soldiers can be prevented, Tyagi said.

PTI

JNU Row: Arun Jaitley ups the ante, says ‘hate speech’ is not free speech

After Smriti Irani’s emotional and fiery defence of government action on JNU row and Rohith Vemula issue in Lok Sabha, Arun Jaitley has further raised the ante in Rajya Sabha. He launched a stirring attack on those sloganeering in JNU, asking whether free speech is equivalent to sedition. He said that the kind of language used in the circular for that JNU meet said a lot and that the people whose name was on that circular were ultra-Leftist. Jaitley asked if hate speech could be termed as free speech. The Union Finance Minister also strongly condemned the vandalism at Patiala Court.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley said that in the JNU row Congress took action first and thought later. He took a jibe at Congress’ pro-Left position saying their bonhomie with the Left is due to the upcoming West Bengal election. Jaitley answered questions about BJP’s alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it is done so that mainstream Kashmiri parties don’t feel isolated.Jaitley asked the MPs whether police should remain a mute spectator when anti-national slogans are made in the heart of the capital. He defended police action saying that university campuses were not sovereign territory. The Union Finance Minister gave the example of the past about how efforts have been made to break India. Jaitley alleged that by opposing police action parties had indirectly helped those who were questioning the sovereign integrity of the country. Jaitley took a jibe at CPI(M) too saying that they were ‘Congress Marxist’ party in Bengal. Jaitley said that Congress should be more vigorous in condemning terror as they had faced the brunt of extremism, alluding to the assassinations of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. Jaitley rounded up his speech by saying that parties shouldn’t do anything to give credibility to anti-national forces.In a way, Jaitley has hardened BJP’s line, making it clear that the party is in no circumstance planning to go on the backfoot in the JNU row. By saying that ‘great offence’ was committed, Jaitley has only reaffirmed the tough stance taken by Rajnath Singh before.

Absentee prince: By not taking on Smriti Irani in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi proved critics right

A few days ago, the India Today magazine predicted a revival of sorts for Rahul Gandhi, arguing that he was emerging as a challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Dissing the argument, somebody made an interesting remark. “Nobody can dislodge Modi till two factors do not change: oil prices and Rahul Gandhi.”

On Wednesday, when Gandhi disappeared from Parliament, squeaking a meek apology when Smriti Irani was roaring on the floor, he proved his critics right.

In running away from a battle that he had himself started, Gandhi proved that whatever hidden virtues he may have, leading from the front and looking the enemy in the eye, is not one of them.

“I will speak, but they will not let me speak. Because they are scared of what I will say,” Gandhi boasted before the debate began. In the end, by not getting up to speak, he brought upon himself the indictment of cowardice.

Rahul Gandhi. File photo. PTIRahul Gandhi. File photo. PTI

Rahul Gandhi. File photo. PTI

This was, ultimately, Gandhi’s battle. With his visits to Hyderabad and principled support to the JNU students, Gandhi had earned a showdown in Parliament with the government. And, for a change, he had a lot of people rooting for the cause he was championing. A sharp, impassioned yet logical take down of the government could have raised his stature, turned him into the voice of the liberal, secular nationalism. Alas, he stabbed himself in the back with both hands.

In the end, he met the deserved fate of the man who dares his rivals to a fight and then fails to turn up at the appointed time. Fingers were pointed at his allegiance, barbs were thrown at his politics over a “dead child” and there were nasty slurs about him not being a worthy claimant to the legacy of his great grandfather and grandmother.

And Smriti Irani got away with a mix of theatrics and half-truths packaged as rousing oratory. With the opposition MIA, the Lok Sabha became her stage, a set straight out of the soap that gave her the initial fame. With flaring nostrils, flailing arms, pointed fingers, lips curled at ends in a mix of derision and triumphalism, timely pauses and sobs, the HRD minister hectored the Congress from her bully pulpit.

But, except for a TRS member, there was nobody to counter her performance. Nobody to challenge the version that Rohith Vemula died because there was no “doctor was allowed to examine him”, that the “child” did not die because her colleague Bandaru Dattatreya’s letter led to his suspension and harassment, that the sedition case against Kanhaiya Kumar is based on statements from the security staff and interim reports of the varsity (the police claim TV footage forms the basis) and her selective reading of text books from eras bygone. Nobody to ask her, where was the HRD minister all these months when campus after campus was in turmoil? (Some say she was busy writing her Parliament script). Nobody to counter the sword of the Jhansi ki rani (for her fans) and jhanson (guiles) ki rani (for her critics) as it flailed about in every direction.

Gandhi, it seems, appears to have a mistaken conception that bite-and-run is the defining trait of a politician. He appears to believe that he will become the country’s Prime Minister just by making guest appearances at fightbacks initiated by students and the civil society, delivering banal and vacuous lines of support and then watching from the distance as the battle escalates.

No, Rahul, we do not have a polite word for those who want to join the feast when someone else has done the fighting and the killing.

For the Congress, the abject surrender in Parliament, should be yet another call for rethinking its future under Gandhi. He has failed to define what his party stands for, it is boiling in its own stew of confusion because of Gandhi’s inability to articulate the party’s stand on crucial issues. And, while the India Today magazine charitably called him a challenger to Modi, the Congress leader is at the moment being humbled by the C-team of the BJP.

When he is mocked by the likes of Anurag Thakur, silenced by a novice like Irani, what chance does he have of first graduating to the level of the B-team of the Gadkaris and the Naidus, then getting past Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and finally standing in front of the man who aims to dislodge? At the rate he is going, Priyanka Gandhi‘s children have a better theoretical possibility.

The Congress will have to look for a better solution in the interim.

Government in catch-22 situation as OBCs now threaten stir

After somehow managing to arrest the agitation of rampaging Jats, the BJP government in Haryana is facing the heat yet again, this time from the 35 non-Jat Other Backward Communities (OBCs) .The OBCs are threatening to take to streets if quota is given to Jats and action is taken against their leader RK Saini, who was slapped with show-cause notice for opposing Jat reservation.Saini has been summoned to Delhi on Wednesday to explain his conduct before and during the agitation. However, it seems difficult that the leader of powerful Saini community, that has support of the Gujjar community, will budge from his position of opposing quota for Jats.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>OBC communities see quota for Jats as an act of sabotage and fear that this would harm their economic status by taking away jobs from them.Caught in a catch-22 situation, a team led by Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar along with a couple of Jat ministers – Capt. Abhimanyu and Dhankar – met the five-member Central committee, led by parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu in the evening.Sources said that two sides discussed the situation at hand but failed to find a road map on how to go about their promise to Jat leadership to bring a bill on Jat reservation in the upcoming budget session of the assembly.Union home minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Prime Minister for the second day on Tuesday about the status of Jat agitation and JNU imbroglio. The Prime Minister is understood to have asked for a detailed report on total economic losses in Haryana on account of agitation and has also told ministries to prepare a blueprint to bring Haryana back on the tracks.According to Punjab, Haryana and Delhi (PHD) Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Haryana has suffered a loss of more than Rs 34,000 crore during the 10 days of arson and rioting in connection with the Jat stir. Sources however said that the actual estimates could be much more.

Water crisis fears in Delhi over unrest

India’s capital Delhi faces a severe shortage as protesters from the Jat community damage one of the major sources of water to the city.

JNU row: Centre goes on the backfoot over Rajnath’s Hafiz Saeed comments

Centre on Monday shifted gears and went on the back foot on union home minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that connected LeT chief Hafiz Saeed with the JNU incident where pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.While asserting that the home minister’s statement were based on intelligence inputs clearly indicating Hafiz Saeed was backing the incident, Minister of State for home, Kiren Rijiju refused to share the evidence with anybody including the parliament.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Intelligence inputs cannot be shared and brought out in public domain,” said Rijiju adding that Centre cannot share it even in the parliament even if the opposition wants to.Several opposition parties, including Congress, Left, JDU have asked Rajnath Singh to share the evidence and the issue is expected to rock the budget session beginning next week.On being questioned by the dna, if India would share this evidence with Pakistan, Rijiju said, “I cannot say how we will put it before Pakistan…through a dossier or through some other communication.”The same question put to several officials in the intelligence community and home ministry drew a blank reply as they refused to comment on it. The union home secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi said, “Ask the home minister about it.”Even Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said that they have found “no evidence linking” the LeT to the incident at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) so far.”As and when it comes, it will be shared with the Home Ministry,” said Bassi.Rajnath Singh on Sunday had said that the JNU incident had support of Hafiz Saeed and we should understand this reality. His remarks came after a tweet by a fake account by the name “Hafeez Muhamad Saeed” that was retweeted by Delhi Police with a warning not to circulate it.Soon after discovering that the tweet was from a fake account, the home ministry claimed that minister’s statement on Hafiz Saeed was based on intelligence inputs from various agencies.The ministry, however, made it clear that it was not letting go the JNU incident without imposing a cost.”If there is a strong support group for a convicted terrorist like Afzal Guru that can openly conduct programme in the open and shout anti-India slogans then it a matter of serious concern,” said Rijiju.Backing police action, Rijiju said, sedition is a serious charge that is out of the purview of the university administration and Police in such incidents has every right to go there.When asked if persons who constructed temple of Nathuram Godse, murderer of Mahatma Gandhi, should also be dubbed as anti-nation and a case of sedition be initiated against them, Rijiju refused to comment.”I won’t comment on it. I will stick to only the JNU,” said Rijiju.

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