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Many questions remained unanswered, disappointed with PM Modi’s speech: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “disappointing” address, Congress on Saturday wondered why he did not mention how many “lakhs of crores” of black money the government managed to wipe out through demonetization in the last 50 days.Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said demonetization has paralysed the economy but the Prime Minister in his address did not answer many crucial questions. “Mr Prime Minister, people wanted to know how many lakhs of crores of black money did you wipe out in the last 50 days? Why didn’t you speak about it,” he asked. Surjewala said “We are disappointed with PM’s speech as many questions were left unanswered. His decision paralyzed economy; country can’t run this way.”The Congress once again asked Modi to withdraw the restrictions imposed on withdrawals post demonetization. Surjewala said the “so-called cleansing drive took 125lives of innocent Indians and put crores of people in severe difficulties. But the Prime Minister did not uttter a single word for those who died.” He said the 50 days the Prime Minister had asked for were over but there was no announcement on when he will take back the restrictions on withdrawal of cash.”The entire country was listening with curiosity that the Prime Minister will lift the restrictions on withdrawal of their hard earned money from banks. But people will still have to reel under this economic anarchy. “The Prime Minister said it will take time to improve the banking system in the new year. It means he believes in hitting headlines and not giving deadlines,” the Congress spokesperson added.Coming down hard on the Prime Minister, Surjewala said demonetization has taken away the jobs, hit the farmers and traders and made life difficult for every section of the society but there was no word of relief for them in PM’s address. “Who benefited from demonetization. Only a handful of 50 people who are Modiji’s friend. This is why he said yesterday that the deposits of the people in the banks would be used for strengthening banking system and infrastructure.The Congress Spokesperson said National Food Security Act already has special focus on women and entitles them to receive “maternity benefit of not less than Rs 6,000 and that there was nothing new in PM’s announcement of the financial assistance for them”.

PORN-hibition in the times of free WiFi: Bihar govt to ban ‘undesirable sites’ in colleges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bihar government will block pornography and other “undesirable sites” while providing free WiFi in colleges and universities to ensure that the facility is used purely for educational purposes. Restrictions would be put on data usage on the premises of educational institutions. Providing free WiFi in colleges and universities forms part of the ‘Seven Resolves’ which the Nitish Kumar government has adopted as a policy of good governance.Chief Minister Kumar, while addressing a meeting in Purnea on Friday last during his ‘Nischay Yatra’, said free WiFi facility in all colleges and universities would be in place by February next.”We have decided to block all pornography and other undesirable sites to enable the service for educational purpose only on the campuses of educational institutions,” Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Beltron), Patna Managing Director Rahul Singh told PTI today.Beltron, which is an executive wing of the state IT department, has been entrusted with the job of providing WiFi system in the educational institutions.Beltron officials said free WiFi service would be provided in over 300 colleges and nine universities of Bihar. Besides, the Information Technology department has decided to put restrictions on data usage in all institutions which would be provided free WiFi service. “We will put a data-limit for usage, which will depend on usage. The quantum of data-limit is being worked out,” Singh said. While colleges would be provided with Internet speed of 10 MBPS, universities and other bigger institutions like IIT would be provided with the speed of 20 MBPS, Singh said. In a ‘Chetna Sabha’ at Purnea on Friday last, the CM had asked youths to use the facility for downloading books and knowledge materials and not for watching films. Citing a case of of how free WiFi was being misused, he had said, “It came to our knowledge that one gentleman has downloaded 300 movies on the 22 km area of main city street where the facility is available.” “Downloading one-two movies is OK, but the free WiFi facility in colleges and universities is conceived to help students download books and knowledge material,” Kumar had said.

Kashmir unrest: Srinagar teen killed in pellet firing, curfew remains

Srinagar: Curfew remained in force in seven police station areas of the city on Saturday following the death of a minor boy, who was injured during clashes between protestors and security forces in Safakadal area of the city.

Thirteen-year-old Junaid Akhoon succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital at Soura late Friday night, taking the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir to 84, a police official said.

Akhoon was hit by pellets in the head and chest at Saidapora in Safakadal Police Station area on Friday during clashes between protestors and security forces, the official said.

A file image of the clashes between the separatists and police force in Srinagar. PTI

A file image of the clashes between the separatists and police force in Srinagar. PTI

He said curfew remained in force in seven police station areas of the city as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order.

“Curfew has been imposed as a precautionary measure in seven police station areas of Srinagar city,” the official said here.

He said the police station areas where curfew has been imposed are Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Maisuma, and Batamaloo.

“Restrictions on assembly of people are in force in rest of the Kashmir Valley while security forces have been deployed in strength to maintain law and order,” the official said.

Normal life remained affected for the 92nd consecutive day in Kashmir following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July.

The unrest, which has claimed 84 lives including that of two cops and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces, yesterday entered the fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads.

The roads across Srinagar city today wore a deserted look with security forces checking the handful of private vehicles seen on the roads.

Thiruvananthapuram: Authorities come down hard on plastic usage in the city

After 300 tonnes of plastic waste were collected in a recent drive by the Thiruvananthapuram city corporation, the authorities have now come down hard by imposing restriction on its use from July 1.According to a report in The New Indian Express, a complete ban on the usage of plastic bags below 50 micron and butter papers used by roadside eateries. But people were found to be flouting it.During operation Anantha, plastic waste was found clogging the drains across the city which resulted in water logging in several areas. The daily quotes mayor VK Prashanth saying that the restrictions have been imposed to protect health of the people and preserve the city’s beauty. Plastic sheets were also found to be burnt in several places in the city, which are currently under the scanner of the city corporation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The corporation has now suggested alternative measures to the use of plastic. The use of eco-friendly products such as plantain leaves, aluminium foil, etc, for serving and packing food at eateries is seen as the way forward. Plastic sheets and covers become difficult to recycle. Disposable plates and tumblers made of thermocol and other material will also be replaced by more sturdy material, adds the report.

Security forces deployed in Srinagar to prevent seperatists’ rally

Srinagar: Authorities on Saturday imposed restrictions in parts of summer capital Srinagar to prevent a separatist called rally.

“Restrictions have been imposed in areas falling under the jurisdiction of seven police stations in Srinagar city today. The police stations whose areas shall remain under restrictions include Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Maisuma and Nigeen,” Farooq Ahmad Lone, district magistrate Srinagar told IANS.

“The restrictions are purely of prohibitory nature and have been imposed to maintain law and order in the city,” Lone added.

Separatists including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani, Muhammad Yasin Malik and others have called for a public rally to the martyrs graveyard in Eidgah area of old city Srinagar on Saturday.


Representational image. Reuters

This has been done to commemorate the deaths of two senior separatist leaders killed by unidentified assassins.

While Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, father of Mirwaiz Umer, was killed in his uptown Nigeen residence on May 21, 1990, another senior separatist leader, Abdul Gani Lone was killed in the Eidgah martyrs graveyard in Srinagar on May, 21, 2002.

The separatist are blaming the Indian intelligence agencies for these murders while the government said these killings were the result of internecine rivalry between various armed separatist groups in Kashmir.

Contingents of police and paramilitary forces in full riot gear have been deployed in areas placed under restrictions to ensure that the separatists are prevented from creating a law and order situation in the city.

Saturday being a public holiday in the state because of Buddha Purnima, educational institutions, government offices, banks and post offices are closed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir: Curfew-like restrictions lifted in violence-hit in Handwara town

As peace returned after a week, curfew-like restrictions were on Tuesday lifted from Handwara and Kupwara towns, on a day the authorities gave in to the demand of locals by removing four bunkers of security forces from the epicentre of the unrest that began last Tuesday.Restrictions were eased in Handwara for four hours from 8 am, two hours after the authorities started demolishing the security force bunkers in the town, a police official said. As the four hours passed off peacefully, the relaxation was then extended till 6 pm. The authorities then decided against re-imposing the restrictions, saying there was no law and order problem.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in Handwara town and some adjoining areas following violent protests over the alleged molestation of a girl last Tuesday. In Kupwara and Trehgam towns, the restrictions were lifted at noon following peaceful morning.Earlier in the morning, the municipal authorities of Handwara demolished four security force bunkers from the main market, fulfilling one of the long-pending demands of the local residents, the official said. He said the main bunker, located in the round-about of the main market, has also been demolished and taken over by the municipal authorities. The municipal authorities also erected a board on the premises of the bunker, marking the place for conversion into a public park.The locals had been demanding removal of the bunkers for quite sometime but the Army had put its foot down, saying it was strategically important for the troops. However, the demand for removal of these bunkers intensified after last week’s violence triggered by alleged molestation of a girl.Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on protestors on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces’s action against protestors on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa.

Jammu and Kashmir: Restrictions re-imposed in Handwara protests after 3-hour relaxation

Handwara, the epicentre of ongoing unrest in Kashmir, and its adjoining areas continued to witness trouble on Monday, prompting re-imposition of curfew-like restrictions after a three-hour relaxation even though mobile internet services were restored after four-day suspension.As the cycle of violence showed no signs of stopping, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to the people to help restore peace, promising severe punishment to those found guilty in Handwara and Kupwara incidents during which five civilians were killed in firing by security forces.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities today gave a three-hour relaxation from curfew-like restrictions in Handwara town in Kupwara district and adjoining areas from 8 am to 11 am with an intention of extending it if the period passed off peacefully. However, the relaxation period saw around 150 youth pelting stones in Handwara town, a police official said. “The protestors were chased away and there was no damage,” he said, adding that the curbs were then re-imposed. “Restrictions were imposed again in Handwara, Trehgam and Kralgund areas of Kupwara district following violent protests,” the official said.In Srinagar, a group of students at Kashmir University staged a protest inside the Hazratbal campus against the killings in Handwara and Kupwara towns, the official said. He said a handful of students also organised a similar protest at Islamic University of Science and Technology in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.At both the varsities, the students dispersed peacefully. The authorities also restored mobile internet services across Kashmir valley at the stroke of midnight after keeping the services suspended for four days. The decision to restore the mobile internet services was taken as there was no major incident of protest or violence across Kashmir valley yesterday. Handwara town in north Kashmir and some adjoining areas have been under curfew-like restrictions since Tuesday last following allegations of molestation of a girl which triggered violence.Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on protestors on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces’s action against protestors on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa. The Chief Minister, who was in Jammu, underlined the need for peace and tranquility in the state, saying these are a prerequisite for development and if they are absent, it is the common people who bear the burden. “I appeal to my people especially to the youth that wherever there is injustice, strict action would be taken and severe punishment would be given,” she said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event.She was asked about the action taken against those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five persons dead.

Handwara unrest: Centre deploys additional forces to strengthen security grid in Kashmir valley

In wake of the tense situation in Handwara, the government on Saturday decided to send additional Central Armed Police Forces to strengthen the security grid in the Kashmir valley.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi convened a meeting, here on Saturday, of senior officials from Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Defence, Central Armed Police Forces and the Ministry of Home Affairs to review the situation and assess the requirements of Jammu and Kashmir Government to bring the situation under control without any further loss of lives.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of Home Affairs is in regular touch with senior officials of Government of Jammu and Kashmir and has been monitoring the situation on a regular basis.
ALSO READ Handwara unrest: Restrictions remain in force in Kashmir, mobile Internet services snappedMHA has assured full cooperation and support to the Government of J-K to ensure that there is no further loss of lives.The government said that it is concerned over the loss of human lives in the valley during the last four days.

VIDEO: Teenager helping Delhi navigate car ban

As the Indian capital introduces another round of car restrictions a teenage entrepreneur has set up a business that helps people navigate the system.

Handwara firing: Kashmir remains tense, mobile internet suspended

Curfew-like restrictions continued for the second day in parts of Kashmir and mobile internet services were Wednesday suspended in some areas as tension prevailed in the Valley following killing of four persons in action by security forces during violent protests since Tuesday.Strict restrictions have been imposed in Kupwara town, Kralgund, Handwara, Magam and Langate areas in north Kashmir to maintain law and order, a police official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the restrictions were imposed following death of three persons during protests against alleged molestation of a girl by a soldier in Handwara town on Tuesday. Another youth was killed in Drugmulla area of Kupwara during protests against the Handwara incident yesterday.
ALSO READ Bring back my Gavaskar: Mother grieves for her cricketer son who died in Handwara firing Restrictions also continue in six police station areas of Srinagar city where sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were reported through the day yesterday, the official said.He said the affected police station areas include Safakadal, Maharajgunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari and Maisuma.
ALSO READ Watch | Handwara firing: Kashmiri girl denies soldier molested her, claims local youth harassed herNormal life remained affected in the Valley due to a strike call by separatist groups. Markets remained closed while public transport was off the roads due to the strike.Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in north Kashmir areas to curb the menace of rumour mongering, the official said.Although the situation in most of the Valley has been peaceful so far, isolated cases of stone-pelting have been reported from some parts including south Kashmir’s Kulgam town, he said.A cab driver was injured in a stone-pelting incident in Kulgam, the official said.

Handwara firing: Restrictions in parts of Srinagar, Kupwara districts

Authorities on Wednesday imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Kupwara districts in Jammu and Kashmir as tension mounted over the killing of three persons in firing by security forces to quell protests after an alleged molestation incident.As the death toll rose to four after a 55-year-old woman on Wednesday succumbed to her injuries sutained during the firing in Handwara, 85 km from Srinagar, in Kupwara district yesterday, J and K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the matter with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing the firing incident as “very unfortunate”, Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit to Delhi after assuming the post of chief minister, said she raised the matter with Parrikar. “I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. “At the same time the families(of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she told reporters in Delhi.Two youths, including a budding cricketer, were killed when Army opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob which was protesting against alleged molestation of a girl by an army jawan.Army today released a purported video statement of the girl given to the police to claim there is no case of molestation by its jawan. “If you focus on the video released by us, it clears that there is no case of molestation. It is a malafide intent by some elements to malign the good image of Army,” Defense Spokesperson N N Joshi said “Army regrets the loss of life. The matter is being investigated. Anybody found guilty shall be dealt severely as per law,” he said.The Army also issued a press release in which it said the video footage “implicated” local youth of misdemeanour. “The truth from Handwara: the girl, purportedly molested by an army soldier, exposes the malicious intent of perpetrators. “Implicates local youth of misdemeanor and false propaganda that resulted in massive protests,” it said.Raja Begum (55) of Langate succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar the wee hours, a police official said. He said four others injured in the incident were undergoing treatment at various hospitals. Curfew-like Restrictions were imposed in six police station areas of Srinagar city and Handwara area of Kupwara in north Kashmir, a police official said.He said restrictions were imposed in Rainawari, Maharajgunj, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal and Maisuma police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of apprehensions of law and order problems. Most of the shops, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut in areas other than those were restrictions have been imposed.Public transport was off the roads while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying, the official said. He said reports of shutdown were received from most of the district headquarters of the Valley..

Odd-even experiment did little in reducing air pollution, says IIT Delhi study

The odd-even car-rationing experiment in the national capital yielded little in terms of reducing air pollution or congestion on the city’s roads, initial findings of an IIT-Delhi study has found.In fact, the preliminary report says that average speed of vehicles “decreased” by a small amount between 8.00 am and 11.00 am when the restrictions were in force across locations.The license-plate policy, which is set to make a comeback on April 15, managed to reduce car use by about 35 per cent and not “50 per cent”, the report prepared by Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme of IIT-Delhi observes. It says the benefits of the programme on the day-time air quality were not immediately apparent in the ambient measurements, due to meteorological factors and suggests that at least 20 monitoring stations are required for a “reliable analysis” of its effectiveness.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) now has six such stations. The government, in its recent budget, has allocated money to build three more stations that monitor real-time air quality. More importantly, it suggests that the decrease in emissions from cars may be “offset” by an increase in flow of other vehicles such as buses, three-wheelers and motorised two-wheelers.”In the light of the fact that increase in flow of buses, three wheelers and motorised two-wheelers seems to be of a similar magnitude as the decrease in car flow, the effect of decrease in PM 2.5 emissions by cars would be even less,” it notes.

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