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Amma no more: Jayalalithaa buried with full state honours

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakhs of grieving men and women bid a tearful adieu to J Jayalalithaa, the charismatic Chief Minister who held sway over Tamil Nadu politics for more than three decades with a pro-poor image, as the AIADMK supremo was buried in Chennai with full state honours on Tuesday.President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, his counterparts from several states, Governor Vidyasagar Rao, DMK leader MK Stalin and superstar Rajnikanth were among the dignitaries who paid homage at Rajaji Hall where the body of 68-year-old Jayalalithaa lay in state since early morning.
ALSO READ RIP Amma: Jayalalithaa’s unfulfilled dream – becoming Prime Minister Sasikala Natarajan, the close confidante of Jayalalithaa for over three decades, was beside the body throughout the day and later conducted the religious rituals before the sandalwood casket was lowered at a site close to MGR memorial on the shores of Marina beach. No sooner had the brief rituals concluded at around 6 PM, the casket carrying the mortal remains of the five-time chief minister was lowered after a gun salute amid emotional chants of ‘Amma Vazhga’ (Long Live Amma) by a sea of humanity which had converged at the burial site.Various leaders including Naidu, Rao, Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Paneerselvam, Speaker Dhanapal and former Governor K Rosiah placed wreaths at the feet of the body that was draped in a silk saree in her favourite green colour and a sandalwood garland placed around her neck. Earlier, thousands of people hailing ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’ (Revolutionary Leader Amma) walked with the cortege that was part of a military convoy in which her coffin was carried, wrapped in the national flag and covered with flowers.
ALSO READ Amma no more: Who performed J Jayalalithaa’s last rites?Amid heavy security cover, the funeral procession made steady progress to the destination, a distance of three km from Rajaji Hall in the government estate, passing through Madras University and the burial site opposite the British-era iconic PWD building. Big photographs of Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned- politician, were placed all around the coffin even as people showered the hearse with flowers, as Sasikala accompanied the body.
ALSO READ Blast from the past: When Jayalalithaa revealed her crushes on Simi Garewal’s talk show!With the Central government ordering a state funeral, personnel from the three armed forces paid their respects and gave a guard of honour before Sasikala conducted the last rites with the aid of a Brahmin priest. The rituals include sprinkling of water, offering of rice, showering of flower petals and sandalwood pieces.Jayalalithaa, a spinster who never shied away from flaunting her religious identity and beliefs, was surprisingly buried and not cremated. She was laid to rest by the side of her mentor and actor-turned politician MG Ramachandran, a former chief minister.Lakhs of people had packed the area around Rajaji Hall where men and women wept in grief as they attempted to reach the body of their Amma or “mother”. The mortal remains of Jayalalithaa was earlier taken from her Poes Garden residence to Rajaji Hall, hours after she died at a private hospital late last night after battling for life for 75 days. Modi flew in from Delhi to pay his homage to Jayalalithaa with whom he enjoyed a personal rapport. The prime minister consoled a teary-eyed Sasikala and placed his hand over her head. At the burial site, the pit where Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains were lowered was filled with sand and mud amid showering of flowers. This was preceded by offering of milk and holy water on her body. Then nails were hammered on the coffin that was engraved with the words ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Selvi’ in Tamil, before being lowered.Jayalalithaa’s body was also covered with an AIADMK party flag red and white in colour with an image of Dravidian ideologue and former Chief Minister CN Annadurai. En route the funeral procession, those on board the cavalcade showered flower petals all along even as AIADMK workers and supporters walked along chanting “Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Pugazh Onguga” (Let the reputation of Revolutionary Leader Amma grow).Emotional men and women thronged terraces of high rise buildings and on both sides of the road, for having a last glimpse of the departed leader that was being taken in a long cavalcade of several vehicles besides the gun-carriage. Amid tight security, which included the deployment of armed reserve and rapid action forces, the procession wound its way to the famous Marina Beach peacefully.Tens of thousands of party workers and common people had gathered at the MGR memorial site there, waiting patiently for several hours to witness the burial ceremony. Those who paid homage to the late leader at Rajaji Hall, included Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Governor P Sathasivam and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.A host of film personalities, including superstar Rajinikanth, actors Sarath Kumar, Sivakarthikeyan, Dhanush, actress Gauthami, besides veteran artistes who had worked with Jayalalithaa decades ago, also paid their last respects. Visiting Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also paid his last respects.

LS passes major tax bill without debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst pandemonium, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a major taxation bill to amend the Income Tax Act without a debate to facilitate levy of 60 per cent tax on undisclosed income or investment or cash credit deposited in banks after the November 8 demonetization. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected amendments submitted by Kerala’s Revolutionary Socialist Party’s lone MP N K Premchandran. The bill gives the depositors a choice to admit voluntarily the black money so deposited and pay 50 per cent as tax and penalty or lose 85 per cent of the unexplained cash not admitted. Those volunteering will be able to use only 25 per cent of the money while putting the rest 25 per cent locked up for four year in the new Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan (PMGK) scheme.Introducing the bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also emphasized that the government will stick to the deadline for depositing the high-value notes that were banned earlier this month. The old notes must be submitted to bank branches before they close on December 30.The legislation was brought before the Lok Sabha as a money bill, it will not have to pass the test of the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority. It will now go to the Rajya Sabha for debate and consideration, before heading to the President for his stamp. The Rajya Sabha cannot amend a money bill but it can make non-binding recommendations to the Lok Sabha. Jaitley, asserted that it will plug the loopholes in the existing laws to ensure that tax evaders are not able to legalise their black money. “The aim is to ensure this money comes into the mainstream. The rich’s black money will be used for the welfare of the poor,” he declared.Throughout proceedings, the Opposition benches were up in arms, protesting the introduction of the important bill. They called it another scam of the government’s compromise to leave half of the black money with the crooks, who won’t mind sharing half of their ill-gotten wealth with the government. An MP shouted that a culprit selling property in Rs 40 lakhs by cheque and another Rs 20 lakh in cash won’t mind losing Rs 10 lakh and pocket another Rs 10 lakh as black money. The NDA ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Dr Sivaprasad, who was dressed in black, said people with black money are laughing at this act and the common man is weeping.The Speaker rejected the demand that the bill should be taken up at a time when the proceedings of the House were in order. The House was adjourned thrice during the pre-lunch session because of the Opposition demand to first debate on the demonetization in the presence of the PM. However, the Speaker went ahead with the bill despite the noisy scenes, citing it urgency because of which it cannot be postponed. Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress said, “It is necessary that the House be in perfect order when such a key bill is discussed and that cannot be done until the discussion on demonetization takes place.”

PM Modi has held country hostage through demonetization: Left parties on Akrosh Divas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Protesting against demonetization, Left parties accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of pushing the country into an “unprecedented financial turmoil” and questioned why he was not speaking in Parliament on the issue.During their protest here as part of “Jan Aakrosh Diwas” against demonetization, seven Left parties including the CPI(M) and CPI decried the invalidation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes as “anti-poor and pro-corporate” and demanded that the government let people use the old notes until it makes new notes available. “We believe the Prime Minister has brought the country to a standstill. He has imposed ‘deshbandi’ (holding country hostage) with ‘notebandi’ (demonetization).”90 per cent of our people do cash transactions every day. Their lives have been hit quite hard. We are protesting against all this,” CPI general secretary Sitaram Yechury said during the protest.Continuing their attack on the Prime Minister over his alleged absence from Parliament, where opposition MPs are demanding that he reply to a debate on demonetization, the Left parties questioned his “silence” on the floor of the House, calling him “Narendra Maun (silent) Modi”.Yechury claimed that while the November 8 decision has farmers and daily wage earners reeling under hardships, the stated objectives of demonetization are unlikely to be achieved.He suggested the government ushering in Rs 2000 currency note will rather “double” corruption.Yechury reiterated the charge that BJP and “those who had black money” were “aware” of the Prime Minister’s move.”The BJP (reportedly) purchased lands in the run up to the decision in Bihar. Those with black money had already made arrangements. How come they were aware of demonetization move?” he asked.The Rajya Sabha member asked the government to crack the whip on those who have black money stashed in banks abroad and also act against corporate houses which have faltered on payments of bank loans.Referring to Modi calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh as “Maunmohan Singh” during poll campaigns, Yechury said the situation was different now as Singh has spoken on demonetization in the Rajya Sabha last week but the PM was silent.”Now it was a coincidence, when Singh spoke in Parliament, the Prime Minister was silent, (he) became Narendra Maun Modi. This is the situation,” Yechury quipped.CPI national secretary D Raja, who also addressed the protesters, echoed Yechury views saying the decision has caused “unprecedented financial turmoil” in the country and subjected people to “huge hardships, unimaginable miseries and humiliations”. “Now Modi is trying to abuse opposition parties as though we are all protecting corruption and black money. Modi should understand the Left has been fighting black money and corruption,” Raja said.The Left leader said it is Modi who should be held responsible if the Parliament doesn’t function. Meanwhile, replying to a query about bringing funding to political parties under the ambit of RTI, Yechury demanded stopping of corporate funding to political parties. Besides Yechury and Raja, leaders of CPI(ML)-Liberation, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, SUCI(C) and Communist Ghadar Party of India took part in the protest.

Fidel Castro’s unflinching support for India’s causes will be remembered forever: Sonia Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Condoling the passing away of Revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said that his resolute support for India’s cause on various fora will always remain deeply etched in the minds and hearts of the Indian people.Describing his death as a loss not limited to Cuba or a particular ideology, Gandhi said that Castro led the oppressed and the striving from the front and stood up to every attempt at stifling the voice of freedom. “His contribution to the Non Aligned Movement and his unflinching support for India’s cause on various fora will always remain deeply etched in the minds and hearts of the Indian people,” the Congress quoted Gandhi as saying in a statement.The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, who survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, died late on Friday night after suffering a long battle with illness. The announcement of Castro’s death on Friday was long expected, given the former president’s age and health problems, but when it came it was still a shock.

Maratha community decides to launch their own political front in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking cue from the Hardik Patel-led Patidar reservation movement, the Maratha community that has been protesting through silent marches across Maharashtra have decided to a float political front. The name of this new party will be Sambhaji Brigade, which has until recently been a Maratha-oriented social outfit and were instrumental in handling the Maratha Revolutionary March protests that created a furore in the state and national political circle. The Sambhaji Brigade is the youth organisation of the Maratha Seva Sangh.The Maratha Revolutionary March started by demanding justice for 13-year-old Maratha girl from Kopardi who was brutally raped and murdered.The other long pending demands of the group include – reservations for the community in the employment and education sectors, review of the Prevention of Atrocities Act and the implementation of Dr Swaminathan report to get the fair prices to farmer products.According to Sambhaji Brigade president Manoj Akare, the group has been in the social field for last 25 years. “Social work is helping us bring in reforms but we need political power to fulfil our promises. Although we registered the Sambhaji Brigade as a political party a few days ago an election symbol has not yet been allotted to us. We have adopted the progressive thinkers’ ideology. We will adore and implement the ideology of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule, Dr B R Ambedkar,” Akare said.He added that the foremost agenda of theparty is to provide educated for everyone, make villages liquor free and provide fair rates to farmers products. “There are many youth who were nurtured in the Sambhaji Brigade but a lack of opportunity forced most of them to leave and join other political fronts. They are bound and loyal to their affiliated political fronts and as such are unable to address the community’s issues and implement a farmer oriented agenda in their respective parties. We want to uplift the deprived section through our political work. Now, many Maratha youths will get the opportunity to contest the polls and work for the community. We are also planning to contest the upcoming local body elections,” Akare told DNA.Another leader of Sambhaji Brigade said that once they get the success in Maharashtra, they will make alliances at the national level with other community fronts including the Patels and the Jats.This is not the organisation’s first foray into active politics. Some year ago, the Maratha Seva Sangh had started the Shiv Rajya Party. However, before making any political presence, the front vanished in the crowded political market.Akare said that they had studied the old model and decided to overcome any tactical lacuane. “In the past, people working for the Sambhaji Brigade were unready to contest under a different banner. This time we will not face that issue. The Maratha Seva Sangh will work as an ideological front for the Sambhaji Brigade; something along the lines of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party for us. We wish to give the strong and credible option to the people. There may be several political outfits but most of them had failed to resolve the issues of the people. Farmers are still committing suicides and the government has issued no acceptable rates for their produce. We have decided to address all these issues,” said Akare.A former Sambhaji Brigade leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that it is wrong step to convert a social front into a political one.”No party can survive on the basis of one caste. We need to take other castes and creeds along with if we are to survive,” he said adding that that the parent organisation Maratha Seva Sangh will self-destruct one of the msot successful movements of recent vintage.”It is wrong to find the answer to every question in politics. There are many things we can do socially. Besides, I think it is too early to launch the political front. At this critical juncture, the Sambhaji Brigade will mostly damage the Shiv Sena’s traditional electorate and will help the BJP and other parties make inroads,” he observed.Some commentators say that a new party would play spoilsport on the regional political arena, which is presently crowded with four major parties and one minor player.”What votes would the Sambhaji Brigade get in such a crowded political scenario? Besides, Sambhaji Brigade has no workers’ network,” one observer said.

Nepal’s Left parties oppose pact with India, say agreement undermines Kathmandu’s sovereignty

Kathmandu: Several Left parties in Nepal on Monday announced to jointly launch a protest later this month against a 25-point agreement reached with India during Prime Minister Prachanda’s visit to New Delhi, saying parts of the pact “undermined” the sovereignty of the landlocked country.

The Left parties — CPN-ML, CPN-Revolutionary Maoist, CPN-Masal, CPN-Marxist, People’s Front Nepal, National People’s Front — announced their protest in a statement in Kathmandu.

File image of Nepal's Prime Minister Prachanda. AFPFile image of Nepal's Prime Minister Prachanda. AFP

File image of Nepal’s Prime Minister Prachanda. AFP

CPN-Masal General-Secretary Mohan Bikram Singh said the Indo-Nepal joint press communique issued on 16 September included matters that “undermined the national sovereignty” of Nepal. Certain clauses were against the national interests and they were signed at a time when the need for establishing Nepal as an independent nation by scrapping the “unequal and anti-national” treaties signed in the past between India and Nepal had been felt, the parties said in the statement.

As part of their protest programme, the parties have decided to jointly issue a leaflet highlighting the need to launch a struggle against “the act of betrayal” to the nation by Prachanda-led coalition government.

A grand rally will be organised in Kathmandu on 25 October against the agreement, they said. India and Nepal in a joint statement last month had announced measures to strengthen ties, including a commitment to “not allow” their territory to be used against each other and agreed to set up an oversight mechanism to regularly review the progress of economic and development projects.

The joint statement had said the two countries will work to ensure the open border was “not allowed to be misused by unscrupulous elements posing security threats to either side.”

Nepal, a landlocked country, is heavily dependent on India for fuel and essential supplies. A prolonged protest by Madhesi people of the plains early this year had led to a massive shortage of essential commodities and fuel in Nepal.

The Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family ties with Indians, had accused the previous government of KP Sharma Oli of neglecting their interests in drafting of Nepal’s new Constitution.

India had conveyed to Prachanda, Oli’s successor, during his visit to New Delhi that the new Constitution should “accommodate” aspirations of all sections of the Nepalese society.

Army goes on hot pursuit of insurgents on Indo-Myanmar border; sources say surgical strike planned at highest level

The Indian Army is on a hot pursuit of the Manipuri insurgents after the latter killed six Assam Rifles personnel, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) by carrying out an ambush on May 22 near Hengshi village in Chandel district of Manipur.Reliable Army sources told dna that a surgical strike, planned and coordinated at the highest level, has been carried out, leading to killing of insurgents and destruction of insurgent camps along the porous Indo-Myanmar border.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The entire operation is yet not over and being monitored by the general officer commanding (GoC) of Dimapur-based 3 Corps.”Army has gone after the rebels heavily,” a senior official said.Army has been rattled by the latest deadly attack, similar to the one in June last year in which 18 soldiers of 6 Dogra Regiment were killed in an ambush. Days later, the Indian Army had, in a cross-border operation neutralised 20-25 insurgents.A senior official termed the ongoing retaliatory action by Army “a massive trace-and-hunt operation to avenge the killing” but stayed short of admitting if it was again a cross-border strike.Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, accompanied by Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi visited the 29 Assam Rifles battalion and the insurgent attack site in South Manipur on May 25. Suhag was briefed “on the incident, including the combing operations in progress and the measures undertaken to neutralise the insurgent group involved in the attack”, by the Inspector General Assam Rifles (South) Major General VS Sreenivas and the commanding officer of the 29 battalion, the soldiers of which were killed on May 22 attack.Army said that the chief stressed “on the need to further carry out relentless operations against the insurgents active in the region”.Corcom, a group of six banned organisations – Kangleipak Communist Party, Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Progressive), Revolutionary People’s Front, United National Liberation Front and United Peoples Party of Kangleipak – has claimed responsibility for the latest ambush.

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