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50 days are up, time for whip-lashes? Uddhav Thackeray mocks PM Modi’s demonetizaton move

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi government over demonetization, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asked what should we do now as the ’50-day’ period the prime minister asked for was about to end.”Narendra Modi had said give me 50 days’ time (for the situation to normalise after demonetization) or else give me whip-lashes. Fifty days are getting over on December 30, what should we do on December 31?” Thackeray asked at a rally in Dhule, north Maharashtra.He expressed confidence that Sena will retain power in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Sena will win maximum number of municipal corporations in the coming polls and have maximum number of mayors elected, Thackeray claimed.Referring to the Prime Minister’s speech at Bhoomi-pujan ceremony of Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast, Uddhav said, “After listening to the Prime Minister’s speech, after some time I felt is there any end to this (constant speech-making)?”Meanwhile, a senior Sena minister in the Maharashtra government, requesting anonymity, said his party was ready to contest the crucial MCGM elections on its own.”Sena has made up its mind to contest the elections on its own, given the bitter experience we had with BJP calling off the alliance at the last minute before 2014 Assembly elections,” he said.The minister ruled out possibility of alliance with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. MNS was a spent force, he said. According to a senior BJP minister, the party’s top brass in New Delhi has yet had not taken serious note of the ally Shiv Sena’s regular outbursts against the Modi government. Sena has been attacking the government over demonetization move, among other issues.Sena mouthpiece Saamana today took a swipe at Modi for greeting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on birthday. Chhatrapati Shivaji never extended such greetings to “the enemies of the nation,” it said.

Raj Thackeray has an apt question: Why spend money on memorials when historical forts are in a state of neglect?

With the BJP and Shiv Sena busy bickering over who was “hijacking” the grand Shivaji Memorial for reaping “political gains”,  Raj Thackeray, leader of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), had something pertinent to say.

Barely two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the ‘jal-pooja’ for the proposed memorial in the Arabian Sea — a Rs 3,600-crore worth of grand affair —  Thackeray questioned how the state government planned to finance it. “Where is the money going to come from? Do they have the money for the project? In the past, they have made many similar announcements, but the funds never came,” he said

Alleging that the state government keeps making such announcements, without planning the resources, he suggested that the money should be utilised for the development and maintenance of the scores of forts and palaces in Maharashtra, many built during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Incidentally, this had been a long-standing demand of the MNS.

As the state government is busy basking in the glory of another multi-billion project to claim the legacy of the the 17th century warrior king, the 3oo forts that the Maratha war hero built and captured during some of Indian history’s most iconic wars are languishing in a state of neglect.

Here’s a look at Maharashtra’s most prominent edifices that are the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj — an integral part of the Maratha pride.

Rajgad Fort

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia commons

Aerial view of Rajgad Fort. Wikimedia Commons

The 14th century majestic edifice, built atop a hill near Pune, was the capital of the Maratha king and one of the most notable hill forts in the country. However, today, it remains callously ignored and is in dire need of fortified security measure as reports of thefts of historical artifacts from the fort have surfaced. According to a report in Pune Mirror on 12 Decembera piece of Shivaji’s sword disappeared that was a part of a well-known statue called Raj Sadar Sinhasan (the grand throne), at the fort. The report further states that the Maharashtra government has no paperwork to document the exact number and location of these artifacts, which makes it difficult for such thefts to be reported and documented.

From a tourism point of view also, the development of these forts remains far from satisfactory. Another report in The Times of India states that poor sanitation facilities at the fort and lack of a proper motorable road to the hill top are an impediment in harnessing the true tourism potential of the fort. The government, according to the report, is pushing for the historical site to be included among the World Heritage Sites maintained by the Unesco, but with shoddy upkeep, the Maratha heritage is unlikely to be restored to its past glory.

Sinhagad Fort

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia

Sinhagad fort. Wikimedia Commons

The Maharashtra Tourism website boasts of the strategic fort’s grandeur in these words, “As one of the top military outposts during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the fort of Sinhagad not only offers a fascinating peek into the history of the Maratha Empire but is also a perennial favourite… While taking in the panoramic view of the landscape below, you cannot help but wonder at the vision of those who built such imposing structures at such great heights.”

However, the structure sadly is in a dilapidated state and not much of it’s original structure has remained intact with time. According to The Times of India, parts of the structure are crumbling down due to lack of repair and restoration. The report also states that unmanouverable road, lack of security at the fort and garbage strewn across the place have further reduced its former glory. Vandalistaion is another problem, as visitors, in the absence of proper security carve out names and paint graffiti on the historical structure.

Sindhudurg Fort

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Sindhudurg fort. Wikimedia Commons

Noted for its serene coastal beauty, the Sindhudurg Fort was built by Shivaji in 1664 AD off the Malvan coast. According to the Maharashtra Tourism website, it is believed that Shivaji personally chose the site for the construction of the fort, and it also has a temple dedicated to the warrior king, built by his son Rajaram.

However, this oceanic fort is also in a poor state, as the administration chooses to look the other way. As per The Times of Indiathe lashing waves from all sides have weakened the structure and its once impregnable boundary wall is crumbling in places. It’s well camouflaged and the sturdy gate has developed creaks because of which it cannot be closed anymore.

Walls of the Shivaji temple now has cracks. This temple has hosted many politicians who have wished to invoke Shivaji’s valour as a symbol of Maratha pride for making political gains.

Shramik Gojamgunde, the founder of Pune-based Sahyadri Pratishthan which is involved in spreading awareness about the conservation of forts in Maharashtra, rues at the terrible state of the over 350 forts dotted across Maharashtra. “The central government has 35 forts under their purview, while the state has 45. Who is responsible for the rest of the forts?” Gojamgunde is quoted in Mid-Day as saying. According to the report, frustrated by the lack of renovation and restoration initiatives, Gojamgunde’s organisation is taking up the work in its own hands and is involved in cleaning up a few forts. They have also installed information boards, where necessary, to inform the tourists about the glorious past of these monuments.

“The only reason we are taking on the responsibility is because the government shuns it. If we don’t do anything about these 2,000 year-old forts, they won’t exist 200 years down the line,” Mid-Day quotes him as saying. However, restoration and maintenance of historical structure should ideally be overseen by historians and the due authorities. The weathering and ageing of these structures is also an essential part which adds to their historical value. Unwarranted renovation work can damage the rustic beauty of these places. Installing newer and more lavish memorials to glorify the Indian history and heroes is a great idea but what is needed is the administration’s attention and support to protect the existing historical heritage.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 19:41 IST

Shiv Sena takes dig at PM Modi for greeting Nawaz Sharif

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for wishing his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday amid chill in relations between the two countries, Shiv Sena on Tuesday invoked Chhatrapati Shivaji saying the warrior king never extended such greetings to “the enemies of the nation.”Significantly, the Sena’s barb at Modi came within days of his laying the foundation for a grand memorial to Shivaji in Mumbai.The ally also voiced its displeasure over the BJP supporters chanting “Modi, Modi” during a public meeting addressed by the Prime Minister, which was also attended by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.”What is outstanding about Shivaji Maharaj’s thoughts is that he considered enemies of Swarajya as enemies of the nation. Shivaji Maharaj never extended birthday greetings to Aurangzeb, Afzal Khan and Shaista Khan,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.During the build-up to ‘jal pujan’ for the memorial, Sena did not hide its feeling that BJP has sought to “hijack” the event for claiming the legacy of the Maratha icon to secure political mileage.”We only ask politicians not to use Chhatrapati to play low-grade politics. Those who claim rights on Chhatrapati will bite the dust in the end. They would do well remember the history,” the editorial said today.”Ensure that the memorial does not get trapped in selfish politics, thereby forcing Shivaji Maharaj to use his sword against these self-centred politicians,” it said.The ruling alliance partner, however, said it understood the importance of Modi in the BJP, and that his party is what it is today only due to the “Modi tonic”.”While the Sainiks and Shivaji fans were chanting slogans hailing the Chhatrapati, BJP workers were shouting slogans in the name of Modi. Can anyone compare himself to Shivaji? Modi himself will not approve of this,” Sena said.Notably, during the public meeting addressed by Modi here on Sunday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s speech was interrupted for a while, apparently by BJP supporters present among the audience by chanting “Modi, Modi.”

Double standard over Dalit icons: Mayawati slams BJP over Rs 3600 crore Shivaji statue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Sunday alleged the Narendra Modi government of double standards, saying that at one end Shivaji statue is getting worth Rs. 3,600 whereas statues of schedule caste and OBC are being criticised for being waste of expenditure. BSP supremo Mayawati in a statement said the double standards of the saffron party exposes the caste discriminatory attitude ‘Not against Shivaji Memorial worth Rs. 3,600 crore, but why are memorials of great OBC and Dalit leaders constructed by us being criticised” it added. According to the statement, the work done by the BSP government for great poets and writers have always been criticised by the past governments including Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party.’These tactics used by BJP and Samajwadi Party will not be able to woo the people of Uttar Pradesh as they have exposed themselves,’ the statement added.This comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday laid the foundation stone for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on board a hovercraft in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial is that it costs Rs. 3,600 crore.The Maharashtra Government will fund the entire project and has already set aside Rs. 2,300 crore for the first phase of construction.

2 lakh students to drive ‘mission Fadnavis’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interesting move aimed at reaching out to the youth in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will launch ‘Transform Maharashtra’—an initiative to rope in students in preparing a road map for the government’s ambitious plan envisaging a ‘Developed Maharashtra by 2025’.Fadnavis will flag off the programme on Monday at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, where he will grace the concluding ceremony of its cultural fest ‘Mood Indigo’, as the chief guest.The initiative will seek participation of more than two lakh students from 500 colleges across Maharashtra in addressing 11 crucial issues the state is facing at present—be it bridging digital divide or imparting education to its rural populace. The scheme then seeks to reach out to one crore youth through online/social media, and will provide a platform for Fadnavis to connect with the youth.A top official said, “More than 35 per cent of the population in Maharashtra are in the 16-35 age group, fresh with ideas and suggestions, which can be tapped for the betterment of the state. The move aims to leverage the intellect and energy of this segment.”Fadnavis will interact with the youth on the issues concerning the state at the event. Journalist Arnab Goswami will moderate the event, which will see over 3,500 students from various colleges in attendance. The CM will answer the questions posed on Twitter hashtag #AskMahaCM.This is the first time that the IIT Bombay is hosting the young CM—touted as pro-development and a no-nonsense politician. The government believes that these qualities will help the CM to strike a chord with the youth.The move is viewed as an attempt by the BJP government to woo the educated young voters ahead of the civic polls in Mumbai. This group has been largely apathetic towards party politics, thanks to frustration with the modern day politicos.”The need of the hour is a credible platform for the youth to share their ideas and have a meaningful dialogue with the policy makers. The ‘Transform Maharashtra’ aims to fill this void,” said a highly placed official.Though the BJP government has rolled out a few initiatives targeted at youth since it came to power October 2014—such as internship with the government and rural fellowship—those have had limited impact.On the other hand, Transform Maharashtra is being crowd-sourced by the college students. “We will suggest implementable solutions to 11 critical challenges facing the state, to the government. The students will then volunteer with government departments to drive the change we foresee,” said a member of the Action for Collective Transformation (ACT), which is spearheading the entire plan.ACT is an organisation started by a group of entrepreneurs from IIT, ISB and NIT. Currently, it is working with Government of Maharashtra to improve their strategy, last mile delivery and monitoring of key developmental programmes.#AskMahaCMAll registered students from Maharashtra, including those from Junior Colleges can be part of the initiative by registering themselves at TransformMaharashtra.com. Using hashtag #AskMahaCM you can also pose questions on Twitter.Going by the questions already posed on this hashtag, CM is likely to have a tough time at the event. Sample these:Ankur Chheda: What is more important—Statue of Shivaji Maharaj or livelihood of thousands of fishermen?Anju Chandel: Sir, Shivaji was a great leader and warrior, but why waste money on his statue? Rs3,600 crore could have saved lives of scores of distressed farmers.Prafull Sonawane: Don’t you think Maharashtra should have separate Home Minister considering the growing crime rate?Smita Iris: Although Nagpur is sub-capital of Maharashtra, still not many IT companies are there. When will Nagpur become an IT hub?Samyak Jain: Many of the heritage structures in Mumbai are crumbling. What can be done from the government and the people’s side for the same?

PM Modi lays Foundation for Rs 3,600-crore grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the Foundation for a Rs 3,600-crore grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj off the city coast on Saturday, an event that comes a few months ahead of the civic polls and amid tussle among parties to claim the legacy of the 17th century warrior king. Modi, accompanied by select dignitaries, including Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, sailed in a hovercraft from Girgaum Chowpatty beach in south Mumbai to reach near the memorial site, some 1.5km off the coast.The PM performed the ‘jalpujan’ at the designated spot, symbolically marking the start of construction of the magnificent memorial in the Arabian Sea, which, according to the state government, is going to be the tallest such structure in the world. Shivaji’s descendants Udayanraje Bhosale and Sambhaji Raje (both Parliamentarians) were also on board the hovercraft. Before the event, Fadnavis handed over to Modi a ‘kalash’ (vase) containing river waters and soil collected from all districts in Maharashtra.When the hovercraft reached the memorial site, Modi immersed the ‘kalash’ in the sea. The PM also inspected a float depicting Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation. During the ceremony, Modi was seen talking to Thackeray, whose party, despite being an ally, has been a bitter critic of many of the BJP-led NDA Government’s decisions, including demonetization. Earlier in the day, Sena alleged the BJP has “hijacked” the occasion to reap political benefit.In October last year, Thackeray had ‘boycotted’ a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Ambedkar memorial, apparently after he was denied a seat along side the PM on the dais. The proposed memorial’s main feature will be an imposing 192-metre-tall statue of a triumphant Maratha king riding a horse. The statue will be surrounded by an art museum, an amphitheatre, auditorium, exhibition gallery and other facilities.In run up to the ceremony and Modi’s visit, the BJP government launched an advertisement blitzkrieg. Maharashtra’s nodal agency for information dissemination, DGIPR, had instructed officials in districts to put hoardings and posters celebrating the event. The government also released radio jingles, newspaper and television advertisements, and online commercials to promote the grand ceremony.With elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) round the corner, the BJP in Maharashtra left no stone unturned to ensure Modi’s official visit here also boosts the party’s chances in the crucial elections. Shiv Sena is ruling the BMC for over two decades in alliance with BJP. The event marking laying of foundation for the memorial is being seen as the BJP Government’s ‘vachanpurti’ (fulfilment of Assembly poll promise).The state government had ordered collection of water from all rivers across Maharashtra and soil from historic sites, which were brought to Mumbai in metal pots (kalash) on Friday. This was then collected in a large pot, which Modi immersed at the ‘jal pujan’ site. The ‘jal pujan’ ‘muhurt’ at the memorial site was at 2.59 PM. Three hovercraft were roped in to carry the PM and other dignitaries to the 16.5-hectare rock islet off the coast along Girgaum Chowpatty.Major political parties, including BJP and Shiv Sena, are competing to claim the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a highly revered figure in Maharashtra and across the country. BJP’s bickering ally Shiv Sena as well as Opposition Congress and NCP are miffed the way the ruling party is trying to “appropriate” the legacy of the Maratha king. Sena, which has always claimed the legacy of Shivaji, faced a challenge on that front for the first time from the BJP in 2014, when General Elections changed the social and caste equations with aspiring Marathas, OBCs and some Dalit factions joined hands with the saffron party. The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

LIVE: Demonetisation is short term pain for long term gain: Narendra Modi in Mumbai

Dec 24, 2016

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    PM Modi talks on demonetisation ​PM Modi assures that the government will take sound economic decisions, will not shy away from difficult decisions which are in the interest of the country. He said, “Demonetisation is an example. It gives short term problems but long time gains.” He said, “India is been seen as bright spot. To see how far we’ve travelled we should look back to 2012-13 when the currency was falling sharply.”

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Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.

Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.

He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”

Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.

The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.

The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

A rally was flagged off at Chembur on Saturday, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.

The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state. This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.

For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.

Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.

The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.

Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 13:09 IST

PM Modi in Mumbai today to lay foundation stone of Rs 3600-crore Shivaji memorial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stone for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.Modi will land in the metropolis at 11.30 AM and leave for MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district where he will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management.The PM will then reach Raj Bhavan and later move towards Girgaum Chowpatty for the Shivaji Memorial event.He will proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project at the Agriculture College ground there. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

PM Modi to lay foundation stones for mega Shivaji memorial, Mumbai & Pune metro on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.A rally was flagged off at Chembur today, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state.This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

Shivaji memorial: Fishermen withdraw stir against statue, ahead of Modi’s Mumbai visit

Mumbai: Fishermen in Maharashtra protesting against a proposed Shivaji Maharaj memorial off Mumbai coast have decided to withdraw their agitation, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation
stone.

“Fishermen have agreed to withdraw their agitation against Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Bhoomipujan,” a senior official said, after a meeting between Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and fishermen association leaders in Mumbai on Thursday night.

Fadnavis assured fishermen that the government will look into their concerns.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

“At the meeting, it was decided to constitute a joint committee to resolve their issues. The CM thanked fishermen associations,” the official said.

The main feature of the memorial will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop
roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore of Mumbai.

Members of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS), an association of fishermen from Cuffe Parade, Machhimar Nagar, Geeta Nagar (near Navy Nagar), near Raj Bhawan and Backbay Parade, had said they will fly black flags on their boats and homes as a sign of protest.

Fisherwomen were to form a human chain from Nariman Point to Girgaum Chowpatty, holding black flags, ahead of Modi’s arrival for the inauguration, said AMMKS leader Damodar Tandel.

The livelihood of 1.5 lakh fishermen residing across five villages in south Mumbai, who have 1,500 large boats and 450 small boats, will be affected by the construction, he had claimed.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 09:21 IST

Maharashtra assembly urges Centre to add ‘Maharaj’ to names of rail terminus, airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday urging the Centre to add “Maharaj” to the international airport and railway terminus in Mumbai, already named after Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji.The resolution seeks to rename the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport” and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus”.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved the resolution in the Assembly saying the house recommends the Central Government to rename the two facilities. He also moved another resolution urging the Centre to change the name of Elphinstone Road Railway station in Mumbai to Prabhadevi. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil seconded the resolutions. The entire house welcomed both the resolutions by thumping desks, with some members from the treasury benches raising chanting “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai”.The sprawling railway terminus, a marvellous structure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1887 in Bori Bunder area of Bombay (now Mumbai) to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and had for over a century been known as Victoria Terminus before it was renamed after Shivaji in 1996, months after Bombay was renamed as Mumbai. The Sahar airport in the Western suburbs was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999. Later, domestic airport at Vile Parle also came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Mumbai: Elphinstone Road railway station will be known as Prabhadevi

Nagpur: After renaming Oshiwara, an upcoming railway station in the Western line of Mumbai suburban railway, to Ram Mandir, the Maharashtra BJP government on Friday passed a resolution to change the name of Elphinstone Road railway station to Prabhadevi. The details for change in name has been sent to the Ministry of Railways in Delhi.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had proposed to rename Elphinstone Road station to Prabhadevi. The proposal was was passed by an all party MLA resolution in the state assembly.

After this, there will be three changes in names of Mumbai suburban railway stations pending in the state assembly. It includes changing the name of Dadar railway station to Chaityabhumi, Grant Road railway station to August Kranti and Charni Road railway station to Gaondevi.

Speaking about the change in name of Elphinstone Road railway station, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The residents of Worli and Prabhadevi and our partner Shiv Sena had been demanding for a long time to change the name from Elphinstone Road to Prabhadevi. This change was also approved by the state assembly and we will send the proposal to the central government.”

But this is not the only change in name, the state government has introduced in recent times. The new suburban station between Jogeshwari and Goregaon was to be proposed as Oshiwara in November. But suddenly before the proposal, its name was changed to Ram Mandir. Fadnavis had given a go-ahead to the name change proposal.

In fact, last week, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra has added the “Maharaj” word in the names of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. Now, CST will be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) whereas the Mumbai international airport will be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. The name changed proposal and adding of the “Maharaj” word was unanimously approved by the state assembly.

Fadnavis said that the demand for adding the word Maharaj was pending so long. So, the cabinet gave a green signal and passed the Maharaj word unanimously in the state assembly.

However, the opposition parties have called the decision to modify the names purely political and aimed at attracting Maratha Voters. “The community has organised more than 40 morchas over the last four months seeking reservation, but the Fadnavis government has only been giving assurances,” Congress MLA Nitesh Rane said.

“The Maharaj is our god and the BJP could not gain from adding only the word, Maharaj, in the name. The BJP government is doing vote bank politics ahead of upcoming Municipal Council and Civic polls, scheduled next year,” added Rane.

Situated on the Western Railway line, Elphinstone Road station was named after Lord Elphinstone, who was the governor of Bombay between 1853 to 1860. The Mumbai international airport was earlier known as Sahar International Airport and renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999, whereas the government had renamed the Victoria Terminus to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in 1996.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 14:45 IST

Maratha concerns are important, but for Dalits, Atrocities Act must be protected

More than six lakh Dalits gathered at Chaityabhoomi in Dadar (on 6 December) to pay homage to Dr BR Ambedkar. A group of volunteers from the Facebook Ambedkarite Movement (FAM) had put up a banner stating: “Need to protect the Atrocities Act”. The banner was put up at the entrance of the nearby Shivaji Park — a popular spot for hosting several political gatherings. The banner carried some important clauses of the Atrocities Act, used to prevent the commission of offences/atrocities against the people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. A blank space was provided on one side of the banner.

File image of Dalit protests. PTI

File image of Dalit protests. PTI

Many Dalits, especially the Buddhists had expressed their views by writing on the banner until late at night. And while the signature campaign was in full force at Chaityabhoomi on the night of 6 December, a shocking incident had occurred nearly 275 kilometres away from Mumbai. At 10.30 pm, a mob of 250 people were heard shouting slogans that named ‘Shivaji Maharaj’. They had attacked a Buddhist settlement in a village called Chinchner Vandan in Satara district. These people allegedly belonged to the Maratha caste. More than 50 households were destroyed in the attack. Marathi media reports suggested that household items and vehicles belonging to the Buddhist community had been destroyed.

Around 31 people were arrested after the attack and were booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. There has been a city-wide strike in Satara, post-attack. Even police security was tightened to maintain the law and order in Chinchner Vandan village and places in and around Satara.

The attack was allegedly the result of a rift between people from two different communities living in the same village. Siddharth Danane of Chinchaner village reportedly killed Aruna Mohite on 30 November. Siddharth was a Buddhist and Aruna belonged to the Maratha caste and both of them were romantically involved. Danane was arrested on 5 December in connection with the murder. The romantic involvement of a Buddhist man with a Maratha girl was intolerable for the villagers belonging to the Maratha community. They expressed their intolerance on the night of 6 December. Before the attack they allegedly cut down the electricity connection in the Buddhist settlement.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first such case in Satara or Maharashtra. These incidents have occurred quite often in the past due to such killings that stem from love affairs between Dalits and members from the Maratha community.

Per the recent records of the Maharashtra State Police, the implementation of the Atrocities Act remains a futile exercise as Satara district has reported around 282 complaints of such a nature — between January 2011 and August 2016. Besides, Solapur alone reported 449, Nashik 260, Jalna 299, Beed 444 and Nanded 359 registered cases/FIRs under the Atrocities Act.

A few months ago, some Dalit men had raped a Maratha girl in Kopardi, a small village in Ahmednagar district. In reaction to this incident, Sharad Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congress Party had appealed to revoke the Atrocities Act. Taking back his statement the next day, Pawar had stated that he did not mean to revoke the Act but would suggest for few amendments for better functioning. Politically speaking, he may be inclined towards the Marathas but he has always tried to project himself as an all-inclusive and secular politician. Just a few days after the incident, Raj Thackeray, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had visited the victim’s family and had also suggested that “the Act needs some amendments, as some Dalits have misused this Act to threaten or blackmail upper caste people”.

On the other hand, a few Dalit office bearers from the Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (the MNS’ student wing) lodged a complaint against Dr Kavita Rege, principal of Sathaye College in Mumbai, under the Atrocities Act. The MNS is the only political party to lodge complaint against the principal of an educational institution under the Act. But, Raj seems to have forgotten this.

Representational image of a Maratha Morcha. PTI

Representational image of a Maratha Morcha. PTI

After these statements from Pawar and Raj, members of the Maratha community planned silent protests in many districts of Maharashtra. There was speculation in political circles that Pawar might be the brain behind Maratha’s silent march. However, he chose to stay away from it. The first demand of the protesters was a death sentence for all the convicts involved in the Kopardi case. However, the long-term objective was to bring necessary amendments in the Atrocities Act, to avoid its misuse and provide reservation for the Maratha community. They had a few demands on the financial, social and cultural fronts, as well. Apart from the Atrocities Act, all major political parties have openly shown a positive response to every other demand proposed by them. Ramdas Athawale, president of the Republican Party of India and Member of Parliament, has supported these demands too, except the demand for amendments to the Atrocities Act.

In response to the Maratha Morcha, the Dalits announced a ‘Bahujan Kranti Morcha’ from 14 December to 21 January, 2017 in districts across the state of Maharashtra.

Many communities including the Marathas have pointed out the misuse of the Atrocities Act. This allegation is, however, some perspective is required. On the other side, there has been an increase in the crime rate against Dalits and the people belonging to the Buddhist community. At the national level, we have been witnessing atrocity against people belonging to Scheduled Castes, such as Chamar, Bhangi and other related Scheduled Tribes. As per the information shared by the National Crime Record Bureau in 2000, around 1,486 Dalit women were raped and around 585 Dalits were killed. In 2014, this number rose to 3,158 and 861 respectively. According to various social activists and as with most criminal records, the reported number is lower than the actual number of atrocities.

In this context, the Atrocities Act is important and must stay.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 10:39 IST

Maharashtra: Drugs worth Rs 12 lakhs seized, 3 Nigerians arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Nigerian nationals have been arrested after party drugs worth about Rs 12 lakhs were seized from their possession here, police said on Sunday.Justin Imbonako Joy (28), Yugo Chukua Ajaha (32) and Sulemon Okik Ikinochokoho (26) were spotted moving around the Shivaji Path near Gaondevi Maidan close to Thane station at around 11.45 PM on Saturday, Senior Police Inspector Mandar Dharmadhikari said. “The three were intercepted and were found in possession of contrabands – about 260 gms of mephedrone and nearly 320 gms of ephedrine – valued at around Rs 12 lakhs,” he said.Subsequently, the three Nigerians, residing in Nalasopara area of adjoining Palghar district, were arrested and booked under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, he said. The case has been transferred to the Anti-Narcotic Cell of Thane police, he added.Notably, in a major haul in April this year, the Thane police had seized around 18.5 tonne of ephedrine, worth approximately Rs 2,000 crore, after raiding the premises of chemical firm ‘Avon Lifesciences Ltd’ in Maharashtra’s Solapur district.

Shiv Sena backs NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks on demonetisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena on Monday supported NCP MP Udayan Raje Bhosale’s remarks that people will “loot and destroy banks” if the situation arising after the demonetization move does not improve soon, saying he has voiced the concerns of people on the cash chaos. Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, while speaking at a function to pay homage to late Deputy Prime Minister YB Chavan at Sangli in the presence of several political bigwigs last week, had also said many BJP MPs and MLAs who were his close friends too have not accepted the demonetization decision.”Chhatrapati’s anguish has represented the feelings of common man. At one time, Udayan Raje had joined BJP and was even made a minister so BJP cannot him disown him now. If the government has courage, it should challenge Udayan Raje’s statements,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. It said Bhosale has time and again voiced the concerns of people.”After PM Narendra Modi’s decision, people in rural areas have suffered a lot. Yet, no leader from rural areas is ready to speak against it. These leaders have their hands full with old notes and they are now in a piquant situation as they cannot remove that money nor can they keep it as it is,” the Sena said.”During the British rule, Indians in Satara used to loot banks and government treasury. Udayan Raje, from the same Satara has warned the government that people will loot banks to live. Will the government shoot these people?” the Sena asked.

Marathas hold massive ‘warm up’ bike rally in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking their agitation to the state capital, the Maratha community held a “warm up” bike rally protest on Sunday in the city to press for their various demands, ahead of their December morcha planned in Nagpur during the winter session of the state Legislature. Rajan Ghag, one of the event organisers, claimed that over 50,000 bikes participated in the rally, which commenced from KJ Somaiya ground in Sion at 10.00 am and culminated near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station after passing through Matunga, Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug and Byculla areas. “More than 50,000 bikes participated in our rally which would have made it amply clear to the government that the community is in no mood to rest till all their demands are met by the government,” Ghag told PTI. He said this was a “warm up” rally to convey to the government that it would have to face the biggest show of strength when the winter session of the state Legislature will be held next month in Nagpur.”There will be a ‘maha morcha’ held in Mumbai if the government fails to agree to our demands in the Legislature session where people from the farthest of zillas will participate,” he said. “In today’s ‘Janjagruti’ rally, we had formulated a code of conduct for each participant, who had to follow them very strictly. Among the rules set were that every rider wears a helmet and the pillion rider had to wear a turban. Also, all were instructed to strictly refrain from honking and not to jump signals,” he said. Meanwhile, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said the rally was held peacefully and that all rules and regulations were followed.The Maratha community, which is a dominant force in Maharashtra politics, has been taking out silent marches in various towns of the state since last few months, following the rape and murder of a girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district in July. The community leaders have been pressing for scrapping of the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, saying it is grossly misused, and have also raised other demands like quota in education and jobs.

Mumbai Airport to be closed from 12 pm-5 pm for runway maintenance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The airline operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai will be closed for five hours on Sunday as the airport authorities are carrying runway maintenance work.The Mumbai Airport will be closed for five hours between 12 pm and 5 pm. Both the runways in Mumbai will be shut down for maintenance work during the said period of five hours on every Monday and Thursday for about a month, from October 31 until November 28. This means passengers would have to face inconvenience for a total of nine days.The airport authorities have informed all airlines and even pilots about this maintenance work and scheduled closure. All flights heading towards Mumbai have been cancelled due to prevention runway surface work.More than 200 flights are likely to be cancelled on each day, amounting to 2,100 cancellations in all. Meanwhile, all passengers have been advised to call the airlines and check their flight departure schedule before they head to the airport.

Mumbai: Drone spotted near International airport

Wed, 19 Oct 2016-12:24am , Mumbai , PTI

Ashish Ranjan, pilot of Indigo Airlines, told authorities that he spotted a drone some 100 metres below the aircraft. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The pilot of a private airline reported on Tuesday seeing a drone while landing at the city airport, leading to a security alert. Ashish Ranjan, pilot of Indigo Airlines flight 6E-755 from Dehradun, told authorities that he spotted a drone some 100 metres below the aircraft on Kurla side, while landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at around 7.30 PM.The pilot alerted the Area Traffic Control (ATC), who contacted the police. The information was forwarded to the Intelligence Bureau, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Special Branch of police and Crime Branch, a police officer said. Recent advisories from Intelligence agencies had said that terrorists could use drone-like objects to launch an attack in Mumbai. Drones, remote-operated aircraft, paragliders and balloons are banned in the city skies.

AI plane from Ahmedabad suffers tyre burst; passengers safe

Tue, 18 Oct 2016-10:48am , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Air India plane carrying 128 passengers and crew members from Ahmedabad suffered a tyre burst while landing at the city airport this morning. All passengers are safe and another aircraft has been arranged to ferry passengers to their onward journey, an Air India spokesperson in New Delhi said. “Air India flight AI 614 from Ahmedabad for Mumbai with 128 passengers and crew members suffered a tyre bust at 0904 hours during landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today,” the spokesperson said. The Airbus A320 aircraft was to fly to Raipur as AI 651, the spokesperson said, adding the airline has already pressed into service another aircraft to fly the passengers to their destination.

2 MNS corporators held for humiliating BMC engineer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two MNS corporators from Mumbai were arrested on Saturday, days after they forced a civic chief engineer to hold a placard on a potholed road in Dadar, which read “I am responsible for potholes,” police said. Sandeep Deshpande and Santosh Dhuri surrendered before Shivaji Park police station officials in Dadar this evening, following which they were formally arrested.”The corporators were arrested under IPC Section 341 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (34) (criminal intimidation),” Deputy Commissioner of Police Paramjit Singh Dahiya said.The incident had occurred in the afternoon on October 5 when a group of workers, led by MNS leader in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sandeep Deshpande and corporator Santosh Dhuri met BMC Chief Engineer (Roads department) Sanjay Darade at his office in Worli, an official of Shivaji Park police station said. They asked Darade to accompany them to a spot between Sena Bhavan and Plaza Theatre in Dadar area and after reaching the spot, he was forcibly made to hold a placard which read, “I, Chief Engineer of Roads Department, Iam responsible for these potholes. Citizens should take note of this.” Following the incident, Darade had approached the Shivaji Park police on Thursday night and filed an FIR against the corporators and others involved.Over 4,000 civic engineers had held protest marches outside BMC’s engineering hub in Worli on Thursday and threatened to resign if action is not taken against the corporators before October 10.Sainath Rajadhyaksha of the Municipal Engineers Union said, “Not just arrested, we need them disqualified from the BMC. The number of such incidents is on the rise. Despite assurances from municipal commissioners in the past, nothing has changed.”Making a case for a law to protect engineers, like doctors, Rajadhyaksha added, “Unless there is a strong deterrent, these incidents will continue.”

Mumbai: BMC engineers resign en masse after Chief Engineer forced to hold embarrassing placard by MNS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior civic official was allegedly harassed by MNS workers led by its two leaders who forced him to hold a placard at a public site in Dadar stating that he is “responsible for potholes in the city”, prompting the official to lodge a complaint. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when a group of workers, led by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Sandeep Deshpande and corporator Santosh Dhuri met BMC Chief Engineer (Roads department) Sanjay Darade at his office in Worli, an official of Shivaji Park police station said.At least 1,130 civic engineers resigned en masse and more than 4,500 engineers went on strike on Thursday demanding action against Deshpande and Dhuri. On Friday, 3,000 more engineers are expected to resign. Civic engineers have decided not to take any more humiliation and have demanded that municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta disqualify both corporators.According to a senior BMC official, MNS workers had come to meet Darade at his office and asked him to accompany them to a spot between Sena Bhawan and Plaza Theatre in Dadar area.”After reaching the spot, he was forcibly made to hold a placard which read, ‘I, Chief Engineer of Roads Department, am responsible for potholes in the city. Citizens should take note of this’,” the official said.Action could be initiated against both the leaders in the meeting of the House of the civic body, he said, adding that the BMC Commissioner has also taken note of the incident. Pictures of the incident have been making rounds on social media and mobile messaging platforms since Wednesday.Following the incident, Darade filed a complaint with Shivaji Park Police Station against the two leaders and other MNS workers, the official said.”We have received a written complaint filed by BMC chief engineer and we are looking into the merits of the complaint,” the police official said.When contacted, Deshpande said that he had done “nothing wrong” and would continue to raise such issues in the interest of the common man.”If I am arrested for raising such an important issue then I not will seek bail till all potholes of the city are filled up. We are the representatives of our voters and we are only responsible towards them,” Deshpande. Meanwhile, sources in the BMC Engineers Union said that they strongly condem the incident and were planning to hold a protest shortly.

Maharashtra govt appoints Chattrapati Shivaji’s heir as tourism brand ambassador

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move aimed at countering the silent morchas being taken out by the Maratha community across the state, Maharashtra government on Monday appointed Rajya Sabha MP and heir of Warrior King Chattrapati Shivaji, Sambhajiraje Bhosale as its Tourism Brand Ambassador. State Tourism minister Jaykumar Rawal said Bhosale will promote the rich legacy of forts built by Shivaji during his reign.Rawal, while speaking to reporters here also announced setting up of a heritage committee which will make recommendations on conservation of heritage forts and promoting luxury tourism in the state.”Chattrapati Sambhajiraje Bhosale will be a member of the committee which will submit its report to the government in four months time,” Rawal said.Accepting the governments proposal to be its Tourism ambassador, Bhosale said the heritage policy will seek to make efforts to convey the rich historical legacy to the world at large. “Just like Rajasthan has marketed its historical forts as tourist destinations, the state too intends to showcase the same through the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC),” he said. However, Bhosale refused to comment on the silent morchas being taken out by the Maratha community.The MP said after taking oath as a new member of the Rajya Sabha, he did raise the issue of the gangrape and murder of the teenager in Kopardi during the Zero Hour.”I do not want to take credit for raising the issue of reservation quota for Maratha community and thus I won’t speak on the issue. But I will definitely raise this issue when I make my maiden speech in the Parliament,” he said.Meanwhile, Rawal lamented at the encroachment of slums in Mahim fort (in Mumbai) and a school being run in a fort in Malegaon in Nashik district. “There is urgent need for control over the heritage forts. The government intends to set up a Directorate of Tourism headed by a director,” he said.Rawal announced that the state will celebrate 2017 as year of “Visit Maharashtra” and said it has so many heritage forts steeped in rich history, more than what Rajasthan has. He further said funds will be earmarked in District Planning and Development Committees (DPDCs) of the district for promotion of tourism.Besides this, each district will have its own district tourism plan which will promote religious, tourist, heritage forts, wildlife sanctuaries in the plan, Rawal added.

Kashmir unrest: Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviews security situation in the Valley

New Delhi: As unrest in Kashmir Valley continues, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and discussed the way forward to bring peace.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

During the hour-long meeting, senior security officials briefed the Home Minister on the prevailing situation in the Kashmir Valley and steps taken to restore peace, sources said.

Singh also discussed how to bring back normalcy in the border state as early as possible, sources said.

Kashmir Valley has been witnessing unrest after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani for the last 45 days.

As many as 65 people including two police personnel have been killed and several thousand injured in clashes that began on July 9.

The Home Minister on Saturday had said that peace and normalcy should be restored in Kashmir by holding talks with “our own people”.

“Some people in order to serve their selfish motives are forcing the innocent children and youths of Kashmir to pick up stones… Is this not playing with their future? I want to tell those having such nefarious intentions not to encourage the innocents to pick up stones.

“Which father will ask his children or youths to give up studies and pick up stones?” Singh asked, adding the youths of Kashmir should instead be having pens, books and computers in their hands.

At a function to unveil a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Lucknow University, he said that the solution to all the problems of Kashmir and its people can be found only through mutual dialogue.

“These children are innocent and citizens of India…If there is a problem or difficulty, it cannot be solved through demonstrations, it can be resolved only through mutual dialogue,” he said.

Kashmir issue was on verge of resolution under Vajpayee : Mohan Bhagwat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kashmir issue was on the verge of resolution under the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said here but lamented that the later governments did not follow up on Vajpayee’s efforts.”Kashimiri people do not want to live with Pakistan. We should develop nationalistic feelings among the people in Kashmir,” the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader said on the unrest in the Valley while addressing an event yesterday. Bhagwat recalled how Vajpayee “had almost solved the Kashmir issue but later governments did not follow up on Vajpayee’s efforts”.Addressing about 2,000 young couples in the city, the RSS chief answered a volley of questions from his audience on Kashmir issue, cow protection, missionary schools, uniform civil code among others.On the issue of cow vigilantism, he said cow protection work should be done within the legal framework. The RSS chief batted for strong value systems, especially among the younger generations. “Western influences are affecting society. We have to move ahead following the guidelines and codes given to us by our ancestors. If the nation has to move ahead confidently, we will need to teach ‘sanskar’ (values) to our young ones. Young couples have to imbibe these values. Our identity should be from the country,” he said.Invoking Shivaji, he said the Maratha warrior king derived strength and inspiration from his family that stood for values. “Civilisations change with times but cultures do not. It is the responsibility of the family to inculcate values in children who must learn how to live for others,” he added. Bhagwat is in the city for a four-day visit to interact with groups representing various social strata and professions.

Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Shivaji nominated to Rajya Sabha

Social activist Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati, a descendant of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji, was on Saturday nominated to Rajya Sabha. Sambhaji Raje is from the direct lineage of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Rajarshi Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj of Kolhapur who had funded the movement led by Dalit icon B R Ambedkar for justice to the depressed classes for some time, sources said.He is involved in ensuring harmony among various social groups in Maharashtra and in efforts for restoration of forts in the state, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The nomination of Sambhaji Raje comes after Pranav Pandya, head of All World Gayatri Pariwar, declined the honour last month, saying atmosphere in the Upper House was not conducive for him. “I don’t think the atmosphere in Rajya Sabha is conducive for me. It will never be,” he had said, giving reasons for declining the nomination.

Tanmay Bhat drags ‘Sachin’, ‘Lata’ into war, peace prevails in the end

When a ‘civil war’ breaks out between Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar, it is bound to grab national attention. On Monday, the two went to ‘war’ and it caught attention, too. Only, it was a mock video by famous comedian and co-founder of All India Bakchod (AIB) Tanmay Bhat.Howls of protests followed and eveyone ‘roasted’ Bhat. Political parties went for Bhat’s jugular, demanding the video be removed from social media and seeking his arrest. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhat, on his part, asked viewers to send their views. In a couple of tweets, which he deleted later, the comedian even reached out to his detractors. Bhat tweeted: “Roast wale din yaad aa gaye by god” (It reminds me of our AIB roast days) ”and “Bharat mata ki jai”.The only two who didn’t respond were Sachin and Lata.In the video, ‘Sachin vs Lata Civil War’, posted on May 26, Bhat took a jibe at the Bharat Ratna awardees by first imitating Tendulkar and later Lata Mangeshkar on whether fans think Virat Kohli is a better player than Tendulkar.First to raise the voice of protest was actor Riteish Deshmukh. Maharashtra Navnirnam Sena (MNS) followed. Party vice-president Amey Khopar submitted a complaint to the Shivaji Park police on Monday seeking action against Bhat. Khopkar demanded a probe and Bhat’s immediate arrest.MNS spokesperson Shalini Thackeray wrote a letter to the cyber crime police station in Bandra-Kurla Complex stating that Bhat has insulted prominent personalities who have given an honourable position to the nation in the world. Shiv Sena too joined the fray, with its spokesperson Neelam Gorhe approaching chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking action against Bhat and the AIB team. Chairperson of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Mumbai division, Aashish Shelar, also objected to the video and complained to the police commissioner that in a public platform like social media, Bhat have insulted two respectable people and tried to disturb peace. Speaking to dna, chairperson of Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Mumbai division, Surekha Pednekar said: “We have strict objections to the video and whatever Bhat has portrayed is critically wrong. We shall write to the police commissioner to register a complaint against such people who don’t understand the meaning of comedy.”The police and the cyber crime team are in the process of removing the video from social media and block it on all Web pages. “We have contacted YouTube, Google and Facebook to block the video. No FIR has been registered yet. We are seeking legal opinion and the special branch team shall also probe the matter and we are transcripting the video,” said Mumbai police spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police Sangramsingh Nishandar.The video was still playing on social media at the time of going to press.

400 railway stations will have WiFi by next year, says Suresh Prabhu

Work on providing WiFi at 400 railway stations across the country would be completed by next year and it will have the fastest speed among public WiFis in the world, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday.”We are tying up with Google for providing WiFi at 400 railways stations across the country. We have started with Mumbai Central Station.””As per Google, which is a world’s top company, when this work will be completed by next year, this WiFi will have the fastest speed across the world among public WiFi’s,” Prabhu said, adding that this has been already proved at Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar stations.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added that besides Google, the Railways was providing WiFi at railway stations through other operators also.To a question on developing Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal in Mumbai, the Minister said many issues have been resolved at a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister on April 21 and it has been decided to have seven buildings at the Terminal on the lines of Shivaji’s Fort, with a central dome and six other buildings, besides a statue of Shivaji.”The Central dome (of 30 X 30 metres) will be retained by Railways as it is a heritage building and the model is being developed by J J School of Arts,” he said.On connectivity between Churchgate and Shivaji Terminal where trains of Western and Central Railways terminate, Prabhu said “Western Railways and Central Railways are the lifeline of Mumbai. We are taking steps to connect both with an underground tunnel.”He also disclosed that train passengers having e-tickets will be able to travel by Metro, BEST buses and taxis, a first of its kind initiative.

India progeria campaigner dies aged 15

A teenager suffering from a rare genetic disease that causes the body to age eight times faster than normal dies in India.

Shiv Sena should quit govt and then criticise BJP: Congress

Taking a swipe at Shiv Sena for its constant criticism of the BJP-led Maharashtra government while simultaneously being a part of it, Congress on Monday said the party, “helpless for (its need of) power”, should stop invoking King Shivaji’s name as it had lost its self-respect.”Sena is bent on reaping the fruits of power while at the same time is indulging in constant drama of behaving like an opposition party and attacking the government. If it is not happy with the BJP government’s functioning and has any self- respect left, it should immediately quit the government,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If it remains helpless for power, how can it play the politics in the name of Shivaji Maharaj? People are more unhappy with Sena for being in power for selfish motives,” he said.The Uddhav Thackeray-led party can criticise BJP as much as it wants, but only after regaining its diminishing self- respect, Sawant said.Referring to media reports that discussion is on between BJP and Sena over the state cabinet’s expansion, Sawant said it is “surprising” that they were discussing this rather than the drought.”Maharashtra is reeling under extensive drought and both parties are surprisingly discussing cabinet expansion, which is not a matter of discussion at all at this moment. Both parties should at least get their priorities right,” he said.

PM Modi to perform Shivaji Memorial’s ground breaking ceremony

Mumbai: Prime Minister will perform the ground-breaking ceremony of Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea in May, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Monday.

“Since the area of the ‘Shiv Smarak’ (the project) is small, the timing of ‘bhoomipujan’ (ground-breaking ceremony) will be decided keeping in mind the low tide,” the Chief Minister said at a gathering in Mumbai after inaugurating the project office and emergency management plan cell for the memorial.

A file photo of Narendra Modi. PTIA file photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

A file photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

“Besides due to a shortage of space the programme will be a short affair and the function will be held on a large scale at some other place,” he added.

“Shivaji Maharaj himself loved discipline and planning and thus the work of the memorial will proceed at a fast space and will be completed within a stipulated time,” he said.

Noting that his government could get all the permissions which were pending since the last 15 years, in just 12 months, Fadnavis assured that all the work will be completed as planned.

“As announced we are committed to build this grand memorial in 40 months and the project consultant has been appointed already,” the CM added.

Vinayak Mete, Chairman of the Shiv Smarak committee, who was also present, said the first tender will be floated in the first week of May and the ‘bhoomipujan’ will be performed in the first half of May itself.

“I urge the CM to seek the appointment of the Prime Minister at the earliest,” he added.

In its Budget, the Maharashtra government had recently announced Rs 100 crore for the construction of the memorial dedicated to the Maratha warrior king and has set a target of 2019 to complete the project.

Watch: MNS chief Raj Thackeray marks birth anniversary of Shivaji with special tribute

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) will be celebrating the birth anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj according to the Hindu calendar. This year it falls on March 26.To commemorate the occasion, the party has shared a video paying tribute to the Maratha king.The video features all the aerial shots of forts and castles which were once conquered by Shivaji. MNS chief Raj Thackeray​ has given voice to the picturesque video which is shared on official Facebook page of the party.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Check out the video here: पक्षाचे उपाध्यक्ष अभिजित पानसे यांनी चित्रफितीच्या माध्यमातून हिंदवी स्वराज्य संस्थापक सर्वांचे लाडके श्री. छत्रपती शिवाजी महाराज यांना वाहिलेली एक अनोखी आदरांजली. या चित्रफितीतील आवाज राजसाहेबांचा आहे.
MNS Adhikrut on Thursday, 24 March 2016

Won’t allow ‘senile’ Shrihari Aney inside Marathwada: Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena, an ally of BJP, on Wednesday said it will not allow Shreehari Aney to enter Marathwada, a day after he quit as Maharashtra Advocate General following controversy over his remarks on separate Marathwada.”We won’t allow Aney to step in Aurangabad, in Marathwada,” Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire told reporters at Aurangabad. “Aney keeps coming here in the High Court bench. We won’t let him set foot inside Aurangabad. We will continue our opposition to those who betray Shivaji Maharaj’s dream of a united Maharashtra,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to RSS’ M G Vaidya’s views on division of Maharashtra into smaller states, Khaire said, “Vaidya has become old and what he said are senile thoughts.” Meanwhile, reacting to Shiv Sena’s demand that he be prosecuted for treason, Aney said, “Unfortunately, they (Shiv Sena) would need a good lawyer to tell them what sedition is.The creation of a State is a constitutional process that will be followed. I am not talking about destroying the country, only asking for a separate state.”

Mumbai: Fire at Deonar dump continues on Day 2

A major fire that erupted at the Deonar dumping ground on Saturday continued even on Sunday. As many as 10 fire engines and eight water tankers were rushed to the spot but the situation isn’t under control. BMC officials said the fire appears to have erupted at multiple locations and the process to control the flames is in progress.Eviction of illegal shanties and slums, minor repairs, installation of CCTV cameras and paving roads within the dump yard has proved nothing but cosmetic changes at the dumping ground as no concrete measures to trap methane has been taken.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Experts from IIT had submitted a plan to the BMC to trap methane gas and had also suggested measures to control fire on the dumping ground. Civic body is yet to take any steps regarding the same. While fire brigade started the fire fighting on war footing, residents living around the dumping ground said that thick smoke could be seen from Saturday onwards and it intensified on Sunday.Chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said that the wind velocity was causing the fire to spread. “We are trying our best to douse the flames and fire engines and water tankers are at work,” said Rahangdale.Shaikh Mohammed Siraj — who was on indefinite hunger strike last time when the fire erupted at the same dumping ground — alleged that some miscreants probably have lit the fire. “A mischief maker is involved in lighting this fire in the dump again. This comes after the BMC began work of construction of boundary wall and installation of CCTV cameras. The fire brigade, too, is unable to bring the fire under control. If the fire does not stop we will be forced to do rasta roko,” said Siraj, corporator from Govandi’s Shivaji Nagar.

Maharashtra treads on Arun Jaitley’s pro-farmer toes

It was ‘Jai Kisan’ all the way. The BJP-led government in Maharashtra has announced Rs 25,000 crore for the farm sector in the Budget for 2016-17, even while tweaking certain taxes such as VAT and offering exemptions for the sugarcane industry.With last three years’ recurring drought, agrarian distress and de-growth in farm sector pulling Maharashtra economy down, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s second budget on Friday stressed on farmers’ welfare, on the lines of union Budget, presented by Arun Jaitley last month.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shorn of any big-ticket announcements, Mungantiwar said 2016-17 fiscal will be observed as ‘Shetkari Swabhiman Varsh’.The Budget announced energy to industries at subsidised rates in Vidarbha and Marathwada and schemes to boost textile projects in the cotton-growing areas.Interestingly, there was no mention of memorials for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in the Budget.Announcing a Rs 25,000-crore booster shot for agriculture and related schemes, Mungantiwar, in his near 105-minute speech – peppered with Marathi and Hindi poetry, said, “farmers continue to be the focal point of this budget”.He rolled out substantial provisions for agricultural regeneration, including water conservation schemes, equipping the four agri universities with organic farming research and training centres, two new agri and veterinary colleges and one horticulture college, and automated weather forecasting centres in all revenue blocks. It also proposed an outlay to enhance productivity of pulses and oil seeds, interest servicing for crop loans and rolled out a new scheme for financing costs of cold storage and processing units.”We cannot rest just by providing relief packages to the farmers… We have to build capacity in farmers to face vagaries of nature, for which a permanent arrangement needs to be in place,” he said. A substantial Rs 7,850-crore provision will help complete 28 irrigation projects and irrigate 1.68 lakh hectare land through 700 million cubic metre (MCM) water storage.Invoking icons like Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Ambedkar and Deendayal Upadhyay, the finance minister noted that “self-dependent farmers and prosperous villages constitute the foundation of Make in India”.Mungantiwar announced measures for developing jetties, rural roads, a competitive smart village programme, provision of safe drinking water, strengthening of gram panchayats, and skill development upgrading electricity distribution. Changes in tax proposals, an amnesty scheme for sales tax and measures to plug tax leakages are expected to unlock revenue growth.The state’s economic survey which was tabled on Thursday said that while the economy was expected to grow at 8%, the agriculture sector was likely to grow at a negative rate of 2.7%. The only bright spot in the otherwise stressed economy is the services sector which is likely to show a robust 10.8% growth, followed by industry which is expected to grow at 5.9%.However, much hinges on the vagaries of the monsoon and the weather. A rise in revenue expenditure projected in the previous budget due to factors like drought relief, has led to the revision of the revenue deficit to Rs 9,289 crore from the previous Rs 3,757 crore. The 2016-17 budget has estimated revenue receipts at Rs 2,20,810 crore and expenditure at Rs 2,24,454 crore, resulting in an estimated revenue deficit of Rs 3,644 crore. “I will try to minimise this deficit by reducing avoidable expenditure and by effective revenue recoveries,” said Mungantiwar.The budget also provides outlays for the third phase of the Mumbai Metro from Nariman point to the BKC and the Nagpur and Pune Metro railway projects and also announced the development of eight other smart cities in addition to Pune and Solapur, which which are selected by the Centre under the Smart City scheme.”To increase the coverage of ‘Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana’, the list of marked diseases… and their treatment is being revised as per the demand of public,” said Mungantiwar.The Budget noted that though state has brought in changes in tax laws and administration for ease of doing business, the fall in international crude prices has adversely affected tax collections by almost Rs 1,800 crore. Senior officials attribute this to fall in rural purchasing power and slowdown in farm, infra sectors.Agriculture expert Budhajirao Mulik said while Mungantiwar had “focussed on agriculture and touched all aspects”, he should have handled the issue of freeing farmers in drought-affected areas from debt. Stressing the need for a time-bound plan to complete irrigation projects, Mulik sought that implementation of the 7th pay commission for government employees should have been frozen, considering the state of finances.

Maharashtra: Mitigations plan on leopards in Junnar forest

Shambhaji Waghmare (35) still shudders while recalling the evening of January 11. On the fateful day, a piercing scream had made the farmer rush outside his home in Junnar’s Ranmala village. What he witnessed in the farm was the spine-chilling scene of a leopard dragging a woman. First he shouted in hope of scaring the leopard, but it got further agitated. The damage was done. Kalpana Gunjal had died. Waghmare had to retreat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barely a km from Waghmare’s house, another farmer, Peraji Gunjal (65), sips fresh lemonade at his home, surrounded by family members and a couple of forest guards. The group is discussing leopard attacks – three this year – that have left the villagers shaken. In fact since January, Gunjal’s home has started resembling a forest chowky, with the Junnar forest department setting up their base here. The department is staring at a difficult summer ahead, with the land of sugarcane farms embroiled in the man-leopard conflict, yet again.dna special correspondent Virat A Singh visits Junnar to understand the proposed mitigation plan, sentiments of the locals and measures that need to be taken to help man and leopard co-exist.JunnarJunnar taluka in Khed subdivision of district Pune is roughly around 200km from Mumbai. Apart from being known for its constant conflict with leopards, Junnar is famous for Shivneri fort – the birthplace of Shivaji Maharaj – as well as Lenadri and Ozar Ganesh temples and the Vikram Sarabhai Earth Station. With sugarcane being extensively cultivated in the farms of Junnar, these fields have long become the preferred homes for several leopards over decades. In fact, the leopards have not only adapted to living in the fields but they also breed there. The big cats survive by hunting animals such as stray dogs and livestock.As one enters Ranmala, now marked red due to leopard scare in the Junnar taluka, a banner of a leopard with its canines drawn out greets people. It also lists out precautions to be taken to avoid conflict. Even as a curious group reads the pointers, one of them mocks, “Hope the leopard, too, has read this banner.”In several villages of the taluka, leopard stories are part of the folklore and an important part of the daily discussions in homes. Even market places do not present discussions on prices of onion and sugarcane.“We don’t hate leopards, as sometimes portrayed by the media. It’s just that if a human is killed or seriously injured, people panic for their children and family members who work on farms. That’s when the equation between people of Junnar and the leopards changes,” says Sambhaji Waghmare, who owns a 1.5-acre farm in Ranmala, and was the sole witness of a leopard killing Kalpana Gunjal on January 11 this year.He quickly adds that the incident left his family, including his parents, wife, children and brother’s family, scared. “We do not allow the children to even leave the house once its dark. In fact, if we have to go out late in the night, we ensure that someone is accompanying us. It’s not just my family, but several people across the villages are following this,” he shares. Waghmare points out a walking stick fitted with bells, that his mother Yamuna is holding. “If we have to go out in dark, we use this stick. So that the tinkling sound alerts the leopards to our presence. A forest team, which came to our house to create awareness, told this,” he says.“We are being constantly alert while working on the farms. Even if we have to only cut grass, we ensure that one person is standing a watch,” saus Peraji Gunjal, another farmer from Ranmala village. He adds that at all times in the day, people walk with music blaring on their mobile phones, as this was also suggested by the Forest department as a measure to avoid conflict.His neighbour Shivaji Chaudhari, another farmer, is quick to add that once it is dark, people returning on their motorcycles wait for each other. They head back to the village only when a small group has formed. “Most of these things are done a few months following an attack. Once the situation normalises, people get back to their normal routine,” Chaudhari shares with a smile.“Junnar could be one of those rare places in the country that has such a unique bond with the leopards. The entire village gathers to help a leopard that has fallen in a well or if the cubs are found stranded in sugarcane fields. But just one attack on a human changes everything,” shares Dr Ajay Deshmukh, veterinarian at Wildlife SOS Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre. He adds that is why he, the forest officials and wildlife biologists, are trying to ensure that Junnar learns to live with the leopards.

Maharashtra: Cops who stopped ‘saffron flag’ hoisting in sensitive area assaulted; 16 arrested

Sixteen people have been arrested so far on charges of assaulting two policemen who last week stopped locals from hoisting a “saffron flag” in a communally sensitive area in Latur district, police said on Wednesday.A mob had allegedly beaten up Assistant Sub-Inspector Yunus Shaikh (57) and manhandled his colleague K Awaskar when they prevented them from putting up the flag at a controversial spot in Pangaon village.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shaikh was hospitalised following the assault.The 12000-strong population of Pangaon village consists of Marathas, Dalits, Reddys and Muslims among others.On the night of February 19, Shaikh and Awaskar allegedly stopped a group of local youths from erecting the flag in the “sensitive” area. The group included Marathas and other Hindus celebrating Shivaji Jayanti, police said.Awaskar and Shaikh, both on duty at Pangaon police chowki, reached the spot and asked the youth to leave. They told them that erecting the flag could lead to communal clashes, a police official said.At 9 AM on Saturday, a mob of around 200-300 people from the village, including the youths, showed up at the police chowki.”They (youths) had incited the mob by telling them that the two policemen had crushed their flags under their feet,” the official said.The mob then allegedly began to attack the duo with fists and lathis. The ASI and his colleague suffered head injuries, but Shaikh was hit worse and was hospitalised.A video of the purported attack, which has gone viral, shows Shaikh being made to parade a street with the saffron flag by the mob.

Shivaji Park in Mumbai to house India’s highest tricolour

Dadar’s Shivaji Park will soon have the highest flag of the country. For this, Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale has sought the approval of Flag Foundation of India and submitted a proposal to Mumbai Heritage Committee. At present, the highest tricolour of the country flutters at the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) headquarters in Belapur.While the tricolour at NMMC headquarters is 70-metre high, the one to be installed at Shivaji Park will be nearly 74 metres (more than 240 ft tall). If all goes well, Shewale is hopeful to get his project completed before Maharashtra Day on May 1.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The highest flag will give Shivaji Park a unique identity in the city — it will be visible from Bandra-Worli Sea Link. “The work on the height of the pole for the flag has already started. The length and breadth of the flag now has to be worked out. I always had a dream of taking up this project. I am glad that it is actually happening. Flag Foundation of India is helping me out with the details as it is a question of the national flag and we cannot afford to go wrong,” said Shewale, who has been working on the project for past several months.Shewale said he wants the flag pole to be located near Balasaheb Thackeray’s ‘Smruti Sthal’ at Shivaji Park. “I have submitted the proposal to the heritage committee and hopefully things should be in place soon. Anyway, each year the flag-hoisting ceremony on January 26 and May 1 happens here; so, this permanent flag here should not be an issue,” he said.The project will cost Rs50 lakh, a part of which the MP is planning to spend from his own fund. He will also seek help from other sources. To ensure that the flag does not droop due to lack of wind, a motor-operated fan will be placed at a particular height to keep it fluttering.

Mumbai: To build or not to build? Raj Thackeray, Sushilkumar Shinde differ on Shivaji memorial

While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said on Sunday that it is more important to maintain and conserve the historic forts that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built instead of building a memorial for the Maratha warrior in the Arabian Sea, former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that it would not be proper to do away with the memorial just because Thackeray had said so.Thackeray and Shinde were both in Pune to attend two different functions and made statements on the memorial to be built in the Arabian Sea for Shivaji Maharaj. Thackeray said that the people who want to build the memorial in the sea want it to be taller than the Statue of Liberty in the US, but had not yet reached any decision on how tall the horse would be on which Shivaji’s statue would be mounted. He added that, on one hand, these people were talking of spending crores of rupees on the Arabian Sea memorial but, on the other hand, they were neglecting the heritage of Maharashtra that lies in the forts built by the great Maratha warrior.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thackeray said that these forts are in a dilapidated condition and the cost of the memorial is increasing at every step. He also said that people who had never gone to any of these forts were now criticising the decision of the state government to confer the Masharashtra Bhushan award on Babasaheb Purandare, who has devoted eight decades to research on Shivaji Maharaj. He added that it is more important to restore, maintain and conserve historic forts, which constitute the heritage of Maharashtra, than build the memorial at sea.Shinde, while speaking to media persons on the same day as Thackeray, said that the in-sea memorial was conceived of when the Congress was in power in the state. Shinde said that Shivaji Maharaj is a subject of pride for Maharashtra and the country at large, which is why the proposed memorial would be comparable to the Statue of Liberty in the US. He added that there is nothing wrong in the memorial being built. He also said that it is not proper to say that the memorial should be done away with only because Thackeray says so.

Shivaji Jayanti: All you need to know about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was celebrated with traditional fervour in Maharashtra today. It is the Maratha warrior king’s 368th birth anniversary today. Here are a few interesting facts about the ruler.-Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is celebrated in Maharashtra. -As per the state government, the date of the birth anniversary falls on February 19.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>-However, Shiv Sena, wants the anniversary to be celebrated as per ‘tithi’ of the Hindu calender which is the Falgun Vadya Tritiya.-Shivaji was born in Shivneri Fort in Junnar which is 100 km east of Mumbai.-He was named after Goddess Shivaai as his mother had prayed to her for a son.-Shivaji as a king was secular and had a sizeable number of Muslims in his army. He wanted to overthrow the Mughal rule to create a Maratha empire and not a Hindu empire. -He captured his first fort “Torna” (Tornagad) or “Prachandgad” when he was 16-years-old which was the first step towards building a Maratha empire. -He was a strategic military commander and established a navy to protect the coastline. -Shivaji escaped an attack by Afzal Khan, He had called him for negotiations and had planned to attack Shivaji. But the Maratha ruler had worn an armour beneath his clothes which saved his life. -He also defeated the famous general and governor Shayista Khan who was sent by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

Shivaji Jayanti: Is Govind Pansare’s Shivaji losing the battle against fanaticism?

According to the Gregorian calendar, February 19 is celebrated as Shivaji Jayanti, a date fixed by the previous Congress government. The Shiv Sena however disagrees and celebrates it according to the Hindu calendar. The fight over Shivaji’s legacy is interesting because there seem to be two different Shivajis that are celebrated. While one Shivaji has been cast as anti-Muslim, casteist and a blind follower of religion. On the other hand, rationalist Govind Pansare has often argued that Shivaji was popular because his priority was welfare of the common people and justice for all. In this piece published first on Feb 2015, Atish Nagpure analyses the two different images that exist of the legendary ruler. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As children, we used to play a game called ‘Shivaji Mhanato’ (Shivaji says). In this, one person would give orders in behalf of Shivaji Maharaj and others had to keep following them. There were no restrictions, so ‘Shivaji’ had complete freedom to give any order he saw fit. Though it was a game like any other, it provided evidence of the impact of Shivaji on the minds of common people in Maharashtra. I have ‘met’ Shivaji many times in life. He was a brave, fearless, wise king who fought for Hindutva, protected cows and Brahmins. Such was the image of Shivaji built in my mind. But when I read ‘Shivaji kon hota?’ (Who was Shivaji?) a masterpiece by Govind Pansare, I was stunned. On that day, I revisited not just Shivaji, but also myself, although forcibly. It changed my perception about history, society and life. We once called Maharashtra a progressive state. But due to a series of unfortunate incidents, the so-called progressiveness of Maharashtra is now being doubted. In fact, the incidents over the last few years have proven that there are two dominant mindsets prevalent in this state. One, which led the progressive reform movements and the other which tried its best to protect backward value system. For many decades, we kept on praising ourselves for being the heirs of Ranade, Karve, Agarkar, Shahu, Mahatma Phule and Babasaheb Ambedkar, but conveniently forgot the legacy of Nathuram Godse, a virus which spread quickly in the minds of the people of Maharashtra. Both ideologies have one symbol in common i.e. Shivaji. But their versions of Shivaji are completely removed from each other. To understand if Maharashtra is a progressive or backward state, we will have to find out which version of Shivaji is more popular in this state. For centuries, Shivaji has been misinterpreted by some interest groups as anti–Muslim, casteist and a blind follower of religion. These groups reclaimed Shivaji and even proclaimed him an avatar of God. But Govind Pansare’s book on Shivaji has managed to sell over 1 lakh copies in 27 years. In this book, he has explained how Shivaji was religious but not anti–Muslim or superstitious. He says, “Shivaji had not become popular because he was just a Hindu king, but because his priority was welfare of the common people. He fought for justice, ensured security to women, and recruited fighers irrespective of their caste and community to help the dream of Swarajya come true.” Pansare’s version of Shivaji must have caused restlessness in the radical right.In same book Pansare says, “Earlier Shivaji was popular in neighbouring states like Karnataka, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, but his image there was compartmentalised by leaders like PK Atre during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. It was further recast by the Shiv Sena as a Hindu king. The party used his name to popularise its anti–Muslim agenda. It continued with upper caste organizations shouting slogans of ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji’, while attacking Dalit communities.”Shivaji is at the centre of Maharashtra’s socio–political culture. People’s emotional attachment to Shivaji is being used by political parties and vested interest groups to achieve their ill-intentioned goals. Pansare had raised his voice against it. He fought relentlessly against this misrepresentation of Shivaji. But unfortunately his Shivaji seems to be losing the battle and the other Shivaji is becoming more popular in Maharashtra today. It is really a serious issue.A year and half ago, anti–superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was killed on the streets of Pune. In a very similar incident Pansare was attacked at Kolhapur. We do not know who has committed these crimes. But one thing we can claim with confidence is that those who attacked both of them have not shouted slogans like ‘Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji’. They could have been the victims of ‘Shivaji mhanato’. This is irony at its worst! A few years ago, the Nandu Madhav directed drama ‘Shivaji underground in Bhimnagar mohalla’ hit the theatres. It was a genuine attempt to educate people about the true legacy of Shivaji. After witnessing a series of unfortunate, brutal incidents, I feel there is an urgent need for Pansare’s Shivaji to surface again, and lead us on the right path.

Man petitions Google for a doodle on Shivaji’s birth anniversary

A Shivaji enthusiast from Maharashtra has started an online petition asking Google to put out a doodle dedicated to Shivaji, the great warrior king of Maharashtra from the 17th century, on his birth anniversary.Shivaji ruled a sizeable area in Maharashtra during the 17th century and fought famous battles against the then Mughal rulers.In his petition on Change.org, Wankhade wrote, “February 19th is the 386th birth anniversary of Chhatrapati (monarch) Shivaji Maharaj, one of the most respected and revered kings of India. We would love to see a Google Doodle honouring Shivaji on this day.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Statue of Shivaji at Raigad fort, Maharashtra. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons29-year-old Amit Wankhade started the campaign asking the online search giant to commemorate Shivaji’s birth anniversary in the same way that several other stalwarts of history, science and art are celebrated by it.Wankhade, a teacher in a Zilla Parishad School from Yavatmal district in Maharashtra, believes a doodle will help spread Shivaji’s great victories and his values to other parts of India, and not just Maharashtra.Shivaji is one of the most iconic rulers from Maharashtra and has been heralded as the greatest ever by generations of Maharashtrians. State politics revolves around Shivaji’s life and Shiv Sena, a major player in Maharashtra politics, borrows its name from Shivaji (Shiv Sena meaning ‘Shivaji’s army’).Wankhade claims to have received a wide support for his #DoodleofShivray campaign. He has appealed to the people to ask Google for a doodle by going here or e-mailing them on [email protected]

This Valentine’s Day, Raj Thackery’s heart will skip a beat

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has developed a heart, just in time for Valentine’s Day.Red hearts will adorn the special ‘selfie point’ the party has set up at Shivaji Park. Interestingly, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the headquarters of the Shiv Sena.This is the first time since its formation in 2006 that the MNS will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. So, what’s cooking? Party leaders say it is one good way to connect with youngsters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>True. But when a party does it, can politics be far behind? Raj Thackery and his men sure do know that the BMC polls are scheduled for February next year.MNS corporator from Shivaji Park Sandip Deshpande, who set up the city’s first selfie point, sings another tune. The party has also chosen to make late poet Mangesh Padgaonkar’s lines Shatada Prem Karave (Keep loving always) as its Valentine’s Day theme.”We will put up the poem also as part of celebrations. Our celebration is about loving Marathi culture and Mumbai,” he said.”Our selfie point is already very popular. We are just changing the theme. After umbrellas during monsoon and butterflies during winter, it’s going to be hearts for Valentine’s Day. We will also have pictures of Mumbai’s tourist spots. So, basically we want people to love the city,” he said.If the MNS has developed a heart, within the Sena, there’s a change of heart. Though traditionally opposed to Valentine’s Day, the Sena has decided not to harass couples this February 14. Party sources call it the Aaditya effect.The Yuva Sena leader has strictly directed Sainiks ‘not’ to misbehave with boys and girls on Valentine’s Day.”If youngsters want to celebrate the festival, it is not a good idea to oppose it. The party had to soften its stand to keep a large section of voters happy. Ever since Aadityaji took over, we have stopped attacking couples. We have moved on, and, in fact, it is Aadityaji who is batting to revive the city’s nightlife,” said a senior Sena functionary.Pearls of wisdom. There’s lot of love and politics in the air. All we want to know is who will young voters prefer taking a selfie with before the BMC?MNS was formed in 2006 not 2007. Pls change that. The hearts are going to be set up by Feb 14 so pls say will instead of are in para 2 and 3.Pls mention that Sandip Deshpande had set up the city’s first selfie point at Shivaji Park. Or just say Deshpande who set up be city’s first selfie point.

Deonar fire: Protests staged in Mumbai over fire and pollution in the city

Over 500 people, wearing black clothes and pollution masks, on Wednesday held a demonstration here, seeking a probe into the fire at Deonar dumping ground and resulting smog.The protesters shouted slogans condemning the ‘apathy’ on Deonar dumping ground issue. The air quality in Mumbai continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ category for the sixth consecutive day since the Deonar fire broke out, a meteorological official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protesters took out a march from Deonar to Chembur naka. They carried posters highlighting the problem of uncontrolled dumping and the thick smog persisting across the eastern suburbs in the megapolis and sought an inquiry into the fire.Municipal schools in central Mumbai’s Shivaji Nagar and Deonar, which were closed for two days last week due to smog caused by a recent fire at the Deonar garbage dumping ground, reopened on Monday. Parts of Mumbai have been engulfed in a thick blanket of smog since Thursday due to the fire and other reasons, including a drop in temperature and vehicular pollution.On Friday, the fire at Deonar dumping ground led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to shut down 74 schools run by it, as the smoke from the ground veiled the area causing breathing difficulties. Schools in M-ward including those in Chembur, Deonar, Tilak Nagar, Pestom Sagar, Shivaji Nagar, Mankhurd, Baiganwadi, were closed for two days last week.

Jet Airways flight makes emergency landing at Yangon

A Ho Chi Minh City-bound Jet Airways flight via Bangkok carrying 184 passengers on board from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here made an emergency landing at Myanmar’s Yangon airport due to a snag in the Boeing 737 aircraft.Jet Airways flight 9W-070 from Mumbai to Bangkok was diverted to Yangon on January 5, 2016 due to technical reasons. The aircraft landed safely at 1410 hours local time in Yangon, the airline said in a statement today.Jet Airways operated a relief flight from Delhi to Yangon to fly the stranded passengers to Bangkok, it said. The incident, which happened yesterday, forced the airline to cancel its flights to Ho Chi Minh City from Bangkok and vice versa.The airline said that as a result of the diversion, its flights from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City and from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok were cancelled. The airline made alternate travel arrangements for guests travelling between Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, it said adding at Jet Airways safety of our guests and crew is of prime importance. We regret any inconvenience caused to guests.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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