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Living in denial? Mamata Banerjee says no communal clashes in Dhulagarh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said no communal clash took place at Dhulagarh in Howrah district and termed it as “local problem”. “It is a small matter. It is a local problem. That was not a communal problem. I will stick to police’s version,” she told mediapersons at the state secretariat. Earlier in the day the Chief Minister denied any incident of rioting at Dhulagarh and alleged that “wrong information” was being given on social media. “In the last 15 days, social media is running wrong information on an incident which did not take place at all,” Banerjee said at a programme here in an apparent reference to reports of violence earlier this month at Dhulagarh, which is barely 20 km from the state secretariat.”In order to break news one must not act irresponsibly. If something has really happened then you (media) have every right to report it but I think a field survey must be done,” she said.Her remarks came even as a senior government official had yesterday said strict actions were taken against those involved in the Dhulagarh violence and the process of giving compensation to the affected has started.The state government, Banerjee said today, is the first to help a family when their home is damaged or they are affected.”If there is an accident, we immediately take steps to help the family…. We do it on humanitarian grounds but we do not do any publicity,” she said.District police said inhabitants are wary of returning to their homes at Dhulagarh. Delegations of BJP, CPI(M) and Congress were stopped from visiting the troubled areas of the district and police superintendent of Howrah (Rural) Sabyasachi Raman Mishra was transferred in the wake of violence within less than a fortnight of his appointment.BJP has hit out at Banerjee over the Dhulagarh incident.”This is height of politics of appeasement. I want to ask those intellectuals, who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat and then intolerant India, that when are they going to Kolkata,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said yesterday. Earlier, a non-bailable warrant was filed against Zee News reporters by the government of West Bengal for covering the Dhulagarh riots, claimed Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhury.. He had written on Twitter: “@MamataOfficial Govt files FIR against me& @ZeeNews reporter for covering #DhulagarhRiots with Non Bailable sections. FIR for showing truth?”Zee News Chief Editor Sudhir Chaudhary wrote on Facebook: “ Just to inform all of you Mamta Banerjee Govt has filed an FIR against me and ZeeNews reporter Pooja Mehta and cameraperson Tanmay Mukherjee for covering Dhulagarh Riots on Zee News.The FIR has non bailable sections which is enough to gauge their intentions to arrest me and my colleagues. Pooja Mehta is just 25 and got the taste of Mamta’s intolerance so early in life in the form of a non bailable FIR.This is what a young girl reporter getting to learn from a woman chief minister who claims to be the champion of democracy.It’s another low point in our democracy to see a democratically elected govt using police force to curb media in an effort to suppress uncomfortable facts and reality.When you can’t manage media,use the state machinery to conquer the media only to conceal the failures of your administration. It shows the intolerance of a chief minister who is using the state machinery as her personal fiefdom and acting like a feudal lord. I see the positive side of this blunder as a window for all free minds of this nation to act and show fascist forces their actual place. Or once again Selfish Politics will prevail? That’s my fear. #IntolerantMamta”On December 13, clashes between two communities erupted following the Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations in Dhulagarh. Locals in the village alleged that ‘unprovoked’ clashes erupted after an infuriated mob in a procession of Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations started charging bombs at the houses. However, members in the procession allege that they were prevented from taking out the procession, following which violent clashes broke out.A week after clashes erupted in Howrah district’s Dhulagarh, the Bengal governor Keshari Nath Trpathi summoned Bengal Director General of Police (DGP), Surajit Kar Purkayastha on Thursday. This comes a day after BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly led a delegation and met the victims of Dhulagarh incident.Disclaimer: Zee News is DNA’s sister organisation.

JNU missing student: AMU students seek CBI probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AMU Students’ Union demanded a CBI inquiry on Wednesday into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 74 days. In a memorandum sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, the union alleged that instead of trying to trace Ahmed, police was harassing the family of the missing student and shielding criminals.Ahmed, an MSc Biotechnology student, went missing on October 15 after a scuffle, allegedly with ABVP affiliated students at his hostel inside the JNU campus. His mother Fatima Nafees and sister Sadaf were detained by police when they along with scores of agitating students tried to take out a protest march to India Gate in New Delhi on November 6. Fatima was virtually dragged into a bus by police along with other students.The memorandum said the same forces which had compelled Dalit student Rohit Vemula to commit suicide in Hyderabad earlier this year were behind Ahmed’s disappearance. AMU students led by their union president Faizul Hasan held a demonstration in Aligarh on Tuesday and threatened to intensify their stir if government did not fulfil their demand.Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has also asserted that they will continue with their protest on the issue. Delhi Police has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information about Ahmed, while the Crime Branch is trying to trace him without any success so far.

AMU students’ union now demands CBI inquiry into Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance

Aligarh: AMU Students’ Union on Wednesday demanded a CBI inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has remained untraced for 74 days.

In a memorandum sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, the union alleged that instead of trying to trace Ahmed, police was harassing the family of the missing student and shielding criminals.

Ahmed, an MSc Biotechnology student, went missing on 15 October after a scuffle, allegedly with ABVP affiliated students at his hostel inside the JNU campus.

JNU. Image courtesy News18

JNU. Image courtesy News18

His mother Fatima Nafees and sister Sadaf were detained by police when they along with scores of agitating students tried to take out a protest march to India Gate in New Delhi on 6 November. Fatima was virtually dragged into a bus by police along with other students.

The memorandum said the same forces which had compelled Dalit student Rohit Vemula to commit suicide in Hyderabad earlier this year were behind Ahmed’s disappearance.

AMU students led by their union president Faizul Hasan held a demonstration in Aligarh on Tuesday and threatened to intensify their stir if government did not fulfil their demand.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has also asserted that they will continue with their protest on the issue.

Delhi Police has announced a reward of Rs ten lakh for information about Ahmed, while the Crime Branch is trying to trace him without any success so far.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:18 IST

Mamata govt filed FIR against Zee News reporters for covering Dhulagarh riots, says Sudhir Chaudhury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a case of crackdown on press freedom, a non-bailable warrant was filed against Zee News reporters by the government of West Bengal for covering the Dhulagarh riots, claims Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhury.. He wrote on Twitter: “@MamataOfficial Govt files FIR against me& @ZeeNews reporter for covering #DhulagarhRiots with Non Bailable sections. FIR for showing truth?”Zee News Chief Editor Sudhir Chaudhary wrote on Facebook: “ Just to inform all of you Mamta Banerjee Govt has filed an FIR against me and ZeeNews reporter Pooja Mehta and cameraperson Tanmay Mukherjee for covering Dhulagarh Riots on Zee News.The FIR has non bailable sections which is enough to gauge their intentions to arrest me and my colleagues. Pooja Mehta is just 25 and got the taste of Mamta’s intolerance so early in life in the form of a non bailable FIR.This is what a young girl reporter getting to learn from a woman chief minister who claims to be the champion of democracy.It’s another low point in our democracy to see a democratically elected govt using police force to curb media in an effort to suppress uncomfortable facts and reality.When you can’t manage media,use the state machinery to conquer the media only to conceal the failures of your administration. It shows the intolerance of a chief minister who is using the state machinery as her personal fiefdom and acting like a feudal lord. I see the positive side of this blunder as a window for all free minds of this nation to act and show fascist forces their actual place. Or once again Selfish Politics will prevail? That’s my fear. #IntolerantMamta”On December 13, clashes between two communities erupted following the Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations in Dhulagarh. Locals in the village alleged that ‘unprovoked’ clashes erupted after an infuriated mob in a procession of Milad-ul-Nabi celebrations started charging bombs at the houses. However, members in the procession allege that they were prevented from taking out the procession, following which violent clashes broke out.A week after clashes erupted in Howrah district’s Dhulagarh, the Bengal governor Keshari Nath Trpathi summoned Bengal Director General of Police (DGP), Surajit Kar Purkayastha on Thursday. This comes a day after BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly led a delegation and met the victims of Dhulagarh incident.Disclaimer: Zee News is DNA’s sister organisation.

Florence Nightingales of the army sing discrimination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two officers in the Military Nursing Services (MNS), the only all women corps of the army, have challenged discriminatory practices by the army in the Supreme Court (SC) and have sought restoration of their status, dignity and service conditions as officers of the Regular Army.In their petition, MNS officers Lieutenant Colonel Uma Kaushik and Captain Harpreet Kaur sought parity with officers in the army on various grounds. In their prayer, the officers have listed at least 13 grounds where discriminatory practices were observed. They include orders where nurses of senior ranks would not be saluted by junior ranked officers. Hence, though a MNS officer may be a Major General in uniform, a jawan will not salute her.The petitioners are of the opinion that the core consideration of the case stems from the prejudice they face, based on an obsolete and backward notion that nurses are inferior to other professionals. In their petition, they said they believe the heart of the matter is that doctors and male officers find it unpalatable that they are required to treat nursing officers in accordance with their status and rank.This petition is similar to a 2015 writ petition filed by Major General (Retd) Usha Sikdar on behalf of Military Nursing Service Corps Association in which a notice was issued to the army. It is interesting to note that since hearing in December, 4, 2015, the matter has not come up again in the top court.Known as the Florence Nightingales of the Indian Army, MNS officers have been seeking redressal for over a decade now. The petitioners believe that discriminatory practices were introduced after a 2003 SC judgement in Jasbir Kaur’s case, where an unfortunate one line observation made by the Bench stated, “That the Indian Military Nursing Service is a separate class, sui generis even though an auxiliary force of the Indian Military, is an undeniable fact.”Over the years, the nurses allege that they were discriminated against on at least 13 grounds that included discontinuation of arms training, change in uniform, stripping of stars and flags from vehicles and verbal instructions to stop saluting MNS officers among others.According to the petition, the Army, vide letter no. B/42706/MNS/AG/CW-1 09.02.2004, changed the olive green shirt and pants (like other officers in the Army) worn by the officers in the MNS to safari style beige colour uniform. This, the officers allege, was discriminatory and a grave gender injustice.IN 2005, the Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) disallowed the display of star plates and flying of flags by officers in the MNS of the rank of Brigadier and Major general on their official vehicles. In 2008, the CoAS wrote to the Cabinet Secretary against granting the same pay band and grade pay to officers in the MNS as for the other service officers as recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission.After 2004, MNS officers have been denied membership and access to exclusive army clubs and institutes and accommodation has been segregated. The 6th Pay Commission recommended parity in time-scale promotions, a notification that has not yet been implemented.In their petition, the two officers further allege that there has been an attempt to take away their commissioned rank. In her blog titled Fall of Nightingales – the tale of a losing battle, Maj Gen Sikdar wrote that a 10-member committee, headed by then army director-general of discipline, ceremonial and welfare, Lt Gen MG Girish recommended that MNS ranks be changed to Sister, Senior Sister, Matron, Deputy Principal Matron, Deputy Nursing Superintendent and Nursing Superintendent from Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lt Colonel, Brigadier and Major General, respectively. However, medical officers got to retain their ranks, Sikdar noted.

ISIS suspect Musa planned to attack Mother House in Kolkata to target US nationals: NIA chargesheet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ISIS suspect Mohammad Masiuddin alias Musa had planned to attack Mother House in Kolkata to target US nationals according to the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday at NIA special court. The chargesheet filed by NIA mentions that ISIS suspect had planned to attack Mother House as a lot of US nationals would frequent this place to pay homage to Sister Teresa of Calcutta. A month ago, a seven-member team of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interrogated Musa in Kolkata.
ALSO READ FBI warns of possible Islamic State-inspired attacks in USThe 25-year-old Musa was arrested from the Burdwan railway station by CID on July 4 on charges of radicalising youths to join ISIS.Later, the probe was taken over by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the agency is currently probing his links to Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and also the Dhaka attacks.
ALSO READ ISIS offers $1 million for murder of Kurdish woman who fought themSources in the NIA reveal, Musa had agreed to take on the assignment from a JMB leader Abu Suleiman to target foreigners and US nationals in India and behead them.In March 2015, Musa had met Abu Suleiman in India’s eastern state of West Bengal during his sister’s wedding.
ALSO READ Bengaluru man with alleged ISIS links held in KulluMusa had been in touch with Suleiman over Facebook, but Suleiman had expressed his wish to meet Musa in person. Later, Musa invited him to attend his sister’s wedding, held in Bengal.Meanwhile, Suleiman is on the run and both – Indian and Bangladeshi governments are looking for him.Musa came under the scanner of CID and NIA after his e-mails and calls were traced to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Syria. Officials in the investigating agency highlight that he had been touch with several ISIS operatives in Syria through the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Initial investigation revealed that he had also been in touch with several JMB operatives in Bangladesh.

I-T raids uncovered Rs 3,185 Crore of undisclosed income since demonetisation

New Delhi: Over Rs 3,185 crore of un-disclosed income has been detected while Rs 86 crore worth new notes have been seized by the Income Tax department as part of its country-wide operations against black money hoarders post the demonetisation of two high value currencies by the government.

Official sources said the taxman carried out a total of 677 search, survey and enquiry operations under the provisions of the Income Tax Act since the note ban was declared on 8 November, even as the department has issued over 3,100 notices to various entities on charges of tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The I-T department, they said, has seized cash and jewellery worth over Rs 428 crore during the same period even as the new currency seized (majorly Rs 2000 notes) is valued at about Rs 86 crore.

“The total undisclosed income admitted or detected as part of this action, till 19 December, is more than Rs 3,185 crore,” they said.

The agency has also referred over 220 cases to its sister agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe other financial crimes like money laundering, disproportionate assets and corruption as part of their legal mandate.

Officials said various tax offices in the country and it’s policy-making body Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) are also coordinating with banks and their regulator RBI as part of these investigations, being carried out to check tax evasion and illegal profiteering leading to black money.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of these probe agencies have issued orders to all their field formations to deposit the new currency, being seized by their officials in operations, in bank accounts rather than keeping it in strong rooms.

“This way the new currency can come into circulation and help banks dispense it to the public,” they said.

The I-T department has also asked its field formations to coordinate with local police, also making huge cash and jewellery seizures, to understand the complete modus operandi of black money generation post demonetisation.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 22:32 IST

Jayalalithaa-Sasikala Natarajan friendship: Soul sisters whose relationship soured

The relationship between J Jayalalithaa and her companion Sasikala Natarajan has been quite well-documented in the history of Tamil Nadu politics — it has been both tumultuous and rewarding for both of them alike. In fact, Jayalalithaa’s relationships with MGR and Karunanidhi, which will merit two separate pieces altogether, have only been more frenzied, perhaps at times even less.

As the story goes, the credit of introducing Sasikala to Jayalalithaa belongs to IAS officer-turned-politician VS Chandralekha, who hired Sasikala’s husband, R Natarajan as her PRO. In the 1980s, when Jayalalithaa entered politics, the two grew reportedly close, with Sasikala even wanting to film a video of the “glamourous propaganda secretary” to sell at a huge profit, writes The Sunday Guardian. Soon, the Mannargudi-based Sasikala started taking charge around Jayalalithaa’s house — this was during the time when MGR was hospitalised, writes Vaasanthi in Amma: Jayalalithaa’s Journey from Movie Star to Political Queen — and had become the latter’s confidante.

Former filmstar and powerful regional politician Jayaram Jayalalitha (C), leader of the opposition AIADMK party alliance, arrives with her companion Sasikala Natarajan (L) and an unidentified woman at a polling booth in Madras, May 10, 2001. Though polling for the state assembly was largely peaceful in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, violence plagued elections in India's insurgency-hit state of Assam. SK/PB - RTRI1OIFormer filmstar and powerful regional politician Jayaram Jayalalitha (C), leader of the opposition AIADMK party alliance, arrives with her companion Sasikala Natarajan (L) and an unidentified woman at a polling booth in Madras, May 10, 2001. Though polling for the state assembly was largely peaceful in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, violence plagued elections in India's insurgency-hit state of Assam. SK/PB - RTRI1OI

File image of Jayalalithaa (centre) and Sasikala Natarajan (right). Reuters

Vaasanthi, in fact, dedicates a chapter to the duo (see The Woman Who Knew Too Much) where she writes that a section of Jayalalithaa’s faithful supporters resented their very relationship — Jayalalithaa even declared Sasikala her “udanpiravaa sagodhari (sister not related through blood)” Sasikala and her relatives soon began to rein royal at the household, the press dubbed them the ‘Mannargudi mafia’. Rumours started flying around about Sasikala’s corrupt practices of acquiring land in and around Chennai and Thanjavur, movable and immovable properties.

Jayalalithaa, who had adopted Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran, announced his wedding (September 1995) to Sathyalakshmi, the granddaughter of actor Sivaji Ganesan — this naturally raised eyebrows. But more importantly, it gave rise to the infamous picture of Jayalalithaa and Sasikala dressed as twins, clad in garish golden-orange saris and decked in diamond splendour. The extravagant wedding consisted of 10 dining halls that could hold a capacity of 25,000 people; state machinery was royally misused with the TNEB being used to supply power to the hall, Metrowater tankers used to supply seven lakh litres of water and government vehicles employed for transport. Sudhakaran later distanced himself from his ‘aunt’, following which he accused “that side” of making threatening calls to him.

A decade later, AIADMK lost in the 1996 Assembly elections and Sasikala was arrested by the DMK government for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA); Natarajan then pushed aside journalists in a dramatic moment, following which he was arrested. Jayalalithaa then distanced herself from her friend but soon came around a few months later.

But one of the biggest scandals that affected the duo is the Tansi land deal: The CBCID charged that the 3.78 acre-land in Chennai’s Guindy industrial estate, which belonged to Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation Limited or Tansi, was bought by Jaya Publications and Sasi Enterprises — where Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were shareholders — at a price lower than the market price, in 1991-92. This incurred a loss to the government. Judge S Thangaraj of Madras High Court announced that Jayalalithaa was acquitted. Ultimately, the Supreme Court in 2003 also acquitted Jayalalithaa in the case, reported Rediff.com.

On 19 December, 2011, Jayalalithaa expelled Sasikala, Natarajan and 12 of their relatives from the AIADMK’s primary membership, reports Frontline. This expulsion lasted a mere 100 days or so before Sasikala officially joined the AIADMK in 2000 and became a member of its general council.

Today, a weathered Sasikala, clad in a simple black sari, stands by her friend’s remains, perhaps wondering what the future sans Jayalalithaa might hold for her.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 09:01 IST

Teen girl with no social media presence becomes Internet star

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When a self-effacing 18-year-old student sang a Punjabi song during a college study tour, little did she know that this was going to be her stairway to stardom. Isha Andotra, BA (second year) student of Kathua district of Jammu, has become an Internet singing star after an amateur video of her Punjabi number became a chart buster notching 8.4 million views and 2.37 lakh shares on Facebook. Interestingly, the new queen of the social media has no cell phone, and therefore no WhatsApp account, and no presence on the social networking sites.If this was not enough, the singing offers galore and producers’ emissaries are making a beeline to woo her for upcoming next project. Unfazed by the new found popularity, Isha has refused all the offers because she wants to focus on her studies.“We had gone to Purthu to visit Grassland for our Environmental Sciences project. During the trip my friends insisted I sing a few lines. I sang from my heart and all my friends and our staff members recorded it on their mobile phones. I don’t know who uploaded the video on Facebook, and on YouTube. It has become so popular that I am getting calls”, Isha told DNA.The 18-year-old and her elder sister have been singing in school and college functions since childhood. But they never considered professional singing till Isha’s video went viral. Isha and her sister have not received any formal training in music from any school or institution. “My sister and I have been singing together in school and college events. Since my sister is now pursuing her Masters in Social Work, I am singing solo”, she said.“A secretary of a Patiala-based music company visited our home and offered to train me professionally for one and half years before launching me in the industry. But I sought more time to think. I want to complete my education before making a foray in the industry,” she said.Isha’s parents are proud, but they want her to complete her education. “It feels great to see and hear about her popularity. My suggestion to Isha is to complete her studies first and then see how things shape up”, said Krishna Devi, Isha’s mother.

Mission Possible: How to save a life, the ‘official’ way

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mostly dismissed as lethargic, casual and callous, the bureaucratic and political establishment can sometimes radically alter the script. As it happened with Dr Pooja Bhakoni, who was critically injured in last fortnight’s train accident near Kanpur and is now recovering in a Delhi hospital thanks to various departments that came together to choreograph a story of survival and solicitude.The 36-year-old assistant professor at Indore’s St Paul Management Institute was headed to Kanpur for a family wedding with her husband and two sons, aged 11 and three, when the Indore-Patna Express derailed on November 20. More than 140 people were killed, including her husband, and 200 injured. While her younger son Ritwick escaped relatively unscathed, elder son Tanishq received multiple fractures. Both are now back home in Indore.Bhakoni, who is now awaiting pelvic surgery at the BLK Hospital here, had multiple fractures in her hands, legs and pelvis and internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity for which she was initially treated at Kanpur Medical College.Soon after the accident, a high powered team of officials from Madhya Pradesh reached Kanpur to provide help to those who belonged to the state. They paid all the bills, including food and medicine, and asked Bhakoni’s family about their choice of hospital.”The officials initially arranged an ICU bed in Kanpur’s Regency Hospital. But I suggested that she be shifted to Delhi. The Madhya Pradesh government authorities arranged for an air ambulance transfer from Kanpur to Delhi. But since Chakeri airport at Kanpur does not operate at night, she was shifted by road in an ambulance to Lucknow’s Amausi Airport,” said Dr Kavita Chauhan, Bhakoni’s sister who works as a paediatrician in BLK Hospital.”The ambulance was accompanied by two pilot cars in front and behind acting as a shield and making way for throughout the journey. Authorities in Kanpur helped in providing a safe and clear corridor from Kanpur to Lucknow,” she recounted.The flight reached Delhi at 10 p.m. that night and an ambulance took her to the BLK Hospital’s ICU within an hour. All the arrangements were made by Madhya Pradesh government’s officials who had full authorization from Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan, the family said.”This shows that such things are possible if there is a political will and all the medical systems are in place. This is unthinkable and unbelievable in India,” said Dr Rajesh Kumar Pande, director and senior consultant, critical care, at BLK Hospital.This was not her sister’s story alone, said Kavita. It was the same for all those from Madhya Pradesh who were taken by air to different hospitals.”All the more commendable is that Ashish Srivastava, the resident commissioner of Madhya Pradesh, visited the patient and gave us his official card for any help any time,” Pande said.Bhakoni was on ventilator support till November 24 and doctors are planning to perform a pelvic fixation surgery this week.The accident in which 14 coaches of the train derailed in the early hours of November 20 in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district is the worst in India in six years.

‘Why was my sister killed?’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just 24, she was a pillar of support to her brothers and mother, working as a dancer to help make ends meet and build a home for the family. A day after Neha Sharma was allegedly killed by cops chasing prisoners on the run, a jailbreak that should have been just a headline, far removed from their daily lives, has left an aching void in the Sharma home.”Papa ke jaane ke baad, Neha ne hi saath mil ke ghar banwaya tha. Ab ghar mein wahi nai hai (After papa’s death, Neha helped build a home for us. Now she herself is not at home),” says her elder brother, 26-year-old Karan Sharma, about his sister who was allegedly shot dead by a Punjab police constable near Nogawan village, around 25 km from here, soon after six prisoners had escaped from the Nabha jail on Sunday morning.Survived by her mother Neelam and three brothers, aged 15, 24 and 26, Neha, who worked as a dancer, was the strength of the family after their father’s death about 14 years ago. The family had taken a loan of Rs 5 lakh to build the house in Patiala which is almost complete now.”My younger brother is studying and I am looking for work. But she began working at an early age. She would earn around Rs 5,000 in every function and would save the money. She also appeared for her Class X11 exams while working,” recalls a grieving Karan.She was 19 when she began working as a troupe dancer with the Patiala- based Arman Entertainment Group and had been supporting her family since. On Sunday, Karan recounts, she left home around 10.30 am for Kaithal in Haryana, where she was supposed to perform along with three other girls.”She left at 10.30 am and told me that she would be back in the evening and we would go to the market to buy something to celebrate our mother’s birthday,” says Karan.She was reportedly sitting on the front seat with the driver, who was also the troupe manager. The three others were in the back seat. According to the police version, the driver apparently panicked when he saw the police and tried to jump the police barricade. That’s when the police opened fire. One bullet hit Neha in the chest and the other the car’s dashboard on the driver’s side. Neha was declared brought dead to the hospital. A bullet also hit a bike rider who was passing by. He has been admitted to the Samana Civil Hospital.Stunned and grief-stricken, Neha’s family denies the police version. “Half-an-hour after she left, I got a call from the driver that she has been shot. The car had slowed down and was about to stop when the police began firing. My sister was sitting on the front seat and she was hit. How could the police fire on the front end of the car if they (troupe members) had tried to escape? It was broad daylight, but the police could not notice that a woman was sitting on the front seat?” says Karan.The family says it wants justice and demands the arrest of the police constable who was arrested. “Humein bas insaaf chahiye (All we need is justice),” says Karan.Deputy Commissioner of Police, Patiala, and senior police officers have visited the family and assured them financial assistance, including a government job, to one of the family members.

Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Woman arrested for pretending to be sister of victim

Kanpur: A 45-year-old woman was arrested for masquerading as the sister of a man killed in Indore-Patna derailment incident and trying to claim compensation, police said on Wednesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

DSP Pavitra Mohan Tripathi said a woman claiming to be Preeti, a resident of Patna, on Tuesday approached the authorities at Mati postmortem house and identified a body as that of her brother Rahul.

The postmortem of the body was carried out and preparations were being made to hand it over when some doctors
became suspicious as she kept asking when she would be recieving the compensation, he said.

The medical staff informed the police who questioned the woman. She kept on giving different addresses to them and was also not able to provide her identity card.

Meanwhile, one Dina Vishwakarma from Chandauli district reached the postmortem house and identified the body as that of his son Rishu (30), he added.

The deceased used to work as a cleaner on contract in trains and was onboard the ill-fated Indore-Patna Express on Sunday. Dina, who reached the hospital after receiving news about the accident, identified Rishu’s body and also showed the police his ID card, the police official said.

The woman then identified herself as Aaliya Parveen (45), a resident of Varanasi’s Godowlia. She told the police that she hatched this plan after coming to know that the kin of the deceased were being given large compensation.

Police suspect the involvement of some more people as Aaliya had shown authorities fake identity papers of the deceased.

An FIR has been registered against her at Akbarpur Police Station and she is being questioned. Her call records are also being probed, the DSP said.

DNA samples of the deceased, Aaliya and Dina have been taken and Rishu’s body has been handed to his father, Tripathi said.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 17:50 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: Army vows to avenge killings of 3 soldiers; ISIS link to Zakir Naik; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Jammu and Kashmir: 3 soldiers killed, India warns Pakistan of heavy retributionBAT, a mix of Pak special forces and jihadis, kills 3 Army jawans, mutilate one’s body after an ambush on LoC. Read more.2. Demonetization: Not an end, but beginning, says PM ModiModi also asks BJP MPs to refrain from calling demonetization a ‘surgical strike’. Read more3. NIA gives Zakir Naik two more worries: sister Nailah and IS linkThe arrested individual, identified as Abu Anas, had claimed that he had received a scholarship from Naik’s organisation last year. Read more.4. DNA Exclusive: NHAI to foot Rs 700 crore bill for no-toll dayAs the days progressed, the exemption limit was extended till November 24. Read more.5. Donald Trump’s TPP bombshell sets off trade tremors in IndiaCompared to the previous UPA government’s preference to steer clear of the US-China rivalry, Prime Minister Modi’s tenure so far has been responsive towards US proposals for cooperation in the defence sector. Read more.

Demonetisation: Dear Rs 100 note, please accept our apologies for taking you for granted

Dear honoured, esteemed, revered hundred rupee note sirji,

I have to say I am ashamed of the way we have treated you in the recent past. The way we have badmouthed you and sat around discussing how you were incapable of getting us anything worthwhile.

Tossed you into a dark and dingy corner of our minds with none to do you reverence. Ha! A hundred rupee note, what a cruel joke, how far does it go, not even worth peanuts.

Sorry for taking you for granted.Sorry for taking you for granted.

Sorry for taking you for granted.

We scoffed you for sure and you waited your turn. I always had a sneaky feeling you would make a comeback from the glorious days of the seventies and eighties and we could see a movie in ‘dress circle’ for Rs 4.40 and buy coffee at the Taj for Rs 10 and a whole family could live off you for a week in comparative luxury. A tin of pure ghee was Rs 6 and four of us could have Chinese dinner for one of you with tip included.

We joined the Times as journalists in 1969 on five of you a month and we lived damn well and three of you could fly us from Mumbai to Delhi. And a bottle of rum cost Rs 8. Ho! ho! ho!

I am not pumping sunshine (of course I am), but I always felt that after you had faded into oblivion and counted for nothing but chump change that you would make a comeback and what a comeback it has been.

Not even in your heydays have you been so coveted and so much in demand today what with everyone chasing you and wanting you to fetch up in their lives.

It must be a wonderful feeling and I am so happy for you.

Just to have you in our pockets is such a warm, fuzzy sensation.

Please do not see this as sucking up to you (which it blatantly is but I cannot admit it) but I have always been one of your well-wishers and I still give my sister only Rs 100 on Rakhi (in your honour, not because I am downright stingy) and you are always welcome to bring all your siblings and stay with us. Come in your thousands and we will find room for you.

In fact, so moved am I by your resurrection that I wish to publicly extend to you my humble apologies for the past misconduct and for treating you badly. It was entirely shortsighted and all I can say is may there be more and more of you — ‘phoolo jeeyo’ with abandon.

India needs you (I need you) and woe to those who were nasty about you and disrespected you. I have always been a fan and a supporter as you can see by the fact that I was always placed one of you in the donation box at the mandir as a sign of my respect for your glorious history.

Even as I conceal my transparent servility and abject, craven sycophancy beneath a cloak of goodwill, all I want to say is that you are worth more than your bigger brothers and I’d rather have twenty of you than one of them.

Once again, please accept my regret for the many times that I foolishly took you for granted and I confess that when in 2012 I lost one of you I did not mean to say ‘no big deal’ that was just a turn of phrase and if you come to our house in Delhi today we have made a garland out of you and greet you each morning with folded hands.

Please do not desert us in this time of need.

First Published On : Nov 20, 2016 14:01 IST

Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation banned by govt for five years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Union government on Tuesday decided to declare Islamic Research Foundation floated by preacher Zakir Naik an outlawed organisation under UAPA. It has been banned for five years. The cabinet meeting presided by PM Narendra Modi approved a proposal to declare Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for five years, a Home Ministry official said.The govt was tightening screws on IRF after it was revealed that one of the attackers involved in the Dhaka cafe attack was inspired by teleevangelist Zakir Naik’s preachings. On November 1, the writing was on the wall for Zakir Naik’s organisation when home ministry initiated cabinet note to declare controversial televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) as an unlawful association. It also revoked its Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) license and put its sister concern IRF Educational Trust (IRF-ET) under prior permission category.Investigations have found IRF guilty of promoting enmity and hatred between different religions and motivating youth to commit terrorist acts through hate speeches and having dubious money dealings with Peace Television, an international Islamic channel, accused of propagating terrorism. Besides Naik is also an accused of radicalising youth in almost half a dozen criminal cases.Despite various ongoing investigations, the ministry had inadvertently renewed the registration of IRF under the FCRA in September leading to suspension of a Joint Secretary and four other officials in the FCRA division of the home ministry.Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, officials said.The Islamic orator is banned in the UK and Canada for his hate speech aimed against other religions. He is among 16 banned Islamic scholars in Malaysia. He is popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher who is abroad, has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light.With agency and correspondent inputs

Remembering Nanak on his birth anniversary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sikh community across the world today celebrated Guru Nanak Gurpurab or Prakash Utsav — the birth anniversary of first of the ten Sikh gurus — Guru Nanak. A sacred festival for all Sikhs, Gurpurab is celebrated on Kartik Poornima — the full moon day in the month of Kartik according to the Hindu lunar calender.This marks the 547th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak celebrated in true essence of Guru Nanak’s preachings.While many say he was born on April 15, 1469, others say he was born on October 20 1469, though his birth anniversary is celebrated on different days every year.Born in Rai Bhoi Ki Talvandi (now in Punjab, Pakistan) to a Hindu family he led a life expounding a straightforward way to find god by traveling far and teaching people that there is one god dwelling in each of us. It is said that Guru Nanak’s elder sister was the first one to realise Nanak’s enlightened soul. As a child Nanak was quick to learn the Vedas and even studied Persian and Arabic language. Guru Nanak founded three pillars of Sikhism:Naam Japna: Where he directed Sikhs to practice remembrance of God through Simran and Naam Japna of Waheguru (a meditating mantra to connect to the creator).Kirat Karni: A way to earn through one’s own hard work and accepting suffering and joy as god’s gift.Vand Chakna: Teaches the concept of sharing. It also makes every Sikh contribute to his community.Guru Nanak is also called Satguru Nanak, Baba Nanak, Nanak Shah Faqir, Bhagat Nanak, Nanak Kalandar etc. by people from different religions and cults. The RitualsAkhand Paath: At Gurudwaras or at homes people hold Akhand Paath which is the 48 hour uninterpreted reading of the Guru Grant Sahib beginning two-days ahead of Guru Nanak Jayanti.Prabhat Pheri: Prabhat which means early morning and Pheri stands for the rounds done by Sikh devotees visiting the Gurudwara early morning and chanting hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book).A day prior to the main festival the Panj Pyaras (the five beloved ones) carry out a procession known as Nagarkirtan where the Guru Granth Sahib and Nishan Sahib — the sikh flag, are placed in a palki (palanquin) and carried through the streets. During Nagarkirtan devotional songs and hymns fill the atmosphere with a sense of divine power. Gatka — a Sikh form of martial art is also performed using traditional weapons.Asa-di-Var: The final and the main day of celebrations begin early morning with the recital of the Asa-di-Var (morning hymns). Then comes the katha, explaining the Guru Granth Sahib followed by langar (a common kitchen in the Gurudwara where food is served to all irrespective of religion).SIKH FACTSMajor Sikh festivals revolve around the birth anniversaries of ten Sikh Gurus: Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Har Gobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and Guru Gobind Singh.
The religious script of Sikhism – Guru Granth Sahib – is the core of the community.
Gurpurab is celebrated on Kartik Poornima, according to the Hindu lunar calender.

Rs 500, Rs 1000 note ban: Who will take care of pensioners and those with medical needs?

This is personal. I have a sister residing in RK Puram in New Delhi, who is confined to her bed for the past seven years because she is suffering from multiple sclerosis. She requires full time nursing and cannot sign any papers or mark her thumbprint on a cheque.

She is bright, cheerful and was a former teacher at Modern School. Ask her how she is and she will say ‘fit and fine’.

But her finances, following the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 note ban by the Modi government on Tuesday, are in a dire state. She is left with exactly Rs 200 in cash as of now, and the Rs 10,000 withdrawn in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations by her staff last week, is of no value and has to be returned to the bank. Even then, as I panic, she remains cool.

The Modi government put a note ban on the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations on Tuesday. ReutersThe Modi government put a note ban on the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations on Tuesday. Reuters

The Modi government put a note ban on the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations on Tuesday. Reuters

The bank just told one my staff that he would have to produce his identification in order to exchange the demonetised currency, so he has to stand in the ever-expanding queues once again. This particular bank has dealt with him more or less every day for the past six years. The bank wants my sister’s ID as well. If a new employee happens to take up my sister’s case, he might just ask that she be pulled out of her bed, shoved into a wheelchair and dragged all the way to the bank because, in his bureaucratic warren of a mind, he might reason that, ‘kya kare, government ka kanoon hain (what can we do, the government makes the rules).’

You can hear the words, that corrosive indifference that marks this clan. It has happened.

The queue of retired and senior citizens stretches for almost fifty metres outside the bank. Some of them can hardly stand.

I am no economist and am ready to agree with experts when they say that with this move, all the back money will be ferreted out and that we will dance into the sunshine; but, at this moment, living in another country, I really do not care a toss about the rose petals we shall strew en route. I just need my sister to get some money.

I have no faith in the bedside manner of the banking system, where the staff treat clients and customers like dirt and behave as if it is their money that they are doling out. They just say ‘kal aao’ and ‘Form C bharo’ and ‘yeh galat hai’. I truly believe that we as a society can never be seen as civilised until we start respecting our elderly and the infirm and those with special needs. In this case, we can start by at least letting them jump the queue.

I don’t know if Prime Minister Modi and his advisers planned this move well in advance or thought of the details along the way, but in the frenzy that we are seeing and the echo of the mutual backslapping between politicians and media since the announcement, I am not so sure about its efficacy. The bridge between the assurance that money will be disbursed in 24 hours and its fruition is a very rickety one.

Add to it the human factor (especially bank employees who don’t give a damn) and the permutations on how to eradicate the viral infection of black money are replaced by a sense of despair at the lack of options, and the absence of a back-up system.

The way things stand at the moment, I cannot see a smooth transition into the new currency anytime soon.

The corrupt and the venal will get the first shot at the exchange and must already be bending over backwards to thwart the new system. If there is a loophole, they will find it.

All I am thinking about is what of the medicines. The pharmacies are not taking the demonetised notes. You can say that they will, you can even tell us that you can die and the shamshan ghat will take your money, but what if they don’t?

If you call for an ambulance and tell them that you will pay in Rs 1,000 notes, don’t hold your breath for the sound of a siren.

Three pharmacies so far have refused to give medicines in exchange for the demonetised currency. With the general lack of knowledge and uncertainty, they won’t even take credit cards now and simply offer a ready made excuse: ‘lines blocked hain’.

How and where can we report such a pharmacy, that won’t take the money. To whom? How? What will happen after that? If we can post 10,000 cops on the road for a VIP motorcade, then why can’t we post them at hospitals, crematoriums, pharmacies and banks to ensure that the government’s grand pronouncements have validity.

By now, I must have spent a mini-fortune in making calls to Delhi. I shudder to imagine a scenario where someone who needs insulin for diabetes or cardiac medicine cannot buy it.

I am not whining, I am just stressed. It is wonderful to make in-depth fiscal comments and be interviewed on TV and have the media appreciate the note ban, but the sacrifice that people were asked to make in the process should not jeopardise those who are fragile or place the common man into a corner for no fault of his own.

At this moment, all those big buzzwords of the fiscal world like ‘asset value reserves’ and ‘collaborative consumption’ and ‘firefighting inflation’ mean nothing. Not that they ever did but really, the Rs 200 won’t last long. So, all that I want to know now is that when will my sister get her dues, and when will she be able to use her pension.

Rajnath Singh assures action to missing JNU student’s mother, says he is personally taking stock of probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mother of missing student of JNU Najeeb Ahmed today met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who assured her of his intervention to find out the youth who has been untraceable since October 15. Fatima Nafees and other family members urged the Home Minister to trace Najeeb, a student of School of Biotechnology in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. The Home Minister gave a patient hearing to Najeeb’s mother and other family mothers and listened to all their grievances, official sources said.Assuring Najeeb’s mother of timely action in the case, Singh said that proper action will be taken to find her son. Singh told them that Delhi Police has set up a special team to pursue the case and he was personally taking stock of the progress in the probe. The Home Minister assured the family all kind of assistance, the sources said.SP MP from Badaun Dharmendra Yadav, who accompanied Najeeb’s family, said the Home Minister has assured them that efforts are being made to trace him at the earliest. “If police are not able to trace him, we will approach court and raise the issue in Parliament,” Yadav told reporters after the meeting. Najeeb’s sister Sadaf rubbished allegations that he was mentally unstable and said efforts are being made to “defame” him instead of tracing him. “He had cracked university exams, he is a studious child. Do you think a person studying at such a prestigious institution can be mentally unstable? I request (all) that please don’t defame him. He had sleeping problems that children who are studying often have due to pressure. He had no other problem,” she said. Najeeb (27) went missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with some members of ABVP the night before. His mother claimed that she had spoken to Najeeb on the night of brawl and that she was sure that he did not leave the campus on his own. “I spoke to him at 11.00 pm , he wasn’t depressed. He was waiting for me, he had called me up. He did not go anywhere on his own he has been kidnapped…I am sure about it,” Nafees said. Najeeb’s mother was detained on Sunday by police while attempting to take out a protest march to India Gate.

NDTV India ban: I&B ministry’s rejection of channel’s defence arguments leads to suspicions

At 10 pm on 21 April, 2014, NDTV Good Times ran a series called Why am I sill single?

The mandarins of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry at once decided that the programme was “vulgar, indecent and adult in nature”. Remember, it was the last month of the UPA government.

After issuing a show-cause notice and summarily rejecting the defence of the channel, the ministry ordered the channel to go off air for a day on 9 April, 2015, by which time the NDA government was in power.

During the Congress-led UPA rule (between 2005 and 2014), NDTV and its sister channels were hauled up by the I&B ministry at least eight times. So were many other channels. In 2013 alone, 14 channels were taken off air for periods ranging from one to ten days, largely for telecasting ‘A’ certified films or “obscene” content. The channels included Zoom TV, Comedy Central, AXN, FTV and ABN Andhra Jyothi (a conservative and respected Telugu channel).

Under the Modi regime, NDTV has got into trouble with the government thrice so far. So have many other channels, of course.

It is clear that irrespective of the party in power, the I&B ministry has been going after TV channels, armed with the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and the rules framed under it. For years now, the ministry’s pen-pushers have been gleefully playing the roles of Editors-in-Chief for the channels from their comfortable office in Delhi’s Shastri Bhavan and evidently enjoying themselves. Based on their subjective judgement of what’s right what’s not, they have been dishing out orders, and sometimes getting into even minute editorial management. In some past cases, they ordered channels to shift programmes to late hours.

While obscenity was the chief weapon that the ministry used against the channels earlier, national security is the new stick that the current government is beating the TV channels with.

Look at the three cases against the NDTV group under the present government:

1) The ministry said that the remark of Rajya Sabha member Majeed Memon during a programme on the channel called ‘Truth vs Hype – the riddle of Yakub Memon’ on 1 August, 2015, following the execution of Yakub, denigrated India’s judiciary. After prolonged proceedings, NDTV was let off with a warning on June 1, 2016 to be “careful” in future.

2) The ministry took objection to NDTV India’s description of Yakub’s hanging as “unfortunate” in a telecast on 30 July, 2015. This channel was also “warned”.

3) Then came the order last week asking NDTV India to go off air for a day on 9 November for having allegedly leaked “sensitive” details in its coverage of the Pathankot terror attack.

Senior editor of NDTV India Ravish Kumar.

Senior editor of NDTV India Ravish Kumar.

Surely, the government has a right to be worried over the leak of “sensitive” details, but the proceedings in the latest case against NDTV India do not seem to indicate that the channel compromised national security in any way. Here is how the case went:

The allegation against the channel was that, during its telecast on 4 January 2016, when the operation against terrorists in the Pathankot airbase was still on, it leaked details of the MiGs, fighter planes, rocket launchers, mortars, helicopters and fuel tanks inside. The channel was also accused of having revealed the existence of a school in the airbase.

On 29 January, NDTV India was issued a show-cause notice. The channel replied to it on 5 February.

In its reply, the channel said its coverage was “entirely balanced and responsible”. It said that, at a time when sections of the media were questioning delays in the counter-terrorist operations, NDTV India was only explaining to viewers why it became necessary for the security forces to go slow in a way lives of innocent civilians and defence assets at the airbase were not endangered.

As for leaking details of ammunition at the airbase, the channel pointed out that the information was already in public domain. To substantiate that, it submitted excerpts of coverage from ABP News, Zee News, India TV and The Hindu (2 January), The Telegraph, The Indian Express, The Times of India (3 January) and The Tribune and Hindustan Times (4 January).

The ministry was magnanimous enough to take a look at all this but only to summarily reject it, after indulging in plenty of nitpicking in its oral examination of the channel’s representatives on 25 July, 2016. Without any basis, the ministry ruled that while other newspapers and channels only supplied “bits and pieces” of information, NDTV India “appeared to give out” the exact location of terrorists with regard to sensitive military assets.

This gives rise to two suspicions. One: Confronted with evidence that other channels had given the same “sensitive” information, the ministry came up with a face-saving order. Two: The ministry, for whatever reason, was singling out NDTV India.

Considering the implications of all this for media’s freedom, the government must spell out exactly what was that information that NDTV India give out which others hadn’t-or repeal the one-day ban order on the channel at once. The fact that the previous government muzzled the channels does in no ways justifies the present government’s actions.

More importantly, it must be recognised by journalists of all hues that the very existence of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act 1995, which empowers governments to ban channels at whim, has been posing a serious threat to the freedom of the Press whichever party is in power.

Though the existence of this 1995 Act and the excesses committed under it never came under serious scrutiny earlier, habitual Modi-baiters and self-styled liberals have raked up the latest case, painting the Prime Minister as media’s worst-ever enemy for their own reasons. But the reasons why they are saying it should not deflect us from what they are saying.

Enough has already been said about the dangers of having a government arrogate to itself the power of policing media, even if some channels go about their job of covering news in general, anti-terror operations in particular, irresponsibly.

JNU student missing: Najeeb’s mother dragged, detained by Delhi Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Twenty three days after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Najeeb Ahmed went missing, his mother Fatima Nafees was on Sunday dragged on the road by the Delhi Police as she resisted her detention during a protest near the India Gate.”Najeeb’s mother was manhandled by the Delhi Police. Beaten up and dragged into the police van. Later, she was taken to Mayapuri police station,” JNU Students Union member Satarupa Chakraborty said. “The police blocked all the ways to India Gate and detained the peaceful protesters from the National Archive to different police stations,” she added.”Police have detained us and have brutally beaten us and have broken our mobile phones. Many protesters have been detained and are being taken to different locations. They openly threatened us that they will shoot us, saying that we have been hiding Najeeb for the last 23 days,” JNUSU president Mohit Pandey said.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also reached Mandir Marg police station, where Najeeb’s mother was kept, and said, “Had police have taken such efforts in finding Najeeb as they are taking in stopping protesters, they would have found him long back.””I was hit in the leg and on the shoulder while my aunt got hurt in the hand. This is a shameful act. We went there for a peaceful protest and they did this to us,” said Najeeb’s sister Sadaf Musharraf.The police has denied all charges of manhandling saying, “During the JNU protest on Sunday, none have been manhandled. A group of JNU students along with Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees assembled near ASI. They were persuaded not to move towards India Gate. They didn’t agree and were adamant to move ahead. They all were taken into a bus to Mayapuri police station. Fatima Nafees was duly attended to by lady police officers and is now being dropped to her place of stay”.Earlier on Sunday, Kejriwal along with a delegation of JNU students on Sunday met President Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a letter to him seeking his intervention in the case.”I met President Mukherjee to seek his intervention on Najeeb. He assured of all support and said he will seek a report from the MHA and the JNU administration,” Kejriwal tweeted.Najeeb Ahmed, a first-year MSc student at JNU, has been missing since October 15, following an altercation with some ABVP activists the night before.

Another woman accuses Narayan Sai of sexually harassing her

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman has lodged a complaint against self-styled godman Asaram’s son Narayan Sai accusing him of sexually harassing her around three years back, police said on Friday.In her complaint, the woman said that in 2013, when she was working at a local news channel, she went to interview Narayan Sai at the ashram at Karol Bagh in Delhi, where she was sexually harassed, SP City Dinesh Yadav said.When she told the channel chief about it, he advised her not to report the matter. The woman has left the news channel, the police officer said.Around 10 days back she lodged a complaint with SSP Dharmindra Singh, which was forwarded to Yadav.After an initial inquiry, an FIR was lodged against Narayan Sai last evening, the SP city said, adding the woman has also submitted some photographs to police in this regard.Sai was first arrested on charges of repeatedly sexually assaulting a Surat-based woman at his father’s ashram between 2002 and 2005. He had allegedly tried to bribe the police, doctors and even judicial officers to water down the case.Asaram himself is facing a case of sexual assault, filed by the elder sister of the woman who has lodged the rape case against his son.

Forced by tradition to give up inheritance, Indian women embrace property ownership | Reuters

By Rina Chandran

CHAKSU, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Days before she was married 18 years ago, K. Bina Devi and her sister were called to the living room of the family home where they lived with their parents and four brothers.There, in a short ceremony witnessed by village elders, she and her sister signed a piece of paper giving up their share of the family property to their brothers. Sweets were distributed and everyone congratulated her and her sister.The custom of “haq tyag”, or sacrifice of right, entails a person – usually a woman – relinquishing their claim on ancestral property. It is widely practised in the Indian state of Rajasthan despite a 2005 national law that gave women equal inheritance rights.While haq tyag is voluntary, women come under enormous pressure to comply, activists said.”If we don’t do it, our family will boycott us,” said Devi, 36, her head covered with the end of her green saree.”Our relationship with the family will break, and people will speak ill of us,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Chaksu village, about 30 km (19 miles) from Jaipur city.Haq tyag is justified on grounds that the father pays for his daughter’s wedding, and therefore only the sons are entitled to a share of the family property.Also, once she is married, a woman is seen as belonging to her husband’s family with no claim on ancestral property.In a bid to address the imbalance, Rajasthan and other states now offer lower rate mortgages and cheaper registration when a property is registered in the name of a woman.”Haq tyag is a tradition, and it is voluntary,” said Rajendra Singh Shekhawat, a joint secretary in the state government.”In some cases, it may not be voluntary. But how can we check if the woman is signing willingly or not? That is why we have laws that encourage property ownership by women,” he said.

NO SECURITY
One of India’s poorest states, Rajasthan is known as much for its beautiful palaces and majestic forts as for its centuries-old traditions of honour and chivalry.This is the state where the custom of sati, where widows threw themselves into their husband’s funeral pyre, prevailed long after it was declared illegal in the 19th century. The law was strengthened in 1987 following the death of a young widow in Rajasthan watched by thousands.Across India, only 13 percent of farmland is owned by women, according to census data.Amendments in 2005 to the Hindu Succession Act, which governs matters of inheritance among Hindus who make up about 80 percent of India’s population, made women’s inheritance rights equal to those of men.Yet some state laws run contrary to the legislation, and in states such as Rajasthan, women are made to forgo their claims.

Haq tyag itself is rooted in misogynistic customs and traditions, particularly in India’s villages. These include limited education for girls, early marriage, financial dependence, and denial of the right to property.”It is a deep-rooted patriarchy that tells women they are okay only as long as they have the protection of a man,” said Varsha Joshi, an associate professor at the Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur, who has studied property ownership among women in rural Rajasthan.”Women have no security, no guarantee of a roof over their heads. And it is assumed they will never go against their families or go to court over being denied their right to property,” she said.FINANCIALLY LITERATE
Increasingly though, women in Chaksu village and elsewhere in the northwestern state are having to tend to the land as their husbands migrate in search of work.

With their names missing from property titles, women are often unable to take loans or access government subsidies. They are in danger of being thrown out when the husband dies, as the property then goes to the sons or the husband’s brothers.Rights activists are raising awareness of the law among women, and encouraging men to take advantage of the perks.”We have to be respectful of customs: we can’t just go tell women to claim their rights, they will be ostracised if they do,” said Kavita Mishra, head of the Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON).”Having a financial incentive is a great way to make the men see the benefit of registering property in the name of the women,” she said.Women are also becoming more independent and financially literate. Once confined to their homes and dependent on their husbands, women in villages are running small businesses with the help of microfinance, and working in state welfare programmes that provide 100 days’ employment to rural families.”They now have bank accounts and some financial independence. That has given them the ambition and the confidence to own a home or a plot of land,” said Mishra.In Chaksu, Devi belongs to a self-help group that sews camel-leather slippers for sale to a retailer in Jaipur, and helps members source loans to buy property.”It’s important that we women have something in our name. Otherwise we have no security,” said Manju Devikumar, who heads the 10-member group.”Things are changing. Laws give us equal rights even to own property, which we could never dream of,” she said. (Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Families of Britons jailed in India ‘beg’ Theresa May for help

The families of six Britons jailed in India are “begging” Theresa May to help with their case.

Bhai Dooj 2016: Date, timings and all you need to know about the festival!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the fifth day of Diwali and marks the end of the auspicious festival of light. The festivities of this day are similar to that of Raksha Bandhan where sisters apply red tikka post an aarti, pray for their brother’s well being and get gifts from them. This festival has several other names:– It is called Bhai Dooj in Northern part of India.– Celebrated as the second most important festival, it is called Bhai Tikain Nepal. Here sisters offer prayers to Yamraj and wish for her brother’s long life and prosperity.– In West Bengal it is called Bhai Pota where sisters offer prayers to Yamraj and chants this mantra-“Bhai er kopale dilam phota, Jomer Duar e porlo kata,Jamuna Dae Jomke phota, Ami di amar bhai ke phota,Bhai jeno hoy lohar vata.”This means-On my brother’s forehead I put the “phota”, Death’s door are now closely crossed,Yamuna applies “phota” on Yama, While I give the “phota” to my brother.Let my brother be as tough as Iron”.Sisters chant this mantra in order to keep Lord of Death, Yamraj away from her brother.– Gujarati, Marathi and Konkani community call it as Bhai Beej or Bhau Beej.There are other names for this festival- Bhatru Dviteeya or Bhatri Ditya.Here are the timings for Bhai Dooj:Duration = 2 Hours 15 MinsDwitiya Tithi Begins = 01:39 on 1/Nov/2016Dwitiya Tithi Ends = 04:11 on 2/Nov/2016Significance of the festival:According to Hindu mythology, it is commemorated in significance of Lord Krishna visiting his sister Subhadra, who welcomes him and applies tilak on his forehead, after he slays the demon Narkasur. Another folklore says that the day is celebrated for the God of Death, Yama, as he visits his sister Yami who puts a tilak on his forehead. Here’s wishing all brothers and sisters and very Happy Bhai Dooj!

Ahmedabad: Two Pakistani women married to Indians go missing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Pakistani sisters married in Ahmedabad have gone missing along with their two children after they walked out of their homes in Paldi area of the city, police said on Tuesday. Arif Memon and Mohammad Soheb, both brothers, married to Ayeshabibi and Navirabibi, respectively, filed a complaint stating that their wives have gone missing.”The sisters who are Pakistani nationals and married to brothers from Ahmedabad left their homes in Paldi along with their two children — a two-year-old boy and a three-month-old girl–on evening of October 23,” Paldi police station sub-inspector R D Gojiya said.”They also carried their passports and marriage certificates. They are untraceable since then,” he added. He said that CCTV footage outside the residences of Memon and Soheb showed the women leaving with their belongings and children.There is no mention of the reason in the complaint on why the women left their house. Ayeshabibi had come to India around four years ago, while her younger sister Navirabibi two years back.”They cannot leave for Pakistan because for that they will have to seek permission from police for visa,” Gojiya added.

Railway authorities swing into action after Renuka Shahane’s SOS tweet to Suresh Prabhu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has been getting a lot a praise of late for coming to the rescue of passengers in distress. Actress Renuka Shahane was the latest to thank him when her SOS tweet got a prompt response by the authorities.On October 22, Shahane, known for acting in iconic films like Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, Masoom​ amongst many others, tweeted asking for medical assistance for the ailing sister of her husband, actor Ashutosh Rana.Soon, other Twitter users also began retweeting it, with suggestions as to who Shahane needed to tag to get the required help. This caught the attention of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Mumbai and Delhi as well as the Railway Ministry, who swung into action.Before long, a doctor arrived to help the passenger. Speaking to The Financial Express, Kamini Gupta, Shahane’s sister-in-law, said,”All of a sudden, I experienced palpitations followed by pain in the chest. I asked fellow passengers to see if a ticket checker or other railway staffers were around, and contacted my family in Mumbai. Fortunately, we were just minutes away from Kota station where doctors treated me. I was given medicines and told to relax. I’m alright now.”When the issue was resolved, Renuka Shahane tweeted her gratitude in response.She even posted a message on Facebook.”Today my eldest sister in law while traveling on a train alone from Delhi to Mumbai suddenly started feeling unwell. There was no TC in sight & no doctor around either. I tweeted her details to our Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ji & also tagged the Rail Ministry about her predicament. I am so grateful to all the people who not only re-tweeted my distress message but also gave me valuable advise about whom to tag. Within 15 minutes the Rail Ministry had responded & sent a medical officer to look after my sister-in-law. This is the kind of prompt action we need for good governance. I thank our Minister Suresh Prabhu and his entire team for working tirelessly & helping people promptly. I’m deeply grateful. My sister-in-law is resting & I’m resting easy. Thank you.”Later, Suresh Prabhu himself, reached out.From arranging wheelchairs to providing milk, passengers seem to be impressed with the Railway authorities making use of social media to reach out to passengers in need. Let’s hope the good work continues!

Call centre scam: Kingpin fled to Gulf during police raid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the teams of Crime Branch of Thane Police were busy in raids at fake call centre in connection with the call centre scam, its mastermind Sagar alias Shaggy Thakkar was on his way to flee the country in early hours of October 5, officials said. Crime branch teams raided seven call centres at Mira Road in adjoining Thane district, in the multi-crore scam involving cheating of US citizens by posing as officials of US Tax Department. Police raids were conducted on the night of October 4-5. About 70 directors and key persons of these call centres were arrested and 700 employees were detained. During the interrogation of arrested directors, police got the name of Sagar alias Shaggy. However, by that time, Shaggy had left the country on October 5 before police could catch him. Police issued a LOC (Look Out Circular) against Shaggy on October 7, two days after his escape, officials said. He is suspected to have fled to Dubai. As the investigation started, a key accused and Shaggy’s elder sister, Reema, fled the country from Delhi on October 8. Police are now trying to get information from immigration authorities about how both the key accused fled the country. Police suspect that Shaggy and his sister have massive amount collected by cheating US nationals, in their personal accounts. Shaggy led a lavish lifestyle and was accompanied by around a dozen bouncers, sources said. He was a regular at posh late night parties in Mumbai and was also fond of high-end cars. Investigators say Shaggy began working at the age of 16 with his mentor Jagdish Kanani, who had worked in the call centres in abroad. Kanani trained him to cheat US citizens by starting fake call centres, they said. Meanwhile, investigators on Thursday told a court in Thane that they have identified transactions worth Rs 25-30 crore in the call centre scam till now and that it will take a long time for them to arrive at the actual figure given the magnitude of the scandal.

Cops identify "merchants" of Mira Road call centre racket

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Thane police, investigating the multi-crore-rupee Mira Road call centre racket that duped many US nationals by impersonating as US Internal Revenue Security officials, have come across a few “merchants”, who were important links in the entire chain.These merchants used to get the money for the syndicate with a 30 per cent cut. Most of these merchants, the police said, are based in Gujarat.Explaining the role of these merchants, a police officer said: “When a caller is on one line talking to a victim in the US, he (caller) would be on a parallel line with a merchant. Once the caller gets the 16-digit code of iTune cards or Target Gift cards from the victim, he would share the code with the merchant. The merchant, in flat 15 minutes, would confirm receipt of money from the US. Only when the merchant confirms receipt of money would the caller disconnect the call with the victim.”At least 10 such merchants have come under police scanner. “We have the names of some merchants. How they used to transfer money from the US to India would be known only when we get hold of Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, one of the five kingpins, or when we question the merchants. Our teams have fanned outside the state for further probe,” Thane Police Commissioner Parambir Singh told dna.The police have launched a hunt to nab Thakkar and the four other kingpins — Ali, Jimmy, Akhil Singh and Tapesh. Thakkar, the Ahmedabad kingpin of the racket, owned about 70 call centres. The average monthly turnover of each call centre was about Rs 2 crore. Ever since the Thane police raided the call centres run by Thakkar at Mira Road on October 4, he has been on the run. It is suspected that he and his sister Reema might have fled to Dubai.How the racket workedA few bogus call centres were set up in Mira Road and those working there had got hold of a list of certain tax defaulters in the US from their US-based counterparts. They used to call up these defaulters through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and threaten them that if they don’t pay up the fine of $10,000, they would be put behind bars for three months. The victims were also told that they would be blacklisted by the department, their motor driving licences impounded and Social Security Numbers blocked if they fail to pay up. Once the victims agree to pay up, the fraudsters would tell them to make the payment through Target Gift cards or through the iTunes money transfer system. Nine call centres in Mira Road were raided and 72 persons were arrested and 700 others have been served notices.

Pune: Classmates rape engineering student; 2 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The district police arrested two youths on Friday for allegedly raping a 21-year-old girl, a student of an engineering college on the outskirts of the city, while another was held on charges of sending lewd messages to her. “On October 19, when the girl was returning to her hostel, one of the two accused, who too is an engineering student, requested her to help him with a project,” said a police officer from Lonikand police station.The girl asked him to get the project-related files. The accused went to his room and called the girl to say he could not find the files. An unsuspecting victim then went to his room, where she was raped by the accused, the official said. However, she did not tell anybody about the rape. “On the second day, she received a message from an unknown sender who said he knows what happened on the previous night and offered to help her saying he has a good clout and called her to his room,” said the officer. The girl went to meet this person, who also raped her and warned her of dire consequences if she spoke to anyone about the incident. The victim then started getting lewd messages from a couple of unknown numbers, which finally prompted her to open up to her sister and roommates, said police. Police registered a case under section 376 (rape) and 354 (molestation) against two accused who were arrested. Another man was arrested for sending lewd messages to the victim. The names of the accused have not been disclosed. Police were tracing other two unknown callers who had sent messages to her and called her, the officer added.

After Rahul, Priyanka to hit campaign trail in UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress has finally decided to unleash its political weapon Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (44) in the poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh (UP). But fearing that this ‘weapon’ may have a cascading effect on her brother Rahul Gandhi’s political fortunes, party leaders have suggested that Rahul’s anointing as Congress president be advanced, and accentuated, ahead of drafting his sister into the campaign.Two sets of dates are being discussed in the corridors of Congress circles. The first is November 19, the birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi, the ideal date on which to kick Rahul upstairs. Similarly, December 9, Sonia Gandhi’s birthday, is seen as the ideal time to launch Priyanka. Sources in the party say the Congress intends to launch her with a mega show in Allahabad.So far Priyanka Vadra has kept herself confined to the family bastion of Amethi, Raebareli and Sultanpur while campaigning for the party. But it is believed that she has agreed – after much persuasion by the party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and PCC president Raj Babbar – to join the rallies and roadshows across the state. In the first leg of her tour, the party is lining up 150 public meetings.Party leaders also say that they are also in no mood to allow president Sonia Gandhi to take retirement from politics. A post of a patron or chairman unlike the BJP’s powerless ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ is being explored to accommodate her. In this role Sonia – who will be celebrating her 70th birthday on December 9 – is likely to continue to keep tabs on office bearers and party functioning.In fact, the senior Gandhi had recently gone to Allahabad a couple of months ago and set up a small team there at Anand Bhawan, the ancestral house of the Nehrus, to plan for Priyanka’s mega show. This shows that she is still playing an active role in the party’s functioning.Speaking to reporters, Congress party general secretary and in-charge of UP, Ghulam Nabi Azad said the campaign by the brother-sister duo will be a “game changer” for the Congress to attract the people of the state. He added that the people here can never forget the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru and the Gandhis in the building of modern India.Senior party leaders also say that Rahul Gandhi’s recent kisan yatra – that covered 3,468 km in 30 days – has also had a positive impact for the Congress in UP politics. Now to keep up the tempo, party leaders said the Congress has many more programmes that will be launched one after the other to build up steam ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections.On the strategising front, party leaders say that there is cause for optimism, as Muslims have slowly, but steadily, been drifting away from Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party, in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots. These minority voters are looking towards the Congress.Also, other backward communities are beginning to look towards the Congress for their empowerment, as they have been complaining that the quotas reserved for them are being taken away by influential Yadavs. Reports also have it that party strategist Prashant Kishore and his team have been vigorously trying to get farmers and also a Brahmin-Muslim combination for the party.This however, seems highly unlikely in the current scenario. Political analysts recall the fact that both Muslims and Brahmins had abandoned the Congress almost simultaneously in the wake of the Babri Mosque demolition, though for different reasons. Since then Brahmins have been moving from the BJP to Mayawati.Congress leaders however believe that history is on their side. Party leaders point out that that Brahmins in the state since regard Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as their tallest political icon, even more than that of any RSS stalwart. They expect the campaigns of both Rahul and Priyanka to make a dent in the community, so it returns to the Congress fold.The party is also banking on the fact that the BJP is failing to make a decisive dent into the backward vote bank despite their pro-reservation statements. Congress leaders are optimistic that unlike past elections, in 2017 no one can really write off the party’s chances.The key though for the party is handling the Rahul-Priyanka scenario. Rahul has to made president and soon, as with Priyanka in the field, there will be calls from party cadres to make her president instead of him. To stop such demands, it is necessary that Rahul first takes over, before his sister hits the campaign trail.

Kim Kardashian sues over claims she faked Paris robbery | Reuters

Kim Kardashian sues over claims she faked Paris robbery | Reuters

Updated: Oct 12, 2016 00:17 IST

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NEW YORK Kim Kardashian on Tuesday sued a website for claiming she had staged an armed robbery in Paris that her sister said had left her terrorized and traumatized.The reality TV star filed a defamation lawsuit in federal court in New York against the U.S. celebrity gossip site MediaTakeOut.com for reporting that she had faked the robbery, and then filed a fraudulent insurance claim.Paris police said the 35-year-old celebrity was robbed at gunpoint of some $10 million in jewelry by masked men who tied her up in her Paris apartment early on Oct. 3. The website did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Kardashian’s TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been put on hold since the robbery and Kim has stopped her other business and social engagements.In the first TV appearance on Tuesday by a Kardashian member since the Paris incident, her sister Khloe said the robbery had proved a “wake-up call” to the family, who chronicle almost every aspect of their lives on TV and social media.

“She’s not doing that well. I mean, it’s incredibly traumatic what happened to her, but our family is super close and great and we’ll get through it together,” Khloe Kardashian told U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres.”It’s just a wake up call to make a lot of life adjustments. This is a really serious matter for Kim I think that’s really personal,” she said, adding that Kim had suffered “emotional terror.”Tuesday’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for defamation and names both MediaTakeOut.com and its founder, Fred Mwangaguhunga, as defendants.

“After having been the victim of a horrific and traumatic armed robbery in France, Kim Kardashian returned to the United States only to again be victimized, but this time by an online gossip tabloid that published a series of articles in early October 2016 referring to her a liar and thief,” the lawsuit said.It said that Mwangaguhunga refused to publish a retraction and an apology.

Kardashian has been criticized for making herself vulnerable by posting photos of her $4 million dollar engagement ring and other jewelry in the days before the Paris attack.Others have made fun of the robbery. One California-based company is selling a Halloween costume called “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim” that consists of a long black wig, sunglasses, a white bathrobe, rope, a mouth gag and a large plastic ring. (Reporting by Joseph Ax and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Alan Crosby and Andrew Hay)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Jain teen’s death raises questions about religious glorification of fasting

On Monday afternoon, nearly 200 members of the Jain community gathered at Sri Jain Seva Sangh Bhavan at Ramkote in central Hyderabad. The mood was sombre. Exactly a week ago, 13-year-old Aradhana Samdariya died two days after she completed 68 days of fasting. Many of the people present at this meeting, had taken part in Aradhana’s ‘send-off’ on 4 October.

The closed door meeting that was called ‘chintan sabha‘ (a meet for introspection) lasted a little over an hour. When they trooped out, it was obvious the community had decided to close ranks. Aradhana’s death on Monday night was not due to fasting, they said.

“The cause of her death is not the penance. She died two days after breaking her fast,” pointed out Ashok Sanklecha, president of the Sri Jain Seva Sangh Bhavan. Some members said ‘tapasya‘ (single-minded devotion) cannot lead to death. Others pointed to Aradhana’s fasting track record: She had fasted for eight days in 2014, for 34 days in 2015 and now 68 days this year.

File image of Aradhana Samdariya. Image courtesy: Facebook

File image of Aradhana Samdariya. Image courtesy: Facebook

“Jain dharma does not believe in superstitions or miracles. In this case, Aradhana was aware about the strength of her body and accordingly decided on the fast,” he added.

The Hyderabad police has filed an FIR against Aradhana’s parents, Laxmichand Samdariya and Manisha for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under the Juvenile Justice Act for failure to protect the child. If found guilty, they could be behind bars for upto 10 years. At the meeting, members expressed unhappiness over what they see as an attempt to curb the practice of their religion. Laxmichand said they are being targeted by people who do not understand the ethos of Jainism.

“She has been fasting since she was five years old. She would fast for a day when she was that young. There was never any compulsion,” said Laxmichand, who runs a jewellery shop in Secunderabad. Grandfather Manekchand Samdariya pointed out that fasting to achieve purification of the soul is a Jain way of life. He says Aradhana was always religiously inclined and had wanted to become a Jain monastic when she was 11. “I told her to wait until she was 16,” he said.

The family says that Aradhana was in fact, asked to stop the fast after she finished 35 days of fasting, one day more than last year. “But she did not want to stop. So we would take permission everyday from our Guruji in Chennai, one day at a time,” said Laxmichand.

On 1 October, a grand rath yatra was organised in Secunderabad in which Aradhana was taken around decked up, seated on a chariot. Over 600 people took part in it, most of them praising the Class VIII student for her perseverance. No one thought it necessary to tell the family that they were playing with Aradhana’s life.

In the two days after she broke her fast, Aradhana was on a liquid diet, even put on drip to help her recover from the weakness. Around 11pm on Monday, when she began to perspire, and collapsed, she was rushed to Kims Hospital, where she was declared ‘brought dead’, having suffered a cardiac arrest.

The next day, Aradhana was cremated, with religious monks advising the family to observe it as a ‘shobha yatra‘. The family has received letters from Jain spiritual leaders who advised that they should keep grieving rituals to the minimum. It is very clear from the sequence of events that the family and the community at large is convinced that they did no wrong.

While it is obvious that the parents will be booked since Aradhana was primarily their responsibility, how can the others who encouraged her to carry on with her fast not come under the scanner. Why wouldn’t the monk who permitted her to continue with the fast, figure in the FIR? Can the 600-odd people who clicked selfies with her on the 68th day of her fast, absolve themselves of guilt? Did Zaheerabad MP BB Patil who attended the 1 October event as chief guest tell Aradhana’s parents that what they have done is not right? Didn’t the St Francis School have the responsibility to see that a student did not miss school because she was taking part in a fast?

With its tendency to glorify life in the ‘fast’ lane, by lauding those who are able to fight the demon of hunger, the high priests of the religion cut young Aradhana’s journey short

But the community is finding fault with the media for its reportage — accusing it of running a slander campaign against it. WhatsApp messages within Jain community groups are doing the rounds emphasising that Aradhana did not fast for her family to do well in the jewellery business. “Jain monks do not compel anyone to fast, they do not even keep any money with them so the question of greed does not arise,” it read.

But not everyone within the community is on the same page and there are some who think Aradhana’s tragic death is a rude wake-up call. Entrepreneur Prashant Jain said, “Teach yourself and your kids to be rebels and question all views so that they may learn from experience rather than by social conditioning.”

Child rights activists are livid that religiosity is clouding thinking even in educated Jain families. In this case, Aradhana’s two aunts are doctors. A child rights organisation is demanding that Aradhana’s younger sister be taken away from the parents lest she too be pushed into record fasting. “The right of a child should take precedence over religion and culture. Over here, it is the question of right to life of a child,” said Shantha Sinha, former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Jainism encourages its followers to explore their inner self. But with its tendency to glorify life in the ‘fast’ lane, by lauding those who are able to fight the demon of hunger, the high priests of the religion cut young Aradhana’s journey short.

Were Nashik protests the trigger for Fadnavis to intervene in the Maratha issue?

Following the Kopardi incident three months — wherein a 14-year-old girl was brutally raped and murdered — the BJP-Shiv Sena government is being forced to intervene in a law and order-related situation. It is the growing seriousness of the case — both politically and from the perspective of law and order — as well as the Nashik incident that has forced Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to personally address the situation.

File image of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

File image of Devendra Fadnavis. PTI

The Nashik incident that saw a five-year-old girl — who was playing with her sister near a temple at Trimbakeshwar — being raped by a 15-year-old in a dilapidated structure behind the temple. Later, a violent mob resorted to stone-pelting. The girl was rushed to the Ghoti Nashik Civil Hospital, following which members of the Maratha community came together outside the hospital and turned violent. State transport and government vehicles were set ablaze and their tyres were slashed. The result of this was that the Mumbai-Agra Highway was blocked on Sunday for over 12 hours.

The situations was eventually under control, but to avoid the spreading of rumours, the government banned internet and mobile data services for the next 48 hours. The minister for state (Home) Deepak Kesarkar issued an appeal to all to maintain law and order. The 15-year-old accused is already under arrest and the chargesheet will be filed in 15 days. As in Kopardi, the case will be handled by the fast-track court and special public prosecute Advocate Ujjwal Nikam will be leading both. As a precautionary measure, schools in the Nashik region were shut on Monday.

In the wake of the Kopardi incident, Fadnavis provided assurances that a chargesheet would be filed within a month and that the case would be transferred to a fast-track court. However, the chargesheet was only filed last Friday — nearly three months since the incident — and the fast-track trial is yet to commence.

It’s worth noting that while the Maratha silent morchas in 24 districts were very orderly affairs with no slogan-shouting or public property damage, it was the violent Nashik incident that immediately drew the attention of Fadnavis and other senior ministers.

The Maratha silent morcha began across the state over the course of the past two months across the state, but the state government appeared to be taking the issue too lightly. And until the time the government entered the fray, Maratha youths — largely from the rural parts of the state — were quite upset with Fadnavis and his cabinet. The first silent Maratha morcha was held in Aurangabad on 9 August and at the time of writing, 24 districts have reportedly seen lakhs of Maratha supporters take to the street to demand Maratha reservation and an amendment to the SC/ST (Prevention of) Atrocities Act.

Jharkhand: Hardcore Naxal commander arrested in Dumka

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jharkhand Police has confirmed the arrest of a Naxal zonal commander and two of his associates from Basmata village under Masalia Police Station in the state’s Dumka district and seized detonators, transistors and Rs. 35,000 cash from their possession. Dumka Police has identified the commander as Kanchan Da, alias, Awadh Kishore, who is carrying a bounty of Rs 10 lakhs on his head. His associates were identified as Gopal Rai and Okil Murmu. They were arrested on Saturday in a joint operation of the district police and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). Kanchan, a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), was allegedly involved in many dreadful incidents. In the 1980s, according to the police, Kanchan was working with the Home Guards, and joined the Naxals after the death of his father in 1997. At present, he was looking after his organisation’s affairs in Dumka, Godda, Jamtara and Pakur districts, and had been recruiting youth in the Santhal Pargana division into his organisation. Dumka Superintendent of Police (SP) Prabhat Kumar told ANI, “The district police and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) carried out a joint operation and arrested hardcore Naxal rebel Awadh Kishore Yadav, alias, Awadh Chandra Yadav, alias, Kanchan Da, alias, Mota, alias, Suresh Da, and his two accomplices Gopal Rai and Okil Murmur”? He said the Naxal zonal commander was involved in many dreadful incidents, including the murder of Shamshad Ansari, the then Station House Officer of the Shikaripara Police Station at Pokharia in 2008; in the murder of the then Pakur SP Amarjeet Balihar, and five police personnel in Jamuni village under Kathikund police range in 2013 and in the killing of eight polling officers, along with a policemen, during the 2014 general elections at Sarsajol village under Shikaripara Police Station among others. He was also involved in the encounter between police and Naxals on September 10, 2010 in Kathikund’s Taldanga Hills, in which the then Station House Officer of the Jama Police Station Satanand Singh and three other policemen were killed; while his role is being probed into the murder case of Sister Valsa John in Pakur district?s Amrapara block in 2015, said the SP. Prabhat Kumar said, Kanchan is expert in operating arms and has taken training in Giridih, while his two associates were also involved in many Naxal incidents.

NIA gets custody of six suspected Islamic State activists in Kerala

NIA gets custody of six suspected Islamic State activists in Kerala

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Kochi: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday sent six youths — suspected to be activists of Islamic State — to the NIA’s custody till 14 October.

These youths — all aged below 30 — were arrested from north Kerala on Sunday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The National Investigating Agency told the court that these young men were part of a 10-member group.

One of them had returned from Qatar 10 days ago. His wife and sister denied he had anything to do with the IS terror outfit.

The relatives and friends of the other accused too expressed surprise over the development.

On Sunday, the NIA said it had busted a terror module with the arrest of the six persons who were accused of conspiring to execute terror acts.

The investigating agency had registered a case at its Kochi branch under law provisions dealing with criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage war against the government etc., and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Nitish Katara Murder case: Vikas and Vishal Yadav sentenced to 25 years in prison

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday sentenced Vikas and Vishal Yadav to 25 years in prison in connection with the February 17, 2002 Nitish Katara murder case.The court also sentenced Vikas’s cousin Sukhdev Pehalwan to 20 years in prison.A bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan pronounced the verdict on appeals filed by Vikas and Vishal against the Delhi High Court order which had enhanced their respective life terms to 25 years in jail without remission and an additional five years for destruction of evidence.Yadav had made the plea for leniency on September 21 and senior Supreme Court advocate UR Lalit appearing for the convict who is the son of former parliamentarian, DP Yadav, had told a division bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan, that his client had already served over 14 years of his jail sentence.The Delhi High Court had on February 6 rejected the plea for giving a death sentence or enhancing life imprisonment to Vikas and his cousin Vishal to 25 years in jail without any remission.The high court had then held that the murder of Katara, who was in love with Vikas’s sister Bharati, was an “honour killing”, which was done in a very “carefully planned and premeditated” manner with “extreme vengeance”.The high court had decided to enhance the sentence awarded by the trial court, saying “amplitude of the gravity of the offence”, “cries for the need” that they (the convicts) be “adequately punished”.

Magistrate inquiry in Ghadoli matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The magistrate court issued a judicial inquiry in the alleged staged encounter of gangster Sandeep Ghadoli on Friday. The order was passed after the deceased’s sister filed an application before the court to look into the matter.Advocate Tanveer Nizaam, who is appearing on behalf of the deceased’s sister, Sudesh Kataria, said that since the accused were police officials, there could be some alleged loop holes in the police inquiry and also in the special investigating team (SIT), which was set up to investigate the matter. The SIT was meant to protect the top cops involved. The reason why the application requested the court to look into the matter.”The five accused have been arrested including Ghadoli’s girl friend Divya Pahuja. Another is yet to be arrested, but is absconding. However Amit Kumar, a Senior police officer who we believe was the head of the encounter team was not named in the FIR. The police claim that Kumar was not present in the Andheri-based hotel room, where Ghadoli was allegedly shot by the police. Kumar was outside the room, according to the police,” said advocate Nizaam.After the court passed an order in the application seeking magistrate inquiry Nizaam said, “After months of legal proceedings the family of Sandeep Ghadoli has finally been given much needed respite under section 176(1-a)CrPc, when the operative order was finally passed on Friday. Further inquiry under section 176(1-A) of CrPC PC has to be conducted by this court.”Nizaam further said that the family thanked the court for diligently hearing them and were grateful that the matter will be further investigated and the guilty brought to book under section 120(B) IPC. The family has filed an application against the SIT for proper investigations and monitoring of the investigation by the Metropolitan magistrate court under 156(3)CRPC.”Sandeep Ghadoli (36) was killed by a police team from Gurgaon in Hotel Airport Metro at Marol on February 7, 2016 around 11.20am. His brother Kuldeep Singh had filed a petition in HC seeking FIR against the police team as well as a judicial inquiry on the entire episode.

Bansal suicide case: CBI deputes joint director to probe torture allegations

New Delhi: Facing embarrassment over allegations by a top government official that torture by its
officers drove him and his family to suicide, CBI on Thursday deputed a joint director level official to probe the charges.

National Human Rights Commission has asked CBI director Anil Sinha to give a report on the allegations within 72 hours.

The then director general corporate affairs, BK Bansal, in his purported suicide note had accused a DIG-level official and three more officers of torturing his wife and daughter to an extent that they ended their life soon after his arrest in July on corruption allegations.

A file photo of BK Bansal. CNN News 18A file photo of BK Bansal. CNN News 18

A file photo of BK Bansal. CNN News 18

Bansal and his son allegedly ended their lives on 27 September. He sent his purported suicide note dated a day before to PTI in which he alleged that the DIG, an Indian Revenue Service Officer of Customs and Excise Branch, had flaunted his connections with a powerful politician of ruling party.

It is rare for CBI to have a DIG level official from any service other than Indian Police Service, a former CBI official requesting anonymity said.

The officer had alleged that the DIG had dared him to do whatever he likes saying he “is the man” of that politician and nobody can touch him.

“Even if I was at fault, why my wife and daughter were tortured? They did not commit suicide. It was murder of two ‘ladies’,” Bansal had alleged.

CBI sources said since the allegations are related to the conduct of an officer in an ongoing investigation, an internal probe has been ordered. They said a joint director level officer has been entrusted to probe the allegations and submit report as soon as possible.

Bansal’s son Yogesh in his two page purported suicide note alleged that he was “unofficially” subjected to “mental and physical” torture to an extent that he is forced to take such a step. He alleged that the five CBI officers including the DIG had “unofficially and off the record tortured him, his mother and his sister”.

“My mother and my sister were against suicide but they were tortured to such an extent that they took the step,” he alleged, adding that they were “murdered” by CBI officers and supported by a neighbour who made fun of their situation.

Bansal, an additional secretary-rank officer in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, was arrested by CBI on 16 July for allegedly accepting bribe from a prominent pharmaceutical company.

“We have examined the matter and decided to probe the allegations. CBI is fully committed to conduct investigation in a fair and professional manner without harassment to any one and strictly within the parameters of law.

“If any violation is established during the probe, strict action will be taken against the CBI officials concerned. The Competent Court will be informed,” CBI Spokesperson had said.

Kashmir: Girl dies in road accident caused by stone pelting in Srinagar

Srinagar: A girl died in a road accident caused by a stone pelting mob in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Police said, “Stone pelting led to the death of a young girl on Tuesday morning when she along with her sister was hit by a vehicle near Parimpora in Srinagar city.”

“The sports utility vehicle was moving backwards after it faced heavy stone pelting by a mob, and hit the two sisters,” the police said.

The girls were identified as Fozia and Nadia, daughters of Mohammad Sidiq Lone, a resident of Gulbagh.

A cream-coloured Mahindra Scorpio SUV hit the girls near Rogan Gali in Parimpora.

“Both were critically injured and were shifted to a hospital where the elder sister Fozia succumbed to her injuries.

One more person identified as Furqan Hamid, a resident of Zoonimar in Srinagar was also injured in stone pelting while he was riding a scooty near Allie Masjid Eidgah, in the old city of Safa Kadal area.

He received head injuries but his condition is said to be stable after he was shifted to hospital.

Authorities did not impose curfew anywhere in Srinagar city on Tuesday.

Nitish Katara murder case: SC to hear Vikas Yadav’s plea for reducing prison term

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear the plea of Vikas Yadav, who is serving a 25-year jail term without any remission for brutally murdering Nitish Katara in 2002. Yadav has appealed for his prison term to be reduced.Yadav had made the plea for leniency on Wednesday, and Senior Supreme Court advocate UR Lalit appearing for the convict who is the son of former parliamentarian, DP Yadav, told a division bench of the apex court headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan, that his client had already served over 14 years of his jail sentence.He also said that his client has been serving his jail sentence without parole, despite both the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court granting him custodial parole several times.The division bench, which was hearing the case, then posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday to allow the state to argue its case.Senior counsel Dayan Krishnan will be appearing for the Delhi government before the apex court.The Delhi High Court had on February 6 rejected the plea for giving a death sentence or enhancing life imprisonment to Vikas and his cousin Vishal to 25 years in jail without any remission.The high court had then held that the murder of Katara, who was in love with Vikas’s sister Bharati, was an “honour killing”, which was done in a very “carefully planned and premeditated” manner with “extreme vengeance”.The high court had decided to enhance the sentence awarded by the trial court, saying “amplitude of the gravity of the offence”, “cries for the need” that they (the convicts) be “adequately punished”.

New Delhi: Woman pushed off balcony for ‘refusing’ marriage proposal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 21-year-old woman was allegedly pushed off the balcony of her house by a man, after she ‘refused’ to accept his marriage proposal in outer Delhi’s Mongolpuri area, police said on Tuesday.The incident took place yesterday around 6.30 PM when the accused, identified as 28-year-old Amit, forcibly entered the woman’s house with his sister and started fighting with the woman and her family, they said.Amit allegedly threatened her to accept his marriage proposal but when she refused, he “pushed” her from the balcony of her house in Avantika Enclave in a fit of rage, said a senior police officer.The woman was rushed to Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital where her condition is stated to be critical.The man was handed over to police by neighbours, police said.Amit, however, claimed that the girl had borrowed Rs 1 lakh from him and wasn’t returning it, police said.Amit had apparently befriended the woman on Facebook around two years ago and the two got into a relationship, he said.When the parents carried out a background check on Amit, they found that he was unemployed. However, Amit kept pressurising the woman and her family for marriage.”According to Amit, he had gone to recover his money from the girl and in order to shift the blame on him, she jumped off the balcony,” said the officer.The girl’s family had lodged a complaint with the police before the incident alleging that Amit had threatened to create a scene in front of their house if they didn’t return his money, he said.Police is waiting for the girl to recover so that her statement can be recorded.

Burari murder: Woman stabbed 22 times in broad daylight; accused arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a terrifying incident, a 21-year-old woman teacher bled to death in broad daylight today as her stalker stabbed her as many as 22 times in a busy road in front of hoards of onlookers in North Delhi’s Burari, yet again exposing the city’s impassive side.The sheer savagery of the murder during the morning rush hour and caught in CCTV camera, drew widespread outrage and horror. The Centre has sought a report from Delhi Police even as Aam Aadmi Party slammed Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, saying the horrific incident is reflective of “deteriorating” law and order situation in the capital.The victim was identified as Karuna Kumar, who worked as a teacher at Novel Riches School. The attacker, 34-year-old Surender Singh, was stalking her for over a year-and-a-half. Karuna, with her cousin Neha, was on her way to work when Surender attacked her with a pair of scissors near Labour Chowk in Burari around 9am on Tuesday, police said.As Surender caught Karuna off guard and plunged the single blade of scissors in her body, a man rushed to stop him but soon backed off fearing attack on himself. Within two-and-a-half minutes, Surender had stabbed Karuna 22 times, as onlookers kept away. Karuna was rushed to Sushrut Trauma Centre in Civil Lines where she was declared brought dead.Surender was beaten up by the locals, who caught him and handed him over to the police.Victim had rejected accused’s marriage proposal several timesPolice said Surender had been stalking Karuna for the last one-and-a-half years and and her family had lodged a complaint against him. She had rejected his marriage proposal several times, police said. She used to learn computer at the training centre owned by Surender when he fell in love with her, police said.”We have sought a factual report from Delhi Police Commissioner over the incident. Whatever happened is very sad,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters.The victim’s family staged a protest near Sushrut Trauma Centre and blocked the traffic for an hour alleging the police were not giving them proper details. Karuna’s uncle Vinay said she used to support her two younger brothers, Manish and Himanshu, who are studying. “My brother Naresh has a shop in Sant Nagar where he sells bags. He makes around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000. Since Karuna finished her BA through a correspondence course and got a job, she had been helping her father. Even though she earned Rs 5,000, she would help her brothers,” he said.The victim’s brother Manish demanded stringent punishment for the accused. He said Surender used to harass his sister and when the matter was taken to the police, his parents came and apologised.”After a compromise was reached between our families, he had stopped stalking my sister. We don’t know what prompted him to suddenly kill my sister so brutally,” he said.While the woman’s family has been claiming that Surender was stalking Karuna, the accused has told the police he was in a relationship with her and they were “looking to get married”, said a senior police officer. Surender has told the police that the two had been “in a relationship for the last one year and their families knew about it”.Police are investigating the matter and trying to trace the man who was accompanying Surender on a motorbike when he stabbed her, said the officer.Criminals getting increasingly fearless: Delhi Dy CM Manish SisodiaDeputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said criminals were getting increasingly “fearless” in the city as police was investing its energy on harassing AAP MLAs. Sisodia also said that the society needs to introspect on how it remains “mute” in such situations.The ruling AAP also fielded its women MLAs who vowed to take up the issue with the President of India, Union Home Minister and the Lt Governor and “not rest” till the authorities come up with a roadmap to bolster women’s safety in the national capital.A case under section 302 IPC (murder) has been registered against the accused, said DCP (North) Madhur Verma.The incident came a day after a 32-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a man who claimed to love her in southwest Delhi’s Inderpuri area. Delhi records an extremely high number of stalking-related crimes every year. Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal, who had earlier dubbed Delhi the “stalking capital” of India, said the incident exposed the “hollowness” of the law and order system and called for the hanging of such criminals, “pending which nothing will change”.

Sonia’s health much better now, says Rahul

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi is “much better now” and will be “up and about very soon”, Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi. PTICongress President Sonia Gandhi. PTI

Congress President Sonia Gandhi. PTI

The 69 year-old Congress president was discharged from the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here two days back after successfully undergoing a minor procedure.

She was earlier in the hospital for 11 days for treatment of fever, dehydration and a shoulder injury.

At a function at which noted singer Shubha Mudgal was presented the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award, the Congress Vice President said that Sonia was “very keen” to attend the event, but he and Priyanka Gandhi did not allow her.

Rahul said though his mother was “very very impatient” to attend the programme, he and his sister told her that she should “rest a little bit”.

“She is much much better now and will be up and about very soon,” he remarked.

Gandhi, who is recuperating after falling ill during a roadshow in Varanasi, also did not visit the Vir Bhumi memorial here on the 72nd birth anniversary of her husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Never ending agony

The story of Nurjahan, one of India’s estimated 100,000 patients of cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Indian call centres a source of imposter frauds: US

Indian call centres continue to be the source of various frauds, the US government told lawmakers on Wednesday and said American officials were training Indian law enforcement agencies to act against the fraudsters.Lois C Greisman, Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, at US Federal Trade Commission in her testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee said certain types of scams are more likely to impact older Americans, such as prize promotion and lottery schemes and imposter schemes purporting to provide technical support to “fix” non-existent computer problems.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Listing out various areas of concerns, Greisman listed fraud calls originating from India as one of them. “Another area of international concern involves Indian call centres, which like their Jamaican counterparts, continue to be the source of various imposter frauds that have reached consumers throughout the English-speaking world,” she said.”In addition to our enforcement cases, the FTC has organised three stakeholder meetings, including two in India, to develop a coordinated and multi-pronged approach to this threat,” she said.The most recent event, held this May in Washington DC, included representatives from several major technology companies, the US, Canadian and UK law enforcement, the Indian call center industry group and Indian government officials, Greisman said.”One result of this collaboration is a four-city law enforcement training in India this summer, in which the FTC is participating, aimed at developing Indian law enforcement’s capacity to arrest and prosecute the India-based individuals who perpetrate these frauds,” she said.The FTC will also continue to develop cross-border initiatives with our sister enforcement agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom, Greisman told lawmakers. Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said criminals have found deceptive ways to “set the hook” on a particular victim and then return for more.One study found that seniors who had been scammed out of just US $20 ended up losing an additional US $2,000 to other scams over the next five years. “But the most devastating impact of these crimes goes beyond seniors’ bank accounts. Victims of financial exploitation can experience loss of independence, deteriorated health and psychological distress all of which diminish the quality of life,” Grassley said.”In my home state of Iowa, we’re hearing more and more about sweetheart scams, where fraudsters cultivate a romantic relationship with a lonely elder typically online and then convince the senior to part with his or her hard earned money,” he said.

The story of an iconic Indian family photograph

Indian writer and photographer Sooni Taraporevala relates the story of a much-feted 31-year-old picture of a family in the city of Mumbai.

Dabholkar murder case: CBI team interrogates accused Tawde’s wife

A team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in Panvel on Tuesday, interrogated Nidhi Tawde, wife of Dr Virendrasinh Tawde, an accused in murder of Pune-based rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.According to sources in CBI, a search were conducted at the couple’s Panvel residence soon after Nidhi’s interrogation. Last week, the agency had stated that Tawde was suspected to be the chief architect of Dabholkar’s murder and that interrogation of his wife and some known associates was on the cards.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Investigators had previously tried to interrogate Nidhi but she was out of the country. She had been visiting her sister in London and returned to Panvel on Monday, said agency officials.”It was a preliminary examination. If the need arises, she will be questioned again,” said a CBI official. CBI sleuths are of the opinion that Nidhi, also a doctor, might have been privy to her husband’s activities. Tawde is Hindu Janjagruti Samiti’s (HJS) chief coordinator and speaker for the controversial Sanatan Sanstha (SS).According to sources, Nidhi too is believed to be involved with these organisations. She, however, grew distant over the years and shifted her focus to her medical practice. The CBI officials said the couple was in touch with each other, but because of his Sanstha-related activities, Tawde mostly lived in an ashram. Both SS and HJS encourage their members to focus on the Hindutva cause and not be distracted by family life.Tawde, arrested earlier this month, has been accused of not only providing logistics to individuals who gunned down Dr Dabholkar in 2013, but also of being in touch with absconding SS member Sarang Akolkar, prime accused in the 2009 Goa blast case. Sources in CBI said Nidhi was also questioned regarding the whereabouts of Akolkar, who is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for the Goa blast, in which two Sanatan members were killed when a bomb went off on a scooter they were travelling on.Agency sources told dna that Tawde, in an email to Akolkar, had stated that in order to arm a private army of 15,000, their group required proper funding to purchase weapons. Tawde had further written that if a situation arose wherein finding money became an issue, the right wing group should be prepared to “kill and steal”.Agency officials also said that between 2010 and 2012, Tawde, along with Akolkar, had attended arms training session in Goa as well as in Sangli and Pune.

Notorious Kairana gangsters’ targets were not based on religion, say police

As the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) fact-finding committee makes rounds of Kairana to probe its MP’s claim of a Hindu exodus, merely five km away in Jahanpura, Najma Khan nurses her two-year-old daughter in her one-storeyed house.Najma is the younger sister of local gangster Mukeem Khan, now known as Mukeem Kala in Kairana. Recently, Mukeem’s name started popping up in discussions among villagers, nearly two years after he was arrested in a double murder case.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Hukum Singh had created a stir last week after claiming extortionists from “a particular religion” were forcing Hindu families to leave their homes. As soon as the word rangdari (extortion) comes up in village discussions, it makes Najma sit up and worry.”Even though two of my brothers are in jail, my family isn’t a bit relieved,” says Najma, while her youngest brother Azam roams about in what seems like a room used to receive guests. Two of the prominent features of the room include a sewing machine in a corner and a table fan in the other.It was here that Mukeem bid his parents goodbye six years ago, before leaving to work at a construction site in the neighbouring Haryana. Days later, the family would come to know that Mukeem has been accused of a robbery.—Home of Mukeem Khan, the most prominent names in Kairana’s underworld has been prison since 2014. “The police told us that my brother robbed jewellery from someone’s home. He was only 18 then and might have been influenced. But what happened to us later turned him into what he is today,” says Najma.According to her, after that, the local police searching for Mukeem started harassing her family routinely. He was arrested, imprisoned for eight months and later released on bail. But Mukeem seemed to have made up his mind in prison. Six years down the line, he was heading a crew of 29 men and had 30 cases registered against him, including murder, attempted murder, extortion and robbery. He was also rechristened as Kala. “I don’t like that name. He is Mukeem to me,” says Najma.The family faced even more trouble when Mukeem’s younger brother Waseem got involved with him. In fact, Waseem was an accused in the only registered case of extortion in Kairana this year. “The police have stopped harassing us but now with the exodus story, I am afraid we will be in trouble again,” says Najma.Ehsan, a relative, says, “The family does not own any land. Mukeem’s father Mustakeem works on fields owned by a zamindar named Mahinder. He earns Rs200-300 a day. The amount was even lesser when Mukeem left home to find work. He was studying but had to quit as he was the eldest among six siblings.” He adds that Mukeem might be a criminal but he does not hate any religion.”I know for a fact that he wanted to leave the crime world and follow in the footsteps of Sompal Singh, who has now become a pradhan.” Now the village head of Khandravali, Sompal has 23 cases registered against him.In its prime, the Mukeem Kala gang had 29 members, of whom 25 have now been arrested. Four gang members were gunned down. Two escaped the police custody but one of them, nicknamed as Dr Israr, was arrested soon afterwards. Vajid, the other accused who escaped, is still absconding, while Subash is the latest arrested member, says police.Mukeem’s journey from a criminal to an aspiring village head might have been cut short but one thing that surprised Jahanpura villagers is the allegation that he targeted only Hindu businessmen.”If for a minute we accept that Mukeem targeted members of a particular community, what explains the fact that some of his trusted aides had names like Neeraj, Sachin and Subash?. His gang is involved in 2013 murder of a local businessman named Haider and two of his family members,” said a police officer.”On a lighter note, people would be surprised to see religious tolerance of Kairana criminals for each other. Their only job is to target innocent civilians and police. We have been defeating them and will continue to do so,” the officer adds, naming some of the other prominent gangsters of Kairana who are now in jail. “Furkan, Sadar, Surinder Kala, Vipul Khooni – The list goes on.”

They beat me up…groped me, including my penile areas: Gay victim spills beans on Chandigarh cops

A homosexual man, who had alleged sexual assault by the Chandigarh police in 2014, has now approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court simply to file an FIR in the case. The man, incidentally, is the cousin of the high profile Khuda Lahora gangrape victim, who too was abused by the Chandigarh police.The man alleges that in 2014, after five Chandigarh policemen gangraped his sister over a period of two and a half months in Khuda Lahora area, he actively pursued the case to get justice for his sister, which was taken up by politicians and the media alike. Three of the five accused, Jagtar, Akshay, Himmat, Sunil and Anil, were part of the PCR, first responders in case of a sexual assault complaint.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The case saw the ouster of the five accused, which the victim angered the police further, the victim alleges. He says that he was first beaten up, and asked to give up the case, in which he was a witness. After he refused, the relatives of some of the accused assaulted him. “I then filed an application before the district court, seeking protection from the police constable concerned,” says the victim. “The district court judge directed the SSP Chandigarh to provide me with protection, but that was never provided.”The worst was, however, yet to come. On July 7, 2014, the accused was picked up by four policemen, while travelling on his scooty. The cops took him to the police station, but not before assaulting him. “They first beat me up, impounded my vehicle and then groped me, including my penile areas. Then they took me to the Sector 34 police station, where they assaulted me for hours,” he said. “A policewoman said I was not a man, and said that my cousin was lying.”The victim was eventually fired from his job as a teacher, which was on contract basis, at the Government Model Senior Secondary School of Sector-10, Chandigarh, leading to economic instability in his family. “We were also thrown out of the rented house we lived in, and my family faced a lot of problems,” he says. Eventually, he had to flee his home for a metro as he fears for his life. His cousin eventually turned hostile because of the harassment. “I don’t get to meet my parents, and I lie low, because if they find out where I live, I will be harmed again,” he said.The victim was initially helped by the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), which filed RTIs and wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In a letter dated October 14, 2014, the NHRC had asked the inspector general of police, Chandigarh, to take appropriate action. “The authority concerned is directed to take appropriate action within 8 weeks and to inform the complainant of the action taken in the matter,” the letter signed by the assistant registrar (law), NHRC said. However, no action was taken.The victim has now approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking direction to the police for the registration of the case, and that appropriate action be taken in the case. The high court has taken up the matter twice, and has asked the victim’s counsel to place on record more documents to corroborate his allegations. The matter is likely to come up on July 19.“The police have now alleged that my client was roaming suspiciously with another man in the night, and he was therefore arrested. He has gone through a lot of injustice,” said his counsel Arjun Sheoran.LGBTQ activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who is helping the victim for over a year, said, “We totally support his case. Look at the case, they have harassed him because of his homosexual traits.”(With inputs by Prabhati Nayak Mishra)

Woman NGO worker from Kolkata abducted in Kabul

Judith D’Souza (40), an Indian NGO worker stationed in Kabul, was abducted on Thursday night by suspected militants right outside her office. The governments and security agencies in India and Afghanistan were involved in tracing her till the time of going to press on Friday.D’Souza, working with international NGO Aga Khan Foundation, hails from Kolkata. In a statement issued in Kabul, the Foundation said: “On Thursday, June 9, a staff member of the Aga Khan Foundation was abducted. An investigation by the authorities, in conjunction with security officials and various partners, has been launched. Every effort is being made for the safe release of the staff member.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Judith’s father, D D’Souza, told PTI in Kolkata that the family received information that three persons — Judith, a security guard and the driver of the vehicle, were abducted and they received the information at 1.30 am from the Indian embassy in Kabul. Judith was a senior technical adviser and was scheduled to return to India next week.An employee at the Foundation’s Delhi office, who didn’t wish to be named, told dna that D’Souza was hired directly for the Afghanistan assignment and hence colleagues in Delhi had not interacted with her much. She had been in Kabul for a year, said the employee.Ministry of external affairs (MEA) sources in New Delhi told dna: “The Indian embassy in Kabul is in touch with senior Afghan authorities and the government here is in constant touch with D’Souza’s family in Kolkata.”The Indian embassy had issued a security advisory to “all Indians residing and travelling to Afghanistan that the security situation in the country remains highly volatile”. The advisory warned of terrorist attacks and mentioned “the risk of kidnapping and hostage taking throughout Afghanistan”.Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday tweeted that the government was “doing everything to rescue her”. Replying to an appeal through Twitter by the victim’s brother, Swaraj tweeted back: “She is your sister and India’s daughter. We are doing everything to rescue her. Pl take care of your sick father.”

Indian abducted in Kabul: Hope govt does something to get Judith back, says sister

Family members of Judith D’Souza, who was abducted from Taimani area of Kabul, on Friday said External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has assured them of making all-out efforts to bring her back. “External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj rang up and spoke to me and assured that the government is making all-out efforts to bring her back,” Judith’s sister Agnes D’Souza told PTI here. Judith was abducted last night.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Their father D D’Souza said the family received information that three persons — Judith, a security guard and the driver of the vehicle, were abducted.The family, Agnes said, received information of the abduction in the early hours of the day. “We received the news from the Indian embassy in Kabul at 1.30 am. The embassy said we are doing our best. We shall inform you as soon as we get any information. “We are now awaiting. We hope that the government does something and gets my sister back,” she said, adding the Afghanistan government should also take steps to trace her. She said Judith was scheduled to return home Wednesday next and had rung up two days ago. “She did not express any apprehension,” she said.Agnes said, “We had asked her (Judith) not to go there but she did not listen.” Their father said efforts were made to contact Aga Khan Foundation with which Judith works. “We have sent an e-mail to them.”He said his daughter was working for uplifting the condition of women and children there. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said he spoke to the family of the abducted woman and contacted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “@SushmaSwaraj Ji, I spoke to father & sister of lady from #Kolkata abducted in Afghanistan. Request updates pl from your office (sic),” he tweeted.

VVIP chopper case | Italian court order to convict heads changed understanding of AgustaWestland case: CBI

The Italian court order convicting the then heads of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland has changed “the understanding” of CBI in its probe into 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal alleged bribery case, high-ranking sources claimed here today.The sources said the judgment by the Milan Court of Appeals has made it clear that bribes were allegedly paid in the deal which was clinched by UK-based AgustaWestland, a sister concern of Italy-based Finmeccanica.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Italian court order has changed the understanding of the case by CBI. It is being probed who are beneficiaries and even in that we have reached a substantial level as far as domestic angle is concerned. What is left is the chain of fund flow for which responses to Letters Rogatory are awaited,” an official in the know of the probe said.He was asked about the impact of Italian court’s order on the probe carried out by the agency. His response came when he was asked to explain what he meant by “understanding”.The agency has received responses to its Letters Rogatory, a court-to-court judicial request seeking help in probe from the other country, Italy while partial responses were received from Tunisia, British Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.The responses from UAE (United Arab Emirates), Switzerland and Mauritius are still awaited, they said.Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi and the former CEO of AgustaWestland Bruno Spagnolini were held guilty by the Milan court of Appeals, equivalent of High Courts in India, which overturned the lower court’s order.The sources said unless they are able to complete the chain of fund flow from Italy to India, allegedly routed through various countries in the form of various contracts to shell companies, they cannot solve the riddle and file a charge sheet.The agency had registered a case against former IAF Chief S P Tyagi and 12 others including his three cousins and five foreign nationals in the case. Tyagi has denied the allegations.In addition, six companies including Italy-based Finmeccanica, Agusta Westland, Mohali-based IDS Infotech, Chandigarh based Aeromatrix, IDS Tunisia and IDS Mauritius have also been booked by the CBI in its FIR.The allegation against the former Air Chief was that he had reduced flying ceiling of the helicopter from altitude ceiling requirement from 6,000m to 4,500m (15,000 ft) so that AgustaWestland could be included in the bids.However, this decision was taken in consultation with the officials of SPG and the Prime Minister’s Office.CBI has alleged that reduction of the service ceiling– maximum height at which a helicopter can perform normally– allowed the UK-based firm to get into the fray as, otherwise, its helicopters were not even qualified for submission of bids.

First popularity test for Mehbooba Mufti after joining hands with BJP

Ending suspense, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has finally decided to step into her late father’s shoes and contest the assembly polls from Anantnag constituency, which had fallen vacant after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.It will be the first popularity test for Mehbooba after she joined hands with BJP after playing hard ball for two-and-a-half months in a bid to renegotiate the terms of agenda of alliance and pressure BJP-led Centre to announce some confidence- building measures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba, who is currently People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Lok Sabha member from Anantnag, is filing her nomination papers on Wednesday. The bye-polls for the constituency will be held on June 19.This time the BJP has decided not to field any candidate against Mehbooba from Anantnag. It will be for the first time when there will be a sort of pre-poll arrangement between the PDP and BJP in the state.Last time, BJP had fielded Mohammad Rafiq Wani against late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Anantnag constituency and he had bagged 1,275 votes.”We will not field any candidate against Mehbooba Mufti. We will extend all our support to the honourable chief minister in the polls. She will secure the highest number of votes in this election,” Khalid Jehangir, spokesman of BJP for Kashmir, told dna.However, Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah is giving a tough contest to Mehbooba from Anantnag constituency. Shah had lost to her father by just 6000 votes in 2014 assembly elections.This time Shah is trying his luck against Mufti’s daughter in the same constituency. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had bagged 16,983 votes while Shah had got 10,955 votes in 2014 assembly elections.”This time Mehbooba will lose her deposit. People are very angry because of her handshake with BJP and RSS. People want to teach them a lesson in a democratic manner. I have been living amongst people all through and I can see the wave against Mehbooba and her party,” Shah told dna.National Conference (NC), which had finished third by bagging 2,403 votes in 2014, has again fielded Iftikhar Hussain Misger against Mehbooba in Anantnag. Misger was last-minute entry in 2014 since NC candidate Mehboob Beg had defected to PDP and supported Mufti Mohommad Sayeed.”It is a one sided contest and Mehbooba Ji will win with the biggest margin. It is a cakewalk for her. There is nobody who can defeat her in Anantnag”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Speculations are also rife that Mehbooba’s brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain may contest the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag constituency after his sister is elected to assembly. “Party will decide who will be the candidate for Anantnag parliamentary polls,” said Beg.

‘Sulking’ Rahul Gandhi skips party meet, sets tongues wagging

A ‘sulking’ Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, on Saturday, skipped the party function here to mark the 25th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Indian Youth Congress (IYC), that organised the conference, had put out large banners welcoming the party’s crown prince Rahul Gandhi to the venue. The Congress leadership was expecting the event to act as a catalyst to lift the sagging morale of cadre, that took a beating following the drubbing it received in assembly polls to four states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi did attend the function, Rahul’s absence from the day-long function raised concern. While his office later clarified that he was indisposed and will attend party duties from Monday, insiders said, he was sulking at the comments of some party leaders. They pointed out that ‘indisposed’ Rahul had, earlier in the day, accompanied his mother, sister Priyanka and brother-in-law Robert Vadra to the Veer Bhumi memorial.On Friday, senior party general secretary Digvijay Singh, while calling for a surgery within the party, also commented on Rahul’s inability to match the gift of the gab of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Also, leaders like Shashi Tharoor, were prompt in coming out in the open, giving lectures on the “way forward”.Trying her best to pep up the spirits of cadre, Sonia told the gathering: “If one sticks to principles, no failure is permanent”. But that was not enough to stop the wagging tongues in party circles. Ever since the massive defeat in four states, commemoration ceremony was being touted as first public appearance of top leadership. Instead of attending it, Rahul took to twitter to remember his father. “Remembering Rajivji today, he touched the lives of so many as a leader, as a friend & above all as a good human being,” Rahul said in a series of tweets.In order to salvage the situation, Congress spokespersons continued to shield Rahul, by blaming party’s state leaderships for the debacle. “The electoral strategies in the five states were made by the local leadership; the high command didn’t enforce its wish on any state,” said senior spokesperson PC Chacko.

Kerala rape: Crime scene was compromised, says Maneka Gandhi

An inquiry committee set up by the National Commission of Women (NCW) to look into the horrific rape and murder of a law student from Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district in Kerala on April 28, has stated in its report that the Kerala police has not picked up an accused that the traumatised mother of the victim had repeatedly pointed out to.Reading from the report at a press conference at the Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC) in Delhi following a question from a scribe, Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi said that investigations had revealed that the mother and the victim, along with the sister had informed the police that they will be harmed. And yet, the police failed to act on the complaint.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”During the investigations, the NCW team found that the mother had repeatedly pointed out to one of the accused, and he is yet to be picked up by the police. They had reported earlier about the same person. They were told that they will be raped,” said Maneka.Maneka then said that the sister of the victim corroborated the same, and that one of the accused is the brother-in-law of a Left politician. She said that the police seemed to have ignored that because the person seemed to be one with resources, and is well-connected.The report, submitted on May 13 to Maneka by the NCW, was prepared by the team which was sent to the crime spot on May 4. The team, headed by NCW chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam, had NCW member Rekha Sharma, advocate P Krishnadas, legal technical expert Geeta Rathee Singh, and V Raman, PS to Kumaramangalam.The report says that the team found the mother and the sister in a traumatised state, and found that “proper psychological counselling was not provided” to the mother, even four days after the incident. The team found that the victim and her family were very poor, belonged to the Scheduled Caste community, and lived in a small, improvised hut. The team also found that they were routinely harassed by their neighbours.The report further alleges that it appears that the Kerala Police was abetting to the crime. The police tried to ignore several leads, and also did not help the NCW team in their investigations.The report further states that the crime scene was “deliberately compromised”, and the forensic team failed to take necessary action in the investigations, and that there was no video recording of the proceedings. “The police instead of sending the weapon used in the crime scene for chemical examination directly submitted it to the court,” read the report. “The forensic science laboratory has failed miserably in providing services to the investigation team to identify the real culprit in the murder of the Dalit woman as the DNA division of the lab has been lying idle for the past several months on account of repair,” it read.The team also found that the inspection of the crime spot was carried out by a postgraduate student of medical science, and the Associate Professor did not visit the place. “The sniffer dog was attached to the investigation by police on May 5, nearly one week after the occurrence of the crime,” said the report.”The Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) as per the provision of section 174 of the CrPC was not present at the time of inquest,” said the report, which led to technical irregularities.The inquiry officer Anil Kumar, who was investigating the case, was transferred before the investigations ended, and the new officer did not appear before the NCW team despite being repeatedly asked, said the report.The report also stated that the ongoing elections could be a reason for the indifference, and that the team has communicated the matter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the Election Commissioner. It also stated that despite being told that they will be updated of the case, no communication has come to them. “One of the reasons for such lackadaisical and apathetic behaviour of the police could be that the victim belonged to a vulnerable section of the society,” the report said.

Kerala Dalit rape-murder: Forensic ‘failures’ leading to miscarriage of justice, says Maneka Gandhi

Alleging “failure” on part of the forensic team to help crack a Dalit woman’s rape and murder case in Kerala, Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday called for strengthening of this crime research department in the police.The minister said the forensic science laboratories have failed “miserably” in providing any service to the investigating team to identify the real culprit in the murder of the woman.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”One of the things that should emerge from this case is strengthening forensic (capabilities) in the police. The forensic department is always to blame for miscarriage of justice,” the minister claimed.A team of NCW that visited Kerala to investigate the alleged rape and murder claimed the police are functioning under “undue influence” and the probe may “not be fair” due to “electoral considerations”.”The inquiry committee visited the crime spot and found that the crime scene had been deliberately compromised. So it was totally contaminated on all fundamental evidences further weakening the case,” she said.Citing examples of Aarushi murder case and a forgery case related to Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, run by her, Gandhi alleged that most of the cases handled by the forensic department are declared as “indeterminant”.”Most of the cases they handle are ‘indeterminent’ or ‘cannot make out’. We filed an RTI to ask what percentage is ‘indeterminant’ and they said 99 per cent. And when we asked why, they said they do not want to get involved with the police cases,” she claimed.”I even wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner saying that this system is so corrupt. You have a forensic department that writes off every bit of evidence by saying indeterminant, ruining the case right there only because they do not want to get involved in the case,” she alleged.Reading out from the report, Gandhi said, the woman, her mother and sister were allegedly harassed by their neighbours but the police did not act despite repeated complaints.”This family was harassed by their neighbours. The mother of the victim repeatedly accused one of the neighbours before the police. And that neighbour still has not been picked up. She (the mother) had reported earlier about their threats to her, to the police authorities that never took any action. They were told they were going to be raped. They were told they were going to be killed,” Gandhi said, reading from the report.

Need financial and legislative growth for women empowerment, says Naidu

New Delhi: Women empowerment is possible only when there is financial and legislative empowerment, besides having the property rights, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.

File photo of Venkaiah Naidu. Firstpost/Naresh SharmaFile photo of Venkaiah Naidu. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

File photo of Venkaiah Naidu. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

Addressing ‘Women Economic Forum’ here, Naidu also said that “(In) Housing for All scheme, the houses that are constructed will be in the name of women rather than men.”

“Women empowerment is possible only when there is financial empowerment, legislative empowerment and women having the property rights. That’s why in our ‘Housing for All’ scheme the houses that are constructed will be in the name of women rather than men,” Naidu, who is Minister for Urban Development, said.

The Minister also stressed on the need to reflect upon the role of women in socio-political and economic context in the changing dynamics. “As far as our own civilization is concerned, a woman is highly respected. Mother and Sister invoke the highest of human sentiments and feelings…Our government draws motivation from the age old ways of according woman their due in that sense,” he said citing names of several women ministers in the present NDA government.

NEET 2016: ‘It looks like the future is slipping away from us’

To whomsoever it may concern,

I am an elder brother and I want to express my thoughts about the situation my sister is currently facing. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, wise or stupid, but I find that there is no other effective way to inform people about it.

I am from a middle-class family in Nagpur. My sister’s dream was to be a doctor. Although she studied in a government-aided school till Class 12, under the Maharashtra State Board, my parents admitted her to a private coaching class after Class 10. That would have easily cost them Rs. 90,000. My sister studied hard and expects a good score in the Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (MHTCET), and expects to be admitted in Government Medical College, Nagpur.

Her hard work was ruined by one decision from the Supreme Court. Her expectations, dreams and fees have now gone down the drain with just one stroke of the pen. Wouldn’t it have been better to make this decision two years before or two years after? Students who have never studied in CBSE are now expected to appear in the exam conducted by CBSE. The syllabus for both is different and so is the approach.  The total marks for the state CET are 200, for the NEET, they are 720. CET is based on Class 12 syllabus and the state board, while NEET is based Class 11 and 12 syllabus of the CBSE.

My sister and countless other students like her, who had prepared hard for the last two years, were supposed to appear for CET on 5 May 2016. But the Supreme Court (on 29 April) decided to implement NEET from the current academic year. The state’s education minister consoled the students saying that the CET would be held and the merit list would be prepared. But on 9 May, the Supreme Court scrapped all common entrance tests and decided that the second part of NEET would be held on 24 July 2016, instead.

Representational image. AFP.Representational image. AFP.

Representational image. AFP.

I come from a humble background and I’ve seen my parents work hard so that their children can live in a better future. But it looks like the future is slipping away from us. Whom should we expect justice from?

We’re not against NEET, but such a hasty implementation, especially when state exams are just around the corner, is unfair to students who have been preparing for a year. It’s only fair that we’re informed well in advance, how and when the exam should be taken, and according to which syllabus and pattern.

I feel that the state government failed to take a proper stand in the Supreme Court, which took this decision because corruption usually takes place during admissions in private colleges, that give seats based on sizeable donations. Students who can pay hefty sums can afford to go abroad to earn their degree. What can students from poor backgrounds do? What about students who cannot afford to study in a CBSE school? Does it mean that students who cannot afford education should forego professional education?

Due to the implementation of the judgment from this academic year, no state board student will be able to compete with CBSE students. NEET needs to be implemented from next year so that state board students can have adequate time to adapt to the new system and pattern.

This issue has been raised in Parliament. But when will a decision be taken on this? After the NEET Phase 2? Meanwhile, private tuitions have started new classes to help students complete the course in two months, for just Rs. 30,000-50,000.

Where I come from, the temperature during the day is anywhere between 43 and 47 degree celsius in May and June. And attending these classes in such weather conditions is unbearable.

I don’t have the experience to address issues such as this one. But I think writing about it will help the situation at hand.

Kerala rape and murder: Independent fact-finding team alleges lapses in police probe

Alleging “severe lapses” in the police investigation in the brutal rape and murder of a woman in Kerala, an independent fact-finding team of intellectuals and academicians has called for a CBI probe into the gruesome incident. “There have been severe and fatal lapses in the investigation by the police. Police tried to mislead the people initially by terming it as a suicide case. The Circle Inspector, who first probed the case, described it as a suspicious case of death. Initially the case was registered under the charges of trespass and murder. The charges of rape and sexual assault were added only after the local media broke the story,” alleged Monika Arora, convenor of the Group of Intellectuals and Academicians (GIA), also a Supreme Court advocate. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a press conference here, she further alleged that the crime scene was not sealed for nearly 10 days from the date of the incident (April 28) till May 8. “From 9.30 pm on April 28 to 12.30 pm the next day, people were entering the room where the crime happened and clicked pictures, shared it on WhatsApp and police remained a mute spectator. Material evidence in the form of finger prints, shoe prints and others had been destroyed because of the non-sealing of the crime scene,” Arora said.The GIA also demanded that police officials who allegedly tried to “mislead and misguide” the people and tried to cover up the incident should be identified and dealt with in accordance with law. “Mother and sister of the victim repeatedly stated that they were being threatened by some local people, even hit by a motorcyclist and were asked a number of times to leave the village. Also, according to the report, mother of the deceased had repeatedly requested the local gram panchayat leader for building a toilet but the legimate demand was not met.”The FFT believes that the brutal rape and murder of the victim took place because of her gender, she being a woman, not being a Dalit, but certainly accentuated by her social and economic status,” the report said. GIA would be submitting its report to the Home Ministry, to the National Commisison for Women (NCW), to the SC/ST Commission and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Uttar Pradesh: Minor stabs sister to death over her extra-marital affair

A 17-year-old boy hacked his sister to death after a heated argument between the two over her illicit relationship in Ganj locality in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh, police said on Thursday.Shiva’s 19-year-old married sister had apparently started talking to her ex-lover over phone after coming to her parents’ home, they said. The accused saw her conversing with her paramour and in a fit of rage killed her with knife, police said. He was sent to a juvenile home in Moradabad on Wednesday following the order of Rampur Juvenile Court, district police chief Sadhna Goswami said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a similar case, a 25-year-old married woman killed her paramour and his wife in Safini area here as she was upset over his marriage with the other woman. The incident occurred on Tuesday when the accused slit the throat of her paramour’s wife and poisoned him to death, additional S P Tariq Mohammad said.The S P said the deceased was involved in an illicit relationship with a married woman and started staying with her along with his wife. A case has been registered against the woman, her son and two daughters, he said, adding the four were sent to jail yesterday.

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