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2016 was gloomy; 2017 may get gloomier: The new normal is bitter and disregards truth

2016 was a gloomy year.

Chaos overwhelmed order and noise trumped good sense all through. Propaganda suffocated truth and opinion rode roughshod over facts. At the end of it India appeared to have finally settled into the new normal.

Welcome to the post-truth age. And goodbye the old world obsessed with morality.

What is the defining feature of the new normal? It has to be obfuscation of and disregard for truth. It rides on the brute power of propaganda and not-so-subtle manipulation of mass opinion. Truth is no more simple black and white; it is imbued with many shades and ambiguities. Innuendos, insinuations and disinformation designed to be malicious and address the lowest common denominator play a role to cloud it.

Representational image.

Representational image.

India was angrier, bitter and more cynical than ever the whole of the year, thanks to the crudity in the air. The hate talk, the unbridled combativeness and expression of acrimony is likely to continue through the next year and beyond. The rise and rise of the emotion-driven, and sometimes irrational, Right is one reason why. The failure of those in the ideological Left and the middle to develop a convincing counter-argument to them is another. But the worst is the inability of the ordinary Indian to keep himself insulated from political developments and study the reality around dispassionately.

The new normal is characterised by low trust and the tendency of players, political and otherwise, to exploit the trust gap through calculated lies and half-truths spread among people. Lies are what remained in full play in 2016. Every allegation against every political leader in the media and elsewhere was falsehood. The choice of the word ‘lie’ is deliberate. Over the last two-and-half years we have been hearing of scandals and involvement of political biggies in them. Television channels produce irrefutable proof every other day. How come none of the accused is in jail so far? How come Robert Vadra‘s land deals make it to headlines every couple of months yet he is not even in the court once? Obviously, we were being fed untruth all along or someone wanted to keep us distracted from our many existential problems.

The worst part is, we as a people have started enjoying the lies, elevated them to some kind of mass entertainment. The spicier it is the better. Obviously, we don’t give a damn. We have made truth irrelevant to our lives and facts redundant.

In the process we have diminished ourselves morally. In the post-truth age morality, private, public and institutional has taken a dip. It was evident the way we bought propaganda peddled by politicians on both sides of the ideological divide with a conniving media with unrelenting relish and happily became part of their political wars. We forgot that the idea of India was bigger than any ideology or leader. It is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The diminishing of institutions of public trust is a dimension of the new normal. So when the judiciary passes a verdict it is no more accepted as sacrosanct; when the Army says it conducted surgical strikes there are as many doubters as believers and when the Reserve Bank of India offers facts on demonetisation, there is suspicion. The police no more inspires respect. Government, run by politicians as they are, has always been low on credibility. How does a democracy function when all its institutions lack vigour and the social capital called trust? We were too busy asserting ourselves over others to notice the damage to the institutions and with them the sense of order.

Yes, 2016 was gloomy. 2017 promises to be no better.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 18:29 IST

Nearly 100 killed, hundreds hurt as quake strikes Indonesia’s Aceh | Reuters

PIDIE JAYA, Indonesia Nearly 100 people were killed and hundreds injured in Indonesia on Wednesday when a strong earthquake hit its Aceh province and rescuers used earth movers and bare hands to search for survivors in scores of toppled buildings.Medical volunteers rushed in fading evening light to get people to hospitals, which were straining to cope with the influx of injured.The Aceh provincial government said in a statement 93 people had died and more than 500 were injured, many seriously.Sutopo Nugroho of Indonesia’s national disaster management agency, said a state of emergency had been declared in Aceh, which sits on the northern tip of Sumatra island. “We are now focusing on searching for victims and possible survivors,” said Nugroho. His agency put the death toll at 94.Aceh was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami centred on its western coast near the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, on Dec. 26, 2004. That tsunami killed 226,000 people along Indian Ocean shorelines.Officials urged people to sleep outdoors as twilight fell, in case aftershocks caused more damage to already precarious buildings.

President Joko Widodo was expected to visit the area on Thursday, his deputy told media.Wednesday’s quake hit the east coast of the province, about 170 km (105 miles) from Banda Aceh. Nugroho said Aceh’s Pidie Jaya regency, with a population of about 140,000, was worst hit. Many victims had suffered broken bones and gashes and had to be treated in hospital corridors and hastily erected disaster tents, a Reuters witness said. Television showed footage of flattened mosques, fallen electricity poles and crushed cars.

A Red Crescent volunteer said health workers were struggling. “There aren’t enough medical staff,” the Red Crescent’s Muklis, who like many Indonesians uses one name, told TVOne. Nugroho said more than 1,000 personnel, including military officers and volunteers, had been deployed to help in disaster relief.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck just after 5 a.m. (2200 GMT Tuesday) at a depth of 17 km (11 miles). No tsunami warning was issued.At least five aftershocks were felt after the initial quake, the disaster management agency said.The region suffered massive destruction in 2004 when a 9.2 magnitude quake triggered a tsunami that wiped out entire communities in Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean. Indonesia was the hardest hit, with more than 120,000 people killed in Aceh. (Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen in JAKARTA and Reuters stringer in PIDIE JAYA; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Paul Tait, Robert Birsel)

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

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 21:23 IST

Demonetisation: Delhi Police, I-T dept conduct raids after media sting ops show illegal money exchange

New Delhi: Delhi Police along with IT department on Thursday conducted raids at various places in Delhi after news channels aired sting operations showing agents taking black money in the form of demonetised notes and promising exchange into valid money by charging a commission.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sent CDs of the broadcast to Delhi Police on Wednesday for taking appropriate action in the matter, following which Crime Branch, in association with Directorate of Investigations IT department, conducted raids at several places, said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (Crime).

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The sting operation had also shown managers of popular Pakistani singers and actors demanding a part of the money, that their clients were supposed to be paid for performances or appearances in functions, in cash and the rest to be deposited in the artistes’ bank accounts.

“Television news channels had carried out sting operations following demonetisation of higher denomination notes,” Yadav said.

“These sting operations showed how unscrupulous persons are involved in exchange of demonetised notes of black money in different sectors like gold jewellery, real estate, etc and are promising conversion into legal money by charging some commission,” he said.

Raids were conducted at locations in Chandni Chowk, Paharganj, Connaught Place, Hauz Khas and Shakarpur, he added.

The office of artiste managers Manu Kohli and Rakesh Gupta, who also handle artistes from Pakistan including popular Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, were among those raided, police said.

“Appropriate legal action action will be taken in consultation with the IT department,” Yadav added.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 11:54 IST

Examine if soft porn being shown on Hotstar: Delhi HC to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has been asked by the Delhi High Court to examine the allegation that objectionable content, including soft pornography, was being made available for download from hotstar.com website, run by a subsidiary of Star India Pvt Ltd, and take appropriate action.Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued notice to Star India and its subsidiary, Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd, seeking their reply to a plea alleging that they were operating an illegal Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) distribution platform without following the uplinking and downlinking guidelines.Besides the two companies, the court also sought response of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for allegedly not regulating content provided on the IPTV platform website hotstar.com. The court directed the ministries to “look into the issue and, in case, the content, being made available through the website hotstar.com is objectionable or prohibited, appropriate action shall be taken by them in accordance with law”.The court’s direction came on a plea by Un-Canned Media Pvt Ltd, alleging that the two companies in connivance with each other, have been operating an illegal distribution platform, by illegally providing content through their Hotstar IPTV platform in violation of the guidelines stipulated under the applicable laws. It has contended that the company, which owns and operates digital properties like hotstar.com, is not being regulated by the ministries, in as much the contents being provided on the website is uncensored and uncontrolled by them.Un-canned Media claimed the objectionable content was being made available for download by the companies. “Some instances have been pointed out whereby it is contended that even soft pornography is also being permitted to be downloaded from the services being provided by the firm on its website hotstar.com,” the court noted in its order.

Government cracks down on Zakir Naik’s ‘unlawful’ NGO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has been declared as an unlawful organisation. The decision was taken at meeting of the Union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which took cognizance of the note sent by the Home ministry.Following the decision, Islamic Research Foundation can no more accept any foreign funds and will have close down all its activities immediately.The Home ministry note called for invoking Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act provisions against IRF and televangelist Naik on three counts – promoting enmity and hatred between different religions and motivating youth to commit terrorist acts; having dubious money dealings with Peace Television accused of propagating terrorism; and Naik being implicated in criminal cases for alleged involvement in radicalising youth.Naik and his organisation came under renewed scrutiny after July 1 terror strike in an upmarket café in Dhaka suburbs. The Mumbai-based preacher has not returned to India ever since the controversy came to light after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran Naik’s propaganda on the Facebook.The Home ministry used inputs, containing irrefutable evidence, from both Maharashtra police and the Intelligence Bureau to prepare the note.Action against Naik and IRF became pertinent after investigations revealed that Naik had also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable hate” programmes. Some of these programmes that were shot and made in India contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV.

I&B totting airtime seconds for top politicians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just how much time did various channels give BJP president Amit Shah’s press conference to rebut Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi “khoon ki dalali” comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi? That was amongst the tasks that kept the government’s Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) busy last week.According to sources, the cell, which falls under the information and broadcasting ministry and Is the central government’s media eyes and ears, has now got a new job — keeping tabs on the airtime given to top politicians by news channels.In keeping with its new mandate, the EMMC reported in a comparative analysis report, accessed by DNA, that Shah’s press conference last week Friday got 30 seconds coverage on DD News and 31 seconds each on NDTV 24X7, Times Now and NEWS X. It further showed that India Today gave Shah’s 30-minute press meet a mere 20 seconds, while Hindi news channels such as NDTV India, News 24 and IBN 7 gave 17, 19 and 17 seconds, respectively. ABP News devoted 32 seconds to it and Aaj Tak 30 seconds.According to sources, EMMC also tracks airtime given to Modi and a few other top ministers of his government. Besides the EMMC monitors the TV time allotted to the important events, the sources added.When asked, Chaitanya Prasad, who heads the EMMC, declined to comment. The primary mandate of the EMMC is to track television channels for programme and advertising code violations. The media monitoring arm closely tracks 600 news channels with the help of 200 content auditors. It also updates senior government officials on trending topics on TV news across the country on an hourly basis through text messages.The EMMC, however, has also been preparing a summary of news bulletins and what they cover. A recent message, sent out to top officials in the ministry, PMO and elsewhere, read thus: “TIMES NOW criticises all political parties for playing politics on surgical strike and states that all should unite against the common enemy. CNN NEWS 18 criticises political parties viz. Congress, BJP and BSP for politicising surgical strike and questions whether this is due to upcoming UP polls; also criticises Rahul Gandhi for his derogatory remark on PM. INDIA TODAY says that when unity is the need of the hour, political parties are engaged in blame game; it asks as to why Congress is leaking 2011 surgical strikes at this time. NDTV 24X7 carried an interview of Chetan Bhagat who says that Pak actors should not be sent back but they should make their stand on terror clear; says that world needs to know that Pakistan is inflicting terror on India and Pakistani actors should condemn terror.”In the next two years, the ministry plans to increase the EMMC’s capacity to 1,500 channels from the current 600 to include other emerging TV channels.The EMMC’s earlier avatar, the Central Monitoring Service, was set up by the British to track anti-war propaganda on radio. Its revamped version, the EMMC, was set up on June 9, 2008, by the UPA government to monitor television channels and report on violations under the programme code of the Cable Television Networks Rules (1994).

Bolt sets last race in Jamaica for June | Reuters

Bolt sets last race in Jamaica for June | Reuters

Updated: Oct 14, 2016 22:58 IST

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KINGSTON, Jamaica Jamaica’s Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt will run his last race on home soil at June’s Racers Grand Prix before retiring from competition two months later, he said on Friday.The 30-year-old, who won the 100 metres at this year’s Racers Grand Prix, has already said he plans to retire from the sport after the Aug. 5-13 world championships in London having won nine Olympic gold medals.“The Racers Grand Prix will be my last race in Jamaica people, it will be the last time I run in Jamaica,” Bolt told Television Jamaica’s “Smile Jamaica” morning magazine programme.The Racers Grand Prix will be held on June 10.

The Jamaican, who drew down the curtain on his Olympic career in August by securing a sweep of the sprint titles for a third successive Games, will resume training next month.

Bolt has wild card entries for both the 100 and 200 metres at the worlds but remains undecided on whether he will run one or both events, saying only it will be his last competition.”Yes I am definitely going to retire after the world championships in London, that will be my last one,” said Bolt.

(Editing by Ed Osmond and Frank Pingue)

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

Pakistan authorities to suspend licenses of channels airing Indian content

Pakistan authorities to suspend licenses of channels airing Indian content

Updated: Oct 5, 2016 09:54 IST

#channels #India #NewsTracker #Pakistan #PEMRA #Television

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Islamabad: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has announced it will suspend the licences of media outlets airing Indian content without issuing prior notice.

The media regulator has granted the authority to its Chairman Absar Alam to revoke or suspend the licenses of companies airing Indian content without any prior notice, a statement said on Tuesday.

The announcement came only a day after the top electronic media regulator requested the federal government on Monday to bring the level of Indian content on Pakistani channels at par with Pakistani media in the hostile South Asian neighbour’s broadcasts.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Previously, Pakistani channels were allowed to air six percent content during 24-hour transmission cycle. Until the decision by the government, Pemra said, television channels and FM radio stations and cable operators were advised to strictly follow the current policy in this regard.

Pemra recommended that permission to air Indian content in Pakistan should be linked with the Indian government’s decision to allow Pakistani content on Indian channels. Pakistan is taking this decision in the backdrop of recent hateful acts committed by India against Pakistani artists, where they were threatened, harassed and unceremoniously asked to leave the country.

Last month, the media regulator had decided to crackdown on illegal satellite dishes and Indian content being aired across Pakistani television channels and cable networks.

Jigisha murder: Two get noose, one escapes with life term

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Savita Ghosh heaved a sigh of relief when the judge pronounced death sentence to two of her daughter Jigisha’s killers and life to one. Her husband JN Ghosh, who has been living listlessly for the past seven years, finally lifted his head and looked up when the judgment was announced. Grateful, the parents left courtroom number 306 in South Delhi’s Saket district court with tears in their eyes.”I have been waiting for this day for the past seven years. The quest for justice has kept us alive all these years,” said Savita. “I know vengeance is wrong and my daughter will never return, but at least my heart got some solace knowing that her killers got the death penalty,” she added.On July 14, a Delhi sessions court convicted Amit Shukla, Ravi Kapoor and Baljeet Malik of kidnapping and killing IT executive Jigisha Ghosh. “No escape from the conclusion that the crime was committed by the accused persons,” additional sessions judge (ASJ) Sandeep Yadav had announced in the open court.All three have been held guilty under sections 364/302/201/394/468/469/471/34b of the Indian Penal Code. Kapoor was further convicted under the relevant sections of the Arms Act.On Monday, the court gave the death penalty to Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla, and life sentence to Baljeet.”Offence in the present case was committed in cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner,” the court said. “Convicts were satisfied only by brutally mauling her to death. In other words, convicts behaved in uncivilised and barbaric manner against a helpless girl,” he added. “The magnitude and brutality exhibited by convicts while committing the crime brings this case within the category of rarest of the rare case,” the court said.”This is a landmark judgment because for the first time death penalty was given in a case riddled and built around circumstantial evidence,” said HGS Dhaliwal, former deputy commissioner of police (South).This trial sets a precedent because for the first time, a sessions judge ordered a probation officer (PO) to prepare a pre-sentencing report (PSR), as mandated by the Delhi High Court, before he could award the convicts any punishment.A suitable punishment was then awarded based on the observations made by the PO in this report. According to the PO, claims of Kapoor and Shukla were “unsatisfactory” for various reasons. Both had multiple criminal charges against them, including convictions, and were involved in various violations within jail. Also, the duo can’t be reformed or rehabilitated and would “continue to remain a threat to the society”.The judge spared Malik of noose since the PO observed that he could be reformed. “If released, Malik planned to become a gym trainer to support his family,” the PO noted.All three convicts were imposed a fine of Rs 9 lakh under various sections of which Rs 6 lakh will go to Jigisha’s parents as compensation.Jigisha, an operations manager with Hewitt Associate Pvt Ltd, was kidnapped on March 18, 2009 after her office cab dropped her near her home in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar, around 4 a.m. Her dead body was found two days later in Surajkund, almost 18 kms away. Jigisha was robbed of her valuables, including ATM card, gold jewellery, and money.A week later, her killers were caught after a constable recognised Baljeet from the Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) at an ATM in South Delhi. Upon sustained interrogation, it was revealed that all three accused had also murdered television executive Soumya Vishwanathan.

FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan meets ‘father figure’ Mohan Bhagwat

FTII Chairman Gajendra Chauhan on Thursday met “father figure” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Sangh headquarters here for the first time after his appointment to the premier institute kicked up a row last year.”Bhagwatji is a father figure for me and I came here to invite him for my son’s marriage,” said Chauhan, who spent over half an hour with the RSS chief this morning. He later told reporters that the FTII students, who are enrolled for the three-year semester, will be allowed to study one more year if they do not clear the course within the time frame but will not be provided accommodation facility in the fourth year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was taking fees for three years, the hostel facility for the fourth year will not be permitted, he added. The BJP member and television actor, whose appointment as chairman of the Pune-based FTII by the NDA government had last year kicked up a row, met Bhagwat for the first time after the controversy.Chauhan had faced huge protests after being appointed to the post, with the students of the prestigious institute even going on an indefinite strike against his appointment, and several filmmakers supporting the agitation.Amid massive protests and detentions, he had taken charge of FTII and asserted that he would not resign from the post.

Tom Alter resigns as the head of FTII acting department

Tom Alter, the head of acting department at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) has resigned stating that he is “unable to find time for academic activities” owing to other commitments.According to a Hindustan Times report, students had an argument with Tom Alter on May 23 at the director’s office after which the actor had threatened to resign. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, his resignation has reportedly not yet been accepted by the management. FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola confirmed the resignation, but said, “The institute is trying to persuade him to withdraw the resignation.”
ALSO READ FTII students express displeasure over key academic changes like electives, syllabusBrijendra Pal Singh, chairman of the FTII academic council said that the students had refused to attend Alter’s classes because he had demanded 100% attendance. The students on the other hand, had accused Alter of using “dictatorial ways”.Alter’s resignation can be seen in the background of displeasure expressed by students’ association members over the newly constituted academic council which passed key academic changes like choice-based credit system, electives, new syllabus and a new vision statement. The council members had also proposed the usage of hostel facilities only during the duration of the course​.
ALSO READ FTII row: Mamata Banerjee sends TMC MPs to visit Pune to express solidarity with studentsEarlier last year, the students of FTII went on a 139-day strike to oppose the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the chairman of the institute.Brijendra Pal Singh also expressed annoyance about the opposition by students over everything.
ALSO READ Govt accepts resignations of Jahnu Barua, Santosh Sivan, Pallavi Joshi as FTII membersAlter had joined the institute in the year 2014 and was voluntarily teaching students free of cost.

FTII students express displeasure over key academic changes like electives, syllabus

Students’ association members of Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) on Thursday expressed displeasure over the newly constituted academic council here which passed key academic changes like choice-based credit system, electives, new syllabus and new vision statement.Students’ ire comes months after their long agitation against the appointment of television actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as institute’s new chairman in June last year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students had boycotted classes for a long time and went on strike to oppose the appointment, demanding his ouster.”We are not disagreeing with each and everything, but our primary concerns are against choice-based credit system and electives, which they are going to be implemented in the new syllabus,” president of FTII students’ association Nachimuthu Harishankar told reporters today.He was one of the two students who had attended the academic council meeting held yesterday.”We feel that the whole exercise of bringing these changes is to quantify the education system and it will turn students into more of competition rather than concentrating on holistic learning,” told reporters here today.He said new changes which academic council is trying to bring in are not in tandem with the culture and tradition of the institute as it will “destroy the creative atmosphere of the institute”.The council meeting was headed by its chairperson B P Singh and attended by members including former vice chancellor of Mumbai University Rajan Welukar, former director, IIM- Bangalore, Pankaj Chandra, actor Anand Mahendru, and FTII alumnus actor Satish Shah.Nachimuthu said that a new vision document for FTII was proposed in which council members are planning to turn the institute in University of Film, Television and Allied Arts and through this new model.The institute is going to start small courses, which is an “attempt to corporatisation of education”, he alleged.He alleged that while drafting the new syllabus, the institute denied particpation of domain experts and students, who were part of syllabus review committee before last year’s stir. (MORE)

Resolution of border dispute will boost ties with China: Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi: Ahead of his state visit to China, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said India seeks a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of boundary question which will help in achieving full potential of Sino-India relationship.

Talking to state-run Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and Xinuha News Agency ahead of his first state visit, beginning 24 May, the President spoke on various issues including India’s concerns on terrorism, bilateral trade and cultural and educational exchanges.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

In reply to a question about some sensitive problems left over from history between India and China, Mukherjee said India would like to expand and diversify its engagement with China across various fields while proactively addressing outstanding issues including the boundary question.

“We seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question and, pending the boundary settlement, to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that the outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspiration,” he said and added that it was only in this manner can “we ensure that these differences will not come in the way of continued development of bilateral relations.”

The President also favoured increasing mutual trust and understanding through stepped-up dialogue on political, security and strategic issues.

“We should expand our defence exchanges and increase economic engagement, especially through greater investments,”
he said and also suggested “functional cooperation at international fora.”

In reply to another question on his state visit, the President said, “We are doing well but the full potentiality is yet to be achieved. That is why we want to resolve all outstanding issues in a mutually acceptable manner, keeping in mind the aspirations, concerns, sensitivities of each country.”

FTTI receives ‘bomb’ parcel, threat letter for inviting Kanhaiya

Pune: A packet containing some suspected explosive substance, a detonator and a threat letter in
connection with JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s expected visit in April, was received by the office of the director of the FTII on Saturday evening, police said.

The packet was addressed to the previous director of the Film and Television Institute of India, Prashant Pathrabe.

Bhupendra Kainthola, the present director of the institute, said, “My office received the packet at 5.30 pm
on Saturday and since the contents were suspicious, we alerted the police.”

File image of Kanhaiya Kumar. PTIFile image of Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI

File image of Kanhaiya Kumar. PTI

Senior police inspector Sushma Chavan of the Deccan Police Station said the parcel contained a detonator and a white powder, suspected to be some explosive material. It also had a letter, warning the director against allowing Kumar to visit the FTII campus.

Police suspect that the packet must have been sent before Kumar’s visit to Pune on 24 April, when Pathrabe was the director of FTII.

Kumar, who addressed a gathering in Pune on that day, was reportedly going to visit the FTII too, but eventually he did not.

“The contents have been sent to the forensic lab,” inspector Chavan said.

Bhupendra Kainthola replaces Pathrabe as director of FTII

Pune: Indian Information Service (IIS) officer Bhupendra Kainthola on Tuesday assumed charge as the new Director of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), which saw a long-drawn agitation by students last year over appointment of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as its Chairman.

FTI students protesting on Thursday. PTI

Film and Television Institute of India saw a long-drawn agitation by the students over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman. PTI

Kainthola replaced Prashant Pathrabe, who served as interim Director during the 139-day long strike by students opposing appointment of Chauhan and four other members on the FTII Society on ground of “merit”.

The 1989-batch IIS officer will have a three-year tenure at the premier film and TV training school, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

After assuming charge, Kainthola said he will strive to maintain glory of the 56-year-old institute. “FTII has a long tradition of nurturing the finest talent in film-making and television. I shall make all the endeavor to maintain glory of the institute,” he told PTI.

“I have come here with an open mind and clean heart and I am sure all my students, faculty and staff-members will extend their full cooperation in my efforts.”

Asked about his stand on withdrawing a police case against the students, registered by Pathrabe during the agitation, he said, “It is too early to comment on this issue as I am not very conversant with this matter.”

The case relates to Pathrabe being confined in his office for several hours by the agitating students in August last year.

Kainthola said he has so far met the staff and faculties and will later meet with the students. The premier institute offers courses related to acting, film-making, video editing, direction and production.

DD’s viewership, revenue drops while Akashvani’s goes up: govt

New Delhi: The revenue of Doordarshan has suffered a setback because of “sharp drop” in number of terrestrial TV viewers but Akashwani has gained “substantially,” the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore gave these details in a written reply.

MoS, Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. PTI

“Prasar Bharati has informed that revenue of Akashvani has gone up substantially but Doordarshan has suffered a setback because of sharp drop in number of terrestrial TV viewers,” Rathore said.

He reasoned that the mode of acquiring programmes through commissioning or self finance commissioning had resulted in dipping of DD National viewership and consequently revenue.

Replying to another question, Rathore said Prasar Bharati is considering to auction certain prime-time slots of Doordarshan to source high-quality content.

“DD was directed to come up with a slot sale policy so that genuine external and creative professionals can mount their programmes on DD channels through slot purchase. In this scheme, DD would stop financing production through ‘Pay Out’ modes and instead have revenue assurance in the form of a slot fee,” Rathore added. He said that the policy envisages that producers are made stakeholders in the scheme.

Tamil Nadu polls 2016: Karunanidhi declares assets worth Rs 13.42 crore

DMK President M Karunanidhi has declared assets of Rs 13.42 crore in his affidavit filed along with his nomination papers for the Tiruvarur assembly segment on Monday.As per the affidavit, these assets come under movable category as he has declared that he does not have any immovable property or agricultural land. His wives have Rs 45.34 crore worth of movable assets.92-year-old Karunanidhi, who is contesting from Tiruvarur for the second time, has declared a total income of Rs 1.21 crore for 2014-15 and has Rs 50,000 as cash in hand. He has bank deposits to the tune of Rs 12.73 crore and shares at Anjugam Printers valued at Rs 10.22 lakh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karunanidhi’s first wife Dayalu Ammal has bank deposits of Rs 99.67 crore and holds 60 lakh shares in Kalaignar Television Ltd valued at Rs six crore. She also has old jewellery of 716.34 grams valued at Rs 15.65 lakh.Karunanidhi’s second wife Rajathi Ammal has bank deposits of Rs 22.88 lakh and holds 25 lakh shares in Westgate Logistics valued at Rs 2.50 crore. She holds jewellery of 640 grams valued at Rs 13.98 lakh.While Karunanidhi does not own any agricultural land or a house or a car, Dayalu Ammal has 2,520 square feet of residential property at Tiruvarur and Rajathi Ammal a 9,494 sq ft house at CIT Colony, Chennai.Rajathi Ammal has unsecured loan of Rs 1.17 crore to be repaid to her daughter and MP Kanimozhi. Rajathi Ammal has got loans from banks and other financial institutions for Rs 11.94 crore. During 2011 assembly polls, Karunanidhi and his wives had declared movable assets of Rs 41.13 crore.

Hundreds detained as caste protest turns violent in Gujarat | Reuters

MEHSANA, India Protests by an Indian caste demanding the release of one of its leaders turned violent on Sunday, as police fought running street battles with stone-throwing demonstrators and detained hundreds.

Statewide marches in Gujarat calling for the freeing of Hardik Patel, a young leader of the Patel community who has been in jail since last October on sedition charges, turned violent in the town of Mehsana.

Police fired tear gas, deployed water cannon and staged baton charges against protesters. The local administrator imposed a curfew in Mehsana. Across the state more than 400 protesters were detained.

At least two dozen people were injured in Mehsana, NDTV said in a report that could not immediately be confirmed.

“The internet has been jammed so that no rumours are spread through WhatsApp and other social sites,” said Mehsana District Collector Lochan Sehra. “Peace should be maintained throughout the city.”

Hardik Patel, 22, emerged overnight last year as leader of a mass movement demanding more government jobs and college places for the Patel — or Patidar — community that makes up 14 percent of Gujarat’s 60 million population.

Last year’s protests caught the state and federal governments off guard, and challenged the promise of new job opportunities made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who ran Gujarat for 13 years before winning the 2014 general election.

Earlier this year the Jat land-owning caste launched mass protests in another Indian state, Haryana, only backing down when the authorities yielded to their demands for more jobs and opportunities to study.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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

Petition in Pune court seeks to prevent Kanhaiya Kumar’s visit

A petition filed in the Pune civil court on Tuesday sought to restrain JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar from visiting Pune on the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14.Judge SR Yadav posted the petition for hearing tomorrow, said lawyer Wajid Khan, who appeared for Hemant Patil, the petitioner. The petition contends that Kumar’s visit may create law and order problem as he may give inflammatory speeches.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court has already restrained the JNU student leader, arrested on sedition charge before being released on bail last month, from delivering speeches for six months and on this ground alone he should be restrained from visiting Pune, it said.Kumar has accepted an invitation by a joint group of students from the city-based Ranande Institute of Journalism, Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Fergusson College to visit and speak in Pune.

Now, students’ group from Pune’s Ranade college invites Kanhaiya Kumar for talk

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday accepted an invitation extended by a students’ group in the city to take part in a discussion here. He also expressed solidarity with the students and called RSS and its affiliates as “anti-constitutional”.Speaking to media over the phone during a press conference organised by All India Students Federation and other organisations here, Kumar assured the students from Ranade Institute (Pune University’s journalism college), Fergusson College and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) that he will go to any city where students’ rights were being suppressed and will stand by them. “I express my solidarity and support for students community who have been fighting in Pune,” he said during his brief phone conversation with reporters here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The situation in the country is very serious as the government is trying to snatch away the rights and freedom of students, he said. “We have to get united against forces like RSS, ABVP and Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) to safeguard the democratic values and Constitution. ABVP, BJYM are the sections of RSS and are anti-Constitutional and against the judicial system, and trying to suppress students’ voice in India,” he said.After the fracas at Fergusson College here during an ABVP-organised discussion on ‘Truth of JNU’, wherein a BJYM leader allegedly threatened the students of Ranade Institute that they would be thrashed if they invited Kumar, students from these two institutes and those from FTII came together and formed a joint forum to invite Kumar here. Dates of Kumar’s visit would be soon decided, local AISF members said.

After JNU, FTII students in trouble over fresh notices

Even as the JNU controversy refuses to die with two of the university students still under custody, students of the Film and Television Institute (FTII) in Pune are in for fresh trouble.On Thursday evening, they were issued notices by the police mentioning that a charge sheet would be filed in against them in the session’s court on March 14 over a police complaint filed by FTII director Prashant Pathrabe last year over being manhandled and detained in the campus by a few students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the initial FIR had named 17 students, another 18 students have now been identified as accused in the incident. The students will have to appear before the court on Monday for the verdict.They have been charged with obstructing a public servant from doing his duty (a non-bailable offence), destruction of property, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, rioting, wrongful restraint and unlawful assembly.One of the student representatives, who was at the forefront of the strike told dna that while students have stopped communicating with Pathrabe post the police complaint last year, the FTII director had initially told some of the ex-students of the institute that he would withdraw his complaint.”However, he was under pressure from the I&B (information and broadcasting) ministry not to withdraw the complaint against us, so he backed out later,” the student said.”The way things were handled at JNU, we knew it was coming. The strikes, the dissent were humiliating for the government, so this is like a comeback, a kind of revenge they are talking on us,” the student said.Another student, who also features as an accused in the list, said the students are having a difficult time in collecting money for the bail amount, which they estimate could be high.On August 17, last year, students had allegedly held Pathrabe in this office for hours over assessment of final projects of student from the 2008 batch. Students have vehemently refuted the claims saying that they had only asked him to put assessments on hold till the end of their strike over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman. The strike lasted 139 days and ended on October 28.A three member committee led by Registrar of Newspapers of India SM Khan that assessed the situation in FTII had largely blamed the students had justified Pathrabe’s stance to call the police and lodge a FIR.According to students, the new notices coming at a time when the Screenplay batch of 2013 and Film batch of 2008 are finishing their course and would be leaving campus.”The 12 students on anticipatory bail have been ordered by the court not to leave Pune jurisdiction, but would be finishing the course and with these notices would be left wanting for a place to live. The FTII administration on one hand draws out academic schedules and deadlines and on the other hand proceeds with the court cases to corner the students,” a press statement from the students stated.Talking to dna, a senior I&B official said that people should allow the law to take it course and not read much into it.

BJP wants to bring Hitler’s rule: Sushilkumar Shinde

Criticising the Narendra Modi government for handling issue of Jat reservation demonstrations, former union minister for home affairs Sushilkumar Shinde on Sunday said that the firing on demonstrators instead of discussion with them amply proves that BJP wants to bring Hitler’s rule in the country.Addressing a press conference at Congress bhavan in Pune, Shinde said that the use of force against the Jat reservation agitation clearly shows failure of the government. He said that the issue can be sorted out by sitting across the table but Modi government is not willing to talk and discuss on any issue. Instead, he said that it wants to score politically on every other issue and that is the reason government believes in unilateralism rather than discussion and debate.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Replying to a question that when Supreme Court denies the reservation what role government has to play, Shinde said that government is meant for bringing legislations. He said that if Court denies reservation what government can do is to bring legislation and make amendments taking in to account feelings of the larger population.He pointed out that the demand for reservation for Patidars in Gujarat and the agitation led by 22-year-old Hardik Patel amply demonstrates the public were in favour of reservation. He said despite the fact prime minister Narendra Modi hails from Gujarat and had been chief minister of the state, he is refusing to talk to Hardik Patel. Shinde said that the Modi government does not believe in discussion because BJP wants to bring in Hitler’s rule in the country.Pleading his party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s case with respect to JNU issue, Shinde said that Gandhi had gone to understand the issue and then gave a voice to voice-less youths. He had done the same when it was about students of Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. But in both the cases, he pointed out, “they criticised Gandhi by going to extremes and attained lowest levels of criticism in public life. It is nothing but political vendetta and shows BJP’s culture.” Shinde said that BJP wants to open ABVP branches by disturbing the atmosphere in institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).Criticising Modi government for being not serious on internal security, Shinde said that Ahmed Patel, the political advisor to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had never asked him to refuse information on Ishrat Jahan when Shinde was home minister.

Defying I&B norms, AAP government proposes TV channel

The Delhi government proposes to start an independent TV channel for the state assembly and is in the process of appointing a consultant.However, the proposal is unlikely to be cleared by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry, which cites the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations –made first in 2008 and revised in 2012–which bars Union and state government entities from entering the TV broadcasting and cable distribution business.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV received clearances years before the TRAI recommendations came into place, sources said.On Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi released a print advertisement, inviting applications for a consultant on a contractual basis. The consultant will be responsible for getting the required clearances.To start a new TV channel, I&B ministry permission is mandatory under the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2011.However, I&B sources say no permission has been granted to the AAP government.”Even if the Delhi government seeks the ministry’s permission, its request is likely to be turned down, because TRAI recommendations state that no fresh permissions should be given to the Union or any state government or departments and companies they control to enter the business of broadcasting and distributing TV channels,” an official said, adding that the move was aimed at preventing political influence in TV programming.The I&B ministry had also turned down a similar request from the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal and the SAD government in Punjab, which wanted to set up their independent TV channels, citing the same rules, sources informed.An exception is Arasu Cable TV Corp Ltd, owned by the Jayalalithaa government in Tamil Nadu, which has been operating on a provisional permission, even as the matter is being studied by an inter-ministerial committee.Arasu beams around 100 channels through the CAS (conditional access system) licence, even as Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa had repeatedly raised the matter with the I&B ministry, demanding a digital addressable system (DAS) licence for the company. The matter is sub-judice at present.Under DAS, all channels are digitalThe TRAI recommendations of 2008 were based on the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and a Supreme Court judgement, both of which didn’t favour state governments running broadcast operations.Defending the AAP government’s stance, a senior official said that the government has only called for applications for the appointment of a consultant. “After the appointment, permissions and other aspects required for setting up the channel will be worked upon. Nothing would be done without the requisite permissions,” the official said.

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