Online news channel!

Tag: trust

Saibaba temple gets Rs 31.73 crore in donations post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust here has received donations of Rs 31.73 crore during the past 50 days post the government’s demonetization move, an official said on Friday.These donations include Rs 4.53 crore in the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and Rs 3.80 crore in the new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes denominations, said Sachin Tambe, one of the trustees of the Saibaba Sansthan.During the last 50 days, the Sansthan received Rs 18.96 crore in donation boxes, Rs 4.25 crore, including Rs 2.62 crore through credit/debit cards, at its various donation counters, Rs 3.96 crore through bank demand drafts, Rs 1.46 crore in donations online and Rs 35 lakh through money orders.Apart from cash donations, the trust also received gold ornaments weighing nearly 2.90 kg worth around Rs 73 lakh and silver ornaments of 56 kg worth about Rs 18 lakh, he said. The trust also earned Rs 3.18 crore from VIP devotees through ‘darshan’ and ‘aarti’ paid passes issued to them after November 8, Tambe said.In the last financial year, the famous Saibaba temple had received Rs 162 crore through donation boxes, which comes out to an average of Rs 44.38 lakh in a day. However, after demonetization, the Sansthan received an average Rs 37.92 lakh donation in a day, Tambe added.

FCRA cancellation forces NGO to lay off its 80-odd staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing cash crunch after the cancellation of FCRA licence, Gujarat-based NGO Navsarjan Trust, which was working for Dalit rights for the last 27 years, has sought resignation of its 80-odd employees and said that the three schools run by it shall be closed.Managing Trustee of Navsarjan Trust, Martin Macwan said the NGO was unable to pay for the salaries of its staff after the Centre revoked its licence to get foreign funds under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).”It is impossible for us to pay salaries of our employees after the Centre cancelled our FCRA licence. We are facing acute cash crunch due to that move. Thus, we have asked all our 80-odd employees to tender their resignations,” Macwan told PTI.Macwan founded this NGO in 1989 to fight for the rights of Dalits and to take up issues concerning them, such as manual scavenging and social boycott.According to him, the NGO needs around Rs 2.75 crore annually to meet various expenses.”We are largely dependent on the funds from foreign sources to meet our expenses, which runs into Rs 2.75 crore per annum. About 85% of that comes from foreign countries. Now, as our FCRA licence has been cancelled, it is impossible to run our operations or to pay salaries from what we get from local sources,” said Macwan.Apart from running various awareness programs for the upliftment of Dalits across the state, the NGO also runs three schools, one each in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan district. Now, these schools, where 102 students of 5th standard to 9th standard, are enrolled, are on the verge of closure, said Macwan.”These three schools, which impart education to 102 students of extremely poor Dalit and tribal communities, are having 12 teachers. Now, we have to shut these schools too, as we are unable to pay their salaries and meet other operational expenses. These teachers will be asked to leave only after the completion of this academic session,” said Macwan.A week back, seven NGOs, including Navsarjan Trust, were barred by the Centre government from receiving foreign funds after their FCRA licences were cancelled following alleged adverse intelligence reports against them.The decision has been taken after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) conducted an inquiry into the functioning of the NGOs whose FCRA licences were renewed in the recent past.

Renewal of cancelled licences of three NGOs leaves home ministry red faced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Red faced over renewal of foreign contribution licences to three in question NGOs – Greenpeace India and Sabrang Trust whose licences were cancelled and Citizen for Justice and Peace (CJP) that was under prior permission list – the union home ministry has asked Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) to find out if the online renewal system was hacked or compromised. The ministry came to know about the renewals recently that licences of all the three NGOs were renewed in the first week of August and predated renewal of televangelist Zakir Naik’s now banned NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) that had come to the light on the admission of IRF officials under the very nose of higher officials. The blunder had led to removal of the then joint secretary, G K Dwivedi and suspension of three junior officials.The ministry noticed renewal of licence of Greenpeace India and Sabrang Trust on November 9, 2016 and of CJP on this Tuesday.The ministry has passed an express order declaring all the three renewals as null and void.Greenpeace India’s licence was cancelled by home ministry’s order on September 2, 2014 on grounds of “prejudicially affecting public interest and economic interest” of the Indian state. Similarly, after suspending the licence of activist Teesta Setalvad’s NGO Sabrang Trust in September last year for six months, the ministry had cancelled it in June this year. Setlavad’s another NGO CJP was put under prior permission in July last year for misusing funds. Top officials of the ministry are not ruling out foul play by internal officials in the FCRA cell of the foreigner division.“There is possibility that officials below the level of Under Secretary were involved. It will be probed through an internal inquiry and guilty will be punished,” said the official.“We have also ordered re-vetting of all the 13,000 odd NGOs whose licences were renewed before March 31 and then later on October 31. There is likelihood that licences of more such in question NGOs were renewed,” the source added.Conceding the revelation renewal of licences of three more NGOs other than Naik’s IRF has struck them like a bolt, official said the ministry is looking at overhauling the whole system of renewal and make it fool proof so that such lapses don’t pass without the knowledge of joint secretary level officer.“We have asked the national informatics centre (NIC) to make the online system more secure by making the red flagged NGOs as read only file for all the officials below the level of joint secretary officials. This would allow only the joint secretary to give nod for the renewal of red flagged NGOs,” said sources.Source clarified that licence renewal goof up has nothing to with the transferring of additional secretary of foreigner division, Bipin Mallick to disaster management, as the renewal of licences was neither in his nor in joint secretary’s domain.“It is not the job of a joint secretary or an additional secretary to vet the details of nearly 33,000 NGOs. This is done and vetted by officials below under secretary level and below,” said the source.

After I-T raid, CM Chandrababu Naidu directs removal of Shekhar Reddy as Tirupati board member

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday directed the concerned department to remove industrialist J Shekhar Reddy as Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthaman (TTD) (Tirupati) Board Member. Naidu’s decision came days after the Income-Tax Department raided his Chennai residence and seized currency notes and gold in huge quantities. The department seized Rs 6 crore in newly introduced Rs 2,000 denomination notes from the house of Shekhar Reddy in T Nagar.Earlier on Friday, Left parties and social activists demanded Reddy’s ouster from prestigious TTD Trust Board, which manages the famous Tirumala Balaji Temple and charged the government of preferring businessmen and contractors for coveted post for nurturing their business interests and personal gains. CPI activists also demanded that Reddy be removed from the TTD Trust Board.The Income Tax Department on Thursday raided premises belonging to three businessmen Shekhar Reddy, Srinivasa Reddy and Prem, in Chennai ‘s T Nagararea and seized Rs 90 crore and 100 kilograms gold. The income tax officials also questioned businessmen, involved in the money exchange racket.

Tata-Cyrus spat: Trusts’ work exemplary but may need to redefine relation with group cos

New Delhi – The role of Tata Trusts, which together control about 66 percent in Tata Sons, the holding company of the $100 billion Tata group, has come into sharp focus in recent weeks. That the Tata Trusts are charitable in nature but continue to be majority shareholders in Tata Sons and through this association, in commercial group companies, is a proposition which is now being called into question by ousted Tata Sons’ chairman Cyrus Mistry.

Mistry has made numerous allegations of impropriety in the functioning of Tata Trusts and their interference in the workings of Tata Sons and therefore also of group companies. These charges have been stoutly denied by Tata Sons. But one must remember that the entire tussle over control of one of India’s largest business houses erupted precisely because for the first time in the group’s decades-old existence, two different people were heading Tata Sons and the two Trusts.

Cyrus Mistry was the chairman of Tata Sons while Ratan Tata headed Trusts. Mistry was ousted in October by a board resolution where Trusts’ nominees were also votaries and sooner rather than later, a successor to Ratan Tata will also have to be found to carry on the philanthropic activities of the Trusts.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

That the Tata Trusts do commendable work in upholding public good has never been in doubt.

This piece points out that for nearly 125 years, these trusts have often been an “oasis for the poorest and most deprived of Indians. The oldest of the trusts, the JN Tata Endowment dates back to 1892 and the youngest, The Tata Education & Development Trust, was set up in 2008. Their vintage and the funds they have made available point to their commitment.”

It goes on to say that increasingly, from being a back-end provider of funds to non-government organisations (NGOs) and self-help groups, Tata trusts are now at the forefront of implementing new models of social work.

So there is no quarrel with the exemplary work the Trusts have been doing. The trouble lies almost entirely in the way their relationship with Tata Sons and commercial group companies is structured. Proxy advisory firm IiAS, which on the one hand has advised TCS shareholders to remove Mistry as chairman in the upcoming EGM, had, on the other hand, raised questions over the Tata Groups’ operating structure in a report last month.

It had noted that the Tata Trusts exert control over Tata Sons, which exerts control over operating companies, several of which are listed and subject to scrutiny by external stakeholders including shareholders. While shareholders expect these companies to operate along commercial lines, they are overlaid with additional expectations regarding behaviour and the brand.

“A philanthropy running a commercial business creates its own paradoxes. The Trusts elegantly solved this problem by putting Tata Sons between themselves and the operating companies….The Tata group needs to address possible areas of conflict and clearly set the terms of engagement between the three tiers of the group. They need to put in place an operating structure that outlives individuals,” IiAS said in a note to clients last month.

According to this piece, the choice of a successor to Ratan Tata as the head of the two Trusts is a crucial upcoming event. It says Tata Trusts have a unique position in India because they are allowed to hold shares in a commercial entity despite being completely income tax exempt given their charity work. The story quotes Noshir Dadrawala, CEO at Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy, a company specialising in the areas of charity law, as saying “Trust is not a corporate body. It is not a legal entity, it is a legal obligation. The Charity Commissioner can’t interfere with appointments and salaries. Good governance and best practices would demand that they make the succession plan clear to all stakeholders, including the public.”

The power to select Ratan Tata’s successor, therefore, lies in the hands of 20 trustees that run India’s most powerful charity organisation. There are no laws governing the selection of chairman of a charity organisation, according to Maharashtra Public Trust Act.

Meanwhile IiAS CEO Amit Tandon raised some pertinent points with regards to needless complexities in the Tata group structure, thanks to the role of Trusts in Tata Sons, and ways to deal with the mess.

First, he questioned even those members of the Trusts who do not sit on the Tata Sons’ board get information about group companies. “Ratan Tata, Soonawala are not on Tata Sons’ board. It is not obvious why they should get granular information about decisions at Tata operating company level.”

Second, he pointed out how the operation and functions of Trusts in general are opaque in India. “Trusts operate like blackboxes in this counrty. Unlike companies, where the Companies Act and other rules governing their functions are known to market participants, little is known about how trusts operate and the rules that govern there functioning.”

Third, he suggested that the Trusts need to look beyond dividend income from group companies for funding their charitable activities. “The whole issue of Trusts is very important because it is at the heart of the Tata-Mistry disagreement. Ratan Tata alleged that Trusts were not getting enough money by way of dividends for charitable activities. The trusts then need to look beyond dividend income and supplement equity holdings with a corpus that gives fixed returns.”

IiAS has suggested that to align the interests of the Tata Trusts and Tata Sons, the chairperson of the Tata Trusts and Tata Sons must be the same individual, noting that when this was the norm in the past, things “worked smoothly”. The firm has also advised that in future, independent CEOs should manage Tata Trusts and Tata Sons, with the chairperson being the custodian of the Tata brand.

This piece suggests that the composition of Tata Trusts has changed recently. “The composition of Tata Trusts has undergone a change in line with their allegiance to the prevailing chairman in the war against Cyrus Mistry. Less than three weeks after the controversial Tata Sons board meeting to sack Mistry, Venu Srinivasan was quietly made a trustee of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. Of the seven trusts that cumulatively own 65.29% in Tata Sons, it is the single largest shareholder at just under 28%.”

Mistry has now sought government probe into the workings of Tata Trusts even as an income tax probe is already on. In 2013, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) had alleged tax evasion by Tata Trusts. The CAG report had said: “In Maharashtra, DIT‐E, Mumbai, Jamshetji Tata Trust and NavajbaiRatan Tata Trust earned Rs 1,905 crore and Rs 1,234 crore on account of capital gain during AY 09 and AY 10 respectively and invested the same in prohibited mode of investments which is in contraventionto the provisions of section 13(1)(d) of Act. It resulted in short levy of tax of Rs. 1066.95 crore.”

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 14:49 IST

Where once the Buddha stayed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Evocatively named Kesaria is a small town in Bihar’s east Champaran district, some 150 km from state capital Patna that is famous for a very large stupa where the Buddha is said to have spent his last days. In another five-10 years, however, Kesaria may well come to be better known for being the site of the Viraat Ramayan Mandir, the ‘world’s largest Hindu temple’ coming up nearby on a 165-acre plot.The Viraat Ramayan Mandir is an initiative of Shri Mahavir Nyas Sthan Samiti, a trust which manages, among others, Patna’s popular Mahavir Mandir and is run by a high-profile committee comprising former judges of the high and Supreme Courts, top bureaucrats, and even a chief minister and vice-chancellor.”We have an estimate of Rs 500 crore for the cost of building the temple, which will be funded from our temple earnings and donations. We have a plan to sell coupons in specific donations — Rs 5,707, Rs 7,707 and so on, because the Licchavi kings who ruled these parts in ancient times loved these numbers — to raise money from the religious-mind public,” says Kishore Kunal, retired IPS officer and secretary of the Trust who is the prime mover behind the ambitious project.”This is not just a religious project, it is a cultural one where we would like to showcase the spread of Hinduism and Hindu architecture in southeast Asia,” adds Kunal. So all the 18 temples draws inspiration from famous temples across the region — the shore temples in Mahabalipuram, the 9th century Sonagiri Jain temples, Orissa’s Konark and Jagannath temples, Kantanagar temple in Bangladesh, the temples in Ayutthaya, Thailand, the Pantaram temple in Central Java and, most importantly, Angkor Wat in Cam bodia. In fact, the temple was, when plans were first mooted in 2013, to have been called the Viraat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir. In terms of architecture, too, there are glaring similarities — both are square-shaped and enclosed by walls with a series of concentric squares with temples at each corner. There’s also the same ‘temple mountain’ plan, each inner level set on a higher platform that the outer, with the central highest platform having the biggest structures. Even the number of temples at this highest level, 72 feet (six-seven stories) in the case of the Ramayana Mandir, is the same as in Angkor Wat – five.No wonder then that the Cambodian government had requested the Indian government last year that the plans to build the temple be abandoned. “We clarified to them that ours was not a replica. Angkor Wat itself has been influenced by temples in south India. Our influences are Mahabalipuram, the Mahavir Mandir and the Amawa Ram Temple in Ayodhya built by our Trust,” says Kunal. The issue seems to have been resolved because Kunal says L&T, the company which will construct the Mandir, will start work by January 15.Already, work is under way on a giant Shiv Linga — 33 feet in circumference and 44 feet in height – in the stone sculptors’ studios in Mahabalipuram. “In two years, we are hoping the Shiv temple will be ready. The main Ram temple will however take another five-ten years,” says Kunal.

Teesta Setalvad siphoned off Rs 3.85 crore for personal use: Gujarat police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat police told the Supreme Court that it has proof that social activist Teesta Setalvad and her Javed Anand had diverted funds received for their NGO, which works for the welfare of 2002 riot victims, for personal use, reports The Times of India. Out of Rs 9.75 crore received in donations, they siphoned off Rs 3.85 crore, the police said.As per the 83-page affidavit filed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Rahul B Patel, Setalvad and Anand and their trusts have not cooperated with the police to provide the documents needed to probe into the complaints by the 2002 riots victims at Gulbarg Society which said they did not deliver what they had promised once the donations increased.The affidavit informs that the couple siphoned money from HRD Ministry grant of Rs 1.40 crore between February 2011 and July 2012.It also says that the activists did not inform the police that they had opened two more accounts belonging to Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and Sabrang Trust. “As soon as these three accounts were seized on January 23, 2014, the couple immediately transferred Rs 24.5 lakh and Rs 11.5 lakh from the other two accounts of Sabrang Trust, unknown to the investigation authority, by way of demand drafts on a single day,” the affidavit said.The police rejects claim made by Setalvad and Anand that most of the riot-related cases were fought free of cost by top lawyers. They said that the couple had paid over Rs 71.40 lakh to the lawyers.The affidavit said that Setalvad and Anand both “calculatingly misappropriated trusts huge funds and pocketed in their personal account” and has sought their custodial interrogation of the couple.

Demonetization is a despotic action that undermines trust: Amartya Sen attacks Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has called Modi government’s demonetization move “despotic action that has struck at the root of economy based on trust”.”It (demonetization) undermines notes, it undermines bank accounts, it undermines the entire economy of trust. That is the sense in which it is despotic,” Sen told NDTV. He further said his immediate point of view on demonetization is on its economic aspect. “It’s (demonetization) a disaster on economy of trust. In the last 20 years, the country has been growing very fast. But it is all based on acceptance of each other’s word. By taking despotic action and saying we had promised but won’t fulfil our promise, you hit at the root of this,” Sen, also a Bharat Ratna awardee, said.Noting that capitalism has many successes that have come from having trust in businesses, he said if a government promises in promissory note and breaks such promise, then it is a despotic act. “I am not a great admirer of capitalism. On the other hand, capitalism has many successes… It’s despotic in the sense that if a government promises in promissory note that when given, we will give you this amount of compensation for it and to break such a promise is a despotic action,” Sen, who is currently Thomas W Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, said.The demonetization issue has also rocked Parliament as both Houses have been witnessing disruptions and adjournments due to noisy protests by Opposition parties for the past several days.

Women enter Haji Ali’s sanctum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Months after the Supreme Court passed a judgment allowing women inside the inner sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, members of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) on Tuesday gathered to offer prayer at the shrine.At 3; pm over 60 women from different parts of India including Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan visited the Haji Ali Dargah and entered the sanctum sanctorum.Noorjehan Safia Niaz, who had filed the petition at the Bombay High Court, said, “We had gathered in the city for an event. We thought of coming together and seek blessing by offering prayers peacefully. We are happy that we are finally given entrance in the mazar area. We are thankful to the trustees for giving women facilities according to the SC order. But still we were not able to touch the grave (Mazar). We will soon have a national meeting of our BMMA and decide on our next step.”Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against the ban of women entering the inner sanctum sanctorum.On their visit, Zakia Soman, said, “Bombay High Court had given judgment in our favor by stating that women should be allowed to go inside the sanctum sanctorum. After Haji Ali Trust appealed to Supreme Court, the court also agreed to the order given by the Bombay High Court. The Trust finally had to agree with the SC order and are now allowing women to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum. Today, for the first time, all women from different states of the country who supported the petition have gathered here to offer prayer in the dargah.”According to the women who went inside, had visited to offer a çhaddar and seek blessings. “They also gave us tea and provided hospitality. We are happy to see the change,” added Soman.According to the trustees, they have to respect the apex court order and work accordingly. However, in 2011 the dargah trustees had decided to deny women access to the mazar.Abdul Sattar Merchant, chairman of the Haji Ali Trust, said, “We have now allowed women to enter since it is an order given by the SC. We don’t have problem if they come and pray. But, Islam does not allow women to visit graveyards.”After offering prayers, the group enjoyed qawwali performance in the dargah.EQUAL RIGHTSThe Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and the Bhumata Brigade launched a movement called ‘Haji Ali for all’ in order to secure equal rights to pray at the inner sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court passed a judgement allowing women to enter the inner sanctum sanctorum at par with men. At the same it granted a six-week stay on the order at the request of Haji Ali Dargah Trust to enable it to appeal before the Supreme Court.

Demonetization: Shirdi Saibaba temple stops accepting donations in defunct notes

Sun, 20 Nov 2016-03:29pm , Shirdi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust said on Sunday it has stopped accepting the defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes at its donation counters.After the Centre demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on November 8, from the next day onwards the temple trust started accepting donations and making other transactions through credit or debit cards, the trust’s chief accountant Babasaheb Ghorpade said. However, the defunct notes have been found in the temple’s ‘hundis’ (cash boxes) and the trust is depositing it in the nationalised banks, he added.

Gujarat: Rs 2.9 lakh bribe paid in new Rs 2000 notes, two port trust officials arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as citizens struggle to withdraw money and exchange old currencies of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, the Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested two port trust officials accepting bribe of Rs 2.9 lakh bribe, which was paid in new Rs 2000 notes, reported NDTV.According to the report, a middleman for the two officials had accepted Rs 2.5 lakh from the firm, which was a part of the bribe amount.Gujarat’s Anti-Corruption Bureau official told the channel, “Superintending Engineer P Srivivasu and Sub Divisional officer K Komtekar of the Kandla Port Trust had sought a bribe of Rs. 4.4 lakh for clearing the pending bills of a private electrical firm.”The ACB officials were also stunned to see the whole amount being paid in the newly printed Rs 2000 notes. Officials had laid the trap to arrest the middleman after the electric firm owners tipped them off.On November 12, a senior assistant of Kolhapur Zilla Pin Maharashtra was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 35,000, which contained 17 newly introduced Rs 2000 currency notes.Chandrakant Sawardekar was apprehended by the sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau while accepting the bribe from the complainant, who was due for promotion as principal in a zilla parishad-run school.On November 10, a government official in Maharashtra’s Solapur district was arrested after he demanded bribes and insisted he be paid only in the Rs 100 denomination and not in the demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.

Govt puts Zakir Naik’s NGO under prior permission list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IRF Educational Trust, promoted by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, has been put under prior permission category, thus preventing it from receiving foreign funds without getting nod from the central government. In a gazette notification, the Home Ministry said that on the basis of records available and reports received from intelligence agencies, it found that the IRF Education Trust has violated various provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act (FCRA) 2010.”Now, therefore, the central government in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 11 of the FCRA 2010, hereby specifies that the IRF Education Trust shall obtain prior permission of the central government on each occasion before accepting any foreign contribution in accordance with the provisions of section 12 of the Act and rules made thereunder,” the notification said. The move came after different investigations found Naik to be “involved” in utilising funds meant for his NGOs for alleged radicalisation of youths and “inspiring” them into terror activities, official sources said. Government is also in the process of cancellation of the FCRA registration of Islamic Research Foundation, another NGO promoted Zakir Naik, and a final show cause notice to the organisation has already been issued.Interestingly, the IRF’s registration under the FCRA was renewed in September inadvertently despite multiple probes against Naik, leading to suspension of a Joint Secretary and four other officials in the Home Ministry.Government is also planning to declare IRF as an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and a nod from the Union Cabinet is awaited for it. According to a draft note, which is based on the inputs from Maharashtra Police, Naik, who heads the IRF and IRF Educational Trust, has allegedly made many provocative speeches and engaged in terror propaganda. Maharashtra Police has also registered criminal cases against Naik for his alleged involvement in radicalisation of youths and luring them into terror activities, a source said. Naik also transferred IRF’s foreign funds to Peace TV for making “objectionable” programmes. Most of the programmes, which were made in India, contained alleged hate speeches of Naik, who had reportedly “urged all Muslims to be terrorists” through Peace TV, sources have claimed. Naik came under the scanner of the security agencies after Bangladeshi newspaper ‘Daily Star’ reported that one of the perpetrators of the July 1 terror attack in Dhaka, Rohan Imtiaz, ran propaganda on Facebook last year quoting Naik. 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 had been popular in Bangladesh through his Peace TV, although his preachings often allegedly demean other religions and even other Muslim sects. The Mumbai-based preacher is currently abroad and has not returned to India ever since the controversy erupted.

Cyrus Mistry ouster: It looks Machiavellian but major impact on Tata brand unlikely

The news of the removal of Cyrus P Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons has left many confused and bewildered because the manner in which it was done is very unusual and unexpected of a group of the Tatas’ stature.

Ratan Tata. PTIRatan Tata. PTI

Ratan Tata. PTI

Will the sudden sacking without giving any reason affect the group’s brand? It is to be remembered that it has a highly respected image both locally and internationally. Or will it be seen as a minor aberration of the mostly transparent, honest and trustworthy image the group has cultivated painstakingly over a century?

Would a consumer worry about the image or go by the trust factor attached to the group before buying its products?

Harish Bijoor, chief executive officer of brand and business strategy firm Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, says that the consumer would not be unduly bothered about the rumblings at the Tata Sons board as the trust factor has been deeply associated and ingrained in his or her mind. “You would still buy the Titan watch or check into a Tata group hotel because of the trust factor. That won’t change,” he says.

However, ranking of the trust factor of the Tata Group has been steadily going down over the last few years. A report by brands insights company TRA Research, formerly Trust Research Advisory, found that the trust factor of the group stood at the second position among top 5 brands in the country in the year Mistry was offered the chairmanship of Tata Sons. It held on to that position in 2011, too. After Mistry took over, the ranking slipped to fifth position.

The ranking is done on 61 parameters of trust and includes 425 questions. 

TRA CEO N Chandramouli says, “The brand had a tumultuous ranking on account of the fact that Ratan Tata had left. He had taken the group to a new level from the time he took over till he retired. Mistry was seen as benign and not doing anything similar to what Tata did. Also, it was strange not to have any communication from the chair of India’s largest business conglomerate for a year and a half.”

The group’s ranking went up a notch at 3rd position in 2014 but slipped to 4th in 2015 and is at 5th position in 2016. Incidentally, it still remains the only Indian company in the top five rankings.

The current situation where the group is in the news for the sacking of Mistry will erode the brand image, says Chandramouli.

“Each one of us feel a sense of ownership about the brand. We associate truth and honesty and transparency with the Tata image and brand. Trust is a dynamic entity and unless you cajole and take care of it well, it will slip out,” he says.

According to him, the group does great things operationally. However, if there is one count on which it slips drastically it is in the area of communication.

“Whenever something major happens at the group – the Radia tapes, deaths and suicides of its key employees – the group’s communication on these fronts are poorly done and this is what causes apathy. People’s trust in the brand erodes when its communication is poor,” he says.

In the case of Mistry sacking too, there is speculation that it is orchestrated simply by Tata Sons only because the group is keeping quiet about the reason, he says.

“There might be very good reasons for taking that decision, but since communication is poor, the act of letting Mistry go seems Machiavellian at one point,” says Chandramouli. He feels the brand has been tarnished to some extent by the recent happenings at Bombay house.

However, there are other experts with differing views on the issue.

Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works, a Mumbai-based brand strategy and brand design firm, feels that the current storm that is brewing at the Bombay House will go away without causing any damage to the brand.

She reasons that the Tata brand is too strong to be impacted. “It is like Raghuram Rajan and his not being given an extension as the head of the RBI. It has died down. Similarly, this too will die down,” she says.

The Tata brand image is one of solidity and honesty. It cannot be jolted by incidents like the change of guard, says Harish Bijoor.

“Brand Tata is very old and is respected not only in the country but also internationally. It is an image that has consumer trust vested in it. Tatas have always been seen doing the right thing by its employees, the Taj attack or the Singur incident, for instance. The feeling is when you are a Tata, you cannot do wrong. It is a company that is blessed with a benign brand umbrella which no other brand in India has. That is what insulates the brand from any negative impact about what happened on Monday when the management took a decision to bring back Ratan Tata.”

Chandramouli and Parida aver that the new incumbent at Tata Sons will be watched. “How that move pans out will be watched carefully and that can send out a strong message about the group,” says Parida.

Haji Ali Trust bypassed Bombay High Court order instead of implementing it: Petitioner’s lawyer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s decision to grant access to the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum on Monday, Advocate RA Moray said that the trust had bypassed the Bombay High Court’s order instead of implementing it.Moray, who argued the case in the High Court for petitioners Noorjehan Niaz and Zakia Soman, said, “Not allowing access to men in order to bring them on par with women is not the same as allowing access to women on par with men, and it certainly cannot be termed as ‘restoration of the status quo ante’ as directed by the High Court on August 26. The High Court order is thus being bypassed rather than implemented.”Moray was referring to the Trust’s additional affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court on Monday. The affidavit says that now, both men and women would not be allowed to touch the mazhar (mausoleum) in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine. Only the khadims of the shrine would have permission to touch it.”The Trust’s idea of ‘gender justice’ is obviously different from ours, though technically it may be in consonance with the Constitutional right to equality,” Moray added.The shrine’s Trust on Monday told the Supreme Court that women will be granted access to the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali in Mumbai on par with men, and sought four weeks to make the requisite infrastructural changes.Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the trust, said an additional affidavit had been filed on behalf of the Dargah trust, saying it was willing to allow women inside the shrine. A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time asked for to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.BackgroundThe Bombay High Court had allowed a PIL filed by two women, Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012.The High Court on August 26 had held that the ban imposed by the Trust on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.The Trust moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai.The apex court, on October 17, had extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the Dargah in Mumbai.With inputs from Mustafa Plumber and PTI.

We will grant access to women on par with men: Haji Ali Dargah Trust tells SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haji Ali Dargah Trust on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it will grant access to women on par with men, into the inner sanctum of the dargah.The top court has granted four weeks time to Dargah Trust to make requisite infrastructural changes for granting access to women, reported PTI.The Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s had challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai.The apex court had on October 7 extended the stay on the entry of women in dargah till October 17 after the dargah management said that it would come out with a progressive stand in two weeks.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said that women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Prior to 2011, the dargah did not discriminate against women and allowed free entry of people across religions. On March 2011, the dargah’s board of trustees imposed a ban on women’s entry, calling it a “grievous sin”. On July 10, 2015, a bench headed by Justice VM Kanade set aside the previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the High Court on maintainability and decided to hear the PIL on merits. The High Court had held that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”.With PTI inputs

HRD grant: Setalvad liable for mixing religion with politics and spreading disharmony

New Delhi: An HRD Ministry panel has claimed that Teesta Setalvad and her Sabrang trust tried to “mix religion with politics” and spread disharmony while creating curricular material for the erstwhile UPA government which had given a grant of about Rs 1.4 crore.

The Committee’s finding that a prima facie case exists against her under section 153A and 153B of IPC for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc and imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration, has found favour with a top law officer.

“The report of the inquiry committee is exhaustive and deals with every aspect of the matter and that action as suggested in the said report may be undertaken in terms of fixing liabilities/lapses, action for inciting disharmony and hatred and also for recovery of the money as is stipulated in the scheme itself,” the opinion of the law officer, stated to have been received by the HRD Ministry, said.

A file photo of Teesta Setalvad. PTIA file photo of Teesta Setalvad. PTI

A file photo of Teesta Setalvad. PTI

He gave the opinion after going through the report of a three-member panel, set up by Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), which examined disbursal and utilisation of funds received by Setalvad for her project ‘Khoj’ under the scheme of ‘National Policy on Education’.

The three-member committee comprising Supreme Court lawyer Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Gujarat Central University Vice Chancellor S A Bari and a Ministry official Gaya Prasad set up by the Ministry examined the allegations levelled by Setalvad’s former close aide Rais Khan Pathan.

Pathan in his complaint has alleged that Sabrang Trust’s publications “spread dissatisfaction among the minorities in the country and project India in a poor light” and indulging in anti-national activities.

The finding assumes significance as Setalvad has moved the Supreme Court as an intervenor in ongoing hearing in which the seven-judge constitution bench is revisiting two-decade-old judgement holding that Hindutva is a “way of life” by seeking a direction for de-linking of politics from religion.

Holding that education has never been the agenda of the ‘Sabrang Trust’ in any of its documents, the report said Setalvad and her trust “appear to be trying to mix religion with politics in the classroom of young children most of whom do not appear to be from well-to-do background.

“And there lies the real problem and hurdle pertaining to its eligibility” for receiving the funds.

However, the Committee, which questioned the grant of money to the tune of Rs 2.05 crore, out of which Rs 1.39 crore was released as the trust was unable to utilise 50 per cent of the amount, said that one of the reasons for its ineligibility was that the documents of the trust suggested “brazen contempt of Supreme Court by Setalvad in her writing”.

She has been quoted as saying “we have been in existence today on our annals of judgement from the apex court giving a clean chit to the philosphy of ‘Hindutva’, describing it as a ‘way of life’.

The report said if this is not a fit case for an offence one wonders as to what is?

The committee, which examined the materials and documents submitted by Setalvad as Director of ‘Sabrang Trust’, said that the then officials of the Ministry failed to detect the “false declarations” of the trust as they may be under some sort of “compulsions” to clear the project which had not found favour with the NCERT and suggested action against them also.

The panel, which dissected that “a sizeable portion” of various written materials prepared by Setalvad for the trust/’Khoj’ for teachers for the students of class V and VI contains “explosive literature” which reflects “hatred” and “venom” thereby falling fairly and squarely under section 153A and 153B of the IPC.

The report said that the committee is of firm view that there is a hiatus between the theory and practice of ‘Sabrang Trust’ as it is simply “whipping up identity politics” which is not conducive to the avowed purpose for which the trust has tried to impress upon in the application form.

The committee arrived at this finding by going through various documents of the trust that also clearly showed that the nature of pre-conceived notions on a subject of political agenda and holding Gujarat in low esteem, bordering on political criticism “thereby rendering it ineligible ab-initio (at the outset for funds)”.

It held that the public money given under the scheme of ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan’ to the trust/’Khoj’ was “clearly found to be spreading disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill will etc.”.

The project ‘Khoj’ was launched by Setalvad’s NGO in some districts of Maharashtra.

Bhubaneshwar hospital fire: Trust’s chairman surrenders as SIT orders probe into finances

Bhubaneshwar: The chairman of the trust that ran the hospital where a devastating fire on Monday killed 21 people on Thursday turned himself in to police and was arrested even as the SIT on black money ordered a probe by the Enforcement Directorate into the trust’s financial transactions.

Fire at the hospital. CNN-News18

Fire at the hospital. CNN-News18

Manoj Ranjan Nayak, the chairman of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust that runs the SUM Hospital, surrendered before the police and 3.30 am and was taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation, barely hours after the Odisha police issued a Lookout Circular against him and another trustee Saswati Das.

Nayak’s arrest takes to five the number of those held in connection with the fire tragedy, which also left scores injured. “Manoj Nayak surrenders at Khandagiri Police Station. He is arrested and under interrogation,” Commissioner of Police, YB Khurania told reporters.

Even as he was being interrogated, information came that the The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe financial transactions of the trust he headed. Though the reason behind the SIT order was not immediately known, a senior police official said the ED has been directed to examine all financial transactions of the trust that runs several institutions including the SUM Hospital.

Sources said Vice Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT on black money Justice Arijit Pasayat has also asked Odisha police to cooperate with the ED during their investigation.

“We have received a letter from the SIT on black money last night asking us to cooperate with the ED which is to probe the money transactions of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust,” said Director General of Police KB Singh. The SIT has asked the police to ensure that at no document or evidence pertaining to financial transactions of the trust including the hospital are tampered with or destroyed, the DGP said.

He said efforts were on to apprehend Saswati Das. Earlier, four senior officials of Sum Hospital including its Medical Superintendent Pushparaj Samantasinghar had been arrested on Tuesday night on the basis of an FIR lodged by the state government’s fire service department.

Bhubaneshwar fire: Hospital chairman arrested; SIT asks ED to probe transactions of hospital trust

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Black Money has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe financial transactions of the trust whose chairman was on Thursday arrested for a fire in a hospital run by it in which 21 people were killed.A senior police official said the SIT had directed the ED to examine all financial transactions of ‘Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust’ (SOA) that runs several institutions including Sum hospital where the incident occurred.At the same time, Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Court- appointed SIT on black money Justice Arijit Pasayat has also asked Odisha police to cooperate with the ED during their investigation, he said.”We have received a letter from the SIT on black money last night asking us to cooperate with the ED which is to probe into the money transactions of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust,” said Director General of Police K B Singh.The SIT has asked the police to ensure that at no document or evidence pertaining to financial transactions of the trust including the hospital are tampered with or destroyed, the DGP said.The SIT direction for ED probe into money transactions came almost simultaneously with the surrender and subsequent arrest of Manoj Ranjan Nayak, Chairman of the trust that runs SOA under which several institutions including an engineering college and the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum hospital function.With the arrest of Nayak who surrendered at Khandagiri police station here in the early hours today, the number of those held in connection with the fire tragedy rose to five.The arrest came hours after the Commissinorate of Police had issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) against Nayak and Saswati Das, both trustees of the charitable trust.While Nayak is being interrogated by the police, efforts are on to nab Das, the DGP said.Earlier, four senior officials of Sum Hospital including its Medical Superintendent Pushparaj Samantasinghar had been arrested on Tuesday night on the basis of an FIR lodged by the state government’s fire service department. They were booked under section 304, 308, 285 and 34 of IPC.A case was registered against the authorities of Sum hospital which has been accused of overlooking a 2013 advisory of state government to improve its firefighting mechanism. The hospital does not allegedly possess a fire safety certificate.Another FIR has also been filed on behelf of the Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) against the Sum Hospital authorities alleging gross negligence in fire safety measures.That apart, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central) is also inquiring into the devastating fire incident at the direction of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Bhubaneswar SUM hospital had no fire clearance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar, where a devastating blaze on Monday claimed 21 lives, was running without fire safety clearance, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said on Wednesday, even as the police issued a ‘Lookout Circular’ against two members of the trust that runs the facility. The Minister, who visited various hospitals to inquire about the condition of those injured, said the Centre would soon issue a fresh advisory to all states to avoid repeat of such incidents.”The hospital did not have fire safety measures in place. In spite of that, the hospital was running. It is a serious matter,” Nadda told reporters, terming the tragedy as “very serious, worrisome and shocking”.Under pressure for arresting the owner of the hospital, the the Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack issued a ‘Lookout Circular’ against two senior members of Sikshya O Anusandhan Charitable Trust which runs the hospital.PTICommisioner of Police Y B Khurania told reporters that the Circular (LOC) was issued against Manoj Nayak and Saswati Das who cannot leave the city without prior police permission as they needed to cooperate with the probe. The Union Home Ministry has been informed about the circular. Airport authorities have been asked not to let them leave the city in case they make an attempt.Meanwhile, in a startling claim, the National Human Rights Commission said only three of Odisha’s 568 hospitals have fire safety clearance and issued a notice to the state government over the hospital tragedy, the worst of its kind in the state.”In Odisha, out of 568 hospitals, only three have clearance of the department of fire safety,” the NHRC said in a statement on Wednesday and issued a notice to the Odisha Chief Secretary, seeking a report in the matter within six weeks, including on the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the next of kin of the deceased and the injured.”We have to see that such incidents do not repeat. I will ask the officials to make more stringent provisions. I will personally see which issues need to be revisited. A fresh advisory will be given to all the states so that such incidents do not take place anywhere,” Nadda told reporters before winding up his one-day visit to the state.Though fire safety is a matter related to Home department, Health department also has a responsibility to ensure safety of patients in hospitals, he said. Nadda held discussion with health officials and assured support to the state government for providing treatment to those injured in the fire.”I am not here for a blame game. Our priority is (providing) proper treatment to those injured in the fire at the medical facility two days ago,” he said.Nadda visited the injured undergoing treatment at AIIMS, Capital Hospital, AMRI Hospital and KIMS and enquired about their condition.

SC to hear Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s plea challenging Bombay HC order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Monday hear Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai. The apex court had on October 7 extended the stay on the entry of women in dargah till October 17 after the dargah management said that it would come out with a progressive stand in two weeks. A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, was hearing a plea by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust challenging the Bombay High Court ruling, providing equal entry right for women and men into the Dargah’s sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men. The order came on a public interest litigation petition filed by two women from the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. It held that the trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Prior to 2011, the dargah did not discriminate against women and allowed free entry of people across religions. On March 2011, the dargah’s board of trustees imposed a ban on women’s entry, calling it a “grievous sin”. On July 10, 2015, a bench headed by Justice VM Kanade set aside previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the High Court on maintainability and decided to hear the PIL on merits.

Haryana: OBCs to be given surname ‘Vaishya’ on Oct 16, Amit Shah to be the chief guest

Wed, 12 Oct 2016-11:19pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP President Amit Shah will be the chief guest at a public meeting on October 16 in Haryana being held as part of an exercise to rally around various castes and sub-castes linked to the Vaishya community.Over 29 MPs and 111 MLAs, hailing from the community, from various states and political parties have been invited to take part in the October 15-16 event being organised by Agroha Vikas Trust, which is linked to BJP-backed Rajya Sabha member and media baron Subhash Chandra. “This year is a special occasion where many of OBCs will be given surname ‘Vaishya’ with all vaidik rituals, in the presence of more than 1,00,000 Bhartiyas (Indians),” a statement said.”We have also organised a public meeting on Oct 16 inviting Amit Shah as the chief guest. Meeting will be presided over by yours truly (sic),” Chandra said in a tweet.

SC extends stay on Bombay HC’s order allowing entry of women in Haji Ali’s inner sanctum

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Haji Ali Dargah, till 17 October when it will hear the matter.

Haji Ali Dargah. CNN-News18

Haji Ali Dargah. CNN-News18

However, during the brief hearing, a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice AM Khanwilkar expressed hope that the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, which has challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.

The court adjourned the matter at the request of senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam who appeared for the Trust. “The order of the High Court granting stay on operation of its judgement to continue till the next date of hearing on 17 October,” the bench said.

Subramaniam assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested. The bench also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem. But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”

The bench, which recorded that an identical issue has been raised and was pending before the Supreme Court relating to the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, said “the problem is not only among Muslims, but among the Hindus also”. The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is now.

The Trust moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay. The High Court on 26 August had held that the ban imposed by the Trust on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.

The High Court had allowed a PIL filed by two women Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012. It had granted a six-week stay on the order on a request by the Dargah Trust to enable it to appeal before the Supreme Court.

The high court had held that the Trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”.

It had said the trust has not been able to justify the ban legally or otherwise. Hence it cannot be said that the prohibition was an essential and integral part of Islam and whether taking away that part of the practice would result in a fundamental change in the character of the religion or belief.

It had also refused to accept the justification of the Trust that the ban was imposed for safety and security of women, in particular, to prevent sexual harassment at places of worship. The Trust had claimed that the ban was in keeping with an order of the Supreme Court wherein stringent directions have been issued to ensure that there is no sexual harassment to women at places of worship.

The court had noted that the aims, objectives and activities of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust were not governed by any custom or tradition and held that it was a public charitable trust and hence, open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.

The Maharashtra government had earlier told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah only if it is so enshrined in the Quran.

SC extends stay on Bombay HC order on women entry in Haji Ali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Friday extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Haji Ali Dargah, till October 17 when it will hear the matter.However, during the brief hearing, a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar expressed hope that the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, which has challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.The court adjourned the matter at the request of senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam who appeared for the Trust.”The order of the High Court granting stay on operation of its judgement to continue till the next date of hearing on October 17,” the bench said.Subramaniam assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested.The bench also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem.But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”The bench, which recorded that an identical issue has been raised and was pending before the Supreme Court relating to the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, said “the problem is not only among Muslims, but among the Hindus also”.The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is today.The Trust moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay.The High Court on August 26 had held that the ban imposed by the Trust on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.

Kolkata Eye project likely to get nod by October

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kolkata Eye, the giant ferris wheel modelled on the lines of the popular London Eye, is likely to get the Kolkata Port Trust board’s approval soon.”The proposal will come for the next board meeting by this month end. By next month the proposal is expected to be approved,” KoPT chairman M T Krishna Babu said on Tuesday. The giant wheel, a pet project of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is expected to get erected at the Millennium Park on the bank of river Hooghly.The Kolkata Eye is likely to have 36 air-conditioned capsules made of steel and glass that can accommodate eight people each. The gigantic ferris wheel would rotate slowly to offer a bird’s-eye view of the city from the height as of a 30-story building. It would take people to a height of 100 metres and take around 30 minutes to complete a full circle.The project aims to be a major tourist attraction of the metropolis in the coming days.A project of KMDA, under the Department of Urban Development, Government of West Bengal, it will come up on Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) owned land. KMDA and KoPT have formed a 50:50 special purpose vehicle (SPV) for this first-of-its-kind giant wheel project in India and has leased out to a British firm, Sun Consulting and Investment to run the wheel complex for a period of 30 years.

Haji Ali Trust knocks at Supreme Court’s door against Bombay HC order on women entry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Haji Ali Dargah Trust moved Supreme Court on Monday challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay. The High Court on August 26 had held that the ban imposed by the Dargah Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.The High Court had allowed a PIL filed by two women Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012. It had held that the trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group.The High Court in its 56 page-judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”. It had said the trust has not been able to justify the ban legally or otherwise, and hence it cannot be said that the prohibition is an essential and integral part of Islam and whether taking away that part of the practice would result in a fundamental change in the character of the religion or belief.The court had also refused to accept the justification of the trust that the ban was imposed for safety and security of the women, in particular, to prevent sexual harassment of women at places of worship. The trust had claimed that the ban was in keeping with an order of the Supreme Court wherein stringent directions have been issued to ensure that there is no sexual harassment to women at places of worship.The court noted that the aims, objectives and activities of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust are not governed by any custom or tradition and held that it was a public charitable trust and hence open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender. The Maharashtra government had earlier told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah only if it is so enshrined in the Quran.

Haji Ali Trust moves SC challenging Bombay HC order on allowing entry to women

New Delhi: Haji Ali Dargah Trust on Monday moved Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay.

The High Court on 26 August had held that the ban imposed by the Dargah Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.

Haji Ali Dargah. Reuters

Haji Ali Dargah. Reuters

The High Court had allowed a PIL filed by two women Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz, from NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, challenging the ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah from 2012.

It had held that the trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group.

The High Court in its 56-page judgement had also noted that the “right to manage the Trust cannot override the right to practice religion itself”.

It had said the trust has not been able to justify the ban legally or otherwise, and hence it cannot be said that the prohibition is an essential and integral part of Islam and whether taking away that part of the practice would result in a fundamental change in the character of the religion or
belief.

The court had also refused to accept the justification of the trust that the ban was imposed for safety and security of the women, in particular, to prevent sexual harassment of women at places of worship.

The trust had claimed that the ban was in keeping with an order of the Supreme Court wherein stringent directions have been issued to ensure that there is no sexual harassment to women at places of worship.

The court noted that the aims, objectives and activities of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust are not governed by any custom or tradition and held that it was a public charitable trust and hence open to people all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.

The Maharashtra government had earlier told the court that women should be barred from entering the inner sanctorum of Haji Ali Dargah only if it is so enshrined in the Quran.

Right to Services Act silent on punishments, non-delivery

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the BJP-Shiv Sena led government has been able to provide 369 services online through the Right to Services (RTS) Act, the punitive provision for not providing services in the stipulated time and fixing responsibility are yet to be worked out.Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday launched 163 more services online under RTS in Mumbai. He announced that Nagpur has become the first digital district in the state with all gram panchayats going digital. With 163 more services online, Fadnavis said that his government has provided all 369 services of 24 departments online through the Aaple Sarkar portal.Fadnavis said that, henceforth, no citizen would be required to physically travel to mantralaya or any government office for these services. He said people can also apply for grievance redressal through the Aaple Sarkar portal. All villages in the state would be connected digitally by December 2018 and the government would be starting the Aaple Sarkar service centre in every village.However, the provision for punishment for non-delivery of service still eludes the state. It was the BJP’s election manifesto for the 2014 assembly elections that had envisaged RTS as one of the important promises. The manifesto committee had borrowed the concept from the Madhya Pradesh RTS Act, which has won accolades at the international level. That Act has a provision for financial punishment for bureaucrats who fail to provide services within the stipulated time-frame.BJP state unit spokesperson and member of the manifesto committee, Madhav Bhandari, says he would insist on fixing responsibilities and punishment for not providing services on time.What are the servicesBirth and death certificates, marriage registration certificate, land records and related registration, deemed conveyance certificate, driving licence application, renewal of licence, Shop Act-related licences, solvency certificate, senior citizen certificate, caste certificate, registration of partnership firms, registration of trust unde Bombay Public Trust Act, NoCs for petrol pumps, hotels etc, licence for amplified sound system use, character certificate, registration of vehicles, transfer of tenement and all other important certificates or permissions or licences can be availed through online applications by using Aaple Sarkar portal.

Bombay Parsi Punchayet chief sparks controversy, asks CEO to fire two staffers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), which has been facing troubling times lately due to frequent infights, is once again in news. This time, present BPP chairman Yazdi Desai has raked up a controversy by asking chief executive officer (CEO) Cawas Panthaky to fire two staffers and not give any information to two of the trustees.The CEO in the BPP looks after its administrative matters. In a letter to Panthaky, Desai has stated that he has barred all BPP staffers from “giving any information or documents” to BPP trustees Armaity Tirandaz and Viraf Mehta, “unless approved by the board”. The letter further stated that the staff be told that the chairman has issued these instructions because Viraf and Armaity were “acting against the interests of the trust and the BPP”.Not long ago, the community that prides itself in etiquette witnessed a new low when former BPP chairperson Dinshaw Mehta and present trustee Kersi Randeria came to blows. BPP, the apex body of the Parsi community, is an over 300-year-old public charitable trust. It is one of the biggest landlords in Mumbai, with ownership of 5,500 flats and other immovable properties, spread over approximately 100 acres. It also provides for various schemes for the Parsi Irani Zoroastrians.”I got to know about the letter last week. I will be taking up the issue in the meeting. He (chairman) is trying to kill transparency in BPP functioning. He cannot give instructions to another staffer or trustee. Two people have been instructed to be fired. I have told the CEO that the matter was between him and Desai, and that they have to sort it out. We are not in school. We are a public charitable trust. Everybody is working for the interest of the trust,” said Mehta. Tirandaz did not answer calls from dna.When contacted by dna, Desai said, “Viraf and Armaity are acting against the interests of the trust and the beneficiaries. They are sharing all the information with Dinshaw Mehta and Munchi Cama, who are misusing it to put hurdles before this new board. Many housing and property files and papers are going missing. That is why I issued the instructions to protect the trust.”He added the sentence about the firing was in good humour as “I share an excellent rapport with the CEO and the two staffers mentioned. None of them are offended. We will definitely move to remove Mehta as he clearly misused his position as trustee to tamper with evidence and save his father Dinshaw from going to jail for cheating and defrauding the trust. It is better to take preventive action and not share information with Viraf and Armaity. Better to be safe than sorry.”

New hope

With nearly 60% of all new leprosy cases being recorded in India, the government begins an intensive programme to eliminate the dreaded disease.

Justice Dhingra panel gets extension till August 31 amidst BJP-Cong mudslinging

The Inquiry Commission, which is probing grant of land licences to some firms including that of Robert Vadra in Haryana, was on Friday given an eight-week extension even as its head Justice SN Dhingra rubbished allegations that a Trust run by him was being favoured by the government.The Haryana government extended the tenure of the Commission till August 31, a day after Justice Dhingra sought six weeks more just before the deadline was coming to an end, contending that he needed extra time to study additional evidence and documents that have come up before the panel. While the extension was granted, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said questions raised by Congress before submission of report by the probe panel makes one suspect that something is not right.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Haryana Governor extended the tenure of the one-man Commission upto August 31 on the same terms and conditions and with the concurrence of state Finance department, an official notification said. The Commission was set up on May 14, 2015 to probe into grant of land licences to some companies including that of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in Gurgaon during the Congress rule in Haryana. Insisting that he is not targeting Vadra, Justice Dhingra rubbished allegations of Congress that a Trust run by him was being favoured by the government.”Anybody is free to make allegations. But he should atleast come forward (and say) what money was given,” he said He said the allegations made against the Justice Gopal Singh Public Charitable Trust in Gurgaon, which he runs, are about a request being made for constructing roads in five villages as the Trust intended to start a Skill Centre for village women and a training centre for youth of the area.”The Centre (run by trust) requested the local administration that these villages should also be provided roads. If the administration has acceded to this request and if you say it is bribe or it is a favour being given to the Trust, I would like to have this favour for all villages of Haryana,” he said. Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala had alleged that “Justice S N Dhingra has sought favours from government of Haryana pertaining to Justice Gopal Singh Public Charitable Trust in Gurgaon, making him incompetent and unsuitable to deliver any verdict or report in the matter.”The Chief Minister, who was in Panchkula, said the Commission was constituted one year ago and at that time the Congress had no issues. Earlier also, the tenure of the Commission was extended and the approval was notified after 10 days, Khattar said, adding “Even then no one raised any issue.” The Commission had sought extension for six weeks, but the government has extended it for two more months, he said.To another question, he said the facts would become clear only after submission of the report. Earlier, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had sought scrapping the Dhingra Commission of Inquiry, arguing that it was “contrary to established rules and norms, without due cabinet approval and prompted by malice and political considerations”.The BJP government in the state had in December last year extended the Commission’s term for a period of six months and on June 17 this year its term had been extended till June 30. “Some more documents were given and I wanted to study them….If some substaintial material is there, I think it is the duty of the Commission to consider them,” he said.Talking about the nature of documents that came before the Commission, he said, they are relating to some sale deeds and transactions. Earlier, media reports had said the Commission headed by Justice Dhingra, a retired judge of Delhi High Court, was ready with its report which was supposed to have gone into mutation of a land deal between a firm M/S Skylight Hospitality owned by Robert Vadra and realty major DLF. The Rs 58-crore deal related to 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon’s Shikohpur village which was sold by Vadra to DLF. In October, 2012, senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka had cancelled the mutation of the land deal between Skylight Hospitality and DLF. It was mired by controversy over allegations of undervaluation.The Commission was to probe transfer or disposal of land, allegations of private enrichment, ineligibility of beneficiaries under the rules, and other connected matters, bringing Vadra land deal under the scanner. BJP had made the land deals under the previous Congress government in Haryana a major poll issue during the 2014 Lok Sabha and the state Assembly polls, alleging rules were relaxed to favour a few including Vadra, son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.BJP today attacked Congress for making accusations against Justice S N Dhingra Commission, saying the opposition party was making “hue and cry” as it “fears that the outcome of the panel’s report can go against its leaders. “It is like ‘Chor ki darhi me tinka’ (they have guilty conscience). They (Congress leaders) now feel that something can go against in the (probe panel) report and that is why they are making such baseless accusations against Dhingra Commission. By levelling allegations, they are trying to fight it out,” BJP, general secretary and incharge of Haryana, Anil Jain said today.Lashing out at the Congress, Jain said, “whatever commissions they formed (during their regime), they were right and rest of them are incompetent. Congress party’s policy has been that its leaders should remain protected,” alleged Jain. However, BJP refuted the allegations that the commission was formed to target “particular persons”.”If we had to target any particular person or persons, then we would have done it at the initial time (when the government was formed). No particular person was being targeted through the formation of Dhingra Commission. The panel was probing several cases pertaining to grant of land licences,” Jain said.

Mumbai: Dalit protestors vandalise shops in Dadar after Ambedkar memorial demolition

Following the BMC’s decision to demolish Dr BR Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai’s Dadar area on Saturday, a mob of over 1000 people on Tuesday vandalised shops and vehicles near Dadar TT circle. According to People’s Improvement Trust, the decision to redevelop the building was taken after a BMC notice that the building was unsafe. They claim to have government’s sanction in the entire redevelopment process.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protestors on Saturday had warned the shopkeepers to shut their shops on Tuesday, however, when they didn’t, the shops were vandalised. The traffic was brought to a standstill on Tuesday afternoon owing to the protests. The Dadar TT flyover was surrounded by the protestors and the shops were attacked. A wine shop in Dadar was vandalised and bottles of liquor were stolen. However, the current situation near Dadar TT flyover is normal. Senior Police Inspector Tanaji Surulkar at Bhoiwada Police Station told dna, “Traffic at Dadar circle was brought under control within 50 minutes of protests breaking out. Around 12-15 shops have been damaged. We have the video recordings of today’s protests, we will watch it and identify the leaders in the protests.””We have not made any arrests yet,” Surulkar added.

Centre cancels registration of Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang Trust

After suspending FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) licence of Teesta Setalvad’s NGO, Sabrang Trust, and issuing a show cause in September last year, the Union home ministry on Thursday finally cancelled its registration over alleged violations of the Act.The ministry said in a communication on Thursday, “it was noticed that the organisation received a total donation of Rs 48.42 lakh in 2010-11 and Rs 49.10 lakh in 2011-12, out of which it spent Rs 30.97 lakh and Rs 27.07 lakh during the two years respectively. This comes to 64.23% for 2010-11 and 55.14% for 2011-12 on administrative expenses.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the ministry, as per section 8 (1) (b) of the FCRA, incurring expenses on administrative head exceeding 50% limit required the approval of the Home Ministry, thus making it violation of the Act.The Trust, run by Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand, can make a representation against the order within 30 days. However, if the home ministry is not satisfied with the reply of the NGO, its registration will be cancelled.Another NGO run by Setalvad and her husband, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has already been put under prior permission category, thus making it mandatory for the organisation to take permission from the Home Ministry before accepting or utilising any foreign contribution.Following a recommendation of the home ministry, the Central Bureau of Investigation has already registered a case and launched a probe against Sabrang Communication and Publishing Pvt Limited, a commercial firm run by Setalvad, for allegedly accepting and utilising foreign contribution in violation of FCRA.Setalvad pursued the cases of post-Godhra riots victims in Gujarat when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state.

Money Laundering case: Warrant to produce Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer in court issued

Four months after the ACB filed a chargesheet in the Maharashtra Sadan scam, a special court on Wednesday issued production warrant against senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer.”The court issued production warrant against Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer in the Maharashtra Sadan case,” special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said.The production warrant is issued against them as they are presently in the judicial custody in a money laundering case registered against them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The jail authorities have to produce the duo on June 22,” said Gharat.Meanwhile, Gharat also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant against Chhagan Bhujbal’s son Pankaj in the case for not appearing in the court.”However, his lawyers told the court that he will be present in the court on the next date,” he told PTI.The ACB, in February this year, had chargesheeted 17 persons, including the Bhujbals in connection with the case. It had filed a 20,000-page chargesheet consisting of statements of over 60 witnesses.According to the anti-graft agency, the case was entirely based on documentary evidence, such as fund transfer and bank transactions. In the construction of Maharashtra Sadan, contractors have earned 80 per cent profits, while as per the government circular such contractors are entitled to only 20 per cent gains, the officials said. They added that the books of accounts were fudged to show that the profit earned was only one per cent.Officials had said that to construct Maharashtra Sadan, Chamankar Associates, the contractor firm, had allegedly transferred money to Niche Infrastructure and other companies in which Pankaj and Sameer were the directors.The chargesheet said that most of the companies floated by the Bhujbals are in the name of employees and used for siphoning off funds. Niche was earlier owned by some employees of Maharashtra Educational Trust, in which the Bhujbals later became directors.

Ahmedabad: Tablet to be launched for people to read Gujarati, Hindi e-books on Gandhiji

To popularise books on Mahatma Gandhi and cater to the ever-changing reading habits, a city-based trust has decided to come up with their own tablet, lending people the facility to read Gujarati and Hindi e-books published by them on the Father of the Nation.Kindle-like e-book tablet, which the Navjivan Trust is planning to bring, will have 170 books mostly on Mahatma Gandhi allowing people to read those in Hindi and Gujarati.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This announcement was made by the managing trustee of Navjivan Trust Vivek Desai here today while launching 10 different editions, including 4 e-book versions, of “Hind Swaraj”, a book written by Gandhiji in 1909.Till now, the trust, established in 1919 by Gandhiji himself, has sold around 10,500 online versions of around 170 of their books, converted into e-books, which according to Desai, is the key motivating factor for the trust to venture into the territory of an exclusive tablet parallel to online conglomerate Amazon’s “Kindle” e-book reader.”During last two years, around 10,500 e-books of 170 different titles published by them, mostly on Gandhiji, have been sold in the online market. Our English version e-books are sold on Amazon, while Gujarati e-books are sold through “e-Shabda” portal” said Desai.”We are seeing a paradigm shift in people’s reading habits, as a small tablet allows people to carry hundreds of books in it. Thus, we have decided to come up with our own tablet, like Amazon’s Kindle, so that more people can read Navjivan publications, mostly on Gandhiji, through our tablet,” said Desai.Giving further details, digital and print publishing consultant of Navjivan Trust Apurva Ashar said that regional language e-books are not compatible with Kindle.”At present, Kindle does not support Gujarati or Hindi language. Thus, we have decided to create a new platform to reach out to people wanting to read Mahatma’s books in those languages. We are in process to make a tablet equivalent to Kindle. This device will allow readers to type and search in Gujarati or Hindi,” said Ashar.

Dancing queens: Transgenders raise the bar in Mumbai’s dance circuit

It’s 12.30 pm in the afternoon and she has just woken up to a cup of tea made by her sister. The next few hours are spent with her sister’s family and catching up with her mother, before getting ready for her performance at a hotel in Panvel — a central suburb of Mumbai.

Thirty six year old Simran is a rage in the Mumbai bar circuit and she is a transgender. When I asked her about the police raids on four ‘illegal’ dance bars in Mumbai last week, she just dismissed the story. “Yeh sab politics hai. Raids toh humari life ka hissa hai. Isme toh sab miley huye hai. Baat toh paise ki hai (This is all politics. Raids are part of our lives. Everyone is involved in this. It is all about money).”

With an estimated 20 percent of cross-dressing men in the Mumbai bar scene, it is one demographic that is steadily growing. “It just shows that there aren’t enough women out there and a demand that is filled by the transgenders, who are very talented, work hard on their performance and seek appreciation. There is also a feeling amongst the dance bar owners that a transgender presence brings luck,” informs Suhail Abbasi, founder trustee, Humsafar Trust, a leading NGO working in the LGBT space.

And business is good for transgenders such as Simran, who are often invited to private shows and weddings. She is one of the few who has learned ballet and her mujra numbers are a rage. As the only earning member of her family, Simran is part of the trade since the mid-90s.

SimranSimran

Simran. Photo by Smita Deshmukh

Though the 2006 bar dance ban affected many girls, some like Simran were in touch with their customers directly. “Yeh ban ka koi matlab hai kya? Yeh mera phone kaafi hai (This ban has no meaning when my cellphone is with me!)” But the truth is that many bar girls were lost to the sex work and that included the transgenders, who are now eager to get back to work, rather than beg on the streets.

With the SC to hear the plea of bar owners on the new law of Maharashtra government, under which they have to adhere to 26 strict conditions to get a licence, dancers like Simran are unimpressed. “Yeh CCTV camera rakhega toh kaun customer aayega? (If you have CCTV cameras outside, which customer will come inside),” she questions.

Discuss court and law, and the dancer comes up with a simple explanation. “The government is earning tax through the licence, the owners earn part of our earnings and we are in business too. It is the cops that harass us all the time. That needs to be controlled. Ab yeh neta log ko samajtha nahi hai kya (Don’t these politicians understand this),” she asks.

While the Centre has framed a policy of reservation for transgenders under the OBC category, it is far from empathetic to the community on the ground level. And it is left to the NGOs like Humsafar to look into their issues. “They are our target group in terms of HIV intervention and violence they face at work. Hats off to them in the way they handle situations like those and still continue to work,” explains Suhail Abbasi.

Even as the Maharashtra government passed the Dance Bar Regulation Bill, which has provisions for stringent action against the violators, it is doing nothing to protect the health and security of the women, as well as the growing number of transgenders in the business, states Ashok Row Kavi, founder, Humsafar Trust. “There is a bar dancer’s association. It was part of the petition, which fought against the ban on the dance bars, which has been ignored. Even the NGOs working with them were not consulted in drafting this bill. The bill is obviously drafted by the state government to harass the women and transgenders and stop them from practicing their trade,” added Row Kavi.

Calling the bill a hetero-hegemonic mindset, Ashok Row Kavi asked, “Will the wooden plank surrounding the dancing arena ensure the conduct of the men in the bars? The purported aim is to “stop the minds of youth from being corrupted” that can be prevented in a simple way — teach the youth how to control their drinking and their wandering hands. The intent should be strict laws like the western countries, without infringing on the privacy of people entering such places,” he added.

Away from all this debate, Simran is getting ready for her mujra in the opening gala night of Kashish, the Mumbai International Queer Film Festival on 25 May. “I have a new outfit and rehearsals are on. Jarur aana (Do come),” she says.

You can follow the author here @smitadeshmukh

India eyes Iran’s energy resources, commits over Rs 1 lakh crore investment in Chabahar

Tehran: India will invest billions of dollars in setting up industries — ranging from aluminum smelter to urea plants — in Iran’s Chabahar free trade zone after it signed a pact to operate a strategic port on the Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast.

The inking of commercial contract to build and run the strategic port of Chabahar will help India gain a foothold in Iran and win access to Afghanistan, Russia and Europe, thus circumventing Pakistan, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI.

Nitin Gadkari. PTINitin Gadkari. PTI

Nitin Gadkari. PTI

“The distance between Kandla and the Chabahar port is less than the distance between New Delhi and Mumbai, and so what this agreement does is to enable us quick movement of goods first to Iran and then onwards to Afghanistan and Russia through a new rail and road link,” he explained.

“Over Rs 1 lakh crore investment can happen in Chabahar free trade zone,” Gadkari said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit seeking to further cement Indo-Iranian ties and explore avenues to bolster trade in a big way in the wake of lifting of sanctions against Iran.

Iran, Gadkari said, has cheap natural gas and power that Indian firms are keen to tap to build a 0.5-million tonne aluminium smelter plant as well as urea manufacturing units.

“We spend Rs 45,000 crore annually on urea subsidy, and if we can manufacture it in the Chabahar free trade zone and move it through the port to Kandla and onward to hinterland, we can save that amount,” he said.

Gadkari said Nalco will set up the aluminium smelter while private and co-operative fertiliser firms are keen to build urea plants provided they get gas at less than USD 2 per mmBtu.

Railway PSU IRCON will build a rail line at Chabahar to move goods right up to Afghanistan, he said.

Gadkari said India Ports Global Pvt, a joint venture of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and the Kandla Port Trust, will invest USD 85 million in developing two container berths with a length of 640 metres and three multi cargo berths.

The Indian consortium has signed the port pact with Aria Banader Iranian.

“The contract is for 10 years and can be extended. We will take 18 months to complete phase one of the construction,” he said, adding that first two years of the contract are grace period where India doesn’t have to guarantee any cargo.

From the third year, India will guarantee 30,000 TEUs of cargo at the Chabahar port which will go up to 2,50,000 TEUs by the 10th year.

An initial pact to build the Chabahar port was first inked during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government in 2003, but the deal slipped through during subsequent years. It has been aggressively pushed in the past one year, leading to signing of the agreement for phase-1 today, Gadkari said.

“This is a historic event which will herald in a new era of development. We can now go to Afghanistan and further to Russia and Europe without going through Pakistan,” he said.

The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

India is also reported to finance another road network inside Afghanistan to enable Iran to access as far as Tajikistan through a shorter route.

The Indian joint venture company will invest more than USD 85.2 million in development of the port. India’s Exim Bank will provide a credit line of another USD 150 million.

India will install equipment and operate two berths in the first phase of the Chabahar port with an investment of USD 85.2 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.9 million on a 10-year lease, Gadkari said.

Gadkari also said India will build a 500-km railway between Chabahar and Zahedan which will connect Chabahar to Central Asia.

Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran’s southern coast, is of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast.

The port project will be the first overseas venture for an Indian state-owned port.

Teesta Setalvad files: Court extends CBI custody of MHA official Anand Joshi

A special court extended the CBI custody of MHA official Anand Joshi till May 24 for allegedly issuing FCRA notices arbitrarily to several NGOs for financial gains after the agency said it needed to interrogate him in connection with some files seized during the probe. Special CBI Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna allowed the agency’s plea in which it was mentioned that seven new files have been recovered during the investigation and the accused is also required to be confronted in relation to certain emails sent to private persons and properties in the name of his wife.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After considering the submissions, I am of the considered opinion that for the purpose of thorough investigation, the remand be extended till May 24,” the judge said.The agency’s plea was opposed by Joshi’s counsel who said that CBI has already got enough time.He said that Joshi had cooperated in the interrogation earlier and five days were enough to investigate the matter.During the hearing, the accused told the court that he was “mentally depressed” after which the judge ordered his medical examination today.Joshi, who was arrested from west Delhi on May 15, was produced in court after expiry of CBI custody.CBI had earlier claimed that the files relating to several NGOs had gone missing from Home Ministry and they were recovered from his house although he was not supposed to take them away.It had alleged that Joshi had been issuing notices dishonestly to a large number of NGOs/societies registered under the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) 2010, which have been receiving significant amount of foreign contributions, in an arbitrary manner.It has said some of these organisations are Care India, Snehalya Charitable Trust, Indian HIV/AIDS Alliance and All India Primary Teachers Federation and alleged that the representatives of some of these organisations were called and Joshi demanded and obtained illegal gratification. Joshi, who had disappeared last week from his home in Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, was picked up from Tilak Nagar area of West Delhi on Sunday and taken to the CBI headquarters for questioning. Subsequently, he was arrested by the agency. Joshi has rejected the charge and instead accused his seniors of pressuring him to give a clean chit to NGOs. In a note which he had left before leaving home, Joshi claimed he had been subjected to “mental harassment” in recent months.CBI had alleged that Joshi laundered ill-gotten earnings in various immovable assets as well as certain private firms which were floated by him and his wife was one of the directors in them.It alleged even after his transfer from FCRA division, he continued to indulge in corrupt activities on the basis of documents which were in his possession unauthorisedly.The agency claimed that during the search conducted at Joshi’s house, one file pertaining to FCRA which pertains to private NGO Care India Solutions for Sustainable Development has been seized and his interrogation was needed to know as to how the official files made way in his house and what was his intention in bringing them.The matter came to light after files pertaining to alleged FCRA violations by two NGOs run by Setalvad went missing from the Home Ministry. The files were traced and restored to the FCRA division but CBI was asked to investigate the matter.It was noticed that the files had gone missing when the Home Ministry took a decision to cancel FCRA registration of one of Setalvad’s NGOs, Sabrang Trust, sources had said. Joshi was arrested on May 15 after he allegedly gave unconvincing answers to the questions posed by a team of Special Crime division of the CBI, including those related to disappearance of files related to Sabrang Trust of activist Teesta Setalvad.

Haji Ali row: Women not allowed in mazhar to prevent harassment, say clerics

Leading the campaign to allow women entry into places of worship that don’t permit them, Bhumata Brigade founder Trupti Desai is protesting to gain entry into Haji Ali’s mazhar (tomb of the saint). Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court disposed a PIL challenging the Haji Ali Trust’s decision to ban the entry of women into the sanctum of the shrine and directed the Maharashtra government to ensure compliance of law and prevent discrimination of women at places of worship.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Iamin spoke to a few clerics from different sects of Islam for their opinion on the issue.The Deobandi sect says women have not been allowed in graveyards or in the mazhar since the time of Prophet Mohammed. The prohibition is in apparently in place to save women from harassment and from being teased by miscreants. Mohammed Ashfaq, a cleric at Govandi’s mosque, said that women were not allowed at places where many men are present and activities like Qawwali are held because it leads to harassment. “When it comes to visiting the graveyard or mazhar, women are not allowed there. (It’s) not because they are deprived of praying there, but to save them from harassment and teasing.”Ashfaq said that there was no partiality involved in not allowing women to do certain things and that Islam accorded women dignity. “We keep our important and more valuable things very safe and carefully. Women are more valuable and possess more dignity in Islam (and) that is why Islam has certain norms to save them,” he added.”People also give the example of Mecca, where men and women both pray in congregation but they don’t realise that Makkah Mukarramah is the place where people don’t even think of any sin. But other places cannot be like Meccah mosque,” Ashfaq said.According to the PIL filed by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in the Bombay High Court, entry to Haji Ali’s dargah had been open to women till June 2012 after which it was restricted. Ashfaq says that the dargah came into existence in 1947. He said that prior to this there was no dargah. According to him, there is a minor difference between the dargah and the grave. The dargah is a concrete or solid grave while the actual grave is made of soil. “This is not sudden prohibition, but it was not implemented. It is something like a wrong thing happening (because) there was no one to stop it,” added Ashfaq.Shafique Mohammed, a cleric of the Ahle Hadith sect and a researcher of Islam at Islamic Information Centre in Kurla, said that there was no concept of mazhar and dargah in Islam and that it was baseless to fight against the prohibition of women from entering into Haji Ali dargah or any other mazhar. “When it comes to equality, Islam talks about justice, not equality. Justice for men and women could be different. In Islam, women have more dignity,” said Shafique, adding, “Women are allowed to pray in mosque if there is a separate place available for them.”Imam Haji Akhtar Mehmood of the Kinara Masjid at Haji Ali said that the mazhar concept is very old. “There was a time when women were allowed to pray inside mosques, but years ago, a companion of Mohammed, named Umar Farooque, asked all women to pray namaz at home instead of the mosque because there was a tendency among men and women to start misbehaving (which is) against Islamic way,” said Haji Akhtar.He further said that the same thing happened at Haji Ali. “Every type of women wearing non-islamic dress can lead to harassment and teasing of women. So the prohibition is fine. Women are allowed to enter into the dargah but they are not in the mazhar,” he added.Members of the Haji Ali Trust refused to comment on the matter.

Indian temple awarded for lending deity jewellery in Singapore

An Indian temple trust was among nine patrons awarded in Singapore for lending its exquisite century-old deity jewellery on loan for 10 years to Indian Heritage Centre and helping provide “greater insight” into Indian culture.The jewellery which includes a necklace made of rubies, emeralds, diamonds and a gem-studded crown was loaned by Saigon Chettiars Temple Trust and came from Thendayuthapani Temple which was established 200 years ago in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Saigon Chettiars Temple Trust has strengthened the IHC’s storyline with its loan of beautiful deity jewellery, which gives us greater insight into the many perspectives of Indian culture,” said Singapore’s Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who gave away distinguished supporter of heritage award to the trust.
ALSO READ Heritage marries ModernityThe jewellery is on loan for 10 years, said Ashwin Muthiah, who represented the trust at the award ceremony held on Thursday.The jewellery came from Nagaratas, also known as Nattukottai Chettiars, sometimes in 1900 or before for deities at the Thendayuthapani temple, established about 200 years ago, said Muthiah, executive chairman of AM International Holdings Pvt Ltd.
ALSO READ Indian culture inclusive, accommodative: Rajnath SinghThe High Commission of India in Singapore was given a “Supporter” award for donation of Bronze Busts of Indian Leaders to the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC).Former Singapore President S R Nathan was also awarded for contributing a ‘Group of Indian National Army Related Photographs and Publications’.Shirin and Rustom Ghadiali were also honoured for lending Parsi Silver Ritual objects and Sarjit Singh for offering Collection of Artefacts pertinent to the Sikh Police and Armed Forces in Singapore and Malaya.Others honoured with awards were R Gangatharan Davar, Leaena Tambyah and Gayatri Roy for their contribution and lending of Indian artefacts from their ancestors to the IHC. Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong inaugurated the IHC on May 7 last year in the heart of Little India, a colourful, thriving neighbourhood that caters predominantly to the Tamils and Chinese.Blending both traditional and modern Indian architectural aspects, the IHC celebrates many contributions of the Indian community to Singaporean society.

BCCI criticised by Supreme court for resisting reforms, urged to function with more transparency

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be “transparent and visible” and observed that the apex cricket body was “refusing to reform” and resisting some of the important recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee.

“You are discharging public function… how best your functioning can be improved. It has to be transparent and visible. The way you are doing (discharging your function) and how you are doing,” said the apex court bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

“Your position is that I am accountable to registrar of societies (in Tamil Nadu where BCCI is registered as a society) but refuse to reform.”

“You are dealing with hundreds of crores of rupees. Do you say that you have complete immunity over (spending) it and you can’t be questioned. Do you say that you can’t be questioned how you spend hundreds of crores of rupees if not thousands that you collect from the public. Can we record that statement,” the bench observed as senior counsel KK Venugopal opposed the recommendation to have a CAG representative on the country’s top cricket board.

“How the presence of the government nominee or that of CAG will violate the ICC rules and attract recognition,” the court asked Venugopal, who appeared for BCCI.

The court’s query came as the BCCI told it that the presence of the CAG representative as suggested by Justice Lodha Committee would result in the de-recognition of the apex cricket body from the International Cricket Council (ICC) as it would be viewed as governmental interference in the affairs of an independent and autonomous sports body.

Asking Venugopsal to show “How the presence of government nominee or CAG would violate ICC rules and attract derecognition”, the bench observed, “You are opposing the nominee of the CAG (on the board) as it would make you vulnerable to derecognition but you are all advocating involvement of ministers and bureaucrats … Does it not create government influence or presence.”

A file photo of Supreme court. AFPA file photo of Supreme court. AFP

A file photo of Supreme court. AFP

Telling senior counsel Venugopal that the public money that BCCI was holding as Trust was for the promotion of the game of cricket, the bench said: “The money that you have is in your trust. Are you not accountable to the beneficiaries? This money is in trust with you for whose benefits. It is for the benefit of the people who watch matches, are you not accountable to them?”

In an attempt to tell the court that the BCCI was changing in its own way, Venugopal said, “We are now going to appoint a consultant for the better management of our affairs.”

He reiterated the BCCI’s position that they would account for their actions before the statutory authorities. He told the court that the board was implementing the Lodha Committee recommendations, but would not accept some of them, in respect of which the cricket body was protected by Article 19(1)(c) of the constitution.

The BCCI is resisting the Lodha Committee recommendations which call for a ceiling of maximum of two terms for office bearers, one state-one vote, the presence of CAG representative on the BCCI board and fixing 65 years as the upper age limit of office bearers.

Senior counsel Ashok Desai, appearing for the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), told the court that there could not be uniform rules for all the cricket associations and there could not be a cap on age limit of office bearers.

While the Lodha Committee has recommended an age limit of 65 years, the PCA has an upper age limit of 70 years.

At this, the bench asked, “Should there be an upper age limit at all? What is the age at which players retire?”

When the court was told that it was about 40 years, the bench asked at what age Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar had retired.

The hearing will continue on 12 April.

Gender bias at temples: After Shani Shingnapur success, Trupti Desai’s next stop is Mahalakshmi temple

A day after breaking the age-old tradition that prohibited women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, Bhumata Brigade activist Trupti Desai on Saturday vowed to take her fight against the gender bias at temples to the next level by launching an agitation seeking entry for women at the Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur. She said that the stir for Mahalakshmi temple would start on April 13 and thereafter her brigade will go to Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Fight to continue wherever there is gender bias in temples, From 13 April, will fight for entry into Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur,” Desai told ANI.”It’s been 3 months and after that the women power has won, this is just the beginning,” she added.
ALSO READ On New Year day, new beginning for women at Shani Shingnapur templeEscorted by the state police, Trupti Desai-led Bhumata Brigade cadres offered prayer at the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district on Friday evening.Talking to mediapersons after offering prayers with her supporters and cadre, she earlier said, “We are happy that we have launched our agitation from Shani Shingnapur, and it succeeded. Earlier, the Maharashtra Government had taken a wrong decision. The Chief Minister was wrong, but now he has agreed and won’t stop us from going to inner sanctum of the temple.”
ALSO READ Breaking Patriarchy: Watch women finally enter inner sanctorum of Shani temple after long struggleDesai on Friday welcomed the decision of the Shani Shingnapur trust to allow females to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and offer their prayers.Earlier on Friday, around 100 men were seen storming into the inner sanctum of the holy place, defying the Trust’s orders.
ALSO READ It’s shameful that women have to agitate for entry into temple: Devendra FadnavisOn the festive occasion of Gudi Padwa, with hundreds of devotees in line to worship, a mob of men arrived outside the temple and stripped to their undergarments as they barged aside the security to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and pray at the holy site.

Watch: Women enter the inner sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur

Bhumata Brigade activist Trupti Desai on Friday welcomed the decision of the Shani Shingnapur trust to allow females to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and offer their prayers and said that it was a victory for women power.”It is a victory for Bhumata Brigade. It is a victory for women power,” Desai told ANI.”Today, we are going to take sight in the temple in a respectful way. We are going in a batch of eight to ten people. The trustee has also said that we will be provided police protection,” she added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She also insisted that they are not going to return from the temple without offering the prayers on Friday.Watch: Women enter the inner sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in MaharashtraBowing to the Bombay High Court order and breaking 400 years of tradition, the temple trust on Friday announced that both men and women will henceforth be allowed to enter the inner sanctum and offer their prayers. This will be the first time in 60 years that women will be allowed to enter the garbhagriha after a decades-long tradition barred women from entering it, and conditionally restricted men too.”Anyone can enter the sanctum and the committee can’t stop them from entering. The rule was that men and women both can worship god (darshan) from the lower part of the temple, but when men entered the sanctum then it became our responsibility to also let women enter,” Nana Sahib Bankar, vice-president of the Shani Shingnapur Trust, told the media.He said that the temple had been following an ancient custom but added that they had no objection in welcoming the court’s order.Earlier on Friday, around 100 men were seen storming into the inner sanctum of the holy place, defying the Trust’s orders.On the festive occasion of Gudi Padwa, with hundreds of devotees in line to worship, a mob of men arrived outside the temple and stripped to their undergarments as they barged aside the security to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and pray at the holy site.

Panama Papers: Here’s what DLF, Apollo Tyres, IndiaBulls have to say about allegations

New Delhi – Promoters of corporate houses, DLF, Apollo Tyres and IndiaBulls on Monday denied violating laws after being named among 500 Indians in leaked ‘Panama Papers’ for alleged offshore holdings.

“This (report) is aimed at distorting public perception which is extremely dear and important to all corporates and promoter families, especially when they have followed all applicable rules and regulations of government of India, RBI, FEMA and IT Department to the last detail,” DLF CEO Rajeev Talwar told PTI.

The report published by The Indian Express had said that DLF Promoter Family owns firms BVI and the family’s three offshore entities together held almost USD 10 million.

He further said: “We vehemently and strongly emphasise that all remittances were made after the government introduced the LRS Scheme in 2004. Each year the remittances were below the limit prescribed by RBI.”

dlfdlf

DLF emphasised all remittances were made after the LRS Scheme was introduced. Reuters

Stressing that all the remittances were made to the banks which were the authorised dealers, Talwar said: “therefore there is no question of wrongdoing. No companies were set up by the promoter groups in BVI. All these were existing companies to which shares were subscribed to as permitted by
government of India.”

Each year, this was reported to IT Department, it was also mentioned in DLF’s annual report, he added.

The report also said Onkar Kanwar, Chairman of Apollo Group, and his family members floated an offshore entity in British Virgin Islands in 2010 and two trusts in 2014.

Reacting to it, an authorised spokesperson said, “India lawfully permits foreign investments in accordance with certain regulations. Any investment abroad, that the Kanwar family may have, is in due compliance with the Indian laws, where applicable, including making disclosures wherever required.

“Much of the family members mentioned are NRIs. They are covered by other nation’s permissible laws for their foreign investments and are not covered by Indian laws and restrictions on residents in matters such as Income Tax and RBI.

Mumbai-based Indiabulls’ Sameer Gehlaut, who was also named among those with links to entities in offshore tax havens, later said all his overseas investments were made after “paying full taxes in India, each and every overseas remittance is disclosed to RBI as and when it has been made”.

“All disclosures related to these investments are also made with Income Tax authorities in yearly returns as well as with RBI in Annual Performance Reports. All my overseas investments are done strictly in accordance with RBI framework of Overseas Direct Investments,” he said in a statement.

A spokesperson of Indiabulls further said that Gehlaut receives dividends of Rs 350-450 crore every year and he has been investing his monies in his Indian family trust, SG Family Trust (stands for Sameer Gehlaut Family Trust) for further investments in its wholly owned subsidiary in India, Callies Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (India).

“Further Callies Infrastructure Pvt Ltd has capitalised its wholly owned subsidiary in Bahamas, Clivedale Overseas Ltd (Bahamas) that is engaged in property development business in London through its subsidiaries under the brand Clivedale,” the spokesperson said, while giving details of Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd’s property development business in London and also of SG Family Trust.

He further said these businesses were “strictly as per the RBI policy framework for Overseas Direct Investments” and all disclosures pertaining to business of SG Family Trust and Indiabulls Real Estate have been made to RBI and Income Tax departments for every financial year since inception and also
as and when each of the overseas remittances have been made.

PTI

Twisted logic? To remove gender bias, Trimbakeshwar temple bars men also from inner sanctum

The Trimbakeshwar Temple authorities on Sunday imposed a restriction on men’s entry too into the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Shiva shrine with an aim to provide “equal treatment” to both the genders, a trustee said.LIVE England vs West Indies final T20, ICC World T20The decision, which takes effect from tomorrow, comes in the wake of the Bombay High Court verdict giving women equal right to men with regard to entry into temples. It was decided this morning after a board meeting of the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust under Chairperson and District Judge Urmila Phalke Joshi, Lalita Shinde, one of the trustees said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting was attended by Secretary N M Nagare as well as Trust members Kailas Ghule, Yadavrao Tungar, Shrikant Gaidhani, and Sachindra Pachorkar. “The decision was taken to ensure equal treatment to both men and women,” Shinde said. The development comes a day after Bhumata Ranragini Brigade Trupti Desai and 25 other women activists were taken into preventive custody to stop them from entering into the inner sanctum of the famous Shani temple in Ahmednagar’s Shignapur village. They were later released.The ancient temple, located 30 kms from Nashik, is a major Lord Shiva shrine of the country, which has one of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas’, drawing devotees from far and wide. According to Ghule, a member of the Trimbakeshwar Temple Trust, the ban on entry of women into the ‘garbhagriha’ is an age-old tradition and not something enforced in recent times. The ban goes back to the Peshwa period.As per tradition, only men were allowed entry daily between 6-7 AM into the area where the main ‘linga’ is placed, that too by putting on a specific gear called the sovala (silk clothing). Women, can, however have ‘darshan’ from outside the core area. Some priests in the temple town said most of the women devotees might not want to defy the tradition.Seeking to give a scientific dimension to the practice, they said there are certain rays that concentrate in the core area which could probably be harmful to the health of women.

Dolphin, whale deaths due to lunar tides: report

The number of dead dolphins and whales washing ashore Mumbai’s beaches recently has been worrying. Now, a study by Myvets Charitable Trust & Research Centre has attempted to find out the reason behind the phenomenon.Their year-long research has reportedly revealed that the new moon and full moon phase and receding tides in the region causes disorientation leading to the deaths of the mammals, a report by a leading daily said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three dead dolphins have washed ashore in March this year so far.
ALSO READ Mumbai: Six-feet-long dolphin washes ashore Worli seaface”Gravitational changes due to the lunar effect alter their migration patterns and disorient them,” Madhurita Gupta, wildlife conservationist and president of Myvets told the daily. This leads to some of them losing track of the rest of the pod and straying into shallow waters and which causes their death after struggling in the receding tide.However, Kumaran Sathasivam, who runs a database of marine mammal strandings told the daily that this has been happening for decades, but has been getting attention only now due to social media.
ALSO READ Six-foot dolphin found washed at Gorai beachOther reasons causing the deaths include oil spills, garbage dumped in the ocean and an outbreak of morbillivirus, among other things.

Cow in Gujarat gets a wedding worth Rs 18 lakhs

In a quirky yet different attempt to spread the message of protecting cows, a group in Bhavnagar Kotiya village in Gujarat conducted a lavish wedding for ‘Poonam’ the cow and ‘Arjun’ the bull.More than 300 guests, including the ‘relatives’ of Poonam, were seen heading for the groom Arjun’s house. Gold jewellery, a red saree and a netted shawl was arranged for the bride and a festive white cloth was bought for Arjun. Brahmin priests were brought in from Bhavnagar to officiate the wedding and the entire wedding cost Poonam and Arjun’s owners around Rs. 18 lakh.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a one of its kind event, the Parasana Charitable Trust prepared a wedding invitation for the couple. Apparently, the owners were conducting such a lavish ceremony to show that the value of cows in the society is immeasurable.”I have been living with cows for the last 30 years and hence, know the amount of love this animal is capable of. I don’t mind having a modest wedding for my children, but I will get my daughter Poonam married in the most lavish manner possible,” Vijaybhai, trustee of Parsana Charitable Trust and Poonam’s owner, told ANI.The guests were treated to a sumptuous feast, including Gujarati dal, Phulwadi, Ladva and Undhiyu. The guests, accompanied by a three-member wedding orchestra, began a procession from the groom’s village and the bride travelled in a palanquin that was erected on a truck.The bovine couple were married according to proper Hindu rituals and a special havan was also planned to pray for an early offspring.

Terror suspect in ‘Kochi secret training camp case’ arrested by NIA

A 41-year-old fruit vendor, absconding since 2013, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency for alleged role in organising a secret training camp in Kochi’s Narath area by members of Popular Front of India (PFI).According to agency officials, the accused, identified as Abdul Jaleel, was arrested at 3.30 am on Thursday from his wife’s residence in Narath, Kannur. He is being brought to Kochi and will be produced before NIA Special Court. Along with Jaleel, 38-year-old Shihab was also arrested and is currently being questioned by agency sleuths.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the agency, accused PFI members, numbering 24, organised a terrorist camp at Narath and entered into criminal conspiracy to impart training to some youth for using explosives and weapons, with an intention to prepare them for terrorist activities, and to commit acts endangering the unity and integrity of the Nation. 24 people had been accused for their role out of which 21 were convicted last year. Jaleel however managed to remain absconding, according to the agency.According to the agency, Jaleel, a resident of Kannur’s Kizhakkedathu Vadakkepurayil area, was officiating chairman of Thanal foundation which owned the hall where a terrorist training camp was conducted by PFI members.The ownership certificate issued by secretary, Narath Grama Panchayath shows that owner of the above building is Thasneemudheen KP, Chairman, Thanal Foundation Trust. “It was revealed that the above person is the President of PFI, Kannur District Committee and upon service of a notice under sections 43 (F) of UA(P) Act to produce the records of the Trust, he claimed that he was not in possession of the records and that the same were handed over to the present Chairman, Jaleel, through one Mohamed Ajmal,” NIA had found during the probe.”Jaleel, who is presently looking after the affairs of the said Trust was also part of the conspiracy and wilfully facilitated the training in the building under his charge,” reads official documents related to the case.The material objects recovered by the NIA included two swords, a small axe, a nanchang, human target, five lathis, iron-rods, pipes and so on. A cd of Anthony Quinn starrer ‘Lion of the desert’, a film about Libyan tribal leader Omar Mukhtar’s war against Italy was also recovered from the training camp based out of the building.

Arrested for serving state for 50 years?

“I have served this state and its people for 50 years. My efforts, which brought gains to the state, were appreciated by former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh. Yet, this is how you (the government) treats me, by way of arrest.” That was Chhagan Bhujbal, a three-time deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, pleading before a special court here, his eyes brimming with tears.The senior NCP leader was arguing his case before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, where he was produced by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a day after he was arrested by the agency in a money laundering case in connection with the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam. The court later remanded him in ED custody till March 17.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The agency, seeking police custody of Bhujbal for three days, accused him of failing to give conclusive reply on questions regarding cash and property transactions pertaining to the Maharashtra Sadan building, constructed in New Delhi. It is alleged that Bhujbals received kickbacks in cash for awarding the contract to a particular company, which was then laundered through dummy companies floated by his family.Advocate Hiten Venegaonkar, appearing for ED, informed the court that witness statements have revealed that bags containing money would arrive at the Mumbai Education Trust (MET) which were later transferred through hawala operations by arrested accused Sameer Bhujbal. The chairman of the trust is Chhagan Bhujbal and it does not appear to be reasonable that he was not aware of such transactions and that they did not enjoy his blessings.Venegaonkar also argued that “It’s an open secret that Chhagan Bhujbal was the only person who was a minister for 15 years in the family and only he could have generated such huge amounts occupying a very high position in the government.”However, Bhujbal refuted the allegations and in a very animated manner told the court, “These are stories being created by politicians, through which they are settling scores against us. Not even a single offence as alleged is maintainable. The amount of Rs 887 crore is all an imagination. Are you (ED) arresting me just because I have not replied to the questions, the answers of which I really don’t know? I have been a deputy CM thrice, travelled the world… Do you arrest me because I got work done properly.”The ED’s remand application maintained that custody of Bhujbal was required to unearth the trail of funds and for corroboration and confrontation with other persons involved in the case. “It’s felt that being an influential person, Bhujbal may influence the other witnesses or tamper with the evidence. Further, he is not cooperating with the investigations and is maintaining deliberate silence about the illicit transactions,” it said.Venegaonkar also refuted the allegation that ED is playing into the hands of Bhujbal’s political opponents. He said the agency was only following the orders passed by the Bombay High Court while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) which had asked the authorities to investigate and held that prima facie a case is made out against the Bhujbals.

Vijay Mallya’s secrets buried in offshore tax havens

It’s not just the Indian banks that business tycoon Vijay Mallya has taken for a ride. The chairman of United Breweries (UB) group and promoter of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines also concealed in his election affidavit, filed before the Rajya Sabha, his business interests in offshore tax havens elsewhere.dna has accessed documents that show the existence of a Mallya family trust in Isle of Man, an offshore tax haven under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. It is believed that most of Mallya’s wealth and inheritance is parked here. His business interests also extend to Panama, yet another tax haven. And none of these secretive businesses find mention in his election affidavit filed before the Upper House.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The trust in Isle of Man, a small island located in the Irish Sea, is known as the Golden Eagle Trust. Named after one of the most popular beers from his erstwhile Indian liquor business, the trust was set up by Mallya’s father, Vittal Mallya in 1982. The Golden Eagle Trust was set up primarily as a family trust a year before Vittal Mallya died of a heart attack in 1983.Mallya has used the trust to make several acquisitions, some of them going back as far back as 1980s. In 1984, a year after his father’s death, Mallya used the Golden Eagle Trust for an attempt to buy one of India’s largest liquor companies, Shaw Wallace. Had it not been for a bitter battle between Indian businessman late Manu Chabbria and Vijay Mallya over its acquisition, the existence of the trust would have been unknown.The 20-year feud between Chabbria and Mallya was settled in a Hong Kong court in 2004. The Golden Eagle Trust was used by Mallya to finance the acquisition of Shaw Wallace because the payment for a part of the transaction was to be made in Sterling Pound. India’s laws at the time did not allow payments in foreign currency without seeking the government’s approval.The Hong Kong court noted, “Obtaining permission from the Indian government would have been difficult. This however was not a problem for Vijay Mallya because the senior Mallya (Vittal) had set up a Mallya family trust sometime ago. This Golden Eagle Trust doesn’t enjoy resident status in India. This Mallya family trust could therefore be behind the company which was to be a 50% joint venture (with Manu Chabbria) in the purchase of Shaw Wallace shares.”In filings before the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the address of the Golden Eagle Trust is mentioned as Celtic House, Victoria Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, with CAS Nominees as its manager.The money from the family trust was also used by Mallya to finance his business in the US Mallya is the owner of a California headquartered liquor company called Mendocino Brewing Company Inc. In 2000, Mendocino stated before the SEC that it wanted to acquire United Breweries International (UBI) UK Ltd from the Golden Eagle Trust. The deal also involved paying Golden Eagle Trust for the acquisition of distribution rights of Kingfisher Premium beer in US and Canada.Given America’s tough laws on non-declaration of related party transactions (when a company has financial dealings with its own affiliates and subsidiaries), Mendocino’s financial adviser submitted its report before the SEC. The SEC then noted, “The principal trustee of Golden Eagle is CAS Nomines Ltd., a corporation organized under the laws of the Isle of Man (part of the United Kingdom). Because CAS Nominees Ltd. has the ability to act in favor of Dr. Vijay Mallya, Mendocino’s Chairman of the Board and CEO Dr. Mallya may be deemed to have a beneficial ownership interest, and therefore a material financial interest, in Golden Eagle. Therefore, Golden Eagle owns or controls a majority of the voting stock of both of the principal parties to the Agreement.” Information obtained by dna with the help of international investigative journalists show that he is also part of businesses operating out of Panama, another offshore tax haven. While one of his Panama-based companies, Inversiones Mirabel SA (fully owned by the Golden Eagle Trust), is well known in India, little is known about two other entities linked to him.One of them, Vee Tee International Inc – incorporated on August 22, 1992 in Panama – was involved in exporting liquor to the Middle East, especially the UAE and Bahrain. From the scant information available about this business, it is evident that the firm was selling liquor to Cee Cee Holdings, owned by a Keralite, and one of the biggest distributors of liquor in the Gulf region.One of the directors of Vee Tee International is Chigurupati Ranga Rao, who is also related to another Panama-based company named Golden Eagle Trading International Inc. While both Mallya and Rao are on the board of Vee Tee International, Mallya is not on the board of Golden Eagle Trading International, a company named after his own Isle of Man-based family trust.Detailed questionnaire to Mallya’s spokesperson did not elicit a response till the time of going to press.People close to Mallya told dna that one of the reasons Mallya wants to move to London is to be able to manage his wealth accumulated in the Golden Eagle Trust, since Isle of Man is a tax-free jurisdiction. Surprisingly, both bank officials and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials were unaware about the existence of Mallya’s Isle of Man trust and Panama entities.ED officials say that the Golden Eagle Trust is not out of their bounds since India had signed a Tax Information Exchange Treaty with the Isle of Man on February 4, 2011. However, investigators would find it hard to obtain information about Mallya’s businesses in Panama since India does not have a similar treaty with the Central American nation, considered to be magnet for illicit money from across the world. Sleuths also maintain that Mallya has a host of businesses in other tax havens, most notably the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

How ‘techie’ transgender woman was reduced to begging in Delhi

Kiran Sakhi, a transgender woman has been reduced to begging in the national capital and living in a state of penury after she lost her job and faced discrimination in the society. Kiran, a post-graduate degree holder in computer science from Punjab University, lost her job two years ago for embracing her identity as a transgender and since then, she has had to resort to begging to sustain herself.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Kiran Sakhi The company where I was working accepted me as a transgender, then after two months I began to feel uncomfortable. I couldn’t get along with my junior colleagues at that time. I could not work with them. I became a laughing stock for them. On March 6, 2014, I resigned forcibly and got myself out, even though my human resources and directors motivated me to continue over there,” Hijra community took her under their wingsAsserting that she barely reaches the interview stage when she applies for a job due to her gender, she said that she was now begging for a living while at the same time applying for jobs. She also thanked the hijra community that they took her under their wings and treated her as a family member. Due to their lack of access to jobs and education, many of India’s male-to-female transgenders -also known as ‘hijras’ – are forced to work as sex workers or beg on the streets.A photo of Kiran with Vivek Anand of the Humsafar Trust that works for the legal and social equality of the LGBTQI community in India – From Kiran’s facebook page”I faced a lot of difficulties, I did sex work, begging, I did everything I could to make ends meet. I didn’t have these feelings before; life was pretty simple back then. But since I became a transgender, then I realized how tough life is. Now I am begging in Delhi, life is tough and it is difficult to survive but overall I am happy,” said Sakhi.The Supreme Court rulingThe court ruling recognised the community as a marginalised group and directed authorities to implement policies to improve their socio-economic status. This means all identity documents, including birth certificates, passports and driving licenses must recognise the third gender and the government must allocate a certain number of public sector jobs, seats in schools and colleges to third gender applicants, say lawyers.In April 2014, the Supreme Court recognised transgender as a legal third gender and, in a landmark judgment lauded by human rights groups, called on the government to ensure their equal treatment.But while the judgment was been welcomed by campaigners, it is not being implemented across the country.Activists say the ruling is contradicted by the court’s reinstatement of a gay sex ban that does not recognise their right to sexual relationships.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel’s daughter’s partners got over 90% discount on 422 acres land

Business partners of Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar received 422 acres of land in 2010 at Rs 15 per square metre from the state government, reports a leading English daily.The partners Dakshesh Shah and Amol Sheth got a huge discount of 91.6% to the government stamp duty rate of Rs 180 per square metre for their Wildwood resort. A cow protection outfit Muralidhar Gau Seva Trust had applied for land in the same region Amreli near Gir forest.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But it was offered land at Rs 190, a price higher than the stamp duty for the plot. Both proposals were being looked by a state government committee at the same meeting.
ALSO READ Never took any favours from govt, claims Anandiben Patel’s daughter The Gujarat government’s spokesperson said that the administration had followed the due process. The official also explained the huge difference in the government’s stamp duty rate and the rate at which Wildwoods was sold the land. “The jantri rate is a ready reckoner but it isn’t the market rate. While evaluating the price of land, the jantri rate is just one input. Many other factors such as the proximity to roads, development, etc, also come into play. Land price is determined at market rate and not the jantri rate,” he said. He also said that there was no political pressure on the officers dealing with the proposals. He also added it was handled at the secretary level and did not reach Anandiben who was the state Revenue minister at that time.”The committee of secretaries met twice to validate the price. The chief town planner had suggested a price of Rs 15/sq metre for 16 hectares of land and Rs 6/sq metre for the remainder, which the committee enhanced to Rs 15,” the official spokesperson said. The cow protection organisation did not have this experience.The official also said that the reason the cow protection group was offered a higher rate than the stamp duty rate was because the land sought by the outfit was 30km from the land given to Wildwoods.

Bombay HC seeks govt’s view on women’s entry in Haji Ali by February 9

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Maharashtra government to give its opinion on a public interest litigation challenging the decision of Haji Ali Trust to ban the entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of the historic Durgah in Mumbai.As the issue is sensitive, a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade asked Advocate General Srihari Aney to submit arguments on behalf of the state on February 9 stating whether women should be allowed into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court is seized of a matter about entry of women in Sabarimala temple of Kerala. This is also for the first time that the state has been asked to give its views on women’s entry into a shrine.On Tuesday, when the PIL came up for hearing, the bench was told that the Advocate General was on his legs before another bench in some other matter. Hence, the PIL on Haji Ali Durgah was posted for arguments on February 9 when the Advocate General has been asked to argue on behalf of the State.The HC had indicated last month that it would wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling on entry of women in Sabarimala temple in Kerala before deciding on the plea in the case of Haji Ali Durgah.The judges had said both the matters were similar involving the entry of women in the religious shrines and hence they would like to see what view would the Supreme Court take on the issue before they give a ruling on the interim relief sought by the petitioner in the Bombay High Court.The PIL in Bombay High Court has challenged the decision of Haji Ali Trust to ban the entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of the Durgah. The petition had sought interim relief by way of allowing women into the sanctum sanctorum at the Durgah until the matter is finally decided by the court.In the Supreme Court, a petition has sought entry for all women and girls in the Sabarimala temple which, as a practice, does not allow girls after attaining puberty to enter the premises. The temple, however, allows only those women to enter who have reached the menopause stage.The apex court had on January 11 questioned the age-old tradition of banning entry of women of menstrual age group in the Kerala temple, saying this cannot be done under the Constitution. In the Bombay High Court, a petition raised a similar issue — that of ban imposed on entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of Haji Ali Durgah. It prohibits women irrespective of their age. The trustees of Haji Ali Dargah had told the HC earlier that entry of women in close proximity to the grave of a male Muslim saint is considered a grievous sin in Islam. The HC had then asked the trustees to reconsider their decision, following which the Trust met and reconsidered their stand while taking the same view of banning entry of women in the Durgah.The Haji Ali Trust argued that the bar on entry is meant to protect women from “uncomfortable situations” and is restricted only to the sanctum sanctorum. The petitioners, however, claimed that gender justice is inherent in the Quran and the norm at the Dargah contravenes the Hadiths which say that women are not prohibited from visiting tombs.The restriction emanates from “a very conservative and extremist Salafi ideology” and in future “there may be an order banning the entry of women in the Durgah complex and banning the non-Muslims wholly,” the petition argued.Raju Moray, the petitioners’ lawyer, contended that at other Durgahs or shrines women are not banned. Women can enter the sanctum sanctorum at the historic Makhdoom Shah Durgah in suburban Mahim, he noted.

I have not grabbed any land, says Hema Malini

Amid the controversy over allotment of land to her for a dance institute at a throw-away price, actress-politician Hema Malini on Monday said she has “not grabbed” the land and will abide by the government’s rules regarding its purchase.The Opposition Congress had earlier turned up the heat on the BJP-led government for the allotment of land at Ambivali in suburban Andheri to Malini’s Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust at a throw-away price of Rs 70,000.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have not paid anything as of now. I will follow all the rules and regulations of the government. Why speculate the price when I don’t know myself how much I have to pay… whatever will be the cost I will pay it,” she told reporters. Malini also asked not to make it a political issue.”Thank you all for making it an issue nationally and internationally. Don’t make it a political matter. It’s my right to make this dance institute in Mumbai as I have been living here. I don’t know why an issue is made out of it,” she said.Also read: Land worth crores allotted to Hema Malini, for just Rs 70,000The veteran actress also said that she has struggled for 20 years to get the land.”It is not that I have got the land just like that…easily…it has been a struggle of 20 years. I have not grabbed the land as it’s been said. The government has given it to me…not that I have gone and grabbed it,” she said.Malini has been alloted 2,000 square metres land for building her dance institute. Besides this, she has to develop a garden on the remaining 27,000 square metres land at Ambivali in Andheri.”I am getting 2,000 square metres land for building dance institute – Natyavihar Kalakendra Charity Trust,” she said adding that she will have to develop the garden and give it to the BMC which will then decide what should be done with the land.Malini’s trust had some years ago applied for allotment of a 5,000 sq metre of plot at Ambivali, out of a 29,360 sq m open land reserved for garden. The government allotted 2,000 sq m of land to the trust with the condition that it would develop a garden on the remaining portion, state revenue minister Eknath Khadse had earlier said.According to documents obtained under an RTI query, the actress was allotted the land at the rate of Rs 35 per sq m which comes to Rs 70,000 in total, when its market price could be several crore of rupees.Malini further said she has been struggling to get the land for her dance institute since 1994.”We first sent a letter to Collector in 1994 requesting for a piece of land for setting up the dance institute. In 1996, we got land allotment and sanction letter, and in 2002, we paid revenue of Rs 10 lakh for the land in Versova,” she said.The actor-politician said in 2007, she was told that the land was under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and can’t build dance institute on it.”In the same year we asked for another land. In 2012, we got to know that an alternate land of 2,000 sq mtr has been allotted to us for the institute. In 2013, we requested the then CM Prithviraj Chavan to allot the land to us early. Then the proposal was pending and then new government came in, we requested them to clear the request for land at the earliest. In 2015, we got the letter,” she said.Malini insisted that she wants to build a dance institute for the society.”The art that I have learnt I want to impart the classical dance form to the society…to children including for SC/ST. I want them to learn classical dance form. The institute doesn’t belong to me, it is for the society,” she added.