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See pics: People throng ATMs post demonetisation announcement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes from midnight, people rushed to their nearest ATMs to withdraw Rs 100 notes to meet their daily expenses.With most ATMs programmed to dish out higher denomination notes of Rs 500 and above, people were resorting to withdrawal of smaller amounts of up to Rs 400 to avoid getting a Rs 500 banknote. People were even seen trying to deposit banned notes in ATM vending machines.”As soon as I learnt about the decision, I rushed to the ATM to withdraw some money as I was having only Rs 500 notes. But there was a big queue and I managed to withdraw Rs 2,000 in five instalments,” a TCS employee said.A businessman from New Rajendra Nagar Sanjeev Saxena said: “Its a very good decision. There will be some initial problem.”Delhi University student Vashisht Saxena termed it a good step to curb corruption. “We are ready to face some difficulty,” he said.Another businessman from Chandni Chowk said the sudden move has created a ruckus in the market. “There are big queues at ATMs and people are fighting for their turn to withdraw the money,” he said.Taking the nation by surprise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight announced demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes with effect from midnight, making these notes invalid in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.PTIPTIReutersReuters

‘Vicious FIR proves Chattisgarh is a police state’: Twitter outrages over murder chages against academic Nandini Sundar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A Delhi University professor and a JNU professor have been booked along with Maoists and others on charges of murder of a tribal villager in insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. “An FIR was lodged against DU Professor Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (from Delhi’s Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) State Secretary) and others along with Maoists for the murder of Shamnath Baghel based on the complaint of his wife on Saturday,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) S R P Kalluri told PTI last night. They were booked under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal Police Station, the IG said adding, “strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation”. Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar strongly rubbished allegations of Chhattisgarh Police linking her to the murder of a tribal villager in Maoist-hit Bastar while a number of civil rights bodies called the charges a tactic of “revenge and harassment”. Reacting strongly, she said it was a clear case of being “framed” and that police have been forcing some people in Bastar to name her and others in someway. Meanwhile, others on Twitter outraged against the charges: Though the case was registered on Saturday, the matter came to light last night. Armed Naxals had allegedly killed Baghel with sharp weapons on Friday night at his residence in Nama village under Kumakoleng gram panchayat in Tongpal area, around 450 kms away from here. Baghel and some of his associates were spearheading the protest against Naxal activities in their village since April this year.”As per the complaint lodged by the victim’s wife, her husband had been getting threats from Maoists since he and other villagers had complained against Sundar in May this year. Even armed ultras were referring to that complaint and anti-Maoist demonstrations while attacking Baghel on Friday,” the IG said.The complaint also mentioned that during the attack on him, Maoists kept telling Baghel that he was being punished because he did not listen to Sundar and others, and continued opposing them. Baghel’s wife has sought action against Sundar and others accusing them of murdering her husband, Kalluri said.Baghel and other villagers of the region had earlier given a complaint to Tongpal police in May this year against Sundar, Prasad, Tiwari, Parate and an unidentified woman activist from Sukma for allegedly inciting innocent tribals against the government and seeking their support for Maoists. Villagers of Nama and the neighbouring Kumakoleng village (both under Kumakoleng village panchayat) had started a self-motivated protest against Maoist activities in their villages after forming its own security group named “Tangiya (axe) group” in April this year. “Following the development, according to villagers, Sundar and others went in the village to allegedly threaten them not to oppose the Maoists,” the IG said. Sundar had gone to the village with the alias Richa Keshav, he said. A letter was then written to the Vice Chancellors of both DU and JNU informing that Bastar police was conducting an inquiry against both the professors following complaint received against them, he added. With inputs from agencies

Chhattisgarh police register murder case against DU professor Nandini Sundar

Sukma : A case of murder was registered against Delhi University Professor Nandini Sundar, a JNU professor and others in Sukma on the complaint of the wife of a tribal who was killed on 4 November in Chhattisgarh, police said.

“A case was registered against DU professor Nandini Sundar, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Archana Prasad and others by the police on 5 November at Tongpal police station for the murder of Shamnath Baghel on November 4,” Superintendent of Police (SP) of Sukma IK Elesela told IANS.

“They have been booked under the charges of murder, rioting and trespassing,” the officer added.

According to police, armed Maoists had allegedly killed Baghel in his home in Nama village in Tongpal area of Chhattisgarh.

The officer said that Baghel’s wife in her complaint mentioned that he was getting threats from Maoists after he and other villagers complained against Sundar in May this year.

Sundar on the other hand has rubbished all allegations leveled against her. “Filing an FIR against us is absurd. We haven’t even been to that area since May,” she told ANI.

Coloumnist and Historian Ramchandra Guha also condemned the action against Sundar stating, “This vicious and vindictive FIR proves beyond doubt that Chattisgarh is a police state.” He said that the government’s action simply showed their “utter depravity.”

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

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

Jammu University gets A+ award by NAAC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University of Jammu was awarded with A+ grade by NAAC, an autonomous organisation established by the UGC.”University of Jammu has been awarded A+ grade (Cycle III 2009-2016) with CGPA of 3.51, thereby making the University a part of an elite group of A+ Institutions,” Dr Meenakshi Kilam, Director, Directorate of Internal Quality Assurance, said.JU had volunteered to be accredited and assessed by NAAC for the third time (Cycle III), she said.NAAC is an autonomous organisation which was established in 1994 by the UGC to assess and accredit institutions of higher learning.”The Assessment and Accreditation is done by a Peer Team of eminent academicians and academic administrators,” she said.The NAAC Peer Team visited the University of Jammu from September 27-30, to assess and accredit the University by validating the self-study Report submitted by the University.In a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Executive Council of NAAC in Bangalore, University of Jammu has been awarded A+ grade (Cycle III 2009-2016) with CGPA of 3.51, thereby making the University a part of an elite group of A+ Institutions.A function was organised by the University near the Fountain Plaza to celebrate this success.The function was attended by the faculty members, students, scholars, non teaching staff and non-gazetted staff.Dr Kilam expressed gratitude to each and every member of the University fraternity for their contribution and commitment.She attributed the success to personal and regular monitoring of NAAC Assessment process, by the Vice Chancellor, Prof R D Sharma and to his commitment to strengthen the quality assurance system of the University.

JNU missing student: Teachers threaten VC of legal action for video-recording meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JNU Teachers Association have threatened the university Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar of legal action for violating their right to privacy by video-recording his meeting with the teachers over missing student Najeeb Ahmed.”Members of JNUTA met you and other university officials to discuss continued disappearance of Najeeb and the action taken in this regard. Personnel from JNU security office were recording the entire proceedings of the meeting. JNUTA was surprised at their presence and this act of recording proceedings without taking prior consent from us. Prior to this no meetings have been video-graphed to ensure that people speak as individuals freely since it encourages free discussion and resolution of issues,” a letter sent by the association to the VC said.Citing the act to be a violation under various sections of Right to Privacy Act and Information Technology Act, the teachers have said that the university administration is legally liable to take prior written consent from all participants before making video recordings of private meetings.”We demand that the unedited footage of the meeting be immediately shared with all participants and the university should adopt a data privacy policy clearly laying down purpose limitation, security of data, rights of access, restrictions on transfer of data,” JNUTA said.”It may be noted that in event of the unauthorised disclosure of the video recording, we reserve the right to seek legal remedies,” it added.Najeeb (27), a student of School of Biotechnology and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, went missing on October 15 following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with the members of ABVP the night before. JNU students and teachers have been leading a movement alleging inaction on administration and Delhi Police’s part in tracing the missing student.

JNU missing student: As police, protesters fail to locate Najeeb, Markanday Katju points to legal recourse

Former Supreme Court (SC) judge Markanday Katju, in a Facebook post on Monday, urged the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students protesting the inaction following the disappearance of fellow student Najeeb Ahmed, to file a petition before the SC to further the investigation.

Katju asked the students to file a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, thereby forcing the Delhi Police, that falls under the jurisdiction of the Central government, into action. Najeeb has been missing for the past 24 days, following an alleged quarrel between two student groups in the university.

One of the writ petitions available to citizens under Article 32, for enforcement of their fundamental rights, is Habeas Corpus. Under this right, the court can issue appropriate directives to the police authorities to make serious efforts in finding the missing student.

The protest, led by the JNU Student Union (JNUSU), has been not been effective enough, owing to the insensitive approach employed by the Delhi police. On Monday morning, pictures of the police dragging Fatima Nafees, Najeeb’s mother, into a bus along with other protesting students were splashed on the front page of many national dailies.

The police and the protesters have failed to locate Najeeb Ahmed till date. CNN News 18The police and the protesters have failed to locate Najeeb Ahmed till date. CNN News 18

The police and the protesters have failed to locate Najeeb Ahmed till date. CNN News 18

It is truly perplexing how the Delhi Police, which was so efficient in curbing these protests, has failed to find the missing student till now.

In an interview with Firstpost, former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, while responding to a question on why this issue had not received the same support from the student community as his arrest had.

“This time around, there are many versions of the issue. My arrest was seen as a crackdown and an attack on the university, and that united the students. On this particular issue, the current student union has not been able to forge a unity,” Kanhaiya said.

Responding to the protestors’ allegations that Najeeb had been abducted and ‘harmed’ by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members, Kumar said, “I don’t think so. This is not the culture of JNU. There is a difference between ABVP of JNU and ABVP of other campuses.”

He added, “The fact that some outsiders were also involved in the alleged scuffle is an important aspect and if some untoward incident took place because of their involvement, I cannot say.”

Saurabh Sharma, former member of JNUSU, said, “We too are concerned about Najeeb’s safety but what is happening here is politics. I am not condoning the police action against Najeeb’s mother but the police has to maintain the law and order. She is being misled by the Left parties. What is the need to drag her in these protests? She should rather meet the Delhi Police Commissioner and people like Katju, who are trying to help her.”

The JNU administration has been persistently making appeals to the protesting students to maintain peace but 24 days is too long a period for just appeals to work. This has led to a growing discontent that can easily be felt in the campus.

Since Najeeb’s disappearance, all stakeholders have acted irresponsibly, overlooking options that would have actually borne results. On 19 October, JNU vice-chancellor M Jagdeesh Kumar and other top university officials were confined in their office for an entire day by the protesting students. Following that, the Delhi Police has stopped every protest by the students, creating even more discontent.

Adding to this, the JNU administration, on 26 October 26, issued a 25-point bulletin detailing the timeline of the case and the actions taken – which was quickly marked as ‘biased’ by the students and teachers alike.

According to an Indian Express report, the varsity’s teachers association criticised the administration for “selectively omitting” the fact that he was attacked during a brawl, the night before he went missing.

Ayesha Kidwai, a professor at JNU, wrote in a Facebook post, “At the heart of the matter is who committed the violence on 14 October. By the warden’s report on 15 October, it was only Najeeb, who is said to have admitted his mistake of striking a fellow student without any provocation,”

“Just yesterday, 83 teachers of JNU had pointed that out in a context that Najeeb had been allegedly beaten (as per several eyewitnesses who have also lodged a complaint)…such an admission of culpability cannot be said to have been made in free and fair conditions,” Kidwai said in her post.

She added, “This bulletin clearly indicates that the JNU administration is still proceeding with the ‘Najeeb-as-accused’ narrative. It has completely suppressed all reference to the contents of the wardens’ letter of 16 October and takes no cognisance of the fact that eyewitnesses have clearly named the alleged perpetrators of violence and abuse against Najeeb. However, there is no mention at all of the counter allegations throughout the report; indeed if anything, the aim of the whole exercise seems to be to avoid naming them. Indeed, even the terms of reference of its own proctorial enquiry have been vaguely worded.”

While the ABVP is being accused of ‘hurting’ Najeeb, its supporters are stressing that he has been hidden by some professors and students, who want to take political advantage of this incident.

While such claims cannot be verified, it just hints at the intense polarisation of the discourse in the campus, where the question that who did it to Najeeb has become more important than what actually happened to him.

JNU missing student row: Pranab Mukherjee promises action after meeting Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday promised action after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged him to direct the Modi government to step up efforts to trace a JNU student missing for over three weeks.

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

After meeting Mukherjee, Kejriwal said the President had promised to seek a report from the Home Ministry and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. “He (President) assured all support,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader tweeted.

The Chief Minister sought the President’s intervention regarding Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing from the Jawaharlal Nehru University on 15 October after a tiff with alleged members of the BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The ABVP has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

In a letter to the President, Kejriwal expressed shock that police did not question the students who allegedly attacked Najeeb until 4 November.

“I request you to urgently intervene in the turn of events in JNU, in your capacity as the Visitor of this premier university,” he said.

“I also request you to immediately direct the central government to expedite the investigation process to find Najeeb. We are at a juncture where every single moment counts.”

The AAP leader said the fact that Delhi Police had not been able to trace Najeeb raised serious concerns about the law and order situation in the national capital.

Kejriwal added that it was a shame that students struggling to trace their missing friend faced police action and an insensitive JNU administration.

“Since ABVP students are involved, there is a general perception that Delhi Police is not acting effectively. Even more problematic has been the role played by the Vice Chancellor of the University.”

He accused the Vice Chancellor of not acting against the ABVP students who attacked Ahmed.

And as police cracked down a JNU student protest at the India Gate memorial in the heart of the capital, Kejriwal urged the government not to turn Delhi into a police state.

The Chief Minister added sarcastically that if half the number of policemen deployed on Sunday had been utilized to trace Najeeb, he would have been found by now.

JNU missing student: BJP accuses AAP of ‘orchestrating’ protest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress and the Left of “orchestrating” the protest by JNU students at India Gate, saying they cannot digest the “good work” done by the Narendra Modi government. BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said the party prays that JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing since October 14, is found safe, adding that it was “tragic” that he could not be traced yet. “The police permission was taken for Jantar Mantar but they have intentionally gone to India Gate where Section 144 of CrPC is imposed. Arvind Kejriwal had gone to (JNU) campus a few days back and influenced the students to take this step,” Sharma alleged. He asserted that none of the political leaders in the opposition had any concern for the missing students and that they were only “playing politics”.”The opposition, be it the AAP, Congress or the Left cannot digest the fact that the Modi government is fulfilling all its promises even as they can’t. It is shameful that they are using students to hit out at the Modi government,” Sharma said. He claimed that the BJP was providing a corruption-free government and hence the opposition was trying to use various incidents to attack it. Stating that the opposition was “devoid of ideas”, he slammed them for resorting to politically milk the tragic incident of a missing scholar. Najeeb, a Biotechnology student, has been missing since a brawl at his hostel on October 14. The Left-linked All India Students Association (AISA) has alleged that before he vanished, Najeeb was beaten up by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is linked to the RSS.The ABVP, however, has denied any involvement in his disappearance. The protest comes days within days of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders of the opposition parties visiting the university during a protest regarding the missing student. The students have accused the JNU authorities of “not doing enough” to trace him. Last month, the protesting students had kept the Vice-Chancellor, Rector and other University officials confined in the administrative block for a whole night, demanding that they take action to trace Najeeb. The police have announced a reward of Rs 2 lakh for any information on Najeeb. The Delhi Police on Sunday detained the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who were staging protest against the authorities at the India Gate here for not taking firm steps to locate their missing colleague Najeeb Ahmed. Najeeb’s sister Sadaf Mosharraf, who was also among those detained by the police, vented her ire at the men in uniform.‘‘We were protesting very peacefully but the Delhi Police detained us without any reason,’ she said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the Centre was adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures. ‘Why is the Prime Minister afraid of protests’ If one student is missing since the last 22 days then other students have the right to protest.This is their constitutional right and the government is trying to snatch their rights from them,’ said Kejriwal. Commenting on the Delhi Police’s move to summon nine people in connection with this case, Kejriwal said that the men in uniform have just done a formality in the name of investigation.‘The BJP is ruling the nation and Delhi Police is afraid of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). So, they didn’t have the courage to call the ABVP people from past 22 days and just for formality they called few ABVP members for interrogation yesterday,’ he said.Earlier today, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention into the matter. Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report both from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well. Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal then said. Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

Missing JNU student: After police detain Najeeb’s mother, Kejriwal accuses Modi of adopting ‘dictatorship’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the Delhi Police stopped the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students from staging protest at the India Gate over missing student Najeeb Ahmed, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday alleged that the Centre was adopting ‘dictatorship’ policy and violating the constitutional right of an individual by adopting such measures. Due to Chaat celebrations, Section 144 had been imposed at India Gate. ‘Why is the Prime Minister afraid of protests’ If one student is missing since the last 22 days then other students have the right to protest. This is their constitutional right and the government is trying to snatch their rights from them,’ said Kejriwal. Commenting on the Delhi Police’s move to summon nine people in connection with this case, Kejriwal said that the men in uniform have just done a formality in the name of investigation.’The BJP is ruling the nation and Delhi Police is afraid of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). So, they didn’t have the courage to call the ABVP people from past 22 days and just for formality they called few ABVP members for interrogation yesterday,’ he said. Earlier today, Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek his intervention into the matter.Speaking to the media here after meeting with the President, Kejriwal pinned the blame on Delhi Police, accusing them of refusing to take action after coming under political pressure. The Chief Minister further said that President Mukherjee had assured him of seeking a report both from the JNU administration and the Delhi Police as well. Last week, Kejriwal had made a beeline to the JNU campus along with other party leaders to take on the Centre over the missing student. “The way the country has progressed in the last two years is of grave concern. Today Najeeb is missing. Tomorrow my son can go missing,” Kejriwal then said.Najeeb went missing on the intervening night of October 14 and 15 after allegedly being beaten up by a mob of 20 students comprising of the ABVP members, who had gone campaigning to his room for hostel elections.

Amity student from Telangana commits suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 21-year-old student of Amity University here allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself at his hostel room, police said. G Sai Krishna, a native of Telangana, was a first year student of post graduate diploma in facilities management and had joined the course recently, a senior police officer said. He allegedly hanged himself last evening. He has left a note written in Telugu, addressed to his parents. The hostel was empty at that time as other students had gone for Diwali holidays, SHO of Sector 39 Police Station, Amarnath Yadav, said. Krishna was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared brought dead, the SHO said. A few days back, Krishna was scolded by his father regarding his studies and also for borrowing money from someone and not being able to pay it back, he said. Krishna’s father is an advocate. In his note, Krishna wrote that committing suicide is not easy and told his parents that they have done a lot for him, Yadav said. The body has been handed over to his family after post-mortem, police said. In August, a student of BA-LLB course in the university, had allegedly committed suicide at his residence in Delhi. The deceased, who was the son of a joint secretary-level official in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, was debarred from appearing in the sixth semester exams in May due to “shortage of attendance”.

Nepal PM Prachanda expresses commitment to Prez Mukherjee about strengthening bilateral ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nepalese Prime Minister Prachanda on Thursday paid a courtesy call on visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and resolved to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ paid a visit to Mukherjee and expressed his pleasure to welcome him in Kathmandu.”Such high-level meetings will help in further strengthening bilateral ties between Nepal and India,” Prachanda said as he recalled his meetings in New Delhi during his recent visit to India in September.Mukherjee, the first Indian President to visit Nepal in 18 years, appreciated the efforts made by Nepal in implementing the Constitution.”India stands by Nepal in its efforts to attain progress and development,” said Mukherjee.He also held discussions with the senior leaders of various political parties including the leaders of the agitating Madhesi parties, who are largely of Indian-origin, and had been protesting over better representation in the Parliament and the federal structure of the new Constitution.Earlier, Mukherjee, 80, who is on a three-day state visit to Nepal, started his day by offering prayers at the historical Pashupatinath Temple.Later, he was conferred an honorary D.Litt by Kathmandu University (KU) in recognition of his contribution to the international relations, public administration and leading a successful political career.Mukherjee also held talks with his Nepalese counterpart Bidya Devi Bhandari and other top leaders yesterday to strengthen the bilateral relation between the two countries.

Who is destroying schools in Kashmir?

Gowhar Geelani reports on schools in Indian-administered Kashmir that have been set on fire.

Need to review the definition of country’s minority: Union Minister Giriraj Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Giriraj Singh has said that there is a need to review the definition of ‘minority’ in the country.”We need to have a relook on the definition of minority tag given to the Muslims having a population of over 20 crores in the country,” he said on Wednesday during a programme at Kashi Hindu University.”The places where they (Muslims) are in large numbers as well as where they are less in number…at both places they are called ‘minority’,” he said.On being asked about the current political scenario in Uttar Pradesh, he said, “It’s a fight between ambition and regime. Nobody is interested in healthy politics in the party and this is the reason why the party seems divided. Common people are fed up of family fueds and want a pro-people government”.Reacting to abduction of two brothers, residents of the national capital, who were rescued from Patna yesterday in a joint operation between Delhi police and their Bihar counterparts, he said, “Bihar has become a den of criminals and is limping back to ‘jungle raj'”.

As JNU student Najeeb Ahmad saga drags on, the real issue is in danger of being obscured

It was a surreal scene.

On 23 October, at a distance of a foot or so from the vice-chancellor’s gate, the mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad broke down in tears. Pleading for her son back, she left the gathered crowd looking on in complete silence. They had no answers for her, only vows of solidarity. Students, teachers, and security guards all bore mute witness to this sad culmination of Najeeb’s unexplained absence, which is fast gaining disturbing undertones.

Fresh off the heels of a ‘scuffle’ during which he allegedly slapped a fellow student at the Mahi-Mandavi hostel, he was allegedly thrashed by around 10 people at the same hostel, reportedly in front of the warden. At some point after this, he made a call to his mother in Badaun, telling her what had transpired, and mysteriously disappeared the day after. The campus took its own time to erupt, and it was days before the student body eventually accosted the administration. Nearly two weeks since Najeeb’s disappearance, gheraos, hoarse throats and a human chain later, nothing has changed. A student is missing from the university and there are all kinds of possibilities.

. Image courtesy: News18

Jawaharlal Nehru University. Representational image. Courtesy: News18

Najeeb was allegedly beaten up by a group comprising of mostly BJP-affiliated ABVP cadre and sympathisers on 14 October at around 11.30 pm. It is unclear as to whether the issue of religious identity was even a factor in all this. At this time, only speculation is possible and all angles need consideration. With every passing day (it is now 12 days) that Najeeb remains untraceable, theories are increasing in number and getting darker, without any new information to prove or debunk anything.

There are a few theories floating around:

1) He is safe and being kept hidden (for reasons unknown) by a political faction. This, however would be at odds with the various political groups and JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) asking “Where’s Najeeb?”, and would cause a storm in JNU
2) He is somewhere on campus somewhere, hiding alone or with aid. This is most unlikely. With the issue permeating the entire campus, a person who wants to be out of sight will likely leave. The police, too, do not seem to regard this as a viable lead as they have not scanned the university.
3) He has been abducted by persons unknown and taken somewhere for personal or communal reasons. Here, the potential ramifications are unnerving.
4) Succumbing to the stress of the entire affair, he ended his life. A scary thought indeed.
5) He left campus and went to an apolitical, unrelated contact in fear and emotional upheaval. He did not know too many people at JNU, having recently joined the university.

These theories vary in terms of plausibility and even the ones that seem likely throw up some curious questions.

Najeeb’s mother and sister have been in JNU for days. Would he, if safe and well, not have decided to make contact, especially given that he had called his mother soon after the alleged thrashing? There is a missing person’s report and a Rs 1 lakh reward for information on his whereabouts. It has been in the media and is steadily getting political. Perhaps, if safe, Najeeb would have gotten in touch with someone, considering the increasing scale of the matter and his mother’s condition. Unless of course, he has been so consumed by fear and stress that he wishes to delay the inevitable attention and is delaying things.

Other possibilities that do not assume Najeeb’s well-being hinge on his prolonged absence from campus. It does not make sense at this time, however, why a new student with no political affiliations, studying at the Department of Biotechnology, would be a target of any foul play. It is hard to imagine that slapping somebody, while brutish and unacceptable, would illicit the kind of backlash that would see a person abducted. In any case, it is all just speculative at the present and the best lead may well be eyewitness accounts of Najeeb taking an autorickshaw shortly before he went missing.

On the other hand, what is quite clear is that the matter is being prematurely politicised.

The facts just aren’t there yet. Accounts of incidents vary from student to student and faction to faction. In this confused and contradictory atmosphere, there is much presumption and a hasty jumping to agenda-informed conclusions. Three days after Najeeb was allegedly thrashed, the JNU Student’s Union (the president of which is from the CPI-ML-affiliated AISA) printed a pamphlet demanding strict action against ‘communal hate-mongering’ and claimed that there were ‘repeated attacks’ even afterwards, without offering any proof. The very next day, another JNUSU pamphlet claimed that Najeeb had been ‘brutally mob-lynched’ by ABVP and security and students alike bore witness to the ‘heinous lynching’.

Terms like that carry serious connotations and have been incorrectly applied by all accounts. It was highly irresponsible of JNUSU to print such things and it smacks of a political agenda. Such loaded, deliberate usage of language heightens tensions, spreads misinformation and gives wind to rumours. The student body should know better than to risk further polarisation. Just as the ABVP — sections of which are claiming without evidence that the Najeeb is ‘with AISA’ — should. The students’ union cannot give ammunition to the forces that are keen on destabilising the hitherto academic, secular and democratic fabric of JNU.

In all this, the real point is getting obscured; a student is missing after a controversial incident and needs to be located. That is what energies need to be focused on. Political posturing can at least wait till Najeeb is traced and facts are found. Students from any political hue need to come together to press the Vasant Kunj North thana’s SHO and investigating officer and station house officer for a report on progress in the case. They could pose questions and provide clues to the police instead of blaming and shaming each other without the full picture.

Instead, this was and continues to be a tense and extremely urgent issue, the alleviation of which sorely requires new information. Najeeb has been missing now for 12 days. Instilling political dimensions is of no practical use when the need of the hour is to singlemindedly track him down. Anything else is just providing fodder to those actors, inside and outside JNU, who would use the student bodies’ hasty words to malign the university once again. Faced with a crisis, the campus cannot afford to display its own infighting and further polarise the scenario.

As Najeeb’s sister said, “We want Najeeb back, but we want him back the right way.”

Vice President Ansari to visit Tezpur University in Assam today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari is visiting Tezpur University in Assam on Wednesday.. Ansari will inaugurate the 19th national convention on knowledge, library and information networking. The three-day convention is being jointly organised by the University and DELNET. DELNET is one of the major resource-sharing library network connecting over 5,600 libraries in India and eight other countries. Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh are among those who will also attend the inaugural programme. The Vice President will also inaugurate the newly-constructed academic building for humanities and social science in the University.

Police now intervenes in Ashoka University matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police has initiated action against those who were a part of a petition in Ashoka University, supporting plebiscite in Kashmir. Haryana police has sought details about the email through which the petition was circulated and those who were involved in signing of the petition. The alumni member who initiated the petition is also being kept a watch over by the police. The police officials from Haryana’s Sonepat district visited the campus recently and submitted a letter to the Vice Chancellor seeking a report on the issue. “We have sought information on what was the e-mail that has been circulated and the action that has been taken on the students on the basis of the mail. Once we get the reply to the mail, we will take further action on its basis,” a senior police officer from Sonepat district said. “An ex-student had started the petition. We are keeping a watch on the student and those who are related to him,” the official added. A petition signed by 88 members of the university, addressed to the J&K government and the central government that condemned the violence after militant Burhan Wani’s death got circulated on social media. Following this, two members of the administrative staff quit the university, even as they cited personal reasons for this, the petition was being cited as the reason. Meanwhile, amidst fears of a clampdown of free speech in the university, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Rudrangshu Mukherjee in an internal communication to the students and faculty members reiterated: “Ashoka University is committed to free speech and the question of diluting this commitment does not arise”. “I would like to clarify that no staff or faculty have been dismissed for expressing their opinion by signing a petition,” he added. He also added that the “Kashmir petition’’ expressed the views of a very small group within the Ashoka community.

More seats on offer, but less eligible takers for Centre’s SC-ST overseas scholarship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For fourth consecutive year in a row, the centre has failed to find enough takers for its overseas scholarship scheme. The scheme allows students from the marginalised community including Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes to travel abroad for pursuing masters and PhD level courses. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment that runs the scheme blames it on the weak primary and elementary education system which fails to produce enough competent students to face competition abroad. Academicians working in the sector, however, feel that it is because of the lack of coordination between the ministries that the scheme has failed to reach the beneficiaries.Under National Overseas Scholarship Scheme, the ministry every year funds students to pursue higher education in universities abroad. In the year 2012-13, the scheme was to benefit 30 applicants, for which it could find only 23 takers. In 2013-14, the number of beneficiaries were increased to 60, for which only 39 candidates were found eligible. For 2014-15, while the number of beneficiaries rose to 100, it could find only 59 eligible takers. In 2015-16, again for 100 seats there were only 53 eligible takers.For the scheme that is fully funded by the ministry, it has over the years failed to get suitable candidates, as a result the funds for the scheme remain largely underutilised. “The scheme is very well advertised and we do receive a lot of applications. But most of the students who apply fail to meet the desired standards of the foreign universities. As a result their applications get rejected,” said a senior ministry official.The official also blamed it on the education system which allows these students to sail through primary, elementary and higher education in the Indian system. Indian universities offer relaxation in marks for the SC/ST and OBC category. “No such relaxation is provided in foreign universities. We have seen over the years, that these students fail to face the global competition,” added the official.To ensure that more students get the benefit of the scheme, the ministry, in 2014, brought some changes in the guidelines. Earlier the scheme opened annually, from 2014 the ministry allows students to apply all year round. The permanent selection committee has been put in place that meets every three months to scan through the applications. Any student who gets an offer from abroad can apply immediately.To ensure that the slots gets filled, the ministry has also started preparing an assured list of candidates. “If a student comes with an assurance letter from the university, for admission in the next academic session, we accept their applications and begin the process,” added the ministry sources. This too has failed to draw enough takers.The academicians working in the sector blame it on the poor coordination. The scheme is funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is facilitated through the Ministry of External Affairs. The universities and the higher education system which report to the Human Resource Development Ministry do not have any role to play. “It is a very good scheme and there is no dearth of talented and competent students but the problem is who owns this baby. Many a times students do not get to know about the scheme. The universities need to play a proactive role in promoting the scheme,” said Professor Sukumar of Delhi University who works on students and higher education inclusion issues.

Finally, a welfare index for gaushalas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On day two of the just-concluded India For Animals (IFA) – the country’s biggest, biennial event on animal welfare and rights, organised by Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) – Dr Arvind Sharma announced his one-of-a-kind project.Formerly with the Himachal Pradesh state government animal husbandry department, the veterinarian, pursuing his PhD from the University of Queensland, will conduct Gaushalas in India: Contemporary Issues and Future Perspectives, the first-ever welfare assessment of Indian gaushalas (retirement homes for old, sick, infirm, and rescued cows).Welfare auditing of any animal shelter or establishment, be it poultry farms, equine homes or gaushalas is not undertaken in India. Assessment of gaushalas in particular is of prime importance in light of gaurakshak activism and the resultant overcrowding of shelters.Take Rajasthan’s Hingonia gaushala. Touted “the best of its kind in Asia”, a state government report showed that 8122 cows had succumbed to injuries and ill-health here between January and July 31 in 2016. In Uttar Pradesh, 30 cattle and their progeny are missing for over a month after being rescued from slaughterhouses and being sent to a gaushala in Noorpur – run by the Vrindavan Gaushala Uthhan Samiti – that did not exist.India has 30% of the world’s cattle but only 3% of the area to accommodate them, outlined Dr Sharma at his IFA session in Mumbai. With over 5.2 million stray cows – abandoned either for having exhausted their ‘dairy shelf life’ or due to rapid urbanisation and shrinking open spaces – the burden on gaushalas cannot be taken lightly.”As per statistics by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), India has 1837 gaushalas. Official recognition comes when a gaushala receives AWBI funding. But as per my research, there are more than 5000 gaushalas in the country,” Dr Sharma says. “So two-thirds of gaushalas are not registered since they aren’t financially dependent on AWBI.”Some unregistered gaushalas are clandestinely operating as dairies, he adds. Another concern pertains to reported instances of gaushala animals being tested for the efficacy of vaccines, such as for tuberculosis.With Gaushalas in India: Contemporary Issues and Future Perspectives, Dr Sharma will use animal-based indicators (health, access to food, water, movement and medical care), environmental indicators (cleanliness, ventilation, natural light, flooring) and interviews with 800-900 people (excluding 54 gaushala managers) to gauge public perceptions. In a groundbreaking move, stress levels of cows will also be measured via analysis of their tail hairs for cortisone levels.Dr Sharma’s study will take an estimated three years to complete. Upon completion, a welfare index will be compiled, and gaushalas ranked on the aforementioned indicators.”With this study, we will set welfare benchmarks, ensure long-term sustainability, and find a balance between tradition and welfare science,” Dr Sharma concludes.

Najeeb Ahmed row: JNU Vice Chancellor urges agitating students to unite against politicising the case

As the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus heats up following the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed a week ago, university Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, on Sunday, urged the agitating students to co-operate with the investigation, and termed a protest gathering outside his residence “unfortunate”.

The incident has led the campus to be on boil, yet again, with agitating students keeping Kumar and other senior officials under siege for over 20 hours alleging inaction on the administration’s part.

In a series of tweets, Kumar said the blockade outside his house will not help the search for Najeeb and urged the students to share any information they have regarding the missing student with the administration and the police.

Kumar also urged the JNU community to unite against politicising the case.

Earlier, a fellow student who was present during the brawl between Najeeb and few ABVP supporters, claimed that attempts were made to kill Najeeb.

Najeeb, a student of School of Biotechnology at the university, went missing on 15 October allegedly following a brawl on the campus with members of ABVP on 14 October.

An FIR for kidnapping and wrongfully confining a person was lodged at Vasant Kunj North police station after the police received a complaint from the student’s guardians.

“I heard some noises from the first floor. When I rushed down I saw Najeeb was bleeding from the mouth and nose. We called the warden and took Najeeb to help him wash himself in the bathroom.

“But few students came and thrashed Najeeb inside the bathroom. They were shouting that he should not be spared,” said Shahid Raza Khan, an M Phil student at JNU’s School of International Studies (SIS).

The ABVP, however, rubbished the allegations as baseless.

“If he was beaten up that badly, why did not the warden get a medical test conducted. Where are the reports? There are none because he wasn’t attacked,” Alok Singh, President of JNU’s ABVP unit said.

Following protests by students, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had directed Delhi Police to set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to trace the missing student.

Meanwhile, the left affiliated All India Students Association (AISA) which is running a campaign, “Bring back Najeeb”, staged a protest at Delhi University on Saturday.

“From Muzaffarnagar to Dadri and now JNU we are witnessing a clear pattern in the intimidation, violence, and the creation of a vicious atmosphere followed by displacement and disappearances of Muslims throughout the country. This has to be resisted tooth and nail,” said AISA leader Kawalpreet Kaur.

With inputs from PTI

Missing JNU student: Cops fear issue could turn communal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Passions are flaring up on campus as JNU student Najeeb Ahmed remains missing for the eighth consecutive day. The Delhi Police now fear that the issue may take a communal turn in the university.According to a report of the Delhi Police’s Special Branch, there are chances that political parties prevalent on the JNU campus may try to polarise the matter. This, they say, can lead to communal tension.“It is pertinent to mention that the student involved in this issue, Vikrant, belongs to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) organisation and Najeeb belongs to religious minority community. As a result, this incident can flare up into a communal issue. Presently, JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union) is dominated by students from different left leaning organisations and in recent elections they formed an alliance against ABVP,” read the report.Ahmed, a biotechnology student at JNU, went missing on October 15 evening after a scuffle with ABVP members. An FIR for kidnapping and wrongfully confining a person was lodged at Vasant Kunj North police station on October 20 after the police received a complaint from the student’s guardians.The report comes amidst ongoing protests and mudslinging by the political parties. It also says that while the JNU administration has taken a note of the entire situation, no action has been taken yet.The report further adds, “Keeping in view the overall situation in the campus and the student sentiments there are chances, different student and political organisation may try to mobilise and polarise supporters on this issue. Moreover, the media may also give the matter larger coverage through a communal lens.”The sudden disappearance of the student has led to severe tension on campus with students leading continuous protests and demanding immediate action in the issue. The agitated students had even locked-in the authority officials including vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar and other university officials, keeping them confined to the administrative block for over 20 hours.The protest by the students had also led Union Home minister Rajnath Singh to direct the Delhi police to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to trace the missing student.

India, Pakistan are not at the brink of war: Omar Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah does not see an imminent war looming between India and Pakistan despite the heightened tensions along the LoC and believes the two countries are a “lot more careful” about the prospect of war than some of the news channels would like them to be. “I don’t believe we are,” Abdullah said when asked whether India and Pakistan are at the brink of war. “I am not one of those who sees imminent war looming in the sub-continent. I’d like to believe that both governments in New Delhi and Islamabad are a lot more careful about the prospect of war than perhaps some of our TV channels would like them to be,” he said at a conference titled ‘India and Pakistan: A Subcontinental Affair’ organized by the students of New York University here yesterday. Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf was also scheduled to speak at the conference but he cancelled his appearance at the last minute citing “security concerns”. There were several moments of animated discussions, some heated arguments and loud cheers during Abdullah’s nearly hour-long discussion with the gathering, that included students from both India and Pakistan, on Kashmir, the surgical strikes by India, killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, tensions with Pakistan, plight of Kashmiri Pandits and Article 370. Abdullah said while there is tension along the Line of Control (LoC) and the ceasefire is “under a bit more pressure” than it was at the same time last year, India and Pakistan are not at the brink of war. Abdullah noted that the government of India has been very careful “in moderating how it has sold” to the rest of the world the surgical strikes conducted across the Line of Control. “The government of India has been very careful in explaining what they have done post the Uri militant attack. They have told the world this (surgical strikes) was an anti-terror operation conducted in the vicinity of the LoC,” he said adding that the government has not gone into giving details of how far they went inside the LoC or how many people were killed in the strikes. “What that has allowed is for an opportunity for a sort of a more nuanced response on the part of Pakistan,” he said adding that there would have been “enormous pressure” on Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to retaliate had the Indian government spoken of how far they went across the LoC or how many people were killed in the strikes. Abdullah said heightened tensions between India and Pakistan adds to the “mood of gloom” in the Valley because “no state more than Jammu and Kashmir suffers on account of a downturn in relations between India and Pakistan”. The Kashmir Valley has been facing unrest and agitations for over 100 days now, in the wake of Wani s killing and “unfortunately there is no end in sight to the current problem”.

In times of polls, ministers head to Congress citadel armed with PM’s pet scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of three senior union ministers are all set to descend on the Congress bastion of Amethi to launch Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme to distribute gas connections to the poor.A week after writing to Congress vice-president and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi seeking his presence on the occasion, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan along with Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar and textiles minister Smriti Irani, who was BJP’s candidate from the seat in 2014, will be in the constituency in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.Sources said since Gandhi did not respond to the letter, the government will go ahead with the distribution programme in his absence. Generally, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna providing LPG connections to BPL women, involves participation of MPs cutting across party lines, they said.The ministers will also inaugurate the Rajiv Gandhi institute of petroleum technology (RGPIT). Gandhi on Friday put out his reply to Pradhan on this saying the UPA government had initiated the RGPIT Act in 2007 and that he has been personally visiting the campus at Jais since 2008. “I am happy that this historical effort of ours is moving forward. I would, however, like to bring to your notice that a number of other major development initiatives in Amethi which had either been legislated or received cabinet approval have not progressed during the current NDA government,” he said. These included Jagdishpur Paper Mill, Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, National Automotive Testing and R & D Infrastructure Project, Institute of Driving and Training and Research and Kendriya Vidyalaya.The politics over schemes has gained momentum as assembly elections in UP get closer. Sources said the government wanted to step up LPG distribution in Amethi, where 1.2 lakh beneficiaries have been identified who qualify for the scheme. So far, 36,000 connections have been given and 8000 applications cleared. However, Amethi has recorded a 53 per cent LPG coverage, just one per cent less than the average in UP. The national average is 61 per cent.The Modi government has been underlining its schemes aimed at reaching out to the poor. The government had tried to make the Ujjwala scheme apolitical by trying to distribute the connections through the local MPs in a bid to involve all stakeholders, sources said.The Prime Minister had launched the scheme, which aims to provide five crore LPG connections to women in BPL households over the next three financial years, at a cost of Rs. 8,000 crore, from Ballia in UP in August this year.

Security tightened in anticipation of JNU students’ protest in Raisina Hill area

Fri, 21 Oct 2016-08:24pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security has been beefed up in New Delhi district in anticipation of a protest by JNU students in front of the Home Ministry at Raisina Hill on Friday over alleged inaction of the university administration and police in tracing missing student Najeeb Ahmed.Vehicular movement has been blocked on Raisina Road and police, and paramilitary forces have been deployed at and around the area after police received information that the university students would arrive to stage a protest, a police official said.Ahmed has been missing from the JNU campus since Saturday.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Thursday ordered the Delhi Police to set up a special team to trace Ahmed, even as the agitating students decided to change their mode of protest after keeping the Vice Chancellor and some other top officials under siege for over 20 hours.The agitating students had said they decided to change their mode of protest and will no longer confine VC M Jagadesh Kumar and other officials of the university.

India, China discord among issues that could capsize BRICS: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India-China differences and their discord over Pakistan are among differences in the BRICS that could “capsize” the grouping if the member nations fail to address competition and disagreements among them, Chinese media said. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations, “while achieving substantial benefits through their joint efforts, must also face up to the divergence in their interests, which has given rise to concerns that the group is losing its shine”, an article in state-run Global Times on the Goa BRICS summit said. “Territorial disputes between China and India have been an obstinate disease between the two sides. Additionally, some Indians believe that China supports Pakistan, which is viewed as tantamount to supporting terrorism,” it said. “It has been argued that the BRICS members face three key issues: the lack of a solid foundation for shared interests, a weak cooperation mechanism and external pressures. If the member countries aren’t careful enough, they might capsize while sailing around the world,” the article said. In regards to shared interests, “competition and disagreement between the BRICS nations have been an impediment”, said the article titled ‘BRICS need to address challenges to strengthen ties’ written by a think-tank from Renmin University. “The five emerging countries all value exports and foreign investment, resulting in inevitable collisions and friction as they compete for resources, market footholds and foreign investment inflows,” it said. Accusing India, Brazil and South of Africa “sending signals of trade protectionism”, it said the three “often seek to launch anti-dumping probes against China”. “India and Brazil have been among the countries that have implemented the biggest number of protectionist measures against China,” it said. Yet another impeding factor is the divergent political and economic pursuits among BRICS states, it said. Brazil and South Africa hope that cooperation within BRICS will boost their regional influence both politically and economically, while Russia cares more about the BRICS’ political and strategic importance, it said. “The second risk that BRICS faces is an insufficient cooperation mechanism. In addition to the recently concluded eighth annual BRICS summit in Goa, many ministerial meetings are held annually. “However, the grouping of BRICS remains a loose union lacking stability. There is yet to be any institutions such as a secretariat or any guidelines and procedures designed for BRICS cooperation,” it said. “Ever since the launch of BRICS, Western countries have never ceased courting or alienating individual BRICS countries or elbowing them out from participating in the global governance. India has always been a target for the US to contain BRICS members within the club of emerging powers. By launching the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement, the US aims to isolate BRICS countries, putting more pressure on developing countries,” it said.

Missing JNU student: ABVP trains guns at Left, accuses them of communalising issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Saurabh Sharma, ABVP activist and former joint secretary of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), on Friday alleged that Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing since Saturday following a brawl the night before, is hiding in the campus and accused the Left ideologues of giving him protection. Sharma also alleged that the followers of Left ideology are trying to give a communal angle to this case.”Najeeb Ahmed’s issue has been politicised as they just want to hog the limelight,” he said. “According to me, Left ideologues have captured him because when we were searching for Anirban and Umar after February 9 then they were found inside the campus only,” Sharma told ANI. “I want to add that these Leftists are giving communal colour to this case which is unfortunate,” Sharma added. He also welcomed the Union Home Ministry?s move to set committee on this issue. The mysterious disappearance of a first year JNU MSc student has been in the news for two days now. It has been over six days since twenty-seven-year-old Najeeb Ahmed went missing. No one knows of his whereabouts and now the JNU campus walls are flooded with posters with a reward of Rs 50,000 to anybody providing information of his whereabouts. Najeeb was involved in a brawl with his college mates. Vikrant Kumar, an ABVP worker who was contesting elections, was campaigning in the hostel and a scuffle broke out between the duo after which a group of boys allegedly beat up Najeeb. Soon after this, Najeeb left all his belongings in his hostel room and mysteriously disappeared.

JNU: VC, other officials allowed to go; HM asks police to set up special team to trace missing student

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and other officials who were confined on the campus premises by a section of students, who were protesting over a missing hostel inmate, were allowed to go after being held for 22 hours.The students, who are agitating over alleged inaction by the university in the case of missing student Najeeb Ahmed, have temporarily called off their gherao and allowed the VC and some other officials to come out of the building where there were held since Wednesday afternoon. They were allowed to leave to attend an important academic council.Rejecting allegations of inaction, Kumar said that they had written to the police about the missing student and that an inquiry by the university would be expedited with the “guilty” punished.Coming down heavily on the protesting students, the VC said that several rounds of talks were held with them to convince them regarding the sincerity of the university to locate Najeeb but they had continued their “illegal” activity of holding the authorities hostage.Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh directed the Delhi Police to set up a special team to trace the missing student. Najeeb Ahmed went missing on Saturday, following a brawl on the campus the night before.(With agency inputs)

HRD Minister assures expelled Ambedkar university students of action, orders inquiry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to not repeat an incident like Rohith Vemula, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has instituted an inquiry to look into the matter of rustication of eight Dalit students from Ambedkar university, Lucknow.On September 8, eight Dalit students were expelled by the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) administration for allegedly attacking a teacher and vandalising his vehicle.The students on Wednesday met the HRD Minister in Delhi and made him aware of the situation. According to the students, the minister told them that he was instituting an inquiry into the matter and would make sure that the expelled students got justice.In the incident that took place in September, the teacher whom the students allegedly attacked had lodged an FIR against six Dalit students. A few days later, the expelled students lodged a counter FIR alleging that they were attacked by the teacher and his supporters, who made ‘casteist’ remarks. In the days following the incident, Dalit students across different educational institutions came out in support of the expelled BBAU students demanding justice.In a meeting held with Vice Chancellors of all Central Universities last month, the HRD Minister had made it clear that he did not want incidents like the Rohith Vemula case to be repeated on campuses and that no student should face injustice.Javadekar had also declared that the HRD ministry will ask all colleges universities to institute a grievance redressal cell which could look into such incidents. “We do not want any more suicides in the campus, the ministry is serious about this,” the minister had said after the meeting with VCs.

Protest at JNU turns volatile over missing youth; students confine VC, senior Officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As protest in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) turns volatile with students blocking the administrative building and locking up the vice-chancellor and other officials over the missing student, varsity vice chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar on Thursday said the move by the protesting students was ‘unfortunate and illegal’.Vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar told ANI in a telephonic conversation that it is wrong on the part of the students to gherao him and other officials.”We are also concerned that Najeeb Ahmad is missing. We have talked to police also but gheraoing me and other officials is wrong. Students have gheraoed us since 2.30 pm. We had to sleep on floor and there is no food to eat. Students are not even allowing wives of officials to meet,” he added.Yesterday, also at around 1.30 am., the VC tweeted, “Since the students did not let us go home inspite our appeal, we have no other option but be confined to the administration building”.Meanwhile, no trace of missing Najeeb Ahmad was found even on the sixth day after he went missing.Ahmad was allegedly assaulted by ABVP activists on October 14 during a mess election campaign at Mahi-Mandvi hostel. From the next day, he has gone missing.According to students, he left the hostel without his wallet, mobile and even his footwear.

Jammu & Kashmir: Govt sacks at least 12 employees for alleged ‘anti-national activities’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ongoing spiral of violence, agony and pain that the Valley has been witnessing, Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday night dismissed over a dozen of its employees for alleged anti-national activities.The Jammu and Kashmir government has issued orders to dismiss over a dozen of its employees for their alleged involvement in the ongoing unrest, IANS reported quoting a top official.The report says that the dismissed employees include an assistant registrar of Kashmir University, and officials from education, revenue, public health, engineering and food supplies.Stating that the state government invoked Article 126 of the state constitution to carry out the action, the official said, “Reports on their anti-national activities prepared by the state police were forwarded to the Chief Secretary, who then directed respective heads of departments to issue orders terminating their services.”With over 90 people killed so far in the clashes, the death toll continues to mounts and the number of injured also continuing to soar. As per reports, over 7,000 people have been detained along with the arrest of a human rights activist Khurram Parvez.The unrest began soon after the killing of poster boy Burhan Wani, a commander of militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen along with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.Wani was popular among Kashmiris, due to his activity on social media and many photos and videos posted by him on social media against Indian rule in Kashmir and soon after his killing, it sparked demonstrations across the valley as protesters clashed with the police and paramilitary forces, and even attacked government installations.The crackdown also witnessed a ban on the newspapers, mobile internet has been snapped along with partial communication blockade and the approximate business losses have been estimated at more than Rs 10,000 crore.(With agency inputs)

Odisha CM Patnaik announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for Sum hospital fire victims

Odisha CM Patnaik announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for Sum hospital fire victims

Updated: Oct 19, 2016 14:22 IST

#Bhubaneswar #Delhi #Fire #NewsTracker #Odisha #Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the kin of those who died in the Sum Hospital fire.

Patnaik, who has earlier announced free treatment for the fire victims in different hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, made this announcement of ex-gratia before leaving for New Delhi.

“The Chief Minister has announced the ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the victims’ families,” a communication received from the chief minister’s office said.

A file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTIA file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

A file photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

Earlier, the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) University, which runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital, had yesterday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased.

“The authorities will pay an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased persons and bear all medical expenses of all the injured persons,” SOA Vice- chancellor Amit Banerjee had announced on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress has demanded Rs 25 lakh compensation for each family of victims. “The state government should give Rs 10 lakh and the Centre needs to provide Rs 15 lakh to each family of victims,” OPCC President Prasad Harichandan said.

CPI national secretary D Raja also demanded adequate compensation for the victims’ families besides a high level probe into the fire that killed 21 people.

Complaint filed to needlessly harass Smriti Irani, says court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a huge relief to Union textile minister Smriti Irani, a Delhi court on Tuesday dismissed a plea to summon her, observing that the petition accusing her of faking a degree was to “needlessly harass her.”The court said that the fate of the case could be foreseen as “the original evidence has already been lost due to the passage of a number of years, and the secondary evidence would not withstand the test of judicial scrutiny.”Dismissing the petition filed by Ahmer Khan, Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said that there was a “great delay of 11 years” in filing the complaint. “The said delay could not be condoned as the complainant is not an aggrieved person and the complaint does not appear to have been filed for vindication of majesty of justice and maintenance of law and order.”The court said that since the information falls under the purview of Sections 179, 181 and 182 of the Indian Penal Code, where the punishment is a maximum of three years, the limitation for filing a complaint is three years.Ahmer Khan had filed a private complaint last year, accusing Irani of submitting contradictory results of her educational qualifications in her affidavit filed before the Election Commission (EC) for the three elections she contested for the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in 2004, 2011 and 2014.Over the course of the hearings, the EC had submitted that while the original 2004 election affidavit was misplaced, they had first submitted documents that were a copy of the file extracted from its official website and in the last hearing had submitted a certificate regarding authentication of the election affidavits filed by Irani in the 2004 election.According to the petitioner’s counsels, the BJP leader had declared herself to be a graduate from the Delhi University’s School of Correspondence (1996 batch) in her affidavit filed for the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk constituency.However, in yet another affidavit on July 11, 2011, for the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, Irani alleged that she had completed her B.Com (Part I) from the Delhi University’s School of Correspondence.The petition added that in yet another affidavit filed during the 2014 Lok Sabha election that Irani contested from Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh, she allegedly said she did her B.Com (Part I) in 1994 from the Delhi University’s School of Open Learning.

Social Science Council gets Member Secretary after two years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a delay of almost two years, the top position at Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) has been filled by the Human Resource Development Ministry. According to sources, the appointment has been done after discussion with RSS, as the sangh wanted their man to be at the helm of affairs in the council. The ministry has approved the name of Virendra Mehrotra, currently member of court at Jawaharlal Nehru University, as the Member Secretary. Mehrotra, who was also associated with Chaudhary Charan Singh University in UP, is considered close to RSS. Interviews for selection of Member Secretary were conducted by a 5-member panel on September 11 this year. According to sources in the ministry, 20 people were interviewed for the position which included Ashwini Mohapatra and Chinna Rao from JNU and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas’s brother Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, who is associated with Chaudhary Charan Singh University. Among the names that were being considered for the position also included Upendra Chaudhary, who is the officiating Member Secretary, however his name got dropped and instead Mehrotra was selected. According to sources, the government wanted Mehrotra to be at the helm as they wanted someone who is close to RSS, in the position. There are a number of positions vacant in the council, which the RSS wants to fill with their people. A five member selection committee including Delhi University Vice Chancellor, Yogesh Tyagi, Sukhdev Thorat Chairman ICSSR, Shashikala Bhide, Rajan Harshe and AK Aggarwal had selected three names. The final decision was taken by the HRD Minister. The ICSSR is responsible for reviewing the progress of social science research and give advice to its users. It also sponsors social science research programmes and projects and administers grants to institutions and individuals for research in the subject.

Smriti Irani Degree row: Delhi Court dismisses case against Union Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major relief for Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani, a Delhi Court has dismissed a fake degree case against her. According to Patiala House court, the petition was filed to harass her. “Complainant may not have filed it if she was not a central minister. Original evidence has already been lost due to passage of years, secondary evidence won’t be enough for court,” said Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh, reports NDTV. The Patiala House court on Tuesday pronounce its order in the fake degree case of former Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani after the Election Commission submitted the required documents.Section 125A of RPA deals with penalty for filing a false affidavit and entails a jail term of up to six months or a fine or both.Earlier, Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh reserved its order for Tuesday after the Election Commission filed the documents in a sealed cover relating to Irani’s educational qualification submitted by her for contesting the 2004 general elections. Irani had given information about her educational qualifications in affidavits to the Election Commission to contest various elections. In June last year, a case was filed by freelance writer Ahmer Khan, who accused Irani of providing contradictory affidavits about her educational qualifications during different elections. Following the court’s direction, Delhi University had also submitted that the documents pertaining to Irani’s B A course in 1996, mentioned by her in an affidavit filed during 2004 Lok Sabha elections, were yet to be found.However, while filing affidavit in her Rajya Sabha nomination papers from Gujarat in 2011, she said her highest educational qualification was B.com, Part 1 (correspondence course) from Delhi University.With ANI inputs

Triple Talaq: Farooq Abdullah tells Centre not to interfere with Muslim Personal Laws

Jammu: Warning that Muslims across India would not tolerate any “interference” with Muslim Personal Laws, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday said the religious panel has the veto to look into the issues concerning the Sharia law.

“Every religion has its way. If someone forces something on Hindu religion, will they accept it? In Islam, there is a committee that looks into the matters of Sharia law. If someone wants to force anything, Muslims will not accept it,” he told reporters in Jammu.

For the first time in India’s Constitutional history, the Centre had on 7 October opposed in the Supreme Court the practice of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and favoured a relook on grounds of gender equality and secularism. Many Muslim bodies, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, have opposed the Centre’s stand.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

The National Conference president also reiterated his demand for holding talks between India and Pakistan in the wake of heightened tension on the borders.

“A way for dialogue has to be found, Atal Bihari Vajpayee did it. There is a no way forward but only talk, we have fought four wars. At present, borders have been vacated and people are suffering. Dialogue has to be started if not today, but after sometime,” he said.

On asked about his son Omar Abdullah being subjected to secondary immigration check upon his arrival in US today, the NC leader said the US cannot catch real terrorists, but harass innocent people. “They (US) cannot catch real terrorists, but harass those who have nothing to do with terrorism,” he said.

Farooq said that in the past too, the US had done the same with former President APJ Abdul Kalam and former defence minister George Fernandes, who were subjected to extra screening during their visit to that country.

In a series of tweets, Omar Abdullah earlier said that he had to spend two hours at the airport upon his arrival in New York as the US authorities subjected him to “random secondary immigration check”.

“Thrice in three visits, the randomness is growing tiresome now. I just spent TWO hours in a holding area and this happens EVERY time. Unlike @iamsrk I don’t even catch Pokemon to pass the time,” he said. Omar is in New York to speak at an event organised by students of New York University.

West Bengal: CID probe ordered into mysterious death of Jadavpur University alumni Mita Das

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The West Bengal government on Monday ordered a CID probe into the mysterious death of Jadavpur University alumni Mita Das. This comes in the wake of Das’ parents meeting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna – the state secretariat and demanding a speedy investigation into the case and punishment for the guilty. 22-year-old Das was found hanging from the ceiling on October 11 in her in-laws’ house situated in Uluberia. Her parents claim that she was subjected to domestic violence for refusing dowry demands. The post mortem report revealed that Das had a lot of resistance marks on her body and sources in the police highlight that she could have been subjected to some physical fight. Meanwhile, Das’ husband and his family members have been booked on charges of abetment to suicide and domestic violence. While the deceased’s husband and mother-in-law have been arrested, the father-in-law and brother-in-law continue to be at large. News of Mita Das’ death had caused a quite a furore on social media. She was a student of Jadavpur University and the students and alumni demanded justice for her by signing petitions. #JusticeforMita also started trending on social media soon after her death. On Monday, Jadavpur University students hit the streets to register their protest against domestic violence. Students holding placards and shouting slogans took out a massive rally from the Jadavpur 8B bus stand to the Dhakuria flyover demanding justice for Mita. Meanwhile, a similar incident has been reported in Kolkata’s Thakurpukur area. 42-year-old Nabamita Biswas was found hanging from the window of her bathroom. She left a note behind which blamed her husband for her suicide. Her husband Nabarun Biswas has been arrested.

‘I am a Dalit from Guntur’: New video of Rohith Vemula emerges after doubts raised over his caste

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A video, purportedly showing Hyderabad Central University (HCU) research scholar Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide in January, claiming that he is a Dalit has gone viral, days after a judicial panel reportedly rejected his caste status in its probe report. In the video, appeared to have been shot at a tent (named as ‘Dalit ghetto’) near the Shopcom area in HCU where Vemula and his other colleagues had stayed following their suspension, Vemula talked about himself and his background. He is purportedly seen describing himself as a Dalit from Guntur district (of Andhra Pradesh) and that his mother raised him.Vemula also talked about his suspension, his studies and students’ activism in the video clip. After he committed suicide, Vemula’s family members, friends besides political parties alleged that he was a victim of caste discrimination.Students, political parties and social groups had demanded that a ‘Rohith Act’ be brought to end the alleged discrimination in educational institutions against the students belonging to disadvantaged sections.In its report, the Justice Roopanwal Commission, set up by Union HRD Ministry, has stated that material on record did not establish that Vemula was a Dalit and attributed his suicide to personal reasons.The report also gave a clean chit to Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya besides absolving HCU authorities of any blame for Vemula’s death. The Commission is learnt to have raised questions about Vemula’s caste status as a Dalit saying that there is no proof that his mother V Radhika belonged to “Mala” community. Vemula’s suicide had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter. The Commission in its report is understood to have emphasised upon proper grievance redressal mechanisms and equal opportunity cells so that unfortunate incidents like Vemula’s suicide can be prevented.With inputs from PTI

Watch | Maybe RSS teaching was ‘basic core’ for surgical strikes: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Indian Army was giving a befitting reply to ceasefire violations by Pakistan even as he hit out at those seeking proof of cross LoC surgical strikes. “Violations are regularly taking place for the last five-six years, you can take out figures. But the only thing that has changed now is that we are giving effective reply,” he said. To a question on security lapses, Parrikar said, “When you are doing things and if there are lapses in it, then mistakes should be rectified.” He was quoted saying by ANI: “Mahatma ke gaon se aane wale PM,Goa se Defence Min aur surgical strike, equation was different ,maybe RSS teaching was basic core. (Despite a PM coming from Mahatma’s land, and a defence minister from Goa with no history of a martial race we carried out surgical strikes. Maybe RSS teaching was basic core.) He was quoted saying by Indian Express: “I wonder that a Prime Minister from land of Mahatma Gandhi and a defence minister from Goa and surgical strikes, the situation was quite… maybe the RSS teachings was there, but this was very different kind of combination.” He also spoke about criticism against the government and said: “After 18 soldiers were martyred in Uri we had to face a lot of difficult situations. Till the 29th of September, the Prime Minister was targeted on the social media and in other media. Some share of the criticism was also directed towards me.”Surgical strikes, he said, have increased the sensitivity among Indians regarding national security in a very effective way. “From the day of strike till today some politicians are seeking proof,” Parrikar said without taking any names. “When Indian Army says something we should believe it. It (Army) is world’s best, professional, brave and having a very high integrity. I do not feel that anybody will seek proof from them (Army) here in Ahmedabad,” Parrikar said. “Two good things have happened after the surgical strikes. First thing is except some politicians, every Indian is rising in unison and standing behind our brave soldiers.And the second thing is we (Indians) have acquired sensitivity regarding national security in a very effective way,” he said at a function here of Nirma University, called ‘Know my Army’. Parrikar praised the university for organising such a programme and called upon youths to join the Army. Later, Parrikar while talking to reporters, said one thing is clear that his government is serious about national security.On the illegal sneaking-in of people in Gujarat from border adjoining Pakistan, Parrikar said, “BSF is tightening security at the border. You also know that this is a difficult area where we cannot put up fences as it is a marshy area. But we will use technology and fill the gaps to ensure no unauthorised person enters our territory.” With agency inputs

Ashoka University issue: Are universities encouraging liberal, democratic and free speech?

“I think Ashoka University is extremely relevant because this kind of broad-based learning in the humanities and social sciences contributes to the making of a democratic citizenship. Our country needs informed citizens who can question the status quo. This is what teaching at Ashoka meant for me, encouraging students to ask questions and find answers for themselves. It also helped me to explore my own ideas with the active collaboration of the students…We should keep in mind the objective of a liberal education, which, ultimately is an education and preparation for democratic citizenship.”

— Professor Andre Beteille, Chancellor, Ashoka University quoted on The Vision page of the university’s website.

If Ashoka University encourages its students to question, is expressing opinion undemocratic in institutions of higher learning like this one, built on the lines of American universities encouraging liberal, democratic and free speech?

The recent turn of events in the Ashoka University campus speaks otherwise and has raised debate in the academic circle, especially after two of its staffers tendered resignations.

“The students in the universities do have the freedom to express their opinions, but it all depends on the style of functioning of every individual university. For example, our university is much more open,” said Shiv Visvanathan, social observer and professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.

“However, the incident that took place at Ashoka University is a question of technical issue. The media reports have mentioned that university’s letter head was used to express an opinion by the students and three staff members. The vice chancellor has mentioned about the misuse of authority. Things will be clear once more information comes out,” he added.

Ashoka University. University websiteAshoka University. University website

Ashoka University. University website

Ashoka University case

A 25 July petition signed by 88 members of the university, addressed to the J&K government and the Centre, condemned violence after militant Burhan Wani’s death and called for de-militarisation of the state and the conduct of a plebiscite. Signatories included students, alumni, two employees and one faculty member.

7 October: Two university staff members– Saurav Goswami, deputy manager of academic affairs, and Adil Mushtaq Shah, programme manager of academic affairs, of the Young India Fellowship (YIF) sent farewell emails to the current batch of 225 YIF fellows. YIF is a one-year postgraduate diploma programme in liberal studies.

9 October: 168 YIF fellows wrote to Vice-Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee expressing their concerns over the resignation.

10 October: The VC replied the group, promising to hold a meeting with the students soon to discuss the matter with pro-vice chancellor Vineet Gupta and other senior faculty members.

According to The Indian Express report, “The duo stated that the resignation was on personal grounds, but many on campus say the management had made its ‘displeasure’ known to them after the petition went public… It seems too much of a coincidence that the only two employees who signed the petition resign together and leave the university the same day.”

The faculty and the students’ community at Ashoka University are virtually tight-lipped and no one is ready to utter a single word on record. “There is a massive internal pressure from the top on the three staffers including the assistant professor of Mathematics to quit for signing the petition. The management has been questioned on how 88 members could endorse an anti-national issue,” a source close to the developments told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.

According to The Quint:

“On this petition, which was eventually signed by 88 members of the University, the official name of Ashoka University was used. A polite mail from the vice-chancellor soon forbade the students from using the name of the university in an official capacity if only the views of some students are to be expressed… At no point has the university stopped its students from expressing its views in solidarity of a cause they think needs their voice, it simply asked for its official name not to be used on a petition that did not uniformly represent the views of all faculty, management, administration, students and alumni… It’s largely without justification to say that a liberal arts university is violating fundamental rights under pressure from a ‘Hindutva government’.”

Political scientist and professor emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Zoya Hasan said, “Freedom of speech is the essence of democracy and any attempt to curb free speech diminishes democracy and academic freedom. The right to question and freedom to explore are absolutely essential for learning and the academic development of young minds.” She maintained that it was not just the new-age high-profile private universities, but the public ones as well that enjoyed free speech.

“Until recently, most public university students enjoyed complete freedom. These new private universities in India structured similar to the US universities certainly value political and academic freedom. Curbing freedom of speech in a liberal arts university like Ashoka University is unacceptable and the reasons offered so far don’t cut ice,” added Hasan.

Ashoka University is a private educational institution built through “collective public philanthropy.” It is backed by big names in business and academia including Sanjeev Bikhchandani of naukri.com; Sid Yog, managing partner, Xander Group; Puneet Dalmia, MD and CEO, Dalmia Bharat Cement; Pramath Raj Sinha, founding dean, Indian School of Business; and sociologist Andre Beteille who is the chancellor of the university. Ashoka started the YIF programme six years ago and its undergraduate programme began in 2014.

When Firstpost spoke to faculty members of some of the new international private universities like Shiv Nadar University, OP Jindal Global University, Manipal University, etc, they said that there has been no problem with free speech. With lots of foreign students studying on these campuses, no limitation has been set on staffers and students on their freedom of expression. “Even students from Jammu and Kashmir are comfortable here and focussed on their studies. There is no issue as such,” a senior member of the managing committee at Manipal University shared.

JNU student goes missing after altercation with few other students

New Delhi: A Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and AISA activist has gone missing under mysterious circumstances, police said on Sunday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Najeeb Ahmad, pursuing MSc in Biotechnology and resident of room 106 of Mahi/Mandavi hostel, has been missing since Saturday allegedly after an altercation with a few students on Saturday night, they added.

A case under section 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of IPC has been registered at the Vasant Kunj North police station on the basis of a complaint by his parents, police said.

An AISA activist said Najeeb, who joined the hostel a fortnight ago, had an altercation with some ABVP activists on Saturday night when they were holding a door-to-door campaign at the hostel for the mess committee election.

Najeeb allegedly slapped a student following which residents of the hostel asked him to vacate his room.

However, the activist alleged, “It all started with a scuffle between two groups of students, but then an entire group of ABVP activists came to avenge it and beat him up,” the activist said.

All those who tried to save him, including the warden, JNUSU President and hostel residents were also beaten up.

There was a protest organised by JNUSU at the university demanding the JNU administration to immediately take up the matter with the police from the university’s side, said a student.

Omar Abdullah subjected to ‘secondary immigration check’ in US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was subjected to a “secondary immigration check” upon his arrival in the US due to which he had to spend two hours at the airport.”Another random secondary immigration check upon landing in the US. Thrice in three visits, the randomness is growing tiresome now,” Abdullah tweeted.In another tweet he said, “I just spent TWO hours in a holding area & this happens EVERY time. Unlike @iamsrk I don’t even catch Pokemon to pass the time,” a reference to actor Shahrukh Khan, who was “detained” in August at the Los Angeles airport, third time in seven years that he had been stopped by US immigration officials at the country’s airports.Khan too had tweeted that while he fully understood and respected security protocols, “to be detained at US immigration every damn time really really sucks”.Abdullah said he is in the US to speak at an event at New York University “but almost wish stayed at home instead”.”Ah well, that’s two hours well & truly wasted!!,” he said.He is scheduled to speak at the event organised by the students of New York University on October 21 which is expected to be attended by former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy.

JNU student goes missing under mysterious circumstances

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student and AISA activist has gone missing under mysterious circumstances, police said on Sunday.Najeeb Ahmad, pursuing MSc in Biotechnology and resident of room 106 of Mahi/Mandavi hostel, has been missing since yesterday allegedly after an altercation with a few students on Saturday night, they added.A case under section 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of IPC has been registered at the Vasant Kunj North police station on the basis of a complaint by his parents, police said.An AISA activist said Najeeb, who joined the hostel a fortnight ago, had an altercation with some ABVP activists on Saturday night when they were holding a door-to-door campaign at the hostel for the mess committee election.Najeeb allegedly slapped a student following which residents of the hostel asked him to vacate his room.However, the activist alleged, “It all started with a scuffle between two groups of students, but then an entire group of ABVP activists came to avenge it and beat him up,” the activist said.All those who tried to save him, including the warden, JNUSU President and hostel residents were also beaten up.There was a protest organised by JNUSU at the university demanding the JNU administration to immediately take up the matter with the police from the university’s side, said a student.

Protests in JNU after student goes missing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students from Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered outside the campus’s main gate late Sunday night demanding the administration immediately file a police case over a student of the university who allegedly went missing. According to the protesting students, Najeeb, a first-year MSc biotechnology student went missing from campus around 36 hours ago, after he was beaten by some students inside the Mahi Mandavi Hostel.JNUSU President Mohit Pandey – who was reportedly present at the time – said that an ABVP student physically threatened and intimidated the student. Pandey further claimed that a group of goons hit the student in front of the warden and that the boy had been missing since then.A statement by JNUSU said: “We demand the JNU administration immediately file an FIR. The Mahi Mandavi Hostel warden who himself was a witness to the incident must take stringent action in this regard to bring the culprits to task.”Meanwhile, the student’s family has lodged a missing complaint and the University Procter has assured that ‘ the administration will look into the matter on Monday’.

AIMPLB mobilizes support against UCC, says no reform without consensus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) garners support amongst the scholars, maulanas and Ulema in Delhi on the issue of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) being pushed by the government. The board is mobilizing the stakeholders to keep the movement against UCC on.The board sees UCC as another attempt by the government to further isolate the community. The members of the board alleged that in the past two years, the government has stirred issues ranging from love jihad, beef ban, removal of minority status of Aligarh Muslim University and the recent crises in Kashmir. “These are attempts to isolate Muslims. We have taken a blow on our social, economic, and educational status, but we cannot allow the government to play with our religious sentiments and faith,” said Mufti Ejaz Arshad Qasmi, member of the board.AIMPLB, on Saturday, had called about 500 Imans from Delhi and NCR to explain the real situation of the issue. The plan is, if the government fails to understand their position, the Imans will spread awareness about the Islamic divorce proceedings. “The Imans will make people understand the real concept of triple talaq,” said Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, general secretary of the board.AIMPLB also plans to begin a signature campaign, which will be signed by Muslim women demanding no interference from the government in the Sharia law.Law Commission has sought opinions from various stakeholder on the issue of UCC. It is seeking opinion on putting an end to several religious practices. While the commission calls it a nationwide consensus building, the Muslim community feels that it is questioning Muslim practices. “We respect the Indian democracy. But reforms cannot take place without keeping the stakeholders in the loop. It should come with the consensus of the community,” added Qasim.The Saturday meeting was a befitting reply to Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s remark on Friday, when Naidu criticized the AIMPLB for playing politics over the issue, rather than coming on board to discuss the real issue.

AMUSU to launch movement for ‘restoration’ of minority status

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The newly-elected president of the Aligarh Muslim University Students Union, Faizul Hasan, has announced that the students would launch a movement for the “restoration” of the varsity’s minority status. “Within the next 30 days, the agitation would reach New Delhi. The first step would be a dharna at Jantar Mantar,” Hasan said in his speech at the formal installation ceremony of students union yesterday. He lashed out at the Modi government for ignoring the “sensitivities and rights” of minority communities in the country. “Indian Muslims have full faith in the judicial system of the country but the community has also full right to fight for its democratic rights,” he said. He said that “communal polarisation and fragmentation of society” would ultimately grievously weaken the nation. Hasan also alleged that there is rampant corruption and nepotism in the university administration. Speaking on the occasion, AMU Vice Chancellor Lt General Zameeruddin Shah said that he would do his best to fulfil all the “just demands” of the students. Shah said that though his tenure would be ending shortly and the university was facing obstacles in many spheres, he would continue to fight for the betterment of the institution till the last day of his tenure. The present election to the students’ union would serve as the benchmark in the future because of the peaceful manner in which the elections were held, he added. The results of the AMU students’ union elections were declared recently, in which for the first time in the AMUSU history, three out of ten elected members of the union cabinet are girls.

Trouble brewing between DU VC Yogesh Tyagi and HRD ministry?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trouble seems to be brewing between the Delhi University and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, sources in the university told DNA.According to sources, the Vice Chancellor of the university Yogesh Tyagi recently met with senior officials in the HRD Ministry and expressed difficulties in carrying out his duty as the head of the university. Rumours were rife about Tyagi wanting to resign from his position as well. However, this newspaper could not confirm the authenticity of the information.The reason being cited for this trouble is the way the ministry wants the VC to function. A professor close to the VC said: “In our last meeting with the VC, he told us that he wants to run the university according to the ordinances and statutes but is facing difficulty in doing so. He clearly hinted that he is facing difficulties from the government in functioning, be it in hiring of faculty members or other functions of the university, like appointing college principals.”There are around 20 colleges in the university that are currently running without a permanent Principal. “The ministry wants their own people to be appointed as the principals in colleges but that is not happening. Any meeting with the ministry officials is like a diktat and any university VC who does not want to follow the diktat is shown the door,” the source added.Sources in Tyagi’s office said that it has been a long time coming since any official file related to crucial academic matters in the university had been moved.A few days ago, Tyagi also had a tiff with a senior HRD ministry official in a meeting. After Tyagi took over as the Vice Chancellor, he was seen as being close to the BJP government. However, the current developments cast a doubt over this theory. Attempts to inquire the information from the VC went futile.

Contrary to students’ claims, JNU teachers say proposal for yoga, culture courses not rejected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Friday said the varsity has not rejected the proposal to introduce certificate courses in yoga and Indian culture and was deliberating it even as the students union claimed otherwise.JNU Students’ Union maintained that the Academic Council, which is the varsity’s statutory decision-making body, has rejected the proposal to introduce these courses “with majority”.”At a recently convened meeting of the Academic Council, certificate course in computational linguistics was approved and two other courses — yoga philosophy and Indian culture — received wonderful suggestions. It was decided that the centre concerned might improve the courses in the light of suggestions made and then come back to the Council. At no stage the proposal was rejected outright,” a statement issued by JNUTA said.However, JNUSU in a statement said, “While the students continued to protest outside the AC meeting venue, the proposal to introduce short-term courses in yoga and Indian culture was rejected with majority.”When contacted, the university administration did not comment on the “actual status” of the courses.The proposal to introduce three short-term courses in these subjects had come last year against the backdrop of right-wing organisations, including RSS, insisting on propagation of culture in educational campuses to promote India’s rich heritage and restore its cultural identity.Following various communications from the HRD Ministry and the University Grants Commission (UGC), JNU had last year circulated a draft of three courses among its various schools and departments for their feedback. The proposal was rejected by the Academic Council in November.However, the varsity had in May decided to reconsider it and the departments were asked to rework on the proposed course structure and place the same before the council.The matter was placed before the AC which was held last week amid protests by a section of students.

Section of JNU students burns effigy of PM Modi on Dussehra, university probes incident

While Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 26/11 mastermind Hafeez Saeed and heads of several other militant organisations were the faces of Ravana effigies burnt on Dussehra across the country, a section of JNU students chose the visages of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to represent the demon king and burnt his effigy.

Representational image. Tarique Anwar/Firstpost

Representational image. Tarique Anwar/Firstpost

Members of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) celebrated Dussehra on Tuesday night by burning the effigy of Modi as Ravan, claiming that it was a protest against the Centre’s “failure” in honouring its promises and the continuous attacks on various educational institutions across the country.

On Wednesday, the university said it was “investigating the matter”, reported The Indian Express. The university administration had last week ordered a proctorial inquiry into the effigy-burning of the Gujarat government and ‘gau-rakshak’ (cow vigilantes) and issued show-cause notices to the students concerned.

Besides Modi and Shah, the effigy had faces of Yoga guru Ramdev, Sadhvi Pragya, Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu and JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar. The students also carried placards with the slogan, ‘Truth shall prevail over evil’.

“The effigy-burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people,” said Sunny Diman, an NSUI activist and the outfit’s candidate in the recently-concluded JNUSU polls.

“Look at what this government has done to our country. The promises it made are still on paper and are repeated only in speeches. Whenever students want to raise their voice, they are attacked by the administration, certainly on instructions from the government. This Dussehra, we wanted to put an end to these rubbish activities,” he added.

The effigy was burnt at the famous Saraswati Dhaba on the JNU campus. University officials, when contacted, were tight-lipped about whether the students had sought a permission for the event or not.

With inputs from PTI

BJP worker murdered in Pinarayi: Party calls for state-wide strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 25-year-old BJP worker was hacked on Wednesday to death allegedly by CPI(M) activists in the hometown of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the politically sensitive Kannur district, less than 48 hours after the murder of a Marxist member. The murder of the worker identified as Remith at Pinarayi sparked a slugfest between the CPI(M), which is heading the ruling LDF, and the BJP.Protesting against the murder, the BJP has called for a state-wide 12-hour strike from 6 am on Thursday. Remith, who suffered severe injuries on his head and neck in the attack that happened at 10.30am, died on the way to hospital, police said. He was standing near a petrol pump when he was attacked, sending shock waves in the state.”It looks like a political murder. The situation is now under control. Patrolling is on and efforts are on to keep things calm,” IGP(Northern Range) Dinendra Kashyap told PTI.Condemning the killing, BJP National President Amit Shah tweeted:Vijayan, for his part, lashed out at RSS for the growing violence in the state which he alleged was with the support of BJP government at the Centre.Speaking at a function in Alapuzha, Vijayan hit out at RSS and BJP over the attack on a Marxist worker in Kannur two days ago and accused RSS of spreading violence in the state.”The attacks by RSS activists are increasing in the state. They are now showing more tendency of violence with the support of BJP government at the Centre. They are committing murders and spreading lies and misunderstanding among people.” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the violence in Kerala has been started by the RSS-BJP combine itself and blaming the state’s ruling party for the same is “total fabrication” of facts.Blaming “political goondas” of the CPI(M) for the murder, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao demanded a CBI probe, saying it has no faith in the state police and the Left government. The incident comes within two days of murder of a CPI(M) activist and toddy shop worker Mohanan (40) by a six-member gang at Pathiriyad in Kannur district, with CPI(M) pointing fingers at RSS for the attack.BJP leader and former Union Minister O Rajagopal said Chief Minister Vijayan should intervene and take steps to tackle the situation in Kannur as he has the moral responsibility as the Chief Minister.Congress blamed both CPI(M) and BJP for the growing violence in Kannur.KPCC President V M Sudheeran said the CPI(M) and BJP should stop the “blood bath” in the district. Political murders prove that the law and order situation in the state had worsened and the Chief Minister should give up the Home Portfolio, he said.Both CPI(M) and BJP were manufacturing country bombs and collecting arms and ammunition. Since the last four months, when the LDF came to power, there has been seven political murders, and in the last 48 hours 2 killings, he said.Meanwhile, Kerala University and Calicut University have postponed all examinations scheduled for Thursday. In view of the strike, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in the state capital has decided to operate its employee pick-up and drop vehicles in group with police protection.

As Sharif and Hafiz Saeed turn ‘Ravan’ across India, some JNU students burn Modi-Shah effigies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 26/11 mastermind Hafeez Saeed and heads of several other militant organisations were the faces of Ravana effigies burnt on Dussehra across the country, a section of JNU students chose the visages of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to represent the demon king and burnt his effigy. The act might backfire on them considering the university administration’s decision last week to order a proctorial inquiry into the effigy-burning of the Gujarat government and ‘gau-rakshak’ (cow vigilantes) and to issue show-cause notices to the students concerned.Members of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) celebrated Dussehra last night by burning the effigy of Modi as Ravan, claiming that it was a protest against the Centre’s “failure” in honouring its promises and the continuous attacks on various educational institutions across the country.Besides Modi and Shah, the effigy had faces of Yoga guru Ramdev, Sadhvi Pragya, Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu and JNU Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar. The students also carried placards with the slogan, ‘Truth shall prevail over evil’.”The effigy-burning was to symbolise our dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people,” said Sunny Diman, an NSUI activist and the outfit’s candidate in the recently-concluded JNUSU polls. “Look at what this government has done to our country. The promises it made are still on paper and are repeated only in speeches. Whenever students want to raise their voice, they are attacked by the administration, certainly on instructions from the government. This Dussehra, we wanted to put an end to these rubbish activities,” he added.The effigy was burnt at the famous Saraswati Dhaba on the JNU campus. University officials, when contacted, were tight-lipped about whether the students had sought a permission for the event or not. PTI GJS RC SK RC

Calcium supplements may damage your heart: study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking calcium in the form of supplements may raise the risk of plaque buildup in arteries and heart damage, although a diet high in calcium-rich foods appears to be protective, scientists have found.After analysing 10 years of medical tests on more than 2,700 people, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, said the results add to growing scientific concerns about the potential harms of supplement. “Our study adds to the body of evidence that excess calcium in the form of supplements may harm the heart and vascular system,” said Erin Michos, from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Previous studies have shown that “ingested calcium supplements – particularly in older people – do not make it to the skeleton or get completely excreted in the urine, so they must be accumulating in the body’s soft tissues,” said nutritionist John Anderson, from University of North Carolina in the US. Scientists also knew that as a person ages, calcium-based plaque builds up in the body’s main blood vessel, the aorta and other arteries, impeding blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attack. The researchers looked at detailed information from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a long-running research project which included more than 6,000 people. The study focused on 2,742 of these participants who completed dietary questionnaires and two CT scans spanning 10 years apart. The participants chosen for this study ranged in age from 45 to 84, and 51 per cent were female. At the study’s onset in 2000, all participants answered a 120-part questionnaire about their dietary habits to determine how much calcium they took in by eating dairy products, leafy greens and calcium-enriched foods such as cereals. For the analysis, the researchers first split the participants into five groups based on their total calcium intake, including both calcium supplements and dietary calcium. After adjusting the data for age, sex, race, exercise, smoking, income, education, weight, smoking, drinking, blood pressure, blood sugar and family medical history, researchers separated out 20 per cent of participants with the highest total calcium intake, which was greater than 1,400 milligrammes of calcium a day. That group was found to be on average 27% less likely than the 20% of participants with the lowest calcium intake – less than 400 milligrammes of daily calcium – to develop heart disease, as indicated by their coronary artery calcium test. The research was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

JNU professor abused and attacked inside campus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Jawaharlal University (JNU) Professor, Amita Singh, was allegedly abused and attacked inside the university campus by a group of students while she stepped out of the university’s academic council meeting late night on October 7.Claiming to have been abused and called a ‘Sanghi’, the professor has lodged a complaint naming three faculty members on Sunday evening and blamed the JNU teachers’ union (JNUTA) for instigating students to engage in the attacks. The teachers claimed to have no knowledge about the incident, and the students named in the complaint said they ‘only raised slogans’.”I stepped out of the academic council meeting late Saturday evening, and was immediately surrounded by around 20 students. They started calling me out, abusing me, calling me “sanghi” and didn’t even let me move. When I, along with the JNU registrar and proctor tried to get into our car, we were stopped and surrounded by the students who started banging on the car. Some of them even laid down in front of the car,” Professor Amita Singh, who is the Dean of School of Law and Governance, told DNA.As per Singh, the proposal to introduce a new programme in transdisciplinary research was what earned her the students’ ire. “I had presented the proposal for introducing a disaster research programme in the University for a transdisciplinary programme, the talks of which have been going on since 2011, and that has already been passed by five standing committees. But the JNUSU thinks that any new innovation is ‘bhagwakaran’ and I was attacked as soon as I stepped out.,” she added, blaming JNUTA for instigating the students.In her complaint, Singh has named three professors from the University – JNUTA President Professor Ajay Patnaik from School for Russian and central Asian studies, Professor Ayesha Kidwai and Ajith Kanna from School of Language, Literature and Culture studies – as those who instigated the students. While Professor Patnaik said he had no idea about an attack and had left the meeting premises 45 minutes ago, Professor Ayesha Kidwai said the allegations were unfounded.”JNU teachers don’t attack each other, or instigate students to attack fellow teachers. I am not even an academic council member,” said Kidwai. Professor Kanna claimed that he did not know Singh.The Professor has also named some students as being involved in the act.Manikanta, one of the students told DNA, ” We did raise slogans and surround the professor, but there was no violence involved at any point of time.”JNUSU President, Mohit Pandey, also claimed to have no knowledge of any incident “We were inside the meeting where we are supposed to sit as observers. I have no idea about any such occurrence,” he said.University teachers had also met the Vice Chancellor (VC) on Monday, demanding that immediate enquiry be held into the incident and show cause notices be issued to all. The teachers have also asked the VC to ensure that no students are allowed around the location of the meeting.Since the February 13 incident, when Delhi Police had arrested the then JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar, following protests in the university campus against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the university has been on a boil with small skirmishes between groups acquiring ideological colours.

RSS now wants street plays that will teach Indian culture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) now wants to appropriate street plays across universities in India and re-name it as “vithi-natakam”, which is a Hindi translation of the word. Calling ‘nukkad natak’, a leftist idea, the Sangh now wants that these plays should also teach students about the Indian culture and its core values.Through a project named “Udaan”, Sanskar Bharti, the cultural unit of RSS is building up street play groups that can spread awareness about the Indian culture among students. The most important instruction given to these groups is, do not be “anti-national” or “anti-social” while performing your plays.One such event of Udaan was held in Delhi University last month, where around 900 students participated. After Delhi University, Sanskar Bharti has plans to take it to other 12 universities in the national capital including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and private universities including Amity University. They are also working on plans to spread it to other universities across the country.A source in Sanskar Bharti said that they are already in talks with Mumbai University for the event, however nothing has been finalised as of now. Theatre co-ordinator for Sanskar Bharti, Shailesh Shrivastava told dna: “So far, the leftists have been using nukkad natak as a tool for spreading all kinds of anti-social and anti-national messages and especially those in JNU. Through Udaan, we want students to learn about the core values and traditions of Indian culture.””After the sedition row in JNU, we thought that there is a serious need to teach students their cultural values and there could have been no better way to do it, other than the street play. We also want to rename it as vithi-natakam. Vithi means street and natakam is play, so rather than an English — street play or urdu — nukkad natak, we want to give it a hindi name,” he added.Students who become a part of these street play groups have also been promised training by Bolywood actor and BJP sympathiser Anupam Kher’s acting school. In the recently held event in Delhi University, two of the participants have been offered a three-month training course in Kher’s acting school and the expense will be borne by the Udaan team, which is a RSS unit. To be trained at Kher’s acting schoolStudents who become a part of these street play groups have also been promised training by Bolywood actor and BJP sympathiser Anupam Kher’s acting school. In the recently held event in Delhi University, two of the participants have been offered a three-month training course in Kher’s acting school and the expense will be borne by the Udaan team, which is a RSS unit.

Rohith Vemula’s death: Centre refuses to release probe report in public domain

New Delhi: The Centre has declined to make public a panel’s report on the death of research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University.

Replying to an RTI query, it said that the file concerned is “under submission” and a copy of the report cannot be provided.

“The file concerned is under submission. Therefore, a copy of the report cannot be provided at this point of time,” Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry said in reply to the RTI query filed by PTI.

A file image of Rohith Vemula. Image courtesy: Facebook

A file image of Rohith Vemula. Image courtesy: Facebook

It did not cite any provision of the Right to Information (RTI) Act in declining the information.

A government department is expected to mention the relevant provision of the RTI Act under which information is being withheld.

The HRD Ministry had in February appointed a Commission of Inquiry under Justice (retired) Ashok Kumar Roopanwal to look into the events at the University of Hyderabad, culminating in the death of Vemula.

It was also tasked with reviewing the existing grievance redressal mechanism for students at the university and to suggest improvements. The Commission was asked to submit its report within three-month time.

The panel has submitted its report to the HRD Ministry.

Recent media reports have claimed that the Commission has raised questions on Vemula’s Dalit status and attributed his suicide to personal reasons.

University authorities too have been absolved of any blame for Vemula’s death as the Commission has held that they were not working under political pressure, the reports said.

Vemula’s suicide had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter.

The Commission in its report is understood to have emphasised upon proper grievance redressal mechanisms and equal opportunity cells so that unfortunate incidents like Vemula’s suicide can be prevented.

Rohith Vemula’s death due to ‘personal frustration’, not discrimination, says judiciary panel report

The one-man judicial commission set up to probe the circumstances that lead to Rohith Vemula’s suicide has submitted its report stating that Vemula’s mother “branded” herself a Dalit only to obtain the caste benefits, and that the Hyderabad University’s decision to expel Vemula from hostel was “most reasonable”.

The 41-page-report, accessed by The Indian Expressreportedly puts the varsity authorities in the clear stating that the disciplinary actions taken by the administration were “not politically motivated” and that personal frustration, not discrimination led to Vemula’s suicide. The report further hands out a clean chit to Union ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani, who it was alleged put undue pressure on the university to act against Vemula, stating that they were “merely discharging their duties as public servants”.

Rohith Vemula. Twitter profileRohith Vemula. Twitter profile

Rohith Vemula. Twitter profile

The one-man committee, constituted 11 days after Vemula’s suicide by the then Human Resource Development minister Smriti Irani to probe Vemula’s death, is based on the deposition of close to 50 people, most of whom are University staff and teachers, according to The Indian Express.

The report compiled and submitted by the former Allahabad High Court judge AK Roopanwal dismissed the allegations that Vemula was driven to suicide or faced any discrimination, according to The Quint. It came to the conclusion citing a five-day-gap between the nine-member proctorial committee’s report advising that strict action be taken against Vemula on ABVP student leader’s complaint and the letter written by Union Minister of Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya to HRD minister Smriti Irani requesting strict action against Vemula.

Who was Rohith Vemula?

Rohith Vemula was a 26-year-old PhD scholar at the Hyderabad University, who committed suicide on 17 January, 2016, after he and four other students were suspended from the college hostel following a disciplinary action initiated by the University administration on the complaint of a ABVP student leader lodged in August. The ABVP student had alleged that Vemula and other members of the the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) had roughed him up and demanded an apology for posting an ‘angry’ Facebook post, after the ASA protested against the hanging of Yakub Memon. After the ABVP leader’s complaint, the University’s proctorial board launched an enquiry into the matter and recommended strict action against Vemula and others.

The research scholars, following this, were expelled from their hostel in December. They were denied access to hostels and other buildings on the campus, except their classroom, library and conferences and workshops related to their subject of study. They were evicted from their rooms in January and since then they were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus. It is this committee report that the Roopanwal commission drew from, in assuming that the disciplinary action was recommended five days before Dattatreya wrote a letter to the HRD ministry, hence ruling out the possibility of political interference. The judiciary panel probe report also observes that it is highly unlikely that all nine members of the proctorial committee will come under political pressure when none of them were directly under any of the ministers, according to The Quint.

Why is Vemula’s caste important?

Ever since Vemula committed suicide his caste identity has been mired in mystery and has been at the eye of the storm. One reason for it could be that if it is established that Vemula was a Dalit and was led to suicide due to discrimination, then legal action against all accused, including Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad university Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile will be taken as per the more stringent SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act.

If found guilty, not only will the quantum of punishment be stringent, but according to the new law, there is a presumption to the offence clause in the act according to which the court may assume that the accused was aware of the victim’s caste identity unless proved otherwise.

Vemula’s caste has been mired in controversy as his father was a Vaddera (OBC) and his mother, who is separated from his father and brought Vemula up considers herself a Mala (SC). According to a report in Hindustan TimesVemula’s mother was apparently a Mala by birth and was adopted into a Vaddera family. She was thereafter married to a Vaddera but after the couple seperated after marriage, she went back to assume her Mala identity.

The report compiled and submitted by the former Allahabad High Court judge AK Roopanwal dismissed the allegations that Vemula was driven to suicide or faced any discrimination

A probe was launched by the HRD ministry into the caste identity of Vemula and contrasting evidence have surfaced thus far. First, a report published in The Hindu on 15 June states that the Guntur district collector heading the enquiry into Vemula’s caste has stated that he was a Dalit. However, later the collector in a U-turn stated that a fresh probe is needed to determine his caste as it is shrouded in ‘ambiguity.’

The Roopanwal commission has however is of the view that Vemula’s mother “branded” herself a Dalit to avail the benefits of reservations. The commission questioned that Vemula’s adoptive grandmother never revealed his mother’s biological parents’ identity so how can she be sure about their caste, according to The Indian Express report.

However, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman PL Punia on Thursday rejected the reported finding of the Roopanwal Commission that Rohith Vemula did not belong to the SC community as “totally wrong“. NCSC chairman said the statutory body and the district collector have, in separate reports, found that the Hyderabad Central University research scholar belonged to the Dalit community, and not Other Backward Class (OBC).

However, according to a PTI report, HRD ministry sources have earlier said that in its recommendations, the Roopanwal commission has also emphasised that there should be proper grievance redressal mechanisms, equal opportunity cells so that unfortunate incidents like Vemula’s suicide can be prevented.

“The government will focus that those recommendations are implemented that will ensure that proper mechanisms are in place,” a source said.

The government will not go into those aspects of the report which were not in the commission’s terms of reference including determination of Vemula’s caste, sources added.

It is also understood that in the report, the commission has held that Vemula could not be held to be a Dalit. However, sources maintained that the ministry would focus on implementation of recommendations and prefer not go into aspects like determination of Vemula’s caste.

Rohith Vemula suicide: Probe alleges frustration drove him to commit suicide; mother ‘branded’ herself as Dalit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Justice (retd.) AK Roopanwal Commission, which was constituted by the HRD Ministry to look into the circumstances leading to the death of Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University, has said that personal frustration drove the Dalit scholar to commit suicide and that his mother faked their Dalit status.According to the Indian Express, one of the salient conclusions of the 41-page probe report submitted by former Allahabad High Court judge Roopanwal in August is that Vemula’s mother ‘branded’ herself as Dalit to avail the benefits of reservation. The report also alleges personal frustration and not discrimination as the reason that drove Vemula to suicide.The report further said that the inquiry concluded that Vemula’s mother ‘branded’ herself as Mala only because she managed to get the caste certificate from a person named Uppalapati Danamma, then a corporator, in whose house she remained for one and half years.
ALSO READ JNUSU polls: Aspirants debate on Rohith Vemula suicide, JNU row, nationalismThe commission has also rejected a claim that the decision to expel Vemula and his batchmates was taken due to pressure. It also says that Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani were only discharging their duties.In August, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman PL Punia had rejected the reported finding of the Roopanwal Commission that Rohith Vemula did not belong to the SC community and called it “totally wrong”.Rohith Vemula had committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of a hostel room in the university. Vemula’s suicide had triggered a huge political storm with opposition parties launching a massive attack on the Union Government over the issue.

Radical Pro Pak woman separatist leader arrested in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir police achieved major success on Tuesday when they arrested hard-line pro-Pakistan woman separatist leader and Dukhtaran-e-Milat (DeM) supremo Aasiyeh Andrabi from her hideout in Kral Khud area of Srinagar city.Aasiyeh, who was instrumental in mobilizing women protests and leading the agitation from underground, has been evading arrest for more than three months.Despite being one of the most wanted by police, Aasiyeh managed to reach Tral and lead a massive protest after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani.”Aasiyeh was not keeping well for the last three months. Her health was continuously deteriorating since she was forced to stay indoors. Aasiyeh was arrested from Kralkhud area earlier on Tuesday. She has been taken to an unknown location,” said Nahida Nasreen, DeM general secretary.Aasiyeh, (52) had been evading arrest for many months now and the police raided several of her hideouts without any success. A science graduate and a fiery orator, Aasiyeh is the chairperson of Kashmir’s biggest women separatist group, Dukhtaran-e-Milat (DeM). Belonging to a highly respected family of Srinagar, Aasiya was influenced by the Islamic teachings from her student days.She is influenced by her brother Inayat ullah Andrabi, a former teacher of Linguistics at Kashmiri University now living in self-imposed exile. He was member of Islamic Jamiat Tulba, the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami and left a deep imprint on his sister who first hogged the limelight in 1987-88 when she started a campaign against the obscene posters and hoardings in Srinagar.She married a militant commander of Jamait-ul-Mujadeen Mohammad Qasim Faktoo in early nineties. She and her husband were arrested with her new born baby and sent to jail. Her husband is facing a life sentence for allegedly killing a human rights activist in Kashmir. A scholarly person, he completed PhD in jail.After she was released, she started the Purdah campaign asking women to wear the veil or Abhaya. Such was her impact that at one time black cloth went out of stock because of the heavy demand from the women. Her cadres even sprinkled colour on women who did not observe purdah.She has two sons Mohammad Bin Qasim and Ahmad Bin Qasim. “We appeal the general masses to continue the struggle for freedom till the occupier calls it quits. We should not feel tired and the arrests of our leaders should not let us down at any cost. This is the part of our struggle against Indian occupation,” Nasreen said.

HRD Ministry seeks President’s nod for inquiry into complaints against AMU VC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The HRD ministry has written to the President seeking permission to conduct a ‘visitorial inquiry’ into allegations of irregularities against the Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).Officials said that a complaint alleging financial and administrative irregularities against AMU VC Lt General (retd) Zameeruddin Shah had been received by the ministry, which it has forwarded to the President. Shah had been appointed by the UPA in 2012 and his term expires next year, sources said.They added that the complaint against Shah contained various allegations of financial and other irregularities which has been forwarded to the President, who is the visitor of all central universities. Officials said that in another case a complaint of irregularities had also been made against the VC of Allahabad University. A proposal seeking an inquiry in this regard has also reportedly been moved for the President’s approval.Meanwhile, Shah denied the allegations against him and said he was “prepared to face any inquiry”.”The allegations of financial and administrative irregularities are untrue and have been designed to sully my image by vested interests”, the AMU VC told PTI. “I am however fully prepared to face any such inquiry if and when it is instituted,” he added.Asked whether he felt the NDA government was targeting him for championing the cause of the university’s minority character, the VC denied it. “The charges against me are being levelled by some vested interests to jeopardise and prejudice the ongoing case against my appointment in the apex court,” he said.

Govt to judge technical and non-technical institutes in one category under NIRF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Human Resource Development Ministry’s new plan of ranking colleges instead of universities in the top 10, under National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) is likely to invite controversy as technical and non-technical colleges will be judged in the same category.According to the idea approved by the internal committee of NIRF, institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will now fight along with the likes of Loyola College and Presidency College in the race to become the number one college in the country.While stream-wise ranking like Management, Engineering and Pharmacy will be allotted this year as well, the category for best college is likely to invite trouble as all the institutes that have a student strength of more than 1000 students will be put under the same bracket, including technical and non-technical institutes.The criterion on which the colleges will be judged are infrastructure per student, student-wise budget spent, student-teacher ratio apart from faculty and placements.”When we were raking universities, we were looking at the overall infrastructure, budget and other things, now we will have to look at it in terms of per student,” said a source.According to sources, categories like Medical, Law and Humanities and Social Sciences will also be added to the rankings. “The decision to add more categories has been taken because now the rankings will be for particular colleges and not a university as an entity,” the source added.More than 3000 colleges including Loyola College, Presidency College and various Delhi University colleges have already registered for NIRF.The ranking system, a brainchild of the previous HRD Minister Smriti Irani, was introduced for universities this year.Until this year, ranking of institutions was only done by private bodies, however the former HRD minister, Smriti Irani initiated ranking of educational institutions by the government and entries were invited by all institutions towards year end. The rankings will be released every year, by the first week of April.

Japanese scientist wins Nobel medicine prize for work on self-eating cell mechanism | Reuters

By Niklas Pollard and Kate Kelland
| STOCKHOLM/LONDON

STOCKHOLM/LONDON Japan’s Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for medicine for ground-breaking experiments with yeast which exposed a key mechanism in the body’s defences where cells degrade and recycle their components.Understanding the science behind the process, called “autophagy” or “self-eating”, has led to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and type 2 diabetes, the prize committee said in its statement on Monday.”Ohsumi’s discoveries led to a new paradigm in our understanding of how the cell recycles its content,” it said.The Physiology or Medicine prize, the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year, is worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($933,000).Ohsumi, born in 1945 in Fukuoka, Japan, has been a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology since 2009. He told Kyodo News agency he was “extremely honoured” to get the prize.In a separate interview with broadcaster NHK, he said he had “always wanted to do something that other people wouldn’t do”.

“I thought the breakdown (of cells) would be interesting, and that was my start,” he said.Ohsumi’s work – carried out in the 1990s and described by commentators as “paradigm-shifting” and “pioneering” – included locating the genes that regulate autophagy. This is important for medicine because it helps show why errors in these genes can contribute to a range of diseases.David Rubinsztein, deputy director of Cambridge University’s Institute for Medical Research, said Ohsumi had provided scientists around the world with “critical tools” to help them understand how disrupted autophagy can contribute to illnesses including infectious diseases, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

Christer Hoog, a professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, told Reuters the work helped explain crucial processes in human development, from growing up, to ageing to succumbing to disease.”In the very early stages (of a human’s development) your organs and your whole body is constantly being made over again – you are growing. So you need to get rid of the old stuff and generate new structures,” he said. “When you undergo aging, you have structures that have to be taken away and this – autophagy – is the principle that gets rid of them.

“If you affect this system – the genes and proteins involved in autophagy – you no longer can take care of the waste, and once it accumulates you will get some type of disease.” This year, the Karolinska Institute, which awards the Nobel medicine prize, has been immersed in a scandal over the hiring of a controversial surgeon. The Swedish government dismissed several members of the board in September. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. ($1 = 8.5776 Swedish crowns) (Additional reporting by Stockholm Newsroom and by Minami Funakoshi in Tokyo; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Robin Pomeroy)

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