Indian elected to International Law Commission

United Nations, Nov 4 (IANS) India’s Aniruddha Rajput has been elected by the UN General Assembly to the International Law Commission (ILC).

Rajput received 160 votes on Thursday, outpolling the other nine Asian candidates vying for the seven ILC seats for the region. Among them, Japan’s candidate got 148 votes and China’s 146.

A total of 34 candidates were elected to five-year terms on the Geneva-based body that works on developing and codifying international law.

In his early 30s, Rajput will be the youngest member of the Commission. He completed his PhD in law from the National University of Singapore only last year.

Rajput, who practices before the Indian Supreme court, was the lawyer for the Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre’s controversial suit filed last year challenging Article 35A of the Constitution that allows state governments to give special rights and privileges to its permanent residents that are not available to other citizens.

The controversial suit focuses on that article’s application in Kashmir where, according to Rajput, the state Assembly passed laws that were drafted narrowly to exclude certain communities.

The chairman of the ILC, Narinder Singh of India, will complete his term by the end of this year. He was first elected in 2006 and then re-elected in 2011.

Singh, who is also the incumbent Secretary General of the Indian Society of International Law, is a former External Affairs Ministry legal adviser and head of its Legal and Treaties Division.

Rajput’s candidature is a departure from the tradition of India nominating the heads the Legal and Treaties Division.

His basic law degree is from the ILS Law College in Pune and he did his LLM at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

According to his biodata circulated by the UN, Rajput has advised on potential claims in US courts under Alien Tort Claims Act and British courts under universal jurisdiction for violations of rights of certain communities.

He drafted the Sports Bill, 2012, at the second revision stage and has advised the state governments of Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir on laws relating to industry and mining.

He is also a member of the Governing Council of the Global Village Foundation.

New Delhi, India

World’s 10 fastest growing megacities

A United Nations study of emerging and developing economies has just announced the 10 most rapidly growing megacities (with more than 10 million inhabitants). In 1990, there were 10 cities with more than 10 million urban agglomerations; today the number of megacities has nearly tripled and by 2030, the number of megacities is expected to rise to 41.

Guangdong in China has been ranked the world’s fastest growing megacity. Here’s a list of the other fast-growing megacities:

Urban Agglomeration: Guangzhou, Guangdong China
Average annual rate of change percent: 5.2 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 3072 – 11843 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Beijing, China
Average annual rate of change percent: 4.6 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 6788 – 19520 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Average annual rate of change percent: 4.2 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 3683 – 11116 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Lagos, Nigeria
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.9 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 4764 – 12614 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.6 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 6621 – 16982 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Shanghai, China
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.4 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 7823 – 22991 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Chongqing, China
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.4 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 4011 – 12916 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Tianjin, China
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.4 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 4558 – 10860 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: Lahore, Pakistan
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.3 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 3970 – 8500 (Population in thousands)

Urban Agglomeration: New Delhi, India
Average annual rate of change percent: 3.2 (2010–2015)
Year 1990 – 2014: 9726 – 24953 (Population in thousands)

A paramilitary trooper stands guard during curfew in Kashmir. More than 50 people have been killed and thousands injured in weeks of unrest, sparked by the death of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8. (AFP Photo)

Separatists call for march to Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar as curfew remains

The state capital remained under a curfew on Friday ahead of a march proposed by separatist leaders towards the famous Hazratbal shrine, four weeks after militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir.

The leaders called on locals to hold congregational prayers at the holy place by the Dal Lake.

The move comes amid an appeal to people by Syed Ali Geelani, who chairs the hardliner Hurriyat faction, to march towards the Hazratbal from early Friday morning “in large numbers”. This prompted authorities to enforce strict restrictions on movements in places across the city since the wee hours.

Besides barricades and barbed wires, security personnel were deployed at the commercial centre of Lal Chowk and nearby areas.

On Thursday, Geelani exhorted people residing around the Dal and the Nigeen lakes to march towards the shrine in shikaras and boats.

The separatist leadership further stepped up their schedule of protest, extending the shutdown call till August 12, saying there will be no relaxation after 6 pm—as was the case in the last three days on alternate days starting August 6.

Apart from the regular shutdown, the leaders asked people to “assemble and occupy local chowks and centers from Asar to Magrib in the vicinity of mohallas, villages and localities” on Saturday.

On August 8, the protest calendar asked people to “block all roads towards and around Civil Secretariat Srinagar, DC and Tehsil offices and ensure that no employee is able to join the duty on the day”.

The calendar also laid out schedule for cleanliness and sanitation drive, protests by women and playing of Islamic and pro-Azaadi songs in mosques.

Two deaths, earlier this week, pushed the region to the brink just as it was limping back towards normalcy.

The state police arrested 349 persons and detained 122 more as it launched a crackdown against “hooligans and miscreants”.

Several protest rallies broke out in different parts of the Valley on Thursday, with scores injured in clashes with security personnel. Local media reports said nearly 80 persons were injured.

AAP's MP Bhagwant Mann got into trouble for posting a video showing security details inside the Parliament. He apologised for the video, but is facing an enquiry. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Parliament video: Defiant Mann says Lok Sabha probe panel biased

Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann has refused to change his statement submitted to the Lok Sabha panel investigating a Parliament complex video put out by him for alleged security breach.

“I will not change my statement. I will change the date on it and return it if they ask for another statement,” Mann told HT over the phone from Chandigarh on Thursday night, accusing the panel of bias.

The Lok Sabha member from Sangrur has been advised by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to stay away from the House till the completion of the probe.

Read | Let panel probe, allow me to attend House: Bhagwant Mann

He had in July live-streamed one of his visits to Parliament and also posted the video on Facebook on July 21, saying he was exposing chinks in the security setup.

His action drew condemnation from fellow MPs, who accused him of compromising Parliament’s security and a probe was ordered.

In his statement to the panel, the comedian-turned politician sought to turn the tables on the ruling NDA, demanding that it summon Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Read | Mann’s journey from comedy king to controversy’s favourite child

Mann accused Modi of compromising the country’s security by allowing members of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence to visit the Pathankot airbase, which was attacked by terrorists on January 2.

The MP will have to stay away from Parliament for another two weeks after the Speaker on August 3 extended the deadline given to the nine-member panel to complete the probe.

Hitting back at the panel chief, BJP lawmaker Kirit Somaiya, Maan said he was “already biased even before the probe began”. Somaiya and his party colleague Meenakshi Lekhi had spoken against him in the media. “Yet, they were made a part of the committee,” Mann told HT.

The 42-year-old, who will lead his party’s poll campaign in Punjab, posted another video on his Facebook page on Thursday, reading out Mahajan’s letter “ordering” him to stay away from Parliament till the probe was over.

Read | AAP’s Bhagwant Mann sorry for video but House in no mood to let up

“I will stay away but this amounts to dishonouring people’s will,” Mann said. It was an attempt by the BJP to prevent him from questioning the government, he said.

The Speaker has advised Mann not to attend the House till the probe is over. “The extension gives Mann another chance to remove the contradictions in his statement,” Somaiya said on August 3

In his statement, Mann said he had committed no wrong and the matter should end there, sources said. He had also tendered unconditional apology. “If he continues taking Parliament lightly, the committee will take a serious view,” Somaiya had said.

The AAP is testing electoral waters in Punjab, which is due for polls early next year, for the first time. The young party has presented itself has a third alternative to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine and the opposition Congress in the border state.

Describing Hinduism as a way of life, Mohan Bhagwat said “it is more inclusive and not exclusive. (PTI File Photo)

Hinduism is more inclusive and not exclusive: Mohan Bhagwat

Describing Hinduism as a way of life, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat said “it is more inclusive and not exclusive”.

Addressing the concluding session of the three-day ‘Sanskriti MahaShibir’ organised by the UK-based charity Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh at Hertfordshire, about 50 km from London, Bhagwat spoke about the positive aspects of Hinduism which believed in the principle of Vasudeva Kutumbakam (the world is one family).

“In a diverse world, every culture has to be respected and when all cultures are respected, the world will flourish,” the RSS chief told over 2,200 delegates from the UK and the Europe who attended the MahaShibir.

Describing Hinduism as a way of life, he said “it is more inclusive and not exclusive.

He also spoke about the conflict between development and environment and said “Hinduism has answers to the question ‘should environment be compromised because of development’.

Emphasising that exercise is essential for a healthy body and mind, Bhagwat said “healthy society depends on leading a disciplined life, with proper eating habits and regular exercise.”

During the three-day deliberations there were in-depth discussion among others on ‘Sanskaar’ (values of life), ‘Sewa’ (selfless service) and ‘Sangathan’ (community spirit).

The MahaShibir was addressed among others by Swami Dayatmananda, Head of Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre UK, Swami Nirliptananda, Head of London Sewashram Sangh UK and Acharya Vidya Bhaskar, Omkarananda Ashram Switzerland.

Masked Kashmiri protestors shout pro-freedom slogans during a protest in downtown Srinagar. A video of Iftikhar Hussain Misger pledging his support to the Kashmiri freedom struggle and quitting NC has gone viral in the Valley. (AFP Photo)

Senior leader quits NC, pledges support for Kashmir freedom struggle

A video of a senior National Conference (NC) leader, who fought an election against chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, pledging his support to the Kashmiri freedom struggle and quitting his party has gone viral in the Valley.

“I pledge my support to the ongoing freedom struggle and announce my resignation from mainstream politics and the NC,” Iftikhar Hussain Misger is seen as saying in the video, surrounded by hundreds of young men.

He is also seen shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Misger fought and lost against Mehbooba in the Anantnag bypolls in June. The region is one of the worst affected by the ongoing unrest in the Valley that have already claimed 50 lives and injured nearly 2,000 people.

If he formally quits, it will be a big setback for the NC at a time its rival, Mehbooba’s Peoples Democratic Party, is rapidly becoming unpopular in the Valley following nearly a month-long cycle of violence, triggered by the death of insurgent Burhan Wani.

In the video, Misger is seen telling a cheering crowd that he has “given up his security and will soon make his decision to quit public’’.

Misger is seen shouting slogans like, “Hum le ke rahengay Azaadi”, “Bharat Ka Jo Yaar Hai Gaddar Hai Gaddar Hai” and “Bharat Ke Aiwanon Ko Aag Laga Do”. HT couldn’t independently verify the video.

Sources said the video was shot near Misger’s residence, near the volatile Cheeni Chowk area of Anantnag, and that he was taken to a mosque by the mob and asked to quit mainstream politics.

Misger was not available but senior NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar said he couldn’t comment “on the circumstances the video was shot in’’.

“I have been trying to contact him but he is not available. We don’t know what has happened outside his residence. We are trying to contact him to ascertain facts,’’ Sagar said.

Sources in the party said a crowd of protestors entered Misger’s home and forced him to pledge support to “freedom movement’’.

The NC fielded Misger against late chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed from the Anantnag constituency in 2014 assembly polls. He lost the election.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrives in Parliament during the monsoon session. (PTI File)

Rahul Gandhi to speak on price rise in Lok Sabha

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is expected to speak on rising food prices in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, one of the issues the Opposition party is looking to corner the government on.

Wholesale inflation rose sharply to 1.6 % in June compared to a rise of just 0.8% in May. The increase in food prices quickened to 8.2% in June, compared to a 7.8% jump in May.

Pulses and some vegetables have been the main contributors to spiraling prices in recent months and the Congress has hit out at the Modi government failing the common man.

Rising food inflation is a major worry not just because it roils household budgets but also hinders the government’s growth agenda.

Last week, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had asking the party MPs to aggressively take up the issue and hold the government and its ministers accountable for spiralling prices.

Pricey pulses have been a cause of concern. HT wrote on July 17 that the government was working on a new policy framework to rein in the inflationary impact and stabilise the supply of pulses, a widely consumed but scarce food item with economy-wide implications.

Three ministries – agriculture, food and finance – and the state-run policy think-tank Niti Aayog are coordinating efforts to frame the new measures that will see the government act as a key importer of pulses.

The food ministry has proposed imports through longer-term government-to-government deals rather than just “spot purchases”. India has already signed a bilateral pact with Mozambique for growing and importing pulses. The Myanmar government is examining a similar draft agreement from India.

The supply of lentils, a common source of protein for the poor, has failed to keep pace with demand, because rising incomes have led to higher consumption of protein, analysts say.

AAP's Bhagwant Mann addresses the media during the monsoon session of Parliament in New Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Bhagwant Mann to appear before Lok Sabha panel today over Facebook video

Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann is scheduled to appear before a Lok Sabha panel on Thursday to defend his Facebook video of his journey from home to Parliament that allegedly compromised the security set up.

Mann, who is scheduled to appear before the panel at 3pm, may be accompanied by a lawyer. Sources said that his plan to bring a lawyer could be a signal that the MP is in a mood to fight it out.

“I don’t think there is a problem if a lawyer comes with him. But the lawyer can’t act as a witness before the panel,” said a member of the nine-member committee headed by BJP MP Kirit Somaiyya.

On July 21, the AAP MP had uploaded the video of his controversial drive-through on Facebook that detailed the security system in and around Parliament.

A TIMELINE

  • July 21: AAP MP Bhagwant Mann posts a self-made video on Facebook that showed his journey from his Delhi home to Parliament
  • July 22: In the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the BJP, Congress and the Akali Dal trigger a furore, alleging that the video compromised Parliament’s security. They demand action against Mann
  • July 22: Maan removes the video from Facebook, apologises to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. But she rejects his apology. “We may have to take action,” the Speaker tells the media.
  • July 25: Mahajan forms a panel of nine MPs from different parties to look into the issue. She also “advises” Mann against attending the House till the matter is settled. The panel meets in the evening
  • July 25: Mann calls a press conference, alleges conspiracy by the BJP, Akali Dal and the Congress
  • July 26: Panel summons Delhi top cop Alok Kumar Verma, quizzes watch and ward division of the Lok Sabha
  • July 26: Mann says if he is held guilty of security breach, PM Narendra Modi should also be suspended as he allowed ISI sleuths to come to Pathankot for probing a terror attack
  • July 27: Panel meets again, quizzes junior security officers
  • July 28: Mann to appear with a lawyer

 

While the video triggered an uproar in Parliament, Mann described it as an ‘educational video’. Unimpressed by his apology, the Speaker asked Mann to stay away from the House until the panel completes its probe.

The BJP and the Akali Dal are keen to see Mann punished, but an Opposition leader pointed out that in August 2005, Parliament security found BJP Lok Sabha MP Vijayendra Pal Singh’s Mercedes car parked in the Parliament complex with a fake sticker.

Singh had claimed it was a deliberate attempt to show the loopholes in the security. The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha conducted an inquiry and disapproved of Singh’s “indiscretion” but treated the issue as closed.

The Somaiyya Kirit panel has been asked to submit report on August 3. The committee has already quizzed Lok Sabha’s watch and ward staff and Delhi police commissioner Alok Kumar Verma.

Salman Khan

Salman Khan acquitted in 1998 blackbuck and chinkara poaching cases

The Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur today acquitted Salman Khan in the blackbuck and chinkara poaching cases.

Salman had appealed before the high court challenging the lower court’s verdict that had handed him one and five years’ imprisonment, respectively, in the two separate cases of poaching.

The hearing was completed in these cases in the last week of May and the decision was reserved by the high court.

EIGHT BOOKED IN TWO CASES 

Khan and seven others are accused of killing a blackbuck and chinkara in two separate incidents.

One of the animals was killed at Bhawad on the outskirts of Jodhpur on September 26, 1998, and the other at Ghoda Farms on September 28, 1998.

At that time, they were shooting for the film “Hum Sath Sath Hain”.

Salman has been lodged in Jodhpur jail earlier too.

Picture for representational purpose

Israeli woman gangraped after six men offer her ride to Manali

A 25-year-old Israeli woman was allegedly gangraped by two persons near Manali after she hitchhiked a car ride in the wee hours of Sunday, a police official said.

According to the police, the woman was planning to visit Kaza in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh and was looking for a taxi when a vehicle without a number plate offered her a lift to Manali, so that she could get a taxi from there.

The woman alleged that the vehicle had six men and two of them raped her at a location she could not identify, and then dropped her in Manali.

The medical examination of the victim has been conducted and the report has been sent to Mandi for expert opinion. Kullu Superintendent of Police Padam Chand told India Today TV, “The medical examination has been carried out and sent Mandi for expert opinion. The woman has reported that she was looking for an auto or any vehicle near Manali when she was offered the lift.”

EFFORTS ON TO NAB THE ACCUSED

A case under section 376 (rape) of IPC has been registered and investigations are underway. A massive manhunt has been launched and efforts are on to identify the vehicle and the accused.

The police is hopeful of nabbing the culprits as CCTV cameras have been installed in the entire area, police said, adding that the CCTV footage is being scanned.

Kashmir Violence

Kashmir unrest: Pellet injuries kill youth, death toll rises to 45

Another youth was killed in clashes that broke out in Pulwama district on Friday evening rising the death toll to 45. The violence which broke out in response to the killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani has injured thousands of civilians so far.

Just as normalcy seeped in for a brief period, incidents of clashes and stone pelting were reported from Baramulla, Kupwara and Pulwama districts on Friday evening. Curfew continues in 10 districts of the valley in the wake of the sporadic incidents of violence. YOUTH DIES OF PELLET INJURIES

The youth identified as Mushtaq Ahmed Bhat suffered severe injuries after being hit by pellets. Bhat who sustained injuries to his abdomen was rushed to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital. However, the youth succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Bhat was among those protesting at Chursoo in Awantipor area of Pulwama district.

Reportedly eight persons including a four-year-old child were injured in pellet firing on Friday evening. Sources said that the boy was the youngest victim of the pellet firing by security forces in the clashes. HOME MINISTER TO VISIT THE VALLEY Home minister Rajnath Singh will visit the valley today. Singh will be  interacting with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and other senior officials. Singh will also be reviewing the law and order situation in the Valley. Singh will also meet  leaders from different political parties, social organizations and public representatives. The home minister will be discussing the situation and future course of action.

Kashmir unrest

Morning newswrap July 23

The CRPF constable, who was hit on the head by a mob inside Srinagar’s prestigious SMHS hospital, is critical. The constable was part of an escort party that was taking a CRPF official, who had suffered a heart attack during riot control duty, to the hospital.

ATTACK ON MEN IN UNIFORM

Another CRPF personnel who suffered a splinter injury in the head in a grenade attack during stone-pelting at Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar, is also grave.

On July 11, around 9 pm, Constable Rahul R complained of pain in the left side of the chest. He was immediately referred to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Karan Nagar by the CRPF doctor. Along with the doctor and two armed escort personnel, the CRPF patient was taken to hospital where doctors said he had suffered a heart attack.

“Just then a mob assembled and noticed the CRPF personnel in uniform at the hospital and attacked them. The CRPF person who had suffered a heart attack was immediately taken into another room by the doctors. Head Constable Joginder Singh and Constable Pawan were attacked by the mob who tried to snatch their weapons,” top sources in the CRPF told MAIL TODAY.

MAIL TODAY has accessed the CRPF signal generated after the incident and it reads: “When the patient was taken into the emergency department of the hospital, a group of youth attacked the escort personnel all of a sudden and tried to snatch away their weapons. Head Constable Joginder Singh and Constable Pawan were in the escort party. In the scuffle, Head Constable Joginder was caught in the middle of the crowd and suffered injuries as he got hit by a hard object.

The mob also tried to put the (CRPF) vehicle on fire. However, Constable Pawan managed to take hold of both the weapons and ran out of the hospital with the driver and the vehicle saving both the weapons.” “It appears that Head Constable Joginder Singh’s helmet fell off during the scuffle. As he tried to retrieve it, the mob pushed him on the ground and hit him on his head. He suffered a skull fracture,” Atul Karwal, Inspector General of the CRPF in Srinagar confirmed. Despite the head injury, a bleeding Joginder Singh managed to reach the police station outside the hospital where the police sent out an urgent message for reinforcements. “The Jammu and Kashmir police personnel rushed inside the hospital and rescued the CRPF personnel inside who had suffered a heart attack and was kept hidden by the staff. As soon as reinforcements including DC (Ops) arrived, under police protection, the injured head constable and the patient who suffered the heart attack were shifted to a hospital,” another official said. 10 OUT OF 21 OFFICERS IN HOSPITAL The CRPF is also concerned about the condition of the constable who suffered a grenade splinter injury on the head while withdrawing from the Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar. “The CRPF team that was deployed downtown was withdrawing in the evening. Twenty-two CRPF personnel were injured. Ten of them are still in hospital, two with head injuries,” Karwal added. The CRPF has credited its personnel for showing utmost restraint and not opening fire despite such severe attacks and threat to life and weapons. “Our personnel are still in hospital. They remain on the critical list. We hope they will recover soon with no permanent damage,” he added.

Fadnavis government has said, will provide all possible help to the victim family. Photo credit: Reuters

Support rape victims family first, take jibes later: Fadnavis to Opposition

Criticising the stand taken by Opposition over Ahmednagar rape and murder case of minor, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis today slammed and asked them to support viticm’s family in this tough situation instead.

UJJWAL NIKAM TO TAKE UP THE CASE

Talking to media on the occasion of tea party prior to State Assembly’s Monsoon Session CM said,” We have requested senior advocate Ujjwal Nikam to take this case in fast track court. Also our government is providing full support to victim’s family.”

ROWS TO SETTLE

Fadnavis also slammed Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhepatil and asked them to apologize to Cabinet Minister Ram Shinde for defaming his name over a photo which got viral on net. He had levlled an allegation saying the person standing next to Minister Ram Shinde is one of the accused in this case.

DRAMA NOT FAR BEHIND

But, in Kopardi today a high drama took place. NCP leader Chitra wagh first met family members of the victim and when MoS for Home Deepak Kesarkar came there, she presented her set of bangles to him as a sign of protest.

SPEEDY TRIAL AND MORE

MoS for Home Deepak Kesarkar assured family members of the victim a speedy trial.

NCP leader Dhanajay Munde who left the Annual Press Conference of Opposition before Monsoon Session early to meet the victim’s family slammed Maha CM. “Being home minister of the state, CM should have visited here first before anyone.”

Just prior to Monsoon Session of State Assembly, Opposition has got very strong issues in their hand to corner the Fadnavis government.  It will be interesting to see how his government tackles it.

Image for representation

Corporate affairs DG, three others arrested for accepting bribe of Rs 9 lakh

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested four persons including director  general of Corporate Affairs on charges of accepting bribe.

The main accused B K Bansal and Vishwadeep Bansal were arrested for reportedly seeking a bribe of Rs nine lakh fix violations committed by Mumbai-based Elder pharmaceuticals company. Sources said that the transaction reportedly took place outside a Delhi-based hotel.

“Rs 56.2 lakh were recovered from Bansal after six different locations in Delhi were raided. While we recovered Rs 16 lakh from Vishwadeep who was the middleman,” said an official.

DG SOUGHT BRIBE FROM MUMBAI-BASED PHARMA

CBI officials said that  Bansal had been dealing with the Mumbai-based pharma company for last few days. He allegedly sought the bribe to fix the violations committed by the company.

Sources said that television actor and chief operating officer of Elder Pharmaceuticals Anuj Saxena approached Vishwadeep who acted as a middleman in the transaction. Saxena is among those named in the case.

An official said that the director general reportedly sought a bribe of Rs 50 lakh to not recommend an investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation office on  the report.

DG  ARRESTED WHILE ACCEPTING BRIBE

The amount was later reduced to Rs 20 lakh after the parties negotiated. Bansal had received Rs 11 lakh earlier. The CBI sleuths arrested Bansal when he was accepting the remaining Rs nine lakh.

×

The accused were produced before a Delhi court. While Bansal was remanded to two day in police custody, Vishwadeep was remanded to five days. Two other accused identified as Vinod Singh and Gopal Krishnan were remanded to one day and two days of police custody respectively.

The police are currently investigating documents recovered from the accused.

kashmir-647_071116101640

Kashmir remains under curfew, 23 dead so far, Amarnath Yatra on hold

Life in Kashmir continues to remain paralysed following heightened tension over the death of 23 people, including a policeman, during widespread protests across the Valley against the killing of top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani last week.

While curfew continues in Tral, Pulwama, Anantnag and seven police station areas of Srinagar, mobile internet services have been suspended. The annual Amarnath pilgrimage has also been put on hold by the authorities while pilgrims remain trapped in many areas of the Valley.

  1. Clashes continue in many parts of Kashmir as young men defy prohibitory orders and protest on the streets, often indulging in stone-pelting.
  2. Four police stations, 36 civil administration offices and dozens of vehicles were destroyed by unruly mobs in clashes over the weekend.
  3. Shabir Ahmad, the first victim in Srinagar, succumbed to bullet injuries late Sunday evening in a clash at the capital city’s Tengpora area.
  4. The victims comprise 22 protesters and a police driver. They were killed during clashes with security forces, mostly in Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama districts.
  5. Over a 100 civilians and as many security personnel have also been injured in the bloody clashes since Friday when Wani was killed.
  6. All senior Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, have been placed under detention. The state government on Sunday requested them to help normalise the situation.
  7. Three policemen, taken hostage by angry mobs in south Kashmir on Friday, returned back safely but their weapons were seized, police said today.
  8. Kashmir erupted in anger on Saturday after security forces shot dead Wani along with two of his associates on Friday. His funeral was attended by thousands.
  9. It is feared if things are not quickly brought under control, Kashmir could witness another round of unrest when in 2010, 112 protesters died in clashes with security forces.
  10. Meanwhile, the Amarnath Yatra remained suspended for the third day from Jammu. The train services in the Valley have also been suspended while examinations have been postponed.

Tejas Express, along with other trains like Humsafar, Antyodaya and Deen Dayalu, are key features of this year's rail budget.

Indian Railways to roll out first Tejas Express soon

Indian Railways is all set to roll out the common man’s ‘golden chariot’ in the next few months. Draped in vibrant golden, railways will roll out its first Tejas Express, announced by Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Budget this year. Tejas, along with other trains like Humsafar, Antyodaya and Deen Dayalu, are key features of the rail budget aimed at providing world-class facilities to all the sections of passengers.

FACILITIES IN TEJAS EXPRESS

With high-tech entertainment units, Wi-Fi facility and integrated braille displays, the coaches of premier Tejas trains are being readied to give its passengers the feel of world-class travel. While the coaches of Tejas, meaning brilliance, will be of golden colour, those of Hamsafar, also to be rolled out this year, will be draped in vinyl sheets painted in the colours of earth and sky to convey the message of being the common man’s carrier.

Design features of the coaches of Tejas, Hamsafar, Antodaya and Deen Dayalu have been finalised now. The production units have been instructed to manufacture and equip the coaches accordingly, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Tejas coaches will have Executive Class and Chair Cars, while those of Hamsafar will have 3-AC. Besides the improved aesthetics, Tejas coaches will be equipped with 22 new features, including entertainment screens for each passenger along with hand phone socket and LED boards for communicating safety instructions. There will be water level indicators in bio-vacuum toilets, sensorised taps and hand driers. Tejas coaches will also have Wi-Fi facility, integrated braille displays, digital destination boards and electronic passenger reservation chart.

Since Tejas will be a new premier class train, attempts have been made to provide state-of-the-art facilities, including tea and coffee vending machines, magazines and snack tables, the official said.

Both Tejas and Hamsafar will have CCTVs, and fire and smoke detection and suppression system. Tejas and Hamsafar trains along with Antodaya Express and Deen Dayalu coaches are to be introduced in the current fiscal as part of the budget proposal.

Antodaya Express will be a fully unreserved train, while Deen Dayalu coaches will have improved facilities for general class passengers.

Syama Prasad Mookerjee was a BJP ideolgue and rightwing mascot.

RSS ‘unifying hero’ wanted military solution to the Kashmir problem

BJP ideologue and rightwing mascot Syama Prasad Mookerjee – projected by the party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as the “unifying hero” of Jammu and Kashmir who got “martyred” for opposing Article 370 – was in favour of a military solution to the Kashmir problem. He had claimed that then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was opposed to the idea.

The information came to light as several records related to the late founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) – precursor to today’s Bharatiya Janata Party and a Nehru-baiter – emerged during the two-week-long exhibition on Mookerjee, going on at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).

BLAST FROM THE PAST 

The statements of Mookerjee that have been referred to here are part of the 1952 Lok Sabha Debates, volume -II, part-II). The exhibition was inaugurated by BJP chief Amit Shah and has been billed as a subtle undermining of Congress-Left dominance over the institution.

The BJP went on to attack Congress veteran Jaipal Reddy for his remarks made in connection with Shah’s opening speech at the inauguration of the Mookerjee exhibition at NMML. While Shah had castigated Nehru for taking the Kashmir tangle to the UN, calling it a “historic blunder”, Reddy had advised Shah to read history pointing that Mookerjee too was part of the Nehru cabinet when the decision was taken.

Though, Mookerjee accepted that he was part of the cabinet “when the decision was taken” in the Parliamentary speech of August 7, 1952, he also opened a veiled attack on Nehru as he referred to the “extraordinary circumstances” under which that decision was taken – circumstances that “I have no right and do not wish to disclose”- he had said.

“Instead of advising the party president to read history, Reddy should brush up his own knowledge of history. He, like a true Congressman, continues to misled people when he says that Mookerjee resigned as Sheikh Abdullah was not being effectively checkmated which is squarely false.

MOOKERJEE’S VIEWS

He should straighten the confusions in his reading of India’s post-independence history. He should dwell on how to explain the Nehru-beholden faction ridden Congress post Sardar Patel when it had become a one-man driven sycophantic conglomerate,” said Anirban Ganguly, director of the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation (SPMRF) and a member of BJP’s policy research department.

Mookerjee was indeed critical of the United Nations (UN) in his speech of August, 7, 1952, that he made in the lower House of the Parliament. “In any case, it does not seem as though we are going to get much or anything at all out of the UNO,” he had said with regard to the Kashmir matter having been taken by Nehru to the international body.

Talking about the territory of Jammu and Kashmir that was captured by Pakistan under the pretext of a tribal attack on the state from across the border in 1947, Mookerjee termed it as “national humiliation”.

“We say that Kashmir is a part of India. It is so. So, a part of India is today in the occupation of the enemy and we are helpless. We are peace-lovers no doubt. But, peace lovers to what extent? Will we even allow a portion of our territory to be occupied by the enemy?,” Mookerjee had said.

Lalu Prasad. Photo: Reuters

Lalu proposes Manjhi as central minister replacing Paswan, Manjhi disposes

The bonhomie that was witnessed between former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi and RJD boss Lalu Prasad Yadav seems to be yeilding results. Ahead of the likely cabinet reshuffle at the Centre, Lalu Prasad has proposed that Jitan Ram Manjhi should be given a cabinet berth at the Centre when the reshuffle takes place.

DROP PASWAN, INDUCT MANJHI: LALU

However, there is a rider attached to Lalu’s support for Manjhi. Lalu wants that PM Narendra Modi should drop his cabinet colleague and minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and induct Manjhi in his place.

Speaking on the sidelines of Iftar party hosted by JDU leader Gulam Gaus in Patna on Sunday, Lalu made this proposal.

“Manjhi should become Union Minister in place of Paswan”, said Lalu.

It may be noted that Manjhi invited Lalu at an Iftar party hosted by him last week and Lalu too visited Manjhi on the occasion.

Couple of days later, Lalu too hosted an Iftar party and invited Manjhi and the latter too was present at Lalu’s function. This mutual binding between the two leaders had caught many eyeballs and perhaps this new found camaraderie propped Lalu to make demand for cabinet berth for Manjhi. Though this demand is being seen as Lalu’s politics of cutting Paswan to size due to their political differences.

MANJHI REJECTS LALU’S IDEA

Jitan Ram Manjhi on the other hand rejected Lalu’s proposal maintaining that he would not like to become a minister by replacing Paswan. Manjhi claimed that Ram Vilas Paswan is like his elder brother.

“Paswan is like my elder brother. I would not like to become minister by axing Paswan”, said Manjhi.

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Yes, we won. Now send them back: Post-Brexit surge in racism, intolerance in ‘Divided’ Kingdom

An Eastern European family in Rugby finds dog excrement shoved through its mailbox. A Londoner nearly gets into a fight over drunken slurs shouted on a crowded subway car. A Polish teenager in Gloucestershire is taunted with threats of deportation at her high school.

In the wake of last Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union, Britain has seen a surge in xenophobia expressed in taunts, threats and worse. For many, foreign- and native-born, the U.K. has suddenly become much scarier place.

“Before Friday we lived in a tolerant society,” said Oana Gorcea, a 32-year-old Romanian who has lived in Britain since she was a teenager. “I’ve been here 13 years, but I’ve never felt like I had to hide where I came from. But from Friday, things completely changed.”

Gorcea, who works for a multinational company in Rugby, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) northwest of London, said her street was being patrolled by “English commandos who walk around and try to intimidate non-white non-English people.” The talk of the neighborhood was the dog feces shoved through a local immigrant family’s mailbox.

Gorcea’s story and others like it have been echoing across social media for days. Eastern Europeans, Muslims – even Americans and Germans – have reported acts of intimidation and harassment. Victims describe an emboldened angry fringe emerging to crow over Thursday’s vote; a T-shirt sported by a man at an Armed Forces Day parade in the working class London borough of Havering over the weekend seemed to sum up the new attitude:

“YES! WE WON! NOW SEND THEM BACK.”

British reporters across the country have seen the resurgence of racism up close and personal. Adam Boulton, a presenter for Britain’s Sky News, posted a message to Twitter saying he and his family had witnessed three separate incidents of when-are-you-going-home?-style abuse aimed at Europeans over the weekend.

Channel Four’s Ciaran Jenkins said that within a five-minute span in the northern England town of Barnsley, three people had shouted “Send them home!” BBC reporter Sima Kotecha said that she was in “utter shock” after having returned home to the southern England town of Basingstoke and been abused with a racial slur she hadn’t heard “since the 80s.”

Police are investigating vandalism at a Polish cultural center in west London and incidents in Cambridgeshire in which cards were given to Polish residents calling them “vermin” and ordering them to leave the country. The National Police Chiefs’ Council said there had been a 57 percent rise in hate crime complaints in the past four days compared to the same period last month.

Britain’s sizeable Muslim community has also found itself caught up in the anti-immigrant backlash. Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that “hundreds of hate crimes” had been reported across the country.

“The type of language that has been used, like ‘go back to your own country,’ ‘we voted this way, now you have to get out,’ that type of language indicates there is some sort of link” to the referendum, he said.

Those who championed the campaign to pull Britain from the EU have condemned the attacks.

“I’ve never, ever, ever encouraged or condoned behavior like that, and I never, ever would,” said United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, before adding that “the real prejudice is the prejudice that’s been there for a decade or more against anybody that dares stand up against the establishment, anybody that dares to say that we shouldn’t be part of the EU.”

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Other politicians didn’t buy it.

“The leaders of the Brexit campaign have engendered an atmosphere where some people believe it is open season now for racism and xenophobia,” said lawmaker Harriet Harman, a former leader of the opposition Labour Party.

For the victims, the link between the referendum and the abuse is clear. Immigration was a key issue in the campaign, with Farage posing in front of a massive, truck-drawn poster carrying a photograph of hundreds of swarthy migrants under the words “Breaking Point.” Many “leave” voters cited the influx of foreigners as a top concern.

“Just because of one referendum … it’s coming out like woodworms,” said Julie Sauter Daoud, a French-German national who has lived in Britain most of her life. On Sunday she got a firsthand encounter with xenophobia when two men overtook her car shouting, “Go home, you (expletive) German.”

She said the attack, which happened while she was driving down a residential street in the northern English city of Sheffield, left her so shaken she was even scared to speak French to her youngest child at the supermarket.

“It’s terribly sickening,” she said in a telephone interview. “The first time ever in my life. Ever.” She paused for a second. “Probably not the last time now.”

The 44-year-old’s story is one of hundreds filling a Facebook group called “Worrying Signs,” which is gathering evidence of the recent surge in intolerance. By late Monday the site was jammed with stories and photographs of sinister graffiti and even broken windows. Polish-British national Natalia Nicholls wrote on the site that her 14-year-old sister was taunted by boys at her high school in the Cotswolds region of England who boasted that “now we can get rid of the Polish and the blacks.” Corinne Abrahams, 24, said she was returning from a music festival when she nearly got into a fight with an inebriated man yelling anti-foreigner epithets on the London subway. An American woman said she was recently accosted by people calling her a “Yankee (expletive)” in a parking lot.

The wave of rage has unsettled the country’s political class, already in disarray following the Brexit vote. Prime Minister David Cameron, in his first appearance before lawmakers since the vote to reassure Europeans and other ethnic minorities living in Britain that they would be protected.

“Let’s remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country,” he said. “We will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks. They must be stamped out.”

Only about 1,000 sex workers remain in Kamathipura now, compared to about 50,000 in the early 1990s

Mumbai red-light area gentrifies, putting sex workers at greater risk

Rising rents and redevelopment are forcing sex workers out of Mumbai’s oldest red-light district, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation, according to a new report.

Police crackdowns and gentrification have pushed most sex workers out of the infamous Kamathipura district to the suburbs, from where they commute back to solicit on the streets, placing them in greater danger, said Ratoola Kundu, an assistant professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

“Sex workers, most of whom have been trafficked … face not just the threat of, as well as actual violence, from the police, pimps, and the clients,” said Kundu, who co-authored the report on Kamathipura’s changing landscape.

“They also face the threat of being physically displaced through the processes of redevelopment,” she said.

India is both a destination and a transit country for women and children trafficked into the sex trade. Many are from poor rural areas, lured with the promise of good jobs or marriage.

Instead, they end up sold into prostitution in cities such as Mumbai. The financial hub is one of the biggest destinations in the country for women trafficked from other states, as well as from neighbouring countries Nepal and Bangladesh.

MUMBAI’S OLDEST RED-LIGHT DISTRICT 

Kamathipura, where many of these women are brought, once serviced workers from the erstwhile textile mills and docklands.

Police crackdowns have shut some brothels down, while a development boom has led to the tearing down of many old buildings in which brothels were housed to make way for multi-storey residential towers, malls and offices.

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Only about 1,000 sex workers remain in the neighbourhood now, compared to about 50,000 in the early 1990s, Kundu said.

But displaced sex workers continue to return to Kamathipura, and are forced to solicit on the streets, Kundu said.

Charities are also unable to keep track of them and offer help, including with health checks and securing identity papers.

“They are not in the relative safety of the brothels, and are vulnerable to all the risks that being on the street entails,” Kundu said.

“The ability of charities working with them to reach them is greatly reduced, removing an additional layer of protection and security,” she said.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

South Asia is the fastest-growing region for human trafficking in the world, and the second-largest after Southeast Asia, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

More than 150,000 people are known to be trafficked within South Asia every year, but the trade is mostly underground and the real number is likely to be much higher.

“It’s not that this displacement of sex workers from Kamathipura is reducing the demand for sex workers or the trafficking of women to Mumbai,” said Kundu.

“It’s just making an already vulnerable section of women even more vulnerable,” she said.

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Karnataka Cabinet rejig: CM Siddaramaiah drops 14 ministers, inducts 13 new faces

In a major Cabinet reshuffle, Karnataka Chief Minister KSiddaramaiah dropped a whopping 14 ministers and inducted 13 new faces into the state government.

The biggest Cabinet rejig so far by the Congress government is being seen as an image makeover exercise before the state goes into poll, due in less than two years.

Karanataka Governor Vaju Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly-inducted ministers – nine as Cabinet and four Ministers of State with independent charge.

Hours before the swearing-in ceremony, the Chief Minister sacked 14 of his ministers. Sources in the congress say that dissident MLAs may go on to support the BJP. Several MLAs such as Soamshekhar, Muniratna, R V Devaraj, Byrathi Basavaraj among others who have been denied a cabinet berth have threatened to quit the party.

The mega Cabinet reshuffle has been effected after days of deliberations and inputs from the party high command in New Delhi.

Fresh faces in the Cabinet

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Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s son, Priyank Kharge, has got a berth in Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet. By inducting Priyank Kharge, Siddaramaiah is looking at bringing the Dalit representation issue to rest. “The idea is to bring in fresh faces and we will do what the chief minister wants us to do, said the newly elected minister of state, Priyank Kharge to India Today.

Ambareesh dropped

The film industry is miffed with the removal of  Ambarish from the Cabinet. He was dropped as housing minister for non-performance.  A group of actors, film directors and producers have  urged the CM to let Mr Ambareesh continue as minister.

Revenue minister Srinivas Prasad hits back

The biggest challenge for Siddaramaiah comes from his close aide Srinivas Prasad who removed as revenue minister. Prasad called him a traitor. Large scale protests have been seen in Mysore, Mandya, Nanjangud against the dropping of Srinivas Prasad.

New ministers 

The newly inducted ministers are: Tanveer Sait, Kagodu Thimmappa, Ramesh Kumar, Basavaraj Raya Reddy, H.Y. Meti, S.S. Mallikarjun, M.R. Seetharam, Santosh Lad and Ramesh Jarkiholi while the ministers of state are Priyank Kharge, Rudrappa Lamani, Eshwar Khandre and Pramod Madhwa.

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Modi to arrive in Chandigarh today ahead of 2nd international yoga day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Chandigarh, today to take part in the Second International Yoga Day scheduled to be held on June 21 at the Le Corbusier-designed Capitol Complex.

WARMING UP

On his third visit to the city ever since coming to power, Modi will be received by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal, Punjab and Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and UT Adviser Parimal Rai.

More than 32,000 Yoga lovers are expected to reach the venue from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Sources say nearly Rs eight crore are being spent on the 45 minute event out of which Rs 2.89 crore will be spent on providing 1.25 lakh bottles of mineral water, Yoga mats, T-Shirts and lowers to the participants.

Elaborate security arrangements have also been made by the local administration to manage the visitors. UT Police has asked for additional police force from Punjab and Haryana apart from the paramilitary forces.

ALL IS NOT WELL

However, the local administration is facing criticism for mass rejection of Yoga lovers who wanted to participate in the event .Sources say that more than 45,000 local residents had registered online but only 6500 were selected. The selection process, according to the local residents was not transparent.

“Those selected are either BJP leaders ,their family members or influential. We regularly attended Yoga camps with the hope that we will be able to do Yoga with the Prime Minister but were surprised when we did not get the selection SMS,” Ravikant  a local resident said.

Sources also claim that Haryana government pressurised dozens of schools to provide their buses to ferry the Yoga enthusiasts to the camps. They were only released when the issue was highlighted by the local media.

A visit to the event venue further revealed that the Home Guard jawans were compelled to work continuously for 26 hours without any food or water support under the scorching sun.

“We have been working here from last 26 hours. There is no water or food .We are working like animals under the scorching sun spreading mats for the Yoga lovers. They (administration) claims it spent nearly eight crore on this event but not a single penny on water or food for us,” a Home Guard jawan said requesting anonymity as the local SHO had warned them not to open mouth failing which they will be fired.

JUMLA DAY

Meanwhile Congress has decided to boycott the event. The party activists will organise ‘Jumla Day’ at sector 22 on Monday to show the resentment. The party has asked the party workers to wear black clothes.

“Besides the Yoga Asanas, we will ask Narendra Modi about the promises made before the elections.People want to know the black money Asana,Vyapam Asna,Rising Prices Asanas,Malya Asana, Pulse-ration prices Asanas, petrol-diesel price asanas ,service tax asanas, Lalit Modi Asanas,Chhattisgarh Scam Asana, unemployment asana and the Asanas about the murder of democracy,” Chandigarh Congress President, Pradeep Chabra said.

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BJP MP makes a U-turn on Kairana ‘exodus’, says it is not a communal issue

BJP MP Hukum Singh, whose allegation of a Hindu exodus from Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana area in Shamli district snowballed into a major controversy, today made a U-turn and said the people leaving their homes was not a communal matter.

“The list had both Hindu and Muslim names. This is not a Hindu-Muslim situation… This is not a communal matter,” Singh told news agency ANI, attacking the Akhilesh Yadavgovernment for communalising the issue.

Singh said the names of “innocent Muslims” are being dragged into the matter while the names of the “real accused” will never be taken. “There is only terror in this region. There is no law and order,” he said.

Last week, the BJP MP had released a list of 346 people forced to migrate from Kairana, a Muslim-majority town in western Uttar Pradesh, because of “threats and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community”.

UP GOVERNMENT ORDERS PROBE

On Monday, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered a probe in the matter. Shamli District Magistrate has asked the SDM and Circle Officer to probe into the allegations that “jihadi elements” had forced migration of Hindus from there. They have been asked to verify the list of 346 families handed over by the local MP who have allegedly migrated.

However, a number of reports have doubted the communal angle in Kairana and have found discrepancies in Hukum Singh’s claim, proving that a number of people on the list had either died or migrated nearly a decade ago for better opportunities.

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AMIT SHAH RAISES KAIRANA AT BJP MEET

At the two-day National Executive meet of the BJP in Allahabad which concluded on Monday, party president Amit Shah expressed serious concern over the “migration” from Kairana area in Shamli district, which had witnessed communal riots in 2013.

Shah, in his speech, trained his guns at the state’s Samajwadi Party government and raised the issue of alleged “migration” of Hindus and the recent Mathura violence.

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Malabar 2016: All you need to know about US, Indian and Japanese joint naval exercise that begins today

With the combined fleets of the Indian, Japanese and American navies having sailed out of Sasebo harbour this morning, the 20th edition of Malabar is well and truly underway.

Here is quick a compilation of who’s there, what’s at stake and what is different this time around:

WHY THIS EXERCISE?

What began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between the US Navy and its Indian counterpart has now become a permanently trilateral forum also involving the Japanese.

Since 2007, Malabar has been held alternately off the Indian and western Pacific Ocean. So, while the last one was held off the city of Chennai in the Bay of Bengal, this one’s being held in the Philippine Sea, in close proximity to a site fast evolving as a critical flash point in global affairs – South China Sea.

The USA describes the Malabar as, “Series of complex, high-end war-fighting exercises conducted to advance multi-national maritime relationships and mutual security issues.”

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Like any exercise, this one too shall have events lined up first at shore and then at sea.

ON SHORE: There will be professional exchanges on issues like aircraft carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), helicopter operations, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.

AT SEA: Officer exchanges a photo exercise; submarine familiarization; high-value unit defense; air defense exercises; medical evacuation drills; surface warfare exercises; communications exercises; search and rescue exercises; helicopter cross-deck evolutions; underway replenishments; gunnery exercises; VBSS exercises; and anti-submarine warfare.

PARTICIPANTS

The largest naval fleet in the world, the United States Navy will be participating with the presence of:

1. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with embarked Carrier Air Wing 9

2. Guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53)

3. Guided -missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93)

4. P-8A Poseidon aircraft

5. Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine

INDIAN NAVY: Her assets sailed out on May 18 from the port city of Visakhapatnam which houses the eastern fleet.  During what will eventually be a two and half month long deployment, the fleet will touch the Cam Rahn Bay (Vietnam), Subic Bay (Philippines), Sasebo (Japan), Busan (South Korea), Vladivostok (Russia) and Port Klang (Malaysia), with a four-day port call at each of the locations mentioned.

1. Stealth frigates Satpura and Sahyadri, commanded by Captain AN Pramod and Captain KS Rajkumar respectively

2. INS Shakti, a sophisticated fleet support ship, commanded by Capt Gagan Kaushal

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3. INS Kirchan indigenous guided missile corvette commanded by Commander Sharad Sinsunwal

4. Sea King 42B ASW helicopter

5. 2 Chetak utility helicopters

From the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF):

1. JS Hyuga, a helicopter carrier with SH 60 K integral helicopters

2. Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft, besides other advanced warships for specific parts of the exercise.

WHAT IS NEW?

Additionally, the Special Forces (SF) of the three navies will also interact during the exercise.

HOW IS THE 20TH EDITION OF MALABAR SCHEDULED?

1. Harbour phase at Sasebo from 10 to 13 June 16

2. Sea phase in the Pacific Ocean from 14 to 17 June

HOW DOES CHINA VIEW THIS?

In 2015, when Japan was made a permanent invitee to Malabar, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson reacted like this:

“You mentioned India is having naval exercises with US and Japan and you ask whether China is concerned. I think you are thinking too much,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying shot back when asked for China’s reaction to the exercises which are due to start today in the Bay of Bengal. “Everyday a lot of activities take place around the world. We cannot connect every activity with China,” she said.

“We are not that fragile and we are having sound relationship with both India and the US. We hope that relevant activities will contribute to the regional stability they will contribute more positive energy for that,” she added.

This time, however, the Chinese have taken a more nuanced stand. In their foreign ministry briefing on June 8, spokesperson HONG LEI said, “The Chinese side has noted the report. It hopes that this drill is conducive to regional peace, security and stability.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE LAST TIME AROUND?

In its 19th edition, the Indian Navy was represented by INS Shivalik an indigenous frigate, INS Ranvijay a guided missile destroyer, INS Betwa an indigenous frigate and INS Shakti ­­­­a Fleet Support Ship. In addition, one Sindhugosh class submarine, INS Sindhudhvaj, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I and integral rotary wing helicopters.

The US Navy was represented by the ships from Carrier Task Force (CTF) 70 of the USN 7th Fleet, based at Yokosuka, Japan and included Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Ticonderoga class Cruiser USSNormandy and Freedom Class Littoral Combat ship USS Forth Worth. In addition to this, one Los Angeles class nuclear powered submarine USS City of Corpus Christi, F18 Aircraft from US Carrier Air Wing and P8A Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

The JMSDF was represented by JSFuyuzuki, a missile destroyer with SH 60K integral helicopter.

Datsun Redi-GO on display.

Datsun rolls out urban crossover redi-GO at Rs 2.38 lakh

To accelerate its growth in India and in the entry-level car segment, today launched India’s first urban cross Datsun redi-GO, at a starting price of Rs 2,38,862 and it goes as high as Rs 3,34,229. These prices are of ex-showroom in Chennai.

 

Meanwhile, the price range of the vehicle, ex-showroom in Delhi is Rs 2,38,900-3,34,399.

 

Guillaume Sicard, President — Nissan India Operations, said, “With Datsun redi-GO, we offer a unique urban-crossover styled in Japan, developed and manufactured in India. We are redefining conventional expectations and notions associated with the car segment in India with a modern, fresh, stylish and accessible product. The Datsun comes at a compelling price point and reaffirms Datsun philosophy of Dream, Access and Trust.”

 

Datsun redi-GO showcases Japanese design philosophy called YUKAN — which stands for brave and bold. It features ‘Tall-Boy’ styling and offers ground clearance of 185 mm, extra roominess, mileage (25.17 kmpl).

 

Datsun redi-GO also promises the lowest cost of ownership, which is about 32% lower than the competition. Localisation is around 98%, which makes the product viable as far as business as well, the company claims.

 

Sicard said the challenge for Datsun in India is brand recall among the customers, since the brand is two years

 

old in India, while globally it is 100 years old and sold in 190 countries. To address this challenge besides increasing marketing spend, Datsun is also betting big on digital. Service is another key area to boost the brand. Datsun redi-GO will be supported by 274 Nissan and Datsun sales and service touch points in India starting today.

 

With the projected 300 dealerships, Datsun will be able cover up to 90% of current and prospective customers in the country. Currently, Nissan has 274 dealerships and Datsun has 55 exclusive outlets, which will be increased to 80 this year.

 

The company also 100 resident dealer sales executives, 30 mobile service vans and roped in MyTVS to take care of service in Tier II and III markets.

 

Sicard said the focus will be domestic market initially for the company and said will take a call on exports after six months.

 

Production capacity was also increased at Oragadam facility, near Chennai, by adding third shift. The facility was set up by Nissan along with its French partner Renault. Both the partners have invested Rs 6,100 crore. “We expect the full capacity to touch by 4.80 lakh units in the next 12 months,” said Sicard.

 

The increase in production also comes on the backdrop of increasing demand for Renault’s Kwid, which shares both manufacturing facility and CMF-A platform, in which the partners will roll out their entry level products with Nissan.

 

He said the alliance will take a decision on expansion then. It could be brownfield expansion, will bring down exports and others. Exports this year is expected to be around 90,000 cars as against 110,000 units shipped out last year for the company.

 

Sicard said the company (Nissan and Datsun) is looking at a market share of 5% by the year 2020 compared to close to 2% now.
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Former Goa CM wants ban on Nigerians, calls them ‘negroes’

The Central government should “ban” Nigerians from entering India, former Goa Chief Minister Ravi Naik has demanded, adding that the state does not need Nigerian tourists.

Referring to Nigerians with the pejorative “negroes”, the senior Congress leader also told reporters that Nigerians have been causing “problems” in Goa as well other metros.

“The Central government should ban Nigerians,” Naik said.

Naik also said that even the Aam Aami Party leaders had a fight with Nigerians in Bengaluru.

“They create problems everywhere… We do not want Nigerian tourists,” Naik said demanding a probe into the activities of Nigerians in Goa, who he alleged masquerade as students.

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Row over slum demolition: Arvind Kejriwal takes dig at Rahul Gandhi, calls him a ‘kid’

Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Monday hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for questioning AAP’s protest over the demolition of a slum in Delhi.

“Rahul Gandhi is a ‘kid’. Perhaps, the Congress Party did not tell him that the Indian railways comes under the ambit of the central government,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had said: “Why is AAP doing dharna? They are in power in Delhi.”

Meanwhile, AAP and TMC MPs staged a protest outside Parliament over the demolition of Shakur Basti.

Kejriwal will take up the demolition drive in Shakur basti and death of a baby at the site with railway minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response.

“In the meeting, Railway officials told the CM said that there is no rehabilitation scheme before demolition. The chief minister completely rejected the claims of the railways,” a Delhi government official said.

After meeting the evicted dwellers, Kejriwal said that those people had been living there since 1992-94, but in one moment, railways demolished the shanties.

“Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal said.

The Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe into the demolition of 1,200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi. The railways, on its part, said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.

A six-month-old baby died in one of the slum units, which the railways insisted had “nothing to do with removal of encroachments”, claiming that it occurred two hours before the demolition started at 12pm.

Ailing Chief Minister of southern India State of Tamil Nadu dies at 68

NEW DELHI, Dec. 6 — One of India’s most charismatic and popular politicians, Chief Minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalitha, died at a private hospital in state capital Chennai late Monday night at the age of 68, the hospital announced Tuesday.

The South Indian film star-turned-politician, who had been in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest Sunday evening, passed away at 11.30 p.m. (local time) Monday, the Apollo Hospital where Jayalalitha was being treated for the past four months said in a statement.

Local TV channels showed footage of millions of people in Chennai, who had been standing vigil outside the hospital in Chennai since Sunday, breaking down in tears.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other top politicians took to social media site Twitter to express their condolences. “In her passing away, the nation has lost an icon who was loved and admired by millions,” the Indian president tweeted.

“I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaa ji. May her soul rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of grief,” Modi tweeted.

Jayalalitha was first hospitalised in September and her regional ruling AIADMK party had then said it was for dehydration and fever. But it soon became clear that her illness was more serious. She spent weeks on respiratory support, with specialists arriving from London to monitor her.

She has been Tamil Nadu chief minister four times and is revered by many in the state. With the extreme devotion she inspires among her supporters, many of whom refer to her as “Amma” (mother), who had a roller-coaster ride to power.

Experts say there will be a political vaccum in the state, which would be very difficult to fill in though time will be the judge.

s-opposition-parties-call-for-protests-against-demonetization4

An Indian activist from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) protests against the recent demonetization move at a rally in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal, Nov. 28, 2016. India’s opposition parties Monday called for nationwide protests over the government’s demonetization move.

s-opposition-parties-call-for-protests-against-demonetizationAn Indian commuter walks beside closed shops during a nationwide strike against the recent demonetization move in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal, Nov. 28, 2016. India’s opposition parties Monday called for nationwide protests over the government’s demonetization move.

s-opposition-parties-call-for-protests-against-demonetization3Indian activists from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party protest against the recent demonetization move during a rally in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal, India, Nov. 28, 2016. India’s opposition parties Monday called for nationwide protests over the government’s demonetization move.

s-opposition-parties-call-for-protests-against-demonetization3Photo taken on Nov. 28, 2016 shows a general view of closed market during a nationwide strike against the recent demonetization move in Kolkata, capital of eastern Indian state West Bengal. India’s opposition parties Monday called for nationwide protests over the government’s demonetization move.