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Beach bystanders criticised in Christmas Day drowning

Surfers who say they tried to help prevent a fatal drowning accuse others of “standing around watching”.

Speeding bus kills Australian biker on Yamuna Expressway

An Australian biker was killed while a few others sustained injuries when a speeding Uttar Pradesh roadways bus rammed into a truck due to dense fog and then hit the Austrailian’s two wheeler at the Yamuna Expressway on Thursday morning.According to police, the deceased have been identified as Mathew Antioredle (26), an Australian national, who was on his way to Agra on a road trip with his friends.“The incident took place at around 8 am when a roadways bus heading towards Agra rammed into a moving truck after which it lost control and hit the bike moving next to it,” said Farmood Ali Pundir, Station House officer of Dankaur police station.A school bus heading towards Agra then hit the roadways bus from behind and all the vehicles piled up, police said.The bus driver identified as Dharmendra, the bus conductor, Pushpendra, and two passengers – one a minor – were injured. They were rused to Kailash Hospital where they are undergoing treatment. Antioredle, however, was declared dead on arrival, while his friends sustained minor injuries.

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After quad; India, Australia hold first meet on strategic, defence ties

India and Australia today reviewed all aspects of bilateral ties with a focus on strategic and defence relations during their first ‘2+2 dialogue’ and agreed that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific is in the long- term interests of all countries in the region.Significantly, the inaugural Indo-Aus dialogue comes barely a month after the two countries along with the US and Japan, discussed cooperation amid evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region where China has been aggressively expanding its military presence. While India already has a ‘2+2 dialogue’ with Japan, it has also agreed to start a two-by-two ministerial dialogue to enhance “peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region”.The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra while the Australian side was headed by Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson, and Secretary of Department of Defence Greg Moriarty.”All aspects of bilateral relations with a focus on strategic and defence relations between the two countries were reviewed… Both sides agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large,” a press release from the external affairs ministry said. It said India and Australia share warm bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and pluralism and there is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the two countries.Also readChina reacts cautiously over possible US quadrilateral with India, Japan, Australia Last month, officials from India, Japan, the US and Australia held consultations on the sidelines of the India- ASEAN meet and discussed issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on cooperation based on converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area. After the quadrilateral, the MEA said, “they agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.”Adamson is also meeting Secretary (East) and Secretary (ER) in the MEA, the release said. Apart from attending the dialogue, Moriarty also met Chief of Staff Committee and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and visited Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre here.

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Sensors to monitor Tonk road traffic pattern

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Electronic sensors will be installed across a stretch of Tonk Road over the next month to monitor pattern of traffic commutation in the city. The data recorded by the sensors will be monitored by a joint team of Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) and Adelaide city of South Australia for designing a ‘smart’ traffic management solutions for Jaipur. These sensors to be installed between Rambagh and Gopalpura crossroad will register the blue-tooth devices, including mobile phones and car audio systems passing through the road to provide a real-time data of pedestrian and motorised vehicle movement.This will be the first of pilot project being implemented at Jaipur in association with the cooperation of Adelaide, which is among the top smart cities of the world and has recently entered an understanding with JDA to support smart city initiatives at Jaipur.A decision on the pilot project was taken at a meeting between JDA officials and representatives from the city of Adelaide held at Jaipur on Wednesday. At the meeting, it was decided that the work of sensor installation will be carried out by technicians from the Australian city in cooperation with local authorities.“City of Adelaide has to install blue tooth devices at various junctions that interact with blue-tooth device passing through the area. This data is processed through an analytical engine and is further useful in suggesting alternate routes,” a JDA official briefed on details of the project that has been in implementation at Adelaide for five years.It was during a recent visit to Adelaide that Jaipur development commissioner, Vaibhav Galariya has signed a MoU with Adelaide city administration for knowledge sharing for smart city projects. Blue-tooth habitsIn contrast with Adelaide, at Jaipur, only a fraction of vehicles have blue-tooth devices installed while many people keep the blue-tooth closed on mobile phones to save on battery. These devices will not be registered by the sensors and thus will impact the quality of data.

#IDidThat

The global and personal responses to the anti-sexual harassment campaign.

Attack on Australian team bus: 2 suspects arrested, Assam Chief Minister orders probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of attack on the Australian cricket team bus in Guwahati on Tuesday night, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday directed state’s Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia to initiate an inquiry into the matter.A rock was allegedly thrown at the Australian team bus as they returned to the team hotel from the Barsapara Cricket Stadium following their eight-wicket win in the second T20I of the three-match series in Guwahati.Sonowal also called on Director General of Police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay to immediately nab the culprits.”Sports Minister, Chief Secretary and DGP were directed to meet the Australian players and convey state government concern and the immediate measures taken after the incident,? the Assam Chief Minister further said.Earlier in the day, Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also condemned the incident.Taking to Twitter, Rathore said that the stone-throwing incident in Guwahati was not reflective of the country’s security measures.”Guwahati stone-throwing incident NOT reflective of our security measures. Aus team & FIFA are content w/those. India remains a graceful host,” Rathore, who replaced Vijay Goel as the Sports Minister earlier this year, tweeted.”Have spoken to Sarbanand Sonwal ji about the Guwahati incident. Personal security of visiting athletes & teams is extremely important for us,” he added.Australian opener Aaron Finch has earlier tweeted a picture of a broken window saying, “Pretty scary having a rock thrown through the team bus window on the way back to the hotel!!”The rock, believed to be roughly the size of a cricket ball, was thrown at a window on the right-hand side of the bus, while it was returning from the stadium.It should be noted that no injuries were caused to any of the players or the support staff.In a similar incident, a small rock or stone was thrown at the Australian team’s bus in September in Chittagong during their two-Test series against Bangladesh.The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) at that time had immediately increased security for the Australian team to ensure there were no further mishaps.India and Australia will now head to Hyderabad to lock horns in the series-decider T20 match of the three-match series, which is to be played on October 13 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

Pink City to get smart-aid from Adelaide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>City of Adelaide in South Australia and Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and share learning pertaining to smart city development.Jaipur, that is included in the list of smart cities by the government of India, is expected to gain from the smart parking and street lighting structures and designs of the Australian city.Adelaide is among the foremost cities of the world to implement information technology based solution for civic and health issues, and along with Jaipur it is included in the list of CISCO smart lighthouse cities.Authorities from both the cities have been in discussion over collaboration for nearly a year, however, a formal understanding was inked on Monday, the first day of Adelaide visit of a three member team of Jaipur Development Authority led by Jaipur development commissioner Vaibhav Galariya.Councillor of Adelaide, Natasha Malani expressed her excitement over the MoU and said, “This is the next step in building a prosperous relationship between the two cities that will deliver real benefits for our respective communities.”At Jaipur, the development officials are also looking forward to the partnership. “Despite being on priority, the parking and street lighting component of Smart City projects have not achieved expected progress in Jaipur,” said a JDA officer. “We expect to learn from the experiences of Adelaide in this direction,” he added.On a five-day foreign tour, the Jaipur Development Authority representative group will be visiting smart cities of Adelaide and Singapore as the teams have two days programmes scheduled at each of these cities. Their visit also aims to strengthen ties between the state governments of Rajasthan and South Australia, as sister states.Scope for Start-up The understanding between Adelaide and Jaipur also proposes opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up ventures. Adelaide has developed IT solutions for functions ranging from waste management to traffic management. An adaptation of this in Jaipur will require such IT solutions to be developed in accordance to local requirement and will also have scope to invite collaboration with start-up projects. On a five-day foreign tour, the JDA representative group will be visiting smart cities of Adelaide and Singapore.

Australian school discriminated against turban-wearing boy

A tribunal says the Christian school discriminated against the boy by not letting him wear a turban.

UK, Canada, Australia issue travel advisory

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The massive scale of violence in Haryana following the arrest of the Dera chief has led many countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and Indonesia to issue travel advisories on Saturday to its citizens traveling to India and those already here.”The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah,” said the foreign travel advice issued by the UK.”A number of deaths have been reported in violent clashes following the conviction of the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda spiritual organisation… Due to the possibility of further serious violence, you should avoid large gatherings, follow the advice of the local authorities, monitor local media and keep in touch with your travel company. Local road and rail travel may be significantly disrupted during this period,” it said.Australia too sounded an advisory on this issue late Friday night.”Avoid large gatherings as they could become violent. Follow the advice of local authorities. Local transport has been significantly disrupted with a number of roads closed and rail services cancelled. Mobile internet services in Chandigarh have been suspended. Monitor the media for developments that may affect your safety and security. The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise a high degree of caution in India overall,” the Australian advisory said.Canada also sounded a similar alert. “Following the conviction of a prominent sect leader on August 25, 2017, tensions remain high in the states of Punjab and Haryana, and various other areas. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in protest, some of which have become violent… If you are in one of the affected areas, limit your movements and monitor local media for the latest information,” the advisory says.The Embassy of Indonesia also issued a similar advisory and asked its citizens in India to be on alert.

Stonehenge: Australia’s forgotten farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stonehenge is dry and has been for too long – seven years too long. You can taste the dust well before you cross the cattle grids that cut the only road into town.More than 1,700 km (1,056 miles) northwest of Sydney, Australia’s Stonehenge could not be more different from its famous namesake, the World Heritage prehistoric monument of Stonehenge in England.Stonehenge in England averages 10 days a month of rainfall and a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit). The town in Australia averages 325 sunny days a year and a summer temperature of about 45C (113F), and forget regular rain. Click here for photo essay: http://reut.rs/2xfwts2 How the town got its name is a mystery.”In the mid-1800s, dingo (wild dog) trappers built a stone fortress which they used as a shelter, but no one is really sure,” said resident Judy Baldry as she drove along a dusty road on the outskirts of town.Another possibility is the stony landscape, with rocks ranging in size from marbles to boulders scattered across the plains as far as the eye can see.The stones lure tourists to an area known as “The Address Book” on the outskirts of town, where people create their names or love messages using stones, such as “Jim loves Kerry” and “Dan 4 Jan”.PRAYING FOR CHRISTMAS RAINSStonehenge’s remaining 23 residents say they are struggling to survive one of the longest droughts in memory.”Certainly, this is the worst drought I’ve seen in the last 28 years because of its longevity. It’s just gone on for so long,” said cattle and sheep farmer Tony Jackson.Jackson’s Hill View Park Station property of more than 150,000 acres (60,000 hectares) is excellent wool country due to the stones. Less dirt means better quality wool. He manages some 800 cattle and about 6,000 sheep on the drought-hit property, but he fears he will have no feed or water if there is no rain by Christmas. Jackson and his neighbours have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on feed. Debt levels for broadacre farms, which includes cattle, sheep and crop, is estimated to have increased by 7 percent during 2015–16 to average A$560,500 per farm, the Australian government’s agricultural bureau said.Other parts of Australia have seen the drought break and farmers there are looking at a bright future. Cash incomes on cattle farms are estimated to be the highest in more than 20 years, at A$204,000 per farm, due to rising beef prices.But the drought has a stranglehold on Stonehenge.For the first time in more than 34 years the main water supply, the meandering Thomson River, has stopped flowing. Farmer Dick Smith says it has been seven years since the last decent rain filled the river.”This is drought country. No one forced me to live here. We have to expect a drought, but this one’s gone on too long,” he said on the veranda of his home on the Depot Glen property.Smith usually manages about 1,500 cattle but has destocked to survive and now has just 47 cows and calves. He said that due to droughts over the past decades, he had “completely destocked three times”, and the potential for a fourth was high. When the rains do come, the farmers of Stonehenge will struggle to pay for new stock at a time when cattle prices are at record levels due to demand for beef.’YOU REALLY HAVE TO LOVE YOUR HUSBAND’The drought has taken its toll on families, with the emotional and financial stress contributing to poor mental health, according to a study by the Australian National University. The study examined 8,000 people living in drought and found that the more severe the drought, the more severe the impact on the mental health of a farmer and his family.Sue Smith knows the burden. She runs Depot Glen alone for many months while her husband, Dick, is away driving a grader or fixing fences thousands of kilometres away in the Northern Territory.”You really have to love your husband to live out here,” said Sue, a champion equestrian when she was young.”We’re not isolated up here, we have bitumen roads, telephones, internet, but I do miss white sheets,” she said, referring to the bore water that stains her sheets. Stonehenge has suffered a huge loss of people due to the drought. The town many years ago boasted three hotels, and up until just a decade ago, a population of 106. Frank Irwin, who used to work on a farm, now runs the Stonehenge Hotel, a tin building with a bar crowned with empty beer bottles and rodeo memorabilia.Stonehenge, like its English namesake, will survive, he said. “We just batten down the hatches until it does rain”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

WIDER IMAGE-Stonehenge: Australia’s forgotten farmers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stonehenge is dry and has been for too long – seven years too long. You can taste the dust well before you cross the cattle grids that cut the only road into town. More than 1,700 km (1,056 miles) northwest of Sydney, Australia’s Stonehenge could not be more different from its famous namesake, the World Heritage prehistoric monument of Stonehenge in England. Stonehenge in England averages 10 days a month of rainfall and a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit). The town in Australia averages 325 sunny days a year and summer temperature of about 45C (113F), and forget regular rain. How the town got its name is a mystery. “In the mid-1800s, dingo (wild dog) trappers built a stone fortress which they used as a shelter, but no one is really sure,” said resident Judy Baldry as she drove along a dusty road on the outskirts of town. Another possibility is the stony landscape, with rocks ranging in size from marbles to boulders scattered across the plains as far as the eye can see. The stones lure tourists to an area known as “The Address Book” on the outskirts of town, where people create their names or love messages using stones, such as “Jim loves Kerry” and “Dan 4 Jan”. PRAYING FOR CHRISTMAS RAINS Stonehenge’s remaining 23 residents say they are struggling to survive one of the longest droughts in memory. “Certainly, this is the worst drought I’ve seen in the last 28 years because of its longevity. It’s just gone on for so long,” said cattle and sheep farmer Tony Jackson. Jackson’s Hill View Park Station property of more than 150,000 acres (60,000 hectares) is excellent wool country due to the stones. Less dirt means better quality wool. He manages some 800 cattle and about 6,000 sheep on the drought-hit property, but he fears he will have no feed or water if there is no rain by Christmas. Jackson and his neighbours have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on feed. Debt levels for broadacre farms, which includes cattle, sheep and crop, is estimated to have increased by 7 percent during 2015–16 to average A$560,500 per farm, the Australian government’s agricultural bureau said. Other parts of Australia have seen the drought break and farmers there are looking at a bright future. Cash incomes on cattle farms are estimated to be the highest in more than 20 years, at A$204,000 per farm, due to rising beef prices. But the drought has a stranglehold on Stonehenge. For the first time in more than 34 years the main water supply, the meandering Thomson River, has stopped flowing. Farmer Dick Smith says it has been seven years since the last decent rain filled the river. “This is drought country. No one forced me to live here. We have to expect a drought, but this one’s gone on too long,” he said on the veranda of his home on the Depot Glen property. Smith usually manages about 1,500 cattle but has destocked to survive and now has just 47 cows and calves. He said that due to droughts over the past decades, he had “completely destocked three times”, and the potential for a fourth was high. When the rains do come, the farmers of Stonehenge will struggle to pay for new stock at a time when cattle prices are at record levels due to demand for beef. ‘YOU REALLY HAVE TO LOVE YOUR HUSBAND’ The drought has taken its toll on families, with the emotional and financial stress contributing to poor mental health, according to a study by the Australian National University. The study examined 8,000 people living in drought and found that the more severe the drought, the more severe the impact on the mental health of a farmer and his family. Sue Smith knows the burden. She runs Depot Glen alone for many months while her husband, Dick, is away driving a grader or fixing fences thousands of kilometres away in the Northern Territory. “You really have to love your husband to live out here,” said Sue, a champion equestrian when she was young. “We’re not isolated up here, we have bitumen roads, telephones, internet, but I do miss white sheets,” she said, referring to the bore water that stains her sheets. Stonehenge has suffered a huge loss of people due to the drought. The town many years ago boasted three hotels, and up until just a decade ago, a population of 106. Frank Irwin, who used to work on a farm, now runs the Stonehenge Hotel, a tin building with a bar crowned with empty beer bottles and rodeo memorabilia. Stonehenge, like its English namesake, will survive, he said. “We just batten down the hatches until it does rain”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Campaign for the disabled launched

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Australian High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu launched ‘Development4All’, a disability-inclusive development campaign, which is part of the High Commission’s Direct Aid Programme, on Wednesday.The Census 2011 figures for India indicate that disability affects around 27 million Indians – more than the population of Australia. Out of these, nearly 70 per cent live in rural regions with fewer services and more barriers to social inclusion.Only 36 per cent of the disabled population across India are employed, and those unable to work become dependent on their families. According to the World Bank, including people with disabilities outside the economy could raise GDP by up to 7 per cent.”Adopting a disability-inclusive approach in society is critical to ensuring the promotion of human rights, realising the economic potential of society and, importantly, ensuring development for all,” said Sidhu.”In 2016-17 our Direct Aid Program supported 10 disability-inclusive projects across India.I hope this campaign will act as a catalyst for new partnerships and at all levels between government, business and civil society within and between Australia and India,” she added.The launch event, organised in partnership with the Samarthanam Trust for Disabled included a panel discussion moderated by Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Chris Elstoft, on ways to include people with disabilities in India’s economic development.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Sreesanth’s ban overturned, Haryana stalking case, 25% increased ITR filings and more…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization effect: ITR filings for 2016-17 grow 25%The number of I-T returns filed for 2016-17 year grew by 25% to 2.82 crore, as increased number of individuals filed their tax returns post demonetization, the tax department said on Monday.The growth in ITRs filed by Individuals is 25.3% with over 2.79 crore returns having been received up to August 5 as against over 2.22 crore returns filed in the corresponding period last fiscal. “As a result of demonetization and Operation Clean Money, there is a substantial increase in the number of Income Tax Returns (ITRs) filed,” an official statement said. The total number of returns filed as on August 5 stands at over 2.82 crore as against over 2.26 crore filed during the corresponding period of 2016-17. This was an increase of 24.7% compared to growth rate of 9.9% in the previous year.Read more… BCCI to adopt ‘wait-and-watch’ policy after Kerala HC lifts S Sreeshanth’s life banThe BCCI said it will adopt a wait-and-watch policy on pacer S Sreesanth, whose life ban was lifted by the Kerala High Court, even as the cricketer’s state association welcomed the reprieve.Asked about the BCCI’s stand, acting president C K Khanna said: “The judgement has come today. The BCCI’s legal team will study the judgement and give its observations. Obviously, their feedback will be taken and placed at an appropriate forum (general body).”The Kerala Cricket Association said it’s happy with the development. Read more… Haryana stalking case: Chandigarh SSP denies ‘political pressure’ in investigationOn Tuesday, Eish Singhal, SSP Chandigarh denied that the police were under any political pressure in the investigation regarding a stalking case involving the Haryana BJP president’s son. Speaking at a press conference, he requested the press not to make it a ‘media trial’ and said that investigation was underway. However, he evaded questions about ‘non-functional CCTV cameras’.Read more… Auto companies lash out at govt for hiking cess on luxury cars and SUVsLuxury vehicle manufacturers on Monday hit out at the move to hike cess on large cars and SUVs to 25 per cent, saying it was against the spirit of liberal market dynamics and would affect future plans of expansion under ‘Make in India’ initiative.Read more… Australia finds crashed US military aircraftUS military aircraft that crashed off the Australian coast has been found, authorities said on Monday, with diverse preparing to try and locate three missing marines. The MV-22 Osprey – a hybrid helicopter-turboprop with a chequered safety record – went down on Monday, off Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state. Read more…

Aus FM arrives tomorrow; boosting def, trade ties to be focus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will arrive here tomorrow on a two-day visit with an aim to step up bilateral engagement in a range of key areas including defence, security and trade. She is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, according to the external affairs ministry. In a statement in Canberra, Bishop said ways to boost defence, security and trade ties will be explored during the visit. “We will discuss our shared interests in a stable Indo- Pacific, our deepening defence and security relationship, and how we can boost trade and economic ties,” she said. Swaraj and Bishop will have extensive deliberations covering entire range of bilateral cooperation during their talks under the foreign ministers’ framework dialogue. The issue of supply of uranium to India by Australia may also figure in the talks. “India is a significant economic partner and trading partner, and I will explore further opportunities for Australia in the education sector and in developing innovative partnerships in the business sector,” Bishop said. In a statement, Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu said her country was committed to explore ways to further expand bilateral engagement with India. “Our countries have a dynamic and growing knowledge partnership, flourishing people-to-people links and converging political, economic and strategic interests. And there is scope for us to do much more together,” the envoy said. Bishop will also deliver the second Indo-Pacific Oration here where she said she will outline how Australia and India can work together to build peace and prosperity, and to maintain a rules-based order in the region. India and Australia have been expanding their cooperation in the energy sector and New Delhi has been eyeing Australian uranium for its nuclear power plants. Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of yellow cake annually.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India policewoman ‘punished’ for standing up to politicians

The officer had a row with politicians in northern India after she tried to issue a traffic ticket.

Australia announces online visa applications for Indians from July 1

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Australia has announced that Indian nationals can apply for a visitor visa online starting from first July. Australia’s Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Alex Hawke, said the online application option would make applying for the country’s visitor visas easier and enhance the experience for Indians. ?Online lodgement for visitor visa applications is a significant enhancement that will benefit Indian applicants seeking to visit Australia as tourists or business visitors, or those wanting to reconnect with family and friends,” Hawke said. Australia will offer benefits like 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online, all through the department’s ImmiAccount portal. Being able to check the status of an application online, as soon as it is finalised, will allow Indian applicants to finalise their travel arrangements as soon as possible, Hawke said. An official statement said, there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian visas in India with the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination. In the first four months of 2017 alone, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection granted more than 65,000 visitor visas to Indian nationals. (ANI with inputs) Ends AD NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

China cautions India and other Asian countries against any informal alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> China today cautioned India and other Asian countries against forming informal alliances to counter its increasing assertiveness as they cannot rely on the US in Trump era.”I have seen the reports but I doubt the authenticity of these reports,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media briefing here. She was commenting on reports from Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that India, Japan, Australia and Vietnam were contemplating informal alliances in view of the uncertainties of US policies under President Donald Trump.If those reports are authentic, it demonstrate that Cold War mindset has not been eradicated and “some people approach and handle the country to country relations with zero sum opinion,” Hua said. Speaking at the forum two days ago, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “In this brave new world we cannot rely on great powers to safeguard our interests.” “We have to take responsibility for our own security and prosperity, while recognising we are stronger when sharing the burden of collective leadership with trusted partners and friends,” he said.Hua said China stands for common comprehensive and sustainable security idea for the building of cooperation of a new international relation with win cooperate at its core. “Any confrontation and containment will have no way out. Hope relevant people can put China’s development in perspective,” Hua said.

Modi flags concerns over 457 visa to Turnbull

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday conveyed to his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull India’s concerns about the impact of the recent decision to abolish a popular work visa used by a majority of Indians. During a telephonic conversation, Modi flagged concerns about the “possible impact” of the recent changes in Australian visa regulations. The regulations are expected to hit 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians.The visa programme, known as 457 visa, allows businesses in Australia to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers. A government release said the two Prime Ministers agreed that officials from both sides will remain in “close touch on the issue”.The new visa regulations came within days after Turnbull concluded his first official visit to India, where both countries signed several agreements to boost bilateral relations. “The two Prime Ministers also discussed the follow-up action taken after the visit of Mr. Turnbull to India last month, and the steps required to further strengthen the bilateral relationship,” the PMO statement said.According to new regulations, applicants for Australian citizenship are now tested on their knowledge of law and national symbols such as the colours of the Aboriginal flag.Responding to a query, the MEA spokesperson said the government was examining the consequences of the new policy in consultation with all stakeholders. “This is also a matter we will be looking at in the context of trade negotiations,” he said.It is believed that the new visa regulations will hit small businesses and Australian tech start-ups…. & ANALYSISTurnbull had announced his decision to abolish the 457 visa, which allows businesses to hire foreign workers for up to four years in skilled job.
Indian IT professionals account for almost 18,000 visas issued under the category, according to Australian Population Research Institute.
Of late, Australia has been one of favourite destination for students to study, work and eventually become permanent residents.

Private forecasters no match for us, says India’s Met chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In August last year, KJ Ramesh took charge as the Director-General of India Meteorological Department (IMD), the country’s nati-onal meteorological service. Ramesh is heading IMD at a time when it is in the middle of expanding their observatory network and has plans to improve its technological prowess for more accurate forecasts. Ramesh spoke to DNA on issues ranging from IMD’s expansion plans, forecasting systems and coping with private forecasters. Excerpts: IMD is in the middle of operational and infrastructure expansion. Can you dwell on the targets for adding physical infrastructure?It is happening in two directions. Consolidating the existing observatory systems and augmenting them as per emerging needs and expanding them to go to the next level. The Indian Air Force will be adding 12 radars while IMD will be adding 11 radars to augment the radar network. We are commissioning it in such a way that each district has one automatic weather station (AWS) and two automatic rain gauges. That is the sort of network we have established. After that, for the next three years, we will have two to five AWS’ and then about 15 rain gauges. In cities, we will densify the network for capturing heavy rainfall (data). These systems will help us cover the plains and later we will add more infrastructure in the hills.This year, IMD gave primacy to dynamical forecast model over statistical model for this year’s monsoon. How has this helped improving the forecast?We have used both the models, statistical and dynamical models. Incidentally, both models gave the 96% (+/- 5% error margin) figure as far as the all-India rainfall is concerned, based on conditions up to March. Based on early April conditions, we showed the prospect of El Niño developing in August and September, as projected by every model. That prospect and associated probability is coming below 50%. It was more than 50% till March. The reduced probability and a moderate El Niño has been confirmed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology too. This was impossible to envisage using a statistical model.How is IMD coping with competition from private forecasters? As far as the services are concerned, there is no competition from anybody. Because nobody can have that knowledge base or system support base to render services of this magnitude. I don’t think anybody has and will have it ahead. Private sector will never invest in this kind of thing, which is only for public good. At the moment, private forecasters are only limiting their services to give modules to TV Channels and newspapers.

India, Australia sign pact to boost counter-terror cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Australia on Monday inked six pacts, including the one to boost counter-terror cooperation, seeking strong action against those financing and providing sanctuary to terror groups. However, at the end of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, there was no decision on a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA), that would ensure free trade between the two nations.Both Modi and Turnbull felt that commercial export of Australian uranium could begin soon, opening up a new avenue for Australia to support India’s energy requirement. “We took a number of forward-looking decisions to further strengthen our partnership, including the decision to soon hold the next round of negotiations on a CECA,” Modi said at a joint media event with Turnbull. Using cricket analogy, Modi, in a lighter vein, said, “I am, of course, glad that our decisions are not subject to the DRS review system.”After holding delegation-level bilateral talks, the two heads of state arrived at Mandi House metro station on the Delhi metro’s Blue Line to hop a ride. The two leaders waved to the crowd gathered at the busy metro station, before boarding the train bound for Noida City Centre. While riding on the train, Prime Minister Turnbull whipped out his phone and snapped a selfie with PM Modi. Both the prime ministers deboarded at Akshardham metro station, and paid a visit to the famed Akshardham Temple.In a reference to China, and dispute in South China Sea, a joint statement issued after the talks said both leaders recognised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with the international law. Australian PM also extended strong support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He also said Australia supports India’s entry into the other nuclear export clubs like the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.On comprehensive trade agreement, the two prime ministers asked negotiators to find a way out and list their priorities soon so that talks on it can move forward. There were indications that sticking points on the pact included issues relating to agriculture. On the threat of terrorism, the two leaders asserted that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terror, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues. “They emphazised the need for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism and radicalisation and expressed their determination to take concrete measures to step up cooperation and coordination among the law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations,” a joint statement said.The MoUs signed provided for deeper cooperation in areas of health and medicine, sports, environment, climate and wildlife, civil aviation security and cooperation in space technology. Expressing happiness over cooperation in the energy sector, Modi said, “With the passage of a legislation in the Australian parliament with bi-partisan support, Australia is now ready to export uranium to India.” The two prime ministers highlighted their shared desire to ensure that Indian Ocean architecture keeps pace with regional issues and addresses emerging threats and challenges in the region.

Australian PM Turnbull, Modi take Metro to Akshardham

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, accompanied by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, today travelled by the Metro Rail to get a feel of the rapid transport system of Delhi. The two leaders travelled from Mandi House to Akshardham station, a distance of about 6.7 kms which takes around 15 minutes. At times standing, and at times sitting, the two leaders clicked selfies during the journey. “With @narendramodi on the Delhi Metro Blue Line – 212 kms & 159 stations since 2002,” tweeted the Australian Prime Minister while travelling. “On board the Delhi Metro with PM @TurnbullMalcolm. We are heading to the Akshardham Temple,” Modi tweeted with a picture where Turnbull is seen taking a selfie with him. Prior to their journey, the two leaders held wide-ranging talks here.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Australia agree to cooperate in combating international terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Australia on Monday signed six MoUs in different fields including combating terrorism, civil aviation security, sports, health and medicine and satellite navigation. The MoUs were signed after the delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in New Delhi. The six MoUs signed between both nations are as follows: 1. Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime. 2. Promotion and Development of Cooperation in Civil Aviation Security. 3. Cooperation in the field of Environment, Climate and Wildlife. 4. Cooperation in Sports. 5. Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine. 6. Implementation arrangement between ISRO and Geoscience Australia on Cooperation in Earth Observation and Satellite Navigation. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Turnbull said Australia will continue to ensure that they will provide outstanding opportunities for Indian students. ?Not only cricket but commitment to democracy and rule of law connects the two nations. He appreciated the success as a largest democracy in the world. Research institutions of the two countries are collaborating in critical areas including health,? he added. Earlier in the day, the visiting dignitary was accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourts of Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also visited the Rajghat to pay floral tributes to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. The two Prime Ministers also inaugurated the Nano-Techhnology Centre at Gurugram through video conference.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Virat Kohli: India captain clarifies ‘hostile’ Australia remark

Indian cricket captain says he is friends with some Australian players even after a heated series.

MPs urge PM to stop racial attacks on Indians abroad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Australian High Commission here on Monday expressed regret over the attack on an Indian national in the state of Tasmania, the issue found its resonance in the Lok Sabha. MPs, cutting across party lines, condemned the incidents of attacks and sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in ensuring the safety of Indian population aboard. The victim, a taxi driver from Kerala, had linked increasing racial assaults and slurs in Australia to “the Donald Trump effect”.Responding to MPs’ concerns, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the safety of overseas Indians was a matter of priority and the government will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring their safety. Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Congress member KC Venugopal said such attacks were on the rise in Australia. He alleged that it was a racial attack as the assaulters had hurled abuses like “you bloody black Indians” at him. The incident came a week after an Indian-origin Catholic priest was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne.The Australian High Commission here expressed regret over the incident. “We regret the attack on a taxi driver of Indian origin in Hobart which occurred over the weekend,” its spokesperson said in a statement. “We understand he suffered minor injuries and has been discharged from Royal Hobart Hospital,” it said. The spokesperson said his country has launched a thorough investigation to find out whether the attack was racial in nature.The victim Li Max Joy described the racial mood, ethnic slurs and assaults to “the Donald Trump effect”.”The racial mood is definitely changing. It is continuous now. Many other drivers have been abused but not everyone reports it to the police,” he was quoted by agencies. Joy said he has been living in Hobart for eight years with his family and also narrated another such incident that happened with him a week ago. “Last week in Glenorchy, I was waiting for a fare when a primary school-aged boy put water in his mouth and then came over to the car window and spat it out on me,” Joy said. Joy has also sent a detailed email to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj about the incident.

Indian man assaulted by Australian teenagers in Hobart

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> An Indian nursing student and a part-time taxi driver Li Max Joy was reportedly attacked by a group of teenagers in Hobart, Australia over the weekend. Joy has been admitted to the Royal Hobart Hospital with deep wounds on his face and chest. The attack is being viewed as a racial attack, as Joy has alleged that the Australian teenagers abused him saying “You bloody black Indians” before attacking him. Joy, who hails from Kottayam, Kerala, said that a big boy amongst teenagers attacked him without any provocation and also racially abused him, adding that two others also joined him in the attack. He also asked India’s External Affairs Ministry to intervene in the matter. The attack comes after a priest from Kerala, Tomy Kalathoor, was attacked inside a church in Melbourne last week.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian man ‘racially’ abused, assaulted at a McDonald’s in Australia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian man was allegedly assaulted by a group of teenagers, including a girl, who hurled racial abuses at him at a restaurant in Australia’s Tasmania state, a week after a Catholic priest of Indian heritage was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne. Li Max Joy, who is pursuing a nursing course and working as a part time taxi driver in Australia, alleged that five people including a girl hurled racial abuses like “you bloody black Indians” at him and assaulted him up at the McDonald’s restaurant at North Hobart.33-year-old Joy, who hails from Puthuppally in Kerala’s Kottayam district, told PTI that the incident took place when he went to the restaurant for a coffee after returning from a trip. He alleged that the five accused were arguing with a worker inside the store but soon turned their attention to him the moment they noticed him. When others in the restaurant telephoned police, the attackers left, but they returned later and assaulted him again.Joy was admitted to Royal Hobart Hospital with bleeding wounds. He was later discharged from hospital and he reported the incident to police. “They were angry at the McDonald’s staff but turned their anger on me in the car park and then inside the store,” he said.Joy, who has been living in Hobart for the last eight years, was quoted as saying by Australian media that “the racial mood is definitely changing. It is continuous now. Many other drivers have been abused but not everyone reports it to the police.”Joy has sought intervention of External Affairs Ministry to ensure punishment to the accused. He alleged that there was no serious efforts from the authorities to bring the guilty to justice.Meanwhile, Kottayam Lok Sabha MP Jose K Mani condemned the incident and said he will raise the issue with the External Affairs Ministry on Monday.On March 20, an Indian-origin Catholic priest was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne by a man who called him unqualified to say mass as he was an Indian, prompting the Indian consulate to take up the matter with the police. A man armed with a knife approached Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, 48, in the church foyer moments before the Italian- language mass at St Matthew’s Parish in Fawkner.

Fans’ views ahead of India-Australia Test

Indians and Australians we spoke to were sure of success – but who will win the third Test?

4 Aussie bikers on trip across India to play Holi in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four Australian bikers, who have embarked on a 7,000-km long journey across India under the project ‘Ride for Rights’, would reach Mumbai on Monday and celebrate Holi with children in Sion-Koliwada here. The bikers– Cameron Perry, Scott Grills, Ben Butcher and Taylor Hogan– have partnered with the Indian NGO Child Rights and You (CRY), to embark on their dream project ‘Ride for Rights An Indian Odyssey’ from Delhi. “Through their journey, the bikers aim to film a documentary on the challenges faced by children in India, create mass awareness about their issues, and capture stories of hope and change, and in the process raise funds for their cause,” CRY, which works for children’s rights in India, said in a statement. In Mumbai, the bikers, who are supporting the welfare project launched by NGO Sparsh, in which CRY is a partner, will interact with communities and underprivileged children, the statement said. “While playing Holi with the children, they would capture stories of kids and highlight challenges, which deprive them of their rights,” it said. Providing details of their 45-day tour, the CRY said the bikers started the journey from Delhi and would reach Maharashtra on March 13 after visiting Rajasthan and Gujarat. After Maharashtra, they would head to Goa and Karnataka. Later, they would go to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, before visiting Uttarakhand and ending their ride in Delhi, the statement said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Justin Bieber imitator charged with child sex offenses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Beliebers, be more concious before pinging any social media profile having you star on the DP! A man, who allegedly posed as Bieber online, has been charged with more than 900 child sex offenses, including rape. According to a CNN report, the 42-year-old man allegedly used multiple platforms, including Facebook and Skype, to communicate with his victims, Australian police said in a statement. The man allegedly posed as Bieber in order to solicit explicit images from children under 16. “This investigation demonstrates both the vulnerability of children that are utilizing social media and communication applications and the global reach and skill that child sex offenders have to groom and seduce victims,” Rouse said. Hence, the police warned parents and Bieber fans to be extra vigilant when using the internet. The alleged offender was investigated and arrested by the Argos Taskforce, a special branch of the police in Queensland, responsible for the investigation of online child exploitation and abuse.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Australia papers attack Kohli over Steve Smith remarks

Virat Kohli accused Steve Smith of ‘breaking the rules’ and Australia’s media are not amused.

‘Fake doctor’ worked in Australia for 11 years

The man stole an Indian doctor’s identity before gaining Australian citizenship, authorities say.

Timeline for induction of Scorpene submarine drawn up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaving behind the data leak episode, the Indian Navy has finally drawn up a timeline for induction of the six French-designed Scorpene submarines and the first two vessels are expected to be commissioned by end of the year. Top Navy sources said the Kalvari, the first of the highly-advanced submarines, is set for induction by middle of this year as the complex process of integrating it with missiles and weapons system was nearing completion. The submarines are being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd in Mumbai with technology from French defence major DCNS under a project called P-75 at a cost of around USD 3.5 billion. As per the plan, the second submarine Khanderi will be inducted into the Navy fleet by end of 2017 and thereafter each vessel will be commissioned at an interval of nine months. The submarines are expected to significantly boost India’s naval prowess when China was fast expanding its maritime presence in the Indian Ocean. In August, over 22,000 pages of top secret data on the capabilities of the submarines were leaked with an Australian newspaper putting the details on its website, triggering apprehensions that the leak may compromise the stealth capabilities of the vessels. Navy sources, then, had said the document was dated and the Indian submarine had undergone “many changes” from the initial design, the details of which have been leaked. The Project 75 has been hit by delays as the multi-billion dollar project was signed by the defence ministry with French firm DCNS in October 2005. The first four submarines will be conventional while the last two are to be equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which will enable the vessel to stay underwater for longer duration. All the six diesel-electric attack submarines will be equipped with the anti-ship missile, which has a proven record in combat, besides other weapon systems. The navy on Thursday had successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile from the Kalvari. Construction of the first submarine had started on May 23, 2009 and the project is running four years behind schedule.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Saroo Brierley: The real-life search behind the film Lion

The man whose Google Earth hunt inspired a Hollywood film says his life has changed once more.

Nadal cruises, net-focused Raonic slugs it out in Brisbane | Reuters

Former world number one Rafa Nadal bulldozed Mischa Zverev 6-1 6-1 in the Brisbane International on Thursday to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with defending champion and top seed Milos Raonic.The 14-time grand slam champion, seeded fifth on his return from a wrist injury that forced him to end his 2016 season in October, took 55 minutes to sweep aside his German opponent in a one-sided contest between two left-handers.”It’s going to be a tough match,” Nadal said of his match against Raonic. “His serve is huge so I will need to return aggressively.”Raonic began his title defence with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

Better known for his groundstrokes, the Canadian came to the net 22 times, suggesting serve-volley specialist and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek – who Raonic added to his coaching team last month – is already exerting an influence.But he lost 10 of those points, a rate of return he will want to improve on.

“I probably should have approached (the net) 12 more times and I probably should have won a few more,” said the world number three.”…I hesitated, but also, with him, you’ve got to understand that he’s quite quick. So rarely do you get him sort of reaching for balls,” added Raonic, who smashed 12 aces and won 75 per cent of his first-service points.

Former finalist Grigor Dimitrov beat French veteran Nicolas Mahut 6-2 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Austria’s Dominic Thiem who beat Australian wildcard Sam Groth 7-6(5), 6-3. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by John Stonestreet)

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

First Published On : Jan 5, 2017 19:27 IST

India Pride Project: Meet the Facebook sleuths who bring home India’s stolen idols

Chennai: By day, Arvind Venkatraman works as a software engineer in India’s tech hub Chennai. But in his spare time, he is an international art detective whose efforts have helped bring back some of his country’s most valuable antiquities.

Venkatraman is part of a group of art enthusiasts known as the India Pride Project (IPP) who are using Facebook and other social media to identify religious artefacts stolen from temples around the country and secure their return.

Art theft is big business all over India. But the richest pickings are in Venkatraman’s home state of Tamil Nadu, where centuries-old religious artefacts with huge potential sale values in the West lie largely unprotected in out-of-the-way rural temples.

A screenshot of the India Pride Project website.

A screenshot of the India Pride Project website.

Two years ago, the IPP claimed a significant victory when the National Gallery of Australia returned a $5 million bronze statue of the Hindu god Shiva that had been stolen from a Tamil Nadu temple. At first Venkatraman says the gallery, which is now suing the Manhattan dealership that sold it the statue, was reluctant to entertain the idea that its purchase was stolen.

So the IPP organised a social media campaign using images comparing the stolen idol with the one on display at the museum.

“Initially typically there is a denial,” he told AFP in Chennai.

“Whether it’s Australia, Europe, Singapore or the US, initially there will be resistance from the museum curators… because they’ve spent a lot of money and they wouldn’t want to let go of an object.” The idol is among those allegedly trafficked by Subhash Kapoor, a former Manhattan art dealer who was the subject of a massive US federal investigation known as Operation Hidden Idol.

Kapoor was arrested in Germany in 2012 and is now on trial in India, accused of conspiring in the theft, trafficking and sale of religious idols. He denies all charges.

Many of the antiquities he dealt in dated back to the 11th and 12th centuries, when the Chola dynasty presided over a flourishing of Hindu art in Tamil Nadu.

‘Easy prey’

“This operation went on for many years,” said Prateep V Philip, who heads Tamil Nadu’s Idol Wing — India’s only police team dedicated to tackling art theft.

“He (Kapoor) was himself not on the scene, but he was the mastermind.”

Philip said Kapoor won over the international art world by donating millions of dollars’ worth of pieces to museums in the United States. He ran his own freight company in India, allegedly concealing priceless antiques among modern replicas.

“Whenever a theft took place in the past, sometimes people were not even aware,” said Philip, describing the thousands of small shrines that dot the state as “easy prey”. “It would be a derelict temple only visited at certain times of the year. So when a theft took place it was discovered long after.”

This means much of India’s stolen sacred art is never even registered as missing, allowing it to be bought and sold on the international market.

Solving the puzzle

Donna Yates, who lectures in antiquities trafficking at the University of Glasgow, said she was “absolutely flabbergasted” when it emerged the Australian gallery’s statue was stolen. “If you’d asked me in 2011 (before Kapoor’s arrest) whether this kind of thing was still possible, I’d have said no. I believed the due diligence of museums had vastly improved,” she said in a phone interview.

Since the arrest, Washington has returned hundreds of artefacts recovered under Operation Hidden Idol to India.

But idols are still disappearing. This year, Philip’s team arrested an art dealer in Chennai after recovering hundreds of metal and stone statues of Hindu gods from a warehouse. Yates believes the grassroots work of the IPP in documenting cases of theft and bringing them to public attention is crucial — and unmatched anywhere in the world.

“The amount that they’ve been able to do with zero resources is amazing. It has happened nowhere else,” she said.

The volunteers, who are all passionate about Indian art, go through old catalogues from auction houses, using any blemishes or imperfections to match lots with idols stolen from temples. Founded by two Singapore-based art enthusiasts, it now includes activists from all over the world.

The work is unpaid, but Venkatraman says it is all worth it when an idol is returned to the temple it belongs in.

“When finally the idol is restituted, the temple comes alive,” he said. “It’s a kind of cycle… Once that cycle is complete it’s like saying, ok, the puzzle is finally solved.”

First Published On : Jan 3, 2017 10:19 IST

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