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Day after Army chief’s LoC visit, Pak troops kill jawan

A day after Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited the forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC), the Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked firing on Indian forward positions, killing a jawan, in the Nowshera sector of Rajouri district in Jammu division on Sunday.The incident took place in the early hours of Sunday, when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire and fired indiscriminately on the Indian forward posts along the LoC in the Nowshera sector. The Indian Army troops immediately swung into action and retaliated in equal measure to silence the Pakistani guns.”In the exchange of fire, however, Sepoy Jagsir Singh was grievously injured and later succumbed,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at the Northern Command.Hailing from village Lohgarh, Thakhran Wala, district Firozepur of Punjab, Sepoy Jagsir Singh, 32, is survived by wife Mohinder Pall Kaur, two daughters, and a son.”Sepoy Jagsir Singh was a brave and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for his supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” Colonel Joshi said.The ceasefire violation comes just a day after the chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, visited the forward posts in Rajouri and exhorted the troops to continue to remain “vigilant and ever-ready”.Pakistan’s latest provocation also comes six days after the Indian Army troops, in a tit-for-tat action, crossed the LoC and killed three Pakistani Army men in Rawalakot sector of Poonch on Monday. The attack was carried out 48 hours after four Army soldiers, including a Major, were killed by the Pakistan Army on December 23.Meanwhile, figures presented in the Lok Sabha have revealed that Pakistan violated the ceasefire along the LoC in J&K 771 times, till December 10 this year, and 110 times along the International Border (IB) till November-end. Nearly 30 people, including 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians, and four BSF personnel, were killed in these ceasefire violations this year.Also, last year, 449 incidents of ceasefire violations were reported, in which 13 civilians and 13 security personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured. The truce between India and Pakistan along the IB, the LoC, and the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen glacier came into force in November, 2003.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

No New Year celebrations for people in Assam as they wait for first draft of NRC with bated breath

At the stroke of midnight today, the Assam government will release the first draft of the much-awaited National Register of Citizens (NRC) with names of 2.24 crore bona fide Indian citizens.Of the 3.28 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the registry, 2.24 crore have found a place in the first draft following verification of their documents. The rest will be considered in the next two drafts, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told mediapersons yesterday.”As per hon’ble Supreme Court’s order, there will be two more drafts of the NRC and the names of all genuine citizen claimants whose names do not feature in the first publication will be included in it after verification of the pending documents,” Sonowal said.Also read’Indian citizens excluded in draft NRC will get enough chance to prove credentials’ Dispelling apprehensions over security, Sonowal said no untoward situation is expected to arise as the district administrations have been conducting public meetings and campaigns to explain to the people the updation procedures.The chief minister also said the media have an important role to play in disseminating correct information to the public.Also readAASU demands error free NRC, says ‘no Bangladeshi coming to Assam after 1971 will be allowed to stay'”Social media will be monitored closely for misinformation on the NRC draft and strict action will be taken against those attempting to create trouble,” he said.Asked about a tentative date for release of the final draft, Sonowal said, “The Assam government is conducting the NRC updation process with the state government machinery, the district deputy commissioners’ offices mobilised for it on the orders of the Supreme Court… The complete draft will be published after verification of all documents of those who had applied for inclusion.”The state coordinator for NRC, Prateek Hajela, asserted that “genuine” Indian citizens need not panic if their names have not appeared in the first draft as verification process is yet to be completed.”If the name of any genuine Indian citizen does not appear in the first draft, it means the verification process of that person is yet to be completed,” Hajela said, adding there will be scope for making claims after the final draft is published.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, during his visit to the state, had also said there will be an opportunity for claims and objections after the release of the third draft.”Those who do not find their names in the first draft need not worry as there will be opportunities for subsequent investigation and document verification,” Gauba had said after reviewing the NRC updation process in Assam.The office of the State Coordinator for NRC has made elaborate arrangements for people to check their names in the first draft at NRC sewa kendras across the state from 8 am on January 1. They can also check for information online and through SMS services.Assam, which faced influx from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, first prepared in 1951.According to the Assam government’s official website, “The NRC is a register containing names of Indian citizens.The only time that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) was prepared was in 1951 when after conduct of the Census of 1951.”It was prepared by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during that Census, the website said.The issue of updating the NRC of 1951 was first raised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) more than three decades ago. The students’ body had submitted a memorandum to the Centre on January 18, 1980, two months after launching the anti-illegal foreigners Assam Movement.On November 17, 1999, at an official-level tripartite meeting to review the implementation of the Assam Accord, a decision was taken that the NRC would be updated and the Centre sanctioned Rs 20 lakh for the purpose and released Rs 5 lakh of it to start the exercise.The final decision to update the NRC was taken on May 5, 2005 when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting to review the implementation of the accord.Thereafter, the government created a directorate for updating the NRC and the process of computerisation of the voters’ list up to 1971 and the NRC of 1951 began.A pilot project that was launched in two revenue circles of Barpeta and Chaygaon was suspended after a violent protest by a few organisations. The state government then formed a group of ministers (GoM) to hold talks with different organisations to draft modalities for updating the NRC.The updation process finally gained momentum after the Supreme Court started monitoring its progress and set December 31 midnight as the date for publication of the first draft of the NRC.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

2017: A year of roller-coaster India-China relationship

India and China had a roller-coaster relationship in 2017 which was repeatedly blighted by issues like the Doklam standoff, blocking of India’s NSG membership bid and moves to declare the JeM chief a global terrorist, but the year ended on a promising note with both sides vowing to create favourable conditions for development of their ties.”The year 2017 is set to be a special year in the history of China-India relations,” Long Xingchun, Director of the Centre for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said as he summed up the bilateral ties in outgoing year.”The Doklam standoff pushed the two Asian powers to the brink of war, becoming the biggest crisis between them in the past 55 years,” he said in a recent write up in the official media, highlighting the challenges faced by leaderships of the two countries to navigate ties out of the growing “contradictions”.Also readPost Doklam stand-off, next round of India-China border talks from Friday The two sides, however, ended the torrid 2017 on a promising note with the most candid talks during the visits of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi followed by the 20th round of the border talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi this month.But analysts say there is no respite as Beijing’s latest move to extend its ambitious USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan and the victory of the pro-China Communist Party of Nepal (UML) leader K P S Oli in the just concluded polls in Nepal added to the long list of challenges New Delhi and Beijing will have to handle in 2018.Also readDiplomacy in Xi-Modi era: India-China to hold Track II talks to avoid Doklam-like crisisThe list includes China blocking India’s membership bid in Nuclear Suppliers Group and moves in the UN to declare Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and the CPEC capped by a 73-day standoff at the Doklam where the two armies dug in for a long haul despite its resolution.The Doklam standoff began on June 16 after the People’s Liberation Army began building a road in area claimed by Bhutan. The Indian troops intervened to stop the road as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its north-eastern states.The standoff ended on August 28 following mutual agreement under which China stopped the construction of road and India withdrew its troops. But after the standoff, China stationed its troops close to the standoff area ending its customary practice to vacate the area during the winter.In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to China to attend the 9th BRICS Summit on the sidelines of which he met Chinese President Xi Jinping and held extensive talks.Putting behind the Dokalam standoff, the two sides agreed to move forward in their ties with Xi telling Modi that he wants to put the relationship on the “right track”.Long says the bilateral ties have been blighted by three major strategic contradictions: the border dispute, the Tibet issue, and India’s reckoning that China-Pakistan friendship poses a threat.”However, it is unlikely that the three interwoven conundrums will be solved in the near future; control and management are the only way out,” he said.Other analysts say 2017 also demonstrated India?s resolve to resist China?s pressure tactics.India did not attend the Belt and Road Forum, a mega event held by China with the presence of leaders of several countries this year to highlight its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), denting Beijing?s attempt to showcase its influence.The BRI has become an issue for India as the controversial CPEC is part of it. India has protested over the project as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.Also India did not withdraw its troops from Doklam during the standoff despite a massive media blitzkrieg by China followed by aggressive moves by its military until PLA stopped the construction of the road.There was, however, some silver lining this year as for the first time in recent years, India?s exports to China showed promise of steady increase though the trade deficit continued to be disquietingly high.Since this year, India’s exports which were on the decline for a number of years started showing increase.In the first seven months, the exports registered 40.69 per cent year-on-year to reach USD 10.60 billion.In October alone, India’s exports to China increased by 53.04 per cent year-on-year to reach USD 1.24 billion. However, the trade deficit which last year accounted to USD 52 billion in about USD 70 billion total trade continued to climb reaching USD 44.51 billion in the first seven months.China?s investment in India, specially by mobile phone makers like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi besides ecommerce giant Alibaba were on the rise. The total investment were stated to be around USD 3.5 billion so far.Long says China and India have huge potential despite long list of differences.”2017 is the worst year for China-India relations. But if India would like to meet China halfway and make concerted effort, 2018 will probably become the best year for their bilateral ties,” he wrote in the article in the state-run Global Times.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

What the Indian economy in 2017 can tell us about the year ahead

This was Narendra Modi’s toughest year on the economic front, writes the BBC’s Sameer Hashmi.

We are dedicatedly working to empower all: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Appreciating the efforts of Maulana Azad University, Naqvi said that society cannot be empowered without education and the central government is keenly focusing on skill development.

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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written BySangeeta Sharma <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 4:40 ISTMust readBJP Going MicroCM Vasundhara Raje orders party members to fight by-polls on Dholpur model<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Under the joint aegis of the Marwar Muslim Educational and Welfare Society and the American Federation of Muslim American of Indian Origin (AFSI), the FC Gala Award was held at Maulana Azad University, Bujhawad, Jodhpur on Saturday, where Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was present as the chief guest.Appreciating the efforts of Maulana Azad University, Naqvi said that society cannot be empowered without education, the central government is keenly focusing on skill development and has allocated 70 percent of the budget for education and skill development. We are dedicatedly working to fulfill prime minister’s dream of empowering all. He further added that nearly 42 lakh people have been connected with employment-oriented programs.During the event, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that we are working to educate the minorities. He also announced to release 11 lakh rupees for Maulana Azad University from MPLAD fund. National Minority Commission member Sunil Singh said that effective representation of the Central Government has also been ensured in our journey. Dr Razia Ahmed, International President of the American Foundation who is of Indian Origin, said that this institution is dedicated to the education of the entire country.Focal pointAppreciating the efforts of Maulana Azad University, Naqvi said that society cannot be empowered without education and the central government is keenly focusing on skill development.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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Palestine has issued regret, taking serious cognizance of envoy’s presence in Hafiz Saeed’s rally: MEA

Palestine has issued regret, a day after pictures surfaced of country’s Pak envoy attending a rally organised by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. In a statement, MEA said that the government issued its strong response to Palestine authorities regarding Walid Abu Ali’s rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Rawalpindi.Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DPC) is an alliance of Islamist groups in Pakistan, including Saeed’s outfit.According to MEA, Palestine authorities expressed regret and promised to take serious cognizance of envoy’s presence in that rally. MEA statement said, ” They have said they will deal with this matter appropriately. It was also conveyed that Palestine highly values its relationship with India & stands with us in war against terrorism & will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India”. On Friday, MEA spokesperson had assured that India will take up the matter strongly after reports appeared about Palestine’s Pak enoy’s presence in Hafiz Saeed’s rally. Hafiz Saeed has been declared a global terrorist by UN who is currently out in bail in Pakistan. The Indian government has faced several questions from domestic constituency after voting against Trump’s Jerusalem decision in UN. The presence of Palestine envoy in Saeed’s rally have only added to the questions.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Jammu: 100 underground bunkers to save locals from Pakistani shelling on LoC

More than 100 shell proof underground bunkers are being constructed to save the local population from cross-border shelling in the vulnerable villages along the Line of Control in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district in Jammu division.This follows the fresh escalation on the borders in Pir Panjal Valley of the Jammu division.District Development Commissioner (DDC) , Rajouri Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has directed the sub-divisional magistrate of Sunderbani to finalise the location to construct 100 bunkers along the Line of Control.”The DDC directed SDM Sunderbani for finalisation of location for at least 100 bunkers along LoC in Sunderbani in consultation with elected representatives, locals and army representatives”, said an official spokesman.This followed the demands made during a public meeting chaired by DDC at border village Meenka in Sunderbani near the Line of Control. More than 300 people from six panchayats participated in the meeting.Also read’Jammu and Kashmir extremely safe destination for women travelling alone’The design and layout of bunkers are being made in such a manner that they will withstand the Pakistani shells. Sources said the highlight of the bunkers will be the double RCC slab which will be covered with five feet of sand so that the shells do not penetrate inside.Tension had gripped the LoC after four army soldiers including a Major were killed when Pakistan violated ceasefire on December 23. Forty-eight hours later Indian army troops in a tit-for-tat action crossed the LoC and killed three Pakistani army men and injuring another in Rawalakote sector.Also readJammu and Kashmir: Pakistan violates ceasefire; targets Indian forward posts along LoC at PoonchFigures presented in the Lok Sabha revealed that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10 this year, and 110 times along the International Border till November-end. Around 30 people including 14 army personnel, 12 civilians, and four BSF personnel were killed in these ceasefire violations this year.Last year there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 security personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured. The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen glacier came into force in November 2003.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Kamala Mills Fire: Activist’s efforts go in vain

As the issue of poor fire prevention systems was highlighted after the Kamala Mills incident in central Mumbai, activist Vihar Durve said that the corporation and the fire department did nothing to prevent such incidents despite several requests.Since 2005, Durve has written over 100 letters pointing out the inability of the BMC and the fire department in implementation of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006.He also filed over 200 RTI applications to the various departments of the BMC and fire asking about the status of its implementation. “Fire safety is compromised at all levels in the city as those who run big eateries easily bribe the corporation and get away with the violation of norms. Eleven years after the act for fire safety came into effect, there has been no action on those who do not follow the requisite norms putting the lives of ordinary people at stake” Durve told DNA.In a response to one of the RTIs filed by Durve, the Mumbai Fire Brigade stated that between 2012 and 2015, a total of 1,090 people were injured while 634 people lost their lives in fire-related incidents.The response also stated that the fire department had issued notices to a total of 1,502 owners/occupiers of premises that were not complying with the fire safety norms.Durve said that when asked about the details of compliance for each of the surveyed eateries between 2012 and 2015, the reply stated that the corporation did not have the consolidated details of the same.Another RTI put before the Indian Audits and Accounts department revealed that there was no audit of the fire and disaster management department between 2013 and 2015. “Even after writing to all the authorities and the Chief Minister consistently, there was no seriousness in implementing the 2006 guidelines” he said.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Walk the toilet talk, say Dawoodi Bohra community

Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the spiritual head of Dawoodi Bohra community had recently preached to its members that toilet seats in their bathrooms be changed from Western to Indian. Following this, messages have gone viral among the members of the community that the Saifee Hospital, which is owned by Aqa Maula and Kothar, itself has not walked the talk.”They should also practice what they preach. They have asked us to implement but they are not doing the same,” said a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community requesting anonymity, fearing that they might be boycotted.”The ‘toilet brigade’ comes in groups of four to five and bullies us. They ask if we have changed or not. If people do not allow them to inspect, we get calls later in which we are told that saying “no” to them is like “saying no to Syedna,” said a community member who had four people visiting his home. They took down details of each family member and their occupation.Another video message shows Syedna’s men breaking Western toilets with a hammer. “They are religious leaders and should stick to religious values and not interfere in our personal lives,” said another community member.A spokesperson from Dawoodi Bohra community said, “Using western toilets is alien to our culture. Additionally, it is an accepted fact that using Indian toilets has certain proven medical benefits and advantages over using Western toilets. It is all part of the much wider ongoing upliftment and awareness drive. The volunteers visiting houses for the Upliftment programme are facilitating families that want to shift from western to Indian style toilets. No one is forced to change, let alone a person who needs to use a Western toilet due to any medical condition. Also, the services of Saifee Hospital reach out to all members of society, hence the question of changing to Indian style toilet does not arise.”

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
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Congress MP stresses on need to reorient policies with China

Expressing concern over China making a foray into India’s neighbourhood, a Lok Sabha member on Thursday stressed the need to reorient the policy towards its neighbours.”I think our neighbourhood policy needs to be reoriented,” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (INC) said during the Zero Hour.China has been making a foray into the periphery of India, much to the concern of the country specially in view of the strategic perspective, Chowdhury said.”Not only that, our another neighbouring country Nepal and their anti-India rhetoric is getting pronounced,” he said, calling for a relook of the existing policy.Rabindra Kumar Jena (BJD) said there were about 1.3 lakh post offices in the country which employ 2.7 lakh gramin dak sevaks. They account for almost 90% of the Indian postal work and generate close to 70% of the revenue.Also readTriple talaq bill passed in Lok Sabha; support Bill, but needs strengthing, says CongressBut the gramin dak sevaks are paid the least, have zero job security and do not have any social security scheme.He urged the government to implement 2.5% hike in the salary of gramin dak sevaks and ensure that they are paid the minimum wages.Also readLok Sabha passes Bill to protect unauthorised coloniesM K Raghavan (INC) urged the govenrnment to include Calicut in the smart city scheme, while Kaushalendra Kumar (Janata Dal-United)) made a plea for setting up Ayush University at Rajgir in Bihar.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

Pakistan army violates ceasefire twice in a day in J&K’s Poonch

Pakistani troops today violated ceasefire twice in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir as they resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from across the border, targeting forward posts and villages, an official said.The Indian troops guarding the Line of Control (LoC) retaliated the firing but there was no immediate report of any casualty, the official said.He said the small arms firing from Pakistani side was reported for nearly three hours in the morning in three villages of Digwar sector, causing panic among the border residents.The firing from across the border again started this evening at Khari Karmara sector in Poonch and the exchange of firing between the two sides was continuing when last reports were received, he said.The nearby Rajouri district witnessed heavy exchange of firing between Indian and Pakistani army after the latter initiated the firing in Noushera sector.The latest violation of the ceasefire agreement from Pakistan comes a few days after their troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers in Keri sector of Rajouri district on December 23.On December 24, Pakistani troops had also targeted forward posts and villages in Shahpur sector of Poonch district for nearly four hours but there was no report of any casualty.The Indian troops also killed three Pakistani soldiers and injured another in retaliatory action at Rukh Chakri sector in Rawlakot on December 25.Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a total of 881 ceasefire violations this year, highest in past seven years, along the LoC and the International Border (IB), resulting in the death of 34 people.According to officials, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10, and 110 times along the IB till November-end.In these incidents of firing from across the border, 30 people — 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel — were killed.The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, the Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003.India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.In 2016, there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations in which 13 civilians and 13 government forces personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Indian Army plans to use camels to patrol LAC in Ladakh

In view of the Chinese aggression along the Sino-India border, the Indian Army is planning to use both double-humped and single-humped camels along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh on a pilot basis. If the pilot project is a success, camels will be used by the military in the region and in terrains between the altitude of 12,000 and 15,500 feet, a Times of India report said. Under the project, these animals will be trained to patrol and carry heavy loads of ammunition and other supplies. Indian Army traditionally uses mules and ponies in the region which have capacity to carry about 40 kg of load. In comparison, the double-humped (Bactrian) camels can carry between 180-220kg load and can cover a distance of 10 to 15 km within two hours.The Army has already got four single-humped (dromedary) camels to Ladakh from the National Research Centre on Camel in Bikaner.Also readPost Dokalam stand-off, China’s ties with India still fragile, says Global Times op-edThe project is being introduced as part of a measure to check intrusion, months after the Doklam standoff near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction. The Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), a unit of of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Leh, has already started research on the load-carrying capacity of the Bactrian camels. The DIHAR will assess how the camels can be trained for carrying load in such harsh topography and weather conditions.Also readPost Doklam stand-off, SSB increases presence on India-Bhutan border”The Bactrian camels were inducted at DIHAR in February 2017 for a pilot study on their suitability for border patrolling, load-carrying ability, training, and devise management practices, considering conditions in high altitude.” the DIHAR director was quoted as saying by the daily. In India, double-humped camels are only found in Ladakh’s Nubra Valley and their number ranges around 200.

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Sushma Swaraj’s speech in Rajya Sabha on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family: Full text

India today slammed Pakistan for making “absurd” charges of a chip, camera or a recorder being installed in the footwear of the wife of imprisoned Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav and said Islambad was on to a mischief after showing discourtesy towards his family.Making a statement on the meeting of Jadhav with his wife and mother in Islamabad earlier this week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said it came after 22 months and was “misused by Pakistan as an instrument to further its propaganda.”Here’s full text of her Rajya Sabha speech:STATEMENT BY EAM IN LOK SABHA ON THE MEETING OF THE FAMILY OF Mr KULBHUSHAN JADHAV WITH HIM AND THE SITUATION ARISING FROM THEREMadam Speaker,I rise to apprise the House of recent developments pertaining to Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national in the illegal custody of Pakistan. As the House is aware, his mother and wife met him on 25 December 2017 in Islamabad. The meeting was arranged through diplomatic channels.2.In April 2017, I had made a statement in this House underlining the Government’s determination to do everything possible to ensure Shri Jadhav’s well-being and secure his release from illegal detention. Since then, the House is aware that we approached the International Court of Justice and obtained provisional measures that stayed the execution of the death sentence that was passed on Shri Jadhav through a farcical Pakistani military court process. While the imminent threat to Shri Jadhav’s safety was averted as a result, we are now engaged in seeking a permanent relief, based on stronger arguments, through the legal avenue offered by the International Court of Justice.Madam Speaker,3: I had also conveyed that we were in constant touch with the family at this difficult time. It was, therefore, natural that we took up the cause of family members who sought access to Shri Jadhav with a view to ascertaining his well-being for themselves. These efforts were pursued persistently through diplomatic channels. As a result, this month, the Pakistani authorities consented to a meeting between Shri Jadhav and his mother and wife.4.While the meeting could have been a step forward, it is a matter of great concern that there was departure from the agreed understandings between the two countries in the conduct of this meeting. The emotional moment between a mother and her son, and a wife and her husband after a period of 22 months, was misused by Pakistan as an instrument to further its propaganda. The Ministry of External Affairs has stated our position in this regard publicly day before yesterday. Our concerns arising from this meeting were conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels yesterday. I would like to highlight a few of them in this House:There was a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access to the mother and wife of Shri Jadhav. However, not only the Pakistani press was allowed to approach family members closely, but the family members were also harassed through use of offensive language by the media. The Pakistani media hurled false and motivated accusations about Shri Jadhav;Under the pretext of security precautions, even the attire of the family members was changed. Mr Jadhav’s mother, who wears a Sari only, was instead given Salwar and Kurta to wear. Bindi, bangles and mangal sutra of the wife were removed; The mother of Shri Jadhav wanted to talk to her son in mother tongue Marathi, as this is clearly the natural medium of communication between a mother and son. However, the mother of Shri Jadhav was not allowed to speak in Marathi. While doing so, she was repeatedly interrupted by the two Pakistani officials present in the meeting. When she persisted, the intercom was closed and she was prevented from proceeding further with the conversation in Marathi; The family members were taken for the meeting through a separate door without informing the Deputy High Commissioner of India, who had accompanied the family members for this meeting. Consequently, he could not see that the family members were being taken for the meeting after changing their attire and removing their bindi, bangles and mangal sutra. Otherwise he would have objected then and there. The meeting was started without his presence and he could join only after pressing the matter with concerned officials;The car for the family of Mr Jadhav and accompanying Indian diplomat was delayed after the meeting so as to give another opportunity to the media to harass them;The shoes of the wife of Shri Jadhav were removed before the meeting and she was given slippers to wear to the meeting. The shoes were not returned to her despite her repeated requests after the meeting. The Pakistan authorities have been cautioned against any mischievous intent in this regard through a Note Verbale yesterday. 5.The mother and wife, after their return, conveyed to me that Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav appeared under considerable stress and was speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. As the meeting evolved, it was clear to them that his remarks were tutored by his captors and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities. His appearance also raised questions of his health and well being.Madam Speaker,6.The meeting of Mr. Kulbhushan Jadhav with his mother and wife was portrayed by Pakistan as a humanitarian gesture. However, the truth is that both humanity and compassion were missing during the meeting that was arranged on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. There was a serious and gross violation of human rights of the family members of Shri Jadhav and an intimidating atmosphere was created for them during this meeting. There are not enough words to condemn the same.Madam Speaker,7. I am fully confident that this entire House and through this House, the people of India, strongly condemns, in one voice, the obnoxious behaviour of Pakistan and affirm their solidarity with the Jadhav family.

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The museum of ‘but what were you wearing’?

Jasmeen Patheja’s collection is a testament to the fact victims are not to blame.

Drive to end encroachment on Noida Expressway

The local administration, along with the Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, conducted a massive anti-encroachment drive against 35 illegal farmhouses spread over several acres of government land, in the Nagla-Nagli village along the Noida Expressway on Wednesday, following an Allahabad High Court (HC) order.According to the IAF officials, they bulldozed unauthorised construction on 40 acres of land in the village. The HC, in July, 2017, had directed the district administration to identify the IAF land allotted decades ago and to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused. Several acres of land was grabbed by colonisers and illegal colonies were developed. The 482-acre land belongs to the Ministry of Defence, given to the IAF for a bombing range in 1950.”Several notices issued were not taken seriously. The encroachers were served show cause notices on November 8 and then eviction notices on December 1. Several encroachers came to the spot after knowing about the eviction drive,” said A K Shrivastava, in-charge of anti-encroachment drive and group captain in the IAF.

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Noida sisters’ death suicide: Post-mortem

Post mortem reports of the two teengaged girls found hanged in Barola village, Noida, suggest that their death is a case of suicide, not murder. Preliminary investigations suggested this to be a case of honour killing.Following a complaint made by the father, the Gautam Budh Nagar police registered an FIR against three relatives, accusing them of killing his daughters, police said.The girls were found hanging outside their house in Barola village, Sector 49 on Tuesday morning. They were aged 13 and 18. According to post-mortem reports, which were out late on Tuesday night, death was caused by hanging and no other injury marks were found on the body.”Prima Facie, it looked like a case of suicide,” said Luv Kumar, senior superintendent of police, Gautam Budh Nagar. “Besides a mark from the noose, no other injury marks were found on the bodies. An FIR has been lodged against Ravi, his father and uncle under Section 302 for the murder, sections 504 and 507 of the Indian Penal Code.”The mother of the girls had said her elder daughter was in love with their distant relative Ravi and the two had eloped recently. They were coerced to return by their family.Police say that though the family insisted the girls were murdered, there were gaps in their narration of the sequence of events. It suggested that they were hiding some things. “The family said that the door of their one-room set was bolted from outside; they made no attempt to open it from the only window of the room — which is right next to the door. The phone which the father had broken a day earlier was also not found,” said a senior police officer.Neighbours said none of the family members responded despite the many of them shouting when the girls’ bodies were found. While the police is convinced of the suicide theory, they are now working out the reason behind the suicide.They had detained the father for questioning. “During interrogation, he said a few days ago, two men from Ravi’s family had come to their house, searching for Ravi. Then on Monday, the father broke his daughter’s phone in anger. The younger daughter was close to her elder sister,” a senior police officer said.

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Cyber attacks originate in Pak, China, says Alphons Kannanthanam

The government on Wednesday said there have been attempts from time to time to penetrate systems/devices of cyber networks operating in government and its personnel.”These attacks have been observed to be originating from the cyberspace of a number of countries including China and Pakistan,” Minister of State for Electronics and IT Alphons Kannanthanam said in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.According to Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), 44,679, 49,455, 50,362, and 40,054 cyber security incidents were observed during 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (till November), respectively.The types of cyber security incidents include phishing, scanning/probing, website intrusions and defacements, virus/malicious code, ransomware, denial of service attack etc.CERT-In issues alerts and advisories regarding latest cyber threats/vulnerabilities and counter measures to protect computers on regular basis.The minister said five drills have so far been conducted by CERT-In to assess cyber security preparedness of organisations. About 148 organisations from different states and sectors such as finance, defence, power, telecom, energy, IT/ITeS, etc participated in these drills.

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New Bill simplifies bamboo farming

The Parliament on Wednesday passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that will omit bamboo from the definition of trees and allow its cultivation and trade on non-forest areas without permits. The amendment was earlier adopted in the Lok Sabha on December 20, and it was passed by a voice vote after a short debate in the Rajya Sabha.Minister of Environment and Forest Dr Harsh Vardhan sought to assure and remind the House that the amendment was meant only for bamboo grown on non-forest areas and thus bamboo grown on forest land will continue to be protected under forest laws. However, opposition members from the Congress, SP and BJD questioned Centre’s haste in promulgating an ordinance on the issue, just weeks before the Parliament convened. They expressed concern that the Bill would only benefit private players, ignoring the demands of tribal communities.”It is impossible to think that there was some exigency, there was some emergency unless there was pressure that was coming from some private industry to allow non-forest areas for bamboo cultivation,” Jairam Ramesh of Congress said while terming the Bill as misleading.In his reply, Dr Harsh Vardhan said: “I am shocked to see that you (opposition) can’t see the benefit of tribals and poor farmers who are going to benefit after the bill is passed.” He argued that the Bill will help farmers double their income and also aid in increasing forest cover. Prior to the vote, Ramesh and other opposition members walked out.

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Mumbai cops refuse to file FIR against builder: Lawyer

A Sion-based lawyer, allegedly the victim of fraud builder, says his woes have been worsened by Mumbai police’s reluctance to register an FIR against the builder. Builder Uday Surve has allegedly cheated over 2,000 homebuyers and investors to the tune of Rs 150 crore under the pretext of redeveloping buildings built by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). Advocate Deepak Thakur, a resident of Sion, is one of the victims.He has been trying to register a case against Surve, Managing Director of Shubh Enterprises for duping his father Prem Kumar Thakur of Rs 22 lakh since 2015 when he realised that he was cheated. Prem Kumar is a retired Army office, and was promised a flat in Surve’s Shiv Shakti project at Kurar village, Malad. “We paid for the flat in 2012 and were promised possession in 2014,” says 34-year-old Deepak. “We were repeatedly given false assurances of possession, and when we asked for a refund in 2015, he refused.” Deepak said that when he approached Kasturba Marg police to register the complaint, they refused to file an FIR, saying it was a civil matter.“This is despite me telling them that its a criminal case,” says Deepak.Dr. Vinay Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 12, said, “I am unaware of such an incident. I will enquire about it with the subordinates.”According to the Economic Offences Wing, Surve has been booked in 16 criminal cases across the city.The case against Surve has been probed by the Maharashtra Protection Of Interest Of Depositors and Housing Units of EOW.Surve faces charges of cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA), 1963. Surve and two other accused ran Shubh Enterprises and had undertaken several projects to redevelop a housing society at DN Nagar. The trio sold the same flats to multiple buyers. Surve is behind the bars in Mumbai’s Arthur road jail.“Surve and his accomplices sold the sale components of redevelopment projects without procuring the requisite permission, and in some projects, constructed up to 10 storeys without procuring Commencement certificate (CC) and Intimation Of Disapproval (IOD) from the concerned authorities,” said a senior EOW officer. “We have attached the assets of the accused and both investors and flat buyers have filed the complaints and we are on the verge of recovering the money from the accused.”

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Don’t attend Modern school event, CM Devendra Fadnavis urged

The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Correpondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:30 ISTMust readOn Day 2, Mumbai commuters warm up to AC localMumbai Metro authorities don’t see the need to increase coaches despite commuter rise<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parents of students of Indian Education Society’s Modern English School in Dadar have written to CM Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him not to accept the school’s invitation to inaugurate a Shivaji statue in Hindu Colony for its centennial celebrations on Friday, because complaints against the management over fee hike are pending before the Bombay High Court.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The parents submitted the letter to the CM on December 26. It has also been sent to the school’s alumnus, Cabinet Minister Chandrakant Patil. The school said the parents have a vested interest.

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Malegaon blast: Relieved that MCOCA dropped, says Col Purohit’s wife after partial relief

After the special NIA court dropped MCOCA charges against 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Lt Col Prasad Purohit, his wife Aparna stated that decision has come as a huge relief for Purohit family. “Due to the MCOCA, he (Purohit) had to spent nine years in jail. Now we are happy that finally the MCOCA charges are dropped,” Aparna told DNA. Though the court has dropped MCOCA charges, he along with other accused will face trial under section 16 and 18 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and 120b, 302, 307 and 326 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Speaking to DNA on Wednesday after the charges framed against six accused including Purohit, Aparna said, “We will fight it out the way we have been fighting the case since day one. After the charges of MCOCA have been dropped, we consider it as a small step towards justice but still there is a long way to go.”Aparna who has been making rounds of various courts right from sessions court to the Supreme Court stated that she was never low on confidence even on the day one of Purohit’s arrest and now since the MCOCA charges have been dropped, that will boost her confidence even more. “I know my husband is innocent. We are a family of army personnel and therefore we were never short on confidence. We know hot to fight and that is what we have been doing for last nine years,” Aparna said. Also read2008 Malegaon case: MCOCA dropped against Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit, to be tried under UAPA and IPC sectionsWhen DNA asked her about the reaction of the family members including Purohit, she said, “For nine years, I was fighting alone where I had to look after my family while I was making rounds of courts. However, now since my husband is out of jail, entire family is relieved. We are now able to divide the work and with each other’s support we are now fighting the case with more efficiency.”

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Thiruvananthpuram-bound IndiGo plane aborts take off due to fuel leak

"Flight crew were alerted by on board computers about 'Fuel Right Wing Tank Overflow'. Flight crew carried out their required procedure as per Airbus checklist and also the overflow was confirmed by the ground staff," IndiGo said in a statement As a precaution engines were shut down and aircraft was towed back to bay, it said. The airline said that it is investigating the matter and that it has also informed safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation about the incident. ”
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 19:55 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>A Thiruvananthpuram-bound IndiGo plane with 173 passengers on board experienced a fuel leak, forcing it to abort take off and return to the parking bay at the Indira Gandhi International airport here.Sources said there was fuel spillage from the right wing of the aircraft at 4.35 PM yesterday when it was taxiing for take off. A fire engine was pressed into service and a substitute plane was arranged and the flight took off two hours later at 6.15 PM and landed at Thiruvananthpuram at 9.26 PM. According to airport sources, the airline reported only a ‘wing tank overflow’ at first and later acknowledged oil spillage.”Flight crew were alerted by on board computers about ‘Fuel Right Wing Tank Overflow’. Flight crew carried out their required procedure as per Airbus checklist and also the overflow was confirmed by the ground staff,” IndiGo said in a statement As a precaution engines were shut down and aircraft was towed back to bay, it said. The airline said that it is investigating the matter and that it has also informed safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation about the incident.

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Intel busts D-Company plot to assassinate Chota Rajan inside Tihar Jail

A plot, allegedly planned by Dawood Ibrahim, to bump off underworld don Chhota Rajan, who is currently locked up in Tihar Jail, was foiled, after Intel came to know of the conspiracy, The Times of India reported.According to the report, the crime was supposed to be committed by Delhi’s top gangster Neeraj Bawana at the insistence of D Company. The report added that the plan got busted after one of Bawana’s aides boasted about the plot to another associate during what was described as drunken banter. This was picked up by the agencies which brought it to the notice of all stakeholders involved in Rajan’s security. Currently, Bawana and Rajan are in Jail Number 2 of Tihar jail, but are in different cells. Following the intelligence report, Bawana has been shifted into an isolated cell.Rajan has been lodged in Tihar, and not in jails in Mumbai or Maharashtra, because officials felt it would be difficult for Dawood Ibrahim and his network to get to their target in the highly secure Delhi prison.In 2015, Rajan was arrested in Bali on the basis of a Red Corner Notice from Interpol and following a tip off by Australian authorities to the police in Indonesia. In the absence of an extradition treaty, the Indian authorities have already provided documents to their Indonesian counterparts about Rajan’s Indian identity to facilitate his deportation. The sources said Rajan was in touch with various police officials for last six months seeking a passage to return to India as he feared for his life in Australia from Chhota Shakeel, a henchman of Dawood.In 2000, there was an attempt on Rajan’s life when Dawood’s men tracked him down to a hotel in Bangkok but he managed a dramatic escape.Mumbai-born Rajan, once a close confidant-turned-rival of underworld gang lord Dawood, has said that he is not afraid of Dawood, the prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. Rajan was arrested on a Red Corner notice by Interpol after eluding law enforcement agencies for over two decades. Out of these 75 cases, Rajan is facing four cases under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), one under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and over 20 cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

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Displeased with food packets being distributed, Prez Kovind stops speech midway

"What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. "Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while," Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech. ”
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Guntur: President Ram Nath Kovind, Andhra Pradesh Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other ministers during the inauguration of Centenary Annual Conference of Indian Economic Association (IEA) at Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday , PTI<!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Right_300x250_ATF –><!–bnr300–>Share

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Wednesday 27 December 2017 19:23 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>It is not often that he stops midway during a public speech, but that is what President Ram Nath Kovind did today to indicate his displeasure over the distribution of food packets among the delegates during his address at an Indian Economic Association conference here.Briefly interrupting his address to gently prod the organisers for the faux pas, the president asked them to stop distributing the packets till his speech was over. While addressing the centenary conference of the association, Kovind noticed that the food packets were being distributed among the participants. Two minutes into his speech, Kovind paused and looked at the audience as there was a sudden noise.The volunteers had started distributing the food packets among the delegates and mediapersons and a group of students had got up from their seats in their hurry to grab them.”What is happening in the economic world…I see the same picture at this conference also. I think some food packets are being distributed. Of course it is a must, but it has disturbed the system itself. “Therefore, I request the organisers, will you please keep the distribution of food packets in abeyance for a little while,” Kovind said, even as the stunned police personnel and officials intervened to stop the distribution. The president then continued with his speech.

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CBI software programmer arrested for developing illegal railway tatkal website

The CBI today arrested its software programmer for developing an illegal software to subvert the railways Tatkal reservation system, allowing hundreds of tickets to be booked in one go.Ajay Garg, an assistant programmer with CBI, worked with IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd) for four years between 2007-11 where he learnt the vulnerabilities of the railway ticketing system, sources said.Garg has been arrested along with close aide Anil Gupta, a private person who distributed the software to agents for a price. Besides, 10 agents — seven in Jaunpur and three in Mumbai — have been identified, the sources said.Garg, who joined CBI in 2012, exploited the vulnerabilities to develop the illegal software, which allowed agents to book hundreds of tickets in one go, leaving genuine passengers in the lurch, they said.”The vulnerabilities of the IRCTC system still exist,” an official said.A postgraduate in computer applications, Garg allegedly sold the software through Gupta.

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There was ‘something’ in shoes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife, ‘clarifies’ Pakistan

Clarifying its stance, Pakistan has claimed that the Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife’s shoes were confiscated on security grounds as there was ‘something’ in it.’There was something in the shoe (of Jadhav’s wife),’ the Dawn has quoted Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal as saying.The shoe is being investigated, he added. Pakistan’s Foreign Office, in a statement, said, ‘We do not wish to indulge in a meaningless battle of words. Our openness and transparency belies these allegations and categorically rejected India’s baseless allegations and twists.’The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday stated that, ‘For some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of the wife of Jadhav were not returned to her after the meeting. We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard.’Pakistan had disregarded the cultural and religious sensibilities of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family, who met him on Monday in Islamabad, the MEA added.Also readIf Kulbhushan Jadhav has been declared a terrorist by Pak, then he will be treated like one: SP’s Naresh Agrawal’Under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included the removal of mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security,’ MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.Kumar added the Pakistani press, despite prior agreement that the media would not be allowed close access, was allowed on multiple occasions to approach the family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations about Jadhav.Also readIndia hits back at Pak, says Kulbhushan Jadhav’s statement clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate false narrative “We note with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings,” he said.Kumar further said that the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan, who was supposed to be with the family all the time, was initially separated from family members.Also readDay after meeting Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, wife, mother meet Sushma Swaraj The MEA spokesperson concluded by saying that the manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath seemed clearly to be an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Jadhav’s alleged activities, adding the exercise lacked credibility.

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If Kulbhushan Jadhav has been declared a terrorist by Pak, then he will be treated like one: SP’s Naresh Agarwal

Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal created a controversy on Wednesday by saying that if former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was a terrorist then he would be treated as such in Pakistan.”If Pakistan has declared Kulbhushan Jadhav as a terrorist in their country, then they will treat him like one. In our country also, we should treat terrorists in the similar manner. Terrorists have to be dealt strictly,” Agrawal told ANI.He also wondered why country’s media was only talking about Jadhav when there were many others who were languishing in Pakistani jails.Meanwhile, there has been an outcry over the treatment meted out to Jadhav’s mother and wife who reached Islamabad on Monday to meet Jadhav.Also readIndia hits back at Pak, says Kulbhushan Jadhav’s statement clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate false narrative The wife and the mother of Jadhav were asked to remove mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, besides having been asked to change the attire, citing it as a security measure.After the meeting, Jadhav’s mother and wife were also harassed in heavily guarded foreign ministry office by Pakistani journalists.Jadhav is on a death row in Pakistan over charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).On May 18, 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging, after India approached it against the death sentence.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav | Parliament condemns humiliating treatment of family, Sushma Swaraj to make statement tomorrow

Parliament on Wednesday witnessed protests across all party lines condemning the way Pakistan humiliated the family of jailed Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad.Lawmakers of every single party not only slammed Islamabad for the farce meeting but also demanded that India must do all it can to bring back Jadhav.“We condemn the way Kulbhushan Jadhav ‘s mother and wife were treated in Pakistan. Kulbhushan Jadhav should be brought back to the country,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in the Lok Sabha. “We can’t expect anything better from Pakistan. The way Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife were treated was shameful,”Kapil Sibal, another senior Congress leader, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.Amid uproar over the issue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that she will be making a statement in the House on this issue tomorrow. Also readTreatment to Jadhav’s kin like ‘Draupadi’s Vastra-haran’, Pak should be broken to four parts: Subramanian SwamySwaraj is scheduled to give a statement in the Rajya Sabha at 11 am tomorrow and at 12 noon in the Lok Sabha.On Tuesday, a day after the Jadhav’s family met him in Islamabad, New Delhi ripped apart Islamabad’s PR stunt by giving the details of the 30-minute meeting.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav’s family was harassed; wife had to remove mangal sutra, bindi: India exposes Pakistan’s PR showFrom removing bangles, bindi and mangal sutra of Jadhav’s wife to preventing his mother to speak in her mother tongue, Pakistani officials and the local media continued to harass the two during their short stay in Pakistani capital.Narrating sequence of events, the MEA statement said that prior to the meeting the two countries through diplomatic channels had worked out modalities and format of the meeting. “There were clear understandings between the two sides and the Indian side scrupulously abided by all its commitments,” it said. The MEA noted with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings.

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A German love affair with Indian cinema

Josef Wirsching refused to produce propaganda films in Nazi Germany, instead working in Mumbai.

Jaipur-Agra Shatabdi to improvise under project ‘Swarna’

The Golden triangle rail journey is all set to get more comfortable as the coaches of Jaipur-Agra Shatabdi are being revamped with unique features under the project ‘Swarna’ of Indian Railways.There are changes on cards in most of the aspects of rail travel. The features include disposable head rest cover for the passengers seated in the coach, for better view inside the coach, whilegood quality pictures and paintings exhibiting regional culture and heritage will also be displayed inside the coach.As bad odour was an issue of discussion earlier in this Jaipur-Agra Shatabdi, automatic odour control (AOC) system is being installed.The train is also being equipped with CCTV Surveilllance system, while Aadhar enabeled bio matric attendance system for staff for geo tagging has also been done on this train. This will ensure responsible behavior from the staff of the train.As a humanatrian gesture, the travel of visually impaired will also become easier as there is also provision of braille signage in the train. On his visit to Jaipur on Saturday, the chairman of Railway board, Ashwai Lohani had also inspected the coaches of this train which is amongst the 15 Shatabdi’s and 14 Rajdhani express chosen under this project.It is noteworthy that golden triangle is an important tourism circuit in the country attracting lakhs of tourists, mostly foreigners. This makes it a natural choice for the tourists to board this train everyday to travel between Jaipur and Agra. Notably, to improve passenger experience, Ministry of Railways decided to upgrade Premium Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains under Project ‘Swarna.’With improved passenger amenities, aesthetics and hygiene standards, country’s first Swarn Rajdhani (Train no 12313 New Delhi – Sealdah Rajdhani Express) was launched in New Delhi in the month of November this year.Well equippedThe train is being equipped with CCTV surveillance system while Aadhar enabelled bio matric attendance system for staff for geo tagging has also been done on this train. This will ensure responsible behavior from the staff of the train.

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India police kill Kashmir ‘Merchant of Death’

Noor Mohammad Tantray was a commander in the militant Jaish-e-Mohammad separatist group.

From disallowing speaking in Marathi to forced to remove bangles: Jadhav’s kin harassed by Pak

A day after wife and mother of former Indian Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav met him in Islamabad , India on Tuesday took serious objections to the conduct of Pakistan and the way its officials arranged the meeting disregarding all “sensibilities”. A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the exercise lacked credibility and during the meeting Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. “Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan,” it said. Pakistan’s public relations (PR) pitch coming ahead of the top UN court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) begins to hear India’s appeal against Jadhav’s death sentence took new heights, when its Foreign Office not only made meeting of mother Avanti and wife Chetana with a death-row prisoner a media spectacle, but also used the occasion to release his second video and a medical report showing him healthy and fit.In a strongly worded statement, MEA said not only Pakistani media was unleashed to harass visiting relatives, but prior to meeting their cultural and religious sensibilities were also disregarded, by forcing them to remove mangal sutra, bangles and bindis. They were also asked to change their attire that was not warranted by security. They were also asked to put off their shoes. After the meeting despite requests shoe of Jadhav’s wife was not returned.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav’s family was harassed; wife had to remove mangal sutra, bindi: India exposes Pakistan’s PR showEarlier in the morning, both women met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence. Jadhav’s father also accompanied them. Among others Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and India’s deputy high commissioner in Islamabad JP Sigh also attended the brief meeting. Both the women were later headed to Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan, the offices of MEA for debriefing sessions.Narrating sequence of events, the MEA statement said that prior to the meeting the two countries through diplomatic channels had worked out modalities and format of the meeting. “There were clear understandings between the two sides and the Indian side scrupulously abided by all its commitments,” it said. The MEA noted with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings.“The Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to approach family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations about Shri Jadhav. This was despite a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access,” the statement added. It further stated that under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security.Further,Jadhav’s mother was prevented from talking in her mother tongue Marathi, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication. During the meeting, she was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard. India’s deputy high commissioner JP Singh, who was tasked to accompany family members in the alien land was initially separated from them. Once inside Foreign Office building, they were taken to the meeting without informing Singh. The meeting started without his presence. After his protested, he was allowed to join Even then, he was kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed.The height of insensitive didn’t stop here. Despite repeated requests, the shoes of the wife of Jadhav were not returned to her after the meeting. From the feedback we have received of the meeting, it appears that Shri Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan. His appearance also raises questions of his health and well being,” the statement added, rejected the video played by the Pakistan Foreign Office. “We also regret that contrary to assurances, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating insofar as family members were concerned. Family members, however, handled the situation with great courage and fortitude. The manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Shri Jadhav’s alleged activities. You would all You agree that this exercise lacked any credibility, “the statement said.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family was harassed; wife had to remove mangal sutra, bindi: India exposes Pakistan’s PR show

A day after Kulbhushan Jadhav met his family from behind a glass partition, India in a terse reply, exposed Pakistan’s PR show.In a detailed response, Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said, “Prior to the meeting, the two governments were in touch through diplomatic channels to work out its modalities and format. There were clear understandings between the two sides and the Indian side scrupulously abided by all its commitments.”“However, we note with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings,” he said. Also readDay after meeting Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, wife, mother meet Sushma Swaraj Exposing Islamabad’s farce, New Delhi revealed that, “the Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to approach family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations about Jadhav. This was despite a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access.”In blatant disregard to cultural sensibilities, Pakistani officials asked Jadhav’s wife to remove her mangal sutra and bindi. “Under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security,” the MEA statement said.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother from behind glass screen; not the last meeting, says Pakistan “The mother of Jadhav was prevented from talking in their mother tongue, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication. She was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard,” Kumar added.“Deputy High Commissioner was initially separated from family members who were taken to the meeting without informing him. The meeting was started without his presence and he could join only after pressing the matter with concerned officials. Even then, he was kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed,” the statement said.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother for 40 minutes; thanks Pak govt for ‘grand gesture’“For some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of the wife of Shri Jadhav were not returned to her after the meeting. We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard,” Kumar said.“From the feedback we have received of the meeting, it appears that Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan. His appearance also raises questions of his health and well being,” MEA said.“We also regret that contrary to assurances, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating insofar as family members were concerned. Family members, however, handled the situation with great courage and fortitude. The manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Jadhav’s alleged activities,” the statement added.

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Day after meeting Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, wife, mother meet Sushma Swaraj

A day after meeting ‘convicted’ ex-Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad, his family met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Tuesday.Jadhav’s father along with his mother and wife met Swaraj at her New Delhi residence. Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, who went to Islamabad with the family, also accompanying them. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar also attended the brief meeting.Jadhav’s meeting with his family members was not any ordinary meeting as they were separated by a glass barrier.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets his mother, wife from behind Pak smokescreenThe Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), to this end, clarified that the screen was placed due to security reasons and that Jadhav already knew this would be the setting.”It was there due to security reasons. We had already told them that you will be able to meet him but a security barrier would be there,” Dr Mohammed Faisal, Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, replied to a poser by ANI, in a press briefing in Islamabad.Also readFeel ashamed for acts against Pakistan and its people: Kulbhushan Jadhav in new ‘confessional’ videoFaisal substantiated his stance by adding that Islamabad considered Jadhav as “the face of Indian terrorism, especially in Pakistan.”In addition to this, the MoFA released another ‘confessional’ video of Jadhav’s, in which the convicted alleged spy was seen confessing that he did cross from Iran to Pakistan two years back.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother for 40 minutes; thanks Pak govt for ‘grand gesture’Jadhav, in the video that was apparently shot before he got to meet his kin, also said that he had requested to meet his family members and that he was grateful to the Pakistan Government for letting that happen.Jadhav’s wife and mother, before meeting him, had visited the Indian High Commission in the Pakistani capital, after which they moved to the MoFA building.Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad JP Singh was also present during the meeting.Pakistan had agreed to facilitate the visit of Jadhav’s family and also assured their safety, security, and freedom of movement in the country.Jadhav was arrested in March this year, in Balochistan, Pakistan, over charges of alleged involvement in ‘espionage and subversive activities for India’s intelligence agency – the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).’India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.(With ANI inputs)

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Your pictures

Each week, we publish a gallery of readers’ pictures on a set theme. This week, it is “jugaad”, a colloquial Indian word meaning low-cost inventions and innovation.

Join Naxalites so we can shoot you, MoS Hansraj Ahir tells docs on leave

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir on Monday was so inflamed with the absence of a civil surgeon at an inauguration ceremony in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district on Christmas Day that he suggested that absentee doctors should turn into Naxalites so they can be shot dead since they clearly didn’t have any regard for democratically elected leaders.Ahir made the statement while inaugurating the Amrut Dindayal medical store on the birthday of former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. “I am a minister chosen by democracy. Despite knowing that I am coming to Chandrapur, what’s the point of going on leave?If there is no faith in democracy, join Naxalism. We will pump bullets into them.” Chandrapur is a Naxal-affected area in western Maharashtra.When DNA contacted the minister, he justified his comment saying that the doctor was the organiser of the event and should have been present. “Have you ever heard of the organiser being absent at his own function? So I said what I did. What’s so controversial about it?” he said, refusing to withdraw his remark.Ahir said government medical officers should behave decorously with elected representatives. “They cannot get away with everything. If they are government servants, they have to believe in democracy and work accordingly,” he said.The Opposition condemned Ahir’s statement. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the BJP minister spoke of democracy with a dictatorial mindset. “The minister should be booked under section 506 of IPC. Immediate action should be taken against him,” Malik said. The section pertains to to criminal intimidation.Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar said the remark from a union minister was “very unfortunate”. “We strongly condemn it. If any doctor is going on leave on a public holiday, what is the big deal? Doctors are entitled to a family life. The minister should withdraw his statement and apologise to the medical fraternity which tirelessly works for the people.”Dr Jayesh Lele, president of the Indian Medical Association, stated that ministers can make any statement and get away.

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Maharashtra cheer as beer prices fall in state

There may be good news for beer lovers in Maharashtra before New Year as the hike in prices are being cushioned and supplies being restored.The state government’s decision to allow beer manufacturers to hike MRP on strong beer to 4.6 times the production cost (up from 4.25 times) and 3.75 times for mild beer (as against 3.5 times), may end its impasse with beer manufacturers.In October, the state excise department had hiked excise duty on mild beer to 175 per cent of manufacturing cost or Rs 42 per bulk litre, whichever is higher, as against 150 per cent or Rs 33. For strong beer, it was 235 per cent or Rs 80 per bulk litre, versus 200 per cent or Rs 60.This led to breweries scaling down or even stopping production, affecting supply of beer before Christmas and New Year, when the demand for the drink rises. Industry sources claimed the duty rise would have squeezed margins and operating costs and increased beer prices, thus diverting people to hard liquor.“Earlier, the MRP hike would have been extraordinary. It will be reasonable now… For instance, prices of a 650ml bottle from a popular brand may have gone up to Rs 180 from Rs 145. It may now be around Rs 157 after the change in the MRP formula,” an industry source explained. Production was likely to restart immediately after necessary approvals from the department. However, considering the present levels of de-stocking at the retailer and distributor levels, full supply of beer may be restored in January, he added.“The MRP is based on the manufacturing cost and is derived through backward calculations,” explained an excise official, adding the formula would also cushion the MRP hike. Another official said the new MRP formula would also lower the rate hike for beer in the premium and normal segments which would have come about in the old formula.In 2016-17, beer sales fell by 0.95% to end at 3,285.78 lakh bulk liters (LBL) against 3,317.32 LBL in the previous fiscal. In contrast, sales of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), wine and country liquor (CL) had shown a rise.Excise duty on mild beer was last hiked in 2011.

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8% of GDP is spent on govt salaries

India spends a whopping Rs 10.18 trillion on the emoluments of government employees, both at the centre and in states, a staggering 8.15% of the country’s GDP.Taken against the backdrop of spending on education, health and defence, the figures show a large chunk of government budget goes into the salaries, pensions and allowances of government employees, leaving a trickle for social sector and development activities.A note submitted by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to a parliamentary panel highlighted the fact that out of the total GDP of India amounting to 124.88 trillion, Rs 10.18 trillion is spent on paying salaries, etc.The Committee on Estimates chaired by veteran BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, while reviewing the performance of all India services, found that a huge expenditure was met on wages, besides the expenditure on building infrastructure like offices and houses for bureaucracy, rather on delivery.The panel had actually asked the government to furnish details of total expenditure incurred on Indian Administrative Service (IAS) , Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers posted at the Centre and in states and its share in the GDP. But the government while circumventing the request submitted an overall data related to all government employees without specifying services.The government in its presentation stated that there was no study at hand to suggest expenditures incurred on officers belonging to superior services. Taking exception to the fact that there was mechanism to find out the expenditure and its share in the GDP, the panel agreed that bureaucracy was fully committed to citizens and reflects hopes and aspirations, but said it should be held accountable for accomplishments, when it is being paid from the exchequer.According to figures, the salaries of 10 million central government employees account for 12.6% of the central government’s total expenditure. The government recently accepted the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, doubling the minimum starting salary from the current Rs 7,000 per month to Rs 18,000 per month. The Commission’s recommendations added an extra 0.7% burden on the GDP and a yearly burden of 102,000 crore.The government also admitted that payment of salaries, wages and other allowances to government employees is the main element of Gross value added (GVA) — the total output and measure of the value of goods and services.

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Joyride ends up killing two-year-old

A two-year-old Versova boy died on Monday after he fell from the bike on which he was taken for a joyride by the household help. The mishap took place on the flyover opposite Celebration club near Lokhandwala in Andheri on Saturday, when the help, Gopal Khandare, took two-year-old Jayan Khatri for a ride after his parents left for some work at night. The toddler plummeted headlong onto the road and succumbed to his injuries two days later.According to the Oshiwara police, Khandare, 24, works for Versova-based Abdul Khatri, 36, who trades in garments.”The boy was asking to go on a bike ride. When they were riding down the flyover at speed, Jayan fell down,” said a police officer.He added that Khandare had been working for the Khatris for four years and is like a family member to them. The parents were therefore reluctant to file a first information report.Senior inspector Subhash Khanvilkar of Oshiwara police station said, “We have registered a case under sections 304A (causing death due to negligence) and 279 (rash driving) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was granted bail. We have recorded statements of the parents and witnesses.”

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Tension rose by the minute both inside, outside Pak Foreign Office

A heavy security blanket was thrown around Constitutional Avenue that houses the Pakistan government’s main buildings, including its Foreign Office, as former India Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav arrived in Islamabad. Tension rose by the minute both inside and outside FO, even as Pakistani officials went on an overdrive to make the meeting a media spectacle.Police and paramilitary forces were deployed to deal with any untoward situation. Pakistani officials looked inspired by the script of Karun Anshuman’s recently released fiction Kashmir Nama that is about an Indian spy’s escape in the heart of Islamabad after the Taliban accidentally targeted a convoy transporting him for interrogation.A convoy of seven vehicles escorting Jadhav’s family accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh and a Pakistani female official arrived at the Pakistan Foreign Office building around 2 pm. The family had landed in Islamabad via Dubai around noon and as it drove from the airport, traffic was blocked on the road.It was straightaway taken to the Indian High Commission, where it spent half an hour.At around 2 pm, it entered the ministry building’s main Agha Shahi Block. After the meeting, they once again headed to the Indian High Commission, before moving to the airport for the return journey.As the family entered the building, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal took to Twitter, posting pictures and details of the meeting.While there was shock in India to see the meeting taking place across a glass screen and the women talking to Jadhav via an intercom, Faisal said settings of the meeting had been decided with Indian diplomats.He said the outline had been conveyed to Indian officials that a screen would be placed between the prisoner and his relatives. He claimed that the Indian government had acknowledged the communication a few days ago. Pakistani media also reported that the two women, who travelled from Mumbai, had also brought a gift for the prisoner and handed it over to Pakistani officials.Pakistani diplomats said, it will be handed over to Jadhav after following proper procedures. The wife and the mother greeted mediapersons with a namaste after arriving at the ministry but did not respond to their questions.Once the meeting was over, there was visible tension in the air. Pakistani officials didn’t allow the vehicle to come to the porch to allow the women to board. This angered Indian Deputy High Commissioner, who was seen having a word with a security official. But as it appeared, it was in the scheme of Pakistani officials, who wanted camerapersons sitting at a distance to take full view of the mother and wife duo walking out of the building. The vehicle, if parked, would have blocked the view. Jadhav was already at the ministry before his family arrived. But it was not known where he had been kept before being transported to the Foreign Office.

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Identify heroes of 1857, assist their kin, BJP MP tells Centre

In yet another attempt to change the popular perception of Indian history to suit the right wing, BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Sharad Tripathi has claimed that freedom fighters from the anti-colonial uprising of 1857 were not well-known to the people, and has urged the Centre to identify them and extend benefits to their families.Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have long asserted that the uprising of 1857 — dubbed as the First War of Independence by none other than Sangh ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar — has not been given the pride of place in Indian history, and that the history has been dominated by Gandhi and Nehru under the ‘Congress-Left hegemony’.Balmukund Pandey, organising secretary of RSS’ history rewriting project Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY), had earlier told DNA that it was conducting a research to find the national heroes who were missing from Indian history books. Several martyrs from 1857, such as Tantia Tope and Jhalkari Bai, figured in this list.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raked up the issue at a Meerut rally in 2014 accusing the Congress of having ‘insulted’ martyrs by forgetting them.Tripathi too had earlier this year demanded in Parliament that a martyr’s gate be built in Delhi to honour freedom fighters who laid down their lives between 1857 and 1947.A list containing the names of such freedom fighters should be released by the government, he said adding that, so far there was no such authentic record. “While the names of Indian soldiers who fought the World War-II were inscribed by the British on India Gate, there is no such commemoration for the Indians who died for the country’s freedom from 1857 to 1947,” he said.In a similar push, RSS and BJP had in 2008 organised events to commemorate 150 years of 1857.More recently, RSS-affiliated historian Satish Chandra Mittal, associated with ABISY, had said in a seminar this year: “Instead of calling it a revolt, we should rather say it was a fight to protect the Indian culture.”Ironically, Savarkar had considered the Hindus-Muslims unity during the uprising as the cornerstone of Indian nationalism in his book ‘The Indian War of Independence 1857’ first published in 1909.”I believe that India’s fight for Independence began in 1857 led to the freedom in 1947. The government should do a study and recognise such heroes as martyrs. Their family members should be given benefits,” he said.

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Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers

Indian Army troops crossed over the Line of Control killing three Pakistani army soldiers and leaving one injured in a cross border raid on Monday retaliating to the death of four India army personnel including a major on Saturday. Based on ground intelligence and surveillance intelligence, agencies have identified the Pakistani soldiers killed as sepoy Sajjad, sepoy Abdul Rehman and Sepoy M Usman. The injured soldier on the Pakistani side has been identified as sepoy Athzaz Hussain. “We got a go ahead to cross over and carry out an operation to avenge the killings of four soldiers including a major rank officer,” said government sources confirming the army strike in PoK. According to a statement by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations, Indian forces opened fire along the Line of Control killing three of their soldiers. The raid happened in 12 Division of the 59 Balooch Unit in PoK, sources said. This comes a day after Indian Army said one Pakistani soldier was killed in retaliation to the Pakistani Army firing killing four Indian Army personnel. ISPR said one other than the casualties one Pakistani soldier was injured. There have been frequent skirmishes on the line of Control with Pakistan Army indulging in repeated ceasefire violations. There has also been an increase in infiltration attempts from Pakistan trying to send terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir.

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Jadhav family reunion: Pakistan disguises propaganda as ‘humanitarian gesture’

After spending nearly 22 months in Pakistan’s captivity, Kulbhushan Jadhav was finally allowed to ‘meet’ his wife and mother in Islamabad today. The meeting, Pakistan said, was a “humanitarian gesture” to mark the birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of the Islamic nation. When the day’s affair ended following a press briefing of Foreign Affairs Ministry, it seemed like Pakistan had just played a propaganda film lasting a couple of hours.Everything, from the arrival of Jadhav’s wife Chetankul and mother Avanti to the so-called ‘confessional’ video of former India Navy officer, seemed meticulously planned. Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother from behind glass screen; not the last meeting, says Pakistan Sample this – After a 40 minutes meeting, Jadhav’s wife and mother, accompanied by India Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, came out from the front door. The car, provided by the Pakistani authorities, did not come around and they were made to wait for several minutes out in the open. Singh was seen lifting his hands, walking around, a gesture seen as frustration. Meanwhile, some of the Pakistani journalists, raised questions to Avanti Jadhav, the alleged Indian spy’s mother which were more like accusations. “Mrs. Jadhav, how does it feel to be the mother of a terrorist?” was one of the questions thrown at the lady who had just met her son from across a glass wall. Also readFeel ashamed for acts against Pakistan and its people: Kulbhushan Jadhav in new ‘confessional’ videoThis was a typical Pakistani script. To try to launch an attack with the help of non-state actors so they they have their deniability. Except this time, the attack was not intended to harm anyone physically but to humiliate an Indian citizen in full public view. But this was low, even from a Pakistani standard, to subject a mother to such questioning from hecklers masquerading as journalists. Later, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a “confessional” video of Jadhav before its spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal read out a statement which was nothing but repetition of its charges against the alleged Indian spy. This video was played in a loop while journalists waited for the press conference to begin. In the “confession” video, Jadhav admitted that he crossed into Pakistan from Iran. He sought “pardon of the acts and sins and crimes committed here against the Nation and the people of Pakistan.”Also readConsular access not given, Kulbhushan’s meeting with wife and mother allowed on ‘humanitarian ground’: PakThis was not the first time that Pakistan released a confession video of Jadhav, but questions arise on why they needed to release the video while his mother was literally a few kilometres away. During the press conference, Dr Faisal did not forget to throw in the figure that 500 medical visas were issued to Pakistanis by India before Jadhav row and now External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj “picks and chooses.” Faisal also did not forget to tell journalists that the scheduled 30-minute meeting was extended to 40 minutes on the request of Jadhav and his family.In the entire press conference, Faisal made it a point to identify Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, with his military title, calling “Commander Jadhav”. He mentioned again and again that the request for the meeting was granted on “humanitarian grounds.”If it was indeed a humanitarian gesture, as the spokesperson so graciously repeated several times, why Jadhav was not allowed to hug or even touch his mother and wife. The logic given by the Foreign Office for a glass wall was that it was done for “security reasons.” The wall, he said was a security barrier. To top all of it, the meeting took place inside a container where a studio was built for the purpose, Republic TV reported. G Parthasarathy, Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, claimed that the ladies were asked to change their clothes before meeting Jadhav. This was also visible from the pictures of the meeting shared by Faisal. On the face of it, the whole exercise was designed to embarrass India, to show Pakistan as a ‘humanitarian’ nation and to project Jadhav as a terrorist sent by Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian intelligence agency. It was not surprising that Pakistan did what it did, but what should come as a surprise to many that New Delhi fell for the trap set by Islamabad. After getting stabbed in the back by Pakistan innumerable times, India should have known better that it was not like any other family reunion but propaganda disguised as humanitarian gesture. Watch: Pakistan’s PR stunt with Indian prisoner

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BSF scuttles smuggling attempts near Indo-Pak border in Punjab

Its "Christmas"
and a foggy day of #Punjab border
Ever vigilant #Bordermen scuttled attempts of smuggling of #Narcotics (heroin) in 3 different regions
1.Daoke, Amritsar-12.77kg
2.Bharopal, Amritsar-1kg
3.Gorkha Ghatti -1, Abohar-1kg,1 Pak made Pistol,1 Pak Sim pic.twitter.com/vfW2TTrJ29
December 25, 2017

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JNU VC urges Centre to install Army tank on campus as ‘symbol of patriotism’
Former ISRO chief UR Rao, man behind India’s 1st satellite Aryabhatta, passes away
US biologists discover three new toad species

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Monday 25 December 2017 20:10 ISTMust readSpoiler alert: 50 things can go wrong with the first AC local in MumbaiAtal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 today<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Border Security Force today seized 13 kg heroin from three different locations at Indo-Pak border here today, an official said.Pakistani smugglers early today attempted to cross over to India under the cover of thick blanket of fog, the official said. A patrolling party of the force observed some suspicious movements at Indo-Pak Border Out Post Daoke and Barowal and opened fire as some people were seen moving back towards Pakistan territory, he said.A comprehensive search operation was launched this morning at Daoke wherein the troops seized 12 kg heroin while one kg heroin was seized at Barowal Border out-Post, the official said. The BSF official said that no arrest has been made in the matter while further investigation was underway. The force was looking for the person who was supposed to collect the drug consignment on the Indian side, the official added.

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Singapore deputy PM to lead ASEAN-India Prawasi Bharat Diwas

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will join India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for a two-day ASEAN-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held here next month.Apart from Swaraj, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Assam, N Chandrababu Naidu and Sarbananda Sonowal, will also attend the function, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf said here today.The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated every year to mark the contribution of overseas Indian community in the development of India.”External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will attend the event on January 6, while Naidu and Sonowal, on January 7,” Ashraf said.Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will also be addressing over 2,500 delegates expected at the meeting, which is being held for the first time in Singapore.The India-Singapore/ASEAN Entrepreneurship Bridge (InSpreneur) will be also held on January 5 and 6, on the second day, co-terminus with the PBD.The event will focus on startups, fintech, cyber security, disruptive technologies in manufacturing and India Stack.In addition to panel discussions, startups will have an opportunity to pitch to investors and interact with other start-ups in curated “speed dating” sessions.The event will culminate in the launch of the India- Singapore/ASEAN start up portal.Around 600 invited delegates, including 300 curated start -ups, with around 120 from India, are to participate in the event.Over 60 investors have listed themselves for the investor pitching session and 100 start ups have signed up for speed dating sessions.In addition, 35 startups will set up booths in the Startup Exhibition from January 5 to 7.The event is supported by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and India’s the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Invest India, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).”We have also drawn upon the excellent pool of Indian professional and institutional associations, including IIM Alumni Association, IIT Alumni Association and TiE,” he said.”We expect Indian startups to tap into Singapore s investor community, develop links with them and also expand into the ASEAN market.”Equally, the other objective is to support our efforts to promote India as a global destination for Startups and fintech companies, and attract Singapore s excellent start up community to India,” Ashraf said.The event is intended to promote India’s successful model of UID-enabled governance, public services, financial inclusion and payment systems in Southeast Asia/ASEAN region.Fintech is emerging as an exciting new area of collaboration both at regulatory and promotional levels.The launch of the India-Singapore startup portal, anchored in startup India, will become a channel for pursuing these objectives on a sustained basis.The PBD also commemorates 25 years of ASEAN-India Partnership, ahead of the Commemorative Summit on January 25- 26.The event is largely organised through local support, the Indian High Commissioner said.The theme of “Ancient Route, New Journey: Diaspora in the Dynamic ASEAN-India Partnership” aims to highlight the ancient human, maritime, cultural, commercial and religious links between India and Southeast Asia; and, promote greater economic, cultural and diplomatic cooperation between India and Southeast Asian nations as well as ASEAN.The event will also showcase Indian Diaspora’s talent and achievements and deepen their especially the youth’s – emotional and economic links with India.The Convention has evolved into one of the biggest business meets on India and ASEAN in Singapore with a full day of sessions on ASEAN-India Economic Partnership; India and ASEAN in the Digital World, Infrastructure, Financial Partnership, expanding trade and services, Make in India, legal framework of doing business in India and ASEAN, Science and Technology, and Tourism and Connectivity.Over 40 Indian business heads from CII and FICCI will join business leaders from ASEAN in the event.Many of Singapore s leaders of the corporate sector are of Indian origin.ASEAN-India Business Council, Singapore India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore Tourism Board are among the institutional partners for the event.Other sessions at PBD will cover areas such as India- ASEAN partnership in the new world order and in the digital world, diaspora history, social impact contribution in India, culture, youth, education, and Ease of Being Overseas Indian in India and ASEAN.

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Home Ministry gives one-month deadline to NGOs to open account in any designated bank

The home ministry has directed all NGOs, business entities and individuals who receive funds from abroad to open accounts in any of the 32 designated banks, including one foreign, within a month for higher level of transparency. It also asked them to ensure that such funds are not utilised for activities detrimental to the national interestThe directive to the NGOs, companies and individuals to open foreign contribution accounts in banks, which are integrated with the central government’s Public Financial Management System (PFMS), came for providing a higher level of transparency and hassle-free reporting compliance, according to the ministry order, accessed by the PTI.The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 provides for the regulation of acceptance of the foreign funds or foreign hospitality by certain individuals, associations, organisations and companies “to ensure that such contributions or hospitality is not being utilised for the activities detrimental to the national interest”, it said.Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under the FCRA, 2010, the central government hereby directs all persons who are either registered or who have sought prior permission under the FCRA 2010 to open their bank accounts as mandated in one or more banks in the list of the 32 banks, the order said.This exercise shall be completed expeditiously within one month (by 21-01-2018) with intimation of the details of the bank accounts to the ministry under a prescribed form, it said. The central government has already decided that all banks where the FCRA registered persons and organisations have opened their foreign contribution accounts would be integrated with the PFMS for providing a higher level of “transparency and hassle-free” reporting compliance.While some banks have already integrated their systems with the PFMS for compliance of the central government’s order, many banks have still not completed the integration of their systems with the PFMS despite repeated letters, directions and meetings, the home ministry said.The 32 designated banks where individuals, NGOs and other entities can open their accounts are: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, ICICI Bank, The Cosmos Co-Operative Bank, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, South Indian Bank, IDBI Bank, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd, The Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank, UCO Bank, IndusInd Bank, City Union Bank and Syndicate Bank.Allahabad Bank, The Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab National Bank, Allahabad UP Gramin Bank, DCB Bank, Manipur State Co-op Bank, Vijaya Bank, Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank, Yes Bank, Oriental Bank Of commerce, Dena Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank and Axis Bank are the others.The PFMS, which functions under the Controller General of Accounts in the Ministry of Finance, provides a financial management platform for all plan schemes, a database of all recipient agencies, integration with core banking solution of banks handling plan funds, integration with state treasuries and efficient and effective tracking of fund flow to the lowest level of implementation for plan scheme of the government.It also provides information across all plan schemes/ implementation agencies in the country on fund utilisation leading to better monitoring, review and decision support system to enhance public accountability in the implementation of plan schemes.Introduction of the PFMS resulted in effectiveness and economy in public finance management through better cash management for government transparency in public expenditure and real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes. It also resulted in improved programme administration and management, reduction of float in the system, direct payment to beneficiaries and greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.Early this year, the home ministry had asked around 9,000 NGOs and other entities to open their accounts in banks having core banking facilities and furnish details for real-time access to security agencies in case of any discrepancy.The Narendra Modi-led government tightened the rules for NGOs and took action against all such entities for violation of various provisions of the FCRA 2010 which include non- filing of annual returns as mandated in the law.Last week, Union minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju told Parliament that the registrations of 18,868 NGOs were cancelled between 2011 and 2017 for violating laws. Following the action, foreign funding to Indian NGOs has also come down drastically—from Rs17,773 crore in 2015-16 to Rs6,499 crore in 2016-17.Rijiju had said the quantum of foreign funding received by NGOs in India in the last three years were: Rs15,299 crore in 2014-15, Rs17,773 crore in 2015-16 and Rs6,499 crore in 2016-17. Currently, around 10,000 FCRA-registered NGOs are operating in the country.

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Mumbai: School bans students, parents from wearing ‘burqa’, ‘hijab’

A private school on the outskirts of Mumbai has banned burqa and hijab in school premises citing security reasons.The school located in Mumbra, said that the decision was taken due to safety and security reasons, according to a report in The Indian Express. The notice issued by the school also stated that the parents and family members of the school will have to lift the veil while entering school premises. The notice also does not allow students to cover their face while leaving school.The school trustee said that as some students left school in covered faces with burqa, the security were not able to know the whereabouts of them when their parents came looking for their children.In another case, the school trustee said that two women in fully-covered face arrived in school asking to take their children home early. However, before the class teacher could come and verify the details of the two women, they left. The school trustee called it a clear attempt of ‘abduction’.However, the school has maintained that they don’t intend to hurt any religious sentiments but it is necessary to reveal their faces on camera.

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Bengaluru techie still missing, had gone to meet OLX buyer, say friends

Ajitabh Kumar, a 29-year-old software engineer, who has been missing since Monday is still untraceable. He had listed his car on online marketplace Olx and left home at Whitefield Area in Bengaluru around 6:30 pm. According to reports, his friends suspect he might have got a call from a prospective buyer. Ajitabh Kumar, who hails from Patna, worked at British Telecom. His phone is switched off since Monday and there is no trace of Ajitabh’s vehicle. The last location of his mobile phone was Gunjur near Whitefied, before it got switched off around 7: 10 pm. According to reports, Police team is investigating all angles after securing date from online classified portals as well. Ajitabh has been living with his childhood friend Ravi after moving to Bengaluru in 2010. He had passed Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in 2018 and now wanted to sell his car.Ajitabh had bought a Maruti Ciaz car by paying Rs 12 lakh and he had quoted Rs 11.8 lakh on OLX a couple of weeks ago. He had also applied for a loan with a private bank to join IIM, The New Indian Express reported Ajitabh’s brother Arnabh as saying. Ajitabh’s friends and relatives have launched an online campaign to find him.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav LIVE updates | No consular access for ex-Indian Navy official, reports Pak media

13:18 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Jadhav’s wife and mother will first visit the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The meeting is expected to take place at 1pm (Pak time).12:55 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Elaborate security arrangements are in place around Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From Pakistan Rangers to Anti-Terrorism squads and sharp shooters have been deployed on roof tops.12:48 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: The Pakistani media has started to gather outside Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.12:38 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Latest media reports from Islamabad say that Kulbhushan Jadhav has not been granted any consular access. 12:36 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, took to Twitter and said that the meeting between Jadhav and his family has been allowed as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ on the birthday of ‘Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’12:33 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: There are conflicting reports over consular access being granted to Kulbhushan Jadhav. While Pakistan claims to have finally granted the access, India has downplayed the news and said that the Indian diplomat accompanying the wife and mother of Jadhav can’t be seen as consular access.12:32 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav have reached Islamabad.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 today

Former Prime Minister of India and stalwart of the BJP, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is celebrating his 93rd on Monday.A political persona known for his exemplary leadership and contribution to Indian politics, Vajpayee is the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term.As the BJP veteran turn 93, here is a review of his political journey:Vajpayee was born to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December, 1924, in Gwalior. He completed his schooling from Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, Bara, Gwalior and went on to Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College), where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He then completed his post-graduation with an M.A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.His activism started with Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj, of which he became the General Secretary in 1944. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940-44 and became a “full-time worker” in 1947, technically a pracharak.He gave up studying law due to the partition riots, and was sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh and quickly began working for the newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.Vajpayee’s first exposure to politics was in August 1942, when he and his elder brother Prem were arrested for 23 days during the Quit India Movement, when he was released only after giving a written undertaking, expressly declaring not to participate in any of the anti-British struggle.In 1951, he was seconded by the RSS, along with Deendayal Upadhyaya, to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu right-wing political party associated with the RSS. He was appointed as a national secretary of the party in charge of the Northern region, based in Delhi. He soon became a follower and aide of party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee.In 1954, Vajpayee was with Mookerjee when he went on a fast-unto-death in Kashmir to protest against perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to the state. Mookerjee died in prison during this strike. In 1957, Vajpayee lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura for the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India, but was eventually elected from Balrampur.After the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the mantle of the leadership of Jana Sangh fell on the shoulders of a young Vajpayee, who became the national president in 1968 and, along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and LK Advani, led the Jana Sangh to national prominence.From 1975 to 1977, Vajpayee was arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Indian National Congress party. In 1977, heeding the call of social reformer Jayaprakash Narayan for all the opposition parties to unite against the Congress, Vajpayee merged the Jana Sangh into the newly formed grand-alliance, the Janata Party.Following Janata’s victory in the 1977 general elections, he became the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet. As foreign minister, that year Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.By the time the Janata government crumbled in 1979, Vajpayee had established himself as an experienced statesman and a respected political leader. However, the Janata Party was dissolved soon after Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister in 1979.Subsequently, Vajpayee joined many of his Bharatiya Jana Sangh and RSS colleagues, particularly L. K. Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, to form the BJP in 1980. He became the party’s first President, and emerged as a strong critic of the Congress (R) government that followed the Janata government.Vajpayee has served as the Prime Minister of India between 1996 and 2004 in three non-consecutive terms.In the 1996 general elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. The then president Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government. Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but the BJP failed to muster enough support from other parties to obtain a majority. He resigned after 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner a majority.The 1998 general elections again put the BJP ahead of others. This time, a cohesive bloc of political parties joined the BJP to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister.However, in mid-1999, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) under J Jayalalithaa withdrew its support to the government. The government lost the ensuing vote of confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by a single vote on 17 April 1999.As the Opposition was unable to come up with the numbers to form the new government, the Lok Sabha was again dissolved and fresh elections were held. Vajpayee remaining the Prime Minister until the elections were held.In the 1999 general elections, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, in the aftermath of the Kargil operations, thereby securing a comfortable and stable majority. On 13 October 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time.A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament of India) ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house). He also served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns.On 25 December, 2014, the office of the President of India announced the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, to Vajpayee. In a special gesture, the President of India conferred Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his residence on 27 March 2015.Furthermore, the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 announced that Vajpayee’s birthday would be celebrated as Good Governance Day annually.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his mom and wife today

The Pakistan government has thrown a security blanket around the Constitutional Avenue hosting its Foreign Office and other top government offices in the wake of the arrival of Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife in in Islamabad on Monday.Both women are arriving in Pakistan via Dubai on a commercial flight on Monday morning and will leave the country the same evening after meeting Jadhav. The meeting will take place at the Pakistan Foreign Office and not in prison. India’s deputy high commissioner in Islamabad J P Singh will accompany them to the meeting.A Pakistan Foreign Office official will also be present during this time, as per the agreement between the two countries through diplomatic channels. India conveyed the itinerary on Saturday after Pakistan gave the deadline of Sunday to provide the requisite information about the family members’ visit or risk the meeting being deferred or cancelled.Sources said Pakistan had said they needed to put in place elaborate security arrangements for transporting Jadhav from jail to Islamabad and also for the meeting. Pakistani media reported that while Pakistan had completed the preparations to arrange the meeting India was delaying providing relevant information about the itinerary. The Indian High Commission was informed about the issuance of the deadline, the reports said. They said Pakistan needed time to bring Jadhav to the Foreign Office and for other security-related matters.In preparation for the meeting, Pakistan has deployed heavy security and traffic personnel within and outside their Foreign Office. Pakistani diplomatic sources said the meeting will last for an hour. Pakistan has offered to arrange media presence, if Jadhav’s mother and wife want to speak to media. But the offer has been rejected by India, reports said.Pakistani sources indicated that the meeting between Jadhav and his family members will not be the last, raising hopes that his death sentence may be deferred. The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi had issued visas to Jadhav’s mother and wife earlier in the week. The visas were issued after Pakistan decided to allow Jadhav’s wife to visit him. But later, it agreed to allow his mother to join, who had originally applied for the visa. Pakistan later agreed to Indian condition — to allow an Indian diplomat to accompany the two women and also to provide a sovereign guarantee to their security and safety. After extensive deliberations, the Indian request was allowed and December 25 was proposed last week as the meeting date.Jadhav, who was reportedly captured by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military tribunal earlier this year for his involvement in terrorism and espionage. His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by the military appellate court and his mercy petition has been lying with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ is hearing the case and has restrained the Pakistan government from executing Jadhav till it decides the case. Pakistan had earlier repeatedly rejected India’s plea for consular access to Jadhav. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the navy.

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4 soldiers killed in Keri sector: Army says no mutilation of bodies

The Army today clarified that the bodies of its personnel killed in firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir were not mutilated and the injury marks were due to splinters and gunshots. An Army major and three soldiers were killed yesterday after Pakistani troops targeted the Army patrol at Brat Galla in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. “The injuries suffered are due to splinters and gunshots sustained due to firing by the enemy on the patrol,” Army sources said here. Responding to media reports, they said that there has been no mutilation of bodies.Congress slams govt’s Pak policy: The Congress today attacked the Centre over the killing of four Indian soldiers along the LoC by Pakistani troops, saying the incident raises questions over the government’s ability to protect the country’s borders.Also readArmy Major, 3 soldiers killed in Pak firing in Keri sector, J&K CM pays tribute Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said yesterday’s incident along the Line of Control (LoC) was an outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “flip-flops and somersaults” on Pakistan. Pakistani troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, yesterday. Tewari claimed that there have been 900 attempts of incursion by Pakistan this year, out of which 780 cases have been reported along the LoC and 120 along the International Border (IB).”There were 583 major ceasefire violations in 2014 (between June-December), 400 in 2015, 450 in 2016 and 900 this year. The prime minister points fingers at others, accuses people who have occupied top posts of committing treason but this government seems incapable of protecting our borders,” the former union minister told reporters. Modi, during the Gujarat assembly polls campaign, had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the Assembly polls in the state.The government and the Congress are involved in a face- off over prime minister Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh. Tewari said that the BJP government’s Pakistan policy is driven by “flip-flops, somersaults and adhocism” and demanded that the prime minister comes clear on his agenda behind his 2015 stopover in Lahore or the Centre’s decision to allow ISI personnel at the Pathankor terror attack site.He said India’s neighbourhood policy was in tatters under the BJP dispensation as apart from the “frequent” Pakistani shelling along the border and incursions, the new Nepalese government was overtly tilting towards China. “In Sri Lanka, growing Chinese influence is a matter of concern. Maldives has signed an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with China disregarding India’s position. China has constructed permanent structures in Dokalam,” he said.

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Jammu and Kashmir: Pakistan violates ceasefire; targets Indian forward posts along LoC at Poonch

Pakistani forces on Sunday again targeted Indian forward posts and villages in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, a day after an Army major and three soldiers were killed in firing from across the Line of Control (LoC).Indian troops guarding the LoC retaliated effectively and the firing between the two sides was going on when the last reports came, a police official said.The latest ceasefire violation comes a day after the Pakistani forces opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers, in Keri sector of the state’s Rajouri district.The Pakistani troops started firing from heavy and light weapons from across the border, targeting forward posts and villages in Shahpur sector around 12.55 pm today, a police official said.However, there is no immediate report of any casualty in the skirmishes, the official said.Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a total of 881 ceasefire violations this year, highest in the past seven years, along the LoC and the International Border (IB), resulting in the death of 34 persons.According to officials, Pakistan has violated ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 771 times till December 10, and 110 times along the IB till November-end this year.Thirty persons — 14 Army personnel, 12 civilians and four BSF personnel — were killed in such incidents.The truce between India and Pakistan along the International Border, Line of Control and the Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November, 2003.India shares a 3,323-km-long border with Pakistan, of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LoC fall in Jammu and Kashmir.In 2016, there were 449 incidents of ceasefire violations wherein 13 civilians and 13 government forces personnel were killed and 83 civilians and 99 security personnel were injured.In 2014, there were 583 incidents of ceasefire violation in which 14 civilians and three security personnel were killed and 101 civilians and 28 security personnel were injured.In 2015, the number of ceasefire violations was 405; 347 in 2013, 114 in 2012, 62 in 2011 and 70 in 2010.

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Muzaffarnagar riots case: Court quashes NBWs against four including Suresh Rana and Sangit Som

Defence counsel Anil Jindal requested the court that the warrents be quashed. The accused are facing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating prohibitory orders deterring public servants from discharging their duties and wrongful restraint. It is alleged that the accused participated in a mahapanchayat and incited violence through their speeches in the last week of August 2013.”
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Sunday 24 December 2017 17:12 ISTMust readMore girls rescued from rape accused Baba Virender Dev Dikshit’s Farrukhabad ashram’Not Indian Vedic tradition’- Andhra Pradesh asks temples not to celebrate New Year<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–> A local court has quashed non-bailable warrants issued against Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana, BJP MLA Sangit Som and BJP MP Bhartendu Singh in connection with a 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case.The NBWs were issued on November 15 following permission from the state government to prosecute them. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Madhu Gupta yesterday quashed non-bailable warrants against four persons–Rana, Som, Singh and a man identified as Chandra Pal. Their lawyer in a plea had contended they had already been given bail under section 153a of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups).Defence counsel Anil Jindal requested the court that the warrents be quashed. The accused are facing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating prohibitory orders deterring public servants from discharging their duties and wrongful restraint. It is alleged that the accused participated in a mahapanchayat and incited violence through their speeches in the last week of August 2013.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife, mother to visit Pakistan tomorrow, says Foreign Office

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother will arrive here on Monday to meet the Indian prisoner on death row, the Pakistan Foreign Office has said.They will arrive in Islamabad by a commercial flight and leave the same day after the meeting, it added.India’s Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh will accompany the visitors to the meeting.”India informs that the mother and wife of Commander Jadhav will arrive by commercial flight on 25 Dec and leave the same day. Indian DHC in Islamabad will be the accompanying diplomat,” Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted last night.Earlier, media reports said that Pakistan had asked India to convey the plan of Jadhav’s family at the earliest otherwise it would be difficult to arrange the meeting.Separately, Faisal had said that the meeting would take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its photo and video footage would be issued.The mother and wife of Jadhav were being provided with a meeting with him in the light of “Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds,” he had said.Pakistan on December 20 issued visa to Jadhav’s wife and mother to visit Islamabad to meet him.Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April, following which India moved the ICJ in May. The ICJ halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it.Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav on the ground that it was not applicable in cases related to spies.It said that Jadhav is not an ordinary person as he had entered the country with the intent of spying and carrying out sabotage activities.Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav alias Hussein Mubarak Patel from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran.India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.

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The flaming smile of floating water lilies

Familiarity often veils our perception of things, events and beings that are mysterious and wonderful.How wonderful are stars that twinkle in the sky and delight children who are not yet familiar with the world? And what about the play of colours! We may paint hundreds of paintings with colours but can we ever reproduce a real and natural colour! And what about the glow of the colour? The rainbow of colours still looks marvellous to us because it is not everyday that we see the rainbow. And look at flowers – flowers that are fresh and wet with dew drops. How delightfully are our hearts captured by them as we pick them, touch them with tender fingers that are tuned to the freshness and tenderness of the flowers. Such was my experience one morning when, in a garden, I beheld a bunch of beautiful fully blossomed water lilies floating steadily in the water without being touched by the wetness of the water. There, I realized the true purity that is beautiful but unattached. What a message those water lilies were conveying to the depths of my soul! Is it not said that an ideal personality should bloom like a lotus which is above all likes and dislikes and remains untarnished even when floods of water are poured over it! Sthitapragnya, one whose intelligence is settled, has rightly been compared to the water lilies. Water lilies, in our Indian tradition, symbolises divine consciousness. To be near a water lily is to be in the vicinity of God, and we feel transported in adoration of the highest and the best. And that’s when this question popped in my mind – can we provide this experience to the children? And what shall we do for that purpose? It is not a question only of flowers and water lily. It is a question of everything in the world. It is our familiarity with the world that veils for us the wonder of everything. That is why there is a deep prayer to make our eyes so sublime and fresh that whenever we look at anything in the world we feel like Wordsworth – the daffodils continue to refresh our minds long after we have seen them. He was, perhaps, one great poet in the world whose love for nature was so intense that even to read his poems makes us partake into his experience as nature vibrating the spirit.This brings us to the subject of poetry. What is poetry? If not an intense expression of the freshness of emotions, colours, sights, perceptions and events that can transport us into the world of unfamiliarity and the world of wonder. Such is the value of education on poetry. As Shri Aurobindo has said, “Poetry, Music and Art are a complete education of the soul.” Unfortunately, in our present age, we do not allow our children to have leisure to find company in nature, and we overcoat their minds and hearts with grossness that may look glittering but has no gold in it. We need to change our entire attitude towards education.What a delight it was that day when I had this contact with water lilies who had in their heart an inexpressible Smile. The flame of this smile lit up my entire being. This led me straight to the children seated in the near ‘prison homes’ of schools, deeply in need of that Smile.Let us set the class ablaze with this Smile. Let us bring freshness in education, leisure in education and time to look and enjoy so that the objects of our perception bring to us their freshness and enliven the deepest recesses of our hearts.

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India’s own institute on defence studies to be a reality soon

The Indian National Defence University (INDU), which is a proposed institute for defence studies, is likely to become a reality soon, as it can come up for Cabinet clearance. The institute is being developed as center to generate research on strategic affairs, a concept unheard of in India so far. INDU will have its campus on Bimola, Gurgaon.Theministry of Human Resource Development has recently sent its suggestions to the Ministry of Defence regarding the university saying that itshould be developed as a centre which generates new knowledge and promotes research in strategic affairs. Sources said that the suggestions have been approved and final proposal on INDU is likely to come up in the Cabinet for clearance soon. The Ministry of Defence had in the year 2015 put up the draft bill to come up with an institution dedicated to defence studies, online for public comments .”While the exact nature of courses in the institute has not yet been finalised. The idea is to develop it as a center which is meant for midcareer defence professionals and those who are interested in studying about strategic affairs, at the Post Graduate level. We have suggested that the institute should be able to generate new knowledge and increase research in the area of defence,” said a senior official.”The defence personnel who enroll for higher education in the institute can be an asset for the forces later on, help them in planning and strategizing,” said a senior official.The concept of an institute like this has been prevalent internationally but not in India, like the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington. As per the official website of NDU, it aims to “create strategic advantage by developing joint warfighters and other national security leaders and forging relationships through whole-of-nations and whole-of-government educational programs, research and engagement”.INDU will be the first of its kind institute in India, which will focus on the academics side of defence, other institutes like the National Defence Academy and Indian Military Institute mostly focus on preparing personnel to join the force.

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Sashastra Seema Bal strength increased after Doklam: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has increased its strength along the India-Bhutan border creating more border outposts and deploying more men after the Doklam standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies.Addressing the border guarding force during its 54th anniversary parade in Delhi, Singh said that the Sashastra Seema Bal not only guards India’s border with Nepal and Bhutan, it also takes care that friendly relations with these neighbouring countries do not sour. “The past year has been tremendous for the force. The Sashastra Seema Bal has increased its strength after the Doklam standoff with China, by creating more border outposts near Sikkim and Bhutan border,” Singh said.He also said that people living near border areas should be considered as strategic assets of India and lauded the SSB for organising several welfare events for these people.When asked about confidence building measures with neighbouring countries, Singh said, “Confidence building measures are a continuing and ongoing process. It is always on and should be always on.”The SSB Director General Rajni Kant Mishra had also said that following the Doklam standoff, SSB increased its presence in the eastern part of Sikkim on India-Bhutan border.Post Doklam, two more battalions have been raised and thus, the total number of available battalions is now 69, just a few short of the total number of authorised 73 battalions. Mishra said that four battalions are also in the process for raising and they will be operationised by December 31, taking the tally of battalions to 73. The SSB has raised eight more Border Out-Posts (BOPs) increasing the total number of BOPs from 627 in January, 2017 to 635 in November.The SSB guards the 1,751-km India-Nepal and 699-km India-Bhutan borders since its inception.Also, various modernisation works were carried out by the force since the standoff. This year, the force has acquired two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of Netra II version and is in the process of acquiring two Laser Based Explosive cum Narcotic Detectors. A multi-purpose boardroom has also been established at Force Headquarters improving our connectivity with our field units through advanced video conferencing facilities. Safe movement of our troops will be ensured by adding seven numbers of mine protected vehicles, 15 Light Armed Troop Carriers and 12 Bullet Proof Vehicles to fleet.The force has got fresh authorisation from MHA for 9,917 Assault Rifles, 22 Automatic Grenade Launcher, 324 Underbarrel Grenade Launchers and 14 Multiple Grenade Launcher were received and they will be procured by March, 2018.Early this month, sources in intelligence agencies had stated that there has been a sudden surge in Chinese incursion along the Indo-Chinese border, after Doklam. In the months of October and November, when heavy snowfall starts making the Indo-Chinese border almost inaccessible, and the presence of troops starts thinning, a sudden surge in Chinese activity has made Indian security establishment wary about the future.

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Fodder scam verdict: Lalu Yadav, 15 others convicted; RJD to move High Court

In a major setback to the RJD, a special CBI court today convicted former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and 15 others in a fodder scam case 21 years after it had surfaced, while acquitting six others including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra.Special judge Shivpal Singh pronounced the verdict in a packed courtroom in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.The court convicted Lalu Prasad for offences of cheating along with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for criminal misconduct by public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PMLA), his advocate Chittaranjan Prasad told PTI.Also readEven Mandela, Ambedkar are villains for some: Defiant Lalu Yadav after fodder scam convictionUnder the sections, he can be sentenced to a maximum jail term of seven years, the counsel said, adding he did not receive any written order from the court but was informed about it.The court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3.Also readFrom Tejashwi Yadav to Ravi Shankar Prasad: Who said what after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scamSixty-nine-year-old Lalu Prasad, who heads the RJD, and other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict. Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi Yadav, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, was present in the court.Also readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerLalu Prasad and the other convicts in the fodder scam case were then whisked off to the Birsa Munda jail, where security has been tightened, CBI sources said.The special court acquitted 80-year-old Jagannath Mishra and five others — former Public Accounts Committee chairman Dhruv Bhagat, former Indian Revenue Service officer A C Choudhary, fodder suppliers Saraswati Chandra and Sadhana Singh and former minister Vidya Sagar Nishad.Besides Lalu Prasad, the court held guilty Jagdish Sharma and R K Rana, which were with the RJD at the time of the scam, former IAS officers Beck Julius, Phoolchand Singh and Mahesh Prasad, and ex-government officials Krishna Kumar and Subir Bhattacharya.The others are suppliers/transporters Tripurari Mohan Prasad, Sushil Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Raja Ram Joshi, Gopinath Das, Sanjay Agarwal, Jyoti Kumar Jha and Sunil Gandhi.They were convicted for offences under the IPC and the PMLA. The court had on December 13 reserved its order on the matter. Today’s conviction is the second in the scam In 1996, the Patna High Court ordered an inquiry into the fodder scam cases and a charge sheet in the Deogarh Treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that the party would move the high court against the special CBI court order.Soon after the verdict, a post on Lalu Prasad’s Twitter handle read, “Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes.And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished.” Another tweet said, “Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and casteist minds.No one should expect any different treatment.” On September 30, 2013, Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra and several others had been convicted in another case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury in the early 1990s.The Supreme Court had granted bail on December 13 that year to Lalu Prasad, who had been behind the bars for two months.The RJD chief had moved the apex court challenging the order of the Jharkhand High Court which had dismissed his bail plea.He faces three more fodder scam cases for illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda Treasury.”The legal fight will continue,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told reporters outside the special CBI court, reacting to the conviction of the RJD chief.He said that besides fighting it legally, the party would go to the people “fight it politically also”.Another senior RJD leader, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a confidant of Prasad, said it is not right to comment on a judgement but the people are discussing how it is freedom for some people and jail for others in the same case.”The layman is asking why it is jail for some and freedom for others? It is baffling how the BJP and the JD(U) had predicted the verdict. This has created confusion among the people also,” he said.”The case was on excess withdrawal from the Deogarh Treasury. Laluji has been charged with connivance as he was the finance minister then — the charge is not direct. The withdrawal had been taking place since 1977. There were several chief ministers who were in charge of the finance department. So why is he being singled out?” Siddiqui asked.”Laluji going to jail is not new for the RJD. He had been sent to jail on earlier occasions and every time the RJD bounced back with double the strength. That is why we are still number one in Bihar,” he said.The party will decide its course of action after the court pronounces its order on the quantum of punishment, Sidiqqui added.

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Over Rs 18 lakh looted from NRI couple at Vadodara railway station

Cash and jewellery worth Rs 18.25 lakh was looted from a Non-Resident Indian couple at Vadodara railway station late last night, police said.The couple, 74-year-old Raghuvir Agrawal and his wife, were waiting on platform number one to board the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express.Agrawal, who is wheelchair-bound, told police that someone snatched his purse while he was awaiting the train’s arrival.The purse contained US dollars, two passports and gold and diamond jewellery, police said.A porter chased the thief but the latter managed to get away, police said.NI Pandya, Sub-Inspector of the railway police said that a First Information Report had been registered and police teams were scouring CCTV footage from the station to nab the thief.Police said that the couple, who have settled in the United States of America, had come to the city some time ago and were staying in the Gotri locality of Vadodara.

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