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Rajya Sabha members asks govt to take steps to deal with Delhi pollution

Cutting across the party lines, Rajya Sabha members today sought concerted efforts by the government to deal with rising pollution levels in Delhi and its adjoining areas. The members also asked the government to refrain from putting the blame on farmers for causing pollution by burning stubble or husk after harvest and suggested steps to help the farmers for proper disposals of this agriculture residue.Initiating a short duration discussion on the issue, SP leader Naresh Agarwal said, “farmers are blamed for causing pollution by burning stubble/husk. The government should take steps to deal with the situation rather than blaming farmers because vehicle/industrial emissions and others area also the reasons for it.”Referring to the 12-point charter unveiled by the government to deal with the issue, Agarwal said that pollution will not come down just because the government would give directions to states or departments.He expressed unhappiness over non-spending of Rs 800 crore cess collected in the name of enviroment by Delhi Government, which was not spent to deal with the issue, as it said it does not have right to spend the money.Agarwal said the government should not refrain from taking steps to curb pollution because of fear of media criticism.T S Reddy (Congress) also expressed dissatisfaction over government’s 12 point charter to deal with the issue saying he wanted to understand the 12 points charter. He drew attention towards solid waste management saying garbage is being dumped in improper manner.Referring to the government’s plan to use electric cars for officials, he said there was a need for electric public transport system including buses and metro rail to reduce dependence on fossil fuels which caused pollution.He was also of the view that the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan should take steps to deal with stubble burning after harvest.A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) also echoed similar views and asked the chair to consider conducting Parliament session in winters in Chennai where pollution levels are low.Derek O Brien (TMC) said a large number of lives have been lost due to pollution and suggested that the government should also look at other metropolitans and small town to deal with the problem there.He also suggested that the government can ask people to plant one sampling on the birth of every girld child as practiced in West Bengal where 15 lakh samplings have been planted.Prasanna Acharya ((BJD) and Harivansh (JDU) expressed the similar views and asked government to take steps to deal with the issues rather than blamming farmers.C P Narayanan (CPI-M) said people of Delhi were suffering from pollution due to lack of coordination among the Centre, state governments and local government. He also spoke about the need to educate people on waste management.Veer Singh (BSP) suggested that industrial units should be shifted from the national capital and action should be taken against big farmers for burning crop residues.D Raja of CPI said air pollution was a health issue and is not limited to Delhi alone and suggested that public transport should be encouraged and massive efforts should be taken to shift towards cleaner fuel. Raja said farmers should be given subsidy for adopting to to new technology to re- plough crop residues in the field.INLD member Ram Kumar Kashyap said trees should be planted to tackle pollution, while Pratap Singh Bajwa (Cong) urged political parties to make Delhi liveable by forgetting their differences. On crop residue burning, he said farmers would have to incur additional cost to remove residues and they should be adequately compensated.Satyanarayan Jatia (BJP) said pollution levels have increased and there is a need to find solution, while Kanimozhi (DMK) said pollution problem is not only in Delhi but other cities of the country. Many cities of Tamil Nadu are also facing similar situation because of industrial pollution, she said, adding that emission norms should be adhered to.The DMK member said farmers should be given alternate choice so that they stop burning of crop residues. The government should not intervene and help farmers, she said.

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Leaders at NDA meet seek all India judicial service

Some leaders of the BJP-led NDA have pitched for an all India judicial service on the lines of the civil services and sought a discussion on the matter in Parliament.The issue, which involves the demand for reservation in the judiciary for Dalits and backward classes, was raised in the meeting of top NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, on Friday, the first day of the Winter Session, highly-placed sources said.A senior BJP leader told PTI that the matter was raised in the meeting by some members, who sought a discussion on the issue in Parliament.They said there should be all India judicial service like the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Police Service, he said on the condition of anonymity.The sources, however, declined to name the leaders who raised the issue at the meeting.A large section of politicians, especially those drawn from disadvantaged classes, has been vocal over the issue, citing minuscule presence of these communities, especially Dalits and STs, in the higher judiciary.The matter was in the limelight recently after President Ram Nath Kovind expressed his concern at a public event over “unacceptably low” presence of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the higher judiciary.Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha had demanded recently that gates of higher judiciary be opened for women and disadvantaged classes, claiming that most high court and Supreme Court judges have come from 250-300 families.”Not only for Dalits and backward castes, the door is closed even for people from general castes. Members of over 250-300 families have been becoming judges in high courts and the Supreme Court since Independence. Doors are closed for all others. They must be opened,” he had said at a public meeting to mark the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar.Dalit members of Parliament have long been raising the issue and saying that an all India judicial service will pave the way for reservation for the traditionally deprived sections of society in higher judiciary.

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Issue of marital rape has huge ramifications and is of tremendous importance: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today said the issue of marital rape, an act in which a spouse indulges in sexual intercourse without the other’s consent, was of huge ramifications and tremendous importance.The high court fixed January 2 next year to continue hearing arguments in the matter in which some NGOs, espousing the cause of women, have raised the issue of sexual violence in marriage in India.The matter was listed before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar which during the brief hearing noted the concern raised by the NGOs, RIT Foundation and the All India Democratic Women’s Association.The court asked senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae, to freely express his views on the issue in which the Centre has maintained that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could become a phenomenon which may destabilise the institution of marriage and become an easy tool to harass the husbands. Also readSC criminalises sex with under-18 wife, says let parliament decide on marital rape: 10 factsRamachandran told the bench that he will come up with his views after hearing the submissions of the Centre and the NGOs.Advocate Karuna Nandy, appearing for the two NGOs, tried to impress the bench by citing few studies and research to press for the prayer to declare forcible sexual intercourse between married couple as an offence.She elaborated by referring to the 2005 data of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) about the gravity of the situation.Also readDelhi HC wants to know whether SC dealing with marital rape issueHowever, without going any further, the bench deferred the hearing with the observation that “the issue has huge ramifications. It is of tremendous importance.” In a related development, the Supreme Court in its historic verdict in October this year, has held that sexual intercourse with a girl below 18 years of age, even by the husband, would amount to rape. It has criminalised sex with a wife who is not a major.The apex court read down a provision in the Indian Penal Code of 1860 exempting males from being tried for rape if the wives were between the age of 15 and 18 years.The top court’s verdict will have ramification in the petition pending before the high court.In the original petition before the high court, the petitioners had highlighted that the provision under the IPC did not consider non-consensual sexual intercourse with a wife, above 15 years of age, as rape.The petitioners submitted that there was a need to strike down the exception clause under Section 375 of IPC that says that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.The court is also hearing two intervention applications, one in support of pleas to make marital rape an offence and the other opposing it.The Centre had advocated retaining the exception clause in Section 375 saying child marriages were taking place in India and the decision to retain a girl’s minimum age as 15 years to marry was taken under the amended rape law to protect a couple against criminalisation of their sexual activity.The NGOs’ counsel had said that they have challenged the constitutionality of section 375 (rape) of the IPC on the ground that it discriminated against married women being sexually assaulted by their husbands.
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Yogi Adityanath

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Forest department wants BMC to handle monkey menace

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forest department wants Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to play the lead role when it comes to dealing with the increasing monkey menace in Mumbai, citing its own staff crunch and the fact that across India it was the Municipal Corporations that were dealing with this issue.However BMC officials, DNA spoke to about this issue said that they lacked the skills to manage monkey issue in Mumbai and since the monkeys were coming from the forests and were also Schedule II animals, it was best that the forest department deals with the issue as even Fire brigade had its hand tied being an emergency service provider.In fact, the forest department’s emphasis that BMC takes up the responsibility also comes from the fact that the Thane territorial division has been in recent times flooded with calls from various areas complaining about monkey menace including Lower Parel where it took forest officials and Veterinarian Officer around eight days to trap a monkey.Meanwhile, animal welfare organisations claimed that despite receiving regular calls from citizens across Mumbai- dealing with stray monkey causing trouble in their area, BMC has been simply referring the citizens to contact the forest department, who in turn has been sending it staff or doling out numbers of private monkey catchers who at times even charge a hefty sum to trap these monkeys resulting in the problem not being addressed properly.“Monkeys are attracted due to improper garbage and people feeding them and this is a civic issue and just like BMC takes responsibility for dealing with stray dogs and even has a dedicated staff for it, now its time for them to have something similar for monkey or train the staff dealing with dogs in dealing with monkey’s,” said another forest official adding that they would be more than happy to even train the BMC staff and even pointed that BMC not only had several Veterinarians but also has a fully functional zoo that too can help.In fact citing example the forest official said that be it Delhi, Shimla or other important cities that are facing human-monkey conflict, its the local municipal corporation, which is managing the issue and are even looking at sterilization and other ways of birth control. “BMC can’t simply shun its responsibility,” said the official. According to Pawan Sharma, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Thane and president of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) it was the time that BMC showed its responsibility. “In other states, municipal corporations have taken responsibility and are even working towards managing the population of monkey and the monkey issue will only rise in the city in coming years and hence it was important that Forest department and BMC stop passing the buck and work out a solution,” he said adding that BMC has resources and should even consider setting up a rescue centre at the Zoo, which is under renovation.A senior BMC official said that the Forest department had never approached them to discuss this issue. “We will support the forest department in the best possible way but they should meet our top officials and take the issue up,” said the official.

Full membership for women on hold at Ripon Club

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plan to give full membership to women at the Ripon Club is being scrapped temporarily, one of the trustees associated with the club said. The club was recently mulling to give full membership to women. Founded in 1884, women in this elite club were only offered associate membership until now.The issue of providing full membership to women landed in controversy after some people of the community feared that the move will also give access to Parsi women, with non-Parsi spouses to the club. Only people, who come under full membership category, have rights to vote for the club. “The issue of giving full membership to women has been put on hold. We will take up the issue once the issue of eviction notice served on the club by the landlord is settled. We will meet soon to address the issue,” said Xerxes Dastur, chairman and honorary treasurer, Ripon Club.

Speak up Mumbai: Reasonable expectation or passing the buck?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After evicting over 20,000 hawkers from across the city over the past month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now looking for support from citizens in ensuring that hawkers do not return to encroach the areas where eviction drives have been carried out — one of the reasons it has failed to curb the issue time and again.On November 5, members of a residents group called Friends of Dadar assembled near Shivaji Park and took a pledge to not buy the wares sold by hawkers anywhere in the city in a bid to discourage the illegal businesses which have repeatedly proven to be an impediment to the free movement of pedestrians.Civic officials in charge of the removal of encroachments have called it a welcome move and said that the participation of citizens is critical to rid public spaces of hawkers.While the BMC has been urging participation from citizens, DNA spoke to residents from across the city to find out whether they think their complaints about encroachments by hawkers have been taken seriously by the civic body.EXPERT SPEAKParticipation of citizens is crucial as there is a need to involve all stakeholders to solve the issue. It may not be possible to stop everyone from buying wares from hawkers so it is important that hawking zones are created and thereafter regulated by MCGM and the police. Other structures that obstruct movement on footpaths such as milk booths should be removed too.—Indrani Malkani, managing trustee, V Citizens Action NetworkThe authorities do not take the kind of action they should be taking against hawkers. Whenever we complain, they take some action but the hawkers soon return. Mostly action against those with political patronage is not taken. If we complain too many times, they move out for some time but come back again later. The action taken by authorities is not up to the mark.—Anandini Thakoor, civic activistVOICESConstant follow-ups with the BMC ward office are necessary to make public spaces free of encroachments. Just by writing a complaint letter or visiting the office once does not ensure immediate action. The civic officials need to be reminded repeatedly in order to ensure they have taken the necessary action.—Mehjabeen Barwani, JuhuBMC takes no cognizance of citizens’ complaints regarding hawkers. All the major roads near stations are occupied by hawkers, leaving no space for pedestrians. Barring designated hawking zones, hawkers should not be allowed in busy places. The corporation should take serious action against flouting the rules.—Sanjay Patil, BorivliWe complained about the issue of hawkers in our area about four months ago but the BMC ward office has not taken any action against a single hawker yet. In fact, more hawkers have joined in and started their business. We met the local corporator regarding the issue as well but the authority has failed to take serious action so far. BMC should probably increase the target of the collection of fines from illegal hawkers so that the ward officials take more action.—Dhaval Shah, AndheriThe BMC does take action against hawkers but only after repeated complaints and follow-ups. Besides, even if action is taken, the hawkers put up their stalls again the very next day. Why can’t the police or BMC have a system for patrolling in the days following an eviction drive if they are really serious about our complaints? The fact is that hawkers wouldn’t be able to run their businesses without the blessings from the police and BMC.—Nitin Nikam, ChemburIf people stop buying from hawkers, they will disappear. However, when hawkers are gone, shops encroach on footpaths. There has to be an easier process for lodging complaints as visiting the office every time is not possible. They should probably develop an app. Besides, people think that BMC won’t act and fear a backlash from those against whom the complaint is made in case the complainant’s identity is leaked.—Gaurav Worlikar, WorliResidents of Linking Road in Bandra and Khar have been complaining for years about the illegal hawkers menace in their areas. Despite this, the illegal hawkers are not evicted, they continue with their businesses and have created a mess for both pedestrians and motorists. Even though the BMC may have been successful in evicting hawkers from outside railway stations in the city, the civic body has not managed to evict illegal hawkers from these areas.—Sushmita Singh, BandraCan the BMC and other government agencies do anything apart from putting the onus on the common man? Being taxpayers, the least we can expect is knowing that the civic body is taking the initial steps to curb the menace. Thousands of complaints simply languish on their tables and no action is taken unless a major tragedy strikes. Citizens are ready to cooperate and support the civic body’s initiatives but the measures should be implemented without glitches.—Neeta Patel, VikhroliOne may complain to the civic body umpteen number of times but the issue always goes back to square one. The ironic part is that the hawkers are tipped off by the BMC office itself that they will be visiting with their van for an eviction drive so they are alerted beforehand. This is the most rotten form of corruption. Howsoever one complains, corruption is rampant. It’s really sad that eventually we, the taxpayers, have to suffer.—Krishna Gupta, Goregaon

Bridge security: Parl panel to summon Railways’ top officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a parliamentary panel has asked top railway officials to appear before it. This is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.The parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Railways.The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of railway bridges.The parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

Many favour consensus over court verdict; there is willingness to find a solution: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Ayodhya dispute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking exclusively to DNA, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar admitted that he mediated a meeting between Nirmohi Akhara and All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) representatives to see whether consensus can be built to solve the issue of building Ram temple in Ayodhya. Sri Sri confirmed that he met them and said that he has done it on his own volition and did not act of behalf of the government. Speaking previously to DNA, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had said that he tried to mediate but there was political interference and not much could emerge out of consultations. He admitted that this time around a consensus could emerge which could heal the wounds.Q: It is being reported that Nirmohi Akhara and members of Muslim Personal Law Board met you on 6th October to discuss the issue of Ram temple to settle it through consensus. Is it correct?A: Yes, it is correct. They had come here to meet me but there are too many stakeholders and it would be too premature to dwell into details but if all of them come together to settle it out of court then it would send a very good message to our country and to the global community. But I would say that it is still too premature but nonetheless I would participate to solve the issue in whatever capacity I can.Q: Is it correct that participants said that the consensus is the way out?A: Many people felt that consensus is better than the court verdict.Q: In a previous interview at your ashram, you had mentioned about lot of political interference way back in 2003. Is the atmosphere different, this time around?A: It is very premature to talk about things now and there are many people involved but i would like to participate in whatever capacity i can.Q: Is it official that you are mediating in the Ayodhya dispute?A: I’m not mediating on behalf of the government or any body. No body asked me. Many Muslim leaders came and I discussed the issue.Q: In my previous interview you said consensus could not emerge but are you hopeful that consensus would emerge this time over judicial verdict?A: I’m very hopeful. There is lot of positive energy this time around and I’m hopeful. There is willingness this time that a solution should be arrived at.

Festivities end, evacuation drives to recommence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Administrative and civic authorities will be back evacuating illegal structures across the city as Diwali festive season ends.It was in consideration of the festival that various departments had put their evacuation drives on hold. The issue of Shastri Nagar graveyard is on the priority list of district administration, while JDA will be back evacuating encroachments along roads and highways. A decision on the proprietary of land to be evacuated from illegal constructions adjoining Shastri Nagar graveyard is pending at the state government level. Even as the high court has ordered for evacuation of the encroachments, the drive is on hold, awaiting a decision on the issue of land ownership. The district administration and concerned parties were reportedly asked to submit the survey details after Diwali. Meanwhile, also the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) is expected to recommence its drive against illegal encroachments along the city roads. “The illegal encroachments along highways have been issued public notice of a month to voluntarily vacate the green belt strip along highways, even as there is still couple of weeks left on deadline, efforts will be initiated to develop consensus on the issue,” said a senior JDA officer. The issue of taking land possession at Ninder will also be on priority list of JDA, while the Jaipur Municipal Corporation that has been lenient with the encroachment by traders during the festive days will be back in action implementing the civic norms. FARMERS MEET DUDIRepresentatives of farmers agitating against acquisition of their land by JDA at Ninder met leader of opposition Rameshwar Dudi on Sunday. The meeting held a day before the assembly goes in session, was to request the opposition leader to raise the issue at house. “Its not just the issue of farmers at Ninder but concerns the rights of farmers across the state and thus we will demand the government for a considerate approach towards it,” Dudi assured.

Make do with zebra crossing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The foot-overbridge (FOB) connecting Charni Road station to Thakurdwar, of which a part of a staircase came crashing down on Saturday, is used by students of nearly four schools in the vicinity, thus the area’s residents want the work on the bridge to be completed within a month, as the students will not be using the bridge during this time owing to Diwali vacations.However, according to the BMC, it will take around two years for the bridge’s construction, hence it has suggested the alternate solution to have a zebra crossing where the bridge stood.The residents have been raising the issue since September 21. They first raised their concerns on social media, followed by organising a street play that highlighted the issue.”We have been crying hoarse, have written to the BMC, protested at the bridge but nothing was done. Only after a part of the bridge collapsed did the authorities wake up. The bridge is used by school students of nearly four schools. With the bridge gone, they will now be forced to cross a very busy road and it’s dangerous. We are writing to the BMC to finish the work within Diwali vacations so that the students don’t face such dangers,” said Gaurav Sagwekar, of Aamhi Girgaumkar, a residents’ body that has been raising concerns about the bridge’s weak condition.VP Mote, D ward officer said, “We are making arrangements for a zebra crossing as the bridge volume is more and the time period is two years.”In the wake of the tragedy at Elphinstone Road station, the residents held a protest on October 9 to bring attention to a similar fate. In the play, residents dressed up as wounded victims of a bridge collapse incident. While it was meant to wake up the authorities, Sagwekar said that all their efforts fell on deaf ears.Until last week, the local BMC ward was yet taking an update on the issue.Ignored issueResidents have been raising concerns over the bridge’s safety since September 21.They first turned to social media, after which they organised a street play to highlight the issue.Authorities did not respond until Saturday.

SC seeks Centre’s response on guidelines for abortion beyond 20 weeks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has sought a response from the government on framing of guidelines for setting up a permanent mechanism for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks in exceptional cases.A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued notices to the ministries of health, women and child development and the Medical Council Of India and sought their reply in four weeks.The apex court, however, refused to amend the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act which prohibits termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, saying that the issue fell within the legislative domain.”On a perusal of the reliefs sought, we find that as far as the prayer is concerned, that is in legislative realm, hence we are not inclined to address the said prayer.”Issue notice, fixing a returnable date within four weeks,” the bench said.The top court was hearing a plea filed by Karnataka-based Anusha Ravindra seeking amendment of the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act for an abortion of foetuses older than 20 weeks involving rape survivors and women with abnormal foetus.The plea, filed through advocate Abhinav Ramkrishna, also sought constitution of a committee for setting up a permanent mechanism for expedient termination of pregnancies beyond 20 weeks in the exceptional cases involving rape survivors and women with abnormal foetus under safe medical facilities with adequate inputs from an association of professionals and experts.

‘Why don’t you stop stepping out after 6 PM?’: 7 things VC Girish Tripathi said after BHU incident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday, instead of going into damage control mode or expressing any remorse for the incidents at BHU, the varsity’s VC Girish Chandra Tripathi vacillated between blaming ‘outsiders’ to stating that it was a case of ‘eve-teasing not molestation’. He also said that it was impossible to listen to ‘every girl’.Here are some things he has since the incident took place to various media outlets:1) Deliberately staged before PM’s visit
ALSO READ BHU violence: UP govt orders judicial inquiry; VC denies being summoned by HRD ministryHe told NDTV: “This was not a case of molestation, this was a simple case of eve teasing that was deliberately stage a day before the Prime Minister’s visit.”2) Issue created by outsiders
ALSO READ ‘Daughters of your own constituency suffering’: Shiv Sena slams PM Modi over BHU violenceHe was quoted saying by Indian Express: “This issue was created. I think this issue was created by outsiders and the shape it took is what is more unfortunate than the initial incident itself.”3) Can’t assign a guard to every girl
ALSO READ BHU violence: FIR against 1,200 unidentified studentsThis is such a big campus, anything can happen anywhere. We cannot assign a guard to every student.4) Only members of AISA and SFI feel campus is unsafe He also told IE: “No girl or student feels unsafe anywhere on campus. The only ones who always feel so are members of student bodies like AISA and SFI.5) You’re a girl, why are you trying to be a boy? When the girls complained to him about the incident, he reportedly told them according to The Telegraph: “Forget about what happened. Why don’t you stop stepping out after 6pm if you dislike such things? You’re a girl, don’t try to become a boy (by moving around after sunset).” 6) No gender discrimination at BHUThere is no gender discrimination in hostels. For instance, what is the need for female students to access the cyber library when we have enabled WiFi in their hostels. Which university has a 24×7 library functional?7) Can never have security at par for boys or girls He was further quoted saying by IE: “Security for boys and girls can never be at par. If we are going to listen to every demand of every girl we won’t be able to run the university. All these rules are for their safety, all in favour of the girl students.”

Exclusive: Rohingya issue needs to be resolved by Myanmar only, says Indian Ambassador to Myanmar Vikram Misri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is Prime Minister Modi’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar. What’s on the agenda?It is his first bilateral visit which comes at a time when Myanmar is in transition. Myanmar is an important and large neighbour. It is a country where we have ancient linkages. Myanmar figures prominently in our foreign policy issues which include Act East and Neighbourhood First. There are many development projects which we are doing in Myanmar. During the visit, we will review these projects. We will ask them of their priority. There will be discussions on regional issues and common security.There has been a delay in the Kaladan project? Why?
ALSO READ Rohingya refugees: Why is Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis a terror concern for IndiaKaladan is a large and complex project and situated in a part of the country where implementation has been difficult. It is a 770 million dollar project. Because of many moving parts there has been a delay in the project. The Sittwe port has been built. Six barges have also been handed over to the government. We have also awarded the contract for the final section of the project which is the road.How does India see the issue of China forcing Myanmar to buy majority shares in the deep water port projects in Bay of Bengal?
ALSO READ Ahead of PM Modi’s visit, Indians in Myanmar say complex documentation process has made their life toughThis is between Myanmar and China. We in India deliver infrastructure projects differently. We believe in good governance practices and transfer of technology to local people. We also believe in being environmentally responsible and always align with national policy and don’t create debt for the host nation. In this context, I would again say that Myanmar needs to decide its course of action.What is India’s position on the Rohingyas​?There has been an upsurge of violence recently and it is indeed a complicated issue. But this has to be resolved by Myanmar only. Outside parties can only advice if asked. Whenever there has been opportunity, it was done. So, it has to be resolved only by Myanmar.But we condemn any violence as it doesn’t solve anything. We are hopeful that all stakeholders can come together. I should make mention of the fact that we had a very good report delivered by the Kofi Annan Commission. It was set up by the Myanmar government and they have issued a constructive support to the report. The implementation of the submissions made by the commission can resolve the situation. But this cannot be done in the atmosphere characterised by violence. Hope parties eschew violence.In context of the Rohingyas​, there exists the problem of illegal migration and secondly the regime doesn’t even acknowledge them and also calls them Bengali Muslims?What different people call them, I’m not aware of. Even terminology is contentious and the sensitivity attached to it should be respected. Their treatment has to be in accordance to the law even in India. People need to approach this issue with care. There are 2 million expat Indians who feel the process of OCI card should be speeded up. Many also get denied benefits in absence of proper papers in Myanmar?The issue is valid that there are problems with documentation. The Indian origin community has a rich and proud history. They have been loyal citizens of Myanmar. In so far as the issue of documentation is concerned, we are engaged with the elders of the community. We are also engaged with the local government on this issue. On the issue of OCI cards, as you understand there are certain parameters which need to be met. The current guidelines are different and we are trying to address the demands of the community.Myanmar is a country where Bal Gangadhar Tilak spent six years in isolation, Indians were also part of the colonial administration and there existed a people to people connect. But now we have terrible connectivity with a close neighbour. Indians need to go to Bangkok and Malaysia to come to Yangon?You have put your figure on an important issue and I agree that there is a deficit when it comes to aerial connectivity. We also have a lot of deficit to make up without which we will not be able to achieve our objective which is close political and economic relations.In 1949, the film Patanga was released and the song mere ‘Piya Gaye Rangoon’ still lingers, but do you feel that the relationship between India and Myanmar has not moved?It is a fair point. All the linkages have been there. Once we were very close to Myanmar but a decade after independence, our paths diverged and break happened on which we have to work. We need to rebuild the relationship. We are in a new phase and it is time to bring out our best efforts. People of India and Myanmar need to rediscover each other and our common heritage. But it will take time. Certain institutional mechanisms need to be put into place. More important is that we put soft infrastructure in place like a motor vehicle agreement.

Pupils queue up for correct results

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of students from the University of Mumbai had to run from pillar to post on Wednesday to provide ‘proof’ that they wrote an exam in which they were wrongly marked absent.As students shuttled between their exam centres and the University’s Kalina campus, they were told that the issue was due to a technical error in the software.Officials in the University revealed that several students were marked absent due to a technical error in the result processing system which categorised them in the absent lot when their results were kept in reserve. “I was marked absent in one of the semester 6 papers despite attending the exam. I was asked to furnish proof of my attendance but after doing so, officials said my result was reserved due to a technical issue. I have to now wait until the issue is resolved,” said an LLB student from a South Mumbai college.Dr Devanand Shinde, University in-charge Vice Chancellor said the results of such students would be immediately rectified. “We have set up additional desks to look into these issues,” said Shinde.

Congress failed to promote its stand on triple talaq: Manish Tewari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite Congress welcoming the recent Supreme Court judgement on the issue of triple talaq, senior party leaders feel that it was too late to present “liberal credentials”.Former union minister and party spokesperson Manish Tewari said that the Modi government had been able to take credit on the issue while his own party had failed to take a forward position despite its liberal credentials.”It is a very good and progressive decision, but we feel we should have taken a far more forward position on the issue because we believe in liberal values and there is a conflict in supporting triple talaq and these values,” Tewari told a group of journalists. He said that it was ironic that a party like the BJP, which is illiberal, misogynist, and Right wing was attempting to usurp liberal space while creating a divide on gender basis.

NGT notice to Centre, UP govt over garbage dump yard at Noida

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A plea alleging that reckless dumping of municipal solid waste in Noida was polluting the air, has led the National Green Tribunal to seek responses from the Centre and the UP government on the issue. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Urban Development, the Yogi Adityanath government, Noida authority and others while seeking their replies before September 14. “Heard. On preliminary hearing satisfied, matter requires consideration. Application is admitted. Issue notice to the respondents,” the bench said. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Noida resident Abhisht Kusum Gupta seeking action against increasing heap of open garbage dump at Sector 138-140. Solid waste was being brought to the site through trucks by Noida authority on regular basis and dumped in a careless manner leading to a nauseating smell, the petition said. “Residents in the nearby apartments across the street can’t keep their balcony doors open as stench from the dump yard reaches straight into their apartments. We have taken our complaints to the Noida authority but no solution has come forth on this,” the plea alleged. The garbage dump in the region was created as a temporary garbage dump by the Noida authority two years ago, the plea said. The plea has sought directions to immediately stop dumping of waste on the site and that no construction should be allowed in the area until a designated place for waste disposal is earmarked. “The authority was supposed to transfer its solid wastes to Astoli, a spot identified for garbage recycling, 50 kilometers away from Noida. No real solution for solid waste management has transpired in the city over 40 years of its existence,” the plea said. Noida alone generates close to 700 metric tons of solid waste on a daily basis.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K spl status: Opposition demands special session

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pressure is mounting on the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir to call the special session of the Legislative Assembly to discuss the state subject law under article 35Leading the chorus is former chief minister and working president of main opposition party National Conference (NC) Omar Abdullah who has asked the government to convene a special session of Jammu and Kashmir Legislature before August 29 to frame up an appropriate response to counter the narrative with regard to tampering or repealing of Article 35A of the Constitution.”The issue is of vital importance for the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, as abrogation of Article 35A will have serious ramifications,” Omar said.Under the Article 35 A, Indian citizens other than the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir, cannot acquire immovable property or have the voting rights in the restive state. Charu Wali Khanna, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir settled outside the state has challenged the legality of the Article 35 A in the Supreme Court on the grounds that the law disenfranchises and takes away her succession rights.”The observation of the Centre’s attorney that the issue needs wider discussions has created apprehension in the public mind about intentions of the BJP-led NDA. In such a precarious situation, the State Legislature will have to take a call on this fundamental issue, especially as the Constitution empowers the Legislative Assembly to determine the issues with regard to permanent residence,” said Omar.Appreciating general consensus across the state, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or region, with regard to preserving of this significant constitutional guarantee bestowed upon Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said it is therefore appropriate to have the aspirations of the people reflected through the State Legislature.”People of Jammu and Kashmir will rise above party politics and fight every overt or covert attempts to trample with Article 35A, which is regional neutral, religious neutral and ethnic neutral. Abrogation of this proviso is detrimental to every segment of society in Jammu and Kashmir”, he said.Jammu and Kashmir government, however, reacted guardedly saying they will discuss the issue and react accordingly. “We will talk on this issue. We have not taken any decision so far. We will look into it”, said Abdul Rehman Veeri, J&K Minister for Parliamentary Affairs

Rs 500 note size issue rocks RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were being printed in different sizes, the Opposition halted the Rajya Sabha (RS) proceedings on Tuesday. Attacking the government, the leaders stated that this was the biggest scam in the country. Some members even flashed new notes of different sizes, which led to a ruckus in the House. The BJP-led government, however, called the Opposition’s allegations frivolous and meant to create confusion in the country.The Congress members were joined by members of other parties, such as Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Janta Dal (United), who then stormed the Well of the House.Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who had raised the issue when the House met for the day at 11 am, said the variation in note size “jeopardises the credibility of the currency”.”We have discovered today the reason why the government did demonetization,” he said. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad joined in, saying, “This is the biggest scam of this century,” adding that the government had no right to continue.Significantly, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav sided with the Opposition on the issue, despite his party now being a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).Amid the din, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said his party was staging a walkout. TMC’s Derek O’Brien even walked up to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to pinpoint the difference in sizes.Jaitley accused the Congress of raising “frivolous” issues, without prior notice, to stall the Zero Hour proceedings.”This is a misuse of the Zero Hour,” he said, adding that earlier, the Congress had raised the issue of provision for the None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) option for Rajya Sabha poll, only to discover later that the provision was provided for during their rule.He, however, did not comment on the Opposition’s charges regarding the different-sized notes.As sloganeering by the Congress as well as the ruling party continued, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien urged the members to go back to their seats.Addressing Congress members, he said: “If you consider the issue very serious, then give a notice for discussion.”Kurien also questioned the ruling party members, saying: “What is there for you to be agitated?”He then adjourned the House till Wednesday.

Oppn protest over different types of currency disrupt RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition Congress, supported by TMC and JD(U), today forced four adjournments of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha over what it called as “biggest scam of this century” in the printing of two different kinds of 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Slogan-shouting Congress members trooped into the well even as Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the opposition party has been raising “frivolous” issues without giving notices to stall Zero Hour proceedings. They were supported by Sharad Yadav (JD-U) who displayed copies of some currency notes. Some members including Derek O’Brien (TMC) displayed the new 500 rupee notes issued after demonetisation to show the different sizes they were bring printed. He first offered to submit the notes to Jaitley for scrutiny and then walked up to him to explain to him the difference. He, however, did not leave the notes with the Finance Minister. Jaitley said there is no provision in the rules that anyone could “flash any paper and say it is point of order.” “There is a misuse of zero hour which is going on,” he said, adding that the Congress first raised the issue of provision for None-Of-The-Above (NOTA) in the ballot for Rajya Sabha poll but then discovered that the provision had been made during their rule. “You have been raising frivolous issues in the Zero Hour without giving notice” with a view to disrupt and not get replies, he said, but did not reply to the opposition contentions on different sized notes. Raising the issue through a point of order, Kapil Sibal (Cong) said different sizes of the new high denomination currency was being printed – “one for the ruling party (members) and one for the others”. “We have today discovered the reason why the government did demonetisation (of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes in November last year),” he said. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said “this is the biggest scam of this century.” As Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi countered, Azad said two types of notes are being printed. “The government has no right to remain in office for even five minutes,” he said. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said even if there are two types of notes, it cannot be a point of order. “You raise the issue in a different form.” “It is a serious issue,” O’Brien said as he displayed two 500 rupee notes that he said were different in size and design. Prasad asked opposition members to explain where they got the currency notes from. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said no country in the world has two notes of different sizes. “One is bigger, one is smaller,” he said. “I can give signed (copies of the notes).” Kurien said he is not an expert to examine the notes. “You give separate notice.” “I will give them to Finance Minister,” O’Brien said. Kurien said “give it to the Finance Minister, I have no objection.” Anand Sharma (Cong) said the credibility of the currency in circulation has been challenged. Kurien however said the issue cannot be taken up through a point of order and the members have to give separate notice. Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said notice has been given, to which Kurien said the Chairman will examine them. As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes. After the adjournment, as Kurien asked the members again to give notice on the issue, O’Brien said he has given notice for discussion on demonetisation for the past three weeks, but the government has not yet listed the matter. As the din continued, Kurien adjourned the House till noon. Similar noisy scenes were witnessed when the Question Hour was taken up by Chairman Hamid Ansari, who adjourned the proceedings for another 15 minutes. When the House assembled again, the opposition members continued slogan-shouting, forcing Ansari to adjourn the House till one PM.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TISS student elections: Charter of demands issued to future representatives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As students at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS) gear up to vote for their representatives, they have created a ‘charter of demands’ for candidates who would be elected to the institute’s student elections.Through the charter, students at the institute have highlighted some important problems plaguing the institute at this point including the issue of fund crunch, and cuts in student fellowships. “This year Financial Aid for GOI students from SC/ST category was removed on a very short notice. Upfront fees payment for GOI students from OBC background has been happening since the past two years. Students were also threatened and not allowed to enter hostels without showing a record of having paid the fees. We demand a committee of students to be constituted to discuss and develop a plan of action on how to pursue the matter with the administration” states the charter.”The institute is grappling with a large number of issues which are affecting students on an every day basis. We want a student union that would encourage collectivisation and political activity on campus. At a point when the government is trying to stifle voices of students across universities, it is important for students to speak about their issues without any fear in any form — gatherings, protests or anything else. The idea behind making the charter was to communicate the demands of the student community to our future representatives” said Aabha J, a second year MA student at the institute who was a part of the group who drafted the charter.Some of the other demands made in the charter include addressing the issue of excessive surveillance on campus, increasing student participation in key decisions, giving security to teachers from sudden terminations, etc. This year five candidates are contesting for the post of president. For the first time , a student representative would be elected to the Social protection office (SPO). Students will vote for the candidates on August 4.The list One of the main demands made in the charter is a student union that would encourage collectivisation and political activity on campus.Some of the other demands include addressing the issue of excessive surveillance on campus, increasing student participation in key decisions, giving security to teachers from sudden terminations.

Amit Shah intervenes to stop TCS leaving Lucknow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) may stay back in Lucknow following intervention from BJP national president Amit Shah. The TCS management on July 12 had decided to wind up its Lucknow office and shift it to Noida. It already issued transfer orders to its employees.The issue was raised on Saturday by a BJP leader from Lakhimpur Kheri, VP Singh, during Shah’s meeting with party office-bearers.Shah directed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to ensure that TCS office is not shifted at any cost. Yogi informed Shah that he is already having a meeting with TCS senior officials on July 31 on the issue. The CM assured Shah that his government will do everything possible to ensure that TCS does not shift from Lucknow and all its employees who were transferred are called back.

RS witnesses acrimonious scenes over Jaitley’s remarks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha today witnessed acrimonious scenes and three adjournments in the pre-lunch session over Leader of the House Arun Jaitley’s remarks that adjournment notices were being “grossly abused” for publicity. Trouble started soon after the House met for the day at 11 am when Congress leader Anand Sharma wanted to raise an issue under Rule 267, which prescribes suspension of business to take up a matter. Several members had given notices under Rule 267. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien did not allow several of these notices but asked Sharma to spell out his matter. The Congress leader said the NDA government was making efforts to undermine the stature of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Kurien disallowed this notice but Jaitley, Minister of finance and defence, objected to Sharma’s remarks, saying adjournment notices were being “grossly abused” for publicity. This led to vociferous protests by the Congress members. Amid the protests, Jaitley went on to say, “In every case, we have found these are not issues under the motion of Rule 267 and therefore, it is a practice which is being grossly abused. Therefore, the Chair must also be guided by a principle that you can’t have a Zero Hour for the benefit of TV cameras. That is what something which is happening today. … This has all been enacted.” He demanded that Sharma’s remarks be expunged. He said some other members have also given notices and the Chair must protect their rights. He was apparently referring to a notice given by BJP member Subramanian Swamy to raise the issue of Samjhauta Express blast of 2005, regarding which some media reports have suggested that some crucial evidence had been ignored. Jaitley also insisted that rules do not allow references being made in the House to those who have held high Constitutional positions. Sharma, however, said he had not referred to any high dignity. To this, Jaitley said, “we know the spirit of what you are saying.” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government was trying to insult leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru who had fought for India’s independence. “The centenary of those people are being observed who had no connection with the freedom struggle. They are doing ‘pick and choose’,” he alleged. Kurien said all notices under Rule 267 were being rejected but the Chair has to first listen to the member to take a decision. DMK member Thiruchi Siva said he was “hurt” by Jaitley’s remarks that issues were being raised for TV publicity. To this, Jaitley said, “Every day what is not point of order is raised as point of order knowing fully that you are violating the rule. “None of us were born today that we don’t realise each other’s games. We know this noise is being created only because some members want to raise the issue of Samjhauta case. We know that. Don’t provide an alibi. I know they are your ally parties. Don’t provide an alibi.” He said if members want to raise the issue of Samjhauta, they should be allowed. “Don’t deflect the issue,” he noted. Congress members then entered the Well, raising slogans and forcing a brief adjournment of the House till noon. When the House re-assembled for Question Hour, the Opposition members demanded expunction of Jaitley’s remarks that adjournment notices were being “misused” for publicity. As the opposition members remained adamant over their demand for removal of Jaitley’s remarks from the records, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the House for ten minutes. The House was again adjourned for ten minutes as leaders of several parties discussed the impasse over the issue in the Chairman’s chamber. Ansari later said the records will be examined but no conclusion can be arrived at till this is done. “Let the Chair do its own work.” Azad said he respected the Leader of the House, who normally uses measured language and has never used words which hurt anyone. “But to say that opposition leaders raise issues for TV channels is not acceptable. We raise issues of the have-nots, that include Dalits, oppressed, downtrodden and the poor and not for the television, which only covers the government,” Azad said. His colleague, Sharma said these words cannot be part of the proceedings. “The entire opposition is being castigated. We cannot allow this sweeping condemnation of the entire opposition.” Earlier, BJP member Subramanian Swamy said he should be allowed to raise a point of order regarding the Samjhauta train blast case.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Coins of Rs 1, 2 & 10 not being accepted in shops: MP in RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coins of Rs 1, 2 and 10 are not being accepted by shopkeepers and even by banks in several parts of the country, a Janta Dal (United) member said in the Rajya Sabha today. Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) said the people, especially the poor, were facing lot of difficulty due to non-acceptability of these coins. “Some banks too are not taking those coins”, even though they are issuing them, he said. In an apparent dig at the government’s November 8, 2016 decision to scrap old Rs 500/1000 notes, the JD(U) member said the coins should be taken back in the “second phase of demonetisation”. In his Zero Hour mention, KTS Tulsi (nominated) said the IT sector in the country was on the verge of slashing jobs to the tune of 37 lakh. He also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not raise the H1B visa issue during his meeting with US President. CPI(M) member C P Narayanan raised the issue of the government’s move to privatise Air India on plea that the state-owned carrier was making losses. He said the losses to the Air India were because of mismanagement and the previous government’s decision to merge Air India and Indian Airlines in 2007. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded a discussion in the House on the government’s move to privatise Air India. Jharna Das Baidya (CPI-M) raised the issue increasing number of rape incidents in the National Capital Region. “What is happening to the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao slogan,” she said, as she referred to the alleged rape of a national level Kabaddi player and that of a 10-year year old girl by her maternal uncle. In his Zero Hour mention, nominated member Swapan Dasgupta raised the issue of “steady influx” Rohingya migrants in the country. He said it is “curious” why there are so many Rohingya migrants in Jammu and Ladakh and added that as per media reports, there were about 40,000 Rohingya refugees in the country. The presence of so many Rohingyas in the country was “suspicious”, he said expressed concern that they were “flaunting” to have voter indentity cards as well as Aadhaar card. Digvijaya Singh (Cong) sought to raise the issue of the government planning to close the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam on July 31, which he said would inundate tribal lands of some 16,000 families. Gujarat, he said, was using only 20 per cent of the dam water and yet it wanted to close the gates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on August 12 perform Narmada Arti along with several sadhus, he added. As Kurien said the notice has not been admitted, Singh said the tribals in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will drown in Narmada waters due to the govenment’s decision. Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) said Gujarat police was forcibly taking signatures of inhabitants for vacating the catchment area. D Raja (CPI) said the 1979 Narmada Tribunal award has not yet been fully implement for rehabilitation of those affected by the dam projects. Thousands of tribal people will be displaced by the July 31 closing of the water gates, he said adding the government is forcing the tribals to evict from the land. Kurien asked the members to give a call attention notice instead of 267 notice. Earlier when the House met for the day, Naresh Agarwal (SP) raised the issue of reducing sittings of Parliament. He said Article 85 provides that there cannot a gap of more than six months between two sessions of Parliament. It however is silent on the duration of the sessions. The Parliament used to sit for 200 days previously which got reduced to 150 days and under present government it has come down to 90 days. Kurien said when Article 85 is silent on the duration of sitting, he too should remain silent. “There is no violation of Article 85,” he said, adding it was up to the government to decide on the duration of the sittings. Ram Nath Thakur (JD-U) raised the issue of shortage of medicines in hosptial post implementation of GST. Congress member Rajani Patil highlighted that private hospital were forcing pregnant women to go for unncessary tests. She expressed concern over the high rate of c-section deliveries in the private hospitals. Referring to a CAG report, senior SP member Rewati Raman Singh poor and unhygenic food was being servied in trains, which are used by 2.5 crore people everyday. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said it was a very serious issue and the government should take note of it.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ajit Doval to visit Beijing for BRICS NSA’s meet on July 27-28

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid the ongoing stand-off between India and China over the Doklam issue, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is set to visit Beijing to attend the BRICS NSA?s meeting on July 27-28. Meanwhile, yesterday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that all the countries, including Bhutan, are with India on the issue of the Doklam stand-off. Sushma’s response came after Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal’s questioned the Centre on the issue. Sushma said the issue is due to the “tri-junction point that is between India, China and Bhutan” and that if Beijing unilaterally tries to change the status quo at the tri-junction, then it will pose a threat to New Delhi’s security. “India wants that troops are removed from the tri-junction point to discuss the issue together. All countries, including Bhutan, are with us,” Sushma said in Rajya Sabha on the fourth day of the Parliament Monsoon Session. Following this, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reiterated that differences between India and China should and would not be allowed to become a dispute and added that communication between the two governments never ceased. “The differences between India and China should not be allowed to become dispute. Every powerful player, power in the world prefers peaceful resolution of matters that are in hand. The diplomatic channels and diplomatic communications have never been ceased, they have never broken,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. While answering to questions related to China, he further quoted Sant Kabir’s doha: “Saadhu aisa chahiye jaisa soop subhaay, Saar saar ko gahi lahe thotha deii udaaye.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oppn targets govt over agrarian crisis, farmers’ suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition members in Rajya Sabha today strongly raised the issue of agrarian crisis in the country, saying farmers were being forced to do distress sale of crops in the face of cheaper zero-duty imports. Several members gave notices under rule 267 that allows adjournment of the proceedings to take up a discussion on an issue. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said a discussion on the matter has been accepted and the members can raise their points during the debate. Raising the issue, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) claimed that 15-20 farmers were committing suicide every day. He said pulses production has been raised by 33 per cent but the government has lowered the import duty on it to zero, resulting in cheaper shipments into the country. Farmers, he said, are being forced to make distress sale. Digvijaya Singh (Cong) said the farmers were getting “bullets instead of price”. Kurien said besides Yadav, Pramod Tiwari (Cong), Naresh Agarwal (SP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Kapil Sibal (Cong) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) had given notice under 267 on the issue. A discussion on the subject has been admitted and the members can raise their points then, he said. Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) through a Zero Hour mention raised the issue of manual scavenging saying this practice was continuing even after the government has declared it illegal. Four workers, he said, died in the national capital due to toxic gases while cleaning a septic tank. “All four are dalits,” he said, adding over 2,500 dalits have lost their lives in last two-and-half-years due to this practice but no cases have been registered or compensation paid. While the government on the one hand talks of going to Mars, on the other it provides no equipment or apparatus for such cleaning activities, he said. “Our sensitivities are dead,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM asks all parties to fight hooliganism in the name of cow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked all political parties to collectively fight “hooliganism” in the name of cow protection and said the state governments should take stringent action against anti-social elements indulging in violence on the issue. Addressing an all-party meeting ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning tomorrow, Modi said maintenance of law and order was the responsibility of the state governments and they should take stringent action wherever such incidents take place. “Cow is treated as a mother and it is an emotive issue. But we have to understand that there are laws governing cow protection and breaking it is not an alternative,” Modi said in a series of tweets after the meeting. “All political parties should collectively castigate hooliganism in the name of cow protection,” he said, adding that such incidents were also affecting the image of the country. “The state governments should take stringent action against such anti-social elements,” the Prime Minister said, adding they should also check whether some people are settling personal scores in the name of cow vigilantism. He said some anti-social elements were using cow protection as “a tool to spread anarchy. Some people who want to damage the social fabric of the country are also taking advantage of it.” Seeking the support of the opposition parties in tackling “communal violence” in the name of cow protection, Modi also warned against giving a political or communal colour to the issue. Modi said “state governments must ensure the maintenance of law and order and strict action must be taken against those who break the law,” an official statement quoted Modi having said in the meeting. The statements assume significance in context of the recent cases of violence in different parts of the country in the name of cow protection. Opposition parties have attacked the BJP over the cases of cow vigilantism in which Muslims and Dalits have often been targeted. These parties have also planned to raise the issue during the Parliament session starting tomorrow. The Prime Minister also urged all parties to extend their support to the government in fighting corruption. Apparently hinting at Trinamool Congress and RJD on the issue of corruption, the Prime Minister said the political class should join hands against those who seek an escape route by dubbing action against graft as a political conspiracy. “When law takes its course against those who loot the nation, then we have to unite against those who seek an escape route by dubbing such an action as a political conspiracy,” the Prime Minister tweeted. In his speech, Modi also referred to the presidential poll to be held tomorrow and said it would have been very good had a consensus been arrived on the candidate. He, however, said “high level of dignity” has been maintained by both sides during the campaign and no “ill will or bad language” has been used. He also called upon all political parties to ensure that everyone votes and no vote is wasted. While the ruling BJP-led NDA has named Ram Nath Kovind as its candidate, the Congress-led group of opposition parties has pitted Meira Kumar against Kovind, who has a big numerical advantage over his rival. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting that Modi also noted that the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement falls on August 9 and all parties should celebrate it. He also thanked everyone for the implementation of the GST, calling it a “shining example of co-operative federalism”. On the issue of Kashmir and tensions with China, Kumar said the government had a meeting with opposition leaders and every party has said they were with the government on matters of national security. To preserve institutions of democracy, Modi said it was important that all political parties support the government in conducting the business in Parliament without disruption so that constructive discussion can take place on issues of national importance. “The Prime Minister in one voice with the leaders of all parties also asserted that all political parties stand united to ensure the nation’s safety and security, after such concerns were raised by many leaders on recent developments,” he said. There was a consensus across party lines on ensuring smooth functioning of Parliament and that deadlocks should be resolved through constructive discussions in both the Houses, he said. Among those opposition leaders who attended the meeting were Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and D Raja (CPI). However, no one from the JD(U) or the Trinamool Congress were present. TMC has already announced it would boycott this meeting amidst recriminations between it and the BJP over the recent violence in West Bengal.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IRCTC portal down for first-class tickets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mumbai suburban commuters trying to book their first class season ticket online through the IRCTC portal have not only been hassled but are also in for a rude shock as online purchase of first class season ticket has been disabled, since July 1 the day after GST came into force.On the same portal season ticket for second class is available whose fares have not changed post GST. “My season ticket was expiring on July 7 so I decided to book my season pass online two days prior but I saw that there was no option for first class season ticket being shown on the IRCTC portal, thinking it was a technical issue I waited for another day but the result was the same and I had to stand in a long queue at Borivali station to buy a new season ticket,” said Nikhil Mistry a Borivali resident who commutes to Churchgate daily.Vinita Bhatia, media person and a Kandivali resident said that though she had booked her season ticket on July 28 using the same portal it was on Monday, while trying to help a colleague book a season ticket that she found the issue. “IRCTC has mobile phone numbers of people who book tickets using this app and could have sent messages informing that the services were unavailable and it speaks volumes for the claims of making India digital. It’s strange that the services have been down for 10 days now and all those who use this online way of buying season ticket will end up standing in the queue,” she said. Meanwhile sources in Railways claimed that the issue was related to changes in the fare structure that was brought about post GST.”Service tax levied on first class ticket as well as season ticket has gone up from 4.5 per cent to 5 per cent and it seems that the glitch could be because of the new fares being set up. Though the number of commuters using the online mode for booking season ticket is very low compared to those buying season tickets directly from the ticket windows IRCTC and CRIS should resolve the issue on priority as it’s a bad advertisement,” said a rail official.A senior official from IRCTC said that they are working on resolving the issue. “It’s a technical glitch and we are trying to ensure that its resolved as quickly as possible,” he said.

Tree felling on Aurobindo Marg: Forest officials pulled up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain on Monday pulled up the Forest Department officials, following a protest by environment activists against the felling of trees on the Aurobindo Marg. The minister directed the officials to find an amicable solution to the problem.A plan to widen the 8km stretch has been sanctioned by the government, and as part of it, the trees are being felled. A delegation of activists, led by Padmavati Dwivedi, who has been vehmently protesting against the felling of trees on the stretch, had met the minister to discuss the issue, following which he called for a meeting with the government officers.Hussain directed all the departments concerned, including Forest, Public Works Department (PWD), and the Delhi Traffic Police to come to a consensus over the issue. He also asked the environmentalists to get in touch with the special task force led by the DCP (Traffic) on this issue. “Both preserving trees as well as removing traffic congestion are priorities of the government. The departments must, however, give better suggestions on how to deal with the issue,” he said. Besides, Hussain raised concerns regarding air pollution and said more trees need to be planted to increase Delhi’s green cover. “The poor quality of air is responsible for falling health standards, leading to diseases such as asthma, bronchitis etc, among children and elderly citizens. The green cover acts as a buffer against air pollution. A holistic solution to the problem needs to be evolved,” he added.

TruJet denies ticket to TDP MP Diwakar Reddy, apologises later

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TDP MP J C Diwakar Reddy, who had allegedly created a ruckus at the Visakhapatnam airport last month after he was not allowed boarding by IndiGo for being late, was today denied a ticket to Vijayawada from here by TruJet, a regional airline. The airline later offered apologies to the controversial Lok Sabha member and initiated action against its staff, who denied ticket to him, sources said. A top official of the airline said TruJet has not issued any travel ban on Reddy. “A secretary of the MP had approached TruJet for ticket to travel to Vijayawada this morning. As there was a ban imposed by some airlines, the staff had denied ticket to Reddy. However, when the issue came to the notice of the senior management, they offered apologies to the MP,” a source at the airport said. When contacted, Diwakar Reddy downplayed the issue saying that the airlines has tendered an apology and he would not take up the matter seriously. “This (TruJet denying ticket) is a small issue. But there are several complaints against IndiGo. I will move a privilege motion against them in the coming Parliament session,” Reddy told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

TN cinema halls strike called off;panel to look into local tax

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four-day-old strike by more than 1,000 cinema halls in Tamil Nadu protesting levy of 30 per cent local body tax in addition to GST was today called off after the state government proposed setting up of a bipartite committee to resolve the issue. The theatres will start functioning from tomorrow with the ticket prices set to go up from the present maximum of Rs 120 with the addition of 28 per cent of Goods and Services Tax. The decision to set up the committee comprising government and industry representatives was taken at a meeting between senior ministers and office-bearers of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association (TNTODA) and other stakeholders here this afternoon. Emerging from the meeting which lasted for more than an hour, TNTODA president Abirami Ramanathan said the theatres would begin functioning from tomorrow as usual. Top functionaries of Film Producers Council and South Indian Artistes’ Association also participated in the meeting held at the state secretariat. Going ahead with their strike announced on June 30 on the eve of GST rollout, the exhibitors shut their halls since July 3 citing their ‘inability’ to pay both taxes. Opposition parties and prominent industry players, including superstar Rajinikanth, had appealed to the government to step in to resolve the issue, saying the livelihood of lakhs of people dependent on the film industry was at stake. Today’s meeting came in the backdrop of the issue also figuring in the state assembly where the government said steps were being taken to find a solution. “We have decided to call off the strike which has been going on the for the last four days. More than 1,000 theatres were shut across Tamil Nadu. The daily loss (incurred due to closure of theatres) was estimated to be Rs 20 crore,” Ramanathan told reporters. When asked how much one has to pay for a movie ticket with theatres set to resume operations, he said, “similar to other products and services, along with the existing capped rate of Rs 120 per ticket, 28 per cent will be levied under GST”. This means movie goers might have to shell out a maximum of around Rs 153 per ticket as against existing Rs 120. Ramanathan thanked Finance Minister D Jayakumar, Commercial Taxes Minister Veeramani, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani and Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur Raju for taking steps to break the impasse. He said the proposed committee would have eight members from the film industry. “I do not know how many members will be representing the government,” he said. The association had been demanding withdrawal of the local body tax of 30 per cent, saying theatre owners would not be able to pay both GST and the local tax. “We hope the committee’s decision will be in favour of us. We have been demanding removal of the local body tax,” he said. Earlier in the day, the issue of closure of the theatres echoed in the assembly for the second time this week with the opposition raising it. Leader of the Opposition and DMK Working President M K Stalin raised the issue, saying imposing of the local body tax amounted to double taxation since the GST has been rolled out. Besides Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan had also extended support to the strike by the association. Rajinikanth, who is currently in the US for a health checkup, had yesterday requested the government to consider the film industry’s plea. Kamal Haasan expressed his gratitude to the “Kabali” star for taking up the issue.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sirsa spreading lies that we support J-K referendum: AAP MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party MLAs today lashed out at BJP legislator Manjinder Singh Sirsa, accusing him of spreading “lies” that they had batted for a referendum in Kashmir. After a heated exchange during the day’s proceedings in the Assembly, the case was referred to the privilege committee of the House. AAP MLA Alka Lamba raised the issue and was joined by other party legislators including Somnath Bharti, Nitin Tyagi and Saurabh Bhardwaj. Sirsa claimed his comments were being taken out of context to corner him. Yesterday, during a discussion on mob lynchings, Sirsa had brought up the issue of Kashmir. He had demanded that a resolution be passed stating the Valley is an “integral” part of India. He was later marshalled out, following which he made a tweet, which sparked the row. “@AamAadmiParty leaders are wooing Muslim votes by asking for Referendum in Kashmir! Are these leaders the agents of Pakistan? @BJP4India”. During the day’s proceedings, Lamba latched on to the tweet. She demanded an explanation from Sirsa over his attempts to “create a false impression” and to “malign the image of the members” of the House. In his defence, Sirsa said he was merely referring to comments made by AAP leaders “in the past”. “Your comments were made in the present continuous form,” Bhardwaj retorted. Later, Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla, who was anchoring the proceedings, referred the issue to the privilege committee of the House and said a report will be tabled in the next session of the Assembly. Sirsa and another BJP MLA, Jagdish Pradhan, had come to the Assembly wearing wearing black scarves around their mouth as a mark of protest. They removed it after Birla told them that it was against the dignity of the house. Meanwhile, sacked minister Kapil Mishra was marshalled out of the House for the second consecutive day. Undeterred, he made his way back through a different door, only to be removed again. “What rule have I broken? I am only trying to raise an issue,” he shouted while being escorted out for the second time. Minutes into the proceedings, Mishra had raised the issue of “misbehaviour” of certain AAP MLAs with a woman he had allegedly brought to the premises of the Assembly yesterday, prompting Birla to order that he be marshalled out.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gutkha scam: Edappadi K Palaniswami rejects call for CBI probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday dismissed the opposition DMK’s demand for a CBI probe into the alleged bribe paid to a minister and police officers over the sale of banned gutkha and informed the state Assembly that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) is conducting a probe into it.Raising the issue of the gutkha scam for the second consecutive day in the Assembly, Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin sought the sacking of the minister and senior police officers for their alleged role in allowing the sale of banned gutkha products after taking bribes. He wanted the government to order a CBI probe to unearth the truth.Later, Stalin told reporters outside the Assembly that the Income Tax raids last year against Madhava Rao of a gutkha manufacturing firm had led to seizure of diaries and some accounting ledgers that had details of alleged payouts made to Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar and DPGs TK Rajendran and S George.Replying to Stalin, Palaniswami said that the then Chennai Police Commissioner, in his letter dated December 22 last year to the Home Secretary, wrote that he had received information about the role of some police officers who had connived with anti-social elements for the manufacture, sale and distribution of banned gutkha. Based on the letter, he said that the state government has ordered a preliminary enquiry by DVAC on January 23. He added that the issue was being probed by the anti-corruption unit.Palaniswami also pointed out that the Madras High Court had on January 27 dismissed a writ petition filed by an individual, T Vincent, seeking a CBI probe into the issue. “There was no reason why the court should step into the issue when the authorities themselves were conscious of the gravity of the issue,” the Chief Minister said about the court’s observation.

Not worried about border dispute with China: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is not worried about the border dispute with China and claims it is borne out of unsettled border.In an interview with Zee Business channel, Jaitley said these were the consequences of unsettled border. “This has happened before and situations such as these keep recurring. No bullet is fired, but stand-offs happen. But then they also dissolve. I hope this will get resolved soon,” he said.On the question of US’s changed stand on H-1B policy, Jaitley said India will definitely take up the issue with the US administration at an opportune time. The channel pointed that the PM could not discuss the issue with US President Donald Trump during his visit, despite concerns. The NASSCOM projections, too, paint a gloomy picture, and therefore India will have to raise the issue with the US at some point of time and with much seriousness. Jaitley tried to calm the nerves saying the government was seized of the matter.”These people are not illegal migrants. They are highly skilled labour and could have gone anywhere in the world. They have contributed to the US economy. To compare them with illegal migrants will be quite unfair,” Jaitley said.When asked about the government’s stand-off with Reserve Bank of India over lowering of interest rates, Jaitley denied there was any stand-off.”Every government wants the interest rates to be a little lower so that the growth rate goes up. But any final decision on this is made by the RBI, and I am not in favour of tampering with the RBI’s right,” he said.He pointed out that the currency was stable and price rise was also under control, and therefore the government was hopeful that the interest rates will be lowered. But he reiterated that it was a call that will be made by the RBI.

DMK stages walkout for third day over "pay-off" row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK staged a walkout for the third consecutive day today from the state assembly over the issue of alleged horse-trading of AIADMK MLAs. Leader of Opposition M K Stalin led the walkout after he and deputy DMK leader in the House Duraimurugan argued with Speaker P Dhanapal over the issue in which remarks made by them were expunged by the chair after Finance Minister D Jayakumar made an intervention. Textiles Minister O S Manian said the Opposition party trying to raise the issue was not appropriate. When some DMK members who were walking out objected to it, Dhanapal said the minister was only reiterating his ruling of June 14. Yesterday too, DMK made a vain bid to raise the same issue and walked out after Dhanapal disallowed their plea holding that the matter was sub-judice and based on media reports. DMK’s allies Congress and IUML too had walked out on the issue. On June 14, the alleged pay-off kicked up a storm in the Assembly which eventually led to en masse eviction of DMK members. They later staged a road blockade outside the state secretariat and were briefly detained by police. The matter related to purported claims by O Panneerselvam camp MLA S S Saravanan in a TV ‘sting’ operation about alleged pay-offs to ruling party MLAs ahead of the February 18 trust vote that was won by incumbent chief minister K Palaniswami.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Presidential Poll: Opposition waits for ‘mutually acceptable’ candidate, Shah forms panel to hold consultations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling NDA and a loosely knit group of opposition parties would soon intensify efforts to zero in on a “mutually acceptable” presidential candidate, and go their separate ways if a consensus proves elusive.After a prolonged silence on the issue, BJP chief Amit Shah today constituted a three-member committee comprising union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu which will hold consultations with the NDA allies and the opposition on the issue.”This committee will consult leaders of different political parties over the presidential poll and try to evolve a consensus,” a BJP statement said. Meanwhile, the 10-member team set up by the opposition for finding a consensus nominee will meet here for the first time on June 14. They have already held several rounds of talks on the issue but have not yet announced a joint opposition candidate.
ALSO READ Presidential poll: ‘Consensus’ candidate still possible, indicates Sharad Yadav Sources in the opposition said they were waiting for the ruling dispensation to come up with its candidate and will discuss if the name proposed by the NDA is acceptable to them. A senior leader said if a consensus proved elusive during the talks with the NDA, the opposition would put up a joint candidate against the ruling dispensation’s nominee. The sources said Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge represent the Congress in the 10-member group, which also includes other senior opposition leaders such as JD-U’s Sharad Yadav, RJD’s Lalu Prasad and CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury.DMK’s Rajya Sabha member R S Bharathi, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Chandra Misra, TMC’s Derek O’Brien and NCP’s Praful Patel are also on the panel. While the ruling party is holding its cards close to chest, the opposition has already discussed the names of possible candidates and has held talks with one– former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. A retired bureaucrat and an eurdite scholar, he is a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
ALSO READ Presidential polls: Sonia Gandhi to constitute committee, says Lalu Prasad YadavAmong the other names doing the rounds are those of former Speaker Meira Kumar and former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar, though the NCP strongman has said he is not in the race. The BJP, on the other hand, has maintained silence on the issue. However, a strong section within the BJP is of the view that it should pick a nominee who is strongly wedded to the party’s ideological moorings as it now has the numbers to ensure a victory in the poll if the opposition parties put up a candidate. In that case, it looks certain that the opposition parties would reject its nominee and field its own. Though the BJP’s committee of three veterans will consult political parties across the ideological spectrum, the final decision on the nominee will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah.The opposition, in all likelihood, will make public the name of its presidential candidate only after the NDA has announced its nominee. It became abundantly clear when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U) president, said in Patna that the opposition parties were waiting for the BJP to come out with a consensus candidate, and if there was none, it was the opposition’s duty to put up a candidate.
ALSO READ Presidential poll: Amit Shah forms three-member committee for consultations with political partiesThe Centre should take initiative in this regard, Kumar told a press conference and added that it will not take the opposition much time to decide its candidate as its leaders have discussed the issue several times. The polling to elect the next president will be held on July 17 and counting will take place on July 20. The term of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.

DGCA withdraws complaint against pilots over "obscene" remarks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The row between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and pilots of various airlines over “obscene” remarks against a senior DGCA official ended today with the aviation regulator withdrawing a police complaint. The complaint was withdrawn after the airlines and the pilots expressed regret over the issue, a DGCA official said. The DGCA had, on June 6, filed a police complaint against 34 pilots of Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir for allegedly posting “obscene” messages on a WhatsApp group against one of its senior officials. Delhi police had questioned 13 pilots based on the complaint. “Airlines have also been informed to put in place SOPs (standard operating procedures) on the issue and sensitise their personnel,” the DGCA official said. Parents of some of the pilots involved in the matter also met the DGCA authorities and urged for resolution of the dispute so that their careers may not get affected, he said. “In view of all above, DGCA has withdrawn the complaint,” the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Brief drama of resignation by JDS MLA over sugar factory issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A brief drama unfolded in the Karnataka Assembly today after JDS member S R Mahesh handed over his resignation letter to Deputy Speaker, which he did not accept, over a sugar factory issue. The Deputy Speaker N H Shiva Shankar Reddy assured the member of a reply on the issue of Sriram Cooperative Sugar Factory by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tomorrow. The JDS MLA, disappointed with the assurance given by Minister for Horticulture and Agri marketing SS Mallikarjun over Sriram sugar factory, stormed into the well of the house and handed over the resignation letter to Deputy Speaker. Mahesh was joined by JDS MLAs, who also stormed into the well, demanding a convincing reply on Sriram sugar factory, which was closed some three years back. Taking note of seriousness of the matter, Mallikarjun assured the protesting JDS MLAs of a reply from Siddaramaiah tomorrow. Thereafter, the JDS members took their seats, allowing house proceedings to resume. Raising the issue, Mahesh urged the government to revive the Sriram cooperative Sugar Factory in KR Nagar and also address payment of Rs 14.75 crore salaries to sugar factory employees. “Time and again, I have been raising this issue inside and outside the house. I urge the government to give an assurance of reviving the factory and giving away Rs 14.75 crore pending salaries of the employees, which has not been paid for the last five years,” Mahesh said. “The government has failed miserably in its efforts to revive the factory. Several petitions were submitted to the chief minister seeking his intervention in reviving the sugar factories, but to no avail,” he added. Replying to the issue, Mallikarjun said “The government is doing everything to revive the factory and pay the pending salaries of the employees.” Dissatisfied with the reply, Mahesh tore into the minister and demanded an assurance to address the matter concretely because for nearly three years, no concrete steps have been taken by government.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Issue of cow protection being politicised, claims Joshi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi today claimed that the cow protection issue was being politicised and turned into a sensitive one. “Currently in the country, unfortunately, the issue of cow protection is being politicised and deliberately made sensitive and conflicting and this act is a social sin,” he said addressing the valedictory function of the RSS’s first and second year cadre training camp here. According to Joshi, who is the Sahakaryavah of RSS, “cow protection is not against any religion or any particular community”. “Since ancient time, cow has been the medium of agriculture and economic growth for the agrarian community in the country,” he said. He also emphasised that the Sangh believes in dialogue and not in conflict. “We think that with the help of dialogue, cooperation, the issues can be sorted out, rather than conflict,” he said. While incidents of ‘Go-rakshaks’ indulging in violence have been reported from several parts of the country, the issue of beef ban came to fore once again recently with Centre’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CPI-M making more efforts to strengthen party:Karat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI-M is making more efforts to strengthen the party base, instead of concentrating on increasing its strength in legislatures, party’s politburo member Prakash Karat said today. Replying to a question on the decreasing presence in the legislatures and erosion of party base of late, Karat told reporters here that though there was a fall in the presence, the party was not concentrating on the issue. “Instead, party is making efforts to strengthen its independent activities and strengthen it.Soon you will see the result,” he said. On Presidential elections, Karat, here to participate in the two-day state committee meeting of the CPI-M, said the opposition parties have already discussed the issue. Stating that the parties wanted a consensus candidate as president, he said the announcement from the ruling party was awaited to take up further discussion. Asked about the slowdown in GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2016-17 at 6.1 per cent, Karat said the fall in the growth was natural and expected. It was the impact of the demonetisation, effect of which will be felt in the coming years, he said. Moreover, it (percentage) was underestimated, he said. Asked about the central notification on ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, Karat termed it as unconstitutional, anti-federal and encroachment on the rights of the states. The state committee will take stock of the political situation prevailing at the national and state levels, Karat added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ganga silting: Nitish requests PM to send experts to Bihar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send a team of experts to the eastern state before June 10 to assess the situation of silting in Ganga, as it was “causing ill-effects on the river.” Kumar raised the issue during his meeting with Modi here, wherein he impressed upon the prime minister that before formulating any silt management policy, a holistic view of the issue was needed. “When I was coming here (Delhi), I was thinking of the pressing issues facing Bihar. And, silting in Ganga is a major issue, which is causing ill-effects on the river. This issue is very serious for us. “There is a threat of flood this time… So, I have requested the PM to send a team of experts to the state before June 10 to assess the situation of silting in Ganga. Experts must assess practically by making field visits of the river stretch from Buxar to Farakka. “And, I thanked the PM as he said that it will be done before June 3,” the chief minister said. The JD(U) leader said he has been “constantly raising” this question even during the UPA rule. “I had brought it up during the Inter State Council meet as well. The issue is getting serious. Two conferences on silting were held, one in Patna in February and the other in Delhi recently, in May. “The Patna declaration and the Delhi declaration were made after the conferences. I apprised him of both the declarations and also submitted all necessary documents today,” he said. Kumar reiterated that the severity of the silting condition cannot be acknowledged without visiting its stretch in Bihar. “And, silt management does not mean just removing silt. It should also ensure the free flow of the river so that silt can go with the current,” he said. “We will have talks with shipping and transport ministry officials (under which the Inland Waterways Authority of India falls) and water resources ministry officials. And, the chief secretary is here, he will also take up the issue,” Kumar added. The chief minister cautioned that removing silt aside just for waterway transportation was “not a very wise idea”. “The silt should flow with the river (Dhar ke saath silt bahna chahiye),” he said. The chief minister also raised the special package and special status for Bihar with the prime minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NCW suggests making passport details part of marriage records

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Commission for Women has recommended including the employment status, social security number and passport details of couples in marriage registration records in a bid to deter NRI men from fraudulently marrying Indian women. It has also proposed to make registration of marriages mandatory. In view of the increasing incidents of NRIs deserting their Indian wives, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had last year set up an inter-ministerial committee to examine the issue. The committee drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dealing with such issues and sought the opinion of the commission on the same. The NCW today discussed the issue with stakeholders in NRI matrimonial disputes and finalised the set of recommendations which will now be put before the ministry for its approval. Once approved, the suggestions will be incorporated in the final SOPs to be issued by the ministry. The NCW suggested that if either of the spouses is settled abroad, his/her social security number should be made part of marriage registration records. In fact, Gujarat and Punjab have implemented this recommendation at the state level, it said. In matrimonial disputes, the agencies should utilise more tech savvy means for issuing summons or warrants such as e- mails and record statements through video conferencing, it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bandra MLA says Bhabha hospital not monsoon-ready

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ashish Shelar, MLA from Bandra (W), has raised the issue of a lack of adequate facilities at the civic-run Bhabha Hospital. It is reeling from a shortage of doctors, among other issues, said Shelar.”I have raised the issue with the health officers in the BMC as well as the local ward officers,” Shelar said. In a tweet earlier, Shelar said the hospital did not have a specialist orthopedic doctor, the operation theatres were non-functional and there was no inadequate cleaning staff. He also said the hospital was not “monsoon-ready”.However, Dr Pradeep Jadhav, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, denied the allegations.”We have two operation theatres and all orthopedic surgeries are being carried out at our hospital,” Dr Jadhav insisted. “We have the required number of surgeons. He (Shelar) did meet BMC officials to complain about the issue, but we have made our stand clear,” he said.When asked about the issue, BMC’s Executive Health Officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said it is a matter that Dr Jadhav will resolve.While hospital authorities refuse to acknowledge infrastructural issues, the hospital’s condition tells another story. The paan-stained walls, decrepit wheelchairs and beds and relatives of the patients’ lying in the corridors paint a sorry picture.

EC tells Par panel: We do not support state funding of polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission has told a parliamentary committee that it does not support state funding of elections but instead seeks “radical” reforms in the way funds are spent by political parties. State funding of polls imply the government providing funds to parties and candidates to fight elections, replacing the existing system of ploughing in private or party funds for the job. “The Election Commission is not in favour of state funding as it will not be able to prohibit or check candidates’ own expenditures or expenditures of others over and above that which is provided by the state (government). “The Election Commission’s view is that for addressing the real issues, there have to be radical changes in the provisions regarding receipt of funds by political parties and the manner in which such funds are spent by them so as to provide for complete transparency in the matter,” it said in a written submission before the parliamentary standing committee on Law and Personnel. The committee is examining the issue of EVMs, paper trail machines and electoral reforms. On Friday, the committee had discussed electoral reforms with senior EC and Law Ministry officials. In a consultation floated ahead of its 30 March, 2015 meeting with stakeholders on the issue of political finances, the EC had said, in view of the high cost of election campaigning in terms of media advertisements and public rallies, use of “big money” in politics is a major concern. “If wealthy individuals and the corporate pay to the political party or the candidate in order to make them listen to them, this undermines the core principles of democracy and transfers the economic inequality to political inequality,” the EC consultation paper had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Micro edit: Whose job is it to fix the water shortage problem?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While water crisis in the national capital looms even larger this summer, all that people can expect from the city and the Central governments is a series of blame game, this time with neighbour Haryana.Every year the city witnesses days of water shortage around this time, however, nothing much has been done by any of the past and existing governments to fix the issue.With zero planning to tackle the crisis year after year shows that the issue is not even the government’s priority. There is no clear answer to whose responsibility is it really to fix this, except of course for blaming the other state.The city receives its water from Haryana, which of late has cut short the supply up to 30 per cent.On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia blamed the Haryana government for the crisis being faced in the capital. Also, he sought help from the Centre to resolve the issue.With years of water crisis at the peak of summer, the government has not come up with a single plan to deal with the situation or plan ahead of it.Somehow, the issue which assumes supreme importance inviting all sorts of political implications during the time of shortage, is forgotten too easily soon after the major crisis period is over.It is surprising that in the national capital, shortage of water is just a seasonal issue. Even as people suffer, the lack of political will in addressing the perennial problem reveals a major failure on part of the elected governments.

Law panel to go slow on common code; await SC verdict on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Law Commission has decided to “go slow” on its report on the uniform civil code as it will await the Supreme Court verdict on triple talaq, highly-placed sources in the panel said today. The law panel, which advises the government on complex legal issues, has decided to await the verdict of the constitution bench of the apex court before involving various stakeholders for discussion to complete its report on the common code. “The Supreme Court is likely to explain what personal law is. It is also likely to delve into the issue of religious faith and religious practice. Till the time the judgment is out, we have decided to go slow on the report on civil code,” the source said. The Commission believes that the verdict will provide guideline to the panel in drafting its report. “Once the roadmap is set, we will start consultations with stakeholders,” the source said. The apex court had yesterday made it clear that it will keep open for adjudication in the future the issues of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said, “It may not be possible to deal with all the three issues in the limited time we have. We will keep them pending for future.” The apex court has also said that it will only deal with the issue of triple talaq that too if it was fundamental to Islam. Indicating need for wider consultation before taking a call on a uniform civil code, the government had in June last asked the Law Commission to examine the issue. Implementation of a common code is part of the BJP’s election manifesto. Some Muslim leaders have opposed any move to abolish triple talaq and other personal laws.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rajnath calls for ‘marathon meets’ to resolve SYL issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The raging river-water dispute between Punjab and Haryana dominated the 28th Northern Zonal Council (NZC) meeting, with both states agreeing to resolve the issue through a mutual dialogue after Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for “marathon meetings to reach a collective solution”.The meeting, held under the chairmanship of the Home Minister in Chandigarh, was attended by the chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab, and representatives from the Chandigarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan administrations to deliberate on several inter-state and Centre-state disputes.While the Punjab government maintained that the state was struggling with an ecological crisis due to the depletion of ground water, the Haryana government highlighted that the state was water-stressed as against the demand of 36.0 MAF of water, the availability of water was only 14.7 MAF.With the two states firmly arguing over their right on the river water, Singh suggested that the chief ministers and chief secretaries of both states discuss the issue threadbare in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.”Efforts should first be made to find a solution through marathon meetings, failing which the matter should be left to the courts to decide,” said Singh.Highlighting that an estimated 10 lakh acres of southern Punjab was likely to go dry if theSYL canal was constructed, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said, “The region which has seen the emergence of Naxalism, could become the hotbed of terrorism, triggering a national problem. Though Haryana had less land, it had been given more water at the time of Punjab’s reorganisation,” said Singh, asserting that Punjab did not get any share of Yamuna’s waters.Pushing for a mutual consensus on the issue, Amarinder Singh also demanded that a re-assessment should be done to understand the availability of surface water in the Ravi, Beas and Satluj rivers.Agreeing to hold talks, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that though the government was willing to work towards an amicable settlement of every issue, but “we must always honour agreements arrived at in the past.”Indicating that the Supreme Court had already delivered a verdict in favour of Haryana, Khattar said, “Since our faith in the Constitution is unflinching, we will not hesitate to take legal recourse in our determination to safeguard our interests and protect the rights of the residents of the state.””We have to give, out of our own share in the Yamuna waters, extra water to Delhi in compliance with the SC’s orders, even as Punjab is not delivering Haryana’s full share of the Ravi-Beas water,” said Khattar.He highlighted that Haryana government was not in agreement with the Punjab Government on their proposal of exclusive investment on the Bhakra Main Line Canal and of exclusive utilization of the electricity generated there-from by Punjab.The 214 km Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal whose construction remains suspended since 1990 defines the river water sharing between the two neighboring states. The issue remains sub-judice and Supreme Court has passed order in favor of Haryana stating that construction of SYL canal should be executed.Hours after the meeting concluded, Haryana Cabinet Minister OP Dhankar said though CM Khattar had agreed to the Home Minister’s suggestions to hold meetings on the contentious issue between the two states, he also made it clear in the meeting that “there was no question of any dialogue on the SYL issue” and that the Supreme Court’s verdict has attained finality on the issue. The next hearing in the case is in July.

Triple talaq about gender discrimination, not religion or politics-BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the Muslim community?s practice of triple talaq being discussed in the Supreme Court, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday dubbed the issue as one that breaches gender equality. ?Triple talaq is not about religion or politics. It is a matter of gender inequality. The sentiment of crores of Indian women has led to the issue being taken up in the Supreme Court. I?m sure the verdict taken by the court will empower women,? BJP leader Shaina NC told ANI. Meanwhile, the apex court ruled out hearing cases of polygamy and nikah-halala along with TripleTalaq. To this regard, women activist and member of the National Commission for Women (NCW) Shamina Shafiq, while supporting the apex court?s stance, said the focus on triple talaq was the need of the hour. ?Polygamy, although prohibited by religions other than Islam, exists in the society. The Supreme Court must focus on triple talaq, since Muslim women are facing the brunt of this. We are looking forward to a just ruling so that the Muslim women can be relieved,? she said. Earlier on Thursday, the apex court observed that it would examine whether the issue was fundamental to religion or not. The five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and four other judges, namely Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Uday Umesh Lalit and S. Abdul Nazeer aksi also observed that it would not hear polygamy issue along with the triple talaq petitions. Relentless debates on the validity and plausibility of this practice were instigated soon after one petitioner, Shayara Banu, challenged the Muslim personal law over instantaneous application of triple talaq (talaq-e-bidat), polygamy and nikah-halala. Supporting the stance of ending the practice of triple talaq, the Allahabad High Court had earlier asserted that the rights of any person, including Muslim women, could not be violated in the name of ‘personal law’. The court further said basic and human rights could not be exploited on the basis of gender. In December last year, the Allahabad High Court termed the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by uttering the word “talaq” thrice “unconstitutional”. The court further observed that triple talaq sanctioned under Muslim Personal Law that governs marriage, property and divorce violates the rights of the Muslim women. “Triple talaq is unconstitutional. It violates the rights of Muslim women,” ruled the high court, adding that no personal law board was above the Constitution.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq: SC to determine whether practice is fundamental to Islam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today said it would determine whether the practice of triple talaq was fundamental to Islam, with the government making it clear that such a form of divorce was against gender justice and those challenging it asserting that it was not part of the religious tenets.Commencing a historic hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims, the apex court said it would first determine whether the practice is fundamental to Islam. A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also made it clear that the issue of polygamy among the Muslims may not be deliberated upon as it is not connected with the triple talaq issue.”There are 2-3 things in our minds and the first is whether this (triple talaq) is fundamental to the religion (Islam). “If it is fundamental to religion, then possibly we may not be interfering. And the other aspect is whether triple talaq is sacramental and can be enforced as a Fundamental Right”, the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, said while framing the issues to be deliberated upon.It said it would “take a call” on the issue whether the fundamental right to practice religion covered triple talaq and the parties were free to argue in support or against it.The apex court also said if it came to the conclusion that triple talaq was fundamental to religion, then it will not get into the question of its constitutional validity. The bench made it clear that it would deal with one of the three forms of granting divorce, that is ‘triple talaq’, and would not go into the practice of polygamy, prevalent among Muslims, as the issue is not related. However, the bench agreed with the contention that the issue of ‘nikah halala’ may be dealt with by it as it was a consequence of triple talaq.Nikah Halala is a practice intended to curb the incidence of divorce under which a man cannot remarry his former wife without her going through the process of marrying someone else, consummating it, getting divorced, observing the separation period called ‘Iddat’ and then returning to him. The day-long hearing saw Additional Solicitor Generals Tushar Mehta and Pinky Anand telling the bench that the Centre was not taking any side and was only assisting the court on the issues of gender justice, equality for women and dignity of women.”The Union of India is not on any side. We are on gender justice, equality for women and dignity of women. Triple talaq is against the dignity of women. Issue of gender justice is there,” Mehta said.”When the Union of India talks of gender justice and equality for women, then irrespective of the religion, it would also include triple talaq. We will be able to satisfy the court within the scope with which the court would deal with the matter,” Mehta said, adding Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi would advance his arguments in the matter on May 15.He further said the arguments to be advanced by the Attorney General would not only include triple talaq in all forms, but also the issue of polygamy, which is a part of the question for consideration. However, the bench said, “We have not asked (you) to consider this (polygamy). Do what you want. All we are saying is you are answering a case which is not before us.” After the issues were framed for deliberation, senior advocate Amit Singh Chadha, who was appearing for Shyara Bano, one of the first petitioners in the matter, opened the arguments against the practice of triple talaq among Muslims and said this practice was not fundamental to Islam and hence can be done away with.He also referred to the practices in the neighbouring Islamic countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh to buttress his plea that triple talaq was un-Islamic.The bench intervened and said it would like to peruse the prevalent laws in various Islamic countries on the issue and observed that the Shia school of thought did not allow the practice of triple talaq. Bano’s counsel referred to the provisions of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 and said the divorce granted by Muslim women can be contested by husbands up to the Supreme Court and the women have no legal recourse against triple talaq as they cannot question it. Muslim men have absolute right to triple talaq and women have to comply with the provision of the 1939 Act, Chadha said, adding that the men have “untrammelled right” to pronounce triple talaq but women’s right has been restricted.The triple talaq is not integral to Islam and hence cannot be protected under Article 25 (fundamental right to practice religion), he maintained.Another senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Bebak Collective, a Muslim women organisation, said in case of divorces being granted through extra-judicial mechanism, there should be a “judicial oversight” to deal with the consequences. She said triple talaq was violative of the right to equality of Muslim women guaranteed under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution to the extent that a Muslim man exercised power to declare a unilateral divorce but the Muslim woman had no control over such “unilateral”, “arbitrary”, “extra judicial” divorce and her marital staus. Former Union Minister and senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who is assisting the court, termed triple talaq as a “non-issue” saying talaq cannot take effect and considered to be complete without conciliation efforts between the couple.He, however, said that there was no adjudication to determine the validity of the grounds of talaq. When the bench asked whether reconciliation after the pronouncement of triple talaq in one go was codified, Khurshid replied in the negative. The apex court then wanted to know as to what was Muslim Personal Law and whether it meant Shariat or something else. Khurshid said if a man pronounces talaq even once and does not revoke it within the next three months, it constitutes valid irrevocable divorce.Another former Union Minister and counsel for All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Kapil Sibal, concurred with Khurshid and said “it’s a non-issue, as no prudent Muslim would wake up one fine morning and say talaq, talaq and talaq”. Sibal said that either Parliament can enact a law or it should be left to the community itself to deal and the court should not interfere on the issue. Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, opposed the practice of triple talaq and said it was not an essential part of religion and the court was not required to go into constitutional law part.He said that triple talaq was not a part of the Sharia law and the practice has to change as per the present social situation. Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 does not talk about triple talaq.When he said the apex court would have to consider whether section 2 of the 1937 Act forms a part of Islamic law, the bench said, “we cannot say good or bad. We are looking it purely on law”.However, Grover said, “talaq in section 2 of the Act has to be interpreted to exclude triple talaq”.The apex court, which will continue with the hearing tomorrow, has fixed a six-day schedule for hearing and said that three days would be available for those challenging triple talaq and three days for those defending it.

Cannot enforce code of conduct on Sidhu, says Punjab & Haryana HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday said code of conduct cannot be enforced on Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to restrain Sidhu from working in television shows, also said that even though it agreed that those in public life should observe some restraint, but in the absence of any statutory provisions, the code of conduct cannot be enforced on Sidhu. Advocate general Atul Nanda told ANI, “The court said code of conduct cannot be enforced on Navjot Singh Sidhu, as it only applies to government servants, not to ministers. The matter will be next heard in August to enable the petitioner find something substantive on the issue. “According to court, this is not a subject matter on which PIL can be filed,” the advocate said. “I can say this with utmost humility, the bench was not satisfied as to whether it can order directions to CM or not,” he added. Earlier, the court deferred the PIL seeking a restrain order against Sidhu’s participation on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ on a private television channel till May 11. The PIL was filed by activist-lawyer HC Arora, who argued that a public servant can’t be allowed to do private business. Earlier, Sidhu while insisting to participate as a celebrity-judge asserted that it was not office-of-profit. “An office-of-profit is when the government is paying you money, employing you or giving you remuneration. A government office is an office-of-profit. This is not,” Sidhu told ANI. On the other hand, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that his government is taking legal advice in this regard, adding they may have to change the cricketer-turned politician’s portfolio if it is not permissible. “Issue is only on the question that he can continue appearing in the show or not. I don’t have much knowledge of the Constitution. We have asked the Attorney General to look into this,” said Captain Amarinder.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Has govt studied the ramifications of raising issue on international fora- Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today urged the government to take all steps to bring back Kulbhushan Jadhav but cautioned it against providing an opportunity to Pakistan to internationalise bilateral issues.It also asked the government whether it has studied the ramifications of raising the issue on the international fora.Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar hit out at the Modi government on its Kashmir policy, describing it as “knee-jerk” and “direction-less”, and asked the prime minister to find some time to resolve and address it.He said it was very important for the government to take all steps to bring back Jadhav, who is facing death sentence in Pakistan after being sentenced by a military court there. His execution has, however, been stayed by the International Court of Justice (CJI) after India moved it challenging the Pak military court order. “We are only saying has the government thought about the ramifications of this. It is for the government to answer. We will be happy if it has a positive outcome that it has no other ramifications.
ALSO READ Kulbhushan Jadhav case: ICJ likely to hear India’s plea on Monday, Pak says ready to respond”Our only caution is looking at how this government behaves. Has it thought about it or is it obsessed with the news cycle which can be detrimental for India’s security,” he said. “We should understand if we have given Pakistan an opportunity to internationalise the issue. The government needs to be sensitive on the issue.” Kumar said all these decisions were earlier taken bilaterally between India and Pakistan because it always believed that these issues were bilateral.”Has India been exposed to carrying that kind of risk because it also allows Pakistan to go to the International Court of Justice?” he asked. The Congress leader further asked if India moving the ICJ gives the Pakistanis the right to question and internationalise this issue which they are looking at doing.
ALSO READ ‘Will send you Kulbhushan Jadhav’s dead body,’ say hackers on AIFF websiteTaking on Modi over the Kashmir situation, he said, “We would really request the frequently-tweeting prime minister to find some time to actually address and resolve and take positive steps on the Kashmir imbroglio.” He went on to add, “We see the government which is only managing news cycles. And, internal security and country’s future cannot be managed by managing news cycles. You need to have a strategy and you cannot manage day to day news cycles simply to get TRP ratings.”.Kumar also dubbed the current dispensation as “Bharatiya Jungle-raj party’s (BJP) government”, going by the manner in which the law and order is being challenged across the country by self-proclaimed vigilantes. “The country and institutions are being attacked by the BJP and their leaders. Leaders of BJP, VHP, Hindu Vahini and others are acting like police and self proclaimed protectors of law,” he said, adding officials trying to do their job diligently are attacked and abused.He cited a host of such incidents where vigilante groups are indulging in such acts by taking the law into their hands. He also accused the government of trying to impose on people what they should eat, wear and even whom to sit with. “The manner in which there is blatant violation of the law and the way they (leaders of BJP and other bodies) have weakened the law and order machinery, things will worsen in the future,” he said.

Bring back Jadhav, but don’t allow Pak to globalise bilateral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today urged the government to take all steps to bring back Kulbhushan Jadhav but cautioned it against providing an opportunity to Pakistan to internationalise bilateral issues. It also asked the government whether it has studied the ramifications of raising the issue on the international fora. Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar hit out at the Modi government on its Kashmir policy, describing it as “knee-jerk” and “direction-less”, and asked the prime minister to find some time to resolve and address it. He said it was very important for the government to take all steps to bring back Jadhav, who is facing death sentence in Pakistan after being sentenced by a military court there. His execution has, however, been stayed by the International Court of Justice (CJI) after India moved it challenging the Pak military court order. “We are only saying has the government thought about the ramifications of this. It is for the government to answer. We will be happy if it has a positive outcome that it has no other ramifications. “Our only caution is looking at how this government behaves. Has it thought about it or is it obsessed with the news cycle which can be detrimental for India’s security,” he said. “We should understand if we have given Pakistan an opportunity to internationalise the issue. The government needs to be sensitive on the issue.” Kumar said all these decisions were earlier taken bilaterally between India and Pakistan because it always believed that these issues were bilateral. “Has India been exposed to carrying that kind of risk because it also allows Pakistan to go to the International Court of Justice?” he asked. The Congress leader further asked if India moving the ICJ gives the Pakistanis the right to question and internationalise this issue which they are looking at doing. Taking on Modi over the Kashmir situation, he said, “We would really request the frequently-tweeting prime minister to find some time to actually address and resolve and take positive steps on the Kashmir imbroglio.” He went on to add, “We see the government which is only managing news cycles. And, internal security and country’s future cannot be managed by managing news cycles. You need to have a strategy and you cannot manage day to day news cycles simply to get TRP ratings.”. Kumar also dubbed the current dispensation as “Bharatiya Jungle-raj party’s (BJP) government”, going by the manner in which the law and order is being challenged across the country by self-proclaimed vigilantes. “The country and institutions are being attacked by the BJP and their leaders. Leaders of BJP, VHP, Hindu Vahini and others are acting like police and self proclaimed protectors of law,” he said, adding officials trying to do their job diligently are attacked and abused. He cited a host of such incidents where vigilante groups are indulging in such acts by taking the law into their hands. He also accused the government of trying to impose on people what they should eat, wear and even whom to sit with. “The manner in which there is blatant violation of the law and the way they (leaders of BJP and other bodies) have weakened the law and order machinery, things will worsen in the future,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Raja, Stalin discuss possibility of common candidate for Prez

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI national secretary D Raja and DMK working president M K Stalin discussed the possibility of fielding a common candidate by opposition parties for the upcoming presidential polls. The two discussed the issue over phone during Raja’s meeting with DMK MP Kanimozhi here yesterday when the latter invited the CPI leader to her father and party chief M Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday celebrations next month, a source in the Left party said. The election is to be held before July 24, when President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure ends. “Raja and Stalin discussed the issue of fielding a consensus candidate for the presidential poll. The DMK leader shared similar opinion as Raja’s,” the source said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Next prez should have impeccable secular credentials: Yechury

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury today hinted that his party is not averse to supporting the TMC and other opposition parties in order to elect the next president whose “secular credentials” should be impeccable. He also lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for trying to project “Hindutva as the role model of development”. The country is going through a phase where you should have a president whose secular credentials are impeccable. The president is the custodian of our constitution, he said on the sidelines of a programme here. Yechury further said, “So we want a person to be the president who believes in secular supervision and not a communal supervision. So for this we are talking to other parties.” Yechury said. Asked if his party is ready to stand with TMC on the issue, the CPI(M) leader said, “See this is not a political alignment or any alliance. Many parties will be coming together. If you are coming together on this issue then it is good. “We will have our political differences (with TMC) and we will fight it politically. But today the issue is presidential election and this is our proposal, if you agree with this then it is good. Yesterday I met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on this issue.” He emphasised the need to make collective efforts to have an acceptable, common candidate for the top post who can undertake “secular supervision” as it is essential at this juncture. When asked whether he will hold talks with the TMC, Yechury said, “It is not about holding talks. This issue is in our agenda, we want this kind of a candidate. First let all of us have a commonality on candidate, then only consultations can start.” Attacking the saffron party, he said, “The BJP is trying to project Hindutva as a role model of development. During campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha election, it was trying to project Gujarat model of development which was nothing but the manifestation of Godhra riots in 2002. “The BJP wanted to send out a subtle message that we have taught Muslims a lesson. They did this again in UP assembly polls where they didn’t field a single Muslim candidate. “Actually they want to send out a message of development which is minus Muslims. This is their Hindutava model of development,” he said. Yechury also mocked the TMC and the BJP saying they are having a “carrot and a stick” relationship. “Whenever the TMC raises voice against the BJP, two of their leaders are arrested in corruption cases and the TMC becomes quiet. They stage walk out during voting in the Rajya Sabha, and in turn helps the BJP. The BJP also pays back by going slow on CBI cases against TMC leaders,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Need law in national interest to prevent custodial torture: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pointing out that there was no law on torture, the Supreme Court today said there was “extreme urgency” in national interest to frame of an effective law to prevent torture and inhuman treatment of individuals in custody. “We do not have a law on torture. This is a matter of national interest,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said. “Several issues are pending with the Law Commission. This is a matter which is required to be dealt with in extreme urgency. This is a matter of human rights,” the bench further said. The remarks were made after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the court that Law Commission was examining the issue. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by senior advocate and former law minister Ashwani Kumar, who has sought directions to frame an effective law on the issue and empower agencies like NHRC with necessary enforcement capabilities and mechanisms to implement its orders and directions. During the hearing, the solicitor general said that the government has referred the matter to the Law Commission which would come out with recommendations on the issue. “We have said it categorically that we have sent it (the matter) to the Law Commission and they are considering it,” he said. The SG also said that a Bill on the issue was in the Lok Sabha in 2010 and the erstwhile UPA-II government, in which Ashwini Kumar was himself a minister, could not get it passed. To this, the bench said, “but it has to be non-partisan. This is an important issue.” Ashwani Kumar, a senior Congress leader, contended that the Centre should have a comprehensive and stand-alone legislation against torture. The solicitor general said, “we are not shying away. We are not saying that we will not do it”. The Congress leader also said the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that they were in support of framing of such a law. When the Centre said they were committed for framing of law on the issue, Ashwani Kumar said, “mere commitment is not enough. There has to be concrete steps”. The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on May 5 after the solicitor general sought time to take instructions in the matter. The government had earlier told the bench that a writ petitioner cannot seek a legislation through the court as the issue fell under the domain of the Executive and the Legislature. The petitioner had told the apex court that despite being a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture, 1997, India has not ratified the convention so far since ratification requires an enabling legislation to reflect the definition and punishment for ‘torture’, Kumar said. The “absence of a standalone, comprehensive, and purposeful municipal legislation in India for prevention of custodial violence, and disinclination of the Executive and Legislature to enact a law in this regard has resulted in a disturbing void in law endangering the constitutional right of persons affected by custodial violence and torture,” the plea has said. It sought a direction to the Centre to ensure an effective law and its enforcement to fulfil the constitutional promise of human dignity and prevention of custodial torture. The petition has sought issuance of guidelines for timely and effective investigation of complaints of torture and custodial violence and directions be given to the government for rehabilitation and compensation for the victims. It has further sought direction to the states and union territories to establish and ensure an independent mechanism for investigation into complaints of custodial torture and to take necessary steps.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC refuses to hear PIL to stop triple talaq on Hindu wives of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Centre that triple ‘talaq’ or polygamy should not be applicable to Hindu women who are married to Muslim men. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra said it was not inclined to go into the issue as the Supreme Court is already seized of the triple talaq matter related to changes in the muslim personal law. It said there is no dispute that a Constitution bench has been formed to hear the issue. So, the law laid down by it will be applicable to all women and children of the society. The high court further noted that “all women are entitled to equal protection under the law.” “In view of it (Supreme Court seized of the issue) we are not inclined to hear the issue. The petition is dismissed,” the bench said. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by advocate Vijay Kumar Shukla had highlighted the plight of Hindu women affected by triple talaq. It had also sought directions to the Centre for making registration of inter-caste marriages compulsory under the Special Marriage Act or Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act with a clause on imposition of penalty in case an inter- caste marriage is not registered. A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will be hearing from May 11 a batch of petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq and polygamy as unconstitutional and discriminatory towards women. Muslim practices of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy are issues that are “very important” and involve “sentiments”, the apex court had observed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Was Jailtley’s visit the last push?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amongst many diplomatic efforts launched by Narendra Modi government to bring back fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the most noticeable was Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s intervention during his visit to Britain in March this year. He represented India at the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture at Buckingham Palace in London.Official sources here said that when British Prime Minister Theresa May dropped in when a meeting between Jaitley and his UK counterpart Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was under way, the issue of “certain individuals who have overstayed” figured. This was in an apparent reference to Mallya. The issue did figure when May joined in the talks. Earlier in the same month, the government had formally requested the UK to extradite him to India to stand trial for alleged loan default and money laundering.Sources close to Jaitley said, he told his UK counterparts that Indian government has taken the issue of defaulters very seriously. “As far as the government of India is concerned, we take this issue of defaults against the financial system in India very seriously. We have already sent a strong signal that if you dupe the exchequer or dupe the banking system, the government of India will lend its full support to all financial institutions to recover up to their last pie,” Jaitley was quoted by media, ahead of his meeting with his UK interlocutors.He said Indian investigating agencies are utilising every provision of the law available to them to recover amounts and attach assets in India to “get these people back and held responsible as per law”.

Triple Talaq row: AIMPLB questions PM Narendra Modi’s repeated ‘interference’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raising questions on Prime Minister Modi’s repeated interjection in the triple talaq issue, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Sunday asserted that they don’t know in what manner the former is going to help Muslim womenAIMPLB Secretary Zafrab Jilani said, “The schemes of the welfare of Muslims which were being carried out upto 2014, have been virtually stopped. We don’t know what the Prime Minister Modi intends to do and in what manner he is going to help and assist Muslim women.””No funds are being released for them. Therefore we don’t know in what manner he proposes to help the Muslims,” Jilani added.On the other hand, another member of AIMPLB Khalid Rashid lauded the Prime Minister’s initiative, adding that he should also make efforts towards improving girls’ education.”We welcome Prime Minister Modi’s initiative on the issue of triple talaq but he should also make efforts towards improving girls’ education. He should take appropriate steps for the women who are fighting for justice in court since long in regards to the dowry, domestic violence cases,” he said.Maulana asserted that the community members, who give triple talaq without valid reasons will face social boycott.”There has been misunderstanding on this issue, we will issue a code of conduct on it,” he added.Asserting that Triple Talaq was a menace crippling the lives of Muslim women in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to attack the issue on a grass-root level.”Our Muslim sisters deserve justice. We should try to solve this issue at the district level. We should also proceed on the formula of a new India. We can’t simply move forward on a slow pace, but charge ahead with full speed,” the Prime Minister said during the BJP National Executive Meeting here.During a discussion on the National Commission for Backward Classes, Prime Minister suggested that the party should hold conferences for ‘backward Muslims’.A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court will start hearing from May 11 the petitions against triple talaq.The court will hear pleas filed by several Muslim women challenging the practice under which men can divorce their wives instantly by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice.

Govt to do "everything possible" to get justice for Jadhav: HM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government will do everything possible to get justice for Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been handed down death sentence by a Pakistan military court, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today. While condemning the action, Singh said in the Lok Sabha that Pakistan had ignored all norms of law and justice. “The government strongly condemns it. All norms of law and justice were ignored. I want to assure the House that the government will do everything possible to get justice for Jadhav. He will get justice,” he said. Responding to concerns expressed by members cutting across party lines, Singh said Pakistan had told the media there that Jadhav was carrying a valid Indian passport. He wondered why a spy would carry a valid passport. “This exposes Pakistan’s action,” he said. The Home Minister was also critical of Islamabad’s decision to deny New Delhi consular access to Jadhav on 13 occasions. As soon as the House met for the day, members cutting across party lines slammed Pakistan for awarding death sentence to Jadhav. Barbs were frequently exchanged between treasury and opposition benches on the issue with the latter blaming the government for not taking up the matter strongly. Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge wondered why the government remained silent on the issue. His remarks attracted the ire of BJP members who said the government was condemning the incident. “Without an invitation, you can attend a marriage, but you cannot meet him or talk to him on the issue,” Kharge said referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Pakistan to attend the marriage of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter near Lahore. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said “there should be no spat on the issue. We all are equally concerned about the fate of Jadhav.” Kharge said while India granted access to Pakistan to visit Pathankot to gather evidence on terror strike, Islamabad denied counsellor access to Jadhav. Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) urged the government to use its influence for the release of the Indian citizen. Shashi Tharoor (Cong) said while India has always preferred not to internationalise its relations with Pakistan, it is time New Delhi tells the world that tomorrow one of their citizens can face a similar fate in Pakistan. N K Premchandran (RSP), Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) and Saugata Roy (AITC) expressed similar sentiments. When some members wanted to react to the Home Minister’s remarks, Speaker told them that they could express their views after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave a statement. “You do not have to go (to Pakistan) with an army of MPs,” she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP to raise issue of illegal slaughter houses in Guj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling BJP in Gujarat today said it will raise the issue of illegal slaughter houses running in the state. To a question on the party’s stand regarding illegal slaughter houses running in Gujarat, state BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said the government is committed to save cows. A CAG report tabled in the Assembly on March 31 noted that slaughter houses in Gujarat are running their business without obtaining license under Food Safety and Standards Act. The observation by CAG came on a day when the state government passed a Bill proposing life term for those found to be involved in cow slaughter and 10-year jail for those involved in sale or transportation of beef. “BJP will definitely draw the attention of the state government on this issue. If something is illegal then it has to be dealt with. No one can be allowed to play with people’s health. BJP will surely make a sincere representation to the government on this issue,” Pandya told reporters here today. The BJP leader also denied Congress’ allegation that cattle rearers were forced to send their cows to slaughter houses due to unavailability of gauchar (grazing land). The opposition party had alleged that gauchar was sold to industrialists by the BJP government. “Gauchar land was sold when Congress was in power (before 1995), not under the BJP rule. Our government is committed to save cows by introducing various schemes,” Pandya said. He said the BJP would organise celebrations across Gujarat for three days from tomorrow to thank the state government for introducing a stringent Bill to save cows. “For the next three days, party workers across the state would organise programmes of gau puja (cow worship) and offering of grass to cows in all talukas,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maharashtra CM hints at revoking suspension of 19 members

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis today hinted that the suspension of 19 Opposition members in the Legislative Assembly will be revoked by tomorrow, ending days of deadlock between the ruling and Opposition parties. While the Opposition members in the Legislative Assembly have been boycotting House proceedings over the issue, the Congress, NCP-led Opposition had been forcing the adjournment of the Legislative Council, demanding that the suspensions be revoked. “Some members had indulged in irresponsible behaviour and were thus suspended. However, we are of the opinion that there should be Opposition parties in the House in the absence of which we too are facing difficulties,” Fadnavis said, making a statement in the Legislative Council. “Even before this episode, suspensions have happened and they were even revoked later. This time too we (ruling and Opposition parties) had a positive discussion over the issue in the Chairman’s chamber,” he added. Fadnavis said that despite the positive discussions, the revocation could not take place as some members who were not privy to the discussions had raked up other issues. “However, we have decided to take a positive decision over the issue by tomorrow,” he said. Earlier, while speaking over the issue, senior Congress leader Narayan Rane had taken a jibe at the government, saying that for a democracy both government and Opposition had equal importance. “Work happening in Assembly but without Opposition. This is not right. The suspensions of MLAs should be revoked,” he had demanded.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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