<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil film music director Santhosh Narayanan, who scored music for the Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Kabali’, accused the Sydney Airport authorities today of racial profiling and alleged that a “rude” officer insulted him.The music composer claimed that he was “randomly picked up” by the authorities at the Sydney Airport.”I was randomly picked up for the eighth time in a row at the Sydney airport for a chemical substance test and a rude officer insulted my intelligence,” the composer tweeted.”Racial profiling needs to stop. @SydneyAirport”, he added.In response to his tweet, the Sydney Airport said, “Hi Santhosh, thanks for reaching out to us, our aim is to provide all passengers with a positive experience, @SydneyAirport.””Screening standards are set by the government. Screening officers are required to select people on random and continuous basis for screening with the explosive trace detection method,” it said in a series of tweets.The method is that as soon as the last person is cleared, the screening officer selects the next person going through security, it said.”Under this arrangement, persons passing through the screening point have an equal probability of being selected.“We hope this explains the method to screening. Sydney Airport,” it said.Responding to the tweets, Narayanan said he wholeheartedly vouched for any public safety measure taken for any number of times in a row.”Please do not let some officers misuse this based on their personal racial preferences,” he said in another tweet.
India’s Supreme Court banned selling fireworks this Diwali, citing air pollution levels. It kicked off a debate about religious freedom.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2006, the stage was set between India and Pakistan to clinch a deal over the issue of Siachen — the world’s highest battlefield where the climate has claimed more lives than gunfire — but the process was scuttled by India’s then National Security Advisor (NSA) MK Narayanan, former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has claimed.In his forthcoming part-history-part-memoir titled How India Sees the World, Saran has claimed that he and his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan were close to breakthrough. He has claimed that the deal was even consented by the Indian Army, and mentioned its finer points, including current positions of the forces of the two countries, the positions to which they would withdraw, a schedule for redeployment, and a joint monitoring mechanism to prevent mutual intrusions. All this would have been recorded in an annexure to the main agreement.In their tumultuous relations, India and Pakistan had already missed two possible deals on the Himalayan territory — located as high as 20,000 feet above sea level — in 1989 and 1992.”To give the document additional strength, we insisted, and the Pakistani side agreed, that both the agreement and the annexure will be signed, and that the main agreement will explicitly declare that the annexure had the same legal validity as the agreement itself,” records Saran, who also worked as adviser to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Prime Minister Singh, who was keen on the agreement had directed the Foreign Secretary to obtain a consensus from all key stakeholders. “I did many rounds of consultations, both at the senior bureaucratic and ministerial levels in the ministries of defence, home and finance (whose members are part of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS),” he said.Saran claimed that then Army Chief General JJ Singh and the chiefs of all intelligence agencies were also brought on board.The deal was consented by the Army and its intricate technical details including the points and timing of redeployment and also the phases in which it would have been implemented and the structure of the monitoring mechanism were actually worked out by the Director-General Of Military Operations.After all this exercise, when approval from the CCS was seen as a mere formality, the deal was aborted after Narayanan launched a bitter offensive. The draft agreement, along with the annexures, had been put together in a note to the CCS for approval so that it could be presented as a proposal from the Indian side at the India–Pakistan Defence Secretary-level talks scheduled for May 2006. The note had been examined and agreed to by all relevant stakeholders and agencies. The CCS approval was, therefore, expected to come as a matter of course.”When the CCS meeting was held on the eve of the Defence Secretary-level talks, the NSA launched an offensive, saying that Pakistan could not be trusted, and that there will be political and public opposition to any such initiative and that India’s military position in the northern sector vis-à-vis both Pakistan and China will be compromised. General Singh, who had happily gone along with the proposal in its earlier iterations, now decided to join Narayanan in rubbishing it,” records Saran in the book.In the meeting, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee decided to play it safe and proposed the deferment of its consideration until further study. The Prime Minister, who was keen to see the deal through, chose to keep silent. In the ensuing exchange of words, Narayanan, went further suggesting that Siachen be taken off the agenda of India–Pakistan talks entirely and that this should be communicated to the visiting Pakistani Defence Secretary at forthcoming talks. At this stage, Mukherjee stepped in to support Saran. He pointed out that Rajiv Gandhi himself had agreed to include Siachen in the India–Pakistan dialogue.Saran recalls that in 2007, when he visited a couple of high-altitude posts at the Siachen Glacier as part of a border infrastructure survey, he informally asked stationed officers it they would support a mutual withdrawal by India and Pakistan from the glacier. “The answer was an unqualified yes. I then asked whether we could risk Pakistani occupation of the area vacated by us. The officers replied that nothing better could happen because the Pakistanis would suffer ‘what we have been going through these past several years,” he records in the book. The opportunity to finally resolve a long-standing issue and a constant source of bitterness in Pakistan was lost.Saran has also referred to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Pervez Musharraf’s back channel and confidential talks on Kashmir at their January 2004 meeting in Islamabad, which continued during Manmohan Singh’s era as well. He also mentions another tiff with Narayanan, when he tried to rock the boat of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Even though being chief negotiator, Narayanan had excluded him from an apex committee consisting of the Department Of Atomic Energy and PMO officials.”It often turned out that I was negotiating with William Burns on one side and the PMO on the other. Narayanan became the interlocutor between the negotiating team and the DAE, which seemed to be convinced that we were about to sell the store to the Americans,” he added.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Nitin Gadkari here on Saturday claimed that Kovind will win the Presidential elections bagging more than 70 per cent of the voting share. He said the election would be a one-sided affair.Gadkari was accompanying NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who met all the MLAs of Manohar Parrikar government at a resort in Bogmalo Beach, Vasco. Surprise element was the presence of NCP MLA Churchill Alemao. Just before the meeting, Churchill reached the venue and attended the meeting. He, however, told reporters that it is up to the party chief to decide whom the party will support. He further said that he attended the meeting on the invitation of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.Parrikar said he is contacting MLAs of all the parties, and that Goa’s contribution in the Presidential election will be significant.BJP Goa in-charge Nitin Gadkari said the meeting was very fruitful as all the independent MLAs apart from alliance partners attended it. Gadkari said he is sure that Kovind will win the Presidential election with more than 70 per cent votes.AnalysisRam Nath Kovind, 71, is the hot favourite to be elected on Monday as India’s new President.It will be only the second time, after KR Narayanan, that a Dalit will be assuming the country’s top post.For PM Modi, Kovind’s election will send an important message to a key, long disdained electoral group.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No one can take wages for work not done, the Delhi High Court said today referring to MCD cleaning staff not showing up for work. The location and time-wise work roster as well as the identity of each cleaning staff or ‘safai karamchaari’ should be put up on the website of the corporations, the court directed and also suggested that these details be put up at the site which a worker is assigned. “Payment be made only against work actually done. No one takes wages for work not done. Culture of not discharging your duties has to go,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said and added that the cleaning staff would be paid first and then the other MCD employees. The court noted that there was a “huge manpower” of cleaning staff — 15,000 in East MCD, 26,000 in North MCD and 23,000 South MCD — “despite which Delhi was being smothered under garbage and sewage”. The bench directed the Commissioners of the three municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs) to monitor the attendance of the cleaning staff and to frame a proposal for ensuring they discharge their duties. This was one of the short term measures suggested by the court, which has been monitoring the issue of garbage removal and disposal from the city after it was told that lack of cleanliness also lead to spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue. Apart from that the court also focused on the “insufficient action” taken against those who litter the city or allow garbage to accumulate, despite several littering magistrates assigned to the three MCDs. It took on record the assurance given by the Commissioners of the three MCDs that stringent action will be taken against those found littering and those who cause garbage to pile up which in turn leads to dangerous diseases. “Leave a place clean and it would not be littered. Look at how clean the Delhi Metro is,” the court said. The bench also issued directions regarding creating public awareness regarding collection and disposal of waste, saying no long-term plan for making and keeping the city clean would work without participation of the citizens. The court noted that as there was “no cohesion” in the activities of the three MCDs, therefore a nodal agency is required to design a programme for creating public awareness. To achieve this objective, the bench appointed the DSLSA as the nodal body to be assisted by the Deputy Commissioners of the three MCDs as well as experts nominated by the Centre and the New Delhi Municipal Council. The panel constituted by the court also includes environmentalists M C Mehta, Sunita Narayanan and Almitra Patel. It asked the panel to submit its report on the design and programme as well as the publicity material within four weeks and listed the matter for hearing on July 12. The cost of creating the programme which shall include the emoluments to be paid to those working on it shall be borne by the Delhi government, the bench said. The directions were issued by the court while hearing two PILs filed by lawyers Arpit Bhargava and Gauri Grover who have sought directions to the municipal bodies and other authorities to take steps to prevent spread of vector borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind today filed his nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a battery of NDA chief ministers and party leaders. BJP President Amit Shah and party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were present during the filing of nominatons. All chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and its allies except Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir were present. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were among those present. Besides NDA constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an almost foregone conclusion. Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 per cent of votes, and the finally tally depends on how some still- undecided regional parties vote, BJP source said. A group of opposition parties had yesterday announced that former Speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, would be their joint candidate against Kovind. The election is scheduled for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20. The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24. Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002. A low-profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014. The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probables but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a “political masterstroke”. He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday downplayed the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) decision of naming Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind for the post of President and said it’s not the first time when a person belonging to the minority community has been nominated for the top post, adding the Congress made a Dalit president 15 years ago, referring to K.R. Narayanan.”The Congress has always taken the initiative to improve the condition of the Dalits even before the country got Independence. We even introduced the reservation quota for the upliftment of the minorities after Independence. As far as the President of India is concerned, we made a Dalit president 15 years ago; this is not the first time,” Azad told ANI.Azad said it would have been better had the ruling party nominated someone neutral rather than a hardcore leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like Kovind.
ALSO READ Presidential election | Modi-Shah ace: Who can object to a Dalit rights crusader Ram Nath Kovind?”We were expecting the BJP to announce the name of a neutral person. Like during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we supported A.P.J. Abdul Kalam – not because he belonged to a minority community, but because he was neutral and didn’t belong to any particular party,” he said.Further stressing on the issue, he said the political parties are not divided on the basis of religion. They have different ideologies and a neutral person would have been acceptable for all.
ALSO READ KR Narayanan to RN Kovind — A tale of two Dalit PresidentsAzad said they would meet the Opposition parties on June 22 to discuss the Centre’s decision on the Presidential nominee and to take a decision on the same.”We don’t want to comment on his personality, but will talk on merit. But this is a fact that he is a hardcore BJP leader. How can one support a hardcore BJP leader? This seems a little impossible. But still till now we have not announced any name for the Presidential candidate from our side, because we had decided this in all party meeting that decision will be taken with consensus,” Azad said.
ALSO READ Who elects the President of India? Here’s all you need to knowEarlier on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah announced the name of Kovind as NDA’s consensus candidate for the post of Indian President.Kovind before leaving for New Delhi yesterday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thanked the people of Bihar for their support.Following the announcement, Prime Minister Modi reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to seek the grand old party’s support for Kovind.Prime Minister Modi also spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy over NDA’s presidential candidate pick.The Prime Minister said that Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.However, the decision did not go down well with some of the political parties with Congress alleging that the announcement was made without taking the grand old party into confidence while BJP’s ally Shev Sena termed it a political move to lure vote bank.Joining the critics of NDA’s Presidential nominee, Shiv Sena said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls.”If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BSP boss Mayawati today said her party is positive about the NDA nominating Ram Nath Kovind for the presidential election but wished the ruling alliance had named a non-political Dalit candidate for the top post. “Although Kovind has been associated with the RSS and the BJP from the beginning but since he is a Dalit, our party’s stand towards him cannot be negative. It will be positive, provided Opposition parties do not field any Dalit for the post who is more capable and popular than him,” she told newspersons here. “Kovind is not the first Dalit who has been brought forward for the post of president… K R Narayanan, a Dalit, had also been president,” she said. The BSP chief, however, stressed that it would have been better had the Opposition parties been taken into confidence on the choice. “Had the BJP and NDA brought any non-political Dalit for the post, it would have been better,” she said. Mayawati said she was informed by senior BJP leaders Amit Shah and Venkaiah Naidu over phone that Kovind, who belonged to Dalit caste, will be NDA candidate for the post of the president. “But his introduction is that he is a member of Kori caste who are very less in number in the country and he has been associated with the RSS and the BJP since the beginning and so I do not agree with his political background,” she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Tamil Nadu state Election Commission (TNSEC) on Thursday informed the Madras High Court that the polling to the local bodies cannot be held by May 14 in view of ‘practical difficulties’. The State Election Commission has filed a petition in the Madras High Court that they are ready to conduct the election by July end. Earlier, moving an intervening petition, social activist A. Narayanan, relying on a five- judge directive of the Supreme Court, contended that the elections to local body cannot be deferred beyond six months after the expiry of the current term. Noting how the Commission can be forced to conduct elections, when they claim that there are practical difficulties, the First Bench of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice R.M.T. Teeka Raman direction the Commission to file a detailed counter explaining the difficulties. On February 22, a Division Bench of the court directed the Commission to conduct the local body elections in Tamil Nadu no later than May 14. The Commission was also directed to ?truthfully? comply with the directions issued earlier by a single judge, including making mandatory the filing of affidavits declaring criminal antecedents of candidates and uploading them on the commission?s website.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>government claims to have saved Rs 49,000 crore LPG subsidies by linking with Aadhaar but a CAG report has debunked this in a recent report. The CAG has found that 92 per cent of the savings in LPG subsidy was due to fall in global crude oil prices and not due to Aadhaar seeding, he said, adding that similar was the case with food subidy, old-age pension and MNREGA. “You must have had some savings, but saying it was around Rs 50,000 crore subsidy is mind-boggling,” Ramesh said, adding that PDS, old-age pension and MNREGA were three schemes where maximum exclusion was taking place. Citing PDS data of Rajasthan, he said 26 per cent of beneficiaries could not draw PDS wheat last month and “that is exclusion and not savings”. In case of MNREGA, officials are so much under pressure to achieve 100 per cent Aadhaar seeding that workers are denied of wages. For example in Chitradurga district in Karnataka, Rs 10-15 crores of wages are not paid on time as local functioneries are busy with Aadhaar seeding, he added. Ramesh urged the government to revisit the amendments which he had moved last year when the Aadhaar bill was listed for passage in the Rajya Sabha. There are many petitions pending on this issue. “I hope at some stage, the Supreme Court would bring finality to this issue,” he said. Participating in the debate, Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) said that the Congress was not only nostalgic about it but is now indulging in “political paranoia”. Some kind of identity is required at a time when there are corruption and security issues. So far, 115 crore people have Aadhaar cards, he said. The government has saved subsidies in the last few years, not because of exclusion but by curbing duplicate beneficiaries, he said, adding that those opposing implemenation of Aadhaar are “big ATM and hawala lobbies”. Participating in the discussion, Ravi Prakash Verma (SP) alleged that the government was using Aadhaar as a tool for revenue realisation. “You are dreaming of a cashless society by effecting cash transfers into BPL accounts. You have linked Aadhaar to income tax returns and bank accounts. This will help in revenue realisation. Government is taking the help of this tool for revenue realisation,” he said. Attacking the government, Verma said “You have launched not only economic reforms but administrative and judicial reforms as well.” A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) raised objections against direct benefit transfer to beneficiaries’ bank accounts under Public Distribution System (PDS). He said the poor will tend to buy items other than essentials for which the money is being transferred into their account. Derek O Brien (AITC) criticised the government for using Aadhaar for various schemes like MGNREGA and mid-day meal schemes. He said that in case of stone workers and other labourers, the biometrics often do not match and the people were being harassed unduly, especially for the mid-day meal scheme. C P Narayanan (CPI-M) opined that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory for availing benefits by the citizens. He said that there is data of 100 crore people under Aadhaar with private companies and they should not make profit from this wealth of huge data. D Raja (CPI) pointed towards the UIDAI tie-up with some US based information technology firms which have been working closely with US intelligence agencies. He also said that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory for mid day meal scheme. K T S Tulsi also participated in the debate.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 73-year-old man watching the stir by students in front of a private law college died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday, with opposition Congress and BJP blaming the ‘police action’ against the agitators for the death.The deceased, identified as Muhammed Abdul Jabbar from nearby Mannakad, was passing by when police used water cannons at the students, who allegedly pelted stones at them.The students have been on strike for the past 27 days to protest against alleged harassment of the management.There were also a tense situation in front of Kerala Law Academy at nearby Peroorkada when police forcibly brought down a ABVP activist from a tree, which he climbed and threatened to commit suicide. Jabbar collapsed on the road and was immediately rushed to a private hospital where he was declared brought dead. Hospital sources said that he died of cardiac arrest.Meanwhile, Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC President VM Sudheeran blamed police for the death of Jabbar and demanded a probe into the matter.BJP also raised a similar demand and alleged that Jabbar’s death was due to the arrogant attitude of the LDF government, which had refused to solve the 27 day long students stir in the academy.The Law Academy is in the eye of a storm over alleged irregularities in providing internal marks and harassment of students by Lekshmi Nair, daughter of college Director N Narayanan Nair, a close relative of a former CPI(M) MLA.The students belonging to ABVP, KSU and AISF, under a joint action council had launched the strike. Though SFI, the students wing of pro-CPI-M, also joined the strike, it later called off the stir after the management agreed to keep away Lekshmi Nair from the post of principal.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a face saving formula worked out with a section of striking students belonging to the Students Federation of India, Kerala Law Academy Law College, today said it has removed the Principal, against whom an FIR had been registered for a non-bailable offence and various allegations had been raised. The development comes as a huge blow to the college Principal Lekshmi Nair, also a popular television cookery show host in the CPI(M)-supported Malayalam television channel, Kairali, as she had refused to budge even an inch to any of the demands of the students. Though SFI, an outfit of the ruling CPI(M), has called off its stir, a major section of students, belonging to outfits of other political parties said they would further intensify the agitation until the Principal puts in her papers. The 21-day old combined strike by students, was primarily to seek Principal’s resignation, for allegedly fudging attendance and internal marks, forcing some of them to work in a canteen run by her in the campus and addressing students by their caste names. Yesterday, Police had registered a case against the principal under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities act. In further troubles for the private college management, Education Minister Prof C Ravindranath today instructed the Higher Education Principal Secretary to direct the Kerala university to take stern action against the institution as its functioning had become ‘inappropriate’ as per the University Rules and Regulations. The direction was issued after considering the reports of the Sub committees appointed to look into the alleged irregularities in giving internal marks, conducting examinations and lapses in course regulations. The government has also ordered a probe into the utilisation of land assigned to the Academy at Peroorkada. BJP national executive member, V Muraleedharan, who is continuing with his fasting stir in front of the Academy, alleged that the agreement, reached between the management and SFI, was “preplanned”. Announcing the decision of the management, Academy Director N Narayanan Nair, father of Lekshmi Nair, told reporters that she was removed from the post and Vice Principal had been given the additional charge of principal. The student’s stir took a political turn as Narayanan Nair is the brother of former CPI(M) MLA Koliyakkod Krishnan Nair. Meanwhile, police used water cannon and lathi charge to chase away BJP activists, who blocked traffic near the campus demanding the principal’s resignation. Many BJP workers, including its senior leader K Surendran were injured. As a mark of protest, the saffron party has called for a hartal in Thiruvananthapuram district tomorrow. Meanwhile, in a related development, Kerala High Court refused a plea of Lekshmi Nair seeking direction to the police to remove the pandal erected by the agitating students in front of the institution.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukerjee will not leave any burden of mercy petitions for his successor when he demits office in July this year. Clearing the backlog of mercy petitions that piled up during the tenure of his three predecessors – Pratibha Patil, APJ Abdul Kalam and KR Narayanan, President Mukerjee has taken decisions on all the pending files.Dating back to the year 2000, President Mukerjee has cleared 32 mercy petitions of which he rejected 28. In four cases, he commuted the death penalties to life sentences.The rejected mercy pleas include that of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, 26/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and Gurmeet Singh convicted in the 1986 for murdering 13 members of a family.President Mukerjee rejected the mercy plea of 1993 landmine blast convicts in which 22 cops had died.