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The Indian woman using her body to fight for equality

A playwright and actor who bares all on stage says the body is a powerful tool.

Lok Sabha clears Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill which looks at making changes in regulations on compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.The bill was moved by Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who informed the house that the bill was being amended for the 12th time and was tabled for a specific purpose.The bill seeks to amend Section 7 of The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 to allow the Central government to re-issue the notice to the owner or such other person interested in the property so that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard.As per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill there have been instances of where people interested in the requisitioned property have challenged the notice of acquisition on the ground that it has been published without giving them a personal hearing.”This may cause astronomical hike in the quantum of compensation because of the inevitable appreciation of the market value of the property between the original date of publication of notice of acquisition and the present date of publication of the same, pursuant to the orders of the courts,”it states. Speaking at the debate, Puri clarified that the government does not intend to open up cases where the compensation has already been provided.”Sometimes the enemy does not trouble (the civilians), but these (defence) officials do. The Bill will help get justice to those whose land has been taken,” BJP MP Gopal Shetty said.CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim accused the government of trying to bring in legislations for land acquisition at a time when the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was under consideration of the joint parliamentary committee.The bill was first introduced in Lok Sabha in July this year.

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Even as MLA, Jignesh Mevani won’t give up on agitation, says family

Around 100 people gathered around the crossroads leading to Chuvaad 2 society in Meghaninagar, trying to catch a glimpse of Jignesh Mevani, the local lad and newly minted MLA. Some remember him as the boy next door, others say they knew him only after he gained prominence for leading an agitation against the government following the Una incident.They were all waiting for the Dalit leader to reach his family home for the first team after being elected to the Gujarat assembly. But Mevani’s political plunge and success has come as a surprise even to his family. ” We had no clue he was going to contest the elections. In fact, he told us only after filing the nomination,” said Darshan Mevani, his brother.The family says they knew of Jignesh’s work. ” Following the Una agitation his supporters would meet at our house. Sometimes the meeting would go late into the night,” said his mother Chandrikaben Parmar who is a retired teacher. She says Jignesh has often been involved with social causes. His mother recalls him as a extremely naughty kid who constantly picked fights with his brother. “He was never a picky eater but loved cricket,” says Chandrikaben. She admits they were a little apprehensive about his entry into politics.Also readGujarat elections 2017: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani wins as an independent in Vadgam”He has been demanding the rights of Dalits on the streets. It was time to take it to the power corridors,” sad Govind Mehariya who had been with him for two years since the agitation. Mehariya said Mevani was a reluctant entrant into politics. ” But now that he is in it, he will ensure that the voice of Dalits reach the power corridors,” said Mehariya.A society member days she never knew of him until now, another says she has known him since he was a kid. Incidentally, the Mevani’s shifted to their present residence 17 years ago. The Mevani family is already experiencing the perks of having an MLA in the family. People are thronging to their house, a well furnished bungalow in the Chuvand2 society, in Meghaninagar area of the city.The Mevani family finds it ironical that the Gujarat police that often tailed him during his agitation days is now honour bound to protect him. “We were worried about him then. We are worried about him now,” said Darshan. The family does not know how their life will change by virtue of having an MLA in the family. But they know one thing for sure, “Jignesh won’t give up on agitation.”

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Outrage after India minister terms cancer ‘divine justice’

An Indian minister’s remark about the disease “saddens” patients and their family members.

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav slams Nitish Kumar for ‘kid’ comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar called Tejashwi Prasad Yadav a ‘kid’, the younger son of RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav has retaliated by targeting Nitish’s son and asked the CM if his son had traits like him.On Wednesday, Tejashwi took to Twitter to hit back at Nitish and said, “Respected Nitishji, I am proud that I have my father’s traits. But you keep a hand over your heart and reply whether or not, your son (Nishant) has your nature. Seedhi baat, no bakwas.” He further added, “I do not want to lower the level of politics like you, but you are well aware of the truth. Let some secrets remain as secrets.”The RJD leader was peeved with Nitish, who on Monday, had brushed aside media queries related to Tejashwi, saying, “He is still a child. Sometimes he speaks loudly because of the traits he has acquired from his father. What should I reply on the comments made by him?”This did not go down well with Lalu as well, who had said Nitish will know who his son was when he faces him in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls. “He is not a bachha, but Nitish’s chacha,” Lalu said. Tejashwi had also replied that a person remains a child to his or her parents and elders throughout the life, and so Nitish was right in referring to him as a child.Earlier, Tejashwi had taken yet another dig at ‘uncle’ Nitish saying, “If not blessings, you could at least have greeted this child on the occasion of Children’s Day. You didn’t even send any wishes on my birthday a few days ago. If you call me a kid, then at least behave like an elder.”Tejashwi, who used to refer to Nitish as ‘chacha’ (father’s younger brother) when he was a deputy CM in the Mahagathbandhan government, uses the term now to take a jibe at Nitish.

Only 35% of registered disabled cast their vote in 2012

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Election Commission (EC) makes efforts to improve voter awareness, one set of voters it seems has not been a big participant in the electoral system- those with disabilities.As per the data with the district collector, Ahmedabad has 4,412 voters who have been identified as people with disabilities, ranging from visual and hearing impairment to locomotive disability and mental illness among others.Interestingly, the 2012 Assembly Result report of the EC does not mention the separate data of persons with disability.As per the report, against 370 visually impaired registered voters, a mere 129 actually cast their franchise, a voting percentage of just 35% only for the visually impaired.Ghatlodia constituency saw the highest number of visually impaired voting (24) followed by Asarwa, where 16 such votes were cast.Those who work with people with disabilities say the number of disabled voters registered are not even a true reflection of the eligible population.An official who has closely worked with disabled at both the institutional and government level said that a lot of factors are at play.”There is the question of polling booths being disabled- friendly, of accessibility and more importantly of motivation,” said the official. “How many politicians have you seen actively seeking the votes of disabled people? How many officials make an effort to actively encourage disabled to come and vote? Where is the voter awareness for such people?” the official added.Those who work with the disabled say it is doubtful if many of them including visually impaired even get counted as voters, as many don’t even have a voter ID card.Akhil Paul of Sense International, that works with speech and hearing impaired children, said the problem begins at the level of getting the voter ID card itself.”Sometimes, the families themselves are not interested in ensuring that such people get a voter ID card. Even when they get it, they have to be dependent on others to go and vote,” said Paul.He too believes that political parties don’t even consider the voter with disability.”They go seeking votes of all other people. Have you ever seen them coming to institutions that train people with disability? We have some members in the Parliament who have disability. Even they don’t speak up for the cause,” said Paul.He, however, does not believe that infrastructure is a problem. “For the last three elections at least, there have been disabled-friendly polling booths, Braille ballot papers and even ramps to help the disabled. So, I don’t think infrastructure is a problem,” said Paul.He said the major force is motivation and at present the disabled don’t feel that voting or not voting will help their cause. “They are not a matter of concern for political parties,” said Paul.

Six tigers electrocuted in Maharashtra in 1 year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is a new danger lurking for Maharashtra’s tigers—that of death by electrocution. Between November 2016 to November 2017, the state lost six tigers due to poaching by electrocution.This includes Srinivas, who was electrocuted to death in Nagbhid range in April. In 2017, Maharashtra lost 15 tigers to various causes, of which five deaths are due to electrocution.”Patches around farms are electrified to kill herbivores, but it leads to the deaths of carnivores like tigers and also human beings,” said a senior forest department official. Sometimes, tigers are killed along with the herbivores when the two are electrocuted during the chase.He added that many put on electrified wires deliberately for poaching. “If these agriculturists want to protect their crops, they can use solar fencing as it has been done in the villages in a 2,500 hectare area around the Tadoba Andhari tiger reserve,” the official said.”The major problem is 11KV lines, which are illegally hooked. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MahaVitaran) should launch underground cabling and insulation of networks in these areas and also shift these poles to the main roads to prevent them from being tapped,” he noted.Dr Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) said that it was a grave situation as electrocution was killing more animals than organised poaching. “We got to know about tigers as two of them were even radio collared think about the numbers of leopards, wolves and other mammals killed due to electrocution and never reported,” he said.History speaksIn 2016, India lost 98 tigers — the highest since 2010. Of these Maharashtra accounted for 15 mortalities.In 2015, the deaths stood at 12, up from seven in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

Kids in Capital divided over cracker ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For many youngsters in Delhi and NCR, Diwali means only one things — sparkling clothes and even more sparkling fireworks. But just nine days ahead of the festival, the Supreme Court (SC) put a dampener on their spirits by banning the sale of fire-crackers in the Capital region, urging the citizens to celebrate a “cracker-free Diwali”. While many children were deeply disappointed with the news, other said there were more important issues to deal with in the Capital, other than the crackers. Moreover, they said, this will really help the environment. Seven-year-old Tejas Chaudhary, a resident of south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, one of the disappointed children, has refused to celebrate the festival. “For me, Diwali means lights, sweets, and crackers but my father told me that this Diwali, we won’t be getting any crackers as it has been banned. I am not at all happy with this and I am not going to celebrate Diwali this year. This has really upset me,” he said. Some other children, however, said that banning of crackers was a good decision but some fireworks, such as sparkles, chakri, and anaar should be allowed, to keep the spirit of the festival of lights alive. Amogh Chauhan, 7, a resident of Indirapuram, said: “I think it’s a good idea as it would reduce the air pollution as well.Last Diwali, the condition of Delhi had became worst as a huge layer of smog covered the city and I was unable to breathe properly. So, the crackers should be banned. Many children who have difficulty in breathing will be happier this season.” Nitika Ranjan, 20, a resident of Lajpat Nagar, said: “Sometimes, it is necesary to take harsh decisions for the betterment of the society. Though many people will be against it but this decision should have been taken earlier. Crackers can give us one a moment of happiness but their aftereffect is very harmful.”

‘Swachh Bharat’ anniversary: A tale of two colonies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 10.30 am on Sunday, a busy group of residents of Valmiki Colony, located in the Mandir Marg area, could be seen making arrangements for a wedding. The task seemed more onerous than usual as they were also ensuring that there was no littering on the streets, at least on the third anniversary of Central government’s Swachh Bharat Campaign.The colony, mostly occupied by sanitation workers, had made headlines in 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had wielded the broom on its streets and kicked off the campaign.“That’s the exact spot where the Prime Minister had wielded the broom. I saw that on television as we were not allowed to step out of our houses during his visit,” pointed out 42-year-old Shanta Devi, as she weaved another flower in a string.Gareeb Das, another resident, said: “Sanitation has never been an issue in our locality. It has always been clean like this. Where sanitation workers live, the area will be automatically clean.”Some residents, however, claimed that things actually changed just in the last three years. “Earlier, people used to throw garbage on roadsides but now we have dustbins placed on the streets. Also, municipality vehicle comes to collect garbage every morning,” a resident said.According to locals, municipal workers have been sweeping the streets both in the morning and evening for the last three days. “This is happening because of the Swachh Bharat Campaign anniversary. Generally, they come only once a day or sometimes in a couple of days,” said Shankar Das, who works at a pan kiosk.Just a few kilometers away, in east Delhi’s Vinod Nagar area, the situation was a study in contrast. Around 1 pm on Sunday, dump yards in the locality were overflowing and an unbearable stench overwhelmed the surroundings.“Half the day has passed but no one has come to clean the dump. There is no Swachh Bharat Campaign in our locality,” rued Sandeep Das, a resident.The locals said that at a time when dengue is on a rise in the national Capital, the absence of any cleanliness drive in the area was dangerous as more and more people were falling prey to the disease. “There is a serious problem of mosquitoes in the locality. It’s so dangerous to let our children out to play on the streets,” Das said.The garbage piles also attract cattle from neighbouring villages, creating more problems for residents. “Cattle keep on roaming near our houses throughout the day. Sometimes, they block our gates,” complained Sheila Devi. Her house is located right in front of a dump yard.“I request the Prime Minister to visit our locality as well. Otherwise, I don’t think the authority will look at us,” she said.

India doctors remove seven teeth from infant

The baby’s teeth were discovered after he had difficulty breastfeeding.

Gauri Lankesh murder: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah briefs Rahul Gandhi; initiates SIT probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has briefed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on the killing of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, which has sparked nationwide outrage and protests.Officials at the CMO said Siddaramaiah spoke to Gandhi over phone.Confirming his talks with Siddaramaiah, Gandhi said in a tweet, “Spoke to the CM of Karnataka and mentioned that it’s very important that people who have murdered Gauri Lankesh are caught and punished.”On his official twitter account, the Congress vice president said anybody who speaks against RSS/BJP is attacked and even killed. “They want to impose only one ideology which is against the nature of India,” he said.”Sometimes the PM speaks under pressure but the entire idea is to crush dissent and this is resulting in a very serious problem in India,” he said in a series of tweet.Siddaramaiah today also announced an SIT probe, to be headed by Inspector General-level officer in the matter, saying his government had an “open mind” to an investigation by the CBI, which the slain journalist’s family has demanded.

Colony gates are more of nuisance rather than for security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The term gated community usually refers to an upmarket neighbourhood that has controlled access using one or more gate that residents or visitors must pass through. One can understand that in these times the security of the residents is of utmost important.But in Jaipur, where most of the colonies cannot be called “upmarket neighbourhood”, people have randomly erected gates which instead of providing security have become a nuisance for commuters.Many colonies do not allow access from the multiple gates, especially at night. Sometimes, only one gate is left open and sometimes not even one. If by closing the gates at night, the neighbourhood could be secured then we would not read of stories of burglaries and break-ins which regularly appear in newspapers. RL Choudhary, a resident of Krishna Colony, said that Hanuman Nagar Vikas Samiti, Marudhar Vihar and Goms Defence residents have installed illegal gates and put up a notice for not allowing anyone pass through these gates, which have blocked access to roads adjoining Vaishali Nagar, Khatipura, various school and colleges, gurudwara and many more.In June, 2016, DNA did a report titled ‘Closing the gate on civil liberties’ which led to the authorities ordering that Marudhar Vihar gate must remain open. However, after a few days, that order was not followed. As per the rules, the societies have to take permission from the steering committee headed by the deputy commissioner of police (traffic) to install the gates. JDA officials are also a part of the committee. As per norms, even in the nights when gates are closed for security reasons, there has to be a person present at the site.But this unofficial privatisation of public roads has restricted public access to these spaces. This affects traffic on the city roads. These gates have no legal standing since private bodies are not allowed to block public roads. Also, residents of adjoining streets need to take a longer route, through areas they consider unsafe, to reach the main road.NEED PERMISSIONAs per the rules, the societies have to take permission from the steering committee headed by the deputy commissioner of police (traffic) to install the gates.
Even in the nights when gates are closed for security reasons, there has to be a person present at the site.

State sees drop in beef cases, CP credits Muslim community

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This year, Gujarat has witnessed a sharp drop in the number of beef cases that have reached the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) since 2012. While forensic experts believe the recent stringent law has played a role in reducing number of cases, Ahmedabad police commissioner feels that it is the community’s cooperation that has caused an impact.Until now, the DFS was busy investigating cases related to cow slaughter and beef ban, receiving over 200 cases yearly for three years till 2016. In 2017, though, the figure plunged to 73.HP Sanghvi, deputy director, Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Gandhinagar, said, “Due to the law, the cases that are sent by cops to FSL have drastically gone down. Unlike earlier times, we now receive only 1-2 calls in a month. This year, only 73 cases have come to us as against 205 from the year before.”As per the data shared by DFS, of the 128 and 220 cases in 2013 and 2014, respectively, 112 and 200 tested positive, as against 77 of 204 in 2015.DFS has four cow-meat testing vans in the state. After cops intercept a vehicle suspected to be carrying beef, they reach the spot for testing. It takes around half an hour to test the meat and furnish the report. Sometimes, though, depending on how the meat is extracted, investigation takes time.’Credit goes to community’Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police AK Singh said, “It is not just the law. A huge factor contributing to the reduced number of cases is the understanding that has evolved in the community itself, particularly the Muslim community, as they have come out openly against cow slaughter. During Bakri Eid, all mosques and religious leaders issued a directive saying that under no circumstances should anyone from the community be involved in cow slaughter. And this is a big reason why we are not getting too many cases.”He continued: “We do get cases of meat that is illegally transported but most of it was buffalo meat. There were quite a few of such cases intercepted by the police but these were away from the city. So we enforced the laws strictly, uncovered involvement of certain gangs and took preventive action. The organised illegal slaughter of buffalo has also seen a drop.”The top cop said better understanding of and more sensitivity towards the issue brought down the case.Talking about the gangs, he said: “It is not just in Ahmedabad that we found such gangs. We are aware of four such sites from where multiple cases originated, but we have dealt with them.” He added: “In Ahmedabad, we have more than 100 check-posts for anti-terror purpose and prevent any kind of illegally slaughtered meat.”The lawThe Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017, which encompasses slaughter of cow, calves, bulls and bullocks, penalises breaches with life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh. It bans transportation of animals from one place to another at night. And prescribes imprisonment of up to 10 years, but not less then seven years, for those found to be involved in transportation, sale and storage of beef. Earlier, the maximum punishment was three years.Year Cases with DFS2012 1122013 1282014 2152015 2052016 2052017 73Total 938Beef inspection: Test resultYear No. of cases Tested positive2013 128 1122014 220 2002015 204 77Total 552 389

Indian judiciary has played a vital role in delivering justice: SC Judge Madan Lokur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Madan B Lokur of the Supreme Court today said that the judiciary has played a vital role in providing justice to the downtrodden through Public Interest Litigations (PIL).Lokur was here to inaugurate the fourth of a series of lectures on ‘Different Facets of the Indian Constitution’ organised by the Himachal Pradesh State Legal Services (HPSLS) at the high court premises.He expressed happiness over the idea of having the lectures to educate people about the legal system.”Sometimes there exists laws, but they are not being implemented, and on the other hand there are no laws on some issues. In both the cases, it is the duty of the court to impart justice to the common people,” he said speaking on ‘Social and Economic Justice’.He said PILs have helped the supreme court and high courts to protect the right of prisoners, poor sections of the society, women and children.Stressing that judicial activism was necessary to impart fair justice, Lokur said that it should be used judiciously and also expressed concern over the social and economic justice in the society.”At present 60 per cent of wealth of the nation was possessed by only 1 per cent of the population, whereas 99 per cent was left with only 40 per cent,” he said.Lokur called upon policy makers and economists to come up with remedies to cope up with such issues to provide economic justice.He also facilitated 16 pro-bono mediators and advocates associated with the HPSLS on the occasion and inaugurated a mediation centre in the high court premises.Himachal Pradesh High Court’s acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol said that the HPSLS was also organising tree plantation drives all over the state.The authority was also organising pre-litigation programmes in order to provide speedy justice to the common people, Karol said.A pre-litigation mediation adalat was organised in the high court on September 1 to settle the claim of 45 people who had died in HRTC bus accidents on August 12 and 13, he said.

Rats caused floods, claims Bihar water minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rats are at it again in Bihar. Four months after Bihar Police officials claimed that rats had guzzled several lakh litres of seized alcohol a Bihar minister has now blamed them for the devastating floods that have killed more than 510 people in the state this year.Following a review of the flood situation in the state, Bihar Water Resources Department (WRD) minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh blamed the rodents for damaging embankments, which ultimately led to flooding in the nearby areas.The minister cited the example of River Kamla Balan that originates in Nepal. “The river is far from the embankment and the villagers residing in nearby areas usually store their foodgrains on elevated platforms built over the embankments. The rats create holes to reach the grains and that causes seepage in the embankments,” Singh said.Interestingly, while Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had said heavy rains in Nepal and silt in rivers were responsible for the floods that affected 1.71 crore people in 8,300 villages of the state, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav had called it a manmade disaster, caused due to incompetent engineers and ill-preparedness of the government.Singh’s statement has given fresh ammo to the Opposition and Lalu immediately took to Twitter to take a dig at the government. “Incredible! Do you know Bihar floods have come due to rats? No? Then find out. Nitish will tell how rats have brought flood in Bihar.””Sometimes the rat is drinking liquor. On other instances, it is making holes in the embankments… these are only excuses. There is a lot of corruption in the water resources departments. What type of flood preparedness had they done by spending so much money?” RJD legislator Shakti Singh Yadav said.”The government had said the embankments are safe. Then how come the floods happened? Action should be taken against the officials responsible for it,” a BJP MLA said, declining to be named.

21 ganja smugglers arrested in Koraput

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a special drive against ganja trade, police in Koraput district have arrested at least 21 ganja smugglers, in past few weeks, a police officer said. Cases registered recently by police under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act indicate that ganja mafia have spread their tentacles in the district with certain areas of Jeypore sub-division slowly turning into new hub of cannabis trade, the officer said. A special task force was formed under the direct supervision of Superintendent of Police, Koraput, Kanwar Vishal Singh and raids were conducted based on specific information. Crackdown on illegal ganja smuggling will be intensified as this trade is directly linked to increasing crime rate in the district, the SP said The wild grass, illegally cultivated in the hills and jungles in Malkangiri district and Lamataput and Machkund areas of Koraput district is smuggled to states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan. While full-fledged organised inter-state gangs seem to be involved in the trade, huge profit margin has pushed up the demand for the Odisha grass even outside India, sources said. On the modus operandi adopted by the gangs in smuggling ganja, ASP (Jeypore) Prabhat Kumar Pradhan said the original traders never come to the picture and they receive orders from the counterparts residing outside the state. The mafia send their men with money and vehicle to a particular point, where ganja is cultivated, to lift the banned drug, he said. Local unemployed youths are engaged by the trader as informers, who guard the vehicle to reach a certain distance safely. From there another group take charge and subsequently the consignment is taken outside the state, he said. To make a quick buck, the youths get attracted to this illegal trade. The gang operates in so clinical precision that sometimes it becomes difficult to get an inkling about it, the officer admitted. Another modus operandi of the trade is local gangs hijack consignment of traders belonging to outside the state and sell the banned drug to some other party. Both being parties in the illegal activities no police complaint is lodged regarding the hijack of the vehicles, Pradhan said. Police said there is no specific corridor for ganja smuggling in the district. Mostly the smuggled drug reaches Chhattisgarh from Malkangiri via Boipariguda, Kundura, Jeypore, Borigumma and Kotpad. Sometimes the ganja smugglers carry the ganja in containers and sealed tins to give the police the slip.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Lives choked in dirty drains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Preeti Kumari’s world came crashing down when two policemen came to her house on Sunday morning and informed her about her husband’s death. The 21-year-o ld is now staring at an uncertain future, with two children, including a three-month-old daughter, to raise.Her husband Mohan, 25, was among three contractual sanitation workers who died as poisonous gases choked them inside a sewer they were cleaning in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area. “He lost his life for just Rs 300… he had not been provided with even a mask,” she says while fixing her white veil with her henna-dyed hands.“He used to tell me that all they got him was a rope, a stick and a basket to do his job. He never mentioned about gloves, masks or boots,” Preeti says. “He never told me much about his work. He used to avoid any discussion around how he did what he did,” she says. The families of the two other victims were also not aware about the nature of their jobs and the working conditions. “He would often tell me that he was employed with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) as a safai karamchari. It was only after his death that I came to know how hard he used to work to earn a living,” says an inconsolable Rekha Kumari, wife of another victim, Annu (29).Annu’s brother, who works at the Aligarh Muslim University as a cleaner, however, understands the reason behind his brother’s ‘mysterious’ work life. “Do you think his 5-year-old son would have liked to know that his father used to pull out rubbish and excreta from drains?” he asks.Despite the government’s ban on manual scavenging in India, around 250 sanitation workers, employed with Delhi’s three municipal corporations and the DJB, do the dirty, inhuman and risky job. Most manual scavengers are employed officially to clean silt from small drains, but are regularly made to enter and clean sewers because of ‘emergency’. “There are strict laws against the practice, but there is always a demand for manual scavengers and there are people available (willingly or otherwise) to do the job,” says a sanitation worker employed with the DJB that manages the city’s water supplies and sewage.Recently, the Delhi High Court pulled up the Delhi government, asking what steps it has taken to eliminate the “evil practice”.(Preeti Kumari (in white) with her late husband Mohan’s photograph outside her makeshift jhuggi in East Delhi’s Kalyanpuri —BB Yadav/DNA)No safety gearIt takes five-six hours for 35-year-old Sunil Kumar of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to clear filth from a drain. “We do not get any safety gear. No masks, no gloves or boots. Sometimes the silt contains pieces of glass,” he says, showing a deep gash on his palm.“All we get is a bamboo stick tied to a basket, and a ladder to go deep into drains. The smell is unbearable,” he says.According to the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the entry of humans into drains and tanks to clear them of waste is prohibited, except in an emergency. Under the latter case, the law directs the employer to provide safety gear to workers. “We should at least get masks for emergency,” says Joginder Kumar, a sewer cleaner employed with the DJB. “And even if there are boots or gloves, they are either small or oversized. If they will give you knee-length boots, how are you supposed to work wearing them? We eventually will prefer working without them,” he says.Officials, however, deny the charges, saying their sewer stores are full of safety gear that are always provided to sanitary workers. “We don’t allow our sanitary workers to enter manholes and drains. Everything is mechanised now. Only in unavoidable situations, they are asked to enter drains and that too with all safety gear,” a senior DJB official says.Officials at the EDMC, however, say that a lack of funds means no safety gear to sanitation workers. “How can we give them proactive gear when we don’t have funds to give them salaries on time?” asks a senior EDMC official.“Even if we provide them with masks and gloves, sewer cleaners don’t use them as they are not used to working with them,” he says.The three corporations — East, South and North — have around 2,500 sewer cleaners. The corporation pays Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 to its permanent workers even as no health benefits are given to them. The law, however, mandates the use of machinery to clean drains, sewers and tanks. The civic bodies hire cheap manual labour through contractors and they are paid Rs 250-Rs 300 a day.Most workers enter sewers after consuming alcohol or cheap intoxicated substances to keep themselves distracted. “It’s so difficult to stand the unbearable stench down there. Alcohol helps us carry on,” says EDMC worker Jagdish Kumar. This makes life even more dangerous. “Under the influence of alcohol, they can’t react promptly during an emergency,” says Mukesh Vaidya, president of All Municipal Corporation Sanitation Supervisors’ Union.Workers also claim that they suffer from problems of heart, lungs, skin and eyes. “I stopped cleaning sewers after repeated infections. My condition had become so bad that I could not step out of my house for months,” says Kallu, 38, a resident of East Delhi’s Kalyanpuri. He now works at a tea stall.Kallu’s uncle Sushil suffered a heart attack after being choked by poisonous gasses while cleaning a sewer line in 2012. He, however, returned to the practice. “I tried convincing him to start doing something else but he said that he won’t be able to do anything else now,” he says. Kallu is the first in his family to quit the profession.“We don’t know any other work. From where will we earn our living if we stop working as sewer cleaners,” asks Sushil, a contractual worker.The health risks are enormous. “Many of my friends in the profession died of tuberculosis before reaching the age of 60,” he says.Caste curseBezwada Wilson, a Magsaysay award winner for his efforts to fight against manual scavenging and the national convener of Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), says, “Sanitation work in India is caste-based work. We talk about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but does anyone think about those involved to make it work?” “99 per cent of these workers are Valmikis (Dalits) and employers consider it their right to make them clean the filth,” he says.Echoing the sentiment, Shambhu, 22, who wanted to continue his studies after school, says, “I wanted to do something respectable but since we are Valmikis, we don’t have many choices.” He is working as a sewer cleaner. “When I got a job in the Delhi Jal Board in 1995, I thought it would change my life but I ended up cleaning drains,” says Joginder Kumar, adding all Valmikis employed with either DJB or MCDs are working as safai karamcharis and sewer cleaners.“People from other communities are doing more dignified jobs like those of guards and peons,” he says. DJB officials, however, deny the allegations, saying they don’t hire people based on caste.Deaths and compensationAccording to data compiled by SKA, as many as 81 sanitation workers died in Delhi and NCR due to poisonous gases in drains and sewers. “Out of which, 14 deaths occurred this year itself,” Wilson says.In 2014, the Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of manual scavengers who died while working after 1993. “Only a few families received the amount in Delhi,” he says.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the sanitation workers who died on Sunday. “We are banking on the money. I will use it to first rent a proper house for my children,” says Preeti, sitting in her makeshift jhuggi in Kalyanpuri.Blame gameWhenever such an incident happens, DJB and corporation officials blame contractors. “There is a huge informal sector operating. These contractors risk the lives of sanitation workers for their own profit,” a senior DJB official says. “Sometimes, they even intoxicate workers to make them operate in inhumane conditions,” he says.The Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD), however, claims that it does not have sewers under it. “We maintain some storm-water drains. But because of a poor sewerage system, they have sewage stuck in them. These drains are not too deep, but we make sure contractors use all precautions such as masks and gear. We can take action against contractors for violating safety norms,” says PWD’s chief engineer Sarvagya Srivastava.126Sewer deaths (From January 1 to August 6)States: Delhi, Rajasthan UP, MP, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.14Of these deaths reported from Delhi, NCRWhat is sewer gas?It is a mixture of toxic gases produced in sewage systems by the decomposition of organic waste. It includes methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen dioxide

‘I won’t surrender, do what you want to’: LeT Commander Abu Dujana told Armyman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana, a Pakistani national who was killed in encounter with security forces refused to surrender minutes before getting killed.Dujana, category ‘A’ militant who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head was also wanted in many militancy-related attacks on security forces and political workers in south Kashmir.In a phone call with an Army officer, Dujana refused to surrender and admitted that he had left behind his parents in Gilgit-Baltistan for jihad, reported Times of India.Report said that Dujana also asked the officer ‘how he was’, after speaking to Kashmiri civilian who was commissioned to begin the conversation.When asked why he was not surrendering, Dujana told the officer that he had left home for martyrdom. “Sometimes we are ahead, sometimes you—today you caught me. Congratulations. Now do what you have to,” Dujana said.
ALSO READ How security forces took inspiration from operation against Osama bin Laden to neutralise Abu DujanaThe slain militant also said that his parents were dead for him since the day he left them behind. He also refused to show any concern for them.The officer repeatedly made appeal to save Kashmiris and not recruit youth for terror. However, Dujana ended the conversation.
ALSO READ After neutralising Abu Dujana, security forces to target six high-profile terrorists in Jammu and KashmirDujana, believed to be in his late 20s, was killed in a well-planned operation by a joint team of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Army and CRPF in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.The inmates of the house where he was holed up had told police that he claimed to be from Karachi.
ALSO READ Who was LeT commander Abu Dujana and how he was trapped and killed by security forces?Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir police is going to approach the Pakistan High Commission via the Union home ministry to take the body of Abu Dujana, the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander gunned down in south Kashmir.It will be the first time that the Pakistan High Commission is asked to claim the body of a militant killed in Kashmir Valley.

Over 21 L Indians applied for H-1B visa in 11 years: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 21 lakh Indian technology professionals have applied for H-1B work visas in the last 11 years, an official report has said. The report of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also refuted the impression that those who applied for the visa were not highly qualified. On an average, their salary over the last 11 years has been USD 92,317 and an overwhelming majority of them are masters or bachelor’s degree holder. According to the report since 2007 till June this year, the USCIS received 3.4 million (34 lakh) H-1B visas applications, of which people from India accounted for 21 lakh. During the same period, the US issued H-1B visas to 26 lakh people, the USCIS said in its report, which however does not give countrywide breakdown. In terms of number of H-1B applications between 2007 and 2017, India is followed by a distant China with 296,313 H-1B applications, Philippines (85,918), South Korea (77,359), and Canada (68,228). The report said majority (23 lakh) of the beneficiary of H-1B visas were in the age group of 25-34, and 20 lakh came from the computer related occupation category. Computer was followed by architecture, engineering, and surveying (318,670), education (244,000), administrative specialisations (245,000), and medicine and health (185,000). Sometimes people post their retirement age have been given H-1B visas. In all these 11 years, more than 2,000 foreign nationals of more than 65 years of age received H-1B visas. This year alone so far 122 H-1B visas have been allocated to those above 65 years. The report said custom computer programming services industry received the maximum number of 999, 901 H-1B visas in these years. It was followed by computer systems design services (287,000) and college universities and professional schools (229,00). Contrary to the general perception, the average salary of H-1B visas have increased significantly since 2007 when it was USD 68,159. In 2017, the average salary of H-1B visas holder foreign guest worker is USD 92,317. The USCIS’s report was first reported by Breitbart news. “The USCIS date shows that between 2007 and 2017, the H- 1B visa, which imports foreign workers to take American jobs, the programme has grown exponentially. The vast majority of visa-holders are from India,” Breitbart said, adding that roughly 70 to 80 per cent of the foreign workers imported every year are from India. The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B visa policy.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Anticipatory bail in grave crimes may erode people’s faith: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Granting anticipatory bail to a person, accused in a grave offence in which large quantity of gold or money is involved, may erode the faith of citizens in the justice delivery system, the Delhi High Court has said. The court, while denying anticipatory bail to a gold merchant in a criminal case, said it is only the custodial interrogation which leads to vital clues in recovering the case property, involvement of other persons, criminal conspiracy and place of concealment of case property. “Allowing a person who is accused of such a grave offence out on bail even before he is arrested would not only interfere with investigation process but also may erode the faith of the citizens in the justice delivery system. “It said the offences where such a large quantity of gold/amount of money is involved, it should be investigated in a thorough and fair manner,” Justice Vinod Goel said. The court made the observation while dismissing a plea of gold merchant Prakash Gupta seeking anticipatory bail in a case of criminal breach of trust lodged against him. The offence entails a maximum of life imprisonment. The complainant has alleged that Gupta was entrusted with six kgs of gold bars for sale, which were then dishonestly misappropriated by him. The bench said the court has to strike a balance and to examine meticulously the facts and circumstances of each case as to whether custodial interrogation of the accused is required or not. “Requirement of the offender for custodial interrogation in serious and grave offences should be assessed from a practical approach. The conduct, demeanour, tone and tenor, body language of the accused on anticipatory bail is entirely different,” it said. The court said that the accused always shrugs off his shoulders to the commission of crime or being privy to it in any manner and law also treats him as innocent unless he is convicted. “Knowing it well the accused even in grave offences travel beyond truth. He is not expected to reveal the truth. It is only the custodial interrogation which leads to vital clues in recovering the case property, involvement of other persons, criminal conspiracy, place of concealment of case property etc,” it said. For Gupta, the court said his custodial interrogation was required to unearth the conspiracy and to recover the gold bars or the sale proceeds thereof and to find out to whom the gold bars were sold out by him. While Gupta claimed that he had paid Rs 54,04,400 to the complainant’s firm, it was disputed by the victim’s counsel. It said there was no ground for granting anticipatory bail to the accused, keeping in view the serious nature of the offence and the possibility of tampering with the evidence or fleeing from justice. “Persons accused of grave offences cannot be permitted to take the administration of justice for a ride. No doubt, arrest of a person, accused of an offence, may tarnish his image and that of his family members, relatives, friends, nears and dears. Because of this, sometimes some harsh steps are taken by the accused as such accusation brings bad name to him and his family,” the court said. It, however, said the court must not be oblivious to the fact as to trauma, pain, and sufferings of the victims and their family members. Sometimes, harsh steps are also taken by the victims out of frustration or due to loss of life or on account of loss of valuables or properties,” it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

China, America should mind their own business: Mehbooba Mufti on third-party intervention in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday rebuked National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah’s remarks on Kashmir issue and said that the situation in Kashmir Valley would be same as Syria and Afghanistan if America starts intervening.”China, America should mind their own business, we all know what is the situation of the countries wherever they intervened be it Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq,” Mehbooba said.The chief minister said that only bilateral talks between India and Pakistan can help resolve the Kashmir issue.”As Vajpayeeji said in the Lahore declaration, India and Pakistan should hold talks to resolve Kashmir issue,” she said, and questioned: Does Farooq know what happened in Syria and Afghanistan?Mehbooba’s statements came in response to Abdullah’s remarks wherein he had suggested that third party countries like China and U.S should mediate in the Kashmir issue.The NC leader said India has so many allies across the globe, which can be approached for settling the Kashmir issue and act as a mediator between India and Pakistan.”For how long are you going to wait? Sometimes, you have to pull the bull by its horns. The way is to have a dialogue. India has so many friends all across the world and can ask them to act as a mediator. US President Trump himself said that he wants to settle Kashmir problem. China also said that it wants to mediate in Kashmir. Somebody has to be approached,” Abdullah said.

Modi visited fewer foreign countries than Manmohan: Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his three years in office has visited fewer foreign nations than his predecessor Manmohan Singh. In an interaction with elected local body representatives here, the BJP chief said he was surprised as to why people think otherwise. Shah said a BJP worker explained the reason behind this to him. “A party worker told me that when Manmohan Singh used to go abroad, nobody knew,” he said. He said Singh used to read out from written speeches on his foreign tours. “He carried pages written in English and come back after reading them. Sometimes he read in Thailand the pages meant to be read in Malaysia and vice-versa,” he claimed. Shah said during Singh’s tenure, the world never used to know whether the Indian PM went to China, the USA or Russia. “But now when Modiji goes to China, America, Russia, France, Japan, Sri Lanka… thousands of people gather at airport to receive him and the entire world watches him,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Heritage tomb in Malviya Nagar dying a slow death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With its red walls and a dome that can be seen from afar, the Lal Gumbad in Malviya Nagar promises opulence and majesty. But just one look at its main door, which was burnt down a few months ago, shatters all such visions and brings one back to the harsh reality of apathy and neglect.Built in the late 14th Century, the pre-Mughal era, the neglected Lal Gumbad is now a haunt for gamblers and addicts. A board in the premises proclaims the structure a ‘Protected Monument’ and a monument of national importance under the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act-1951.But all that is meaningless for the solitary guard deployed at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monument, who neither wants to know the history nor concern himself about the people playing cards in the vicinity.”We have been seeing this charred door for a long time. Nobody ever came to repair it,” says Lallan, a local enjoying his late afternoon beedi in the premises of the heritage structure. “This is a place of worship. Sometimes, people light incense. May be that burnt down the door,” he adds.Lal Gumbad, also known as the Rakabwala Gumbad, was a tomb built for Sheikh Kabir-ud-din Auliya, a disciple of Sufi saint Shaikh Raushan Chirag-i-Delhi, in 1397. The square tomb has high slanting red walls with a dome on the top. The main entrance has a pointed arch with marble bands.The Gumbad was embroidered with a golden finial on the roof, which was stolen by dacoits, giving the building its Rakabwala name (dacoits looted the gold by climbing up the iron rungs or Rakab).Since the disciple of a Sufi saint is buried here, locals believe it to be a sacred site and started lighting lamps and incense inside, which was damaging the walls. So, the ASI decided to shut its doors for the people. It, however, only made the public take their activities outside, and according to sources, that is how the main door ended up getting burnt.The 620-year-old tomb looks similar to the Ghiyasiddin Tughlaq’s tomb in Tughlaqabad, and is considered a replica of it. Next to the tomb stands a grave and some arches, which were once used for prayers. There are some small unknown tombs in the vicinity, which are in a similar dilapidated condition. At one point, the ASI had started laying stones around the Gumbad to make a pavement but all one can see now is huge piles of stones everywhere.THE HERITAGE TOMBLal Gumbad was a tomb built for Sheikh Kabir-ud-din Auliya, a disciple of Sufi saint Shaikh Raushan Chirag-i-Delhi.
Built in the late 14th Century, the pre-Mughal era, the tomb is now a haunt for gamblers and addicts
The main door ended up burnt because locals would light lamps and incense inside, damaging the walls, believing it was a sacred site.

City hospital sees fewer expired blood bags in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Compared to the records of the past 11 years of Ghatkopar-based Rajawadi hospital’s blood bank, a fewer number of blood bags expired in 2016. As per the Right to Information (RTI) reply given by the hospital authority, only 78 blood bags i.e., 27.3 litres of blood expired last year.The reply was received by RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who enquired after the blood collection and expiry records from the year 2006 to 2016. Within 11 years, 53,468 blood bags were collected by the hospital’s blood bank, out of which 2,188 blood bags (765.8 litres) were wasted as they passed their expiry date.After surveying the RTI reply from Rajawadi blood bank, the activist filed a complaint to the BMC Commissioner.As per the RTI reply from the medical superintendent of the hospital, from 2006 to 2015, the number of blood bags which expired ranged from 141 to 514, but in 2016, only 78 blood bags expired.In connection to the expired blood bags, Chetan Kothari, said, “The large unexpected number of donors, and the increase in camps in a single month are to be blamed for the wastage. There is usually a decline of blood donations during summers and Diwali vacation, so donation during those days should be encouraged.”The reply given by the medical superintended, stated, “In August 2015, there was an unexpected collection of 700 bags from a two-day camp. We tried to distribute blood to other banks, but they faced a similar scenario, due to which there was an increase in the number of expired blood bags and the total expired blood in the year 2015. Later, precaution measures were taken and the number reduced to 78.”Speaking on the wastage of blood in city-based government hospitals, Dr Avinash Supe, dean of KEM Hospital, said, “The term wastage of blood is used wrongly. Sometimes, the blood has HIV, Hepatitis which can’t be given to patients and are required to be discarded.”

Notion of politicians being cunning should change: Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said academic qualification has been a lesser acknowledged aspect in politics, which has led to an assumption that being a politician one has to be cunning. The popular notion that to join politics, one has to be street smart and cunning, should change, Fadnavis said in a video message. He was addressing a gathering via video message at the launch of Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini here in south Mumbai. “It is necessary to have a broader perspective of the society and understand the challenges. Sometimes, even IAS qualified students do not understand the complexities of society,” he said in the message.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

People who follow rules, decorum face consequences Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rebutting Karnataka minister R. Roshan Baig?s objecting to the chanting of ?Jai Maharashtra?, Shiv Sena leader Neelam Ghore on Wednesday asserted that those who follow rules and decorum in life are the ones who face consequences. ?In this country, people who follow rules and decorum in life are the ones who face consequences, and the ones who do not even remain present for the national anthem in Srinagar, are free birds. Just because the state wants people to make Marathi compulsory, the opposition wants to isolate and punish them on their thinking. Sometimes, they also want to disrobe their prestige and honour,? Ghore told ANI. Taking a jibe at the Congress, Ghore said it is the responsibility of the grand old party to prevent its ministers from making unjustifiable statements or committing such acts. ?So whatever Baig has said is not at all legal, it is his vindictive nature that he has expressed. As a member of Shiv Sena- I request President and Prime Minister to look into this matter. The government of Maharashtra has already given letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra but because K?taka CM and Baig belong to congress it is the responsibility of the grand old party?s high command to see to it that such an act should not be done by the ministers again,? Ghore said. Earlier this day, Baig had also allegedly said that Karnataka government was intending to bring in a new legislation to check ?anti-Karnataka activities? by elected representatives. The matter was raised in the Maharashtra Legislative Council on Monday by Shiv Sena legislator Dr. Neelam Gorhe following which the state government assured to take it up with Karnataka Chief Minister, K Siddaramaiah. The Leader of the Upper House Chandrakant Patil said that he had discussed the matter with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Meanwhile, political parties and organisations in Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and other parts of state protested against Baig?s statement. Activists of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in Thane painted ?Jai Maharashtra? on buses plying to Karnataka. Swabhiman Sanghtana workers defaced the board of Karnataka Sangha Hall and wrote ?Jai Maharashtra? on it. Shiv Sena activists in Pune?s Swargate, too, painted the slogan on buses plying to Karnataka. Sainiks in Kolhapur painted slogans ? ?Jai Maharashtra, Jai Shivaji, Jai Bhawani? ? on at least seven buses plying from Kolhapur to Belgaum.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Discriminating Hindus, Muslims won’t harmonize nation Azam Khan on Dilip Ghosh’s remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Condemning West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilip Ghosh?s warning that those who will oppose the chants of ?Bharat Mata Ki Jai? and ?Jai Sri Ram? will relegate to history, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Sunday said by differentiating between Hindus and Muslims, India cannot be made harmonious. ?By differentiating between Hindus and Muslims you cannot make the country harmonious. These people should keep that in mind. The Muslims are very important for creating a new India,? Khan told ANI. He further said the people would have to think differently for creating a new history. ?These people want to split the nation. The people who make such comments should think where Muslims will reside. Remember, the one who acts as a dictator is not the strongest rather he is the coward. Sometimes, the one who is suffering rises against the ill treatment,? he added. Ghosh has stoked yet another controversy by saying that anyone opposing the chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Jai Sri Ram” in the country will become history. ?A leader like Narendra Modi has the capacity to take such decisions in this platform. If anyone restricts he will be thrown out from here. From Gujarat to Guwahati and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari everyone has to utter Bharat Mata ki jai and Jai Sri Ram and the one who would oppose this has to be a part of history,? Ghosh said. Asking the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters to change their “bad habits, Ghosh warned that the BJP activists in the state could not be messed with. ?The BJP is present all over the nation. I request you not to compel us. The BJP is very good but if you compel then the party would be the worst of all,? he added. Coming out in defence of Ghosh, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said we all are Indians, adding that everyone should praise the country they live in.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ban on red beacon will not end VVIP culture Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Asserting that Centre’s move to ban the use of red beacon in vehicles belonging to dignitaries would not end VVIP culture, the Congress on Friday said the decision was not taken after careful consideration, adding that the important functionaries of the government should have some privileges in an emergency situation. ?I don?t think the decision was taken after careful consideration because in an emergency situation, important functionaries of the government should have some privileges. Prohibiting it completely is not the correct thing according to me personally and this not my party?s opinion. VVIP culture is not going to over with the ban,? Congress leader P.C. Chacko told ANI. He further said the Cabinet has the right to take any decision, but it would soon realise that it was not a wise one. ?The Prime Minister does not care for the convention, practices and supremacy. He thinks by removing laal batti, they will remove VIP culture,? he added. Another Congress leader Hidayatullah said that instead of banning red beacon, the ministers should leave their ministry image. ?It is a routine announcement. Instead of banning lat batti, they should stay away from official and ministry image. Sometimes they will obey, sometimes not. There will not be any exemption for anybody, even for the Prime Minister,? he told ANI. The Central Government on Wednesday banned the use of red beacon atop vehicles of dignitaries, including the central and state ministers and other VVIPs. The decision taken by the Union Cabinet will be implemented from May 1. It is reported that five categories would be exempted from the ban – the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker. The ban applies to union ministers, chief ministers, state cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and judges of the High Court and Supreme Court.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mamata refuses to give importance to increase in BJP voteshare

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata today refused to attach any importance to the increase in BJP’s voteshare in the by-election to Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat and said she was not bothered about the performance of other political parties. The result for the by-election was declared during the day. Thanking people for their support to Trinamool Congress, Banerjee said “Who will be in the second or third position is not my concern. That people have again extended their support to us shows that they have liked our work. So we have to continue our work in a more humble manner.” Accusing BJP and CPI-M, Banerjee said, “I have earlier stated that BJP and CPM are working hand-in-glove. Sometimes they transfer votes to each other. We do not do that. CPM does it and even at times the Congress and BJP do it as well.” Banerjee congratulated TMC candidate Chandrima Bhattacharya, who won the seat by a margin of 42,526 votes, and said that she would induct her into her ministry. “She (Chandrima) has really worked well and helped me a lot. We will make her and a couple of others ministers,” Banerjee said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shaheed Diwas 2017: 5 pieces on Bhagat Singh that every Indian must read

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>March 23 is marked as Shaheed Diwas or Martyrs’ Day to remember the day when three brave freedom fighters were hanged by the British. Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar were inspirational youngsters, and their sacrificed remained etched in the Indian conscience. Amongst them, Bhagat Singh stood out for his bravery, clarity of though and exceptional patriotism. On this day, we look back on some pieces that try to capture the essence of Bhagat Singh.Why I am an atheist by Bhagat SinghIt is a matter of debate whether my lack of belief in the existence of an Omnipresent, Omniscient God is due to my arrogant pride and vanity. It never occurred to me that sometime in the future I would be involved in polemics of this kind. As a result of some discussions with my friends, (if my claim to friendship is not uncalled for) I have realised that after having known me for a little time only, some of them have reached a kind of hasty conclusion about me that my atheism is my foolishness and that it is the outcome of my vanity. Even then it is a serious problem.I do not boast of being above these human follies. I am, after all, a human being and nothing more. And no one can claim to be more than that. I have a weakness in my personality, for pride is one of the human traits that I do possess. I am known as a dictator among my friends. Sometimes I am called a boaster. Some have always been complaining that I am bossy and I force others to accept my opinion. Yes, it is true to some extent. I do not deny this charge. We can use the word ‘vainglory’ for it. As far as the contemptible, obsolete, rotten values of our society are concerned, I am an extreme sceptic. Read complete essayBhagat Singh’s letter to his fatherMy dear father,I was astounded to learn that you had submitted a petition to the members of the Special Tribunal in connection with my defence. This intelligence proved to be too severe a blow to be borne with equanimity. It has upset the whole equilibrium of my mind. I have not been able to understand how you could think it proper to submit such a petition at this stage and in these circumstances. Inspite of all the sentiments and feelings of a father, I don’t think you were at all entitled to make such a move on my behalf without even consulting me. You know that in the political field my views have always differed with those of yours. I have always been acting independently without having cared for your approval or disapproval.I hope you can recall to yourself that since the very beginning you have been trying to convince me to fight my case very seriously and to defend myself properly. But you also know that I was always opposed to it. I never had any desire to defend myself and never did I seriously think about it. Whether it was a mere vague ideology or that I had certain arguments to justify my position, is a different question and that cannot be discussed here.You know that we have been pursuing a definite policy in this trial. Every action of mine ought to have been consistent with that policy, my principle and my programme. At present the circumstances are altogether different, but had the situation been otherwise, even then I would have been the last man to offer defence. Read the complete letterWhy no party is worthy of Bhagat Singh’s legacyBhagat Singh was an avowed atheist, which led to a fellow prisoner calling him ‘vain’. At a time when religion seems to be the reason behind burning bridges in the nation and across the world, it is fitting that we revisit one of the most powerful essays ever written by an Indian. In his essay, the young revolutionary detailed the various reasons he had chosen a god-less path.In his seminal piece ‘Why I am an atheist’, he wrote: “As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realised his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings. In this way, he got the courage to face all the trying circumstances and to meet all dangers that might occur in his life and also to restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, with his whimsical laws and parental generosity was painted with variegated colours of imagination. He was used as a deterrent factor when his fury and his laws were repeatedly propagated so that man might not become a danger to society.” Read more…Bhagat Singh’s letter to SukhdevDEAR BROTHER,I have gone through your letter attentively and many times. I realize that the changed situation has affected us differently. The things you hated outside have now become essential to you. In the same way, the things I used to support strongly are of no significance to me any more. For example, I believed in personal love, but now this feeling has ceased to occupy any particular position in my heart and mind. While outside, you were strongly opposed to it but now a drastic change and radicalization is apparent in your ideas about it. You experience it as an extremely essential part of human existence and you have found a particular kind of happiness in the experience.You may still recollect that one day I had discussed suicide with you. That time I told you that in some situations suicide may be justifiable, but you contested my point. I vividly remember the time and place of our conversation. We talked about this in the Shahanshahi Kutia one evening. You said in jest that such a cowardly act can never be justified. You said that acts of this kind were horrible and heinous, but I see that you have now made an about-turn on this subject. Now you find it not only proper in certain situations but also necessary, even essential. My opinion is what you had held earlier, that suicide is a heinous crime. It is an act of complete cowardice. Leave alone revolutionaries, no individual can ever justify such an act.Read more…Mahatma Gandhi’s letter to the Viceroy asking for his sentence to be commutedDEAR FRIEND,It seems cruel to inflict this letter on you, but the interest of peace demands a final appeal. Though you were frank enough to tell me that there was little hope of your commuting the sentence of death on Bhagat Singh and two others, you said you would consider my submission of Saturday. Dr. Sapru met me yesterday and said that you were troubled over the matter and taxing your brain as to the proper course to adopt. If there is any room left for reconsideration, I invite your attention to the following.Popular opinion rightly or wrongly demands commutation. When there is no principle at stake, it is often a duty to respect it. In the present case the chances are that, if commutation is granted, internal peace is most likely to be promoted. In the event of execution, peace is undoubtedly in danger. Read full letter

People should not bother about my working hours Sidhu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who earlier stirred a controversy with his assertion that he will continue to appear on the popular show ?Comedy Nights with Kapil?, said that people should have no problem with how much hours he contributes in office. ?If I work four days a month, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. why are people getting stomach ache?? he asked. The cricketer-turned politician added that his presence in the TV shows will not affect his Cabinet responsibilities. Hitting at former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sidhu added, ?Should I run bus service like Sukbir or indulge in any corruption?? Sidhu has been made the Minister of Tourism and Culture and local bodies in the new Congress Government-led by Captain Amarinder Singh. Sidhu, insisting to participate as a celebrity-judge on the popular TV show, yesterday 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. “Sometimes, I work all seven days from early morning till 6 p.m. So, what I do after 6 p.m. is nobody’s business,” he added. Sidhu, however, did not say much about the Punjab Chief Minister seeking legal counsel over whether the former can continue working in the entertainment industry as an office-holder. “The boss is always right,” Sidhu said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mulayam is ‘soul’ of Samajwadi Party, Congress failed to see that- Amar Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the Samajwadi Party being handed one of the worst drubbings in its political history in Uttar Pradesh polls, expelled party leader Amar Singh on Sunday took on dynasty politics and suggested that to survive, the party needs to look for leadership outside the family. ?Dynastic politics cannot be between two parties. Like right wing leader Vaypayee, Advani had no dynastic links and same goes for leaders of Left parties. Will this system come into Congress and Samajwadi Party as well? If we have to survive then we have to find leadership outside family,? he said. He further alleged that the Congress party failed to understand that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is the soul of the party. ?Reason for the defeat is that many leaders from SP shifted to BSP and vice versa. SP?s main soul is Mulayam Singh Yadav ji and Congress party failed to gauge that sentiment. People with Akhilesh were rowdy and hooligans and future will decide what will be the fate of the party,? he added. Singh also blamed the arrogance of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for the defeat in Uttar Pradesh polls, adding that there is a need for introspection for all those dynastic leaders. Reacting to the comments made by Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav that the verdict in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election did not signify a loss of the party but that of ?arrogance.?, he said ?Shivpal is like my brother. Arrogance is a trait of an ignorant person. If someone gets the power without much effort, then the person is bound to get arrogant. ?In today?s political scenario, people who rose to power due to dynasty rule like Rahul Gandhi ji, Akhilesh Yadav ji, Sukhbir Badal ji, Stalin ji and others, should introspect if the present Indian society is willing to accept dynasty politics,? Singh added. In a veiled attack on Akhilesh, senior Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Singh Yadav earlier said the verdict in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election did not signify a loss of the party but that of ?arrogance.? Shivpal was sacked as state SP president by Akhilesh Yadav after a bitter war that saw him seize control of party affairs. Accepting the defeat in the politically-crucial Akhilesh on Saturday congratulated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its victory and said the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance will continue in future. “The decision of the public is very well accepted by the Samajwadi Party. We wish all the best to the upcoming government in the state,” he said adding, “I am very happy that we formed an alliance with the Congress. Two young leaders came together and this alliance will continue in future as well.” He further said, “Sometimes in politics, you don’t get votes by making people understand something, but by enticing them.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP speaks of communal harmony but not one ticket given to Muslims Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Following their humiliating defeat in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, the Congress on Sunday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for not giving out a single ticket to any Muslim candidate, stating that the saffron party preached about communal harmony but has completely failed in implementing it. ?BJP has not given a single ticket to any Muslim in the state, where they constitute 20 percent of it totally. BJP also wishes that this community should not exist in the country but after the win, BJP speaks on communal harmony and caste feeling all over in the state,? Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa told ANI. Accepting his party’s defeat, he said that one must always introspect into the reason for his victory or loss, adding that the Congress is happy with its victory in Punjab. “Congress and Samajwadi Party joined hands for the development of Uttar Pradesh. But the people didn’t accept it and we accept this defeat. We are happy with our victory in other states. Sometimes even defeat teaches us a lot,” he said. Breaking all previous records, the BJP bagged two-third majority in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The BJP won with a clear majority in Uttarakhand with 57 seats in a 70-member assembly, ousting the Congress led by chief minister Harish Rawat and in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party saw an unprecedented victory with 321 seats, while the Congress-Samajwadi party alliance bagged 54, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) got 19 and others 18.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Goofy minister’ Rijiju should refrain from making remarks on nationalism: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Branding Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju as a ‘goofy minister’ for dubbing the recent clashes between the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Ramjas College as an act of anti-nationalism, the Congress on Monday said that the former should refrain from making statements on issues which he cannot understand.Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said that Rijiju is frivolously branding students as anti-nationals, where the reality is that the MoS has no knowledge about the veracity of the situation.”Whatever happened between AISA and ABVP should not be subjected to an act of anti-nationalism. Sometimes, Kiren Rijiju speaks like a ‘goofy minister’, neither he went there nor he is able to comprehend anything. Similarly in the past he had branded some JNU students as anti nationals. Just because the protest was against the government doesn’t mean they should be dubbed as anti-national,” Dikshit told ANI.The Congress’ statements came in response to Rijiju’s remark on clashes between the Left-affiliated AISA and the RSS-backed ABVP in Delhi University’s North Campus.Rijiju on Sunday said that nobody has the “absolute right” to define nationalism, but anyone who wants to break India and supports terrorists can be called an “anti-national”.He also said under the guise of freedom of expression even some students “fantasise” about “breaking” India.”Nobody has the absolute right to define nationalism but anybody who wants to break India, supports Afzal Guru and terrorists is anti-national,” he said in a tweet.

Martyred soldier from Kashmir made the country proud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lance Naik Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Rather was working overtime to get his sister married to a suitable boy. Few months ago, he finally found a groom and solemnised the engagement of his sister.A family man and a patriot, Lance Naik made India proud when he laid down his life while fighting armed militants at Mulu Chitragam village in the South Kashmir’s Shopian district.Lance Naik Rather was among the three soldiers killed in the militant ambush in Shopian on Wednesday night. Lance Naik Rather is survived by his wife Shahzada Akhter and son Aahil Mohi-ud-din besides his parents.”They were preparing for his sister’s wedding this year. But everything has gone haywire with him gone,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, close family friend and neighbour of Lance Naik Rather.”He was the only earning member of his family. His father and mother are not keeping well. He was keeping a stock of medicine for them. Sometimes he would drop in to give medicines. If he was not able to come, he called his relatives to get the medicines,” said Ahmad.Hundreds of people turned up at Lance Naik Rather’s home on Thursday to offer condolences to the family. “So far the body has not arrived here,” said Ahmad.”There are so many people who are serving in the army. But he is the only boy from the village who has died. He (Lance Naik) used to visit home as he was posted nearby. There is a grief and people are coming to offer condolences”, said Shabir Ahmad, a close neighbour of Lance Naik Rather.

Tolerance, compassion, patriotism India’s core values: Prez

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tolerance for pluralism, compassion for all and love for the motherland are core civilisational values of India where hundreds of languages and all major religions live under one system, President Pranab Mukherjee said today. “The idea of Bharat flows from eternal wisdom of our rich traditions. Our core civilisational values, which are equally relevant today – speak of love for motherland, performance of duty, compassion for all, tolerance for pluralism, honesty in life, self restraint in conduct, responsibility in action and discipline,” said Mukherjee speaking at an event here organised by an RSS body and IGNOU. He added that India is a land of great tradition and discovery which can rise above apparent contradictions and thrive on a composite culture. “Sometimes I wonder about the huge diversity in which we live and we manage to thrive, 200 languages, 1,800 dialects, all seven major religions in the world, every ethnic group, yet we live under one system, one flag, one Constitution, this is to my mind – Bharatiya approach,” he said at the event – ‘The Idea of Bharat’ – organised by RSS affiliate Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal and Indira Gandhi National Open University. Constant churning and refinement has been the secret of continuity of “Bharatiya thought” through times of turbulence, he added. He said “despite the diversity in which we live, we enjoy, we celebrate but don’t ignore individuality when we were talking of great confluence coming from different parts of the world in various streams”. Speaking about Indian education system, he said it was never allowed to be centralised and that there has existed a “Guru Shishya Parampara” or student-teacher tradition. Mukherjee said that in contrast to eye for eye and tooth for tooth approach, Indian civilisation gave humanity the message of ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah’ (May happiness be to all). The President said India has made much economic progress since Independence. He hoped that the ideas generated at the three-day conference would be useful for the country. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and several top leaders of the RSS were present at the event. In his speech, Javadekar mentioned the need to understand and convey the correct perception about the country. He said at one time people used to call it a land of snake charmers and things like that. He added that because of historical invasions, the society faced problems. MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hug Day 2017: Whatsapp and Facebook messages to send your loved ones this Valentine’s Day week

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A hug from your partner has the power to change your mood, regardless of how bad your day may be going. While hugging is something you should be doing all the other days of the year as well, ahead of Valentine’s Day, February 12 has been designated as the Hug Day. Go ahead, use this day to shower love on your partner and give them a tight hug (or more than one)! And while you are at it, don’t forget to send these aww-worthy messages!1. U can’t wrap love in a box,But u can wrap a person in a hug.A hug charms, warms and makes everyone happy.That must be why God gave us arms.So here is a hug 4 u on this Hug Day.2. Koi Kahe Isse Jaadu Ki Jhappi,Koi Kahe Isse Pyaar..Mauka Khubsurat,Aa Gale Lagja Mere Yaar..Happy Hug Day !Bole TohHug Day Mubarak !3. Sometimes it is better to put your love into hugs than in words.Happy Hug Day!4. I am wishing you a hug day,with lots of love, care and smiles,I want to hug you my dear,Can you too?Happy Hug Day!5. Let Me Live And Die In Your Arms.Just Like This, Let Me Continue To Love You.Let Me Live And Die In Your Arms.Happy Hug day!6. No Matter Where You AreI’ll Always Find My Way To Hug You Tight And Shower You With My Kisses!Happy Hug Day!7. Dekha Hai Jab Se Tumko, Mera Dil Nahi Hai Kabu mainJee Chahe Aaj Tod Doon Duniya Ki Saari Rus-meinTera Haath Chahta Hoon, Tera Saath Chahta HoonBaahon Mein Teri Rehna Main Din Raat Chahta Hoon!!Happy Hug Day!Spread the love!

Victory in UP with Congress’ help will only elevate Netaji’s stature-Akhilesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday defended his decision of forging an alliance with Congress, claiming that the coalition will win an overwhelming majority in the polls and get more than 300 seats in the 403-member House. ?This election is not only about state but also about the nation. People say that we should not have given so many seats to Congress but we have a big heart,? he said addressing a rally here. Commenting on the father-son relationship between him and Samajwadi Party?s patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh said that the party still belongs to ?Netaji? and the relationship between them can never change. ?It was necessary to distance ourselves from people who ultimately wanted to harm the Samajwadi Party. Netaji ji has brought us into politics and trained us. Nobody can break our relation with Netaji. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions. We have also made the move towards those who conspired against us,? he said. Trying to downplay Mulayam Singh Yadav’s criticism of the alliance, Akhilesh stated that if SP retains power in Uttar Pradesh, it will be a complement to Netaji’s prestige. ?This is not an act of rebellion… Netaji (Mulayam) is above all of us in the party. The responsibility to take Samajwadi Party forward is now with the next generation. Our only aim is to retain power in the state. His (Netaji) blessings are with us. Netaji will be the happiest person if SP wins. I am sure the SP’s thumping victory will only increase Netaji’s respect.? The poll process in Uttar Pradesh begins on February 11. 73 constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh will go polls in this phase. The filing of nominations for these constituencies will end on January 24. Uttar Pradesh is set to enter into the ‘high-voltage’ seven-phase polling between February 11 and March 8.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Peace imperative for tourism to return: Mehbooba

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said there is a need to uphold peace in the Valley for the tourism to return after the last year’s unrest adversely affected the industry. “When there is peace, tourists will come and which will increase employment and there will be development as well. There is no need to advertise Kashmir. The whole world knows that there is no place beautiful than Kashmir. Sometimes the situation deteriorates which has an adverse impact on tourism,” she told reporters here. The Chief Minister was at the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district to kick-start a 15-day Snow Carnival. The festival marks the beginning of the adventure tourism activities at the resort, often referred to as skiers paradise. Skating, ice-hockey, snow-boarding, snow sculpture, along with other such activities, will be the key features of the carnival. Mehbooba said the tourists, who stayed away from Kashmir due to the last year’s unrest, have now begun visiting the Valley. “Kashmir is very beautiful. God has bestowed it with everything. But what is needed is to establish peace here,” she said. About Bollywood arriving lately to shoot movies in Kashmir, the Chief Minister said actor-director Imran Khan has shot ‘Sargoshiya’ in the Valley and many other film stars are expected to shoot here and in Pahalgam, just as Salman Khan shot for ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. She expressed hope that heavy snowfall after many years would attract more people towards Kashmir. Mehbooba said the government is trying to improve infrastructure for winter sports to provide more facilities to the people visiting valley for snow. I hope the tourists will become our ambassadors and tell other people that Jammu and Kashmir is peaceful, she said. Referring towards film stars Imran and Javed Jafri, Mehbooba said, “They are here and I want them to persuade the people in the industry to shot their films here.” “People are safer here than most of the places outside because people do not murder here for money. Kashmir is a safe place for women. If there is any place where crime related to women is much less, it is our Kashmir,” she said. Later, the chief minister inaugurated restored heritage Maharaja Palace and the newly-constructed base station at the Gulmarg Gondola which houses many stalls showcasing cultural heritage of Kashmir.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

UP Election 2017: In SP’s manifesto, there’s ghee, cooker and smartphone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhiesh Yadav made his first appearance as the National President of Samajwadi Party (SP) while releasing the party manifesto with hash tag, #KaamBoltaHai. With wife Dimple Yadav in tow, Akhilesh appeared confident and commanding.Apart from his presence on a huge poster as well as on the cover of the Manifesto, Mulayam Singh was not seen at the event, neither was brother Shivpal. Interestingly, there was a chair for Mulayam but none for Shivpal.Before the programme started, Azam Khan went to request Mulayam to attend the event but eventually he too failed to return to the event. Even Naresh Agarwal, who had been vocal during the family feud, was absent.After 45 minutes of wait for the party patron, Akhilesh started addressing the crowd that had gathered at the party office.It was the first time in the history of SP that the party election manifesto was released in the absence of Mulayam. However, in his nearly an hour-long speech, Akhilesh claimed unity in the party and said he became the youngest CM of the state due to the blessings of Netaji (Mulayam).“Of late, there have been many developments in politics,” said Akhilesh. “Sometimes one has to sacrifice a lot to form the government but there is one surety that it would be an SP government.” He was indicating to the recent political turmoil in the party and the ongoing alliance talks with Congress.He appealed to the party workers to have faith in him and claimed that he had faced all kinds of challenges, yet he remained devoted to secular, socialist, and development politics.“In 2012, from the same place I had asked all of you to work for just 5 months and then get the 5 years of government. However, today we are not left with much time, just work for a few months and then have your own government again for next 5 years,” appealed Akhilesh.Past achievementsWhile highlighting the salient features of his party’s election manifesto, Akhilesh Yadav blamed BSP for spending all money on erecting elephant statues and questioned the BJP to show what the party has done in its three years of rule.“We completed many schemes which did not even figure in our manifesto,” he claimed. Akhilesh pointed out a few schemes that were launched by the SP government, namely 108 ambulance service, 102 ambulance service for pregnant women, 100 as a police helpline, 1090 as women powerline, and SP monthly pension of Rs 500. He said his government would continue to strengthen these services in its next term as well. Similarly, some other schemes, including Kanya Vidyadhan and Lohia Awas, will also be strengthened in the next government.PROMISES GALORECentral kitchen for midday mealPressure cooker for poor womenOne litre ghee to each child in primary schoolWelfare schemes for unorganised sectorSkill development and vocational education for minoritiesOld age home for senior citizensYouth entrepreneurial developmentHostels for working womenConcession to women in busesSafety guarantee to business communityAmbulance for animalsFour lane roads to connect each district head quarter

Largest Buddhist stupa paints a picture of negligence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 120 km from Bihar’s capital Patna, along the serpentine state highway 74, one comes across a huge pagoda, partially excavated with overgrown shrubs and trees and enclosed in a half-finished boundary-wall. One might dismiss it for just another historical ruin but for a sign that declares it to be Kesaria Stupa, which Buddhists say is the largest of its kind in the world.While the stupa is a major attraction for Buddhists visiting Bihar, it has been reduced to a picture of neglect, without even basic amenities such as toilets.“If you ask for a toilet, you will be redirected to a nearby hotel by the caretakers,” says Inderjeet Kumar, a local resident. According to historians, before attaining nirvana, Buddha spent some of his last days in Kesaria. The 104-foot tall stupa dates to between 200 AD and 750 AD, with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) commencing its excavation in 1998. Till date, six levels, some partly destroyed idols, artefacts, and inscriptions have been excavated. However, a large part of the stupa remains underground.Locals say the Kesaria stupa witnesses a regular flow of tourists. “On any given day, at least 5-10 tourist vehicles stop by, most coming from and headed to Vaishali (about 100 km away on the same state highway). During tourist season, as many as 40-50 vehicles bring local and foreign tourists here,” says Chotan, who runs a small kiosk selling snacks outside the stupa premises. But despite being a popular tourist attraction, Kesaria is yet to be developed. “The boundary wall is only half done, (and) wild grass and trees have grown on the campus as well as on the stupa,” says Inderjeet Kumar, a local resident. “Visitors throw garbage on the premises without much care. Even the security guards are not enough,” he adds. ASI-Patna officials refused to comment on the matter. The ASI has declared the stupa a protected monument of national importance. Notices near the entrance of the site announce that 200 metres around the stupa is a regulated zone, while the area in a 100-metre radius is a prohibited zone. Another board asks people not to climb the stupa, but to no avail. Vendors claim that visitors climb on the stupa to click photographs. “Sometimes the security persons warn them, but many a times they go unnoticed,” says Chotan.

Drums beat tech to bring people together in Noida

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With our growing dependency on technology and the need to sit in front of computers or to stay involved with our phones, the culture of people meeting and spending time together is becoming almost ancient. But a group of amateur and professional Djembe performers is yet to give up.Media Consultant Debu Mishra, Aeronautical Engineer Anurag Chauhan, and IT professional Ashish Bajaj launched the Noida Djembe Drum Circle in early 2013. Driven by their shared love and passion for drumming, the three continued their journey with zeal, and now 20-25 drummers meet in the Great India Palace (GIP) mall premises every alternate Sunday. And every single time, the meet-up manages to attract a huge audience.The percussion group’s Djembe Circle is a community gathering wherein people from all walks of life can come to play together and feel connected. There is no fixed theme or genre for these meetings, and people simply meet to consciously create resonant energy. “It is a purely non-commercial get-together to play, smile, and de-stress ourselves. Sometimes, the audiences join in too… they dance and make merry,” says Debu, who has been playing different percussion instruments since 2000.Talking about the initiative, Mishra says: “We never rehearse before our meet-ups. Still, everything happens in synergy. That’s the best thing about community drumming.” The group has been supporting social causes as well.Once a month, they assemble at the Nirmal Hriday mental health NGO and play for the inmates there. The nurses have confirmed that the inmates do not require tranquillisers for a couple of days after the performance.The concept of drum circles is believed to have originated in as far back as 500 AD, mainly as a way to communicate over long distances with other tribes. Over time, however, it also began to be a way of celebration. Made of nylon and polyester ropes, Djembe drums have the power to stimulate and relax minds of people playing or listening to them. Furthermore, studies have revealed that playing drums reduces stress levels. In fact, drums have been used by medical professionals to help improve symptoms of mild depression, autism, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, among other ailments.

Uttar Pradesh: BJP taunts ‘dynastic takeover’, says SP blinded by its own ‘parivar’ interest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at the ongoing political tussle in the Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday alleged this is dynastic takeover through muscle power, adding the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh is least bothered about the people.”What we are seeing in Samajwadi Party, it cannot be described as a fight, feud or tussle but it is a takeover enacted by Akhilesh Yadav. Samajwadi Party is blinded by its own parivar interest, a party where each individual is stabbing the other. This is not politics but a kind of a dynastic takeover through muscle power,” BJP leader G V L Narsimha Rao said.Rao further said that the people of Uttar Pradesh who have given mandate to the Samajwadi Party were forced to see the family circus being played out in public.”Shamelessly, these party leaders are carrying on with their activities. The manner in which this political family is unravelling itself, it will certainly force people of Uttar Pradesh to think whether it is even worth looking at parties that is based on father and son, mother and son, behen and bhai. Certainly the people of UP will give fitting lesson to this family,” he added.Echoing similar sentiments, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “This is a family drama to divert the attention from the misgovernance. People cannot forget that there has been no development work. All their focus is on power and not on serving people of Uttar Pradesh.”The party split on Sunday with a national convention declaring Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav the new national president, a post that was held by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. The convention also made Mulayam the Samajwadi Party’s patron.Admitting that he has taken a ‘tough’ stand, Akhilesh on Sunday justified the turn of events in the Samajwadi Party. “Sometimes to protect the ones you love you must make the right decision. What I did today was a tough decision but one that I had to take,” he tweeted.

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