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Rajinikanth to float political party: The journey of Shivaji Rao Gaekwad

Superstar Rajinikanth, who rode to stardom with his unique acting style and cast a spell on people cutting across barriers, has come a long way from his humble beginnings to his much-delayed political plunge.Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, rechristened Rajinikanth on screen, is set to unveil his brand new theme of spiritual politics as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious seniors in the industry – such as M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, who rose to rule the state after successful film careers.The 67-year old actor, who had kept everyone in suspense on his political entry for the past over two decades, has chosen to make the much-awaited announcement today, saying he would form a party ahead of the next assembly elections.Also readTop 10 quotes from Rajinikanth’s speech to launch new political partyHis political plunge comes at a time when Tamil Nadu is passing through a state of flux with the death of Jayalalithaa last year and wheelchair-bound nonagenarian DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s virtual retirement owing to age-related issues.Born on December 12, 1950, to Ramabai and Ramoji Rao Gaekwad in Karnataka, Rajinikanth tried his hand at several odd jobs before becoming a bus conductor.Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsTo chase his dream, acting, he had to quit as a conductor on then Bangalore Transport Service’s “10 A” bus route.The first movie offer came to him when he was in the Film Institute here where he was spotted by noted director K Balachander, credited with introducing several actors who made it big in filmdom.Also readSwamy calls Rajinikanth ‘illiterate’, says ‘political entry only media hype, people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent’He made his celluloid debut in 1975 in Tamil film “Apoorva Ragangal”, a family drama directed by Balachander who gave him the screen name Rajinikanth.In his first appearance, Rajinikanth exhibited uniqueness in doing even the most mundane things like opening a gate with his leg while smoking a cigar, indicating he was a star to reckon with.He gained immense popularity with his unique style which included popping cigarettes into his mouth with ease and one- liners such as “Idhu eppadi irukku” (How is it?) in his formative years film “16 Vayadhinile”.After starting with negative image characters, Rajinikanth exploded into the Tamil film world as his potential as a hero came to the surface a few years later.His fan following kept swelling and scenes of ‘milk bath’ of his life-size cutouts and bursting of crackers became synonymous with release of his films most of which went on to become box office hits.A Padma Vibushan awardee, a honour he received last year, Rajinikanth has to his credit over 150 films, including some in Hindi and Telugu.If movies like ‘Billa’, “Aarilrundhu Arubathu Varai’ and ‘Murattu Kaalai,’ (during his formative first ten years) dramatically improved both his performance and rating as a top hero, later flicks like ‘Padayappa,’ ‘Annamalai,’ ‘Arunachalam,’ helped him become the ultimate ‘superstar’.Notably “Muthu,” became a hit even in Japan bringing him Nipponese fans.Rajinikanth’s recent super hit films include ‘Kabali’, ‘Endhiran’, ‘Chandramukhi’, and ‘Shivaji the Boss’.The cult image he had developed over the years gave away for expectations among his die-hard fans of his political foray though he appeared reluctant apparently knowing that not all matinee idols replicated their reel success in politics.Top yesteryear star and a contemporary of MGR, Shivaji Ganesan’s debut in politics turned out to be a nightmare as he was trounced his his home Thanjavur District in 1989.Many of Rajinikanth’s later films were sprinkled with “punch dialogues”, apparently aimed to please the masses.A dialogue in one of his films “Muthu” (1995) which translated “none can predict when and how I will come, but will arrive at the right time” became a rage and further fuelled hopes of his fans.Rajinikanth’s other popular punchlines including “En vazhi thani vazhi” (my way is a unique, separate way) (Padayappa), “Andavan solran Arunachalam Seiyaran (God directs me, I do it, – Arunachalam) contributed immensely to his mass appeal.For the first time, he had a taste of politics when he famously voiced his opposition to Jayalalithaa in 1996 and conversely supporting the then DMK-led coalition which captured power in the state that year.Though the actor’s opposition to Jayalalithaa was hyped by his fans as a prime factor for DMK’s success in the hustings in 1996, his declaration that he will vote for the BJP-led front in 2004 Parliamentary polls did not have any bearing.Rainikanth had said his move to support the front was based on an assurance given by the National Democratic Alliance that it would strive for linking all rivers.A spiritually inclined person, Rajinikanth has survived a serious ailment in 2011, which he referred to in his ongoing interaction with fans here yesterday and said because of their prayers to God he was alive.Despite Rajinikanth’s stature, he is not without opposition in Tamil Nadu. Fringe pro-Tamil outfits, oppose him for his Marathi roots and previous Karnataka domicile.The actor had also often been targeted for allegedly not fighting for the state’s lifeline issues such as Cauvery water row with Karnataka.Every time, the Cauvery issue erupted, the pro-Tamil outfits used to target him for his “silence,” in the matter.Seeking to counter such attacks, in 2002 the actor had said he would start a people’s movement the Cauvery issue stressing on interlinking of Himalayan and peninsular rivers.The actor had also said some months ago said he was a “Pachai Tamilan.” (A pure Tamil).Pointing to living in Tamil Nadu for over four decades patronised by the people, he had said that his father was born in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district.Rajinikanth married a Tamil Brahmin woman Latha and has two daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya, who have also entered the film world as directors.

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‘Why waste time, let Thalaivar swear in’: Twitterati celebrate Rajinikanth’s political entry

Breaking: Politics joins @superstarrajini . My bet is he will win 235 out of the 234 seats in Tamil Nadu in next Assembly elections 🙂
December 31, 2017″
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>’Why waste time, let Thalaivar swear in’: Twitterati celebrate Rajinikanth’s political entry Tamil actor Rajinikanth gestures while announcing his political entry
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 17:35 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday announced his entry into politics, declaring that his yet-to-be-named political party will contest all 234 seats in the next assembly polls in Tamil Nadu.The announcement, which was made at the last day of his 6-day fan meet in Chennai, ends two decades of speculation over the political entry of the actor. While thrilled fans celebrated the announcement, politicians celebrities and politicians congratulated the actor. Social media also erupted after the announcement, with Twitterati taking to the microblogging site to wish him well on Superstar Rajini’s political journey.Here are some of the comments on Twitter following Rajinikanth’s announcement: Also readRajinikanth’s fans burst into celebration as superstar announces political entry

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Indian superstar Rajinikanth tells fans he is entering politics

The film superstar says he will form a party to “change the political system” in Tamil Nadu state.

‘Welcome! I congratulate my brother Rajinikanth on his political entry’, says Kamal Haasan

Rajinikanth ended 2017 with a bang by announcing his decision to enter politics. His contemporary and his colleague, Kamal Haasan congratulated and welcomed Superstar Rajiniknath’s decision. Kamal Haasan told ANI, “I congratulate my brother Rajini for his social consciousness and his political entry. Welcome welcome.” Earlier Haasan reportedly hinted that he was willing to work with Rajinikanth if the superstar ever decided to enter politics. Rajini entered films in 1975 film, ‘Apoorva Rangapal​’ which also starred Haasan in the lead. The two biggest superstars went on to share screen space in over 13 films, which is a huge number for stars of their stature. Earlier in an interview to NDTV, Kamal Haasan said, “We have been taught to look in unison. We are like a 3D camera. We are been trained by K Balachander. Fortunately, even though we are stiff competitors we have stayed brothers. We carved out our own domain. We were so wise that we were made to act in many films. We have done 13 films together and then we realised they are splitting up our remuneration and giving it. That’s when it hit us, if we go separate, we can each earn the amount they pay the two of us.” After 1985’s Geraftaar, the duo announced they won’t act together again. Also readSwamy calls Rajinikanth ‘illiterate’, says ‘political entry only media hype, people of Tamil Nadu are intelligent’Now Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan announced their entry into politics in the same year as well. In the early hours of Sunday morning, superstar Rajinikanth confirmed his political debut adding that he will be contesting in the next state assembly elections by forming a new party. While addressing a gathering at the Sri Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam in Chennai, Rajinikanth said, “My political entry is definite. This is a long-pending decision. I will feel guilty if I don’t take this decision at least now. In next assembly elections, I will form a party and will contest all constituencies in Tamil Nadu.”Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly pollsWhile expressing his concern about the political scenario of the state, Thalaiva called for a complete change in the democratic system.(With ANI Inputs)

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Post Cyclone Ockhi relief work, 845 lives saved, but 661 fishermen missing

The defence forces and other agencies involved in rescue operations when Cyclone Ockhi battered southern India saved 845 lives, but 661 fishermen still remain missing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha today.In a written response to a question, Sitharaman said the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard saved the lives of 821 people until December 20.Another 24 lives were saved by other agencies, including merchant navy vessels.Of the total 845 people rescued, 453 were from Tamil Nadu, 362 from Kerala, and 30 from Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.However, Sitharaman said 661 fishermen were still missing.The majority of those untraceable are from Tamil Nadu (400) and Kerala (261), the worst hit states when Cyclone Ockhi swept through the coastlines of southern India.The cyclone had caught many fishermen off guard after it formed quickly in the Arabian Sea in early December.Replying to another question, Sitharaman’s deputy and minister of state in the defence ministry, Subhash Bhamre, said admission of girl child has been approved in Sainik School in Chhingchhip, Mizoram, from academic session 2018- 2019.On another question, Bhamre sought to allay the fears of defence personnel, and said there has been no downgrading or change in the exisiting equivalance of the service ranks vis- a-vis their civilian counterparts.

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Tamil Nadu parties divided over Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry

Tamil Nadu’s political fraternity seems to be divided on actor Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry, with the ruling AIADMK saying that it was his “democratic right” while opposition DMK is waiting for the official word.”India is a democratic country. Anybody can join politics. It is up to the people to accept it or not, people are the judges,” senior AIADMK leader and state Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said. Handlooms Minister O S Manian, however, told reporters in Nagapattinam that politics “may not be ideal” for Rajinikanth, considering his health. The 67-year-old actor had availed medical treatment, including at Singapore-based Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in 2011 for some illness. Manian said the actor should take the political plunge immediately, if he really wanted to do so.DMK Rajya Sabha MP, T K S Elangovan said it would be appropriate to react once the actor officially declares that he would be joining politics. “For any party, ideology and stand on key matters including language is important,” he told PTI. BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said her party had always welcomed the actor’s political debut. She said they could see a “determination” and “clarity” in his address. CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP TK Rangarajan said “he is a good friend..any voter can become a candidate, establish a party and fight election…it is his democratic right.” “But let him first enter politics, outline his policies and politics,”Rangarajan said and added that only then a reaction would be correct.The charismatic actor, who enjoys cult status in the Tamil film industry, today said he will announce his stand on entering politics on December 31.

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Tamil Nadu: Congress trying to analyse DMK’s debacle in RK Nagar bypoll

The Congress in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday constituted a panel to identify the reasons for its ally DMK nominee’s drubbing in the R K Nagar bypoll.This comes a day after the DMK set up a three-member committee to identify the reasons for its failure at the hustings.The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee team will examine the factors for the defeat of N Maruthu Ganesh, a TNCC release said.The panel, led by senior party functionary R Damodaran, would also look into the congress party’s contribution towards working for the DMK nominee’s victory.The team, which has been tasked to give its report in four days, comprises four office-bearers including C D Meyappan and Americai V Narayanan, TNCC president Su Thirunavukkarasar said in the release.The bypoll was held on December 21 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of sitting member and then chief minister Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.Belying the expectations of DMK and ruling AIADMK too, rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran, who contested as an independent, won the bypoll by a margin of 40,707 votes against E Madhushudanan (AIADMK).DMK’s N Maruthu Ganesh came third securing 24,651 votes, in the process, losing deposit.

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10 TTV Dhinakaran loyalists sacked after RK Nagar results

AIADMK expelled five senior functionaries and relieved five district secretaries from their posts, calling them “betrayers” for supporting sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran.The action came a day after he dealt a major setback to Tamil Nadu’s ruling party and also Opposition DMK by winning the crucial bypoll to late CM J Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar Assembly constituency.The action was decided at a meeting of top leaders led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.The independent candidate and rebel leader has staked claim to Jayalalithaa’s legacy and AIADMK’s leadership because of the mandate and his jailed aunt VK Sasikala’s proximity with her.The constituency has a huge symbolic value because of its association with Jayalalithaa.”Action will be taken against all those from the party cadres to headquarters office bearers who betrayed the party,” said Palanisami after the meeting.This is the first instance of a ruling party losing a bypoll in Tamil Nadu since 2004. TVT is the first independent to have emerged victorious since 2006.He played down the action and said that true party cadres were with him. “More people would come to me as the people of RK Nagar endorsed my camp,” he said, noting that EPS and OPS convened an urgent meeting as they fear desertion from their camp.The bypoll was necessitated following Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5 last year.In August, AIADMK’s two rival factions finally came together, overcoming a series of false starts, six months after Jayalalithaa’s death caused a fracture in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party. Palanisami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam then announced a merger deal. They later expelled Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party.After Jayalalithaa’s death, Panneerselvam was locked in a succession battle with Sasikala before she was convicted of corruption and sent to jail in February this year. Panneerselvam is Jayalalithaa’s staunch loyalist and was a preferred stand-in during her lifetime. Sasikala was a long-time associate of Jayalalithaa.As per the deal, Panneerselvam is leading the AIADMK as its coordinator, while Palanisami is its co-coordinator. Panneerselvam and his supporter Mafoi K Pandiarajan had been later sworn in as Deputy CM and a minister, respectively.

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RK Nagar bypoll: Embarrassed AIADMK alleges ‘tacit understanding’ between Dhinakaran and DMK

The ruling AIADMK today alleged there was a ‘tacit understanding’ between TTV Dhinakaran and the opposition DMK to defeat it in the RK Nagar bypoll, where the sidelined party leader emerged victorious.The party is also likely to brainstorm on today’s defeat at a meeting in Chennai on Monday. Party coordinator O Panneerselvam and co-coordinator K Palaniswami said DMK, their party’s archrival, faced its “worst defeat” in an election to any Assembly segment in Tamil Nadu so far. The DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh finished third in the bypoll by garnering 24,651 votes, in the process losing deposit.”The result of the RK Nagar bypoll is an outcome of the tacit understanding between DMK Working President MK Stalin and Dhinakaran,” Panneerselvam and Palaniswami said in a joint statement tonight. It showed how Stalin and Dhinakaran planned to defame party founder, the late MG Ramachandran and late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa by joining hands to “defeat Two leaves,” the AIADMK’s symbol, they said. “People are amazed how DMK is pushed to a situation where it could not even get the primary votes it has in RK Nagar. At the same time, they are questioning how DMK can enter into a conspiracy with Dhinakaran to defame Amma,” they added.Also readRK Nagar bypoll: 4 big takeaways from TTV Dhinakaran’s stunning win Stalin had entered into such a “tacit understanding” unmindful of his party’s performance as his sole intention was to target the AIADMK government, they alleged. Taking a swipe at Dhinakaran, the two leaders said he had earlier been dismissed by Jayalalithaa along with other relatives of her confidante VK Sasikala. They also accused him of “betraying” Jayalalithaa even after her death by allegedly joining hands with DMK. They cited Dhinakaran’s response to the acquittal of DMK leaders Kanimozhi and A Raja, in the 2G spectrum allocation case on December 21, that he was happy for them as they hailed from Tamil Nadu.Also readRK Nagar bypoll: Dhinakaran rises against all odds to stump rivals “The election outcome shows he (Dhinakaran) received DMK votes as a reward for this. Realising he cannot take on AIADMK and Two Leaves directly, Stalin has diverted his party votes to Dhinakaran,” they charged and accused the DMK leader of “betraying” his party. The two AIADMK leaders also levelled allegations of money distribution against Dhinakaran. They said Dhinakaran’s victory cannot be accepted as the “thought process” of the people of entire Tamil Nadu. The win achieved by “conspiracy” by Stalin and Dhinakaran will not affect AIADMK nor was it a setback, they said.They vowed to take forward the “Amma rule” and deliver welfare and commit to upholding Jayalalithaa’s fame. Dhinakaran today won the prestigious RK Nagar Assembly bypoll by a thumping margin of over 40,000 votes.

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RK Nagar bypoll: Dhinakaran rises against all odds to stump rivals

Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran who scripted an emphatic win in the RK Nagar assembly bypoll has proved his main campaign line that he will be chosen by people to succeed ‘Amma’ (late chief minister Jayalalithaa), who represented the constituency twice.The victory, against all odds, including loss of Two Leaves symbol and a slew of cases against him, is being seen as a worrying development both for AIADMK and principal opposition DMK, which finished third behind the ruling party.After the revolt by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Dhinakaran has vowed to unseat the regime, accusing him of having betrayed the faith reposed in him by jailed party leader and his aunt V K Sasikala.Also readTTV Dhinakaran wins RK Nagar bypoll, DMK and BJP candidates lose depositThe suave Dhinakaran was handpicked by Sasikala to lead the party when she went to the Parapana Agrahara Jail in Bengaluru to serve a four year jail term in a disproportionate assets case in February this year.Dhinakaran is not new to electoral politics. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 from Periyakulam and to the Rajya Sabha in 2004.Also readRK Nagar bypoll result: Subramanian Swamy calls for accountability after BJP gets lesser votes than NOTAKnown for his brilliant organisation skills, he was a key player in party appointments albeit from behind the screens and during parleys with allies at the time of elections.However, his sudden emergence as party Deputy General Secretary slowly ruffled feathers and Palaniswami teamed up with then rival leader and now Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to form the main bloc of AIADMK which now has the Two-Leaves symbol.In April-May last, Dhinakaran went through a rough patch with the Delhi Police arresting him for allegedly trying to bribe Election Commission officials to get the ‘two leaves’ symbol. Among others, he also faces a FERA case.Eighteen of his loyalist MLAs were disqualified by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal months ago and a case in this regard is pending before the Madras High Court.Post the merger of the factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and now his deputy O Panneerselvam, a general council meeting of AIADMK in September had annulled the appointment of Sasikala as the party general secretary and all subsequent appointments/removals made by her, including that of Dhinakaran.Unfazed, 54-year old Dhinakaran, who alongwith Sasikala had worked closely with Jayalalithaa for about three decades, moved on confidently and continued to meet his supporters in all the districts.Articulate, outgoing and sociable, Dhinakaran, a former MP, has been asserting that party cadres were with him and he was led by “Chinnamma Sasikala,” a true successor to ‘Amma’.His appeal to vote for him was in simple, plain spoken everyday Tamil unlike the bombastic style of some leaders.To their credit, Dhinakaran and his followers were able to take the ‘pressure cooker symbol’ to the voters.In about two decades, he is the first independent candidate to be elected in Tamil Nadu and that too with such a huge margin scoring higher than that of Jayalalithaa in 2016 Assembly polls.In that election, Jayalalithaa had won by a margin of 39,545 votes defeating DMK nominee Shimla Muthuchozhan. While Jayalalithaa secured 97,218 votes, the DMK candidate 57,673 votes.Despite the spectacular poll show, Dhinakaran and his followers face the allegation of attempting to bribe the voters through ingenious ways. DMK Working President MK Stalin alleged money power behind today’s electoral outcome.

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TTV Dhinakaran wins RK Nagar bypoll, DMK and BJP candidates lose deposit

In a bitterly fought election which can have huge political implications in Tamil Nadu, sidelined AIADMK leader and independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran on Sunday secured a comfortable win in the RK Nagar bypoll. Dhinakaran polled 89,013 votes out of total 1,76,885 votes while his nearest rival, official AIADMK candidate E Madhusudhanan, secured 48,306 votes. All other 57 candidates, including DMK’s Maruthu Ganesh, 24,651 votes, and BJP’s Karu Nagarajan, 1417 votes, lost deposits. The bypoll held on December 21 had seen a record 77.68% voter turnout. RK Nagar, represented twice by Jayalalithaa, has an electorate of 2,28,234, comprising 1,10,903 men, 1,17,232 women and 99 transgenders.Also readRK Nagar bypoll result: Subramanian Swamy calls for accountability after BJP gets lesser votes than NOTAIn the 2016 Assembly polls, the then AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa had secured 97,218 votes which was almost 58% of the total votes polled. His sucessor Dhinakaran has secured 50.32% of the total votes. The 2015 RK Nagar bypoll, Jayalalithaa was elected by a huge margin of 1.5 lakh votes. The constituency had then had witnessed a record 75 per cent turnout.Also readRK Nagar bypoll: Dhinakaran says trends reflect people wanting changeThe contest for the seat, which was represented by late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, had become a battle of prestige for both Dhinakaran and AIADMK faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami. Even before the poll results were announced and trends showed Dhinakaran leading, he said it was time for the state government to go. During the counting that began 8 am at Queen Mary’s College here, Dhinakaran kept a comfortable lead over his rival. Also readTTV Dhinakaran wins RK Nagar bypoll by over 40,000 votes, deals huge blow to ruling AIADMK For Dhinakaran, who lost the Two Leaves election symbol to AIADMK following merger of factions led by Palaniswami and former rebel O Panneerselvam, the bypoll success will give him another chance to claim that he represent the welfare legacy of Jayalalithaa. For the ruling EPS-OPS regime, the loss is a huge blow. The run up to the bypoll saw political parties and candidates holding as many as 152 public meetings and taking out 605 processions with the campaigning ending on December 19. There were also widespread allegations of distribution of money, use of state machinery and carious other wrongdoings. The nomination for the seat also was not without controversy, with the nomination papers of two high profile candidates – actor Vishal and Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar – being rejected.

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2G spectrum case verdict helps boost morale of resurgent DMK in Tamil Nadu

For the resurgent Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the acquittal of its leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi by the CBI special court in Delhi in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases is a morale-boosting victory for the party to get rid of the “corruption” tag which haunted it in three successive elections since 2011.The CBI court’s verdict has come at a favourable time for the DMK when the opposition parties in the Tamil Nadu are consolidating towards it and the ruling AIADMK is in shambles following the demise of Jayalalithaa last year. Free from corruption stain, the DMK under the leadership of its working president MK Stalin would launch an effective offensive against AIADMK government which is reduced to a minority government after the disqualification of its 18 rebel MLAs owing allegiance to VK Sasikala-TTV Dinakaran faction. Once the Madras High Court decides on the petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs, the Edappadi K Palaniswami government would be asked to prove its majority on the floor of the House. The ruling AIADMK’s proximity with the BJP has helped the DMK to rally opposition parties together. Apart from its allies Congress, IUML and MMK, DMK has got the support of MDMK, CPI (M), CPI and VCK in the RK Nagar bypoll. A senior DMK leader said that there is a good possibility of this grouping emerging as an electoral alliance for the subsequent polls. “Palaniswami government will certainly fail the floor test and the assembly election may come at any time next year. We will win the election whenever it is held,” he said. Also read2G scam verdict: Court pulls up then SG for dithering in caseWhen asked about the prospects of DMK joining hands with BJP, the DMK leader dismissed it saying, “There is no chance of joining hands with BJP. We are very clear on it.” He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on party chief Karunanidhi last month triggered talks of such an alliance. “This verdict is a moral victory for the DMK. It will improve the prospects of the DMK. DMK will be a much sought after ally and more parties will join its alliance,” political commentator Gnani Sankaran told DNA. On the prospects of DMK ditching Congress and joining BJP alliance, he said that the saffron party would be more interested to woo the DMK whose prospect is bright in the election. “You cannot rule out an alliance between BJP and DMK,” he said.Also read2G scam verdict: DMK and allies welcome verdict, AIADMK favours appeal in caseThe corruption had become a major political plank for opposition parties, except for AIADMK and DMK, in the 2016 assembly election with both the major Dravidian parties caught in the corruption charges. After defeating DMK in the state assembly in 2011 and Lok Sabha polls in 2014 using the 2G scam, late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa found herself targeted by opposition parties on corruption charges after her conviction and subsequent acquittal in the disproportionate assets case in 2014-15. After Jayalalithaa’s death last year, the Supreme Court in February this year upheld the conviction in the assets case and jailed her close aide VK Sasikala and two others.

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PM visits Ockhi-affected Kanyakumari

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met Cyclone Ockhi-affected fishermen and farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district. He also chaired a a review meeting to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster that left dead and several missing.After visiting cyclone-hit Lakshadweep in the morning, Modi reached Kanyakumari by an IAF helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram. Here, he was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami, his Deputy O Panneerselvam and other senior officials.After the state officials made a presentation on the impact of the cyclone on the district, Modi interacted with around 25 fishermen representatives from eight coastal villages of Kanyakumari district and six parish priests, who also handed him a memorandum with 12 demands. They included widening the search operation for missing fishermen in the deep sea, satellite phones for fishermen, establishment of a naval base with helipad in the district and reservation for fishermen youth in the coast guard and Navy. Fr Andrews Cosmos, the vicar of Thoothoor Forane parish, who participated in the interaction with the PM and said that Modi gave a patient ear to the affected fishermen.However, according to some of the victims, the Prime Minister did not give any concrete assurance and simply said: “I will look into it”. When one Rebisha of Chinnathurai fishing village broke down into tears, talking of the loss of four men in her family – father, brother and two brother-in-laws — Mr Modi assured her that he would look into it.Twenty days after the cyclone hit the coastal district, as many as 350 fishermen are still missing with the families hoping that they would return to the shore before the Christmas if they are alive.Modi’s visit has come days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep. After the meeting, Palanisami who had presented two separate memorandums, said that he has asked the Centre to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national disaster and sought a Rs 9,300 crore relief package.”We have requested the Prime Minister to set up a permanent Coast Guard station along with a helipad in Kanyakumari district. We also demanded setting up of a fishing harbour with cold storage facilities and a communication centre to transmit messages of weather warning to the fishermen,” he said.HC STEPS INThe Madras High Court directed the Centre and TN government to inform it about the fate of 551 fishermen from Kanyakumari reported missing. Justices R Subbiah and A D Jagadish Chandra ordered the two governments to submit their replies by December 22. Petitioner Anto Lenin submitted that thousands of fishermen had ventured into the sea on November 29-30 from Kanyakumari district when the cyclone hit southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast.

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PM Narendra Modi visits Ockhi-affected Kanyakumari

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met Cyclone Ockhi-affected fishermen and farmers in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district. He also chaired a a review meeting to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster that left dead and several missing.After visiting cyclone-hit Lakshadweep in the morning, Modi reached Kanyakumari by an IAF helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram. Here, he was received by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami, his Deputy O Panneerselvam and other senior officials.After the state officials made a presentation on the impact of the cyclone on the district, Modi interacted with around 25 fishermen representatives from eight coastal villages of Kanyakumari district and six parish priests, who also handed him a memorandum with 12 demands. They included widening the search operation for missing fishermen in the deep sea, satellite phones for fishermen, establishment of a naval base with helipad in the district and reservation for fishermen youth in the coast guard and Navy. Fr Andrews Cosmos, the vicar of Thoothoor Forane parish, who participated in the interaction with the PM and said that Modi gave a patient ear to the affected fishermen.However, according to some of the victims, the Prime Minister did not give any concrete assurance and simply said: “I will look into it”. When one Rebisha of Chinnathurai fishing village broke down into tears, talking of the loss of four men in her family – father, brother and two brother-in-laws — Mr Modi assured her that he would look into it.Twenty days after the cyclone hit the coastal district, as many as 350 fishermen are still missing with the families hoping that they would return to the shore before the Christmas if they are alive.Modi’s visit has come days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep. After the meeting, Palanisami who had presented two separate memorandums, said that he has asked the Centre to declare Cyclone Ockhi as a national disaster and sought a Rs 9,300 crore relief package.”We have requested the Prime Minister to set up a permanent Coast Guard station along with a helipad in Kanyakumari district. We also demanded setting up of a fishing harbour with cold storage facilities and a communication centre to transmit messages of weather warning to the fishermen,” he said.HC STEPS INThe Madras High Court directed the Centre and TN government to inform it about the fate of 551 fishermen from Kanyakumari reported missing. Justices R Subbiah and A D Jagadish Chandra ordered the two governments to submit their replies by December 22. Petitioner Anto Lenin submitted that thousands of fishermen had ventured into the sea on November 29-30 from Kanyakumari district when the cyclone hit southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala coast.

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BJP gears up to make a mark in states not won

In the midst of celebrations after retaining Gujarat and snatching Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, the BJP has not lost sight of the 2019 General elections. The party is now preparing to make deep inroads into Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and the East coast.After a ‘close shave’ in Gujarat, BJP has decided not become complacent. Realising that 2019 might not be a cakewalk for the party, it has renewed its efforts aiming at winning 120-odd seats, and called it Project Coromandal. These seats open a window to make up for the losses it might incur in the northern states.Though the project is a rough reference to a geographical area stretching along the east coast — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal — the North East too has been included in this as a logical political extension.”We cannot afford to be complacent. In UP, we bagged 71 of 80, and in MP we won 27 out of 29. But the point is that we might not be able to better these numbers in 2019 Lok Sabha elections; we may lose some. We need to expand to regions and states where we have not yet made inroads into and where there is scope of expansion. This way we would be able to make up for the losses in the states where we performed spectacularly,” said a senior BJP leader.In the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country. The party wants to change that in 2019.BJP’S PERFORMANCE IN 2014 POLLSIn the six states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, out of a total of 190 parliamentary seats, BJP bagged only 15 in 2014 despite a saffron sweep in the rest of the country

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Imran Khan confuses Jayalalithaa with Sasikala, later deletes tweet

In what seems as an embarrassing goof-up, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan on Tuesday mixed the name of late Indian actress turned politician J.Jayalalithaa with her close aide Sasikala, who is currently serving jail term. Imran, in his tweet, had wrongly stated that Indian politician Sasikala died recently, whereas she is still alive.”Shashikala, a famous South Indian actress turned politician in India’s Tamil Nadu died recently & below her house were discovered gold reserves, jewels & illegal stash of money! A msg to all corrupt Idrs: the hoarded bns stolen from our impoverished masses will be left behind,” Imran said in now deleted tweet. However, after this gaffe was caught by a Gulf News journalist Sadiq S Bhat, Imran promptly deleted his tweet.”Dear @ImranKhanPTI you got it completely wrong. Sasikala is in jail. Her friend Jayalalitha, ex-CM of Tamil Nadu, died late last year and those pictures are obviously fake. One expects better from a senior politician like you,” Bhat tweeted along with screenshot of Imran’s tweet.Also readImran Khan not out, close aide disqualified from parliament in foreign funding case by Pakistan SCThe pictures, which Imran had posted, were reportedly fake and had been taken from bank robberies in two different places in India. The Supreme Court of India found Sasikala and her co-accused ‘ Ilavarasi (her sister-in-law) and V. N. Sudhakaran (her nephew) guilty of conspiring, laundering and amassing illicit wealth worth about Rs. 66.44 crore in the 1990s in a criminal conspiracy with Jayalalithaa. The three have been sentenced to a four-year jail term by the apex court.Sasikala is currently serving her jail term. She was a close aide of J. Jayalalithaa, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, who headed AIADMK from 1989 until her death in 2016. After Jayalalithaa’s death, the party’s general council unanimously appointed her as the interim secretary general of AIADMK. Sasikala was removed from the AIADMK after the factions led by Chief Minister Palanisamy and now Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, joined hands.

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PM Modi to make whirlwind tour of Ockhi affected states on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Lakshadweep,Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Tuesday to assess the damage caused by cyclone Ockhi, which left a trail of destruction in the two states and the Union Territory.The Prime Minister, on a one-day visit, would review the situation arising in the aftermath of the cyclone and status of relief operations at Kavaratti, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram, official sources said. Modi would fly to Agatti from Mangaluru at around 7.35 AM and leave for Kavratti. After nearly an hour’s programme, he would return to Agatti and fly to Thiruvananthapuram, official sources in Lakshadweep said. On reaching the state capital at around 1.50 PM, he would take a helicopter to Kanyakumari, where he will meet officials and assess the damage caused by the cyclone.The Prime Minister would also get a first hand report from the some of the affected fishermen, district officials at Kanyakumari told PTI. Modi would return to Thiruvananthapuram and visit Poonthura, a nearby fishing village from where some of the deceased fishermen hailed. The Prime Minister would then meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and some of his cabinet colleagues, including revenue minister E Chandrasekharan and Fisheries minister J Mercykutty at the Raj Bhavan, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s office.Chief Secretary K M Abraham would also give a presentation on the calamity and the devastation caused in coastal regions of the state capital, including Poonthura, Vizhinjam, Pozhiyur and Adimalithura. After the meeting,the Prime Minister will leave for Delhi.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, seeks special package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and LakshadweepThe Kerala Chief Minister had earlier met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and sought central assistance of Rs 1,843 crore. The state also wanted the Centre to declare the devastation caused by the cyclone as a national disaster. According to government estimates, 70 persons have so far lost their lives in Kerala in the cyclone and around 105 persons are still missing.Meanwhile,search operations are continuing for the missing fishermen with the state government seeking support of local boat owners. The government has decided to extend the search operations up to Goan shores. The cyclone that hit the state on November 29-30 had also caused large-scale damage to crops and property.

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CM Palaniswami visits ailing Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan has been admitted to a hospital here and Chief Minister K Palaniswami today met her and enquired about her health. <!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>Palaniswami today visited the Apollo Hospital, where 58-year old Vaidyanathan had been admitted for some illness and evaluation, and enquired about her health. A photograph released here by the government showed Palaniswami giving the chief secretary a bouquet in the hospital. It said the Chief Minister enquired about her health.

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Instruct district administrations to not attend meetings called by Guv; be worthy of office: Chidambaram tells TN CM

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday hit out at Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit’s statement that the governor is the titular head of the state, but the real power belongs to the chief minister.“Amused by TN Governor’s statement. Governor is only the ‘titular’ head of the Executive, not the ‘real’ head. Since the real head, the Chief Minister, is cowering in fear of the central government, the TN Governor is exceeding his authority,” Chidambaram tweeted.The former finance minister also sent a message to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palanisami, saying that if he was worthy of the office he held, he (Palanisami) should instruct district administrations to refuse to participate in meetings called by the Governor.Also readTN governor discusses development work in Coimbatore; opposition calls it interference by CentreEarlier, Raj Bhavan in Tamil Nadu issued a press release stating the role of the governor. “The governor is the executive head of the state as per the Constitution. He has complete power to obtain any information connected with the administration of the state and to visit various parts of the state without any restrictions. There have been reports, discussions and comments from various biased quarters about the Constitutional illegality of such actions,” the release said, adding that meetings being held between the governor with district officials is in conformity with his role as governor of state under the provisions of the Constitution of India.On Thursday, Purohit held meetings with officials of Cuddalore district, despite mass protests from the opposition DMK party.On December 7, DMK leader M.K. Stalin had said party supporters will hold peaceful protests against Purohit during his visits to various districts to review developmental works.Stalin said the Governor should stop indulging in “political” work to review projects and instead order Chief Minister K. Palaniswami to prove his government’s majority in the assembly.

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Is sexual violence due to moral curbs, asks Madras High Court

Madras High Court has asked the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence which is on the rise even after stringent laws were brought in after the Nirbhaya incident.Seeking urgent measures to stop crime against women and girls, Justice N Kirubakaran has raised several queries to be answered by the Union and the state governments as well as the National Commission for Women (NCW).”Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the victim,” Justice Kirubakaran said while dismissing a bail plea of a duo accused in the rape-and-murder of a 60-year-old woman.He involved the Centre and NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries. He has asked whether the spurt in sexual violence against women is a result of a fall in sex ratio or due to ‘sex starvation’ among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs. He has also asked whether alcoholism has any role to play in this.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined from psychological and sociological angles. The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.He also asked if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through internet.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as ‘human beings’ nor as ‘animals’ as even animals were noble in their own way.SEEKING ANSWERSMadras HC asked the Centre, state, and NCW to cite reasons behind rise in crime against women. Response to be submitted by January 10, 2018.

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Madras HC urges state and central governments to explore gadgets to combat sexual violence

Deprecating rising sex crimes against women and girl child, the Madras High Court has asked the central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence against them.Noting that crimes against women and girl child were shockingly rising every year, especially sex crimes, Justice N Kirubakaran batted for urgent measures to stop such heinous offences and asked the governments to explore giving gadgets to women.Dismissing the bail plea of a duo accused in the rape- and-murder of a 60-year-old mentally-challenged woman, he said, “Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour, causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the hapless victim.”The judge also raised several queries vis-a-vis rising sex crimes against women, to be answered by the central and state governments and the National Commission for Women (NCW).He impleaded the central government and the NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries.Such queries include whether the spurt in sexual violence against women was due to fall in sex ratio or due to “sex starvation” among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs and if the violence was owing to alcoholism.Also, the court asked the central and state governments to spell out if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through the Internet and smart phones.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as “human beings” nor as “animals”, as even animals were noble in their own way.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined on psychological and sociological angles.The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.

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Jayalalithaa was brought to Apollo Hospital in breathless state, says top official

The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was brought to Apollo Hospital in a ‘breathless state’ on September 22 last year and those she approved were beside her during her treatment there, a top hospital official said today.The AIADMK supremo spent 75 days in the hospital before breathing her last on December 5 last year.”She (Jayalalithaa) was brought to the hospital in a breathless state, was given adequate treatment and recovered from it,” Apollo Hospitals Vice-Chairperson Preetha Reddy told a private Tamil channel in New Delhi in reply to a question.”Unfortunately, you know the outcome at the end was not what everybody was looking for. And that is the hand of fate which I don’t think anyone can do anything about it”,she said.To another query on the controversy raked up by some persons on the circumstances leading to her death, Reddy said the hospital treated her with best clinicians from New Delhi as well as from abroad.”See, I think the hospital has done it’s best. We have the best clinicians from (New) Delhi, from AIIMS, from abroad within this system”, she said.”There is an enquiry and I think that is the best thing that has been done. Let them go through the data…. I think all the mysteries will then be solved”, she said.It may be recalled that the one man inquiry commission, headed by retired Justice A Arumughasamy, appointed by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death, has already commenced the enquiry.Asked who was beside Jayalalithaa when she was treated, Reddy said people who were required and approved by her (Jayalalithaa) were by her bedside during treatment.”So were all the doctors from all over the world, qualified nurses technicians and physiotherapists from Singapore (who could be made available).” To a query on whether Jayalalithaa was aware of her fingerprint being taken, Reddy said “I can’t answer that question because I was not by her bedside”.It has been alleged that Jayalalithaa’s fingerprint was affixed on the papers authorising the candidature of AIADMK candidates for the then bypolls.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Time for separate ministry for fishermen, says Rahul Gandhi in Kerala

Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi today visited some places hit by the Cyclone Ochki in southern Kerala that has claimed 66 lives, most of them fishermen, and pitched for a better warning system to prevent recurrence of such tragedies.Addressing the families of fishermen who died in the cyclone and interacting with them, Gandhi said the state and Central governments need to learn lessons from the natural calamity, which has also left 95 fishermen missing.”When a tragedy happens, everyone must learn from the tragedy and avoid such a situation in future. We must have a better system of warning for the fishermen who are going to the sea,” he said speaking to affected families in coastal hamlet Poonthura, near Thiruvananthapuram.Holding that the condition of fishermen was very similar to that of farmers, the Congress leader said, “They are both facing very difficult times.” Referring to the demand of local Latin Catholic church, he said it was time a separate ministry was set up for fishermen at the Centre. “The farmers have a ministry that looks after their interests and I think it is time that we create a ministry for the fishermen to look after their interests and make sure they are protected,” he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Pope Francis enquires about Kerala’s fishermen communityGandhi, who is here after hectic electioneering in Gujarat, said he wanted to come to meet the families earlier. But due to prior programmes in connection with the Gujarat polls, he could not do so and expressed his apology.”Some of you have lost sons, some of you lost husbands. This loss cannot be replaced…we will try to make your life as comfortable as possible,” he said. The cyclone hit the coast of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu on November 30, claiming 66 lives and causing widespread damage besides leaving several fishermen stranded and missing.Earlier, Gandhi paid floral tributes in front of pictures of those who perished in the cyclone. He also consoled the families and interacted with them. Later, he visited nearby Vizhinjam and met the affected fishermen families and assured them that the Congress would discharge its duty as the principal opposition to bring pressure on the governments to get everyone necessary compensation. “I am confident the Congress will play its role,” he said.He also said the Congress party was committed to setting up a Ministry for fishermen at the Centre and offered all help to fishermen to overcome the present crisis.Also read750 still missing post Ockhi: Tamil Nadu fishersConsoling the fishermen community, including the women folk who broke down during the interaction, Gandhi said, “What you have lost cannot be measured in terms of value and so my words cannot replace your loss.” Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala, former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Congress MPs Shashi Tharoor and K C Venugopal were among those who accompanied Gandhi.

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Jaya’s niece Deepa tells panel her aunt may have been attacked

J Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar today told a one man panel probing the death of the late Chief Minister her aunt “may have been attacked.” She also wanted the panel to question the entire family of V K Sasikala.After her three hour deposition before the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry here, Deepa said she submitted her apprehensions over the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa.”I told the panel that there is no chance for her (Jayalalithaa) to get indisposed and get hospitalised (after attending work till nine pm). She may have been attacked,” she told reporters here.On September 22, 2016, Jayalalithaa was in good health and till nine pm that day, attended government work, Deepa, who shot to the limelight ahead of the death of the late leader last year, said.All employees at the former chief minister’s Poes Garden residence, including long time cook Rajamma, should be questioned, she said in her deposition.”I submitted details on the circumstances under which my aunt was admitted to the hospital,” she said and added that “all the family members of Sasikala should be questioned.” Sidelined AIADMK leader Sasikala, who was a close aide of Jayalalithaa, is now serving a four year prison term at Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru in a disproprotionate assets case.Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital here on the night of September 22 last year and passed away on December five, 2016.Deepa also said a long time neighbour of Jayalalithaa apprised her that six persons not linked to the household were made to stay in the upscale residence.This aspect should be probed further, she told the panel and added that the neighbor wanted his identity protected.The Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry, constituted by the Tamil Nadu government to go into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death,commenced it’s hearing on November 22.Several persons, including doctors, Madurai based DMK functionary P Saravanan have deposed before it so far.In September 2017, the Tamil Nadu government constituted the panel under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952.The panel’s terms of reference was to inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa (on September 22, 2016) and treatment provided till her demise on December five last year.The Commission had invited all those having “personal knowledge and direct acquaintance” in the matter to furnish information to it till today.Following Jayalalithaa’s death, suspicion over the circumstances leading to her demise were raised by several persons, including present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his followers.Then a rebel party leader, Panneerselvam and his followers had demanded a probe into her death, either a judicial inquiry or a CBI probe.After unification of the factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, the government notified constituting the panel.The probe was a key precondition put forth by the Panneerselvam faction for merger.DMK President M K Stalin had batted for a CBI probe and also raised the issue during campaigning for the RK Nagar bypoll in April, which was subsequently cancelled following allegations of bribing of voters.The bypoll will now be held on December 21.

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Supreme Court to refer to constitutional bench pleas against allowing Jallikattu

The Supreme Court today said it would refer to a five-judge constitution bench a batch of pleas challenging Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra laws allowing bull-taming sport ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart races.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice R F Nariman, while reserving its order, said the larger bench would decide whether states have the “legislative competence” to make such laws on grounds, including that ‘Jallikattu’ and bullock cart racing fell under the cultural rights enshrined under Article 29(1) and can be protected constitutionally.Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have amended the central law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and allowed Jallikattu and bullock cart racing respectively in their states. The state laws have been challenged in the apex court.Also readPost Jallikattu protest, Chennai police in crackdown modeThe apex court also said that it would hear separately the pleas challenging the Karnataka Ordinance allowing Kambala (buffalo races) in the state and issued notice on the petitions filed by parties including PETA and fixed them for hearing after six weeks.The bench said it wanted to “put an end to the controversy” in view of the fact that Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have been asserting that the laws were enacted to protect the cultural rights of a section of society.Also readPETA moves Supreme Court against amendments in law to allow JallikattuThe larger bench would decide whether state legislatures have legislative competence to make law on the subject, it said.The issue whether the state laws were in “consonance with the basic tenets” of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, a central legislation, would also be tested, it said.Also readViolence in pro-jallikattu protests;Commission tenure extendedThe top court referred to Article 25 (right to freedom of religion) and Article 29(1) (protection of cultural and educational rights) of the Constitution and said they may not enable states to make such laws.”The interpretation will have far-reaching consequences,” the bench said, adding that it would deliver a judgement and refer the matters to a larger bench.Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, argued in support of the state laws and said the law-making powers of state assemblies cannot be curtailed.”There cannot be fetters on the legislatures on making laws,” Rohatgi said, adding that bulls are taken care of as family members and moreover, Jallikattu has been part of cultural tradition for over 2,500 years. Rules have also been framed to ensure that bulls are not hurt during Jallikattu.Naphade sought an interim stay on a Bombay High Court order holding that the Maharashtra’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act will not come into force for the time being.”Can state law be stayed by the high court in this manner,” he asked.Every year, after Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, bullock cart racing in great numbers are organised in Maharashtra.Jallikattu, also known Eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.The apex court, on November 6, had sought the response from the Tamil Nadu government on a plea of animal rights body PETA, challenging the state law that allowed bull-taming sport Jallikattu there. After issuing notice on the PETA’s plea, it had tagged it with other pending petitions on the issue.PETA has assailed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Bill 2017 passed by the state assembly on grounds including that it circumvented apex court verdict holding the bull-taming sport as “illegal” in the state.PETA alleged that Jallikattu was a blood sport in which the bulls were subjected to various types of cruelty.Prior to this, the apex court had dismissed the plea of the Tamil Nadu government seeking a review of the 2014 judgement banning the use of bulls for jallikattu events in the state and bullock cart races across the country.The court in its 2014 judgement had said that bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country and had banned their use across the country.

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Chennai man accused of murdering his mother and a seven-year-old girl escapes from Mumbai Police custody

S Dashwanth, an accused in the rape and murder of a-seven-year-old girl and a suspect in the murder of his own mother, has escaped from the police custody near the Mumbai airport when Tamil Nadu police team was escorting him on Thursday a day after nabbing him.According to police sources, Dashwanth was handcuffed when he escaped from the police custody. The accused was heading to a toilet near the Mumbai airport when he gave a slip to the police on Thursday evening. The 23-year-old Dashwanth who was arrested from Race Course in Mumbai on Wednesday was earlier produced in the Bandra Court and availed a transit warrant.The accused who was out on bail in the child rape and murder case was missing since December 2 when his mother Sarala was found murdered in his home with her jewellery missing. His father accused him of murdering his wife. He alleged that his son was demanding money for some days and he refused to give him. The police traced Dashwanth to Mumbai after enquired his prison friends – history sheeters James and David.In February this year, Hasini, a seven-year-old went missing and later her burnt body was found. Dashwanth who was residing in the same apartment complex was arrested by the police for rape and murder of the girl child. The Mahila Court framed charges against Daswant and the trial in the case was set to begin on December 5. The case was adjourned as Daswant went missing.
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Jayalalithaa death anniversary: Scores of people pay tribute to their ‘Amma’

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Tuesday remembered on her first death anniversary, with AIADMK veterans K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam leading the party supporters in paying tributes to their ‘Amma’.People gathered in large numbers on Tuesday to pay homage and tribute to their ‘Amma’ at Jaya memorial in Marina Beach on her first death anniversary.They paid floral tributes to former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, who passed away after a prolonged disease last year.AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and party co-coordinator and Chief Minister K Palaniswami led a silent procession of party workers from Anna Salai to Jayalalithaa’s mausoleum on Marina beach here.Most of the party workers, including the two leaders and many other ministers, were clad in black shirts.Amma’s followers, who gathered from across the state, expressed remorse over her death. One of them was seen with his body painted with the flag of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).The entire state of Tamil Nadu came to a standstill after AIADMK supremo Jaya died of cardiac arrest.Jayalalithaa, admitted to a corporate hospital here in September 2016, breathed her last this day last year, after 75 days of hospitalisation.(With agency inputs)
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A year after Jayalalithaa’s death, AIADMK suffers without a strong leader

One year after the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, AIADMK and its state government are yet to overcome the political vacuum caused by her sudden demise.On Tuesday, the first death anniversary of Jayalalithaa would be observed in the state which has plunged into political instability because of her failure to name a successor for her in the party as well as in the government.After her death, the ruling AIADMK has witnessed splits and mergers in the last one year. Tamil Nadu also saw two Chief Ministers – O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palanisami – since her death.Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran are sidelined from the ruling party. AIADMK is also the only party to have its symbol frozen by the Election Commission of India twice and also to get back it. The Palanisami and Panneerselvam led unified AIADMK might have succeeded in getting back the party’s symbol but the symbol alone would not help succeed in the elections in absence of a strong leader in the stature of MGR and Jayalalithaa. However, the AIADMK government is constantly facing the flak of the opposition parties led by resurgent DMK which is accusing the ruling party succumbing to the pressure of the BJP government at the centre.”Before the French revolution, France King Louis XV told his successor that “after me the deluge”. An exactly same thing happened in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa’s death. It is a deluge. It is a disaster as far as politics is concerned. She was a colossal figure in the state politics. When she was removed, there was such a vacuum that Tamil Nadu is yet to overcome the political vacuum and instability caused by her death,” Prof Bernard D’Sami, a political analyst and professor of History at Loyola College, Chennai told DNA.In a way, he also blamed Jayalalithaa for the present crisis faced by the AIADMK and its government. Jayalalithaa who was known for running the party and the government with iron hand often changing the party office bearers and the Cabinet Ministers to ensure that no one ever raised to the level to question her. “It is a lesson for everyone. A good leader has to prepare a second line of leaders but she has not done it. That is the reason for the political crisis in Tamil Nadu,” said Prof Bernard.The succession battle is not something new in the AIADMK. When AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran died, the AIADMK split into two factions with his wife Janaki and Jayalalithaa bothclaiming his political legacy. “Jayalalithaa who was groomed by MGR as a political heir. She was made a Rajya Sabha member and also appointed as party’s propaganda secretary. She proved herself in the stateassembly election and took the reins of the party,” he said.A senior AIADMK leader who doesn’t want to be named said that AIADMK would survive if both EPS and OPS works together without any ego.”Already the leaders of two groups are fighting against each other. It is not going to help anyone but the DMK,” he said.The AIADMK which has won all the elections since 2011 would be tested in the December 21 bye-election to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency which was twice represented by Jayalalithaa. “RK Nagar election is areferendum for the AIADMK since it was a seat held by Jayalalithaa. The election results will tell whether the people are going to accept the AIADMK as they have accepted Jayalalithaa. If they win, they will survive. If they are going to lose, the party will not survive at all,” said another political observer.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Centre says 1,540 rescued, PM reminds Gujaratis of Cong record in handling calamities

As many as 1,540 people, including fishermen, affected by Cyclone Ockhi in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep were rescued by various agencies, the government said today.A total of 243 fishermen in Tamil Nadu, 250 fishermen in Kerala and 1,047 people in Lakshadweep have been rescued so far, an official statement said here tonight after a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha.Relief material is also being provided to inmates in relief camps set up by the government agencies and state governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep administration, which were also taking prompt action in dealing with the situation, it said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools to remain closed on Tuesday, Mumbai University and all its affiliated colleges to remain open The central government has deployed 10 Coast Guard ships, 6 aircraft, 4 helicopters, 10 Navy ships for rescue and relief, it said.Asserting that the BJP governments at Centre and Gujarat are prepared to tackle the situation when Cyclone Ockhi makes a landfall on state’s coast tomorrow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took a jibe at the Congress over its “inefficient handling” of natural calamities in the past.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Kerala govt says received IMD weather alert on Nov 30, Alphons says it came two days earlierAfter leaving a trail of destruction on the southern coast, Cyclone Ockhi is expected to make landfall in coastal Gujarat tomorrow midnight with squally winds and heavy rainfall.Hitting out at the Congress, the prime minister said, “the party couldn’t properly handle natural calamities including the 2013 earthquake in Kedarnath”.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam rules out declaring it as ‘national calamity’ “The BJP government had managed (to handle) all natural calamities, including the 2001 Bhuj earthquake (in Gujarat) and is all prepared for Cyclone Ockhi,” Modi said addressing a rally in coastal Jamnagar.He said the Congress delayed taking stock of the situation after a cyclone had hit Jamnagar 20 years ago.”A cyclone had hit Jamnagar around 20 years ago. For days, the Congress had no time to take stock of the situation in Jamnagar. (Then Congress MP) Urmilaben (Patel) could not visit the place (due to public anger),” Modi said.Referring to the 1993 Latur earthquake in neighbouring Maharashtra, Modi said, “I challenge the people talking about the country’s development to assess the situation of places 5-10 years after they were hit by a natural calamity. Latur earthquake occurred 20 years go, but the impact is still seen”.Modi said reconstruction of Kedarnath was initiated by him after the BJP came to power.”Earthquake and floods occurred in Kedarnath five years ago (and) it was only after I visited there as the prime minister after the BJP formed its government that I launched its rebuilding exercise,” he said.He also referred to earthquakes in Jammu and Kashmir and a cyclone in Odisha, apparently the destructive cyclone of 1999.”In the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat…Kutch, Jamnagar, Patan, Banaskantha…the entire region was badly affected. The world said Gujarat will not recover. But I can today say with pride that the BJP government here pulled it (the state) out of the shadow of destruction and made it take strides in development,” the PM said.He said the BJP governments at Centre and Gujarat are prepared to tackle the situation when Cyclone Ockhi hits coastal Gujarat, likely around tomorrow midnight.”(Cyclone) Ockhi is set to hit Gujarat after impacting South India. But our governments both in the state and at the Centre are prepared to tackle the situation. We are ready to ensure that the impact is minimum. The government machinery is preparing for this,” he said.Modi said the fishermen of South India who were at sea when the cyclone hit them have been saved.”The BJP has shown how a capable, alert government committed to society and development, can deliver great results,” he said.
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Ockhi may cause rains in Maharashtra

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a very severe cyclonic warning for Maharashtra as Cyclone Ockhi, which is moving across some parts of south India, is expected to land in the state in the next 72 hours.After causing much damage in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the cyclone is likely to weaken gradually. It is on a north-western cause, drifting towards the coastlines of Gujarat and Maharashtra at the speed of 17 kmph. The stateis expected to receive light to moderate rainfall during the next three days.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that 28 boats along with 321 fishermen have been brought safely to Ratnagiri on Sunday.
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Saving India’s photo studios in the digital age

A project wants to preserve the legacy of old photo studios by making digital prints

Even as Cyclone Ockhi weakens, Kerala CM calls on Centre to declare it ‘national calamity’

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to ask the Centre to declare the Ockhi cyclone as a ‘national calamity’.Vijayan took to his Twitter handle on Saturday to inform about the same and further wrote that the chief secretary has been entrusted to prepare the memorandum in this regard.“KERALA govt has decided to ask the Union government to declare the Ockhi cyclone a national calamity. The Chief Secretary has been entrusted to prepare the memorandum in this regard. #CycloneOckhi (sic),” he tweeted.The Indian Coast Guard stated that the cyclone Ockhi, which has originated from Kanyakumari on November 29, has moved towards Lakshadweep islands and has intensified into ‘severe cyclonic storm’ with wind reaching up to speed of 60 to 70 km.”The cyclone has wrecked havoc on South Kerala with severe damage to coastal areas and has endangered lives of fishermen operating at sea,” the Coast Guard informed in a statement.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 531 fishermen rescued says Kerala CM; cyclone to move towards Mumbai in 48 hoursEarlier in the day, India Meteorological Department claimed that cyclone Ockhi would intensify in the next 36 hours and move Northwest in the next three to four days.Cyclone Ockhi has lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Saturday with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.Also readCyclone Ockhi kills 14, many feared trapped at sea; PM Modi assures all help Seven people, five in Trivandrum and one each in Kollam and Kasaragod districts, have died till now.Meanwhile, the IMD said that the cyclone is likely to weaken from Sunday. “The very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi over Lakshadweep area and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea further moved northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of December 2, 2017 over southeast Arabian Sea near Latitude 11.1’ N and Longitude 69.7’ E, about 330 km west of Amini Divi. The system is very likely to weaken gradually from today the December 3, 2017 morning,” said IMD.
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Actor Vishal to contest Tamil Nadu bye-poll

Taking everyone by surprise, actor Vishal, president of Tamil Nadu Producers Council and general secretary of South Indian Artistes Association, on Saturday announced that he would be contesting the December 21 RK Nagar Assembly Constituency by-poll as an independent candidate.The actor said he took the decision after consulting with his friends and supporters on Saturday.Sources said he will file his nomination papers to contest in the RK Nagar seat, which was held by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, on Monday. “He will explain why he took the decision and also to his plan to enter politics after filing the nomination papers,” the source said.While interacting with friends and supporters, the actor told them that the time had come for him to enter politics as he could not sit and watch anymore.”I know the risk involved . I am prepared to face it,” one of his close friends quoted him as saying.Amid talks of Tamil superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan entering politics, the actor has surprised everyone by his sudden announcement. The announcement marks the continuation of the trend of film personalities entering politics in Tamil Nadu. DMK founder CN Annadurai and his successor M Karunanidhi were successful film scriptwriters who went on to become the chief ministers, AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and party supremo Jayalalithaa were successful film stars.Vishal also openly took on BJP’s national secretary H Raja during the controversy involving Tamil movie Mersal and he also took on the ruling AIADMK in the recent case of a Tamil producer committing suicide following harassment by a financier.Political analyst Gnani felt that it was too early to talk about the impact of actor Vishal’s entering the fray in the RK Nagar. “We don’t know why he is contesting, what kind of politics is he going to pursue and who will he oppose? We can only know if there will be an impact if we had answers to these questions, ” he said.
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Kerala Congress leader urges PM Modi to declare cyclone Ockhi national disaster

Leader of the opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare cyclone Ockhi, which wrecked havoc in the state, Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep in the last two days, as a national disaster. In a letter to Modi, he requested that immediate central government assistance be provided in these places to deal with the emergency situation. The Congress leader also urged the Kerala government to increase the financial aid for the injured at least up to Rs 50,000 from the present Rs 15,000. Also readCyclone Ockhi: Kerala fishermen back from brink of deathLack of coordination had affected the government’s relief and rescue operations, launched post Ockhi, he alleged while talking to reporters after visiting the cyclone-affected coastal hamlets here. Family members of fishermen who are yet to come back,were anxious as the government failed to provide them updated information about rescue measures, he alleged.
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Cyclone Ockhi kills 14, many feared trapped at sea; PM Modi assures all help

Cyclone Ockhi barrelled into the Lakshwadeep islands on Saturday after drenching the neighbouring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, claiming so far around 14 lives with many fishermen still feared trapped at sea.Authorities including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Coast Guard and Indian Navy have rescued about 223 fishermen and evacuated thousands of people from cyclone hit areas, officials said, as they continued their operations on Saturday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, assuring him of support operations including necessary funds, according to local media.Ockhi is expected to travel north towards Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director S. Sudevan in Trivandrum, though it is likely to lose intensity.”The intensity of the wind may come down and the cyclone could change into depression,” Sudevan said adding fishermen have been warned not go to the sea for the next few days as waves are likely to be 3-5 metres (12-15 feet) high.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 165 families shifted from Kerala; TN writes to centre for funds

Heavy rains have hit parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, thanks to the cyclonic storm Ockhi that has hit the two south Indian states.On Friday, the Indian Navy conducted search operations after fishermen went missing off the Kerala coast.The local district administrations in Kerala shifted around 165 families living in coastal Kerala. 130 families from Chellanam, 17 from Kumbalangi and 18 from Edavanakad town of Ernakulam district were shifted, the administrations said.The deadly storm has killed seven people in Sri Lanka and affected the lives of nearly 20,000 people. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has said that it will seek central funds for the damage caused by the cyclone, with Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts being the worst hit.This was conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Chief Minister K Palaniswami during a telephone conversation between the two leaders last night, a state government release said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea, Navy strives to resue stranded fishermen”The prime minister assured to immediately give the required assistance,” the release issued last night said.Modi dialled Palaniswami and enquired about the damage caused by the cyclone, which also battered parts of Kerala, it said.Also readCyclone Ockhi updates: More than 80 fishermen go missing; 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, KeralaThe chief minister apprised him of the various relief works going on in “full swing” in seven districts of the state and told Modi that Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli were the worst affected.He listed out various steps being taken, besides deputing senior ministers and IAS officials to oversee the relief work, the release added.Efforts were being undertaken on a “war footing” while power supply was being restored. The Coast Guard’s help was being used to rescue 30 fishermen stranded in the sea even as 76 of them had been already rescued, Palaniswami said.The state will send a report to the Centre seeking funds after carrying out a detailed assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone, which has crippled life in Kanyakumari district, he told the Prime Minister.Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’, had yesterday intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and moved to the Arabian Sea.The state government yesterday said that over 1,200 people affected by the cyclone in Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts have been lodged in relief camps.With Agency Inputs
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Cyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea, Navy strives to resue stranded fishermen

A low pressure system over the South Andaman Sea is expected to turn into a depression in the next 48 hours, which may bring more rainfall to Tamil Nadu, as the death toll due to Cyclone Ockhi in Kanyakumari district rose to five today.The deaths occurred in cyclone-related incidents in the district. Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the victims, said an official release. “A well marked low pressure is lying over South Andaman Sea and its neighbourhood. It is expected to concentrate into a depression in the next 48 hours,” Regional Meteorological Centre Director S Balachandran said.Balachandran said the system is likely to move towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra coast in the next four days. “This is the current situation and we are monitoring the system.” In the next 24 hours, more rainfall is expected in most places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Heavy rainfall can be expected in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul, he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi updates: More than 80 fishermen go missing; 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, KeralaFishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along the Kanyakumari coast and Arabian sea, he added. Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means ‘eye’, today intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and moved to the Arabian Sea. An IMD bulletin said Ockhi over Southeast Arabian Sea continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph. It lies over Lakshadweep area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea about 90km northeast of Minicoy and 270km south-southeast of Amini Divi.”The system is very likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours,” the bulletin said. Widespread rainfall has been reported in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with Papanasam (Tirunelveli district) recording 45 cm rain, Balachandran said. The Indian Navy is putting in “maximum effort” to rescue fishermen from the sea which is very rough under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi, a top Navy official said today. Rescue operations are on. Some fishermen have already been rescued by the Navy which immediately dispatched aircraft and ships besides helicopters to carry out rescue operations in the sea which is very rough, said Vice Admiral A R Karve, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.”Maximum efforts have been put in,” he said at a press meet held on board the INS Tir on the occasion of Navy Day at the Naval Base here. “We have responded immediately. We will continue to meet the requirement of safety and security of our fishermen. As soon as we got the request from the government of Kerala for search operations, we have started that,” Vice Admiral Karve said. According to a defence spokesperson, the navy is continuing search and rescue operations in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard and the state administration in the coastal areas of Kerala.At present, 69 people stranded in the sea have been located and the exact numbers are being corroborated, he said.Twenty people have been rescued and efforts are on to bring others to safety. Continuous sorties of aircraft and helicopters are being undertaken in coordination with the units at sea, the spokesperson said. Top navy officials said they have deployed two ships to the Lakshadweep Islands for carrying out rescue and rehabilitation operations in the island which is under threat of the cyclone.Ockhi, which has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, moved to the Arabian Sea today.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Dozens of fishermen missing in Indian storm

India’s coast guard says more than 100 fishermen went missing and 71 have been rescued so far.

Cyclone Ockhi: More than 80 fishermen go missing; 8 dead in Tamil Nadu, Kerala

At least 80 fishermen and 50 boats have gone missing after cyclone Ockhi lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala with torrential rainfall and gusty winds.The cyclone has so far claimed the lives of four people in Kerala.On Thursday, a man in an autorickshaw died in Kollam after a tree fell on the three-wheeler, two others were electrocuted in Trivandrum and a woman died after a tree fell on her house in Vizhinjam due to the cyclone. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already issued an alert of heavy to very heavy rainfall in both the states.The depression in Southwest Bay of Bengal had snowballed into the cyclonic storm- Ockhi.Schools in seven districts of Tamil Nadu, including Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Virudhunagar remained closed.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Torrential rains in Tamil Nadu,Kerala; eight dead The deadly storm has killed seven people in neighbouring Sri Lanka and affected the lives of nearly 20,000 people.
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Techie death: Madras HC orders removal of hoardings

The Madras high court on Thursday ordered the removal of all hoardings and cut-outs kept by the ruling AIADMK for the December 3 MGR centenary celebration in Coimbatore, days after a techie died after hitting a roadside hoarding.Hearing a public interest litigation filed by DMK’s Singanallur MLA N Karthik alleging that techie K Raghunath’s death was a result of his crashing into the illegal hoarding, the first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, said that even though they don’t want to go into the factual aspects of the accident, the death could have indeed been caused as a result of the hoarding. The court wondered why the cost of damage caused to the roads be recovered from those who erected the cut-outs, hoardings and banners and asked the officials how they had permitted erection of such hoardings on roads.Raghunath, a techie, was back home in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore from the US to meet his prospective bride. He died on Saturday morning after he reportedly crashed his bike into the illegal wooden hoarding. As Ragupathy’s bike hit the structure and he fell from his bike, a truck ran him over. He was supposed to return to the US over the weekend and was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident. The tragic accident hit headlines after some painted a graffiti “Who killed Ragu?” at the spot.However, the Coimbatore police said that Raghunath died because a truck ran over him and claimed to be in possession of a CCTV footage to prove the same. The police have arrested truck driver Mohan in connection with the accident.
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Syed Salahuddin’s son among 18 inmates: Tihar jail to MHA

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid Yusuf is one of the 18 prisoners referred to AIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by security personnel in Tihar jail, the prison authorities have informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Two separate probe panels will be investigating the incident.A district judge has been appointed to look into the incident while a law professor from National Law University has been asked to provide legal assistance to inmates involved in the scuffle that led to the alleged thrashing of prisoners last week.Another inquiry will be conducted by Commandant of the Tamil Nadu Special Police posted at the high security cell who were allegedly involved in the scuffle.There were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the incident took place on the night of November 21-22.Several Kashmiri prisoners are currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi after being arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case. Saluhuddin’s son Yusuf, who was a government employee in Jammu and Kashmir, is also part of the same investigation.The Tamil Nadu police personnel posted at the cell have been removed, Tihar jail authorities said in their report to MHA.”The prisoners referred to AIIMS will be examined by a panel of three doctors who will submit a report on the nature of injuries,” said a home ministry official.Yusuf faces allegations of receiving money from his father who is based in Pakistan. Syed Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council — an umbrella organisation of all terror outfits operating in Kashmir, has been declared a global terrorist by the US Department of State.The incident took place when during a search certain objectionable material was found leading to a confrontation between some prisoners and jail security following which MHA asked for a detailed report from Tihar authorities.Tihar autorities in its report to MHA also stated that jail officials have been sensitised to ensure that inherent dignity of prisoners is always maintained, especially during searches.Following reports of some Kashmiri prisoners being beaten up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti spoke to union home secretary Rajiv Gauba expressing her concern over the security of inmates from the state.INSIDE THE JAILThere were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the violent thrashing took place. MHA had asked for a report on the incident from the prison authorities.
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61,974 cases of riots, group clashes in 2016; highest in Bihar: NCRB

A total of 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes took place in the country in 2016, down five per cent from the previous year, National Crime Records Bureau data said today.According to it, 35 cases of sedition were also registered in 2016 out of which Haryana accounted for the highest number of 12 cases followed by Uttar Pradesh with six.Among the 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes, the highest — 11,617 cases — were registered in Bihar, 8,018 in Uttar Pradesh and 7,898 in Maharashtra.There were 61,974 cases of riots and group clashes in the country in 2015.The 35 sedition cases registered in 2016 included three each in Karnataka and Kerala, two each in Delhi, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.Also readWith 16%, UP accounts for most murders in country: NCRBAs many as 60 cases of custodial deaths or disappearance from lock-ups were reported in the country in 2016 of which 12 were in Maharashtra, nine each in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, five in Madhya Pradesh, four in Punjab, three each in Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh and two in Rajasthan.A total of 32 people also died or disappeared in the country last year while they were under the remand of the police. These included six each in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, four in Maharashtra and two each in Assam, Gujarat, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.
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NRI techie death: Tamil Nadu govt owes explanation, says MK Stalin

DMK working president M K Stalin said on Thursday the Tamil Nadu government owes an explanation on the recent death of a software engineer in a mishap in the city.He was speaking to reporters here after meeting the bereaved parents of Raghupathy, who died on November 25 after falling off his bike on allegedly hitting a wooden structure erected for MGR Centenary Celebrations and run over by a heavy vehicle.”The government should take responsibility and provide proper explanation on the matter,” Stalin said.Hailing the Madras High Court order directing removal of all banners in the city which caused inconvenience to the public, the DMK leader said even if permission was granted, the practice should be avoided.The ruling party has put up out over 1,000 banners across the city, without valid permission, he alleged.A DMK MLA had on November 27 moved the High Court against erection of hoardings, arches and flex boards on roads for the centenary celebrations of late AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran here, alleging that they posed a safety hazard.Stalin further said he had instructed his party workers not to erect cutouts or banners during his visits to their area, immediately after taking over as the working president of the party.
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Tamil Nadu school allegedly asks girl students clean toilets, probe ordered after video goes viral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some students of a government girls higher secondary school were allegedly asked to clean toilets by a teacher prompting authorities to order an inquiry today, an official said.The alleged incident happened at the RM Jain Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Tiruvallur, which has about 1,000 students studying from class six to 12.However, it is not clear as to when the incident occurred.Some Tamil television channels today aired visuals purportedly showing a girl in uniform scrubbing a toilet floor with what appeared to be small piece of cloth.The girl cleaning the toilet could be heard weeping.She is also heard asking another girl to fetch some water. In the video footage, the girl appears and pours water on the floor.A district education official told PTI: “We have conducted an inquiry today and forwarded our report to higher authorities.”Three children were allegedly asked to clean the toilets by a teacher, he said.The students were present at the inquiry, he said, without elaborating.Local channels reported that the official also questioned the school headmistress.

‘Who killed Ragu’? Police deny NRI techie died owing to ‘illegal’ AIADMK hoarding

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death of a 30-year-old motorist in an accident in Tamil Nadu has snowballed into a major social media outrage, which has put the ruling AIADMK on the backfoot. Software engineer Ragupathy died on last Saturday when his motorcycle crashed into a temporary wooden arch set up on a road in Coimbatore by the ruling AIADMK for its MGR centenary celebrations.As Ragupathy hit the structure and fell off his bike, a truck ran him over. The young engineer working in the US had come home to Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore to meet a prospective bride and he was set to return over the weekend. The techie was planning to visit a temple in Palani after parking his bike at a bus stand, when the accident happened. With someone painting ‘Who killed Ragu?’ on the spot of the accident and even marking the ‘hole’ drilled on the road with the paint for erecting arch with the wooden logs, it went viral on the social media with people questioning the AIADMK government’s publicity blitz risking the lives of the motorists.With public anger palpable, the Coimbatore police claimed that the engineer was ran over by a lorry which was coming in the wrong direction. The police has arrested the driver and seized a tipper lorry involved in the incident. The police also claims to be in possession of CCTV footage which proves wrong the theory of the techie dying of injuries after hitting the wooden arch.Meanwhile, police on Tuesday detained two friends of Ragupathy on suspicion overwriting on the road “who killed Ragu?” However, no cases were filed and both of them were let out after being questioned, a police officer. Activists and political parties blamed the illegal arch which narrowed road space for the tragic accident. The civic body officials removed the arch immediately after the accident claiming it to be illegal, but local administration minister claimed that permission was obtained for the structure. DMK Working President MK Stalin condemned the accident and tweeted, “Under the pretext of #MGRcentenary, the AIADMK govt. continues to blatantly violate the High Court’s order on obstructive & dangerous hoardings – now resulting in the death of Ragu, a promising young engineer in Coimbatore. I condemn this lawless govt. in the strongest terms.”DMK MLA N Karthik has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court to declare erection of hoardings, banners, arches and flex boards across Coimbatore for MGR birth centenary celebrations as illegal. The petitioner wants a direction to the State government to pay compensation to Ragupathy’s family. Actor Kamal Haasan reacted strongly to the incident and tweeted, “Any government that regards power and fame even at the cost of others life will fall. A government that doesn’t respect pedestrians won’t go too long on the palanquin. Banner ‘Jis’ should realise those who pave way for accidents abet murder.”

Income tax officials raid 33 places in Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Income Tax (IT) department officials on Tuesday raided 33 premises in Tamil Nadu belonging to three business groups.According to reports, the raids by the IT department are the follow-up to its earlier searches linked to jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala’s kin and business associates.However, a senior official told The Hindu that these groups have a lot of shell companies and these are independent actions.Raids are being conducted at 21 locations in Chennai and 12 outside Chennai. These include premises of Spectrum Mall’s owner, Patel group, MARG group, Milan group and Ganga foundations. ALSO READ Income Tax officials raid Poes Garden, search on in Tamil Nadu ex-CM J Jayalalithaa’s secretary’s roomEarlier this month, after days of multi-city searches, Income Tax officials detected undisclosed income of Rs. 1,430 crore in respect of ten assessee groups which included those linked to VK Sasikala, her family members and their associates.A team, consisting of three members, reportedly also verified the documents with regard to the Kodanadu Estate and also the 670 acre Green Teas estate in Curzon, said to be purchased by late chief minister Jayalalithaa and her aide VK Sasikala some five years ago.Former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa used to stay and look after official duties twice a year in the Kodanadu Bungalow.

Madras High Court frees 35-member crew of US anti-piracy vessel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court on Monday set free the 35 crew members including 23 foreign nationals of a private US anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio after the prosecution failed to prove its charge that the ship and its crew were in the Indian waters with unlicensed arms.Justice Basheer Ahamed has set aside the 2016 sentence of a Tuticorin court that awarded five-year jail terms to 10 crew and 25 security guards aboard an American ship that was seized by authorities in Indian waters in 2013. The Madurai Bench of the High Court held that the charges against them had not been proved.The lower court in Tuticorin had found the crew of US company owned ship ‘Seaman Guard Ohio’ guilty of violating Indian laws by possessing weapons. It had also slapped a fine of Rs 3,000 on each of them.Justice Ahamed also directed that the fine amount paid by the crew members be returned.’Q’ branch police had filed the case against the crew members for illegally entering Indian waters with weapons.Flying West African country Sierra Leone’s flag, Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by US company AdvanFort, was found in Indian waters on an October 2013 night, around 15 nautical miles from Tuticorin port. The Indian Coast Guard escorted the ship to Tuticorin port, around 600 km from Chennai.The Coast Guard said the crew included eight Indians and two Ukrainians while six British, 14 Estonians, a Ukrainian and four Indians were among the security guards on the ship and all were arrested after arms and ammunition without valid authorisation or documents was found aboard.The Q branch of the Tamil Nadu police had also alleged that the ship had obtained 1,500 litres of diesel illegally from private sources. The police had said that the entry of the ship was a threat to internal security.The ship’s crew had claimed that the ship had run out of fuel and was stranded. However, the prosecution submitted that had there been an emergency, the Captain could have alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) seeking assistance from the Indian Coast Guard. The Captain chose to lay anchor in Indian waters and buy about 1,500 litres of fuel clandestinely with the help of agents, the police charged.The ship’s owners AdvanFort specialise in providing maritime security against pirates. After the Indian Coast Guard escorted the ship to Tuticorin port, those aboard were questioned by officials of different security departments and agencies.In 2014, the Madras High Court dismissed the charges against the crew and armed guards but reaffirmed charges against the ship’s captain and the fuel vendors.On an appeal by the Tamil Nadu Police, the Supreme Court in 2015 set aside the high court judgment and ordered a trial by the Tuticorin sessions court.

SC rejects woman’s plea claiming to be Jayalalithaa’s biological daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today refused to entertain the plea of a woman who claimed to be the biological daughter of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta refused to allow her prayer for DNA test to know her parentage as she claimed to have been given in adoption to Jaya’s sister and her husband. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for the woman, also sought cremation of Jayalalithaa as per Hindu rites on the grounds that she was an Iyengar Brahmin. She said there were two witnesses when the child was given for adoption and the petitioner had come to know about her real parentage only when her adopted father was on his death bed.”There is a politically charged-up atmosphere in Tamil Nadu and this case should be transferred outside the state as infighting is going on in the ruling political party,” she said. Jaising said in order to establish her real parentage, DNA test should be allowed to be conducted on the woman as she has the right to know about her biological parents.”In this society, it is very difficult for an unwed mother to keep the child. Therefore (she) was given to Jaya’s sister who resided in Bangalore and there were two eyewitnesses to the incident,” the senior lawyer said. The court, however, said the petitioner is at liberty to approach the high court.

RK Nagar bypoll: AIADMK Parliamentary board to decide candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling AIADMK on Monday discussed a range of issues, including the December 21 bypoll to RK Nagar Assembly constituency here, with senior functionaries authorising the party’s parliamentary board to decide the bypoll candidate.The meeting, the first after the Election Commission awarded the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol to this camp, was held at the party headquarters under its presidium chairman E Madhusudanan.AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam, and co-coordinator and Chief Minister K Palaniswami, besides other senior functionaries attended the meeting.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu: Panneerselvam stressed on unity in AIADMK, praises CM PalaniswamiA release from the party said it was “unanimously” resolved in Monday’s meeting to authorise the AIADMK parliamentary board to select the candidate for the RK Nagar by-poll.The release was issued with the “approval” of both Pannnerselvam and Palaniswami.
ALSO READ Assembly Polls: AIADMK high command to decide candidate for RK NagarMeanwhile, the AIADMK announced it was “restructuring” the parliamentary board, which now includes Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.Former ministers K P Munusamy and R Vaithilingam, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, Madhusudhanan, Tamil Magan Hussein, P Valarmathi, A Justin Selvaraj and P Venugopal are the other members of the board.Earlier, deposed and jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala who was the head of the board. She had selected her nephew and then AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran for the April 12 bypoll.Later, Dhinakaran was sidelined from the party.The RK Nagar seat fell vacant following the death of local MLA and then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016.Though the bypoll was originally scheduled in April this year, it was rescinded following complaints of money distribution.The DMK has nominated R Maruthu Ganesh to take on the ruling party. He was also the party nominee for the April 12 bypoll.Sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran has also thrown his hat into the ring.The ruling party also discussed the first death anniversary of Jayalalithaa and the various events associated with it, the release said.The AIADMK has already announced taking out a procession from the arterial Anna Salai to Jayalalithaa’s mausoleum in Marina Beach, which was reiterated in today’s meeting.The party workers will also take a pledge on that day.The meeting also discussed the valedictory of the birth centenary of party founder, late M G Ramachandran, and decided to hold grand celebrations.

Tamil Nadu: Panneerselvam stressed on unity in AIADMK, praises CM Palaniswami

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid signs of discord in the ruling AIADMK, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Sunday stressed on unity in the party and exhorted workers to ensure that ‘Amma’s’ (Jayalalithaa’s) rule continues its stride.In a series of tweets, Panneerselvam praised Chief Minister K Palaniswami saying he was providing good governance based on the path shown by late chief minister J Jayalalithaa.He, however, did not comment on the simmering discontent that came to the fore last week after his loyalist and Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan hinted at differences among the leaders of the two factions which merged earlier this year.Besides this, Panneerselvam’s supporters have said they were not invited to a key party function in Madurai yesterday attended by Palaniswami.Panneerselvam, who was conspicuous by his absence in the event that was held in Madurai, had later batted for unity in the party while taking part in another function along with Palaniswami.The second function was held at Ramanathapuram, about 115 km from Madurai.In his tweets, Panneerselvam today reiterated that it was due to unity among the party workers that the Election Commission alloted the ‘two leaves’ symbol to them.”With the same unity and support of Tamil people, we will face the next month’s bypoll in R K Nagar and succeed in it.We will achieve great victories in all polls we are going to dedicate the victories to our beloved Amma,” he said.The deputy chief minister also lauded Palaniswami, saying he was providing good governance treading the path shown by Amma.”This government, headed by Palaniswami, is implementing various special schemes and is also announcing new projects based on the vision of Jayalalithaa,” he said.Meanwhile, state Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar clarified that the Madurai event was organised by a cadre to hail the retrieval of the party symbol.Responding to reporters’ question whether Panneerselvam was invited to the programme, he said it was not an event that was planned.”The names of the leaders (Palaniswami and Panneerselvam) has been mentioned in the plaque,” Udhayakumar said.Maitreyan yesterday had said proper intimation for the event should have been sent to all party workers, functionaries and leaders.He had said the Madurai event was important since it was the first function to celebrate the party getting back its symbol.The Palaniswami and Panneerselvam factions merged in August after ousting jailed leader V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran.The Election Commission on November 23 allotted the ‘two leaves’ symbol to the unified AIADMK led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, dealing a blow to the Sasikala faction.

Chennai: 3 years later, gang rape victim named accused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A case of sexual assault of a 16-year-old speech-and-hearing impaired girl in a remote village in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district which rocked the state in 2014 has taken a curious turn with the CB-CID police dismissing charges of the assault and booked the victim and her mother in a public nuisance charge.The CB-CID filed charge sheet against the victim and her mother before Krishnagiri judicial magistrate court booking them under IPC section 160 (public nuisance).“An ordinary case of street brawl, which can be termed as an affray as per the terminology of the IPC, has been blown out of proportion by the complainant into a rape case and the local police who conducted investigation also buckled under extraneous pressure and filed charge sheet under section 376 of IPC which has been correctly quashed by the Madras HC,” the CB-CID said.M Veerabathrappa, father of the victim, in his original complaint alleged that his daughter was gang-raped when she was returning after giving food to him on the evening of December 25 as a revenge to a quarrel between his family and the accused.

Tihar Inmate files plea, claims cops beat him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst several allegations of brutalities against officials of Tihar Jail for assaulting inmates, an petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court making similar claims.According to the plea filed by one Jamal alias Ranjha through his counsel, it was contended that on September 13, inmates in Central Jail no-3 were brutally beaten by the prison staff and Tamil Nadu Special Police.The plea alleged that Jamal was “grievously injured” and “crippled for many days” after the incident. It also added that similar incident had taken place in Jail number 1 on November 21.”Around 9 pm on November 21, the alarms were falsely set off at Central Jail no 1 and almost all the inmates of blocks C and F of the High Risk Ward were brutally assaulted by the Tamil Nadu Police and Prison officials, continuously for more than one hour,” the plea said.The plea claimed that under such circumstances there is a threat to the life of the petitioner and appropriate directions be issued that evidence of the incident of November 21 not be destroyed or tampered with.The plea also sought the 14 inmates who were allegedly assaulted on November 21 to be produced in the court and that medical aid be provided the injured inmates.On November 20, the Delhi High Court had taken cognisance of media reports where a foreign court had struck down India’s extradition request stating that there would be human rights violations at Tihar due to the conditions.

Hindi should be learnt for a national level role: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today emphasised the importance of being proficient in one’s mother tongue and said children should also learn Hindi.”After learning your mother tongue, if you want to learn English no problem, but I must tell you..I know I am in Chennai..(but) children should also learn Hindi,” he said. “It should not be forced at all. Nobody should force any language on anybody,” he said. Tamil Nadu has a long political history of opposition to alleged “Hindi imposition,” by the Central government. Naidu was addressing students at SRM University’s Special Convocation at Kattankolathur in Kancheepuram District near here.The vice president said though one could do well in their respective states by being proficient in their respective mother tongue, for a national level role, he said Hindi should be learnt. “Otherwise you cannot become acceptable at the national level,” he said. Narrating his own experience, Naidu said when he went to New Delhi he realised that he could not learn effective Hindi in his student days as he had participated in anti-Hindi agitation then.”We went to streets saying Hindi down down,” he recalled.Stating that he along with others had smeared tar on Hindi letters, he said he realised that he had in fact painted his face with tar (by not learning Hindi) and not the post office box with Hindi letters.Besides his hardwork and commitment, his ability to communicate with people in different parts of the country stood him in good stead, he noted. Advocating learning as many languages as possible be it English, French or German, he said the primary importance must be attached to one’s mother tongue in which one needs to be “efficient and proficient.”He recalled his experience that world leaders who visited India, be it the French or Russian president, spoke in their respective mother tongue though some of them knew English. On education, he said “We need to move to digital technologies and the universities have to change their delivery modes and adopt curricula which are relevant.” Naidu said education is the single most important element in converting “our young population into national assets.”Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister, K P Anbalagan, SRM University founder chancellor, T R Paarivendhar and students participated in the event.

Tamil Nadu: Industrialist P S Belliraj commits suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A leading industrialist on Wednesday allegedly shot himself dead in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district due to financial problems, police said.P S Belliraj, who ran an educational institution, tea factory and a marriage hall in Nilgiris and a spinning mill in Coimbatore, shot himself at his house using his own gun, in Aravenu near Kothagiri in the Nilgiris district, they said.The wife of Belliraj, in his late seventies, heard the sound of a gun shot from his bedroom and found him lying dead in a pool of blood, police said.Police personnel, who rushed to the spot, recovered the body and sent it for post-mortem to the Government Hospital in Coimbatore.Superintendent of Police Murali Rambha and other senior officials held preliminary enquiry with the family members.Police quoting initial investigations said Belliraj was stated to have borrowed money from different persons.Some persons allegedly using the name of a former DMK Minister had been issuing threats to him in the last couple of days, they said.Belliraj is survived by a wife, three daughters and a son.

Noted jurist Habibullah Basha passes away at 84

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran lawyer Habibullah Basha, one of the finest jurists of the Madras Bar, passed away here on Wednesday after a prolonged illness.A philanthropist and founder-director of the Apollo Hospitals, 84-year old Basha died at his house, the Madras Bar Association said.Basha is survived by wife Shyamala Basha, his college-mate, a son and two daughters.During his more than five-decade long career, Basha had held various law officers post such as the central government standing counsel and Tamil Nadu Advocate General and public prosecutor.A junior of legendary lawyer Govind Swaminathan, Basha turned down a high court judgeship offered to him when he was aged just 37.In 1986, he declined a offer for direct appointment as a Supreme Court Judge.Born into an affluent family on March 8, 1933, Basha after schooling at convents here did his graduation and post-graduation in Islamic studies.Later he obtained Law degree from the Madras Law College and enrolled himself as an advocate in 1957.Basha become senior central government standing counsel ten years later and was appointed Tamil Nadu State Public Prosecutor in 1974 and went on to become the Advocate General in 1991.He had represented DMK President M Karunanidhi in a case registered against him for burning a copy of the Constitution.The veteran lawyer had appeared for late chief minister Jayalalithaa when she was involved in a bitter factional wrangle to get possession of the AIADMK headquarters here in late 1980s.Basha had moved the Madras High Court against obstructions put up in connection with the infamous wedding of Jayalalitha’s then foster son V N Sudhagaran in 1995 and argued as party in person.Three of his juniors became judges of the Madras High Court. Among them is present judge Justice N Kirubakaran.

Sri Lankan Navy chase away 1,700 Tamil Nadu fishermen, ‘snap’ fishing nets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 1,700 Tamil Nadu fishermen on Tuesday were allegedly chased away by the Sri Lankan Navy which also “snapped” fishing nets of 75 boats off Katchatheevu islet.The fishermen belonging to this island town were fishing near Katchatheevu this morning when Lankan naval personnel came in four boats and threatened them, Tamil NaduMechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja told reporters here.They also snapped the nets of 75 boats, he added.Following the threat, all the fishermen returned to the shore, Sesuraja said.The mid-sea incident came after a spate of detentions of the fishermen this month on charges of poaching fish in Sri Lankan waters.A total of 53 fishermen have been arrested by the Lankan Navy this month.In the last detention, eight fishermen, four Tamil Nadu and four from Mandapam, were arrested on November 19 for allegedly fishing off Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in 1974.In the last three months, a total of 117 fishermen from the state have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Nirmala Sitharaman releases Tamil translation of PM Modi’s poems, says she is proud to have a leader of his stature

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today that she was proud to have a leader of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stature.”Modi ji is a person with qualities like discipline and sympathy for the poor, who came to public life and is now a great leader. I am proud to have a leader of such stature,” she said.She was speaking at an event here after releasing “Sindhanai Kalanjiyam”, the Tamil translation of poems written originally in Gujarati by Modi.Speaking in Tamil, Sitharaman said she was happy to see Modi in a new light, as a poet.The defence minister said Modi, contrary to the general perception that he was autocratic, was a person who did what was required for the people.Noted Tamil poet Vairamuthu praised Modi, saying his talent as a poet needs appreciation. He also hailed Modi for his gesture when he called on the ailing DMK leader, M Karunanidhi, during his visit to the city on November 6.The collection of poems has been translated into Tamil by Rajalakshmi Srinivasan, a Sanskrit professor.Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan and Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan were among those present at the event.

Tamil Nadu Governor in political storm over admin meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has stirred a new political controversy in the state by holding a discussion with Coimbatore district officials, as the Opposition parties — led by the DMK — have termed it a gross interference in the state’s rights. The ruling AIADMK, however, did not see any threat to the state’s autonomy.In spite of the opposition parties flaying him for holding the meeting on Tuesday, Purohit swept a bus bay as part of a cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat initiative on Wednesday and also held a discussion with NGOs and resident welfare associations working on solid waste management.In a strong message to the opposition, the governor declared that he would visit the district as well as the other districts every year. He also expressed hope that Coimbatore would soon become the cleanest city in the country.The governor’s meeting evoked comparison with neighbouring Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi who has earned the wrath of the ruling Congress government for interfering in its administration.Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said that the disease of governor interfering in the elected government’s administration has spread to Tamil Nadu too. He alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using the governors and lieutenant governors to undermine the opposition party run governments in the state and the union territories.

Rajiv assassination case: Tamil Nadu govt rejects Nalini’s plea seeking premature release

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tamil Nadu government today informed the Madras High Court that it cannot entertain a plea of Nalini Sriharan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, seeking premature release as a similar case was pending before the apex court.Deputy secretary of the state home department filed a counter affidavit to Nalini’s petition. In response to a habeas corpus petition pending before a Division Bench headed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher in the Madras High Court filed by Nalini, the government in its counter said, “She is a party respondent in a plea pending before the Supreme Court in connection with remission of sentences of all seven convicts in the case, moved by the central government.”The plea has been referred to the Constitution Bench of the court which is yet to be decided. In view of the same, the high court cannot interfere in the issue,” the counter affidavit said.The department through its counter affidavit also submitted that the request made by Nalini through the state government’s scheme for premature release of life convicts who have already completed 20 years of imprisonment, had already been rejected by the advisory committee constituted for the purpose on more than two occasions.Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a suicide bomber at nearby Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991, and seven persons—Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Robert Payas, Jayakumar and Ravichandran—were convicted in the case. Payas and Jayakumar were sentenced to death for their role in the assassination, but their sentence was later commuted to life by the Supreme Court in 1999.Nalini was first awarded death sentence, which was confirmed by the Supreme Court and subsequently the Tamil Nadu government under Article 161 of the constitution commuted her sentence to life on April 24, 2000.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC seeks Centre’s opinion on releasing Perarivalan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central Government if it is willing to set free convict AG Perarivalan in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case or not.The Centre has challenged Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release Perarivalan in the assassination of former prime minister who was killed by a suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, India on Tuesday, May 21, 1991.Perarivalan is on life imprisonment along with Murugan and Santhan who were other two convicts of the same case.A division bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices Navin Sinha granted two weeks time to the Centre to reply in this case.The Top Court fixed the matter for further hearing to December 6.Perarivalan was arrested on June 11, 1991 at Periyar Thidal, Chennai by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers. He is charged with providing a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to assassination conspirator Sivarasan.His death penalty finally commuted to life term imprisonment after Supreme Court verdict on February 18, 2014.On August 25, for the first time since his arrest in 1991 Perarivalan was granted parole by the Tamil Nadu Government.

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