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LIVE! Sacked RSS leader booked over bounty on Kerala CM

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March 03, 2017


23:31   Modi govt 'most anti-intellectual': Chidambaram:  
Terming the Modi government as the world's "most anti-intellectual" for questioning experts on GDP figures, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the economy will take 12-18 months to recover from the "devastating" impact of demonetisation.
     
"It (the government) even thinks that Amartya Sen, professor at Harvard is undeserving of any respect. It thinks that Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard are all useless," he said. 
     
Speaking at a seminar on "Untold Stories of Demonetisation - Its impact on Indian Economy", organised by AICC, the senior Congress leader was critical of the government's criticism of noted economists like Nobel 

laureate Amartya Sen for questioning government's growth data post- demonetisation.
    
"We have the most anti-intellectual government in the world," he said.
     
Citing government data, he said going by the Gross Value Addition (GVA) figures it is clear that the economy has slowed down and the Q4 data of national income will further confirm that the economy has been hit "very 
very badly" by note ban. 
     
"It is clear from government's GVA data that the economy is in a clear declining trend... It is important that we understand that the devastating effect of demonetisation has interrupted India's economy story. It was an unnecessary interruption.
     
"To recover from this interruption, in my assessment, it will take between 12 and 18 months to recover. So you will see this impact into 2017-18 and may be right up to the end of 2017-18," Chidamabaram said.
23:23  Sacked RSS leader booked over bounty on Kerala CM:  
A RSS leader who was sacked form the right-wing outfit for declaring Rs 1 crore bounty on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has been booked by police.

Kundan Chandravat has been booked for on charges of inciting violence under Section 505 of the IPC.

The developments came a day after Chandravat retracted his controversial statement.

"Chandravat's controversial statement has created a wrong impression about the Sangh. He has been removed from all posts," RSS's Madhya Pradesh state head Prakash Shastri said in a letter announcing his removal.

 In a video, which went viral, Chandravat is purportedly seen saying that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is behind the killing of RSS workers there and he will pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who beheads him.
22:29  J&K: Encounter breaks out between militants and security forces:  
An encounter broke out between militants and security forces in Shopian district of Kashmir tonight. 

The gunfight erupted after security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Chillipora village of the district following information about presence of militants there, a police official said. 

As the security forces were closing in, they came under fire from the militants, he said.

"The operation is in progress and further details are awaited," he added.
22:20  Exit polls on March 9, not 8: EC:  
People will have to wait for one more day to know the outcome of exit polls as the Election Commission today postponed their telecast to March 9 evening after elections to one seat each in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are over.
The last phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur is on March 8. But following the demise of two candidates in the Alapur (UP) and the Karnaprayag (Uttarakhand) constituencies, the Commission had postponed elections there and fixed March 9 as the new date.
If candidates of recognised parties-- in this case the SP and the BSP-- die before or on polling day, the election is postponed to allow the party field a new person.
The Commission today made it clear that the exit polls can be telecast after 5.30 pm on March 9, 30 minutes after polling ends in the two constituencies.
According to election laws, exit polls can be telecast half-an-hour after the end of polling in all the phases and states.
22:13  Indus meet doesn't amount to Indo-Pak talks resumption: India:  
India today downplayed its participation in an upcoming meeting in Pakistan to discuss various aspects of the Indus Waters Treaty, saying it does not amount to resumption of government-level Indo-Pak talks, which
have been stalled over terrorist strikes by Pak-based groups.
Senior government officials insisted the Permanent Indus Commission, which will meet in Lahore later this month, deals with technical matters concerning implementation of the Indus Water Treaty and not with any political aspect.
India's participation comes nearly six months after New Delhi decided to suspend talks on the pact in the wake of the terror strikes by groups based across the border.
Noting that the commission has met 112 times since 1960, they said the Indian representative to the commission has accepted an invitation by his Pakistani counterpart for the meeting. No date has been set for the meeting.
"Mutually convenient dates and mutually agreeable agenda are worked out directly by the commissioners themselves and the government has no role in this regard," said a senior government official.
"The commission is not concerned with political aspects," he said, adding that "there is no shift" in the government's stance.
Declaring that "blood and water cannot flow together", Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a meeting in September to review the treaty in the backdrop of the terror strikes, including the Uri attack.
After the meeting, officials had announced that the government has decided to suspend further talks and increase the utilisation of rivers flowing through Jammu and Kashmir to fully exercise India's rights under the pact.
The last meeting of the commission was held in May 2015.
21:00  Alert across airports for rape-accused UP minister Gayatri Prajapati:  Airports across the country have been alerted about the possibility of UP Minister Gayatri Prajapati, accused of rape, trying to flee the country.

A Letter of Cancellation will soon be opened against him and all airports have been alerted to prevent the 49-year-old Prajapati from fleeing the country, official sources said.

A letter of cancellation is a technical term used for alerting immigration authorities about any possible move by a suspect to leave the country. 

Whenever passport of the suspect comes for immigration clearance at any exit point of the country, the computer screen warns the official to not let the person leave.

The Sashtra Seema Bal, guarding Uttar Pradesh's border with Nepal, has also been alerted about the possibility of such a move by Prajapati. 

The UP Police has registered an FIR against the ruling Samajwadi Party politician, who continues to elude them, for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her daughter with his aides. 

The FIR was filed recently following a directive of the Supreme Court after the alleged victim woman approached it.
20:51  EC refuses to accept Dinakaran's reply on Sasikala's elevation as Gen Secy:  
In a setback to Sasikala, the Election Commission has refused to acknowledge TTV Dinakaran's response to its query on allegations of VK Sasikala's wrongful appointment as interim General Secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, as he is not an office bearer in EC's records.

The EC has now written to Sasikala to send a response signed by an office bearer who is on the list submitted by AIADMK with the EC. Such reply should reach EC by March 10, the body said.

Sasikala had earlier revoked the suspension of her nephews Dinakaran and S Venkatesh from the AIADMK and appointed Dinakaran as the deputy general secretary.
20:49  RSS leader who put bounty on Kerala CM's head, sacked :  
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Kundan Chandravat, who had announced a bounty of Rs 1 crore for beheading the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was sacked by the right-wing outfit.

"Kundan who made controversial statement (on Kerala CM) at Ujjain protest meeting has been relieved of all responsibilities in the RSS," Dr MM Vaidya said.

Earlier, retracted his statement after it drew condemnation from various quarters including the Sangh.

Chandravat, RSS Sah Prachar Pramukh in Ujjain, claimed that he got some phone calls from Kerala threatening to kill him and was being targetted in social media.
"I was pained on the issue of murders of Swayamsevaks and therefore made an emotional statement. I retract it (statement) and express my regret," Chandravat said in a statement.
Chandravat, in a meeting inUjjain, had announced the bounty to avenge the killing of RSS workers in Kerala, allegedly by CPI-M workers.
His speech sparked an uproar, drawing condemnation from the RSS, the CPI(M) and the Congress yesterday.
In a video, which went viral, Chandravat is purportedly seen saying that Vijayan is behind the killing of RSS workers there and he will pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who beheads him and brings his (Vijayan's) head to him.
He also claimed that 300 innocent people belonging to the RSS had been killed but the Kerala Chief Minister was turning a blind eye.
19:45  RSS leader who put bounty on Kerala CM's head, sacked :  
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Kundan Chandravat, who had announced a bounty of Rs 1 crore for beheading the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was sacked by the right-wing outfit.

"Kundan who made controversial statement (on Kerala CM) at Ujjain protest meeting has been relieved of all responsibilities in the RSS," Dr MM Vaidya said.

Earlier, retracted his statement after it drew condemnation from various quarters including the Sangh.

Chandravat, RSS Sah Prachar Pramukh in Ujjain, claimed that he got some phone calls from Kerala threatening to kill him and was being targetted in social media.
"I was pained on the issue of murders of Swayamsevaks and therefore made an emotional statement. I retract it (statement) and express my regret," Chandravat said in a statement.
Chandravat, in a meeting inUjjain, had announced the bounty to avenge the killing of RSS workers in Kerala, allegedly by CPI-M workers.
His speech sparked an uproar, drawing condemnation from the RSS, the CPI(M) and the Congress yesterday.
In a video, which went viral, Chandravat is purportedly seen saying that Vijayan is behind the killing of RSS workers there and he will pay Rs 1 crore to anyone who beheads him and brings his (Vijayan's) head to him.
He also claimed that 300 innocent people belonging to the RSS had been killed but the Kerala Chief Minister was turning a blind eye.
19:34   Indo-Nepal border sealed a day before sixth phase of UP Polls:  
The Indo-Nepal border has been sealed, 24 hours before the polling in the sixth of the seven phased Uttar Pradesh assembly polls begins tomorrow. 

Voting for 49 Uttar Pradesh assembly seats will be held on March 4.

"The 84 km long Indo-Nepal border will be sealed 24 hours prior to the start of voting and will remain so till the end of polling on March 4. Sashastra Seema Bal will enforce the sealing. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed across the border during this period," said District Electoral Officer Virendra Kumar Singh. 

Cameras have been installed on trade and transit points along India's border with Nepal to prevent illegal movement of people during polling. 

He said two such cameras have already been set up at Sonauli Indo-Nepal Border of Maharajganj district on India-Nepal border. 

Five assembly seats in the district -- Siswa, Nautanwa, Frenda, Paniyara and Maharajganj -- are going to polls in the penultimate phase-VI of UP Assembly polls tomorrow.
19:16  Rajnath reviews security situation in country:  Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today reviewed the security situation in the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and other border areas. 

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajiv Jain and other senior officials briefed the him about the prevailing situation in the country, official sources said.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir, other border areas and the hinterland was discussed threadbare, they said. 

Busy with the electioneering in Uttar Pradesh, Singh attended his office in the North Block after nearly three weeks. 

He has been campaigning for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh for a month and had last attended office more than a fortnight ago. 

However, the home minister has been in touch with senior officials, who have kept him in the loop on various issues regularly, sources said.
18:45  BJP to pay for fielding 'baagi' & 'daagi' candidates: Mayawati:  
Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati today attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party saying its own cadre would teach its leaders a lesson for fielding 'baagi' (rebels) and 'daagi' (tainted) candidates in the UP assembly elections.
    
"The BJP has become the number one party of the baagi and daagi candidates. This time they have not given tickets to people of their own cadre but to those who joined them after leaving other parties. Tickets were given to rebels and with those having criminal antecedents," she told an election rally in Jaunpur.
"(Because of this) the cadres of the BJP will teach them a lesson in these elections," said Mayawati, who also addressed an election meeting in Mirzapur later.
Claiming that her party will form government with full majority, Mayawati said people of the state will celebrate Holi of communal amity and brotherhood after elections.
Accusing the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of failing to fulfil the poll promises and checking the rising atrocities on dalits and backwards, the BSP chief said the saffron party was out to end reservation or make it
ineffective as per the RSS' suggestions.
    
Making an appeal to the voters, especially Muslim, to vote for the BSP, Mayawati said it would keep the BJP out of power in the state.
"Voting for SP will only benefit the BJP," she said and promised that on coming to power she would end corruption, anarchy and the jungle raj of the Samajwadi Party and send criminals behind bars. 
17:49  'Got over-emotional', says RSS leader retracting bounty on Kerala CM :  RSS leader Kundan Chandravat retracts bounty on Kerala CM, expresses regret. The leader says he got over-emotional after RSS deaths.

To bring you up to speed, Chandravat on Thursday kicked up a row when he announced a Rs 1 crore bounty for beheading Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Sangh, however, distanced itself from his remark.

Chandravat, 'Sah Prachar Pramukh' of RSS in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain, announced the reward to avenge the killing of its workers in Kerala, allegedly by Communist Party of India-Marxist workers.

"The Kerala chief minister is killing our RSS workers who want to take this country forward.

"So I have announced a Rs 1 crore reward for the one who beheads such a killer chief minister. I will pay him by selling my assets," Chandravat was shown saying in a video clip which vent viral.

The RSS, however, distanced itself from Chandravat's remarks, with a top national-level functionary saying he did not even know him.

"The RSS strongly condemns such statements. The Sangh does not believe in violence. But we will continue to protest against attacks on our workers in Kerala in a democratic and peaceful manner," the organisation's national 'Sah Prachar Pramukh' (joint chief of publicity) J Nanda Kumar told PTI.

Kumar said he does not know who Chandravat was.

Hitting out at the Sangh, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted that Chandravat's comments "revealed true colours of RSS as a terrorist outfit".

Yechury also questioned the "silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA government over the remarks.

"The silence of the government is an endorsement that emboldens the RSS to issue such obnoxious threats," the CPI-M Politburo said in a statement.

By this the RSS has reconfirmed that it spearheads the politics of violence and terror as has been clear in Kerala in the recent months, it said.

The party also demanded immediate action in accordance with law against Chandravat by the state and the central governments.

Kerala is witnessing violent political killings of RSS and CPI-M workers, with the two organisations locked in a bloody feud.
17:41  BSF hands over Pak national to Rangers:  The BSF today repatriated an elderly Pakistani national who was arrested after inadvertently crossing over to the Indian side. The Pakistani national had crossed the International Border in Arnia sector yesterday, a BSF officer said. He was handed over to Pakistani Rangers at a Border Outpost along the IB in Jammu district today.


"A Pakistani national was handed over to Pak Rangers at Pittal BoP along IB By BSF troops at 0930 hours today," the officer said.


During preliminary investigation, he had revealed his name as Shahnabaz, a resident of Mankot village in Sialkot district of Pakistan. "The individual is quite weak and seems to have inadvertently crossed into Indian side," he said.
17:14  BJP spokesperson Shaina NC stalked :  BJP leader Shaina NC files a police complaint against a stalker who has been harassing her by sending vulgar messages through WhatsApp.
17:12  President finds Trump's Congress speech interesting :  Interesting speech. President Pranab Mukherjee's verdict on US President Donald Trump's  address to Congress delivered Tuesday night.

President Mukherjee was reading a 17-page printout of Trump's speech aboard Air India One en route to Delhi from Chennai today.

The president asked the accompanying media whether any one of them had studied Trump's speech and went on to underline sentences of the speech. 
16:49  Fire at Trump's New York hotel :  Officials are investigating the cause of a fire that started at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York, reports the Independent.


The blaze started on the 47th floor of the building, which overlooks Central Park, in the early hours of Friday morning.


The fire brigade was called at around 4.30am local time and the fire was extinguished at around 5.20am, local television reported.


The Fire Department of New York is investigating the cause of the blaze but have not found any indication it was "suspicious".
16:30  US senator calls on Pakistan to not play 'both ways' with India :  Democrat Senator Mark Warner called upon Pakistan not to play both ways, by claiming to curb terrorism, while letting terror groups sneak into India.


"Pakistan cannot play both ways. On one hand, they say we are curbing terrorism and on the other, let other terror groups to sneak into India," Warner said during a programme.


"Not only on Kashmir, India has shown immense restraint even after the Bombay attacks," he added.


Warner's Republican colleague in the Senate Dan Sullivan also expressed concern over 'safe-havens in Pakistan'.


"Either India or Pakistan should look at the relationships as a zero-sum game. Our senior general in Afghanistan expressed concern over safe-havens in Pakistan," he asserted.


Warner also opined that India can train thousands of civil servants in Afghanistan but Pakistan looks at this with so much suspicion that it becomes very difficult to work.
16:06  India defies China, will host Dalai Lama in Arunachal:  
The Union government representatives will meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Arunachal Pradesh in April, officials said, despite a warning from China that it would damage bilateral ties.

India said the Tibetan spiritual leader will make a religious trip to Arunachal Pradesh next month, and as a secular democracy it would not stop him from travelling to any part of the country.

A trip by the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as a dangerous separatist, would ratchet up tensions at a time when India is at odds with China on strategic and security issues amid Beijing's growing ties with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration is raising its public engagement with the Tibetan leader, a change from earlier governments' reluctance to anger Beijing by sharing a public platform with him.

"It's a behavioural change you are seeing. India is more assertive," Kiren Rijiju, Union minister of state for home affairs, told Reuters in an interview.

Read more HERE
15:59  Sanjay Dutt's security roughs up media, actor apologises:  
A scuffle broke out in Agra between media persons and actor Sanjay Dutt's security guards during the shooting of his comeback film "Bhoomi" near the Taj Mahal.

The incident took place when the film's unit was shooting at Kalakriti Taj VIP road yesterday. The bouncers started pushing the crowd away and they even manhandled some of the media persons and allegedly snatched their camera, which led to a journalist registering a complaint against the film unit.

The 57-year-old actor later apologised to journalists, saying had he been there, he would have stopped it. 

"I want to make it clear that I was not even there on the set when it happened. I had already packed up and left for my hotel. But if I had been there, it would not have happened for sure. I would have sorted it out with a 'jaadu ki jhappi'. I even talked to the media people after the incident and apologised," Dutt told reporters during a press conference. 

"I want to thank the people of Agra who have shown so much love to our film unit. I just want to say that I need your support. The city is being promoted through our film and if something like this happens, it is shameful for everyone." 
15:43  Sushma Swaraj hails Kansas shooting victim:  
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sent a personal message to 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who was injured while trying to intervene during a shooting in which an Indian techie was killed in Kansas, and wished him a speedy recovery. 

The Indian Consul-General in Houston, Anupam Ray, met Grillot and his family yesterday at the University of Kansas Hospital and handed over the message from Swaraj.

"India salutes the heroism of Ian Grillot! Best wishes for speedy recovery," Ray wished Grillot on behalf of the minister and the people of India, KSHB-TV reported. 

Grillot was released from the hospital on Tuesday.

Ray also said that Sushma Swaraj has 7.3 million followers, who all conveyed their best wishes. 

"We will stand with you, whatever you need," he said. 

Responding to this Grillot said, "I look forward to being able to go meet everybody." 

Grillot and his family are invited to India as soon as he is able to travel, according to a news release from the University of Kansas Health System. Grillot was shot in hand last week when 51-year-old American navy veteran Adam Purinton, prior to opening fire, uttered racial slurs and yelled "get out of my country" at the two Indian victims.
15:41  China warns India against allowing Dalai to visit Arunachal:  
China on Friday warned India against allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, saying it would cause "serious damage" to the bilateral ties and peace in the disputed border region. 

"China is gravely concerned over information that India has granted permission to the Dalai to visit Arunachal Pradesh," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media persons in Beijing. 

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet and routinely objects to any visits by top leaders, officials and diplomats to the area.

China had also aired similar concerns in October last year when India granted permission to the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh at the invitation of the state government. 

The visit is expected to take place this year. 

"China is strongly opposed to the Dalai visiting disputed areas," Geng said.

"China's position on the eastern section of China-India border dispute is consistent and clear. The Dalai clique has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and its record on the border question is not that good," he said. 

Geng said China expressed its concern to India through formal channels.
15:08  2 security personnel killed in face-off with Naxals in Chattisgarh:  
Two security personnel were killed and as many injured in an exchange of fire with Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Friday, police said. 

The skirmish took place near Cherli village under Mirtur Police Station limits when a joint team of Chhattisgarh Armed Force and district police was out on a road security operation, IG (in-charge), Bastar Range, Sundarraj P said. 

The team was on patrolling duty to ensure security of the under-construction Gangaloor-Mirtur road.

As they were cordoning-off a patch near Cherli, around 450 kms from state capital Raipur, the security personnel came under heavy firing from a group of ultras, leading to a fierce gun-battle, the IG said, adding the Naxals fled the spot soon after, he said. 

"Constable Hemant Kumar, belonging to CAF's 10th battalion and district force's assistant constable, Gubba Ram (corrected name), were killed, while two other jawans were injured," Sundarraj said. 
14:57  French football legend Raymond Kopa dies aged 85: AFP
14:46  Rahul defamation case: Matter adjourned till Apr 21 :  A Maharashtra court on Friday adjourned till April 21 the defamation case filed by the RSS against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's remark regarding Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.Gandhi was not present in the court today.


Earlier in November last year, Gandhi was granted bail on the basis of personal surety by Maharashtra's Bhiwandi court.


A local RSS functionary, Rajesh Kunte, had filed the case against Gandhi for claiming at an election rally on March 6, 2014, that the right wing organisation had killed Mahatma Gandhi.

Though the apex court has stayed the proceedings against him, Gandhi appeared before Magistrate D.P. Kale in Bhiwandi on July 8 last year.

Gandhi had in September last year withdrawn his petition filed in the apex court and said that he would face the trial.

He expressed his readiness to face the trial after the top court refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings pending against him before the trial court.

He moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court's order refusing to quash the defamation case and summons issued to him by the trial court.
14:43  'RAW' agent Kulbhushan Yadav will not be extradited, says Pakistan :   Pakistan has categorically ruled out possibility of handing over a former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Yadav to India. Pakistan believes Yadav is a RAW agent.

Radio Pakistan has this story: Pakistan's advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz informed the Pakistan Senate today that the process has been started to prosecute Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistani courts. A list of questions has also been handed over to India to seek more information from them in the light of the statements of Kulbhushan Yadav.

Sartaj Aziz said the purpose of sharing dossiers with the United Nations was to prove the direct and indirect Indian intervention in Pakistan. He said our stance in this regard is also being acknowledged at the international level.

Kulbhushan Yadav was arrested last year in Balochistan on charges of spying and stoking terrorism and sectarianism in the country. 
14:24  Karnataka: Congress leader and former minister Kumar Bangarappa (son of former CM Sarekoppa Bangarappa), joins BJP.
13:46  BJP's 'sipahi' Gajendra Chauhan backs ban on 'gay' Malayalam film :  Not long after Prakash Jha's 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' was denied certification, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) has found its latest victim in the Malayalam film 'Ka Bodyscapes' and FTII chairman Gajendra Chauhan justifies its move.


"I would like to appreciate Censor Board and revising committee that they stopped the film from showing. I got to know that Lord Hanuman has been shown in a derogatory manner. I object," said the 60-year-old to ANI on the last day in his office.


According to Chauhan, films like 'Ka Bodyscapes' shouldn't be allowed in India as nobody has the right to hurt a religion and its views.


He added, "Court should also not allow it. What do they have to prove by making movies on freedom of expression and artistic values? Do they want to show the future generation their parents in bad light?"


CBFC believes that 'Ka Bodyscapes' glorifies gay and homosexual relationship, but seems like Chauhan is against the flick for not the same reason.


"Make a movie on sexual orientation that can teach something, not hurt a religious belief. I condemn the movie," Chauhan continued.


The movie follows the lives of three young people in Calicut - "Haris, a gay painter; Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and their friend Sia, an activist who refuse to conform to dominant norms of femininity, struggle to find space and happiness in a conservative Indian city."


Director Jayan Cherian posted the official letter from the CBFC on social media, adding, "It's official, Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani (chairman of the CBFC) put the final nail in my coffin!"


The letter, from the second revising committee, reads, "The second Revising Committee felt that the film is glorifying the subject of gay and homosexual relationship, nudity accentuating vital parts of male body (in paintings) in closed shots in the whole movie.""The film is explicit of scene offending Hindu sensibilities depicting vulgarity and obscenity through the movie. The religion of 'Hindu' is portrayed in a derogatory manner especially Lord Hanuman (shown in a poor light as gay) which may cause law and order problem in the society."

"The film contains posters depicting homosexuality throughout the movie and derogatory remarks against women. Abusive language is used in most of the places and also a female Muslim character is shown masturbating. The film has references to Hindu organisations indirectly which is unwarranted."


Chauhan on Friday said he is a BJP 'sipahi', adding his ideology is same as the saffron party.

Chauhan told ANI that the government was happy with his work and added that he did his best as the chairman of FTII.

"I feel that I have played a 20-20 match. I had to make more runs and overs were less. I had very less time and a lot of work, but I am happy that I was able to do my work..I am a 'sipahi' of BJP and whatever work they tell me to do. I will do it with all my heart. BJPs ideology is my own ideology," he said.

13:30  SC no to urgent hearing on PIL for probe in ex-CM Pul's death:  The Supreme Court today refused to grant an urgent hearing on fresh PIL seeking independent probe into the alleged suicide of former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul.


"Sorry. Declined," a bench comprising Cheif Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said. Advocate M L Sharma, who filed a PIL in his personal capacity, had sought urgent listing of the plea saying "a criminal conspiracy" was on to defame the highest judiciary of the country.


"There should be an independent probe into the alleged suicide note and the death of Pul," he said. The plea also sought investigation into the role of some lawyers who were allegedly espousing the cause of Pul's wife Dangwimsai Pul.


On February 23, Pul's wife had withdrawn her letter for CBI or NIA probe into the allegations levelled in her husband's purported suicide note against some former and serving persons holding constitutional posts and politicians.


Pul had committed suicide on August 9 last year. His body was found hanging in the official residence of the Chief Minister at Itanagar. After months of intense political developments, Pul had taken over the reins of Arunachal Pradesh on February 19, 2016 for a brief period but had to relinquish the job following a Supreme Court order in July.
12:51  Shabana@UK Parliament :  Shabana Azmi will be speaking at The House Of Lords in the UK Parliament on Identity and Integration on 9th March on the theme, Separate but Equal', she tweets. 
12:48  Grenade attack on CRPF bunker in Kashmir's Pulwama district, 2 injured:  Just in: Suspected militants hurled grenades at a CRPF post in South Kashmir's Pulwama district. Two jawans have been injured. The CRPF post is at a busy market area. Last month, another grenade attack took place in Kakapora area in Pulwama. Prior to that an attack by Hizbul Mujahideen militants on an army convoy left three personnel dead and wounded five others, including two officers, in South Kashmir's Shopian district. A civilian caught in crossfire was also killed.
12:29  Indian origin girl racially abused in New Yorki:  An Indian-origin girl in the US has been allegedly racially abused by an African-American man (pictured alongside) who called her inappropriate names and yelled "get out of here" when she was travelling in a busy commuter train. Ekta Desai, who lives in New York, took a video of the incident that occurred on February 23.


The video was then shared by a website 'The Voice Raiser' and has since then gone viral and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.In the video, the African-American man is seen abusing the girl, saying words like "Freedom of speech' and "Black Power.' Using expletives, he tells her to "get out of here.'As the girl is recording the video, the man gets visibly angry and is seen shouting at her.


"This man was on the same PATH train as me along with 100 other passengers, I had my headphones on and it was like any other day. Next thing I know he is yelling on my face (Did not bother to listen/react),' Desai wrote on social media.


Desai said she did not react to the man but he continued shouting and questioned as to why she was taking his photo and pictures. Several people have reacted sympathetically towards the girl after the video was posted online.


Desai said she reported the matter to police authorities, who allegedly said the man appears to be "emotionally unstable' and she should be careful. Desai then contacted Kundan Srivastava, a Human Rights activist and founder of The Voice Raiser, who said the US government should "punish' the man for "harassing and abusing women and also insulting our nation."
12:13  DU limps back to normalcy with NSUI's rose day :   The Congress Party's students wing, NSUI, starts the 'Gift a rose' campaign outside Ramjas college to restore peace in the campus.

Teachers, students and journalists were wounded on the Delhi University campus as group clashes broke out over the disruption of a literary festival in Ramjas College allegedly by members of the ABVP.

Violence erupted over the forced cancellation of a seminar organised by the Ramjas college Literary Society, for which JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited.

Khalid was arrested last year in a case of sedition over organising a rally on the JNU campus in which anti-India slogans were allegedly heard. Rashid was the then the JNU student union vice president.

Students owing allegiance to the ABVP were unhappy with the invite to Khalid and Rashid.


Image: Students from the NSUI distribute roses to fellow students outside Ramjas College.
11:51  Bijapur (Chhattisgarh): Two jawans injured in an ongoing encounter between police and Naxals in Mirtur area.
11:45  Not being part of any Bollywood camps was a wrong move: Govinda:  Actor Govinda says the film industry has big camps and feels it was a wrong move on his part to not get into any. The 53-year-old actor had a successful career in the 90s but it slowed down after he joined politics in mid-2000s. Though he made a comeback of sorts with "Partner", his recent outings like "Happy Ending" and "Kill Dill" couldn't do wonders at the box office. Govinda says the backing of a particular camp boosts an actor's career, which he realised much later.


"There are massive camps in Bollywood. I never belonged to any camps but I think it was a wrong move. I should have had. It affects your career. It's one big family," Govinda told PTI.


"In that one family, if you create harmony and build good relations, it works. If you are a part of it, if you are blessed, you will do very well."


The actor says during his low phase, people made his journey more difficult and that is when he looked up to megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who had battled his away through financial difficulties. "I have struggled a lot, let me tell you, it is not so easy. When I was struggling, people didn't make my way easy. I heard and saw what had happened to Bachchan sir, but didn't know it will happen with me. He could do it, come out of it, that was inspiring."


Govinda says his financial struggle was "daunting" and he found immense difficulty in even getting his films made. "It (financial struggle) is tiring. It is daunting, people misbehave, they don't write (movies) for you properly, some even ask for money again and again, saying they get paid better writing for TV." "Industry was always money-oriented but now it has become very costly. It is very tough for an actor to make a film and release."


Govinda's latest film "Aa Gaya Hero" has again been pushed and will now hit the screens on March 17. He has also produced and written the film.


When asked about working with frequent collaborators, like filmmaker David Dhawan and actor-friend Salman Khan, he says, "Friends in the industry cannot do much. They have to do hard work for their own business, look after their own work. Friends only can be friends, not God. So, you have to do things on your own."
11:31  'If I live in constant fear of being arrested, I'll stop the work I do':  "The Congress or Kejriwal may be corrupt but at least you will not be thrashed black and blue. Your children will not be threatened by those regimes. If the Aurangzeb road memory is valid, then the memory of the 2002 Gujarat riots is also valid."


In an interview with Rediff.coms Syed Firdaus Ashraf, journalist-turned-activist Teesta Setalvad, talks about her new book Foot Soldier of the Constitution: A Memoir and the state of secularism in the country.  Do read
11:28  The Congress party is comatose if not dead:  When the Congress party vanishes as a national force (meaning when it can no longer get sufficient votes to hold onto its symbol, the hand), it will not have been the first large Indian party to die," says Aakar Patel. Read the column here.
11:16  Uphaar case: SC to hear Gopal Ansal's plea against jail term on Monday:  SC agrees to hear on Monday the plea of Gopal Ansal against the jail term in Uphaar fire case.  A fresh plea has been filed by real estate baron Gopal Ansal seeking modification of the SC verdict asking him to serve the remaining jail term in the Uphaar fire case.

The apex court had recently asked Gopal Ansal to undergo the remaining jail term in the case while his elder brother Sushil Ansal got relief from incarceration with a prison term already undergone by him in view of age-related complications.

The younger brother has sought similar relief claiming that he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if he is sent to jail.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar assured senior advocate Ram Jethmalani that it would ascertain the availability of the bench which had heard the review and would list it for hearing on Friday.

Senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi, appearing for the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, opposed the plea saying there cannot be a review of the review judgment.

59 people died in the 1996
11:09  Whistleblower Army sahayak found dead:  The Times of India reports: An Army jawan who had figured in a sting operation by a news website criticising the 'sahayak' (orderly) system last month was found dead in mysterious conditions in an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra on Thursday. Roy Mathew, a gunner, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room. Doctors said 33-year-old Mathew, whose body was decomposed, might have died three days ago.

Police sources said Mathew, who had served the Army for around 13 years, was among several jawans in Deolali seen in the video which featured soldiers walking dogs of officers and taking their children to school. The sting operation had sparked an uproar against the British-era sahayak system.
Mathew, who had been missing from his artillery unit since February 25, was facing an inquiry after the sting operation was posted online, sources said.

It is being probed if Mathew, who was attached for 'buddy duties' with a Colonel rank officer posted as an additional officer at the Artillery Centre in Deolali, had felt tortured or harassed after appearing in the video," said a police source, adding that after the video was widely circulated on various social media platforms, Mathew was questioned by several officials.
The source said Mathew had run away from the unit on February 25 and had remained missing since. "He had come under huge pressure," the source added.


On being contacted, the Army, however, said Mathew had gone "AWOL (absent without official leave)" within 24 hours of the video being aired on February 24.


Image: Soldiers distribute food to flood-affected Indians in Laxmi Chor village, West Bengal,
10:59  TN CM Palaniswami to chair his first cabinet meeting today:  Edappadi K Palaniswami, who took oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister last month, will chair his maiden cabinet meeting at the State Secretariat in Chennai on Friday.


Palaniswami had won the vote of confidence by a steep 122-11 margin after eviction of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) members and walkout by its allies from a chaotic assembly session following a political stalemate in the state.


EPS is the third All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader, who took charge as the Chief Minister in the last nine months.


Late AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had powered the party to a rare successive term in office in the state in the May, 2016 Assembly Polls. 
10:47  News18 reports: 'Whistleblower' Army Sahayak Mathew Roy found dead in his barracks in Deolali; Amy says he committed suicide.
10:31  I take back my harsh words on Sehwag: Javed Akhtar:  Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar, who had hit out at Virender Sehwag for his comments on Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, has said that he takes back his "harsh" words as the cricketer has already clarified his statements. "Since Sehwag undoubtedly a great player has clarified he was just being facetious and is not anti Gurmehar I take back my rather harsh words," Akhtar tweeted. The 71-year-old lyricist had earlier called Sehwag "a hardly literate player" when the cricketer trolled Kaur after her campaign "I am not afraid of ABVP" went viral.


Later, Sehwag, in a series of tweets, had defended himself, claiming that his social media post in reply to Kaur was an "attempt to be facetious" rather than one to bully anyone over their opinion, adding that agreement or disagreement was not even a factor.


Kaur, 20, the daughter of army martyr Captain Mandeep Singh and a student of Lady Sri Ram College, had started the campaign following the violence at Ramjas College. She withdrew from her social media campaign after allegedly receiving threats.


Akhtar, however, praised cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who had said that the recent events have left him with a sense of disappointment. "My respect for Gautam Gambhir who with out any fear of trolls and right wing extremists has stood for Gurmehar's freedom of expression. Bravo," he wrote.


"So many war veterans and retired army officers have supported Gurmehar's statement but perhaps they are not "nationalist" enough for some," Akhtar added.
10:23  Sensex takes a tumble :  Market benchmark BSE Sensex stretched its losses to the second day today, shedding over 88 points in early trade on sustained profit-booking by investors after recent gains. Besides, a weak trend in other Asian bourses after a broad global rally, weighed on the trading sentiments here. The 30-share Sensex slumped further by 88.05 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 28,751.74 with FMCG, IT, technology, power, bank, auto and capital goods stocks declining by up to 0.83 per cent. The gauge lost 144.70 points in the previous session. The NSE Nifty fell by 19.80 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 8,879.95.
09:56  I was raped, sexually abused as a child, says Jane Fonda:   Hollywood legend Jane Fonda has revealed that she was raped and sexually abused when she was a child. The 79-year-old star, in an interview with actress Brie Larson for Net-a-Porter's The Edit, explained that she often felt "diminished" with the men in her life, according to The Hollywood Reporter.


"I've been raped, I've been sexually abused as a child and I've been fired because I wouldn't sleep with my boss and I always thought it was my fault; that I didn't do or say the right thing," Fonda told Larson, who has been a vocal advocate for abuse. The Oscar-winning actress touched upon the power of the word 'No' by saying, "Unlike you, Brie, it took me 60 years to learn how to say no... If anyone offered me anything I would say yes. I took parts I wasn't right for and I was taken advantage of."


Earlier at an event in 2014, Fonda revealed her mother, Frances Ford Seymour was sexually abused as a child before committing suicide when the actress was just 12.
09:32  Sardar Sarovar Project: SC to hear plea today:  
The Supreme Court will on Monday hear the issue of compensation in the Sardar Sarovar Project on the river Narmada.

The apex court had earlier in its order awarded a compensation of Rs. 60 lakh each to 681 families affected by the Sardar Sardar Project in Madhya Pradesh and an amount of Rs 15 lakh each to 1358 families affected by the project within two months.

Earlier on February 8, the court decided to set up a panel of three former judges of the apex court to look into the issue.

A bench of the Apex Court headed by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar proposed to set up a three-judge panel to monitor the compensation and rehabilitation for the oustees of SSP on river Narmada in three states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Earlier, the Apex Court said that to ensure better deal for the project-affected families and had asked the Narmada Bachao Andolan and states to suggest names of experts who could be appointed in the committee which would deal with the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of the oustees.
09:32  Kerala: CPI-M office set ablaze hours after RSS unit is bombed:  
The Communist Party of India office at Nadapuram in Kozhikode, Kerala was set on fire in an apparent retaliation for a crude bomb attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh office hours earlier, NDTV reported quoting police sources.

Four RSS workers were injured after some unknown persons hurled a crude bomb at their office at Kallachi near Nadapuram around 8.30 pm on Thursday. The injured were identified as Babu, Vineesh, Sudhir and Sunil, they said.

The attack took place soon after an RSS functionary in Madhya Pradesh announced a Rs 1 crore bounty for beheading Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. 

Kundan Chandravat, 'Sah Prachar Pramukh' of RSS in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain, announced the reward to avenge the killing of its workers in Kerala, allegedly by CPI-M workers. 

"The Kerala Chief Minister is killing our RSS workers who want to take this country forward. I will pay Rs one crore to anyone who beheads him even if I have to sell my house," Chandravat was seen saying in a video, which has gone viral. The RSS, however, distanced itself from Chandravat's remarks.

Representative Image used
09:01  Snapchat pops in Wall Street debut for messaging app:  
Snapchat owner Snap Inc rode a wave of euphoria in its Wall Street debut today as investors sent shares of the popular messaging app soaring. 

In midday trade, Snap jumped 47 per cent to $25.06 in its market debut after raising USD 3.4 billion, in the richest US tech company listing since Facebook in 2012.

The California startup known for its disappearing messages priced its offering  Wednesday at $17 to give it a market value of $24 billion, which would rise even further with the jump in its share price. 

Analysts have been mixed on the future of Snap, amid debate on whether it can mimic the success of Facebook or end up in the tech junkyard.

Debra Williamson of the research firm eMarketer said Snapchat inspires the same kind excitement as Facebook in its early stages.

"This is a company that is fundamentally changing communication," she said. 

"This makes Snapchat as exciting a property as Facebook when it launched. And it has a lock on the youth market which is critically important for new technologies."
08:58  Infant Mortality Rate: Kerala now at par with US:  
Kerala has become the best Indian state -- at par with US -- for new born babies with the 'God's own country' managing to bring down the Infant Mortality Rate 6.

The IMR -- number of children under the age of 1 who die for every 1,000 born -- was released by the National Family Health Survey-4 in its 2015-16 report.

Going with the statistics, if India (current IMR of 41) could get it down to 6 like Kerala, more than 7 lakh children could be saved every year.

The NFHS-4 report for 2015-16 unveiled by the health ministry was conducted after collecting information from 6 lakh households, 7 lakh women and 1.3 lakh men, and for the first time provide district level estimates.

"Infant Mortality Rate declined from 57 to 41 per 1,000 live births between NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4. IMR has declined substantially in almost all the states during the last decade. It dropped by more than 20 percentage points in Tripura, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Odisha. IMR substantially declined over the period from 79 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-1 (1992-93) to 41 per 1,000 live births in NFHS-4," Health secretary C K Mishra said.
08:54  Pak can't play both ways, supporting terror and taking it on: US senator:  
US Senator Mark Warner, who is Co-Chair of the Senate India caucus and Ranking member of powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has said that while India and the US have a very strong relationship between the intelligence community, there is enormous concern not only about Pakistan's role in unrest in Kashmir, but also the terrorist organisations from Pakistan.

Responding to a question on Pakistan after his remarks at the Widrow Wilson Center, a top American think-tank, Warner said it is in the best interest of Pakistan not to differentiate between different groups of terrorists.

Praising India's patience, Warner said India today has risen to a place where it sees itself as a major international partner.

"I want to send a strong message that Pakistan can't play both ways, supporting one group of terrorists one hand and taking action against the others," he said.
08:44  India to participate in Permanent Indus Commission meet in Lahore:  
India is set to participate in the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission, scheduled to be held in Lahore in March.

Pakistan forwarded the invitation to India to resolve the Indus Water Treaty, sources say.

The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of the Indus Waters Treaty.

The development comes after the relations between the two nuclear-armed nations plummeted following the Pathankot terror attack that took place in January last year.

Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or changes to the IWT after India had said that it is ready to engage in further consultations with Islamabad on the matter of resolving current differences over the Kishenganga and Ralte projects under the treaty.

Islamabad has argued that India was buying time to complete its two disputed water projects and then insisting that since the project was already complete, it could not be modified.

Pakistan is raising its objection to building of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants by India saying that it violates the provisions of the treaty.

Tensions increased over the water dispute when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan. The World Bank had earlier asked both the countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty Dispute 1960.
08:25  Trump on Sessions row: 'It is a total witch hunt!':  
US President Donald Trump has just released a statement on the scandal surrounding his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is accused of lying to Congress about his conversations with Russian officials. 

Yet, he insists he did not speak with Russia about any political campaigns, which was the specific question asked of him by Senator Al Franken. 

As the White House indicated earlier on Thursday, Trump stands behind his man. 

In his statement, the president argues that Sessions said nothing wrong and the calls for his resignation amount to nothing more than a "witch hunt." The media, he says, are ignoring the real story.

He said on Twitter: "Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. 

"The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total "witch hunt!""
00:19  Jail authorities seek nod to shift Purohit from hospital to anda cell:  
Taloja jail authorities sought the special NIA court's nod to shift Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, from the prison's hospital, where he has been staying for seven years, to a high-security 'anda cell'.
    
"The authorities told the court that Purohit has been staying at the jail hospital for seven years and they want to shift him back to the high-security anda cell," special prosecutor Avinash Rasal said. 

The court, in an order in the past, had said Purohit should be kept in the jail hospital only for a certain period. However, the order that the jail authorities received did not specify this. 
00:04  Syrian army announces recapture of Palmyra from Islamic State:  
The Syrian army said on Thursday it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State for the second time in a year, with help from allied forces and Russian warplanes.

Islamic State retook Palmyra in a surprise advance in December, after having been driven out eight months before. "With backing from the Syrian and Russian air forces, units of our armed forces recaptured the city of Palmyra, in cooperation with the allies," the military said in a statement. 

The army and Iranian-backed militia advanced inside Palmyra on Thursday as Islamic State withdrew completely, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said.

Islamic State militants retreated to areas in the east, the Observatory reported. 

Government forces took control of swathes of Palmyra and conducted combing operations to clear mines on Thursday, it said.During Islamic State's first occupation which ended in March, the ultra-hardline jihadist group destroyed some of Palmyra's priceless archaeological heritage and is believed to have razed other parts of the historical ruins since regaining control in December.

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