23:37 Brother, father of Manchester attacker arrested in Libya:
The brother and father of 22-year-old Salman Abedi, suspected of carrying out the bombing in Manchester which killed 22 people, in Libya.
A relative and security sources were quoted as saying by AFP that intelligence services had on Tuesday arrested Hashem Abedi, who -- like his older brother -- was born in Britain.
Their father has also been arrested on Thursday. -- AgenciesIMAGE: City council employees move flowers from the townhall in Albert Square to St Ann's Square in Manchester, on Wednesday. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
22:22 Sonia to host top opposition leaders for joint Prez nominee talks:
Top leaders of several opposition parties will go into a huddle on Friday at a luncheon hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi where they would explore the possibility of fielding a joint candidate for the presidential election.
Sources in these parties said the meeting is likely to be held in Parliament House complex and would be attended by leaders like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist's Sitaram Yechury, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal-United veteran Sharad Yadav, who is himself a possible contender for the top constitutional post.
Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, is already in the national capital, and is likely to meet Sonia Gandhi separately on Thursday.
Sources said invitations have been sent to the JD-U, the CPI, the CPI-M, the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Nationalist Congress Party, the RJD, the TMC, besides some other big and small regional parties.
The main opposition Congress is seeking a larger unity among non-National Democratic Alliance parties ahead of the presidential election which could be taken forward to the upcoming assembly polls instates like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, besides the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. -- PTI
22:07 PDP worker shot at, ciritical:
Terrorists shot and critically injured a worker of the ruling People's Democratic Party in Barzullah area of the Srinagar on Wednesday evening, the police said.
Abdul Qayoom was shot at by terrorists at least three times from close range outside his home at around 8.10 pm, a police official said.
He said the injured person was rushed to a hospital where is condition is stated to be critical. -- PTI
21:23 Terrorists escape army cordon as stone-pelters disrupt op:
Disrupting an anti-militancy operation, a stone-pelting mob helped some terrorists, suspectedly including the Kashmir chief of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, escape from the dragnet of security forces in Pulwama district, police said on Wednesday.
As a result, the operation launched on Tuesday evening was called off on Wednesday morning, a police official said.
The operation was launched after a tip-off about the presence of terrorists, including LeT's Kashmir chief Abu Dujana, in Hakripora area, the official said.
When the security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation, the terrorists opened fire, triggering a gunbattle.
However, a mob threw stones at the security personnel to disrupt the operation, which helped the terrorists flee, the police official said.
"Searches were concluded this morning. There was no fresh firing as the militants seemed to have escaped from the cordon last night," the official said. -- PTIRepresentative image
21:08 Two explosions in east Jakarta near bus station:
Indonesian police said on Wednesday that there had been two explosions in the eastern part of the capital Jakarta near a bus station.
Andry Wibowo, the head of East Jakarta police, told Metro TV that people had heard two explosions and three people had been hurt. -- Reuters
21:01 JUST IN: Explosion in Indonesia's east Jakarta near bus station reports Reuters quoting police.
21:00 Uttarkashi accident: death toll rises to 24:
The death toll in the bus accident near Nalupani in the district has mounted to 24 after three more bodies were recovered today from the mangled remains of the vehicle which fell into Bhagirathi river.
20 bodies were recovered from the spot late last night while an injured person succumbed to injuries later at the hospital.
Three more bodies were recovered today taking the toll to 24, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Shrivastava said.
Six persons who had sustained injuries in the mishap have been referred to a higher centre, he said.
However, rescue efforts are still on, in case there are more bodies trapped in the vehicle which was badly damaged after falling about 300 metres down the road into Bhagirathi, the official said.
The accident took place last evening when the bus carrying pilgrims from Gangotri fell into Bhagirathi river, while it was on its way to Haridwar.
The bus was scheduled to go to Kedarnath from Haridwar.
The pilgrims were from Madhya Pradesh. The bodies have been handed over to the kin of the deceased, the DM said.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident and announced a compensation of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those who sustained injuries. -- PTI
20:44 Army free to take decisions in Jammu and Kashmir: Jaitley:
Army officers are free to take decisions in a 'war-like' zone, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said today, referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after the Army went public on fire assaults on Pakistani posts along the Line of Control.
"Well, military solutions are to be provided by military officers. How a situation is to be dealt with when you are in a war-like zone... we should allow our army officers to take a decision.
"They don't have to consult members of Parliament as to what they should do under such circumstances," he said.
Jaitley was responding to a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
His comments also appeared to justify Major Leetul Gogoi's action in tying a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters.
The Indian Army yesterday said it launched 'punitive fire assaults' on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control, inflicting 'some damage', days after two of its troopers were beheaded.
It also released a video of the military action which showed some structures in a forested area crumbling in a heap under the impact of repeated shelling. -- PTI
20:22 Cops attend marriage of Dawood's 'relative'; face inquiry:
Some police officials reportedly attending the marriage of a woman, whose family members are said to be distant relatives of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, in Nashik recently has caused a flutter.
Taking cognisance, city police commissioner Ravindra Singhal today ordered an internal inquiry against the concerned police personnel.
Some personnel attached to Bhadrakali police station in Old City area reportedly attended the marriage ceremony held at a posh mall in Mahatma Nagar area on Monday.
The invitation for the marriage was reportedly given to the police personnel by some Muslim clerics. The bridegroom is the son of a former local corporator.
Some politicians, including MLAs and corporators, reportedly attended the function too.
However, police commissioner Ravindra Singhal said he could not confirm this though he conceded that the invitation was indeed sent to some politicians.
"The invitation for the marriage was sent to some police officials of Bhadrakali police station and also to some corporators, political personalities, MLAs etc.," he said.
Singhal, however, didn't specify the exact number of police personnel who attended the marriage. According to sources in local police, an ACP-rank officer also attended the function.
Singhal said the statements of the police personnel who attended the marriage are being recorded.
"It will take two days to complete the internal enquiry against the officials as some of them are on leave," he said, adding that the police force was also busy in providing bandobast in Malegaon in the district where municipal corporation elections were held today. -- PTI
20:00 Paresh Rawal says 'coerced' to delete tweet on Arundhati:
Actor and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Paresh Rawal has deleted his tweet suggesting that writer Arundhati Roy should be tied to an army jeep as a human shield.
He said he was 'coerced' to do so otherwise Twitter would have suspended his account.
'With this letter, I inform to all my supporters and citizens of this country that I am being coerced to delete something I tweeted on May 21, or else Twitter would block my account,' he said in a statement.
His earlier tweet, for which he was widely criticised, read, 'Instead of tying stone pelter on the army jeep tie up Arundhati Roy!', referring to the incident last month of the army in Kashmir strapping a protester to its vehicle as a human shield against stone-throwers. -- Agencies
19:43 Centre abolishes FIPB, new mechanism for FDI approval on anvil:
The Union cabinet today approved winding up of the 25-year-old Foreign Investment Promotion Board, which has been vetting Foreign Direct Investment proposals requiring government approval.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech on February 1 had announced the scrapping of the inter-ministerial body, which comes under the ministry's Department of Economic Affairs.
The decision to abolish FIPB was taken by the cabinet,chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley said while briefing the media after the meeting.
FIPB will be replaced by a new mechanism under which the proposals will be approved by the ministries concerned as per the standard operating procedure approved by the Cabinet, he added.
Jaitley further said that proposals in sensitive sectors will require the home ministry's approval.
On the proposals pending with FIPB, he said they will go back to the ministries concerned.
FIPB was constituted under the Prime Minister's Office following economic liberalisation in the early 1990s.
Currently, only 11 sectors, including defence and retail trading, require government approval for foreign direct investment (FDI).
Jaitley said that about 91-95 per cent of FDI proposals are under the automatic route.
There could also be a provision for quarterly review of pending proposals by the economic affairs secretary and annual review by the finance minister.
The FDI proposals above Rs 5,000 crore would continue to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
Inflow of foreign direct investment into India increased by 9 per cent to $43.48 billion (Rs 2.82 lakh crore) in 2016-17. -- PTI
18:48 High court stays NEET results:
Madurai bench of Madras High Court grants interim stay on release of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test examination results, ANI reported on Wednesday.
The HC granted an interim stay till June 7, asking the Central Board of Secondary Education not to declare the results until final order is passed on a petition challenging NEET.
The petition claims that the examination was not conducted in a uniform manner and different sets of question papers had been used at different places in the country. -- Agencies
18:40 JUST IN: Cabinet approves abolition of Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
18:18 Brad Pitt in Mumbai, will meet SRK:
Actor Brad Pitt landed in Mumbai last night to promote his Netflix satire War Machine and will be meeting Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.
'The War Machine team made their way to Mumbai, which is one of the many stops in their whirlwind promotional tour across the globe, straight from the movies star-studded premiere in Tokyo,' a News18.com report
This is Pitt's second visit to India.
18:01 In Kashmir, a new ammo to snatch weapons: Chilli powder:
Two unknown men today made a failed bid to snatch a rifle of a bank ATM guard in Shopian district of south Kashmir, police said. The alert guard thwarted the attempt by holding on to his 12-bore rifle even after the attackers threw chilly powder in his eyes, a police official said.
The incident occurred at the Jammu and Kashmir Bank's ATM at Imam Sahib in Shopian district this afternoon, the official said.
As the guard resisted the attempt, there was commotion which drew the attention of passers by, forcing the assailants to flee from the spot, the official added.
Over the last several months, there have been a number of incidents of gun-snatching, mainly in south Kashmir.
Image: The floor of the bank strewn with chilli powder.
17:46 AAP leader moves SC against death threat from right-wing bodies :
AAP leader Asish Khetan today moved the Supreme Court alleging death threats from right-wing organizations and sought protection for his life.
A vacation bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha listed the matter for hearing on June 5 after advocate Sunil Fernandes mentioned the matter for urgent listing before it.
Khetan, who is the vice chairman of Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi, has in his plea sought a ban on right-wing organisation, Sanatan Sanstha, and a CBI probe monitored by the apex court into the alleged death threats.
The plea settled by senior advocate Kapil Sibal also sought police protection following the threats from several right-wing organisations and formulation of guidelines for protection of such people who get death threats.
"The petitioner herein respectfully submits that there are right-wing extremist organisations active in the country today. Some of the prominent groups among them are Sanatan Sanstha, Abhinav Bharat, Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Hindi Rakshak Samiti, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, Sri Ram Sene and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
17:04 It's fish curry-rice every day for Pranab Mukherjee :
The India Photo Project which curates photographs from India, shot this inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan and has interesting post to share. Seems President Pranab Mukherjee loves his fish, as in self-respecting Bengali should, and eats fish and rice every day, but Tuesdays, along with an apple. The post reads: "... Not one for eating out, he eats fish curry almost every day, except Tuesdays. He also add Apples to his meal every day. I couldn't get the Fish Curry, but managed to get Apples on my yellow plate."
16:42 Three more men arrested over Manchester terror attack:
Three more persons were today arrested in the UK in connection with the Manchester concert terror attack that killed 22 people, bringing the total number of men in custody to four.
A 23-year-old man was arrested yesterday in the wake of the attack on Monday night, carried out by a bomber identified as 22-year-old Libyan-origin Salman Abedi.
The BBC has reported that the man arrested yesterday is Abedi's brother Ismail. "Three men have been arrested after police executed warrants in South Manchester in connection with the ongoing investigation into Monday night's horrific attack at the Manchester Arena," a Greater Manchester Police statement said.
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said yesterday that Abedi was known to security services "to a point" and it is believed intelligence agencies had dug into his connections with the Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) in his parents' homeland of Libya. Manchester-born Abedi went to school locally and then studied business management at Salford University, before dropping out from the course.
16:35 Nepal PM Prachanda resigns:
Nepal media reports that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has resigned. He was on his way to submit his resignation to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari till reports last came.
Earlier, it was reported that Prachanda may resign today, paving the way for Nepali Congress chief Sher Bahadur Deuba to take over as per an understanding the two leaders had reached in August last year.
The prime minister was to address the parliament yesterday and announce his resignation, but it was postponed as the speaker adjourned the House after the main opposition Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist's lawmakers obstructed the House meeting, protesting against the government's decision to increase the number of local units in Tarai districts.
As leaders from ruling and opposition parties could not develop a consensus on resuming House meeting despite holding several rounds of talks, the speaker postponed the parliament meeting.
As per an understanding reached between ruling parties -- Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre -- Prachanda was supposed to quit the top post, paving the way for NC President to lead the coalition government.
The pact was to run the government on a rotational basis until elections to the parliament are held in February 2018.
Prachanda was to hold office till local polls are held and remaining two elections -- provincial and central -- were to be conducted under Deuba.
Millions of Nepalese on May 14 voted in the country's first local-level polls in two decades as the Himalayan nation took a crucial step towards cementing democracy amid political turmoil.
Local-level elections could not be held after 1997 largely as a result of the decade-long Maoist insurgency that claimed more than 16,000 lives in Nepal. The elections should be held in every five years but due to the political instability, they were halted since May 1997. -- PTI
15:40 CRPF officer says encounter In Assam was fake:
An Inspector General of Police, serving with the CRPF in the North East, has raised several questions regarding an encounter carried out in a joint operation by the Army, Assam Police, CRPF and the Sashastra Seema Bal in Chirang district of Assam in the early hours of March 30 this year.
In his report sent to CRPF headquarters in Delhi, Gujarat cadre IPS
officer Rajnish Rai, currently posted in Shillong with CRPF as IG, North
East Sector, has alleged that the encounter neat Simlaguri village
under Amguri police station that led to the death of two suspected
members of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), or
NDFB(S) faction, was staged. And that the two men were picked up from a
house in D-Kalling village and killed in cold blood in Simlaguri.
Read the full report here.
15:24 Greater Manchester Police makes three arrests in South Manchester, in connection to the concert attack.
15:19 The heroic homeless who helped the Manchester victims :
"Just because we are homeless, doesn't mean we don't have a heart..."
In the moments after the Manchester Arena bomb attack, it was the homeless who cradled the dying, pulled out glass shards from the injured and offered that much-needed helping hand.
Manchester believes one good turn deserves another. Do read.
15:11 Only one person at TN CM's meeting with PM today:
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will meet Prime
Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today to discuss several issues,
including the political situation in the state.
At the meeting, will be a certain gentleman called, Manickam, who will be the interpreter. Manickam is believed to be Palaniswami's wife's sister's husband.
Manickam will be the only other person present at the meeting between the two leaders.
AIADMK MPs have been wondering why they have been left out of the meeting. Does it mean what transpires at the meeting is confidential? Does it mean the conversation may steer away from politics? These may be simply speculations, but the fact remains that senior party leader M Thambidurai has been kept away from the meeting.
AIADMK MPs have also been speculating whether it means that EPS wants to establish a hotline with the PM. Only time will tell.
14:32 Anurag Tiwari's death: Complaint against four IAS officers :
Karnataka Administrative Service officer K Mathai has filed a
complaint against four IAS officer alleging harassment in the murder
case of IAS officer Anurag Tiwari, who was found dead in a mysterious
conditions outside a VIP guest house in Lucknow.
On April 10,
Mathai filed the complaint with Lokayukta against four IAS officers -
Kalpana, M. Laxmi Narayana, T.K. Anil Kumar and E.V. Ramana Reddy.
As the complaint is still under observation, no case has been registered yet. The post-mortem report of Tiwari, has stated Asphyxia as the cause of his death.
Earlier, the murder case of the Karnataka, cadre IAS officer was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
came after the family members of the slain officer registered an FIR
with the police in Lucknow against unknown persons under the section 302
of the IPC and made a demand that the case should
to be handed over to the CBI.
14:23 Operation called off in Pulwama as militants manage to flee:
The overnight counter-insurgency operation in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district was called off today as the militants managed to escape from the security forces' cordon.
The operation was launched yesterday on the basis of a tip-off about the presence of militants, including Lashkar-e-Taiba's Kashmir chief Abu Dujana, in Hakripora area, a police official said.
The militants opened fire during the operation, prompting retaliation from the forces which triggered a gunfight.
However, a mob threw stones at the security personnel to disrupt the operation, which allowed the militants to flee, he said. "Searches were concluded this morning. There was no fresh firing as the militants seemed to have escaped from the cordon last night," the official said.
14:05 Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was radicalised recently :
The Manchester Arena suicide bomber has been identified as Salman Abedi of Libyan origin. He was 22.
Various reports in the British media say Abedi, had made numerous trips to Libya, had returned from Libya, barely weeks ago. He is also known to the security services.
The Telegraph reports that Abedi was born in Manchester and grew up in tight-knit Libyan community that was known for its strong opposition to Colonel Muammar Gaddafis regime.
He had become radicalised recently - it is not entirely clear when - and had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists.
The imam last night said that Abedi had shown him the face of hate when he gave a talk warning on the dangers of so-called Islamic State.
Born in 1994, the second youngest of four children, Abedis parents were Libyan refugees who fled to the UK to escape Gaddafi.
His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Tripoli but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Whalley Range area of south Manchester where they had lived for at least a decade.
Abedi went to school locally and then on to Salford University in 2014 where he studied business management before dropping out. His trips to Libya, where it is thought his parents returned in 2011 following Gaddafis overthrow, are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists.
Image: A handout of suicide bomber Salman Abedi
13:45 No information on missing Indian fighter jet near Sino- India border in Assam, says Chinese foreign ministry.
13:31 Trump meets the Pope:
US President Donald Trump has met Pope Francis at the Vatican for a short private audience on the third leg of his overseas trip, reports the BBC.
He arrived for the meeting along with his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The meeting was keenly awaited as the two men have already clashed at a distance on issues including migration and climate change.
Trump will later meet Italy's president and prime minister. He will then fly to Brussels for a Nato summit.
13:14 Pak media says their jet fighters flew over Siachen today :
Update: Pakistan media reports that jet fighters of the Pakistan Air Force made flights near the Siachen Glacier on Wednesday morning.
Pak media reports that all of its forward operating bases have been made fully operational after 'threats' from India.
The Indian Air Force says that no air space violation has been made by Pakistan.
Pak media said that mirage jets of Pakistan Air Force were part of exercises since the forward base was made operational. Pakistan Chief of Air Staff Sohail Aman paid a visit to the forward airbase in Skardu on Wednesday. He was accompanied by top leadership of the Pakistan Air Force.
12:50 Indian woman 'forced into marriage' in Pak allowed to return home:
The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday granted permission to Indian national Uzma, who accused a Pakistani man of forcibly marrying her, to return to her country, Pakistan-based Geo TV reported.
The court ordered that police to provide security to the Indian woman till the Wagah Border Crossing.
Her husband Tahir Ali had expressed his desire to meet Uzma in private to which the court said that could hold a meeting in his chamber. However, Uzma refused to meet him.
Uzmas lawyer Malik Shah Nawaz Noon and First Secretary to the Indian
High Commission Piyush Singh filed the petition on her behalf in the
high court stating that her husband Tahir Ali had deceived her as he was
already married, and that he stole her passport and other travel
She has alleged that she was sexually abused after her forced marriage to a Pakistani man at gunpoint.
In her statement, recorded before a magistrate, Uzma has said that
she came to Pakistan to see her relatives and not to marry Ali. She has
said she did not know Ali was already married and had four children.
However, Ali said she knew about his marriage and children. He said
he had told her about his family and that he lived in mountains away
from the main cities.
Uzma, 20, has been staying at the Indian mission in Islamabad and
refused to leave the high commission premises until she is repatriated
The petition sought security for her journey back to India via the
Wagah border and requested that her husband is restrained from harassing
her, the Dawn reported.
12:41 Jet fighters of the Pakistan Air Force made flights near Siachen Glacier today, forward operating bases made operational, claims Pak media.
12:27 The Islamabad High Court allows Indian national Uzma, who accused a Pakistani man of forcibly marrying her, to return to India.
12:26 News updates:
- Naxals trigger a 10 kg pressure cooker blast in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, no casualties/injuries. A man believed to be a Naxal has been arrested for attempting to flee the spot (pictured).
- Army patrol along Shamshabari Range in Jammu and Kashmir recovered a terrorist's body in a decomposed condition yesterday afternoon, reports news agency ANI. Weapons, grenades, communication equipment recovered with the terrorist's body
12:10 As Modi's political stock rises, so does Ramdev's business empire:
Narendra Modi leaned to whisper in the ear of the man sitting cross-legged and barefoot next to him, the one clad in saffron robes with a long beard and squinty gaze. It was late in the afternoon of March 23, 2014 in New Delhi and the start of national elections was a fortnight away.
A few minutes later, the yoga guru and entrepreneur known as Baba Ramdev turned to a microphone and urged the crowd before him to mobilize votes for Modi: "You'll make other people understand, won't you? You won't sit at home, will you?" The crowd roared back, "No!"
Modi grinned. Ramdev laughed. The politician and the co-founder of a billion-dollar consumer products business were both headed to the pinnacle of a right-wing Hindu movement that seeks to shape the destiny of the world's fastest-growing major economy. About two months after the rally, when voting had rolled across the vast country, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party swept the long-ruling Congress from power.
Read the full story here.
11:54 Padma Bhushan for army officer who tied man to jeep, says Gadkari:
Union minister Nitin Gadkari has applauded Major Letul Gogoi (pictured)
and said that he should be "awarded the Padma Bhushan".
Speaking to ABP News, Gadkari said, "Major Gogoi used his presence of mind to save several soldiers. It is a strategy. I feel he should be awarded the Padma Bhushan," said the Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping.
He also added that while he did not agree with party MP Paresh Rawal's tweet on Arundhati Roy (Tie Arundhati Roy to Army Jeep), he said there were people who speak against armed forces.
He said the Modi government was doing a lot of work in the North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir. "This amount of work never happened in the last 50 years," the minister said.
Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a man to a jeep in Kashmir purportedly as a shield against stone-pelters, has been honoured with the Army chief's 'Commendation Card' for his 'sustained efforts' in counter-insurgency operations.
The award for Major Gogoi is seen as a backing of the action of the officer belonging to the 53 Rashtriya Rifles even as the Army maintained that a court of inquiry into the incident is 'under finalisation'.
A video, showing a man tied to an Army vehicle during polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election on April 9, had triggered a public outcry, prompting the Army to institute a probe.
The sources said Major Gogoi was given the award during Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat's visit to Jammu and Kashmir last week.
11:13 'Patriot' Sonu Nigam quits Twitter in defiance of 'one-sided sham':
A day after Twitter suspended singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya's account after he posted a string of "offensive" tweets, especially against women, another singer, Sonu Nigam, posted a barrage of 24 tweets to say he is quitting Twitter.
Last month, Nigam had raised questions on the Azaan call in the morning and said it is "forced religiousness". "God bless everyone. I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India," Nigam tweeted.
Today, Nigam said he was quitting the medium in protest of what he perceived to be a media-fed bias against people who are 'nationalists'. He said he wanted to declutter his 'pious' mind.
Here's the long and short of his tweets:
Hello Press, Twitteratis, Tweeples and Tweetios, get ready to take screen shots of my following messages for they won't remain here 4 long.
"I bid adieu to Twitter and my close to 7 Million followers today, leaving most Disappointed and angry at me, and some Sadists Happy.
"I have come to understand that "You can wake up someone who's sleeping, but can not wake up one who's pretending to sleep when he's awake".
"Media, is divided. Some Nationalists, some just Cold blooded Pseudos not ready to learn from our History of Traitors. Hv seen Love Pouring in from Most Quarters 4 my Balanced approach; & unreasonable, illogical, ruthless, Profanities being hurled frm other. People blessing you on one hand; and some wishing Death upon you.
"Even some young Girls and Boys and Kids behave like terrorists. A woman can endorse a picture of Gautam Gambhir in the front of the Army Jeep, & Paresh Rawal, Criticized for doing d same to someone else.
"Accepted Arundhati has d right to her opinion about Kashmir, but then the other billion Indians have the right to feel Let Down too right?
"And we have stopped being Humans. We are nothing beyond Proud Muslims, Hindus, Pakistanis, Indians.Gosh.Such arrogance 4 being so stupid?
"One Could disagree wth Abhijeetda's language but isn't Shehla's accusation tht BJP has a Sex Racket, Provocation enough to Supporters?
"If His account is deleted, why not Her? And the other Morons who hurl Mother Sister abuses to every Achiever?
"Where's the Balance? How is it all so one sided? Why is everyone so Angry here on Twitter? Why can't there be a Sensible discussion?
"Shall Delete d account in a bit so the messages are conveyed clearly and with Utmost Humility and Good Intent. Thanks Twitter.
"And if there's a Newer Platform with some Filter, I'd be Owning it! We'll see each other there. Goodbye till then 6.5 Millions.
"I don't know what will be made out of these Threads of mine, and what new Controversy I'll get in2, but this shud b d last due 2 Twitter.
"I hope I never need to return here to Clarify, but I never say Never! At this point, my Pious life, needs to Declutter.
"I am no Right Wing, No Left Wing. I respect everyone's Opinion but I guess Here, you have to Belong Somewhere. I don't belong 2 a place whr sm Pseudo Intellectuals actually turn a Blind Eye to d Unprecedented slap I gave 2 d Fatva proclaimers on me
"I have no Religion. I follow my own religion choosing d Best from everywhere. Those who understand, know; those who don't, my condolences
"I am sorry I don't belong to a place which spews so much Venom with such Relish! A place that taints me Anti Muslim in some losers' minds
"I quit Twitter Today in Defiance of this One Sided Sham. Every Logical, Sensible Patriot and Humanist should.
"I have nothing against Twitter, it's a Game Changer. Yet Twitter cud have been a Greater Platform. It's like Porn, shown in Theatres.
It only goes to prove that most humans, cannot digest power when it comes to them unchecked. They need Reins to hold them back."
10:46 Ariana Grande's drummer heartbroken over terror attack:
Ariana Grande's drummer Aaron Spears says the singer's musicians and crew are all in deep shock after the terror attack at her concert in Manchester on Monday night. Spears told Washington, D.C.'s Fox 5 via text message that the explosions started after the show closed, reported Billboard.
"We finished the show and we were walking back to our dressing rooms and BOOM!!!!" he wrote. "We could hear people, we had no idea what it was... There was all kinds of speculation as to what was going on. Like five minutes after getting to the room, security came in and informed us that we had to evacuate the building immediately.
"It was then that we realised this was serious. Initially we thought that the sound was all kinds of things, but it didn't hit that this was a bomb until we were evacuated and they told us exactly what was going on. It's so heartbreaking because so many little ones attend our shows... I just keep thinking about them."
Spears' account comes after Ariana, 23, said she was left "broken" over the deaths of her fans and made the decision to "indefinitely suspend" the rest of her 'Dangerous Woman Tour' dates.
10:38 Thatcher, Chandraswami and I:
"He (Chandraswamy) gave Mrs. Thatcher (Former UK PM Margaret Thatcher) five strips of paper and requested her to write a question on each. She obliged, but with scarcely camouflaged irritation. Chandraswamy asked her to open the first paper ball. She did. He gave the text of the question in Hindi. I translated. Correct. I watched Mrs Thatcher. The irritation gave way to curiosity. Next question. Again bull's eye. Curiosity replaced by interest. By the fourth question the future iron lady's demeanour changed. She began to look at Chandraswamy not as a fraud, but as a holy man indeed. "
An excerpt from Walking with Lions Tales from a Diplomatic Past by K Natwar Singh, a former senior bureaucrat and former union minister. Read more here.
10:26 'People seem to be mesmerised by Modi':
"The BJP has latched on to the idea of nationalism, but the nationalism they advocate is not nationalism as we have understood it since the time of the freedom movement. This is not secular nationalism, it is Hindu nationalism. It is a form of nationalism that is exclusionary and it tends to conflate national interest with the government. So, if you disagree with the government, for example, on surgical strikes or demonetisation, you are anti-national or holder of black money."Zoya Hasan
, Professor Emerita, Centre for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, is one of India's leading political thinkers.
Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier
spoke to Professor Hasan about what Narendra Modi has achieved in the three years he has been in power. Read more
IMAGE: Hindu Yuva Vahini celebrate their leader Yogi Adityanath's selection as Uttar Pradesh chief minister
10:06 TN CM to meet PM today:
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaadi Palaniswami will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 11:15 am in South Block today.
This will be a very crucial meeting in the backdrop of the CBI raids on many of Palaniswami's ministers.
The EPS faction will support the BJP's presidential candidate for the upcoming polls. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu is BJP's points-person for the Sasikala faction.
09:52 Twitter suspends singer Abhijeet's account for repeated, offensive posts:
Twitter has suspended singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya's account after he posted a string of "offensive" tweets, especially against women, yesterday.
The move by Twitter came after social media users accused the 58-year-old singer of using "inappropriate" and "insulting" language.
"Account Suspended: This account has been suspended...," stated the message from Twitter on his handle.
The singer had received flak on the social media site for a series of inflammatory tweets against journalist Swati Chaturvedi, who had registered a police complaint against him last year in July.
The complaint led to his arrest. On being released on bail, the singer reportedly broke into tears.
The regret didn't last long, for the defiant singer later said he would repeat his words if he wished to.
On May 22, Abhijeet spewed venom at some women Twitter users, including JNU student-activist Shehla Rashid, which prompted some of the netizens to lodge a complaint with Twitter.
"Sincere thanks to everyone for the support. Abhijeet had to delete his tweet. His Twitter account has also been suspended," Shehla tweeted today.
Abhijeet had previously retweeted about the JNU student, "There is rumour she took money for two hours and didn't satisfy the client... big racket."
In another tweet, he had insulted a woman Twitter user when she called him out for his incendiary tweets, where he wrote, "You Ms Pak. Tell me your cage no? Will reach there... Will do the favourite pose."
However, it is unclear if the decision taken by Twitter is temporary or permanent.
When contacted, Abhijeet told PTI, "Author Arundhati Roy and people supporting JNU" were behind the suspension of his account.
"Yes, I just saw it. They are trying to block Paresh Rawal also. All Arundhati and JNU group behind this after Paresh Rawal and I tweeted against Arundhati for her anti- India stand," he said.
BJP MP-actor Paresh Rawal kicked up a row with his remark that author Roy should be tied to an army jeep instead of a stone pelter, a reference to an incident in Kashmir where a protester was used as a "human shield" by security personnel against a mob.
Asked if he would take any step to reinstate his Twitter handle, Abhijeet said, "I (don't) care a damn... entire nation is with me."
09:32 Saharanpur violence: One Dalit killed, 24 arrests so far:
Senior Superintendent of Police S Dubey on Wednesday said that 24 people have been arrested so far in connection with the clashes between two communities in Saharanpur yesterday.
The fresh clashes occurred yesterday after BSP Chief Mayawati's visit to the violence-hit area, in which one person was killed and several injured.
The state government also announced compensation of Rs 15 lakh to the relative of a person who was killed during this incident.
On May 5th, one person was killed and 16 people, including a head constable, were injured in clashes between Dalits and Rajputs in Shabbirpur and Simlana villages.
Reports said that the police stopped the Maharana Pratap procession after some Dalits informed the police. This angered Rajputs, who allegedly resorted to violence.
09:11 Wife of cop, who probed Sheena Bora murder case, found dead:
Wife of a police inspector was found murdered inside her house in Mumbai's Santacruz on Wednesday.
The cop identified as inspector Gyaneshwar Ganore is posted at Khar police station and was once part of the team probing the sensational Sheena Bora murder case.
The high profile Sheena Bora murder case was registered at the Khar police station. Ganore was one of the investigating officers in the case and also headed the team which arrested prime accused Indrani Mukerjea .
Cops suspect insiders' role in Ganore's wife murder. Police said she was killed brutally but refused to divulge more details.
The cop's son is said to be missing after the incident and his mobile phone was found switched off.
The woman's body has been taken to a hospital for post-mortem. The case in being investigated from all possible angles, the police said.
08:24 Manchester attack: UK raises terror threat level to 'critical':
British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the United Kingdom's terror threat to the "critical" level, which means an attack is imminent, and deployed army in the key sites after the deadliest attack which killed at least 22
people and injured 59 others.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the decision to raise the threat level was taken after security forces were unable to rule out if Salman Abedi, the UK-born suspect behind Monday's suicide bombing in Manchester, acted alone. The move will see the army deployed to secure the country's key sites.
"It is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack," May said.
The terror threat level has been raised to its highest level of "critical", meaning further attacks may be imminent, she said.
In a live address on Tuesday night, she noted: "The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe".
"As a result of (the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre's) decision the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers."
She said the request was part of an established plan known as Operation Temperer, which is now in force.
IMAGE: The Union flag flies at half mast in Downing Street following the attack. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images
00:09 LeT terrorist involved in Poonch beheadings killed:
Lashker-e-Tayyaba terrorist is believed to have been killed in a
retaliatory action by the Indian Army after Pakistani troops beheaded
two security personnel after crossing the Line of Control in
Poonch district earlier this month, an Army official said on Tuesday.
Ali Sheraj alias Ibini Abul Majid, who hailed from main road Biddersher
in Bahawalpur in Pakistan, was a member of Pakistan's Border Action
Team (BAT) which struck in Krishna Ghati sector on May 1, the official
Under the cover of heavy mortar fire, a BAT team ofPakistan sneaked
250 metres across the LoC and beheaded two Indian security personnel on
Sheraj was probably killed in the retaliatory action bythe Indian
Army after the beheading incident, the officialtold PTI, quoting
intelligence inputs from Pakistan.
The official said his body could not
be recovered because a search could not be conducted in the area in view
of heavy shelling.
Citing intelligence inputs from Pakistan, the
officialsaid the terrorist's body was possibly not retrieved by
the Pakistani side too as his last rites were performed in absentia on May
'Gayabana Namaz-e-Jinaza' (last rites in absentia) washeld at his
home in Bahawalpur and it was attended by LeT chief Hafiz Saeed's
brother-in-law Abdul Rehman Makki, himself a top LeT terrorist, along
with some other Lasher commanders participated on May 16, the official
said. -- PTI