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LIVE! Poll panel orders probe in 'communal video' circulating in Gujarat

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November 19, 2017

21:09  Poll panel orders probe in 'communal video' circulating in Gujarat:  The Gujarat chief electoral officer has ordered a probe by the police into the emergence of a video clip whose content is alleged to be aimed at spreading hatred against Muslims 'to polarise votes' in the poll-bound state.

"We have taken cognisance of the matter after learning about it from the media. The matter has been taken very seriously at all levels. The police have been asked to investigate. The cyber crime department will investigate the matter," Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain said today.

He said the district election officers have been asked to be careful about the poll code violation on social media platforms and address the matter immediately.

"We have asked all DEOs to be very careful. Apart from looking into the expenditure part, the teams have also been asked to look into MCC (Model Code of Conduct) violation and initiate due action," the CEO told PTI.

The 1.15 minute-long clip, which begins in Gujarati, shows a girl hurrying back to home through a deserted locality with 'azaan' (a Muslim call to prayer) playing in the background.

The clip ends with a line that reads, 'Our vote, our safety'.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for making and circulating the video clip, which has been doing rounds on social media.

An advocate had written to the CEO, the cyber crime cell of the Ahmedabad Police and the Election Commission with a request to ban the video clip and take action against those responsible for its creation and circulation.

In his letter, advocate Govind Parmar of Human Rights Law Network had written that the video attempts to spread hatred by whipping up fear towards the Muslim community with an attempt to polarise votes.

He also sought action against the persons behind the video clip under section 153(A) - promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion - of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act.  -- PTI

Image used only for representative purposes.
20:46  Terrorists hurl grenade at security forces:  Terrorists today hurled a grenade at a team of security forces which was withdrawing from Parimpora area in the outskirts of Srinagar, sources said.

The militants hurled the grenade towards the team, which was withdrawing after their law and order duties, at a foot overbridge which exploded with a loud bang, the sources said.

They said there was no loss of life or injury to anyone.

However, the police did not confirm the incident.  -- PTI
20:08  Compromise reached with Hardik's group, says Gujarat Congress chief:  Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Bharatsinh Solanki said on Sunday, after meeting Patidar quota agitation leaders in Ahmedabad, that the differences have been ironed out and a compromise has been reached between Hardik Patel-led PAAS and the Congress.

"PAAS has not asked for a ticket for any of its leaders. Neither Alpesh Thakore nor Jignesh Mevani has asked for it either," Solanki said.

PAAS leader Dinesh Bambhaniya said, "Our first and last concern is reservation. Hardik Patel will make an announcement from Rajkot, tomorrow."

Solanki also said that he would not contest the polls even as he dismissed reports that he was not happy with the party high command over the selection of candidates.

His announcement assumes significance against the backdrop of the delay on the part of the Congress in releasing its first list of candidates for the assembly polls.

The deadline for filing nominations for the first phase of polls, slated for December 9, ends on November 21.

"I have declared it earlier and I am declaring it today as well that I will not fight Gujarat assembly elections," Solanki said.

On reports that he was not happy with the party top brass over distribution of tickets, Solanki said it is not true.   -- ANI, PTI
19:04  Won't let Padmavati release unless controversial part removed: UP DyCM:  The Uttar Pradesh government said today that it will not let Bollywood movie Padmavati be released in the state unless its 'controversial portions' are removed.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the legendary queen had sacrificed her life instead of surrendering before the Mughals and made a place for herself in the history.

"Islamic invaders created a lot of mayhem in the country. The 'Rani' burnt herself alive in 'Jauhar' for her 'satitva' (honour) and dignity," he said.

As an Entertainment Tax minister also, I can that we will not let the movie be released in Uttar Pradesh unless its controversial portions are removed, Maurya said.

Earlier in the day, the movie makers announced that the release date of the film was deferred.   -- PTI
17:48  Zimbabwe's ruling party expels Mugabe, Mnangagwa new leader:  Zimbabwe's ruling party has sacked President Robert Mugabe as its leader, the BBC reported.

Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa,  who had been fired by Mugabe two weeks ago, has been appointed as the new leader of the party in a widely expected move.

Mugabe's efforts to cling to power appeared close to collapse on Saturday night as tens of thousands marched through Zimbabwe's cities calling for his resignation, while the ruling party prepared to dismiss him.

Protesters took to the streets across the country on Saturday to demand the ouster of Mugabe.

Local media reports said that veterans of the independence war, activists and ruling party leaders have publicly called for Mugabe's exit and exile.

Eight of Mugabe's ruling party's 10 regional branches have appeared on state television and called for him to go.  -- Agencies

Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters
17:29  Sasikala's brother: Jaya left her without 'protection':  Days after Income Tax sleuths raided premises linked to the family of jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader V K Sasikala, her brother V Divakaran has said that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa did not ensure any 'protection' to his sister.

Since 1996, Sasikala has always been under a cloud of 'inquiry', Divakaran said in an apparent reference to a spate of corruption cases filed against Jayalalithaa and his sister, who was a close aide of the late leader, after the AIADMK lost the assembly elections that year.

"Amma (Jayalalithaa) utilised her fully, but went (died) without giving her any protection," he said without elaborating.

"Just imagine, if someone from your family happened to bewith a powerful leader and did all the things said by theleader, and was still pushed to an unsafe situation later,then that is the best example for all women. It is a lessonfor all," he told reporters in Mannargudi, while responding to queries on the I-T raids.

Divakaran's premises were also raided by I-T officials last week as part of multi-city searches of those associated with Sasikala.

On the recovery of pen drives and a laptop during an I-T search at Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence on Friday, he said, "I am away from the garden for a long time."

However, no such electronic gadgets were recovered fromhis house during the raids last week, he claimed.

Sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran, nephew of Divakaran, however, sought to downplay the latter's remarks on Sasikala.

"He must have made those comments (on Jayalalithaa notensuring Sasikala's protection) out of anguish," he toldreporters at Thanjavur.

I-T sleuths had conducted searches in the office block ofthe Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, 'Veda Nilayam', days after raids at more than 180 locations.

Following inputs, a search operation was launched in the office block and a room used by Sasikala, who is now serving a jail term in connection with the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.  -- PTI
17:00  Haryana BJP leader announces Rs 10 cr for 'beheading' Deepika, Bhansali:   Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party's chief media coordinator Suraj Pal Amu has 'congratulated' the Meerut youth who announced a Rs 5 crore bounty for 'beheading' Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

He also announced a bounty of Rs 10 crore for those 'who will behead the actor and the director' and said 'we will also take care of their family needs'.

He dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak on the issue and said the PM should exercise his powers to strike down film.

He also said he will quit the BJP if needed.

Amu threatened to 'break legs' of actor Ranveer Singh for his comments, though he did not make clear which remark he was referring to.  -- ANI
16:20  Adityanath visits ailing N D Tiwari at Delhi hospital:  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today visited ailing Congress veteran N D Tiwari at a new delhi hospital where he is undergoing treatment.

The former UP chief minister had yesterday become unresponsive when he was being given physiotherapy and was shifted to the hospital's ICU.

He is undergoing treatment at the private hospital for the last several days.

Adityanath assured all possible help to the ailing politician, Tiwari's family said.  -- PTI

Photograph: Courtesy @CMOfficeUP/Twitter
15:14  Makers say they've 'voluntarily deferred' Padmavati's release:  Viacom18, makers of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati, say they have voluntarily deferred film's release date.

The movie was to be released on December 1 earlier.

More details awaited.

Meanwhile, continuing the string of revolts against the film, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha on Sunday staged a protest against its release, in the national capital.

In a video that surfaced, the protestors can be seen raising slogans against Bhansali's magnum opus using brandish swords.

Arjun Gupta, a member of the Central Board of Film Certification and a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, came out strongly against Bhansali and said that the filmmaker should be tried for treason for making such movies.

"I have written a letter to Giriraj Singh and asked him to take strict action against Bhansali and he should be tried for treason," Gupta told ANI.
14:28  Killing of terrorists in Kashmir hinterland changed situation: Army:   Joint press conference by 15 Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu and Jammu and Kashmir DGP S P Vaid, General Officer Commanding Victor force, and Inspector General Operations Central Reserve Police Force on Bandipora encounter, in which six terrorists were killed:

"We have killed about 190 terrorists as on date, in 2017. Out of these, 80 are local terrorists and 110 foreign. Of these 110, 66 terrorists were killed near the Line of Control while infiltrating," General Officer Commanding of 15 Corps Lt Gen J S Sandhu said.

"What we find this year is that we have killed approximately 125-130 terrorists in the hinterland of Kashmir Valley. This has resulted in a remarkable change in situation,"Lt Gen Sandhu said.

"We had launched several operations in Hajin mid September onwards we were practically launching search ops on a daily basis, had inducted special forces into the area," he said.

"Based on specific information, joint operation was launched by CRPF, Army, J&K Police in which six terrorists were eliminated, all were foreign terrorists. Commend all agencies who worked to ensure success of the operation," he said.   -- ANI

Photograph: Umar Ganie/
12:44  In Varanasi, Rani Laxmibai's memorial lies in dark on her birth anniversary:  The birth memorial of Rani of Jhansi Laxmi Bai has been lying neglected in Varanasi on her birth anniversary on Sunday.

The electricity connection to the memorial has been cut for a week now.

The electricity department claimed that the connection was illegal and hence it was cut.

Some activists said that they had appealed to the commissioner, the district magistrate and the municipal body but got no response.

Meanwhile, caretaker of the memorial said, "Since this memorial comes under Municipal Corporation, we reached out to the concerned authorities but no one responded."

The memorial was commissioned by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department before being handed over to the municipal body.

Laxmi Bai, one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, was born on November 19, 1828 in Varanasi.  -- ANI
12:19  Over 210 government websites publicly displayed Aadhaar details: UIDAI:  More than 200 central and state government websites publicly displayed details such as names and addresses of some Aadhaar beneficiaries, the Unique Identification Authority of India has said.

The Aadhaar issuing body added, in response to an RTI query, that it took note of the breach and got the data removed from those websites.

It did not specify when the breach took place.

It said Aadhaar details have never been made public from/by UIDAI.      

'However, it was found that approximately 210 websites of central government, state government departments including educational institutes were displaying the list of beneficiaries along with their name, address, other details and Aadhaar numbers for information of general public,' it said.

The UIDAI took note and got the Aadhaar data removed from the said websites, it said in reply to the RTI application.

'UIDAI has a well-designed, multi-layer approach robust security system in place and the same is being constantly upgraded to maintain highest level of data security and integrity,' the RTI reply said.

The architecture of the Aadhaar ecosystem has been designed to ensure data security and privacy which is an integral part of the system from the initial design to the final stage, it said.

'Various policies and procedures have been defined, these are reviewed and updated continually thereby appropriately controlling and monitoring any movement of people, material and data in and out of UIDAI premises, particularly the data centres,' the UIDAI said.

It said security audits are conducted on a regular basis to further strengthen security and privacy of data.

Besides this, all possible steps are taken to make the data safer and protected, the authority said.  -- PTI
12:00  'War' against NDTV group motivated: N Ram:  Noted journalist and chairman of the Hindu Group, N Ram, today alleged the 'war' against the NDTV group is 'motivated' because of its coverage of the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Ram, during a discussion at the Tata Literature Live festival here, also said the present government has learnt the art of "targeting" its political opponents as well as the media.

The government has denied that the investigation against NDTV is due to any vendetta, and said it is an off-shoot of continuing investigations by the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate since 2011.

Senior government sources also maintain that the inquiries in this connection were initiated by the IT Department in 2011 during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

Ram alleged the investigation 'is clearly motivated, it is clearly (to do), I think, with their coverage of Gujarat, of what happened in Gujarat in 2002'.

"I think one of the most objectionable features today is the discriminatory attitude and targeting political enemies. I can say on behalf of many media colleagues, for example, the war against NDTV," he said.

He said the government targeting a media house is as 'bad' as a corrupt deal, 'if not worse'.

He was also severely critical of demonetisation.

"What was said and what was achieved? Politically it seemed to have delivered some dividends to the ruling party," he said.  --  PTI
11:11  'Gujarat wants to see 'CD of 23-yr rule, not 23-yr-old youngster':  
Hardik Patel, the leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti said the people of Gujarat want to see what the BJP has done in 23 years rather than the video of a 23-year-old youth.

Hardik, who had earlier threatened to drop a "bomb" against Bharatiya Janata Party at "prestige rally" at Mansa, the home town of party's president Amit Shah, however, stuck to the script of hitting out at BJP.

The PAAS, which has been agitating against the government for more than two years over the issue of reservation for the Patidar community, has pledged to oppose the ruling BJP in the coming state assembly elections in December.

Earlier, they had sought the administration's permission to hold the rally in Mansa, but the same was denied by the Gandhinagar Superintendent of Police.

He said the BJP should not have played the game of CD, as people of Gujarat wanted to see the CD of 23-year rule and not that of a 23-year-old youngster.

"In 2007, they defamed Sanjay Joshi and now it is our turn," he said repeating his earlier allegations that the CDs were released at the behest of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani after spending Rs 40 crore.
10:46  Snowfall in Jammu's high-altitude areas, Mughal Road remains closed:  
The Mughal Road remained closed for vehicular traffic for the second day today as high-altitude areas continue to witness snowfall, resulting in a marked dip in night temperature across Jammu region, officials said.

However, day temperature, which plunged six degrees below normal on Friday, registered an improvement with the sun coming out after remaining hidden for the past couple of days.

The Mughal Road, the alternative link between Kashmir and rest of the country, was closed yesterday after the season's first heavy snowfall in higher reaches of Jammu region.

The minimum temperature in Jammu fell by 1.7 degree Celsius to settle at 9.5 degrees Celsius three notches below normal, an MeT office spokesperson said.

-- PTI
10:34  Manmohan Singh awarded Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace:  
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was chosen as the recipient of this year's Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.

Singh received the international award, named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for "improving India's stature in the world" and for his "for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development", a statement from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust said.

The Trust's statement said Singh was being recognised for the leadership he provided to the country and for his achievements during the "momentous" ten years between 2004 and 2014, when he served as prime minister.

An international jury selects the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development every year. This year's jury, which chose Singh unanimously, was chaired by the former PM's contemporary and ex-President Pranab Mukherjee.

"The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to Manmohan Singh... for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development, for improving India's stature in the world and its relationship with the neighbours and the leading nations of the world, and for his dedication to the security and well being of ordinary citizens regardless of their faith, caste, region or language," the Trust statement said.
09:57  32,000 run Delhi Marathon amid smog concerns:  
Amid concerns and warnings from the Indian Medical Association earlier this month over escalating level of toxic smog in the national capital, the Delhi Half Marathon was organised today with about 35,000 participants from across the world. The run was flagged off by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

The IMA had urged the court to call off the marathon following a jump in pollution levels since November 6, which doctors had termed as a health emergency. The doctors had asked to the people not to venture outdoors without any pressing need. The Delhi government likened the city to a "gas chamber".

But the organisers of the Half Marathon had said that they would go ahead with the event despite warnings that the marathon could harm the health of the runners. Then on Thursday, the Delhi High Court gave a green signal to the marathon as pollution levels showed a slight drop.

International elite athletes, including world champion marathoner Geoffrey Kirui and 10,000m Olympic gold medallist Almaz Ayana had brushed aside concerns of pollution and said they will run the Delhi Half Marathon which made its debut in 2005.

On the eve of the marathon, the pollution levels in the city rose slightly after a small dip due to light showers a day before. The Central Pollution Control Board recorded the air quality index of Delhi-NCR at 301 and 308 in Delhi at 7 pm on Saturday. The air quality is expected to remain "very poor" for at least the next three days.
09:05  Zimbabwe's ruling party expected to sack Mugabe today:  
Zimbabwe's ruling party is expected to sack President Robert Mugabe and reinstate Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice- president who was fired last week.

The 93-year-old president is due on Sunday morning to meet the army commanders who took power last week.

Robert Mugabe's efforts to cling to power appeared close to collapse on Saturday night as tens of thousands marched through Zimbabwe's cities calling for his resignation, while the ruling party prepared to dismiss him.

Protesters took to the streets across the country on Saturday to demand the ouster of Mugabe.

Local media reports said that veterans of the independence war, activists and ruling party leaders have publicly called for Mugabe's exit and exile.

Eight of Mugabe's ruling party's 10 regional branches have appeared on state television and called for him to go.

The 93-year-old autocrat is yet to resign and was said to be "buying time" to negotiate an end to his 37 year reign.
08:34  Rahul Gandhi may be Congress boss before Gujarat polls, decision tomorrow:  
Rahul Gandhi, who has been prepping for his promotion as Congress president, could take over from his mother Sonia Gandhi as the top boss of the party before the Gujarat assembly elections. The Congress Working Committee, the party's highest decision-making body, is meeting on Monday to decide on the timeline for the party president's election but this may just be a formality.

Gandhi is expected to be elevated unopposed like his mother has been for the last 17 years.

The schedule for the next party president's election shall nevertheless be finalised by the party's 25-odd top leaders at the closed-door meeting of the CWC chaired by Sonia Gandhi at 10.30 am. It is expected to be one of the last CWC meetings that she would head.

The party has to complete the organisational elections before December 31, the extended deadline set by the Election Commission.
07:59  UPDATE: Your 'boss' silencing you is shameful: Rahul to Sitharaman on Rafale row:  
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi hit back at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the multi-crore Rafale deal, claiming it was "shameful" that her boss was "silencing" her.

Gandhi's retort comes a day after Sitharaman alleged that it was shameful on part of the Congress to raise objections on the fighter aircraft deal.

He also asked her whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security before announcing the purchase of the Rafale fighter aircraft in Paris.

The Congress had raised several questions on the deal, accusing the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting "crony capitalism" and causing a loss to the public exchequer.

"Dear RM, what's shameful is your boss silencing you. Please tell us: 1. Final price of each Rafale jet? 2. Did PM take CCS permission before announcing purchase in Paris? 3. Why PM bypassed experienced HAL and gave the deal to AA rated businessman with no defence experience?" Mr Gandhi tweeted.

The Congress and the BJP have exchanged barbs over the multi-crore Rafale fighter aircraft deal.

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