23:56 Pak high commissioner was not invited to Rahul's Iftar:
In a departure from the past, the Congress did not invite the Pakistan high commissioner to an Iftar hosted by Rahul Gandhi that was attended by envoys of several Islamic nations.
Rahul hosted the Iftar event yesterday at a luxury hotel in New Delhi, the first organised by him as Congress president.
The Congress had invited high commissioners and ambassadors of several Islamic countries, including Bangladesh, at the Iftar, but the party's top brass did not invite the Pakistan high commissioner in India to avoid criticism by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, sources said.
During the last Iftar, hosted by former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the then Pakistan high commissioner was invited.
Sources said a total of 46 diplomatic representatives of various countries attended Rahul Gandhi's Iftar this year, the highest attendance ever.
No invitation was sent to Pakistan and Israel.
The Palestinian ambassador attended the Iftar, a senior Congress leader said, "Congress was careful with the invites. Since India has not resumed dialogue process with Pakistan we did not invite them," another leader said.
He also said the Iftar was held on a day four BSF personnel were killed in cross-border firing by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
Diplomats who attended the event included the British High Commissioner, the Ambassador of Russia, the Charge de Affairs of China, Minister Political from the US, and high commissioners of South Africa and Australia.
The Bangladesh High Commissioner and the Bhutanese Ambassador and representatives of Central Asian countries, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, were also there. -- PTI
22:30 Bullet-ridden body of jawan abducted by terrorists found in Pulwama:
Bullet-ridden body of Army jawan Aurangzeb, who was abducted by terrorists from Pulwama district, has been found at Gusoo, Pulwama.
Rajouri resident Aurangzeb, who was picked up from Kalampora area in Pulwama, was proceeding on leave for Eid, officials said.
He belonged to 4 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and was posted with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles camp at Shadimarg in Shopian, they said.
At about 9 am today, army men from the unit stopped a car asking the driver to drop Aurangzeb in Shopian, officials said, recounting what had happened.
Terrorists stopped the vehicle as it approached Kalampora and abducted the jawan.
More details awaited. -- PTI,ANI
Image only for representation.
22:16 Vajpayee continues to be in ICU of AIIMS:
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, continues to be in the intensive care unit of AIIMS, and his condition is being monitored by a team of doctors round the clock, sources at the hospital said.
AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria had yesterday said that the 93-year-old leader has shown significant improvement and doctors are hopeful of his full recovery in the next few days.
Vajpayee was admitted to the premier hospital on June 11 with kidney tract infection, chest congestion and his urine output being on the lower side.
"He was immediately evaluated by a team of doctors and was put on injectable antibiotics," Guleria had said.
Vajpayee, a diabetic, has one functional kidney. He suffered a stroke in 2009, weakening his cognitive abilities. Later, he developed dementia.
Political leaders, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje visited the ailing leader at the hospital today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have visited Vajpayee at the AIIMS over the past three days.
Vajpayee was thrice elected the prime minister between 1996 and 1999 and is the only non-Congress prime minister to complete the full term of five years, from 1999 to 2004.
As his health deteriorated, he had slowly withdrawn himself from public life and was confined to his residence for years. -- PTI
20:59 Dimple Yadav won't contest 2019 polls as rivals charge SP with nepotism:
Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj, which is represented at present by wife Dimple Yadav, while his father Maulayam Singh Yadav will contest from Mainpuri.
Akhilesh made the announcement at a meeting of SP workers at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
He said : "I will contest from Kannauj while netaji (Mulayam) will contest from Mainpuri."
He said that the 'opposition' has charged the SP with 'pariwarwad' (nepotism) due to which his wife Dimple Yadav will not contest the election this time.
To a question related to alliance and seat-sharing, he said, "With whosoever our alliance will take place, the party workers will ensure our victory and defeat of the BJP. This time, they will not get support of the people as they stand exposed. They only paid lip service to the people and did nothing on ground." -- PTI
20:23 Rajnath Singh condemns Shujaat Bukhari's killing:
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh says:
'Killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari is act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir.
'He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked and pained. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family.'
20:19 UPDATE: One PSO of Shujaat Bukhari succumbs to injuries, another critically injured, undergoing treatment.
Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah tweets:
'inna lilahi wa inna illahi rajiuun. Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat and May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time.'
'Even in the last tweet he put out he was defending himself, his colleagues and his profession. He died in the line of duty doing what he did best and loved doing -- journalism. #ShujaatBukhar'
20:04 UPDATE: Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari shot dead by terrorists:
UPDATE: Veteran journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead by unidentified gunmen outside his office in the heart of Srinagar, police officials said today.
Bukhari was leaving his office in Press Enclave in the city centre Lal Chowk for an Iftar when he was shot at by terrorists, officials said.
He succumbed to injuries at a hospital.
The two policemen who were guarding him are injured and are reportedly in critical condition.
Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, 'Shocked and deeply saddened by sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. Strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. Deepest condolences to his family.' -- ANI, PTI
19:57 BJP wins 13 out of 27 seats in Rajasthan local body by-elections:
The Bharatiya Janata Party today won 13 seats out of total 27 in Rajasthan local body bye-elections.
The bye-elections were conducted on one seat of zila parishad, 17 seats of panchayat samitis and 9 seats of nagar palika/parishad in 17 districts of the state.
As per the results announced today, the BJP won 11 seats of panchayat samitis and two seats of nagar palika. The Congress got victory over 11 seats in the by-polls.
It retained the seat (ward 8) of zila parishad in Sawaimadhopur. Its candidate Lokesh defeated nearest rival Kamal of the BJP with a margin of 358 votes.
The opposition party also won five seats of panchayat samitis and as many seats of nagar palika/parishad.
Independent candidates also won one panchayat samiti seat and one nagar palika seat.
BJP state general secretary Bhajan Lal Sharma said that the people have once again showed faith in the party.
Meanwhile, PCC president Sachin Pilot said that urban voters have given their mandate against the BJP.
People have rejected BJP due to its anti-people policies, he said. -- PTI
19:38 Don't feel threatened: Kejriwal's wife to L-G:
Sunita Kejriwal (@KejriwalSunita) tweets this picture with the caption:
'Respected LG sir, are we four ladies, mother and wife of CM,wife of Dy CM and wife of Satyendar Jain threat to your security that you are not allowing us to enter the road leading to your house? Kindly intervene. Please do not feel so threatened by everyone. Regards.'
Kejriwal and his three cabinet colleagues -- Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain -- have held a sit-in the L-G's office since Monday evening over their demands, including a direction to officers to end their 'strike' and action against those who have struck work.
19:14 Goa CM back home after medical treatment in US for 3 months:
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar returned home today, over three months after he went to the United States for medical treatment.
Parrikar, 62, has been in the US for treatment of a pancreatic ailment since March this year.
The chief minister first landed in Mumbai and from there he took another flight to reach Panaji, said an official of his office.
Parrikar, after being diagnosed with the ailment, was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai on February 15 and was discharged on February 22.
He returned to Goa the same day and presented the Budget in the assembly, but the session was truncated to only four days owing to his illness.
He was then admitted to the Goa Medical College and Hospital on February 25 after he complained of dehydration andwas discharged four days later.
The chief minister went to Mumbai again on March 5 for his further check up from where he was referred to the US.
He had left for the US on March 7.
Before leaving Goa, Parrikar had formed a cabinet advisory committee to guide the state administration on governance and other issues, in his absence.
He has been monitoring the affairs of the state from the US. -- PTI
19:06 Terrorists snatch rifle of CRPF jawan near railway station in Anantnag:
Suspected terrorists today snatched a rifle from a Central Reserve Police Force constable at Government Railway Police barracks, about 400m from Sadura raiway station in South Kashmir's Anantnag district, officials said.
The men pelted stones at the constable and a gun-shot was heard, they said, adding further details were awaited. However, local police said there was no report of any firing. -- PTI
18:13 JD-U to launch movement against ally BJP in Jharkhand:
The Janata Dal-United, an alliance partner of Bharatiya Janata Party in neighbouring Bihar, today announced to launch a movement against the BJP government in Jharkhand from June 25.
Jharkhand is richer than Bihar in mineral resources but the people are not getting basic facilities such as power, water and roads, JD-U's in-charge of Jharkhand Shravan Kumar alleged.
The party will launch an agitation against the state government from June 25 so that people get these facilities, Kumar told reporters.
To a question, the rural development and parliamentary affair minister of Bihar said the JD-U has no alliance with any one in Jharkhand till now.
"So, it will contest all the 14 Lok Sabha seats of the state if no alliance is forged," he said.
"Politics is game of possibilities. No one can say what would happen in future."
About the agitation, Kumar said party workers would stage dharna at headquarters of all 24 districts on June 25 and hand over memorandum to state government.
In the next phase, workers conference would be held in all 81 assembly constituencies, he said. Kumar said there would is no bad blood between the JD-U and the BJP in Bihar.
"The JD-U and the BJP have been alliance partners for the last 18 years. Barring some misunderstanding for sometime, both the parties have cemented coordination," he said.
To a question, Kumar said, the JD-U has not have any problem with the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and its chief Upendra Kushwaha. -- PTI
17:52 Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal arrives at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
17:51 Container ship catches fire, 22 mariners rescued:
The Coast Guard today rescued all 22 crew members of a domestic container ship that caught fire near Sandheads in the Bay of Bengal at around midnight, a senior official said.
The container vessel named 'MV SSL Kolkata' caught fire and went adrift about 55 nautical miles from Sandheads anchorage near the confluence of the Bay of Bengal and the Hooghly river.
All the 22 crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard this morning amid rough sea and inclement weather, Coast Guard Commander (NE) Inspector General K S Sheoran said. A Coast Guard ship and one of its Dornier Aircraft were despatched from its base at Haldia Port which reached the ship early this morning, Sheoran said. -- PTI
17:36 Modi's wife at Iftaar wins the Congress :
Prime Minister Narendra Modis estranged wife Jashodaben on Wednesday attended an Iftar party in Ahmedabad. Jashodaben interacting with believers and helped them break their day-long fast. The Iftar was organised on the Relief Road area of the city.
Jashodaben is a retired school teacher and lives in Brahmanwada village, about 35km from PM Modis hometown, Vadnagar.
In fact, the Congress party's social media head, Divya Spandana, retweeted the image of Jashodaben with Muslims at Iftaar, saying, "How sweet!"
17:27 Delhi govt acts on dust pollution, stops construction activity till Sunday:
Civil construction activities stopped in Delhi till June 17 following severe dust pollution, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, has said.
With continued dust storms leading to poor air quality in New Delhi, the Delhi government directed that all construction activity should be put on hold till Sunday.
For the third straight day today, the capital city recorded severe levels of pollution.
Dusty conditions, which are likely to continue through the weekend, also impacted visibility in Delhi-NCR. PM10 levels were at 796 at 8.30 this morning, reported news agency PTI.
People have been advised to remain indoors as the current situation is likely to cause discomfort or breathing difficulties. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed construction companies, municipal corporations and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to ensure water sprinkling to help reduce dust.
17:18 Civil construction activities stopped in Delhi till June 17 following severe dust pollution: Lt Governor Anil Baijal.
16:45 Stung by nepotism charges, Akhilesh to contest from wife Dimple's seat :
Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj, which is represented at present by wife Dimple Yadav, while his father Maulayam Singh Yadav will contest from Mainpuri.
Akhilesh made the announcement at a meeting of SP workers at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
He said that the opposition has charged the SP with 'pariwarwad' (nepotism) due to which his wife Dimple Yadav will not contest the election this time. To a question related to alliance and seat-sharing, he said, "With whosoever our alliance will take place, the party workers will ensure our victory and defeat of the BJP. This time, they will not get support of the people as they stand exposed. They only paid lip service to the people and did nothing on ground." -- PTI
File pic: Akhilesh Yadav with his wife Dimple.
16:36 Parrikar returns home from US, Cabinet meeting tomorrow:
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar lands in Mumbai from the US, where he was under treatment over the last two-and-a-half months. He is expected to fly to Goa shortly.
The Shiv Sena in Goa today urged Parrikar to take up the issues of mining crisis and the "deteriorating" law and order situation in the state on priority. Parrikar was undergoing treatment in the US for a pancreatic ailment.
Parrikar will hold the state cabinet meeting tomorrow, the Chief Minister's Office has said. "Sena is happy that chief minister has decided to hold a cabinet meeting tomorrow without wasting any time and take stock of the situation in the state," Sena's Goa spokesperson Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik said.
16:05 Terrorists abduct army jawan in Kashmir's Pulwama :
In the continued targeting of security forces in Kashmir during the Ramzan ceasefire, terrorists today abducted an army jawan in Pulwama. The abducted jawan has been identified as Aurangzeb, a resident of Poonch district. The incident took place in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir. A police investigation is under way.
There has been a dip in stone pelting and street violence in the Valley since the ceasefire announced by the Centre. However security forces have come under attack from terrorists on several occasions.
In the last two days, encounters have taken place in Bandipora and Shopian. A couple of infiltration attempts too were foiled near the LoC and several terrorists neutralised.
Image: Army jawans in search ops in Kashmir. File pic.
15:48 Patanjali mega food park: Centre to give 15 days more time:
The Centre has decided to give 15 days more time to Patanjali Ayurved for meeting conditions like acquisition of land, required for the final nod for setting up of the proposed Rs 6,000-crore mega food park in Uttar Pradesh.
The deadline to meet the required conditions will expire tomorrow (June 15).
The Uttar Pradesh government has requested the Union Food Processing Ministry to give more time to the leading FMCG firm and extend the deadline till June 30.
"Since the company is already taking action and requested for 15 days extra time to meet the conditions, the ministry will grant the time as requested. There is no issue in that," Food Processing Secretary J P Meena told PTI.
The issue will be placed before the Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee of the ministry, he said. Meena further said, "Our aim is to make sure the project comes up. We are not looking for reasons to cancel it. We will grant 15 days extra time".
The Haridwar-based company had proposed to invest up to Rs 6,000 crore to set up a plant over 425 acres of land along the Yamuna Expressway through its step-down firm Patanjali Food and Herbal Park. The conditions that were to be complied with include acquisition and transfer of land in the name of Patanjali Ayurved's subsidiary.
On June 6, Patanjali had said that its mega food park would produce goods worth Rs 25,000 crore annually on full capacity running. It is envisaged to create 10,000 direct jobs. Patanjali is presently investing in mega food park projects, including in Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Tezpur (Assam). -- PTI
Image: Patanjali's Acharya Balkrishna
15:28 Apple bags rights to develop 'Shantaram' as drama series:
Apple has landed the rights to develop Gregory David Robert's novel "Shantaram' as a drama series.The 2003 novel tells the story of Lin, a man on the run from an Australian prison looking to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in the slums, bars and underworld of India. The novel has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide and sold six million copies. Read the full report here.
15:26 Militants exploited unilateral ceasefire during Ramzan: Experts :
Two defence experts have questioned the need for having a unilateral ceasefire in the Kashmir Valley during the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan, maintaining that this had been fully exploited by militants.
Reacting to the death of four Border Security Force personnel, including an assistant commandant-ranked officer, one of them, P.K.Sehgal said it is high time that a free hand was given to the army to tackle the situation.
"Apparently, the opportunity that came their way by the way of unilateral ceasefire has been fully exploited by militants and separatists for conducting anti-India activities. It is time that security forces should be given free hand to do what they were doing earlier," he said.
Another defence expert, Qamar Agha, accused Pakistan of not adhering to international law.Referring to the death of BSF personnel deaths, he said, "This is yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan and they blame India for the same. Pakistan, ever since its inception, has not adhered to international laws or treaties. Pakistan is not a natural state. It has been carved out of India; so real assimilation has not taken place, it is built in the name of religion." -- ANI
Image: BSF jawan Shammi Singh being laid to rest today. Four personnel of the BSF died in Pakistani firing in Chambliyal sector of Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district on Tuesday night.
15:08 Rain plays spoilsport at India vs Afghanistan match:
Play resumed on the opening day after rain had interrupted the proceedings of one-off Test between India and Afghanistan at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here today. Murali Vijay (94) and KL Rahul (33) were at the crease with India at 248 for one in 45.1 overs when the heavens opened up. With rain lashing the stadium, India took a tea break. However, it begun drizzling again after tea and about 59 minutes of play was lost. Brief Score: India: 248 for one in 45.1 overs (S Dhawan 107; Y Ahmadzai 1/28). PTI
15:01 UN report on human rights abuses in Kashmir motivated: India :
India rejects the United Nations report on alleged human rights abuses in Kashmir.
"It is fallacious, tendentious and motivated. We question the intent in bringing out the report. It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information," the MEA said on the report filed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The UN today released the first of its kind report on alleged human rights violations in both Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and sought an international inquiry into these abuses.
The global human rights watch body also asked Pakistan to end its "misuse" of anti-terror legislation to persecute peaceful activists and quash dissent.
Asserting that there was an "urgent need" to address the past and ongoing human rights violations, the report said, "any resolution to the political situation in Kashmir should entail a commitment to ending the cycles of violence and accountability for past and current human rights violations."
The report said, "the people on both sides of the Line of Control have been detrimentally impacted and suffer from limitations or denial of a range of human rights."
Image: A father comforts his son who was injured by a pellet gun fired by security forces in Srinagar in 2016. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
14:44 BJP is my party but Lalu is family: Shatrughan:
BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha today said that the BJP was his party but Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and his kin were like a family to him.
Sinha said this at the Iftar party hosted by the RJD on Wednesday."Laluji, Rabriji, Tejashwi, Tej, Misa, all are my family friends, I've come here on their invitation. That (BJP) may be my party, these are my family," said Sinha.
Recent months had seen rumours of Sinha joining the RJD making the rounds as he had on various occasions, criticised the top BJP leadership and its decisions and described Lalu Prasad as his "best friend".
However, he soon refuted all such rumours, saying that he will continue to be with theBJP and will not go anywhere.RJD leader and son of Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi Prasad also accused the BJP of not treating Sinha well.
"He (Shatrughan Sinha) has done a lot for Bihar, he is known as 'Bihari Babu' and also for so many years, he has done so much for the BJP as well. I believe it is wrong on the part of the BJP to ill-treat him," Tejashwi told ANI.
Speaking on the rumours of Sinha joining the RJD, he said, "He is a very respected leader. The kind of work he has done, anyone would want him in their party, in the end the decision lies with him." -- ANI
14:03 Madras HC delivers split verdict in MLAs' case, TN govt safe for now :
The two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar of the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict in the disqualifications of the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs.
Justice Banerjee upheld the disqualification, while Justice Sundar opposed the disqualification.
The matter has now been referred to a third judge, and this three judge bench will now hear the matter. There is no timeline mentioned on when the matter will be heard.
So for now, the High Court had put the floor test on hold and directed that the 18 seats be kept vacant until its decision. There is now no threat to the government as the effective strength of the house would come down to 215.
The 18 AIADMK lawmakers were disqualified in September last year, for writing to then Governor C Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing support to Palaniswami and asking for his replacement. They had made it clear they were not withdrawing support to the AIADMK government.
Recently, three more lawmakers extended their support to the rebel camp led by VK Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran, bringing down the AIADMK's numbers to 113 - four short of a majority - should there be a trust vote. The opposition DMK has 89 and Mr Dhinakaran is the lone Independent legislator.
13:36 Ousted Pak PM Sharif leaves for UK to see ailing wife:
Ousted Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif today left for London along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz to see his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, despite the country's anti-graft body's request to put their names on the Exit Control List fearing they may not return to face corruption cases in court.
Sharif, 68, and his daughter left for London via Qatar from the Lahore airport this morning. "Leaving for London. We will be back next week. Can't wait to meet and hug Ami (mother)," Maryam tweeted.
Kulsoom is in an advanced stage of throat cancer and is undergoing treatment in London. -- PTI
12:58 WPI inflation rises to 14-month high on costlier fuel, veggies:
Inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to a 14-month high of 4.43 per cent in May on increasing prices of petrol and diesel as well as vegetables.
The Wholesale Price Index based inflation stood at 3.18 per cent in April and 2.26 per cent in May last year. According to government data released today, inflation in food articles was at 1.60 per cent in May 2018, as against 0.87 per cent in the preceding month.
Inflation in vegetables climbed to 2.51 per cent in May, while in the previous month it was (-)0.89 per cent. Inflation in 'fuel and power' basket rose sharply to 11.22 per cent in May from 7.85 per cent in April as prices of domestic fuel increased in line with rising global crude oil rates.
Potato inflation was at a peak of 81.93 per cent, against 67.94 per cent in April. Price rise in fruits was in double digits at 15.40 per cent, while pulses saw a deflation of 21.13 per cent.
The WPI inflation for March was revised upwards to 2.74 per cent from the provisional estimate of 2.47 per cent. May inflation at 4.43 per cent was a 14-month peak. The previous high was in March 2017, when the WPI inflation stood at 5.11 per cent.
In its second monetary policy review for the fiscal, the Reserve Bank earlier this month hiked interest rate by 0.25 per cent-- the first hike in more than four years -- due to growing concerns about inflation stoked by rising global crude oil prices as well as domestic price increases. -- PTI
12:53 In 2019, people are going to vote for Modi again: Maharashtra CM:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be voted back to power in the 2019 general elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said emphasising that the Indian leader is addressing basic problems of the common man through flagship schemes of constructing toilets, providing bank accounts and gas connections.
Fadnavis is currently visiting the US following a trip to Canada. After meeting investors and CEOs and attending a community reception in the city, he will visit Washington and San Francisco.
"In 2019, people are going to vote Narendra Modi again because what India could not achieve in 67 years, we have achieved a lot in the last four years,' Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told PTI in an interview yesterday.
"I won't say that nothing happened in 67 years but the path on which the country has begun its journey now, is something which was never thought of," he said.
Fadnavis said at a time when India is the fastest growing economy in the world, is developing infrastructure and technology, Modi is simultaneously addressing the problems of a common man. "We may talk about missions to the moon but even today 50% of the population does not have toilets. Look at that disparity. That disparity is being addressed by Modi," he said.
According to official data, Maharashtra has constructed the maximum number of individual household toilets under the Centre's flagship Swachh Bharat Missionscheme, followed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Till November last year, as many as 42.72 lakh household toilets have been constructed against the target of 66.42 lakh.
12:40 Afghanistan CEO watches his boys make history in Bengaluru:
Union Sports Min Rajyavardhan Rathore along with Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's chief executive officer watch the India vs Afghanistan cricket test match at Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Rathore said India was committed towards building and strengthening Afghanistan and its sports.
Abdullah Abdullah, said, "It's a historical event for us. Afghan players have come long way in a short period of time. This is their 1st test match with the first test cricket team (India). Our team has shown talent and we are hopeful for their future."
India scored 186/1 with India winning the toss and choosing to bat. Shikhar Dhawan gave Afghanistan a rude reality check on what longest format is all about as his 87-ball-century.
Dhawan became the first ever Indian batsman to score a century in the first session of a Test match joining the illustrious ranks of Sir Don Bradman, Victor Trumper, Majid Khan, David Warner.
12:15 Militants attack CRPF party in Pulwama:
Militants today attacked a CRPF party in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. There was no loss of life in the attack. Militants attacked the CRPF party at Gangoo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir by opening fire on the forces, a police official said. A hunt has been launched to nab the militants, the official said. -- PTI
11:27 Hafiz Saeed's MML to contest Pak polls under banner of AAT:
Hafiz Saeed-linked Milli Muslim League has decided to use the platform of a little known party to contest the upcoming general election, a day after Pakistan's poll panel rejected for a second time an application by the MML, an offshoot of the Mumbai attack mastermind's banned Jamat-ud-Dawah, to register it as a political party. Around 200 candidates backed by the MML will contest the July 25 election under the banner of the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which is already registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Express Tribune reported. The decision was taken after the ECP again dismissed the MML's application for registration yesterday. -- PTI
11:14 Kejriwal writes to PM: Requesting you with folded hands to end strike:
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal writes to PM Narendra Modi requesting him to end the the strike. "The Union government has all the powers over IAS officers. The gist of the letter says that Delhi is facing an unprecedented situation and the LG is refusing to intervene. He requests the PM with 'folded hands' to get IAS officers to end strike so work in Delhi can restart.
Vowing to continue the partys struggle till its demands are met, the sit-in protest at Raj Niwas by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues entered its fourth day today.
The letter says that the central govt can exercise control over the LG. "This is why people have now started saying that the Central govt and LG are behind the strike," the Delhi CM says in the letter.
He also listed out development projects that are allegedly stuck because of the 'strike.' "Only you or LG can end this strike," Kerjiwal wrote.
Extending their support to Kejriwal and company, hundreds of AAP workers and leaders marched to the L-Gs house and raised slogans against Anil Baijal LG sahab, Delhi Chhodo (LG, quit Delhi).
Several regional parties, including the Trinamool Congress backed the protest.
Appealing the Centre to resolve the crisis immediately, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, Elected Chief Minister must get due respect. May I appeal to the government of India and the LG to resolve the problem immediately so that people do not suffer.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Chaudhary also called the situation in Delhi a governance failure.
Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also joined the AAP workers during their protest on Tuesday. Had Atal Bihari Vajpayee been the PM, he would have ordered the Home Minister to open a dialogue with the elected CM, Sinha said.
The IAS officers working under the AAP government are on "strike" for over four months following the alleged assault on the chief secretary at the CM's residence in February. Kejriwal claimed that due to the strike critical public work was being affected. The IAS officers' association has maintained that no officer is on strike.
Image: Doctors check the health parameters of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who with his cabinet colleagues are on an indefinite fast at Raj Niwas.
10:32 Jobs in Maldives for Indians dry up :
Downturn in ties with Maldives hits Indians' job opportunities. Advertisements from companies that are hiring say "Indians need not apply' as they would not be given permits to work there. Read the report here
10:18 PM Modi congratulates Afghanistan over historic Test vs India:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday congratulated the people of Afghanistan as their national cricket team faces India in their historic first ever Test match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
The Prime Minister tweeted, "I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international Test match. Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams! May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties."
10:16 Married man scripts kidnapping plot to leave live-in partner :
A man was arrested today for concocting the story of his abduction after his live-in partner put pressure on him to marry her, police said. The police have arrested Abhijeet Tiwari, a resident of Jhandapur village in Ghaziabad and a native of Allahabad, Superintendent of Police, City, Akash Tomar said. He had also demanded a "ransom" of Rs 20,000 from the woman, he said.
The man had introduced himself to the woman as a bank employee and had also asked her to marry him. She was unaware that Tiwari was married and had two children, the SP said.
The officer said around 15 days ago, he called her from Allahabad to Ghaziabad and during this period, they stayed at a rented accommodation in Jhandapur village as live-in partners, he said.
On Monday, the woman put pressure on Tiwari for marriage, and a day later, he made a call in a female's voice and demanded a "ransom" of Rs 20,000, the SP said. The woman informed the Link Road police station that Tiwari had been abducted.
On the basis of the call details, the police traced his location and arrested him from Jhandapur, the official said. During interrogation he told the police that he had concocted his abduction to leave her. Police have sent him to jail, Tomar said. -- PTI
09:54 Not going to take Afghanistan lightly: Rahane :
Today is a big day for Afghanistan Cricket, as the national cricket team will play its inaugural cricket Test match against top-ranked India in Bengaluru - an event that has been 17 years in the making.
From being a part of the ICC World Cricket League Division Five in 2008 to achieving Full Member status in 2017, Afghanistan's cricket team has gone from strength to strength.
The war-torn country, which did not have a national team till as recently as 2001, is now preparing to step into the limelight of a five-day Test match for the first time.
Despite Afghanistan playing only their maiden Test match, stand-in Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane has said his side will not take the visitors lightly.
Afghanistan, who have fast established themselves as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, will become the 12th side to feature in men's Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month.
Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.Speaking on the eve of their historic one-off Test match against Afghanistan, Rahane said that as a team, they would try to be ruthless, but could not take their opponents lightly even if it is the tourists' first game on the big stage.
"We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team... bowlers [are good]. As a Test team, we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless," Rahane said.
"We are going to focus on our strengths, our positives. We are not thinking about Afghanistan as well: yes, we respect them as our opponent but it's important for us to go out there and give more than our 100 percent," he said.
Rahane was roped in as stand-in skipper in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation for a neck injury that he sustained during his campaign with the Rajasthan Royals at the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.
IMAGE: Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai. Photograph: Afghan Cricket Board/Twitter.
09:48 Nipah virus scare under control: Kerala Health Minister:
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Wednesday said that the Nipah scare was under control and there were fewer chances of any new cases.
"No new case of Nipah has been registered in the last two to three days, so we can say that the spread of the virus is under control now. But we have to wait until July 30 as the last case occurred on May 31 and we have to take 42 days as incubation period, but this is just a safety method. I think no more cases will occur," she said.
The minister praised her department and even the opposition for the 'joint effort' in helping to curb the scare.
She said, "It is a combined work of everybody irrespective of whether someone belonged to the opposition or the ruling party. Each and everyone united to control the spread of the virus. I am proud of my department, doctors, nurses, Asha workers and my health secretary, they worked like a machine."
As many as 16 people lost their lives in Kerala due to the outbreak of the virus in May.
As a precautionary measure, colleges and other educational institutions in Kozhikode were asked to remain closed till June 12.
Furthermore, the state health department issued an advisory for people travelling to the state, urging them to be extra cautious while visiting Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur districts.
As per the World Health Organisation, Nipah virus, spread by fruit bats, causes communicable disease and is fatal for both animals and humans. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, drowsiness, respiratory illness, disorientation and mental confusion, and can progress to coma within 24-48 hours. -- ANI
09:41 India among over 90 nations without paid paternity leave for new dads: UNICEF:
India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, according to a new UNICEF analysis.
Almost two-thirds of the world's children under one year old -- nearly 90 million -- live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, the UNICEF analysis said. India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies.
The UN agency noted that around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies was growing. It cited the example of India, where officials are proposing a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.
Noting that much work remains to be done, UNICEF said in eight countries across the world, including the United States which is home to nearly four million infants, there was no paid maternity or paternity leave policy. Other countries with high infant populations, including Brazil and Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies, albeit offering relatively short-term entitlements. -- PTI
Representational image: Shah Rukh Khan with his son, AbRam.
09:19 Malegaon blast accused Purohit's letter reveals horror he faced after arrest:
Lt Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, in a 24-page letter alleged that he was tortured in the custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.
In the letter written to the National Human Rights Commission, which has come into the public eye for the first time, he said that he was beaten and threatened to confess to a crime he never committed.
He accused the ATS and army officers of torturing him in the letter and said that he was held in illegal detention.
He also named six officers for the torture in the letter. His claim was also investigated by the human rights panel.
On September 29, 2008, a blast at Malegaon killed six and injured 101 people.
In November 2008, the Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested 11 people in this connection.
However, in April 2011, the investigation was transferred to the NIA.
08:52 Nirav Modi travelled to US, UK and Hong Kong on revoked passport: Interpol:
The Interpol has informed Indian investigation agencies that absconding diamond jeweller Nirav Modi travelled four times between three countries as recently as March on an Indian passport that was revoked by the ministry of external affairs on February 24.
In a June 5 letter to Indian agencies, Interpol said Nirav travelled between United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong on his Indian passport between March 15 and March 31. According to Interpol, he travelled four times on that passport on March 15, March 28, March 30 and March 31.
On February 24, the MEA revoked the passports of Nirav and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi, promoter of Gitanjali Group, after they failed to respond to a February 16 notice issued by the ministry, asking them to show-cause why their passports should not be impounded or revoked.
This was after they came under the scanner of multiple investigation agencies following state-owned Punjab National Banks complaint against their companies, saying it had been cheated of an estimated Rs 13,500 crore through fraudulent issue of letters of undertaking and foreign letters of credit.
08:18 1 Army jawan, 2 terrorists killed in ongoing operation in J&K:
Two terrorists and an army jawan were killed in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district today, officials said.
"Two terrorists have been killed in an ongoing operation in Panar forest area of Bandipora district (in north Kashmir)," a defence spokesman said.
He added that a jawan also lost his life in the operation.
Further details are awaited, the spokesman said.
07:55 At Rahul's iftaar party, Pranab finds special place:
Days after a row erupted over his address at the RSS headquarters, former president Pranab Mukherjee broke bread with Rahul Gandhi at an iftaar party hosted by the Congress chief.
Among the prominent personalities included Mukherjee's predecessor Pratibha Patil and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, besides former vice president Hamid Ansari besides a host of opposition leaders.
While top opposition leaders were conspicuous by their absence, middle-rung leaders of many parties were at the iftaar hosted at a local luxury hotel. No senior leader of Samajwadi Party attended it.
This is the first iftaar hosted by Gandhi as Congress president.
Among other leaders included CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, BSP's Satish Chandra Misra, TMC's Dinesh Trivedi and DMK's Kanimozhi.
Breakaway JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, JD-S leader Danish Ali, JMM's Hemant Soren, NCP's DP Tripathy, RJD's Manoj Jha, AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal, RLD's Mehrajuddin also attended the party.
"Good food, friendly faces and great conversation make for a memorable Iftar! We were honoured to have two former Presidents, Pranab Da and Smt Pratibha Patil ji join us, along with leaders from different political parties, the media, diplomats and many old and new friends," Gandhi said on Twitter after the iftaar.
Mukherjee was seen conversing with Gandhi and exchanging pleasantries with him and several other senior Congress leaders.
There was considerable disquiet in the Congress after Mukherjee accepted the invitation of the RSS to address its workers at its headquarters in Nagpur.
After much consternation, the party however, later complimented him for his speech for showing the mirror of truth that carried lessons on pluralism and secularism to the Sangh.
Gandhi came along with Mukherjee and while the former president left after sometime, the Congress chief offered to drop him back but Mukherjee politely refused.
00:37 Heavy rains trigger floods in Tripura, Manipur; thousands homeless:
Floods triggered by heavy rains in Tripura and Manipur have rendered thousands homeless.
Incessant rain in the past 24 hours has wreaked havoc in parts of the northeast, triggering flash floods and rendering thousands of people homeless in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, officials said.
Heavy rains in Tripura rendered over 3,500 families homeless in the past 24 hours.
Over 500 families were evacuated to six relief camps in West Tripura's Sadar sub-division as their homes were submerged in water, officials said.
Over 3,500 families are lodged in 89 relief camps as heavy downpour inundated their houses, according to the latest report of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC).
In Manipur, incessant rains over the past 24 hours have triggered flash floods in the Imphal Valley with several low-lying areas in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur districts have been inundated, officials said.
The General Administration Department declared a holiday today for all government offices and educational institutions.
Incessant rain in the past 24 hours has affected as many as 1,48,912 people in Assam's 222 villages under eight revenue circles in the districts of Biswanath, Karbi Anglong West and Karbi Anglong East, Golaghat, Karimganj and Hailakandi, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) report issued on Wednesday.
Karimganj in the Barak Valley remained the worst-hit with the breaching of the Longai river at the Nayadhar area.
The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) has so far evacuated 124 people in the district. The authorites have opened 71 relief camps.
More rain has been forecast by the meteorological (MeT) department over Meghalaya and Assam, with heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. -- PTI