A day after backing Ram Nath Kovind's candidature for the president's post, the JD(U) today said that there was no question of going back to the NDA and it continued to be an integral part of the united opposition. "The decision to back Kovind's candidature is an isolated incident... we'll never go back to the NDA-fold again," the JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi told PTI over phone from Delhi.
Following the JD-U 'defection' hectic parleys between leaders of non-NDA parties began this morning, hours ahead of a crucial opposition meeting where they were expected to zero in on a joint candidate for the presidential election.
As the convoy neared the hospital, Arun Jaitley's wife called to him ask his whereabouts and tell him guests were awaiting him at home. Jaitley said he would be delayed as Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had been hospitalised. At that point, Mrs Jaitley interrupted her husband to say she had spoken to Minister Mahesh Sharma's daughter, who told her that her maid 'Nirmala' was breathless and had to be rushed to hospital. The three ministers heaved a sigh of relief and Jaitley returned to his guests at home.
The next day both Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman were in Paris and it was in Paris that Jaitley told her about the mix up. Sitharaman, we are told, made a magnificent effort to control her laughter and succeeded, for her mirth would have been the proverbial salt to the finance ministers wound.
The lone accused acquitted in the case, Abdul Qayyum, was released from the Arthur Road jail on Saturday.
A special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court in Mumbai on Friday convicted six persons including mastermind Mustafa Dossa and extradited gangster Abu Salem in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. This was the second leg of the trial.
All the seven accused were facing multiple charges which included criminal conspiracy, waging war against the government of India and murder.
In the first leg of the trial that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 people were acquitted.
The present trial of the seven accused -- Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum -- was separated from the main case as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial.
The dastardly attacks had also left 713 seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore.
Image: 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Mustafa Dossa.
The plot of land where the HQ is being constructed was given to the BJP in 2008 during the UPA regime. While other parties too were given plots, it's only the BJP that has begun construction of a new office building. The RJD has a three-storeyed building as its national HQ in Delhi.
Heres what we can tell you about the under-construction national headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party:
- It promises to be luxurious, spacious and is located on Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg in the heart of New Delhi.
It is a seven-storeyed building.
- The entire office is wi-fi enabled.
- The office will be dedicated to the BJP on December 25, 2017, the birthday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- 60 % of the construction is over.
- The building will have 45 chambers (large rooms with a sitting area and a desk) and 25 rooms (desk space only) for Karyakartas from states to do their routine work while in Delhi
- The first two floors will have a conference hall, a media room, a library, a room to hold exhibitions.
- The BJP president Amit Shahs chambers are on the top floor.
- Each General Secretary will have rooms with an en suite bathroom.
- This building has solar panels on the roof and the BJP hopes to cut electricity consumption drastically.
- The foundation of the building was laid on August 10, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said that the sacrifice of generations of karyakartas (workers) inspired him to work.
- The design and architecture is by a renowned Mumbai company.
- The construction work is on full swing.
- Amit Shah visits the construction site at least once a month for updates.
- The BJP has also instructed all 625 district party leaders to get their own office in the next two years so that the party can avoid paying huge rentals and get a permanent address as well.
She had undergone the surgery in April and her rehab will take at least six months before she can resume training. The World Championships will be held in Canada in October.
"There is not much you can do in case of an injury. It is frustrating as an athlete but I won't call it a setback. Though it is surely a challenge," Karmakar told PTI today. Karmakar, who is camping at the IG Stadium in presence of her coach Bisweshwar Nandi, has started jogging but can only think about training once six months of rehab is over.
Coach Nandi said that her ward will not be competition ready for the World Championships and therefore the focus shifts to the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.
Hectic parleys between leaders of non-NDA parties began this morning, hours ahead of a crucial opposition meeting where they were expected to zero in on a joint candidate for the presidential election. 16 parties will meet later today at a session chaired by Mrs Gandhi to decide their strategy.
After the JD-U's decision to support NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, the Congress stepped up efforts to keep the opposition united as its top brass held discussions with the leaders of a host of other parties.
Cracks appeared in the opposition camp after the JD-U's surprise decision yesterday, as its chief Nitish Kumar was the one who had initiated the process for a joint opposition strategy on the issue.
Sources said a contest for the country's top constitutional post is on the cards as the majority in the opposition sees it an "ideological battle" that has to fought.
"No matter what happens, we will contest the election," a senior left leader said. Efforts were on to ensure that the NCP did not stray, as the Sharad Pawar-led party held internal discussions to decide on its strategy for the July 17 presidential election.
Top Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel met NCP supremo Pawar at his residence and are learnt to have discussed the opposition plan for the poll. CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury was also part of the informal discussions, the sources said. Pawar is believed to be leaning towards Kovind as president.
By naming Kovind, a dalit, the NDA has put the opposition camp in a fix as it has now been forced to think of a suitable dalit candidate to oppose Kovind so as not to be branded "anti-dalit" by the ruling dispensation.
The opposition, which had earlier discussed the possibility of pitting former governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi against the NDA candidate, is now looking at a dalit face for the contest.
The names of former Speaker Meira Kumar and Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of the principal architect of the Constitution, B R Ambedkar, have been discussed, the sources said. Kumar yesterday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with other senior party leaders, fuelling speculation that the party was willing to support her candidature.
The opposition camp is yet to name its candidate for the presidential poll. The Congress, which is coordinating the opposition meet, expressed the hope leaders of all the parties which attended the May 26 lunch hosted by Gandhi would be present today.
Opposition leaders also maintained the bloc was united against the ruling BJP and that the JD-U continued to be with it, as its decision was a "one-off" development. Asked about the Congress's choice for the poll, AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari yesterday said it was a "hypothetical" question.
"There will be a far clear, coherent and an articulate answer available after the opposition meeting," he said. Senior leaders from several opposition parties who attended the May 26 meet are expected to be present at today's meeting.
Recently, Pema Khandu, the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, had demanded a separate time zone for the northeast.
"The DST has been conducting studies on this, looking at what is the potential of energy saving if you have two different time zones," Sharma said. "One can actually save energy because the sunrise and sunset timings are different (in the country), but the office timings are one across the nation," he added.
The study is also expected to cover the overall impact, especially on the transportation system. Leaders from the northeast region argue that a separate time zone, a long pending demand, would increase daylight savings and efficiency. One of the arguments is that early sunrise means that by the time they start their day, almost half the day has passed. This means an early sunset which requires extra use of lights in both homes, offices and public places, hampering the productivity.
Similar is the case with the archipelagos of the Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep where sunrise and sunset timings are different from the mainland.
The State Assembly has decided to punish the two journalists of Kannada tabloids for publishing defamatory articles against legislators," Koliwad announced on the floor of the House in Bengaluru.
Besides the jail term, the speaker also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them. Besides the jail term, the speaker also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them.
Read the report on Alt News.
Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said at least 50 people were wounded, including members of the police and army, civilians and staff of the New Kabul Bank branch where the attack took place.The blast took place around 12 noon local time, according to Zwak, when civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay.
Kovind will be staying at the expansive 10 Akbar Road bungalow in the heart of Lutyens Delhi for about a month till the presidential election on July 17, top sources said.
The 71-year-old, who looks certain to be the next president, had earlier been allocated 144 North Avenue as Bihar governor. After his resignation as governor, top authorities in the Centre decided he should move to a bigger bungalow for security reasons, the sources added.
Interestingly, this is not Sharma's first tryst with presidents, former, would be and present.
The Union culture and tourism minister had earlier been allocated 10 Rajaji Marg, the residence of former president A P J Abdul Kalam, but was asked to leave it for President Pranab Mukherjee who will be moving to the bungalow after his retirement.
Kovind was picked as the ruling National Democratic Alliance's candidate for president earlier this week. He has already got backing from several non-NDA parties, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and both factions of the AIADMK.
The conditions and requirements for issuance of business and work visas to the Chinese nationals will be reviewed, the Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The decision comes days after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had been informed that the murdered Chinese citizens were missionaries who were part of a group of Chinese nationals which obtained business visas and entered Pakistan.
Earlier on June 12, the CBI informed a Special Court that it is considering challenging the High Court's order in the Supreme Court which held one statement inadmissible in the case.
In March this year, the CBI court deferred the trial after the defence protested over the non-appearance of approver and first witness Shyamvar Rai, who was Indrani Mukerjea's former driver.In January, the special CBI court had charged Indrani, her husband Peter Mukerjea and her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna with murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with this case.
The murder, which took place on April 24, 2012, came to light in 2015 with the arrest of Rai, who later turned approver for the CBI.Indrani, Khanna and Rai have been accused of strangling 24-year-old Sheena - Indrani's daughter from a previous relationship-on April 24, 2012.
Her burnt body was dumped in a bag in the forests in Raigad district near Mumbai.The trio was arrested in August 2015, while Peter was arrested later in November 19 that year.
Rediff.com has been covering the Sheena Bora murder. Read this month's reportage from the CBI court.
On Tuesday, two farmers allegedly committed suicide in separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh, as the state continues to be hit by violent protests by farmers over plummeting crop prices and ballooning debts.
A 40-year-old farmer, Babulal Verma from Hoshangabad district died after he attempted self-immolation last Thursday and 65-year-old Laxmi Gomasta killed himself in Narsinghpur district after consuming poison on Monday night.
The total number of farmer suicides in the state has now risen to 17 since the protests started on June 6 in Mandsaur by farmers, who have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu today said that waiving of crop loans has become a 'fashion' these days.
The BJP leader said that loans should be waived off, but in extreme circumstances. He opined that loan waiver is not the final solution for the betterment of the farmers.
Criticising Naidu's statement over loan waiver, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said 36-40,000 farmers have committed suicide in the last three years, therefore calling loan waiver fashionable is a disrespect to our 'anndaata' (farmers)."
Image: Farmers block railway tracks in Hoshangabad.
Local resentment had been building against plans to turn an abandoned World War II airbase into an international airport at Nevali, about 45 km northeast of Mumbai. But Thursday's protests took an unexpected violent turn with farmers whose land had been acquired for the project attacking police.
It is indeed true that Justice Karnan's offences in making wild and totally unsubstantiated allegations against a number of fellow judges, and his tactics of intimidation against Chief Justices who tried over the years to discipline him, were shocking and completely unacceptable. Read more
"Loan waiver has become fashion now. It should be waived but in extreme situations only. It's not a final solution. You have to take care of systems. The farmers should be taken care in distress," Naidu said at India's largest municipal bond programme in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the farmers protest in Maharashtra turned violent on Thane-Badlapur highway as the protesting farmers said that their land is being acquired by the Ministry of Defence. Additional forces have been sent to the spot including riot control vehicles.
Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district became the epicentre of farmers' agitation over a demand for loan waivers and better prices for their produce.
Several houses in this region have been painted in yellow by administration with their names and a message on it saying, "I am poor, receive ration from National Food Security Act (NFSA)."
Around 70 per cent of the total population of this region takes benefit of this government scheme and have this humiliating message painted outside their houses.
As per the local administration, this initiative has been taken so that only the needy can avail the benefits of the governments' scheme.
"At the time of the Congress, many got themselves registered to avail the benefits of the government's scheme. But the one who deserve to get the right are still deprived of it. The ruling government has taken this initiative for the backward class," said a NFSA official.
Meanwhile, the villagers also claimed that they were told that they will be paid Rs 750 if they allowed their homes to be marked.
"Even when we opposed, they painted our walls with this message. We feel very humiliated but what can we do. The government is just making fun of us by painting this," said a villager.
The NFSA was undertaken during the United Progressive Alliance government, as per which the people belonging to backward classes were given five kilograms of food grains per person per month at subsidised rates.
Udaykumar is the convenor of the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy that came into prominence for its protest against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant project.
This is what he said in the letter to the Press Council of India.
Also read our interview with SP Udaykumar here.
Rediff.com's Archana Masih spoke to Dalit thinker Chandrabhan Prasad to find out. Do read
The announcement comes hours after the AIADMK (Amma) camp decided to support the NDA presidential candidate.
Though the party's deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran had announced a few days back that only the general secretary VK Sasikala could decide which candidate the party will support, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday evening told reporters at the party headquarters that they have decided to support Kovind.
The NCP is at a meeting now to decide which way it will lean. The Opposition meeting comes later today.
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman constitute the CAC and have been empowered to recommend the one most suited. A year ago, the same gentlemen had picked Kumble and ignored Ravi Shastri's credentials. Kohli's quitting would have triggered a fresh crisis, but got averted as Kumble himself chose to withdraw from the position he'd held for the past year. Read more
The incident took place yesterday in Aligarh's Bheekamapur village when a man raped and then murdered a six-year-old girl, following which the locals killed the accused for his heinous act.
As per reports, the accused who hailed from Badaun, used to work at the girl's father snacks shop. A month ago, the father of the girl fired him from work, after which he was not seen around in the village.
The man possibly lured the daughter of the shop owner and took her to the nearby farm where he raped and later killed her.
When the parents of the girl were unable to find her after a stretch of time, they started looking for her and later recovered her body from the farm. The accused was also found sitting beside the girl's body.
Angry over the incident, the locals thrashed the accused. When the police reached the spot, the villagers handed over the man.
He was later admitted in a hospital and declared dead after few hours. "The accused was nabbed by the locals. He was sitting near the body of the girl. He was drunk. He was thrashed by the people and later died at around 3 am.," said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Aligarh, Rajesh Kumar Pandey.
Image: The minor was lured to a field and allegedly raped by the accused. The villagers, later, found the man sitting by the girl and lynched him.
In recent tests held at the Rifle Factory in Ichapore, West Bengal, India's indigenous 7.62 x 51mm prototype assault rifle failed trials on multiple parameters, with the Ministry of Defense's PMT (Project Management Team) ruling that the assault rifle was "at best only a prototype and requires comprehensive design analysis and improvement."
In a shift from the current 5.56 caliber rifles, the security establishment had floated a 'Request for Information' document last year for procurement of 1,85,000 assault rifles with more lethal firepower.
"A 5.56 caliber rifle may just wound the adversary and there is always a chance of engagement getting prolonged," said Defense Expert Brigadier SK Chatterji.
In it's Request for Information document the objective of the new 7.62 x51mm assault rifle's lethality was 'Shoot to kill'.
Over 20 companies had shown their intent to fulfill this generational shift in assault rifles however the indigenous Rifle Factory at Ichapore had taken upon itself to produce this weapon, which ultimately failed tests held last week.
The Project Management Team constituted to evaluate the gun ruled that, "During internal evaluation excessive number of faults and stoppages to the extent of more than twenty times the maximum permissible standards were observed in the prototype."
Some of the issues highlighted by the MoD's PMT included excessive recoil of the gun upon firing, an inefficient magazine for loading of bullets and excessive flash and sound during firing.
One of the guns also showed a 'Barrel Bulge' during live firing exercises that highlighted improper safety mechanisms of the gun. Moreover, the gun did not have an inbuilt scopes for sighting and accuracy and was not ergonomically designed to facilitate portability for troops.
Image: The rifle was supposed to replace the AK-47 and INSAS rifles used by the Army, but has failed several crucial parameters.
The Islamic State jihadists in Iraq have destroyed the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and the leaning minaret, which has dominated Mosul's skyline for centuries and is pictured on Iraq's 10,000 dinar bank note.
Iraqis military commanders said militants blew the mosque up after troops closed in.
It was the same Mosque from where Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ascended a pulpit and declared the creation of the caliphate in summer 2014 after his fighters took control of Mosul and swept through other parts of northern Iraq and Syria.
ISIS, through its news agency, said US warplanes were responsible for the loss late Wednesday of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its leaning minaret. US officials told that the ISIS claim was "1,000% false," the CNN reported.
The black flag of ISIS had been fluttering over the leaning minaret since June 2014. Now the site has largely been reduced to rubble. The fight to retake the country's second largest city , which has been a key Isis stronghold, was launched more than eight months ago and has displaced more than 8, 50,000 people.
The Iraqi military said "ISIS terrorist gangs" blew up the mosque as they saw Iraqi forces backed by U.S. and British forces were approaching and encircled the fighters in the Old city.
Image: The leaning minaret of the 12th-century Great Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul from where ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared the formation of the Caliphate.
JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday chaired a meeting of party leaders in Patna that decided to support the National Democratic Alliance candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the President's post.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge termed Nitish's support to Kovind 'his personal decision' and said JD-U leader Sharad Yadav in the all-party meeting had come up with the view of deciding on the presidential candidate once the government declares its nominee.
"It might be Nitish Kumar's personal decision. Earlier, when the all-party meeting took place, Sharad Yadav had suggested that we should not decide on the candidate so soon and should wait for the government to come up with its candidate. All the parties' leaders will come today and what steps are to be taken will be decided. Suggestions from all the parties will be heard and then a decision would be taken," Kharge told ANI.
However, another Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad refrained from commenting on the same and said that any discussion on the same would take place post the Opposition's meet.
"Let the Opposition party meet take place and then the decision will be taken," Ahmad told ANI.
The JD-U has been a part of the Opposition's joint initiative on the presidential elections.
The Opposition is against Kovind's name being finalised for the post of president on grounds that they were not consulted prior to the announcement. -- ANI
The encounter started last evening in Kakapora area of Pulwama following an intelligence input that three local boys, who had joined terrorist ranks in banned Lashker-e-Tayyaba terror group, were holed up in a house located in a densely populated locality, a police official said.
This is the first successful counter-insurgency operation in Pulwama area which is believed to have large presence of local terrorists aided with a strong-network of over ground workers, he said.
The identity of the three killed terrorists was being established, he said, adding the successful operation was a big blow to the LeT terror outfit which recently lost its commander Junaid Mattoo in an encounter at Arwin village in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on June 17.
This is the second successful operation against the terror outfit within three days.
Yesterday, two terrorists were killed in an encounter in Sopore township of Baramulla district in north Kashmir. -- PTI