Mon, 18 September 2017
Refugees entitled to fundamental rights: Owaisi

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23:50   Refugees entitled to fundamental rights: Owaisi
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi today claimed the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court over the Rohingya issue may not stand the legal scrutiny as refugees are also entitled to fundamental rights.

"Any policy of a government will be questioned by the Supreme Court if it is violating fundamental rights. The refugees are entitled to the protection of fundamental rights of Article 12 and 14.

"That is why I say it has no legal leg to stand. It's an old propaganda of this government," he told reporters Hyderabad.

In its affidavit, the Centre said Rohingya Muslims are "illegal" immigrants in the country and their continued stay posed "serious national security ramifications".

The affidavit also said the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the SC to enforce the right.

"The affidavit which has been filed today by the government, I am of the opinion, it is an old government agenda and propaganda. It is rehashed and it has no legal leg to stand. It is violative of Article 12 and 14," the Hyderabad MP said. 

Owaisi said his party feels that the Rohingyas issue should be seen as a humanitarian and not a Muslim issue.

"As far as my party is concerned, we are of the firm opinion that the Rohingya issue should not be looked as a Muslim issue. It is a humanitarian issue," he said.

"These people have run away from their country to save themselves from a terrorist, Myanmarese military government and to send them back would be a great travesty of justice. I hope that day does not come," the AIMIM chief said.
23:18   Railways to introduce new, faster Rajdhani train on Mumbai-Delhi route
The railways is planning to introduce a brand new and faster Rajdhani Express on the Mumbai-Delhi line, the third Rajdhani train on the route, in the next few months, senior officials said.
The new train, likely to be launched by the Diwali this year, will cover the distance between Bandra (in Mumbai) to Nizamuddin station (in Delhi) in 13 hours, officials said.
Presently, the route is served by two Rajdhani Express trains -- the August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani. 

Both of them take more than 15 hours to cover the distance between the national capital and the financial capital of the country.
While the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours 05 minutes to travel a distance of 1,377 km at an average speed of 80 kmph, the Mumbai Central-New Delhi (or just Mumbai Rajdhani, as it is often called) train takes around 15 hours 35 minutes, at an average speed of 89 kmph, to travel 1386 km.
Neither of the two halts at Bandra.
"The trial run (for the new train) will start in a couple of days. We are using the existing 24-coach Mumbai Rajdhani with two engines to see if we can make the journey shorter by a few hours. We are using Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches," said a senior official.

Alternatively, sources indicate, the railways could introduce the new Rajdhani with 14 coaches and one engine to ramp up the speed, and then determine which of the two is the better option.
LHB coaches are of a superior design that reduces the chance of derailment and mitigates the possibility of grievous injury or death in case of accidents. These coaches have anti-climbing features and provision of superior braking. 
The Mumbai Rajdhani as of now has a sanctioned speed of 130 kmph. However, because of the numerous curves and speed restrictions on the route, its average speed comes down to about 89 kmph.
The railways is hoping to increase it to 90-95 kmph, sources said.
23:14   Advani renominated as Chairman of Lok Sabha Ethics Committee
Veteran BJP leader L K Advani has been renominated as Chairman of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Besides Advani, all other 14 members have also been given another term.
The Ethics Committee examines every complaint relating to unethical conduct of a member referred to it.
It is also free to take up suo motu investigation into matters relating to ethics, including matters relating to unethical conduct by a member wherever felt necessary and make such recommendations as it may deem fit.
Among those members who have been nominated as Chairman on the various other committees are -- P Karunakaran for the Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank for the Committee on Government Assurances, according to a Lok Sabha bulletin.
Chandrakant B Khaire for the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table and Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi for the Committee on Subordinate Legislation have also been renominated as chairman of the respective panels.
Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha M Thambidurai has been nominated as the Chairman of the Committee on Private Members' Bills and Resolutions in place of Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi.
Thamburai is also renominated as Chairman of the panel on on Local Area Development Scheme which reviews the implementation of the MPLAD scheme. 

23:13   'Save The Rohingyas of Myanmar' group formed
A group of people, including politicians and human rights activists, today formed 'Save The Rohingyas of Myanmar', which will act as a "pressure group" and urge the government to provide refuge and aid to the members of this Muslim community on humanitarian grounds.
Prakash Ambedkar, a former MP and grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, while announcing the formation of the committee said, "We are appalled, saddened and shocked to see that lakhs of Rohingyas from Myanmar are on the verge of dying and the Indian government is not providing refuge to them. Through this group, we would pressurise the government to do something for them on humanitarian grounds."
Speaking to reporters later, the president of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, who will lead the committee said, "Unfortunately, this BJP-led government sees every issue through the prism of Hinduism."
The Centre submitted before the Supreme Court today that the continued stay of Rohingya Muslims has serious security ramifications. Terming the Rohingya refugees as "illegal" immigrants, the government today told the apex court that some of them were part of a "sinister" design of Pakistan's ISI and terror groups such as the ISIS, whose presence in the country will pose a "serious" national security threat.
To a question on the government's stand in the SC, Ambedkar said, "The police records do not support that they are in any way part of international terrorist organisations.. and if the government agencies have any inputs about it, then they should identify such people and offer help to those, who are not so (linked to terror groups)."
Ambedkar also suggested that Rohingyas can be granted refuge for the time being or even the next couple of years.
Apart from Ambedkar, city-based human rights activist Jatin Desai, MLC Kapil Patil, Feroz Mithiborwala and Noorjahan Niyaz, will also be members of the committee.
Kapil Patil said, "It has always been our tradition to offer all possible help to those in need. The BJP-led government is washing its hands of them."
Jatin Desai suggested that it is time that the government comes up with a refugee policy to end such problems forever.

22:44   Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar arrested
Underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim's brother, Iqbal Kaskar was arrested in Mumbai over extortion charges.

According to initial reports, the anti-extortion cell of Thane Police held Iqbal Kaskar for allegedly running an extortion racket. 

Encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma reportedly led the team of Thane Police that arrested Iqbal.

Iqbal Kaskar, Dawood Ibrahims fifth sibling, had been deported to India from the United Arab Emirates in 2003. 

He was wanted in a murder offense and also for his alleged role in the Sara Sahara case where a building came up illegally on government land. 

However, Kaskar was acquitted by a court in both cases in 2007.
22:06   No one can topple my government: Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today asserted that his government could not be toppled, though some forces harbored such hopes.
"Some think the government can be toppled. That is never possible as workers and supporters have put in their hard work for its formation," he said in a veiled attack on sidelined party leader T T V Dinkaran who is seeking his ouster. 
Those who believe AIADMK could be broken, such a thought will remain a 'day dream', the chief minister said at a function in his native district in Salem.
His comments came on a day when 18 AIADMK MLAs loyal to Dinakaran were disqualified in the midst of the escalating tussle for supremacy in the party.
"Not just the government or the party but not even a single AIADMK supporter could be bought," Palaniswami, who has been targeting the opposition DMK in recent days, asserted.

Referring to the merger of the two factions led by himself and his deputy O Panneerselvam on August 21, he said "those who parted ways united," and assured "we will rerieve the lost (Two Leaves) symbol."
The party is being steered with the blessings of AIADMK stalwarts, its founder M G Ramachandran and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, he said.
The chief minister also trained his guns against AIADMK's archrival DMK, saying the main opposition party's attempts to capture power had been "shattered" by the AIADMK supporters.
Following the earlier split in the party, DMK had ambitions of capturing power, but that could not happen as supporter of "Amma" (late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa) had "shattered" them, he said.
21:47   PPP challenges trial court's verdict on Bhutto's assassination
The Pakistan Peoples' Party today challenged an anti-terrorism court's verdict which had set five Pakistani Tabilan suspects free and declared former military ruler Pervez Musharraf an absconder in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.
Bhutto, the 54-year-old PPP chief and a two-time prime minister, was killed along with more than 20 people in a gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh during an election campaign rally on December 27, 2007.
The anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi had set free five Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan suspects citing lack of evidence. The court had also ordered authorities to confiscate Musharraf's properties and declared him an absconder.
PPP's senior advocate Latif Khosa filed three appeals in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore high court against the August 31 verdict.
In one of the appeals, he asked the court to try and convict Musharraf, in absentia, if he had failed to comply with the arrest warrant issued by the court.
Khosa said that Bhutto, in one of her letters, had declared that Musharraf would be held responsible in case she was killed.
In a second appeal, the PPP lawyer asked the court to change the sentence of two police officers into death sentence.
Saud Aziz was police chief of Rawalpindi Khurram while Shahzad was Superintendent of Police when Bhutto was assassinated in 2007.
In the third appeal, the PPP sought death sentence for the five TTP militants -- Rafaqat Hussain, Husnain Gul, Sher Zaman, Aitzaz Shah and Abdul Rashid.
Benazir, daughter of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was the first woman prime minister of any Muslim country to be assassinated.
21:29   'First you eat meat, then meat eats you': Maneka Gandhi pitches for vegetarianism

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today made a pitch for vegetarianism, saying humans are natural vegetarians and meat consumption harms them.
The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film 'The Evidence-Meat Kills', directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.
Studies done over the last three decades have shown, with empirical data, that meat is bad for human body, Maneka said.
"Everything about every part and organ of the human body is vegetarian. When we put an alien substance like meat into the human body, we become prone to diseases," she said.
"If you do this on a daily basis," she added, "Your body will weaken. You will not die of eating meat, but it will certainly weaken your body, making it more vulnerable to diseases."
Maneka emphasised, more than once, that the purpose of making or promoting the film was not to persuade people to give up eating meat, but to make them aware of its pros and cons and help make an informed choice.
"All in all, first you eat meat, then meat eats you, she quipped, during the programme at the Press clu in New Delhi.
She said the movie has been made by the doctors so that people make an informed choice.
The Union minister also lamented that dietetics -- the study of diet and its effects on health -- was not given due time or attention during medical education.
"I feel that in the 5-6 years during which they teach you to become a doctor, they teach you dietetics for not more than one or two hours. What I feel is, if you do not teach them about food and their effect on the body, then what is the point of teaching them about the medicines? she said.
20:51   Congress urges government to take all parties into confidence on Rohingyas
The Congress today urged the government to take all parties into confidence and not have a "blanket approach" on the issue of the Rohingyas.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the matter was "very sensitive" and the government must act responsibly while maintaining a balance between internal security and international obligations while taking a call on the issue.

"It is incumbent and obligatory on the government to take every part of the political spectrum into confidence in a collective sense on this very important and sensitive matter," he told reporters in New Delhi.
The Congress leader said such collective consultations would help the government decipher genuine national security problems.
"A blanket approach is never helpful. We beseech the government not to use blanket approaches. We are given to understand that in the affidavit given to the Supreme Court the government has suggested that it is not bound by any international treaty," he said.
Singhvi said whether it was a technical point or a blanket approach, "you should be very guarded" because the government ultimately changes, parties and time change, but the country and the affidavit in the Supreme Court are permanent.
On the Centre's plea that the Rohingyas were involved in anti-national activities, Singhvi said this was a sensitive matter and "all have to be restrained and responsible about this".
The Centre told the Supreme Court today Rohingya Muslims were illegal immigrants in India and their continued stay had "serious national security ramifications".
20:21   Hours after reopening, Ryan International shuts for another week
Hours after it was re-opened for students, Ryan International School in Gurugram will be closed for another week.

The school had reopened today for the first time after the brutal murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur within the school premises.

According to media reports, the school would resume on September 25 after all the safety concerns are addressed. 

Pradyuman parents have opposed the re-opening of the school.

On September 8, Pradyuman was found dead inside the toilet of the school, with his throat slit.

Since the murder of the boy reports have found that there were serious lapses in the security of the students. A two-member fact finding committee formed by the CBSE found that the bus drivers and conductors were using the same toilet facilities which otherwise should have been reserved for the students.
19:59   Rohingya issue will be dealt with keeping national security in mind: BJP
The Modi government has extended humanitarian aid to Bangladesh to deal with Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar, but it would tackle "those sections sternly" when it comes to national security, BJP general
secretary Ram Madhav said today.
"As far as the Rohingya issue is concerned, our government's position is very clear. Where it is a humanitarian question, there the government has immediately stepped in and extended help to Bangladesh government in
tackling that problem. 
"But when national security concerns are involved, we will deal with those sections very sternly," he told reporters.
India already has serious security concerns over illegal migrants staying in a number of its cities, he said.
Earlier in the day, the government told the Supreme Court that Rohingya Muslims are "illegal" immigrants in the country and their continued presence has "serious national security ramifications".
The BJP leader termed as "appropriate" the government's position in the Supreme Court.
"The government has given appropriate answer to the Supreme Court in this regard. The matter is before the Supreme Court," he said.
"The influx of sections of Rohingyas has also a potential to cause serious challenge to national security here," he said.
Lakhs of minority Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar following alleged persecution by the military, mostly to Bangladesh. Nearly 40,000 Rohingyas are living in different places in India. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has issued identity cards to about 16,500 of them. 
18:47   Sealing of Pakistan Border with smart fence by Dec next year: Rijiju
Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs on Monday said that the sealing of the Indian border with Pakistan using smart technology-aided fence will be in place by December next year.

Speaking about smart fencing, Rijiju said that engagement of multiple agencies in border management was resulting in delay of implementation of policies and adoption of technology.

Citing an example of delay in processes, Rijiju said that when a full-body scanner had to be installed, the tedious tender process and other formalities caused unwarranted delays and there was a need to address such issues immediately.

The minister stressed on the need for enhanced coordination and collaboration among diverse government agencies and stakeholders besides adoption of technology and change in the mindset for stepping up India's border management system.
18:40   UPDATE: Upset with BJP and CM, Sena may quit Maharashtra government
After nearly three years in the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena on Monday said it is "upset" with its partner the Bharatiya Janata Party and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and will consider the option of quitting the government.

At a closed-door meeting of party leaders, legislators, MPs and ministers, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was barraged with complaints about how their development works were held up by the government, files didn't move and decisions were not implemented.

Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and environment minister Ramdas Kadam, who interacted separately with the media, confirmed the intra-party developments.

"The legislators have authorised the Sena president to review the situation and take an appropriate decision... The party will fully support him," Raut said.

"About (continuing in) the state government... we are on the verge of taking a final decision. Wait and watch," Raut said.

Party sources indicate a final decision whether to sever ties or not may be taken shortly, after the ongoing Pitrupaksh period ends and is likely to be announced at Thackeray's annual Dassehra Rally later in September.
18:12   Pradhyumn murder: Bus conductor, Ryan staffers sent to jail
Pradhyumn Thakur death case: Accused conductor Ashok Kumar, Ryan International  Group's northern zone head and HR head sent to judicial custody till September 29.

As Gurugram's Ryan International school reopened today, 10 days after the murder of 7-year-old Pradhyumn Thakur on its premises, parents of students said they are worried for their children's safety as security issues have still not been addressed by the authorities.

"From now we'll have fear in our minds till our kids would reach home," said one of the students' parents to ANI.

On September 8, Pradhyumn was found murdered in the school's bathroom. Police arrested Ashok Kumar, a school bus conductor, for allegedly murdering they boy who is said to have resisted his sexual attack.

The crime raised questions about inadequate security and the Supreme Court initiated an inquiry into safety procedures in all of India's private schools.

Parents at Gurugram's Ryan International School said their security concerns have still not been fully addressed. -- ANI

Image: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar consoling Barun Thakur, father of Pradhyumn, who was murdered at Ryan International School, at Bhondsi in Gurugram on Friday.
18:11   Adarsh case: Nod to CBI to prosecute me politically motivated, alleges Chavan
Congress leader Ashok Chavan today alleged in the Bombay High Court that the decision of the Maharashtra governor in 2016 granting sanction to the CBI to prosecute him in the Adarsh housing society scam was "politically motivated and biased".

Chavan's counsel Amit Desai told a division bench of justices R V More and Sadhana Jadhav that while in December 2013, the then governor had refused to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute him, the central probing agency later sought to review the order claiming change in circumstances and fresh material in the form of evidence.
17:06   Ryan murder: Accused has right to be represented, SC tells lawyers
The Supreme Court today directed the members of the District Bar Association of Gurgaon not to obstruct in any manner the proceedings going on before a special judge there relating to the murder of a seven-year-old student in the Ryan International school.

The apex court was informed by the bar body that they have withdrawn their earlier resolution in which they had said that no lawyer will represent any of the accused in the case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that an accused has the right to be represented by an advocate and the bar was under an obligation not to obstruct any lawyer from appearing on behalf of an accused.

"We must say without any hesitation that any accused, whatever the offence maybe, has a right to be represented by an advocate. The tradition of bar does not authorise any bar association to pass a resolution like this.

"However, the solace is realising the fault. The bar association has withdrawn it (resolution)," the bench, also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Francis Thomas, the northern zone head of Ryan Group, seeking transfer of the student murder case from the local court at Sohna, alleging that the bar has restrained lawyers from representing the accused in the sensational case. Thomas was arrested in connection with the case.

During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Sandeep Kapur, appearing for Thomas, told the bench there was "hostile atmosphere" at the Sohna court and no lawyer was appearing for the accused in the case. Class 2 student Pradyuman was found with his throat slit on the morning of September 8 in the toilet of the Ryan International School in Gurgaon. Police allege that 42-year-old bus conductor Ashok Kumar killed him with a knife after the boy resisted an attempt to sodomise him. -- PTI
Governor of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, Vidyasagar Rao, called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
16:43   AIADMK may join the Centre

Soon after the disqualifications of the 18 MLAs of the TTV Dinakaran camp was announced this morning  this is what followed:

Dr V Maitreyan, Rajya Sabha MP of the AIADMK met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

Dr V Maitreyan then met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

We have learnt that consultations are on over the legal and political ramifications after the disqualifications.

Manoj Pandian, a senior lawyer of the AIADMK, also held discussions with Supreme Court advocates and got draft affidavits approved to be presented to the Election Commission.

On Tuesday, a high-level delegation is likely to meet the Election Commission to submit a petition that the two groups of AIADMK identified as the OPS and EPS groups have met and passed a resolution of their merger and elected O Pannerselvam as the coordinator of the AIADMK.

The decision of the Election Commission on the two leaves election symbol of the AIADMK is crucial for the ensuing Panchayat polls in Tamil Nadu.

The removal of VK Sasikala as general secretary of the AIADMK was drafted in New Delhi. This week,  OPS and EPS are likely to air dash to Delhi to say a big thank you. There were accusations from the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Opposition that the BJP is scripting the political drama in Tamil Nadu drama.

There is no immediate evidence for this, but it may be recalled that Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July for an hour followed by another meeting with O Pannerselvam.

The BJP has always been saying that two factions of the AIADMK should merge to keep Sasikala out of the AIADMK. That has since happened, and it is believed to have been discussed by the PM at the his meetings with EPS and OPS

It is likely that the AIADMK will be part of the Union Cabinet. M Thambidurai and Dr V Maitreyan have prepared their groundwork for this purpose. Informed sources confirm that the AIADMK might join the Modi government before the winter session of Parliament since there has been a political pressure from AIADMK to this effect.

16:30   Maha loan waiver: Less than 89 lakh farmers to benefit
The actual number of farmers who are expected to benefit from the Maharashtra government's loan waiver is likely to be less than the earlier estimate of 89 lakh, said officials of the state cooperation department.

Announcing the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana, in June, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said 89 lakh farmers would benefit from it.

Last week, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said at least 10 lakh bank accounts of farmers were fake and they will not get any benefit of the loan waiver.

His statement invited criticism from opposition leaders as well as farmer organisations.

However, the officials maintained Patil may not be widely off the mark.

Department officials maintained that despite several reminders, the cooperative and public sector banks have failed to provide a detailed list of farmers having outstanding loan.

This has raised suspicion about the exact number of agriculturists having outstanding loans, they said. Currently, farmers are in the process of filing applications for getting benefit under the scheme.

The state government has extended the deadline from September 14 to 22 for receiving online applications from eligible cultivators. State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) possesses details of all the banks and farmers having outstanding loans.

A senior officer from SLBC said, "Earlier, the practice was to handover an account number and write the outstanding loan amount next to it.

"In view of the 2007-8 loan waiver controversy, when undeserving loans were also settled, the current state government sought names of farmers as per the banks' record. Banks had to make necessary changes to come up with a list of all the required details of farmers."

The department officials said despite several requests the banks have also not given the list of beneficiaries of 2007-8 loan waiver scheme.

As on last Sunday, 1,00,85,326 farmers have registered themselves with the government for loan waiver. Of these, 55,40,732 have filled the required form and uploaded it on the government's website.
15:50   Will a 100 Tamil Nadu MLAs resign?
The DMK, the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, is playing its political card effectively. When the Speaker of Tamil Nadu assembly announced disqualifications of 18 MLAs loyal to TTV Dinakaran, the DMK informally decided to go for an en masse resignation of their 81 MLAs, thereby creating a political vacuum in the state. This will shake the delicate balance of power between E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. The DMK, which is vehemently opposed to Narendra Modi, will show its trump card at an opportune time. There is a possibility of eight Congress MLAs planning to submit their resignations if the Rahul Gandhi-approved alliance with the DMK works, taking the total resignations to nearly a 100.  Needless to say, the resignations will put the Centre and and the BJP in a tight spot and will put pressure for early elections in the state.
15:23   PM's man in Madras
This morning, Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao met President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, to discuss the political disarray in the state. Rao is leaving for Chennai tomorrow and will be staying there for three days, on instructions from the Centre.

This morning, the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly P Dhanapal, called up Governor Rao and informed him of the disqualification of the 18 MLAs loyal to the Dinakaran camp. As per protocol, the governor should be informed ahead of the media.

Governor Rao and Venkaiah Naidu are close friends, and their meeting was private, but it is believed that they did discuss Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu politics.

While many may not admit to it, Naidu is one of the key figures who 'saved' the Tamil Nadu government from the clutches of Sasikala. Naidu has been a close political observer of Tamil Nadu and had in fact monitored the funeral arrangements for the state's former CM J Jayalalithaa.

Ever since, many political leaders of the AIADMK have begun to meet him. The other bonus of course, is that Venkaiah Naidu speaks Tamil and understands the internal dynamism of the AIADMK functioning. Consequently, Narendra Modi has come to depends on Naidu's briefings on the AIADMK and Tamil Nadu.

R Rajagopalan in New Delhi
14:54   Rahul Gandhi's defence of dynasts is deeply problematic
It is not surprising that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the army of social media trolls - for whom Rahul Gandhi-bashing is a favourite blood sport - should have come out in full force on September 12 when clips appeared on television screens of his interactions with an audience half a world away.

In his address to students at the University of California, Berkeley, Rahul said many things about the state of India today that was unpalatable to the BJP and its supporters. But it was his comment on dynastic politics which provided ideal fodder to his critics. Read more
14:50   Focus on education, not meat: Laureate
Indians should focus more on getting a good education, especially in science and technology, and cut out "all this sectarian squabble about who eats what kind of meat", Nobel-winning scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has said.

"Venki", speaking in Cambridge at the new headquarters of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology, expressed concerns that "unless India invests in innovation, science and technology, it's going to lose the race".

"It's already quite far behind China, and if you consider (that) 50 years ago the two countries were really pretty much comparable.... In fact, I would have said India was probably slightly better off than China."  Read more
14:44   Haryana violence: Honeypreet, Dera spokesperson top wanted list
The Haryana Police on Monday released a list of forty three people, wanted over violence post Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim's conviction of rape of female followers.

Ram Rahim's adopted daughter Honeypreet and Dera's spokesperson Aditya Insan top the list.

Most of the accused featuring on the list have been identified from photographs and videos taken during the violence. They are also seen carrying sticks.

Honeypreet has been missing since the day the Dera chief was sent to the Rohtak jail.

Haryana witnessed an uproar by Dera Sacha Sauda followers after Ram Rahim was convicted in the rape cases by the special CBI court on August 25, leaving 41 people dead and injuring more than 250 people.

The Dera Chief is also involved in two murder cases, one of which is of Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati and former Dera manager Ranjit Singh
14:31   Need to curb rising intolerance over political views: Court
The need of the hour is to curb the growing intolerance among people who value their views more than someone else's life, a Delhi court has said, observing that such instances reflected a return to "the age of barbarism".

It sent four men, including a government servant, to three years of rigorous imprisonment for grievously assaulting their neighbours, a man and his son in 2007, over political rivalry. The convicts were allegedly then workers of BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, according to the complaint.

"The case depicts a glaring example of rising intolerance among the natives of this city who, even on trivial issues involving their alleged political faiths, do not even hesitate in attacking their own neighbours with such fury that even if the other side loses life, that would hardly matter to them.

"A person in a democratic set up like India is free to follow any political ideology, but it does not give him a right to force others to succumb to his mandate," Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma said.

Convicts Vijay Kumar, Rishi Pal, a government servant, Ashok and Satbir were sent behind bars for offences under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 325 (causing grave injuries) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.

"The need of the hour is to curb such rising intolerance and to award a suitable and adequate sentence commensurate to the gravity of offence," the court said.

According to the prosecution, on August 4, 2007, the four accused grievously injured victim Raju, who was their neighbour, by attacking him with sticks and sword on his head, in order to kill him. -- PTI
14:18   Nifty touches new highs, Sensex up
The BSE Sensex advanced by 210 points while the NSE Nifty scaled fresh record high levels in morning session on persistent buying mainly in capital goods, telecom, auto and power stocks. Higher global advices also boosted the market sentiment. The Sensex resumed higher at 32,361.37 and moved in a range of 32,508.06 to 32,361.25 before quoting at 32,482.76, up by 210.15, or 0.65 per cent.
12:56   Rohingya are security threat, Centre tells SC
The Centre today filed its response to a PIL challenging the deportation of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar in the Supreme Court. The Centre said that Rohingyas are a threat to national security.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the central government, that the counter affidavit would be filed today itself.

The bench then fixed the PIL and several other interim applications, seeking to intervene in the case for hearing at 2 pm on October 3.

The bench, meanwhile, did not issue notice to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which is already seized of the matter and has recently issued notice to the Central government.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for two Rohingya refugees, submitted that NHRC's response be sought in this matter as the independent rights body is already seized of the issue.

The plea, filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), said they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to alleged widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

The alleged violent attacks have led to an exodus of Rohingya tribals from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of those who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

The plea said that India has ratified and is a signatory to various conventions that recognise the Principle of "Non-Refoulement', which prohibits deportation of refugees to a country where they may face threat to their lives.  

-- PTI
11:58   He was destined for greatness: Arjan Singh's son
Arvind Singh on his father Marshal Arjan Singh: Was a great man but never acted great, was very humble. He was destined for greatness.
11:54   Bypolls in two LS seats after MPs' deaths
Two Lok Sabha members, Rashtriya Janata Dals Mohammed Taslimuddin and BJP's Mahant Chand Nath passed away on Sunday. Both had been ailing.

Chand Nath was the MP from Rajasthans Alwar, while Mohammad Taslimuddin from Araria in Bihar. Both seats would now need bypolls. Elections also need to be held on Ajmer Lok Sabha seat after the sitting BJP member Sanwar Lal Jat passed away in August.

Elections are also due in Uttar Pradeshs Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats after sitting members, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya, have been elected to the states legislative council. Chand Nath, 61, was the head priest of the Mast Nath temple in Alwar. He was suffering from throat cancer.

-- Business Standard
Senior IPS officer Y C Modi appointed director general of National Investigation Agency: govt order.
11:47   Gujarat riots: Amit Shah says accused minister wasn't present
Gujarat: BJP President Amit Shah appears before a sessions court in Ahmedabad as Maya Kodnani's witness in 2002 Naroda Gam riots case.

Shah informed the sessions court in Ahmedabad that Maya Kodani, a former Gujarat minister, was not present in Naroda Gam on the day riots broke out. Shah claimed that he met Kodnani at the Gujarat Assembly on February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express was torched at the Godhra railway station, reports the Indian Express.

The BJP president was issued summons after Maya Kodnani's counsel informed the court that Shah was inaccessible.

Former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani is among the 82 accused of killing 11 Muslims in Naroda Gam. She has already been sentenced to life imprisonment in the Naroda Patiya massacre case in which 97 Muslims were killed. Shah is among the list of 14 defence witnesses summoned by the court.

Twelve persons have already given their testimony while the thirteenth was not examined as a witness. Kodnani wants to prove her alibi that on the day of the Naroda Gam killings, she was not at the spot.
11:26   TN Speaker sacks 18 MLAS from Dinakaran camp
In a major setback for TTV Dinakaran, Tami Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal today disqualified 18 AIADMK MLAs backing him.

Following the revolt of the MLAs against the Edappadi Palaniswami government, Dinakaran initially put them up at a resort in Puducherry. They later shifted to a resort in Coorg in Karnataka and are since staying there. One of them shifted camps to support Palaniswami later.

Tamil Nadu Ministers Jayakumar and RB Udaykumar are in Delhi to meet Election Commission officials to submit a copy of AIADMK general council meeting.

The O Paneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami factions had removed V K Sasikala as the party's interim general secretary in its general council meeting held last week.

It also resolved that all the announcements made by TTV Dhinakaran will not be binding on the party.
11:12   Those who revere cows don't resort to violence: Bhagwat
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said that those who revere cows do not resort to violence even if their sentiments are deeply hurt. Rearing of cows is financially beneficial for us, he said to a question asked by a volunteer during a meeting in Jamdoli near Jaipur yesterday.

Bhagwat, who is on a six-day tour of Rajasthan, said, "People who revere cows devote themselves to rearing cows. They do not resort to violence even if their sentiments are deeply hurt".  There have been several incidents of violence perpetrated by cow vigilantes in recent months.

To another question on use of Chinese goods, he said Swadeshi means to use items and products that are made in small and cottage industries.

"Using Swadeshi products provides employment to people. Using Swadeshi items manifest a sense of pride within," he said.
10:57   Gurugram: Ryan International School reopens; parents apprehensive
The Bhondsi Branch of Ryan International School, Gurugram reopened today, a week after it was shut down after the brutal murder of seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur within the school premises.

Fear was palpable among students and their parents as they came out in large numbers to drop their children off at the school.Speaking to ANI, the students expressed their shock over the incident and said that it was not expected of a renowned school like Ryan International.

"I did not want to come back to school after hearing of the murder, but government has promised to provide protection, so I have faith," said, Arijit Choudhary, an eighth standard student.

Prakhar Sharma, studying in first standard, also expressed concern for her younger brother, saying, "More than myself, I fear for my younger brother; he goes to the washroom alone."

Parents were also reluctant to leave their children alone at the school. One of the parents said that she especially came to ensure the security status of the school before leaving her child.

Some parents also suggested that strict security measures must be taken by the school authorities so that such incident is not repeated.

"Background check of staff should be done thoroughly and only educated people should be recruited in schools," one of the parents told ANI.

On September 8, seven-year-old Pradyuman was found dead inside the toilet of the Ryan International School, Gurugram, with his throat slit.
@IndiaHistorypic 1944-45: Squadron Leader Arjan Singh receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery during the battle of Imphal and Burma from Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy.
World War II: Arjan Singh (lower right ) with officers of No 1 Squadron IAF sit down to tiffin in their mess at Imphal.
10:29   Arjan Singh was a beacon of military leadership
He was awarded the distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. This honour is equivalent to today's Param Vir Chakra.The Arjan Singh Trust for needy air force personnel was set up out of the proceeds of his farm house in Delhi being sold. He was a charismatic leader of men and lived up to the fine traditions of soldiering, says Group Captain Murli Menon (retd).

Read the column on
When Marshal Arjan Singh, then 96-years-old, rose from his wheelchair to pay tribute to former President APJ Kalam.  Read more here.  
The Sukhoi fighter jets in the 'missing man' formation. 
10:19   Marshal Arjan Singh consigned to flames
The poignant Last Post plays as the pyre is lit and Marshal Arjan Singh is consigned to flames. Choppers flew past Brar Square for the state funeral ceremony carrying flags of the Indian Air Force. Sukhoi fighter jets also flew in the missing man formation.

Dr Manmohan Singh who was part of the funeral cortege leaves. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also leaving Brar Square.

Arjan Singh, who was 98, was given full state honours.
10:10   17-gun salute, fly past for Arjan Singh
Seventeen gun salute and a fly past for Marshal Arjan Singh. His family performs the last rites at Brar Square. TV actress Mandira Bedi is also at the funeral. Arjan Singh's wife is her mother's sister. The fly past will be in the 'missing man' formation to symobolise the absence of the Marshal.
10:00   India bids farewell to country's only Marshal, Arjan Singh
Manmohan Singh, LK Advani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs at the last rites ceremony of the Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh.

The national flag is being flown at half-mast at all government buildings in Delhi today in tribute to the only five-star rank Air Force officer, equivalent to a Field Marshal in the army.

Arjan Singh's body, wrapped in the flag, was taken from his home to the Delhi Cantonment in a gun carriage decorated with marigold flowers - a journey of 8 km with an Air Force band and a tri-services contingent at the funeral site. A fly-past of Sukhoi-30 fighters will be held.

Arjan Singh's family has also planned a ritual for the funeral.

An icon of India's military history, 98-year-old Singh breathed his last at an Army hospital in New Delhi on Saturday.

09:23   Ex-PM Manmohan Singh, IAF, Navy chiefs pay homage to MIAF Arjan Singh
Former PM Manmohan Singh lays wreath and pays tributes to Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh, at his last rites ceremony.

Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa and Chief of Naval staff Admiral Sunil Lanba also paid tributes to the MIAF. Photograph: ANI
09:14   Last rites ceremony of Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh begins
Mortal remains of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh kept at Brar Square in New Delhi.

The last rites ceremony begins.

Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman and others lay wreath. -- ANI
08:59   Funeral procession of Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh begins
The funeral procession of the sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh has begun in the national capital.

The procession will soon be followed by the last rites, which will be performed at the Brar Square.

The wreath laying ceremony will take place at 9 am.

The National Flag will fly half-mast on account of the nation mourning the death.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday stated that along with a state funeral and an appropriate gun salute, a flypast may take place, depending on the weather conditions, to honour the contribution of the Marshal of the IAF. -- ANI
Visuals from Delhi's Brar Square where last rites ceremony of Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh will be performed at 10 am. Photograph: ANI
08:29   Last rites of Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh today; flags at half mast
Preparations are underway for the last rites ceremony of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh at his residence 7A Kautilya Marg in New Delhi.

His mortal remains are being taken to Brar Square for the last rites ceremony.

Late on Sunday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the residence of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh and met his family members.

The PM wrote a message in the condolence book at the Indian hero's residence.

'Jaandaar shaandaar samarpit jeevan, veerta aur shaurya ki jeeti jaagti misaal. Oonchayi aur gehrayi ka adhbhut sanyojan, (Brave and glorious life dedicated, a name legendary that will be remembered among the brave),' the PM wrote.

Prime Minister Modi further wrote that Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh devoted his post, prestige and dignity at the feet of Mother India.

'Sainik ke shaurya aur shishtachar ki sada anubhuti dene wale veer ko pranaam, (Salute to the hero who always was an icon of courage),' the PM's message read.

Earlier on Sunday, President Ram Nath Kovind led the nation in paying final tributes to Singh, the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank.

The three service chiefs --Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat -- as well as Minister of State Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Puri were also present.

Among other dignitaries who were seen streaming in were Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MoS for External Affairs and former Army chief V K Singh, former defence minister A K Antony and Congress MP Karan Singh.

Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chiefs S P Tyagi, N C Suri and Anil Y Tipnis as well as several decorated officers who served under Arjan Singh during the 1965 war were also present.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat described the five-star ranking officer as 'a legend, an icon, a pilot-chief who led from the front and a philanthropist to the core'.

A state funeral will be accorded to the Marshal of the IAF and the national flag will fly at half mast at all government buildings in New Delhi in his honour, the Union Home ministry has said.

The last rites of Singh, who passed away at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital on Saturday, would be performed at Brar Square here at 10 am today. -- ANI, PTI

IMAGE: President Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, pays his last respect to Singh. Photograph: Press Information Bureau