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Mon, 13 August 2018
Gangster Arun Gawli tops exam on Gandhian thoughts

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23:53   Gangster Arun Gawli tops exam on Gandhian thoughts
Gangster Arun Gawli, serving life sentence for murder, has topped an exam based on Gandhian thoughts.
An inmate of the Nagpur central prison, Gawli scored 74 out of 80 marks in the examination, based on the concept of the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Around 160 prisoners appeared for the examination, conducted by NGOs Sahyog Trust, Sarvoday Ashram and Mumbai Sarvoday Mandal in October last year. The result was declared last week, Sahyog Trust trustee Ravindra Bhusari said.
Appearing for the exam is not mandatory and prison inmates appear for it out of choice, Bhusari told PTI.

In the exam, inmates have to answer 80 objective type questions. Those who pass the exam receive a certificate and Khadi clothes as a prize.
"Before the exam, study material on Gandhiji's books was provided in the jail," he said. The examinees included convicts, under trials and those serving jail terms, he added. Gawli, currently lodged in the Nagpur central jail, is serving a life sentence for the 2007 murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamalakar Jamsandekar.
Gawli and 11 others were convicted in 2012 for the offence, and it was the first conviction against Gawli, who has had a long list of criminal cases against him.
Known as 'Daddy' in Mumbai's Dagdi Chawl area, Gawli later joined politics and floated his own party named the Akhil Bharatiya Sena.
Last year, a biopic on him was released. 

Actor Arjun Rampal essayed his character in the film titled Daddy. PTI
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23:43   After Marathas, Dhangars stage protests demanding quota
After the Marathas, the Dhangar (shpeherd) community members in Maharashtra today staged protests seeking quota in jobs and education and blocked roads in some places during the largely peaceful agitation.
   
Leaders of the community, which is seeking quota under the scheduled tribes category, said the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which is preparing a report relating to reservation for the community, must come out with it by
August 26.
 
They warned that the protest would be intensified if the report is not submitted to the government by that date.
Led by various organisations, including the Dhangar Sangharsh Samiti Maharashtra Rajya, the community staged protests in parts of Mumbai, Western Maharashtra, North Maharashtra and Vidarbha.
Roads were blocked at some places in Ahmednagar district. Congress MLA Bhausaheb Kamble also joined the protesters in Ahmednagar district.
 Members of the Dhangar community, now listed as Vimukt Jati and Nomadic Tribes, staged a sit-in protest outside the district collector's office in Kolhapur, police said.
In Vasai in Palghar district, local Dhangars staged a sit-in, while in Alibaug they took out a protest march.

Similar protests were carried out in Latur, Parbhani and Jalna districts of Marathwada region.
"The protests we staged today were peaceful. In other states, Dhangars are referred to as Dhangad. In Maharashtra, none is listed as Dhangad, but Dhangars," Rajya Sabha MP Vikas Mahatme, who represents the Dhangar Sangharsh Samiti Maharashtra Rajya, said.
"Dhangar or Dhangad, both are same. The government should treat both as one," he said.
Mahatme said his organisation has already discussed the community's issues with the government, which he said is positive on the matter. -- PTI
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23:09   Lanka's top cop asks tourist police to learn Hindi, Chinese
Sri Lanka's Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera has directed the country's tourist police personnel to learn international languages including Hindi, Chinese and French as the tourism sector is set to be the biggest forex earner for the island nation.  
   
With 206,337 tourists visiting Sri Lanka during the first six months of 2018, India continues to be the leading contributor to the country's inbound tourism market. 
 
At 136,294, the next highest number of arrivals were from China, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said.  
 
"We have to understand the important role played by the tourism sector in the country's economy. In a few years, it is expected to become the largest foreign exchange earner for the country. Therefore, ensuring (the) safety of the foreigners visiting Sri Lanka will be a top priority for the Police force," Jayasundera said.  
 
"Officers of the Tourist Police Division should pay special attention to language training.  In addition to English, they should also learn widely used international languages such as Chinese, Hindi, and French," he added.
 
The police chief further said 25 new Tourist Police stations would be established across the country to ensure the safety of tourists. -- PTI  
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22:57   Jawan killed as Army foils infiltration bid along LoC
A jawan was killed as the army today foiled an infiltration bid by terrorists in the Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
 
In a separate incident, another soldier was killed in a blast in Uri sector last evening, they said. 
 
An army official said Sepoy Pushpendra Singh laid down his life while foiling an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Tangdhar.
 
A wreath laying ceremony will be held for Sepoy Pushpendra Singh at the Badamibagh Army headquarters in Srinagar tomorrow, the official said.  
 
In another incident, a jawan -- Kuldeep Singh Rawat of 4 Garhwal rifles, was killed in the Uri sector yesterday in a blast, a police official said.
 
It was not immediately clear as to how the blasts took place, he added. 
 
Earlier, an official had said that Pushpendra Singh had also lost his life in a blast. -- PTI  
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22:08   Attack on Umar culmination of hate-filled propaganda by Modi govt: JNUSU
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union called the attack on its leader Umar Khalid today as a "culmination of the hate-filled propaganda spewed by the Modi government" against him and against all those who have questioned this regime.
 
Some unidentified men targeted Khalid at Constitution Club in the high security area near Parliament and gunshots were heard, but he escaped unhurt, according to eyewitnesses, even as the police asserted it will verify the incident.
"It is with grave concern that we wish to stand in complete solidarity with Umar Khalid. Today, an unidentified man opened fire on him. We see this cowardly act as a culmination of the hate-filled propaganda that this Modi government onwards has spewed  against Umar, JNU students and all those voices who have questioned this regime," the JNUSU said in a statement. 
In the new India, mob lynching and attacks on common people have become the norm and cow vigilantes are being given impunity which has further aggregated these incidents, they said. 
"From the JNUSU, we would like to make it clear that no voice can be curbed and the students movement will continue to produce fearless voices. We also demand that the Delhi Police take appropriate action against those conspirators behind this attack. In this need of hour, we shall unconditionally stand by Umar Khalid and demand speedy justice," they said in the statement. -- PTI 
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22:05   Patriotism needs to be felt, not said: Varun Dhawan
Actor Varun Dhawan says it is difficult to voice what one feels for the country as patriotism needs to be felt more than being stated. 
 
The actor says he is proud of his upcoming film "Sui Dhaaga- Made in India", which showed him different facets of the country. 
"This film is very special for me and Anushka. I don't think I can describe the feeling in words. It's a sense of pride and a sense of what you feel to be an Indian. What it feels to be an Indian, we are never able to tell that to people. Patriotism doesn't always need to be said, it needs to be felt," he told reporters. 
"I felt so proud when we shot in Chanderi and other places. To be in those villages and see how people there live was amazing. It made me feel what a beautiful country India is," the actor said at the trailer launch of "Sui Dhaaga" here today. It also stars Anushka Sharma.
Varun, who has been on a roll with back-to-back hits, said he is always scared the day his film's trailer is launched.  
"Whenever my trailer comes out, I feel my report card is being released. So there's a lot of excitement and my dad creates this build up, and my mom behaves as if I am going on a war. So there's that kind of excitement which is always there," he said. 
Written and directed by Sharat Katariya, who previously helmed "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", "Sui Dhaaga" is scheduled to release on September 28. PTI 
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22:04   Timings of 300 Northern Railway trains to change from Aug 15
Timings of more than 300 trains will change in the new Northern Railway schedule which will come into effect from August 15, a statement from the zone read.
The departures of 57 trains have been preponed while 58 trains have been postponed in the new timetable. The arrivals of 102 trains have been preponed while 84 trains have been postponed.
"It is notified for the information of general public that Northern Railways' new time table will be effective from August 15," the statement read.
Passengers are requested to please check their train timings from railway enquiry before commencing their journey, the statement said. 
Some trains which are affected are Amritsar and Shatabdi Express, Lucknow Mail, Tejas Express, Humsafar Express and Antyodaya Express whose departure timings have been preponed by five minutes. Some trains whose arrivals have been postponed are Neelachal Express, Dehradun-Amritsar Express, Humsafar Express, Jan Shatabdi Express among others.
 
The revised timings will effect a difference of five minutes to two-and-a-half hours. -- PTI 
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21:23   Will you brand hilsa, sandesh as infiltrators?: Mamata to BJP
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today accused the Bharatiya Jnaata Party of being "anti-Bengalis" and wrly asked the saffron party if hilsa fish, Jamdani saree, sandesh and mishti doi, which are originally from Bangladesh, would be branded as "infiltrators or refugees".
 
Banerjee made the remarks as she escalated her attack on the Centre over the exclusion of 40 lakh people in the draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.
 
Asserting that these 40 lakh people are "very much Indians", she questioned the criteria on which they have been excluded.
 
Banerjee said even she would not be able to produce the birth certificate of her parents if the government asks for it.
 
"Do not know my parents' birth dates. I only know the dates of their death. I would not be able to provide any documents for their date of birth but there should be a clear system about such cases...you cannot blame the layman," she told reporters at her chamber in the state assembly.
 
Banerjee has been relentlessly attacking the BJP government at the Centre over the NRC which has excluded names of over 40 lakh citizens in Assam in the draft for want of necessary documents.
 
Taking a swipe at the BJP, she asked whether hilsa fish, Jamdani saree, sandesh and mishti doi, which are originally from Bangladesh, would be branded as "infiltrators or refugees". Sandesh and mishti doi are famous Bengali sweets.
 
"What is going on in the country is injustice. The BJP with their extremist ideology is trying to create division among the people. I think they are playing the politics of revenge among the countrymen. We are not for this kind of politics," she said.
 
She accused the BJP of being "anti-Bengalis" and "anti-West Bengal".
 
"They (the BJP) must not forget that speaking Bengali is not a crime. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world. What is BJP's problem with (West) Bengal. Are they scared of the intellect of the Bengalis, their culture. They must not forget that (West) Bengal is the cultural mecca of the country," she said.
 
The TMC chief said "the culture practised by them does not have any respect for people speaking Hindi, Bengali, Maratha and the South Indian (languages)". -- PTI
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21:02   Jodhpur, Marwar cleanliest among major rail stations
Rajasthan's Jodhpur and Marwar railway stations have emerged the cleanliest among the major stations in the country in the latest round of cleanliness assessment study.
 
While Jodhpur secured first position in A1 category stations for this year, Marwar took the pole position in A category, according to the study report released by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today.
Both the stations fall under North Western Railway zone.
A1 and A category stations contribute 80 per cent of the passenger revenue. 

The stations are categorised as A1 and A based on revenue generated and footfalls.
Releasing the report, Goyal suggested making the annual study a half-yearly exercise for bringing about greater competitiveness among the stations and ensuring a "test check" in maintaining cleanliness standards.
None of the major stations in the metros found a place in the top 10 list save for Anand Vihar in New Delhi which came in at fifth position.
New Delhi station was ranked 39th, a position it had held last year too.
In the A1 category, Jaipur has been ranked second and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh ranked third. Vishakapatnam had emerged at the top in last year's ranking of the A1 category station. It has slid to 10th position this year.
Phulera in Rajasthan took the second place among A category stations, while Warangal in Telengana was ranked third.
When asked about the worst performing station in the cleanliness chart, Goyal did not name the station but said the north central railway has come at the 16th place, indicating it was worst performing among all the zones in terms of cleanliness.
The railways is divided into 16 zones. -- PTI
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20:00   Pune India's most liveable city, Rampur in UP the least
Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai from Maharashtra were ranked today India's three most livable places on the government's inaugural 'Ease of Living Index', where the national capital came at 65th place out of total 111 cities.
 
Rampur in Uttar Pradesh figured at the bottom of the livability index released by the housing and urban affairs ministry. 

Chennai has been ranked 14th, while Kolkata did not participate in the survey. 

Kohima (Nagaland) and Patna (Bihar) were also placed in the bottom-three.
 
In the top-ten, the three cities from Maharashtra were followed by Tirupati, Chandigarh, Thane, Raipur, Indore, Vijayawada and Bhopal.
 
Varanasi is at 33rd place, Ahmedabad at 23rd and Hyderabad at 27th.
 
This is the first-ever exercise undertaken by the ministry to rank the country's major cities on the basis of four parameters of ease of living -- governance, social, economic and physical infrastructure.
 
The ministry said evaluation of cities has been done on a 100-point scale across 78 indicators -- institutional and social pillars carried 25 points each, 5 points were given for economic pillar and 45 points for the physical pillar.
 
Releasing the index, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said this assessment is first of its kind globally in terms of scale and coverage and the ranking marks a shift to a data-driven approach to urban planning and management and promotes healthy competition among cities.
 
No city from Uttar Pradesh or Tamil Nadu figured in the top-ten.
 
While Rampur is ranked the lowest, those in the bottom-ten also include Kohima, Patna, Bihar Sharif, Bhagalpur, Itanagar, Pasighat, Kavaratti, Saharanpur and Silvassa.
 
Srinagar is ranked 100th, Jammu at 95th, Panaji 90th, Aligarh 86th, Gurugram at 88th and Meerut is 101st. Ghaziabad is ranked 46th and Rai Bareli is at 49th.
 
After the ten most livable cities, Karim Nagar (Telangana) has been ranked 11th, followed by Tiruchirappalli, Bilaspur, Channai, Jabalpur, Amravati, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, Surat, Vasai-Virar city, Nashik, Solarpur, Ahmedabad, Ujjain, Coimbatore, Erode, Hydrabad, Madurai, Tiruppur, Jainpur, Nagpur and Gwalior among others. -- PTI 
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19:40   Triple talaq against Indian Constitution: Shabana Azmi

Noted film actress Shabana Azmi today said triple talaq is against the Indian Constitution and welcomed a proposed law that makes the practice of instant divorce illegal.
 
She was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at Mohammad Hasan Inter College in Jaunpur.
"Triple talaq was an instrument by which atrocities were committed on Muslim women..it is against the Indian Constitution...we welcome the law enacted by the government in this regard," Azmi, a former parliamentarian, said.
"Out of the 50 Islamic countries in the world, 24 have done away with it (triple talaq) and those in India, (who are) opposing it, are wrong...India is a secular country and the Constitution has provided everyone their rights...we cannot tolerate any law that becomes an instrument for atrocities on women," she said.
Azmi also expressed concern over rapes of girls despite a stringent law being in place.
She said there is a need to create awareness on the matter and stressed on the need to give exemplary punishment to those found guilty of such heinous crimes to send a strong message in society. -- PTI  
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18:51   July inflation slows to 9-month low of 4.17%
Retail inflation fell to nine-month low of 4.17 per cent in July on account of slowdown in prices of vegetables and fruits, said government data released today.
 
Based on Consumer Price Index, inflation for June has also been revised downwards to 4.92 per cent from the earlier estimate of 5 per cent, as per the Central Statistics Office data released today.
Its previous low was in October 2017 at 3.58 per cent. 
As for year-on-year comparison, retail inflation had increased by 2.36 per cent in July last year.
The CSO data revealed that inflation in vegetables declined by (-) 2.19 per cent last month, compared to 7.8 per cent in June.
The rate of price rise in fruits slowed down 6.98 per cent, as against over 10 per cent in the previous month.
As per the data, the inflation in protein rich items like meat and fish, and also milk was also slower in July compared to the previous month.
However, inflation in the 'fuel and light' segment based on the changes in the CPI increased to 7.96 per cent from 7.14 in the previous month.
The prices for the data are collected from selected towns by the Field Operations Division of NSSO and from selected villages by the Department of Posts. Price data are received through web portals, maintained by the National Informatics Centre. -- PTI  
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18:45   PNB scam: Govt dismisses ex-MD from service
The government today dismissed Usha Ananthasubramanian, former managing director of scam hit Punjab National Bank and Allahabad Bank, from service, according to an official notification.
 
Ananthasubramanian was, three months back, divested of all her powers as MD of Allahabad Bank, after being named in a CBI chargesheet in the Rs 14,000 crore PNB fraud case but had continued to be an employee of the bank.
She was to superannuate today but has been dismissed from the service.
Ananthasubramanian had enjoyed leadership roles in PNB in two stints. 

She headed the bank between August 2015 and May 2017, before moving to Allahabad Bank. 

She was executive director at PNB from July 2011 to November 2013. -- PTI
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18:42   It's propaganda, happens in China, Russia: Shiv Sena on PM's interviews
The Shiv Sena today alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen a "short cut of e-mails" for media interviews and called the exercise a "propaganda" and "a kind of monologue" prevalent in some communist countries.
   
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana, the Bharatiya Janata Party's bickering ally said the prime minister should instead give answers to questions people have in their minds through "face-to-face" interviews.
 
Reacting to the prime minister's interviews published by some media organisations, the Sena alleged Modi has not addressed any press conference after becoming the prime minister and this "does not behove" his personality as he was a "friend" of journalists till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
"But after becoming prime minister, he has created a cage around himself," the Sena said.
 
"Journalists would soon lose their jobs in case the prime minister continued with giving interviews through e-mails and that he only would be tasked with making available employment for them," the Saamana editorial said.
 
The Sena said, "Prime Minister Modi has suddenly given interviews through e-mail. That means those were not face-to-face (interviews). Journalists sent questions to the Prime Minister's Office and they were given written answers."
 
Claiming that many journalists gave it a nature of the prime minister's interview, the party said, "In other words, it is called a campaign or propaganda".
 
Calling this practice "a kind of monologue", the Sena said such interviews are carried out in countries like China or Russia where communism is prevalent.
 
Asserting that journalists get a chance to ask questions in face-to-face interviews if an unfounded claim is made, it said, "Of course, the present prime minister has ended such a practice and given only suitable answers."
People have questions in their minds on issues like unemployment and it was required of Modi "who considers himself as the pradhan sevak (prime servant)" to answer those, it added.
 
"But instead the short cut of e-mail interviews was chosen," the Sena said.
 
The party also referred to the prime minister's monthly radio programme and said "he says (something) through Mann ki Baat and media carries it". -- PTI
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17:53   Jammu people 100 per cent nationalists unlike Kashmiris: BJP leader
Senior BJP leader and former minister Lal Singh, who has often courted controversy with his remarks, today asked people of the Jammu region to hoist the tricolour at their houses on the Independence Day as they are "nationalists to core unlike the people of Kashmir".


Singh accused Kashmir-based rulers of discriminating with the Jammu region over the past seven decades and said his recently launched outfit called 'Dogra Svabhiman Sangathan' would fight to restore the pride of Dogra community.


"We appeal to the people of the region to hoist the tricolour at their houses on the Independence Day and celebrate the day with great enthusiasm. Jammu is about absolute nationalism. We are 100 per cent nationalists unlike those from Kashmir," the former minister said. He said Kashmir-based leaders have ruled the state for the last 70 years and now it's time for the people of Jammu region to come to power. -- PTI
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17:51   Madrassas told to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai' on I-Day
The Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board has told all madrassas functioning from its properties to celebrate Independence Day by chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' after the national flag is hoisted and the national anthem is sung.


"We have directed all the madrasas running under the Shia Waqf Board to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' after hoisting the national flag and singing of the national anthem," Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi told PTI. The board has warned of "strict action" against those not complying with the order. Rizvi said there are over 1,500 madrassas and schools running on Waqf properties in the state and they will have to abide by the directive. The nation will celebrate its 72nd Independence Day on August 15. -- PTI
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17:50   Madrassas told to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai' on I-Day
The Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board has told all madrassas functioning from its properties to celebrate Independence Day by chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' after the national flag is hoisted and the national anthem is sung.


"We have directed all the madrasas running under the Shia Waqf Board to chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' after hoisting the national flag and singing of the national anthem," Board Chairman Waseem Rizvi told PTI. The board has warned of "strict action" against those not complying with the order. Rizvi said there are over 1,500 madrassas and schools running on Waqf properties in the state and they will have to abide by the directive. The nation will celebrate its 72nd Independence Day on August 15. -- PTI
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17:42   See your reflection in Janhvi, Khushi every day: Anil Kapoor remembers Sridevi
Anil Kapoor today remembered Sridevi on her 55th birth anniversary, saying the family sees her reflection in her daughters, Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor. The actor took to Twitter to remember his sister-in-law and frequent co-star, who passed away on February 24 due to accidental drowning in her Dubai hotel's bathtub.


"A true star that shone brightly on-screen & lit up the lives of everyone she touched. Not a day goes by when we don't miss you Sri. We see your reflection in #JanhviKapoor & #KhushiKapoor everyday. You live on in our hearts & minds..." Anil tweeted.


He also shared an old picture in which Sridevi can be seen posing with her daughters and husband, producer Boney Kapoor. Janhvi also took to social media to remember her mother, by sharing a caption-less picture with her parents on Instagram. She made her acting debut with "Dhadak". The actor will next be seen in Karan Johar-directed "Takht". -- PTI
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17:36   Pakistan releases 30 Indian prisoners
Pakistan today released 30 Indian prisoners, including 27 fishermen, from jail as a goodwill gesture ahead of the country's Independence Day tomorrow. The release of the prisoners "is in line with Pakistan's consistent policy of not politicising humanitarian issues," Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.


"This is a humanitarian gesture to mark Pakistan's Independence day on August 14," he said. "It is our hope that the Indian side will also reciprocate in a similar manner," he said.


Over 470 Indians, including 418 fishermen, are detained in Pakistani jails, according to a government report submitted before the country's Supreme Court in July. -- PTI
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17:36   Pakistan releases 30 Indian prisoners
Pakistan today released 30 Indian prisoners, including 27 fishermen, from jail as a goodwill gesture ahead of the country's Independence Day tomorrow. The release of the prisoners "is in line with Pakistan's consistent policy of not politicising humanitarian issues," Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.


"This is a humanitarian gesture to mark Pakistan's Independence day on August 14," he said. "It is our hope that the Indian side will also reciprocate in a similar manner," he said.


Over 470 Indians, including 418 fishermen, are detained in Pakistani jails, according to a government report submitted before the country's Supreme Court in July. -- PTI
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17:30   Umar Khalid attack: Police begins probe
The Delhi Police is investigating the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University student and activist Umar Khalid in which he escaped unhurt. Khalid was supposed to attend an event at Delhi's Constitution Club, situated nearly one kilometer away from the Parliament.


Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Choudhary said, "Umar Khalid, along with some others, was drinking tea outside the Constitution Club when someone attacked from behind. Police is investigating the case, FIR will be registered soon and all legal action would be taken. One weapon has been recovered from the spot, we are investigating that. We are also talking to the eyewitnesses. This matter will be investigated strictly. He is now safe."


Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Member of Parliament Menakshi Lekhi also visited the spot, said, "I think this is for sensationalism, whoever did it, will pay for it. I am sure police will investigate and reach the right sources."


The Constitution Club of India is situated in the heart of Delhi, facing offices of several ministries and media houses. Coming just two days before the Independence Day celebrations, when the security is on high alert, the attack has left a trail of doubts.


Khalid was scheduled to attend an event titled - 'Towards a Freedom Without Fear' organised by United Against Hate Initiative. According to an eyewitness, who identified himself as Khalid Shafi, "Khalid was standing at a tea stall when one man wearing white shirt pushed him down and fired at him. The shot missed him and the gunman fled the spot leaving his pistol behind."  -- ANI
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17:22   CPI-M leaders regret inability to re-induct Chatterjee
Condoling the demise of former Lok Sabha speaker and veteran parliamentarian Somnath Chatterjee, a section of Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders in West Bengal today "expressed regret" for not being able to re-induct him into the party.
   
Chatterjee was expelled from the CPI-M in 2008 for refusing to resign as speaker after his party withdrew support to the UPA-I government over the India-US nuclear deal.
 
He passed away at a city hospital this morning at the age of 89 after battling a prolonged illness.
 
Senior CPI-M leader Nepaldeb Bhattacharya said many leaders visited Chatterjee in the last few years to convince him to rejoin the party, but the issue could not be resolved.
 
"It will be a lifelong regret for all of us that we could not take him back into the party. We are facing a tough situation today and it would have been of great help if he was with us. We tried to woo him back in the past, but failed in our efforts," he added.
 
Sujan Chakraborty, a central committee member of the CPI-M, said Chatterjee's relation with the party members continued even after his expulsion.
 
"We always shared a very cordial relation with him. I wish he had continued as a member of the party... His death is an irreparable loss to all of us," he stated.
 
Hailing Chatterjee as a parliamentarian who fought for secular and democratic forces, CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said leaders across the political spectrum loved and respected him.
 
"He was not in touch with the party in the last few years but that does not matter, he was above the party. The role he played in parliamentary democracy and for secular and democratic forces cannot be seen in context of a party...
 
"Even after giving up his responsibilities, he stood for secular and democratic forces," Mishra said.
 
Another CPI-M leader, who did not wish to be named, said the "arrogance" of the then leadership of the party had led to his expulsion.

Image: In this file photo dated May 31, 2004, veteran communist and Lok Sabha speaker Somenath Chatterjee reads a news paper at the Bolpur Railway staion in West Bengal.  Photograph: PTI Photo
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17:01   Country has lost 'great leader' in Chatterjee: Manmohan Singh
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the death of former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, saying the country has lost a "great leader".
   
Singh offered his condolences in a letter to Chatterjee's wife Renu, describing him as a good orator, an exceptional public servant and an outstanding parliamentarian.
 
"In his death our country has lost a great leader who always stood for the cause of the poor and the downtrodden classes of society.
 
"He was a very good orator, an exceptional public servant, and an outstanding member of parliament, especially in the role of speaker of the Lok Sabha, which made him eligible for the 'Outstanding Parliamentarian Award'," he said in his letter.
 
Singh, who was the prime minister during the United Progressive Alliance government, said Chatterjee's ability and personality was such that people from all walks of life and from all political parties loved and respected him.
 
"His services to the nation will be remembered for many years to come," he said, while conveying his heartfelt condolences to the family on the bereavement.
 
Communist veteran and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away at a private hospital in Kolkata this morning following multiple organ failure, a senior hospital official said.
 
He was 89 and survived by wife, a son and two daughters.
 
Chatterjee passed away at around 8.15 am after his condition deteriorated following yesterday's "mild heart attack", the official said.
 
He was suffering from a kidney-related ailment and was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday last. -- PTI
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16:22   Amit Shah writes to law panel in support of simultaneous polls
BJP president Amit Shah today batted for holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls together, saying it would check expenditure and ensure that the nation is not in "election mode" throughout the year. In a letter to the Law Commission, he said holding simultaneous polls is not only a concept, but a principle which can be implemented.


Shah said the claim that holding two sets of polls was against the federal structure of the country is a "baseless" argument.


On the contrary, he said, it would strengthen the federal structure of the country. In his eight-page letter, the Bharatiya Janata Party chief said the opposition to simultaneous polls seems to be politically motivated. The law panel, which is examining the feasibility of holding simultaneous polls, had sought the views of the political parties before finalising its report. Both the BJP and Congress had stayed away from consultation organised by the commission in this regard last month.


The Congress had met the Commission top brass recently where it had opposed the concept of simultaneous polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has all along supported the concept of simultaneous polls. -- PTI
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16:05  
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu arrived at Pakistan High Commission in Delhi. He has been invited for Pakistan PM designate Imran Khan's oath taking ceremony on August 18.
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16:02  
Solan: Traffic movement from Kandaghat to Chail halted after a part of a bridge collapsed following heavy rainfall in Himachal Pradesh. 
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15:50   PM said to be unhappy with Naidu over expunging of remark
On Thursday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did the unusual thing of expunging a remark made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his congratulatory speech to felicitate Janata Dal-U MP Harivansh on his election as the RS deputy chairman but, according to BJP insiders, the prime minister has not taken kindly to it.


A BJP leader questioned Naidu's decision, saying, "How can the chair expunge the PM's remark? That clearly shows he has reservations," referring to reports that Naidu was not too happy with being made the vice president, believing that he was pushed into it.


According to sources, Harivansh has so far not been allotted any work by his boss, Naidu.


In another development, the vice president has called 20 editors for lunch on Tuesday.

What's cooking, did you ask? 
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15:43   BJP's Rafale deal for dummies with Pallavi Joshi
Former TV actress Pallavi Joshi has been trending on Twitter for her video tutorial on the Rafale deal.

The BJP which has been facing an unceasing assault from the Opposition over the Rafale deal, today released a 'Rafale Deal for Dummies' video.

In it, the party strikes back at allegations that the government is hiding details of the deal in order to protect vested interests.

The video features a monologue by Pallavi Joshi, who tries to explain the Rafale deal by using the example of a housing society secretary looking to sign up with a French company to upgrade the society's security lock system.


Joshi says she is the current secretary of her housing society and found out that her predecessor had spent 10 years in talks with a French company for a deal for a plain-Jane lock system.


What, Joshi asks, is the point if the locks do not come with accessories and the promise of maintenance and upgrades?


She says she spoke to the French company's boss and negotiated a fresh deal for locks that also included other benefits as well as a promise that some of the locks would be made in India.


The entire deal was cheaper than what the previous secretary had negotiated, Joshi says. "And, that is the Rafale deal."


India saved Rs 12.5 thousand crore under the Rafale deal signed by the
Narendra Modi government, Joshi says, suddenly dispensing with her housing society example.


This is not the first time Pallavi Joshi has appeared in a video that defends the Modi government's policies. She was previously seen in a similar 'Goods and Services Tax made simple' video.
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15:09   Khalid lost his balance and fell and the bullet missed him: Eyewitness
Eyewitness at the shootout at the Constitution Club. "There was an event, Umar Khalid accompanied us. We were at a tea stall when a man in white shirt came, pushed and opened fire at him. Khalid lost his balance, fell down  and the bullet missed him. We tried to catch the man. He fired aerial shots, pistol slipped off his hands and he fled"
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15:09   JNU student Umar Khalid shot at, escapes unhurt
An unidentified man opened fire at JNU student Umar Khalid outside Constitution Club of India. He is unhurt. The reason behind the attack is not known.


Khalid was at the venue to attend an event titled 'Khauff Se Azaadi', organised by an organisation named 'United Against Hate'. Later Khalid said, "There is an atmosphere of fear in the country, and  anybody who speaks against the government is threatened."


Umar Khalid had recently claimed that the JNU had refused to unblock the process required to submit his PhD thesis. The university reportedly cited non-compliance to the punishments passed by its high level enquiry committee, in connection with the 2016 sedition row, as the reason.


Khalid, along with Kanhaiya Kumar and others, had recently been fined by the administration's Appeals Committee, set up to review punishments given earlier in the case. Khalid was also rusticated for the next semester, despite this being his last semester.


Image: Umar Khalid at the Constitution Club where the attack took place. Pic: ANI
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14:42   Farewell, Mr Chatterjee
Lawyers and the public pay tribute to former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee at Calcutta High Court. His body will lie in state at the court for a short while before it is handed over to his family. He passed away this morning in a Kolkata Hospital at the age of 89. 
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14:31   India's foreign reserves in "comfortable range": Report
India's foreign reserves are in a "comfortable range" and another 5-8 per cent fall in reserves will not jeopardise the situation, says a DBS report. According to the global financial services major, a challenging global environment has compelled RBI to intervene aggressively this year to contain rupee depreciation, resulting in significant drawdown in foreign reserves.


"In all, despite the recent decline, India's reserves are in a comfortable range on most metrics. Given lingering external risks, another 5-8 per cent fall in reserves is probable, but is unlikely to jeopardise the adequacy math by much," the report said.


According to DBS, foreign reserves have declined from a record high of USD 426 billion in April to USD 403 billion in early-August as the rupee suffered significant losses since April.


The rupee has been among the worst-performing currencies against the dollar compared with its peers so far this year and breached the 69-mark against the American unit amid global uncertainties and concerns over inflation.


The rupee nosedived to its life-time low of 69.62 against the dollar in morning trade today in line with weakening domestic equities and global markets rout. -- PTI
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14:13   Somnath's body to be donated for medical research
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Somnath Chatterjee: "His mortal remains will be taken from Belle Vue Clinic to the High Court as he was associated with it for quite a long time. From the Court he will be taken to the State Assembly where he will be given the highest state honour.

"His mortal remains will be kept in the Assembly for a few hours. Then his family will take the mortal remains to their residence from where they will be taken to SSKM Hospital where he had donated his body for medical research."

Incidentally, today is organ donation day.

The communist veteran and former Lok Sabha Speaker passed away at the private Beele Vue hospital in Kolkata this morning following multiple organ failure, a senior hospital official said. He was 89 and survived by wife, a son and two daughters.


He passed away at around 8.15 am after his condition deteriorated following yesterday's "mild heart attack", the official said.


Chatterjee was suffering from a kidney-related ailments and was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday last.


"He suffered a multiple organ failure and had stopped responding to treatment since late last night. He passed away this morning at around 8.15 am," the official told PTI.


He had suffered cardiac arrest, systemic sepsis, renal failure along with respiratory problems and underlying diabetes, a senior doctor, who was treating Chatterjee, said.


Chatterjee had suffered a mild heart attack yesterday morning, but was revived. Last month, the former speaker had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.
 
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13:57   This is what the flood situation in Kerala looks like
Kerala's worst-affected Idukki district continued to reel under the impact of unprecedented floods today even as fresh rains were reported from several other parts of the state.


The weatherman has issued a fresh warning asking fishermen not to venture into the sea, saying the coasts of Kerala and Lakshadweep may experience winds at the speed of 35 to 45 kmph, sometimes going up to 60 kmph.


The water level in the Idukki hydro-electric dam has receded to 2,397.58 ft, alleviating concerns about floods in fresh downstream areas, particularly in Ernakulam district, officials said. The current level does not warrant issuing any warning, they said. However, the five shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of Idukki reservoir, will continue to remain open. Water level in the dam had come down to 2,398.68 ft last evening.


Meanwhile, Ernakulam district authorities said more people who had taken shelter in relief camps in the district have gone back to their homes. At present, 3,095 people are lodged in 17 camps in the district.


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had made an aerial survey of two rain-ravaged districts--Ernakulam and Idukki- and said the situation in the state was "very serious".


He had also announced an aid of Rs 100 crore as immediate central relief. The minister had said the rains and floods had caused "massive damage" to the farm sector and infrastructure.


The state government has submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking urgent sanction of Rs 1,220 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund to cope with the situation. In the memorandum, the Chief Minister had said preliminary estimates suggested that Kerala suffered a loss of Rs 8,316 crore due to the calamity. -- PTI


Image: Water level in the Idukki dam, recorded at 5 am today, is 2397.94 feet. The full reservoir level of the dam is 2403 feet.
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12:49   Shehbaz, Bilawal among 2870 candidates whose security deposit will be forfeited: reports
PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif and chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari are among the candidates whose security deposit will be forfeited for failing to get 25 per cent of the total votes polled in their constituencies in the July 25 elections, according to a media report today.


A total of 3,355 candidates from various political parties contested on the 272 open seats of the National Assembly elections, in which Prime Minister-in waiting Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i Insaaf (PTI) emerged as single largest party by winning 116 seats. -- PTI
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12:45   Mail Today editor uses a photo instead of a cartoon critical of Modi's China policy
"Drop the cartoon and carry a photo!

"Thats how my cartoon column with Mail Today ended yesterday. Thats how the editor looked at a cartoon and cartoonists opinion. Thats how the editor chose to shut a voice!

"The cartoon he rejected was about how China is surrounding India by spreading influence in countries like Maldives and others. The editor said the cartoon is Very defeatist and the China problem is being overplayed"


In a detailed Facebook post, cartoonist Satish Acharya outlined that he had decided to exit the newspaper Mail Today after the editor chose to publish a photo instead of his cartoon on China.


Acharya, who began his career with Mumbai tabloid Mid Day, said that this was not the first time he had to struggle to get his cartoons published. The Mail Today editor has previously asked him to Replace Modis character with any general BJP character.

The incident has raised a huge hue and cry on social media (where else) with several comments highlighting the increasing stranglehold of the government on media organisations critical of the BJP regime.


Image: Satish Acharya's cartoon that the editor dropped
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12:20   How David Cameron had to wait 3 days to speak to Obama
David Cameron had to wait three days to speak to Barack Obama after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's horrifying chemical attack on his own people, a new book claims.

Read the report here.
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12:11   Succession war in DMK: Alagiri challenges Stalin
The brotherhood and bonhomie displayed by MK Alagiri at DMK chief MK Karunanidhi's funeral on August 8, is clearly behind him.

Less than a week later after the patriarch's death, Alagiri, the elder son of Karunanidhi, has challenged his brother and DMK working president Stalin for the party leadership.

Speaking to reporters at his fathers memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai, Alagiri said, "My father's true relatives are all are on my side. All the supporters in Tamil Nadu are on my side and are encouraging me only. Only time will give the answers."


Alagiri, who was sacked from the party by Karunanidhi in 2014, in favour of Stalin as his heir apparent, had visited the memorial at Marina Beach this morning.

Speaking to reporters today, Alagiri said, "I'm here to pay my respects to my father. I won't speak on the DMK executive meet since I am not a member of the DMK. But the true supporters of Kalaignar are with me. Only time will give a befitting reply. I am pained at whats happening."

Alagiri is believed to still hold sway in Madurai. He won the 2009 LS elections from the city and was Chemical and Fertilizer Minister in Manmohan Singh government.

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11:57   Speakers past and present on Somnath Chatterjee
Former Vice President and former deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari: He was a very eminent parliamentarian and a man of great erudition, a speaker who added lustre to the chair. In his passing away, we have a lost very eminent personality. He has left behind a void. People will remember him.


Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan: Somnathda was a big brother to me. Our ideology was different but still, from the time I entered Parliament in '89, I used to see how he used to raise issues while following every rule. His tenure as a speaker was a guidance for me.  
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11:36   Landslide on Srinagar highway
Kerala, Himachal and now Jammu and Kashmir. Incessant rain causes a landslide ravaging the Srinagar National Highway at Udhampur's Kheri. Traffic is at a standstill. Road clearing operations are underway.
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11:28   The V S Naipaul I came to know
"Vidhiadhar Surajparsad Naipaul was a trim, precise of speech, gentleman dressed in a jacket I came to know well, with a manner so charming and genteel that it betrayed the acerbic reputation that preceded him wherever he went.


"He outlined what he planned to do in his third book on India -- from what I gathered, a less critical look at the country of his ancestors than An Area of Darkness and A Wounded Civilisation -- and the kind of people he hoped to meet.


"I may have mentioned Ratan Tata and Aditya Birla, both names he rejected instantly with a shake of the head, his face momentarily erupting into a rash of irritation."


Nikhil Lakshman remembers the times he spent with the legendary writer, VS Naipaul, who passed into the ages six days before his 86th birthday.


If there's one thing you want to read today, let it be this.
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11:17   Army rescues octogenerian stranded in Kerala floods
The army rescued an 85-year-old woman yesterday from her home in Pottamkulam Padi in Kerala after it was destroyed in a massive landslide. She was stranded for one week. She has been admitted in Govt Hospital, Adimali.
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11:05   Will implement NRC across India after 2019 polls, says BJP MP
Bharatiya Janata Party MP OP Mathur on Monday said that the National Register of Citizens draft, which has been executed only in Assam under the Supreme Court's direction, would be implemented across the country after 2019 Lok Sabha elections.


Mathur assured that no Indian citizen would be made to leave the country over the NRC list.


Expressing confidence that the BJP would return to power in 2019 elections and NRC would be implemented throughout the country, Mathur said, "We will win in 2019. NRC has now been executed only in Assam under the Supreme Court's direction, but we will implement it across the country."


He further added, "We won't let the nation turn into a 'Dharmshala'. Infiltrators will be ousted legally. No Indian citizen will be thrown out."


His statement comes few days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to ANI, assured that no Indian citizen would be left out, and those excluded would be given all possible opportunities to get their concerns addressed, as per the due process.


The second NRC draft list was released on July 30 that included the names of 2.89 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. However, nearly four million people were missing from the list, which triggered panic among those excluded. Soon after the draft was released, the Opposition cried foul and called the list "politically motivated", despite appeals against politicisation of the issue. -- ANI


IMAGE: Villagers wait outside the National Register of Citizens centre to get their documents verified by government officials, at Mayong Village in Morigaon district, in Assam.
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11:02   Heavy rainifarll, landslides in Himachal
In the wake of heavy rainfall and landslides, all schools including private, across Shimla and Mandi districts are closed on Monday.


The National Highway 3 (Chandigarh-Manali NH) has also been blocked to avoid any untoward incident. Heavy downpour led to landslides in various parts of the state causing disruption to normal life although respective district administrations were in full gear to clear blockades.


The Badrinath National Highway in Uttarakhand is also closed since last night at Lambgarh after heavy rains brought down debris onto the road. The road clearing operation by the local administration is underway.


Normally, driving on treacherous roads in the mountains gets riskier during annual monsoon rains in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand especially when landslides hit the mountainous states. For safe driving, authorities put glow signs on the snaky roads of the Himalayas. -- ANI


Image: National Highway 3 (Chandigarh -Manali) is blocked due to landslide near Mandi town. Road clearing operation is underway.
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10:59   Want to join army to avenge death: Son of cop killed in J-K encounter
The son of constable Parvez Ahmed who lost his life in an encounter with terrorists in Batamaloo area yesterday say he wants to join the army and become an officer to avenge his father's death.


His family says the government should make arrangements for his children and parents and provide a job to his brother.


A policeman was killed while four security forces personnel were injured during an encounter with terrorists in the Batmaloo area, following which two ultras were arrested on Sunday, police said.


Security forces launched a cordon and search operation at Diyarwani in Batamaloo area of Srinagar in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday following specific information about the presence of terrorists in the area, Additional Director General of Police (Security and Law and Order) Munir Khan told reporters.


He said while the house, where the terrorists were hiding, was zeroed-in, the ultras opened firing upon the forces which was retaliated, resulting in an encounter.


Constable,Parvaiz Ahmad was killed and two policemen and three Central Reserve Police Force personnel received injuries in the initial indiscriminate firing by the terrorists.
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10:35   A loss for public life in Bengal and India: India condoles Chatterjee's death
Former Lok Sabha speaker, Somnath Chatterjee passed away in Kolkata on Monday. The 89-year-old leader had earlier suffered a heart attack on Sunday morning after which he was readmitted to the hospital. Reacting to the death of Chatterjee, President Ram Nath Kovind said that it was 'a loss for public life in Bengal and India.'

"Sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a veteran parliamentarian who had a forceful presence in the House. A loss for public life in Bengal and India. My condolences to his family and innumerable well-wishers," President Ramnath Kovind said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi called him an 'institution' and condoled his passing away. "I mourn the passing away of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, 10 term MP and former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief," Rahul said on Twitter.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that he will always be missed by the country. "Extremely sad news about Somnath Chatterjee ji. One of the greatest parliamentarians of contemporary times he will always be missed by this country. He will be remembered among the greatest Lok Sabha Speakers India ever had," said the Delhi CM.

Expressing his grief former J&K CM Omar Abdullah said, "It was an honour to have known you & to have learnt from you. The Lok Sabha was much the poorer by your absence in recent years. India has lost a parliamentary giant today."
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10:33   AP governor alerts Centre on Rohingyas in Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan has alerted the Centre about Hyderabad becoming a second hub of Rohingya settlements after Jammu.

In his fortnightly report to the centre, Narasimhan has emphasised that a bigger influx of Rohingyas would encourage disparities between minority communities in Telangana.

Having been the head of the Intelligence Bureau, Narasimhan has dealt with this subject before, and the Centre is believed to be paying attention.


The BJP unit of Telangana has also sought for the National Register of Citizens to be implemented in the state to identify the quantum of Bangladeshis and Rohingyas. 
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10:25   VP condoles Somnath Chatterjee's demise
"Saddened by the demise of former LS Speaker, Shri #SomnathChatterjee. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, who was elected to LS 10 times. He was always affable & highlighted people's problems. He firmly stood by the principles he believed in," tweets Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.
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10:21  
'The country is run by the Supreme Court, CBI and media'

Rediff.com's 2012 interview with Somnath Chatterjee. Do read
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10:15   Rahul Gandhi, Sibal mourn Chatterjee
Kapil Sibal @KapilSibal condoles the death of Somnath Chatterjee
A great parliamentarian , a legal stalwart , a gentleman committed to liberal values Somnath Chatterjee has left us . We will remember for his qualities of head and heart. Those like him are rare to find. May his soul rest in peace.


Rahul Gandhi  @RahulGandhi  I mourn the passing away of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, 10 term MP and former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief. 
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10:04   Terrorists kill civilian in J-K's Pulwama
Terrorists in Pulwama's Murran area barged into a resident Gulzar Bhat's house and abducted him.


Later, police recovered his bullet-riddled body from nearby fields. The incident took place on Sunday night.


The police has registered a case and initiated an investigation.


Initial investigation suggests thart Zahoor Thokar and Showkat Dar-led group of proscribed terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen are involved in the killing. -- ANI
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09:54   Modi pays tribute to Somnath Chatterjee
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his respects following the demise of former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. 

On Twitter, the PM writes, "Former MP and Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee was a stalwart of Indian politics. He made our Parliamentary democracy richer and was a strong voice for the well-being of the poor and vulnerable. Anguished by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and supporters."
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09:43   15 injured in Muzaffarpur temple stampede
At least 15 people were injured in a stampede at Garibnath Temple in Muzaffarpur on Monday morning.

The injured have been shifted to a nearby hospital. According to preliminary investigation, devotees in massive numbers gathered at the temple on the third Monday of the Shravan month as per the Hindu calendar.

The situation was soon brought under control, and the movement of devotees were maintained in an organised manner. No causalities have been reported so far.

More details are awaited. 

-- ANI
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09:28   Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes away
Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee passes away at the age of 89 years in a Kolkata hospital.

He was in hospital and put on ventilator support after he suffered a heart attack.
Eighty-nine-year-old Chatterjee, who was suffering from a kidney-related ailment, was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday.
A 12-member team of doctors was keeping a constant watch on the veteran politician, the official said.
Last month, the former speaker had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke.
A 10-time Lok Sabha MP, Chatterjee was a central committee member of the CPI-M, which he had joined in 1968.
He was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009.
The veteran leader was expelled from the CPI-M in 2008 for refusing to resign as the Speaker after his party withdrew support to the UPA-I government. 
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08:42   Kerala floods loss amounts to Rs 8,316 crore, says CM Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state has suffered an overall loss of Rs 8,316 crore in the floods. This figure is according to a preliminary assessment of the Kerala flood situation, based on which a memorandum has also been submitted to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

CM Vijayan said that nearly 20,000 houses have been fully damaged while nearly 10,000 km of state PWD roads have been damaged in the Kerala floods.

In a Facebook post, CM Vijayan said that Kerala has also urged the Centre to provide Rs 400 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund. This is in addition to Rs 820 crore which was sanctioned earlier during the first stage of the monsoon.

Kerala is going through its worst flood crisis since 1924. Ten out of the total 14 districts in the state have been affected badly leading to the opening of 27 dams.

The Southwest monsoon has claimed 186 lives so far Kerala. Two hundred and eleven incidents of landslides or mudslides have been reported all over the state. Thousands are still in relief camps while five are still missing.
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08:16   Hapur lynching: SC to hear survivor's plea today
The Supreme Court today will hear the plea of a survivor of the Hapur lynching case, who is seeking a court-monitored Special Investigation Team probe into the matter.

Besides seeking a SIT probe, the petitioner also sought a transfer of the case and subsequent trial outside Uttar Pradesh amid allegations that the police have not recorded his statement. He has also demanded cancellation of the bail of the accused.

Earlier this month, the four accused in connection with the controversial case were granted bail after they told the court that they had no role in the attack.

According to media reports, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had earlier said that the case required urgent hearing after the Uttar Pradesh Police had termed the incident as a road rage mishap.

In June, 38-year-old Qasim was lynched to death and 65-year-old Shamsuddin was severely injured in Uttar Pradesh's Hapur district after a group of people attacked them on suspicion of being involved in cow slaughter. 

-- ANI
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07:56   Passports damaged in Kerala floods to be replaced free of cost: Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that passports damaged in floods in Kerala will be replaced free of cost by the government.
  
"There are unprecedented floods in Kerala causing huge damage. We have decided that as the situation becomes normal, passports damaged on account (of) floods shall be replaced free of charge. Please contact the concerned Passport Kendras," Swaraj tweeted.

Kerala has been reeling under massive floods in which over 35 people have lost their lives and thousands of people were rendered homeless. Around 10 of the 14 districts in state have been affected by the floods.

-- PTI