Mon, 07 May 2018
Congress colluding with 'anti-national' forces in K'taka: Amit Shah

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23:44   Congress colluding with 'anti-national' forces in K'taka: Amit Shah
BJP President Amit Shah today alleged that fearing defeat, the Congress has colluded with "anti-national" Social Democratic Party of India and Popular Front of India in the Karnatkaa assembly polls.   

He said the BJP and RSS lost their 24 workers in the last four years but the Siddaramaiah government "did not arrest the murderers."
Shah said once the BJP comes to power, it will send every culprit behind the bar even if they were hiding in the remotest corner of the world.
"Fearing defeat, the Congress government is sitting with the anti-national forces. They aren't ashamed to take the support of PFI and SDPI. JD-S has taken the support of (AIMIM chief Asaduddin) Owaisi," said Shah at an election rally in Nargund.
The SDPI is the political wing of Islamic outfit PFI.
Referring to the Mahadayi river water issue involving Karnataka and Goa, Shah said the river water would flow into the taps of every house and every field in North Karnataka within six months of his party coming to power.   

Calling the Congress government 'anti-farmer', he said the 'ego' of chief minister Siddaramaiah was responsible for blocking the Mahadayi river from flowing in the Mumbai-Karnataka region.
"Congress is anti-farmer.I am asking you to form the BJP government here. Within six months we will bring the Mahadayi river water to entire Karnataka. Mahadayi river will flow intoyour taps and agriculture fields," he said.
He accused the Siddaramaiah government of remaining unperturbed even in the face of farmers committing suicide.   

"The ego of Siddaramaiah government has bereaved the people of Mumbai-Karnataka region of Mahadayi river water. The chief minister of a state is in slumber where 3,500 farmers have committed suicide," Shah charged.
The BJP president told the crowd that the BJP will waive  loan up to Rs 1 lakh either of cooperative bank or the nationalised bank once it comes to power. -- PTI
23:16   My head hangs in shame: J&K CM
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today met the family of a tourist who was killed in stone-pelting in Srinagar. 

My head hangs in shame. It is very sad and heartbreaking, Mehbooba said after meeting the family of 22-year-old R Thirumani who has come to the valley from Chennai.
23:03   Not mandatory to refer impeachment notice to inquiry committee: RS official
As the Congress today moved court, challenging the rejection of an impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, a senior official in Parliament said M Venkaiah Naidu had acted under the provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, in turning down the party's move against the CJI.
The Act mandated the Presiding Officer to either accept or reject such a notice, he said.
"It is not mandatory to refer such a notice to an inquiry committee. That comes only if the chairman is satisfied prime facie of the charges," the Rajya Sabha official told PTI.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu had consulted top legal and constitutional experts in taking a decision on the impeachment notice.
The official, who did not wish to be identified, said the first case of an impeachment notice being rejected was by the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1977 when 199 members moved a notice against Justice J C Shah. 

Shah later went on to become the CJI.
Two Congress MPs moved the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of the impeachment notice against Misra by Naidu, claiming that the reasons given were "wholly extraneous" and not legally tenable.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was one of the signatories of the impeachment notice in the Rajya Sabha, mentioned the matter for an urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most after CJI Misra.
A five-judge constitution bench was today constituted in the Supreme Court to hear the petition moved by the two Congress MPs tomorrow. -- PTI 
23:01   J&K: Tourist hit in stone-pelting dies in Srinagar
A tourist from Tamil Nadu, injured during clashes between protesters and security forces on the outskirts of of Srinagar today, died at a hospital, police said.
R Thirumani, 22, resident of Chennai, suffered head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in Narbal area of the summer capital this morning, a police official said.
Thirumani was taken to SKIMS hospital at Soura, where he succumbed to the injuries later, the official added.
A case was registered and investigations have been taken up, the official said. -- PTI
22:39   To avoid disruptions in RS, Naidu forms panel to take re-look into rules
Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma said today that a committee has been formed to take a re-look into the rules of the Upper House, including those related to notice of privilege, to increase its productivity.
The two-member committee was formed by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to curtail frequent adjournments and increase the productivity of the Upper House.
Verma said that like the Lok Sabha, there was no provision in the Rajya Sabha for automatic suspension of the members who persistently and willfully obstruct the proceedings of the House by shouting slogans or coming into the well of the House.
And as a result, many a time the Chair is left with no other option but to adjourn the House in the eventuality of grave disorder, he said.
Verma also said that some Rajya Sabha rules related to notice of privilege, points of order, suspension of rules "seem to be inadequate and are not very specific".
Therefore, the chairman has constituted a two-member committee headed by former Rajya Sabha Secretary General V K Agnihotri and retired Joint Secretary and Legislative Counsel in the Law Ministry S R Dhaleta, he said.
"The committee shall review the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, particularly those provisions which seem to be inadequate and (are) not very specific as compared to the rules in the Lok Sabha and suggest suitable amendments," Verma said.
After the last session in which more than 72 per cent of the total allocated time was lost due to disruptions, it was felt that there was a need to make some changes so that the rules "are more effective for smooth conduct of the proceedings and the chairman's hands are strengthened in controlling the proceedings", he added.
"The purpose is to enhance the productivity of the Upper House and curtail frequent adjournments which result in wastage of taxpayers' money," Verma said.
He said that the opinion of all stake holders and political parties would be taken on the recommendations of the panel "so that a robust, fair, and democratic system is put in place to ensure that the time of the House is gainfully utilised".
Verma said that the chairman had on March 28 announced in the House that the Rajya Sabha Secretariat was taking a re-look into the Rules and Procedures and Conduct of Business in the Council of States. -- PTI
22:26   Kerry created Iranian nuclear deal 'mess': Trump
Describing the Iranian nuclear agreement as a badly negotiated deal, US President Donald Trump today blamed former secretary of state John Kerry for the "mess".
"The United States does not need John Kerry's possibly illegal shadow diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran deal. He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!" Trump said in a tweet.
His tweet comes days ahead of his decision on the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by the previous Obama administration.
Indications from the Trump administration signal that he is likely to scrap the deal. 

Several of his key allies, particularly in Europe, are against such a move. --  PTI
21:56   Swaraj seeks Afghan govt's help in securing release of 7 abducted Indians
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has requested the Afghan government to provide all possible help in freeing the seven Indian engineers abducted by Taliban militants in the restive northern Baghlan province.
Swaraj, during a telephonic conversation with her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani, conveyed India's concerns about the abducted Indians and requested him for help in tracing and freeing them, official sources said.
They said the Afghan Foreign Minister assured Swaraj that his government would make all possible efforts to rescue the abducted Indian engineers.
"Rabbani, in the conversation, assured the Indian External Affairs Minister that the Afghan security forces would not spare any efforts in rescuing and ensuring the security and safety of the engineers," the Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to Afghan media reports, the engineers were abducted by the militants from near the Cheshma-e-Sher area in Baghlan yesterday.
The Indian engineers of KEC International, an RPG group company, were working on a project for the construction of a power sub-station in the country.
The Pajhwok Afghan News quoted provincial police spokesman Zabiullah Shuja as saying that those abducted were in good health, citing initial information.
He also said authorities were trying to find their location and rescue them.
India has been carrying reconstruction activities in the war-torn country. It has already provided at least USD 2 billion aid to Afghanistan. -- PTI 
21:25   K'taka poll: After 2-year hiatus, Sonia Gandhi to hit campaign trail
Almost two years after abandoning her poll campaign midway in Varanasi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will hit the campaign trail in Karnataka and address a public rally in Bijapur tomorrow.
It is not clear whether she will address more rallies in Karnataka, which goes to polls on May 12.
Party sources said she would address tomorrow's rally only.
Gandhi has not campaigned for almost two years. She was inactive during electioneering in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Nagaland.
The former Congress chief was taken ill during a road show in Varanasi on August 2, 2016, ahead of of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
In her absence, Rahul Gandhi had steered the party's campaign in the assembly elections. -- PTI 
20:57   BJP's Naresh Agrawal compares Rahul to monkey, Oppn to goat
BJP leader Naresh Agrawal, known for making controversial utterances, hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi saying the opposition was in the hands of "immature leadership".
Taking a jibe, apparently at the Congress leader, Agrawal said it is known what would happen if a monkey is handed the shaving razor.  
"I don't say anything about Rahulji as he is the son of Rajiv Gandhi, who was my leader. But I can say that opposition is in hands of immature leadership. What will happen when you give an 'ustara' (shaving razor) to a monkey. If we give an 'ustara' to the opposition, the country will divide," Agrawal said at a public meeting here yesterday.
Agrawal had recently joined the BJP leaving the SP after he was denied a Rajya Sabha ticket.
Attacking SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav, he said, "After winning two seats in the Lok Sabha bypolls, Akhilesh is now begging for BSP support in Kairana. In the Modi storm, the lion and goat are now standing on the same side of the river bank".
Continuing his tirade, he said "You (Akhilesh) were so pleased with a film actress that you ignored a person, who has made a history for past 40 years. You (Akhilesh) have humilated the person, who made you party president and fought for you. If you are so egoistic, why have you gone and touched the feet of Mayawati?" he posed.
Noting that next Lok Sabha elections would decide the future of the country, he asked, "Is there anyone opposed to Narendra Modi who can run the country? Will Rahul be able to run the country?"
Agrawal has courted controversies several times in the past.
In July, 2017, Agarwal made a controversial comment about Hindu dieties. His comments were expunged from the Rajya Sabha record.
At that time, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had slammed Agrawal, saying he would have been booked if he had made such comment outside Parliament.
Agarwal was in the news for his comment after an attack on a hospital in Jammu and Kashmir. "I don't understand why the government is silent. People are dying but the government is silent," Agarwal had said. "If just terrorists are doing this, imagine what will happen when Pakistan Army comes. The country should take tough decisions," Agarwal was quoted as saying.
In December 2017, Agarwal had kicked up a row when he said Kulbhushan Jadhav has been declared a terrorist by Pakistan, and therefore, the country will treat him like one. However, he issued a clarification later.
"If Pakistan has declared Kulbhushan Jadhav as a terrorist in their country, then they will treat him like one (terrorist). In our country also, we should treat terrorists in the similar manner. Terrorists should be dealt with strictly," he had said. -- PTI 
20:40   Cabinet Secy gets second extension, to hold post till June 2019
Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha was today given a one- year extension to the post, an official order said today.
The appointments committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved his extension to the top post till June 12 next year, the order issued by the department of personnel and training said.
Sinha, 62, was in May 2015 appointed cabinet secretary for a fixed two-year term.
This is his second extension after he took over the new assignment from June 13, 2015.
Before his appointment to the post, he was the power secretary.
A 1977-batch IAS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, Sinha succeeded Ajit Seth, who held the position for four years.
He had earlier served as the shipping secretary and had also held several other important positions in the Union government and in his cadre state, Uttar Pradesh.
The cabinet secretariat is under the direct charge of the prime minister.
The administrative head of the secretariat is the cabinet secretary who is also the ex-officio chairman of the civil services board.
The cabinet secretariat assists in decision-making in the government by ensuring inter-ministerial coordination and ironing out differences among ministries or departments, among other tasks. -- PTI  
20:39   Army considering creating special cadre for permanent commission to women
The army is finalising a plan to grant permanent commission to women in an array of areas by creating a special cadre for their induction, official sources said today.
They said the permanent commission to women is being considered for a number of segments including cyber and IT, corps of military police and various posts in service selection board.
At present, the army offers permanent commission to women in the Army Education Corps and the Judge Advocate General Department.
Majority of women recruits in the army are short-service commission officers and they have a maximum tenure of 14 years.
The sources said the army was seriously working on extending the areas where women can be recruited.
"The army is considering creating a special cadre for recruitment of women officers under permanent commission category," said an army officer.
Last month, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that it was considering granting permanent commission to short service commission women army officers.
A group of women army officers recruited under SSC scheme had approached courts seeking PC status. -- PTI
19:59   Punjab CM asks Centre to stop flow of river water to Pakistan
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre to take the lead in ensuring optimum harnessing of the Ravi-Beas waters and suggested constitution of a panel of experts to work out ways to restrict the flow of water from the state into Pakistan.
Responding to media queries today, the chief minister said he had not yet received the letter purported to have been written by his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar on the issue, but made it clear that his government would take every possible step to secure more water for the state.
Pointing out that melting of ice leads to a rise in the water levels of the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers, causing them to flow into Pakistan, Singh said he had written to Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari suggesting storage of the excess water in dams in Himachal Pradesh to check its flow into Pakistan.
He stressed the need for the central government to take the initiative in the matter.
Under the Indus Water Treaty, 1960, India has been allowed unrestricted usage of available water in rivers viz. Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
A significant quantum of water of Ravi was flowing across the International Border through tributaries such as Ujh, Jallialia, Tarna joining the Ravi downstream of the rim station at Madhopur, he said. The quantity of water of the Ravi river flowing across the IB was assessed to be 0.58 million acre feet, he said. -- PTI 

19:57   Karnataka polls: Over Rs 125 cr worth of cash, liquor seized
The Election Commission-appointed surveillance teams have so far seized suspect cash, jewellery and other inducements worth over Rs 125 crore in poll-bound Karnataka, according to official data.
Over Rs 75.94 crore in cash, over five lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 23.98 crore, gold valued at Rs 43.25 crore and other items such as pressure cookers, sarees, sewing machines, gutkha, laptops and vehicles worth about Rs 19.21 crore, have been seized, according to the official data updated till today.
An official said that Rs 37.02 crore in cash, out of the total seizures of over Rs 162.79 crore, had been released after verification.
The figure also includes seized narcotics worth more than Rs 39.80 lakh. The data has been compiled since the declaration of the election for the Karnataka assembly.
The seizures have been made by various surveillance, police and Income Tax Department teams that have been deployed in the state by the poll panel to check the use of black money and illegal inducements, the official said.
The state will go to polls on May 12. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 15.  -- PTI 
19:44   Thunderstorm alert in several states, schools in Delhi closed tomorrow
The Delhi government has put search and rescue teams on standby and the traffic police have alerted their field formations to be ready for removal of obstacles after the meteorological department today issued a warning of heavy rain and thunderstorm.
The traffic police has asked commuters to check weather conditions before travelling while the Delhi Metro too has decided to exercise extreme caution in running of trains in the wake of the warning.
The revenue department of the Delhi government has issued directions to all district officers and said water and power utilities would also keep restoration teams ready .
"The district and sub-district search and rescue teams have been put on standby," a senior official of the department said.
According to the India Meteorological Department, thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds are very likely at isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh today and tomorrow.

The Delhi government also decided to close all evening schools tomorrow following the weather department's warning about heavy rains and thunderstorm.
The government said that all evening schools (second shift which starts from the afternoon) will be shut tomorrow.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary Anshu Prakash to review prepardness in the wake of the warning.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which operates trains in the national capital and NCR, said it would exercise extreme caution in running of trains.
"If wind speed is reported in the range of 70-90 kmph then train movement will remain normal but trains will enter with a restricted speed of 40 kmph or less at the platforms on elevated section.
"If wind speed is reported more than 90 kmph then trains will be put on hold at platforms and no train will enter platform with a speed of more than 15 kmph," a senior DMRC official told PTI.
In this case, normal movement of trains will be restored once the wind speed is reported less then 85kmph for continuous five minutes. Appropriate announcements will be made at stations during this period, he said.
At the same time, the Delhi Traffic Police has advised commuters to plan their journey after checking the weather conditions. -- PTI
19:17   Govt aims for synchronised position among 3 services on induction of women
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the government was working with the army, navy and air force to have a "synchronised position" on the recruitment of women into the three services as there was no common ground on the matter at present.
In an address at an event, she also said that the government was open to women recruited under short service commissioning being offered permanent commissioning.
Sitharaman said there was no parity at present between the armed forces in recruitment rules related to women.
She said, while women were already engaged as fighter pilots in the air force, considered an absolutely top notch position, in the army, women were still missing from important positions.
In the gender neutral navy as well, women cannot go to the sea, she said, highlighting the lack of parity in the three services.
"Each of these services has taken their own approach towards getting women a limited option of getting into their force and as a result there is no parity within the three services either.
"There are different approaches which are prevailing. I am spending quite sometime with all the three forces to make sure that we take a synchronised position and also approach the court to handle all these cases which are already there about short service (commission) women being offered permanent commission," she said at a FICCI event.
The minister asserted that, "we are very open-minded about having women come in to the services" as more and more women are seeking to join the forces.
However, she also noted that verdicts were awaited as several of those who were in short service commission had gone to courts asking why they could not be given the permanent commission.
In September last year, the army had announced that it was inducting women in the military police, seen as a major move towards inducting them for combat roles.
The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers, maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war.
Creating history, the Indian air force in 2016 inducted three women as fighter pilots.
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had in December last year said that the navy was going to allow woman officers on board its warships and suitable facilities for them were being made available in the newly-constructed ships. -- PTI
18:35   Released 116.697 tmcft Cauvery water to TN: Karnataka to SC
Karnataka today told the Supreme Court that it has supplied 116.697 tmcft of Cauvery water, instead of 100.04 tmcft, to Tamil Nadu by applying the distress formula, even though the current year has been water deficient.
Karnataka, which was hauled up on May 3 by the apex court for not releasing sufficient Cauvery water, today filed an affidavit through its Chief Secretary, claiming that 2017-18 has been a "distress water year in the Cauvery basin" the third time in a row.
However, Tamil Nadu, in its affidavit, today alleged that Karnataka was acting like "a judge of its own cause" and has failed to comply with the order of the tribunal affirmed by the top court. It demanded framing of the Cauvery Management Scheme by the Centre.
In its affidavit, Karnataka said "on applying the alleged distress sharing formula based on 'recorded flow' as relied upon by the state of Tamil Nadu...before this court claiming damages or short supply in distress year 2012-13, the share of Tamil Nadu, at the end of April 2018 at the inter-state border work out to 100.04 tmcft. 
"However, Karnataka has ensured 116.697 tmcft at Billigundulu. Therefore, the excess ensured is 16.66 tmcft."  
It said that even in the months of March and April of this "distress year", the share of Tamil Nadu "has been met by ensuring 1.4 tmcft as against 1.24 tmcft for March and 1.10 tmcft as against 1.22 tmcft for the month of April. Therefore, Karanataka has not committed any default in ensuring water releases, as alleged." 
Karnataka has been reporting the status of water flows to the supervisory committee constituted after the top court's order of May 10, 2013, its affidavit said.
"Even if Tamil Nadu were to draw for drinking water etc, at the rate of 719 cusec for the remaining 28 days in May and 30 days in June (if rainfall is delayed), the total drawls would be 3.60 tmcft. Therefore, there is no shortage for drinking water in the Cauvery basin area in Tamil Nadu," it said.
In its affidavit, Tamil Nadu today alleged that Karnataka has been acting as "a judge of its own cause and fails to comply with the binding order of the tribunal as affirmed by this court." -- PTI
Father of the bride, Anil Kapoor, waves out at the ceremony. 
Boney Kapoor's daughters Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor at the sangeet.  
18:19   First look! Sonam at her sangeet
Actor Sonam Kapoor, quite expectedly, looks resplendent at her sangeet ceremony. Dressed in a gorgeous white and gold lehenga with a fitted gold blouse, Sonam choose Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla couture for her special day.

She completed the look with a maang tika, heavy jhumkas, a gold choker. On her wrists adorning her mehendi (the ceremony was yesterday) was an oversize pearl and gold bracelet.

White and gold seemed to be the dress code with everyone in the family including dad Anil Kapoor and cousins Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor in colour coordinated outifts.

Sonam will wed businessman Anand Ahuja tomorrow.
18:02   The girl gang fighting for justice for the Kathua victim
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing for the Kathua victim's father tweets this image: @IJaising Our legal team in the Kathua rape case , an all women team .......almost ! Deepika missing, she was addressing the press.

Deepika Rajawat is the lawyer representing the girl's family. The apex court transferred the trial to Pathankot in Punjab and also directed that the trial should be held in-camera, be fast-tracked and conducted on a day-to-day basis. 
17:41   There isn't going to be a war in the Himalayas
'That is important for Modi politically when he launches a do-or-die campaign seeking a renewed mandate in the 2019 poll,' says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar. Read the column here
17:30   Shifting Kathua trial to Pathankot will boost morale of state police: Mehbooba
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said the Supreme Court decision to shift the trial of the Kathua gangrape and murder case to Pathankot would boost the morale of the state police, which had left "no stone unturned" to ensure that the eight-year-old's family gets justice.
The apex court today directed that the trial of the gangrape and murder of the child, which had led to nationwide outrage, be moved to Pathankot in neighbouring Punjab.
"I welcome today's decision by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the Kathua case. This will go a long way to boost the morale of our @JmuKmrPolice force who in the face of great adversity have left no stone unturned to ensure that the deceased's family gets justice," Mehbooba said in a tweet.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra directed that the trial should be held in-camera, be fast-tracked and conducted on a day-to-day basis to avoid any delay.
The top court also said the trial would be carried out in accordance with the provisions of Ranbir Penal Code, which is applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.
The apex court said the trial must be fair to the victim's family as well as the accused.
The victim, an eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later. -- PTI
17:21   After MNS protest, bullet train land measuring process suspended
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers today forced the suspension of the work of measuring land that needs to be acquired for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor, popularly called the bullet train project.
The land measurement process was being undertaken in the Shilphata area of Shil village in Maharashtra's Thane district by the state's public works department.
Officials said that MNS workers disrupted the process several times and it had to be suspended in the afternoon, despite the presence of a posse of police, after the mob opposing it grew in numbers considerably.
"We will continue to oppose this measurement drive as we want jobs and not a bullet train. There will be flash protests as well to force the authorities to suspend the work," said Avinash Jadhav, MNS' Thane district chief.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray has been a vocal opponent of the multi-billion dollar project and has, during his public rallies, appealed to farmers along the route of the high speed corridor to not allow the railways to acquire their lands.
The 508 kilometre Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, estimated to cost Rs 1,08,000 crore, is being built with the Japanese government providing a loan to cover 81 per cent of the cost.
The project, being constructed by a special purpose vehicle called the National High Speed Rail Corporation, is targeted for commissioning by 2022-23. -- PTI 
17:11   Offering namaz with intention of seizing land not allowed: Haryana Min
A day after Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said namaz should be restricted to mosques and idgahs and not in open spaces, his minister and controversial Bharatiya Janata Party leader Anil Vij today said that offering prayers at a place with the intention of seizing the land is wrong and will not be allowed.

"Occasionally if someone needs to offer the namaz, he has the religious freedom to do so. However, it is wrong to offer namaz with an intention of seizing the land. It can't be allowed," Vij told ANI.

The chief minister on Sunday backed the members of right-wing groups, who allegedly prevented people from offering namaz at open spaces in Gurugram.

Khattar said that there was a considerable rise in people offering namaz in open, which should be read in Mosques or Idgahs.

As per reports, the right-wing groups visited at least six places in the city where namaz was offered every Friday and allegedly prevented people from doing so. 
16:33   Siddaramaiah files defamation suit against BJP, Modi
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sends legal notice for criminal and civil defamation to BJP, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and BS Yeddyurappa, over the BJP's corruption charges against him. The BJP has claimed that Siddaramaiah was connected to a ponzi scheme where at least 35,000 people have been duped and had received an expensive Rs 40 lakh watch.

BS Yeddyurappa, the BJP's CM candidate for Karnataka had tweeted, "Dear Mr #10PercentCM @siddaramaiah, let me remind you of your 70 Lakh Hublot watch,which is believed to have been accepted as an official favor from a Biz-man in exchange for you approving projects violating all rules. Proof enough for blatant corruption, isn't it?#Dare2Answer"

16:18   Court extends journalist's CBI custody by 2 more days
Journalist Upendra Rai, arrested for his alleged involvement in dubious financial transactions, would remain in CBI custody for two more days, with a Delhi court today extending his remand.

Special CBI Judge Santosh Snehi Mann extended the custody of Rai, who was produced before the court on the expiry of his three-day CBI remand, after the agency said he was non-cooperative and evasive in his replies.

Public prosecutor Manoj Shukla, while seeking a seven-day remand, said some secretive and sensitive documents were recovered from him which were not supposed to be in the possession of a common man.

He needs to be interrogated regarding procurement of these documents, the CBI's counsel said, adding that several new facts have come to light during the last three days which were to be probed. Rai's counsel said there was no fresh ground for seeking extension of his custody as all documents were already in public domain and have been recovered from his possession. PTI
15:50   Kathua trial fast-tracked, no CBI probe
Update: The Supreme Court directs a fast-track trial in the Kathua case. It will be conducted on a day-to-day basis to avoid any delay. The court also rejected pleas for a CBI probe in the case.

The SC says the trial would be in accordance with provisions of Ranbir Penal Code, applicable in J&K. The Ranbir Penal Code or RPC is a criminal code applicable in Jammu and Kashmir only. The Indian Penal Code is not applicable under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. The code was introduced during the reign of the Dogra dynasty with Ranbir Singh as its ruler.

The SC also vacated a stay on the trial in the Kathua gangrape-cum-murder case. The court said that since it is seized of the matter, no court shall pass any order with regard to the case. It said that the trial in the case must be fair to accused as well as the victim's family.

It also ordered continuation of the security to the family members of the victim, family friends and lawyer representing them and directed translation of statements and records of the case from Urdu to English and also.

Image: Prime accused in the case, retired revenue official, Sanjhi Ram. Pic: Reuters.
15:29   SC transfers Kathua trial from J-K to Punjab
Kathua case: The Supreme Court transfers the Kathua rape and murder case to the Pathankot Court in Punjab. The proceedings will also be held in-camera.  The J-K government had submitted to the Supreme Court that it is ready for a fair trial in the state and had opposed the transfer of the case to another state.

The apex court transferred the case out of J-K on the basis of a a plea filed by the father of the victim in the Kathua case for transfer of trial to Chandigarh.

The eight-year-old child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.

The state police's Crime Branch, which probed the case, has filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua.
15:05   Police to file final report in Sunanda Pushkar death case in a week
The Delhi Police on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will file its final report for the Sunanda Pushkar's death within a week's time. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked for more time to file its reply in the matter.

Wife of senior Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

On February 23, Tharoor said he was looking for a conclusion in his wife's death case.

Incidentally, on that day, Tharoor's statement came hours after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Delhi Police on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's appeal challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing his plea for a Special Investigation Team probe into Sunanda death case.
14:38   Kathua rape/murder: Juvenile's case to be heard on May 22
A court today posted for May 22 the hearing in the case of the juvenile accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua. The Chief Judicial Magistrate AS Langeh fixed the hearing for May 22.

Earlier on April 25, the juvenile presented himself before the court amid heavy security. 

CJM Langeh had then asked the juvenile whether he had received copies of the charge sheet from the crime branch, to which he replied in the affirmative.

The CJM court had dismissed the bail plea of the accused juvenile. The counsel for the accused had moved the court for his bail soon after the crime branch had filed its charge sheet against him and seven others allegedly involved in the rape and murder case. The juvenile accused had sought bail on grounds that he was underage. -- PTI
14:04   TN CM lays foundation stone for Jaya memorial
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today laid the foundation stone for a memorial 'mandapam' of late J Jayalalithaa in Chennai abutting her burial site on the Marina beachfront. Palaniswami placed the first brick for the construction on the ground, and Panneerselvam the second, marking the formal inauguration of work for the memorial at the beach complex.

A 'yagna' and special prayers were conducted ahead of the stone laying event in which Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, Tamil Nadu Ministers, MPs and MLAs participated along with the chief minister and his deputy.

A large number of AIADMK workers took part in the event. The proposed memorial 'mandapam' for late chief minister Jayalalithaa is set to come up behind the memorial of AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran.

Jayalalithaa's mausoleum was decked up for the event. Elaborate security arrangements were made for the stone- laying ceremony. Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016. PTI
13:42   Heads up Mumbai: Boil water for the next few days
The BMC has appealed to Mumbaikars to drink boiled water for the next seven days starting today as the water may be turbid. Water supply from the newly-built Ghatkopar reservoir tank begins today and in the initial few days, the quality of water is likely to be poor.  A BMC official said wards -- L (Kurla) and N (Ghatkopar) -- are likely to be more affected.
How 'China's MIT' Tsinghua University drives the country's tech ambitions. Read the full report here.
13:23   Afghan officials working with tribal elders to rescue abducted Indian engineers
Security officials in Afghanistan are working with local tribal elders to trace the seven Indian engineers abducted by the Taliban gunmen in the restive northern Baghlan province, media reports said today.

Provincial police spokesman Zabiullah Shuja said the Indian engineers of KEC International, an RPG group company, were working on a project for the construction of a power sub-station. They were abducted by the militants from the vicinity of Cheshma-e-Sher area yesterday while they were travelling to inspect the work progress.

Shuja said the Afghan driver of the engineers is also missing and an operation is underway for their release, according to media reports. The security officials in the province said efforts are underway by the Afghan forces and the government officials as well as the local tribal elders for the release of the Indian engineers.

Provincial governor Abdul Nemati said the security forces and the local officials are busy tracking the missing engineers and their driver.

He said apart from the security forces and the government officials, the local tribal elders have also stepped up efforts for the release of the Indian nationals.

Nemati assured that the missing Indian engineers and their driver will be released soon. Baghlan Governor had yesterday said the terror group had abducted the Indian engineers and their driver, believing they were government employees. No group has, however, claimed responsibility for the abduction. -- PTI

Image: The External Affairs Ministry has said in New Delhi it is in touch with authorities in Afghanistan.
13:08   When Congress MLA from Rae Bareli spoke to Rediff
Aditi Singh, the Congress legislator from Rae Bareli assembly seat, who has spent the weekend battling rumours of an impending nuptials with her party president Rahul Gnadhi, scored a stunning victory in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections, trouncing both the BSP and the BJP.   

Her victory was even more creditable because she was only one of seven Congress candidates to make it past the victory line.   

Soon after her win the MBA graduate from North Duke University, North Carolina in the US, spoke to's A Ganesh Nadar. "Priyanka Gandhi helped me; she personally mentored me in politics as I am a novice," she had said in her interview, here.
12:59   Modi uses office of PM to hit out against opponents: Manmohan
Former PM Manmohan Singh addressing a press conference in Bengaluru speaking on a subject he holds sway -- economics.  

"The economic management of the Modi government is slowly eroding the trust of the general public in the banking system. Recent incidents which resulted in shortage of cash in many states were preventable.  Two major avoidable blunders of the Modi govt have been demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST. The losses the economy suffered due to these blunders have severely hurt our micro small and medium enterprise sector and have resulted in loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

"As far as Nirav Modi is concerned, it was obvious that in 2015-16, that something is going on with the affairs of Modi. Yet the Modi government didn't do anything. If blame has to be cast, it has to be on the govt of mandate.

"In fact, the PM was in Davos in the company of Nirav Modi & only a few days later he ran away from the country. That itself is the reflection of sad state of affairs in this wonderland of Modi government.

"No Prime Minister in our country has used the Office of the Prime Minister to say things about his opponent that Mr Modi has been doing day in & day out. It doesn't behove a Prime Minister to stoop so low & it is not good for the country as a whole as well."

Read: Why Manmohan had asked Modi to apologise over the Pak conspiracy charges.
12:28   Sensex up 130 points in late morning deals
The BSE Sensex rose 131 points in late morning trade today on bouts of buying in key frontline stocks of realty, consumer durables, metals, banks, auto and FMCG sectors amid mixed Asian cues. Asian stocks were trading mixed despite the biggest advance in US shares in almost four weeks.

Back home, profit-booking was witnessed in healthcare counters. The 30-share index was trading higher at 35,046.40 at 1115 hrs, showing a gain of 131.02 points, or 0.38 per cent. The broader Nifty-50 index was trading up by 40.60 points, or 0.38 per cent at 10,658.85. -- PTI
12:19   Cong challenges rejection of impeachment move against CJI
Two opposition leaders today moved the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by the Rajya Sabha chairman on the ground that there was "no proven misbehaviour".

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is also one of the signatories of the impeachment notice, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar.

The bench, also comprising Justice S K Kaul, asked Sibal and advocate Prashant Bhushan to mention the matter before the chief justice of India for urgent listing, citing a Constitution bench judgment on powers of master of roster.

The two leaders who have moved the petition are Congress' Rajya Sabha MPs Pratap Singh Bajwa, who is from Punjab, and Amee Harshadray Yajnik, who is from Gujarat.

Sibal said he was aware of the constitution bench judgment on master of roster but since the impeachment notice concerns the CJI, the senior-most judge of the apex court can order for listing.

"I am aware of the procedure but it can't be mentioned anywhere else. A person cannot be a judge in his own cause. I am just asking for urgent listing and not seeking any interim relief," Sibal said. PTI
11:56   Security tightened, shutdown across Valley after Shopian deaths
Normal life came to a standstill in Kashmir today on a call for shutdown by separatists to protest the killing of five civilians during clashes between protesters and security forces near the encounter site in Shopian district yesterday.

Jaint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of separatist groups, spearheaded by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, called for a complete strike to protest against the civilian killings during clashes with security forces following an encounter in which five militants, including an assistant professor from the Kashmir University, were killed.

The separatists have called for a sit-in against the killings outside the Civil Secretariat, which opened today as part of the traditional 'Darbar Move' practice, in Srinagar.

While Geelani and Mirwaiz have been placed under house arrest, Malik has been taken into preventive custody since Saturday. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions have been closed as a precautionary measure to prevent any law and order situation, officials said.

The Kashmir University has cancelled all academic activity for two days and postponed the exams scheduled to be held today. Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport remained off the roads due to the strike call.

Restrictions have also been imposed in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir while security forces have been deployed in strength across the Valley for maintaining law and order, a police official said.

The official said the situation across the Valley is peaceful so far. Train services from Banihal to Baramulla have been suspended while Internet services in mobile devices continued to remain suspended for the third day today. PTI
11:29   Ex-UP CMs can't stay in govt house
The Supreme Court today struck down the amendment to a Uttar Pradesh legislation which allows former chief ministers of the state to retain government accommodation even after demitting office.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the amendment in the legislation was ultra vires to the Constitution since it transgresses the concept of equality under the Constitution. The bench said the amendment was "arbitrary, discriminatory" and violates the concept of equality.

The apex court said that once such persons demit public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man. The apex court had on April 19 reserved its verdict on an NGO's plea challenging amendments to the UP legislation allowing ex-chief ministers of the state to continue occupying government bungalows.

The top court had earlier observed that if the provision, which has been challenged by NGO Lok Prahari, was held invalid, then similar legislation in other states might also come under challenge.

The NGO had challenged the amendments made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the 'UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981'.

It had also challenged another UP law of 2016 called 'The Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department Bill-2016' to regulate the allotment of government accommodation to trusts, journalists, political parties, speaker and deputy speaker of legislative assembly, judicial officers and government officials. PTI
11:14   Violence should not be allowed in democracy: PM
Responding on a query on the rising political violence in poll-bound state Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said violence, in democracy, should not be allowed in any form, by any political party or ideology .

While interacting with Karnataka's Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha Karyakartas (workers) via the Narendra Modi (NaMo) App, Prime Minister Modi said, "Violence in any form should not be allowed by any political party or ideology in democracy. In Karnataka, several BJP workers lost their lives. There should be space for political debates but one must not indulge in violence. I appeal to BJP's youth karyakartas in Karnataka not to act in vengeance even when they have lost their several karyakartas in political violence."

Also, the Prime Minister slammed the Opposition for raising questions against almost every other issue, like from usage of Aadhaar to tampering of electronic voting machines.

"The Opposition is protesting against every other issue, like from usage of Aadhaar to tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs). However, the BJP is promoting the use of technology," he said. -- ANI
10:35   Manik Sarkar slams Modi sarkar
Former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has flayed the NDA government at the Centre for allegedly failing to keep its poll promises and "misleading" the people on many issues like GST and demonetisation.

"Before coming to power four years ago, it (BJP) had promised that Rs 15 lakh will be deposited in everyone's bank account .. the government has even failed to release the list of black money holders," the senior CPI(M) leader said while delivering a lecture on "Manifestation of Perfection: Idealism in Politics" in Bhubaneswar yesterday.

Slamming the Narendra Modi government over demonetisation and GST, Sarkar said the demonetisation move was a myopic one, while implementation of GST had shattered the backbone of small business in the country.

Accusing the Centre of failing to keep the promise of providing employment to two crore people in a year, the veteran left leader said it was unable to provide even two lakh jobs.  -- PTI
10:32   Have to find middle ground to save civilians, soldiers: Mehbooba
J&K CM on the five civilians killed in clashes with security forces following an encounter with five terrorists in Shopian yesterday: "Our soldiers and children are being killed. Stones are in hands of poor, guns also are in hands of poor (security forces) only. We've to find a middle ground to save them.

Five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists including a top commander and a fresh recruit -- a university professor -- were killed in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, even as five civilians died during clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site, the police said. Read the report here.
10:08   Hawaii volcano: Residents allowed to retrieve belongings
The spewing of lava from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii's Big Island shows no signs of stopping as 21 homes have been destroyed in the aftermath of the eruption in Leilani Estates, Hawaii County officials said on Sunday.

The figures were confirmed after the officials undertook an aerial survey earlier in the day, according to local media reports.

Geologists say that the ongoing lava outbreak from Kilauea volcano that is inundating Leilani Estates would "continue for some more days and could go on for weeks."

In spite of the destruction, officials have allowed residents to return temporarily to retrieve their belongings. Children were strictly prohibited from entering the affected area.

Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder said that the rise of sulphur dioxide levels led to a severe deterioration of air quality and advised all to exercise caution.

Hundreds of residents of Hawaii's Big Island continued to flee as lava and molten rocks erupted from Kilauea volcano spewed into the neighbourhoods of the island.

The volcano, which became active, was the result of the Friday's 6.9 magnitude earthquake, and has already driven people out of their homes in Big Island, CNN reported.

"The earthquake, one of the dozens to hit the area in 24 hours, was the most powerful on the island since 1975," the United States Geological Survey said in a statement.

The earthquake led to the opening of cracks in Kilauea volcano's rift zone, an area of fissures, spewing lava near the island's eastern edge and destroying roads, vehicles, and trees in Big Island. -- ANI

Image: Lava advances along a street near a fissure in Leilani Estates, Hawaii. Photograph: US Geological Survey/Reuters. For more images go here.
09:59   Your brother more honest than you: Omar to Mehbooba Mufti
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday slammed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over her "hollow" tweet on the violence in the state, and said that her brother Tassaduq Mufti was more honest than her in voicing opinion on the situation.

In the wake of the Pulwama encounter, Mufti had called for unity among the people and professed that "violence is no solution to the issues that plague us".

Quoting her tweet, the former chief minister said, "Your tweet has a hollow ring to it. At least your brother was more honest than you. This blood is the price Kashmiris are paying for you to remain CM & for PDP & BJP to remain "partners in crime"."

Abdullah was referring to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader and Culture Minister of the state, Tassaduq Mufti's earlier statement to a media house, wherein he expressed a strong objection to the BJP-PDP alliance said that both the parties "ended up being partners in a crime (for which) an entire generation of Kashmiris might have to pay with their blood."

Tassaduq Mufti also said the whole party shared this view.

Abdullah continued the attack against Mufti with another tweet, asking if the deceased civillians' would get justice or not.

"One question though, as the state Home Minister & head of the Unified Command you have admitted these boys are "innocent civilians" so who will be charged & hanged for their cold blooded murder? Or should I be asking @HMOIndia this question?" read the tweet.

Yesterday five civillians were killed during an encounter between terrorists and security forces at Badigam area of Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian. Five terrorists were also killed in the encounter. -- ANI

File pic: J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti with her brother Tassaduq Mufti
09:50   Air India air hostess alleges molestation by pilot
An air hostess of Air India has alleged that she was molested by the pilot of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai flight.The pilot allegedly molested the air hostess on May 4.According to the police, "A scuffle broke out between the complainant and the pilot onboard. The woman then approached the Sahar police station in Mumbai and lodged a case".

Based on her complaint, the police registered a case against the pilot under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC.Further investigations are underway. -- ANI
09:43   Karnataka polls: Adityanath to resume election campaign today
In the run-up to the assembly polls in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is scheduled to visit the state for his election campaign.

The chief minister, who is a star campaigner for the Bharatiya Janata Party for Karnataka polls, is expected to visit Chennabasava Patta Devara Mutt in Bhalki town at 10:10 am. He is also scheduled to address a public meeting there.

Adityanath will also be addressing five public meetings later in the day at Humnabad, Gokak, Yemakanmardi village, Khanapur and Belgaum Rural.

Adityanath was scheduled to campaign in Karnataka till May 5 but he had to cut short his election campaign tour after the deadly dust storms in Uttar Pradesh.

With less than a week left for the Karnataka assembly elections, the BJP has intensified its electoral battle through rigorous campaigns across the state.

-- ANI
09:32   In newspaper ad, Siddaramaiah dares Modi, Yeddyurappa for an open debate
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday upped the ante against rival Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former CM BS Yeddyurappa in the run up to the state Assembly elections, where polling is scheduled to be held on May 12.

In a newspaper ad in Bengaluru dailies, the Congress leader has challenged PM Modi and BJPs chief ministerial candidate Yeddyurappa for an open debate, accusing them of making false accusations and allegations on the party ruling the state.

Asserting that we have delivered as promised the Karnataka Congress has asked in the advertisement, Stop making false accusations, allegations. Why not debate with facts and let the people of Karnataka decide who is truthful.

In the interest of 6.5 crore Kannadigas future, let us have an open debate about our plans for Karnataka before the people of the state. I am open to come to any place on the date and time suggested by you both, said Siddaramaiah in the newspaper ad. The ad also carries a signature of the Karnataka chief minister.

Posting the ad on Twitter, Siddaramaiah said, "PM Modi is deliberately confusing Karnataka voters with his bombastic speeches on non-issues. All hot air & no substance. My contest is not with him. It is with Yaddyurappa. I challenge him to an open debate on issues on a single platform. Will he accept? Modi is also welcome!"

The ad comes amid fierce war of words between the two main rivals in the Karnataka Assembly elections. Both the BJP and the Congress, led by PM Modi and party president Rahul Gandhi respectively, have accused each other of making false promises to the people.

Image: The ad that newspapers carried in which Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah dared Modi and Yeddyurappa to an open debate. 
08:41   Salman Khan poaching case: Case adjourned; Next hearing on July 17
Bollywood star Salman Khan left the Jodhpur District & Sessions Court after his case was adjourned and the next hearing was scheduled for July 17. 

Salman was in the city for the hearing of his application challenging the trial court order that sentenced him to a five-year jail term in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case.

Fifty-two-year-old Khan reached Jodhpur on Sunday afternoon from Mumbai by a regular flight, a police official said. 

Khan was released from the Jodhpur jail, where he spent two nights, on April 7 after then District and Sessions Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi granted him bail in the case. 

Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had on April 5 sentenced Khan to five years in prison for killing two blackbucks during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the night of October 1, 1998.

The trial court had acquitted his Bollywood colleagues Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre and a local, Dushyant Singh, giving them the "benefit of doubt" for the incident. 

08:24   Jinnah portrait row: AMU postpones examinations till May 12
Amid the ongoing protest in Aligarh Muslim University over the portrait of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, examinations in the varsity have been postponed till May 12.

"Examinations in Aligarh Muslim University have been postponed till May 12 due to the ongoing protests," Public Relations Officer, said Umar Salim Parizda.

The controversy surrounding Jinnah's poster triggered after BJP Aligarh MP Satish Gautam wrote a letter to AMU's Vice-Chancellor seeking an explanation on the portrait of Pakistan's founder in the students' union office.

The portrait of Jinnah has been hanging on a wall in the students union's office at AMU for decades.

Last week, a clash broke out between students of the AMU and the police over the matter.

Internet services were also suspended in the varsity to prevent the communal flare-up over the issue. 

-- ANI
07:58   Haryana schools closed, 13 states on storm alert for 2 days
Thunderstorms and rain are likely in at least 13 states and two union territories today, the Union home ministry has said in an advisory on Sunday. 

Schools in Haryana have been asked to remain closed over the next two days. 

The home ministry alert comes after 124 people died and over 300 were injured in thunderstorms and lightning that hit five states last week.

Heavy rain is very likely at isolated places in six northeastern states --- Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura today, according to the Indian Meterological Department. 

While thunderstorm and squall is likely at isolated places in Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi today, dust storms have been predicted for parts of Rajasthan. Haryana's education minister Ram Bilas Sharma announced that schools will be closed in state on Monday and Tuesday.