Wed, 17 October 2018
But for Twitter, would have to hold pressers every hour to counter fake news: Trump

Timeline  Refresh

23:36   But for Twitter, would have to hold pressers every hour to counter fake news: Trump
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his frequent use of social media, especially Twitter, arguing that this is essential to counter "fake news" otherwise he would have to hold a press conference "every hour".
"That's a way of getting out the message. Look, we have fake news," Trump said in an interview when asked about this.

"I do like it (tweeting). It's a form of getting out the truth," he said adding that he enjoys press conferences.
"Has anybody ever said to you, 'Mr President, let me have your phone. I want to take your phone away from you for just a brief, shining moment. We don't want any more of these tweets'. Anybody ever try that?" he was asked.
"Everyone's fake. You look at what's - and I'm not saying you and some of the people on Fox. Not all of them, but some of them, but there's so much misinformation being put out. That's my only form of communicating really other than having a press conference every hour. If I do a press conference every hour," Trump said.

Trump asserted that he and his administration are communicating very well.
"The polls are going through the roof. I think the Republicans are going to do well in the midterms, and I'm doing a lot of work on this," he said as he went on to lash out at several media outlets.

-- PTI
Sabarimala Protection Committee has called for a 12-hour statewide strike tomorrow in Kerala.
23:00   Odisha: Cyclone toll mounts to 57, govt pegs loss at Rs 2,200 cr
The Odisha government on Wednesday pegged the loss suffered due to Cyclone Titli and the resultant flood at around Rs 2,200 crore and hiked the ex-gratia for the kin of the victims to Rs 10 lakh each as the death toll in the natural calamity rose to 57, including 10 children.

The state has stepped up the relief-and-restoration operations, completing the repair works of about 95 per cent of the damaged roads in the 16 districts hit by the twin calamities, officials said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who rushed to the worst-hit Raigada block in Gajapati district Wednesday, announced a hike in the ex-gratia amount for the next of the kin of those killed in the disaster from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

He also distributed land "patta" (rights) among the residents of Baraghar village. Situated on a hill top, the village alone has accounted for 18 deaths, while 10 people went missing in a landslide in the aftermath of the cyclone and the flood.

Patnaik declared that the people living in villages atop the hills across the state would be provided with facilities like housing, education etc. and covered under other social security schemes, if they decided to live in the plains.

He said the children orphaned due to the twin calamities would get all assistance from the state government for their education.

-- PTI
22:16   Trump says expects truth over missing journalist by 'end of week'
US President Donald Trump Wednesday that he expects to know within days what happened to Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who is alleged to have been murdered by Saudi agents.
"We will probably know that by the end of the week," Trump said at the White House. 

The US president said he would be getting a "full report" from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his return from meetings with Saudi leaders.
21:52   Lankan Prez tells PM reports of his claim that RAW planning his assassination baseless
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and "categorically rejected" reports in a section of the media about him alluding to the involvement of India in an alleged plot to assassinate him and a former defence secretary, the Prime Minister's Office said. 
A statement quoted him as saying that "mischievous and mala fide reports were utterly baseless and false, and seemed intended to create misunderstanding between the two leaders as well as damage the cordial relations between the two friendly neighbours." 

The Lankan President apprised Modi of the urgent steps taken by him personally and the government to "publicly reject" these reports. 

He also recalled his meeting with the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka on Wednesday morning.    

"The President also stated that he regards the Prime Minister as a true friend of Sri Lanka, as also a close personal friend. He stressed that he greatly valued the mutually beneficial ties between India and Sri Lanka, and remained steadfast to work with the Prime Minister for further strengthening them," the statement said. 

Modi appreciated the prompt steps taken by the president and his government to firmly refute the malicious reports by publicly clarifying the matters. 

He also reiterated India's emphasis on 'neighbourhood first' policy and the priority the government of India and he personally attach to developing even stronger all-round cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier Wednesday, the Sri Lankan government had rejected as "completely untrue" media reports that President Sirisena accused India's Research and Analysis Wing of plotting his assassination and he opposed awarding a key port project to India.

The media reports came ahead of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi to speed up India-backed projects, including the East Terminal project, in the island nation.

-- PTI
21:45   Smoke forces Melania Trump's plane back to military base
US First lady Melania Trump's plane was forced to return to a Washington area military base on Wednesday because of smoke in the cabin.
Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said "everyone is fine and everyone is safe" after the plane returned to Joint Base Andrews.

Melania Trump had been scheduled to visit a Philadelphia hospital and meet with families of children affected by exposure to opioids while in the womb.
Grisham said the first lady's team was "evaluating" whether to make other arrangements to travel to the event.

According to TV reporters traveling with the first lady, the flight was in the air about 10 minutes when smoke filled the cabin, and then Secret Service agents rushed to the front of the plane.

It was not immediately clear what caused the problem.

The event was planned for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to join the first lady. The hospital has provided care to mothers with opioid use disorder and their newborn children for more than 45 years.

Trump was to tour a neonatal intensive care nursery and speak at an HHS conference on a new system that tracks infants suffering from opiate withdrawal.
Rashtrapati Bhavan release says President has accepted MJ Akbar's resignation from the Union Council of Ministers.
21:14   Vikas Bahl files Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Kashyap, Motwane
Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, accused of sexual assault by a former employee of Phantom Films, has filed a Rs 10 crore defamation suit against Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, his former partners in the production house.

The court, during the hearing on Wednesday, directed Bahl to make the woman employee a respondent to the suit and adjourned the hearing to October 19.

Bahl, the director of Kangana Ranaut-starrer "Queen", has sought an interim direction from the court seeking to restrain Kashyap and Motwane from making any statements, either to the media or on social media platforms, against him. 

The suit, filed on Tuesday, alleged that Kashyap and Motwane made "defamatory, slanderous and baseless allegations" against him due to which he has suffered irreversible damage to the reputation.

It demanded damages of Rs 10 crore from Kashyap and Motwane.

He labelled his former partners as opportunists, who allegedly orchestrated the whole campaign against him, making him look like the person responsible for the production house's fall.

Justice S J Kathawalla, who heard arguments on Bahl's application for interim order, asked if the parties were open to sort out the issue amicably.

"Is there any way to end this matter? Just check if the parties are willing for this," he asked the lawyers.

The court also directed Bahl to make the woman who has levelled allegations against him a respondent to the application, saying it was pertinent to hear her too.

Justice Kathawalla directed Bahl, Kashyap, Motwane and the woman to appear in person in his chamber on Friday, when the matter would be heard.

Bahl's counsel Sharan Jagtiani argued that even after the alleged incident, the woman was in touch with Bahl.

To this, Kashyap's counsel Venkatesh Dhond said Bahl cannot trivialise the woman's allegations on this ground, as she had to continue working with Phantom Films.

Justice Kathawalla, while adjourning the matter, noted that while the #MeToo movement was good, there should be guidelines in place so that authorities know how to handle such cases.

The judge passed no order on Bahl's plea.
Soon after Bahl was named by a former employee of Phantom Films amid the MeToo campaign, Kashyap and Motwane dissolved the production house.

The unidentified woman employee alleged that Bahl sexually assaulted her in Goa during a promotional tour for the movie "Bombay Velvet" in 2015.
20:57   Akbar's resignation accepted by PM: Sources
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accepted the resignation of M J Akbar from the council of ministers, official sources said.
According to the established procedure, the resignation will now be sent to the President.

Earlier, Akbar stepped down as Minister of State for External Affairs following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications.

In a brief statement, Akbar said he had decided to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity.

"I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation...," Akbar said.

Over the last fortnight, about 20 women have come forward to narrate their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar.

-- PTI
20:34   Swara, Raveena to be part of CINTAA's committee to tackle sexual harassment
Cine and TV Artists Association on Wednesday said it will be setting up committees to tackle sexual harassment in the industry, which will have actors Swara Bhasker and Raveena Tandon, among others as members.
Sushant Singh, general secretary, CINTAA said the organisation is collaborating with several people to eliminate the issue.

Actor Renuka Shahane, filmmaker Amol Gupte, journalist Bharti Dubey, PoSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassement) lawyers and psychologists will also be part of the committee.

"Swara Bhasker approached us, she is a member. She was working on this issue independently, very methodically. When we met her we realised we were on the same page. We are planning to set up a sub-committee which will focus on sexual harassment awareness.

"It includes Swara and lawyer Vrinda Grover who will take a session for the industry. PoSH will also pitch in and counselling sessions, awareness workshops and symposiums will be held," Singh said.

The actor said the organisation aims to make the committee so robust that the industry refuses to work with proven offenders.

"We need to define punishment for what one has done. As a trade union, we can only expel such people from associations. But as an industry, we need to think.

"The committee should be so strong that if someone is held guilty, proven wrong or is a repeat offender, no one should employ them. We will be coordinating with producers, because they are the employers. We need to create such an atmosphere," he said.

Singh said the #MeToo movement has shocked people and changed outlooks about the way things function on ground.

-- PTI
20:32   Rape accused bishop arrives in Jalandhar, supporters shower rose petals on him
Roman Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal, who faces allegations of raping a nun, received a rousing welcome from his supporters when he reached Jalandhar after being released on bail by a Kerala court.
Mulakkal smiled as followers showered rose petals on him. Till a few weeks ago, he held charge as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese.
The bishop, who was escorted by Punjab police personnel, did not talk to the media.
He was granted conditional bail by the Kerala High Court on Monday, and released from a jail near Kottayam a day later.
He was arrested on September 21 after being accused of repeatedly raping and sexually abusing a nun between 2014 and 2016.
As the demands for his arrest grew, the Vatican temporarily relieved him of all pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese of the Missionaries of Jesus.
While granting bail, the court had directed him to surrender his passport and not to enter home state Kerala except for appearing before the probe officer once in two weeks.
In her complaint to the Kottayam Police in June, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.
The nun said in her complaint that she had to approach the police as the church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints.
Mulakkal, however, has denied the charges as "baseless and concocted," insisting she levelled them as the Catholic order had rejected her demands for favours.

-- PTI
19:20   Akbar's resignation "victory of truth": Congress
The Congress termed as "victory of truth" the resignation of union minister M J Akbar following charges of sexual harassment against him.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said she saluted those women who stood on their charges against the minister bravely despite the "brazen" stance taken by the government.

"This resignation is a vindication of the power of truth. More strength to India's women," she said.

"The resignation of MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar after serious charges were levelled against him by senior women journalists who worked with him is a vindication of the power of truth even if it began with one brave person speaking up," she  said.

The Congress leader hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what she said was  his "silence" in the matter. 

"I salute these women who stood their ground despite the brazen stance of the GoI, silence of the PM who speaks about women empowerment, the arrogant misuse of power by deploying a battery of lawyers against one woman and allowing the accused to continue in his role," Chaturvedi said in a tweet.

Alleging that using threat and intimidation as a tool to silence voices has become the norm of the Modi government, she said but this brazenness is returning to haunt them. 

"The women of the country are saying the time for this is up&threat to silence voices can no longer be the norm or acceptable," she said.

Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev termed Akbar's stepping down as a "moral victory" for everyone and sought support for the #MeToo movement across party lines.

 "M J Akbar's resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can't change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines," she tweeted.
" I admire the courage of @priyaramani & all the victims who spoke out against sexual harassment & abuse. @mjakbar s resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can't change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines.

-- PTI 
18:30   Delhi Police seeks non-bailable warrant against former BSP leader's son
The Delhi Police Wednesday sought a non-bailable warrant against the son of a former BSP  MP for allegedly brandishing a gun at guests and threatening them in the foyer of a five-star hotel here, a video of which went viral on the social media, police said.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Police had also sent a show-cause notice to the The Hyatt Regency for alleged negligence in the matter.

The accused, Ashish  Pandey, hails from Lucknow and is the son of former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Rakesh Pandey. His brother, Ritesh Pandey, is an MLA in Uttar Pradesh.
18:03   Singer Shweta Pandit accuses Anu Malik of harassment
Singer Shweta Pandit Wednesday accused music composer Anu Malik of harassment when she was a minor.
In a lengthy post on Twitter, the singer accused Malik of being a "pedophile and sexual predator", saying he misbehaved with her when she was a greenhorn in the Hindi music industry.

"It was the year 2000 when I was launched as a lead singer with 'Mohabbatein' and was trying to get other good songs to follow up with the success of that soundtrack and the outstanding welcome it gave me in the music industry," she said.

Pandit said she was an admirer of the musician and was thrilled when she got a call from Malik's manager to come to Andheri's Empire Studio in mid 2001 to meet him. 

"He was recording a group song with Sunidhi and Shaan for the film 'Awara Pagal Deewana', when my mother and I walked in the monitor room. He told me to wait in the small cabin inside where singers sang at Empire studio. It was just him and me there," she said.

Malik then asked Pandit to sing a few lines for a voice test. 

"I sang it well so he said, 'I'll give you this song with Sunidhi and Shaan but first give me a kiss now'. He then smiled, what I'd recall the most evil grin I've seen. I went numb and pale in the face. I was only 15 years old then, still in school," she said.

"Can anyone even imagine what it felt that moment? It felt like someone had just stabbed me in my stomach. I referred to this man as 'Anu uncle' he knew my entire family for decades and knew us as a respected gharana of musicians...," said Pandit, who is the grandniece of veteran Classical singer Pandit Jasraj.

Calling it the "worst experience of my life", the singer said she was depressed for months after the incident and could not even bring it up with her parents. 

A week ago, singer Sona Mohapatra had also called Malik as a "serial predator".

When contacted for a response to Pandit's allegatins, Malik said, "No comments. This is ridiculous. I don't want to talk about it. Today anyone says anything."

-- PTI
17:50   As women we feel vindicated: Priya Ramani after MJ Akbar resigns
Beleaguered union minister M J Akbar on Wednesday stepped down from his position amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations against him in the wake of #MeToo movement. In a terse statement, the Minister of State (External Affairs) said he will challenge the false accusation levelled against him in his personal capacity.

Priya Ramani, the first to come forward about Akbar's harassment, on Twitter issued a statement. It read, "As women we feel vindicated by MJ Akbars resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court."

Akbar's criminal defamation complaint against Ramani is scheduled to come up for hearing on Thursday in the Patiala House court in New Delhi. 
Akbar's lawyer Sandeep Kapur of law firm Karanjawala & Co said that the private criminal defamation case will come up for hearing on Thursday before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.

Kapur said since the matter is subjudice, the law will take its own course.

"Since we have already filed the defamation case, we will pursue it in the court," he said.

Akbar on Monday had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani alleging she "wilfully" and "maliciously" made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing.
17:30   Vinta Nanda files police complaint against Alok Nath
Writer-director Vinta Nanda, who has accused actor Alok Nath of raping her, submitted a complaint against the actor at a police station in Mumbai on Wednesday. Police said they were yet to register an FIR in the case. In a social media post last week, Nanda had alleged that the actor had raped her 19 years ago.

Nath had refuted the allegations and also filed a civil defamation suit against Nanda. A senior police official said Nanda submitted her complaint against Nath at Oshiwara police station. "She gave a written application and our inquiry is on," he added.

Meanwhile, Nanda in a statement said the police were "very cooperative" and a woman police sub-inspector recorded her statement. "It was not easy for me to give my statement as it is like reliving your pain," Nanda said.

Following Nanda's rape accusations, Nath had Monday filed a civil suit in a court here and sought Re 1 as damages for allegedly defaming him. Nath's wife Ashu had also recorded her statement before a magistrate in connection with her complaint against Nanda and sought that defamation proceedings be initiated against the writer-director.

She told the court that their (Nath and Ashu's) reputation has been damaged because of the allegations levelled by Nanda.

Nath and his wife, in their complaint, said, "Without commenting on anything about her (Nanda), the fact remains that all such occasions, such as the #MeToo campaign, are being encashed by way of utilising the social media for the purpose of either gaining some name and fame or for the purpose of defaming the reputation of a person."

Nanda had alleged that the actor had raped her 19 years ago. Although she did not name Nath in her social media post, she referred to him as the actor who is known as the "most Sanskari person" in the field of acting. Nath is known for playing characters endorsing 'moral values' in films such as "Maine Pyaar Kiya", "Hum Aapke Hain Koun!", "Hum Saath Saath Hain" and "Vivah". PTI
17:20   Sabarimala protests: 30 arrested in Pamba so far
A total of 30 people have been arrested in Pamba since Tuesday in connection with protests against the entry of women of menstruating age inside the temple premises.

Nine people were arrested on Tuesday and 21 on Wednesday.At least 50 people, including former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan, were taken into police custody in Pamba and Nilakkal for protesting against the entry of women.

Members of the Congress party also held a peaceful protest in Nilakkal.Madhavi, a 45-year-old woman along with her son from Andhra Pradesh, returned mid-way from her journey to the temple after facing protests.

It is for the first time that the temple will be opening for devotees after the Supreme Court that lifted all the restrictions on entry of women to the holy shrine. The temple, which opens at 5 pm today, will close on October 23. -- ANI
17:15   RBI refuses more time to Rana Kapoor, tells Yes Bank to appoint new chief by Feb 1
The Reserve Bank has refused to give an extension to Yes Bank MD and CEO Rana Kapoor and asked the bank to appoint a new chief by February 1, 2019, the private lender said Wednesday.

The Yes Bank board had sought at least a three-month extension for Kapoor from the RBI beyond January 31, 2019. "The Reserve Bank of India has reaffirmed that a successor to Shri Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES Bank should be appointed by February 1, 2019," the lender said in a stock exchange filing.

The RBI had earlier curtailed the three-year term that the board had sought for Kapoor, also one of the promoters of the bank, to January 31, 2019, and asked the bank to find a replacement. Yes Bank shares dropped 6.85 per cent to close at Rs 231.75 apiece on BSE. -- PTI
17:12   We welcome the step: NCW chief
National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma on MJ Akbar's resignation: We welcome the step. Women should be more courageous and take it to logical conclusion. They should take such cases to the court and believe in the law.

Not a single union minister except for Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi has come out in support of the women who accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment and molestation.

To bring you up to speed with the case, least 15 women journalists have openly come out with harassment allegations against Akbar.

Ghazala Wahab, wrote a detailed and searing account of her experience of working under Akbar at the Asian Age. She said that repeatedly molested her and harassed until she had no choice but to quit.

In fact, it was former Mint Lounge editor Priya Ramani who set the ball rolling on India's MeToo movement, by calling out Akbar in a tweet. Ramani had written about her experience in a Vogue India article in October 2017 where she said a 'celebrity editor' without naming him for his inappropriate behaviour with women journalists.

She also described how Akbar set up interviews with women journalists in hotel rooms "with drinks at hand". She then publicly identified Akbar as the central character of her article.
17:02   First reactions to Akbar quitting from the media
Suhasini Haidar @suhasinih
MoS MJ Akbar resigns. It took e days, and more than 20 women to come out and accuse him of sexual harassment, after he refused to step down on Sunday. Says he is resigning ahead of legal process for defamation case.

Sonia Faleiro @soniafaleiro  Congratulations women of India.

Maya Mirchandani @maya206  MJAkbar resigns. Cites legal battle that hes fighting in a personal capacity as the reason. I can name 20 other reasons- and they are all names of women who have accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. #MeToo #MeTooIndia

Shiv Aroor  @ShivAroor  MJ Akbars resignation a day after he was called on by NSA Ajit Doval. Of course, well never know if this had anything to do with MJ agreeing to step down today. (Grab via @PoulomiMSaha)

Nilanjana Roy  @nilanjanaroy  So much respect for @priyaramani and the 32 or more women who stood up so bravely. (He should drop that defamation suit, too.) + If your response to #MeToo has been "why didn't they speak earlier": it took days and the voices of over 30 women under tremendous pressure, to get one man to be even slightly accountable. (Not fully: the defamation suit is still on.)  Do you start to see how deep this goes?
16:58   Union minister MJ Akbar resigns
MJ Akbar resigns as Minister of State (External Affairs). Akbar, issues a statement saying, "Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem  it appropriate to step down and challenge the false accusations levied against me in my personal capacity."

Akbar also thanked PM Modi and External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for giving him the opportunity to serve the country.

Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women journalists, when he was an editor with the Asian Age and the Telegraph, has been under pressure to step down. Hours after returning from a trip to Africa, the Union minister issued a statement trashing the charges against him, saying accusations without evidence has become a "viral fever" among some sections and filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.

Ramani on Monday asserted that she was ready to fight the defamation  complaint and expressed disappointment over the minister's statement, saying it paid no heed to the "trauma and fear of the survivors". "I am ready to fight the allegations of defamation laid against me as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence," she had said.

Yesterday, over 20 women journalists, who worked with The Asian Age newspaper, came out in support Ramani. The journalists have urged the court to hear their testimonies against Akbar, claiming that some of them suffered sexual harassment by the minister and others have been a witness to it.
16:46   Vinta Nanda files police complaint against Alok Nath
Filmmaker Vinta Nanda files a complaint at the Oshiwara police station against actor Alok Nath. She has mentioned the details of the sexual assault in the complaint and the Mumbai police has assured her that an FIR will be filed after a thorough investigation of the case. She said, "Now the due process has to be followed. The defamation notice was served to me post office hours last night and my lawyers have worked overnight. Right now they are in Dindoshi Court and are responding to it."
16:10   NCW takes note of attack on women scribes at Sabarimala
National Commission for Women takes cognizance of the attack on women journalists at Sabarimala. A meeting is underway at NCW office for further steps to be taken. 
16:08   Sensex succumbs to profit-booking, tanks 383 points
Surrendering early gains completely, the benchmark Sensex Wednesday fell 383 points to end below the 35,000-mark in highly volatile trade, breaking three sessions of gains as investors booked profits amid caution ahead of Reliance Industries' second quarter earnings.

The flagship index swung nearly 880 points both ways on alternate bouts of buying and selling during the session. Sentiments also hurt by liquidity concerns that dragged down non-banking financial stocks.

Overall sentiment was cautious as investors were on a wait-and-watch mode ahead of financial results from Reliance Industries, to be released later in the day, brokers said.

After a gap up opening at 35,543.38 points, the Sensex advanced to hit a high of 35,605.43 points in early trade on the back of better-than-expected Q2 earnings posted by tech major Infosys on Tuesday.
15:59   Protesters playing dirty politics may not be devotees: Kerala minister
KK Shailaja, Kerala Minister, gets it right: Speaking to news agency ANI, she said, "I can predict what is going on there (Sabarimala), I think it is intentional. It's dirty politics they (protesters) are playing. We can't say if they are actual devotees. Supreme Court's order is Constitutional and the govt is bound to implement it."

Some women journalists faced the ire of a section of protesters agitating against the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age into the Sabariamala temple and their vehicles attacked Wednesday.

The women reporters of two national TV channels on their way to Pamba for news coverage were blocked by a violent crowd which was seen banging their cars while shouting they go back as a tense situation prevailed in the area. The journalists were forced to get out of the vehicles by the crowd of men, protesting against the apex court order lifting the ban on entry of women in the age group of 10-50 to enter the famous hill temple of Lord Ayyappa at nearby Sabarimala. Police intervened and escorted them to safety.

In another incident, a woman reporter of an English online media organisation was asked to get down from a state-owned KSRTC bus, one of the entry points to the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa which opened for the first time Wednesday after the apex court order.

The crowd which virtually took control of the Nilackal area also hurled stones at vehicles, including the KSRTC buses on way to Pamba. Stones were also pelted at Police vehicles.
15:31   Godman Rampal, 13 followers sentenced to life term in another case
A Haryana court sentenced self-styled godman Rampal and his 13 followers to life imprisonment in a second case of murder Wednesday. The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge in Hisar sentenced Rampal, 67, and his followers in the case registered at Barwala police station in the district on November 19, 2014. They had been charged with murder, wrongful confinement of people and criminal conspiracy. A woman was found dead at Rampal's Ashram in Hisar district on November 19, 2014. Rampal was arrested the same day for murder and other charges were slapped on him. -- PTI
15:28   'We are going back to the Supreme Court'
Here's a backgrounder on Rahul Easwar, the face of the protests on the entry of women devotees to Sabarimala.

Minutes after the Supreme Court ruled 4:1 in favour of allowing women's entry into the Sabarimala temple last month, Easwar, president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and one of the activists who backed the ban on the entry of women between the ages of 10 to 50 inside the shrine, said he would file a review petition against the verdict next week. Read the interview with's Syed Firdaus Ashraf here.
15:25   Northern Irish author Anna Burns wins Man Booker prize
Anna Burns has become the first Northern Irish author to win the Man Booker prize, taking the 50,000 award for Milkman, her timely, Troubles-set novel about a young woman being sexually harassed by a powerful man, reports the Guardian.

The experimental novel, Burns's third, is narrated by an unnamed 18-year-old girl, known as "middle sister', who is being pursued by a much older paramilitary figure, the milkman. It is "incredibly original', according to the Booker's chair of judges, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah.

"None of us has ever read anything like this before,' said Appiah, announcing the win at a dinner at the Guildhall in London. 
15:18   Rahul Easwar, activist supporting women's ban to Sabarimala, detained
Sabarimala update: Rahul Easwar, a social activist and president of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and one of the activists who backed the ban on the entry of women, has been detained as a preventive measure at Pamba.  He is the son of the head priest of the Sabarimala shrine.

PTI also reports that senior minister, EP Jayarajan said that protertors would invite "Ayyappa dosham" (the wrath of Lord Ayyappa) for blocking devotees who go to Sabarimala after taking vrata (penance).He also said the ongoing agitation was "anti-people, anti-constitutional and anti-law". The government will give protection to devotees who are coming to offer worship at Sabarimala," he said in Thiruvananthapuram.

More than 50 people, including former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan, were taken into custody in Nilakkal and Pamba for protesting against entry of women into Sabarimala temple.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has warned of "stern action' against those who prevent devotees from going to Sabarimala. "We will ensure security to all. Nobody will be allowed to take law into their hands. My government will not allow any violence in the name of Sabarimala," Vijayan said and ruled out any rethink of his government's decision against seeking a review of the Supreme Court order.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which runs the hill-shrine, met the Tantri (head priest) family, the Pandalam royals and members of the Ayyappa Seva Sangam on Tuesday to reach a consensus on the issue and will further discuss it.
14:35   Sabarimala: Women reporters attacked, vehicles vandalised
An angry mob protesting against the entry of women into Kerala's Sabarimala temple went on a rampage and attacked women and journalists covering the protests. Four women journalists from Republic TV, CNN News18, Aaj Tak and the News Minute were heckled, slapped and stones thrown at the vehicles they were travelling in.  

Pooja Prasanna of Republic TV, the News Minute's Saritha Balan and CNN-News18's reporter Radhika Ramaswamy were surrounded by angry protesters, who vanadlised the vehicle.The mob repeatedly beat against the windows as Radhika and her crew were trapped inside.

Around 50 people chanting Ayyappa slogans surrounded the vehicles the reporters were travelling in aggressively punched and banged the car's windshields and windows, in an attempt to break them. Republic TV sais their reporter's car's rear bumper and rear windshield were both broken in the attack.

The channel also reported that the journalist and the rest of the camera crew were attacked and slapped by the mob after they stepped out of the car.  The crew's equipment was also snatched by the protesters.

The News Minute's Saritha Balan was violently attacked in Nilakkal. CNN-News18's crew and reporter Radhika Ramaswamy surrounded by angry protesters, who vanadlised the vehicle.The mob repeatedly beat against the windows as Radhika and her crew were trapped inside.

Nilakkal, which is 20 kilometres from Sabarimala, is the only route to reach Pamba, a reason why protest groups camped here to ensure that women did not enter. The police removed the tent set up by the devotee group under the name of Sabarimala Samrakshana Samiti. Another protest tent set up by the Congress at Nilakkal has been left as it is.

IMAGE: Women protesters check Sabarimala bound vehicles at Nilakkal to ensure that no women in the age group between 10 and 50 are going to Lord Ayyappa temple in dense forests at Sabarimala. Photograph: PTI
14:03   We were all aware of casting couch in Hollywood: Micheal Caine
Veteran actor Michael Caine has said casting couch was an open secret in Hollywood. The 85-year-old actor said though he knew about producers like Harvey Weinstein asking for sexual favours from aspiring starlets in return for a role, he did not know the extent of the problem.

"In Hollywood, we were all aware of the casting couch. It was almost a joke. We knew it existed. But my view of the casting couch was that a young lady went to do an audition, the producer said, 'Well you've got the part if you did this', she said 'I'm not doing that' and he said 'well you haven't got the part' and she left.

"I thought it was terribly unfair that a talented actress might not get a part because she wouldn't do something sexual with the producer. But it happened and there was nothing I could do about it. I was a nobody in Hollywood. I didn't have the power of the big producers. But I never thought there were any actual physical attacks," Caine told Radio Times magazine.

The "King of Thieves" actor said he believes Weinstein's scandal will serve as an example for others in the wake of the #MeToo juggernaut. "I did three pictures with him. Harvey was a single character in himself. But there is one great thing if it can be described like that, about Harvey and his behaviour. It's that actresses are safe now.

"No producer would dare to do anything sexually, because he knows he's going to wind up in court, which is exactly where Harvey is," he said.
-- PTI
13:25   It's Hindu renaissance Vs obscurantism: Swamy on Sabarimala row
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday strongly endorsed women's entry into Kerala's Sabarimala Temple, asserting that it is wrong to go against the Supreme Court's verdict, which allowed the entry of women of menstruating age inside the temple premises.

Swamy said, "The Supreme Court has made a decision, but now you (protestors) are saying that it's our tradition. Triple Talaq is also a tradition in that way, everybody was applauding when it was abolished. The same Hindus have come on the streets now. It's a fight between Hindu Renaissance and Obscurantism. Renaissance says all Hindus are equal and caste system should be abolished. Because no Brahmin today is only intellectual, they're in the cinema, business as well. Where is it written that caste is from birth? Shastras can be amended."

Asserting his point, he added, "There is no such thing as God-given tradition. Tradition is what people have been saying for so many years. In our Hindu system, we have Vedas, Upanishads etc which are God-given messages. God directly has communicated with our sages who have documented it. Then there is a question of a code of behavior, for which there are 'Shastras' and now we have a constitution which is our Shastras. According to the constitution's Article 14, read with morality condition of Article 25, it is said that subject to morality worship is a fundamental right. Hence Supreme Court has given a verdict and now it should be implemented. This is the job of the state to implement it and if the state is incompetent it should ask for Centre's help." -- ANI
12:54   Two below-50 women attempt Sabarimala trek, forced to turn back
Sabarimala: Another woman from Alappuzha district of Keala, said to be in the below 50 years age group, who was on the way to Sabarimala armed with the Supreme Court order was stopped from proceeding at the Pathanamthitta bus terminal by passengers.

The passengers including women chanting Ayyappa mantra urged the woman, Liby, not to violate the centuries-old custom of the shrine where women in the menstruating age group are not allowed.

Liby said she would climb the hills and no one had the right to violate the freedom granted by the Supreme Court. The woman was later escorted out to the bus station by the police.

Madhavi, the woman from Andhra Pradesh, also in the below 50 years' age
group, who tried to climb the Sabarimala Hills to reach the Lord Ayyappa temple, returned to Pamba following protests by male devotees. She had trekked 200 metres towards the shrine but was forced to turn back after devotees against the SC order, intimidated them chanting the Ayyappa mantra as they walked by her side. 

Image: In Pamba, the final point before the Sabarimala shrine, police detain people protesting against the entry of women in the age group of 10-50.
12:44   Sabarimala: Andhra woman devotee forced to turn back fearing violence
Protesters force a 40-year-old woman, Madhavi and her family from Andhra Pradesh, to abandon their visit to the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. Madhavi, accompanied by her parents and children, set off for the pilgrimage on the Swami Ayyapan road, but 10 minutes into their trek they had to abandon their plan due to protests and intimidation. They alleged the police did not offer protection and escort them to the shrine.

The Sabarimala Temple opened to the public for the first time since the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter and offer prayers to the deity Lord Ayyappa.

Social activist Rahul Easwar on Wednesday said that the believers of the old age tradition will stage a peaceful protest to stop women from entering the temple premises.

Police have been deployed in large numbers in Nilackal, some 20 km away from the Sabarimala hilltop. A protesting group of devotees had been staging a sit-in chanting the Ayyappa mantra in the shelter in protest against the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

The protesting people, who were less in numbers, ran from the spot when the police initiated action in the early hours Wednesday when they tried to block the buses from the key entry point to the temple.
12:25   Security forces allegedly thrash some journalists covering Srinagar encounter
Security forces allegedly thrashed some media personnel who were covering an encounter with militants in the city here, a journalist present at the spot said Wednesday.

Though the police refused to comment on the alleged incident, a PTI photojournalist present there gave a first-hand account. There were several media personnel who were covering the encounter when some police personnel asked them to leave, he said.

However, the media personnel stood their ground, leading to an altercation between 3-4 scribes and police, following which they allegedly thrashed three journalists.
11:51   Bengal govt to use Bondhu app for tracing lost pandal-hoppers
The West Bengal government is using a citizen utility mobile phone app to help locate Durga puja revellers who get lost during pandal hopping and tackle the issue of human trafficking, West Bengal minister Shashi Panja has said.

The city police had last year launched the 'Bondhu' app to help people lodge grievances and alert cops at Lalbazar control room in case of any danger by pressing the panic button.

Several incidents have been reported in the past when people, visiting the city during Durga puja, were lost in the crowd and later spotted by the police, who helped them return to their families, she said.

"There are instances when people deliberately leave behind their children or old parents by taking advantage of the huge number of people visiting the pandals during Durga puja," the Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare told PTI.

Unattended children are also vulnerable to fall in the trap of human traffickers during the festival, she said. "Keeping in mind that people do not get lost and fall prey to the human traffickers, we have decided to take help of the Bondhu app to help those lost in the crowd to reunite them with their families," Panja said.

In fact, after an understanding with the Kolkata Police, the department has arranged for eight decorated child-friendly vans in each of the eight divisions under the police jurisdiction, Panja said. -- PTI
11:47   Man orders mobile phone from online site, gets brick instead
A man in Aurangabad in Maharashtra has filed a complaint against a leading online retailer for allegedly sending him a piece of brick instead of a mobile handset that he ordered, police said Wednesday.

Gajanan Kharat told the police that on October 9, he placed an order for a mobile phone on the shopping site and also paid Rs 9,134 for it, Harsul police station inspector Manish Kalyankar said. Kharat subsequently received a message from the e-commerce company that the product would be delivered in a week's time. The man received a packet from the retailer last Sunday.

However, when he opened it, he allegedly found a piece of brick inside it instead of the mobile handset, Kalyankar said. The man then called up the courier delivery man, who told him that their responsibility was only to deliver the parcel and not to see what was inside it, he said. Kharat lodged a complaint Tuesday against the e-commerce company at the Harsul police station here. The police official said they have registered a case under IPC sections pertaining to cheating and are probing it. -- PTI
11:39   Top UN rights official calls for impartial probe into Khashoggi's disappearance
Saudi Arabia and Turkey should "reveal everything" they know about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, a top UN human rights official has said while demanding a "thorough and impartial" probe into the whereabouts of the dissident Saudi journalist.

Khashoggi, 60, is feared to have been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The incident has resulted in a global outrage, more so in the US as he lived there as a legal permanent resident and worked for 'The Washington Post'.

Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities suspect he was abducted and murdered by the Saudis. But Riyadh insists that the journalist, a known critic of Saudi King Salman, had left the building and that murder claims are "baseless".

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to "reveal everything they know" about the disappearance and a possible extra-judicial killing of the prominent journalist.

Bachelet urged the authorities of both the countries "to ensure that no further obstacles are placed in the way of a prompt, thorough, effective, impartial and transparent investigation". She welcomed the agreement that has allowed investigators to conduct an examination inside the consulate and possibly also at the residence of the Saudi Arabian Consul-General in Istanbul.  -- PTI
11:31   Indias #MeToo Moment Came Late, but It Will Be Transformative
On October 8, the accusations reached the highest levels of the Indian government. In a devastating tweet that linked to an essay she'd written last year, the journalist Priya Ramani accused MJ Akbar, the junior minister for external affairs in Modi's government, of having sexually harassed her when he was a newspaper editor and she was a 23-year-old reporter. "[Y]ou were as talented a predator as you were a writer,' she wrote.

Sonia Faleiro on India's #MeToo movement. Do read
11:14   Who cares about Akbar's Legacy? Look at what his accusers have given India
"Who is MJ Akbar? By the time I started as a reporter, MJ Akbar only came up in stories of women that involved his hotel room and their puzzlement. So his intellectual and professional legacy is not one that I have ever had to engage with. But I have been thinking of the imagery of his defence in the face of detailed and credible accusations of sexual harassment from 14 different women on record. "Lies do not have legs,' he said on 14 October, a day before filing a defamation suit against the most prominent of his accusers, journalist Priya Ramani. Lies do not have legs. A clever sentence meant to be the title of a noir movie or a newspaper headline. It's true, I think, that lies do not have legs. But courage does. Just witnessing acts of courage can make your leaden, cautious self, lift off briefly like the Banksy girl with a whole clutch of balloons."

Read Nisha Susan's column here.
11:01   Three militants killed in encounter
Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in the city on Wednesday, prompting authorities to close down schools and snap internet services, an official said.

One police officer was also killed during the encounter which broke out in the Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar. Several paramilitary personnel have been injured.

Security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Fateh Kadal area of the city following an information about the presence of militants there, he said.

A policeman was also injured during the encounter, a senior police officer said. The operation turned into an encounter after millitants opened fire on security forces.

The operation was going on till last reports came in. The district administration has closed all schools and educational institution in the city as a precautionary measure and internet services on moblie have also been snapped. -- PTI
10:49   'Menstruating women impure is a Dravidian custom'
Protests being held near Pamba base camp against entry of women in the age group 10-50 to Sabarimala Temple.

The chief of tribals living in the hills around Sabarimala, who is called as Mooppen, said considering menstruating women impure is a Dravidian custom and is associated with the worship of nature by the tribal people. "Lord Ayyappa is our God. Restrictions imposed on women of a certain age group from entering the shrine is part of our custom. Following the custom is very important for worshipping at the Lord Ayyappa temple situated in the dense forests. It should not be violated. Impure women should not be allowed in the Sabarimala temple. 
10:40   Sabarimala: Tribals allege govt trying to demolish centuries-old customs
Tribals living in the hills around Sabarimala alleged that the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board were trying to demolish centuries-old customs by allowing entry of women in the 10-50 age group into the famous Sabarimala temple.

They claimed that restrictions imposed on women in the menstruating age group were part of a custom prevailing in tribal societies living in the forests in Kerala.

They also claimed several rights of the tribal communities over the Sabarimala temple and the places associated with the hill shrine were forcibly taken away from them by the authorities of the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple.

"The Devaswom Board has even taken control of tribal Gods and devasthanams in various hills around Sabarimala," said 70-year-old V K Narayanan, chief of the forest-dwellers in the Attathodu area. -- PTI
10:36   Sabarimala: 500-strong posse of policemen evict protestors opposing women
Tension runs high in Kerala's Nilackal, the main gateway to Sabarimala, this morning after the police used force to disperse devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The police, deployed in large numbers in Nilackal, which is roughly 20 kilometres away from the Sabarimala hilltop, also removed a makeshift shelter erected by a protesting group Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti.

The protesting group of devotees had been staging a sit-in chanting Ayyappa mantra in the shelter in protest against the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

Police have said they will not let anyone to block the movement of devotees to the shrine and warned against those who create hurdles. The police took strong action against protesters after some of them checked the vehicles heading to Pamba and prevented the women in the age group of 10 and 50 from entering the hill shrine.

A couple from Tamil Nadu, aged 45 and 40, on their way to Pamba, were forced to get off the KSRTC bus Monday night allegedly by some activists of the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti. Although the couple had said that they would go only up to Pamba and not climb Sabarimala, the activists prevented them.

Around 500 police personnel, including women, have been deployed in Nilackal to ensure a safe passage to the pilgrims to the Lord Ayyappa temple.
10:08   Zainab Ansari's rapist executed in Pakistan
Seven-year-old Zainab Ansari's rapist was executed by Pakistan in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail at 5:30 am (local time) on Wednesday.

The rapist, Imran Ali, was executed in the presence of Magistrate Adil Sarwar and Zainab's father Muhammad Amin. An ambulance also arrived at the spot, along with Ali's brother and two of his friends, Geo TV reported.

The jail authorities arranged a 45-minute meeting for the convict and his family on Tuesday, before the impending execution.

Ali was sentenced to 21 counts of death, three life sentences and 23 years in jail by an Anti-Terrorism Court in February after being nabbed by the police forces on January 23, according to ARY News.

Ali had confessed to raping nine girls, including Zainab Ansari, whose body was found from a garbage heap on January 9 after she went missing from her aunt's house on January 4. Autopsy reports indicated that the minor had been raped before being strangulated to death.

The minor's death sparked international outrage, as DNA tests confirmed Ali's role in the girl's rape and eventual death. A Joint Investigation Team was formed to nab the accused, who was taken into custody within the three-day time limit set by Pakistan's Supreme Court. -- ANI
09:40   Rupee gains 6 paise against US dollar
The rupee strengthened by 6 paise to 73.42 against the US dollar in early trade on Wednesday on increased selling of the American currency by exporters and banks.

Forex dealers said weakness in the dollar against some currencies overseas and a higher opening of domestic equity markets gave some support to the rupee.

On Tuesday, the rupee had climbed 35 paise to close at nearly two-week high of 73.48 per dollar amid softening crude oil prices and easing concerns over the trade deficit. Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex jumped 391.18 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 35,553.66 in the opening trade. -- PTI
09:19   Pompeo to visit Turkey for talks on missing Saudi journalist, bilateral issues
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit Turkey to hold talks on key bilateral issues and the disappearance of Saudi Arabia's dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to his spokesperson.
Khashoggi, 59, a Washington Post contributor, is feared killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He has not been seen since entering the kingdom's mission two weeks ago.
Pompeo, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, will travel to Ankara on Wednesday, his spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
"In Ankara, the Secretary will meet with Turkish Foreign Minister (Mevlt) Cavusoglu to welcome the decision to release Pastor Andrew Brunson and to discuss other issues of bilateral importance," Nauert said.
"The Secretary will also discuss the Jamal Khashoggi case and reiterate the US offer to assist Turkey in its investigation," she said in a brief statement.
Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi journalist who lived in the US as a legal permanent resident, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish investigative agencies have said that he was brutally killed inside the consulate, claiming to have audio and video evidence.
So far Saudi Arabia has denied the allegation and said that Khashoggi had left the consulate. Some US media reports said that Saudi Arabia is planning to come out with a repot in which it is expected to say that the interrogation of Khashoggi went wrong and he was killed in the process.
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia has started a full investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi. -- PTI  
09:17   Northern Irish writer Anna Burns wins 2018 Booker Prize for 'Milkman'
Author Anna Burns has won the Man Booker Prize for her novel Milkman, becoming the first author from Northern Ireland to win the most prestigious English-language literary award.
Burns, 56, who was born in Belfast, is the 17th woman to bag the award in its 49-year history and the first woman since 2013. It was her third novel.
Milkman, a coming of age story of a young woman's affair with a married man set in the political troubles of Northern Ireland, was named the winner at a lavish awards ceremony in London on Tuesday night.
"None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns' utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose," said Kwame Anthony Appiah, the chair of the 2018 judging panel.
"It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life," he said.
The recipient of the Man Booker Prize gets 52,500 pounds (USD 69,223 or Rs 50.85 lakh).
Burns, who lives in East Sussex in England, saw off competition from two British writers, two American writers and one Canadian writer.
Set in an unnamed city, Milkman focuses on a "middle sister" as she navigates her way through rumour, social pressures and politics in a tight-knit community.
Burns shows the dangerous and complex impact on a woman coming of age in a city at war.
Unusually, in the book, the characters have designations rather than names.
Burns explains: "The book didn't work with names. It lost power and atmosphere and turned into a lesser or perhaps just a different book.
"In the early days I tried out names a few times, but the book wouldn't stand for it. The narrative would become heavy and lifeless and refuse to move on until I took them out again. Sometimes the book threw them out itself".
Her novel beat competition from Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, who, at 27, was the youngest nominee in the Man Booker prize history.
The other nominees were The Long Take by Robin Robertson, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, and The Overstory by Richard Powers.
Milkman is published by Faber & Faber, making it the fourth consecutive year the prize has been won by an independent publisher. -- PTI
09:07   Will continue to support #MeToo": Nandita Das over allegations on father
Actor-director Nandita Das on Tuesday broke her silence over the sexual harassment allegations against her father, noted painter Jatin Das, stating that she will continue to lend support to the #MeToo movement.
A woman, who is the co-founder of a paper-making company, Tuesday came forward to claim that she was sexually harassed 14 years ago by Jatin Das, allegations which the painter dismissed as "vulgar".
In a Facebook post, Nandita said despite the "disturbing" allegations against her father, she would continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the women coming forward with stories of abuse and harassment.
She also warned that women need to be "sure" about their allegations before accusing someone.
"As a strong supporter of the #MeToo movement, I want to reiterate that I will continue to add my voice to it, despite the disturbing allegations made against my father, which he has categorically denied," she wrote on the social networking site.
"I have maintained from the very start that this is the time we all need to listen, so that women (and men) feel safe to speak up. At the same time, it is also important to be sure about allegations so as not to dilute the movement," the actor said. 
Nandita said she has received support from "friends and strangers - who are concerned and are trusting my integrity". 
"I do believe truth will prevail. And that is all I have to say on this matter," she asserted. 
Jatin Das is the latest addition to a growing list of men who have been named as part of the #MeToo campaign that has taken the country by storm.
The woman, Nisha Bora, took to Twitter to level the allegations against the noted painter. 
Describing the incident, Bora, who was 28-years-old then, said Das during a dinner event asked whether she "had the time and willingness to assist him for a few days to organise his work material", and after she gave her approval on the second day -- at his Khidki village studio -- he molested her.
"... He attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again... I pushed him away and moved away from him.
"At that moment, he said 'Come on, it would be nice'. Or something like that. What I recall was his disbelief that I was pushing back. I picked my bag... and ran home. Never to speak about it. Until now," she said.
The Padma Bhushan awardee, however, has denied the allegations and said these days a "game" was going on to level allegations against people for the "fun" of it.
He labelled the allegations against him as "vulgar".
"I am shocked. All kinds of things are happening these days... Some people do things and some people make allegations. I don't know her, I have never met her, and even if I did meet somebody somewhere one doesn't behave like this... It is vulgar," Das told PTI.
"There is a game going on, some people are real, have done some things while some people are making allegations for the fun of it," he added. -- PTI
08:55   YouTube suffers global outage for over 30 minutes
Popular video streaming Web site, Youtube suffered from a global outage on Wednesday morning. 

Several users who tried to login, upload or watch content on the platform were confronted with a message -- 'Error 500'.

The website remained inaccessible for over half an hour and social media sites were soon flooded as enraged customers complained about the outage.

Soon, #YouTubeDOWN started trending on Twitter.

Reacting to the complaints, the company issued a statement on Twitter, saying: Thanks for your reports about YouTube, YouTube TV and YouTube Music access issues. Were working on resolving this and will let you know once fixed. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will keep you updated. 

After some time Youtube said that it is working again and users can inform them if the issues still persist. 

"We're back! Thanks for all of your patience. If you continue to experience issues, please let us know," it said.
08:33   Tension prevails in Nilackal ahead of Sabarimala's opening
Tension prevailed on Wednesday morning in Kerala's Nilackal, the main gateway to Sabarimala, after the police used force to disperse devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.
Acting tough, the police, deployed in large numbers in Nilackal, some 20 kms away from the Sabarimala hilltop, also removed a makeshift shelter erected by a protesting group Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti.
The protesting group of devotees had been staging a sit-in chanting Ayyappa mantra in the shelter in protest against the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.
The protesting people, who were less in numbers, ran from the spot when the police initiated action in the early hours Wednesday when they tried to block the buses from the key entry point to the temple.
Hours ahead of opening of the hill shrine for the monthly prayer, the police said they would not let anyone to block the movement of the people.
Taking the full control of Nilackal, Police also warned against those who create hurdles in the ways of pilgrims to the hill shrine.
The police took strong action against the protesters after some of them checked the vehicles heading to Pamba and prevented the women in the age group of 10 and 50 from entering the hill shrine.
A couple from Tamil Nadu, aged 45 and 40, on their way to Pamba, were forced to get down from the KSRTC bus Monday night allegedly by some activists of the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti.
Although the couple had said that they would go only up to Pamba and not climb Sabarimala, the activists prevented them.
The police later took them to safety.
Some activists of the Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti, who had stayed back at Nilackal, also allegedly prevented the media persons from carrying out their professional duty.
Crew of various TV news channels were asked to leave the place. They could return the spot after more policemen were deployed in the area.
00:09   US issues new sanctions against Iran
The United States announced the imposition of fresh sanctions on Iran targeting banks and investment companies.

The new sanctions, the US Treasury said, focused on Bank Mellat and Mehr Eqtesad Bank.

In a conference call with reporters, senior officials said the United States is also imposing sanctions on companies linked to investment, commodities, and engineering.

The now-imposed sanctions were expected as it was reported that more sanctions would be imposed on Iran in November, including barring Iran's sale of crude oil and transactions with its Central Bank.

While speaking at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had lashed out at the sanctions reinstated by the Donald Trump-led United States administration, saying that they amounted to "economic terrorism" and "economic war."

Rouhani's remark came after Trump, in his UNGA speech, announced the re-establishment of sanctions on Iran, scheduled to be put back in place in early November.