Fri, 19 October 2018
Train services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route suspended after accident:

Timeline  Refresh

23:41   Modi approves financial relief of Rs 2 lakh to kin of dead in train accident
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday approved a financial relief of Rs 2 lakh for the family of each deceased in the Amritsar train accident and Rs 50,000 for the injured, a spokesperson said.
58 people were killed and 72 injured Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers, who had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of a Ravana effigy, was run over by a train in Amritsar.
The train was coming from Jalandhar. The incident happened at Joda Phatak where at least 300 people were watching 'Ravana dahan' at a ground near the railway tracks.
"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching," Modi tweeted earlier this evening.
"My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required," he said.
23:17   Train services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route suspended after accident:
All services on Jalandhar-Amritsar route remained suspended three hours after Dussehra revellers standing across railway tracks were mowed down by a train near Amritsar Friday evening, a railway official said.
While some trains are being diverted, many are stationed near Jalandhar, he said.
MoS Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters in New Delhi that medical teams are rushing to the spot. "I am also leaving for the site of the accident. As per initial information, people present near the railway track couldn't hear the sound of the approaching train due to bursting of crackers," he told before leaving for Amritsar.
Railways has issued helpline numbers -- 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485 -- for the kin of those injured and dead in the accident between Manawala and Ferozpur stations near Amritsar. The accident happened around 7 pm, officials said.
Telephone numbers at Manawala station are: 0183-2440024, 0183-2402927; and at Ferozpur: 01632-1072.
At least 58 people -- all Dussehra revellers watching the burning of Ravan effigies near the tracks -- have died. At least 72 are injured.
The death toll, according to local officials, could rise drastically. The railways has so far refused to confirm even one death.
Railway officials termed the dead as "trespassers" and said they were unlikely to get any compensation from the national transporter as they were not passengers.
"Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations," Goyal tweeted from the US, where he had gone to attend an event. He said he is returning to India immediately. -- PTI
22:55   Train tragedy: Punjab CM orders inquiry, declares 1-day mourning
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered an inquiry into the tragic Amritsar train accident in which at least 58 people were killed and 72 injured and declared one-day mourning in the state on Saturday. 
The chief minister, who was scheduled to leave for Israel this evening, has postponed his trip and will fly to Amritsar in the morning to personally supervise relief operations and meet families of the victims of the incident, which occurred during Dussehra festivities, an official statement said.
"The state will remain in mourning tomorrow in view of #Amritsar train mishap. All offices & educational institutions will remain closed," the chief minister tweeted.
"Have set up Crisis Management Group under @BrahmMohindra to monitor relief & rehabilitation efforts in #Amritsar. Won't spare any efforts on part of govt to tackle the crisis," he said in another tweet. 
According to Raveen Thukral, media advisor to the chief minister, initial reports suggest the incident occurred during a stampede, as people rushed towards the tracks when crackers went off during 'Ravan dahan'. 
Reports suggest that the train ploughed through the crowd on the tracks, leading to the tragedy. So far, 40 people have been confirmed dead and many injured. However, the death toll could rise as relief operations are underway, he said.
Additional police force has been rushed to the spot to control the situation in the wake of the incident.
Acting on the chief minister's directives, Rehabilitation Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Health Minister Brahm Mohindra have already rushed to Amritsar to supervise rescue and relief operations.
All private hospitals have been asked to remain open to provide urgent free treatment and care to the injured.
The chief minister said a thorough probe will be conducted into the incident. Why an effigy was allowed to be burnt close to the railway tracks will also be investigated.
Expressing condolences to the families of the deceased, the chief minister has announced immediate ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. -- PTI 
22:29   Amritsar train tragedy: Railways issues helpline numbers
The railways has issued helpline numbers for the kin of those injured and dead in Amritsar train accident on Friday, officials said.
At least 52 people were killed and 72 others after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar, they said.
These numbers can be used reach for information on the incident -- 01832223171 and 01832564485.
Telephone numbers at Manawala station are 0183-2440024, 0183-2402927 and Ferozpur's helpline number is 01632-1072.
MoS Manoj Sinha, Chairman Railway Board Ashwani Lohani, GM/NR Vishwesh Chaubey will take off from Delhi by an Air Force plane at 11pm.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who is in the US, is cancelling all his engagements there to rush back. He tweeted, "Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations."
 Railway officials termed the dead as "trespassers" and said there was no decision so far on any compensation from the national transporter as they were not passengers.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the kin of each deceased and free treatment for the injured.
The death toll, according to local officials could reach 100.
The accident comes days after five people died and around 35 injured after five coaches and the engine of the New Farakka Express derailed near Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on October 12. -- PTI 

Image: Relatives mourn at the site of a train accident at Joda Phatak in Amritsar. Photograph: PTI Photo
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal cancels all engagements in US, immediately returning back to India, PTI reports. 
21:56   'Absolutely devastated'
"Extremely sad news coming about a major train accident near Amritsar I appeal to all our volunteers in the area to help authorities in the relief work and provide whatever help we can in this moment of crisis," tweets Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted,"Absolutely devastated to hear about the tragic train accident in Amritsar. May God grant strength to those who lost a loved one & speedy recovery to the injured." 

"Very very sad to learn about the unfortunate rail incident in Amritsar during Dussehra festivities. My heart goes out to the family members of the victims. Pray that the injured persons recover very quickly," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on Twitter.
Amritsar train accident: Railways issues helpline numbers: 0183-2223171, 0183-2564485.
21:46   Train tragedy: Sidhu's wife left without helping people, claims eyewitness
Congress leader and Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the Ravana effigy burning event where a train ran over 50 people. 

According to an eyewitness, Sidhu's wife was the chief guest at this particular event and she continued to give the speech as people were struck down by the train.

"The Congress had organised Dussehra celebrations here without permission. Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife was the chief guest at the celebrations and she continued to give a speech as people were struck down by the train," he told ANI.

Locals also claimed that they had informed the railways about the Dussehra celebrations, but the train continued to speed.

Navjot Kaur Sidhu, who later was seen in the hospital looking after injured persons, said that she just left the accident site when the incident happened.

"The effigy of Ravan was burnt and I had just left the site when the incident happened. Priority is to get the injured treated. Dussehra celebrations are held there every year," 
She further said, "People who are doing politics over this incident should be ashamed of themselves."

21:08   Railways is conducting immediate relief, rescue ops: Piyush Goyal
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that the railways is conducting immediate relief, rescue ops.

"Shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic train incident that occurred in #Amritsar. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. I pray for the injured to recover quickly. Railways is conducting immediate relief and rescue operations," tweets Goyal.  
21:06   Rahul asks workers to rush to accident spot to provide help
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi asks state government, party workers to provide immediate relief at Amritsar train accident site.

"The train accident in Punjab in which over 50 people have died is shocking. I urge the state government & Congress workers to provide immediate relief at the accident site. My condolences to the families of those who have died. I pray that the injured make a speedy recovery," he tweeted. 
20:55   Punjab CM announces Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for kin of deceased
Punjab chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased and free treatment to injured in government and private hospitals.

"Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing," Singh said on Twitter. 

Singh has also directed home secretary, health secretary and ADGP Law and order to immediately rush to Amritsar. 

Punjab Revenue Minister Sukhbinder Sarkaria has been deputed to immediately reach Amritsar to oversee rescue operations. 
20:49   Amritsar train tragedy is heart-wrenching: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses his condolences on the Amritsar train accident.

"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required," he said on Twitter.
20:36   Centre will provide all possible assistance to Punjab: HM
Home Minister Rajanth Singh on train accident.

Pained beyond words at the loss of precious lives due to a train tragedy during Dussehra festivities in Punjab. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured. I spoke to Home Secretary of Punjab and DGP of the state regarding the train accident in Amritsar. They are rushing to the spot. Centre is ready to provide all possible assistance to the state at this hour of grief.
20:18   UPDATE: Over 50 dead as train runs over people watching Ravan burning in Punjab
Over 50 people were killed on Friday evening after a crowd of Dussehra revellers that had spilled onto railway tracks while watching burning of Ravana effigy was run over by a train near Amritsar in Punjab, officials said. 

"There are more than 50 casualties. We are evacuating people, injured were taken to the hospital", a police official told ANI.
The train was coming from Jalandhar to Amritsar.
At least 300 people were at the spot watching 'Ravan dahan', sources said. 
Further details are awaited. 
20:03   Many feared dead in train mishap in Punjab
Several people were feared dead as train travelling to Amritsar from Pathankot ran over a group of people watching Dusshera celebrations in Amritsar. 

According to reports, over a dozen people have been killed in the accident.

More details are awaited.

Representative image 
19:52   Flood alert in Arunachal after landslide forms artificial lake in China
Districts along the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh have been put on high alert for possible flash floods after China informed India about a landslide blocking a river in Tibet leading to formation of an artificial lake, officials said on Friday. 
A senior official of the Union water resources ministry said the flood water is likely to reach Arunachal Pradesh by Friday night. 
Chinese Embassy spokesperson Counselor Ji Rong said that his country has activated the 'Emergency Information Sharing Mechanism' with India following the landslide on Wednesday morning near Jiala Village in Milin County in the lower ranges of Yaluzangbu river in Tibet. 
The Indian official said, "They (China) first informed us on Wednesday about  the landslide and creation of an artificial lake. Water is over-topping (breaching).  It will reach Arunachal Pradesh and cross the high flood level by Friday night." 
The reason cited behind the landslide was "natural  causes". 
The official added that districts along Siang have been put on high alert.
The water will cross "high flood mark" and the situation is being  monitored at the highest  level, the official added.  
"The data is being shared on hourly basis," the official said.
Yaluzangbu river is called Siang when it enters Arunachal Pradesh and Brahmaputra in Assam.
Ji said the Hydrological Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region has begun to share with the Indian side hydrological information every hour, such as the water level and flow rate at the Nuxia hydrological station and the temporary hydrological station downstream of the barrier lake.
The Chinese side will closely monitor situation of the barrier lake, and continue to notify the Indian side the follow-up developments through bilaterally agreed channels timely, he said.
The Chinese side has been keeping close communication with the Indian side on Yaluzangbu River hydrological information, reflecting another positive gesture of implementing the Wuhan consensus between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ji said.
In April this year, President Xi and Prime Minister Modi reached important consensus on promoting China-India all-round cooperation during the informal summit in Wuhan. -- PTI 
19:14   Swami Paripoornananda joins BJP
Swami Paripoornananda, founder of Hindu Vahini, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party Friday, with party president Amit Shah expressing confidence that the addition will boost his party's prospects in the Telangana assembly election.
Shah said Paripoornananda has made a big contribution in the fields of social service and religious activities in south India and his presence in the party will strengthen it a lot, especially in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
"His joining the BJP will infuse new energy into the party and boost its election prospects in Telangana," Shah, flanked by Paripoornananda and party general secretary Ram Madhav, told reporters.
Paripoornananda said he would work as a 'sevak' of the BJP with zero expectation and spread its message to southern parts of the country.
He was recently externed from Hyderabad by the city police for allegedly making provocative speeches but got a stay on the order from a court.
A Hindutva leader and strong votary of building Ram temple in Ayodhya, he may be fielded by the BJP in election,  party sources said.
The assembly poll in the state would be held on December 7. -- PTI 
19:07   Southwest Monsoon to completely withdraw from country by Oct 20
The Southwest Monsoon will most likely withdraw completely from the country on October 20, the India Meteorological Department said Friday.
The Southwest Monsoon officially starts on June 1 and ends on September 30. Its withdrawal starts from western Rajasthan from September 1.
The official withdrawal date for the monsoon is September 30. However, monsoon continues to linger on in parts of the country. It takes more than a fortnight for the monsoon to completely withdraw from the country.
What precedes Southwest Monsoon is the Northeast Monsoon that gives rain to several parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.
"Southwest Monsoon has fully not withdrawn from the country. We expect monsoon to withdraw completely from the country on October 20," Sathi Devi, head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre of the IMD, said.
The Southwest Monsoon is the lifeline of the country that not only aids agriculture, the prime contributor to the GDP, but has a far reaching impact on the economy.
This year, the country received rainfall 91 per cent of Long Period Average, which falls under the "below normal" category. The east and northeast India, including Bihar, West Bengal and northeastern states witnessed maximum rainfall deficiency.
On the other hand, Kerala witnessed unprecedented rainfall and subsequent flooding. -- PTI 
18:24   PM slays Ravan at Ramlila Maidan
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi fires the arrow to burn the effigy of Ravana during Dusherra celebrations at Ramlila Maidan.
18:15   President, PM at Dussehra celebrations
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi take part in Dusshera celebrations at Delhi's Ramlila maidan.
17:55   Sabarimala row: Congress blames state government
Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of opposition in Kerala Assembly, has blamed Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government in the state for failing to assess the situation that led to the row around women's entry in Sabarimala Temple.

Chennithala said that it was the state government's duty to strike a proper balance between the Supreme Court judgement and the sentiments of the devotees.

He further attacked Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the BJP for making the issue a boiling point. "This issue would have been tackled in a different way. At one side there is Supreme Court judgement and on another side, there are sentiments of the believers. The state government should have taken a matured line on this. They have totally failed in assessing the situation," Chennithala told reporters.

"Sabarimala should not be made a battlefield. But RSS and BJP are making it a battlefield. The government also, with its careless attitude, has contributed to the issue. We want peace and tranquillity in the area," he added.

Reflecting on Friday's events, where one woman journalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehana Fatima attempted to enter the Sabarimala Temple, Chennithala said that giving "one of the ladies" a police uniform was wrong as it is an offence.

"As per the Kerala Police Act, it is objectionable to wear police uniform by anybody else other than police. It is a crime. It is a non-bailable offence with six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 2000. I don't know why one of the ladies was given a police uniform who tried to visit a shrine," he said.

Two days after the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala opened its doors for the first time to women of all ages as per the Supreme Court verdict pronounced on September 28, no woman of menstrual age has yet been able to visit the shrine because of continuous protests by some temple followers. -- PTI

Image: Kerala police detain supporters of the ban on women devotees
17:29   Sabarimala: Kerala Devaswom Board to file review petition of SC verdict
The Kerala Devaswom Board has decided to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the court's verdict allowing entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple.

The Board President A Padmakumar requested all stakeholders for a meeting saying the situation was serious and that the board has decided to prepare a detailed report and approach the Supreme Court.

Padmakumar said that Sabarimala should not be used as a hotbed for politics. "We want peace. We don't want Sabarimala to be a protest site," Padmakumar said, adding that the Board wanted an end to the standoff between devotees and women worshippers in the menstruating age.

The Kerala goverment has maintained that it will not file a review petition to overturn the Supreme Court verdict allowing women into Sabarimala temple, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said, which had in fact set the stage for a confrontation with right-wing protesters.

The SC on 28 September overturned a ban on menstrual-age women from entering the popular Hindu shrine, sparking debates and street protests in Kerala.

Image: Police tackle protesters at Sabarimala this morning after three women attempting to storm the male bastion in accordance with the Supreme Court verdict.
16:31   Congress, BJP flay Kerala government for bringing activists to Sabarimala
The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday hit out at the Left government in Kerala for allegedly extending support to bring women activists to Sabarimala temple, hurting the sentiments of devotees.

They also alleged the police gave one of the women, who climbed to the hill shrine amid heavy security, their official uniform and helmet.

The two women, identified as a journalist from Hyderabad and a Kochi-based activist, trekked Sabarimala and reached a few metres away from the holy 18 steps with police escort but had to return due to massive protest by devotees.

Attacking the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front government on the issue, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala asked whether the police gave security to the real devotees.

"Has the government taken to the shrine the real devotees? Is the entry of women into the shrine a commando operation? Is this the supreme court order?" he asked. "The government has extended support to bring activists to Sabarimala, hurting the sentiments of Lord Ayyappa devotees," Chennithala said.

Earlier in the day, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran admitted that one of the women who trekked to the shrine was an activist and made it clear that holy Sabarimala was not a place to show their strength and activism.

Referring to the massive protest at the temple complex by the devotees and the 'parikarmies', the assistants of the priests, Chennithala said the 'illogical' steps taken by the government on the Sabarimala women entry issue had led to this situation.

He also reiterated the United Democratic Front stand that the Pinarayi Vijayan government showed 'over-enthusiasm' and 'hurry' to implement the apex court order permitting women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The government unilaterally moved forward on the matter without trying for a consensus among stakeholders, he said. Chennithala also alleged that the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine was trying to inflame communal passion over the matter.

Hitting out at the LDF government, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the state authorities were trying to make Sabarimala a 'clash zone'.

The police escorted two women to the shrine by making one of them wear police uniform and a helmet, without considering the sentiments of the devotees, he alleged.

A large number of devotees blocked the young women and police team escorting them at Valiya Nadappandhal, the queue complex located a few metres away from the holy 'pathinettam padi' (the 18 sacred steps), leading to the sanctum sanctorum.

Tension was defused after the women agreed to return as the state government made it clear it did not want to take them to the Sannidhanam, the temple complex, by using force against the protesting devotees.  -- PTI

IMAGE: : Activist Rehana Fathima being escorted by the police to the hill shrine. Photograph: PTI Photo
16:05   MHA warned states in advance of trouble ahead of Sabarimala opening
Union Ministry of Home Affairs through a letter sent on October 16 to Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police of three southern states -- Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka -- had made it clear that there might be law and order situation in Sabarimala Shrine and surrounding areas in view of the recent Supreme Court order.

MHA had also said that comprehensive security arrangements would be required at the Sabarimala Shrine on the date of its opening for monthly rituals on October 17.

The MHA had forewarned the Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states governments about the trouble brewing in the area ahead of Sabarimala Temple opening and suggested the chief secretaries and police chiefs of these states to take precautionary measures to maintain law and order and make appropriate security arrangements to prevent untoward incidents.

This included keeping a close watch on dissemination of adverse information through social media and internet services.

The MHA letter said that while there are certain civil-women right activists, Left parties, pro-LWE groups who have been campaigning in favour of women's entry into the shrine and actively using women to do so on October 17, there will be opposing groups and activists who have threatened to not to allow entry of women.

The MHA had also alerted the states that the Hindu outfits had plans to organise protests on October 17 against the Supreme Court's order at Nilackal village in Pathanamthetta district and Erumeli village Kottayan districts.

MHA had also made it clear to the states that in addition to this, Ayyappa devotees, Hindu outfits, and certain caste-based outfits were separately organising state-wide protests against the Supreme Court order.

Keeping in view of these situations the states were asked to take adequate steps with regard to security, law and order situation. -- ANI
15:53   It is a smear campaign: Sushant Singh Rajput
Sushant Singh Rajput has denied sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him in a report which states the actor behaved inappropriately with "Kizie Aur Manny" co-star Sanjana Sanghi.

In the report, which started doing the rounds on social media Thursday, the actor was accused of harassing his female lead of the film. While Sanjana, who will be making her big screen acting debut with the film, has not yet spoken on the matter, Sushant shared his side of the story with screenshots of a conversation between him and Sanjana.

In the chat, the actors are sharing their experience of working with each other and "non-conducive conditions" on the film's set.

"I feel sad to reveal personal information but it seems that there is no other way to state what was, in the midst of this curated and well timed smear campaign. From the first till the last day of the shoot, this is what happened on the set with Sanjana," Sushant tweeted.

According to the report, Sanjana had informed director Mukesh Chabbra about Sushant's alleged behaviour, during the film's shoot in July, but he "laughed off the matter". -- PTI
15:27   Mortal remains of ND Tiwari to be brought to Lucknow tomorrow
The mortal remains of Congress veteran Narayan Dutt Tiwari will be brought to Lucknow on Saturday for people to pay their last respects to the departed leader.

Tiwari, 93, died at a private hospital in Delhi on Thursday after prolonged illness. The body of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister will arrive at the Lucknow airport Saturday afternoon and will be kept at the Vidhan Bhawan from 1 pm to 3 pm for people to pay their last respects, an official release issued Lucknow on Friday said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his ministerial colleagues will receive the mortal remains at the airport, it said. Tiwari, who was considered close to Indira Gandhi, had served as a Union minister in several Congress-led governments. He had the unique distinction of having served as the chief minister of two states, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where his native place is located. --  PTI
14:54   Sensex slips 637 points as selling pressure mount
The BSE benchmark Sensex tumbled 540 points and the broader Nifty slipped below the 10,300-mark in late afternoon trade Friday following heavy selling in blue chip Reliance Industries as well as financial stocks.

The 30-share Sensex, opened Friday distinctly weak at 34,563.29 and continued to slide to touch a low of 34,140.32 points (intra-day). The index was trading down 636.83 points, or 1.82 per cent at 34,142.75 at 1400 hrs. The gauge had lost 382.90 points Wednesday.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries dropped 5 per cent to Rs 1,091.50 despite better-than-expected earnings posted by the company on Wednesday. RIL reported its highest ever quarterly net profit of Rs 9,516 crore, a 17.4 per cent rise year-on-year, for the July-September period.

Traders said Reliance Industries' pre-tax earnings from the business declined for the second quarter in a row and this triggered the heavy selling in the counter. The operator of world's largest oil refining complex however saw pre-tax earnings from the business decline for the second quarter in a row. It fell 19.6 per cent to Rs 5,322 crore as margins dipped.  -- PTI
14:46   MeToo accused Anirban Blah rescued from attempted suicide
Anirban Blah, the co-founder of Kwan Entertainment, one of the biggest celebrity management agencies in India, was rescued in the early hours Friday by the Vashi Traffic police in suburban Mumbai after they found attempted suicide, reports the Hindu.

The incident happened at around 12.30 am when traffic police got a tip-off about the alleged suicide.

Blah is one of the co-founders of celebrity management firm KWAN Entertainment but was recently asked to step down from his role in the firm after some women accused him of sexual harassment.

"We had information about an individual coming towards Vashi bridge to commit suicide. We couldn't take chance and we laid a trap there in dark," senior police inspector from Vashi traffic said.

Blah was seen climbing on the barricades of the bridge when the police caught hold of him and made him get down."He was crying. He seemed very frustrated and depressed. We took him to the police chowky, offered him water and asked his problem to which he said that he was frustrated with the #Metoo allegations on him. He was depressed due to the defamation he and his family faced," the police said.

Multiple accounts of sexual misconduct have been reported against Blah. KWAN put out a statement following the accounts saying, "We have asked Anirban Blah to forthwith step aside from his duties, activities and responsibilities ar KWAN, its subsidiaries and affiliates with immediate effect."The past few days have been very disturbing to everyone in the light of the #MeToo movement and it has pushed us all to take a step back and introspect whether each of us is doing enough to create a healthy and safe environment."KWAN has promised to create a "safe and secure" working environment for its employees."We fully support the #MeToo movement and deprecate and condemn those who have exploited women in any form or manner. As a responsible corporate, we have taken assistance to ensure that we have efficient and appropriate processes to redress any complaint of misconduct in accordance with the law."

The company, manages prominent names like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Pritam, Mahesh Babu, and Rana Dagubatti.

Image: Anirban Blah with actor Rana Dagubatti. Pic: Rana Dagubatti's Facebook page. 
14:26   'Harassed' husbands burn effigy of Surpanakha on Dussehra
Burning effigies of Ravana is a common practice on Dussehra, but some "harassed" husbands celebrated the festival in Aurangabad in a slightly different way - by burning an effigy of Surpanakha, sister of the mythical multi-headed demon king.

These men -- members of 'Patni Pidit Purush Sanghatana', an organisation of victims of harassment by wives -- burned the effigy on Thursday evening at Karoli village near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

Talking to PTI, founder of the organisation Bharat Phulare said, "All the laws in India are against men and favour women. They are misusing it to harass their husbands and in-laws over petty issues."

"We condemn this tyranny against men in the nation. In a symbolic move, our organisation burnt an effigy of Surpanakha on the occasion of Dussehra last evening," he said.

As per Hindu mythology, Suparnakha was the root cause behind the battle between Ravana and Rama. In order to avenge the insult of Surpanakha, Ravana disguised himself as a sage and kidnapped Sita, which ultimately led to the war.

Phulare claimed that as per the 2015 records, of the total number of married people who committed suicide in the country, 74 per cent were men.  -- PTI
14:19   Pakistani-origin radical Islamist preacher freed from UK jail
A Pakistani-origin radical Islamist preacher was freed from a UK jail on Friday after serving less than half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support to the Islamic State terror group.

Anjem Choudary, 51, was released for his reported "good behaviour" under very strict licence conditions from the high-security Belmarsh prison in south London.

Under around 25 strict conditions imposed on him include having to stay at a monitored probation hostel over the next few months, not being allowed to leave London and not being allowed to interact with the media or preach to young people. Any mosque he would wish to attend would have to be vetted by security officials and he will remain under surveillance as part of efforts to ensure he is not allowed to radicalise others.

The Metropolitan Police and MI5 intelligence service are expected to be among a host of agencies involved in monitoring him in the community, under surveillance plans that will remain in place until the end of his sentencing period of five-and-a-half years. -- PTI
13:59   Sushma Swaraj at ASEAN
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met her US counterpart James Mattis on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus in Singapore today.
13:54   Facebook has a fake news 'war room' but is it really working?
Corporation shows off room of engineers, data scientists and other experts but offers reporters few new specifics. Read more 
13:43   The Ravan temple of Kanpur
Interesting trivia: There's a Ravan Temple in Kanpur. The temple priest says, "It is believed that today is the birth as well as the death anniversary of Ravan. We open this temple only for a day; it is will be locked in the evening after we burn an effigy of Ravan."
13:27   Feel proud to come to Sabarimala: Woman journalist
Journalist Kavitha Jakkal (in picture) and activist Rehana Fatima returned to Pamba under police protection. Kavitha thanked everyone for supporting them. "We are feeling proud to come here. You have seen what dangerous situation we faced," she said commenting on their decision to turn back.

Woman activist Rehana Fatima who also attempted to enter the shrine and was informed that her house in Kochi was vandalised by unknown miscreants said, "I don't know what happened to my children. My life is also in danger. But they (police) have said that they will provide protection. That is why I am going back."

She also added that people (without specifying who) and not devotees want to disrupt peace at Sabarimala and did not allow them to enter.

"I want to know what was the reason. Tell me, in which way one needs to be a devotee. You tell me that first and  then I will tell you if I'm a devotee or not," she said to remarks that she was an activist and not a devotee.

In fact, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, said that they had met the governor and explained the current situation.

"Not only Hindus but people from all religions are going there. Everyone is worried. The woman activist (Rehana Fatima) was given a police uniform. It was wrong.

"Sabarimala is not a tourist spot, only devotees go there. Right now what Kerala police is doing is wrong. Had there been our government we would've handled the situation better. We would've talked to devotees, there would've been no violence."
13:11   Reliance Industries shares slump 7% post Q2 results
Shares of Reliance Industries Friday slumped 7 per cent despite the company reporting its highest ever quarterly net profit in the July-September quarter. The stock opened lower and declined further by 6.59 per cent to Rs 1,073.15 on BSE.

At NSE, shares of the company dived 7 per cent to Rs 1,070.25. In terms of equity volume, 10.50 lakh shares of the company were traded on BSE and over one crore shares changed hands at NSE during the morning trade.

Reliance Industries Wednesday reported its highest ever quarterly net profit of Rs 9,516 crore in July-September as record earnings from petrochemical business and bumper earnings from retail business and telecom arm made up for a decline in refinery margins.

The operator of world's largest oil refining complex however saw pre-tax earnings from the business decline for the second quarter in a row. It fell 19.6 per cent to Rs 5,322 crore as margins dipped. In the first quarter the pre-tax earnings had fallen 16.8 per cent. -- PTI
Another image of the vandalism at the Kochi house of activist/devotee Rehana Fatima.
12:45   House of woman who attempted Sabarimala visit vandalised
Update: Images of the house of woman activist/devotee Rehana Fatima in Kochi vandalised by unidentified miscreants earlier today. She had gone up to the Sabarimala Temple this morning under police protection but was forced to turn back midway after a meeting with Kerala IG and devotees. The priests forced their hand saying the temple would be shut and rituals would not be performed if the women entered the shrine.

A large number of devotees opposing the entry of women of the menstrual age group blocked two women -- a reporter from Hyderabad and Rehana Fatima's entry -- at the Valiya Nadappandhal near Sabarimala Sannidhanam.

Inspector General S Sreejith heading a team of police personnel providing security cover to the women assured the protesting devotees chanting Ayyappa mantra that they would not like to move forward to the Sannidhanam with the women, hurting the sentiments of devotees.
12:25   Shivpals growing clout
On Wednesday, Samajwadi Secular Morcha chief and Akhilesh Yadav's uncle Shivpal Yadav moved into the bungalow vacated by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati. He reached the bungalow with his supporters and entered it after performing a havan to mark Durga ashtami. The move did not go unnoticed by opposition members and various theories started circulating.

Adding grist to the rumour mill, cabinet minister Om Prakash Rajbhar said the allotment of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati's bungalow and the provision of Z-plus security to Yadav showed that "he had started working for the Bharatiya Janata Party'.

Yadav downplayed the episode saying, he had been allotted the bungalow "as there were intelligence reports of threats' to him. He went on to say he was open to joining hands with the opposition parties against the Yogi Adityanath government. -- Business Standard
12:21   Another poster war
Bihar's pre-poll poster wars are the stuff of legends. Some posters emerged earlier this week showing Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav as Lord Rama and Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar  as the 10-headed demon Ravana. The posters, put up near Tejashwi's official residence on Circular Road, were slammed by the ruling JD(U) and even by the Congress, a leading constituent of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar. The Lalu Prasad-led party later clarified that the posters were not aimed to demean the chief minister but to highlight the failings of his government. -- Business Standard
12:19   BJP hopes to cast a spell on MP voters
In poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, the BJP ropes in magicians, jugglers to boost campaign. The BJP is known for the extensive use of new technology and social tools in its election campaigns. But in Madhya Pradesh, it seems to be relying on the traditional methods of entertainment and publicity to spread its message across. The party has roped in magicians, jugglers and puppeteers to reach out to the masses. Some party leaders even got together at the state headquarters earlier this week to review and shortlist possible candidates to do the job. Even during the Assembly elections of 2013, the party had used local artistes to showcase its development work and welfare schemes. -- Business Standard
12:12   Another woman attempts Sabarimala climb
A woman named Mary Sweety on her way to Sabarimala is forced to turn back at Pamba. She has police protection and she has currently been taken to a police control room. She says she believes Ayyappa and wants to see him. "I don't know about them ((journalist Kavitha Jakkal & woman activist Rehana Fatima). If women have returned, it is your drawback. I want to go there."
12:02   Sabarimala: Ritualistic disaster, says Kerala cop after women forced to turn back
Kerala IG S Sreejith on the Sabarimala disaster: "We had brought them ((journalist Kavitha Jakkal and woman activist Rehana Fatima) till the temple premises but the tantri and priest refused to open the temple for them. While we were waiting, the tantri informed me that if we attempt to take the women ahead they would close the temple.

"It's a ritualistic disaster. We took them up to temple and gave them protection but 'darshan' is something which can be done with the consent of the priest. We will give them whatever protection they want."

Both the women attempting to enter the shrine had to turn back after the priests said they would shut the temple and stop rituals if the attempted to enter the shrine. They were stopped 500 metres away from the main temple.

On the third day after the Sabarimala temple opened for the first time after the Supreme Court ruling lifting the centuries-old ban on entry of women of all age groups, no women has yet been able to visit the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Devotees have blocked attempts from women in the age group of 10 to 50 years from taking the 4.7 km walk from Pamba.

On Thursday, Suhasini Raj, who works as the India reporter for The New York Times, along with a colleague, managed to go past the Pamba gateway but was stopped midway by angry devotees who formed a human wall before her.
11:45   3 terrorists killed in infiltration bid in J&K
Three unidentified terrorists were killed in a failed infiltration bid along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district, a defence spokesman said Friday. The Army Thursday foiled the infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Uri sector of Baramulla district, the spokesman said. He said alert troops noticed some suspicious movement along the LoC near Tourna in Boniyar area in the early hours of Thursday and challenged the infiltrators.

The infiltrators opened fire towards the positions of the security forces which was retaliated, he said, adding three terrorists were killed in the gunbattle. The identity and group affiliation of the slain terrorists were not immediately known. -- PTI
11:38   Rupee recovers early losses
The rupee recovered from early losses to trade higher by 19 paise at 73.42 against the US currency in late morning session Friday on fresh dollar selling by exporters amid easing crude oil prices and a weakening greenback.

Dealers said the Reserve Bank of India's steps to ease liquidity concerns of NBFCs also helped the domestic currency. At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the rupee opened lower at 73.62, but soon recovered the lost ground and jumped 19 paise to touch a high of 73.42 on increased selling of the American currency by exporters and banks. The rupee sentiment also received a boost after a steep fall in Brent crude prices Thursday following a surprise jump in US stockpiles and lingering worries about Chinese growth outlook.  -- PTI
11:24   Will lock Sabarimala temple: Head priest
Reports coming that the house of the women devotee, whose identity the police have not divulged, has been trashed.

To bring you up to speed, two women, -- one a journalist and the other an activist and devotee -- have decided to turn back from the Sabarimala shrine -- after the priests threatened to close the temple for prayers if they entered it. Kerala IG  S Sreejith confirmed that journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima are now returning from Sabarimala with an escort of 300 policemen to the base of the shrine. 

Kandararu Rajeevaru, Sabarimala Temple head priest said, "We have decided to lock the temple and handover the keys and leave. I stand with the devotees. I do not have any other option."
10:56   Women turn back after priests threaten to shut Sabarimala shrine
So, history will not be made.

The two women attempting to enter the Sabarimala shrine on Day 3 after the temple opened for prayers, have decided to return.

This comes after the Sabarimala priests said prayers will not be offered and the temple will be closed if the women enter.

The women then said they will not enter the temple. The police will now escort the women down from the temple in the same way that they were escorted up.

Two women, including a reporter from Hyderabad, began trekking to Sabarimala hill Friday amid strong protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Their attempt to reach the shrine came a day after a New Delhi-based woman reporter of a foreign media outlet made a failed bid to visit the temple.

Police led by IG S Sreejith have have thrown a security ring around the women who had requested security to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam. There have been strong protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple. The woman reporter is in her late 20s while the details of the second woman, who was carrying Irumudikkettu (holy bundle), was not immediately known.
10:50   Don't prove your strength at Sabarimala: Minister
Amid mounting pressure, Devaswom Minster Kadakampally Surendran said in Thiruvananthapuram the activists should not try to make holy land of Lord Ayyappa a place to prove their strength. Police is holding discussions with the women who they should reach the shrine. Devotees, who have come to the temple from various parts of the country, said they would not allow the women to go to the shrine. Their attempt to reach the shrine came a day after a New Delhi-based woman reporter of a foreign media outlet made a bid to visit the temple. Police led by IG Sreejith have thrown a security ring around the women who had requested security to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam.
10:38   Women, devotees in a meeting with Sabarimala top cop
Pathanamthitta: Woman activist and devotee Rehana Fatima (in the picture) and journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV have been taken to an office where they have been called by Inspector General S Sreejith for a meeting. Devotees are also believed to be at the meeting.

Kavitha has said she is not a devotee, she is attempting to enter Sabarimala as a journalist. Fatima, however, is carrying the irumudi (the offering of rice, coconut and ghee) to be offered at the temple and is there as a devotee. 
Subramanian Swamy on the Sabarimala issue: The denial of admission of women in menstruation period in Sabarimalai was not twisted to their being "unclean' and that instead it was to protect the women from mutation from gravitational matrix of the Temple location then such women would have voluntarily abstained from coming.

Decipher that for us.
10:07   What Sabarimala looks like now
This is why there are 100 cops escorting the two women to Sabarimala. IG Sreejith has said that he will personally ensure the women reach the temple and make their way back to the base safely. A barricade of devotees block their path as they make their way up.
09:51   Two women escorted by 100 cops minutes away from entering Sabarimala
Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of the Hyderabad-based Mojo TV and woman activist and devoteee Rehana Fatima are en route to the Sabarimala temple, escorted by a posse of 100 cops. The women are now very near the temple.

Their attempt to reach the shrine came a day after a New Delhi-based woman reporter of a foreign media outlet made a failed bid to visit the temple.

Police led by IG S Sreejith have have thrown a security ring around the women who had requested security to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam. "Police will not create any issue in Sabarimala and we don't want a confrontation with devotees. We are only following the law. I will be discussing with the higher authorities and brief them on the situation,"  Inspector General S Sreejith told devotees.

Dewasom minister K Surendran weighed in on the issue saying, "Don't make temple a platform for activism. Genuine devotees will be escorted to the temple."

There have been strong protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa temple. The woman reporter is in her late 20s while the details of the second woman, who was carrying Irumudikkettu (holy bundle), was not immediately known.

If they climbed the hills, they would be the first women from the menstruating age group to visit the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa after the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

On Thursday, the New Delhi-based woman journalist was stopped midway by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The journalist accompanied by her male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protests. A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented her trekking and forced her to climb down the hills.

Image: Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad-based Mojo TV, being escorted by police from Pamba to Sannidhanam.
09:17   She showed me the middle finger: BSP leader's son in his defence
Ashish Pandey, the son of a former Bahujan Samaj Party MP who has been accused of brandishing a pistol and threatening the guests at a five-star hotel in New Delhi, told the police on Thursday that he was instigated by a woman, who had shown him the 'middle finger', after which he had got the weapon from his car.

Pandey, who surrendered before the Patiala House court on Thursday, also said in a video message that he was being subjected to a media trial and that only one side of the story was being shown, portraying him as a 'terrorist'.

"The woman accompanying Gaurav (Kanwar, son of a former Congress MLA) showed me the middle finger, which instigated me to get my pistol from my car," Pandey told the police after his arrest in the case.

"Pandey claimed that Kanwar was in the ladies' washroom in the hotel when his female friends went to the washroom.

"They raised an objection over Kanwar's presence in the washroom which led to an argument, following which Pandey was called by his friends," a senior officer privy to the probe said.

Pandey claimed that he asked Kanwar to come out of the washroom but the latter refused to do so and instead, challenged him, saying, "What is your business if I am inside the washroom?" the police said.

Subsequently, Kanwar's female friend showed the middle finger to Pandey and his women friends at the porch of the hotel and that instigated him to get the pistol from the car, the accused told the police.

Pandey was on his way home in Lucknow on Sunday night when he got to know about the video of the incident being circulated on the social media.

He then messaged all his friends, requesting them to ensure that the video was not circulated and asking them to delete it from their phones.

The next day, when he realised that the video had gone viral, he took his son and wife along with him and went hiding at various places in and around Lucknow, Pandey told the police.

His father, uncle and brother were in touch with lawyers and his friends, while he was juggling between places, he told the interrogators.

The police are yet to recover the weapon Pandey had brandished at the foyer of the south Delhi hotel in the early hours of Sunday.

"I have been subjected to a media trial. I am being portrayed as a terrorist. I am not denying that the incident happened but it is being shown from one side," Pandey said in a video message he released before his surrender.

In the video, he said the CCTV footage of the hotel should properly be checked to ascertain who was at fault.

"They should check the CCTV footage and see who entered the ladies' washroom and after exiting from it, who threatened whom. When I came out, I took the licensed gun from my vehicle. I did not aim the gun towards him (Kanwar) and the weapon was pointed downwards.

"Everyone is saying I threatened a woman with a gun but I did not even address the woman, who was with him. She pushed me and even made obscene gestures at me using her hands. Her male friend said things to me," Pandey said.

He added that he would tell his side of the story to the police and that he had full faith in the country's judicial system.

After the video of the incident went viral on the social media, resulting in a public outrage, Pandey had requested his friends on WhatsApp not to circulate the video and apologised for what he did.

The video of the incident at the Hyatt Regency hotel in New Delhi prompted the police to step in and launch a hunt for Pandey. A Delhi court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Pandey on Wednesday.

Pandey's father Rakesh Pandey is a former BSP MP and his brother Ritesh is an MLA in Uttar Pradesh.  -- PTI
08:24   Woman scribe begins climbing Sabarimala hill under heavy security
A woman reporter from Hyderabad began trekking to Sabarimala hill on Friday, a day after a New Delhi-based reporter of a foreign media outlet made a failed bid to visit the shrine.

Police have thrown a security ring around the woman who had requested security to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam to carry out her professional duty.

The woman is in her late 20s and if she climbed the hills, she would be the first woman from the menstruating age group to visit the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa after the Supreme Court order permitting women of all age groups to enter the shrine.

Protests against the entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala Temple continued on Friday with protesters saying, "No woman between 10-50 years of age will enter here. We are protecting Sabarimala."

On Thursday, the New Delhi-based woman journalist was stopped midway by devotees opposing the entry of women of menstrual age into the hill shrine.

The journalist accompanied by her male colleague, a foreigner, descended the hills from Marakkoottam area in the face of mounting protests.

A case has been registered against devotees who allegedly prevented her trekking and forced her to climb down the hills.  -- PTI