Sun, 08 December 2019
Tihar seeks hangman for Dec 16 convicts

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22:11   Tihar seeks hangman for Dec 16 convicts
With no hangman in Tihar, where the death-row convicts in the December 16, 2012 rape-and-murder case are lodged, the jail authorities have approached other prisons in the country to provide them with a hangman, sources said on Sunday.

They said informal talks are underway with Uttar Pradesh prison authorities.

The Union Home Ministry on Friday recommended President Ram Nath Kovind to reject the mercy plea filed by Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts facing the gallows for the rape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedic student.

A day later, Sharma withdrew his plea, saying it was sent without his consent.

The girl was gang-raped on Dec 16, 2012. She later succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Singapore.

The brutality of the rape had shocked the nation and triggered massive protests.

The Supreme Court on Dec 12, 2018, dismissed a public interest litigation seeking direction to the Centre to execute the death penalty awarded to four convicts -- Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay and Akshay -- in the case.     -- PTI
21:58   UP govt plans cow safaris for better upkeep of bovines
Faced with stray cattle menace, the Uttar Pradesh government plans to set up 'cow safaris' in the state for better safety and upkeep of  the animal     

The idea mooted by UP Animal and Husbandry minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary is in line with the Yogi government's aim of cow protection.   

"The Yogi government is vigilant towards cow protection and it is our duty to save and secure them," Chaudhary said.

"Wherever we have large farms like in Barabanki andMaharajganj, we on an experimental basis, want to set up a safari where 15,000 to 25,000 cows can be put up," he said, adding, he wants to make such safaris viable by setting up bio gas plants for power generation and units to make things from cow waste.

"There are complaints about stray cattle moving about in villages and I have brought it it to the notice of the chief minister," he said.

Cow safaris will initially come up on a pilot basis.

"Having so many cows at one place and with better upkeep facilities, we are also thinking of developing it for tourism. Like people go to see safaris of other animals we can make arrangements for tourists to come and see cow safaris," he said.

"By putting cows at one place, if it is given the nameof safari, there is no harm. People could come and have darshan," he said.

The Yogi government has taken a number of steps towards cow protection.

In August this year, the government has approved 'Mukhyamantri Nirashrit Besahara Govansh Sahbhagita Yojana', a scheme seeking people's participation in the protection of stray cattle by providing Rs 30 per animal every day.

Earlier, the Yogi Adityanath government had made arrangements for cow shelters in this year's budget and also instructed district administrations and municipal corporations to make arrangements for cow shelters to resolve the issue of stray cattle.

The state government also issued an order allowing corporate houses to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds to provide facilities for abandoned cows in rural areas.  -- PTI
20:27   PM for effective policing to ensure women safety
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed on the role of effective policing in ensuring that women feel safe and secure.

His remarks came against the backdrop of recent cases of crimes against women which has triggered a public outcry.

Addressing a DGP/IGP conference at Pune, the prime minister also said officials must at all times strive to improve the image of the police force to inspire confidence among all sections of society including women and children.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said that PM Modi was of the view that technology provides an effective weapon to ensure proactive policing that factors in the feedback of the common man.

According to the statement, the prime minister recognised the pulls and pressures confronting police officers in their day-to-day discharge of duties.

'However, he said whenever they are in doubt they should remember the ideals and the spirit with which they appeared for the civil services exams and continue to work in national interest, keeping in mind the welfare of the weakest and poorest sections of society,' the statement said.

Modi expressed his special interest for the development of the northeastern states which is critical for the government's Act East Policy and urged the DGPs of these states to make extra efforts to create a conducive environment for the development programmes.  -- PTI
20:07   Delhi fire: FSL team analyses building
A team of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) analysed the four-storey building, where a massive blaze broke out on Sunday, and the possible places from where the fire could have started but could not collect any samples due to the rescue work by the fire department.

The four-member team did the first visit and the forensic evidence can only be collected after the fire is completely doused, Laboratory Director Deepa Verma told PTI.

"Scientifically, the articles can only be collected after the fire has completely ended and we can get access to the rooms," she said.

She said they will ascertain that how many visits to the site will be required.

"The team, however, did an outline of the building, by observing the type of building, the outlet from where the fumes were coming out and all the clues that can be collected," she added.

Another official from the FSL said the team will again visit the site on Monday.

Since it is a massive fire, it might require several visits and at this moment, it is difficult to state the reason behind the fire, he said, adding that short-circuit could also be the trigger.   -- PTI
19:10   Lata Mangeshkar returns home from hospital
Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who was admitted to hospital three weeks ago after she was diagnosed with pneumonia, returned home on Sunday.

The 90-year-old singer, who was admitted to the Breach Candy Hospital here after she complained of difficulty in breathing on November 11, took to Twitter to update her fans about her health and thanked them for their prayers and well wishes.

'For the past 28 days, I was at Breach Candy hospital. I was diagnosed with pneumonia. The doctors preferred that I extend my stay in hospital and go home when completely healthy.

'Today, I am back home with the blessings of Mai and Baba I have my deepest gratitude to all my well wishers all over. Your prayers and good wishes have worked and I humbly bow down to each one of you,' Mangeshkar wrote on the microblogging site.

The veteran singer also expressed gratitude to the team of doctors who treated her.

'My doctors at Breach Candy have been my guardian angels and I stand in eternal gratitude to each one of them. The nursing staff has been exceptional. Your endless love and blessings are precious,' she added.  -- PTI
19:07   PM meets Shourie at Pune hospital
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met former Union minister and senior journalist Arun Shourie at Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, on Sunday.

Shourie was admitted to hospital on December 1.

'In Pune, I met former Union Minister Arun Shourie Ji. Enquired about his health and had a wonderful interaction with him. We pray for his long and healthy life,' Modi tweeted.  -- ANI
17:47   Delhi fire: Building owner detained
Delhi Police on Sunday detained building owner Rehan in connection with the Anaj Mandi fire incident, which claimed 43 lives.

He was booked by police under Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter).   -- PTI
16:51   MCD to be held accountable for fire: AAP
The Aam Aadmi Party accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of playing politics over the massive fire at Anaj Mandi here which claimed 43 lives, saying the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi has to be held accountable for the deadly incident.

AAP senior leader Sanjay Singh said it was the responsibility of Municipal Corporation of Delhi to shut the factory if it was found to be running illegally.

AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said it was 'shameful and unfortunate' that BJP was playing politics over the fire incident.

"Even if questions are raised, then BJP-run MCD should be held accountable for giving licenses," he said.

A massive fire swept through a factory in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi on Sunday morning, leaving 43 labourers dead and many others injured, police said.

The Delhi government has ordered a probe into the incident and has sought a detailed report within seven days.

The death toll is likely to climb as many of the injured have suffered grievous injuries, according to fire and police officials.

Congress and BJP leaders on Sunday blamed the Arvind Kejriwal government for the fire accident at Anaj Mandi.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, who visited the spot along with Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri, said electricity wires were dangling in the area but no action was taken by government agencies despite repeated complaints.

The Congress too blamed the AAP government and the BJP-led municipal corporation for the incident.   -- PTI
16:26   For second straight day, all flights cancelled at Srinagar airport
Flight operations at Srinagar airport remained suspended for the second consecutive day as all flights were cancelled on Sunday due to dense fog causing poor visibility in the Kashmir valley, officials said.

"All flights at Srinagar airport were cancelled on Sunday and no flight operations took place," an Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said.    

The official said 28 flights, including those for the armed forces, were scheduled at the airport for Sunday.

"The airlines took the decision to cancel all flights because of very poor visibility caused by heavy fog in the valley," the official said.

Flight operations have been severely affected at the airport for the past three days.

On Friday, several flights were cancelled, while no flight operations took place on Saturday.

A thick layer of fog engulfed most parts of the valley on Sunday affecting visibility and causing problems to people especially to motorists.  -- PTI
15:54   Anaj Mandi building had no fire clearance
The four-storey building in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi where a blaze broke out on Sunday morning, killing at least 43 people, did not have a fire clearance, said the Delhi Fire Service.

According to Delhi Fire Service Director Atul Garg, the building did not have a fire clearance and no fire safety equipment was found installed on the premises.  -- PTI
15:26   Someone has to take responsibility: Gambhir
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir on Sunday called the massive Anaj Mandi fire a tragic incident and said responsibility needs to be fixed in this regard.

"I do not wish to indulge in politics but there must be an investigation into the incident. Someone has to take responsibility, it is a tragic incident," Gambhir told ANI.

"Someone is responsible for it and someone should be given punishment for it," he said of the blaze which killed 43 people.

Extending condolences to bereaved families, he said: "All I can say is that my heart goes for the families, who have lost their loved ones in the tragic incident. It is very unfortunate. One shall take permission and no-objection certificate (NOC) to run such factories."

The cricketer-turned-politician recalled fire incident in Karol Bagh that claimed 17 lives and said that we all shall take responsibility that such incidents do not occur again because only poor labourers are the sufferers.

 "If you will put it only to the enquiry no one would feel scared," he added.  -- ANI
14:50   Power firm says Delhi factory fire started in 'internal system'
Power distribution company BYPL claimed that the fire at a factory in Anaj Mandi in New Delhi appeared to have started in some 'internal system' of the building.

A massive fire swept through the building having manufacturing units, in north Delhi's Anaj Mandi area around 5.22 am, leaving at least 43 people, mostly labourers, dead, police said.

A team of BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) rushed to the spot after getting information of fire and immediately discontinued the electricity supply, according to a discom spokesman.

"It appears that the fire started in the internal system of the building," he said.

The fire occurred on the second and third floors of the factory building operating from the residential area.

The electricity meters of the building were placed on the ground floor and were found to be intact, the spokesman added.   -- PTI
14:29   Demands of Unnao girl's kin accepted: UP admin
The Uttar Pradesh administration on Sunday said that all the demands of Unnao rape victim's family have been accepted.

Lucknow Divisional Commissioner Mukesh Meshram said that they held talks with the victim's family and assured them of all possible help and assistance.

"Whatever their demands -- that case should be put to trial in fast track court so that culprits are given strictest punishment on time...apart from that, the family of the deceased victim is poor, and their resources are very limited. We would provide them facilities which can be sanctioned by the government," Meshram said while speaking to reporters in Lucknow.

Meanwhile, the mortal remains of the Unnao rape victim are being taken for the last rites by the family today.

The officer also informed that arrangement for the 24-hour security for the sister of the victim and as demanded by the victim's brother, a licence will be provided to him as per arms act.

"The sister (of the deceased) had raised questions about her security since she believes she has a lot of we said we will make arrangement for 24 hours security and it will be provided to her from right now," he said.

He also said that a job will be provided to the victim's sister and apart from this, 'two houses will be provided to them under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana since it is a big family'.

Regarding the family's demand to meet Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Meshram said the family wants to convey their feelings to him and appropriate arrangements will be made for the same.   -- ANI

IMAGE: Family members and relatives carry the mortal remains of Unnao rape victim for cremation under tight security at Unnao, on Sunday. Photograph: Nand Kumar/PTI Photo
13:39   Delhi fire: PM announces Rs 2 lakh ex gratia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the Anaj Mandi fire.

The prime minister has also approved Rs 50,000 each for those seriously injured in the fire, his office said.

The amount will be paid from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund, the PMO said in a tweet.   -- PTI
13:09   Short circuit may have caused Delhi fire: Puri
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday said that short circuit was the 'immediate cause' behind the fire that broke out in Anaj Mandi at Rani Jhansi Road in Delhi but added that investigation is required to find out the real cause.

"The immediate cause is short circuit but we need to wait for the investigations to be completed to get to the root cause. It needs to be seen whether the problem lay with the industrial development or the fire department," Puri told reporters after he visited the incident site along with Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party chief Manoj Tiwary.

The Union minister said the Delhi police and the fire team had promptly taken action in the matter.

"Delhi police and the fire department were informed about the incident on 5:22 am and they reached quickly to begin rescue work," he said,

Earlier, speaking to the reporters from the spot of the incident, Tiwari had announced a compensation of 5 lakh each to the family of deceased and Rs 25,000 to the injured from the BJP's behalf.   -- ANI
12:28   Delhi fire: Building owner booked under Sec 304
JUST IN: A case has been registered under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code against owner of the building in New Delhi's Anaj Mandi area where a major fire broke out on Sunday morning killing at least 43 people.   -- ANI
12:01   Shah condoles loss of lives in fire tragedy
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday condoled the loss of lives in the massive fire incident in New Delhi and directed officials concerned to provide immediate assistance to those affected.

In a tweet, Shah said, 'Tragic loss of precious lives in the fire accident in New Delhi. My deepest condolences with families of those who have lost their loved ones. I pray for the early recovery of the injured'.

'Have instructed concerned authorities to provide all possible assistance on urgent basis,' he said.

A total of 59 people were inside the factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out, police said.  -- PTI
11:34   Delhi fire: Govt seeks probe report in 7 days
The Delhi government has ordered a probe and sought report within seven days in Anaj Mandi fire incident which claimed 43 lives on Sunday morning, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain also said that an investigation will be conducted into the incident.

'It is a tragic incident. Investigation will be conducted and action will be taken against whoever is responsible for it...,' Hussain tweeted.  -- PTI
11:23   Sonia not to celebrate birthday
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will not celebrate her birthday on Monday in the wake of rape incidents in various parts of the country and concerns over women's security, sources said.

Gandhi will turn 73 on Monday.

She has decided not to celebrate her birthday as she is saddened by rape incidents and assaults on women in various parts if the country, sources told PTI.

Gandhi's decision to not celebrate her birthday comes after the Unnao rape victim, who was set ablaze, died at a hospital in Delhi and the recent incident of a young veterinarian being raped, killed and set ablaze in Hyderabad by four people.

Assaults on women have also been reported from other parts of the country, sparking outrage among the people over the incidents.  -- PTI
10:43   Delhi fire tragedy: Rahul offers condolences to bereaved families
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in a massive fire at a factory in Delhi and said he was saddened by the tragic incident.
At least 43 people were killed after a massive fire broke out in a factory in Anaj Mandi area on Rani Jhansi Road on Sunday morning, police said.

 Many people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital, fire officials said.
"Saddened at the news that a massive fire in the Anaj Mandi area of Delhi has claimed many lives and left several people injured," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wish for the speedy recovery of those injured," he said. 

-- PTI
10:20   Fire incident tragic: Kejriwal amid rescue ops
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday described the fire incident in Delhi's Anaj Mandi area as "tragic" and said firemen were doing their best.
A massive fire broke out in a factory operating from a residential area in Anaj Mandi area here, leaving 35 people dead. 
"Very very tragic news. Rescue operations going on. Firemen doing their best. Injured are being taken to hospitals," the chief minister said in a tweet.

PM Modi also tweeted about the tragedy. He wrote, "The fire in Delhis Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road is extremely horrific. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. Wishing the injured a quick recovery. Authorities are providing all possible assistance at the site of the tragedy."
10:11   Indian-American lawmaker introduces Congressional resolution on Kashmir
Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal has introduced a Congressional resolution on Kashmir urging India to end as swiftly as possible restrictions on communications and preserve religious freedom for all residents.

The resolution, introduced in the House of Representatives after several weeks of efforts by Jayapal, has only one co-sponsor -- Republican Congressman Steve Watkins from Kansas. It's a simple resolution, which cannot be voted in the other chamber, Senate, and does not has the force of law.

Ahead of the introduction of the resolution, Indian-Americans from across the US urged her in various settings against it. Her office is believed to have received more than 25,000 emails from Indian-Americans in addition to in-person meetings by several representations of Indian-Americans.

Indian-Americans held peaceful demonstrations outside her office against her move to table the resolution on Kashmir.

The resolution urges India to lift the remaining restrictions on communication and to restore internet access across all of Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible.

While it recognises the dire security challenges faced by India in Jammu and Kashmir and the continuing threat of state-supported cross-border terrorism, the resolution urges India to refrain from the use of threats and excessive force against detained people and peaceful protesters.

It requests India to "swiftly release arbitrarily detained people" and "refrain from conditioning" the release of detained people on their willingness to sign bonds prohibiting any political activities and speeches.

The resolution claims that there is photographic evidence indicating that detained people have been required to sign surety bonds forbidding them from making statements or participating in political activities as a condition of their release. India has denied these allegations.

India maintains that the abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter. It asserts that the government's move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir will bring ever-lasting peace in the region.

-- PTI
09:41   35 killed as fire breaks out in factory in Delhi
At least 35 people were killed after a massive fire broke out in a factory in Anaj Mandi area on Rani Jhansi Road in New Delhi on Sunday morning, police said.
A call about the fire was received at 5:22 am following which 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

Over 50 people were inside the factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out, they said.

Police said 35 people were killed in the fire.

Many people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital, fire officials said.

-- PTI
09:32   With Gokhale's term set to end, speculation over next foreign secy begins
Who is going to be the next foreign secretary? Vijay Gokhale was appointed to the post on January 28, 2018, for a two-year fixed term after the retirement of then Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar. The latter joined politics and became India's foreign minister and Gokhale's immediate boss. This has led to some piquant situations. Gokhale's term ends in the end of January 2020. 

There are three probables. One, and the most likely, is India's man in the US, Harshvardhan Shringla who reportedly has Jaishankar's ear. He is the most favoured, though many say he might stay on in the US to help negotiate the interim FTA with the US that is in the pipeline.

However, another hopeful is India's permanent representative at the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin. The dynamic of this appointment is obvious. But  Akbaruddin is a 1985-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service who retires in April 2020. 
Ruchi Ghanashyam, a 1982-batch officer currently posted in London  also retires in April 2020, and Shringla, who is from the 1984 batch, retires only in 2022. Akbaruddin is junior to both in the service. Two other senior diplomats in headquarters, T S Tirumurthy (Secretary Economic Relations) and Vijay Thakur Singh (Secretary-East), being senior to Akbaruddin in the batch, will have to be accommodated outside the headquarters if he is brought in as foreign secretary.

The decision to select a Foreign Secretary does not follow any set pattern or convention. While the topper of the batch or the senior-most among the officers in the pool has a natural claim, on several occasions in the past, they have been ignored or overlooked.

-- Business Standard
09:32   Shiv Sena may back Centre's citizenship bill
Shiv Sena could back the Central government's Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, which will be introduced by its recently-estranged ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday. Sena president and state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to decide the party's position on Sunday.

The bill aims to provide citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from the neighbouring nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It has been objected to by several Opposition parties, including the Congress, which is the Sena's new ally in Maharashtra. A Sena MP said the party has always been against intruders and is with the Centre on the issue of national security. "We are in favour of the bill as it is against infiltrators. It aims to help give citizenship rights to persecuted Hindus, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists in the three neighbouring counties," said an MP.

However, those within the party who are opposed to the bill believe that it will pose a burden on the country. "Should this be allowed in the name of religion? And why is it applicable to only these three nations?" said another Sena MP. Vinayak Raut, Sena MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, said, "No decision has been taken yet. Senior leaders will meet the party chief on Sunday and he will decide."

The party's stance could be the first real test for the newly-formed Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance. The bill has been deemed inherently anti-Muslim, and Congress and NCP are likely to oppose it. However, Sena leaders are not worried that their support might create any issue in the functioning of the state. NCP's city unit chief Nawab Malik said, "These are national issues and the Shiv Sena is a separate party. They will decide what to do and we will chart our course."
08:51   Fire breaks out in Delhi house, 20 people rescued
A fire broke out in a house in Anaj Mandi on Rani Jhansi Road in Delhi on Sunday morning following which 20 people trapped inside were rescued, a Delhi Fire Service official said.
A call about the fire was received at 5:22 am following which 30 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

Twenty people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital and Hindu Rao Hospital, they said.

-- PTI
08:04   'Pawar hid half conversation he had with Modi'
Former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis said that Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar came to them on his own to join hands to form the government and that he had given them the impression that NCP chief Sharad Pawar was in the loop about the move. 

Fadnavis also said that the details about the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sharad Pawar were shared conveniently by the latter, but the remaining information about the same will be revealed at the appropriate time.

In an interview to Marathi news channel Zee 24 Taas, Fadnavis said that Ajit Pawar told him that most NCP MLAs wanted to go with the BJP as their alliance with the Congress was not possible. We did not try to poach MLAs or split any party for around a month after the results were announced until Ajit Pawar approached us. About a couple of days ahead of the swearing-in on November 23, Ajit Pawar came to us saying his entire party was ready to join hands with the BJP to form the government. He even made a few party MLAs to speak to me. He told us that Sharad Pawar was aware of the move. We knew it was a gamble, but a gamble is inevitable in politics, though it failed in this case, he said.

Fadnavis was sworn-in as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar the deputy chief minister on November 23, after the latter allegedly handed over a letter of support of 54 NCP MLAs to form the government. Both resigned within three days after they realised that the NCP MLAs were not with them as party president Sharad Pawar ensured that none of his legislators went with his nephew. He also compelled Ajit Pawar to return to the party.

In a recent interview, Sharad Pawar had said that Narendra Modi gave an offer to his party to work with them, during their meeting on November 20, but he refused. 

Whatever [Sharad] Pawar told the media was just a part of the conversation. He has hid half of the conservation between them. It would not be proper for me to disclose the details of the conversation between them, though I know it. However, it would be known to the public at the right time. I will speak about that at an appropriate time, he said.

The former chief minister also said that he was saddened that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray did not take his calls and cut off the communication after the election results were announced, despite having shared a healthy relationship for the past five years.