Sun, 17 February 2019
Rahul insulted India's intelligence and hardworking railway engineers: Goyal

Timeline  Refresh

21:00   Rahul insulted India's intelligence and hardworking railway engineers: Goyal
Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his dig at the Make in India programme after Vande Bharat train experienced trouble during its initial run, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the Congress president has insulted India's intelligence and hardwork by mocking the initiative.
After the semi-high speed train ran into trouble early Saturday, Gandhi tweeted, "Modi ji, I think Make in India needs a serious rethink. Most people feel it has failed. I assure you we in the Congress are thinking very deeply about how it will be done."

In a quick response, Goyal tweeted, "Such a shame that you choose to attack the hard work and ingenuity of Indian engineers, technicians and labourers. It is this mindset which needs a reset. 'Make In India' is a success and a part of crores of Indian lives. Your family had 6 decades to think, wasn't that enough?"
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Goyal further said Gandhi has "insulted" India's intelligence and the hardworking engineers of railways who have put in backbreaking effort to build the country's first indigenous semi-high speed train, the Vande Bharat Express.

"Somebody who was unable to explain why Engineers Day is celebrated, he insulted the hardworking engineers of railways who have put in backbreaking effort to build India's first indigenous semi-high speed train, the Vande Bharat Express. Rather than encouraging them, he has taunted them," he said.

"Vande Bharat Express is developed and designed in India whereas earlier designs (ICF, LHB) were imported. It costs less than half of the cost to import a similar train. It has set the highest standards in Railways & is already fully booked for the next two weeks," he said.

-- PTI
20:23   Royal split: UK's Princes William and Harry prepare to go separate ways
Britain's Princes William and Harry, known to be very close, are preparing to go their separate ways, seeking a more independent path from each other in terms of their charity work and royal duties.

Courtiers hope that a formal separation of their staff may also help ease some recently-reported tensions between the brothers and their wives - Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, according to The Sunday Times.

The princes, grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II, are expected to create separate "courts" before the birth of Prince Harry's first child, due in April or May.

Until now they operated via what was referred to as a joint royal household but now they will carve out more distinctive roles for themselves.

The brothers will operate through separate staff and communication teams, a move seen as a way for them to seek out a more independent path from each other in terms of their charity work and royal duties.

The division of their shared household after 10 years reflects their increasingly different responsibilities, with William set to take on additional duties as a future king after father Charles.

Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan will shortly move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage, on the Queen's Windsor estate. However, their new office and staff is expected to remain at Kensington Palace.

-- PTI
19:56   Pakistan army, foreign ministry sites hacked; blames India for attacks
The official website of Pakistan's foreign ministry and the army were hacked on Saturday night, making it inaccessible to users outside the country.

According to a report in Dawn, the foreign ministry website was functioning without any hassles in the country. However, spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said users from Netherlands, Australia, Britain and Saudi Arabia are unable to access it.

"The IT team is currently occupied in thwarting the hackers' onslaught," Dawn quoted Faisal as saying.

The report further said that Pakistan believes that the attackers were of Indian origin as "a team of Indian hackers had defaced the official website of PPP in June 2017". "That same year, in December, the official website of Karachi police was hacked and defaced, allegedly by Indian hackers," it said.

The Pakistan Army website too was inaccessible. "The owner of this website ( has banned the country or region your IP address is in (IN) from accessing this website," the message on the site read.
19:20   Bachchan, Sehwag stop shoot as film bodies protest against Pulwama attack
The shooting of megastar Amitabh Bachchan's next project and a commercial, featuring cricketers Virendra Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina, was voluntarily stopped for two hours on Sunday here due to a protest against the Pulwama terror attack.

In the wake of a terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir that claimed the lives of at least 40 soldiers, 24 film associations, including Federation of Western India Cine Employees and Indian Film & Television Directors' Association, staged a protest at Filmcity in Mumbai's suburban area of Goregaon.
18:56   Pulwama attack not handiwork of single man, says ex-RAW chief
The terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district which killed 40 CRPF jawans, was not the handiwork of a single man but a group, former Research and Analysis Wing chief Vikram Sood on Sunday said.
He also attributed the incident to security lapses somewhere.
"The entire episode of Pulwama was not a job done by one man.. There would have been a whole team behind him," he told reporters after addressing a seminar on 'External Intelligence for National Security'.
"This kind of an incident does not take place without a security lapse somewhere.. they had knowledge about the movement of the (CRPF) vehicles. There must have been group of people who did it," Sood said.
Asked about India's possible response, Sood said, "It is not a boxing match.. punch for punch won't do."
The timing and place would be chosen by the security forces, as the prime minister had said, he added.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
To another query on India not getting China's support to proscribe JeM chief Masood Azhar as "global terrorist" at the United Nations Security Council, Sood said "China is playing to Pakistan's requests.. China is the only safeguard for them in UN when it comes to having Masood Azhar declared a terrorist.
He claimed that China was doing it beacuse it harboured apprehensions that Islamic outfits in Xinjiang province might maintain links with their terrorists in Pakistan.
"So, it is a quid-pro-quo. China will do this for Pakistan.. Pakistan will make sure that these terrorists don't give trouble to them in Xinjiang," said Sood, a career intelligence officer for 31 years.
Earlier, addressing the seminar, Sood noted that the animus that Pakistan nurtures for India is permanent.
"It's not going to go away. No amount of peace talks, no amount of concessions, and 'bada bhai business' is going to help they (Pakistan) are not interested and they don't want. They want us down and out."

-- PTI
18:35   Jobless growth, rural indebtedness, urban chaos have made aspirational youths restless: Manmohan
The "jobless growth" has slipped into "job-loss growth", which, together with rural indebtedness and urban chaos, has made the growing number of aspirational youths restless, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday, as he hit out at the government for failing to uplift the economy to its potential.
Singh asserted that the domestic challenges of India's economy were daunting in their complexity and devastating in their impact on the society.
In his convocation address at the Delhi School of Management, he said the "grave agrarian crisis, the declining employment opportunities, the pervasive environmental degradation, and above all the divisive forces at work" were some of the challenges facing the nation.
"Suicides of farmers and frequent farmer agitations reflect the structural imbalances in our economy which call for serious in-depth analysis and political will to address them," the senior Congress leader asserted.
"The jobless growth slipping into job-loss growth, together with rural indebtedness and urban chaos have made the growing aspirational youths restless, he said.
The attempts at creating additional job opportunities in the industrial sector have failed as industrial growth is not picking up fast enough, he alleged.
In a scathing attack on the government, Singh said the small and unorganised sectors which were vibrant and contributing to generation of wealth and employment opportunities have grievously suffered in the wake of the "disastrous" demonetisation and "slipshod" introduction and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.

-- PTI
18:12   Lessons on martyrs of military, paramilitary forces to be part of school curriculum in Rajasthan
The valour and sacrifice of military and paramilitary personnel killed in action may soon be made part of the school curriculum in Rajasthan from the next academic session.
State Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said course curriculum committees have been directed to include lessons of bravery and sacrifice in books of classes 1 to 12.

"After being moved by the Pulwama terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir, it has been decided to include lessons of bravery of martyrs in school books. It will develop a sense of respect for the martyrs among students and will develop feeling of patriotism," Dotasara said.

He said the curriculum committees for classes 1 to 8 and classes 9 to 12 will decide the form and type of lessons to be included and submit their reports by February 20, and added that the time limit may be extended as per requirements.

-- PTI
17:54   Whose purpose is being served by ostracising Kashmiris, asks Omar
Kashmir is not just a piece of land, it is the people that inhabit it, National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah asserted on Sunday, saying by attacking Kashmiris, they were being told there is no place for them outside the valley and no future in the mainland.
"Young Kashmiri students studying outside J-K should have been feted as examples of people who have stayed away from the politics & conflict in Kashmir, choosing instead to make a future for themselves. By attacking them, terrorising them & forcing them to find shelter they are being told there is no place for them outside the valley & no future in the mainland (sic)," Omar wrote on Twitter.
The former chief minister's remarks came following reports of attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and harassment of Kashmiri students at a few places outside the state.
Omar said the enemy has been trying to drive a wedge between the people in Kashmir Valley and the rest of the country and asked whose purpose was being served by "ostracising Kashmiris".
"Those hotheads that make up the mobs doing this damage need to ask themselves (if they have the mental bandwidth) whose purpose is served by ostracising Kashmiris. Our enemies & those who back terrorism in J-K have been trying to drive this wedge so please please let's not do their job for them. Kashmir isn't just a piece of land, it's the people that inhabit it (sic)," he said.
The NC leader on Saturday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and sought his intervention to ensure safety of Kashmiri students and traders in various parts of the country.

-- PTI
17:36   14 more Delhi hotels to shut over fire safety violations, 71 establishments face action in 4 days
The Delhi government has cancelled fire safety certificates of 14 more hotels in Karol Bagh area, taking the total number of such establishments to 71.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said, "A total of 71 NoCs have been suspended so far. We will not compromise with fire safety. Human lives are precious and their safety has to be given top priority."
The AAP government had in the past few days cancelled fire safety certificates of business establishments for various violations in Karol Bagh, where a massive fire at a hotel recently killed 17 people, and ordered their closure.
The government had issued instructions to municipal corporations and police asking them to seal these establishments in the wake of violations of fire safety norms.
The fire department had on February 13 inspected 23 hotels, out of which 13 were found to be violating fire safety norms.
On Thursday, 22 hotels were checked, out of which 17 were found to be violating laid down rules. On Friday, Jain, who heads the fire department, said that this drive would continue across the national capital.

-- PTI
17:11   'Pakistan has no official info about India withdrawing MFN status'
India has not informed Pakistan that it was withdrawing the Most Favoured Nation status to it, a senior Pakistani official said on Sunday, after New Delhi took strong economic action against Islamabad following the Pulwama terror attack.
India on Friday announced the withdrawal of the MFN status for Pakistan, following the deadly terror attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan with immediate effect on Saturday.

Two days after India made the announcement, Adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said New Delhi has not informed Islamabad about withdrawing Pakistan's MFN status, Geo News reported.

Dawood said, "We are looking into the withdrawal of the MFN status by India. We can speak to India about this issue".

He further said Pakistan can raise this issue at different forums including the World Trade Organisation as both countries are members of the global trade body.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996, but Islamabad has not reciprocated.

Under the MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.

India's decision would significantly hit Pakistan's exports to India, which stood at $488.5 million (around Rs 3,482.3 crore) in 2017-18 as it would drastically increase the prices of its goods.

-- PTI
16:35   February 14 was a black day for India: Sania Mirza on Pulwama attack
India's tennis star Sania Mirza had a razor sharp reply for the people spreading hatred after the Pulwama terror attack that took the lives of 40 CRPF jawans late on Thursday night. In what is being termed as the deadliest terrorist strike in three decades in Jammu and Kashmir, an explosive-laden SUV rammed into one of the buses in the CRPF convoy.

Mirza, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, is trolled and targetted every time the relation between India and Pakistan takes a hit. This time Mirza had hit back at the hatred. 

"This post is for those peeople who think that as celebrities we need to 'condemn' an attack, tweet and Instagram and be all over social media to prove that we are patriotic and care about our country.. why?? Cause we are celebs and some of you are frustrated individuals who have no where else to target your anger towards and grab every opportunity to spread more hate?? Mirza said in a lengthy post on Twitter.

She further reiterated that they are against terrorism and everyone should be. She said she is extremely saddened by the attack and the day shall never be forgotten and forgiven but she will still be praying for peace.

"I don't need to condemn an attack publicly, or come and scream from roof tops or all over social media that we are against terrorism.. of course we are against terrorism and anyone that spreads it.. any person in their right frame of mind is against terrorism and if they are not then that's a problem!!

"I play for my country, sweat for it and that's how I serve my country. I stand with the CRPF jawaans and their families, my heart goes out to them and they are our true heroes who protect our country.. 14th February was a black day for India and I hope we never have to see another day like this, no amount of condolences can make any of this better.. this day will not be forgotten and neither shall it be forgiven but YES I will stay pray for peace and you should too instead of spreading more hate," Mirza added.
16:06   CRPF cautions people against fake pics aimed at spreading hatred
The CRPF on Sunday cautioned people against "fake pictures" being circulated online of body parts of its 40 soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack, the deadliest terrorist strike on security forces in Kashmir Valley in three decades.
"It has been noticed that on social media some miscreants are trying to circulate fake pictures of body parts of our martyrs to invoke hatred while we stand united. 

"Please DO NOT circulate/share/like such photographs or posts," the force said on its official Twitter handle @crpfindia.

It asked people to report any such content by sending an email to

Officials said a number of such photographs of badly mutilated bodies were being circulated and the development was brought to the notice of force officials after which the advisory was issued.

The paramilitary force, that has deployed about 65,000 personnel as part of 61 battalions in Jammu and Kashmir, issued another advisory on bogus messages being circulated on social media vis-a-vis Kashmiri students based in various places in the country.

"Fake news about harassment of students from Kashmir is being propagated by various miscreants on social media. CRPF helpline has enquired about complaints about harassment and found them incorrect.

"These are attempts to invoke hatred. Please DO NOT circulate such posts," it said in its second post on Twitter.

Investigators suspect the attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama on February 14 was executed by a 'lone wolf' Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist by blowing up a 20-kg-strong RDX mix explosive, laden in a car, next to a troop-carrier bus plying as part of a convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

-- PTI
15:39   "Fire in my heart...": Modi's outrage on Pulwama terror attack
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a strong comment on the deaths of over 40 CRPF personnel in a terror attack in Kashmir's Pulwama district, saying there was a fire burning in his heart. He was speaking at a government event in Bihar, where he paid tribute to the soldiers who belonged to the state.

"I salute and pay my tributes to Sanjay Kumar Sinha and Ratan Kumar Thakur," he said at a government event in Barauni district.

"To the people who have gathered here, I would like to say the fire that is raging in your bosoms, is in my heart too," he added.

The CRPF soldiers were on the move in a convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway when a terrorist rammed his car in one of the over 70 vehicles, in the biggest such attack in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was swift to tweet a response on Thursday, saying, "Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly."

In the last few days, PM Modi promised in public meetings and on Twitter that a befitting reply would be given to the perpetrators of the attack.
15:14   Salman donates to #BharatKeVeer fund, celebrities urge fans to contribute
Ever since the Pulwama terror attack took place in Kashmir, killing 40 CRPF soldiers on board a bus, Bollywood celebrities have been proactively voicing their concern and offering condolences in the matter. 

Some from the film fraternity, actors like Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan, have also been focusing their energies on contributing to the noble cause of raising funds for the families of the slain soldiers.

After it was reported that Amitabh Bachchan will donate Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the late CRPF troopers, Bharat actor Salman Khan and his foundation Being Human have also pledged an unspecified monetary donation for the cause.

Kiren Rijiju, minister of state for home affairs, recently tweeted his appreciation for Salman and wrote, Thank you @BeingSalmanKhan on offering to contribute for Pulwama Martyrs through BEING HUMAN FOUNDATION. I'll work out for handing over of the cheques in the account of #BharatKeVeer @BharatKeVeer.

Salman had expressed his agony over the brutal terrorist attack and the soldiers who took the fall for it. He seems to be pulling out all the stops to help the victims' families. He wrote earlier, My heart goes out for the Jawans of our beloved country and their families who lost their lives as martyrs to save our families... #YouStandForIndia.

14:49   Amit Shah pays tribute to martyred CRPF personnel in Assam
BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday paid tribute to the CRPF personnel in Assam who lost their lives in the terror attack in Pulwama.

"I pay my tributes to Assam's son Maneswar Basumatary, along with the other CRPF personnel. Their sacrifice won't go in vain as it's not the Congress government which is at the Centre, it is the BJP which is at the Centre," Amit Shah said.
14:25   T-series removes Pakistani singers' songs from YouTube after MNS warning
Following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed, the film wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena asked music label companies to stop working with Pakistani singers.

"We have verbally communicated to Indian music companies like T-Series, Sony Music, Venus, Tips Music etc to not work with Pakistani singers. These companies should stop it immediately or we will take action in our own style," Amey Khopkar, head of the MNS Chitrapat Sena said.

Recently, Bhushan Kumar's T-Series had collaborated with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam for two different singles.

"They have removed their songs (from the company's YouTube channel) post our warning," Khopkar claimed.

In 2016, after the Uri attacks, the Raj Thackeray-led party had similarly set a 48-hour deadline for all Pakistani artists working in India to leave the country.

-- PTI
14:10   "India shouldn't play against Pakistan in World Cup 2019"
In the wake of the terror attack in Pulwama, where at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed on Thursday, Cricket Club of India secretary Suresh Bafna on Sunday said that India should not play against Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup. 

Suresh Bafna said that since Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has not come out openly about the attack in Kashmir, it shows that they are at fault somewhere. "We condemn the terror activities carried out against our army and CRPF personnel. Though CCI is a sporting association but nation comes first even before sports," Bafna said. 

The 2019 World Cup will be held in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14 and India are scheduled to take on Pakistan on June 16 at Old Trafford.

"He (Imran Khan) should respond. He is the PM and if he believes that Pakistan has no role to play in the attack then why is he not coming out openly. He should come out openly. People should know the truth. He is not coming out openly which means that there are Stains in their folds," Suresh Bafna added.

After the terror attack, the CCI had covered the portrait of Imran Khan at their Brabourne stadium headquarters in Mumbai. The secretary said that the step was their way of condemning the barbaric attack on the country's security personnel.
13:39   Over 200 people donate blood in honour of those killed in Pulwama terror attack
As a mark of tribute to the CRPF personnel killed in the ghastly Pulwama terror attack, more than 200 people in Karnataka's Shivamogga donated blood at a blood donation camp on Sunday.

The blood donation camp was organised by locals in Shivamogga city's Gopal Gowda area and was also attended by Deputy Commissioner of Shivamogga KA Dayanada.

"This is a good programme organised by the people, donating the blood we remembered our brave soldiers and pay tribute. I am happy to participate in the event; everyone should donate the blood to save lives," he said.

Forty CRPF personnel were killed in Awantipora area of Pulwama district in an attack orchestrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed.

A day after the attack, the Centre announced the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan.

As many as 48 countries have extended support to India, condemning the dastardly act.

The convoy of 78 buses, in which around 2500 CRPF personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar, came under attack at around 3.15 pm at Ladhu Modi Lethpora on February 14. 

-- ANI
13:30   Uma Bharti donates one month's salary to martyred CRPF jawans
At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force paramilitary troopers were killed in the deadliest terror attack witnessed in three decades of Kashmir's insurgency. 

The count of countries that put out statements condemning the Pulwama terror attack has risen to 58 so far. 

India is still considering its plans on how to move against the terror group that triggered the attack in Pulwama.

Meanwhile, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti on Sunday said that she was donating her one-month's salary for the martyred CRPF jawans in wake of terror attack in Pulwama. 
13:09   Pulwama attack should not be forgotten, forgiven: Vicky Kaushal
Vicky Kaushal, who played the role of an army officer in "Uri: The Surgical Strike", said the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in south Kashmir's Pulwama district should not be forgotten and forgiven.
Vicky, who was talking at Cine and TV Artistes' Association  and 48 Hour Project's first edition of 'Act Fest 2019', said, it is necessary to give an answer to the Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

When asked if he thinks a surgical strike should be carried out, he said, "I feel I am a less knowledgeable person... It is easy to say do this, do that and this should happen or that should happen, there are repercussions also that happen."

"I think our government will be thinking of the best move, they would be discussing these things and we should leave it to them. This should not be forgotten and should not be forgiven," he added.

The actor said he is thankful to everyone for their love and support for his film but at the moment he is saddened by the Pulwama terror attack.

"The kind of situation (we are facing), it seems like a personal loss because of the journey we have had. It does feel sad when we read about it. It is a very sad sight for all of us," Vicky said.

He also lauded megastar Amitabh Bachchan's decision to donate Rs five lakh each to the families of the martyrs.

"I think in any way, be it financially or emotionally, if we can support their families as a nation it is a good thing. We all should come ahead."

Swara Bhaskar, who was also present at the event, called the attack a heinous crime which had made everyone very sad and angry.

-- PTI
12:40   Normal life affected after bandh call against attacks on Kashmiris
Normal life was affected in Kashmir on Sunday due to a valley-wide bandh called by trade bodies against the alleged harassment and attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and outside the state, officials said.
The Kashmir bandh call was supported by major trade bodies like the Kashmir Economic Alliance and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation as well as transporters' associations.
Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, the officials said.
They said public transport was off the roads and cabs and auto-rickshaws also largely stayed away, they added.
However, private cars were seen plying in many areas.
The bandh also affected the weekly flea market as no vendor put up a stall on the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through the city centre Lal Chowk, the officials said.

They said similar reports of shutdown were received from other district headquarters of the valley. 

Various trade bodies on Saturday called for Kashmir bandh to protest against attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and outside the state.

-- PTI
12:21   Modi's return to power will be 'death knell' of all constitutional institutions: Yechury
The return of Narendra Modi to power will be the "death knell" of all the constitutional institutions in India, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
He was speaking here at the inauguration of the northern region 'Kerala Samrakshana Yatra' which will be led by CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran and will highlight the "failures" of the central government.

"Return of Narendra Modi to power will be the death knell of all the constitutional institutions in India. As of now, an attack has been launched against them. It will result in creating a wide gap between the rich and the poor in the society," Yechury said.

Speaking about the Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, he said it should not be communalised for political gains.

"The Kashmir attack should be seen as a terrorist attack. The attack should not be communalised considering the religion of the terrorist and used for political gains. The country should stand together against terrorism," the CPI-M leader said.

Yechury also said the Sabarimala issue is not going to have an impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He said in West Bengal, both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP are political rivals of the communist party.

-- PTI
12:07   ICJ to hold public hearings in Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Feb 18
The International Court of Justice will hold public hearings in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Monday at The Hague during which India and Pakistan will present their arguments before the top UN court, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes.
Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May the same year against the verdict.

A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

The ICJ has set a timetable for the public hearing in the case from Febraury 18 to 21 in The Hague and Harish Salve, who represents India in the case, is expected to argue first on February 18.

It is expected that the ICJ's decision may be delivered by the summer of 2019.

"India will present its case before the court. Since the matter is subjudice it is not appropriate for me to state our position in public. Whatever we have to do, we will do at the court," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said last week in response to a question.

Pakistan's Attorney General Anwar Mansoor would lead the Pakistani delegation at the ICJ while Director General South Asia Mohammad Faisal would lead the Foreign Office side.

Ahead of the hearing, a senior Pakistani official said that his country is committed to implement the decision of the ICJ in the Jadhav case.

"We are fully prepared with our strongest evidence being the valid Indian passport recovered from Commander Jadhav with a Muslim name," the official said.

Both India and Pakistan have already submitted their detailed pleas and responses in the world court.

-- PTI
11:51   Government withdraws security of separatist leaders in J-K
The government on Sunday announced that the security of separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been withdrawn.

The move comes in the wake of the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.

On Friday (February 15), Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government was planning to review the security of the people working at the behest of Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI in an apparent reference to separatist leaders.

"There are elements and forces who take money from Pakistan and the ISI. I have asked the officials concerned to review their security," Singh told reporters at the end of his day-long visit to Kashmir.

The home minister said some elements in Jammu and Kashmir had links with the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
and terrorist organisation, but the government would defeat their designs.

"Such people are playing with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the future of the state's youth. Our war against terror is in a decisive phase and I want to assure the nation that we will win it," he said.

The home minister, who arrived in the state following the worst terror attack on security forces in the past three decades, also visited the injured jawans undergoing treatment at a hospital.
11:36   Final farewell to a hero
Wreath-laying ceremony of Major Chitresh Singh Bisht from Dehradun, Uttarakhand, who lost his life yesterday while defusing an IED which was planted by terrorists across the LoC in Naushera sector,Rajouri.

The IED was apparently planted by "enemy forces within Indian territory" in Naushera sector and set off when an army officer, along with his men, was patrolling the area, they said.

The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, the officials said.

The IED blast came two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist rammed an explosive-laden SUV into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.
11:21   Rajinikanth not to contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Sunday confirmed that his party will not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In a statement, he warned the media not to use his photograph or party symbol for any propaganda.

"My party has no support in the upcoming parliamentary election to any parties. So no one should use my photo or flags in the name of Rajini makkal mandram and Rajini Fan Club should be used to support or campaign for any party," he said.

"The main problem in Tamil Nadu is the water, in upcoming election who set up a stable, strong regime in the centre to solve water problem of Tamil Nadu and implement it people should believe them and must vote them," read the statement.

The 68-year-old had announced his entry into politics on December 31, 2017.

Although he is yet to officially float his party, the superstar has converted his fan clubs into the 'Rajini Makkal Mandram' - a political outfit that is putting together a framework for the party.

Ever since his entry into politics, Rajinikanth has been meeting people all over Tamil Nadu over various issues, including the kin of those who were killed during the anti-Sterlite protests that took place in Thoothukudi last year.

-- ANI
11:06   4 arrested for making objectionable remarks on Pulwama attack
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday arrested four people for allegedly making objectionable comments in connection with the Pulwama terror attack in which 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.

Three of them -- a man from Ballia, a person from Mau district and a first-year student of a private college here -- were arrested for making the remarks on social media and another from Siddarthanagar for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans at a meeting and then posting it on Facebook.

Police in Ballia registered a case against a man under provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after his post supporting the attack on Facebook went viral.

"Ravi Prakash Maurya, who claims to be a SP (Samajwadi Party) supporter on Facebook, has allegedly extended support to the act of the person accused of attacking the CRPF jawans in Pulwama. He expressed pride over the incident and also paid tribute," acting Superintendent of Police Vijay Pal Singh said.

"Maurya's post went viral today, and the police immediately acted by registering a case under IT Act and the IPC against him. He has been arrested," Singh said.

In Lucknow, a first year bachelors of arts student was arrested by police for allegedly making derogatory statements pertaining to the attack.Rajab Khan, a student of city private college, was arrested on Saturday from his house for 'making derogatory remarks pertaining to the Pulwama incident, and then he also tried to justify them on the social media', Station House Officer (SHO), Hussainganj, Anil Kumar said.

He said a case has been registered against him under the IT Act and the IPC.

The principal of the college informed that the student has been expelled.

In a tweet, the Mau police said a person has been arrested for allegedly making objectionable remarks on social media in connection with the Pulwama attack.

"Mohammad Osama, a resident under Dakshintola police station (of Mau district) has been arrested for making objectionable remarks vis-a-vis the Pulwama incident. A case has been registered against him under the IT Act and IPC," the Mau police said in a tweet on Saturday.

The statement was made on the social media on Thursday evening, police said.In Uttar Pradesh's Siddharthanagar district, one person was arrested for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting the same on Facebook, police said.Sub-inspector at Bansi police station Ajay Singh told PTI,

"On Friday, when a meeting was organised in Bansi area of the district to mourn the death of the CRPF jawans, Mohammad Taufeeq raised Pakistan Zindabad slogans."

"When people tried to make him understand he should not to do so, he hurled abuses, and later posted the same comment on social media," he said.

He was arrested on Saturday, and a case has been registered against him under IT Act and IPC, the officer said.   -- PTI
10:45   Owner of Hotel Arpit Palace arrested in connection with fire
Rakesh Goel, the owner of Hotel Arpit Palace, was arrested in connection with a massive fire which killed 17 people on its premises, police said on Sunday.

The Crime Branch made the arrest from the IGI Airport on Saturday after the Delhi Police received a tip off that Goel was travelling from Qatar by Indigo flight 6E 1702, they said.

The immigration officials were alerted as a look out circular (LOC) was issued against him.

On his arrival, he was detained and handed over to the Crime Branch. Goel was arrested after brief questioning, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajesh Deo said.  He will be produced in court on Sunday.  -- PTI
09:38   'Unprecedented' Rs 7cr raised on govt forum to help martyrs' families
The 'Bharat Ke Veer' contribution platform, that collects public funds for Central Armed Police Forces personnel killed in action, has got 'unprecedented' donations of over Rs 7 crore following the Pulwama terror attack, officials said on Saturday.

Officials manning the online portal of the Union Home Ministry have also asked citizens to 'desist' from donating money for the slain men in uniform at any other platform except the 'Bharat Ke Veer'.

"We have received unprecedented donations at the online portal in the last 36 hours and the amount is over Rs 7 crore," Border Security Force Inspector General (IG) Amit Lodha told PTI.

He said, "Never in the two year history of this benevolent public fund for CAPF martyrs, such a huge contribution has come in such a short time.

"We are grateful to the people of the country for expressing their solidarity with the martyrs."

The IG, who supervises the activity of the portal, said it was getting as many as '20,000 hits per second' post the Pulwama attack which claimed the lives of 41 Central Reserve Police Force jawans.

The CRPF personnel were killed and five injured in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

The home ministry also acknowledged the contributions made by the common people.

In a message, the ministry said, "The Ministry of Home Affairs expresses gratitude for the overwhelming support for Pulwama martyrs on Bharat Ke Veer, our web portal for your donations."

"The portal is experiencing a heavy surge of visitors due to which it is slowing down. We request patience while we work on technical solutions," it said.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also cautioned people against falling prey to platforms seeking fake donations.

"It is also reported that some unscrupulous elements are soliciting contributions from people through other accounts.

"It is advised that people desirous of supporting families of martyrs of CAPFs should only contribute through the website," the home minister tweeted.

The State Bank of India has also created a UPI for the Bharat Ke Veer initiative to help people make their monetary contributions easily, the BSF IG said.

Bharat Ke Veer, the fund-raising initiative, was launched in April 2017 by the Union Home Ministry, under whose command these paramilitary or CAPF's function.

Till last month, an amount of Rs 45.32 crore was received in the corpus of this fund, a senior official said.

Anyone can contribute to the fund through the BKV mobile app or the website.

All contributions are exempt from income tax as per government rules.  -- PTI
09:02   Vande Bharat Express begins first commercial run
The Vande Bharat Express -- India's first semi-high speed train -- began its first commercial run on Sunday, a day after it broke down on its way to Delhi from Varanasi.

"Vande Bharat Express left Delhi for Varanasi today morning on its first commercial run. Tickets sold out for the next two weeks already. Get yours today!" tweeted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

In a detailed press release issued on Saturday night, railways said during the transportation back from Varanasi it was stopped at Chamraula station of National Capital Region, about 18 kms after crossing Tundla station.

"There was an issue of communication between the last basic unit of 4 coaches and the rest of the train probably due to some external hit. Thereafter, safety features in the train applied brakes. The train was checked for faults and moved to Delhi," it said.

Train 18, which was recently rechristened Vande Bharat Express, had left Varanasi Junction for Delhi at 10:30 pm on Friday, nearly 45 minutes after reaching the holy city on its inaugural journey.

The first breakdown occurred around 15 km from Tundla junction in Uttar Pradesh early morning.

"It was a case of skidding wheels after the train ran over cattle," Northern Railway CPRO Deepak Kumar had said in the morning.

According to sources, including several journalists on board the train, it was stuck near Tundla for over an hour.

They said before the train came to a halt, its end coaches started making a rattling sound.

"There was some smell in the last four coaches which had no power. Also some smoke was noticed. Loco pilots decreased the speed for some time. I heard the officials talking about brake malfunction," a source on the train said.

In a war of words over the train last night, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, "Modi ji, I think Make in India needs a serious rethink. Most people feel it has failed. I assure you we in the Congress are thinking very deeply about how it will be done."

In a quick response, Goyal tweeted -- "Such a shame that you choose to attack the hard work and ingenuity of Indian engineers, technicians and labourers. It is THIS mindset which needs a reset. 'Make In India' is a success and a part of crores of Indian lives. Your family had 6 decades to think, wasn't that enough?"  -- PTI
08:48   CRPF asks Kashmiris 'in distress' to use 'madadgar' helpline
In the backdrop of reports of threats issued to Kashmiris based out of Jammu and Kashmir following the Pulwama terror attack, a Srinagar-based Central Reserve Police Force helpline on Saturday asked them to approach it in case they face any harassment.

The 'Madadgaar' helpline posted a tweet in this context stating that Kashmiri students and general public who are presently out of the state can contact it over the Twitter handle '@CRPFmadadgaar'.

They can call on 24x7 toll free number 14411 or send an SMS at mobile no: 7082814411 'for speedy assistance in case they face any difficulties or harassment'.

A senior official said the force will undertake immediate steps in case the helpline receives a distress call by a Kashmir-based person and will alert and depute the officials from its nearest located base to address the issue.

The CRPF is the country's largest paramilitary force with over three lakh personnel in its ranks and it has its formations and battalions in maximum states of the country, he said.

"While we have lost our comrades, it is our pledge to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially to those living in the Kashmir Valley, that we are with them always," he said.

The Centre on Saturday also asked all states to ensure safety and security of the students and people from Jammu and Kashmir living in their areas.

The advisory came hours after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured an all-party meeting of doing the needful for the protection of the Kashmiri students and people who were allegedly threatened after the terrorist attack in Awantipora area of Pulwama district.

An official at the security establishment said there have been some reports of students and other residents of Jammu and Kashmir experiencing threats and intimidation.

"Therefore, the Home Ministry today issued an advisory to all states/UTs to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security," the official said.

Some Kashmiri youths studying in Uttarakhand's Dehradun alleged that they were harassed and have been asked by their landlords to vacate accommodations fearing attacks on their properties in the aftermath of the attack.

The CRPF, that is deployed for security duties in Jammu and Kashmir, had launched the 247 helpline Madadgaar (14411) in June 2017 to help any Valley resident who is in distress.  -- PTI