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LIVE! Modi should answer from where BJP getting money to poach MLAs: HDK

January 18, 2019

23:46  Modi should answer from where BJP getting money to poach MLAs: HDK:  
Questioning Narendra Modi over his claims of fighting corruption in the country, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy alleged that on one hand, the prime minister was talking about fighting corruption and, on the other, his party was trying to poach Congress legislators by using money.

"What you have been watching for one week, (is) how the BJP is trying to destabilise the stable government in Karnataka. I want to put one question to the honourable prime minister: Recently, during his party meeting, he (Modi) said he wanted to remove corruption and clean the country. For this, he requested citizen of the country to support him.

"But what's going on in Karnataka? Which money they (BJP) are offering to Congress MLAs to support them? From where the money is coming?" Kumaraswamy asked.

When asked about four Congress MLAs missing from the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting in Karnataka, Kumaraswamy said, "Nothing will happen, they will also come and join us."

Four dissidents skipped the CLP meeting in Bengaluru on Friday, which was called as a show of strength to counter an alleged bid by the Bharatiya Janata Party to topple the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy, who is Kolkata to take part in Opposition rally on Saturday, said the rally would be a memorable day in national politics towards a change in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.  --  PTI
23:09  After mocking Shah, now Cong MP says he doesn't have swine flu:  
A day after mocking Amit Shah over his illness, Congress Rajya Sabha member B K Hariprasad stoked another controversy on Friday saying the Bharatiya Janata Party president was not suffering from 'swine flu'.

"We also know people in AIIMS. He has not been admitted because of the flu. Let me get the fact. Then I will get back to you," the MP said when asked by reporters what he meant by his 'pigfever' jibe.

When asked about the ailment of Shah if it was not swine flu, Hariprasad said that was the report he got.

To a question whether Shah was suffering from something else, he said, "I don't know."

Hariprasad also refused to retract from his remarks made on Thursday despite furious reaction by the BJP which has demanded that the Congress sack him and tender a public apology.

"Whatever statement I made is there. I will talk to you later," he said, adding that he spoke in Kannada, which was his mother tongue and there was nothing wrong in that.

Speaking at a Congress protest in Bengaluru against the alleged attempt by the BJP to dislodge the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka by luring the ruling coalition MLAs, Hariprasad had said in Kannada,"As a few legislators have already come back, Amit Shah is shaken and has got fever. It is not a normal fever. It is swine flu."

He added that 'You should know that if you try to destabilise the Karnataka government, not just swine flu, you will get vomiting and dysentery also'.

Shah was Wednesday admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for treatment of swine flu.

Union ministers, BJP leaders in the state and in Delhi had slammed Hariprasad and used his comments to attack the opposition party.

"The kind of ugly and indecent comments Congress MP B K Hariprasad have made about BJP president Amit Shah's health show the standards of the Congress. Flu is curable but it is difficult to cure Congress leaders' mental illness," Union minister Piyush Goyal had said.

Apart from Goyal several union ministers, including Rajyavardhan Rathore, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, had reacted sharply.

The Congress sought to distance itself with its spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi saying the party could never think of wishing illness to any BJP leader.  -- PTI
22:56  Bodies of 3 children who died in US fire arrive in Hyderabad:  
Bodies of the three teenaged siblings who died in a fire accident in the United States arrived today in Hyderabad on Friday.

The bodies of Satwika Sharron Naik, 17, Aaron Suhas Lalu Naik, 15, and Joy Suchita Naik, 14, arrived by a British Airways flight at 5.20 am and were later brought to the Baptist Church in Narayanaguda where a prayer meeting was conducted, family sources said.

The bodies will be taken to their native place Gurrapu Thanda village, Devarakonda in Nalgonda district for the burial scheduled tomorrow.

"We have lost our three children in the fire accident that took place in Collierville, US. We have faith in our God who is giving us the strength to do these formalities.

"Prayers of many people have helped and I would like to thank the central and state governments for supporting us in bringing back the bodies of our children," Srinivas Naik, father of the dead children said.

The incident occurred when the home of the family they were spending time in at Collierville, Tennessee, caught fire on December 24, 2018.  -- ANI
22:23  Bihar woman declines to marry drunk constable; groom gets arrested:  
A bride-to-be in dry Bihar declined to tie the knot when she learnt that her would-be husband had arrived in an inebriated condition, after which the groom a police constable was arrested.

According to Sub Divisional Police Officer, Kahalgaon, Dilnawaz Ahmed, Uday Rajak a resident of Tilakpur village in Bhagalpur who is posted in Nalanda district had reached the house of Yogendra Rajak in Akbarpur village to exchange garlands with his daughter late on Thursday night.

The groom and other baraatis were high on alcohol and they picked up a quarrel with Prasoon Kumar Rajak, the maternal uncle of the bride, who was roughed up by the visitors, Ahmed said.

The girl, upon learning about the whole incident, announced that she would not marry a person who drank, the SDPO said adding that her decision received wholehearted support from her family members and other villagers.

The villagers also informed the local police station about the incident following which the groom was arrested and an FIR lodged against him under relevant sections of the Excise Act, Ahmed said.

None of the other baraatis, including the grooms father, was arrested, he added.  -- PTI
21:50  Raksha Mantri approves induction of women as jawans in military police:  
In a historic decision, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday gave a nod for induction of women as jawans in the Army's Corps of Military Police.

So far, women were allowed to enter the Army only as officers and that too in select branches.

'The women will be inducted in graded manner to eventually comprise 20 per cent of total Corps of Military Police of the Army,' the Defence Ministry tweeted.

The proposal to induct women in military police was first mooted by Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, who had about a year ago said that women will be first inducted in military police.

The decision to induct more women in the services has come in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's directions to give more role to the women power in the defence forces.

Explaining the reason for need of women as jawans, the Army officials said many times, 'when people go to the operation, we have to face the people and many a times ladies come in front of us and that is when they can be handled by the females of the force'.

Currently women are allowed in a number of select areas including in medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Indian Army but combat roles are kept off limit for them due to operational concerns and logistical issues.  -- ANI
21:48  India protests Pak court order extending jurisdiction to Gilgit-Baltistan:  
India on Friday summoned the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan and lodged a strong protest on a recent order by Pakistan Supreme Court extending its jurisdiction over Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Pakistani official was conveyed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan', 'has been, is and shall remain an integral part of India', the Ministry of External Affairs said.

In an order, the Pakistan Supreme Court has said that its jurisdiction and power extend to Gilgit-Baltistan.

"The Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned today and a strong protest was lodged on recent order by Supreme Court of Pakistan on the so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan' which is an interference in India's internal affairs," the MEA said.

It also said Pakistan was asked to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

'Pakistan Government or judiciary have no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. Any action to alter the status of these occupied territories by Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever,' the MEA said in a statement.

It said India rejected such continued attempts by Pakistan to bring material change in these 'occupied territories and to camouflage grave human rights violations, exploitation and sufferings of the people living there'.

In the order, the Pakistan Supreme Court has also asked the federal government in Pakistan to promulgate a new law within a fortnight to grant more rights, including fundamental human rights, to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.  -- PTI
21:27  BJP defers WB campaign in view of Amit Shah's health:  
The scheduled rallies of Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal has been deferred by two days to January 22 owing to its national president Amit Shah's ill health, party officials said on Friday.

"As he (Shah) is not well, we have decided to change dates (of the rallies) so that he can attend them. There has been change in dates. Amit Shah will address the first rally on January 22 in Malda," Dilip Ghosh, president of the West Bengal unit of the BJP said.

Shah, who has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, with swine flu, is doing well and will be discharged in a day or two, the party had said on Thursday.

On January 23, Shah will address two rallies at Suri in Birbhum district and Jhargram district.

On January 24, he will address rallies at Krishnanagar in Nadia district and Jaynagar in South 24 Parganas district, Ghosh said.

The BJP has identified West Bengal as a priority state for the upcoming general elections and Shah has set a target of winning 22 of the state's 42 Lok Sabha seats.

The party is also looking to host a few rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi although the dates have not been confirmed yet, Ghosh said.

In the last few years, the BJP has emerged as the main opposition in the state with a commendable show in rural polls and by-elections.

Shah's rally will come just days after Trinamool Congress's mega opposition rally.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday had asked the West Bengal government to allow proposed public meetings and rallies of the BJP under its 'Ganatantra Bachao Yatra'.

In a show of strength ahead of the national polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has organised a massive rally in Kolkata on January 19, which is likely to see participation of lakhs.

Leaders of all major opposition parties have been invited to the rally to be held at the Brigade Parade ground in the heart of the city.  -- PTI
20:11  Details of Army rescue op in avalanche hit Khardung La area:  Statement of the Army on rescue operation after an avalanche hit two trucks in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday:

'Two civilian trucks along with 10 civilians were buried under an avalanche of approx 20 feet depth, approx 800 metres from Khardung La Top towards South Pullu today. The message of this unfortunate incident was given to the Army detachment at Khardung La Top at approx 0745hrs by the two civilian drivers.

'Immediately on receipt of this information all resources of the Fire and Fury Corps were activated. Army teams deployed near the incident site swiftly moved and commenced the search and rescue operations. Troops deployed at South Pullu and North Pullu were also moved to the incident site.

'Simultaneously, the Army Aviation helicopters were pressed into action to move the highly trained avalanche rescue teams of the Army called Avalanche Panthers Teams from Siachen Base Camp and North Pullu.

'These teams are equipped with specialised avalanche rescue equipment, medical equipment and avalanche rescue dogs, which are being utilised in the search and rescue operations.

'Army Aviation helicopters were also used to move the Deep Search Radars which can detect human beings through snow. Medical teams alongwith doctors and nursing assistants, heating blankets, medical equipment and warm clothing were moved to the avalanche site from the Army Hospital at Hunder.

'Lieutenant General YK Joshi, GOC Fire & Fury Corps personally carried out an aerial assessment of the incident and issued necessary directions for the smooth conduct of the rescue operations.

'Out of the 10 civilians reported to be buried under the avalanche, four bodies have so far been recovered and mangled pieces of one of the tippers was found on the steep slopes below the road.

'The rescue operations are still in progress, however, since the Run Out Zone of the avalanche is approx 1100 metres down the steep hill side the operations may take some time.

'GOC, Fire & Fury Corps has assured the civil administration of complete support during the rescue operation.'
19:58  Entire nation united to defeat BJP: Deve Gowda:  
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on Friday said the entire nation was united to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.

He praised West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee and termed her efforts to make way for a secular government in the country as 'historic'.

"Mamata is a great leader. She is hard working and such people are required in politics," Gowda said on his arrival Kolkata ahead of Saturday's mega opposition rally.

"Her decision to make way for formation of a secular government is historic", he added.

The president of the Janata Dal-Secular later met Banerjee.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar too lauded Banerjee's efforts to bring all opposition parties on one platform.

"Mamata has taken the initiative to bring all political parties together," Pawar said.

"BJP is spreading canards across the country. There should be an end to it," he added.

The TMC chief also called on Pawar at a city hotel where he was staying.

Describing the TMC supremo as a 'great leader', former Arunachal Chief Minister Gegong Apang said that her initiative would turn out to be a great success in defeating the Narendra Modi government in the coming Lok Sabha election.

Deve Gowda, Pawar and Apang would join a host of prominent leaders of opposition parties from across the country at the 'united opposition rally' at Brigade ground in Kolkata on Saturday.  -- PTI
18:59  K'taka: Amid rebellion crisis, 4 Congress MLAs skip crucial meet :  
Four Congress dissidents skipped the legislature party meeting in Bengaluru on Friday that was called as a show of strength in a counter to an alleged bid by the Bharatiya Janata Party to topple the coalition government in Karnataka.
The absence of four lawmakers posed no imminent threat to the seven-month old Congress-JDS government headed by H D Kumaraswamy but suggested that all was not well within the Congress which has been hit by dissidence.
In a notice issued to Congress MLAs ahead of the meeting, CLP leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah had warned that absence of MLAs would be viewed "seriously" and action taken against them under the anti-defection law.
As the meeting got underway, Congress sources said the absentee MLAs were: Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as minister in the recent cabinet rejig and is said to be extremely unhappy over it, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli.
Jadhav has written to Siddaramaiah noting that a letter about the meeting has been affixed outside his room at the Legislators Home and that since he is unwell and not able to travel, he would not attend the meet.
He requested that his absence may be "excused."    
Nagendra had said Thursday he may not be able to be present in the CLP meet because of a court case.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and state leaders were present at the meet.
Ahead of the CLP meeting, senior Congress leaders in Karnataka asserted there was no threat to the coalition government while hitting out at the BJP for making "futile attempts" to destabilise it, saying the saffron party's
conspiracy had been "exposed".
"All are in contact, you cannot say that any one person is not in (media) had listed out the names of those who may switch from the party. Most of them have come, the others will also come," Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said.
He also said, "Let whatever happen, there is no threat to this government. It will complete five years.The BJP is making futile attempts to destabilise the government."       

 Pointing out that the Bharatiya Janata Party had confined all its MLAs in the state to a hotel at Gurugram in Haryana, Rao said he felt "pity" for them. -- PTI
18:46  Have seen Sachin get angry but not Dhoni, says Shastri:  
Ravi Shastri has seen Sachin Tendulkar get "angry at times" but not Mahendra Singh Dhoni, "a once in 40 years player" who will be very difficult to replace once he bids adieu to the game, according to India's head coach.
The 37-year-old Dhoni, who was panned by critics for 51 off 96 balls in the first ODI against Australia, showed glimpses of his golden days by anchoring India to a series win with scores of unbeaten knocks of 55 and 87 in the next two.
"He is a legend. He will go down as one of our great cricketers. I have never seen an individual so sound. I have seen Sachin at times get angry. Not this man," Shastri told the 'Daily Telegraph'. 
Shastri made it clear that a player of Dhoni's calibre can't be replaced.
"You can't. Such players only come once in 30 or 40 years. That is what I tell Indians. Enjoy while it lasts. When he goes you will see a void that will be very hard to fill," he said.
The coach is hopeful that Rishabh Pant would live up to the hype surrounding him but insisted that Dhoni is something else.
When former England captain Michael Vaughan asked if Pant could be Dhoni in the next 20 years, Shastri replied: "I would love to. He has the talent. His hero is MS. Every day he is on the the phone to MS. I think during the Test series he must have spoken more to MS than anyone else."
It's not just Dhoni's role as a batsman that defines him but the master strategist in him that takes a lot of load off skipper Kohli's shoulders.
"That is because he has the best angle. He sees things. He is great with the guys, they all worship him. This entire team has been built by him because he was captain for 10 years. To have that kind of respect in the dressing room and experience is massive," said Shastri.
An introvert in real sense, Dhoni has not given any proper cricketing interview since 2011, says Shastri.
"Whether he gets a zero, gets a hundred, whether he wins the World Cup or loses in the first round, MS is the same man. He is simply consistent with his body language and composure. It amazes me how he does it. Since 2011 he has not given one interview." -- PTI
17:52  Gavaskar questions no prize money to Team India after ODI triumph:  Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar lashed out at hosts Australia for not honouring the Indian team with any cash award after its historic ODI series triumph, saying the players deserve a share of the revenue they generate.   India beat Australia 2-1 for their maiden bilateral ODI series triumph Down Under.  

Man-of-the-match Yuzvendra Chahal and Man-of-the-series MS Dhoni were given USD 500 each for their performances in the post-match presentation. The players donated their prize money to a charity. The team was presented just the winners' trophy by former batsman Adam Gilchrist. Gavaskar lambasted the hosts for not handing out any cash awards. 

"What is USD 500 and it's a pity that the team has got only a trophy. They (organisers) earn so much money through broadcast rights. Why can't they give good prize money to the players? After all, players are the sole reason for the sport getting huge money (from sponsors)," Gavaskar said on 'Sony Six'.

"Look at the prize money being given away at the Wimbledon (Championships). It's phenomenal. The players are key in generating money, so they must be rewarded handsomely," he added.  

At the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, even those who exited in the first round pocketed close to Rs 36 lakh while the singles winners got richer by Rs 21 crore (approx). The low prize money aside, India enjoyed their most successful tour of Australia, winning both the Test and ODI series 2-1 and drawing the Twenty20 series 1-1. -- PTI 
17:39  51 women of menstruating age entered Sabarimala: Kerala govt:  The Kerala government in a note to the Supreme Court on Friday said that 51 women between 10 and 50 years of age entered the Sabarimala Temple following the verdict of the top court.

"Over 16 lakh devotees have done the online registration for 'darshan' in the Sabarimala Temple and out of these 8.2 lakhs have visited the shrine. A total of 7564 women between the age of 10 and 50 have registered for darshan, and as per the digitally scanned records around 51 women in this group have already visited the shrine and had darshan, without any issue. This doesn't include many others who have come as normal pilgrims and not availed the online facility. A total number of 44 lakh pilgrims visited the temple from November 16, 2018 till date," a note of Kerala Police chief stated.

Hearing the plea of two women who entered the Ayappa shrine on January 2 amidst ensuing protest against the entry of women of menstruating age, the Supreme Court directed the Kerala Police to provide adequate security to two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, "They (two women) should be given adequate security. Give them full security and you (Kerala) are fully responsible for their life."

The apex court, however, rejected their prayer to tag their plea with review petitions. Nearly four months after the top court's verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Temple, the two women aged below 50 entered the Lord Ayyappa temple to offer prayers.

Kanakadurga was hospitalised after being thrashed by her mother-in-law on January 15 following her visit to the temple. The victim said she was hit around 10-12 times with a wooden stick by her mother-in-law as soon as she entered her residence.

A case has been registered by Perinthalmanna police based on Kanakadurga's complaint under Sections 341 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against her mother-in-law.

The plea filed by both the women sought round-the-clock security to them due to the threat to their life for entering the temple. They also sought directions to declare all authorities not to conduct the "rite of purification" or to shut the temple on account of any woman of the age of 10-50 having entered the temple, as this ritual is representative of a cleansing ceremony signifies they were impure, violative of their dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

After their entry, a purification process took place in the temple, while violent protests broke out across the state with agitators pelting stones and blocking the national highways.

On September 28 last year, the apex court lifted the ban on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years into the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala. -- ANI
17:29  Akhilesh reaches Kolkata ahead of Mamata's rally :  Former Uttar Pradesh CM and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav reaches Kolkata for TMC's opposition rally tomorrow. "The country needs change and wants a a new prime minister," he told reporters at the airport. 
17:08  EC may announce Lok Sabha poll schedule in March: Sources:  
The dates for the Lok Sabha elections are likely to be announced in the first week of March, sources indicated on Friday.
The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
The Election Commission is in the process of deciding the number of phases and the months in which polling would be held, they said.
The charting of the phases would also depend on the availability of security forces and other requirements, the sources said, adding the announcement of the mega exercise is likely to be made in first week of March.
There is a possibility that the EC may go by the precedent and hold assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Since the Jammu and Kashmir assembly has been dissolved, the EC is bound to hold fresh polls there within six months.
It was dissolved in November, 2018 and the upper limit ends in May. The poll panel may hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls as well. But it can be held before that also as much depends on the complex security situation there, they said.
In normal circumstances, the J&K assembly's six-year term was to end on March 16, 2021. The other state assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.
While the term of the Sikkim Assembly ends on May 27, 2019, the terms of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh assemblies end on June 18, June 11 and June 1 respectively.
In 2004, the Election Commission had announced four-phase Lok Sabha polls on February 29. While the first date of poll was April 20, the last date was May 10.
In 2009, the EC had announced Lok Sabha poll scheduled on March 2. The five-phase polls began on April 16 and ended on May 13.
In 2014, the EC had announced the election schedule on March 5 and the nine-phase electoral exercise was spread across April and May.
While the first phase polling was on April 7, the last phase was on May 12. -- PTI 
16:17  Five bodies recovered in Ladakh avalanche:  Jammu & Kashmir: Five bodies have been recovered so far. 10 people were trapped under snow after an avalanche occurred in Khardung La, Ladakh.
16:16  Sensex, Nifty end marginally higher; RIL shines post Q3 show:  Markets closed marginally higher Friday after a volatile session as investors largely stuck to index heavyweights despite positive global cues. 

The BSE Sensex settled 12.53 points, or 0.03 per cent, higher at 36,386.61. The broader NSE Nifty inched up 1.75 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 10,906.95. During the week, the 30-share Sensex gained 378.77 points, or 1 per cent and the Nifty rose 112 points, or 1.02 per cent. Reliance Industries was the biggest gainer on Sensex in Friday's session, spurting 4.43 per cent, after the company became the first Indian private sector company to report a quarterly profit of more than Rs 10,000 crore following record earnings from petrochemical, retail and telecom businesses. 

Other gainers included Kotak Bank, HCL Tech, ONGC, Asian Paints, Vedanta, HDFC Bank, Bajaj Finance, Maruti and TCS, gaining up to 1.41 per cent.
16:15  All roads lead to Kolkata:  Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and NCP chief Sharad Pawar (not in picture) reach Kolkata for TMC's opposition rally tomorrow. 
15:46  LS polls: AAP to go solo in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana:  The Aam Aadmi Party will contest Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana alone.

"Our party will contest Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana alone. For Congress, their arrogance is bigger than national interest, it is visible from recent statements of Punjab Chief Minister (Captain Amarinder Singh) and Sheila Dikshitji," AAP leader Gopal Rai told ANI.

Earlier this month, Captain Amarinder Singh had dismissed the need for Congress to ally with the AAP in Punjab for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections but asserted that the final decision would be taken by the Congress high command.

"Till now there is no question of Congress allying with the AAP as the party does not have its presence in Punjab," Singh had said after an informal meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

He had also said that the AAP in its present form is different from what it was in the last general elections.

"The AAP now has been split as many of its leaders have resigned. However, any decision on a coalition with AAP or any other party would be taken by the Congress high command, keeping in mind the national perspective and electoral compulsions, and would be followed by PPCC", he added. -- ANI
15:43  JU mulling legal step against prof for 'virginity' remark: VC:  Two days after the Jadavpur University barred professor Kanak Sarkar from entering the campus for a misogynist social media post, its Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das has said he was mulling legal action in the case to ensure such incidents do not occur again. 

Sarkar, a professor at the university's international relations department, had extolled women's virginity, comparing it to the seal of a bottle, in a Facebook post. 

Although he had deleted the comment soon after, screenshots of the post went viral on social media, triggering outrage and widespread condemnation. 

Das told PTI Thursday that strict action would be taken against the professor as per university statute. "Sarkar has been barred from entering the campus till the time a university-appointed committee files its report for thorough examination. We are mulling strictest legal action against him. "Additionally, the National Commission for Women (NCW) and West Bengal women's commission are also probing charges against him," he said.

Image: Jadavpur university professor Kanak Sarkar. Courtesy: Kanak Sarkar/Facebook
15:23  President to watch Kangana Ranaut's Manikarnika today:  
President Ram Nath Kovind will be watching a special screening of Kangana Ranaut's Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi, at the mini theatre at the Rashtrapati Bhavan today. Other guests to the screening include union
ministers and VVIPs. 

Ranaut essays the role of Rani Laxmi Bai, the war queen who took on the British to protect her kingdom. The film releases next Friday. 

The film also features Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkaribai, Atul Kulkarni as Tatya Tope and Danny Denzongpa as Ghulam Ghaus Khan. 
14:41  Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approves decision to rename Mughalsarai tehsil to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay tehsil.
14:29  Two terror attacks in Srinagar, no loss of life or injury:  
Two back-to-back terror attacks in Kashmir.  Terrorists lobbed a grenade at a police camp in the Gagran area of South Kashmir's Shopian. No loss of life or injury reported. 

This comes after reports of a blast at Ghanta Ghar Chowk in the high-security Lal Chowk area of Srinagar.

Just yesterday, militants carried out a grenade attack on a security picket at Zero Bridge in the city, leaving three traffic policemen injured. 

The attack took place less than 100 metres from the National Conference headquarters and the local office of All India Radio.

Image: A damaged car in the blast at Ghanta Ghar Chowk in Srinagar today. 
13:59  Sonia, Rahul to visit Rae Bareli, Amethi on January 23-24:  Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are likely to visit their respective parliamentary constituencies Amethi and Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh on January 23-24, a party leader said Friday.

During his two-day visit, the Congress president is expected to take part in several party programmes and a meeting of the district vigilance and monitoring committee, Amethi district Congress spokesman Anil Singh said. 

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is also expected to attend the district vigilance and monitoring committee meeting in her constituency Rae Bareli, Singh said. 

The Gandhis will arrive at the Fursatganj airport on January 23, from where they will leave for their respective constituencies. They will depart for Delhi on January 24, Singh added. -- PTI 

Image: Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli in 2014
13:54  Lanka president plans to copy Duterte's war on drugs:  President Maithripala Sirisena praises Philippines over policy that has led to thousands of extrajudicial killings. Read the report here
13:34  Rahul extends support to Mamata's mega rally :  Congress president Rahul Gandhi extended his support to Mamata Banerjee on Friday for her "show of unity" in Kolkata on January 19 and hoped that it would send a powerful message of a united India. 

Gandhi is likely to skip Mamata's rally and the Congress has deputed its leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, to represent the Grand Old Party at the event. 

In a letter to Banerjee, the Congress chief commended the "great people" of Bengal, who had "historically been at the forefront of defending our ideals".

"I extend my support to Mamatadi on this show of unity and hope that we send a powerful message of a united India together," Gandhi wrote in the letter. In a Facebook post, he said, "The entire opposition is united in our belief that true nationalism and development can only be defended on the tested pillars of democracy, social justice and secularism, ideas that the BJP and Mr Modi are intent on destroying." 

In his letter to Banerjee as well as in the post on the social media platform, Gandhi said there were powerful forces that were fanned by the anger and disappointment of millions of Indians, who had seen through the "false promises and lies peddled by the Modi government". "These forces are moved by the hope of a new tomorrow; a tomorrow filled with the idea of an India in which the voice of every man, woman and child will be heard and respected no matter what their religion, economic status or region is," he said. 

A host of Opposition leaders are likely to attend the Trinamool Congress supremo's rally in Kolkata on Saturday, which is being projected as her "show of opposition strength" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. -- PTI
12:45  24X7 security for women who entered Sabarimala shrine: SC :  The Supreme Court directs the Kerala police to provide round-the-clock security to the two women who had entered the Sabarimala temple. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices LN Rao and SK Kaul heard the plea filed by two women -- Kanakadurga and Bindu Ammini (pictured) today after senior advocate Indira Jaising contended the matter should be heard urgently as one of the women was assaulted by her mother in-law. The plea had sought round-the-clock security to both the women due to threat to their life for entering into the hilltop shrine. 
12:37  Caroline Wozniacki stumbles out of Australian Open:  Defending champion and world number 3 Caroline Wozniacki crashes out of the Australian Open. The Dane lost to Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-4, 3-6. In 2018, Wozniacki won her first ever Grand Slam title at the Australian Open by beating Romania's Simona Halep.
12:34  ! 3 dead, 7 missing in Ladakh avalanche:  Three bodies have been recovered so far in the avalanche that hit the Khardung La region of Ladakh today. Rescue operation is still underway with at least seven more people reported missing after the truck they were travelling was hit by the avalanche, officials said. 

The vehicle was hit by the avalanche at 7 am, a Border Roads Organisation official said. He said the BRO has pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the persons believed to be trapped under the snow. Teams of the Army and the State Disaster Response Force have also reached the spot for the rescue operation, he said. It was not clear whether the persons in the truck were civilians or security force personnel. PTI
12:20  'Nobody from BJP will win in Assam and north east':  RTI activist and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi, along with litterateur Hiren Gohain and journalist Manjit Mahanta, was charged with sedition for opposing the Citizenship Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week. 

The bill allows the granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees from neighbouring countries.The Assam police filed a sedition case against the three for comments made by them during a meeting on January 7 to protest against the Citizenship Bill. They have since been granted bail by the Guwahati high court. An unfazed Gogoi says he opposes the bill as he feels it is communal in nature and goes against the Assam Accord and the Constitution.

He also warns that it will lead to Hindu refugees from Bangladesh flowing into Assam once the bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha and becomes law.

"I was earlier booked under the NSA (National Security Act for four months, but the high court quashed the case. Now they are charging me with sedition. I don't care," Gogoi, tells's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Read the interview here. 
12:07  Tulsi Gabbard apologizes for her past statement on LGBTQ:  Democratic presidential aspirant Tulsi Gabbard apologised Thursday for her past remarks that were critical of the LGBTQ community, saying now she has a strong commitment to fight for their rights. 

Gabbard, 37, the first Hindu elected to US Congress and a four-time Democratic lawmaker, last week announced she will run for President in 2020. In the past, she "forcefully defended" her father who was fighting against gay rights and marriage equality in Hawaii.

In a video message, Gabbard said: "In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to the LGBTQ community and their loved ones. Many years ago, I apologised for my words and, more importantly, for the negative impact that they had". "I sincerely repeat my apology today. I'm deeply sorry for having said them. My views have changed significantly since then, and my record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart: A strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights. "When we deny LGBTQ people the basic rights that exist for every American, we are denying their humanity, denying that they are equal. We are also creating a dangerous environment that breeds discrimination and violence. When we divide people based on who they are or who they love, all we are doing is adding fuel the flames that perpetuate bigotry and hatred," Gabbard said. -- PTI
11:58  Alliance with BSP, RLD final; seat-sharing no problem: Akhilesh:  The Samajwadi Party's alliance with the BSP and the RLD was "final" and there would be no issues as regards seat-sharing in the coming Lok Sabha polls, party chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Friday, while ruling out any understanding with the Congress.

"Our alliance with the BSP, the RLD and smaller parties like the Nishad Party is final and seat-sharing will not be a problem. It will be worked out soon. We have emerged as a strong force in the state, which has changed the tone and tenor of the BJP, whose leaders have started using foul language against us," the SP national president told PTI. 

"Uttar Pradesh has always acted as a catalyst for change. This time, the people of the state will change the prime minister. Our fight is with the BJP and the people are supporting us," Yadav said in an interview at the SP headquarters in Lucknow. 

He, however, ducked the question as to who would be his choice as the next prime minister. Maintaining that the SP will only "concentrate" in Uttar Pradesh, Yadav ruled out any understanding with the Congress in the state in the Lok Sabha polls. "How can we have an understanding with it (Congress)? It is a national party. We have given them two seats (Amethi and Raebareli), which the SP had been leaving for them. Presently, my focus is on Uttar Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand also, the SP will field one or two candidates who are strong and we will explore (the possibility of an) alliance with others," he said. 

Reminded about his friendship with Congress president Rahul Gandhi (48), with whom he had given the "UP ke ladke" (boys from UP) slogan in the 2017 state Assembly polls, Yadav, who is three years younger to Gandhi, said, "I will not like to talk about the Congress as of now."
11:26  10 feared trapped under avalanche in Ladakh:  As many as 10 people are feared trapped under snow after an avalanche occurred in Khardung La on Friday. Two tippers and a Scorpio car, which were carrying a total of 12 people, left for Khardung La this morning to load snow which was to be brought to Leh. A tipper had been loaded with snow while the other one was being filled with the same when the avalanche struck. A search and rescue operation by the army is currently underway. Further details of the incident are awaited. - ANI
11:23  That's what Delhi looked like this morning:  A thick blanket of fog enveloped the national capital today, with residents advised to avoid all physical activity outdoors and move activities indoors. "If asthmatic, keep relief medicine handy. Sensitive groups must stop outdoor activity early morning and after sunset. Avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Go for a short walk instead of a jog and take more breaks. Stop any activity level if you experience any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, wheezing, breathing difficulty, or fatigue. If the room has windows, close them. If the air Conditioner provides a fresh air intake option, keep that closed," stated an advisory published by SAFAR. According to the latest report published by the World Health Organisation, as many as one million lives in the world can be saved if all the countries reduce the menace of air pollution in accordance with the Paris Agreement by 2050. 
11:20  Fog disrupts rail traffic in Delhi :  Delhi, routinely suffering from air pollution accompanied by thick fog caused by vehicular exhaust and coal burning, witnessed yet another bad day on Friday. Owing to the low visibility, at least 10 trains were delayed in the morning after the minimum temperature settled at 7 Degrees Celsius. 
11:14  'Unemployment is a major cause of resentment in India':  Baijayant 'Jay' Panda, who was suspended from the Biju Janata Dal and resigned from the BJD last year, was one of the party's founders and was one of the most vocal MPs in Parliament for 18 years. 

A compilation of his opinion pieces has just been published, in a book quite aptly called Lutyen's Maverick.

"It seems evident that this election will be a contest, which was not the conventional wisdom a year ago. However, it would be imprudent to be dismissive about the prime minister and his party," Jay Panda tells's Archana Masih. Part 1 of an e-mail interview.  Do read
11:10  Dense fog disrupts flight operations at Delhi airport:   Dense fog enveloped several parts of the national capital, leading to disruption in flight operations at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. 

Arrivals and departures have largely been put on hold at the IGI airport. Two flights were also diverted between 5.30 am and 8.30 am. 

"Flight operations have largely been put on hold. Very few aircraft are departing and that too on the basis of their size, visibility and ATC (air traffic control) clearance for taking off," an airport official said. 

According to the official, departures were completely put on hold from 5.30 am to 7 am and arrivals happened only intermittently in between 6 am to 7.20 am. Departures were not allowed after 7 am due to dense fog. One of the flights diverted from the IGI airport was coming from Singapore. It was diverted to Kolkata, he said. At Delhi, the minimum runway visibility required for take off is 125 metres.

The Delhi airport was facing low visibility conditions since 4 am Friday due to dense fog, the official said.

Vistara Airlines tweeted at 8.23 am on Friday that "due to dense fog and poor visibility in Delhi, delays are expected for both arrivals and departures with likely consequential impact on flights across network". 

"Currently, flight departures from Delhi are on hold and will resume by 0930 hrs subject to weather clearance," it added. Jet Airways also tweeted on 6.33 am that some of its flights have been affected as there is dense fog at Delhi airport as well as Bengaluru airport.  -- PTI

Image: That's not a railway platform, but IGI airport this morning. With most flights cancelled this morning, passengers were inconvenienced with  all seats taken at the terminal. Pic: Seema Pant 
10:53  Bishop Franco has money, political power, anything can happen: Nun:  Sister Anupama (one of 4 nuns who protested against Bishop Franco Mulakkal) on the transfer order against them: It's mental harassment so that the survivor sister and we come under mental pressure. We won't go but will be here with our survivor sister until our case ends. We know Bishop Franco has a lot of money and political power and with that, anything can happen. We hope the Court gives us justice. We are satisfied with the investigation.
10:38  It's mahagathbandhan vs Modi at Mamata's rally tomorrow :  With an eye on Delhi, the Trinamool Congress is all geared up for tomorrow's "united opposition rally", which party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said would sound the "death knell" for the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls. 

Leaders of over 20 opposition parties are expected to attend the rally at the iconic Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Saturday to vow to put up a united fight against the "misrule" of the saffron party. The TMC hopes to use the rally as a platform to prop Banerjee as a leader who can "take along other parties" and challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party after the general election. 

Banerjee, the brain behind the mega opposition rally, on Thursday said the regional parties would be the deciding factor in the Lok Sabha polls. "It will be a 'United India Rally' against the misrule of the BJP. It will sound the death knell for the BJP ... The saffron party's seat count in the general election will not cross 125. The number of seats the state parties will win will be much higher than that of the BJP's. "The federal parties, that is the regional parties, will be the deciding factor after the elections," she claimed. 

Chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, H D Kumaraswamy, N Chandrababu Naidu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) M K Stalin, besides dissident BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha are among those billed to attend the mega rally. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and his party colleague Abhishek Manu Singhvi will also take part in the rally. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Dal's (RLD) Ajit Singh, former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha will also be present on the stage alongside the TMC supremo. Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Gegong Apang, who quit the BJP on Tuesday, is also set to attend the meet. 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and BSP supremo Mayawati will not be present. They have deputed senior party leaders to attend the programme. The three politicians had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy last year.

According to state Congress sources, the party unit was not very keen on Kharge and Singhvi attending the rally as it would send a wrong message to its workers who are fighting against the TMC in West Bengal. 

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), along with the other Left parties, has decided to give the rally a miss. Asked to comment on Mayawati skipping the rally, Banerjee said BSP's "senior leader Satish Chandra Mishra will be attending, which is a big thing for us". -- PTI

Image: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on a Twitter post of @AITCofficial with a warning to the BJP, 'First take care of Delhi, then look at Bengal'. 
10:13  Son of BSF jawan suspended for food video found dead:  Rohit, son of Tej Bahadur Yadav (pictured), the Border Security Force Constable who was dismissed from service after he had released a video in 2017 on quality of food served to soldiers, was found dead at his residence in Shanti Vihar in Rewari, Haryana.

"We received a call that Rohit has committed suicide. At the crime spot, we discovered that the room was locked from inside. The body was lying on the bed. There was a pistol in his hands. His father has gone to attend Kumbh Mela. We have informed him," said a police official.

Tej Bahadur Yadav had posted four videos on the social media in January, 2017, that showed him complaining about the unpalatable food at his camp along the Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir. The videos triggered outrage across the nation, but the BSF dismissed his allegations.He was later dismissed from service. -- ANI
09:55  Soldiers dying because we are not doing our job properly: RSS chief:  RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat lamented Thursday that though there was no war going on, soldiers were still dying on the country's borders.  This was happening because "we are not doing our job properly", he said at a function to mark silver jubilee of the Prahaar Samaaj Jagruti Sanstha in Nagpur. He said it was time to sacrifice life for the country before India gained freedom. After Independence, one had to do it on the borders when there was a war, the RSS chief said. "(But) in our country there is no war (at the moment), still people (soldiers) are getting martyred....because we are not doing our job properly," he said. "Otherwise, if there is no war then there is no reason why a soldier should die on the border. But it is happening," he said, adding that steps must be taken as a society to stop this and "make the country great".  

He said people have to strive all the time to make one's country great. "Everybody has to strive...this is not something for which we can give contract to somebody. (We rest easy thinking) the government will do it, police will do it, the Army will do it, but it's not like that, the entire society has to make efforts," Bhagwat said.  

"The policies in the country affect everybody. I do not make the policy nor you, but we all have to bear its impact. Inflation increased, I did not increase it nor you, but we all have to suffer. Unemployment increased, I did not increase it nor you, but we all have to suffer, that is why we will have to learn to live for our country," he said. -- PTI
09:47  LIVE! Modi's decision to buy 36 Rafales shot the price of each jet up by 41%:   Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision, announced out of the blue in Paris on April 10, 2015, to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France instead of the 126 asked for by the Indian Air Force for six squadrons, pushed the price of each fully fitted, combat-ready aircraft up by 41.42%. 

It was the National Democratic Alliance government's acceptance of the cost of 1.3 billion claimed for the 'design and development' of 13 India Specific Enhancements (ISE), and the distribution of this 'non-recurring cost' over 36 instead of 126 bare-bones aircraft, that was the major reason for the big increase in price. 

Read N Ram's exclusive report in The Hindu.
09:23  Delhi's air quality worsens, fog disrupts air and rail traffic:  
A thick blanket of fog covered the National Capital Territory this morning. All departures from Delhi Airport were on hold from 5:30 am to 7 am today and most of the arrivals were also hit due to poor visibility and bad weather. Train services have also been affected with 10 trains to Delhi running late due to fog as of now.

The Delhi Traffic Police alerted commuters of poor visibility. Tweeting a list of 'Dos and Don'ts', the police said, "Visibility low due to intense fog in the border areas and area around India Gate in Delhi. Drive with caution. Maintain moderate speed. Drive with headlamps switched on."

The India Meteorological Department has said that there will be dense to very dense fog at several places in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand for the next two days. In the east, there is dense fog forecast over Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Visibility was very poor in the capital. Pictures from Delhi's RK Puran and Rajpath show vehicles moving very slowly due to poor visibility. 
08:58  Karnataka Congress summons MLAs today to identify dissidents:  
A tense end game in Karnatakas latest political drama is set to play itself out on Friday, when the Congress has summoned a meeting of its legislators for a show of hands, seeking to identify turncoats with a warning that absentees will be expelled from the party.

The Congress, which has an alliance with the Janata Dal-Secular in the southern state, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party resumed an acrimonious verbal battle after a days rest, accusing each other of trying to poach their MLAs.

Some of the Congresss 80 MLAs were still missing, and thought to be in Mumbai, keeping up the suspense over their intentions. One of the alleged dissenters, B Nagendra, arrived in the state capital to attend a court hearing and rubbished speculation that he had been poached by the BJP, but was unsure if he would attend Fridays meeting.

I have come to the city for a court hearing. There is no operation (to poach Congress MLAs). I went to Mumbai for personal reasons as I have business there. I keep going there often, Nagendra said, insisting that he had never been out of contact.

I dont have any reason to be unhappy (with the Congress). Regarding the CLP {Congress Legislature Party} meeting, I have to see what happens with the court, if I have a hearing tomorrow as well, it might be difficult to attend, Nagendra said.

A senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named, said the dissidents had been thwarted in their attempt to muster more support.
08:39  Trump cancels US delegation's visit to Davos amid shutdown:  
US President Donald Trump has cancelled the delegation's trip to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, due to the partial government shutdown.

The announcement comes as the shutdown entered its 27th day on Thursday.  

Last week, Trump cancelled his planned trip to the WEF meeting, citing the "intransigence" of the Democrats on his funding request to build a controversial wall along the US-Mexico border.

The five-day summit is slated to begin at the Swiss resort town of Davos from January 21.

"Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his delegation's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Thursday.

The cancellation of the US delegation visit to the WEF meeting came on a day Trump postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan, citing the shutdown.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was due to lead the five-member presidential delegation to Davos which also included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The longest-ever shutdown in US history has rendered over 800,000 federal employees without work, crippling the functioning of several key wings of the government including Security and State department.

-- PTI
08:00  Britain's Prince Philip unhurt after car crash near royal estate:  
Queen Elizabeth's 97-year-old husband Prince Philip escaped uninjured from a car crash while driving near the Sandringham estate in eastern England.

Police said two people in a car that collided with that of the prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, were both taken to hospital for minor injuries but later discharged.

Pictures from the scene showed a Land Rover overturned on the side of the road. The accident occurred when Philip was pulling out of a driveway onto a main road, the BBC reported, quoting a witness saying he was very shaken.

Philip drove former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to lunch during their state visit to Britain in 2016.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the accident.

"The Duke was not injured," it added in a statement.

A palace spokeswoman later confirmed Philip was at the wheel and was checked by a doctor afterwards. He did not go to hospital and was now back at Sandringham, the private country residence owned by Queen Elizabeth in the county of Norfolk.

Famous for verbal gaffes but generally regarded with wry affection by Britons, Philip married Elizabeth in 1947 and has been by his wife's side throughout her long reign.
00:24  Rajasthan: 1 dead, 65 cases of swine flu found positive today:  
As cases of swine flu are on the rise in Rajasthan, one person died in Churu and 65 cases of swine flu were found positive across the state on Thursday, said an official statement.

According to Rajasthan Health Department, "A total of 1,036 cases of swine flu have been found positive and 40 deaths have been reported in the state in January so far."

Two cases each in Bhilwara, Jhunjhunu, Kota, one each in Nagaur, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Hanumangarh, Dausa, four in Churu, 24 cases in Jaipur, nine in Alwar, three each in Sikar, Barmer, five in Jodhapur, three in Barmer, and six in Udaipur.

Earlier it was reported that a total of 210 people died of swine flu with over 2,192 positive cases reported from across the state in 2018.

The highest number of cases and deaths were reported from Jaipur district followed by Kota and Jodhpur districts respectively.

Director, Department of Health, V K Mathur said: "There have been 2,192 cases of swine flu in Rajasthan between January 1 and December 21, 2018.

"The highest number of deaths and positive cases has been reported from Jaipur, where 38 people died due to swine flu while 884 positive cases were reported. Jaipur is followed by Kota with 29 deaths and 400 positive cases of swine flu being reported."

Swine flu is an infection caused by one of the several swine influenza viruses (SIV), with the H1N1 strain being the most common across the country.

H1N1 virus spreads when an individual touched an infected or breathes droplets of coughs and sneezes that are in the air.

The symptoms are the same as the seasonal flu, also known as the viral fever. This includes cough, sore throat, and body ache.  -- ANI

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