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LIVE! Kashmir Press Club denounces curbs on scribes

September 03, 2019


23:54  Babri Masjid litigant Iqbal Ansari attacked in his house:  
Iqbal Ansari, one of the main litigants in the Babri Masjid dispute, was on Tuesday allegedly physically assaulted at his house here by two people who, he claimed, threatened to kill him if he did not withdraw the case.
   
His security personnel intervened and saved him from the attackers who were detained by police.
 
Ansari told PTI that on Tuesday afternoon, a man and a woman reached his residence.
 
"The woman introduced herself as Vartika Singh and claimed that she was an international shooter. They asked me to withdraw my claim from the dispute, threatening that she would otherwise shoot me," he said.
 
"They then attacked me but I was saved by my security personnel," Ansari said, adding that he did not sustain any injuries in the attack.
 
Talking to PTI, Faizabad Superintendent of Police (City) Vijay Pal Singh said, "We have detained them."
 
When asked whether the police have filed an FIR, he said, "I will let you know". 
 
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from two persons for allegedly threatening senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan for taking up the case on behalf of the Sunni Waqf Board and other Muslim parties in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute matter.
    
Dhavan had filed contempt petition against two persons, N Shanmugam, a retired education officer, and a Rajasthan resident, Sanjay Kalal Bajrangi, for allegedly threatening him for appearing for Muslim parties. -- PTI 
23:52  Kashmir Press Club denounces curbs on scribes:  
The Kashmir Press Club on Tuesday expressed serious concern over the "unprecedented communication blockade" in the Valley and criticised the authorities for allegedly asking some senior journalists to vacate their government accommodation.
 
The KPC also said this is nothing but "harassment aimed at coercing journalists to toe a particular line".
Denouncing the curbs imposed on media and journalists in Kashmir, the press club's executive committee said in a meeting that due to "unprecedented communication blockade" affecting mobile telephony, Internet and telephone landlines, journalists have been "crippled, overwhelmingly disabling them from reporting the ground situation".
Since the communication blockade was imposed in the region on August 5, the club took up the issue with government authorities on several occasions, urging them to restore mobile phones, Internet and telephone landlines to journalists and media outlets, including newspapers, and also the club itself, it said.
"But all these efforts have proved to be futile as these services have not been restored to journalists till date," the KPC said in a statement.
It said currently, hundreds of journalists -- both local and visiting and media workers -- are forced to wait in queues for their turn to file assignments at the makeshift Media Facilitation Centre here.
"The centre is equipped with only five computers and a low speed Internet connection," the statement said.
Despite repeated reminders by the press club, the Directorate of Information and Public Relations has not made any attempt to enhance services including open access to WiFi for journalists at the centre until Internet and telephone facility is restored in the Valley, the KPC claimed.
"The Kashmir Press Club demands that the government restore internet and telephone facility to journalists and media outlets," the statement read.
"The executive committee meeting also expressed serious concern over the harassment of Kashmiri journalists and pressure tactics adopted by the government. -- PTI
23:23  Plea in HC against BMC nod to cut 2,600 Aarey trees for metro car shed:  
An environmental activist approached the Bombay high court on Tuesday against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's approval for felling and transplanting over 2,600 trees in and from the Aarey area in the metropolis.
 
In his petition, activist Zoru Bathena said the decision of the BMC's Tree Authority, taken on August 29 this year, approving the felling of trees to make way for a metro car shed was not in accordance with a previous order of the high court.
The petitioner said the Tree Authority did not follow the due process while approving the felling of trees and urged the HC to direct the BMC to submit all details of the Tree Authority's meeting in which the decision was taken.
He also urged the court to stay the Tree Authority's resolution approving the felling of such trees until further orders.
The plea is likely to be taken up for hearing by a bench led by Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog in the next few days.
As per the petition, on August 29, the Tree Authority tabled and approved a proposal made by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to cut some trees in the Aarey area to make way for a car shed for the Mumbai Metro III project.
The authority approved the felling of 2,185 trees and transplanting (uprooting trees from the original spot and replanting them at an alternate spot) of 461 trees from the area.
An approval from the Tree Authority is mandatory for felling more than 20 trees at a time at any place in the city.
The authority has 19 members at present, including the BMC commissioner. Of these, five are independent experts nominated by the BMC as per its own rules and the HC's previous orders.
As per the petition, the proposal was approved by an 8:6 majority. Two members, who are corporators, walked out over differences with the decision, and two independent expert members were absent from the meeting, it said.
Besides, there was "no discussion on why six members disagreed with the proposal to fell the trees", the plea contended.
The BMC did not discuss the opposition and objections raised by hundreds of citizens who wrote to it before the proposal was approved, it said.
Besides, "three of the five experts, namely Dr Deepak Apte, Dr Sashirekha Sureshkumar and Dr Chandrakant Salunkhe", had on a previous occasion said that they did not have adequate time to examine all the trees that were to be felled, Bathena said in his plea.
He said, therefore, the approval granted by the Tree Authority cannot be considered proper. -- PTI 
23:13  'Sufficient medicines available for 2 months in Kashmir hospitals':  
All hospitals associated with the Government Medical College have sufficient stocks of medicines to last for at least two months, GMC principal Parvaiz Shah said on Tuesday.
 
Further stocks that will last for another six months would be received before the end of the current month, he said.
 
Shah said the Indian Red Cross Society J&K approached his office and offered to supplement stocks of specific kinds of medicines. He clarified that the offer was accepted, but stressed that no requisition was made to the organisation.
 
"The drugs mentioned in the IRCS communication are available with GMC hospitals in abundance," he said, adding that stocks of all drugs are sufficient for a period of two to three months at minimum with some of them being available for six months.
 
Giving details, he said 2,68,343 vials of different kinds of antibiotics, including Cefuroxime and Amikacin injections, and 3,000 vials of Paracetamol infusion are available with the GMC. Vicryl is available for at least five months.
 
Hospitals in Kashmir receive major chunk of supplies from the J&K Medical Supplies Corporation Limited. First half of annual supplies sufficient for first six months are still sufficient to last for around two months.
 
The second half will be received before October as usual.
 
An official spokesman said nearly seven lakh patients have visited OPDs in Kashmir hospitals in last one month, with healthcare institutions successfully performing nearly 49,000 major and minor surgeries.
 
The data compiled by the Health and Medical Education Department for the month of August reveals that 46,449 patients have visited IPDs in various government-run healthcare institutions, while doctors successfully performed 4334 major and 44,236 minor surgeries respectively in peripheral and tertiary care hospitals, he said.
 
He said 2,508 normal deliveries were conducted during August, while 3266 (LSCS) Caesarian sections were also performed across Kashmir hospitals.
 
In order to facilitate smooth functioning of the healthcare institutions across Kashmir, the Heath and Medical Education Department provided facilities to the renal patients with 1078 dialysis procedures done in August. The Drug and Food Control Organisation also said that there is sufficient stock of essential drugs and other medical products in Kashmir region.
23:11  Shivakumar held to cover economic crisis: Cong:  
The Congress hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government over D K Shivakumar's arrest on Tuesday, alleging that punitive actions in a "revengeful manner" were being taken against its leaders to divert people's attention from the "economic emergency" prevailing in the country.
 
Terming the action as "political vendetta", the party said it will fight against the arrest of Shivakumar, a prominent Karnataka Congress leader, legally as well as "in the people's court".
Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here, "India's economy is in doldrums. Rupee has become the worst performing currency. Every sector is in complete shambles, be it textiles, automobiles, steel, refinery, coal or in all other drivers of growth.
"The GDP growth rate is now below five per cent. Actually, it is about three per cent. There is an economic emergency prevailing in the country. To put a lid over all this and to draw the attention of the country away from their own misdeeds, the BJP government is taking false actions against Congress leaders."
The "illegal" arrest of Shivakumar was one such instance, he said.
"Shivakumar is innocent, there is not an iota of evidence against him and it is only to draw the attention away from the complete economic mismanagement and anarchy that such punitive actions are being taken against Congress leaders in a revengeful manner," Surjewala added.
The opposition party would fight against Shivakumar's arrest legally as also in the people's court, he said.
"GDP falls to 5%= Arrest Chidambaram! Sensex & Rupee Crash = Arrest D K Shivakumar. English rulers -- Divide and rule! BJP's Mantra -- Mislead and Misrule!," the Congress leader later said in a tweet.
Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal described Shivakumar's arrest as a "clear case of political vendetta".
"The arrest of @DKShivakumar is a clear case of political vendetta by the fascist government at the centre. After Shri.Chidambaram, yet another leader facing vengeance for standing up against the horse trading and petty politics of the @BJP4India," he said in a tweet.
Venugopal alleged that the ED and the CBI had turned "puppet agents" of the government, adding that a "wrong trend" was set by the ruling dispensation to "harass and hunt down the political opponents with fabricated allegations".
"The BJP government is desperately trying to hide its outright failure in checking the economic slow down and financial crisis with shameless harassment of political opponents," he said in another tweet.
22:37  Sonia Gandhi will decide on next MP Cong chief: Scindia:  
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said party chief Sonia Gandhi would decide on the next Madhya Pradesh unit president and it would be acceptable to all.
 
The former Guna MP's statement comes at a time when there is speculation among political circles that he might look for options apart from the Congress if he is not made head of the MP unit.
 
According to observers, Scindia has the backing of enough MLAs and ministers to create trouble for the Kamal Nath government whose wafer-thin majority in the 230-member House is due to the support of SP, BSP and Independent legislators.
Scindia had lost the race of CM to Nath narrowly after the Congress came to power in the state in December last year after 15 years of BJP rule.
"Soniaji will take a call on MP Congress Chief. I had a talk with her. High command will take the decision, which would be accepted," he told reporters in Gwalior.
Queried on speculations that former MP CM Digvijaya Singh was opposing his candidature as state unit head, Scindia asked media persons to put the question to the former, adding that "all were free to express themselves".
Singh, two days ago, had refuted media reports that Scindia had laid down an ultimatum to the party on the post of state chief.
Singh had claimed such talk had no truth and were coming out of social media musings.
"The day Soniaji decides, the new state Congress chief will be appointed. Right now, the post is not vacant as Kamal Nath is the MP Congress chief," Singh had added. -- PTI
21:54  Salman Rushdie's 'Quichotte' on Booker Prize 2019 shortlist:  
Mumbai-born Salman Rushdie's tragicomic novel Quichotte is among six titles from around the world to be named on the shortlist of the 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction released in London on Tuesday.
The 72-year-old former Booker Prize winning British Indian novelist has famously also won the Booker of Bookers for 'Midnight's Children' during anniversary celebrations of the prestigious literary award. 
This year he is shortlisted alongside another former winner, Margaret Atwood, besides Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, and Elif Shafak. 
"Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity," said Peter Florence, founder and director of the Hay Festival and Chair of the Booker Prize judging panel this year.
The shortlist was selected from 151 submitted books published in the UK or Ireland between October 2018 and September 2019. 
"A picaresque tour-de-force of contemporary America, with all its alarms and craziness. Rushdie conjures a celebration of storytelling and language that will delight lovers of Cervantes, lovers of daytime television and lovers of life," was the comment of a five-member judging panel in reference to Rushdie's latest work, which is inspired by the classic Don Quixote by 16th century Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.
Canadian author Margaret Atwood is shortlisted for The Testaments, which the judges describe as "terrifying and exhilarating".
Lucy Ellmann is shortlisted for Ducks, Newburyport, Bernardine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other, Chigozie Obioma for An Orchestra of Minorities, and Elif Shafak for 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World.
The judging panel said this year's shortlist offers an insight into different worlds from the dystopian setting of Gilead, the monologue of an Ohio housewife and the tragicomic tale of a travelling salesman in America; to mostly female, mostly Black, British lives across generations, the trials of a young Nigerian man on a quest to improve his prospects and true allegiances within the brothels of Istanbul.
Florence noted: The common thread is our admiration for the extraordinary ambition of each of these books. There is an abundance of humour, of political and cultural engagement, of stylistic daring and astonishing beauty of language. 
"Anyone who reads all six of these books would be enriched and delighted, would be awe-struck by the power of story, and encouraged by what literature can do to set our imaginations free." -- PTI
21:51  Vaishno Devi shrine adjudged 'Best Swachh Iconic Place':  
The famous Mata Vaishno Devi shrine atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir has been adjudged 'Best Swachh Iconic Place' in the country, an official said on Tuesday.
 
According to the spokesperson of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the award during the 'Swachh Mahotsav' to be organised by the ministry.
The Union ministry of Jal Shakti, department of drinking water and sanitation, released its rankings of Swachh Iconic Places on Tuesday.
The Shrine, which is visited by thousands of devotees daily, has been adjudged on the basis of the overall improvement in sanitation brought about by the board due to several initiatives taken in last few years to ensure cleanliness of the entire shrine area, the official said.
Initiatives like installing water kiosks, equid dung management centre, kill waste machines, collection, transportation and disposal of waste along with regular mopping up of waste though a workforce of 1300 sanitation workers among others have enabled the shrine to achieve the top rank, the spokesperson said.
He said the shrine competed with a dozen other iconic places in the country including Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Maharashtra), Taj Mahal (Uttar Pradesh), Tirupati Temple (Andhra Pradesh), Golden Temple (Punjab), Ajmer Sharif Dargah (Rajasthan), Kamakhya Temple (Assam), Jagannath Puri (Odisha), Church and Convent of St Francis of Assissi (Goa) among others.
In 2017, the shrine received a special award from the union ministry of drinking water and sanitation for bagging the second spot behind the Golden Temple.
21:39  Am victim of BJP's vendetta politics: Shivakumar:  
Minutes after the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in connection with a money laundering case, Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar said that the cases against him are politically motivated and he is a victim of BJP's politics of vengeance and vendetta. 

"I congratulate my BJP friends for finally being successful in their mission of arresting me. The IT and ED cases against me are politically motivated and I am a victim of BJP's politics of vengeance and vendetta," Shivakumar tweeted minutes after his arrest.

"I appeal to my party cadre, supporters and well-wishers to not be disheartened as I have done nothing illegal. I have full faith in God and in our country's Judiciary and am very confident that I will emerge victorious both legally and politically against this vendetta politics," he added. 
20:48  Congress's DK Shivakumar arrested :  
Senior Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

The central agency had in September last year registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

The ED case has been filed based on a chargesheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against him last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.
20:45  PM Modi leaves for Russia on 2-day visit:  
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi emplaned for Russia on Tuesday, he said he looks forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok where he will also attend the Eastern Economic Forum.
Modi also said his visit underlines the desire of the two countries to diversity and further strengthen bilateral relations.
His visit to the Russian Far East Region is the first by an Indian prime minister. 
"I look forward to discussing with my friend President Putin the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest," the prime minister said in his departure statement ahead of his two-day visit beginning Wednesday.
In Vladivostok, Modi will participate as the chief guest at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum at the invitation of President Putin.
He will also hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit with Putin. 
"I also look forward to meeting other global leaders attending the Eastern Economic Forum, and interacting with Indian Industry and business representatives participating in it," Modi said.
The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region, he pointed out.
"Our two countries enjoy excellent relations, based on the strong foundation of our special and privileged strategic partnership. Both countries cooperate extensively in the strategic fields of defence, civil nuclear energy and peaceful uses of space. We have robust and growing trade and investment relations.
"Our strong partnership is complemented by a desire to promote a multi-polar world and the two countries closely cooperate towards this end in regional and multilateral fora," Modi said. 
20:31  Need to sharpen spirit of creativity: PM tells teachers:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday underlined the need to sharpen the spirit of creativity and innovation and stressed on the role technology can play in teaching.
   
Interacting with recipients of National Award to Teachers at his official residence here, he highlighted the importance of technology as a teaching aid, the need to sharpen a spirit of creativity as well as innovation.
 
He also explained to them how his government is working towards building an environment that stimulates innovation.
 
The prime minister gave of details of his interaction with the awardees in a series of tweets.
 
"Good teachers, great mentors and givers of exceptional wisdom. Congratulations to the recipients of the National Award to Teachers. I had the opportunity to interact with the awardees earlier today and hear their experiences of transforming young minds," he wrote. -- PTI 
19:44  Alert sounded in Rajasthan over suspected Congo fever:  
An alert was sounded in Rajasthan after two suspected cases of deadly Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) surfaced in Jodhpur.
   
Two sibling suspected to be infected with the disease were referred to Ahmedabad for treatment on Monday night.
 
The authorities suspect that the children might have contracted the disease from their father, who is currently undergoing treatment in Ahmedabad.
 
Commenting on the issue on Monday, state health minister Raghu Sharma said, "Two suspects of Congo fever have been reported from Jodhpur. They have been referred to Ahmedabad and their serum sample has been sent to a laboratory for testing. We have issued an alert for Congo fever in the state."
 
The disease, also called Congo fever, is transmitted by ticks.
 
Chief medical and health officer Balwant Manda on Tuesday said they would be able to reach a conclusion only after receiving their test reports.  
 
Paediatrist Anirag Singh said both children suffered from headache and fever when they were brought to the hospital. 
 
During their medical examination, we learnt that their father was also diagnosed with the CCHF, he said.  
 
A team from Jaipur immediately rushed to Jodhpur and carried out an inspection in the locality where the patients lived.  
 
"Both children and their father are doing well in Ahmedabad. We have also made sure that nobody else in their family has similar symptoms," Manda said.  
 
Meanwhile, the Veterinary Department has been told to examine the cattle in the area. -- PTI 
19:39  Niti Aayog is 'Not in touch with India': Ex-Min:  
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday took a swipe at the Niti Aayog and dubbed it "Not in Touch with India" after its chief executive officer Amitabh Kant questioned apprehensions about an economic slowdown.
   
Kant, an IAS officer, had quoted a news report and tweeted, "What slowdown? New auto entrants with exciting new models are cruising!"
 
Responding to it, Ramesh tweeted, "Ever wonder what NITI in Niti Aayog stands for? It's clearly 'Not In Touch with India'. 5 consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth and now this."

NITI Aayog, earlier known as the Planning Commission, is a government institution for policy planning and for catalysing economic development in the country.
The Congress has been attacking the government over the slowdown in GDP growth which has come down to 5 per cent for the quarter ending June 2019. -- PTI 
19:23  India on track to become $5-tn economy: Doval Jr:  
Director of India Foundation Shaurya Doval said on Tuesday that it is natural for a robust economy like India to go through upheavals while expanding from three trillion dollars to five trillion dollars in the next five years.

"India became a one trillion dollar economy in 2007. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inherited a two trillion dollar economy in 2014, and he is promising to take this from three trillion dollars now to five trillion dollars in the next five years," he told ANI.

Doval, a BJP member and son of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, appreciated the government's mega-merger plan to amalgamate 10 public sector banks into four formidable entities in a bid to kickstart the investment cycle.

"The Indian financial system is rather archaic and not in tune with the challenges that we will face in the 21st century. So we have to revisit our architecture," said Doval.

However, he rubbished the opposition's on-going rendition on Indian economy. "I think the whole narrative on the economy by opposition parties reflects a very high degree of immaturity. It is a very novice way of approaching the discussion."

Doval appreciated the Reserve Bank of India's recent decision to transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government. 

This sum will comprise of Rs 1.23 lakh crore of surplus for the year 2018-19 and Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework adopted at the RBI's board meeting.

"It is India's money. Rather than letting it lie in a coffer, the government will use it to infuse liquidity into the system," he said.

Doval, however, said jobless growth in the country is a serious challenge. 

"While we are continuing to grow, we are not able to create the number of jobs we need to sustain. Hence the focus should be on entrepreneurship. This is a possible solution," he said. -- ANI
19:16  DGCA restriction on entering cockpit, travelling in jump seat:  
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday issued an order restricting the categories of persons who will be allowed to enter a plane's cockpit during flight and travel in jump seat. 
 
The regulator's order came after an off-duty pilot of Air India tested positive in a pre-flight alcohol test on July 13 when he was scheduled to travel in the jump seat of the plane's cockpit from Delhi to Bengaluru. 
On July 15, the DGCA had barred airline officials, including pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers, from travelling in the cockpit when they are off-duty or on leave.
On Tuesday, "for the purpose of security of aircraft operations", the regulator stated in its order that "no person shall enter the cockpit and occupy the jump seat" during flight time unless he or she is a crew member or "an officer of the Civil Aviation Department or India Meteorological Department, authorized by the DGCA to perform official duties".
The order also said that officials of the airline, who have been deputed for familiarization of flight for better practical understanding of cockpit instruments, can travel in jump seat if they have the approval of pilot-in-command. 
It also said that the employee of the airline, or a flight crew member, whose presence will help in ensuring the aircraft safety, can also travel in cockpit's jump seat with the approval of pilot-in-command.
The order said that any "representative of manufacturer of aircraft", who has to observe pilots and instruments, can travel in the jump seat with the approval of pilot-in-command.
It also said that any other person authorised by the DGCA can travel in the cockpit's jump seat too. -- PTI
19:04  CRPF IG Raj Kumar given 1-yr extension:  
Central Reserve Police Force Inspector General Raj Kumar was on Tuesday given a one year extension in relaxation of IPS tenure policy, according to an official order.
 
Kumar is a 1995 batch IPS officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of deputation tenure of Kumar as CRPF IG for a period of one year beyond August 10, 2019 in relaxation of IPS tenure policy, the order stated. -- PTI  
18:36  Prohibitory orders in place in only 13-14 J-K police stations: Javadekar:  
The government on Tuesday said that prohibitory orders imposed in Jammu and Kashmir under section 144 of the CrPC are limited to a little over a dozen police stations and there there have been no cases of police firing or use of tear gas.
 
Responding to a question on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after its special status was scraped last month, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said except for a very few police stations, prohibitory orders have not been imposed under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
"It is imposed in only 13 or 14 police stations and there is no bullet fire, no tear gas shell and no casualties. This is very important," he said.
He was asked whether the Union Cabinet on Tuesday discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as special status accorded to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated a month ago.
Javadekar said the Union Home Ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir administration are giving out details to the media on a daily basis.
Day-time restrictions were eased in most parts of Kashmir on Tuesday but markets remained shut and public transport off the roads for the 30th day since August 5 when the Centre revoked the state's special status.
There were no curbs during the day in over 90 per cent of the Valley with the situation being eased in 92 police station areas in view of the improving situation, officials in Srinagar said on Tuesday. -- PTI 
17:46  '5 per cent': Chidambaram mocks govt on GDP data:  
Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is currently in CBI's custody, took a jibe at the government on Tuesday over the growth rate of 5 per cent in April to June quarter.

The Congress leader, who appeared before special CBI court in Rouse Avenue today, refused to answer when a reporter asked him if he wants to say anything about his custody. 

He, however, only said, "5 per cent".

"Five per cent. What is 5 per cent? You remember 5 per cent?" he responded with a smiling face, mocking the government after the GDP slumped to an over six-year low.

According to government data, the economic growth slowed to a seven-year low to 5 per cent in April to June quarter from 8 per cent a year ago.

Chidambaram will remain in CBI custody, where he has been since his arrest on August 21.
17:32  Cabinet approves Rs 9,300 cr capital infusion in IDBI Bank:  
The government on Tuesday approved Rs 9,300 crore fund infusion in IDBI Bank to help improve the bank's capital base and turn it profitable.
 
Briefing media about Cabinet decisions, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said it will help in completing the process of IDBI Bank's turnaround and enable it to return to profitability and normal lending, and giving government the option of recovering its investment at an opportune time.
 
Of the Rs 9,300 crore needed, LIC would meet 51 per cent (Rs 4,743 crore), he said. 
 
The remaining 49 per cent, amounting to Rs 4,557 crore, is proposed from the government as its share on one-time basis, he added.
 
The shareholding of the government was reduced to 46.46 per cent from 86 per cent while LIC stake in the bank increased to 51 per cent in January this year.
LIC acquired controlling 51 per cent stake in the bank, making it the lender's majority shareholder in January this year. 
 
After this infusion, IDBI Bank expects to be able to subsequently raise further capital on its own and expects to come out of RBI's Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework sometime next year, he said. 
 
"This cash neutral infusion will be through recap bonds i.e. Government infusing capital into the bank and the bank buying the recap bond from Government the same day, with no impact on liquidity or current year's Budget," he said.
 
IDBI Bank needs a one time infusion of capital to complete the exercise of dealing with its legacy book, he said, adding it has already substantially cleaned up, reducing net NPA from peak of 18.8 per cent in June 2018 to 8 per cent in June 2019. 
 
The capital for this has to come from its shareholders. LIC is at 51 per cent and is not allowed to go higher by the insurance regulator.
 
In August last year, the Cabinet approved the acquisition of controlling stake by Life Insurance Corporation as a promoter in the bank through a combination of preferential allotment and open offer of equity. 
17:02  Priyanka to get full charge of Cong's UP unit:  
Three months after the drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will soon take over full responsibility of the party in Uttar Pradesh, where she is currently in charge of the eastern region, and do a revamp of the organisation there, sources said. 

Ahead of 2019 general elections, Priyanka was appointed Congress in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh while the responsibility of the western part of the state was given to Jyotiraditya Scindia. 

The Congress could only win a single seat in Uttar Pradesh. The party has decided to announce the new chief of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee, who will replace Raj Babbar, a few days after the announcement regarding Priyanka will be made. 

The new UPCC team will not be big like the earlier team, the sources said. 

"This time, the committee will be 10 times smaller than the previous committee. The average age of the committee is slated to be 40 years. The new team will have young and aggressive faces," they said. 

After the poll debacle, the Congress dissolved the district units in Uttar Pradesh. 

Sources said that the overhauling process, which was going for the last three months, has been completed now. 

"Priority will be given to youth and grassroots workers. The party is eyeing on 2022 assembly polls. In every district, there will be a women leader as vice president. Dalit and OBC leaders will also be given a chance. Every person will be given a specific task to work in their target area," the sources said. 

-- ANI
16:16  Delhi court sends Kamal Nath's nephew to judicial custody till Sep 17 in bank fraud case:  
A Delhi court on Tuesday sent Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, to judicial custody till September 17 in the Enforcement Directorate's money laundering case related to a bank loan fraud.
 
Special judge Sanjay Garg sent Puri to judicial custody.
ED had arrested Puri on August 20 in the money laundering case arising out of the bank loan fraud case.

-- PTI
16:00  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday cancelled a planned day-long visit to India on September 9 to meet his counterpart Narendra Modi, citing scheduling issues due to an unprecedented repeat polls in Israel.   

Informed sources said Netanyahu spoke to Prime Minister Modi earlier on Tuesday and both of them agreed to cancel their scheduled meeting in New Delhi on September 9 due to the repeat polls in Israel on September 17.   

This is the second time this year that the Israeli leader has cancelled a planned visit to India, doing so earlier before the April elections.   

Netanyahu's planned visit was widely seen in Israel as an effort by him to project his acceptance worldwide and prop up his campaign just days before the September 17 repeat polls.   

In July, Netanyahu's Likud Party put banners featuring his pictures with Modi, US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to lure support by presenting him in a "different league".   

His campaign has focused on bringing out his close chemistry with the world leaders and trying to project him as a leader of unmatched stature in Israeli politics which is crucial for the country's security.
15:42  Hazare complains of cough and weakness, hospitalised:  
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was on Tuesday admitted to a hospital in Pune district of
Maharashtra after he complained of cold, cough and weakness, his close aide said.

According to doctors, there is "nothing to worry" and they have advised the 82-year-old social activist to take complete rest, he said.

Hazare was taken to Vedanta Hospital in Shirur taluka of Pune from his native Ralegan Siddhi village in neighbouring Ahmednagar district on Tuesday morning for a check-up after he complained of cold and cough.

He was examined by a team of doctors and later admitted to the hospital, the activist's close associate said.

"Due to cold, he had some infection in the chest and because of this, he complained of cough and weakness. However, doctors have said that Hazare is stable and there is nothing to worry," he said.

As a precautionary measure, Hazare's routine check-ups are being conducted and he has been advised complete rest, he said, adding that the activist is likely to be discharged by Wednesday evening.

-- PTI
15:21  Communications in J-K to be restored in 15 days:  
Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday assured a delegation from Jammu and Kashmir that the communication clampdown in the Valley will be lifted in 15 days. 

Shah, who met village heads, also announced Rs 2 lakh insurance for all panchs and sarpanchs.

Mobile services and internet, including BSNL's Broadband and private leased-line internet, were snapped on August 5 after the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution and reorganised the state into two Union territories J&K and Ladakh.

The move has led to a harrowing time for residents of the Valley, who were unable to contact their loved ones. Emotions and anxiety ran high as people stood in serpentine queues to speak to their kin.

The government, howere, has justified the move, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar saying the steps were needed to prevent communications between terrorists and their masters.

In an interview with Politico newspaper in Brussels, Jaishankar said: It wasnt possible to stop communications between militants without an impact on all of Kashmir. How do I cut off communication between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know.
15:05  German cops silence anti-beef protestors at Kerala food stall:  The Indian consulate recently organised an Indian food fest in Frankfurt, Germany.   

Among the stalls was one put up by the local Kerala Samajam.   

Now, as anyone who has been to God's Own Country would know, parotta and beef fry is to Kerala what, say, idli-sambar is to neighbouring Tamil Nadu or parathas and lassi to distant Punjab. It's staple food.   

But a handful of north Indians at the food fest saw red and immediately demanded that the stall be shut down.   

The Indian consulate, as is wont to do, preferred to blindly go along with the protestors and asked the Kerala Samajam to shut their stall.   

At this, Kerala Kaumudi reports online, food enthusiasts dialled the German police who wasted no time in turning up at the spot.   

German laws, they said, do not forbid anyone from eating what they like and, what's more, told the protestors that it was not their country to protest against the consumption of beef.   

Chastised thus, the protestors quietly dispersed.   

You can read the KeralaKaumudi.com report here.
14:38  SC allows Chidambaram to stay in CBI custody:  
The Supreme Court has maintained status quo in the INX media case and allowed Chidambaram to stay in CBIs custody. 

Justice Banumathi tells Sibal, Singhvi that they shouldnt press the bail application before the trial court. The senior lawyers agree they will wait till September 5.

The Congress leader and former finance minister was arrested on August 21 by CBI after the Supreme Court didnt accept his request to urgently hear his petition for anticipatory bail in the INX Media case.

14:24  TN village gets bus service -- at last:   For village M Meenakshipuram in Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu, Independence Day dawned last week, when the state government started a bus service to the village.   

Till now, the only way residents could take a walk was after walking 4 km to the nearest village, M Reddiyapatti. The worst sufferers were students who had no way to access the neighbouring schools. Even relationships became strained as no one would come to a village that was so inaccessible, reports Anandavikatan.com.   

After submitting representations to the administration for decades, the village got what it had prayed for: A bus connection. 

Naturally, overjoyed villages marked the occasion by wild celebrations and bursting firecrackers.   

The new bus service would reach the village at 7 am, so as to ferry students, and return around 4.30 pm, at the time schools shut, to bring them back.   

Hopefully, the village would see more bus services in the days to come.   

You can read the report, in Tamil, here.
14:11  India, Russia want to diversify, strengthen bilateral relations: PM:  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he looks forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum.
  
He also said his visit underlines the desire of the two countries to diversity and further strengthen bilateral relations.

Modi's visit to the Russian Far East Region is the first by an Indian prime minister. 

"I look forward to discussing with my friend President Putin the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest," the prime minister said in his departure statement ahead of his two-day visit beginning Wednesday.

In Vladivostok, Modi will participate as the chief guest at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum at the invitation of president Putin.

He will also hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit with Putin. 

"I also look forward to meeting other global leaders attending the Eastern Economic Forum, and interacting with Indian Industry and business representatives participating in it," Modi said.

The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region, he pointed out.
-- PTI
13:44  Verdict on bail plea of Chidambaram today:  Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court is scheduled to deliver the verdict on the interim bail plea of former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti in connection with Aircel-Maxis deal today.

The special CBI court had reserved the order on Chidambaram and Karti's interim bail plea during the last hearing and had also granted the duo protection from arrest in this case till Wednesday (September 3).

The court had also slammed the Enforcement Directorate for not presenting its case properly during the last hearing. It is to be noted that both the ED and CBI had opposed the interim bail plea of Chidambaram and Karti claiming that it need custody of both the accused in order to question them and take the investigation forward.

Meanwhile, the Rouse Avenue Court on Monday extended the CBI custody of Chidambaram in connection with INX Media corruption case by one more day. The hearing on interim bail plea moved by Chidambaram, in this case, will take place on Tuesday at 3 pm. 
   
13:07  Sensex plunges 500 points as GDP hits 6 yr low:  
The Sensex and Nifty indexes slumped on Tuesday after the government data on Friday showed that the country's economic growth fell to over six-year low of 5 per cent.

Weakening economic growth along with escalating US-China trade frictions are hurting the market sentiment, analysts said. 

The Sensex fell as much as 516 points and the NSE Nifty 50 index dropped below important psychological level of 10,900. As of 12:20 pm, the Sensex plunged 464 points or 1.2 per cent to 36,869 and the Nifty 50 index dropped 1.3 per cent or 138 points to 10,886.

State-run lenders were among the worst hit in trade today after the government on Friday announced mega mergers of the government-owned banks. 

The gauge PSU banks on the NSE fell 3.5 per cent with Punjab National Bank falling 8 per cent. Finance Minister said Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank will merge to form the country's second largest public sector bank with a business of Rs. 17.95 lakh crore, "1.5 times the size of Punjab National Bank".
12:57  Soon you won't be able to see your friends' Facebook Like count:   When Facebook introduced the 'Like' button in 2009 it became an overnight sensation but 10 years later, as more and more studies have pointed to the deleterious effect the 'Like' count has on users' mental health, the Menlo Park, California-headquartered social media giant seems to doing a serious rethink on continuing with the feature in its present form.   

'Facebook is considering hiding "likes' on its posts amid concerns the feature turns the website into a popularity contest,' reports James Titcomb in The Telegraph, London.   

On the table is not an outright discarding of the blue and white 'Like' button. While FB users would still be able to see how many people have liked their posts, what they won't see is the number of likes others' posts have received, Titcomb reports. 

This was revealed by a code spotted within the Facebook app.   

The company has confirmed this feature, The Telegraph says, although there was no deadline for its rollout.   

'The code revealing the potential change was discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, a tech researcher who unveils unreleased features within apps and websites,' writes Titcomb.   

Facebook's Thumbs Up symbol had become so popular that it even features on the entrance sign to the company's headquarters. Will it too be made invisible soon?   

You can read The Telegraph's report here.  
12:48  If you steal my work, do it properly: French director to 'Saaho' makers:  
Prabhas' "Saaho" has some uncanny similarities with French filmmaker Jerome Salle's 2008 film "Largo Winch" and the director has criticised the makers of the multi-lingual Indian movie for creating a "bad" copy. 
 
"Largo Winch" is an action thriller based on the Belgian comic book of the same name, and post the release of "Saaho" on Friday many social media users pointed out how the film looked like a rip-off of the successful French movie. 

Salle, who was being tagged by a lot of users on microblogging site Twitter, seemed upset by the team of "Saaho" and advised Telugu directors to at least make the copy "properly".

"It seems this second "freemake" of Largo Winch is as bad as the first one. So please Telugu directors, if you steal my work, at least do it properly?" Salle tweeted. 

This is not the first time Salle has accused Telugu filmmakers for stealing his work. 

In 2018, he had claimed that "Agnyaathavaasi", featuring Pawan Kalyan, was also a copy of "Largo Winch". The film was written and directed by Trivikram Srinivas. 

"Saaho", directed by Sujeeth and also featuring Shraddha Kapoor, has minted over Rs 90 crore in India. 

-- PTI
12:19  Priyanka Gandhi slams govt over state of economy:  
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday attacked the government over the state of the economy and said it should now admit that there is a "historic slowdown" and move towards resolving it.
 
She said the slowdown was for everyone to see and asked till when will the government run by "managing headlines".

"Telling a lie a hundred times does not turn it into truth. The BJP government should accept that there is a historic slowdown in the economy and they should move towards taking measures to resolve it," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

"The slowdown is before everyone. Till when will the government keep running with headline management," she said.

Her attack comes after the GDP growth fell to 5 per cent for the quarter ending June, the lowest reported in over six years

-- PTI
12:10  Amit Shah meets delegation from J-K:  
A delegation of 100 people from Jammu and Kashmir met Home Minister Amit Shah and some senior officials of the ministry at Delhi on Tuesday. 

The meeting is significant because it is the first interaction of Home Minister Shah with people from Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. Sources said that common people from Pulwama, Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh are part of the delegation.

Justifying the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A, which granted special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Amit Shah had said on Saturday that Article 370 and Article 35A were roadblocks in the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India, adding that the mandate given by the people of the country made Prime Minister Modi abrogate the same in the first session of Parliament itself.

Shah had said that the move had opened path for development of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the last nail in the coffin of terrorism. All citizens, barring a few, have supported this move by the government, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also justified the move taken by his government to abrogate Article 370 and had said that the government took the decision in a completely democratic, open, transparent and Constitutional manner.
11:35  Former Chhattisgarh CM's son Amit Jogi arrested:  
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi's son Amit Jogi, who heads the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh-J, was arrested on Tuesday in the state's Bilaspur district on charges of cheating and forgery, police said.

The arrest was made following a police complaint lodged against him by Sameera Paikra, the BJP candidate from Marwahi constituency in the 2013 state assembly polls.

Paikra in her complaint said Amit Jogi allegedly submitted wrong information about his birth place while filing his nomination papers for the 2013 polls.

After the investigation for about six months, "Amit Jogi was arrested from Marwahi Sadan in Bilaspur, based on the FIR lodged against him in February this year at Gaurela police station in the district," Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said.

-- PTI
11:16  Assam docs abstain from work to protest colleague's killing:  
Doctors in Assam are observing a 24-hour "withdrawal of non-emergency medical services" across the state on Tuesday to protest against the assault on an elderly doctor at a tea garden that led to his death, officials said.
 
Seventy three-year-old Dr Deben Dutta had succumbed to his injuries after being assaulted by relatives of a tea garden worker who died while undergoing treatment at a hospital at Teok Tea Estate in Jorhat district on Saturday.
Responding to a call by the Assam unit of the Indian Medical Association, doctors at government and private hospitals as well as consultation chambers are staying away from work from 6 am but attending emergency services, they said.
The doctors, including junior medical practitioners, in six government medical college hospitals and civil hospitals, family referral units and primary health centres are providing services only at emergency and casualty departments, Health officials said.
The IMA demanded that the government ensures exemplary punishment of the culprits and beef up security measures including installing surveillance cameras in all health establishments including those in tea gardens.
A total of 26 people have been taken into custody from Teok tea estate.
Inspector General of Police (law and order) Deepak Kedia had visited the tea estate to take stock of the situation.
Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the assault of Dutta, who was working in the tea garden hospital after his retirement without remuneration.

-- PTI
10:59  Accused In Unnao rape moves SC for extension:  
An accused in the Unnao rape case approached the Supreme Court, seeking an extension of the time slated for completion of the trial in the matter.

Shashi Singh, who is accused in all five cases, requested the top court to grant the extension, holding that period of 45 days was only directory and not mandatory and the trial court ought to keep in minds the right of the accused to a fair and proper trial.

On August 1, the Supreme Court shifted the five cases connected with the Unnao rape incident to Delhi, assigned a special judge to conduct day-to-day trial and ordered that the trial should be completed within 45 days.

Singh, an associate of main accused, MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, sought modification of the order, saying that time fixed for completing the trial in all five cases in 45 days is highly irrational and prejudicial to the rights of accused for a fair and transparent trial.

She also told the court that the transfer of the case from Lucknow to Delhi hampered her defence as she had no lawyer in Delhi. Citing "material inconsistencies" and "discrepancies" in the statements made by the rape survivor, her mother and uncle before the investigating agency and courts, she said that she needs time to conduct proper cross-examination of the witnesses.

Singh also told the court that Central Bureau of Investigation has filed chargesheets in only three cases out of five. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta granted more time to the Central Bureau of Investigation to file status report into the Unnao rape survivor accident case and listed the matter for September 6 for further hearing.
10:55  Harry Potter removed from US school library:  
A Catholic school in Tennessee has removed the Harry Potter books from its library after the school's priest decided they could cause a reader to conjure evil spirits.
  
In an email obtained by The Tennessean, the Reverend Dan Reehil of Nashville's St Edward Catholic School said he consulted exorcists in the US and Rome who recommended removing the books.

Reehil wrote, "The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text."

Catholic Diocese of Nashville superintendent Rebecca Hammel said Reehil has the final say at his school.

Hammel said she thinks the books by JK Rowling are still on the shelves of other libraries in the diocese.
10:23  8 Apache attack choppers join IAF fleet:  
Eight United States made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters joined the Indian Air Force fleet today in Pathankot, in a major boost to India's combat capabilities. 

In 2015, India had signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Boeing for the supply of 22 of these choppers, widely considered the most advanced helicopters of their type in the world.

The helicopters were inducted in the presence of Air Force chief BS Dhanoa at the Pathankot Air Force station.

The Apaches are meant to progressively replace the IAF's legacy fleet of Russian Mi-35 choppers which are nearing the end of their service life. The choppers, which fire anti-armour missiles, are meant to take out tanks and hardened targets in the Rajasthan desert. They are equipped with advanced sensors to enable them to detect and engage their targets while flying very low and at high speeds to evade detection by enemy forces.

The AH-64E Apache for the IAF completed successful first flights in July 2018. The first batch of IAF crew began their training to fly the Apache in the US last year.
10:02  Pooja Bedi urges 'friend' Omar's release soon:  
Actress Pooja Bedi on Monday said she hopes the Centre puts a plan in place soon for the release of ex-Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah who is under arrest for nearly a month.

Abdullah is under house arrest since early August when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status granted under Article 370 of the Constitution and decided to bifurcate the state into the Union Territories of J&K, and Ladakh.

Tagging the Prime Minister's Office, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and some journalists, Bedi took to Twitter and wrote, "Its been almost a month since @OmarAbdullah has been detained. He's my batchmate, and a family friend (we go back 3 generations)."

"I hope the govt puts a plan in place soon for his release as this clearly can't go on forever! Solutions MUST be found," wrote Ms Bedi, who is also a newspaper columnist.

Besides Omar Abdullah, his father and three-time chief minister Farooq Abdullah, and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti are also under detention.
09:42  2 killed as major fire breaks out at ONGC plant:  
Two people have died after a major fire broke out at the ONGC plant in Navi Mumbai's Uran around 7 am on Tuesday, with authorities saying several people were still feared trapped inside the premises.

Fire-fighting operations are still on.

The fire broke out in the stormwater drainage early morning at the Uran plant, said ONGC, adding that fire services and crisis managemnt team immediately pressed into action.

The company claimed that there has been no impact on oil processing and said that gas is being diverted to Hazira Plant.

The exact cause of the blaze is yet to be ascertained.
09:38  JUST IN: First de-orbit manoeuvre for Vikram Lander of Chandrayaan-2 performed successfully at 8:50 am this morning.
09:16  Fire breaks out at ONGC plant near Mumbai:  
A massive fire broke out at an oil and gas processing plant of state-run ONGC at Uran near Mumbai this morning. Two people were injured, officials said. The police have sealed a 1-km area around the plant.

Firefighters are trying to take the situation under control.

ONGC said the fire broke out in a storm water drain of the oil and gas processing plant at Uran, 45 km from Mumbai. Oil processing is not affected, the company tweeted, adding gas has been diverted to a plant at Hazira in Gujarat, 330 km away.
08:59  Can't block net just for terrorists: Jaishankar:  
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has justified the restrictions on phone and mobile internet services in Kashmir, saying it was needed to stop communication between terrorists. 

"It wasn't possible to stop communications between militants without impacting all of Kashmir. How do I cut off communication between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the Internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know," he said in an interview with Politico magazine in Brussels, Belgium, a few days ago.

Several countries including the United States have expressed concern over the security curbs in Jammu and Kashmir ever since its special status was scrapped through a presidential order. 

The external affairs minister expressed confidence that security restrictions across the region would be eased in the "coming days". This would involve the redeployment of police to their original duties and a reduction in the number of additional security forces across Kashmir, Jaishankar said, adding: "Frankly, they have other jobs and other things to do."

External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had earlier said that all landline connections in Jammu and Ladakh are now active, and restoration work in Kashmir is being taken up in a phased manner. Besides this, mobile phones are now operational in 10 districts of Jammu as well as the revenue districts of Handwara and Kupwara, he added.

In his interview with Politico, Jaishankar downplayed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's "warning" of an impending war between the two nuclear powers during the interview, and ruled out any possibility of heading to the negotiationing table unless the neighbouring country stops financing and recruiting terrorist groups.

He also denied Imran Khan's claim that there was a Hindu nationalist agenda behind scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status. "The kind of people who say this are people who don't know India," he said. "Does this sound like the culture of India?"
  
08:32  19 family members of freedom fighter excluded from final NRC list:  
The names of 19 members of the family of a freedom fighter were allegedly left out of the final National Register of Citizens in Assam, according to his grandson. 

"My grandfather Ahmed Ali was a freedom fighter. He was in the British army for a year and later joined the Indian freedom movement. Despite belonging to his family, whose name is itself a proof of being an Indian citizen, we were left out of the final NRC list," Abdul Samad Chowdhury said. 

He said that 19 members of his family were excluded from the final list whereas the names of his mother and sister figured in the draft as well as the final list despite having all documents. 
"It is humiliating and shocking for me and my family," he said. 

A resident of Kaurbaha village of Guwahati district, Chowdhury is also a leader of All India United Democratic Front. 

"We also went to a Nagrik Sewa Kendra in Nagaon with all of our family members. The officials told us to produce school pass certificates and assured us that the issue will be sorted soon. However, we were not included in the final list either," Chowdhury added. 

The family has also urged the government and NRC authorities to reconsider including in the list the names of people who have proper documents. 

Over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC list that was published on Saturday. 

However, those excluded can still apply to the designated Foreigners' Tribunals within 120 days for their cases to be heard. 

"A total of 3,11,21,004 persons are found eligible for inclusion in final NRC, leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims," NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela had said. 

The list is aimed at segregating Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh after 1971. 

-- ANI
07:58  Medha Patkar ends hunger strike after 9 days :  
Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar late on Monday night ended her nine-day-long hunger strike after discussions with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's emissary and former chief secretary S C Behar at Chota Bad-da in Barwani district of the state.
 
After discussions Behar offered Patkar lemon juice to end her hunger strike in support of the Sardar Sarovar Dam affected persons.
Besides her, six other persons, including four women, also ended their fast after the talks, a senior official of the state's public relations department said.
Behar, besides conveying Nath's concern to Patkar, also informed her about efforts made by the Madhya Pradesh government for lowering of the water level in the Sardar Sarovar dam whose backwaters have inundated various parts in Madhya Pradesh.
The NBA leaders led by Patkar will now held discussions with the officials of the Narmada Valley Development Authority on September 9.

Patkar and her supporters were protesting at Chota Bad-da since August 25.
The NBA leader was seeking that the sluice gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat should be opened as many villages, including in Barwani in MP, are being inundated with its (reservoir's) back water.
Besides, she was seeking complete rehabilitation of the reservoir's oustees.
Nath has sent Behar to hold talks with Patkar to end her protest, a CM's press aide said.

-- PTI

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