Thu, 27 February 2020
IndiGo panel reduces Kamra ban to 3 months

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23:48   IndiGo panel reduces Kamra ban to 3 months
Stand up comedian Kunal Kamra on Thursday said he was neither sorry nor regretful of his actions, hours after IndiGo's internal panel decided to reduce the flying ban to three months.

The reduction in ban period was informed by Indigo to the Delhi high court on Thursday.

'... I have no comment to offer on IndiGo banning me for 3 months instead of the 6 months now,' Kamra said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

In a statement, IndiGo said the airline's internal committee after hearing both parties passed an order.

Pursuant to the order, Kamra has been suspended from flying for a period of three months.

'IndiGo will comply with the order of the iternal committee,' it added.

'I trust the IndiGo pilot's e mail & social media has helped explain why I did what I did. All I'd like to say is that I am neither sorry nor regretful of my actions,' Kamra said in the post.

IndiGo had last month suspended Kamra from flying with the private airline for six months, after he allegedly heckled journalist Arnab Goswami aboard one of its planes. Kamra thereafter approached the Delhi high court against his suspension.  -- PTI
22:51   500 held for questioning in riots cases: MHA
No major incident was reported from the northeast district of Delhi in the last 36 hours, the Home Ministry said Thursday night.

The ministry issued a statement around 10 PM after Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the situation in the violence-hit parts of the city in a meeting with seniors officials and the top police brass.

The ministry said there was no major incident in last 36 hours in any affected police station of Delhi's northeast district, while 514 suspects were either arrested or detained for questioning.

Further arrests would be made in the course of investigation, the MHA said.

Prohibitory orders imposed under section 144 of the CrPC will be relaxed for a total of 10 hours Friday in view of improvement in the situation, it said.  -- PTI
22:01   AAP suspends Tahir Hussain
JUST IN: Aam Aadmi Party suspends Councilor Tahir Hussain from the primary membership of the party.

He was earlier named in a first information report registered under Section 302 Indian Penal Code (Punishment for murder) at Dayalpur police station.

Earlier in the day, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had said that 'if those involved in the riots are found to be from the AAP, give them double punishment'.   -- ANI/PTI
21:31   India cancels flight ops from Iran in view of coronavirus
JUST IN: Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) says that India has cancelled all flight operations from Iran due to coronavirus.

Mahan Air and Iran Air operate from Iran.  -- ANI
21:29   Delhi riots: Tahir Hussain named in murder FIR
JUST IN: A first information report registered under section 302 Indian Penal Code (Punishment for murder) at Dayalpur police station.

Aam Aadmi Party Councilor Tahir Hussain named in the 'Details' section of the FIR.  -- ANI
20:52   Pakistan suspends flights to Iran after 2 confirmed cases of coronavirus
Pakistan on Thursday announced to suspend all flights to Iran, the new hotbed of coronavirus epidemic, as authorities scrambled to screen hundreds of people who recently arrived from Tehran after two persons returning from the country tested positive for the deadly virus.

The land and rail links with Iran, where the coronavirus epidemic has claimed 26 lives and has infected 245 people, the highest outside China where COVID-19 originated, have already been snapped due to the scare of infection.

"Aviation Division has decided to cease all direct flights between Pakistan and Iran with effect from midnight between February 27 and 28 till further notice," Joint Secretary of Aviation Abdul Sattar Khokhar said.

Special Advisor on Health Zafar Mirza on Wednesday confirmed the first ever detection of coronavirus patients, including a 22-year old man from Karachi who returned from Iran on February 20.

The government has now collected the data for 1,500 people in Sindh province who have arrived in Pakistan from Iran recently, Murad Ali Shah, the chief minister for the southern province, told a press conference.

Pakistan's Sindh and Balochistan provinces closed all educational institutions after the first two cases of novel coronavirus were reported in the country.

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani announced on Twitter that 'all Govt and private educational institutions will remain closed on Thursday & Friday (27th & 28th Feb)'.

Balochistan government announced to close down all educational institutions across the province till March 15. An official handout said that the government took the step 'as a precaution to protect children from coronavirus'.

Mirza in a late night media interaction in Quetta, capital of Balochistan, said that both the patients came from Iran but they were in stable condition.

He said the government had taken effective protective measures well in time to stop the outbreak of virus throughout the country.

He urged the citizens with travel history of Iran and China and having coronavirus symptoms to contact the medical experts.

Meanwhile, there are reports of shortage of face masks in the country as prices shot up.

Authorities have asked the people not to get panic as there was no threat of spread of the disease in the country.

Also, military spokesman said that the health ministry is tackling the situation effectively but armed forces would also provide all help to contain the virus.

"As far as the armed forces are concerned, we are absolutely ready to help out as and when the government asks us, and all our facilities are alert to the situation," he said during media interaction in Rawalpindi.

The virus has spread to more than 30 countries, killing over 2,700 and infecting 80,000, mostly in China.  -- PTI
20:34   AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain's factory sealed
The Delhi Police on Thursday sealed a factory belonging to Aam Aadmi Party Councillor Tahir Hussain in North East Delhi's Khajoori Khaas area.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Sharma had accused Tahir Hussain of killing the Intelligence Bureau officer, whose body was recovered from North-East Delhi's Chand Bagh area in New Delhi on Wednesday.

He also alleged that Hussain was in constant touch with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Taking to Twitter, the BJP leader had said (roughly translated from Hindi), "The killer is Tahir Hussain. He dragged not only Ankit Sharma but also four other boys.

"Out of them, three of them have been found dead. In the video, Tahir Hussain can be seen with the masked boys carrying sticks, stones, bullets and petrol bombs. Tahir Hussain was constantly talking to Kejriwal and AAP leaders."

On Wednesday, family members of Intelligence Bureau Officer Ankit Sharma had also alleged that a few people who were pelting stones from the building belonging to Hussain in Chand Bagh, had killed Sharma.

Ankit's father Ravinder Kumar has stated that his son was attacked while returning from his duty.  -- ANI
19:46   119 from Japan ship quarantined at Army Facility
The 119 evacuees, including 114 Indian nationals and five foreign nationals, who were brought back from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship off the Japanese coast in Yokohama by an Air India special flight from Japan, have been quarantined at the Indian Army facility at Manesar.

The 114 Indian nationals include nine females and 105 males, while the foreign nationals include one from Nepal, two from Sri Lanka, one from Peru and another one from South Africa.

The evacuees will be monitored for two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members.

If any individual is suspected to be infected, then he or she will be shifted to an isolation ward at Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment (BHDC).

Daily medical examination of all personnel will be done at the medical facility area.

After 14 days, persons with no symptoms will be allowed to go home with their detailed documentation sent to the District/State surveillance units for further surveillance.

Meanwhile, those found infected will be shifted to the Safdarjung Hospital isolation ward for further medical exams and recovery.

Samples will be sent to the Department of Virology AIIMS and confirmation will be done by the NCDC.

Patients will be discharged only after clinical recovery and two successive negative samples tested for n-COVID19.

In addition, no one will be allowed to interact with the members of another barrack apart from playing games, watching television, and having meals together within a barrack.

As many as 138 Indians including 132 crew and six passengers were among the 3,711 people on board the luxury cruise ship, which was quarantined off the Japanese coast on February 5 after it emerged that a former passenger had tested positive for the virus.

Of these, 16 were tested positive for coronavirus and will stay in Japan for treatment, while the remaining will be repatriated to India.

The repatriation is being facilitated by the Indian government.According to the latest official data, over 81,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide.

More than 30,000 people have been cured of the disease, with over 2,600 of those having been cleared in the last 24 hours. -- ANI
19:37   Delhi violence, anti-CAA protests have not dampened investor sentiment: FM
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said that investor sentiment has not been dampened by anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests and the recent Delhi violence.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, she said the investors she met in her recent visit to Saudi Arabia expressed willingness to invest more in the country.

When asked about the Delhi violence and anti-CAA protests, Sitharaman said, "The sentiments of foreign investors have not been dampened."

On the possible impact of coronavirus scare on the industry and the economy, the finance minister said there is none as of now.

"However, if the situation doesn't improve in the next two months, there may be shortage of raw material. We are working on how to address the issue and help the industry," she added.  -- PTI
18:39   2 SITs formed to probe Delhi violence
Two special investigation teams of Crime Branch have been formed under Deputy Commissioner of Police Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo.

The teams to immediately take over the investigation of the cases connected with North East Delhi violence.

B K Singh, Additional CP (Crime Branch) to supervise the work of the two teams.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa said, "We will address all the individual cases. Investigation is going on. We have multiple footages. As the investigation progresses in all the cases, we will share the details.

"We are investigating from all angles."

"Situation is normal. No incident took place today. Adequate forces have been deployed. 48 FIRs have been registered so far, more FIRs are being registered as we are getting more info. 350 Aman committee meetings have been held so far," Randhawa said.  -- ANI
18:21   Kejri announces Rs 10 lakh for families of dead
The Delhi government will give Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who lost their lives in the communal violence in northeast Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday.

He also said that the government will bear the cost of treatment of those injured in the violence and admitted to private hospitals.

Those seriously injured will get Rs 2 lakh, the chief minister told a press conference.

Special camps will be set up for people to get essential documents which they lost during arson, Kejriwal said.

When asked about the alleged involvement of Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain in the riots, Kejriwal, who is AAP chief, said no rioter from whichever party they belong should be spared.

"If those involved in the riots are found to be from the AAP, give them double punishment," he said.  -- PTI
18:00   Maha govt withdraws Bhima Koregaon cases
The Maharashtra government has withdrawn 348 cases registered in the Bhima Koregaon violence and 460 cases filed in the Maratha reservation agitation, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

"We have withdrawn 348 of the 649 cases registered related to Bhima Koregaon and 460 of the 548 cases registered in connection with Maratha reservation agitation," Deshmukh told reporters in Mumbai.

He also said that the process to withdraw other cases in these matters was underway.

The central government had last month transferred the probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence to the National Investigation Agency, a move which was criticised by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

On January 1, 2018, violence had erupted during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.

One person was killed and several others were injured in the incident. -- ANI
17:20   BJP ally SAD says Delhi riots a repeat of 1984
Shiromani Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral said on Thursday that the Delhi Police's "inaction" towards protecting the lives and properties of minorities in the national capital is "reminiscent" of what happened during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.   

The lawmaker, whose party is a BJP ally, said no one would want a repeat of 1984.  Speaking to PTI after shooting off a letter to Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik, Gujral, the son of former prime minister I K Gujral, said that minorities in certain parts of the city are "frightened". 

"Because their lives and properties have not been protected by the Delhi Police, which is very similar to what we saw in 1984. It's shocking."

Nationalist Congress Party reacts: Alleging that "Gujarat model" has  been replicated in Delhi which has witnessed large-scale communal violence over the CAA, the NCP on Thursday called for Union Home Minister Amit Shahs resignation. The responsibility of maintaining law and order in Delhi is with the Union home ministry. Maharashtra minister and NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik also demanded a probe into whether the home  minister could not handle the situation in the national capital or he had allegedly given instructions to the police to not respond quickly to the situation.
17:02   Muslim nations condemn Delhi riots, MEA rebuts
India on Thursday hit out at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for its statement on Delhi violence, saying the comments are factually inaccurate and misleading. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also urged bodies like the OIC not to make irresponsible statements at this sensitive time. 

"The statements which have come out of OIC are factually inaccurate, they are selective, they are misleading. There is an effort on the ground, to restore normalcy, to create confidence," Kumar said.

"We urge these bodies not to indulge in irresponsible statements at this sensitive time," he said. The OIC has condemned the violence in Delhi and alleged discrimination against Muslims. The communal violence over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi has claimed at least 34 lives and left over 200 people injured. 

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation had "condemned the recent and alarming violence against Muslims in India, resulting in the death & injury of innocent people & the arson and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties. "It expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts. The #OIC calls on #Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country. #IndianMuslimsInDanger."
16:51   I'm not involved: AAP MLA on IB officer's death
Aam Aadmi Party councilor Tahir Hussain on Thursday denied the allegations leveled against him in connection with the killing of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma during the violence, which rocked north-east Delhi for many days.Denying his involvement in the act, he has sought a thorough probe.

"I am very sad to hear about the death of IB officer Ankit Sharma. He should get justice. I am not involved in this incident. There should be a thorough investigation into this," Hussain told ANI.

"I worked to stop the violence. I am innocent. I stopped the people from climbing up my building. On February 24, police conducted a search in my building and moved us out from there. Later, we shifted to a safe location. Till 4 pm on February 25, police were present in the building," he said.

Sharma's body was recovered from a drain in Chand Bagh area on Wednesday.He said the Delhi Police were present in the building after he requested the police force for the help.

"I requested the police to be present in the area as my building was being targeted and could be used for wrongful purposes. The Delhi Police personnel were present in the building. Only they can tell what exactly happened. I will fully cooperate with the police," said Hussain.

The AAP has said that anyone found guilty of being involved in the Delhi riots should be punished irrespective of the party or the religion he belongs to.

"From the very first day, AAP has been saying that any person, be it from any party or religion, action must be taken against them if found guilty," party leader Sanjay Singh told ANI.

Yesterday, family members of Ankit Sharma had alleged that a few people, who were pelting stones from the building of Tahir Hussain in Chand Bagh, killed him.

Ankit's father Ravinder Kumar has stated that his son was attacked while returning from his duty.

Image: People retrieve the body of 26-year-old Ankit Sharma, an IB staffer, from a riot-affected area in north-east Delhi, on Wednesday.
Photo: PTI
16:35   Cops hold meetings with Aman Committee
Additional Commissioner of Police Central MS Randhawa holds a meeting with the Aman Committee of old Delhi. Delhi Minister and local MLA Imran Hussain was also present.  The death toll in the violence in North-East Delhi rose to 34 on Thursday after a person passed away at the Jag Parvesh Chander Hospital in Shahdara. Besides the death in Shahdara, three people have died at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital and 30 deaths have been reported from GTB Hospital. 
16:08   Situation better, say locals in Delhi's Chand Bagh
After recent incidents of violence in North East Delhi, locals in the Chand Bagh area said that the situation is "better" now.

Chand Bagh, along with other areas in North-East Delhi witnessed violence in the last couple of days.

A medical store owner, named Raisul Islam, said that he is providing medicines to people who have urgent requirements.

"Situation is better now. I am trying to provide medicines to the people who have urgent requirements. Members of both communities carried out a peace march in the area to help restore normalcy," Islam said.

Another local said, "Situation is better now. I have come to buy medicine. No medical store was open in the last couple of days. We had a coordination meeting today. It's a coordinated team effort with Delhi Police. We'll be deploying our resources to clean up the areas. We'll try our best to bring it to normalcy at the earliest," said Dr Dilraj Kaur, Commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs and 106 people have been arrested in connection with the violence in North-East Delhi. -- ANI
15:58   Pleas in Delhi HC seek FIR against Rahul, Sonia, Owaisi for hate speech
A bunch of petitions was on Thursday filed in the Delhi High Court seeking directions for registration of an FIR against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, AIMIM MP Assaduddin Owaisi and others over their alleged hate speeches.

One of the petitions, moved by a group called Lawyers Voice, sought the registration of FIR against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Amanatullah Khan, AIMIM leaders Waris Pathan and Akbaruddin Owaisi and advocate Mehmood Pracha.

It also sought the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe into the matter.Another petition, filed by Hindu Sena, alleged that inflammatory speeches were made by Waris Pathan, Asaduddin Owaisi and Akbaruddin Owaisi and sought actions against them.

"The hate speech of Waris Pathan surcharged the communal tension in Delhi which has resulted in the death of several people," the Hindu Sena alleged in its plea.

It also stated that the petition, filed by Harsh Mandar, in the Delhi violence matter is an attempt to aggravate the situation by seeking criminal action against the leaders of BJP with sole intention to defame Hindus.
15:47   Riots part of life: H'yana minister on Delhi riots
Reacting on the recent incidents of violence in Delhi that claimed atleast 34 lives, Haryana Minister Ranjit Chautala on Tuesday said that "riots are part of life".

"Riots happens. It happened in the past also. The entire Delhi was burning when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. It is the part of life," said Chautalawhile speaking to media in New Delhi.

The death toll in the incidents of violence in North-East Delhi has risen to 34 after another person passed away at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital.

Out of the total, three deaths have been reported from LNJP Hospital and the rest from GTB Hospital.

On Wednesday, GTB Hospital informed that on February 24, five people were brought dead and on February 25, 15 people were brought dead. Out of the 20 people, five had blunt injuries, nine had gunshot injuries, three had stab injuries and one had burn injuries.In total, 132 civilians and 31 police personnel were admitted to GTB hospital on February 24 and February 25.

Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs and 106 people have been arrested in connection with the violence in North-East Delhi. -- ANI
15:41   Check post
The 112 evacuees who were brought to Delhi today from Wuhan, China by C-17 Globemaster aircraft of Indian Air Force, at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police's quarantine facility in Chhawla.
15:28   Govt must ensure peace returns: RSS on Delhi riots
The government should ensure that peace is restored in Delhi, RSS general secretary Suresh 'Bhaiyyaji' Joshi said on Thursday. Talking to reporters here, Joshi also said nobody has the right to take law into their hands. 

"The government should instill peace in areas where there is 'ashanti' (unrest)," the RSS functionary said. Violence which broke out on Sunday in various parts of northeast Delhi over the amended citizenship law has so far claimed 34 lives. Over 200 people have been injured in the violence. PTI
15:12   AIMIM's anti CAA, NRC protest in Thane postponed
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen postponed its protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens, which was supposed to be held in Bhiwandi of Thane district on Thursday.

"The protest will now be held sometime in the second week of March 2020," said Imtiyaz Jalil, MP from Aurangabad and AIMIM Maharashtra President.As per sources, the protest was postponed as the Thane rural police had refused to give permission to the AIMIM for holding the rally.AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and other leaders of AIMIM were expected to speak at the event. -- ANI
14:25   Law minister India's most lawless minister: Cong
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Thursday launched an attack on Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, terming him the "most lawless minister the country has ever seen".

Surjewala accused Prasad of having "scant regard for the Constitution and law".

"He is the most lawless minister the country has ever seen. He is hell-bent at destroying the judiciary. He has scant regard for the Constitution and law. He is a prodigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah," the Congress leader said at a press conference in Delhi.

"BJP feared that the conspiracy of the riots will get exposed and this is the reason why Justice Muralidhar has been transferred," Surjwala said, adding that "the transfer is an attempt to save the BJP leaders against whom Murlidhar had made strong observations".

Surjewala made the remarks after Prasad tweeted that Justice Muralidhar's transfer came following the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium. The well-settled process has been followed".

Continuing his attack on the opposition party, Prasad said the people of India have rejected the Congress and "hence it is hell-bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them".

On the other hand, Surjewala accused the BJP of pressurising judiciary and said that this is not the first time that such a case of transfer of judge came to light.
14:00   NE Delhi normal and peaceful: Police
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Narendra Singh Bundela said today that the law and order situation and traffic in violence-affected parts of Delhi is normal and peaceful.

"The situation is quite normal and peaceful as far as security and traffic are concerned. We have held talks and conducted patrols with people of all communities. Services such as road cleaning have resumed and traffic flow is normal," Bundela told ANI.

"People can go out to get their daily needs from the market but we are advising them not to come out in groups," he added.

Image: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a high-level meeting over the Delhi riots earlier today. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Minister Kailash Gahlot and other officers also attended the meeting. In the meeting, it was decided to provide relief material to affected areas.
13:58   SG to represent police in Delhi riots case
Delhi LG Anil Baijal appoints Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, three others to represent the police in cases related to the law and order situation in north east Delhi, according to an official order. 
13:56   PIL filed in SC seeking implementation of Law Commission's report on hate speech
Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay on Thursday filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court seeking its immediate direction to implement the Law Commission's report on alleged hate and inflammatory speech.

In 2017, the Law Commission had defined hate and inflammatory speech and suggested to add Section 153-C and 505-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), on the direction of the apex court, Upadhyay's petition stated.

"Keeping in view the dreadful effects of hate speech on the dignity of an individual, fraternity, unity and national integration, the top court should order or issue a direction to the Centre, to take appropriate steps to implement the recommendations of Law Commission report, the plea said.

"Under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, an appeal on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, and promotions of feelings of enmity between different classes constitute corrupt practice. The same can be questioned only by way of an election petition and the Election Commission cannot order the investigation even when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force," it added.

As there is no provision to challenge the corrupt practice of candidates, who lost the election. Thus, the appeal on the grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language and promotions of feelings of enmity between different classes cannot be questioned even by way of an election petition, Upadhayay said in the plea. --PTI

Image: BJP leader Kapil Mishra had given a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi Police to get the roads cleared of anti-CAA protesters. He then issued a call through a tweet urging people to gather and 'prevent another Shaheen Bagh' protest from taking place near the Jaffrabad metro station. 
13:52   Delhi riots: Toll rises to 34
Death toll rises to 34 after one person passed away at Jag Parvesh Chander Hospital in Shahdara.

Imag: A medical store owner Raisul Islam in the Chand Bagh area says the situation is better now. "I'm trying to provide medicines to the people who have urgent requirements. Members of both communities carried out a peace march in the area to help restore normalcy."
13:10   Cong delegation meets Prez, demands HM's head
A delegation from the Indian National Congress led by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. 

"We urged the President to use his power to protect 'rajdharma'. We called upon the President to suggest to him that what has happened in the last four days in Delhi is a matter of great concern and a matter of national shame in which at least 34 people have died and 200 people injured; it is a reflection on the total failure of the Central government," Dr Manmohan Singh said. 

The delegation urged the President to call for the removal of Union home minister Amit Shah and accused him of abdication of duty. 

"We handed over our demands to President Kovind in a memorandum. The Centre and the Delhi govt were mute spectators to violence," Sonia Gandhi said after submitting the memorandum.

"We call upon you (President) to ensure that life, liberty, and property of citizens are preserved. We also reiterate that you should immediately call for the removal of the Home Minister for his inability to contain violence," she said. 
12:55   Jayega Pink Floyds Roger Waters recites Aamir Azizs poem
Pink Floyd guitarist Roger Waters was among hundreds who joined protests in London demanding the release of jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Saturday, 22 February. However, in a speech to the crowd, the musician attempted to put Assange's persecution in a global context, making references to India's recently amended Citizenship Act as well as protests in Chile, Lebanon, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and France.

"Julian is why we are here today, but this is no parochial protest. We are today part of a global movement, a global movement that might be the beginning of the global enlightenment that this fragile planet so desperately needs," he said. 

Waters also read out an English translation of Aamir Aaziz's 'Sab Yaad Rakha Jayega', introducing him as "a young poet and activist in Delhi involved in the fight against Modi and his racist Citizenship law.'

A writer, actor and musician with a degree in civil engineering, Aamir Aziz is best known for his protest song 'Achhe Din Blues'. Sung in the style of American folk musicians, the song has over 200,000 views on YouTube since its release in March last year.
12:51   As Rahul holidays, Sonia leads delegation to Prez
A delegation of senior Congress leaders, led by party chief Sonia Gandhi, met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday to seek normalcy and peace in violence-hit Delhi. The delegation, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad as well as Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala, also submitted a memorandum to the president. The total death toll in the northeast Delhi communal violence over the amended citizenship law is now 34, according to senior officials. 

Rahul Gandhi is on a holiday abroad, but this morning, tweeted a caustic comment on the transfer of Judge Muralidhar. 
12:23   'Home ministry interference crippled Delhi police'
"If the police had imposed curfew when the trouble began, it would have made news, no doubt, that Trump is here and one third of Delhi is under curfew, but at least lives could have been saved," Vibhuti Narain Rai, former director general of police, Uttar Pradesh, tells Archana Masih/ Read the interview here
12:20   'Delhi riots are beginning to look like a pogrom'
Why the Delhi violence has echoes of the Gujarat riots, writes Soutik Biswas for the BBC. Do read
12:11   MEA slams US body for politicising Delhi riots
India on Thursday described the comments by a US commission on religious freedom and by "few individuals" over violence in the national capital as "factually inaccurate, misleading" and an attempt to politicise the issue. 

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar's reaction came a day after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed "grave concern" over the violence in Delhi and asked the Indian government to provide protection to people irrespective of their faith. 

US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and a number of other leading American lawmakers have also expressed concern over the clashes in several parts of Delhi in which at least 32 people have been killed. 

"We have seen comments made by USCIRF, sections of the media and a few individuals regarding recent incidents of violence in Delhi. These are factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicising the issue," Kumar said. 

Though MEA did not clarify the individuals being referred to, it is being seen as a reference to US lawmakers critical of India on the issue of the Delhi violence. Kumar said law enforcement agencies are working on the ground to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy. 

"Senior representatives of the government have been involved in that process. The prime minister has publicly appealed for peace and brotherhood. We would urge that irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time," said Kumar. 

On Wednesday, the USCIRF said, "The ongoing violence we are witnessing in Delhi and the reported attacks against Muslims, their homes and shops, and their houses of worship are greatly disturbing." "One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith," it added. PTI 
12:06   Delhi riots: Paramilitary forces provide security cover for funeral
Amid an eerie calm in northeast Delhi's Shiv Vihar, where communal violence broke out four days ago, 26-year-old Rahul Solanki's body was taken to a crematorium by his distraught kin and armed paramilitary personnel. 

Solanki, who was pursuing his LLB from a private college in Ghaziabad, had stepped out on Monday to buy milk. He died after he was shot in the right shoulder near his neck, his father Hari Singh Solanki said. 

"We took his body home from GTB Hospital. We wanted police and paramilitary forces to give us protection till we reached the crematorium to perform his final rites," he said on Wednesday. Senior police officers present in the area had assured the family members that they will be provided security. 

A friend of Rahul, who was with him when he was shot, said they could not see who fired at him. "We saw a mob approaching us and began to run. We were barefeet and Rahul went to put on his slippers. While he was putting them on, some unidentified persons shot him dead," he said. 

Thirty-two people were killed and over 200 injured in the communal clashes that broke out in northeast Delhi three days ago after violence between anti and pro Citizenship (Amendment) Act groups spiralled out of control. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at local residents and police personnel. Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Yamuna Vihar, Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar were among the areas worst-hit by the violence. Heavy police and paramilitary presence was seen in these areas over the last two days. PTI

Image: Visuals from Chand Bagh, Bhajanpura and Khajuri Khas. Roads in the violence affected areas are being cleaned. 
11:48   Prashant Kishor booked for cheating over content of 'Baat Bihar Ki'
An FIR has been registered against political strategist Prashant Kishor in Patna after allegations of plagiarism in his 'Baat Bihar Ki' campaign.

The FIR has been registered under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Patliputra Police Station.

The FIR has been registered by Shashwat Gautam.

In his complaint, Gautam has alleged he was working on a similar project, which was supposed to launch sometime in future.Besides Kishor, Gautam has registered the FIR against a person named Osama. He alleged that Osama was working with him on 'Bihar ki Baat' before he resigned from the job. At the 'Baat Bihar ki' programme, held recently, Kishor had claimed that he aimed to make Bihar one of the 10 best states in the country. -- ANI
11:35   Sidhu summoned to Delhi
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on meeting Sonia and Priyanka today: "I was called to Delhi by party high command; I met Priyankaji and Soniaji on 25th and 26th February. I briefed them about the current situation in Punjab and the roadmap ahead."
11:26   Due process followed: Govt on judge Muralidhar
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said Delhi High Court judge S Muralidhar was transferred following the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium, asserting that a "well-settled process" was followed. The minister's reaction came after the Congress alleged that Justice Muralidhar was transferred by the government to save BJP leaders in the Delhi violence case. 

"Transfer of Hon'ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated February 12 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India," Prasad wrote on Twitter. He said while transferring a judge, his or her consent is taken. "The well-settled process have been followed," Prasad added. 

Apart from Justice Muralidhar, two other judges also received their transfer orders.

Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More, Judge of the Bombay HC was appointed as the Judge of Meghalaya High Court and Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath, Judge of the Karnataka HC was transferred to Uttarkhand. 

File pic of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
11:16   BJP's politics of revenge exposed: Cong on Judge Muralidhar
The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government over the transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, alleging that the Modi dispensation was waging a battle of revenge against the judiciary. Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on a day when a bench headed by him expressed "anguish" over the Delhi Police's failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur. 

Attacking the government over Muralidhar's "sudden" transfer, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, "It seems those doing justice in country will now not be spared." 

Calling the transfer a classic "hit-and-run injustice" by the BJP government, he said the saffron party's "politics of revenge" has been exposed. "Delhi HC Judge S Muralidhar transferred by the government to save BJP leaders in Delhi violence case," the senior Congress leader said at a press conference here. -- PTI

Image: People leave their houses during clashes in Bhajanpura area of North-East Delhi on Wednesday
11:01   AAP MLA killed IB officer, CM knew: Kapil Mishra
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra on Thursday accused Aam Aadmi Party leader and Municipal Councillor Tahir Hussain for the killing of Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma, whose body was recovered from North-East Delhi's Chand Bagh area here on Wednesday. 

He also alleged that Hussain was in constant touch with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.Taking to Twitter, the BJP leader said (roughly translated from Hindi), "The killer is Tahir Hussain. He dragged not only Ankit Sharma but also four other boys. Out of them, three of them have been found dead. In the video, Tahir Hussain can be seen with the masked boys carrying sticks, stones, bullets and petrol bombs. Tahir Hussain was constantly talking to Kejriwal and AAP leaders."

Yesterday, family members of Intelligence Bureau Officer Ankit Sharma had also alleged that a few people who were pelting stones from the building belonging to AAP leader and Municipal Councillor Tahir Hussain in Chand Bagh, had killed Sharma.Ankit's father Ravinder Kumar has stated that his son was attacked while returning from his duty.

At least 32 people, including a police head constable, have died while around 200 people have sustained serious injuries in the violence that raged for three days in the North-East Delhi.  -- ANI

Image: Intelligence Bureau officer Ankit Sharma was tortured before being killed, his body was found in a drain. 
10:44   Delhi riots: WhatsApp groups, 'outsiders' under scanner
Several WhatsApp groups and role of people from outside Delhi is under the scanner in connection with the recent incidents of violence in the north-eastern part of the capital, sources said.

Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs and 106 people have been arrested in connection with the violence in North-East Delhi.

"The build-up to violence started on Monday morning. Phones that have been seized revealed that proper mobilisation was being done. Chats include for stones to be brought at Maujpur, Babarpur, Chand Bagh and Kardampuri. Moreover, hate speeches, rumour-mongering and plan for attacks were discussed," sources said."

Apart from locals, police has found outsiders, from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, came in numbers and participated in the violence. Only on Tuesday evening, borders were sealed," sources added.

Sharing details regarding the use of weapons, sources informed that rounds were exchanged on Monday and Tuesday. They said that not only police came under attack from heavy stone-pelting, but protestors also used country-made revolvers in several places.

Intelligence Bureau Officer Ankit Sharma's body was also recovered from the Chand Bagh area here on Wednesday.Delhi Police has formed a special team to probe Sharma's murder case. "He was beaten and tortured. Before dumping him in a drain, a stone was used to beat him," sources said.

"Apart from rioting, looting and robbery took place at several places and involvement of local gangs is being looked into," sources further said.At least 28 people, including a police head constable, have died, while around 200 people have sustained injuries in the violence that raged for three days in North-East Delhi. Properties worth crores of rupees have been damaged in the arson. -- ANI)
10:36   Delhi Fire Service received 19 calls from midnight to 8 am Thursday
The Delhi Fire Service received 19 calls from midnight to 8 am on Thursday from riot-hit areas of northeast Delhi, an official said. Over 100 firemen are deployed in the area and all the four fire station in the area are provided with extra fire tenders to meet any emergency and are being managed by senior officers, Director of Delhi Fire Service Atul Garg said. Senior officers are also camping in the riot-affected area, he added. 

"The four fire stations in these areas have been provided with extra fire tenders. Senior officials are inspecting the affected areas. We did not face any resistance this time while carrying out the operations in the violence affected areas of  Northeast Delhi, Garg said.

10:30   Delhi riots: Death toll is now 32
As many as 32 people have lost their lives and around 200 are injured in the incidents of violence in North-East Delhi in the last few days."Death toll has increased to 30 at the hospital," said Sunil Kumar Gautam, Medical Superintendent, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.

While 30 deaths were reported from GTB Hospital, two casualties were reported from Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital.

Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs and 106 people have been arrested in connection with the violence in North-East Delhi. -- ANI

Image: The mortal remains of Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal were consigned to flames at his ancestral village in Rajasthan's Sikar district on Wednesday.
10:07   Judge Muralidhar's transfer not shocking: Priyanka
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra responds to the transfer of judge Muralidhar, who was critical and vocal about the manner in which the Delhi police handled the riots. "The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn't shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad and shameful," said @priyankagandhi
10:03   Delhi riots death toll goes up to 30
Sunil Kumar Gautam Medical Superintendent, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital says the death toll has increased to 30 at the hospital.
09:56   USCIRF condemns violence in New Delhi, calls for swift action
Expressing concern over the violence in New Delhi, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the Government of India to take swift action for the safety of its citizens. 

Expressing "grave concern" over it, the USCIRF said the Indian government should provide protection to people regardless of their faith amid reports of attack on Muslims. 

"We urge the Indian government to make serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence," USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. At least 27 people have been killed and over 200 injured in the violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Indian capital. 

"The ongoing violence we are witnessing in Delhi and the reported attacks against Muslims, their homes and shops, and their houses of worship are greatly disturbing. One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith," Tony Perkins said. -- PTI

IMAGE: A vandalised private school in Shivpuri area of the riot-affected north east Delhi, on Wednesday
09:52   Remembering Judge Loya not transferred: Rahul
Rahul Gandhi reacts to the transfer of Delhi High Court judge, Justice S Muralidhar -- who had on Wednesday criticised the central government, the state as well as the police -- for the violence in North East Delhi. Gandhi who is abroad, tweeted, "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn't transferred."

Justice Muralidhar has been transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Bar and Bench reported. The number of casualties as a result of large-scale mob violence in Delhi, much of it directed at Muslims, climbed to 27 on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the transfer on February 12, and the government notified it on Wednesday night. Muralidhar began his practice in Chennai in 1984 and moved to Delhi in 1987 to practice at the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. He was appointed to the Delhi High Court in 2006. 
09:42   Sensex drops over 200 points; Nifty near 11,600
Market benchmark Sensex dropped over 200 points in opening session on Thursday as incessant foreign fund outflow and coronavirus overhang weighed on global investor sentiment. 

The 30-share index dropped 202.44 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 39,686.52, while the NSE Nifty fell 62.75 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 11,615.75. Top losers in the Sensex pack included HCL Tech, HDFC Bank, TCS, M&M, IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries. On the other hand, Titan, NTPC, Nestle India and Kotak Bank were trading with gains. -- PTI
09:39   Trump failed on human rights in India: Sanders
A day after US lawmakers reacted sharply to the violence in the Indian capital, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders here accused US President Donald Trump of failing on the issue of human rights. Slamming the US president, Sanders said the Trump's statement regarding the violence in New Delhi during his India visit was a "failure of leadership". 

Asked about incidents of violence during his India visit, the US president had said, "As far as the individual attacks, I heard about it, but I didn't discuss that with him (Modi). That's up to India." Reacting to the issue, Sanders on Wednesday tweeted, "Over 200 million Muslims call India home. 

Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying 'That's up to India'. This is a failure of leadership on human rights." 

Sanders is the second Democratic presidential nominee after Senator Elizabeth Warren to speak against the violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi. 

Apart from the Democratic presidential candidate, other influential senators too expressed concern over the developments on Wednesday. 

"We are alarmed by the recent violence in New Delhi. We continue to support an open dialogue on issues of significant concern in order to advance our vital long-term relationship," Senator Mark Warner from the Democratic Party and John Cornyn from the GOP said in a joint statement. Warner and Cornyn are co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, the largest country-specific caucus in the US Senate. 

Congressman Jamie Raskin said he was horrified by the violence, which was fueled by religious hatred and fanaticism. "Liberal democracies must protect religious freedom and pluralism, and avoid the path of discrimination and bigotry," the Congressman said. -- PTI

Image: Latest visuals from Maujpur, Jafrabad, Seelampur and Babarpur; Security personnel have been deployed in these areas.
09:32   India is incredible, sighs Trump
Update on the US President's visit that's now behind us:

President Donald Trump has said that the US' relationship with India is "extraordinary" right now and a lot of progress was made in bilateral ties during his maiden official visit to the country where America will be doing a lot of business. 

Talking to reporters in Washington after his return from India on Wednesday, Trump said, "He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a great gentleman, a great leader. It's an incredible country." 

President Trump visited India from February 24 to 25. He was accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration, including National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. They visited Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi before leaving for Washington on Tuesday. During his stay, he addressed a massive rally in Ahmedabad, visited Agra and held official meetings in New Delhi. The US president was feted at the world's largest cricket stadium in the "Namaste Trump" event in Ahmedabad and was cheered by tens of thousands of people. "We were treated very, very well and we really enjoyed it. A lot of tremendous progress was made in terms of relationship--our relationship with India is extraordinary right now," he said. "We are going to be doing a lot of business with India, they are sending billions and billions of dollars now to the United States," Trump said in response to a question. 

In a tweet, his daughter Ivanka said that, Trump announced that US International Development Finance Corporation "will establish a permanent presence in India to strengthen our economic ties, improve development plus further women's economic empowerment through WGDP (Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative)!" 

On her arrival from India, she thanked Modi for "your warm hospitality as we visited your beautiful country and celebrated the strength, spirit and unity of the US and India!" "Throughout our visit we saw monumental achievements of human creativity & proof of the infinite capacity of the human heart!" she said. 

Image: The First Lady tweeted two pictures of her with Trump facing the Taj Mahal in Agra. "One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the breathtaking Taj Mahal!" she said.
09:16   Indians, foreigners from Wuhan return
Another update on the coronaviurs: The Indian Air Force relief aircraft evacuated 76 Indians and 36 foreign nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak. 

The C17 transport aircraft that left for China earlier with 15 tonnes of medical supplies from India to the virus-hit Wuhan landed in Delhi early Thursday morning.

"On its return from Wuhan, the IAF flight has brought back 76 Indians & 36 nationals from 7 countries - Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, USA and Madagascar. Appreciate facilitation by the Chinese government," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted.

Image: The IAF flight has brought back 76 Indians and 36 nationals from 7 countries. 
09:06   Delhi riots: Death toll rises to 28
One more death at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Delhi this morning, taking the total deaths in the riot-hit national capital to 28. There were two deaths at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan hospital. 

After two days of communal clashes, an uneasy calm settled over Delhi yesterday even as the toll in the deadly violence rose to 28 this morning. The Delhi police came in for severe criticism as a division bench questioned the delay in registering FIRs against three BJP leaders who allegedly made inflammatory speeches, leading up to the violence.

While the clashes have largely subsided, there was violence in some other places with shops set ablaze and the body of an Intelligence Bureau staffer found in a drain.

The CBSE Class 12 English exam scheduled for Thursday has been postponed in the northeast and parts of east Delhi in view of the turbulent situation, according to officials.

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for peace and harmony yesterday. 
08:46   119 Indians return from nCoV-hit cruise ship
An Air India flight on Thursday brought back to the national capital 119 Indians and 5 foreigners who were on board a coronavirus-hit cruise ship docked off Yokohama in Japan. The foreigners, who were brought back to India on board the special Air India flight, included two from Sri Lanka and one each from Nepal, South Africa and Peru. 

All the evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a medical facility set-up by the Indian Army in Manesar. Three Indian crew members did not board the special flight and conveyed their wish to continue their stay on board the cruise ship to complete the period of extended quarantine put in place by the government of Japan, a government statement said. Out of the total 138 Indian nationals originally on board the Diamond Princess, 16 Indian crew members have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and are receiving necessary medical care and treatment at onshore medical facilities in Japan.

They were among the 3,711 people on board the Diamond Princess ship when it docked at the Yokohama port, near Tokyo, on February 3. The ship was quarantined after a passenger who disembarked last month in Hong Kong was found to be the carrier of the disease. PTI 
08:35   Attempt to intimidate judiciary: Cong on judge transfer
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Thursday said Delhi high court judge Justice S Muralidhar has been transferred to Punjab and Haryana high court for entirely "opaque reasons".

"Judge Muralidhar was under transfer to Chandigarh for entirely opaque reasons but to abruptly ask him to leave day after a midnight hearing at his residence in Delhi that must have saved many lives manifests the arrogance of a Govt punch drunk on Power," he tweeted.

"Every lawyer and judge in India who believes law and justice are higher callings than just a career must strongly protest and condemn crude attempt to intimidate Judiciary by arbitrary transfer of Justice S Muralidhar in the middle of the Delhi riot hearings," Tewari said.

A government notification about the transfer was issued on Wednesday which said that after consultation with Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday transferred Justice S Muralidhar, judge of Delhi high court, as judge of Punjab and Haryana high court.

The notification further said that the President has directed Justice Muralidhar to assume charge of his office in Punjab and Haryana high court.

On February 12, the Supreme Court Collegium had in its meeting recommended to transfer Justice Muralidhar from Delhi high court to Punjab and Haryana HC.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association last week condemned the transfer recommendation and also passed a resolution unanimously in this regard. -- ANI
00:20   Pak confirms first 2 cases of coronavirus
Pakistan on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus as the deadly infection reached the country despite all out efforts to keep it away.

'I can confirm first two cases of coronavirus in Pakistan. Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols & both of them are stable,' Dr Zafar Mirza, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, tweeted.

He said there was 'no need to panic' as the 'things are under control'.

Mirza said that he was currently at the country's Taftan border crossing with Iran and would return to Islamabad on Thursday and address a press conference.

His tweet came moments after the Sindh health department said that a 22-year young man had tested positive for the coronavirus in Karachi.

"The patient travelled to Iran where he acquired the virus," said Meeran Yousuf, Coordinator to the Health and Population Welfare Minister of Sindh government.

The patient came back from Iran to Karachi by a plane on February 20.

The authorities already put him and his family in quarantine.

All passengers coming from Iran were already being checked.

The authorities have also started screening of all passengers from Afghanistan.  -- PTI