Sat, 13 August 2022
Rushdie attacker faces charges of attempted murder

Timeline  Refresh

21:10   Rushdie attacker faces charges of attempted murder
A 24-year-old New Jersey man who stabbed Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie is facing charges of attempted murder and assault.
The New York State Police, which is investigating the attack on prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, said that on Friday the Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey for attempted murder 2nd degree and assault 2nd degree.
Matar was processed at SP Jamestown and transported to Chautauqua County Jail and will be arraigned in centralised arraignment on Saturday.
20:44   Footwear hurled at TN FM's car
A man was detained after a footwear was hurled on the car of Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan in Madurai, when he was returning after paying homage to a slain Indian army soldier hailing from the district.
Rifleman D Lakshmanan, a resident of T Pudupatti village in the district, was among the army personnel killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri on Thursday.  His mortal remains reached here for the last rites. The minister, officials and state BJP chief K Annamalai paid tributes to the departed soldier.
Police said there was a heated exchange between the minister and BJP cadres present at the venue,  as he asked why the party men had come for a government event organised to pay homage to the martyr, leading to some argument.
Thiaga Rajan was leaving the airport when some suspected BJP workers blocked his car, even as a slipper hurled at the vehicle got stuck in its wind screen.
Police said one person has been detained for questioning. -- PTI
20:39   President Murmu to address the nation on eve of Independence Day
President Droupadi Murmu will deliver her maiden address to the nation on Sunday on the eve of the 76th Independence Day, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement.
The president's address will be broadcast from 7 PM on the entire national network of All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in Hindi followed by the English version.
"Broadcast of the address in Hindi and English on Doordarshan will be followed by broadcast in regional languages by regional channels of Doordarshan. AIR will broadcast regional language versions at 9.30 PM on its respective regional networks," the statement said.
Murmu, 64, a Santhal tribal hailing from Odisha, took oath as the 15th president on July 25. She is the youngest and first tribal to hold the top constitutional post.
She is the first president to be born after independence. -- PTI
20:23   Shiv Sena will never cease to exist: Uddhav
In a veiled attack on the Eknath Shinde faction, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said the party is not an object lying in the open which can be picked up by anyone who can stake claim over its legacy.  
Speaking at the 62nd foundation day of Shiv Sena weekly Marmik, founded by Bal Thackeray in 1960, he said the Sena's foundations are "deep-rooted and strong". 
"Some people think Shiv Sena is an object lying in the open which they can pick it up and take it away," said Thackeray, who had to resign as the chief minister in June when a sizable number of Sena MLAs rebelled with Shinde, who was sworn in as the CM on June 30 with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Shiv Sena's foundations are deep and strong and no one can stake claim over the party, he said.
Thackeray-led Shiv Sena is locked in a political tussle with the rebel Shinde camp which claims to be the "original" Shiv Sena of Bal Thackeray.
The Shinde faction has also staked a claim to the poll symbol of Shiv Sena -- a "bow and arrow"-- and the matter is pending before the Election Commission.
"The seeds of Shiv Sena were sown through Marmik as cartoons published in it gave voice to the restless minds 62 years ago. One can imagine what would have happened to Marathi people in Maharashtra and Hindus in India had Shiv Sena not been around," said Thackeray.
Marmik was launched by Bal Thackeray, then a political cartoonist, in 1960. It is seen as the launchpad for the Shiv Sena party, which came into existence in 1966. 
Marmik had focused on issues of common Marathi people at that time including unemployment, the influx of north Indian migrants, and the retrenchment of Marathi workers among others.
"India is celebrating 75 years of Independence but going by the current situation one wonders whether we going back to the days of slavery?" Thackeray asked as he termed BJP president JP Nadda's remarks on regional parties as a "serious threat" to democracy".
Nadda had recently said in the times to come only an ideology-driven party like the BJP will survive, while others ruled by families will perish.
"Shiv Sena will never cease to exist," Thackeray said. 
He alleged the Centre was planning to reduce recruitment in the armed forces. 
"You have money to topple state governments but not for recruitment in the armed forces," he said apparently referring to the "Agnipath Scheme".
Thackeray also took a veiled dig at chief minister Shinde as the allocation of portfolios is yet to be done though the cabinet was expanded recently after a long wait. 
"Today, people are roaming around and participating in their own felicitation programs without doing anything. Ministers are sitting idle without any responsibility," he said.
The Sena president urged cartoonists to publish cartoons from 1947 highlighting India's journey in the last 75 years. 
20:10   Bar Council raps Prashant Bhushan, says no one has authority to ridicule SC
The Bar Council of India has slammed activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan for his recent reported remarks against the judiciary in a webinar, saying no one has the authority to ridicule the Supreme Court and its judges and the Lakshman Rekha' should not be crossed by lawyers. 
In a press statement, BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra alleged that people like Bhushan "are misusing the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression" and indulging in anti-India tirade.
Bhushan, while speaking the webinar organised by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) on August 10, was critical of recent apex court decisions in cases like Zakia Jafri and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The advocate while speaking in a webinar hosted by the Indian American Muslim Council has crossed all the limits. 
"He not only criticised and used filthy, demeaning words for our judges of the Supreme Court but exposed himself by uttering that, and by doing so, he intended to deter some of the judges of the Supreme Court, Mishra, who is a senior advocate, said in the press statement. 
The chief of the apex lawyers' body said no one has the authority to ridicule the Supreme Court of India, its judges or the judiciary. 
"You cannot make a mockery of the system, as the citizens of India more so, so long as you are an advocate, or else be ready to face the consequences. You can criticise anyone, but you cannot cross the Lakshman Rekha, always mind your language. The licence to practice does not empower you to misuse your position as a lawyer, the statement said.
The BCI termed Bhushan's statement ridiculous, reprehensible and a tirade against the nation.
"Persons like Mr. Bhushan have never been the champions of civil liberties, rather, by doing such nonsense acts, they succeed in giving a message to the world that they are anti-Indians. In fact, such people are misusing the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression. We cannot imagine the existence of such people like Prashant in countries like China and Russia," it said. 
The BCI was critical of Bhushan's statement over the issue of post-retirement jobs for the judges saying under various statutes there are certain posts that could be assigned only to retired judges. 
Therefore, such appointments cannot be criticised in such an indecent manner. Bar Councils have also been raising these issues but in a respectful manner before appropriate forums. Maligning the image of our judges or the institution for these matters is quite improper and unjustified, it said.
19:54   CRPF personnel injured in grenade attack in Srinagar
A Central Reserve Police Force personnel was injured when terrorists hurled a grenade at security forces personnel in Eidgah locality of Srinagar on Saturday, police said. 

"One grenade was lobbed by terrorist(s) towards security forces on Ali Jan Road, Eidgah," the Srinagar police tweeted. 

The police said the explosion caused minor splinter injuries to one personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force. 

A cordon-and-search operation has been launched to nab the culprits, they added. 

The grenade attack came two days after four soldiers were killed in a pre-dawn strike by two terrorists on an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district. -- PTI 
18:54   100 Sikhs, Hindus waiting to come to India: Afghan Sikh leader
Around 100 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus want to come to India but are unable to as some of their family members are yet to receive their e-visas from the government of India, a Sikh leader said on Saturday.
President of Gurdwara Management Committee, Kabul, Gurnam Singh Rajwanshi, who was evacuated from Kabul with five of his family members on Friday, said his son is among those awaiting their e-visas.
Around 28 of them are yet to receive their visas. Because of this, 100 of them are waiting as it is difficult for most Afghan Hindus and Sikhs to leave any of their family members behind and come to India, Rajwanshi said.
Urging the Indian government to grant e-visas to the minority community members in the Taliban-controlled country, he said many of those who haven't received their visas are infants and children.
"The situation is so volatile that we cannot leave the family members, especially the women and children, be alone there even for a minute," he added.
Since terrorists attacked Karta-E-Parwan gurdwara in Kabul on June 18, 66 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus have been evacuated to India in four batches.
Recalling the attack, Rajwanshi said 18 Afghan Sikhs were inside the gurdwara when it was targeted and two of them died.
"Businesses of many were ruined because even our shops used to be targeted. Afghan Sikhs have stopped visiting gurdwaras there," he said.
None of the gurdwaras in Afghanistan is functional anymore and people are also scared to visit them, he said.
"We were born in that country (Afghanistan), we grew up there, we have our houses there but we cannot even imagine going back to that place again," he added.
Those who have arrived in India are now focusing on rebuilding their lives.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, which has been involved in the evacuation process of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, said the evacuees have basic demands and they will be met soon.
"The evacuees have very basic demands such as shelter and education for their children. We are looking into how the demands can be met," SGPC senior vice president Raghujit Singh said.
18:51   Attack on Rushdie not correct: Muslim cleric
Senior member of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali on Saturday said no one has the right to take law into his hand and the attack on controversial writer Salman Rushdie can't be termed as correct.
The Mumbai-born controversial author, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed by a 24-year-old man on Friday while he was being introduced at an event in Western New York in the US.  
Mahali said Prophet Mohammed always gave the message of peace. "Hence, the Muslims should take the path shown by Him," he said. 
The chairman of the All-India Shia Personal Law Board Maulana, Saem Mehdi, said, "Three decades ago Shia cleric and leader Ayatollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa against Rushdie. So, it would be inappropriate for any other member of the Shia community to give views on it."  
Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery. 

The writer has also won the Booker Prize for his novel Midnight's Children  

Rushdie was on a ventilator with a damaged liver and may lose one of his eyes. -- PTI 
17:56   Chinese ship gets nod to dock at Lanka port
The Sri Lankan government has allowed a high-tech Chinese research ship to dock at the southern port of Hambantota on August 16, official sources in Colombo said on Saturday.
The Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship, 'Yuan Wang 5', was earlier scheduled to arrive on Thursday and remain at the port until August 17 for replenishment.
However, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry requested the Chinese embassy last week to postpone the vessel's visit following security concerns raised by India. Subsequently, the vessel did not dock at the Hambantota port on Thursday as planned.
According to the sources, the government has finally permitted the ship to dock at the port. It will now arrive on August 16 and remain at the port till August 22, they said.
The ship was awaiting clearance to enter from its location 600 nautical miles away east of Hambantota.
Meanwhile, the matter created much controversy in the island nation with the Opposition blaming the government for what they termed mishandling of the issue.
The southern deep-sea port of Hambantota is considered strategically important for its location. The port has been developed largely with Chinese loans.
India has said it carefully monitors any development having a bearing on its security and economic interests.
"We are aware of reports of a proposed visit by this vessel to Hambantota in August," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said in New Delhi when asked about the reports of a proposed visit by a Chinese vessel.
"The government carefully monitors any development having a bearing on India's security and economic interests and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them," he said last month.
New Delhi is concerned about the possibility of the ship's tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian installations while being on its way to the Sri Lankan port.
India has traditionally taken a stern view of Chinese military vessels in the Indian Ocean and has protested such visits with Sri Lanka in the past.
The ties between India and Sri Lanka came under strain after Colombo gave permission to a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine to dock in one of its ports in 2014.
India's concerns have been focused on Hambantota port in particular. 

In 2017, Colombo leased the southern port to China Merchant Port Holdings for 99 years, after Sri Lanka was unable to keep its loan repayment commitments, fanning fears over the potential use of the port for military purposes.
On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was "completely unjustified for certain countries to cite the so-called "security concerns" to pressure Sri Lanka.
17:41   I-Day: 7,000 invitees expected at Red Fort
A multi-layered security cover has been put in place and facial recognition system cameras installed at the entry point of the Red Fort from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Independence Day, officials said on Saturday.
According to the police, around 7,000 invitees will arrive at the Red Fort, while over 10,000 police personnel will be deployed around the monument on Monday.
The Delhi Police has deployed over 400 kite catchers and fliers on rooftops and other sensitive locations in the fort area to counter any threats from sub-conventional aerial platforms. A five-kilometre area around the Red Fort has been marked as a "no kite flying zone'' till the tricolour is hoisted.
Anti-drone systems from Defence Research and Development Organisation and other security agencies are also being installed, police said.
"We have installed high resolution security cameras at and around the Red Fort and their footage is being monitored round the clock. This time, the number of invitees has increased to 7,000. FRS cameras have also been deployed at the entry point of the Mughal-era monument," a senior police officer said.
Lunch boxes, water bottles, remote-controlled car keys, cigarette lighters, briefcases, handbags, cameras, binoculars, umbrellas and similar items will not be allowed at the Red Fort premises, he said.
Dependra Pathak, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) said provisions of Section 144 have already been instituted in Delhi. Anyone seen flying kites, balloons or Chinese lanterns from August 13 to August 15 till the end of the programme at Red Fort will be punished.
"Kite catchers have been deployed with necessary equipment on strategic locations and they will prevent any kind of kite, balloon and Chinese lanterns from reaching the function area. Radars will be deployed at Red Fort to counter any threats from sub-conventional aerial platforms and manned or unmanned flying objects," he said.
On Friday, the Delhi Police had recovered over 2,200 live cartridges near Anand Vihar Inter State Bus Terminal and arrested six people in this connection.
17:23   Construction of Ram temple to be over by December next year: Trust
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra general secretary Champat Rai in Sultanpur said the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be complete by December next year.
People will be able to have a glimpse of Ram Lalla at the grand temple then, he said at a function held to mark Raksha Bandhan on Friday.  
"Since Sultanpur is close to Ayodhya, I am extending an invitation to people of this place to have a 'darshan' of Shri Ram Lalla next year in December," he said. 
 The construction work is going on at a good pace and the temple will be ready for 'darshan' by devotees in December 2023, he added.  
Rai claimed not iron is not being used in the construction work and the design of the temple is such that people will be amazed by it.  
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra is a trust that has been set up by the Centre for the construction of the temple. -- PTI  
16:52   Ex-Guj dy CM hit by stray cow during Tiranga Yatra
Former Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was injured after being attacked by a stray cow in the state's Kadi town during a 'Tiranga Yatra' on Saturday. 
He suffered a minor fracture in his left leg during the incident, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.

Patel was deputy chief minister and health minister in the previous Vijay Rupani government in the state. 

A large number of people had joined in a procession organised by the state BJP at Kadi in Mehsana district to celebrate 75 years of Independence, Patel told reporters at his residence in Ahmedabad.

"A Tiranga Yatra had been organised at Kadi where nearly 2,000 people participated. It had completed almost 70 percent of the distance and reached a vegetable market when a cow suddenly came running," Patel said. 

In the commotion, he and a few others were thrown down to the ground, he said.
In a video clip, the cow is seen rushing past them and security personnel and others coming to Patel's help. 

He had difficulty walking when he stood up, he said.

He was taken to a private hospital where X-ray and CT scan showed that he had a minor fracture in his left leg,  Patel added. 
"The doctors fixed a temporary splint to stabilize the leg and advised me to take rest for 20-25 days," he said.

Stray cattle has become a major headache for the administration in many parts of Gujarat. 

Incidents of people being gored to death by cattle or injured grievously are reported regularly.
16:45   Ajit Pawar slams induction of 'tainted' ministers in Shinde govt
Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday criticized the induction of "tainted" ministers in the Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra and said some persons in the ruling dispensation have not liked their inclusion.
Eighteen ministers were inducted in the government on Tuesday, over a month after Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took oath on June 30.
"Several tainted ministers were inducted in the state government. Many have not liked this decision. Even some persons in the Shinde-Fadnavis government have not liked the decision to induct these persons," Pawar claimed.
Queried on Rupee Cooperative Bank shutting down, Pawar said efforts were taken to save it but its licence was cancelled on August 8.
"There are five to seven such banks in Pune district. We have requested veteran cooperative banker Vidyadhar Anaskar for suggestions. Banks in Maharashtra must not face difficulties," he said.
Replying to a question on the status of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which comprises the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, Pawar said "the right to take final decision on MVA is reserved with Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray". 
He also condemned the attack on celebrated author Salman Rushdie and called it an attack on freedom of speech. -- PTI 
15:59   Delhi reports 5th monkeypox case
Delhi reported its fifth monkeypox case with a 22-year-old African woman testing positive for the infection, official sources said on Saturday. 
The woman had travelled to Nigeria a month ago.
She was admitted to LNJP Hospital two days ago and her reports came out on Friday night, confirming that she was positive. 
She is the second woman in the national capital to contract the infection.
Four persons, including two women, are admitted to the LNJP Hospital with monkeypox while one patient was discharged from the facility. -- PTI 
15:55   Occasion to glorify 'sarvagyaani': Cong on Har Ghar Tiranga
The Congress on Saturday attacked the government for not holding special functions at Parliament's historic Central Hall to mark the 75th year of Independence, and alleged the occasion has been reduced just to "glorifying the sarvagyaani".
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said there were special functions in Parliament's historic Central Hall to mark the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversary of Independence. 
"Sadly, nothing like that has been organised for the 75th anniversary, which has been reduced to an occasion to glorify the sarvagyaani (one who knows it all)," he said.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have traded barbs over initiatives marking the occasion of 75 years of Independence.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several BJP leaders had made the 'tiranga' their profile picture on social media platforms, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Jairam Ramesh, among other leaders, and the party's social media accounts had put a photograph of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru with the tricolour as their display picture.
Hours after PM Modi appealed to people to strengthen the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag in their homes between August 13-15, Gandhi had attacked the RSS, saying it "did not hoist the tricolour at its headquarters for 52 years", and people coming from that organisation are now talking about the tricolour's history and planning 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign. -- PTI
15:46   CUET-UG phase 4 postponed for 11K candidates to accommodate choice city for exam centre
The CUET-UG for more than 11,000 candidates who were scheduled to appear in the fourth phases has been deferred to August 30 to accommodate their choice of city for exam centre, officials said Saturday.
The fourth phase of the Central Universities Entrance Test-Undergraduate was scheduled from August 17-20 and a total of 3.72 lakh candidates were set to appear.
The National testing Agency (NTA), which is responsible for conducting the exam, had announced earlier all phases of the exam will conclude on August 28.
"The exam for over 11,000 out of 3.72 lakh candidates has been postponed to August 30 accommodate their choice of city for exam centre. NTA has increased the capacity at centres and also added more exam centres besides making efforts to ensure that the quality of the centres is enhanced," UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar said. 
 "It has also been decided to station additional technical manpower by deploying the facility of Associate Professor level as technical observor at every centre to ensure smooth conduct of examination," he added.
 The second phase of Common University Entrance Test (CUET) was marred with glitches prompting the agency to cancel exams at various centres. 
 Kumar had last week said the exam was cancelled at various centres following indications and reports of "sabotage". -- PTI 
15:41   'Utterly horrified and shocked': Tharoor on Rushdie attack
Congress leader and author Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said he was "utterly horrified" by the stabbing of novelist Salman Rushdie in New York and expressed concern over whether creative expression can be free and open.
Rushdie was on a ventilator with a damaged liver and may lose one of his eyes after he was stabbed in the neck and abdomen by a man on stage at a literary event in upstate New York.
The Mumbai-born controversial author, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
"Utterly horrified & shocked by the stabbing of @SalmanRushdie. Wish him a speedy & complete recovery from his wounds, even though, with a sinking heart, I recognize that life for him can never be the same again," Tharoor tweeted. 
"A sad day, worse if creative expression can no longer be free & open," he said. 
Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery.
The writer has also won the Booker Prize for his novel Midnight's Children. -- PTI 
15:17   Rushdie once complained about 'too much security' around him
Salman Rushdie, who was attacked and stabbed on stage at a literary event in New York, has previously complained about having too much security around him, according to a media report on Saturday.
The Mumbai-born writer, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
A bloodied Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery.
In 2001, Rushdie publicly complained about having too much security around him, The New York Post reported.
While attending the Prague Writers' Festival, he told reporters, "To be here and to find a large security operation around me has actually felt a little embarrassing... I thought it was really unnecessary and kind of excessive and was certainly not arranged at my request."
"I spent a great deal of time before I came here saying that I really didn't want that. So I was very surprised to arrive here and discover a really quite substantial operation, because it felt like being in a time warp, that I had gone back in time several years," he was quoted as saying. 
Rushdie was stabbed in the neck as he was on the stage at the Chautauqua Institution, a not-for-profit community on Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, where approximately 7,500 people are in residence on any day during a nine-week season.
Following the attack on Friday, questions were raised about the security precautions -- or lack thereof -- at the host institution, which sits in a rural lake resort about 110 km south of Buffalo, New York.
The institution's leadership had rejected recommendations for basic security measures, including bag checks and metal detectors, fearing that would create a divide between speakers and the audience, according to two sources who spoke with CNN.
The leadership also feared that it would change the culture at the institution, the sources said.
15:16   Modi hosts India's Commonwealth Games contingent
The golden period of Indian sports is knocking on the doors, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday as he hailed the gutsy show of the Indian contingent which returned with 61 medals from the Commonwealth Games.
Modi on Saturday hosted the Indian contingent at his residence to felicitate the players here.
The Indian athletes produced a sensational show in Birmingham, claiming 61 medals, including 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze.
"The real assessment of this performance can't be made with just number of medals, our athletes competed neck-to-neck. There may have been a difference of 1s or 1cm but we will make that up I am confident of that," Modi said during his speech.
"It is just a start and we are not going to just sit quietly, golden period of Indian sports is knocking on the doors."
"We have the responsibility of making a sporting system which is the best in the world, inclusive, diverse and dynamic. No talent should be left out as they are all assets."
 While India produced a dominating show in badminton, wrestling and weightlifting, the athletes also did well in athletics, judo and lawn bowl, where they won India's first-ever medal in the Games.
"Not only are we strengthening the sports that we have been strong in but have also left a mark in new sports. In hockey we trying to get our legacy back," Modi said.
"Since last time, we have won medals in four new sports, from lawn bowls to athletics, our performance has been spectacular. This performance will help increase youth's interest in new sports. We have to improve our performance in new sports."
The Indian team also won a silver in women's T20 cricket which was introduced for the first time at the CWG.
"Under Harmanpreet's (Kaur) leadership, India has produced a fantastic performance in cricket. All players have done well but no one had the antidote to Renuka's (Thakur) swing bowling. It is not a small feat to be the top wicket taker among the greats."
Modi also noted that the achievements of the athletes coincided with the celebrations of India's 75th independence day.
The felicitation program was attended by most of the CWG-returned athletes, including the wrestlers, weightlifters, boxers, shuttlers and table-tennis players.
Modi also congratulated the chess players who competed and won medals at the Olympiad which was hosted in Chennai. -- PTI 
14:20   Caste panel gives clean chit to Sameer Wankhede
Former Mumbai zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau Sameer Wankhede, who was being probed for allegedly submitting a fake caste certificate for getting a government job, was given a clean chit by the caste scrutiny committee, an official said on Saturday.
The order was issued by the Social Justice Department of the Maharashtra government on Friday, an official said. 
The order says that Wankhede, an Indian Revenue Service officer, was not a Muslim by birth and it has been proven that he belongs to Mahar caste, which is a Scheduled Caste (SC). 
The issue of Wankhede's caste was raised by former Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik. Applications were filed by the complainants, including political leader Manoj Sansare, Ashok Kamble and Sanjay Kamble, against Wankhede.
Mumbai district caste certificate verification committee examined the complaints and passed an order on the same on Friday.
The order says that it was not proven that Wankhede and his father Dnyandev Wankhede renounced Hinduism and duly converted to Islam. 
It is proven that Wankhede and his father-in-law belong to the Scheduled Caste that is Mahar-37, the order stated.
Complaints filed by Nawab Malik and others regarding the caste claim of Wankhede and regarding the religion of the caste certificate are not substantiated, following which complaints are being rejected due to lack of the facts in the complaint, the order said. 
Wankhede had come to limelight following the high-profile October, 2021 raids by the NCB on a Mumbai cruise after which the agency had arrested Aryan Khan, son of actor Shah Rukh Khan, and 19 others and claimed to have seized some narcotics too. The NCB had later given a clean chit to Aryan Khan. -- PTI 
14:17   Punjab issues notification for single pension to MLAs
The Punjab government has issued a notification giving pension to former MLAs only for one term following an assent by the Punjab governor to a bill in this regard.  
The Punjab Assembly had passed the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022 on June 30.  
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in a tweet on Saturday said, "I am very happy to inform Punjabis that the Governor has given his assent to One MLA-One Pension Bill. The government has issued a notification."
The state government is expected to save around Rs 19.53 crore annually through the move. -- PTI 
Rushdie's The Satanic Verses
Rushdie's The Satanic Verses
13:38   Rajiv govt's ban on Rushdie's book was justified: Natwar Singh
K Natwar Singh, who was a Union minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government that banned Salman Rushdie's controversial book The Satanic Verses, strongly defended the decision on Saturday asserting it was taken "purely" for law and order reasons. 
With focus back on Rushdie's book in the wake of the attack on him in New York, Singh, who was the minister of state for external affairs when the book was banned in 1988, said he was part of the decision and had told the then prime minister the book could cause serious law and order problems as feelings were running very high. 

Singh, 91, rejected as "rubbish" the charge by critics the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision to ban the book was driven by appeasement towards Muslims.
"I don't think it (the decision to ban the book) was wrong because you see it had led to law and order problems, particularly in Kashmir. In other parts of India also there was disquiet," Singh told PTI.
"Rajiv Gandhi asked me what should be done. I said, 'all my life I have been totally opposed to banning books but when it comes to law and order even a book of a great writer like Rushdie should be banned'," the diplomat-turned-politician said.
Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children' is one of the great novels of the 20th century but the decision to ban The Satanic Verses was taken purely for law and order reasons, Singh asserted.
A massive controversy had erupted after the release of the book The Satanic Verses as several Muslims saw it as blasphemous.
Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa against Rushdie and called for his death. 
Strongly defending the Rajiv Gandhi government's decision, Singh said, "I completely think it was justified because it was going to cause serious law and order problems as feelings were running very high particularly among our Muslim population." 
"I said, 'the entire Muslim world is going to flare up, we have a large number of Muslims and apart from that, what the book contains at this time, is not acceptable'," he recounted.
Rushdie, who faced death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York. 
 The New York State Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey, while the motive behind the act is still unknown. 
The suspect ran up onto the stage prior to the speaking event and attacked the 75-year-old. The author was rushed to a nearby hospital where he underwent surgery. 

Singh said he was "very distressed" over the attack.
12:50   Sonia Gandhi tests Covid positive again
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday tested positive for COVID-19 again and will remain in isolation.
Earlier this week, her daughter and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also tested positive.
"Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi has tested positive for Covid-19 today. She will remain in isolation as per Govt. protocol," Congress general secretary Jaiam Ramesh said in a tweet Saturday.
Sonia Gandhi had tested positive for COVID-19 in early June as well. 
Days after she had tested positive, the 75-year-old leader was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here on June 12. She was discharged on June 20.
12:24   Yogi's picture defaced in 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' hoardings; cases filed
The police in Firozabad Saturday registered two cases against unknown people after pictures of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were found defaced in several hoardings of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', officials said.
District Magistrate Ravi Ranjan said the chief minister's face was removed from three hoardings put up by the municipal corporation.
He said two FIRs have been lodged and teams formed to investigate the case.
Police officials have reached the spots after the incident came to light and the hoardings are being changed.
Police said they are scanning CCTV camera nearby to identify those how have damaged the hoardings.
BJP city president Rakesh Shankhwar claimed hoardings at six places have been disfigured. -- PTI 
11:45   Attack on Salman Rushdie is 'reprehensible': White House NSA
The attempt on the life of renowned writer Salman Rushdie is "appalling" and "reprehensible", US National Security Advisor James Sullivan has said.
Rushdie, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
A bloodied Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery.
"Today, the country and the world witnessed a reprehensible attack against the writer Salman Rushdie. This act of violence is appalling," Sullivan, National Security Advisor to the US President, said hours after the writer was attacked on stage moments before he was to deliver a speech in New York.
"All of us in the Biden-Harris Administration are praying for his speedy recovery. We are thankful to good citizens and first responders for helping Mr. Rushdie so quickly after the attack and to law enforcement for its swift and effective work, which is ongoing," Sullivan said in a statement.
Rushdie, who won the Booker Prize for his novel Midnight's Children, was unable to speak.
Rushdie "will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged," the writer's agent Andrew Wylie told The New York Times.
11:40   Rushdie's attacker was sympathetic to Shia extremism
The 24-year-old man detained in connection with the stabbing of Mumbai-born controversial author Salman Rushdie was sympathetic to "Shia extremism" and the causes of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to a media report.
Rushdie, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was stabbed on stage on Friday while he was being introduced at the event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
The New York State Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey while the motive behind the act is still unknown.
The suspect ran up onto the stage prior to a speaking event at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua and attacked 75-year-old Rushdie.
According to the law enforcement authorities, the author was stabbed "at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen.
Rushdie was rushed to a nearby local hospital where he underwent surgery, while the attacker was taken into the New York State Police custody. The interviewer with Rushdie was also attacked during the incident and he suffered a minor head injury, the police said.
Authorities were still looking into Matar's nationality and his criminal records, if any.
A preliminary review of Matar's social media accounts by law enforcement showed him to be sympathetic to Shia extremism and the causes of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a law enforcement person with direct knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.
Though there are no direct links between Matar and the IRGC, law enforcement officers reportedly found images of slain commander Qassem Solemani and an Iraqi extremist sympathetic to the Iranian regime in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar, according to NBC News.
Soleimani was a senior Iranian military officer who served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from 1998 until his assassination in 2020.  
Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it offensive to Islam.
The author spent about 10 years under police protection in the United Kingdom, living in hiding after Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's execution.
A bounty of over USD 3 million has been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie, who has been a prominent spokesman for free expression and liberal causes.
Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States. 
11:30   Portfolios to be allocated to Maha ministers soon, says Fadnavis
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said portfolios would be allocated to the newly-appointed ministers in the state soon.
He also assured that the government would soon release the compensation for crop losses suffered by the state farmers due to heavy rains. 
Talking to reporters at the airport in Nagpur, Fadnavis congratulated Chandrashekhar Bawankule on his appointment as the Bharatiya Janata Party's Maharashtra unit president.
"Portfolios will be allocated to the new ministers soon," he said in response to a query. 
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde expanded his two-member ministry on Tuesday, 41 days after taking oath as the CM. He inducted 18 ministers - nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP. With this, the strength of Maharashtra ministry has now gone up to 20, less than half the maximum allowed strength of 43. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30, when Fadnavis took oath as deputy CM. 
The deputy chief minister said the crop loss compensation announced by the government for farmers will be distributed soon and added that the area of crop damages is still increasing.
"The compensation will soon be released after calculating losses from all these affected areas," he said. 
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to double the amount of compensation which the farmers affected by the excessive rains in July are entitled to get. "As per the current NDRF (National Disaster Response Fund) norms, a farmer receives Rs 6,800 per hectare as compensation. We have decided to double the amount," CM Shinde had told reporters after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.         
Talking about Bawankule, Fadnavis said he has been a very staunch worker of the BJP, who rose from the lower rungs and went on to hold various important positions in the organisation.
"Bawankule performed very well in all the responsibilities given to him by the party," the deputy CM said. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
11:06   4 J-K govt staff sacked in terror funding cases
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has sacked four government employees including wife of Bitta Karate, who was arrested in alleged terror-funding cases, said officials on Saturday. 

More details soon.
British PM Boris Johnson
British PM Boris Johnson
10:52   Appalled at attack on Salman Rushdie: British PM Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his shock at author Salman Rushdie being stabbed by a man at an event in New York on Friday and condemned the attack on his freedom of expression. 

"Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend," Johnson said in a tweet. 

"Right now, my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay," he said. 

Former chancellor and the contender to succeed Johnson as the new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, also took to Twitter to express his shock. 

"Shocked to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York. A champion of free speech and artistic freedom. He's in our thoughts tonight," Sunak said. 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the other finalist in the Conservative Party leadership election, said: "Disgraceful attack on Sir Salman Rushdie. People must be able to speak freely and freedom of speech must be defended. "My thoughts are with him, his family and loved ones." 

In a statement, Rushdie's publishers at Penguin Random House said: "We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time." -- PTI
10:37   Unnao rape survivor seeks transfer of case to Delhi
The Unnao rape survivor has filed a transfer petition in the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of a criminal case filed against her in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, to Delhi. 

Approaching the top court, she submitted that a non-bailable warrant was issued against her by the Unnao ACJM court in an FIR filed by the father of Shubham Singh, one of three men currently facing trial in New Delhi for the gang rape of the survivor. 

She has called the case filed by the father of Singh, alleging that a proof of age document provided by her to the police was forged, a "counterblast FIR". 

She said that the case before the Unnao court is being pursued with the "oblique motive to intimidate, silence and harass" her and claimed that there is a grave threat to her life in Unnao. 

"The criminal case in Unnao may be transferred to Delhi to prevent the judicial process from becoming an instrument of oppression and harassment. The transfer of the trial to Delhi will not prejudice the respondents whatsoever, and the same is in the interest of justice, equity and due process," stated the plea while seeking transfer of the case. 

The plea stated that she has filed an application before the ACJM Unnao for cancellation or withdrawal of the NBWs, saying that she is willing to appear before the court through video conferencing. 

The plea further submitted the counter-case is an abuse of the criminal justice process to drag her out of New Delhi and bring her to Unnao, where she will not only be at grave risk of harm and injury but also tormented by the memory of being repeatedly raped. 

"There is a clear, grave and real risk to the personal safety and life of the petitioner, if she is forced to appear before and face a criminal trial in Unnao district, where she was repeatedly raped and gang-raped in 2017, by powerful people enjoying political and social clout, who also deviously murdered the petitioner's father with the connivance of police officers of PS Makhi," the plea submitted. -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
10:25   Multiple gates at 4 Delhi Metro stations closed due to I-Day dress rehearsal
Several gates at four Delhi Metro stations have been closed till 11 am on Saturday due to dress rehearsal for the Independence Day celebrations, the DMRC said. 

These stations are: ITO, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid and Delhi Gate. 

"Security Update Due to Independence Day dress rehearsal, the following gates are closed till 1100 hrs - At ITO gate no 1, 2 & 3 are closed - At Lalquila gate no 4 is closed - At Jama Masjid gate no 3 & 4 are closed - At Delhi Gate gate no 1, 4 & 5 are closed," the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation tweeted. 

"All stations are open and other gates can be used for entry/exit," it said in another tweet. 

The DMRC on Friday had said parking facilities will not be available at its stations from 6 am on Sunday till 2 pm on August 15 in view of the security measures adopted on the occasion of Independence Day. 

However, the Metro train services will continue to run as usual, it had said. -- PTI
09:56   Yamuna swells further in Delhi; evacuation efforts being intensified
The swollen Yamuna continued to flow above the danger mark of 205.33 metres in Delhi on Saturday morning and efforts to evacuate people from vulnerable areas are being intensified, officials said. 

The flood control room said the water level reached 205.99 metres at 5 am. 

The river had breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres around 4 pm on Friday following heavy rain in upper catchment areas, prompting authorities to evacuate people from low-lying areas. 

A forecast said the water level is likely to touch the 206-metre mark around 5 pm and remain stable thereafter. 

East Delhi district magistrate Anil Banka said around 2,300 people had been evacuated from low-lying areas in his district and shifted to safer places till Friday night. 

Evacuation efforts will be intensified on Saturday, he said. 

A flood alert is declared in Delhi when the discharge rate from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana's Yamuna Nagar crosses the 1 lakh-cusecs mark. 

People living near the floodplains and in flood-prone areas are evacuated then, an official said. 

The flood control department on Thursday advised all sector officers to keep a vigil in their respective areas and take necessary action at vulnerable points by deploying the requisite number of quick-reaction teams to warn people residing within river embankments. 

Thirty-four boats and mobile pumps have been deployed in low-lying areas. -- PTI
Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur in the state assembly
Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur in the state assembly
09:23   Himachal assembly to discuss conversion bill today
A bill introduced to make a specific mention of "mass conversion" in an existing law that forbids change of religion through force or allurement and to enhance punishment will be discussed in the Himachal Pradesh assembly on the last day of its monsoon session on Saturday. 

The Jai Ram Thakur-led government had introduced The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2022, on Friday. 

It is a more stringent version of The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, which came into force just a little over 18 months ago. 

The 2019 bill was notified only on December 21, 2020 -- 15 months after it was passed in the state assembly. 

The 2019 version had in turn replaced a 2006 law, which prescribed lesser punishments. 

The amendment bill proposes to increase the punishment for forced conversions to a maximum of 10 years from a maximum of seven years. 

It stipulates that the complaints made under the Act will be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of a sub inspector. 

The offences will now be tried by a sessions court. 

"In order to make the Act more effective, some minor changes are being made in the punishment clauses," the chief minister had said while introducing the bill on Friday. 

The Act prohibits conversion by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement, marriage or any fraudulent means. 

Any marriage for the sole purpose of conversion is declared "null and void" under Section 5 of the Act. -- PTI
09:09   Bishnoi community to build memorial for blackbuck killed by Salman Khan
The Bishnoi community in the Kankani village of Rajasthan's Jodhpur district is constructing a huge memorial to honour the blackbuck killed by Bollywood actor Salman Khan 24 years ago. 

The people of this village consider deer as their identity and says it is necessary for deer to survive. 

A grand monument and an animal rescue centre are being constructed at the same place where the deer was found dead. 

The memorial will be built in Kankani village at around 7 bigha land (a small portion of land). 

A huge 3-feet statue of black deer weighing 800 kg will be erected at the site made of cement and iron bars, and a rescue centre will also be built for the treatment of animals and birds. 

The statue of the deer is ready to be placed at the temple in Kakani village. 

The local people built the entire temple by collecting money from the residents of the Kankani village. 

A local sculptor Shankar has prepared the statue in 15 days at Siwanchi Gate of Jodhpur. 

The horns on the statue are of the original deer. 

The horns were made from the remains of dead deer in the forest. 

According to villagers, the temple is being built to raise awareness to protect animals for the coming generations. 

The temple will remind them to protect animals. 

Speaking to ANI, former MP and representative of Bishnoi Samaj Jaswant Singh Bishnoi said, "Deer is our identity and it is necessary for them to survive. After the construction of the temple, we will pass our learning of Guru Jambhoji Maharaj to the next generation." 

Jambhoji Maharaj said that sar kate rukh bache to bhi sasta jaan, which means that even if the head is cut off, the youth of Bishnoi samaj should be ready to save the environment, trees and animals at any cost." -- ANI
Forensic team at the house where a gunman started a mass shooting in Cetinje, Montenegro, August 12,/Reuters 2022.
Forensic team at the house where a gunman started a mass shooting in Cetinje, Montenegro, August 12,/Reuters 2022.
08:28   Montenegro shooting leaves 12 dead including gunman, 6 hurt
A gunman killed as many as 11 people and rendered six others grievously injured including a member of the police in a mass shooting in Montenegro's central city of Cetinje on Friday, and the assailant was eliminated in the police firing. 

Montenegro's public broadcaster, Radio and Television of Montenegro said that six people were wounded, including a member of the police. 

It further said that the incident was preceded by a family conflict, after which the assailant randomly shot passers-by on the street. 

It further said that the attacker also shot at the police and was killed in a confrontation. 

RTCG citing unofficial sources added that the attacker was 34 years old. 

Four wounded people were hospitalised in Cetinje hospital, while two wounded were transported to the Clinical Center in Podgorica, according to RTCG

Meanwhile, the government of Montenegro declared three days of mourning on the occasion of the great tragedy that happened on Friday in the Capital of Cetinje, RTCG said. 

Milo Dukanovic, President of Montenegro termed the incident an "unprecedented tragedy" and tweeted, "This is an unprecedented tragedy that affects the whole of Montenegro. Therefore, I call on the government to declare a day of mourning in the country. I wish the injured a speedy recovery." 

"I am deeply shaken by the news about the terrible tragedy in Cetinje. I express my sincere condolences to the bereaved families, and to all those who have lost their loved ones. All of us as a society must stand in solidarity with them in these difficult times," he added. -- ANI
08:16   'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign kicks off today
The Har Ghar Tiranga campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to encourage people to bring the Tiranga home and to hoist it to mark the 75th year of India's independence kicked off on Saturday. 

The campaign initiated as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, to commemorate India's 75th anniversary of independence will run till August 15. 

The Central government has urged people to hoist or display the tricolour in their homes from August 13 to 15 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence. 

A citizen, a private organisation or an educational institution may hoist or display the National Flag on all days and occasions. 

There is no restriction on the timing of flag display. 

The government has amended the Flag Code of India to allow the tricolour to be displayed in the open and on individual houses or buildings day and night. 

The Flag Code of India was earlier amended in December last year allowing the use of polyester, apart from cotton, wool, silk and khadi for making hand-spun, hand-woven and machine-made flags. 

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of India's people, culture and achievements. 

The programme envisages inspiring Indians everywhere to hoist the national flag at their homes. 

The aim of the programme is to make the relationship with the national flag a more personal one rather than just keeping it formal or institutional. -- ANI
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
01:15   Javed Akhtar, others condemn barbaric attack on Rushdie in New York
Veteran Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar condemned the barbaric attack on renowned author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed during a literary festival in the US state of New York on Friday. 

"I condemn the barbaric attack on Salman Rushdie by some fanatic. I hope that NY police and the court will take the strongest action possible against the attacker," Javed Akhtar tweeted. 

Rushdie, who faced death threats over his book 'The Satanic Verses', was "stabbed" on stage in western New York state but is said to be alive. 

A New York Times reporter tweeted that a doctor in the audience said that Rushdie had multiple stab wounds, including one to the neck, and a pool of blood under him. 

One of the US media reports said there were no security searches or metal detectors at the event. 

A witness told CNN the attacker "walked quickly" down an aisle and jumped on stage, approaching the author and "making a stabbing motion with his hand repeatedly." 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul also said the author is alive and has been transported to a local hospital. "He is alive and has been transported, airlifted, to safety... The event moderator was attacked as well; he's getting the care he needs at a local hospital," she said. -- PTI 
01:08   Raju Srivastava critical, remains on ventilator
Popular comedian-actor Raju Srivastava continues to be "critical and on ventilator" in the intensive care unit of AIIMS in New Delhi, hospital sources said on Friday. 

He has not yet gained consciousness, they said. 

The 58-year-old stand-up comic was admitted to the hospital after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday and underwent an angioplasty the same day. 

"Srivastava continues to be critical and on ventilator in the intensive care unit. He continues to be unconscious," the source told PTI

The comedian is being treated by Dr Nitish Naik, professor at the department of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. 

In a statement shared on Srivastava's official Instagram page, the family said his condition is "stable". 

"Raju Srivastava ji's condition is stable.We are praying for his speedy recovery. The doctors are treating him and are doing their best. Thanks to all the well wishers for continued love and support," the family said in the statement. 

They also requested people to "ignore any rumour/fake news being circulated." 

The comic had a heart attack while exercising at a hotel's gym in New Delhi. 

Srivastava, who has been active in the entertainment industry since late 1980s, received recognition after participating in the first season of stand-up comedy show "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge" in 2005. -- PTI