Mon, 15 August 2022
Bilkis case: Guj remits life terms of 11 convicts

Timeline  Refresh

21:52   Bilkis Bano case: Guj govt remits life terms of all 11 convicts
All the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 post-Godhra Bilkis Bano gang rape case on Monday walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy, an official said.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Mumbai on January 21, 2008, sentenced the eleven accused to life imprisonment on the charge of gang rape and murder of seven members of Bilkis Bano's family.

Their conviction was later upheld by the Bombay high court.

These convicts had served more than 15 years in jail after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.

The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence following which the government formed a committee, said Panchmahals Collector Sujal Mayatra, who headed the panel.

"A committee formed a few months back took a unanimous decision in favour of remission of all the 11 convicts in the case. The recommendation was sent to the state government, and yesterday we received the orders for their release," said Mayatra.   -- PTI
Photo: ANI Photo
Photo: ANI Photo
20:15   Har Ghar Tiranga: Over 5cr flag selfies uploaded
More than five crore selfies with the Indian flag have been uploaded on the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign website so far, the culture ministry said on Monday and termed it a 'stupendous achievement'.

Grand celebrations were held at the Red Fort by the government to mark the 76th Independence Day as part of the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' with Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing the roadmap for the next 25 years -- 'Amrit Kaal', it said.

The prime minister had given a call on July 22 to join the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag at homes.

The culture ministry, the nodal agency for the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' had also appealed to people upload selfies or photographs with 'Tiranga' on the campaign's website.

'In a stupendous achievement, more than five crore 'Tiranga' selfies have been uploaded on the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' website,' the ministry said in a statement.

As India embarks on it's 76th year of Independence, wrapping up the 75 week countdown to August 15, 2022 was the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' initiative of the government driven by the nodal ministry for 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' -- the ministry of culture, the statement said.

The achievement of five crore 'Tiranga' selfies has been achieved this afternoon at around 4 pm, thanks to the participation of everyone across India and the world celebrating this special moment in India's history, it said.

The commemoration of 75 years of India's Independence started on March 12, 2021 as a 75-week countdown to August 15, 2022 and will continue till August 15, 2023, it said.

The initiative dedicated to fostering deeper personal connect with the Indian tricolour requested Indians everywhere to display the flag at home or their place of work as a commitment to the cause of nation building during 'Amrit Kaal' -- 25 years from now to 2047) , the statement said.

The programme conceived in a hybrid format envisaged a physical and emotional connect with the flag itself in the personal context and also envisaged a collective celebration and amplification of patriotic fervour through the act of uploading a selfie on the special website -- --created for this initiative, it said.

In his Independence Day speech, PM Modi said in the last few days, the country has seen and experienced a new force, a 'renaissance of collective consciousness' and the revival of this collective consciousness is the biggest treasure of the country and is like nectar that emerged through the years of the struggle for freedom, the statement said.

Reflecting on this milestone, Union Minister for Culture G Kishan Reddy said, 'Five crore 'Tiranga' selfies reflect the collective commitment of duty-bound Indians to keep the nation first and always first.

'Thank you, India. This is indeed a special moment of outpouring of the collective expressions of love and connect for the motherland. I wish everyone a very Happy Independence Day!'   -- PTI
19:23   First meeting of MSP panel to be held on Aug 22
The committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) is scheduled to hold its first meeting on August 22 to discuss future strategies, according to official sources.

The meeting will be held at 10.30 am at the National Agriculture Science Complex (NASC) in the national capital, the sources added.

In the first meeting, sources said the committee will introduce members, deliberate on 'future strategies' and discuss setting up sub-panels to cover the wide issues mentioned in the terms of reference.

Meanwhile, the government is persuading Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) to take part in the proceedings of the committee, it needs to be seen if it will change its mind and nominate three representatives, sources added.

SKM, which necessitated setting up of this committee after leading farmers' protest against three farm laws and forcing the government to repeal them, has already rejected this committee and decided not to nominate its representatives.

While announcing the repeal of three farm laws in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to set up a committee to look into farmers' MSP issues.

The committee, headed by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal, was constituted on July 18 to 'promote zero budget based farming', to 'change' crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country, and to make MSP more 'effective and transparent'.

There are 26 members including the chairman of the committee and three membership slots kept aside for representatives of SKM.

The members of the committee include: Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand, agri-economists CSC Shekhar from Indian Institute of Economic Development and Sukhpal Singh from IIM-Ahmedabad and Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) senior member Naveen P Singh.

Among farmer representatives, the committee has National award-winning farmer Bharat Bhushan Tyagi, and five members from other farmer organisations include Gunwant Patil, Krishnaveer Choudhary, Pramod Kumar Choudhary, Guni Prakash and Sayyed Pasha Patel.

Two members of the farmers' cooperative and group -- IFFCO Chairman Dilip Sanghani and CNRI General Secretary Binod Anand -- are also part of the committee.

Senior members of agricultural universities, five central government secretaries and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha are also part of the committee.  -- PTI
18:36   Raj Cong MLA quits over atrocities on Dalits
Miffed over cases of alleged atrocities on Dalits, Congress MLA Pana Chand Meghwal on Monday sent his resignation to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, saying he does not have the right to stay as an MLA if he cannot protect the rights of his community.

The development comes two days after the death of a Dalit boy who was allegedly beaten by a school teacher in Jalore for touching a drinking water pot.

'When we fail to protect the rights of our community...we have no right to remain on the post. After listening to my inner voice, I resign from the post of the MLA, so that I can serve the community without any position,' the MLA from Baran-Atru constituency said his resignation letter.

Meghwal said though the country is celebrating 75th anniversary of Independence, atrocities on Dalits and the other deprived classes continue.

'I am hurt looking at the atrocities. I cannot express my pain in words, the way my community is being tortured,' he said.

'Dalits are being killed for drinking water from a pot, sporting a moustache or riding a mare during a wedding. The judicial process is stalled and case files are passed from one table to the other. Cases of atrocities against Dalits are on the rise in the last few years. It seems there is no one to protect the rights of Dalits given by the Constitution,' he said.

'In most of the cases lodged by Dalits, the police submit the final report. Many a times, I have raised such cases in the state assembly but no action was taken by the police,' Meghwal said.

Meanwhile, to probe the death of the boy who was beaten by his teacher, the state's Scheduled Castes and Schheduled Tribes Commission chairman Khiladi Lal Bairwa arrived in Jalore on Monday.

Indra Kumar, 9, was beaten up in the school on July 20.

He died during treatment at a hospital in Gujarat's Ahmedabad on Saturday.

The accused teacher, Chail Singh, 40, has been arrested.

The state government has announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh for the victim's family.  -- PTI
18:06   Karnataka: 3 held for vandalising Tipu posters
Karnataka Police have arrested three persons for allegedly tearing up images featuring images of freedom fighters put on display to celebrate the 75th Independence Day.

The arrests were made by the Halasuru Gate police station in Bengaluru where a case was filed on August 14 under the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971, and outraging of religious feelings (under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code or IPC) over the alleged vandalism of a flex board image of Tipu Sultan put up at Nripatunga Road in Hudson Circle installed as part of the Congress 'Freedom Walk' program on August 15.

The complaint was made by the Rajajinagar Congress party functionary Manjunath, police said.

Those arrested include Puneeth Kerehalli, president of an organisation named Rastra Rakshana Pade, for allegedly tearing up the Tipu Sultan flex.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress chief D K Shivakumar visited the incident site and said, "Someone is trying to create disturbance in the state. They are not able to digest Congress' 'Freedom March'."

The State Congress had also reacted to the issue of dropping of Jawaharlal Nehru's photo from government advertisements.

Karnataka PCC president Shivakumar on Sunday demanded an apology from the Karnataka government for ignoring Nehru in the state government's advertisement for the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign.

He also demanded an apology from the Karnataka CM.

'Insulting freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru in an advertisement made from common people's taxes is intolerable. The chief minister should apologise to the people of the state for insulting Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,' said Siddaramaiah.   -- ANI
17:13   China conducts new Taiwan drills as US team visits
China resorted to more high-intensity military drills around Taiwan on Monday as one more American Congressional delegation visited the self-ruled Island claimed by Beijing, challenging its 'one China' policy.
The new drills come less than a fortnight after Beijing launched unprecedented war games in retaliation to US House Speaker Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, sparking fears of a Chinese invasion of the breakaway island.
The US Congressional delegation led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on an unannounced two-day visit on Sunday, close on the heels of Pelosi's visit on August 2, the highest-level visit by US official in 25 years, which riled Beijing.
The five-member delegation is visiting the self-governing island to "reaffirm the United States' support for Taiwan" and "will encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait," a spokesperson for Markey said in a statement.
The delegation includes Democratic Representative John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal and Don Beyer, and Republican Representatives Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, CNN reported.
In response to Pelosi's visit, China held its biggest military drills in the busy Taiwan Strait from August 4 to 10.
On Monday, China announced yet another round of military drills in retaliation to the visit by another US delegation.
Senior Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said that his Command has organised joint combat-readiness security patrol and combat training exercises involving troops of multiple services and arms in waters and airspace around Taiwan Island on Monday.
According to Shi, this is a solemn deterrent to the United States and the Taiwan authorities, which have repeatedly played political tricks and undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, a PLA press release said.
The troops' Command will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard China's national sovereignty and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, it said.
The group led by Markey met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday.
17:00   Feels special to be here, say first timers at Red Fort Independence Day event
Sixty-year-old Bhagmani Devi couldn't catch 40 winks as she was thrilled about visiting the Red Fort on Independence Day and seeing Prime Minister Narendra Modi "up close" for the first time.
She arrived at Red Fort with her son, who is in the Indian Air Force, wearing her best saree for the occasion which matched the saffron colour of the national flag.
"The whole night I kept thinking which saree I should wear. Should I slip on the new sandals or flats," Devi said.
"I am very happy that I got the chance to visit Red Fort. This is the first time I am visiting the Red Fort on Independence Day and this is also the first time I am getting a chance to listen to Modi," Bhagmani told PTI.
PM Modi hoisted the national flag at the ramparts of the Red Fort and addressed the nation for the ninth consecutive time.
The August 15 ceremony this year was particularly significant as it marks the 75th anniversary of India's Independence with the government launching a host of events to add to the verve around the celebration.
Srikala (73) from Karnataka listened diligently to PM Modi's address though she understands "very little" Hindi. Accompanied by her husband and their grandson, she was attending the Independence Day celebration for the first time and wanted to "relish" every moment of it.
"I don't know when I will get the chance to witness something magnificent of this sort again. I am glad I came here, it is so beautiful," Srikala said.
For her, the best part of the day was the showering of flower petals from an MI-17 helicopter. "The entire ground smelled like roses. It was peaceful and exhilarating at the same time."
Meanwhile, among the attendees was paralympic athlete Prashant Kumar Sinha, who was attending the Independence celebration for the third time.
Suffering from cerebral palsy, who is working as a senior manager at Indian Oil, came alone to the Red Fort: "Every year, it feels special to be here."
"I am attending this for the third time. I love listening to PM Modi. His government has done so much for the sports and sportsmen in the country. We have seen tremendous growth in sports under the government," Prashant added.
In his 82-minute address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the nation to develop hatred towards corruption and those indulging in that vice, and towards nepotism to move towards a new India with a firm resolve.
Modi also urged people to take five pledges in the next 25 years -- making India a developed nation, removing every trace of bondage, taking pride in the country's heritage, unity, and fulfilling their duties. -- PTI 
16:14   Indian Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution
Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Monday said the executive, legislature and the judiciary are "equal repositories" of constitutional trust, and the Constitution dispels the notion that delivery of justice is the responsibility of courts only.
The CJI, who hoisted the national flag on the 76th Independence Day on the Supreme Court premises in Delhi, referred to Article 38 of the Constitution on the Directive Principles of State Policy and said it was the responsibility of the state to secure a social order in which "justice, social, economic and political," are rendered.
"Under the constitutional framework, each and every organ has been given an obligation, and the notion that justice is the only responsibility of the courts is dispelled by Article 38 of the Indian Constitution which mandates the state to secure social, economic and political justice," the 48th CJI said.
"All the three organs of the State -- executive, legislature and judiciary -- are the equal repositories of the constitutional trust," he said.
The CJI said the apex court gives strength to pursue disputes to the citizens and they know that it would stand with them when things go wrong.
He said the judicial system goes by the commitment to the written Constitution and enjoys immense faith reposed by the people.
"People are confident that they will get relief and justice from the judiciary. It gives them the strength to pursue the dispute. They know when things go wrong, the judiciary will stand up for them. The Indian Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution in the world's largest democracy," Justice Ramana said.
He said the courts bring life into the statutes by making them relevant to contemporary times as legislatures may not be able to foresee issues that may come up during their implementation.
"Legislature may not be able to foresee issues which might come up during the implementation. By interpretation of the statutes, the courts have given effect to the true intent of the legislature.
"The courts have brought life into the statutes by making them relevant to contemporary times," he said.
Justice Ramana said the Indian judiciary, since the Independence, has strengthened various institutions like the Election Commission, the CVC and the CAG.
The CJI referred to constitutional schemes, rules, regulations and judgements in responding to the statement of Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh that the collegiums, especially the high court collegiums, did not consider the "best" candidates for judgeship in higher judiciary.
15:33   India hands over Dornier aircraft to Sri Lanka Navy
The security of India and Sri Lanka is enhanced by mutual understanding, mutual trust and cooperation, the Indian envoy in Colombo said on Monday, as India handed over a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy to further boost bilateral defence partnership.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe was present at the handover ceremony.
Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade, who is on a two-day visit to the country, accompanied by Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Gopal Baglay handed over the maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy at the Sri Lanka Airforce base in Katunayake adjoining the Colombo international airport.
"Security of #India and #Srilanka is enhanced by mutual understanding, mutual trust and cooperation. Gifting of Dornier 228 is #India's latest contribution to this cause," High Commissioner Baglay said at the handing over event.
"Like fruits of other areas of cooperation with India, the gift of Dornier to @airforcelk is of relevance to and a step to meet its requirements for maritime safety and security. It is an example of India's strength adding to the strength of its friends," he said.
The ceremony took place as India celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence.  
The aircraft is being provided to Sri Lanka from the inventory of the Indian Navy to help the country meet its immediate security requirement, sources in New Delhi said.
The Indian Navy has already provided extensive training to a team from Sri Lanka's Navy and the Air Force to operate the maritime surveillance aircraft.
"Sri Lanka has been a key partner of India and we will continue to expand our bilateral defence cooperation in the months and years to come," a senior official said in New Delhi on condition of anonymity. 
Recalling the arrangement, the Sri Lankan officials earlier said that during the Defence Dialogue between India and Sri Lanka held in January 2018 in New Delhi, Sri Lanka had sought the possibility of obtaining two Dornier Reconnaissance Aircraft from India to enhance the maritime surveillance capabilities of the island nation.
The sources in New Delhi said India will provide to Sri Lanka two Dornier aircraft which are being manufactured by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
14:49   Ambanis get threat calls at Reliance Hospital
An unidentified person on Monday made a phone call to a hospital in Mumbai and threatened to kill the family of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, a police official said. 
The person made three to four calls on a landline number of the Reliance Foundation Hospital in Girgaon area around 10.30 am, he said. 
After receiving information about the calls, the Mumbai police initiated a probe into it.
A preliminary enquiry suggested the caller was mentally unstable, the official said. 
A process was on to register an FIR in this connection, he added. -- PTI 
14:13   2 Assam Rifles jawans injured in encounter
At least two jawans of the Assam Rifles were injured in a gunfight with terrorists  of NSCN-K (Yung Aung) in Nagaland's Mon district in the early hours of Monday, officials said.
The incident happened around 2.35 am in Nyasa village in Phomching area of the district along the inter-state boundary with Arunachal Pradesh, they said.
In wake of heightened security in the run-up to Independence Day, troops of the Assam Rifles were proactively dominating the sensitive areas with a deployment posture designed to thwart any unwarranted attempt by the insurgent groups to disrupt peace in the region, the force said in a statement.
Acting on a tip-off about the movement of terrorists , the troops laid multiple ambushes to dominate the area, it added.
Around 2.35 am, the alert personnel noticed suspicious movement on a jungle track between Zankham to Nyasa, the Assam Rifles said.
On being intercepted, the terrorists opened fire, which was appropriately retaliated, causing severe casualties in the terrorist group, it said.
Two Assam Rifles' jawans sustained injuries and were evacuated to the Jorhat Air Force Hospital for further treatment, it said.
They were evacuated with the help of local villagers, who have provided all the support to the security forces, the force claimed.
13:08   Iran denies involvement in attack on Salman Rushdie
An Iranian government official has denied that Tehran was involved in the attack on author Salman Rushdie.

Rushdie is recovering after being stabbed repeatedly at a public appearance in New York state.
"We, in the incident of the attack on Salman Rushdie in the US, do not consider that anyone deserves blame and accusations except him and his supporters," Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry said. 

"Nobody has right to accuse Iran in this regard," he added. 
12:57   Modi ditches teleprompter for I-Day speech
On the occasion of 76th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went old school in his customary address to the countrymen where he used paper notes for his speech in the national capital on Monday.

It was his ninth address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

The teleprompter was sidelined by the PM as he began his speech by congratulating the countrymen on the completion of 75 years of independence which is being celebrated in the country under the banner of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Wearing a traditional tri-coloured motif safa (headgear) with a long trail, PM Modi then recalled the "architects of free India" who significantly contributed to India's freedom struggle.

"During our freedom struggle, there was not one year where our freedom fighters did not face brutality and cruelty. Today is the day when, as we pay them our respects, we need to remember their vision and dream for India," Modi said while addressing the nation from the Red Fort for the ninth consecutive time.

"Our country is grateful to Gandhiji, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Ramprasad Bismil, Rani Laxmi Bai, Subash Chandra Bose, and all other freedom fighters who shook the foundations of the British Empire. We salute not only those who fought for freedom but also the architects of free India such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Ram Manohar Lohia and Sardar Vallabhai Patel, amongst the many others," the PM said.
12:34   Google marks 75th anniversary of 'Azadi' with animated doodle
Depicting India's popular recreational sport, kite-flying, in a multi-hued artwork with an embedded metaphor, technology giant Google marked the 75th anniversary of the country's independence on Monday with a vibrant doodle.
The delectable doodle with elements of the tricolour in the kites shown follows the recent launch of the "India ki Udaan" project executed by Google Arts and Culture that celebrates the country's achievements and is "themed on the unwavering and undying spirit of India over these past 75 years".
The illustration by Kerala-based artist Neethi depicts a woman making kites and youngsters engaged in playing the traditional sport in a colourful setting, with the sun and high-rise buildings shown in the backdrop.
Google has added GIF animation to it, infusing a layer of dynamism and thus, bringing the doodle alive, as the tricolour-themed kites can be seen moving in the air.
Also, in the artwork, a young girl holds a kite with a heart sign on it, while a man looks at the flight of a kite bearing the number "75", tethered from a spool in his hand.
"On this day in 1947, India officially became a democratic country -- ending nearly two hundred years of British rule. The lengthy struggle for freedom resulted in the birth of the largest democracy in the world. Heroic freedom fighters, such as Mahatma Gandhi, led the country's independence movement through civil disobedience and nonviolent protests," Google said on its official page.
The artist said the artwork depicts the "culture around kites -- from the craft of creating bright, beautiful kites to the cheerful experience of a community coming together".
"I have drawn kites depicting our national colours, a message of love and commemorating the 75 years of India's independence. They fly as high as skyscrapers, birds and I would like to believe, the sun," she was quoted as saying about the doodle on the official page of the internet search engine.
The vast expanse of the sky brightly speckled with soaring kites is a colourful symbol of the great heights that the country has achieved, Neethi said.
The biggest annual celebration takes place at the Red Fort in Delhi, where the prime minister raises the saffron, white and green national flag in synchronisation with a 21-gun salute, Google said in a statement, adding, "People also celebrate by flying kites -- a longstanding symbol of independence."
"Indian revolutionaries once flew kites with slogans to protest British rule. Since then, recreational and competitive kite flying have become one of Independence Day's most popular traditions. Indians also commemorate the day by spending time with loved ones and hosting cultural programmes in neighbourhoods and schools," it said.
12:22   Bill Gates hails Modi for prioritizing healthcare
Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for prioritising healthcare and digital transformation while spearheading India's development.
Gates remarks came on the occasion of India's 76th Independence Day.
"I congratulate @narendramodi for prioritizing healthcare and digital transformation while spearheading India's development. India's progress in these sectors is inspiring and we are fortunate to partner in this journey," he tweeted using the hashtag 'AmritMahotsav'.
India is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to marks the 75th anniversary of India's independence. -- PTI
12:13   'CODA' star Troy Kotsur's Oscar trophy and car were stolen, later recovered
CODA star Troy Kotsur has revealed his car was recently stolen with his Oscar trophy still inside, before the police recovered it. 
The actor was being honoured in his hometown Mesa, Arizona, on August 11 and he had brought the award with him to the ceremony when the incident happened.
Kotsur shared the news in a post on Twitter but has since deleted it. He had posed for a photo with police, thanking them for their efforts.
In a statement to entertainment outlet The Hollywood Reporter, a representative of the Mesa Police Department confirmed the incident and said Kotsur's car was located with two juvenile male suspects inside.
"The two juveniles admitted to the theft and were charged with Theft of Means of Transportation. 
"They were remanded to the custody of the Maricopa County Juvenile Court System. Mr. Kotsur had his vehicle returned to him to include all the property that was inside," the police representative said.
Kotsur made history earlier this year after winning the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Massachusetts fisherman Frank Rossi in CODA, becoming the first deaf male, and the second deaf actor, to earn an Academy Award for acting. -- PTI 
11:33   Assam to withdraw 1 lakh minor cases: Himanta on Independence Day
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday announced that his government will withdraw one lakh minor cases, including for social media posts, to reduce the burden on the lower judiciary.
Hoisting the national flag at the 76th Independence Day function in Guwahati, Sarma said there are about four lakh cases pending in the lower judiciary.
The government has decided that minor cases registered before midnight of August 14, 2021, will be withdrawn, he said.
"This will enable the judiciary to focus on more heinous crimes such as rapes and murders," he added. 
Asserting that Assam is an integral part of India, Sarma said that those who are still dreaming of "sovereignty" should return to the discussion table.
"Sovereignty is non-negotiable and Assam will never leave India," he said, in an apparent message to militant groups ULFA(I) and NSCN who have called for a "boycott" of Independence Day celebrations and "total shutdown" in five Northeastern states, including Assam.
The mass participation in the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' programme in the state since Saturday has brought to fore the patriotic feeling that is inherent in each person's heart, the chief minister said.
"The love people displayed for the Tricolour over the last three days proves Assam is always with India," Sarma said.
"Hope those who are still dreaming of sovereignty will return to the discussion table and work together for the development of the state," he said. -- PTI 
11:19   Rahul Gandhi greets people on 75th anniversary of Independence
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday greeted the people on the 75th anniversary of India's Independence.
Sharing a quote from the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's 'Tryst with Destiny' speech, he also posted a montage of pictures highlighting India's rich cultural tradition. 
"'To India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service.' Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind," Gandhi tweeted.
On its official Twitter handle, the Congress said, "Let us enter the 76th year of Independence with new energy and positive thinking and take the country forward on the path of development. Jai Hind."
At midnight, the party tweeted, "75 years ago, this day, at the stroke of midnight, India made a tryst with destiny. A pact where all forces kneeled down before the valour of our forefathers, and gave us the freedom we enjoy today." -- PTI 
11:06   Govt hell-bent on trivialising freedom fighters' sacrifices: Sonia
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday alleged that a "self-obsessed" government is hell-bent on "trivialising" the sacrifices of freedom fighters and the party will strongly oppose such attempts made for political gains.
Gandhi's attack came a day after the BJP released a video narrating its version of events that led to India's partition in 1947 in which it tangentially accused the top Congress leadership at the time and showed pictures of Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The Congress had also taken a strong exception to the exclusion of India's first prime minister Nehru in the Karnataka government's newspaper advertisement on freedom fighters and termed the BJP action "pathetic".
"Friends, we have achieved a great deal in the last 75 years, but today's self-obsessed government is bent on trivialising the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters and the glorious achievements of the country, which can never be accepted," Gandhi said in her message on India's 76th Independence Day.
The Congress will strongly oppose any misrepresentation of historical facts and every attempt to put great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Abul Kalam Azad in the dock based on falsehood for "political gains", she said.
Sonia Gandhi said that in the last 75 years, India has left an indelible mark on the international arena in all fields including science, education, health and information technology through the hard work of its talented people.
"Under the leadership of its visionary leaders, while on one hand, India established a free, fair and transparent election system, on the other, it strengthened democracy and constitutional institutions," the Congress chief said.
Along with this, India has made its identity as a leading country that has always lived up to pluralism in language, religion and sect, she added. -- PTI 
10:26   Biden invokes Gandhi on India's Independence Day
Joining the people of India to honour the country's democratic journey, United States President Joe Biden on Sunday said the two nations are indispensable partners.
"As people around the world, including nearly four million (40 lakh) proud Indian-Americans, celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's independence on August 15, the United States joins the people of India to honour its democratic journey, guided by Mahatma Gandhi's enduring message of truth and non-violence," Biden said in a statement.
"This year, we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our great democracies. India and the United States are indispensable partners, and the US-India Strategic Partnership is grounded in our shared commitment to the rule of law and the promotion of human freedom and dignity.
"Our partnership is further strengthened by the deep bonds between our people. The vibrant Indian-American community in the United States has made us a more innovative, inclusive, and stronger nation," Biden said.
The US president expressed confidence that in the years ahead, the two democracies will continue to stand together to defend the rules-based order, foster greater peace, prosperity and security for their people, advance a free and open Indo-Pacific and address the challenges that the world is facing together.
In a separate statement, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken greeted the people of India as they celebrate 75 years of independence on August 15.
"On this important day, we reflect on the democratic values that we share, and we honour the people of India who are, together, building an even brighter future," he said.
"This year is especially meaningful for our two nations as we celebrate a milestone: 75 years of diplomatic relations. Our strategic partnership touches everything from climate to trade to our vibrant people-to-people ties. I am confident that, as two great democracies, our partnership will continue to contribute to the security and prosperity of our peoples and the global good.  Happy Independence Day, India!" Blinken said. 
09:49   5G mobile services to start soon, says Modi
India will soon see the advent of 5G mobile services, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as he rooted for 'Made-in-India' technology solutions to meet challenges of new India.
The Prime Minister said that it is time for India's techade and digital technology is going to bring in reforms in every area.
"India's techade is here! With 5G, semiconductor manufacturing & Optical Fibre Cable (OFCs) in villages, we are bringing a revolution through Digital India to the grassroots level," Modi said.
He said that the Digital India Movement with production of semiconductors, 5G networks and optical fibre network show strength in three segments -- education, health facilities and change in common man's lives.
Modi said that India's industrial growth will come from the grassroots.
"Our Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), street vendors & those working in the organised sectors need to be strengthened," he said.
Modi vowed to fight against corruption with full vigour.
"We have to fight against corruption with all our strength. In the last eight years, use of Aadhaar, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and mobile phones were used to find Rs 2 lakh crore of black money," he said.
09:35   Corruption, nepotism India's 2 big challenges: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the two big challenges before the country are nepotism and dynasty, and corruption, asserting that "we have to fight" against these together.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, Modi described nepotism as an "evil" and said the country needs to come together against it.
"We need to give opportunities to those who are talented and will work for the progress of the nation. Talent will be the basis of New India," he said.
"When I talk about nepotism and dynasty, people think I am talking about politics only. No, unfortunately this evil of politics has nurtured nepotism in every institution," Modi said.
He further said that to cleanse every institute of India, opportunities should be given to people who deserve it.
"We need to come together as a society to punish those who have propagated the evil of corruption," he added.
Modi further said the nation shows "anger towards corruption, but not the corrupted".
"Until and unless, people have the mentality of penalising the corrupt, the nation cannot progress at an optimum pace," he said.
Modi in his speech emphasised on the fight against corruption and nepotism or dynasty, the two big challenges before the country.
"We have to fight against corruption with all our strength. In the last eight years, we detected black money using Aadhaar, DBT and mobile."
09:33   Gender equality crucial parameter of unity: Modi
Gender equality is the key to a united India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as he addressed the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day.
Speaking on the significance of a united nation, Modi said India has much to teach the world on the concept of unity which begins with the family structure.
"We should celebrate the diversity of India....At home too, the roots of unity are sowed when both the son and the daughter are equal. If they are not, the mantra of unity cannot reverberate.
"Gender equality is a crucial parameter of unity," the prime minister said. 
09:16   Modi lauds people for coming together to fight COVID-19
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lauded citizens of the country for coming together in the fight against COVID-19, and said India has administered a record 200 crore vaccine doses in a time-bound manner, a feat that would not have been possible for another nation.
During his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, Modi said there was an increase in common consciousness of the love for the nation.
The fight against COVID-19 was an example of this common consciousness where citizens came together, he said.
"COVID-19 has been an example of this common consciousness where citizens came together. From supporting doctors to propelling research to taking vaccines to the remotest parts, we stood together. The country's citizens stood with 'corona warriors' by the gestures of banging thalis and lighting diyas," Modi said on the 75th anniversary of Independence Day.
Lauding citizens for leading the way in taking vaccines, he added: "When there was confusion prevailing in the world over the efficacy of vaccines, my country's people came forward and we accomplished the feat of administering 200 crore vaccine doses. That surprised the world."
The prime minister also stressed on the fact that the country broke previous records in the administration of vaccine doses.
"We broke all previous records by administering 200 crore vaccine doses in a time-bound manner. Can any other nation do this," he asked.
09:12   Modi lists 5 resolves to make India developed nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged people to focus their energy on the five resolutions of making India a developed nation, removing every trace of bondage, taking pride in its heritage and unity, and fulfilling their duties in the next 25 years.
"By the 100th year of Independence, we have to work with the vision of accomplishing what our freedom fighters dreamt of," he said while addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day.
"I urge the youth to dedicate the next 25 years of their lives to the development of the nation. We will work towards even the development of the entire humanity. That is the strength of India," he said.
Modi said India will have to move ahead with big goals to fulfil the vision of a developed India in the centenary year of its Independence.
"For the next 25 years we need to focus on the five resolves  � developed India, removing every trace of bondage from our mind, taking pride in our glorious heritage and unity, and fulfilling our duties," he said.
"We need to now move with a renewed focus and resolve for the next 25 years, and this can be made possible through the strength and determination of 130 crore Indians."
Modi said the world looked at India with pride and hope, and as a problem-solver. "The world looks at India as a destination where aspirations are met," he said.
The prime minister said a stable government has resulted in fast decision-making which has been noticed around the world. -- PTI
09:09   Modi wears white safa with tricolour stripes
In line with the "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to wear a white safa with tricolour stripes and a long trail for his 76th Independence Day look.
The August 15 ceremony is particularly significant this year as it marks the 75th anniversary of the country's independence, with the government launching a host of exercises to add to the verve around the celebrations.
Wearing the traditional kurta and churidar paired with a blue jacket and black shoes, Modi hoisted the national flag at the ramparts of the Red Fort and addressed the nation for the ninth consecutive time.
The safa trail also had similar tricolour stripes as the headgear Modi wore on the occasion.
08:48   India is mother of democracy: PM from Red Fort
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said in this 'Amrit Kaal', every Indian is aspiring to see the fast progress of a new India with enthusiasm and impatience.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, he termed India the "mother of democracy".
"Our nation has proved that we have an inherent strength from our diversity and the common thread of patriotism makes India unshakeable," Modi said.
An aspirational society is important for any nation. Today, "we are proud that these aspirations are present in every household in India. Every citizen is enthusiastic, impatient for the fast progress of New India," he said.
"My understanding of the spirit of India, made me realise that for the growth of New India we needed to ensure inclusive development across the nation, a vision that was held dear by Mahatma Gandhi," the prime minister said.
Modi said in the last few days, "we have seen an increase in the common consciousness of the love for the nation".
The 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign has been an example of the entire nation coming together to celebrate the spirit of this glorious country, he said. 
"This Amrit Kaal is providing us a golden opportunity to fulfil the dreams and goals of this aspirational society," Modi said. -- PTI 
08:21   In I-Day speech, Modi remembers Gandhi, Nehru
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the completion of 75 years of Independence was a time to step towards a new direction with a new resolve.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort for the ninth consecutive time, Modi offered tributes to a galaxy of freedom fighters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru among others.
"During our freedom struggle, there was not one year where our freedom fighters did not face brutality and cruelty. Today is the day when, as we pay them our respects, we need to remember their vision and dream for India," Modi said.
"It is a day to step towards a new direction with a new resolve," Modi said in the presence of a host of dignitaries including union ministers, Supreme Court judges and senior diplomats.
"We salute not only those who fought for freedom, but also the architects of free India such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Ram Manohar Lohia and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, amongst the many others," he added.
In line with the "Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav" celebrations, Modi, who wore the traditional kurta and churidar paired with a blue jacket and black shoes, chose to wear a white safa with tricolour stripes and a long trail for his 76th Independence Day look.
07:50   India@75: PM Modi pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute at Rajghat before addressing the country on the occasion of 76th Independence Day from Red Fort.