Sun, 19 March 2023
Savarkar samjha kya...: Cong jibe at govt
Rahul Gandhi/Congress on Twitter
21:21 Savarkar samjha kya...: Cong jibe at govt
As the Delhi police questioned Rahul Gandhi over his "women still being sexually assaulted" remark, the Congress on Sunday took a jibe at the government, saying "Savarkar samjha kya... naam Rahul Gandhi hai".
Law Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kiren Rijiju responded on Twitter urging not to "insult" the great personality (Veer Savarkar).
"I request with folded hands," the minister said.
The Congress tweeted a photo of the former party chief in the driver's seat of a car, and said, "Savarkar samjha kya... naam - Rahul Gandhi hai (Have you considered him Savarkar?... the name is Rahul Gandhi)."
Reacting to it, Rijiju said, "Kripya mahan atma Veer Savarkar ka apmaan na karen. Haath jod kar vinti karta hun (Please don't insult great personality Veer Savarkar. I request with folded hands)".
A Delhi police team on Sunday questioned Gandhi at his residence in New Delhi over his remark made during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that "women are still being sexually assaulted and asked him to provide information about the "victims" to take up their complaints, officials said. -- PTI
20:27 J-K gets first FDI project post-Article 370 abrogation
The makers of Burj Khalifa on Sunday marked their formal entry into Jammu and Kashmir, performing the groundbreaking ceremony for the first foreign direct investment in the Union territory -- a shopping mall and a multipurpose tower in the outskirts of Srinagar.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha performed the groundbreaking ceremony for Rs 500-crore project that envisages creating over 10,000 jobs in the valley.
This is the first FDI project in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 was repealed by the Centre in 2019.
The CEO of EMAAR group, Amit Jain, Bollywood actors Vivek Oberoi and Neetu Chandra were among those present at the 'Bhumi Pujan' and foundation laying ceremony.
Sinha asked the EMAAR group -- the makers of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, to look at the possibility of completing the project ahead of the three-year deadline.
"If the Parliament complex can be completed within 1.5 years, we can certainly expect this to be completed earlier," Sinha said.
Jain said his company's investments in Jammu and Kashmir will have a ripple effect.
He said every rupee invested will bring in nine rupees of more investments.
This Rs 500-crore investment should lead to Rs 5,000 crore investments.
Asked if his company was looking at investing in other sectors in Jammu and Kashmir, Jain said there are other companies from the Gulf which are looking at those possibilities.
"The Dubai World is looking at setting up logistics centres. There is Emirates airlines which might be setting up centres here," he said.
Jain said this project was just beginning and can bring in investors from other countries like Saudi Arabia. -- PTI
20:04 Maoist, wanted in 68 cases, arrested in Jharkhand's Latehar
A Maoist 'zonal commander', having a bounty of Rs 10 lakh, was arrested in Jharkhand's Latehar district, police said on Sunday.
Chandan Kumar Kherwar, also known as 'Sanjivan Ji', was arrested from Sikid forest in Herhanj police station area on Saturday, Latehar's superintendent of police Anjani Anjan said.
Two INSAS rifles, 370 live bullets and seven loaded magazines were among the items seized from him, he said.
He was wanted in 68 cases in Latehar, Lohardaga and Gumla districts, Anjan said.
The government had announced a bounty of Rs 10 lakh for his arrest, he added. -- PTI
19:47 Man held in Bihar over fake TN migrant attack video
The Tamil Nadu police arrested another accused from Muzaffarpur in the Tamil Nadu video case showing alleged assault on migrant workers.
According to officials, the accused has been identified as Upendra Sahni.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu public sector secretary D Jagannathan termed the news of the alleged assault on North Indian migrant labourers in the southern state as "false propaganda" to disrupt the state's relationship with Bihar.
Jagannathan also held a consultation meeting with state officials regarding the matter.
Tamil Nadu's cyber crime police station senior inspector A Chithradevi along with his team reached Muzaffarpur and arrested the accused on Saturday.
This is the second arrest in the fake viral video case. Earlier, Manish Kashyap was arrested by the police.
Upendra will be taken to Tamil Nadu on transit remand after being produced in the court, an official statement said.
Inspector Manoj Shah from Sadar police station said, "A youth named Upendra Sahni has been arrested from the Sadar police station area. He has been arrested in the video viral case of Tamil Nadu."
Talking to the media, Jagannathan had said, "Northern state workers are working in Tamil Nadu in a good state. We are providing adequate support to them on behalf of Tamil Nadu."
Highlighting the viral video of labourers from Bihar allegedly attacked in Tamil Nadu, Jagannathan said, "This false propaganda is being carried out to disrupt the relationship between the two states without citing the intelligence agency." -- ANI
19:35 Ajnala incident: Arrested 7 accused sent to police custody till Mar 23
Seven people arrested in connection with an FIR registered related to Ajnala incident, in which Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh and his supporters, carrying swords and guns, stormed a police station, were remanded to police custody till March 23, the police said on Sunday.
Last month, Amritpal Singh and his supporters, carrying swords and guns, stormed a police station in Ajnala on the outskirts of the Amritsar city and clashed with police for the release of one of his aides Lovepreet Singh.
"Seven people arrested in Ajnala FIR remanded to police custody till March 23," Baes SP Amritsar Rural Jugraj Singh said.
All the arrested accused were taken to the court on Sunday morning where they were sent to police custody.
Amritsar Rural senior superintendent of police Satinder Singh earlier said that seven of Amritpal's associates have been arrested in connection with the possession of illegal weapons under the provisions of the Arms Act.
"We registered a fresh FIR last night under the Arms Act in which Amritpal is the key accused. All seven are also accused in this fresh FIR," Singh informed.
He further said that six 12-bore weapons have been recovered from them and all weapons are illegal.
However, the hunt is on to catch Amritpal who gave the police a slip when his cavalcade was intercepted in the Jalandhar district on Saturday. -- ANI
A view of the accident/ANI Photo
19:08 Tech firm CEO dies after speeding car hits her in Mumbai
A woman, who was the CEO of a technology firm, died after she was hit by a speeding SUV car in Mumbai's Worli area on Sunday morning, the official said.
The deceased, Rajalaxmi Ram Krishnan, was a resident of the Dadar-Matunga area and was out for a morning jogging when the incident occurred, the Worli police said.
The incident occurred at 6:30 am near Worli Dairy, just a few meters away from the Worli-Bandra sea link when the deceased returned from her morning jog with her husband.
The police further said that the car's driver identified as Sumer Merchant also got injured and has been detained.
The police also registered a case against the driver in several sections of the Indian Penal Code.
"The blood test of the accused has also been taken so that it can be known whether the accused had consumed alcohol. The car driver works in a private company and lives in the Tardeo area of Mumbai," the police said.
Further investigation into the matter is underway. -- ANI
File image/Amit Sharma/ANI
18:41 Lakhs of farmers to reach Delhi tomorrow: SKM
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Sunday said lakhs of farmers from across the country are on their way to Delhi to participate in the kisan mahapanchayat that will be held at Ramlila Maidan on March 20.
The kisan mahapanchayat will be held to press for a legal guarantee on the minimum support price, the SKM, an umbrella body of farmers' union, had said last month.
Lakhs of farmers from various states and union territories are headed to Delhi to attend the 'kisan mahapanchayat' in Delhi on March 20, the SKM said in a statement.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, SKM leader Darshan Pal said, "The Centre must fulfil the assurances it gave to us in writing on December 9, 2021 and also take effective steps to mitigate the ever-increasing crisis faced by farmers."
The SKM spearheaded an over a year-long agitation against the Centre's now-repealed farm laws.
It suspended the movement in December 2021 following a government assurance to consider the farmers' pending demands, including the withdrawal of cases lodged against farmers during the agitation and a legal guarantee for MSP. -- PTI
18:33 Chhattisgarh govt sacks additional district and sessions judge from service
The Chhattisgarh government has dismissed from service additional district and sessions judge Ganesh Ram Burman, who was posted in Jashpur district of the state, a senior official said on Sunday.
This is Burman's second dismissal in the last six years as his services were terminated in 2017, although he was reinstated recently.
As per the order of his termination issued on March 14 by principal secretary of law and legislative affairs department Ram Kumar Tiwari, the move was taken on the recommendation of the Chhattisgarh high court.
The order, however, did not specify the reason for his dismissal.
Following the recommendation of the high court made on March 3 this year, the services of Ganesh Ram Burman, a member of state higher judicial services, presently posted as additional district and sessions judge (fast track court) has been terminated with immediate effect, the order stated.
When contacted, law department officials also did not reveal the reason behind the move. -- PTI
BJP leader Jitendra Tiwari
18:17 Stampede deaths: BJP leader Jitendra Tiwari sent to 8-day police custody
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jitendra Tiwari was on Sunday remanded in eight days' police custody in connection with the death of three persons in a stampede during a blanket distribution programme at Asansol in West Bengal's Paschim Bardhaman district in December.
Tiwari was arrested from Noida in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday by a team of the West Bengal police. After being brought to Asansol city on Sunday,
Tiwari was produced before the Asansol court by the police, which prayed for his custody to question him in connection with the case.
The Asansol court judge granted eight days' police custody of Tiwari.
A former Trinamool Congress MLA, Tiwari joined the BJP before the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal.
His wife Chaitali, who is at present a BJP councillor of Asansol municipality, also joined the BJP along with her husband.
Members of families of those who died in the stampede, which occurred on December 14, had lodged complaints against Tiwari, a former mayor of Asansol, and his wife. -- PTI
17:52 Rahul sends preliminary reply to police notice
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday sent a four-page preliminary reply to the Delhi police's notice about his "women still being sexually assaulted" remark made during the Bharat Jodo Yatra while questioning the process adopted by the authorities and a sudden urgency after a 45-day delay.
The Congress leader gave the 10-point reply hours after a Delhi police team knocked on his doors for the third time in five days.
He also sought eight to 10 days to give a detailed response to the questions posed by the Delhi police over his January 30 remarks, the sources said.
The police team headed by special commissioner of police (law and order) Sagar Preet Hooda arrived at Rahul Gandhi's 12, Tughlaq Lane, residence around 10 am and was able to meet the Congress leader after two hours, officials said, adding the team left around 1 pm.
According to the police, Gandhi stated in Srinagar during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that "I have heard that women are still being sexually assaulted", and since the Yatra had passed through Delhi also, they wanted to ascertain if any victim had approached the Congress leader here so that they can initiate a probe into the matter.
"The police had asked him to give details of these victims so that security could be provided to them," an official said. -- PTI
17:48 SP leader, brother booked in UP for attempting to kill man, molesting his wife
The police in Etah of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday said they have lodged an FIR against Samajwadi Party leader Rameshwar Singh Yadav, his brother and four others for allegedly attempting to kill a man and molesting his wife over a year ago.
Yadav, a former MLA, and his younger brother Judgendra are in jail in connection with various criminal cases and have several cases registered against them.
On Saturday evening, a case was registered against Rameshwar Yadav and other accused on a complaint registered by Sanju, a resident of Lal Dundwara village, said station house officer, Malavan, Devendra Nath Mishra.
The complainant alleged that on February 11, 2022, Rameshwar Yadav, his younger brother and former district panchayat president Jugendra, and nephews Pramod Yadav and Subodh Yadav along with two others attacked him and his wife.
The accused also molested the complainant's wife, he claimed. -- PTI
Rahul Gandhi coming out of his residence in New Delhi after police visit/ANI
17:19 Rahul Gandhi said he needs some time: Delhi police
Special CP (law and order) Sagar Preet Hooda on Sunday met with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in connection with a notice served to him by the police to seek information on the alleged sexual harassment victims that he mentioned in his speech during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The police said that Rahul Gandhi said he needs some time and will give the information which they asked for.
"We held a meeting with Rahul Gandhi. He said he needs some time and will give us the information which we've asked for. Today we've served a notice which has been accepted by his office and if questioning needs to be done then we will do it," said Hooda.
"Rahul Gandhi said it was a long yatra and he met many people and needs time to compile it. He has assured us that he will give the information soon and we will begin our proceedings as soon as we receive the information", Hooda added.
Special CP Sagar Preet arrived at the residence of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi in the early hours of Sunday to seek information on the alleged sexual harassment victims that he mentioned in his speech during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. -- ANI
16:37 21 Amritpal supporters trying to stage dharna held
At least 21 supporters of radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh were taken into custody as they tried to stage a 'dharna' on a road in Ludhiana to protest the police crackdown against him, officials said on Sunday.
They were apprehended near Boparai Klan town in Ludhiana.
The Punjab government on Saturday launched a major crackdown against Amritpal, with the police arresting 78 members of an outfit headed by him.
The elusive preacher himself, however, gave the police a slip and escaped their dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in the Jalandhar district.
As the operation went underway, authorities stepped up security at several places and suspended internet and SMS services in the state.
The manhunt was still on and Amritpal has been declared a fugitive. -- PTI
15:52 Coach of EMU train derails at Howrah station
Normal train services were partially affected at Howrah station for some time on Sunday owing to the derailment of a coach of an EMU local, a South Eastern Railway official said.
No one was injured in the incident, the official said. A coach of the 38908 Amta-Howrah EMU local got derailed at about 9.45 am while entering platform number 19 of Howrah station's new complex, he said.
An accident relief van was brought in immediately to re-rail the derailed coach and resume normal services, he said.
Owing to the accident at the Howrah yard, SER decided to short terminate three express trains -- 18044 Bhadrak-Howrah Baghajatin Express, 12814 Tatanagar-Howrah Steel Express and 18004 Adra-Howrah Shiromoni Express at Santragachi station.
Apart from these, some local trains of SER also got delayed enroute, the official added. -- PTI
Weapons seized by Punjab police during chase to nab Amritpal Singh/ANI
15:32 Fresh FIR against Amritpal for keeping illegal arms
A fresh FIR was lodged against radical preacher Amritpal Singh and some of his associates on Sunday in connection with the possession of illegal weapons, a senior police officer said.
Amritsar Rural senior superintendent of police Satinder Singh said seven of Amritpal's associates have been arrested under Arms Act.
The Punjab police had on Saturday launched a major crackdown against Amritpal, with the police arresting 78 members of an outfit headed by him.
However, the hunt is on to catch Amritpal who gave the police a slip when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district on Saturday.
The police had already registered an FIR in the February 23 Ajnala incident against Amritpal and his associates.
Speaking to reporters in Amritsar on Sunday, the SSP said the police had arrested seven associates of the self-styled Sikh preacher near Mehatpur in Jalandhar on Saturday.
They were part of Amritpal's convoy, the police officer said.
He said six 12 bore guns and some cartridges have been seized, which are illegal. -- PTI
14:57 Govt invites application for RBI deputy governor post
The finance ministry has initiated the process to appoint a new Reserve Bank deputy governor in place of MK Jain, whose extended term is coming to an end in June.
The applicant should have an experience of 15 years in banking and financial market operations, said a public notice, indicating that candidates from the private sector will also be considered for the appointment.
Traditionally, one of the four deputy governors is from the public sector banking industry.
If the government decides to appoint someone from the private sector, it would be a first for the Reserve Bank of India.
Jain, a senior public sector banker, was appointed deputy governor for an initial period of three years in 2018 and extended by another two years in 2021.
The central bank has four deputy governors -- two from within the ranks and one commercial banker and an economist to head the monetary policy department.
"It may be noted that the Financial Sector Regulatory Appointments Search Committee is free to identify and recommend any other person also, based on merit, who has not applied for the post. The committee may also recommend relaxation in the eligibility and qualifications/experience criteria, in respect of outstanding candidates," the notice said. -- PTI
14:32 16 killed, at least 381 injured in Ecuador earthquake
The death toll in the Ecuador earthquake has risen to 16, taking the toll of injured to 381, CNN reported citing authorities on Sunday.
The quake hit on Saturday and measured 6.8 on the Richter scale near the southern town of Balao and was more than 65 km (nearly 41 miles) deep, according to the United States Geological Survey.
According to a tweet from the general secretariat of communication of the Ecuadorian Presidency's Twitter account, the earthquake injured an estimated 381 persons, CNN reported.
At least 11 persons lost their lives in the province of El Oro.
The president of Ecuador's communications office stated that at least one further death has been recorded in the province of Azuay.
Authorities said that a person in Azuay died when a wall fell on top of a car and that at least three of the deceased in El Oro died when a security camera tower collapsed in an earlier statement, reported CNN.
People who were injured were being treated at hospitals, the Presidency added, but did not provide further details.
The USGS gave the tremor an "orange alert", saying "significant casualties are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread."
"Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response," the USGS added. It also estimated damage and economic losses were possible, as per the report in CNN. -- ANI
The weapons seized by the Punjab police during chase to nab Amritpal Singh/ANI
14:21 Punjab police, RAF hold flag march in many places
The Punjab police and Rapid Action Force conducted flag march at various places on Sunday as efforts are underway to nab pro-Khalistan "Waris Punjab De" chief Amritpal Singh.
"Bathinda police is conducting a flag march at various places on Sunday. Its purpose is to instil confidence among people and that the situation is under control. Action has been taken as per law and we've also arrested some people," Bathinda SSP Gulneet Singh Khurana said.
"We'll take legal action if anyone tries to take the law into their hands," he added.
Talking about the arrest of Amritpal Singh, Jalandhar commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal said, "The police chased him for about 20-25 km but he managed to escape. We've recovered a number of weapons and two cars."
"Search is underway and we'll arrest him soon. Law and order will be maintained," added CP Chahal.
Earlier on Sunday, the suspension on mobile internet services and SMS services has been extended in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab till March 20 (12:00 hours). -- ANI
13:59 Cong questions Delhi police's visit to Rahul's home over Bharat Jodo speech
The Congress on Sunday questioned the way the Delhi police reached the residence of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for collecting details in connection with a notice served to him by the police for information on the alleged sexual harassment victims that he mentioned in his speech during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
"Under which rule is the police coming to Rahul Gandhi's residence to take details of Bharat Jodo Yatra which got over 45 days back. The government thinks whenever they want they can send the police to our residences?" asked Congress leader Pawan Khera outside Rahul Gandhi's residence. -- ANI
13:49 Prabhu Deva, team groove on 'Naatu Naatu' to welcome Ram Charan at 'RC15' shoot
Naatu Naatu fever is not over! Actor Ram Charan on Sunday resumed shooting for his upcoming RC15 and received a grand welcome from choreographer-director Prabhu Deva and his team on the sets.
Taking to Instagram, Ram Charan posted a video of Prabhu Deva and team of RC15 performing on Naatu Naatu to welcome the actor.
He was also presented with a massive garland made of marigolds.
Sharing the video, he wrote, "Can't thank you all enough for such a warm welcome. Our Grand master @prabhudevaofficial sir thank you for the sweet surprise. Feels great to be back at shoot #RC15."
As soon as the video was posted, the actor's fans and memebers of the industry chimed in the comment section.
Ram Charan's wife Upasana wrote, "Sweetest welcome." One of the users wrote, "Seeing that step in Prabhudeva sir moves."
"U deserve this," another comment read.
After attending the 95th Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Ram Charan arrived at the Hyderabad airport on Friday night as the RRR star was greeted by a huge crowd of fans and mediapersons. -- ANI
Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh
13:39 Amritpal outfit's 4 members taken to Assam
Four members of an outfit headed by Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh, who were arrested in Punjab, have been brought to Assam's Dibrugarh on Sunday, the police said.
They were flown in a special flight, they said.
"The four are currently kept in Dibrugarh central jail," a police officer said, without elaborating further.
The Dibrugarh police is likely to address the media later in the day.
The Punjab government had on Saturday launched a major crackdown against Singh, a radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser, with the police arresting 78 members of the outfit headed by him, officials said. -- PTI
13:28 6 killed, 3 injured in road accident on Trichy-Salem National Highway in TN
Six people died and another three were seriously injured in a road accident on Trichy-Salem National Highway near Tiruvasi, Trichy district on Sunday morning, said police officials.
All 9 persons, including a child, were traveling in an Omni van from Salem district via Trichy to Kumbakonam.
The Omni van from Salem and a loaded lorry collided head-on at 5 am in the morning.
Six people died on the spot including a child, a woman, and four men. Three people were rescued in critical condition and they were sent to the hospital. While talking to ANI over the phone, Trichy District Superintendent of Police Sujith Kumar confirmed the deaths in the accident. Trichy SP stated that after receiving the information, Trichy district police reached the spot and rescued 3 people who were in critical condition and sent them to the Trichy Government Hospital. Also, six bodies were recovered and sent to Trichy Government Hospital for autopsy. (ANI)
AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami
13:12 HC go ahead for AIADMK gen secy poll, bars results
Madras high court said that election proceedings for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary post can continue but results couldn't be announced.
Justice K Kumaresh Babu of Madras high court directed AIADMK not to declare results of general secretary elections till disposal of applications filed by Manoj Pandian and others seeking interim relief.
The HC also decided to continue arguments on the interim plea on March 22.
A petition was filed in the Madras high court on Saturday by the O Panneerselvan faction against the election to the post of AIADMK's general secretary.
AIADMK is scheduled to hold the election for the post of general secretary on March 26. -- ANI
12:48 IMD predicts rainfaill in Chhattisgarh till Monday, issues orange alert
India meteorological department on Saturday issued an orange alert for multiple districts in the state of Chhattisgarh predicting light to moderate rain accompanied by thundershowers.
While speaking to the ANI, Meteorologist HP Chandra said, "The meteorological department has issued an orange alert in the areas adjoining Surajpur, Balrampur, Surguja, Jaspur, Pendra Road, Kabirdham, Mahasamund, Durg, Raipur, Balod, Dhamtari, Kanker, Narayanpur, Kondagaon. A yellow alert was issued in Korea, Bilaspur, Mungeli, Janjgir, Bemetara, Balodbazar, and Rajnandgaon areas".
An orange alert asks authorities concerned to "be prepared" to respond to any emergency situation arising out of weather change while the yellow alert signifies that the weather could change, and hence people should be vigilant.
Chandra further stated that the weather situation in the state will likely continue till March 20.
"A western disturbance is coming, due to which an induced cyclonic circulation has formed over Rajasthan, due to the combined effect of both, the region is getting abundant moisture from the Bay of Bengal. Only one Dronika has passed from Karnataka to Jharkhand via North Chhattisgarh, due to which light to moderate rain conditions have developed in some places in the state today," he said.
"In the coming 24 hours, light to moderate rain and thundershowers are likely to occur at many places in the state. There is a possibility of sprinkling along with it. There is also a possibility of thunderstorms, lightning and hailstorm at one or two places in the state. Now news has come from Kanker that a hailstorm has been registered in Charama of Kanker. It is likely to remain till March 20, after that the weather will continue to improve," he added. -- ANI
12:22 OPS faction files petition against AIADMK general secretary election, hearing today
Refuting claims about filing the nomination for the election to the post of AIADMK's general secretary, O Panneerselvan faction on Saturday said that a petition has been filed in the Madras high court against the poll.
The election to the post of general secretary of AIADMK is slated to take place on March 26. In a statement on Saturday, the OPS-faction stated, "Against the AIADMK bylaw, the election to the post of general secretary was announced which is illegal. We have filed a petition against this in Madras high court which is to be heard on Sunday."
The statement further added, "Meanwhile few people are spreading the news that AIADMK coordinator O Pannerselvam has also filed nomination for the general secretary post. This is only to create confusion among the cadres. This is totally false news."
Earlier, AIADMK had announced that the polls to elect the party's general secretary will be held on March 26.
A release signed by the party's election officers, R Vishwanathan and Pollachi Jeyaraman, stated, "(The) general secretary would be elected by primary members of the party and candidates can file their nominations from. The last day for filing nominations is March 19 and scrutiny of nominations will be held on March 20. Candidates can withdraw their nominations till 3 pm on March 21. The election will be held on March 26 and counting of votes will take place on March 27." -- ANI
Police personnel stand guard at Mehatpur village of Punjab
12:08 Punjab extends internet ban till Monday noon
The Punjab government has extended the suspension of mobile internet and SMS services till Monday noon, even as the hunt for radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh continued.
The state authorities had on Saturday suspended the internet and SMS services till Sunday noon.
The police earlier said they will soon arrest the fugitive preacher.
In exercise of power conferred on me under the India Telegraph Act, 1885, it is directed that all mobile internet services (2G/3G/45/5G/CDMA/ GPRS), all SMS services (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the territorial jurisdiction of Punjab shall be further suspended from March 19 (12.00 hours) to March 20 (12.00 hours) to prevent any incitement to violence and any disturbance of peace and public order," an official order issued on Sunday said.
The broadband services are not being suspended so that banking facilities, hospital services and other essential services are not disrupted, the order issued by the additional chief secretary said.
Talking to reporters near Nakodar in Jalandhar late Saturday night, Jalandhar police commissioner Kuldeep Sinhh Chahal had said, Amritpal Singh is now a fugitive and we are looking for him and we will soon arrest him." -- PTI
11:56 5 died after being washed away during heavy rains in UP's Sonbhadra
Five people including four women and a child died after being washed away during heavy rain and hailstorm in Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra, the police said.
The deceased have been identified as Geeta Devi, Santra, Rajkumari, Yashodiya and Rajpati.
The incident took place on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
According to the police, six people including four women and two children had gone out on Friday evening and did not return.
After waiting for hours, their relatives approached the police and went to search for them.
Upon receiving the missing information, a team of police started the search operation and recovered four bodies including three women, and one child on the banks of the river in the wee hours of Saturday.
The body of the fifth woman was recovered in the Rampur Barkonia police station area.
"From village Garhwa, 4 women and 2 children had gone to collect wood when heavy rain lashed. They went to take cover, and during this, the hailstorm water from mountains washed away these 5 people with force leading to their death," Kalu Singh, Additional SP, Sonbhadra said on Saturday.
ASP added that the bodies of all five victims have been discovered, and sent for post-mortem examination.
Further investigation into the matter is underway. -- ANI
11:45 India logs more than 1,000 new Covid cases after 129 days, active tally rises
India saw a single-day rise of more than 1,000 fresh COVID-19 cases after 129 days, while the active cases increased to 5,915, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday.
A total of 1,071 fresh cases were reported in the county in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 5,30,802 with three latest fatalities -- one each reported in Rajasthan and Maharashtra and one reconciled in Kerala.
According to the ministry data updated at 8 am, the infection tally stands at 4.46 crore (4,46,95,420).
The active cases now comprise 0.01 per cent of the total cases, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 98.8 per cent. -- PTI
11:38 Amritpal Singh's close aide held: Sources
As efforts are underway to nab pro-Khalistan 'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh, an alleged advisor and financer of the "fugitive" has been arrested, central agency sources informed.
As per the sources, Daljeet Singh Kalsi alias Sarabjeet Singh Kalsi, who is an alleged advisor and financer of Amritpal Singh, has been arrested by the authorities.
This comes after the Punjab Police on Saturday launched a massive crackdown against the 'Waris De Punjab' chief.
Earlier on Sunday, the police personnel were deployed outside Amritpal Singh's residence in Jallupur Khera village in Amritsar, and security was enhanced across the state as the Khalistani sympathiser outfit chief is currently on the run, as per the police.
Earlier on Saturday late evening, Jalandhar commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal confirmed that the radical leader had been declared a "fugitive".
In an exclusive interview with ANI, the Jalandhar commissioner said, "Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh has been declared a fugitive.
"His two cars were seized and gunmen nabbed. We also checked if the firearms of his security escorts had been procured legally. A case has been registered. The Punjab police launched a manhunt for Amritpal Singh and we are hopeful that he will be arrested soon. A total of 78 people have been arrested so far and further searches and raids are underway," he said.
Amritpal Singh's father, however, claimed that the Punjab police conducted searches at his residence in Amritsar but did not find "anything illegal". -- ANI
11:24 Protests erupt in Italy as Meloni-led govt restricts same-sex parent rights
Massive protests broke out in Italy as the country's new far-right government led by Giorgia Meloni has restricted the rights of same-sex parents, Al Jazeera reported.
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in Milan to protest against the move.
The protestors waved rainbow flags across the city to demonstrate their angst over the decision.
In court cases brought by parents, decisions have been handled on a case-by-case basis, despite the fact that some local administrations have chosen to act unilaterally.
Moreover, Milan had been registering children of same-sex couples born abroad via surrogacy, which is forbidden in Italy, or medically assisted reproduction, which is exclusively open to heterosexual couples, Al Jazeera reported.
Despite legalising same-sex unions in 2016, Italy refrained from allowing homosexual couples to adopt due to Catholic Church objections.
The protestors called the move unjust and rallied across Milan, waving flags and placards.
"You explain to my son that I'm not his mother," read one sign held up in a sea of rainbow flags that filled one of the northern city's central squares on Saturday.
Elly Schlein, the recently elected head of the centre-left Democratic Party, was one of the opposition politicians present at the protest on Saturday, where many protesters vented their anger at the newly elected federal administration, Al Jazeera reported. -- ANI
11:09 Delhi cops at Rahul's house over Bharat Jodo speech
The Delhi Police on Sunday reached the residence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in connection with a notice issued to him over his "women are still being sexually assaulted" remark made during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The police team headed by Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sagar Preet Hooda arrived at Gandhi's 12, Tughlaq Lane residence, officials said.
Taking cognisance of social media posts, police had sent a questionnaire to the Congress leader and asked him "to give details about the women who approached him regarding sexual harassment".
According to police, Gandhi gave a statement in Srinagar during the Bharat Jodo Yatra that 'I have heard that women are still being sexually assaulted'.
Police had asked him to give details of these victims so that security could be provided to them, the officials said. -- PTI
11:00 US bank crisis: Banking sector MFs lost 6% in a week
Banking mutual funds have lost up to 6 per cent in the last week following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that dented investors' sentiment in the banking and financial services space.
The failure of the two US-based banks sent shockwaves across the global financial system and weakened the sentiments in the banking sector in India too, wherein shares took a beating and declined in the range of 3-13 per cent in the week under review.
However, experts believe that the direct impact on the Indian banking sector was negligible to low.
The incessant selling in the bank stocks is clearly reflected in the banking sector mutual funds, as evident from the short-term performance returns of the 16 schemes under the category.
Of the 16 banking sector mutual funds, all of them have given negative returns to investors in the range of 1.6 per cent to 6 per cent in the week ended March 17, according to an analysis of data compiled by ACE MF Nxt.
So far this year, these funds have given negative returns ranging from 8 per cent to 10 per cent, the data showed.
The funds which have lost more than five per cent in the last week are Aditya Birla Sun Life Banking and Financial Services Fund, Tata Banking and Financial Services Fund, HDFC Banking and Financial Services Fund, LIC MF Banking and Financial Services Fund, and Nippon India Banking and Financial Services Fund.
However, on nine-month and 1-year time frames, the returns are positive, infact, all the banking and financial services funds have given returns of up to 20 per cent and up to 12 per cent, respectively, data showed.
The reasons for the fall in these thematic mutual funds can be attributed to the volatile stock market conditions and the rising interest rates. Ever since the rate hike cycle commenced, the expectations of lower net interest margins, higher cost of funds and impact on credit growth abound, Gopal Kavalireddi, Head of Research at FYERS, said.
With banks increasing the deposit rates with a lag, compared to the Repo rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the impact was delayed but inevitable, he added.
Moreover, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been on a selling spree since October 2021, paring down their investment holdings in many banks and financial sector entities.
Silicon Valley Bank, which was a key funding source of startups, collapsed on March 10. This was followed by the failure of Signature Bank on March 12. In addition, Zurich-headquartered Credit Suisse is also in trouble.
However, experts believe that the Indian banking system is expected to remain unscathed from the troubles in Credit Suisse as it has a very small presence in the country.
The banking crisis seen in the US and Europe has had a negative impact on the sentiments on Indian investors as well. Bank stocks in India have also corrected, Alekh Yadav, Head of Investment Products at Sanctum Wealth, said.
"However, we believe the Indian banking system is much stronger. Banks are well capitalised, also rate hike action in India hasn't been as steep as the US and hence mark to market losses is relatively limited," he added.
Abhishek Dev, Co-founder and CEO-Epsilon Money Mart, said that long-term performance of markets and stocks are ultimately led by earnings and short-term prices are impacted by news flows and sentiments and perhaps that's played out in the banking stocks over the last week or two.
"The Indian banking sector overall, has strong balance sheets, healthy NIMs (net interest margins) and their bad assets are almost at a decade low. They may also have negligible exposure, if any, to the regional US lenders who have been subject of restructuring and behind these news flows," he said.
According to him, such short-term volatility may also provide buying opportunities for long-term investors, there are many well managed banking and financial services mutual funds one can look to take exposure to.
10:56 Bageshwar Dham event: Police warn organisers
With anti-superstition organisations and opposition parties objecting to the event of self-styled godman Dhirendra Krishna Shastri at Mira Road in Maharashtra's Thane district, the police issued a notice to the organisers to ensure that the preacher does not make any controversial statement, which could lead to possible law and order situation, an official said on Sunday.
The two-day event of the religious leader began at Salasar Central Park Ground in Mira Road on Saturday.
Meanwhile, as many as 36 women complained that their gold chains were stolen by pickpockets during a four-hour long sermon by Shastri that was attended by thousands of people, police said.
The religious discourse by Dhirendra Krishna Shastri, the head priest of Bageshwar Dham in Madhya Pradesh's Chhatarpur district, was organised by Shantaben Mithalal Jain Charitable Trust. The event will also be held at the same venue on Sunday.
Shastri, popularly called Bageshwar Dham Sarkar, has considerable followers in Madhya Pradesh as well as other parts of the country. A couple of months back, rationalist Shyam Manav from Maharashtra had challenged him to prove miracles.
The two-day programme of Dhirendra Krishna Shastri was opposed by a few anti-superstition organisations. These groups had submitted a memorandum to the local police on Friday, requesting them not to give permission to the event. In view of this resistance, the local police had issued a notice to the organisers on Saturday afternoon to ensure that Shastri desists from making any provocative remarks during the event.
In a tweet, NCP MLA and former state minister Jitendra Awhad said it was unfortunate that the discourse by the one who insulted saint Tukaram Maharaj is being held in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole had recently written to the state government recently, urging it that the religious leader not be allowed to enter the state. The Congress leader accused him of insulting Tukaram
Maharaj and offending lakhs of his devotees.
During his programme on Saturday, the Bageshwar Dham chief said those opposed to religion will not be spared.
"The entire Bharat will be made the Bharat of Lord Ram. I know that they will not spare me, but we will not spare them either," he said.
10:32 Oppn alliance without Congress? Akhilesh answers
Exuding confidence that an opposition alliance would take shape in the days to come, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said regional parties would play a key role in putting up a fight against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
However, on the role of the Congress in this proposed opposition front, Yadav said it is for the grand old party to decide.
"Efforts are on to forge an opposition alliance or front. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao are making efforts (on their own). I am confident that in the days to come, an opposition alliance will take shape, which will fight against the BJP," he told PTI Video in an interview.
To a question whether he is putting the Congress and the BJP on the same pedestal, the SP chief said it is the regional parties in various states which are fighting the saffron camp.
"In many states, the Congress doesn't exist in comparison to the BJP, but regional parties are fighting tooth and nail against the saffron camp on the ground, and I am hopeful that they will succeed," he said.
When told that regional parties such as the JD-U, the RJD and the DMK are keen on having the Congress in the opposition alliance, Yadav said they are already in a coalition with the grand old party.
"It is a question of a big fight, and the Congress itself will decide its role in this fight, he said.
Asked who would be the face of the opposition camp in the next Lok Sabha elections, Yadav said it would be decided after the polls and is "not a pertinent question" right now.
"You are talking about face. What about the (BJP's) face in 2014 and 2019, who made false promises to win the election? he said without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
None of the promises made by the BJP in 2014 and 2019 was fulfilled, the SP chief claimed.
When asked whether his party would contest in the Raebareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats in UP considered pocket boroughs of the Congress, Yadav alleged that SP workers are being killed in Amethi.
"In Amethi, our cadres are being killed. The Samajwadi Party workers are questioning who will fight for them. It is the Samajwadi workers there who are supporting each other; the Congress workers are not coming out in our support," he said.
09:54 Shivaji Maharaj holds immense significance in my life: Sachin
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday said that iconic warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has had immense significance in his life right from the school days.
Tendulkar was speaking before the performance of Jaanta Raja, a play on Shivaji Maharaj's life, at the Shivaji Park ground here.
"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has immense significance in my life. The first chapter I studied in school in history was about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the first time I held my bat was at this Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ground," Tendulkar said.
Mumbai BJP chief and MLA Ashish Shelar had organized the performance of the play. -- PTI
09:29 Maha BJP chief makes U-turn over seat sharing with Shinde's Sena
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will contest all assembly and 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in alliance with other NDA constituents, BJP state president Chandrashekhar Bawankule has said.
But no formal decision has been taken so far on sharing of the seats, he said here on Saturday.
His comments came amid reports that Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena was getting a raw deal regarding the allocation of seats for the upcoming polls.
"The BJP and the Shiv Sena will contest 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 Vidhan Sabha seats in alliance with other constituents of the National Democratic Alliance," Bawankule said.
The assembly elections in Maharashtra are due in October 2024.
He said the BJP and the Shiv Sena have started preparations to win 200 seats under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in coordination with CM Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The Election Commission recently recognised the Shinde-led faction as the real Shiv Sena and allotted it the party's bow and arrow election symbol.
Queried whether the BJP will contest 240 assembly seats and Shiv Sena 48 (of the total 288), Bawankule said, "There was a meeting related to this and there will be meetings in future."
"A clip was circulated by twisting it. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will contest 288 seats and win 200. No (seat-sharing) formula has been decided so far. The central and state leadership will decide on it," he said in response to reports.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra unit Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Jayant Patil said the 2024 Assembly polls will be all about the BJP versus the Maha Vika Aghadi (MVA), and there will be a question mark on the existence of the Shiv Sena led by Shinde.
Talking to reporters in Mumbai on Saturday, Patil said he feels the BJP will contest all the 288 Assembly seats on its symbol as he expressed confidence that the Shinde group will cease to exist. -- PTI
08:50 Amritpal Singh still on run, manhunt on to nab him
A manhunt was still on to nab radical Sikh preacher and Khalistan sympathizer Amritpal Singh, police has said.
"He is now a fugitive and we are looking for him and we will soon arrest him," Jalandhar Police Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Chahal told reporters near Nakodar in Jalandhar late Saturday night.
Chahal said six to seven gunmen of Amritpal Singh have been arrested.
The Punjab government had on Saturday launched a major crackdown against Amritpal, with police arresting 78 members of an outfit headed by him, officials said.
The elusive preacher himself, however, gave the police a slip and escaped their dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district. As the operation went underway, authorities stepped up security at several places and suspended internet and SMS services in the state till Sunday noon.
Police on Saturday launched a "massive state-wide cordon and search operations (CASO)" in the state against the members of the 'Waris Punjab De' group, headed by Singh, against whom several criminal cases have been registered.
Seventy-eight persons have been arrested so far, while several others have been detained for questioning, they said.
The police action came a day ahead of the start of Amritpal Singh's 'Khalsa Wahir' - a religious procession - which was to start from Muktsar district.
During their state-wide operation, police seized one .315 bore rifle, seven 12 bore rifles, one revolver, and 373 live cartridges of different caliber, they said.
Security has been tightened at many places in Punjab with an intensive vehicle checking.
A police spokesperson said that the followers of 'Waris Punjab De', or WPD, are involved in four criminal cases relating to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel, and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duties of public servants.
An FIR dated February 24 stands registered against WPD elements for the attack on Ajnala Police Station.
Last month, Amritpal and his supporters, some of them brandishing swords and guns, broke through barricades and barged into the Ajnala Police Station on the outskirts of the Amritsar city, clashing with police for the release of one of Amritpal's aide. -- PTI