Wed, 22 March 2023
AAP to launch 'Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao' campaign

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21:16   AAP to launch 'Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao' campaign
Sounding the poll bugle for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party said it will kickstart a 'Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao' (Remove Modi, Save the Nation) campaign from the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday.

The party will hold a public meeting which will be attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, AAP leader and city Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday.

"Party workers and supporters from all over the country will gather for the meeting to be held on the martyrdom day of the country's great freedom fighters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Aam Aadmi Party will start a 'Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao' campaign during this meeting," Rai said at a press conference.

The announcement comes a day after posters reading 'Modi Hatao, Desh Bachao' appeared on walls and electricity poles across the national capital.

With the Delhi Police arresting six people and registering 49 FIRs in connection with the posters, Rai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scared.

"The prime minister is getting scared because of slogans like 'Remove Modi, Save the Country' being written on walls. Now the voice of the people of the country will not be suppressed by FIRs and arrests by police," he said.

Rai said the country was facing grave danger.

"The country got a Constitution, democracy, parliamentary system, Election Commission, independent agencies and a judiciary after a long struggle by freedom fighters. But after 75 years of independence, the freedom, democracy and the Constitution, which were achieved on the strength of those freedom fighters, are facing danger. Undeclared dictatorship has been implemented in this country," he said.   -- PTI
Image used only for representation
Image used only for representation
20:18   Newborn 'crushed under police boot' during raid
A newborn died allegedly after being crushed under police boots during a raid in Jharkhand's Giridih district in the wee hours of Wednesday, prompting Chief Minister Hemant Soren to order an investigation.

The alleged incident occurred at Koshodinghi village under Deori police station when police personnel went to the house to arrest two persons in connection with a case.

"It has been alleged that a four-day-old boy died when the police went there to execute two non-bailable warrants issued by the court. Prima facie, external injuries have not been found on the baby's body. It has been sent for post-mortem examination," Giridih Superintendent of Police Amit Renu told PTI.

Once the post-mortem report comes, the police will be in a position to say what actually happened, the SP said.

He said the autopsy will be conducted by a team of doctors under the supervision of a magistrate with proper videography.

"Right now we don't have any information that any policeman had crushed the infant. If the allegation is found to be true, the erring personnel will not be spared," Renu said.

The SP said four to five police personnel had gone to execute non-bailable warrants against Bhushan Pandey, grandfather of the deceased infant, and another person.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren ordered a probe into the incident after a video went viral in which a person, apparently Bhushan Pandey, is seen alleging that police personnel raided their home at 3.20 am and they opened the door using force when it was not opened.

"I fled and the women also rushed out. The policemen started searching the house when the four-day-old child was sleeping there. The baby was crushed and killed," the person in the video claimed.   -- PTI
19:48   Hindenburg impact: Adani's wealth down by 60%
Gautam Adani's fortunes have suffered a severe setback on concerns over corporate governance and accounting fraud, leading to Reliance Industries' Mukesh Ambani replacing the Ahmedabad-based industrialist as the richest Indian.

Adani lost Rs 3,000 crore of wealth every week over the last year and his overall net-worth is down 60 per cent from its peak, as per the M3M Hurun Global Rich List, which pegged Adani's overall fortune at $53 billion as of mid-March.

Ambani also suffered a decline in his fortune but could displace Adani as the richest Indian as his networth declined by 20 per cent to $82 billion.

Earlier, United States-based short-seller Hindenburg Research published a report accusing the Adani group of large-scale accounting fraud and stock manipulation, leading to serious concerns and a free fall in Adani group companies' share prices.

The Gautam Adani-led conglomerate has denied these allegations. Both Adani and Ambani have slipped down the global billionaires rankings because of the decline in wealth, with the former going down 11 places from the peak to be the 23rd richest in the world and the latter coming down to being the ninth richest in the world.

However, from a 10-year perspective, both have seen a massive rise in fortunes, with Adani's networth rising 1,225 per cent, and Ambani's being up by 356 per cent, the report said.

There are 187 dollar billionaires residing in India, which is up by 15 over the last year, and the financial capital Mumbai is home to the largest number of them at 66. If one has to look at the number of people of Indian origin globally, there are 217 billionaires, it said.

The report said India accounts for 5 per cent of the overall billionaire wealth in the world against 32 per cent of the US.

China is home to the highest number of billionaires in the world, which is five times of India.

Indian billionaires lead sectoral lists like Cyrus Poonawala of Pune's Serum Institute being the wealthiest in the healthcare sector with $27 billion.

Similarly, Ashwin Dani's family of Asian Paints is the richest entrepreneur in his sector with a wealth of $7.1 billion, and the $3.3 billion wealth making Byju Raveendran the wealthiest education entrepreneur.

India is home to 10 women billionaires, and Radha Vembu is the second richest self-made woman billionaire in the world from the software and services sector with a wealth of $4 billion, the Hurun report said.  -- PTI
19:14   XBB.1.16 likely behind Covid spike: Dr Guleria
As India witnessed the highest number of Covid cases in over four months, former All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said the new XBB.1.16 variant could be driving the recent rise but emphasised there was no need for panic as long it does not cause severe illness and deaths.

New variants will keep coming as the virus keeps on mutating over the time and the XBB 1.16 is sort of a "new kid on the block", Guleria told PTI in an interview.

'... As long as they don't lead to severe illness, hospitalisation and deaths, it is alright because it helps in giving some degree of immunity to the population if they have mild illness,' the renowned pulmonologist, who was part of the national Covid task force, said.

His comments come on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the Covid situation and also took stock of the public health preparedness.

India recorded 1,134 new coronavirus cases, the highest in 138 days, while the active cases increased to 7,026, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The death toll has climbed to 5,30,813 with five deaths.

According to Dr Guleria, the virus evolves over time, and this happens both with Covid and influenza, and this is what is called an antigenic drift.

It will gradually evolve, mutate a little bit and new variants will emerge, he added.

"If we remember when we had the Covid outbreak, it started off with Alpha, Beta,  Gamma Delta and Omicron variants.

"So the virus kept on changing. Luckily, if we look at what has happened in the last one year, we have got variants which are basically sub-lineages of Omicron only. So it seems the virus has stabilized a little bit, it is not changing as rapidly as it was in the past," Dr Guleria said.

On whether XBB 1.16 has the potential to drive a fresh wave of cases in the next few days, he said, "You may see a surge in number of cases" but then they may be underreported as initially people were very concerned and would get themselves tested.

"Now even if they have flu-like symptoms, most people don't get themselves tested. Some use the rapid antigen test, and even if they are positive they do not report it. So the number we are actually reporting may be less than the actual number in the community."

Dr Guleria advised that those who test positive must report the data because that helps policy makers and government to actually to know the number of cases and take a decision and plan a strategy.

"So even if we see surge, there is no need to worry, as long it does not translate into hospitalisation and deaths it is alright," he said.

He said there is a need for active surveillance both at hospital and community levels to find out whether there is an increase in number of cases and hospital admissions so that containment strategies and other public health measures can be implemented on time.   -- PTI
17:28   Sharad Pawar to hold Oppn leaders' meet in Delhi
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has invited the floor leaders of the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha for a meeting on Thursday to discuss the Rural Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

The meeting will be held at Pawar's residence at 6 pm tomorrow. In a letter written to all opposition leaders, the Nationalist Congress Party chief said that he proposes to convene a meeting of all political parties who have doubts about the efficacy of the Rural Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

This development comes after the Chief Election Commissioner promised to respond to the doubts raised by some civil society activists and political parties.

Pawar stated that the meeting has been called in the interest of free and fair elections and to listen to the views expressed by eminent IT professionals and cryptographers.

There are some very pertinent questions been raised in the Report by CCE.

The report contains views of eminent Information Technology professors, cryptographers and retired government officials.

The civil society had submitted a letter to ECI in May 2022 and another reminder after two weeks (Annexure 3). ECI didn't even acknowledge their letter.

The doubts regarding the possibility of manipulating EVM are being raised even by the common man now.   -- ANI
17:17   Indian Army to reintroduce millets in ration
The Indian Army is reintroducing millets flour in the rations of soldiers in a bid to promote consumption of coarse grains, almost half a century after these were discontinued in favour of the wheat flour.

The Army said in a statement on Wednesday that the decision has been taken to ensure that troops are supplied with native and traditional grains.

"With a view to promote consumption of millets in light of the UN declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Indian Army has steered introduction of millets flour in the rations of soldiers. This landmark decision will ensure troops are supplied with native and traditional grains after over half a century, when these were discontinued in favour of wheat atta," the Army said.

"Traditional millet foods with proven health benefits and suited to our geographical and climatic conditions would be a vital step in mitigating lifestyle diseases and enhancing satisfaction and morale of the troops. Millets would now form an integral part of the daily meal for all ranks," it said.

A government sanction has been sought to procure millets flour not exceeding 25 per cent of the authorised entitlement of cereals (rice and wheat atta) in rations for troops commencing from the year 2023-24.

The procurement and issue will be based on option exercised and quantity demanded. Three popular varieties of millets flour Bajra, Jowar and Ragi   will be issued to troops duly considering preference.

Millets have the benefit of being a good source of proteins, micronutrients and phyto-chemicals thus boosting the nutritional profile of a soldier's diet.

Advisories have been issued for millets to be extensively used in organised functions, barakhanas, canteens and in home cooking.

Centralised training of chefs is being undertaken to prepare wholesome, tasty and nutritious millet dishes. Special emphasis for introducing value added millet items and snacks to troops deployed along the northern borders have been given.

"Millet foods are being introduced through CSD canteens as well as dedicated corners are being set up in shopping complexes.  Know your Millet' awareness campaigns are also being conducted in educational institutions," the Army said.   -- PTI
K C Tyagi
K C Tyagi
16:31   K C Tyagi relieved upon his request: JD-U
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United on Wednesday asserted that veteran leader K C Tyagi would 'continue to be a strong pillar' of the party though he was relieved of organisational responsibilities upon his 'repeated requests'.

The clarification came a day after the party came out with its new list of national office bearers wherein the name of Tyagi, arguably the JD-U's best known spokesperson, was conspicuous by its absence.

In a statement, the party's national general secretary Afaque Ahmed Khan rued 'media circulating wrong message regarding the exclusion' of Tyagi, who previously held the designation of chief general secretary.

Khan claimed Tyagi, who has been active in politics for close to five decades, had requested Nitish Kumar, the party's supremo, after the JD-U national council meeting held in December last year, 'to relieve him from the organisational responsibilities'.

"On his repeated requests, the party agreed on relieving him from organisational responsibilities but he will continue to be a strong pillar of the party along with Nitish Kumar ji," Khan added.   -- PTI
15:50   Man held in Surat for issuing death threat to Nitish Kumar
A textile worker from Gujarat's Surat city was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly threatening to blow up Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said a police official.

Bihar native Ankit Mishra, who is in his late 20s, was nabbed from Laskana area of the city and handed over to Bihar police for further investigation, said Lalit Vagadiya, an inspector from the Surat crime branch.

On March 20, a person had called a Patna-based news channel's office and claimed that he would blow up CM Nitish Kumar in the next 36 hours.

A formal complaint in this regard was lodged at Sachivalaya police station in Bihar's capital Patna, said Vagadiya.

"Technical surveillance by Bihar police revealed that the call was made from Surat, following which Bihar police sought the help of Surat police to nab the culprit. We finally managed to nab the caller, identified as Ankit Mishra. He has been handed over to Patna police," said the official.

"Primary investigations by Surat police revealed that Mishra is a native of Bihar and has been working as a labourer in a powerloom factory in the city's Laskana area for the past six years," said Vagadiya, adding that Bihar police will investigate to find out why he made the threat call.

On Tuesday, security was beefed up at Union minister Nitin Gadkari's home and office in Maharashtra's Nagpur city after a man made three calls threatening to harm the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader if Rs 10 crore was not paid to him, an official had said.   -- PTI
15:18   PM to hold high-level meeting on Covid situation
Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review the situation and public health preparedness, officials said.

India has recorded 1,134 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases increased to 7,026, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The death toll climbed to 5,30,813 with five deaths.

One death each has been reported by Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra while one fatality was reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The daily positivity was recorded at 1.09 per cent while the weekly positivity was pegged at 0.98 per cent.   -- PTI
14:45   Sisodia's judicial custody extended till April 5
Delhi court sends Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia to 14-day judicial custody in money laundering case related to excise policy matter.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) brought Sisodia to Rouse Avenue Court on Wednesday after the end of the remand period in the money laundering case.

The court extended his judicial custody till April 5, 2023.  -- PTI
13:20   Barricades outside UK high commission removed
BREAKING: Barricades have been removed from outside the British High Commission in New Delhi.

On March 20, a group of protesters waving separatist Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans had stormed the Indian High Commission in London.

India registered its strong protest with the British government over the safety of its diplomatic mission and questioned the lack of sufficient security at the premises.

More details awaited.   -- ANI/PTI
13:07   Punjab cops at Amritpal's residence in Amritsar
Punjab Police reaches the residence of 'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh's in Jallupur Khera village, Amritsar.

Amritpal Singh is on the run since March 18.

More details awaited.  -- ANI
12:57   Will come back as Karnataka CM, asserts Bommai
Quoting Lingayat sect founder Basaveshwara and extolling his government's development agenda, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has said he will return to power after the assembly election, which is due by May.

Addressing a public gathering at Hungund in northern Karnataka's Bagalkote district here on Tuesday night, the chief minister said he has performed sincerely to offer social justice to every section of the society, which resulted in increase in the annual per capita income by Rs 1 lakh in the last four years.

"I will come back as chief minister again. God has given me an opportunity to serve Mother Karnataka. I have done sincere work," Bommai said during an election rally.

The chief minister said he is treading on the path of 'work is worship' and social equality, as advocated by 12th Century social reformer and founder of Lingayat sect Basaveshwara.

"I tried to give social justice to every section of the society. People had asked for corporations of various communities for their overall development. We are treading on the path shown by Basaveshwara," Bommai said.

The chief minister, who belongs to the Lingayat community, invoked the name of Basaveshwara, whose followers form a large chunk in Karnataka, especially in the northern part of the state.

Bommai said the key parameter of growth in Karnataka was the per capita income in the state, which has grown substantially.

"Before our government came to power, the per capita income in Karnataka was Rs 2.42 lakh per annum, which has now increased to Rs 3.47 lakh, which is more than a lakh. This is despite the COVID situation. This shows we carried out development in the middle of COVID pandemic," the chief minister said.

He claimed that due to the initiatives of the state government in the last four years since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, Karnataka became the number one destination in investment and innovation.

According to Bommai, the state got an investment of Rs 12 lakh crore during the Global Investor's Meet, which was organised last year.

He appealed to the people to choose BJP if they wish to see the state marching on the development path.

The chief minister also hit out at Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah for 'lying' to the people alleging that he reduced the quantity of rice given to the poor from 10 kilograms in 2012 when the BJP was in power to 5 kg.   -- PTI
11:49   SC to constitute special bench for Bilkis case
The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to constitute a special bench to hear a plea by Bilkis Bano, who was gang-raped during the 2002 Gujarat riots, against the remission of sentence of 11 convicts in the case.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala assured Bano, represented through her lawyer Shobha Gupta, that the new bench will be formed.

Gupta mentioned the matter for urgent hearing and said that a new bench needs to be constituted.

"I will have a bench constituted. Will look at it this evening," the CJI said.

Earlier, on January 24, the hearing on Bano's plea challenging the remission of sentence of 11 convicts in the gang-rape case by the Gujarat government could not be held in the top court as the judges concerned were hearing a matter related to passive euthanasia as part of a five-judge Constitution bench.

Besides the plea challenging the release of the convicts, the gang-rape survivor had also filed a separate petition seeking a review of the apex court's May 13, 2022 order on a plea by a convict.

Seven members of Bilkis Bano's family were also killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

In its May 13, 2022 order, the apex court had asked the state government to consider the plea of a convict for premature release in terms of its policy of July 9, 1992 which was applicable on the date of conviction and decide it within a period of two months.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15, last year. Bano's review plea against the May 13, 2022 order, however, was dismissed by the top court in December last year.  -- PTI
Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling
11:14   Biden presents National Humanities Medals to Indian-American actress Kaling
US President Joe Biden has presented the prestigious 2021 National Humanities Medals to Indian-American actress and producer Mindy Kaling, with several others, in recognition of her giving voice to a new generation of storytellers, at a White House ceremony. 

The National Medal of Arts is the highest award, given to artists, arts patrons, and groups by the US government. 

It honours exemplary individuals and organisations that have advanced the arts in America and inspired others through their distinguished achievement, support, or patronage. 

Presenting the award to the actress on Tuesday, at the ceremony attended by First Lady Dr Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Second Gentlemen, Biden said that Kaling is the first woman of colour to create, write, and star in a primetime sitcom. 

He added that the 43-year-old actress empowers a new generation to tell their stories with irreverence and sincerity. 

The daughter of Indian immigrants -- we know about that, right? Our Vice President is a daughter of Indian immigrants -- a mother who was a great scientist," the US President said. 

"Above all, she is hardworking and an adoring mom, just like her own mom was. And, Mindy, we know your mom is always with you in your spirit. We know that, Biden added. -- PTI
File image
File image
11:05   BSF fires at Pakistani drone in J-K's Samba
A massive search operation was launched on Wednesday after the Border Security Force fired at a Pakistani drone along the International Border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said. 

The BSF troops manning the Chamliyal border post in Ramgarh sub-sector picked up a blinking red light in the air, believed to be a drone, from Pakistan around 2.30 am and fired over two dozen rounds to bring it down, they said. 

They said the suspected drone returned to the Pakistani side, the officials said, adding a massive search operation was launched in the forward villages adjoining Chamliyal, Sapwal and Narayanpur border outposts to ensure that there was no dropping of any weapons or narcotics. 

The open fields in Dug, Channi-Sapwal and Asampur villages are also being searched by the BSF personnel who were deployed in strength for the operation, they said. -- PTI
Amruta Fadnavis
Amruta Fadnavis
10:34   Amruta threat case: 'Bookie' Jaisinghani's aide held
The Mumbai police said they have arrested Nirmal Jaisinghani, a close aide of bookie Anil Jaisinghani, in connection with the blackmail and extortion case filed by Amrita Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. 

"Nirmal helped Anil Jaisinghani hide and provide him with logistic support and to book hotel rooms in his name," an officer of the Mumbai police said. 

"Further investigation, in this case, is underway," he added. 

The Mumbai police on Friday said they added an extortion section against Anishka, who was arrested for allegedly threatening and blackmailing Amruta Fadnavavis. 

"Extortion Section 385 of the Indian Penal Code has been added against the accused, who threatened to make two videos viral and demanded a bribe from Amruta Fadnavis," said an officer of the Mumbai police earlier in the month. 

According to police, Anishka was arrested from Ulhasnagar on March 16. 

"The accused woman had sent two videos to Amruta Fadnavis, threatening to make them viral unless she paid a bribe of Rs 10 crore. The videos were not made by the accused woman," the officer had said. -- ANI
10:12   Police seize explosives dumped by Maoists along Odisha-Andhra border
A large amount of explosives suspected to have been dumped by the Maoists along the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha has been seized, the police said. 

Acting on a tip-off, the police seized 50 kg of explosive codex wire, 100 detonators and 15 radio sets in Lamataput area in Koraput district, superintendent of police Avinav Sonkar said. 

He said the explosives are suspected to have been dumped by the Andhra-Odisha border special zonal committee of the banned CPI -Maoist outfit for future use against security forces. -- PTI
09:44   RBI directs all banks to keep branches open till March 31 for annual closing
With just only 10 days till the annual closing of the current financial year, the Reserve Bank of India has directed all banks to keep their branches open until the end of the working hours on March 31.      

The central bank has written a letter to all the agency banks that they should keep their designated branches open for over-the-counter transactions related to government transactions up to the normal working hours on March 31, 2023.   

It directed all government transactions done by agency banks for the Financial Year 2022-23 must be accounted for within the same financial year.      

It also added, "Transactions through national electronic funds transfer and real time gross settlement system will continue up to 2400 hours (12 midnight) as hitherto on March 31, 2023."      

The letter also read, "Regarding reporting of Central and state government transactions to RBI, including uploading of GST/ TIN2.0/ e-receipts luggage files, the reporting window of March 31, 2023, will be kept open till 1200 hours noon on April 1, 2023." -- ANI                            
Amritpal Singh's photos released by Punjab police/ANI
Amritpal Singh's photos released by Punjab police/ANI
09:32   U'khand cops join search for Amritpal, associates
The Uttarakhand police on Tuesday conducted a combing operation at gurdwaras, hotels and in areas on the Indo-Nepal border in Udham Singh Nagar district in search of radical preacher Amritpal Singh and his associates, who are on the run after the Punjab police launched a crackdown against them.                 

The police kept searching for these criminals across the district, city superintendent of police Manoj Katyal said in Rudapur.                 

Following information from their Punjab counterparts that Singh and his associates were trying to flee the country, the police launched a search operation in Uttarakhand, he said.                 

Intelligence agencies are also monitoring the situation. 

A close vigil is being kept on the India-Nepal border so that he does not escape to Nepal through here, the police said.                 

The police have also put up posters to inform residents that Singh and his aides are wanted in Punjab. -- PTI
09:18   Modi wishes people on start of traditional new year
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday greeted people on the occasion of various festivals that mark the beginning of the traditional new year and wished people happiness and prosperity. 

In tweets, Modi also wished people on the start of Navratri. With the day marking the start of the ancient 'Vikram Samvat', a traditional Hindi new year, the prime minister hoped that the country will reach new heights of progress. 

He extended Cheti Chand greetings to the Sindhi community and wished people on Sajibu Cheiraoba, which is specially celebrated in Manipur. Modi also greeted people on the occasions of Gudi Padwa and Navreh. -- PTI
Representational image/Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
Representational image/Akhtar Soomro/Reuters
09:03   PTI leader among 10 killed in Pak in targeted attack by rival group
A local PTI leader, Atif Munsif Khan, was among ten people killed in a targeted attack by a rival group in Langra village in Havelian, police said on Monday, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.      

Atif, the mayor of Havelian tehsil, was travelling in a car when a bullet pierced its fuel tank, resulting in a fire, according to Abbottabad DPO Umar Tufail.   

According to videos shared on social media, the car was completely gutted in the attack. 

Two injured were moved to a nearby hospital, Dawn reported.      

The bodies for postmortem examination were shifted to the Abbottabad district headquarters hospital. 

No FIR was registered till the filing of this report, but police have started a search operation to arrest the culprit(s).      

Some unconfirmed reports claimed that the car was gutted after it was hit by a rocket.      

Munsif won the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa local bodies election in 2022 as an independent candidate from Abbottabad's Havelian tehsil and later joined the PTI. 

His father, Munsif Khan Jadoon, was a former member of the KP assembly and remained provincial minister. 

He was also assassinated in the 1990s.      

After the attack, a video featuring Mr Munsif went viral on social media where he could be seen playing cricket with children in the Langra village, hours before his death, according to Dawn. -- ANI                            
PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi
08:49   100 FIRs registered, 6 held over anti-Modi posters
More than 100 FIRs have been registered and six people have been arrested in connection with objectionable posters, including those with derogatory remarks against the Prime Minister, across the national capital.      
As per the allegations, some parts of Delhi also had posters with the caption 'Modi Hatao Desh Bachao'.   

Special CP Deependra Pathak told ANI that the Delhi police registered over 100 FIRs while six people have been arrested for objectionable posters including those against PM Narendra Modi across the city.      

However, there was no mention of the printing press or the publisher on the posters. 

The Delhi police swung into action and started an investigation into the matter.      

The FIR has been registered in different districts across the city under sections of the Printing Press Act and Defacement of Property Act, the police said.      

The Special CP also said that a van was also intercepted as soon as it left the Aam Aadmi Party office. 

A few posters were seized and arrests were made.      

Further investigation is underway in the case. -- ANI                         
BRS leader K Kavitha
BRS leader K Kavitha
08:33   Will teach BJP a lesson: BRS MLA on Kavitha's questioning by ED
With Enforcement Directorate grilling Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, Bharat Rashtra Samithi MLA Danam Nagender lashed out at Centre saying the BRS will teach Bharatiya Janata Party a lesson at the appropriate time.      

Speaking to ANI, Nagender said, "This is a clear-cut issue. The people are well aware of the vindictive activities of the BJP government. ED is acting as the mouthpiece of the BJP and central government. This is very unfair. She (Kavitha) categorically said yesterday that she is not involved in any of this and she is in no way connected with this liquor business."   

"If someone X, Y or Z mentioned her name, they (ED) cannot take it as a conspiracy. The important thing is that each time she has been requesting the ED to mention a certain time limit. In spite of it, even yesterday she came out around 10 pm. No one will spare (BJP) when a woman is being tortured like this. The BRS party will not step back and we are ready to face any consequences. We will definitely teach BJP a lesson at the appropriate time," he added.  -- ANI
File image/Reuters
File image/Reuters
08:21   9 killed as 6.8 magnitude earthquake jolts Pakistan
An earthquake of 6.8 magnitudes shook parts of Pakistan on Tuesday, killing nine people and injuring over 160 others, local media reported. 

The epicentre of the earthquake was Afghanistan's Hindu Kush region, while its depth was 180 kilometres, according to the Pakistan meteorological department. 

Tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. 

Strong tremors were also felt in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas, local media reported. 

Television footage showed panic-stricken citizens out on the streets. 

The earthquake killed nine people, including two women, and injured over 160 others as well as causing many buildings to collapse, authorities said, according to a Geo News report. 

At the time of the earthquake, a stampede was reported in the markets of Rawalpindi, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. 

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has asked disaster management officials to remain vigilant to handle any situation, according to state-run Associated Press of Pakistan

An emergency was declared in the hospitals of the federal capital on the instructions of federal health minister Abdul Qadir Patel, The Express Tribune reported. -- PTI
08:13   2.8 magnitude earthquake hits Himachal, no damage reported
A mild intensity earthquake of magnitude 2.8 -- with its epicentre in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur -- hit the state at 12:51 am on Wednesday, but no damage was reported, officials said. 

Earlier, tremors were felt in almost all parts of the state around 10:17 on Tuesday night following a 6.6 magnitude earthquake whose epicentre was in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush area at a depth of 156 km. 

People in Shimla, Mandi and several other places ran out of their houses in panic but no loss of life or property has been reported so far, the officials said. 

Tremors were felt in all the 12 districts of the state but no loss of life or damage to property has been reported, special secretary disaster management Sudesh Mokta had said. 

In the past 24 hours, more than 10 earthquakes were witnessed in India and the nearby region. 

Their magnitude was between three and four, he added. -- PTI
08:08   Lookout circular, NBW issued against Amritpal
The Punjab police issued a lookout circular and non-bailable warrant against 'Waris Punjab De' chief Amritpal Singh, the fugitive Khalistani sympathiser.      

Addressing a press conference, inspector general of police (headquarters), Punjab Sukhchain Singh Gill said that Amritpal Singh, a Khalistani sympathiser, has not been arrested yet.   

"We are making all efforts to arrest him. We're hopeful that we'll arrest him soon...It is difficult to say that. Punjab Police is receiving full cooperation from other states and central agencies," the IGP said.      

"A lookout circular and non-bailable warrant have been issued against Amritpal Singh, who remains a fugitive and efforts are being made to arrest him," said the information and public relations department of Punjab government.      

As part of its efforts to arrest Amritpal Singh, the Punjab police released his pictures on Tuesday.      

IGP Gill requested people to help them in Amritpal's arrest.      

"There are several pictures of Amritpal Singh in different attires. We are releasing all of these pictures. I request you display them so that people can help us to arrest him in this case," said Punjab inspector general of police Sukhchain Singh Gill. -- ANI
00:19   Sculptors engaged to finalise Ram Lalla idol
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has engaged sculptors to finalise how the idol of 'Ram Lalla' will look and the stone from which it is to be made.

The idol is for the Ram temple that is under-construction at the Ram Janmabhoomi complex in Ayodhya.

"We have got suggestions from seers and Hindu scholars that the idol of 'Ram Lalla' should look like a child of five to six years old. The idea is that only a standing statue should be made," the trust's general secretary, Champat Rai, said on Tuesday.

Most of the sculptors have also made similar suggestions, he said, adding that every detail is being worked out.

Rai said artists are painting pictures of 'Ram Lalla' and based on the best, the idol will be made, and then installed at the temple.

"For Navratra, an idol of 'Ram Lalla' at a makeshift temple at the complex will be dressed in clothes of different colours on each day of the nine-day festival, which will end on March 30," chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das told PTI.

This will be the last Navratra celebration at the temporary temple as from the next year, it will happen at the sanctum sanctorum of the new temple.

"'Ram Lalla' will wear yellow coloured clothes on the day of Ram Navami as yellow is believed to be auspicious in the Hindu religion. After this celebration, Ram Navami will be celebrated in the grand temple from next year," he said.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath performs aarti while offering prayers to an idol of Lord Ram during his visit to Ram Temple, in Ayodhya on Sunday. Photograph: ANI Photo