Thu, 28 September 2023
MP Cong leader booked for abduction, rape of minor

Timeline  Refresh

23:49   3 Iranians, 2 Indians held after boat reaches Guj coast; heroin, satellite phone seized
Five men, including three Iranian nationals, were arrested from Okha town of Gujarat's Devbhumi Dwarka district allegedly with a satellite phone and 10 grams of heroin, the police said on Thursday. 

While three fishermen from Iran and an Indian named Ashok Kumar Ayappan (37) were on a boat which arrived at Okha coast near the under-construction 'Signature Bridge' on Wednesday night, Ashok's younger brother Anand Kumar Ayappan (35) was on the coast to receive them, an official said. 

Tamil Nadu native Ashok, who used to work in Oman, took help of these three Iranian fishermen to reach Gujarat coast as his passport was seized by his sponsor firm and there was no other way to come back to India, superintendent of police Nitesh Pandey said. 

He identified the three Iranians as Mustafa Baluchi, Jashem Baluchi and Amir Hussain Baluchi, all residents of Bandar Abbas there, and said the five accused have been charged under provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, The Passports Act and The Foreigners Act. 

Among other things, the police found a satellite phone from Ashok and 10 grams of heroin from one of the Iranian sailors, said Pandey. 

"Ashok used to work as a mechanical engineer while his brother Anand used to work as an electrical engineer at Muscat city of Oman. Due to a dispute, the sponsor firm at Oman had seized Ashok's passport, making it impossible for him to come back. As a solution, his Iranian friend suggested he reach Gujarat via the sea route," said Pandey. 

Ashok gave nearly 8,000 Omani Rial to his Iranian friend to arrange a satellite phone, a boat and sailors to help him reach Gujarat, which is the nearest coast in India from the Gulf, as per police. 

While Ashok reached Iran from Oman via sea route, his younger brother Anand took a flight a day earlier and landed at Rajkot, and then reached Okha to receive his elder brother. -- PTI
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/
23:35   MP Cong leader booked for abduction, rape of minor
The police in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district have registered a case against a Congress corporator for allegedly raping a teenager and forcing her to undergo an abortion, an official said on Thursday. 

Accused Sagar Ghavri (30) of Pichhore town allegedly filmed the sexual assault and exploited the girl by threatening to circulate the video, the official said. 

Ghavri allegedly took the girl, who was four months pregnant, to neighbouring Jhansi town in Uttar Pradesh on September 25 for abortion, the official said. 

When the girl did not return home, her parents filed a missing person report with the local police, sub-divisional officer of police Prashant Sharma said. 

After she came back, the police acted on her complaint and registered a first information report against Ghavri on Wednesday under Indian Penal Code for rape and abduction and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, he said. 

While the complainant was a minor when the crime was committed, she was 18 at the time of registering the FIR, the official said, adding that a search is on to arrest the corporator. 

Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee expelled Ghavri from primary membership of the party for six years. -- PTI
22:58   HC rejects use of German co's 'VBM' mark by Indian entity as denoting 'Vishnu, Brahma, Mahesh'
Protecting German medical equipment manufacturer VBM Medizintechnik GmbH against the use of its 'VBM' mark by another entity, the Delhi high court has nixed the claim of a company which was using the initials claiming they denoted the 'Holy Trinity' of Hindu gods 'Vishnu, Brahma and Mahesh'. 

Justice C Hari Shankar, while dealing with a lawsuit by VBM Medizintechnik, observed the defendant was running 'VBM India Co' while dealing in equipment manufactured by the plaintiff as its distributor as well as those produced by third parties. 

The court said it was unable to accept the defendant's "ingenious explanation" about the holy triad. Underlining that there was no document on record to support the contention that the defendant envisaged VBM as an acronym for 'Vishnu Brahma Mahesh', the court observed its use was bound to confuse the consumers. 

"While the defendant might, perchance, have exposed himself to divine retribution for having invoked the Holy Trinity for unholy ends, this Court, on a more terrestrial plane, also finds itself unable to accept this somewhat ingenious explanation for the acronym 'VBM'," said Justice Shankar in a recent order. 

The counsel for the plaintiff disputed the defendant's claim on the ground that the Holy Trinity was not 'Vishnu Brahma Mahesh' but 'Brahma Vishnu Mahesh', as the names of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer are always cited in that order and not in any random sequence. 

In its interim order, the court said the 'Vishnu Brahma Mahesh' explanation was too facile to pass legal muster, and directed that pending disposal of the lawsuit, the defendant shall be restrained from using VBM either as part of its corporate name or as a trademark in respect of medical equipment or any allied/cognate goods or services. -- PTI
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File image
22:48   Girl dragged by crocodile in canal in UP, yet to be traced after two days
An 18-year-old girl was dragged by a crocodile into a canal in Lakhimpur Kheri when she was washing her feet in it, the police said on Thursday. 

According to the police, one Kamini Vishwakarma, a resident of Dulhipur village, was attacked by a crocodile Tuesday evening. 

Dulhipur village is located along the Sharda canal in which crocodiles often take shelter during monsoon. 

Villagers said Kamini along with her friends had gone to a field to graze her goats Tuesday evening. 

When she went to Sharda canal to wash her feet, a crocodile pounced upon her and dragged her inside the water, said one of the villagers. 

Her friends raised an alarm but the reptile vanished into the water with the girl. 

Padhuva police station and north Kheri forest officials were informed about the incident, and a team involving station in-charge Hanumant Lal Tiwari, forest range officer Bhupendra Chaudhary, and forest guard Akash was rushed to the spot and searched the water body. 

The girl is yet to be traced after two days. 

"We carried out intensive search operations on boats to trace the girl, however, our efforts have yielded no result so far," Tiwari -- PTI
22:31   Two killed in Rotterdam shootings
At least  two people have been killed in two shootings in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Thursday.

One shooting incident was reported from the Erasmus MC Rotterdam hospital, and another was reported a nearby home in the Dutch port city. 

A fire has also been reported from both the sites.

The police did not specify the number of casualties, but said a 32-year-old suspect has been apprehended. reported that videos on social media show the police instructing students, some in medical gowns, to leave the scene as armed officers arrive.

Only one gunman was reported to be involved in the incident.
Representational image. Pic: ANI Photo
Representational image. Pic: ANI Photo
22:06   Mob tries to attack Manipur CM's ancestral home
A mob on Thursday night tried to attack the ancestral house of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, but security forces foiled the attempt, the police said. 

The chief minister, however, does not live there and he stays in his official residence. 

There was an attempt to attack the chief minister's ancestral house at Heingang locality in Imphal. Security forces stopped the mob around 100 metres away from the house, a police officer said. 

Nobody stays in the house now though it is highly guarded, the officer said. 

Violent protests by students over the death of two youths in Manipur rocked the state capital on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

A mob also vandalised the deputy commissioner's office in Imphal West district and torched two four-wheelers in the early hours of Thursday.
Protesters disrupt press conference of actor Siddharth in Bengaluru/ANI on X
Protesters disrupt press conference of actor Siddharth in Bengaluru/ANI on X
21:41   Protestors disrupt actor Siddharth's presser over Cauvery
Actor Siddharth was forced to stop a press conference in Bengaluru that he was holding for promoting his forthcoming movie after some protesters asked him to leave the place. 

Members of the Karnataka Karnataka Rakshana Vedike Swabhimani Sene interrupted the press conference being held by Siddharth for his film Chikku and asked him to leave the venue. 

The members said that it was not an appropriate time for him to conduct the press conference as Tamil Nadu is demanding Cauvery water from Karnataka. 

Siddharth later left the theatre. -- ANI
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo
21:30   NCPCR urges leaders not to crowd hospital where MP minor rape survivor admitted
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo has urged political leaders to show sensitivity and not crowd the hospital where the minor girl from Ujjain who was allegedly raped is undergoing treatment. 

Kanoongo said a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has sent one such leader of the Congress party back, requesting her not to crowd there. 

A minor girl, who was raped and found bleeding on a street in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain city, is undergoing treatment at a hospital. 

The assault on the minor has sparked massive public outrage. 

Kanoongo said NCPCR member Dr. Divya Gupta met the Dean and other doctors in the hospital and took an update on the condition of the girl. 

"The child is in mental trauma, hence trying to meet her is inappropriate, hence the meeting has not been done. Leaders of political parties are coming to the hospital to make videos, the Commission member has sent one such leader of the Congress party back, requesting her not to crowd there. Everyone is requested to show sensitivity," Kanoongo said in a post on X. -- PTI
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Representational image
21:13   Man attacked for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram
The police in Mumbai have registered a case after a 34-year-old man alleged that he was assaulted by four persons for refusing to chant 'Jai Shri Ram', an official said on Thursday. 

The alleged incident took place around 11.45 pm on Monday at Gokulnagar in Kandivali East when complainant Siddharth Angure was returning home from work, the official said. 

Angure told the police that he was stopped by four persons who insisted that he chant ai Shri Ram'. 

The accused beat up and abused Angure after the latter refused to chant the religious slogan, according to the first information report. 

Angure claimed that he was dragged on the road by the four, who also kicked and punched him, as per the FIR. 

The complainant was rescued by his brother and a relative, the police said. He was then taken to a civic-run hospital for treatment. 

Angure approached the Kurar police on Tuesday night about the alleged assault. 

The police then registered the FIR against the four under Indian Penal Code sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 34 (common intention), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation). -- PTI
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File image
20:55   CRPF jawan killed, 1 injured in Jharkhand IED blast
Two CRPF personnel were seriously injured in an IED blast in Jharkhand's West Singhbhum district on Thursday and one of them died later in the course of treatment, the police said. 

The two CRPF personnel belonging to its elite Cobra battalion were grievously injured in the blast near a forest between Tumbahaka and Sarjomburu villages in Tonto police station area of district during a combing operation against the Maoists by security forces, the police said. 

CRPF constable Rajesh Kumar and Inspector Bhupendra Kumar were airlifted to Ranchi for treatment, IG Police Operations Amol V Homkar said. 

"Rajesh Kumar of 209 Cobra battalion succumbed to his injuries. The martyred personnel hailed from Chattisgarh," he said. 

Bhupendra Kumar is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Ranchi, the IG said. 

Homkar said the blast occurred at between 11-12 pm on Thursday when the Maoists detonated an IED targetting the Cobra battalion as the security forces personnel pressed forward in its operation against the left wing extremists. 

Search and combing operations are still on in the area by the security forces. 

Apart from CRPF's Cobra's 209 battalion, Jharkhand Jaguar of the state police and district armed police were involved in the combing operation against the Maoists in the Kolhan region of the state, the police said. -- PTI
20:33   Emami acquires 26% stake in Axiom Ayurveda
Homegrown FMCG maker Emami on Thursday announced the acquisition of a 26 per cent stake in Axiom Ayurveda, which markets beverage products under the brand 'AloFrut', for an undisclosed amount, paving its entry into the juices segment. 

Through this strategic investment, the Kolkata-based leading personal care and healthcare maker has entered into the packed juice category by acquiring a 26 per cent stake in Axiom Ayurveda and its subsidiaries, according to a joint statement. 

"This investment is in line with Emami's strategy to invest in the Health & Wellness segment and will also help Emami to enter into this growing segment," said a regulatory update by the company. 

The acquisition of 26 per cent Axiom shares is "through primary infusion and secondary buyouts" and is expected to be completed within one month, the company said. 

Axiom has a presence in the Indian beverage market with a proprietary fusion of aloe vera pulp with fruit blend. 

It has other product portfolios in the beverage segment & personal care which contributes 15-20 per cent to the business, it added. 

"The company has its own manufacturing facility in Ambala, Haryana and is setting up a fully automated modern new facility in Jammu (Kathua) at a cost of Rs 160 crore," it said. 

For the financial year ended on March 31, 2023, Axiom Ayurveda's turnover was Rs 129 crore. -- PTI
RJD MP Manoj Jha
RJD MP Manoj Jha
20:28   RJD demands security for MP Manoj Jha amid 'Thakurs' poem controversy
Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson and former MLA Rishi Mishra on Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding security for RJD MP Manoj Jha.   

This demand comes in the wake of the backlash being faced by Jha due to the 'Thakurs' poem he recited during a recent debate on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha last week.   

"The threats being given to Rajya Sabha MP, Manoj Kumar Jha, are disconcerting. Among those giving threats, BJP MLA Raghvendra Pratap Singh has threatened to cut his neck. A former MLA talked about taking out his tongue and throwing it towards the chair (in the house). Former Minister Neeraj Singh 'Bablu' has also threatened to cut his tongue. Such statements filled with anger might pose a threat to the life of Manoj Jhaji. This must be under the cognizance of the ministry", the letter read.   

"Manoj Jhaji is an intellectual, calm and civilized person who also bagged the award of the 'Best MP' for his intellect. It is the duty of the ministry to shield such a person full of distinctive talent. You are requested to provide the 'Y' category of security so that he can feel safe", it added.   

Notably, the poem on 'Thakurs' recited by the Jha during a discussion on the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha, has created political turmoil in Bihar with several BJP leaders throwing brickbats at him and condemning the poem.   

Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) Chief Chirag Paswan said, "This is completely unfair. Such statements are creating dissatisfaction in society. It hurts the sentiments of people and the manner in which the top leadership is tight-lipped on the statement gives tacit support to this. We strongly condemn this". -- ANI
Representational image
Representational image
20:19   Cocaine worth Rs 800 cr recovered from Guj shore
The police on Thursday recovered 80 kg of cocaine, worth nearly Rs 800 crore, dumped on the shore of a creek near the Gandhidham town of Gujarat's Kutch district, an official said. 

The banned drug was found in 80 packets, each weighing a kilo, the police said. 

It was perhaps left behind by smugglers to avoid getting caught as the police were already active in the region, said Sagar Bagmar, superintendent of police, Kutch-East division. 

The packets containing cocaine, a powerful central nervous system stimulant drug, were found abandoned on the shore of a creek passing from Mithi Rohar village near Gandhidham town, said Bagmar. 

"Based on a tip-off about the delivery of a drug consignment, we were already active in this region. During our combing operation, we recovered 80 packets of cocaine, each weighing one kilogram, and worth Rs 800 crore, from the shore of the creek. It is possible that the smugglers might have dumped the contraband here out of fear of getting caught," said the SP. 

The Border Security Force and other agencies have been recovering packets containing heroin and cocaine at regular intervals from the coast near Jakhau, which is close to Pakistan, for the last two years. -- PTI
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19:43   Air India partners with fashion designer Manish Malhotra for new uniforms
Tata Group-owned Air India has partnered with fashion designer Manish Malhotra to design new uniforms for the airline's more than 10,000 flight crew, ground staff and security personnel. 

"This is a further step in the manifestation of Air India's new global brand identity as part of its ongoing modernisation programme. Air India expects to commence rolling out the new look for its uniformed employees by the end of 2023," the airline said in a release on Thursday. 

Malhotra and his team have begun meeting Air India's frontline staff, conducting discussions and fitting sessions with them to better understand their specialised needs. 

Air India CEO and MD Campbell Wilson said the airline is working closely with Malhotra and his team to combine elements of "our brand, our heritage and our culture, together with the unique requirements of the airline environment, for what we hope will be a fresh and exciting new look that supports and represents the new Air India". -- PTI
19:24   Rupee edges up 2 paise to 83.20 against US dollar
The rupee edged up 2 paise to settle at 83.20 (provisional) against the US currency in a restricted trade on Thursday, aided by a correction in crude oil prices and the greenback. 

Foreign fund outflows and losses in local equities, however, restricted the rupee's gains, forex dealers said. 

The rupee opened flat at 83.22 against the US dollar and later moved in a range of 83.25 to 83.13 in day trading. 

The local unit settled at 83.20 against the US dollar, up by 2 paise over the previous close. 

The rupee had closed at 83.22 on Wednesday after a listless trade. -- PTI
19:13   Kapil Dev moves court for stricter animal cruelty laws
Legendary India cricketer Kapil Dev and his wife have approached the Delhi high court challenging certain provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that allow destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers and extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law. 

The petition came up for hearing before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula which granted time to the petitioners' counsel to place certain judgments on record. 

The high court listed the petition for further hearing on October 13. 

Petitioners Kapil Dev, his wife Romi Dev and animal rights activist Anjali Gopalan, said the petition was being filed on account of repeated instances of barbaric treatment meted out to animals showing the "most brutal and cruel face of humanity' and the "utter effete' response of law and the law enforcing agencies. 

The plea challenged section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  Act, saying it was without deterrence and manifestly arbitrary since it trivialises life and denies animals any meaningful existence by treating their mutilation and killing as petty and frivolous acts, mocking their death through imposition of punishment of less than Rs 10. 

Section 11 deals with treating animals cruelly and entails a fine which shall not be less than Rs 10 but may extend to Rs 50 in case of first offence. 

For the second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, the punishment involves fine which shall not be less than Rs 25 but may extend to Rs 100 or with imprisonment for a term of maximum of three months or both. -- PTI
18:48   TN police honours for agricultural scientist Swaminathan's funeral
Agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan's funeral will be held with police honours, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said in Chennai on Thursday. 

Hailing Swaminathan's remarkable contributions to sustainable food security, Stalin said the agriculture icon has served the nation with the twin goals of eradication of hunger and food security for about 75 years. 

An official release here said Stalin has ordered police honours for the scientist's funeral. 

"In order to honour Swaminathan, who has made immeasurable contributions as a globally acclaimed scientist in the field of environment and agriculture, final tributes (homage) will be paid to him with police honours," the release said. 

According to a spokesperson of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, the cremation would be held here on September 30. -- PTI
18:32   BSE Sensex top losers today
Equity benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty fell by nearly 1 per cent on Thursday due to unabated foreign capital outflows amid a largely negative trend in global markets. 

Besides, heavy selling pressure in index major Reliance Industries, Infosys and ITC also dented market sentiments, traders said. 

The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 610.37 points or 0.92 per cent to settle at 65,508.32. 

The Nifty declined 192.90 points or 0.98 per cent to end at 19,523.55. 

Tech Mahindra was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, slipping 4.59 per cent, followed by Asian Paints, Wipro, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Infosys, ITC, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindustan Unilever, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Industries and JSW Steel.
18:19   SC refuses to entertain PIL alleging exorbitant air fare for Gulf destinations
The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea alleging exorbitant air fares from destinations like Dubai to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. 

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra asked the 'Kerala Pravasi Association', which filed the PIL, to move the Kerala high court with its grievances. 

The PIL also challenged one of the rules of the Indian Aviation Act which permits airlines to set ticket prices, and alleged it violated the citizens' right to travel and resulted in exploitation of Indian travellers. 

"Having regard to the nature of the cause of action in the present case, we are of the considered view that it would be appropriate for the petitioners to take recourse to the remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Granting liberty to the petitioners to do so, the Writ Petition is disposed of," the bench said in its order on Wednesday. 

The association alleged the air fare to and from Gulf destinations to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram has been exorbitant. 

As per recent data, the minimum fare for one way Kochi-Dubai flight for economy class is over Rs 10,000. -- PTI
18:01   Now, UP teacher asks Muslim student to slap Hindu classmate, held
A school teacher was arrested on Thursday for inciting communal hatred after she allegedly ordered a Muslim student to slap a Hindu classmate for not answering a question, the police said. 

The incident took place at a private school on Tuesday in Dugawar village under the Asmoli police station limits in Sambhal district, they said. 

On the basis of a complaint filed by the Hindu boy's father, the teacher, Shaista, was booked under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), additional SP Shrish Chandra said. 

The accused teacher has been arrested, the official added.

The boy's father alleged that his son is a student of class 5 in the school where his class teacher got him slapped by a Muslim student after he could not answer a question asked by her. 

In his complaint, the father said that this hurt his son's religious feelings. 

A probe is on in the matter, Additional SP Chandra said. 

In a similar incident at Khubbapur village in Muzaffarnagar last month, a teacher of a private school had got a Muslim child slapped in a class by his classmates for not doing homework. 

A case was registered against the accused teacher, Tripta Tyagi, under IPC sections 323 (voluntary causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace). -- PTI
17:32   ED summons Abhishek Banerjee on Oct 3; MP claims day coincides with party rally
The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday summoned senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on October 3 for questioning in connection with school jobs scam in Kolkata. 

Banerjee said the day coincides with that of the party's protest rally in Delhi against the Centre's decision to withhold the state's dues under MGNREGA, which he is supposed to lead. 

He claimed that it exposed the fear in the saffron camp. 

The TMC MP shared the letter sent to him by the central agency on X, formerly Twitter. 

"Earlier this month, the ED summoned me on a day coinciding with an important coordinating meeting of #INDIA in Delhi. I dutifully appeared and complied with the served summons," he said. 

"Now, today yet again, they have served me another summons to appear before them on a day when the protest agitation for West Bengal's rightful dues is scheduled in Delhi on 3rd Oct. This stark revelation unequivocally exposes those who are truly perturbED, rattlED and scarED!" he posted on the micro-blogging site. -- PTI
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose
17:12   WB guv fears tapping, wants jammers at Raj Bhavan
West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose has written to the state government and the Union home ministry saying he feared that he was being "tapped and tracked" and requested for a state-of-the-art security system at Raj Bhavan including installation of jammers and de-bugging of the area, sources said on Thursday. 

He recommended the removal of Kolkata police personnel from the first floor of Raj Bhavan, which houses residential quarters and various offices, and replacing them with his personal security guards who are drawn from the CRPF, they said. 

The governor wants Kolkata Police to man only the ground floor of Raj Bhavan, its entrance and exit points, gardens and surrounding areas. 

"Kolkata police personnel were earlier during the last Governor's term confined only to the ground floor of Raj Bhavan," he said. 

"Bose has also directed that there should be frequent shuffling of policemen posted at Raj Bhavan," he said. 

In January, Bose was accorded Z-plus security provided by the Union home ministry, which entails him to personal security drawn from central forces. 

In the wake of the governor's recommendation, the Kolkata police held a joint security meeting with the CRPF and a decision was taken to deploy two of their officers outside the governor's office and library on the first floor of the building, a senior officer of the paramilitary force said. 

Currently, around 60 Kolkata police personnel are deployed at the Raj Bhavan. -- PTI
Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi (left)
Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi (left)
16:58   Northern Army commander visits forward areas along Siachen, Ladakh
The Northern Army commander Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi visited forward areas and reviewed the operational preparedness of troops in the Siachen and Ladakh sectors of the Union Territory. 

This is the second day of his visit to the Ladakh region to interact with troops on ground zero and review the security and operational preparedness of the troops. 

"Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi visited forward areas of Ladakh to review operational preparedness and witnessed integrated training, the Northern Command said on X. Lt Gen Dwivedi accompanied by GOC Fire Fury Corps and commander Siachen Brigade visited the forward areas along LoC in Siachen to review the operational preparedness," the Northern Command said on X. 

The Army commander appreciated the professionalism exhibited by the troops and complimented them for their relentless efforts in maintaining the highest standards of operational effectiveness under challenging conditions. 

Lt Gen Dwivedi felicitated the troops deployed in remote frontline areas for their excellent standards of combat readiness despite inhospitable terrain and exhorted them to continue to strive for excellence. -- PTI
Ramesh Bidhuri
Ramesh Bidhuri
16:45   Bidhuri matter referred to Privileges Committee
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has referred MPs' complaints on the issue involving Bharatiya Janata Party member Ramesh Bidhuri's use of objectionable words against Bahujan Samaj Party's Danish Ali to the Privileges Committee, sources said on Thursday.

While Ali and several other opposition MPs, including Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Kanimozhi, demanded action against Bidhuri, several BJP parliamentarians like Nishikant Dubey said the BSP member 'incited' the South Delhi MP when he speaking in the House and urged the Speaker to look into this aspect as well. 

Sources said the Chair has sent all these complaints to the Privileges Committee headed by BJP MP Sunil Kumar Singh.

In a post on X, Dubey thanked the Speaker for referring the matter to the committee.

"It was possible because the BJP has a majority in Lok Sabha," he said, as he cited several previous incidents to assert that no committee was formed to probe these issues and nor was anyone punished.

In this context, Dubey alleged that the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Janata Dal (United)-Congress members were engaged in a fight involving shoes and microphones in 2006, Sonia Gandhi was involved in an incident in 2012 besides the commotion and injuries to parliamentarians in 2014 during the creation of Telangana as a separate state.   -- PTI
16:41   Cong seeks probe into 'man-made floods on PM's birthday'
The Congress in Gujarat on Thursday demanded that a special investigation team (SIT) be formed to probe into the flood-like situation in three districts of the state after a huge amount of water was released from the Sardar Sarovar dam on September 17.

Calling the flood-like situation in parts of Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara districts a man-made disaster, the opposition party has demanded an SIT to identify and punish those responsible for it.

A delegation led by state Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil and their legislative party leader in the assembly, Amit Chavda, on Thursday called on Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar over this issue and handed over a memorandum seeking his intervention.

Through the memorandum, the opposition party demanded that an SIT headed by a sitting or retired high court judge be formed to investigate this man-made disaster and to identify and punish officials behind it.

The Congress has alleged that excess water from the Sardar Sarovar dam, situated in Narmada district, was suddenly released into the Narmada river on September 17 instead of doing it gradually over days to please Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his birthday (on September 17).

Despite the rain data of the catchment areas of the Narmada river suggesting that the reservoir would receive a huge amount of water, the dam authorities deliberately held back the water to ensure that it gets filled up on September 17, said Congress in its memorandum.

The party further said that the officials at the dam then released a staggering 18 lakh cusecs of water downstream of the river by opening the gates shortly after Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reached the site on the morning of September 17 to celebrate the occasion of the dam achieving capacity and wish the PM on his birthday.

According to the opposition party, the released water caused enormous damage to properties of lakhs of people, including shopkeepers, fishermen, local residents and farmers, living near the banks of the river in Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara districts.

Terming the situation a man-made disaster, the Congress also demanded a special compensation package for the flood-affected residents in these districts.

Though the BJP government has already announced a relief package for farmers and residents who incurred losses, the Congress said the compensation offered by the government is very less.

Alleging that the rule book was not followed in dam operations, the opposition party demanded that measures suggested by the World Bank, Morse Commission, and researchers of the Vadodara-based MS University be implemented to avoid such a situation in the downstream of the river.

The party also demanded that farmers, cattle-rearers, shopkeepers, families and other residents living close to the river bank downstream be declared project-affected people of the dam and considered eligible to get benefits like other PAPs.

The ruling BJP has already denied the allegation, claiming that a sudden influx of water into the dam, located near Ekta Nagar, in a span of 36 hours forced the authorities to release 18 lakh cusecs of water downstream.  -- PTI
Representational image. Pic: ANI Photo
Representational image. Pic: ANI Photo
15:55   Cyclonic circulation over Konkan, Goa coast: Skymet
The city of Mumbai has seen 30 mm during the last 24 hours, reports the Skymet weather team. 

'In fact, Mumbai has seen rains almost every day after receiving the heaviest spell of rain of September to the tune of 111 mm. Rains have been moderate thereafter, but almost every day there has been rain. 

'A cyclonic circulation is over the Konkan coast and Goa and will remain there for the next two to three days. Also, an east-west trough which is in proximity to the region will also aid these rains. 

'Mumbai is expected to see moderate rains even in the next coming days. This activity will continue with decent showers until October 2, ceasing thereafter. In fact, this will possibly be the last spell of rains for Mumbai, making them the parting showers of Monsoon 2023,' the team has written, here.
15:44   Job-seeker hangs himself in Kota
A 20-year-old government job aspirant allegedly hanged himself in his house in the Kunhari area in Kota, the police said on Thursday. 

The body of Tanveer Khan was on Wednesday afternoon found hanging in his rented house at Krishna Vihar Colony where he lived with his father and younger sister, DSP Khiv Singh Rathore said. 

No suicide note was recovered from the deceased's room and the actual reason behind the suspected suicide is yet to be ascertained, Sub-Inspector at Kunhari police station Naval Kishore said. 

Khan was preparing on his own for competitive exams and was not enrolled with any coaching centre, Kishore said. 

The family hailed from Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh, he added. 

According to preliminary investigation, Tanveer, who had passed Class 12, was recently offered a private job with a good salary but his father, who taught chemistry at a coaching institute here, did not allow him to take it up and insisted that he continued his preparation for a government job, the SI said. 

The body was handed over to the deceased's father late Wednesday evening after post-mortem, the SI said, adding that a case has been lodged in the matter, he added.
15:28   UP cops plant gun to frame youth, sent to police lines
Two police personnel have been removed from their place of posting and sent to the police lines for allegedly placing a pistol in a motorcycle and later arresting the two-wheeler's owner on charge of carrying the firearm illegally, officials said on Thursday.

The youth was arrested on Tuesday.

Family members of the youth alleged that two police personnel -- Dinesh and Santosh -- searched their house in Khudawali village claiming that they had information about illegal arms kept there.

They recovered a country-made pistol kept in a bike. However, the CCTV footage was scanned and it was found that the two police personnel themselves kept the arms in the bike, the youth's kin alleged.

The family members approached Inspector General of Police Nachiketa Jhan and showed him the CCTV footage after which Senior Superintendent of Police Rohit Singh Sajwan was asked to probe the matter, an official said.

Based on the CCTV footage, the two accused policemen were removed from their place posting at Kharkhauda police station and sent to the police lines.

ASP (Rural) Kamlesh Bahadur was probing the matter, Sajwan said.

Reacting to the incident, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav, in a post on social media site X, said, 'First they keep it themselves and then recover it, their raid and detention is false.'  -- PTI
15:24   Iconic agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan dead
Renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan and the driving force behind the nation's 'Green Revolution', passed away in Chennai on Thursday. 

He was 98 and is survived by three daughters.

The celebrated agriculture icon was being treated for age-related illness for quite some time, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation sources said.

Dr MS Swaminathan has spoken to's Shobha Warrier multiple times. Here are a few links to his interviews.
12:53   US Embassy in India hands over 1 millionth visa
The United States Mission to India on Thursday surpassed its goal to process one million non-immigrant visa applications this year with Ambassador Eric Garcetti personally handing over the one millionth visa to a couple, who will be heading to the US to attend their son's graduation at MIT.

Dr Ranju Singh, senior consultant, Lady Hardinge College was elated at receiving an email from the US Embassy about hers being the one millionth visa this year. Her husband Puneet Dargan, was granted the next visa.

The couple will be travelling to the US in May, 2024.

Greeting the couple as 'Mr and Mrs One million', Ambassador Garcetti enquired about their travel plans to the US and made suggestions about what not to miss in the country as a tourist.

"I couldn't be happier today, happy for India, Indians and the United States. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and President (Joe) Biden had said lets do a better job in moving faster on the visas and so the Ministry of External Affairs here approved more bodies in places like Hyderabad...more people who can work on these visas, we changed our systems, we worked harder and smarter and we hit a million visa applications processed this year," the ambassador said.

"Our partnership with India is one of the United States' most important bilateral relationships, and in fact one of the most important relationships in the world. The ties between our people are stronger than ever, and we will continue our record-setting volume of visa work in the coming months to give as many Indian applicants as possible the opportunity to travel to the United States and experience the US-India friendship firsthand," he added. 

The Mission has already surpassed the total number of cases processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20 per cent more applications than in pre-pandemic 2019.

"We got an email after we had finished our visa interviews that we are supposed to collect our visas, we were told that we were the one millionth...the Ambassador meeting us in person was a great moment for us. We are looking forward to going to the US, we will be there at MIT to celebrate our son's proud day and then explore the country as tourists," Dr Singh told PTI.

Dargan informed that their son is currently pursuing his Masters in Financial Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"This will be our first trip to the US. We are really looking forward to it," he said.

Last year over 1.2 million Indians visited the United States. Indians now represent over 10 per cent of all visa applicants worldwide, including 20 per cent of all student visa applicants and 65 per cent of all H&L-category (employment) visa applicants.

According to a statement by the US Embassy here, recognising the continued high demand for US visas, the United States continues to invest heavily in our operations in India.

"In the past year, the Mission has expanded its staffing to facilitate more visa processing than ever before. The Mission has made significant capital improvements to existing facilities, such as the US Consulate in Chennai, and has inaugurated a new Consulate building in Hyderabad.

"The Mission has also implemented strategies to increase efficiency, extending interview waiver eligibility to new visa categories and utilising remote work to allow staff around the world to contribute to Indian visa processing. Early next year, the Mission plans to implement a pilot program that would allow domestic visa renewal for qualified H&L-category employment visa applicants," it said.   -- PTI
TN BJP president K Annamalai. Pic: ANI Photo
TN BJP president K Annamalai. Pic: ANI Photo
12:22   BJP core committee to discuss breakup with AIADMK
The BJP, which was initially dazed over the AIADMK's decision to break up ties with it in Tamil Nadu, will discuss the issue and the other political developments at the party's core committee and executive committee meeting soon, a senior leader said on Thursday. 

Terming the Dravidian major's announcement to part ways with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance as "unfortunate", BJP national co-incharge of Tamil Nadu Dr Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy said the matter will be discussed at the party's state core committee and executive committee meeting soon. 

"I can't officially comment on the alliance. The central leadership is watching the development in Tamil Nadu and they will take a call," Reddy told PTI. 

He however, remained tight slipped when asked if the party leadership has sought a "status report" on the AIADMK parting ways with the BJP, from Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 

Another senior leader in the BJP indicated that only those senior leaders already in touch with the AIADMK may be asked for a report on the ground reality and added that the decision on alliance will be made known only by the high command. 

"At present we are involved in observing the Seva Pakhwada fortnight from September 17 to October 2 (coinciding with the 73rd birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi). The meeting of the respective committees will be convened after October 2," Reddy, a former MLC, said. 

The AIADMK called off its ties with the BJP, and announced on Monday that it will lead a separate alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha poll.
Representational image
Representational image
12:06   Govt doctor suspended in Manipur for 'inappropriate' post
A government doctor was suspended in Manipur for allegedly making an "inappropriate comment" on social media, a notification said. 

He was a medical officer posted at the Tamenglong district, it said. 

The doctor was suspended with immediate effect for "posting/ sharing inappropriate comment on social media which is conduct unbecoming of a government servant", it added. 

He shall not leave the headquarters at Imphal without obtaining prior permission from the government, the notification issued on Wednesday said. 

The nature of the post was, however, not clarified in the notification.
11:42   Srinagar SSP transferred to violence-hit Manipur
Senior Superintendent of Police of Srinagar Rakesh Balwal has been transferred to his parent cadre Manipur where the situation has been tense over the past few months.

According to an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Balwal has been prematurely transferred from the AGMUT cadre to his parent state.

The 2012 batch IPS officer of the Manipur cadre took charge as SSP Srinagar in late 2021.

Before that, Balwal was on deputation to the NIA for three-and-half years as Superintendent of Police and was a member of the probe team that investigated the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives.

More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.  -- PTI

IMAGE: SSP Srinagar Rakesh Balwal. Photograph: ANI Photo
11:30   Ganpati visarjan: Mumbaicha Raja procession begins
Mumbaicha Raja idol of Ganesh Galli being taken for immersion in Mumbai.

Immersion of idols of Lord Ganesh has begun on the last day of the 10-day festival on Anant Chaturdashi today.

Photo: Sahil Salvi for
10:55   Nikki Haley slams Ramaswamy for joining TikTok
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has slammed her fellow Indian-American rival in the Republican primary race Vivek Ramaswamy for joining Chinese-owned TikTok, saying 'every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber'.

Haley, the former two-term Governor from South Carolina and the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, was very critical of the 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur Ramaswamy and the two entered into a war of words during the second Republican presidential primary debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley in California on Wednesday.

"Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber. This is infuriating because TikTok is one of the most dangerous social media apps we could have," Haley told Ramaswamy during the debate as the two entered into verbal duels multiple times during the two-hour-long debate boycotted by former US president Donald Trump and the current frontrunner.

Haley, 51, jumped in when Ramaswamy was responding to a question about him joining TikTok, a social media site that has been banned by many countries, including India.

Asked about his move to join the video-sharing app TikTok, despite it being banned on government-issued devices due to concerns about its parent company's ties to the Chinese government, Ramaswamy said, "Part of how we win elections is reaching the next generation of young Americans where we are."

"Kids under 16 should not be on addictive social media," Ramaswamy said, "but we're only going to ever get to declaring independence from China, which I favour if we actually win."

"This is infuriating because TikTok is one of the most dangerous social media apps that we could have. And...honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say," Haley said.

"One hundred and fifty million people are on TikTok. That means they can get your contacts, they can get your financial information, they can get your emails, they can get your text messages, they can get all of these things. China knows exactly what they're doing," she said.

In February, Haley said under her leadership, Communist China will end up on the ash heap of history.

"We can't trust you. We can't trust you. We can't have TikTok in our kids' lives," Haley told Ramaswamy.

Ramaswamy fought back. " I think we will be better served as a Republican party if we are not sitting here hurling personal insults and actually have a legitimate debate about policy following Reagan's example and in his honour," he said.

"And the answer is, that is what actually makes our country strong, and I believe in these people. I believe in these people on this stage, they're good people, but let's have a legitimate discussion," he said.

Haley was not the only candidate on the stage to attack Ramaswamy, who was among the youngest on the stage.

Haley is the only woman in the Republican party's presidential aspirants. The Democratic Party also attacked Ramaswamy through a press release.  -- PTI
10:35   Violent protests rock Imphal, DC office ransacked
Violent protests over the death of two youths in Manipur continued till the early hours of Thursday with a mob vandalising the deputy commissioner's office in Imphal West and torching two four-wheelers, officials said.

A fresh bout of violence, this time led by students, broke out in the state capital on Tuesday after photos of the bodies of two youths who went missing in July went viral on social media.

Last night, the protesters clashed with security personnel in Uripok, Yaiskul, Sagolband and Tera areas, prompting the forces to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to control the situation, officials said.

The protesters blocked roads with burning tyres, boulders and iron pipes to prevent the security forces from entering residential areas, they said.

A mob also vandalised the DC office and torched two four-wheelers.

CRPF personnel brought the situation under control, they added. Curfew was re-imposed in the two districts -- Imphal East and West -- as the security forces combatted the violent protests, which saw 65 demonstrators being injured since Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a BJP office at Khongjam in Thoubal district was set on fire, police said.

In a statement, the Manipur Police said that a mob targetted a police vehicle and burnt it, while assaulting a policeman and snatching his weapon.

Stern action will be taken against those indulging in such crimes, it said, adding that a search operation was underway for the recovery of the snatched arms and the arrest of the accused.

The Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights, meanwhile, urged the security forces not to use lathi-charge, tear gas shells and rubber bullets 'arbitrarily and abruptly' against teenagers.

More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel fire tear gas to disperse the students who are protesting against the deaths of two youths and demanding peace in violence-hit Manipur, in Imphal on Wednesday. Photograph: ANI Photo
Photo: Sahil Salvi
Photo: Sahil Salvi
09:52   Ganesh visarjan: Milad-Un-Nabi procession deferred
More than 19,000 police personnel have been deployed in Mumbai to thwart any untoward incident during processions to immerse idols of Lord Ganesh on the last day of the 10-day festival on Thursday, according to officials.

In Pune, more than 7,000 police personnel, officers and home guards are deployed for the idol immersion processions, they said.

The processions on 'Anant Chaturdashi', the last day of the festival, continue for several hours as people flock the roads to bid adieu to Lord Ganesh. 

Citizens have been asked to avoid entering the sea during immersion and seek help from trained personnel.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also appealed to people to stay away from dark or secluded areas during immersion.

The BMC has posted 1,337 lifeguards, including 1,035 at 69 natural water bodies and 302 at around 200 artificial ponds, and arranged 53 motorboats at natural water bodies, an official said on Wednesday.

Various Muslim organisations and religious leaders have decided to take out Eid-e-Milad processions on Friday instead of Thursday in view of Anant Chaturdashi on an appeal made by the police.

In Mumbai, police personnel to be on security duty include 16,250 constables, 2,866 officers, 45 assistant commissioners of police, 25 deputy commissioners of police, eight additional commissioners of police and other senior officers, an official said.

In addition, 35 platoons of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), a company of the Rapid Action Force, Quick Response Teams (QRTs) and home guards will remain present at important locations in Mumbai, he said. 

Thousands of household and public Ganesh idols will be immersed at 73 places, including at Girgaon, Dadar, Juhu, Marve and Aksa beaches in the metropolis.

All the processions in Mumbai will be closely monitored by CCTV cameras, the official said, adding that policemen in plain clothes will mingle in the crowd to ensure law and order is maintained.

Separate control rooms have been set up to monitor the immersion processions, the official added.

A total of 10,000 civic employees have also been deployed in Mumbai and 250 control rooms, including 72 at natural water bodies and 178 at artificial ponds, have been set up to monitor the immersion of Ganesh idols.

The BMC has also placed 468 steel plates at various sea-fronts so that vehicles carrying idols do not get stuck in the sand.

Besides, 46 German rafts are being arranged for immersion of huge idols in the sea.

A total of 242 inspection towers have been set up at natural water bodies and artificial points, apart from the deployment of fire-fighting vehicles and trained manpower at the immersion spots.

Also, 96 ambulances will remain parked at the immersion spots, an official said.   -- PTI
09:28   Indian national convicted for $2.8 million healthcare fraud in US
An Indian national has been convicted by a federal jury in Michigan for orchestrating a $2.8 million healthcare fraud and engaging in money laundering.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Yogesh Pancholi, 43, owned and operated Shring Home Care Inc, a home health company based in the US state of Michigan.

Despite being excluded from billing Medicare, Pancholi purchased Shring using the names, signatures, and personal identifying information of others to conceal his ownership of the company, a statement said.

In a two-month period, Pancholi and his co-conspirators billed and were paid nearly $2.8 million by Medicare for services that were never provided.

Pancholi then transferred these funds through bank accounts belonging to shell corporations and eventually into his accounts in India.

After being indicted, and on the eve of trial, Pancholi, using a pseudonym, wrote false and malicious emails to various federal government agencies alleging a government witness had committed various crimes and should not be allowed to remain in the US in an attempt to keep the witness from testifying, federal prosecutors said.

The federal jury in the Eastern District of Michigan convicted Pancholi of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, two counts of substantive health care fraud, two counts of money laundering, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of witness tampering.

The sentencing is scheduled for January 10.

He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the conspiracy and witness tampering convictions, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each of the healthcare fraud and money laundering counts. -- PTI
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Sukhpal Singh Khaira
09:06   Punjab Cong MLA held in 2015 drugs case: Kin
Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira was taken into custody by the Punjab Police in connection with a 2015 drugs case on Thursday morning, family members of the legislator claimed.

However, there was no official word on Khaira being taken into police custody.

A family member of the Congress MLA went live on Facebook showing that a team of Punjab Police has reached their residence to apprehend Khaira.

In the video, Khaira could be seen arguing with the police team and asking them to show him the arrest warrant.

The Bholath legislator could also be seen asking for the identity of the police officers who were part of the raiding team. When Khaira asked the team where he was being taken, a police official told him that he was being taken to Jalalabad in Fazilka.

Slamming the Bhagwant Mann government, the Congress MLA claimed that he was being apprehended in a fake case and that 'jungle raj' was prevailing in the state.

The drugs case was registered in March 2015 at Jalalabad in Fazilka.

Nine people were booked in the case and later convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

In 2017, the Supreme Court stayed the trial court proceedings against Khaira who was summoned as an additional accused in the matter.   -- PTI
08:55   BJP, Cong leaders share stage in protest against Trinamool
Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Suvendu Adhikari and Congress leader Kaustav Bagchi on Wednesday participated in a protest rally of aspiring candidates for school jobs in West Bengal, triggering accusations from the ruling Trinamool Congress of a 'covert alliance' among the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Congress, and the saffron camp in the state.

The demonstration was held by the protesting school job aspirants at Camac Street in South Kolkata, where TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee's office is located.

"The school job aspirants, who are suffering due to the corruption of the TMC government, have organised a protest rally and have invited me to participate in it as the leader of the opposition in the assembly. What is the harm if Kaustav Bagchi also joins the protest?" Adhikari told reporters.

He also said that anyone who wants to fight against TMC's 'misrule and corruption' is welcome to join such a demonstration.

Regarding his participation in the programme, Bagchi said, "He has no problem taking part in any rally or programme against the corrupt TMC. I have no qualms in walking with Suvendu Adhikari against the TMC government."

Along with posters against the TMC, placards of the INDIA alliance were also seen at the rally.

"We have kept the placards of INDIA alliance as we want the members of INDIA opposition alliance to know about the corruption happening in Bengal," a protester said.

The TMC, the Congress and the CPI-M are part of the INDIA alliance to fight against the BJP at the national level.

Reacting to the development, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said BJP and Congress leaders' jointly participating in a rally only reflects the tacit understanding among them.

"If Suvendu Adhikari and Kaustav Bagchi participate in a rally together, it will not yield any result. Both are losers as politicians in Bengal. But it is for the Congress to answer whether they support the BJP in Bengal or not," he said.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury declined to attach much importance and said, "Kaustav Bagchi must have gone there in personal capacity and not as Congress leader."

"The TMC doesn't need to lecture us on how to fight the BJP. But fighting against the saffron camp doesn't mean that we will turn a blind eye to the corruption of the TMC in Bengal," he said.

Senior TMC leader and former state education minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged involvement in the school jobs scam in July last year, is in CBI custody in the same case.   -- PTI
08:29   Jaishankar to meet Blinken today amid Canada row
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to meet United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, DC on Thursday, amid the diplomatic rumpus between India and Canada stirred over the killing of a Khalistani separatist.

Although officials from both sides are tightlipped about the agenda of the meeting, the latest diplomatic crisis between two of America's friends, its traditional ally Canada and India, is expected to come up prominently during the talks.

"I don't want to preview the conversations he (Blinken) will have in that meeting (with Jaishankar), but as we've made clear, we've raised this; we have engaged with our Indian counterparts on this and encouraged them to cooperate with the Canadian investigation, and we continue to encourage them to cooperate," State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.

He was responding to questions about the meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department in Washington, DC on Thursday afternoon (which is about mid-night local India time).

The two leaders are expected to pose for pictures ahead of the meeting and are not expected to take any questions from the media.

While the meeting between the two top diplomats was scheduled much before the Canadian crisis broke out, the US has been urging India to cooperate in the Canadian investigation into the killing of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia early this year.

Miller said that the issue did not come up for discussion in New York during the Quad ministerial that involved foreign ministers of the US, India, Japan and Australia.

"It was a meeting of a number of countries and it did not come up in that meeting. But we have engaged with our Indian counterparts on this issue and urged them to fully cooperate with the Canadian investigation," the State Department spokesperson said.

Jaishankar arrived in the American capital from New York after attending the annual General Assembly meetings of the United Nations on Tuesday.

In addition to his meeting with Blinken, the external affairs minister is expected to have a series of meetings with senior officials of the Biden administration, review the progress made between the two countries after the historic State Visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and talk about other regional and global issues.

The minister is also expected to engage with the diaspora, think-tank community and interact with leaders from the corporate sector.   -- PTI
00:09   Oppn slams BJP over Bidhuri being given poll duty
Opposition leaders on Thursday took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party over the ruling party giving its Lok Sabha MP Ramesh Bidhuri, in the eye of a storm for his derogatory comments against BSP MP Danish Ali in Lok Sabha, poll responsibility in Rajasthan's Tonk district.
In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas' yeh sab hai inka bakwaas."
TMC MP Mahua Moitra also slammed the BJP and said Bidhuri had been "rewarded" for his remarks against a Muslim MP.
"How does a showcaused person be given new role by @BJP4India? @narendramodi ji - is this your Sneha Yatra for minorities, your love outreach?" she said on X.
With the Gurjar community present in large numbers in the Tonk district, which has four assembly seats including the one held by senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot, the BJP believes Bidhuri can help it swing the votes as he is also from the same caste.
Pilot is also from the Gurjar community.
Bidhuri's responsibility will be akin to the BJP's poll in-charge of the district, party sources said.
Bidhuri also posted on X that he attended a coordination meeting for the Tonk district held in Jaipur. Rajasthan BJP president C P Joshi chaired the meeting.
The BJP MP from South Delhi had been issued a show cause notice by the party after his derogatory words targeting Ali in Lok Sabha last week sparked massive outrage with the opposition demanding his suspension from the House.
Bidhuri's remarks targeting Ali during a discussion on the success of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission last Thursday sparked a furore, with opposition leaders calling for stringent action against the BJP MP.
Opposition parties have rallied around Ali and targeted the BJP on its MP's remarks. -- PTI