Showing posts with label india. Show all posts
Showing posts with label india. Show all posts

Friday, 15 June 2018

Newspaper editor Shujaat Bukhaari and two security guards killed by gunmen in Kashmir

Credits Reuters

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a prominent newspaper editor and two security guards in Kashmir on Thursday, police said.

Syed Shujaat Bukhari, editor of the Rising Kashmir newspaper, was leaving his office in the city centre of Srinagar when he was shot by three assailants on motorbikes, Senior Superintendent of Police Imtiyaz Ismail told Reuters.

Bukhari, who was given police protection following an attack on him 18 years ago, was hit by multiple bullets fired at a close range, Ismail said. There was no immediate word from police on the identity or possible motive of the gunmen.

Bukhari had been a strong advocate of peace in disputed Kashmir, at the heart of decades of hostility between India and Pakistan, both of which claim the Muslim majority region.

India had suspended operations against militants fighting its rule in Kashmir during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan which began last month, after weeks of sporadic violence there.

Waseem Ahmad, a local journalist, told Reuters that he heard gunfire ringing out and, reaching the location, found Bukhari and his two guards lying in a pool of blood in their car.

“Extremely shocking news,” said Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who broke down in front of cameras.

“Terrorism has hit a new low with Shujaat’s killing,” Mufti said on Twitter. “We must unite against forces seeking to undermine our attempts to restore peace. Justice will be done.”

Bukhari had been part of India’s delegation for informal peace talks on Kashmir with Pakistani representatives held in Dubai last year. He was instrumental in organising several conferences for Kashmir peace.

Condemnation of his killing in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, and condolences poured in from across the country.

Calling Bukhari a fearless journalist, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter the killing was an act of cowardice and “an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir”.

More than 130 people have been killed this year in militant violence in Kashmir.

“Forces inimical to restoring peace in the Kashmir valley have silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace,” the Press Club of India said in a statement, mourning the loss of Bukhari.

India has long accused Pakistan of training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) that separates the two sides in the region, a charge Islamabad denies.

The attack on Bukhari coincided with discussions being held over an extension of a ceasefire by security forces in Kashmir.

Earlier, India rejected a U.N. report that accused it of having used excessive force in disputed Kashmir to kill and wound civilians since 2016, and which called for an international inquiry into accusations of rights violations.

Source Reuters
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

UAE sentences Indian man to 10 years for spying

A UAE court has sentenced an Indian expat to 10 years in prison followed by deportation for espionage, local press reported Thursday.

An Abu Dhabi appeals court found an unnamed man guilty of "sharing sensitive information about movements of military ships" with an unspecified country, according to the Gulf News daily.

The United Arab Emirates last year sentenced an Indian citizen to five years in prison for spying for his country, Gulf News reported at the time.

A number of other expatriates have been convicted of espionage in the UAE in recent years, including Pakistanis and Qataris.

Source NewIndianExpress
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Video - Kashmiri cricket club wears Pakistani jersey, sings 'Pak sarzamin shad bad'

New Delhi: A local Kashmiri cricket club has triggered a huge controversy after a video surfaced on the social media showing its players wearing Pakistani cricket team's uniform. The team members also sang the Pakistani national anthem before the start of the match.
As per reports, the match was held at the Wayil grounds in Ganderbal on April 2 – separatists had called for a hartal that day to protest against PM Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu and Kashmir for the Chenani-Nashri tunnel.

The team that wore the Pakistani green is named after Baba Darya Ud Din, a popular saint whose shrine is situated in Ganderbal. Their opponents wore white.

InUth reports that prior to the start of the match, the commentator announced through loudspeakers that Pakistani national anthem would be played before the match as a 'mark of respect'. The report adds that the playground is located next to the local police station.

“We wanted our team to look different and also wanted to show fellow Kashmiris that we haven’t forgotten Kashmir issue, so we found this particular theme as most appropriate and catchy,” InUth quoted a player as saying.

Watch the video:

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Friday, 5 August 2016

Gunmen kill 13 in market in India's northeast Assam state Bodo

Attackers wearing military uniforms shot dead at least 13 people and wounded 15 on Friday in a busy market area in a town in India's restive northeastern state of Assam, in an attack blamed by the authorities on a regional separatist group.

The gunmen fired indiscriminately and threw hand grenades at the crowded weekly market in Kokrajhar, a town 220 km (137 miles) by road west of the state's commercial capital Guwahati, eyewitnesses said.

One assailant was killed and security forces were in pursuit of three or four others hiding in a nearby forest, Assam police chief Mukesh Sahay told reporters.

Sahay said police had recovered an AK-47 rifle and explosives from the dead gunman, as well as a three-wheeler van the assailants had arrived in.

He blamed the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit) group, a militant outfit fighting for a separate homeland for the indigenous Bodo tribespeople. The dead gunman was yet to be identified, said Sahay.

A senior home ministry official in New Delhi said preliminary reports indicated the attack, one of the deadliest in recent years in a region with a history of sectarian and separatist bloodshed, was carried out by the group.

"Police have launched a hunt to trace insurgents hiding near the incident spot. It is a militant attack and we will be sending a team from Delhi to investigate further," the official said.

Assam, a remote and underdeveloped state, has suffered from years of ethnic and tribal insurgencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won power in a state election in May for the first time after pledging to increase spending in the state.

"This attack is intended to destabilise peace in Assam," said Himanta Biswa Sarma, the state's finance and health minister and a member of the BJP. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Violence in Assam and the wider northeast has fallen as more militant groups have called ceasefires, although attacks by one community against another are not uncommon.

Militants fighting for a Bodo homeland killed at least 70 people, most of them tea-plantation workers from other parts of India, in a series of attacks in Assam in late 2014.

(Reporting by Biswajyoti Das in GUWAHATI and Rupam Jain in NEW DELHI; Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Christian Schmollinger)\

Source Reuters
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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

PM Narendra Modi speaks on Kashmir Violence in a high profile meeting with Cabinet members and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing a high-level meeting to take stock of the on-going violence in Kashmir. The Prime Minister returned early this morning after concluding his four-nation Africa tour aimed at enhancing ties with the continent. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, meanwhile, has cancelled his visit to the United States in view of the on-going situation. He was to attend the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue.

The meeting is expected to be attended by senior members of the cabinet including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar among others. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is also likely to attend the meeting.

On Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached out to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and discussed solutions to the on-going unrest.

Singh also held a meeting earlier in the day with senior officials of the Home Ministry and security agencies and directed them to take measures to ensure swift return of normalcy. An additional 800 CRPF personnel were rushed to Kashmir as reinforcements for the 1,200 CRPF personnel sent earlier to assist the state administration.

Strict restrictions continue to remain inposed across Kashmir valley. Militant commander Burhan Wani was killed in South Kashmir last week. Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi
NSA Ajit Doval, who was with Prime Minister Modi on his Africa trip, cut short his visit and returned to the national capital on Monday, confident that solutions to the unrest will be arrived at.

“If there are problems, there are solutions. We are quite confident and competent of finding solutions,” Doval told PTI.

He attended a meeting chaired by Singh and attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh.

The Valley is seeing protests after security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last week. The death toll has risen to 30, including the death of one police official.

Meanwhile, the CPM has asked the government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the unrest.

“The administration should desist from using excessive force against the protesters… Those responsible for killing innocent unarmed protesters must be identified and punished,” the party said in a statement.

UN expresses concern

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir amid rising tensions in the valley following the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani last week.

Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the UN Chief has noted with concern the situation unfolding in Kashmir.

Dujarric rejected remarks by a Pakistani journalist, saying “no one is denying that we are concerned about the situation in Kashmir. The fact that the Secretary General did not raise it as he did not raise many other critical situations around the world does not mean that he is brushing anything aside.”

Source IndianExpress
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Curfew in Kashmir after the death of rebel leader Burhan Wani

An indefinite curfew has been imposed by the Indian government in Kashmir after the rebel commander Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian forces.Killing Burhan Wani has been said as an achievement for the Indian forces against those opposed to the Indian rule.

The residents of Kashmir area , which includes a number of towns and cities , are told to stay inside their homes by forces present in Kashmir.

Burhan Wani is the chief of operations of Indian Kashmir’s largest rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen.He was killed in fighting on Friday after Indian troops, acting on a tip, cordoned a forested village in the Kokernag area, said police director general K Rajendra.

In his early 20s, Wani had become the face of militancy in Kashmir over the last five years. He was a household name and his video clips and pictures were widely circulated among young people in Kashmir. Unlike the rebel leaders of the early 1990s, Wani did not cover his face in videos widely circulated on phones and the internet.

Insp Genl Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani described the killing as the “biggest success against militants” in recent years. As news of his death spread, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in several places in Kashmir, denouncing his death and chanting slogans against Indian rule.

Indian officials, fearing more violent protests in the troubled region, suspended an annual Hindu pilgrimage to a mountain cave which draws about half a million people each year. Officials also suspended mobile phone services in southern parts of Kashmir and blocked mobile internet in the rest of the region to prevent anti-India demonstrators from massing.

Shops, businesses, schools and government offices were shut following the security lockdown and a general strike called by anti-India separatists. Authorities also postponed school and college examinations and suspended rail services.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in entirety by both. On India’s side, separatist politicians and rebels reject India’s sovereignty over Kashmir and have been fighting for independence or merger with Pakistan since 1989. Separatist leaders asked people to march to southern Tral town for Wani’s funeral on Saturday.

Rajendra said Wani’s body was handed over to the family but warned that no one would be allowed to march to Tral. “Only locals would be allowed to participate in his funeral,” he said. However, hundreds of protesters came out in several neighbourhoods in southern Kashmir, chanting: “Go India! Go back,” and: “We want freedom.”

Most citizens in the mostly Muslim region have long resented the Indian presence, and support rebel demands for independent or merging with Pakistan. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over control of Kashmir, since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Source Guardian 
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

20 Instagram Streets of India Pictures that are a joy to watch

Picture by timesofwander
School Children in the streets of India

Picture by @himshootz

Picture by immanuelabrahammathew
Holi Celebrations in Streets of India

Picture by aimeescompass

Picture by yash_271o
An elephant on the streets of India

Picture by thesoultripping
Kerala God's own country

Picture by   droneacharya0010
Indian Women takes a dip in Ganga in Kumbh Ujjain

Picture by unlimitedindia
City Palace Udaipur

Picture by    hue_skew
Fishing near Delta Beach

Pic by 2backpack
Indian Sadhu Smiling with an orange in hand in Streets of India

Picture by cameravore
Sadhu in Kumbh Mela , Ujjain with his body coloured blue and attire as of Lord Shiva

Picture by maxliebermansydney
Aapka Tea Stall

Picture by rana.konwar
Indian Sadhu in the position for meditation

Picture by samiya_sharma

Picture by whereismaryj

Picture By arora.sagar

Picture by whereismaryj
Sadhus pose with girl for a picture

Picture by walkingobserver
People sitting at the back of a mini truck in NH1 near AmritsaR

Picture by nick_with_his_pic
A ragpicker in the streets of India

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Share if you liked the pics.

Source Instagram

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Girl hit for asking more of mid-day meal, father killed for protesting

Bihar schools finding it hard to meet demand at Rs 3.86 per child per day; education official says poor parents also send along siblings to school for free meals. 
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Monday, 18 January 2016

Bihar 's IT Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary under scrutiny as photos with snakes go viral

Photos of Bihar Education and IT Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary holding snakes have gone viral on the internet, prompting the Grand Alliance partners to voice disapproval.

One photo shows Choudhary, also the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief, holding a snake at home. Another shows state Congress vice-president Subodh Kumar seeking his blessings.
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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Editorial : The Silence of the Dadri event

Since the past few days there have been a lot of talks regarding an event where a man was killed because he ate beef. The man belonged to the Muslim community. It really saddened me, as even in the 21st century, where the world science is in its prime, there are some people in my country who are fighting in the name of religion. Religion fights happen in many other nations but since I belong to India it is my duly responsibility to start the charity with home. Now let’s address the most debatable part of the issue, every person in the media or in the opposite political party wants Modi to speak about it. First of all, what do we want him to speak? That he condemn the death, he’ll give some benefits to the family of the victim and so on. Isn’t it obvious? 

Still despite so many issues going on, the most talked about one is the silence of the prime minister over a death of a common poor man. Ironically, if the man was killed for some other reason, will the media ask for prime minister’s words on it? Will then the other political leaders ask for the prime minister to go and meet the family? Now my point is, giving special emphasis to one communal event shows your communalism, not the person who is treating it like every other criminal event that happens is the country and is solved by the process as defined in the law. It is the people who are raising it real viruses of this disease not the prime minister who is silent.

 There are some decisions of the prime minster that intrigued me, about which I may write later, but this is something in which I completely support him. This is not just one time thing but has been happening since a BJP leader became the prime minister. We all know RSS is infamous as a religious oriented party but looks like the odds are turning against the people who are using this again and again to put them down and this time they made a mockery of a death of an innocent person and that too on a worldwide platform, i.e. social network. Sad to see world’s greatest democracy turning into a hypocrisy.

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Pakistan violates ceasefire again

1.    Pak army violates ceasefire in 3 sectors in J&K.
2.    Heavy firing in Krishna Ghati sector last night.

3.    Pak army resorts to ceasefire violation In Bimber Gali sector.
4.    Early morning ceasefire violation in the Pawalwala and Bimber Gali sector.
5.    Indian army responding in equal measure.
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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

India blocks more than 800 porn sites wHY? rEASON?

Communications ministry cracks down on adult sites amid ongoing legal debate

Internet service providers in India have blocked access to more than 800 pornographic websites, reportedly at the order of the government. The Hindustan Times, citing sources at India's communications ministry, reports that ISPs were asked to block websites that were "found to be spreading anti-social activities." Indian ISPs tell the newspaper that they received letters ordering the ban on Saturday, with the government's Information technology secretary adding that the ministry was acting under "court directives." Other sites are reportedly under review.

"Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check," a communications ministry spokesman tells Reuters. "We don't want them to become a social nuisance."

India's Supreme Court declined to pass an interim ban on online pornography last month, following a petition brought by advocates who argued that crime against women was being fueled by easy access to porn. The court said it didn't have the authority to issue a ban, saying it would violate constitutionally protected personal freedoms, though it did agree with the petitioners' call for greater control over adult sites, and the case is ongoing.


News of the apparent ban began circulating on social media over the weekend, with users reporting that sites like YouPorn and Pornhub had been replaced with blank white pages. Others reported seeing a message in their browsers that read: "Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India." The full list of blacklisted sites, obtained by the Centre for Internet and Society think tank, includes 857 URLs.

A communications ministry spokesman tells The Financial Times that the restrictions are temporary, and that users with virtual private networks (VPNs) would still be able to access porn sites. "It isn’t that they are being banned lock, stock and barrel," the ministry said. "The [Supreme Court] justice noted that free and open access to these websites.... should be controlled, but these sites will continue to be available through the mechanism of a VPN."

The move drew swift outrage from Indian social media users, along with criticism from legal experts. Under the conservative government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has sought to tighten its control over the internet, raising concerns over free speech.

"There is no proper justification that they have given for banning all porn, rather than child porn or revenge porn or something like that," Pranesh Prakash, of the Centre for Internet and Society, tells The Financial Times. "The reaction is heavy handed, and has been done under the cloak of secrecy."

sOURCE The Verge
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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Haryana's Malik twins become South Asia's fastest Explorers Grand Slam climbers

Tashi and Nungashi Malik, the first twin sisters to climb Mount Everest together, have now become the fastest South Asians to complete the 'Explorers Grand Slam'.
The 24-year-old twins achieved this feat by climbing the highest peaks in all seven continents and reaching the North and South Poles on skis. Only one other South Asian has completed the feat before the twins, an Indian ex-Naval officer Satyabrat Dam who is now a professional adventurer.

The girls scaled the 5,895 metres high Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain on Earth and the highest peak in Africa, on July 3, thus completing the Explorers Grand Slam. "The feat was a tough one, but worth the effort. There were times when it was difficult even to stand, but we stay put. Where there were many reasons for us to stop, there was only one to keep us going...our passion," Nungashi, the younger of the twins, told PTI.

Though the twins are basking in the glory of their achievements, they said they have not recieved any financial support from the Centre. "Mountaineering is a great sport but it has put my parents in debt. Though we scaled many heights for our country, not even a single penny has been provided by the government," the twins said.

The young achievers who met Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, however, expressed hope of getting more sponsors. "Mountaineering is still not included as a sport. It is defined differently by various states. Thus, our chances of getting sponsors are bleak, but we are hopeful after Rijiju sir's words of appreciation," Tashi said.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is providing a sports scholarship to the young women. "We are delighted to provide a sports scholarship to the young achievers. We have offered them to travel to New Zealand and study a year long course on Sports and Exercise Psychology," said Deputy High Commissioner, New Zealand, Michael Appleton.
Raising awareness against gender discrimination, the sisters also talked about the need to challenge gender stereotypes. "Our achievements are not just our own. It is a message to the society that binds down girls to the four walls of their homes," Tashi said, who along with her sister, are currently pursuing their scholarship in New Zealand.

"We are happy to add another moment of pride and glory for the Indian girl child. For now we are focused on raising the bar of performance so that the girls can claim their rightful place of dignity and respect in our society," Tashi added.

The twins, who are from Uttarakhand and Haryana, have now set their eyes on Mt Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand.
"We are also planning to come out with a book on our journey so far," Tashi further said.

Source IndiaToday
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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Air India plane almost crashed on June 28, says flight test engineer

“The normal practice in such an eventuality would be to cushion the second bounce and somehow continue with the landing. But in this case the captain opened power and went around for another landing,” the complaint said.

“Any sensible A319 captain will strongly condemn this poor airmanship of trying to do this inadvertent touch and go with so many passengers onboard,” the complaint added.

“The flaps are down in the landing condition and the speed is absolutely low because you have touched down. We managed to escape as there were hardly 40-45 passengers on board. Had there been 130-140 passengers, the aircraft would have dropped like a stone from a height of 200 feet and we would have had a crash on the runway. The aircraft just about managed to climb out,” Mantha told HT.

The fall, Mantha said, after the first bounce from a height of 8-10 feet “was better than falling from 150-200 feet. I can’t tell what tension I went through as the aircraft took off again,” he said.

As luck would have it, Mantha said on his return flight on June 29, the same captain was in command.

“At Bengaluru he made another horrendous landing with the aircraft almost bouncing again,” he said.

AI did not offer comments for the story despite mails, messages and calls from HT over the last two days.

Source Hindustan Times
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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Heritage Forever: Yoga : International Yoga Day Event at Rajpath in New Delhi Enters Guinness World Records Book

The International Yoga Day event at Rajpath here today made it to the Guinness World Records Book, with 35,985 participants performing asanas at one venue and 84 nationalities being part of it.

"It is a matter of pride for India that we have broken two records on one day," Minister of AYUSH Shripad Naik told reporters here, citing the figures.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated all for the record set and successful conduct of the event.

The Rajpath event broke the earlier record set on November 19, 2005, when 29,973 students from 362 schools had performed a sequence of 'yogic kriyas' for surya namaskar simultaneously for 18 minutes led by Vivekananda Kendra at Jiwaji University Gwalior.
Ernst and Young audited the entire event today, said Global head of records verification of Guinness World Records Marco Srigatti.

He said that for the first time, the minimum criteria set for any yoga event to enter the record books was participation of at least 50 nationalities.

The audit of the event revealed that 101 people attended the event but did not perform yoga.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with officials of various ministries, school children, NCC cadets, Army personnel and officials performed yogasanas at the mega event at Rajpath.

The Ministry of AYUSH, the coordinating ministry, had set sights on registering the event in Guinness World Records Book for "largest yoga demonstration or class at a single venue and largest number of people of various nationalities performing yoga at one place".

Celebrations were held in the national capital after the United Nations had in December declared June 21 as International Yoga Day, with 177 countries voting in favour of the resolution.

The proposal had been mooted by the Prime Minister during his first address to the UN General Assembly in September last year.

Source TheNewINdianExpress

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

PM Modi launches a new bank MUDRA to support small scale entrepreneurs

PM Narendra Modi launches MUDRA bank

Coming to the rescue of farmers hit by unseasonal rains and hailstorm, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced higher compensation for crop damage and eased criteria for them to avail government support.

The Prime Minister said that he has also asked banks to restructure loans of affected farmers and instructed insurance companies to pro-actively settle their claims.

Speaking at the launch of Rs 20,000-crore MUDRA Bank, Modi said criteria of 50 per cent crop damage for providing compensation to affected farmers has been reduced to 33 per cent which will help more farmers to get compensation for their crop loss.
“Second important decision we have taken is to raise the parameters for helping him (farmers). The amount of compensation has been increased to 1.5 times. If earlier, he was getting Rs 100 as compensation, now he will get Rs 150, if it was Rs 1 lakh, he will get Rs 1.5 lakh… a 50 per cent increase,” he said.

Farmers, the Prime Minister said, have suffered a lot on account of natural calamities.
“Last year, it was due to less rainfall and this year due to unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm”, Modi said, adding that
he took a review of the crop damage with Ministers sent to undertake on the spot assessment.
Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had said that unseasonal rains and hailstorms have damaged rabi (winter-sown) crops in about 113 lakh hectares of crop area in the country.
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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

After The Beef Ban, The Maharashtra Govt Now Wants To Ban All Meat!

Maharashtra outlawing beef seems to have put India's conservative lawmakers on a hair trigger when it comes to bans. The following courtroom conversation happened after Maharashtra petitioners rallied together to challenge the ban, on the grounds that they shouldn't go to jail for possession and consumption of meat of cow, bull and bullock if it was slaughtered outside Maharashtra.
The response to these petitions is shocking - the Maharashtra advocate general is considering using the ban as a precedent to ban non-vegetarian food entirely!

"What about other animals like goat?" 

Division bench of justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi

"This is just the beginning. We may consider banning slaughter of other animals too. As of now the state felt it was necessary to protect cows, bulls and bullocks."

Advocate General Sunil Manohar

"That may lead to migration from the state. Don't consider a ban on fishes though. Section 5(d) of the Act, which is under challenge, does not prohibit slaughter of cattle outside the state. Why should a person be prevented from consuming or possessing beef slaughtered outside? Indirectly you (government) are prohibiting slaughter of animals outside the state too."

Justice Kanade 

"If the object of the Act was to preserve cattle in Maharashtra, then import of meat should be permitted."

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for one of the petitioners against the ban

"How can the state say that slaughter of cattle in Maharashtra alone amounts to cruelty. The Act prohibits import also."

Advocate General Sunil Manohar
The court has asked the Maharashtra government to respond to these petitioners with a formal affidavit by the 20th of April.

Source IndiaTimes
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Lack of planes grounds National Security Guard's anti-hijack drill

The Black Cat commandos have written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking help on the issue. They want MHA to put pressure on private airlines to provide them modern aircraft.
While international exclusive airlines are leaving no stone unturned to tackle terror in the skies, India's elite security force, the National Security Guard (NSG), are literally begging for a modern aircraft to carry out anti-hijack drills! These black cat commandos, who would be dispatched at a minute's notice to take on terrorists and save passengers in case of a hijack, have to make do with a smaller, outdated aircraft provided by Air India. Not for them the Boeings and the Airbuses that crowd the skies with billions of fliers daily.

No airlines except Air India and sometimes Jet Airways have come forward to provide their aircraft to this elite security force. The NSG has discussed the matter at high-level meetings with heads of various agencies, but not a single modern aircraft has come their way so far. A source at the NSG said airlines are busy making profits and are not bothered about the safety of fliers. Now, the elite force has approached the Union home ministry to put pressure on airlines to provide it with modern aircraft. NSG commandos have been specially trained to tackle hostage situations in any type of aircraft, but anti-hijack drills are an absolute necessity.

Seeking help

"For almost five years the NSG has been using an old aircraft provided by the Air India which is parked near Gate number 15 of the IGI airport. On rare occasions, Jet Airways provide aircraft for mock drill. The matter has been discussed by NSG top officials in various anti-hijacking committee meetings but to no avail. Now, we have approached the Union Home Ministry to immediately provide us latest and different types of aircraft to carry out antihijack drills," a senior NSG official told MAIL TODAY.

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According to an official of another security agency, who is a member in the anti-hijacking committee, every time the NSG, the CISF or other security agencies request airlines to provide aircraft for drills, airlines refuse them immediately without giving a thought to the possible consequence.

The NSG has a plan in place for every aircraft in case there is a hijack. But drills are necessary to hone skills.

Mock drills

"NSG teams want to carry out mock drills inside different kinds of aircraft, like Boeing's latest aircraft, for the security of the nation. International airlines have these planes but they have their excuses ready. They say they do not have the time to spare a single aircraft for this purpose. All the NSG needs is an hour to carry out the drill every once in a while," a member of the anti-hijacking committee said.

On their part, airlines argue schedules are tightly packed. "It is not possible to spare an aircraft to the NSG as we have pre-decided schedules with every aircraft. If we start sparing planes for mock drills, passengers would be at the receiving hand as they will face inordinate delays," an airline official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told MAIL TODAY.

Every alternate week, NSG commandos perform mock drills inside an outdated aircraft of Air India. There is a senior official to keep check on the performance of every commando of the NSG. Later, this official prepares a report and superior officials analyse it to decide how to enhance performance of the black cats. If only they had a proper plane! The NSG is an elite force set up in 1984 to tackle all forms of terrorism in the country.

The NSG commandos are specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and are used only in exceptional situations.

The NSG was modelled on the pattern of the SAS of the UK and GSG-9 of Germany. It is a task-oriented force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG).

Source Indian Army
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Government mines Rs.400,000 crore from coal block auctions

Till now, 29 blocks have been auctioned and another 38 allotted to state-owned entities. Photo: PTI
The auction and allotment of 67 coal blocks so far has unlocked a total value of nearly Rs. 400,000 crore, coal Secretary Anil Swarup said here on Sunday. "Out of 67 blocks auctioned or allotted, a total benefit of Rs. 3,35,000 crore is for states and another Rs. 69,000 crore will be unlocked by way of tariff benefit to the consumers," Swarup said at the Coal Consumers Association of India interactive session.

Till now, 29 blocks have been auctioned and another 38 allotted to state-owned entities. Another 16 blocks will be put up for auction by the third week of April, of which 11 will be for the power sector and the rest for the non-regulated sector.

Swarup said that the government is deliberating on segmentation of industries for the non-regulated sector for allowing a level playing field. "I support the demand for segmentation of industries like sponge iron, which shouldnot be competing with cement companies and we will also not differentiate between the two companies of the same industry," he said.

Coal secretary Anil SwarupReplying to a question, Swarup said that the government is deliberating on further lowering the end-use investment for blocks which will come in the next two to three years. Swarup assured that none of the coal blocks is going to washeries.

Swarup said that the government would first allot the mines to companies that require coal for their own end use. Subsequently, commercial mining rights will be given to Central and state government entities after which these rights may be given to private players. "The legislation allows us, but it does not mean we do it straight away. We want to go step by step."

Swarup also said that the process for auction and allotment of the entire lot of 204 coal blocks that the government has taken up under the Supreme Court order will be completed by March 2016 in a transparent manner. The peak capacity is expected to touch 800-900 million tonnes (MT) while 500 MT of coal would be produced by 2020 to meet the 1.5 billion-tonne coal production target, he added.
Source IndiaToday
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Sunday, 5 April 2015

India's IT plans suffer from power cuts, congestion - and monkeys

As India launches an $18 billion plan to spread the information revolution to its provinces, the problems it faces are a holdover from the past - electricity shortages, badly planned, jam-packed cities, and monkeys.
The clash between the old world and the new is sharply in focus in the crowded 3,000-year-old holy city of Varanasi, where many devout Hindus come to die in the belief that doing so will give them salvation. Varanasi is also home to hundreds of macaque monkeys that live in its temples and are fed and venerated by devotees.
But the monkeys also feast on the fiber-optic cables that are strung along the banks of the Ganges river.
"We cannot move the temples from here. We cannot modify anything here, everything is built up. The monkeys, they destroy all the wires and eat all the wires," said communications engineer A.P. Srivastava.
Srivastava, who oversees the expansion of new connections in the local district, said his team had to replace the riverside cables when the monkeys chewed them up less than two months after they were installed.
He said his team is now looking for alternatives, but there are few to be found. The city of over 2 million people is impossibly crowded and laying underground cable is out of the question. Chasing away or trapping the monkeys will outrage residents and temple-goers.
Varanasi is part of the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist leader who came to power last May.
A shortage of electricity is further complicating efforts to set up stable Wi-Fi in public places - daily power cuts can last for hours during the sweltering summer in Varanasi and across much of India.
Modi's government has pledged to lay 700,000 kms (434,960 miles) of broadband cable to connect India's 250,000 village clusters within three years, build 100 new "Smart Cities" by 2020 and shift more public services like education and health to electronic platforms to improve access and accountability.
Varanasi was the first of an eventual 2,500 locations singled out for street-level Wi-Fi.
Industry experts predict that the broadband initiative, along with a surge in smartphone ownership, will mean about a third of Indians will have access to the internet by 2017, from about 20 percent, or 250 million people, now.
Expanding internet connectivity and making access cheaper could add up to 1.6 percentage points, or about $70 billion, to India's GDP over a four-year period, consultants at McKinsey have estimated.
Global technology companies see opportunity in Modi's commitment to a digital future and are adapting their products to India's varied climates and external threats.
IBM is in discussions to provide software to help several cities make the leap into the digital age.
Network provider Cisco Systems is working with the government in the eastern city of Visakhapatnam to bring more education and healthcare services online, and has developed a "ruggedised" Wi-Fi box to survive India's varied climates and cut down on the need for cables that will be at the mercy of the elements - or monkeys.
"We've built outdoor Wi-Fi-access routers specifically keeping in mind Indian environmental conditions," Dinesh Malkani, Cisco's India country head, said in an interview.
"You cannot predict what challenges you are going to come up against."
Bringing some order to India's chaotic cities with technology is a daunting task.
India's urban population is forecast to swell by an additional 220 million to 600 million by 2031, potentially overwhelming already inadequate infrastructure.
Many of the new digital projects are simply aimed at improving existing civic amenities: time traffic information to help people better plan their journey, or systems that allow individuals to monitor water leakages or waste management and then inform local authorities.
Vinod Kumar Tripathi, an urban planning expert in Varanasi, said Modi's initiatives needed to be coupled with huge investments in improving basic services like housing, roads and waste management.
"Everything here is old, outdated and the population pressure just makes it worse. This place was a small temple town and is now a commercial center," Tripathi said in his office overlooking the Banaras Hindu University.
The free Wi-Fi service that started in February is certainly stimulating the consumer economy. Boatman Sandeep Majhi makes a living ferrying pilgrims and bereaved families who scatter ashes in the river after performing cremations.
He recently purchased his first smartphone to download music and exchange videos with friends, and promote his boat business to tourists on Facebook.
But he said the government needed to pay equal attention to the municipal services in a city where cars, rickshaws and carts fight for space through narrow, potholed roads lined with litter. Varanasi remains dependent on a 500-year-old, leaky drainage system for its sewage.

"Free Wi-Fi is a good facility for tourists but I think the officials should think about cleaning the ghats," said the 20-year-old, referring to the steps down to the river, which are often caked with cow dung.
Source Reuters
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