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Secular friends missing at Iftar party, Sonia finds comfort in Lalu, Sharad
(L-R) JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Sonia Gandhi and NCP leader Tariq Anwar in New Delhi on Sunday. It was Sonia Gandhi’s first Iftar get-together after her party lost power. And the attendance perhaps reflected the Congress’s political isolation and the emerging political equations. Her “secular friends” were missing and so were top leaders of its allies. Present at Sonia’s dinner table were Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav, the RJD and JD(U) chieftains from Bihar whose parties battled fiercely against each other for nearly two decades, but have joined hands now to stop the saffron surge in the state after the Lok Sabha elections which saw the BJP bagging 31 of the 40 seats. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar chose to stay away, sending instead his deputy Tariq Anwar. RLD’s Ajit Singh was missing too. The secular bandwagon, be it the Left parties, Samajwadi Party or the BSP, was unrepresented. Top Congress leaders said the absence of many was because the day being a Sunday and that the Parliament too was not meeting on Monday and Tuesday. “We have received several letters,” a senior leader said. The who’s who of the Congress, barring its leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, were present. Sonia sat with Lalu, Sharad Yadav and Anwar. And giving her company was veteran Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai. Yadav, who was accompanied by K C Tyagi, left early. The attendance at Sonia’s Iftar was telling about the Congress’s political isolation, both in Parliament and outside. Its claim for the Leader of the Opposition post in Lok Sabha has found no backing from parties outside the UPA. Parties like the AIADMK, Trinamool Congress and the BJD are not even willing to share the front bench with the Congress leadership. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sat separately with non-political guests, with the likes of former Chief Election Commission S Y Quraishi and Sharmila Tagore, despite Sonia’s prodding to join her table. Party second-in-command Rahul Gandhi sat with diplomats, with Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and deputy leader Anand Sharma giving him company. Senior Congress leaders said the size of the diplomatic core was below expectations. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and the Russian Ambassador was among those present. Rahul, however, appeared to be in a jovial mood, cracking jokes with media persons while refusing to give the “political byte” on the Nitin Gadkari bugging row or the Leader of the Opposition controversy. When told the Gadkari has denied that his house was bugged, Rahul jokingly asked, “Are they saying we did it?” [...]
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Saharanpur violence: Curfew relaxed for four hours as uneasy calm prevails
A view of a street during curfew in Saharanpur a day after violent clashes between two communities over a land dispute on Sunday. (Source: PTI) With the situation improving in violence-hit Saharanpur, the district authorities on Monday relaxed curfew for four hours in the new city area to allow people to buy their daily need items from markets which were directed to remain open. As the situation has shown improvement, curfew was being relaxed from 10 AM to 2 PM in the new city and from 3 PM to 7 PM in the old town areas, District Magistrate Sandhya Tiwari said “This is being done to allow people to pick up their items of daily need from the markets,” she told reporters here. Tiwari said security forces have been asked to maintain a tight vigil during the curfew relaxation hours and keep a close watch on trouble-mongers to prevent any untoward incident. She said a lot of people contacted the authorities last night as certain rumours had been spread but “more than 96 per cent of the incidents were not found to be true”. An uneasy calm had prevailed on Sunday in Saharanpur where 38 people were arrested as a political blame game erupted with BJP accusing Samajwadi Party of indulging in “vote-bank politics” and Congress blasting the UP government for “lapses”. Curfew and shoot-at-sight orders had remained in force on Sunday in the wake of clashes between two communities over a land dispute with some indulging in arson. Three persons were killed in the violence on Saturday that also left 33 injured. 22 shops were gutted or damaged and 15 four-wheelers torched in the incidents, according to Tiwari. Meanwhile, Saharanpur Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandey said one person who had “instigated” the violence has been identified. “We have not arrested him yet, but we are hopeful that we will catch hold of him very soon,” he said, noting that the individual has been charged with rioting, arson and conspiracy. He said, “We will undertake a detailed investigation and only then we can say whether it is a grand design or some thing else is behind the scene.” “We are trying to get the situation back to complete normalcy,” Pandey said, adding the violence took place over the disputed piece of land which was a “cause of concern”. Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukul Goel had yesterday said in Lucknow, “It has been directed that action should be taken against whosoever is found guilty.” Officials in Lucknow said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has sought a report from the district authorities regarding the incidents in Saharanpur, which is nearly 170 km from Delhi and 560 km from Lucknow. Yadav has termed the violence as “unfortunate” and said that those responsible will not be spared. Reacting to the charges levelled by Congress and BJP, Samajwadi Party has said there was an effort to “disrupt peace in the state” and that there was “no place for communalism, anti-social elements”. Trouble began when members of one community started construction work at the site in Kutubsher area in the wee hours of Saturday, which was objected to by the other group. Both the sides indulged in heavy brick-batting, arson and opened fire, police said. Police had fired rubber bullets to control the situation as mobs went on the rampage, setting several shops afire. Additional forces, including from PAC, CRPF, RAF and ITBP have been deployed in the troubled areas. Five policemen and a city magistrate were among the injured. A constable was stated to be in serious condition in Chandigarh PGI after suffering a bullet injury. [...]
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Jammu’s Kathua tensed after animal slaughtering sparks communal violence
Three shops belonging to one community were set ablaze and many vehicles damaged as communal violence broke out in parts of Kathua district following an act of sacrileges by some unidentified miscreants on late Sunday night. Giving details, sources said that all the shops and other business establishments downed their shutters and vehicular traffic went of the roads on Monday morning immediately after news came about the slaughter of a bovine animal at Bhoond in Basohli on Sunday night. Scores of people took to streets protesting against the slaughtering of the animal. An irate mob torched three shops belonging to a particular community at Basohli. They were raising slogans demanding action against the accused. The trouble soon spread to nearby areas of Bani and Mahanpur, also where people joined the protest and observed a complete bandh. Stray incidents of violence were reported from some places with unruly mobs pelting stones and damaging vehicles. Police and para military personnel have been deployed in strength in affected areas to check violence. According to officials, the situation was under control. Significantly, the area has been the second incident of communal tension in the otherwise peaceful Jammu region during the last one month. Earlier, villagers had torched some vehicles at Vijaypur and blocked the Jammu-Pathankote national highway following a land dispute between communities in the area. Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former MLA from Basohli, Prem Sagar Aziz, has appealed to both the communities to maintain peace and not to get swayed by provocative propaganda of mischievous elements. He also appealed the police authorities to apprehend the culprits involved in sacrilegious act and initiate stern action against them. [...]
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Tremendous mood swing, positivity after formation of Narendra Modi …
WASHINGTON: After the formation of the Narendra Modi government, there is a tremendous mood swing and positivity in the country, a visiting delegation of Indian CEOs from CII said describing its maiden budget as visionary. The delegation of Indian CEOs ... [...]
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PM Narendra Modi likely to expand Cabinet next month
Among the new faces to be inducted into Modi's team could be Hazaribagh MP Jayant Sinha, son of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, and BJP general secretary JP Nadda, who was tipped to become BJP president but lost out to Amit Shah for the post. [...]
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How Narendra Modi government fared in the past 60 days
It's been two months since the Narendra Modi government came to power at the Centre, marking the end of decades of coalition politics. That the BJP could muster a simple majority on its own also pointed to the burden of promises that Modi Sarkar now ... [...]
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While Uttar Pradesh burns, Bihar consolidates a new alliance
The two largest states of the so-called Hindi belt of Indian politics, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are currently undergoing a similar kind of political churn. Yet the reactions they are witnessing lie on opposite sides of the spectrum. Western Uttar ... [...]
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Saharanpur Religious Clashes Give Rise to Reports of Political Motivations
In a 2013 interview with India Real Time, the state's chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, said that Uttar Pradesh is prone to religious violence. In another earlier this year, he accused politicians of fueling tensions and trying to capitalize on them ... [...]
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Asylum seekers arrive on Australian soil for interviews with Indian officials
Under a deal brokered by the Department of Immigration, India has agreed to take back its nationals and will consider taking Sri Lankan nationals who are Indian residents. Australian Greens say the group has a legal right to apply for asylum in Australia. [...]
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Democracy now means rule of majority: Palshikar
PUNE: Good governance, drastically revised economic policies and a changed concept of India as a political community would mark Indian politics, said political commentator Suhas Palshikar at a lecture on 'Election 2014: A Paradigm Shift in Indian ... [...]
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Is India's politics becoming less dynastic?
Serving up some revealing data on stranglehold of family and lineage on Indian politics, historian Patrick French wrote in his 2011 book India: A Portrait that if the trend continued, India could slide back to the days when it was ruled by a ... [...]
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India agrees to review Nepal friendship treaty
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rounded off her three-day visit to Nepal, settling a long-pending issue — the review of the 1950 peace and friendship treaty on the basis of recommendations from a group of eminent persons from both countries. A communiqué issued by the Nepal-India Joint Commission, which met after a gap of 23 years late Saturday night, co-chaired by Sushma and her Nepal counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, said the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) will review bilateral treaties and agreements, including the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, within two years. The EPG will comprise a parliamentarian, lawyer, civil society leader and economist from each side. “I am very satisfied with my visit. We hope to take the bilateral relations to a new height,” Sushma said. She performed a special puja at the Pashupatinath Temple and headed to the Tribhuvan International Airport from there. The unexpected outcome was made possible by the flexibility Sushma displayed during her courtesy calls on President Ram Baran Yadav, PM Sushil Koirala and Leader of the Opposition Pushpa Kamal Dahal during which she conveyed India’s willingness to see Nepal safe, prosperous and stable. “I am happy over India’s generous and warm approach towards neighbouring countries,” Koirala said. Sushma’s visit prepared the ground for the two-day visit of PM Narendra Modi from August 3. [...]
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Maps: CBI registers PE against Google
CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Internet giant Google over Mapathon 2013, an event organised by the US company, for allegedly violating laws by mapping sensitive areas and defence installations, prohibited by law. The CBI registered the PE based on a complaint filed by Surveyor General of India’s office to the Union Home Ministry in which Google was accused of indulging in activities of mapping several areas, which were not included in the maps of the country, official sources said. Google had not taken permission from Survey of India, the country’s official mapping agency, before organising a mapping competition in February-March 2013 when they asked citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants. Alarmed by Mapathon, the Survey of India asked Google to share its details where they found that there were several coordinates having details of sensitive defence installations which are out of the public domain. [...]
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Crores spent, govt takes re-look  at Prasar Bharati’s ‘relevance’
The I&B Ministry has also conveyed to the PMO that a thorough review was in order before granting any more substantial funds to the broadcaster, sources told The Indian Express. Source: PTI Photo The NDA government has quietly started examining the “relevance” of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati and also whether it is necessary to continue with the statutory body which, many in the government feel, has become a “white elephant” of sorts over the years. In a recent interaction with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is learnt to have conveyed that the government has spent close to Rs 19,000 crore on Prasar Bharati ever since it came into existence in 1997 but the public broadcaster has clearly not been able to leverage the vast resources at its disposal to make Doordarshan and All India Radio the preferred choice of the masses. The I&B Ministry has also conveyed to the PMO that a thorough review was in order before granting any more substantial funds to the broadcaster, sources told The Indian Express. Although amenable to the suggestion of reviewing Prasar Bharati’s relevance and necessity, the Narendra Modi government, sources indicated, is not keen to press the panic button by using words like “scrapping” or “abolishing” just yet. Instead, it is willing to give the broadcaster some time to get its act  together and show tangible improvements in a time-bound fashion. “The Prime Minister has been informed about the enormous funding that has gone to Prasar Bharati in the past 16 years of its existence. He has also been given an insight on how the public broadcaster has struggled to fulfil its mandate. Before pumping any more funds into Prasar Bharati, there is a need to know where we are headed with this body, the PM has been told,” a government source said. A highly placed source said, “There is no doubt that Prasar Bharati needs to be revamped. It has become a top-heavy organisation. No new blood has come, no new creativity has come in all these years. To be alive and relevant, a river has to flow. In case of Prasar Bharati, the river’s flow has stopped. The body has turned into a white elephant over the years and it is time its relevance is reviewed threadbare.” Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told The Indian Express, “We have told Prasar Bharati that with the kind of reach you have, you must become competitive in the market.” Days after taking charge, Javadekar threw a challenge at Prasar Bharati, asking it to take steps to improve its content in a manner that makes Doordarshan the number one choice of the people. In its maiden budget, the NDA government allocated Rs 2,421.58 crore to Prasar Bharati as grants-in-aid, which is essentially towards meeting salary and salary-related expenditure. This year’s allocation is Rs 241.21 crore more than what was budgeted last year and Rs 332.02 crore more than the revised estimates last fiscal. As on date, the Prasar Bharati Board is functioning without a Chairperson, Members (Personnel), Member (Finance), and four of its six part-time Members. The I&B Ministry and the Prasar Bharati have been at loggerheads for years, with the latter seeking “real” autonomy and often ruing the interference the government can have in mechanisms of appointment, transfers, career assessments and punitive actions against Prasar Bharati officials. The ministry has maintained that it keeps an “arm’s length distance” from the public broadcaster as mandated by the law. Under the UPA, there was even talk of the government bringing in an ordinance to scrap the Prasar Bharati Board because of internal bickering. [...]
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To escape debt, J&K man claims he’s behind blast, seeks jail
Five persons were injured in the Pune blast on July 10. Source: File Photo Over a week back, a 25-year-old youth from Srinagar travelled to Mumbai and “surrendered” before the Mumbai Police Special Branch, claiming that he was involved in the July 10 blast in Pune. He told them he was a former militant and offered to help with the probe, if they paid him. His native accent seemed to work in his favour. But his interrogation, and subsequent investigations, revealed that Bashir Ahmad Goglu, 25, was simply a shawl seller, burdened by debt and a crippled livelihood due to frequent and unforeseen strikes called by separatists in Jammu & Kashmir and curfews imposed by the administration. He saw life behind bars as his “only option” and a “better escape”. At his home in Hamzah Colony, in Bemina area of Srinagar, his wife, Lovely, and her mother, were informed about his arrest by the Mumbai Police. There was another call — from a lawyer who wanted Rs 10,000 transferred to his account to fight Goglu’s case. Lovely can’t understand the sudden turn of events. She says her husband sold shawls for a living. She last saw him on July 1, when he made his annual trip to New Delhi to pick up new stock. “When he left, he gave me Rs 1,000, saying he would return in four days,” she says. “When he called me later, I told him that we have to pay the house rent. I asked him when he was returning. He said he would be home the next day.” But Goglu did not return to the Valley. Instead, he went to the Mumbai Police Special Branch office on July 17, where he told Additional Commissioner Chhagan Wakade that he and his associates had carried out the Pune blast in which five people were injured. However, a background check did not reveal any suggested terrorist links. Goglu was also unable to answer any questions about the blast. Goglu later revealed that he was an orphan, and preferred to stay in jail as he was burdened by debts and was unable to provide for his family. Police sources say he earned about Rs 160 per day, selling shawls at Lal Chowk, Srinagar. While his wife had recently given birth to a baby girl, Goglu also had the responsibility of his stepsister. According to sources, Goglu struggled to pay the monthly rent of Rs 2,500. “He had accumulated loans of Rs 1.2 lakh and had no means of repaying the amount. He said he was fed up with his life in Srinagar and felt he could not provide for his family there. He felt that jail was his only release,” say sources. “So he took a loan of Rs 8,000 earlier this month and travelled to Delhi. He met a local police officer there and told him he was going to commit a terrorist attack,” say sources. The officer, however, gave Goglu a patient hearing and set him free. It was while he was in Delhi that Goglu heard about the Pune blast. So he decided to hand himself over to the Mumbai Police. Goglu was produced in court and sent to custody. He has been booked by the Azad Maidan police station in Mumbai for making statements likely to cause alarm to the public, criminal intimidation and common intention of the Indian Penal Code. In Srinagar, Lovely is struggling to make ends meet. “It is difficult to run the house… I have to pay the house rent for two months, the grocery bills, and now I have to pay this lawyer. What will I do? He never told us about any debt,” she says. [...]
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SGPC row: Centre stares down, makes Akalis blink
Haryana’s new Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki takes oath on Sunday. Source: PTI Before the Akal Takht intervened on Saturday and asked the warring factions of Punjab and Haryana to call off their proposed congregations on the Haryana SGPC issue, it was Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who did some “tough talking” with ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). According to sources, Singh asked Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal not to disturb the law and order situation. Badal was in Delhi on Friday, when he met Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue. “The Home Minister made it clear to the Punjab Deputy CM that the Centre is looking for a resolution to end the impasse and the law and order situation in the two states should not be disturbed by any type of congregations. He took a principled stand — that the government is looking for a legal route to end the impasse and extreme steps should be avoided,” said a senior official. Singh also deputed veteran party leader and party in-charge of Punjab, Shanta Kumar, to speak to the SAD. “I was asked by Rajnath Singh to speak to SAD and other leaders. There are certain terrorist elements in Punjab who could have taken advantage of the congregation to incite tension. I even apprised PM Narendra Modi of the matter and he asked me to convey to SAD that the government was taking legal recourse in the matter,” Shanta Kumar told The Indian Express. A senior official said the government was yet to take a final decision on the SGPC row and they were still studying the options suggested by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, which includes a presidential reference to annul the Haryana legislation. Haryana has brushed aside the Centre’s directive calling for annulment of the Act, saying it has every right to enact a law and the Haryana Gurdwara Act has been passed under its legislative powers. It has instead asked the Centre to withdraw its letter. The Union Law Ministry has told the Home Ministry that it has the executive powers, under Article 256, to give directions to a state in such cases. Meanwhile, in a fresh directive, the Akal Takht on Sunday restrained the newly-elected office bearers of the Haryana SGPC from functioning. The order came a day after Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi were elected president and senior vice-president respectively of the 11-member executive body of the HSGPC. The Akal Takht ordered that the management of gurdwaras in Haryana should be run according to the earlier arrangement, meaning that the Amritsar-based SGPC should continue to manage them. “I am satisfied that both the groups have called off the conventions in the wake of Akal Takht order. To ensure that the initiatives begun by Akal Takht fructify, I order that there should be no arguments till the issue is resolved. The administration of Haryana gurdwaras should be allowed to run in the same manner as earlier,” said Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh. Terming the Akal Takht order as “one-sided”, Jhinda said, “We obeyed the Akal Takht order to cancel the convention at Karnal since the order came in the wake of tragedy at Saharanpur where the Sikh community was targeted. But today’s order smacks of bias. We have been made a party and this is one-sided order against us,” Jhinda told The Indian Express. Jhinda said while the Akal Takht had earlier excommunicated him, Nalwi and Haryana Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha, a new order had been issued even as the matter was “still pending”. On July 16, the Akal Takht had excommunicated the trio on charges of defying its directives by forming a separate HSGPC. “We will discuss the issue at our executive committee meeting,” said Jhinda. “HSGPC has been set up in the same legal manner as the SGPC and DSGMC were formed,” he added. Dal Khalsa, the radical Sikh organisation, also questioned the Akal Takht order. Asking the Akal Takht chief “to first withdraw the unprincipled edict excommunicating three Sikhs of Haryana,” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said only then would he be entitled to issue directions to them. “By directing the SAD to call off their conclave, Giani Gurbachan Singh has provided them an escape route. It is strange and ironic that the Jathedar is issuing directions to the HSGPC leaders who he had excommunicated from the Sikh Panth a few days back,” said Kanwar Pal. — With inputs from Ashwani Sharma, Shimla [...]
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Katju controversy a ‘futile’ issue: Manmohan Singh
On the economic situation, the former Prime Minister said, We should give the Government more time. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday refused to be drawn into the Katju controversy, terming it as a “futile” issue. “It is a futile issue. Soli Sorabjee (former Attorney General) also spoke on it. I don’t need to comment on it,” he told reporters at an Iftar party hosted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He was responding to a question on the controversy triggered by former Supreme Court judge and Chairman of Press Council of India Markandey Katju. Katju had alleged that three ex-Chief Justices of India made “improper compromises” during UPA rule in retaining a judge in Tamil Nadu under corruption cloud. It was alleged that the Congress had buckled under pressure from its ally, DMK, who insisted on the judge being given an extension. The NDA Government had later stated in Parliament that the PMO during Manmohan Singh’s tenure had asked why the Supreme Court collegium had not recommended extension for the Madras High Court judge who was facing corruption charges after the collegium expressed its hesitation. The Modi Government has also demanded that the former Prime Minister should make a “categorical” statement on the controversial matter. Asked about the situation in Uttar Pradesh in the wake of the violent clashes between two communities in Saharanpur, Singh said, “the UP situation is worrisome”. On the economic situation, the former Prime Minister said, “We should give the Government more time.” [...]
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Akal Takht calls for status quo on Haryana gurdwaras
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh directing all the concerned Sikh organizaitons and parties to cancel their scheduled Panthic conventions in wake of Saharanpur incidents, at a press conference in Amritsar on Saturday. (Source: PTI) In a fresh directive, the Akal Takht on Sunday restrained the newly-elected office bearers of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC) from functioning. The order came a day after Jagdish Singh Jhinda and Didar Singh Nalwi were elected president and senior vice-president respectively of the 11-member executive body of the HSGPC. The Akal Takht ordered that the management of gurdwaras in Haryana should be run according to the earlier arrangement, meaning that the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should continue to manage them. On Saturday, Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh ordered the two sides to call off their conventions in Amritsar and Karnal. “I am satisfied that both the groups have called off the conventions in the wake of Akal Takht order. To ensure that the initiatives begun by Akal Takht fructify, I order that there should be no arguments till the issue is resolved. The administration of Haryana gurdwaras should be allowed to run in the same manner as earlier,” said the Akal Takht on Sunday. Terming the Akal Takht order as “one-sided”, Jhinda said, “We obeyed the Akal Takht order to cancel the convention at Karnal since the order came in the wake of tragedy at Saharanpur where the Sikh community was targeted. But today’s order smacks of bias. We have been made a party and this is one-sided order against us,” Jhinda told The Indian Express. Jhinda said while the Akal Takht had earlier excommunicated him, Nalwi and Haryana Finance Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha, a new order had been issued even as the matter was “still pending”. On July 16, the Akal Takht had excommunicated the trio on charges of defying its directives by forming a separate HSGPC. “We will discuss the issue in our executive committee meeting,” said Jhinda. “HSGPC has been set up in the same legal manner as the SGPC and DSGMC were formed,” he added. Dal Khalsa, the radical Sikh organisation, also questioned the Akal Takht order. Asking the Akal Takht chief “to first withdraw the unprincipled edict excommunicating three Sikhs of Haryana,” Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said only then would he be entitled to issue directions to them. “By directing the SAD to call off their conclave, Giani Gurbachan Singh has provided them an escape route. It is strange and ironic that the Jathedar is issuing directions to the HSGPC leaders who he had excommunicated from the Sikh Panth a few days back,” said Kanwar Pal. He urged the Jathedar “to play the role of an elderly person of the community to resolve the crisis, and not act in a biased manner”. Kanwar Pal alleged, “The Badals have been exploiting Sikh sentiments and the Jathedar has become subservient to them. We all know that the Badals have scant respect for the Akal Takht, its principles, tenets and traditions.” [...]
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Kerry to deliver major foreign policy speech on India
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a major foreign policy speech on India  (Source: Reuters) Laying out a roadmap of long-term strategic partnership between the largest and oldest democratic countries, US Secretary of States John Kerry will deliver a major foreign policy speech here on India. Kerry, will underscore the shared prosperity, democratic values, and security that a strong US-India partnership brings to Asia and to the global order, the State Department said. Kerry’s speech tomorrow comes on the eve of his departure to India to attend the India-US Strategic Dialogue, which he would co-chair with the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The first Strategic Dialogue between the two countries under the Narendra Modi government is considered to be crucial to set the pace and scope of India-US relationship for the next five years. Center for American Progress (CAP), a top think tank has launched “India 2020″ programme, which is focused on elevating key foreign policy debates in South Asia and developing innovative ideas for further enhancing the global strategic partnership of the world’s oldest and largest democracies. Kerry in his speech will also emphasise how the US and India can work in close partnership to improve growth, investment, and opportunity across the Indo-Pacific region by spearheading regional economic connectivity, the State Department said. Last week, Vikram Singh of CAP told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing that India and US have the potential in the next few years to really move to another level in this relationship. “We are launching a project called India 2020 which is going to look specifically at what can we do, what we can achieve in five years because we think this is a particularly good moment to look at that,” Singh said. “Prime Minister Modi ran on a campaign of what he called ‘Surajya’, which means, in Hindi, good governance. He said, I’m going to deliver good governance; I’m going to deliver it to all classes, castes and communities. That’s the promise that he’s going to be measured by. That’s the promise that we should welcome and we should sort of measure him by ourselves,” he said. In a statement, CAP said India is proving to be an emerging powerhouse regionally and globally after decades of impressive economic growth and military modernisation. With a new government in New Delhi, it is clearly time to chart a new and ambitious course for the US-India partnership, it said. “By launching India: 2020, the Center for American Progress will set the stage to help India and the United States work toward enhancing peace and economic prosperity across Asia and moving global governance institutions beyond their current structures into the 21st century,” the major American think tank said. “India 2020 is a new Center for American Progress initiative to better understand and explain the changing dynamics in India. We call it 2020 because we are focused on the direction India is moving; we are more focused on where India is going, than where it’s been,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress told PTI. Rich Verma, a Senior Fellow at CAP (and former Assistant Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton), will be leading this initiative in close coordination with Vikram Singh, CAP’s national security vice president, who served in various capacities at the State Department and the Pentagon in the Obama Administration. “We call it 2020 because it will look at India with clear eyes. As an example, so many policy makers think of India as its central government alone; however, we’ll explore issues also at the state and regional level,” Tanden explained. “Obviously, this is a fascinating time in Asia and India’s relationship with powers in the region will be interesting. But what’s also happening at the state and regional issue in terms of economic growth, trade, attitudes regarding India’s role is critically important,” she said. “As we look out at the rest of the 21st century, we believe India and the United States have mutual interests around the world. And we hope that India 2020 will help shape American understanding of India’s role,” Tanden said. [...]
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Rajnath Singh holds high-level meet on civil services exam row
The meeting was chaired by Rajnath Singh and attended by Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh among others. Amid protests from civil services aspirants against the new exam pattern, the government on Sunday convened a high-level meeting to resolve the issue. The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh among others. “There was a discussion on the issue and ways to resolve it,” a senior government official, who attended the meeting, said. A decision on whether or not to change the syllabus of civil services examination and postpone the preliminary test, slated to be held on August 24, is likely to be taken soon, he said. The meeting, which was held at the Home Minister’s residence, was also attended by S K Sarkar, Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), and officials from the PMO and Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Civil services aspirants have been protesting in the national capital and demanding change in the pattern of civil services preliminary examination. The issue has been raised in Parliament too. The government has urged them to call off their protest which intensified from Thursday night after the UPSC, which conducts the examination, started issuing admit cards to the aspirants for the preliminary exam scheduled to be held next month. A three-member government appointed committee is looking into the demands of civil services aspirants to change the pattern of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) to give level-playing field to those coming from rural areas. Jitendra Singh, who is also the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, had earlier urged the UPSC to postpone the preliminary exam in view of the students demand. There are two compulsory papers of 200 marks each in the preliminary examination. These papers are also known as CSAT I and CSAT II. The CSAT-II paper carries questions on comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision-making and problem- solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy, and English language comprehension skills (of Class X level). Students have been objecting to the level of aptitude and English language questions being asked in the CSAT II paper claiming they are much above the standard prescribed for the examination. The civil services examination is conducted in three stages– preliminary, main, and interview– to choose candidates for Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) among others. [...]
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J&K: Doctor, nurse held for mistaken abortion
Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested a doctor and a nurse who allegedly gave abortion pills to a woman, who was pregnant for eight months, without her knowledge, killing the baby in her womb. Identifying the accused as Dr Amarjeet Singh, who is a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and unsuitable for carrying out abortions, and Roma Devi, SP (South) Rahul Malik said they mistook Shruti Sharma for another woman who was scheduled for an abortion at the JK Medicity here on Friday afternoon, and gave her drugs to kill the foetus. On advice of a gynecologist to administer some intravenous fluid in view of the weak condition of her foetus, Shruti visited the private hospital. However, the staff in presence of the doctor mistook her for the woman who was scheduled to visit the hospital for abortion and gave her some pills for the purpose without going through her medical report or conduction any clinical test. Dr Singh, meanwhile, also handed the woman’s husband a list of medicines to be purchased from market. The unsuspecting husband, when came to know from the chemist that the medicines sought by the doctor were meant for aborting a pregnancy, rushed to the hospital. However, by then the pills had started affecting the foetus. The doctor, in a desperate bid to save the foetus, administered Shruti intravenous fluids and sent her home. In night, the woman started complaining of severe pain in her stomach and was rushed to the hospital, where she was told her foetus has died and that it is needed to be aborted. Later, the family members reported the matter the police who arrested the doctor and the nurse for the lapse. The police also expressed surprise that how could the hospital engage a BAMS to carry out abortions. The incident has also taken the lid off the abortions taking place in the hospital in violation of the J&K Preconception and Prenatal Sex Selection/Determination (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2002. For carrying out an abortion, the doctor has to mention in writing the reasons for carrying out the abortion, however, there was no mention of it in the hospital record when woman first went there and they gave her wrong medicine, the police pointed out. [...]
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Akhilesh government responsible for riots: Syed Shahnawaz Hussain
Shahnawaz Hussain said their lust for power and poor law and order situation were reasons behind the riots. Holding Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav responsible for Saharanpur riots, BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain on Sunday said their lust for power and poor law and order situation were reasons behind the riots. “Akhilesh Yadav’s government deliberately indulges in disturbing communal harmony in Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family are dividing the state at a time when the law and order situation is in very bad shape there,” Hussain, BJP national spokesperson, told media persons at the state BJP headquarters. “Akhilesh-led government has lost its moral right to continue in UP after the defeat in Lok Sabha elections. It has lost the mandate and is facing public anger, but wants to remain in power by any means,” he said. Referring to the riots in Saharanpur, he said everybody has the right to worship, but nobody has the right to stop anybody from worshipping according to his religion or views. He further added that such incidents should not be tolerated and strict action should be taken by the state government. Communal riots erupted in Saharanpur on Saturday after people reportedly belonging to a community gathered outside a place of worship and threw stones at it. Three persons were killed and several injured in the clashes that broke out following the incident. Saharanpur city is currently under curfew with shoot-at-sight orders in place. Hussain said, “BJP wants communal harmony in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country, but it finally depends on the state government whether to improve or worsen the situation. “Our government at the Centre is ready to provide all possible help to the UP government in tackling communal tension and ushering in peace and communal harmony,” he said. [...]
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Rajnath Singh briefs PM Modi on Saharanpur, UPSC
Singh briefed Modi about the situation in the Western Uttar Pradesh town and the action being taken to maintain peace in the state, sources said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him about the situation in violence-hit Saharanpur and students’ protests against UPSC syllabus and the steps being taken by the Centre on both the issues. During the 30-minute discussion, Singh briefed Modi about the situation in the Western Uttar Pradesh town and the action being taken to maintain peace in the state, sources said. The Home Minister informed the Prime Minister that he has been personally monitoring the situation and has already spoken to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and asked him (Yadav) to take all possible steps to control the violence. The Home Ministry has already sent 600 paramilitary personnel to assist the state government in maintaining the  law and order. Three persons were killed on Saturday and 19 others, including policemen, injured in the clashes between two communities over a land dispute after which curfew was clamped and shoot-at-sight ordered in the town. On the UPSC issue, sources said, the Home Minister informed the Prime Minister that he had held a meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh and reviewed the situation arising out of the students protests. Singh briefed Modi about the possible steps that could be taken to resolve the issue. The students have been demanding change in syllabus of civil services preliminary exam and postponement of the test scheduled for August 24. [...]
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Say hello to trendy, wearable gadgets
But in the near future, we will be all set to wear a full set of gadgets on our fingers, wrists, and even the eyes that not only monitor us throughout the day, but make our lives slightly easier. With more and more companies getting into the wearable ... [...]
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Weekly roundup: Sony Xperia T3, LG G3, and other gadgets launched in India …
LG G3: Two months after its global unveiling, LG launched its new flagship smartphone - the LG G3 - in India. In India, the LG G3 comes with a price tag of Rs 47,990 for the 16GB version and Rs 50,990 for 32GB. It will be available in three colours. [...]
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Bangalore child rape case — what to do when your child has been sexually …
Well, this myth is right away busted by the fact that around 53% Indian children are sexually abused sometime in their life. Child sex abuse is extremely real and ... For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on ... [...]
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The 90-year-old sex guru
He realised that many of their problems stemmed from a lack of sex education, and this set him off on a life-long mission to provide it, first through the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) and later through his own organisation, the Council ... [...]
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West Hartford Seniors, July 2014
The Little Boutique: Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Fridays. The boutique has been a huge success since its opening in 2013. In addition, we now rent out space to members and friends. We are looking for donations of new ... [...]
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Tips To Treat Hair Boils On Scalp
Yes, we all know that the changed lifestyle and amount of tension in day-to-day living brings about many health problems. You can add these ... The Indian medicine system of Ayurveda believes that an upset digestive system lies at the root of most ... [...]
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Twitter Turns Sanskari as Alok Nath aka Babuji Joins in; Twitterati Take …
It's time for Twitter to learn some values and manner, as actor Alok Nath has completed his Twitter warming ceremony. Nath aka Babuji, who became an Internet sensation earlier this year, has joined the social networking site Twitter on Thursday. In his ... [...]
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