In what appears to be targeted breach of online-security, large sums of money were debited from the SBI salary accounts of Indian Air Force officers at various locations over the past 10 days. The IAF has registered an FIR with the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Special Cell of Delhi Police. The amounts are believed to have been transferred to one “Target Canada”, according to the debit messages.
“There have been a very large number of fraud transactions using SBI debit cards of Defence Salary Package account of around 45 IAF officers posted at various places. These transactions are taking place throughout the country. It is being done by Target Canada using same POS number. Every day the number of cases is increasing. Amount involved is from 11,000 to 2 lakh rupees for all these transactions. Please take precautions if u have DSP ac with SBI and immediate action is to block the card,” a message being circulated amongst the IAF officers read.
Target Canada is a Canada-based discount departmental store. However, it could not be established whether the said transactions pertain to the same chain.
While the IAF officials said the organisation has “approached the bank, spoken to the bank and lodged an FIR”, the copy of the FIR filed by Wing Commander Tejveer Singh of Provost and Security unit of IAF, New Delhi read that a large number of cases have been reported by “IAF officers having defence salary package account with the State Bank of India” stating fraudulent withdrawal of large amount of money from their salary accounts. The FIR says such transactions are likely to have a “direct effect on the morale of the officers of the IAF”.
Although the complaint against unknown persons was registered only on Thursday, cautionary messages have been circulating amongst IAF officials for over a week now. “ Word of caution…officers account being hacked in the name of Canada Stores…3 live cases reported frm AFA, 1 frm Yalahanka, 1 frm Jaipur etc,” read one message. Another asked officers to “exercise caution while using SBI Debit card in the ATMs or shops, also internet banking needs to be done with utmost caution”.
While an official email response from the SBI is still awaited, sources said breach of security “is impossible unless individuals share their pin details with another individual even as some indicated that the breach could have been on part of the client organisation given that only accounts of officers of IAF have been targeted”. “We have filed complaints in cyber crime branch in Mumbai, Delhi and Toronto. Prima facie, the fraud could be due to cloning of cards,” an SBI official said.
IAF to get its sixth C- 17 Globemaster aircraft Monday
NEW DELHI: The IAF will get the sixth of its planned 10 C- 17 Globemaster III strategic heavy-lift transport aircraft on Monday. The aircraft will be arriving at Palam and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to be shown the aircraft. The first of the 10 aircraft, which are being procured from the United States under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, was inducted into the IAF in September 2013. The government had accorded approval to buy 10 C-17 Globemaster III along with associated equipment for the IAF in June 2011. The infrastructure for the aircraft is created at Hindon – the home base of the aircraft. The remaining aircraft are expected to be delivered by this financial year. ENS [...]
The government has clarified that no person who was on the personal staff of any UPA minister can be employed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Additional PS, Assistant PS or First PA to a minister. As per an earlier order, this restriction applied only to persons being appointed as Private Secretaries to NDA ministers.
The widening of the scope of the June 19 order means that no one who served on the personal staff of a minister in the last 10 years can be appointed to any gazetted post in the personal staff of an NDA minister. Only Group C and Group D employees now remain eligible to continue.
The order, which reached ministries on Thursday, will affect some 40 officials arance, are now scrapped. These officials had earlier worked on the personal staff of UPA ministers, or wlready working informally with NDA ministers as Additional PS, Assistant PS and First PA. The appointments, so far awaiting a final cleaith ministers before them.
In its order dated July 23, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which functions directly under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, clarified that the June 19 circular would be applicable “in respect of Private Secretary, OSD, Additional Private Secretary, Assistant Private Secretary and First PA who have worked in the personal staff of any minister for any duration during the last 10 years”.
The circular bears the signature of DoPT director Vandana Sharma.
The June 19 communique had said that “any officer/official/private person, who has worked earlier in the personal staff of a minister in any capacity for any duration, may not be appointed in the personal staff of Ministers in the present government”.
Following persistent pressure from several quarters, however, DoPT issued a clarification on July 8, saying that the June 19 circular “shall apply only in respect of Private Secretaries who had worked in the personal staff of any minister for any duration in the last 10 years”.
The July 8 communication also said that the June 19 circular “shall also not be applicable to such lower personal staff in class 3 and class 4 (now designated as MTS) such as drivers/attendants/peons”.
But the clarification created further confusion.
On July 9, sources in the DoPT said, Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs Afzal Amanullah wrote to DoPT Secretary S K Sarkar, saying: “It is not clear whether the term ‘Private Secretaries’ includes Additional Private Secretaries, Assistant Private Secretaries and OSDs also as the OM dated June 19, 2014 is not applicable to lower category of personal staff, similar clarity is not applicable in respect of Additional/Assistant Private Secretaries and OSDs”.
The sources said that the July 23 communication was issued to further clarify the matter, after getting comments from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The government also clarified on July 23 that an instruction issued by the UPA government that barred any person who had been on the personal staff of any minister for any 10 years of his/her career from further employment in a similar capacity, would continue.
DoPT has cleared the appointments of private secretaries for around 30 of 44 union ministers. But appointments of Additional PS, Assistant PS and First PA have been on hold in most cases.
Sources said several ministers were lobbied by the 40-odd affected persons, and they in turn took up the matter with the PM. Among those who reportedly spoke to Modi were Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Modi reportedly asked his MoS Jitendra Singh and Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra to look into the matter, and the result was the July 8 clarification which, however, failed to end the confusion.
An officer working with a senior minister — and who will have to now go as a result of the July 23 circular — had earlier told The Indian Express, “The problem is that I cannot be here officially. So whenever I travel with the minister, we write in all our letters that ‘an attendant will accompany the minister’ without mentioning any names.” [...]
Sikhs from Punjab at the Manji Sahib Gurdwara in Ambala.
Staring out at the dusty road, Avtar Singh shakes his head in despair as he looks at the truckloads of men in blue turbans and women in salwar-kameezes entering the Manji Sahib gurdwara in Ambala. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-dominated Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has sent its “army” from Punjab, he says.
They have done so to guard the major gurdwaras in Haryana after its Assembly passed a Bill allowing creation of a separate management committee for Sikh shrines in the state, Avtar Singh adds.
“There is no doubt Haryana should get its own gurdwara committee. We are discriminated against in the current system. So much money goes from Haryana and yet we get nothing. This is a question of our rights,” he says.
However, Avtar Singh is wary of violence. “There is danger looming large. We don’t want any panga (trouble). We don’t want violence for this. Then it just won’t be worth it.”
Avtar Singh’s fears are reflected across all the major gurdwaras in Haryana, with the SGPC believed to have sent men and women in batches to eight of the main ones, including Manji Sahib, to “guard” them.
While the Centre told the Congress-led Haryana government to withdraw its Bill on the creation of a Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC), on Wednesday the latter went ahead and constituted a 41-member HSGPC to manage, supervise and take over the assets of all the gurdwaras in the state.
With most of Haryana Sikhs backing the state’s move, The Indian Express visited four of the eight gurdwaras in the state that look primed for a fight.
Akalis in blue turbans sit at the entrance of the Panjokhra Sahib gurdwara in Ambala carrying kirpans, while a larger number roam inside the complex. In the market outside, most of the hushed whispers revolve around who the men and women are and why they are here.
Baldev Singh, who runs a shop selling knick-knacks, says the Akalis have “captured the gurdwara” by sending their men “mainly from Punjab”. “See, it’s simple. It’s like living in a rented house versus owning a house. Till now, it has been like the former for us from Haryana — it hasn’t been our own. But we want our own committee. Why should Punjab decide our fate?” he asks, as the five others around him nod their heads.
Same questions are being raised outside the Sahib Patshahi 6th gurdwara in Kurukshetra and the Nada Sahib gurdwara in Panchkula. Jaswant Singh, who owns a mobile shop outside the Kurukshetra gurdwara, and Harpreet Singh, a shopowner near Nada Sahib, say Haryana has been deprived by the SGPC on many counts, including in jobs in gurdwaras. The finances are used by and for Punjab, and all the benefits accrue to the bigger state, the Sikhs of Haryana say.
Of the 170 members in the SGPC, only 11 are from Haryana while one each is from Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. All the rest are from Punjab.
Baba Sukha Singh of Dera Kar Sewa gurdwara in Karnal says that for Punjab, it’s all about the money. A vehement supporter of Jagdish Singh Jhinda, who has been spearheading the HSGPC campaign, Baba Sukha Singh notes that Haryana gurdwaras account for “3,000 acres of land and generate an annual revenue of over Rs 200 crore”. “All they (Punjab and SAD) want is this money and to be able to use it for their benefits and to accumulate power,” he says.
Local Sikhs also accuse Punjab, being the “big brother”, of “using bullying tactics” instead of giving in to the “rightful demands of the younger sibling”.
The men occupying the Haryana gurdwaras, as well as their leadership, deny they are from Punjab. “They are all locals. Why should anyone come from Punjab? And we are not guarding anything, we are only working for God,” says Raghujit Singh Virk, senior vice-president, SGPC.
Virk, a SAD member, is sitting with a group of 10 other Akalis in a small office room of Patshahi 6th gurdwara in Kurukshetra. “The Hooda government is only trying to divide the Sikhs for political benefits. We will not allow a separate committee. But we are doing nothing, only sitting peacefully in gurdwaras,” he says. With a veiled threat, he adds, “Please quote me on this. If there is even the tiniest bit of violence, the Haryana government will be responsible.”
Not everyone is as discreet. SGPC member Sajjan Singh, who reached Nada Sahib gurdwara early Tuesday morning with “nearly 2,000 other Akalis”, openly says they have been sent from Punjab on instructions of the “high command”. “We are all being sent from Punjab to defend and guard the eight main gurdwaras. Everyday, thousands come and are put on duty while the others who have been here are relieved. It’s a proper system. We will be here till a solution is reached,” he says.
The fact that elections are due later this year in Haryana makes this even more complex. Several believe the Congress may benefit because of its move to create a separate gur [...]
Dina Nath Batra
# Don’t blow out candles on your birthday. It’s “western culture” and needs to be shunned. Instead, wear “swadeshi clothes” this day, do a havan, pray to the ishtadev, feed cows.
# Drawing a map of India? Make sure you include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. These are part of undivided India or “Akhand Bharat”.
# Include August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, in the list of national holidays. This day should be celebrated as “Akhand Bharat Smriti Divas”.
These are moral prescriptions from books authored by Dina Nath Batra, convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, that have now become compulsory reading in government schools in Gujarat. On June 30, the state government issued a circular directing more than 42,000 primary and secondary government schools across the state to make a set of nine books by Batra, translated from Hindi to Gujarati, part of the curriculum’s “supplementary literature”.
Batra’s civil suit earlier this year had led to the pulping of American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism. He had also sent a legal notice to another publisher about a book on modern Indian history which led the publisher to begin a review of some of its books, including one on
sexual violence during riots in Ahmedabad.
The circular issued by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) read, “These books on supplementary literature are aimed at imparting quality education. They will be provided free of cost to all government primary and secondary schools, public libraries and will be also available at GSSTB, Gandhinagar, for individuals interested in these books. These are to be incorporated from this academic session.”
On March 4, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama released the set of nine books — Shikhan nu Bhartiyakaran, Tejomay Bharat, Prernadeep I, II, III and IV, Vidyalaya: Pravitiyon nu Ghar, Shikhsan ma Triveni and Vedic Ganit.
On page 59 of the book Shikhan nu Bhartiyakaran (Indianisation of Education), under the chapter Samajik Chetna (social awakening), the author says, “Birthdays should be celebrated by shunning the western culture of blowing candles. Instead, we should follow a purely Indian culture by wearing swadeshi clothes, doing a havan and praying to ishtadev (preferred deity), reciting mantras such as Gayatri mantra, distributing new clothes to the needy, feeding cows, distributing prasad and winding up the day by playing songs produced by Vidya Bharati.”
Page 49 of the book Tejomay Bharat (Shining India) reworks India’s political map to include some of its neighbours. Batra says, “Students, how would you go about drawing a map of India? Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma are part of undivided India? These countries are part of Akhand Bharat.” Another lesson in the chapter, Undivided India, reads: “Undivided India is the truth, divided India is a lie. Division of India is unnatural and it can be united again…”
Another chapter on National Unity and Education from the book Shikshan nu Bhartiyakaran reads: “The current language policy allows for the domination of English language which results in Sanskrit being sidelined. By not learning Sanskrit, students will be deprived of the vast knowledge that our epics have on our culture.”
So, “to make students aware of our culture”, Batra recommends his own three-language system to be followed in schools. “The mother tongue should be the first language with 20 per cent aside for Sanskrit, Hindi should be the second language…and Sanskrit or any other foreign language should be the third language.”
Besides, the books advocate a “common code of conduct” for schools across the country — a standard curriculum and a set of moral values.
Bharat Pandit, Director of Gujarat State School Textbook Board, said the books had been chosen so that “students understand our history and culture”. “These books, with several references by Dina Nath Batra from our rich history, will help our students develop moral values and that should be considered an integral part of education. The process of distributing these books is in progress. This is the first time we have introduced supplementary books and we hope that students will benefit from them.”
Meanwhile, the textbook board has still not distributed curriculum textbooks this academic year for Classes 1-5 of government schools, apparently because the state government gave the wrong list of books for publication. [...]
Days after he resigned as Maharashtra Industries minister raising a banner of revolt against Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, sulking Congress leader Narayan Rane Thursday met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
It is learnt he explained to the Congress second-in-command the rationale behind demanding a leadership change in the Assembly-poll bound state.
Rahul, sources close to Rane said, has assured the leader he would convey his sentiments to party president Sonia Gandhi. Chavan and state PCC president Manikrao Thakre are also reaching here on Friday for discussions with the high command. Rane told reporters after the meeting he has faith in the party chief.
Rane is finding himself in a tight spot as the Shiv Sena has already asked the BJP not to admit him, limiting his options – if he wants to explore any – outside the Congress. With the party refusing to replace Chavan, arguing it was too late to experiment now, Rane is hoping against hope.
He is likely to join Chavan and Thakre to meet Sonia where the party leaders feel a solution can be worked out. Rane has openly stated that Congress prospects in the Assembly elections would not be any different from the Lok Sabha polls if they were fought under the present leadership.
Sources said the party is thinking about replacing Thakre. [...]
Jain Varghese and Surumi in Kochi.
A 29-year-old Catholic priest, who fell in love with a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity about two years ago and wanted to marry her, was forcibly admitted to a mental hospital by his family members for a psychiatric evaluation for “deviating from faith and odd behaviour”.
Priest Jain Varghese, a member of Catholic congregation Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus, was released from the mental hospital only after his 22-year-old girlfriend, Surumi, reached the hospital and staged a protest.
Trouble began for Varghese and Surumi — from Kottayam and Ernakulam districts respectively — when they approached the marriage officer at the registrar office in Kochi on May 31 with plans to marry. When he returned to the office last week, Varghese was told that his family in Vaikkom had objected to the marriage, saying he was not mentally stable.
“I went to my house to know why they objected to the marriage. My parents and relatives told me they were against my marriage and that they wanted me to continue as a priest,” said Varghese, who got ordained as a priest last year. “I am in a relationship with Surumi. There was no question of continuing as a priest.”
Varghese was suspended from the religious order on June 10. Last Saturday, Varghese said, his family members took him to the Sacred Heart Mental Hospital in Thodupuzha, run by Catholic nuns, and got him admitted against his wish. They also got a letter from the local parish priest in Vaikkom, saying he had undergone deviations related to faith.
That day, when Surumi did not hear from Varghese despite several attempts, she filed a missing persons complaint with the Kochi police. “I had lost contact with Varghese. The police found out that he was taken to the mental hospital in Thodupuzha,” said Surumi, who first met the priest six months ago during a prayer session and fell in love.
By Saturday night, Surumi was at the mental hospital in Thodupuzha, demanding Varghese’s release.
The hospital’s assistant administrator, Dr Sr Magy Mathew, said the priest’s family had told them that Varghese was a priest and required a psychiatric evaluation for his deviation from faith and abnormal behavior. “We were not told about his relationship or about the lady. The family did not respond when we asked them to take Varghese back as we did not want to land in any trouble,” she said.
As the family did not turn up, the hospital on Monday sought help from the police to take Varghese home in Vaikkom. He then got himself admitted to a general hospital, alleging that the mental hospital had put him on sedation continuously. The assistant administrator of the mental hospital, however, refuted this allegation, saying he was only administrated an injection to calm him down. “That was within the limits,” said Mathew.
Varghese and Surumi said they wanted to move forward. “We want to get away from my family and live somewhere doing some jobs,” said Varghese, a graduate in philosophy. “My family members have not appeared for the hearing at the office of the registrar of marriage.” [...]
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday will arrive in Kathmandu on a three day visit which, apart from preparing ground for PM Narendra Modi’s visit in early August, will focus on a range of bilateral issues. Officials said Swaraj will head the Indian side in a Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting — which is being held after 23 years.
Nepal’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said security, trade and commerce, development agenda and hydro projects will be discussed during Swaraj’s visit. Nepal is also planning to hold an ‘expert groups meeting’ before Swaraj arrives to finalise its view on a draft sent by India on cooperation in the power sector.
Nepal had taken exception to provisions in the draft — in particular that the two sides “shall cooperate in effective harnessing of Nepal’s hydro-power potential through facilitation and speedy construction of hydroelectric power projects in Nepal, either with 100 per cent Indian investments or joint venture with Indian entities”.
The provision was criticised as India’s attempt to limit Nepal’s right to solicit the involvement of non-Indian companies in offering better conditions. But the Indian Embassy here, and Ambassador Ranjit Rae promptly clarified the issue by saying it was just a draft and Nepal was free to have its views. They also said Nepal had sovereign rights over its water.
Besides exploring the possibility of the two countries working together on power generation and transmission, the two sides are likely to discuss the replacement of worn out or missing border pillars, replacement of the old extradition treaty and the Mutual Legal Assistance agreement.
Meanwhile, the PMO confirmed that Modi will visit Nepal from August 3 to 5. [...]
A Kerala youth, who landed in Abu Dhabi prison last month after he was tricked into carrying psychedelic drugs LSD inside a parcel of books, was released on Thursday.
Shiju Thomas, a native of Aluva and who was arrested on June 18, walked free after the Abu Dhabi government was convinced about his innocence. The Union external affairs ministry had intervened for Thomas following the report from Kerala government.
Thomas called the family Thursday to inform about his release. “He was handed over to the company where he worked earlier. It would take a few weeks for him to return as his passport had been seized,’’ said his family.
In May, Thomas visited his home to attend his father’s funeral. A month later, when he was about to return to Abu Dhabi, he got a call from his colleague’s friend, requesting him to carry a parcel of books for his cousin to Abu Dhabi. He carried the parcel without checking.
On reaching Abu Dhabi airport, he was arrested after the Customs had detected nine small stamps of lysergic acid diethylamide — or LSD — concealed in the packet.
Two colleagues of Thomas then visited his family in Kerala to inform about him. His family filed a complaint and police arrested four youths, including Sarang Thomas, who was supposed to accept the LSD parcel in Abu Dhabi. [...]
Insurers will now be able to raise much needed capital from foreign partners and expand the business. (Source: Reuters)
Two crucial pieces of legislation which have been hanging fire for long — the Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill and Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill — are set to be cleared in the current session of Parliament. The NDA government is also learnt to be working on getting the Parliament’s nod for a legislation that provides for the setting up of the National Judicial Commission.
The Budget Session, originally scheduled till August 14, is likely to be curtailed by a week, after the passage of these pieces of legislations — at least the first two.
Setting the stage, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday cleared the plan to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector from the existing 29 per cent to 49 per cent. It also cleared the Securities Bill, aimed at empowering market regulator SEBI with raid, search and seizure powers to crack down on ponzi schemes and investment frauds.
To address concerns about the powers to raid — as voiced by the parliamentary standing committee on finance earlier — the CCEA was learnt to have provided for setting up special courts in Mumbai to authorise such action. The previous regime was of the view that an internal authorisation by SEBI chairman should be sufficient. The UPA government had taken the ordinance route twice to give these powers to the SEBI, but it had lapsed on both occasions.
Official sources said both the Insurance Bill and the Securities Bill will be passed by Parliament in this session as there is political consensus on them. Given that the previous UPA government pushed for both the Bills, the NDA government is confident of securing the Congress’s support in Parliament. Congress sources said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had got in touch with them on the Insurance Bill and the party had assured its support.
If the government’s move goes through, it will end an over eight-year logjam in the insurance sector where, despite repeated efforts, FDI has remained capped at 26 per cent. According to the proposal approved by the CCEA, the insurance sector would have a composite FDI cap of 49 per cent. While FDI up to 26 per cent would be under the automatic route, companies would have to take approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for more foreign investment.
Significantly, voting rights of the foreign partner have not been capped, although insurance firms will be under the management and control of the Indian partner. This would mean that the Indian partner would have the right to appoint a majority of directors, and be able to control management and policy decisions.
“The issue on voting rights will have to go to Parliament. But we prefer a 49 per cent cap without any riders,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said earlier.
Officials indicated that the change in stance came just before the Union Budget. “It was decided that not too many restrictions, such as a cap on voting rights, would be imposed on the foreign partner, but the interests of the Indian partner would also be protected,” said a senior official.
Jaitley had announced the government’s intent to liberalise the sector in the Budget, and the move is seen as a signal of the government’s intent to encourage business and investments.
Insurers will now be able to raise much needed capital from foreign partners and expand the business. According to estimates, the raising of the cap could bring in as much as $ 6 billion in funds to the country.
Meanwhile, in the backdrop of the recent controversy over Gopal Subramanium’s proposed elevation to the Supreme Court and former SC judge Markandey Katju’s controversial claims regarding the appointment of a High Court judge, the government is learnt to be keen to get the Parliament’s nod for a legislation to set up a National Judicial Commission which would replace the collegium system of appointments to the Supreme Court and High Courts, giving the executive a say in the matter.
Sources, however, said that Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is still working on the proposed legislation and it was not clear whether it would be ready in time for the Parliament to consider and pass it in the current session. It was the previous NDA regime that had first brought a legislation to replace the collegium system of appointments, but this had lapsed in 2004. The UPA II government had resumed the process, bringing a Constitutional amendment Bill to establish the said commission, but it remained pending in the Rajya Sabha.
Reacting to the CCEA’s decision on the Insurance Bill, Rajesh Sud, CEO and Managing Director, Max Life Insurance, said, “It is heartening to see that the central government is acting quickly on policy decisions. Once approved by Parliament, this move should bring in the much required long-term capital for the sector. It will also bring in domain capital which [...]
Meanwhile, party president Uddhav Thackeray demanded Mallick’s dismissal. (Source: PTI photo)
Facing condemnation over its MPs trying to “force-feed” a fasting Muslim staffer at the New Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi — as first reported by The Indian Express — the Shiv Sena on Thursday asked why it is being targeted while no questions are raised when “some Muslim men rape women during Ramzan”.
“Why is an unnecessary controversy being created over a chapati while no one raises a voice over the rapes committed by some Muslims during the holy month of Ramzan. People understand all this. The media and certain parties and politicians are okay with rape but not with chapatis,” said an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana. It listed recent rapes in Afghanistan and Banglaore which it claimed were committed by Muslims.
“The media and the selfish politicians who are crying themselves hoarse about the incident do not see the rape of a 10-year-old by a maulvi during the holy month of Ramzan in Afghanistan. The media does not speak then, nor are questions raised in Parliament, or cries of sensitivities being hurt voiced. In Bangalore, a Muslim teacher, while fasting, recently raped a little girl. Why do the media and the selfish politicians not speak about these incidents,” it said.
“It was not written on the man’s forehead which religion, caste or creed he belonged too. He turned out to be a Muslim. We came to know that he was observing his fast and reports started spreading that the Sainiks tried to break the fast of a Muslim,” said the editorial.
Maintaining that its MPs were only protesting against the management and catering service, it blamed Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Maharashtra Sadan Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick for the poor condition.
“In reality, this chapati should have been thrust down the throats of the chief minister, PWD minister, chief secretary and Bipin Mallick… Why this brouhaha after we took a chapati close to the caterer’s mouth and told him a bit sternly that he should eat and see how unpalatable it is,” it said.
“We treat all religions equally. Everyone should keep their religion at home and in their hearts. Personal faith is a different thing but if if this faith is going to be used for scoring political points and defaming the Shiv Sena, people should realise that they have to deal with the Shiv Sena,” said the editorial.
Meanwhile, party president Uddhav Thackeray demanded Mallick’s dismissal. “He (Mallick) should be sacked from his present post,” he said, adding that the Sena respects all religions and its MP, Rajan Vichare, had expressed regret for the incident.
Interestingly, the Shiv Sena found an unlikely ally in MNS president Raj Thackeray. “I watched the incident, and it does not seem that Rajan Vichare acted with a mala fide intent of breaking that person’s fast,” he said. [...]
Rajan Vichare at the Shiv Sena office in Parliament Wednesday. (Source: Express Photo by Anil Sharma)
With the opposition turning the heat on the government over The Indian Express report on Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forcing a fasting Muslim to eat a chapati at the new Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, the government said Thursday it would respond on Friday “after ascertaining facts”.
On Thursday, a complaint was filed with the Tilak Marg police station. It sought registration of an FIR against Sena MP Rajan Vichare “and his accomplices” for allegedly “promoting enmity between religious groups and deliberately acting to outrage religious feelings”.
A PIL was also filed in Delhi High Court, seeking disqualification of the Sena MPs and derecognition of the party for “trying to provoke religious conflict”.
In his complaint to police, advocate Imran Ali alleged that the act of Sena MP Vichare was a “deliberate act” to “grab public attention” and “hurt sentiments and religious feelings of Muslims”. He claimed that the act was “intentional” since the “Shiv Sena claims and has projected itself to be a non-secular party”.
The lawyer sought registration of an FIR under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (deliberate act to insult religious belief) and 298 (intent to wound religious feelings).
DCP (New Delhi) S B S Tyagi said that Arshad Zubair, the man who was allegedly force-fed by the MPs, had not yet filed an FIR.
“We normally go by the complaint of the person who is actually aggrieved. If some other person has filed such a complaint, we will have to inquire from the person who is aggrieved in the incident,” Tyagi said.
The PIL in the High Court was filed by Maulana Ansar Raza, head of the NGO Garib Nawaz Foundation. The plea, filed through advocate Naval Kishore Jha, is likely to come up for hearing next week.
It sought the arrest of the MPs involved in the incident for “ provoking religious sentiment of minority communities”
Stating that MPs were elected “by people for their service, not for provoking religious sentiments and dadagiri”, the PIL urged the Central government, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and the Maharashtra Chief Minister to act against the MPs.
“Direct the Speaker to initiate disqualification process of these MPs… Immediately arrest of all those involved,” the petition stated.
In Parliament, the Congress, SP and Left members raised the issue in Rajya Sabha for the second day. Members said 24 hours had passed since the issue was first raised but the government was still to get back to them.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the incident, which pertained to MPs, took place in a building run by a state government.
“This is a very sensitive matter and also a serious matter,” he said, adding that the chair had asked the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday to ascertain facts.
“We are ascertaining facts,” he said. “We will be finding out full details and only then respond.”
This sparked an opposition uproar. Sitaram Yechury of the CPM said 24 hours had passed since the government gave an assurance that it would come back to the House with a statement on the issue.
Satyavrat Chaturvedi of the Congress said the government had gone “deaf and dumb” on the issue.
Naidu assured the House that the government would get back on the issue by Friday.
— With ENS [...]
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed his deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the train-bus collision in Medak district of Telangana on Thursday.
He prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured in the accident, a PMO statement said.
Thirteen people, including 12 school children, were killed and 15 other children seriously injured when a train rammed into their bus at an unmanned railway crossing in Masayipet village of Telangana’s Medak district. [...]
On a Shiv Sena MP allegedly force-feeding a Muslim employee, Omar said it was “goondaism”. (Source: PTI photo)
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, on Thursday, said “some people” will never find the time appropriate for withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state as they have a “liking” for these laws.
“It is an ongoing discussion with the Centre. First, it was with the UPA and now the NDA government. Some people will never find the time appropriate because they have so much liking and love for these laws,” Omar said.
The Chief Minister said, “Even if we silent 100 per cent of the guns here, they will still find excuses and say time is not appropriate.” “I do not know what parameters they want for the appropriate time. If they let us know the parameters to determine the appropriate time, then we will try to achieve those parameters.
“But whenever we tell them that the time is appropriate, they say not this year but next year. And then the next year, they increase the goal post. I hope that their thinking changes and the process (of revocation of AFSPA) is started,” he said.
On a Shiv Sena MP allegedly force-feeding a Muslim employee in the New Maharashtra Sadan at New Delhi, Omar said it was “goondaism” (hooliganism).
“Either they knew he (the employee) was a Muslim and then it is more shameful. Even if they did not know, the goondaism by Members of Parliament is not a good thing. We should set an example by our behaviour after winning elections. And if we are setting this example to the people of the country, then I feel it is very shameful.
“I am ready to go to the extent that they did not know he was a Muslim, but even then the act cannot be overlooked because we do not expect such goondaism from a MP,” he said.
Asked about the upcoming Assembly polls in the state, the Chief Minister said he considers 1996 state elections as the “toughest” in the history of the state.
“No. Why?” he quipped when asked whether the upcoming polls are the toughest in the history of the state. “There is a huge difference between the militancy of that time and the militancy now. Perhaps, this election may be politically difficult for some, but as regards to
administration and security, I feel 1996 polls were most difficult for us,” he said. [...]
Malik should be sacked from his present post, said Uddhav Thakrey. (Source: PTI)
Shiv Sena president Udhhav Thackeray has demanded dismissal of Resident Commissioner of New Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, Bipin Malik, with immediate effect for allegedly providing poor quality services and food to the state’s MPs.
“He (Malik) should be sacked from his present post,” Uddhav said to a query from reporters here on the incident at New Maharashtra Sadan.
A Shiv Sena MP was caught on a video footage purportedly force-feeding a fasting Muslim employee in New Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi sparking an outrage and a huge uproar in Parliament on Wednesday amid demands for action against its MPs involved in the incident and calls to avoid giving communal tinge.
The incident took place last week as Sena MPs were protesting the quality of food and services at New Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi.
“Even, Shiv Sena is following Hinduism. We also respect other religions, and our MP Rajan Vichare also expressed his regret over the incident reported in Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi on Wednesday,” said Thackeray, who arrived on Thursday to discuss various issues with party-men in Nashik division.
To a query, he said the demand by Dhangar community for reservation was justified. [...]
Amidst rumours about Apple planning separate launches for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite this year, a new report claims that the company is 'tentatively' planning a keynote address in mid-September for the launch of iPhone 6 as iOS 8 is nearing completion. [...]
The market breadth indicating the overall health of the market was positive. The market sentiment was boosted by provisional data showed that foreign portfolio investors were buyers of Indian stocks during the previous trading session and improvement ... [...]
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The film essays the picture of Mary Kom's struggle to follow her dreams and be a boxer. The trailer traces the journey of the celebrated Indian sportsperson, from training to falling in love, getting married, having two kids and pursuing her boxing dreams. [...]
The abolition of 5/20 rule is being opposed by Federation of India Airlines (FIA), which had earlier this year shot off a letter to Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Lavasa, saying: “Considering that all airlines have in the process of fulfilling their ... [...]
Analysts warn Singapore's stock market is risking becoming a niche player - popular for yield plays such as REITs and business trusts, as well as the mineral, oil and gas sector - but not too much else. Singapore has been a popular listing venue for ... [...]
On the applications and BPO side, we have been robust on leveraging India. But not so on the infrastructure side. Now, with senior leaders who report to me sitting here, that is getting addressed. Unlike for Indian IT firms, our infrastructure services ... [...]