Category Archives: India News

Kerala Floods: Blame Game Begins As Death Toll Reaches 35

Kerala Floods: Blame Game Begins As Death Toll Reaches 35

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 18: As the death toll in Kerala floods and heavy rainfall reached 35, the Congress-led opposition on Monday accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of not acting in time. However, the government quickly denied the charges.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who on Sunday visited the worst-affected areas in Idukki and Kottayam districts, raised questions as to why, despite the IMD warning, the state government failed to act.

“Wish to know why and what happened and it has now proved that the State government failed to act on warnings. We are told it took several hours for the team of the government officials to reach certain spots with men and material to do the rescue act. Something has gone wrong and we want answers,” said Satheesan.

State Revenue Minister K. Rajan, however, said there has been no wrong on the part of the State government.

“We rely on the reports and act on the basis of the Centre and we have done just that. Strict action will be taken against those who misuse the social media when the state is passing through tough times,” said Rajan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is chairing a meeting to discuss the floods and the strategy to be adopted to open dams in the state which are full. The one decision that was taken is that dam shutters will only be opened during the day time.

On Wednesday, when the Assembly session resumes, the opposition is going to raise the issue in the House.

Meanwhile, around 4,000 people are now lodged at various camps that have been opened in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts of the state.

The latest weather forecast, which has now come out predicts heavy rains to lash the state starting Wednesday.

It all started with the century’s biggest floods in 2018 and since then every year, Kerala has seen heavy rains and flash floods.

This time the worst-affected have been the Kottayam and Idukki districts and though the rains have slowed down since Saturday evening and on Monday morning, authorities have issued an alert in eight of the 14 districts of the state.

However, on Monday in Pathanamthitta district in Central Kerala, things appear not that encouraging.

Meanwhile, the social media has also taken up the recurring natural disaster as nothing but man-made and numerous trolls have come highlighting the statement of noted environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel and in 2013 warned that if Kerala does not stop tampering with the Western Ghats, a huge disaster is round the corner.—(IANS)

India Reports 13,596 New COVID-19 Cases, 166 Deaths, Tally Over 3.40 Cr

India Reports 13,596 New COVID-19 Cases, 166 Deaths, Tally Over 3.40 Cr

New Delhi, Oct 18: India added 13,596 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,40,81,315, while the active cases declined to 1,89,694, the lowest in 221 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The death toll climbed to 4,52,290 with 166 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 24 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 113 consecutive days now.

The active cases comprise 0.56 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.12 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.

A decrease of 6,152 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23

Yuvraj Singh Arrested Over Castiest Comment, Released On Bail: Haryana Police

Yuvraj Singh Arrested Over Castiest Comment, Released On Bail: Haryana Police

The Haryana Police said cricketer Yuvraj Singh was arrested and released on bail in an alleged casteist remarks case in compliance with a high court order. Singh was accused of making casteist remarks against another cricketer during an Instagram chat last year.

Superintendent of Police (Hansi) Nitika Gahlaut said over the phone, “We only made a formal arrest and he was released on bail in compliance of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.” “Yuvraj Singh came to Hansi on Saturday and we made a formal arrest. He was released on bail bond after a few hours,” DSP (Hansi) Vinod Shankar said.

While noting that the Haryana police is seeking only Singh’s “formal arrest” in the case, the high court had last week directed that upon joining the probe with the investigating officer, if the cricketer is arrested, he would be released on interim bail upon furnishing bail and surety bonds.

The high court was listening to a plea by the cricketer seeking quashing of an FIR filed against him earlier this year under sections of the IPC and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act based on a complaint by lawyer Rajat Kalsan at the Hansi Police Station in Hisar.

Kalsan had filed the police complaint last year, alleging that Singh’s comment had hurt the sentiments of the Dalit community and a large number of people had watched the video on social media.

Expressing regret over the comments, Singh had earlier tweeted, “I understand that while I was having a conversation with my friends, I was misunderstood, which was unwarranted. However, as a responsible Indian I want to say that if I have unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments or feelings, I would like to express regret for the same.”

Problem In J&K Not Over With Scrapping Of Art 370, Those Seeking ‘Azadi’ Must Be Integrated With ‘Bharat’: RSS

Problem In J&K Not Over With Scrapping Of Art 370, Those Seeking ‘Azadi’ Must Be Integrated With ‘Bharat’: RSS

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the abrogation of Article 370 which had given a special status to Jammu and Kashmir has not solved the problem completely, and there is a section of population there which still speaks of “Azadi” (independence). Speaking at a book launch function here, he said society must reach out to this section so as to integrate it with “Bharat”.

He visited Kashmir recently and saw that abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 has paved the way for development in the region, Bhagwat said. He also saw Muslim students from Jammu and Kashmir stating during a program in Mumbai last month that they wanted to be part of India and now they could be Indian without any barrier, he said.

Earlier, Jammu and Ladakh faced “discrimination” and 80 per cent of the resources spent on Kashmir Valley went into local leaders’ pockets without benefiting people, the RSS chief said. Now this has changed and people’s lives there are “happier”, he claimed.

Article 370 also came in the way of taking action against terrorists but now nobody fears terrorists, he added. “People who had put stones in the hands of their children instead of books have stopped praising them (terrorists). There is an open atmosphere….Tomorrow elections will be held and new government will be formed,” the RSS chief said.
But sometimes we get complacent and lethargic when “hurdles are removed”, Bhagwat said, adding, “The problem has not gone away. Was Article 370 the problem? The reason why Article 370 had been created was the problem. “There is one section, which….persuaded by Pakistan and with communal feelings in the heart says (demands) Azaadi (freedom/independence). And these sections are still there,” Bhagwat said.

Many in Kashmir identify with Indian nationalism, he said. But there are some others who are happy that “corrupt leaders have gone to jail” and there is development, but “in their hearts they feel even with all this, if we get independence, it will be good,” Bhagwat said.

“And the problem lies there,” he added. “We will need to speed up efforts for assimilation,” the RSS chief said, adding that Indian society should take benefit of the “good atmosphere” prevailing now and “reach out to all of them and establish close relations….make them feel that they belong to Bharat.”(PTI)

IT Dept Detects Tax Evasion Worth Crores After Raids On Two Business Entities

IT Dept Detects Tax Evasion Worth Crores After Raids On Two Business Entities

New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has detected tax evasion worth crores of rupees after it raided a group engaged in digital marketing and another entity engaged in solid waste management, the CBDT said on Sunday.

The searches were carried out on October 12 in a number of states.

The first group is engaged in digital marketing and campaign management and the raids were carried out at seven premises located in Bengaluru, Surat, Chandigarh and Mohali, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in a statement

“Incriminating evidence found reveals that the group has been engaged in obtaining accommodation entries (bogus business entries) using an entry operator.

The entry operator has admitted to have facilitated transfer of cash and unaccounted income of the group through hawala operators,” it alleged.

Inflation of expenditure and under-reporting of revenue has also been detected and the group has also been found to be indulging in unaccounted cash payments, the CBDT said.

The department found that personal expenses of the directors have been booked as business expenses in the books of accounts.

“Luxurious vehicles used by the directors and their family members are found to have been purchased in the names of employees and entry provider,” it claimed.

The second group searched is engaged in solid waste management and deals in solid waste collection, transportation, processing and disposal services across the country, primarily catering to Indian municipalities.

“Evidence found reveals that this group has indulged in booking of bogus bills for expenses and sub-contracts and a preliminary estimate of such bogus expenses booked is to the tune of Rs 70 crore,” the statement said.

Unaccounted investment in property of about Rs 7 crore has been detected and unaccounted cash of Rs 1.95 crore and jewellery of Rs. 65 lakh has been seized, it said. (PTI)

Dr Manmohan Singh’s Condition Stable: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)

Dr Manmohan Singh’s Condition Stable: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)

Former Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s condition according to doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is stable. Singh, now 89, was admitted to the hospital in Delhi for evaluation of fever on Wednesday and is under the observation of doctors.

“I wish a speedy recovery to former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Ji. May God grant him good health,” Union minister Hardeep Puri tweeted.
Singh had earlier been admitted to AIIMS after testing positive for Covid-19 in April this year. The two-time Prime minister marked his birthday on September 26.

Last year too, the widely renowned economist was admitted at AIIMS after complaining of uneasiness

28 Tihar Prison Officials Suspended For Being Complicit With Jailed Unitech Ex-Promoters

28 Tihar Prison Officials Suspended For Being Complicit With Jailed Unitech Ex-Promoters

October 14/2021: The Delhi Prisons Department has suspended 28 jail officials after they were found to be complicit with Unitech’s imprisoned ex-promoters Ajay Chandra and Sanjay Chandra, officials said on Thursday.

According to a senior jail official, 28 officials of Tihar Jail number 7 have been suspended while the services of two contractual employees are being terminated. Two officials would be suspended by the Delhi government, the official said.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch had on Tuesday registered a case after 32 officials of Tihar Jail were found to be complicit with the duo. The FIR was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, and investigation was taken up.

The Supreme Court had on October 6 directed suspension of Tihar jail officials, registration of case against them and full-fledged probe into their collusion with Sanjay and Ajay Chandra, based on Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana’s report.

The apex court had also directed that the officials of Tihar Jail who had been prima facie found to be complicit in the course of the inquiry be placed under suspension and directed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to respond to the suggestions contained in the report submitted by Asthana.

The former Unitech promoters had been shifted from the Tihar Jail here to Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail and Taloja Central Jail, following a Supreme Court order.

The court had said that two reports of the Enforcement Directorate about the conduct of Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra and the connivance of Tihar Jail staff in flouting orders and undermining the jurisdiction of the court had raised some “serious and disturbing” issues. PTI

Eastern Ladakh Standoff: India, China To Hold Military Talks On Sunday

Eastern Ladakh Standoff: India, China To Hold Military Talks On Sunday

New Delhi, Oct 9: India and China will hold another round of high-level military talks on Sunday with a focus on making some forward movement in the disengagement process in the remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, government sources said.

The talks are scheduled to start at 10:30 AM at the Moldo border point on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the sources said on Saturday.

The Indian side is expected to seek disengagement as soon as possible in the remaining friction points besides pressing for resolution of issues in Depsang Bulge and Demchok.

The 12th round of talks had taken place on July 31. Days after the talks, the two armies completed the disengagement process in Gogra, which was seen as a significant forward movement towards the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the region.

The 13th round of talks is taking place in the backdrop of two recent incidents of attempted transgressions by the Chinese troops — one in the Barahoti sector of Uttarakhand and another in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a brief face-off near Yangtse in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh last week and it was resolved within few hours following talks between commanders of the two sides as per established protocols, people familiar with the development said on Friday.

Last month, close to 100 soldiers of China”s People”s Liberation Army (PLA) transgressed the LAC in the Barahoti sector.

The transgression took place on August 30, and the Chinese troops returned from the area after spending few hours.

Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravne on Saturday said the military build-up by China in the eastern Ladakh region and new infrastructure development to sustain the large-scale deployment are a matter of concern.

He also said if the Chinese military maintains the deployment through the second winter, then it may lead to an LoC-like situation (Line of Control) though not an active LoC as is there on the western front with Pakistan.

The Indian delegation at Sunday”s talks is to be led by Lt Gen PGK Menon, the Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps.

The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August.

In February, the two sides completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in line with an agreement on disengagement.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the LAC in the sensitive sector.—(PTI)

Home Minister Amit Shah Likely To Visit Jammu And Kashmir This Month

Home Minister Amit Shah Likely To Visit Jammu And Kashmir This Month

New Delhi, Oct 5: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir later this month as part of the central government”s mega outreach programme, officials said on Tuesday.

Shah will visit both regions of the Union Territory — Kashmir and Jammu — and the tour may take place from October 23 to 25.

The home minister is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir this month as part of the government”s mega outreach programme under which 70 Union ministers are visiting the UT, an official from the ministry said.

During his trip, Shah will visit remote areas of the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region, and take stock of various development initiatives.

The home minister also may attend a high-level law and order meeting with senior officials of the UT administration, the police, the paramilitary and the army, another official said.

A number of central ministers have already visited the UT while tours of several others are in the pipeline. (PTI)

Congress Stage Protest Against Priyanka Gandhi’s Arrest, Demands UP Govt’s Resignation

Congress Stage Protest Against Priyanka Gandhi’s Arrest, Demands UP Govt’s Resignation

Srinagar, Oct 05: The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Tuesday staged a protest against the arrest of senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh and demanded the resignation of the Yogi government in the state.

Addressing the media, at the party headquarters, JKPCC President G A Mir said that the police highhandedness against the Gandhi is condemnable and it reflects the lawlessness in the state.

“Priyanka ji wanted to sympathise with the farmers and was alone. Her arrest is condemnable,” Mir said.

Gandhi is currently holding General Secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh.

Mir said all the Congress workers have gathered at the party headquarter to send the message that they all are in solidarity with the farmers of the country.

“The police is not allowing us to move outside of our office. We are here to register our protest,” he said.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Son Aryan Khan Detained In Drug Seizure Case, NCB Apprehends Seven Others

Shah Rukh Khan’s Son Aryan Khan Detained In Drug Seizure Case, NCB Apprehends Seven Others

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, was detained on Sunday by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) over a drug seizure on a cruise ship off Mumbai coast, multiple top sources told News18.

According to the sources, Aryan Khan is currently being questioned by the agency’s sleuths.

In a development that is bound to send shockwaves through the film industry, top sources told News18 that Aryan Khan’s WhatsApp chats are being examined and he could be charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, if the agency finds his involvement.

The NCB sleuths, who raided Cordelia cruise after it departed from Mumbai, seized drugs such as cocaine, hashish and MD from the alleged rave party on board the ship.

On the basis of specific information, officials of NCB Mumbai conducted a raid on Cordelia cruise, which was bound from Mumbai to Goa on 02.10.2021.

During the operation, all suspects as per the information were searched and various drugs like MDMA/ Ecstasy, Cocaine, MD (Mephedrone) and charas have been recovered.

A total of 8 persons, including 2 females, have been apprehended and their role being investigated in relation to the said recovery. NCB Mumbai has registered Crime no.

Cr 94/21 in this matter. Further investigation is underway,” NCB said in a statement on Sunday morning.

When the ship left Mumbai shortly and was to reach mid-sea, the first party began where allegedly drugs were by being consumed.

Following this, NCB officials present on the ship started conducting searches and apprehended those consuming drugs and seized the contraband. The entry fee alone for the party was in the range of Rs 1 lakh, an officer told CNN-News18.

Last week, NCB’s Mumbai and Goa teams in a joint operation had arrested Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal’s partner Gabriella Demetriades’s brother from Goa in connection with a drugs case.

The bureau also seized charas from him, according to sources. Gabriella’s brother Agisilaos Demetriades is of South African nationality and was arrested by the NCB last year, too, as part of its probe into the alleged drug use in Bollywood.

India Reports 18,870 New COVID-19 Cases, 378 Deaths, Tally Over 3.37 Cr

India Reports 18,870 New COVID-19 Cases, 378 Deaths, Tally Over 3.37 Cr

New Delhi, Sep 29: The daily rise in coronavirus infections remained below 20,000 for the second consecutive day with 18,870 fresh cases recorded in a single day, while the active cases declined to 2,82,520, the lowest in 194 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday.

With the fresh cases, India”s tally of COVID-19 cases rose to 3,37,16,451.

The death toll climbed to 4,47,751 with 378 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases comprise 0.84 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.83 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.

A decrease of 9,686 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

India”s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.

Navjot Singh Sidhu Resigns As Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Chief

Navjot Singh Sidhu Resigns As Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Chief

Chandigarh, Sep 28: Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday resigned as the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu, however, said he will continue to serve the party.

Sidhu had taken over as the state party chief in July this year.

“The collapse of a man”s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab”s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab,” he wrote in the letter.

“Therefore, I hereby resign as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” he further wrote.

It is immediately not known what prompted Sidhu to leave the post of the Punjab Congress chief.—(PTI)

Bharat Bandh: Farmers Block Highways, Squat On Railway Tracks At Many Places In Punjab, Haryana

Bharat Bandh: Farmers Block Highways, Squat On Railway Tracks At Many Places In Punjab, Haryana

Chandigarh, Sep 27: Normal life was hit as farmers blocked highways, roads and squatted on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana on Monday in view of a “Bharat Bandh” called by farm unions against three agriculture laws of the Centre.

In Punjab, the ruling Congress said it firmly stands by the farm unions” “Bharat Bandh” call against the three contentious laws.

The shutdown was almost complete in the state, with transport services suspended during the bandh period, while shops and other commercial establishments remained shut at most places.

National and state highways in several districts, including Amritsar, Rupnagar, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Sangrur, Mohali, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Bathinda, were blocked by the protesters.

In neighbouring Haryana, the protesters blocked highways in Sirsa, Fatehabad, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Hisar, Charkhi Dadri, Karnal, Kaithal, Rohtak, Jhajjar and Panchkula districts.

The protesting farmers squatted on railway tracks at many places in the two states.

Ferozepur”s Divisional Railway Manager Seema Sharma told PTI that some passenger trains have been cancelled while some other services have been rescheduled.

With the protesters squatting on railway tracks, she said as far as possible, the railway authorities try to halt the trains at a station so that the stranded passengers can get some facilities.

Farmers squatted on railway tracks at many places in the two states, including at Shahbad near Kurukshetra, Sonipat, Bahadurgarh, Charkhi Dadri, Jind, Amritsar, Patiala, Barnala and Lalru near Derabassi.

Several trains were held up due to this.

Phagwara Station Superintendent Devinder Singh said the Amritsar-bound 03005 Up Howrah Mail coming from Kolkata was stopped by the railway authorities at 6.35 am, while the Jammu-bound 08237 UP Begampura Express had to be halted at Phagwara at 6.46 am.

He said though the Begampura Express had no scheduled halt at Phagwara, it had to be stopped due to track blockade near Jalandhar.

The Amritsar-Katihar Express, the Saharsa-Amritsar Express, the Uchahar Express trains were halted at the Ambala Cantonment railway station, while the Ambala-Saharanpur passenger train was halted at the Jagadhri railway station.

At the Karnal railway station, the Swaraj Express train headed to Jammu was halted.

Three trains were also halted at the Kurukshetra railway station, officials said.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi urged the Centre to repeal the three “anti-farmer” laws.

“#I Stand With Farmers & appeal the Union Govt. to repeal the three anti-farmer laws. Our farmers have been struggling for their rights since more than a year & it is high time that their voice is heard. I request the farmers to raise their voice in a peaceful manner,” he said in a tweet.

State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said the PPCC firmly stands by the farmer unions” “Bharat Bandh” call.

“Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee firmly stands by Farmer Unions demand for Bharat Bandh on 27 Sept 2021. In the war of right and wrong you can not afford to be neutral!! We urge every Congress worker to fight with all their might against the three Unconstitutional Black Laws!!” he tweeted.

Hundreds of farmers blocked the Ambala-Delhi National Highway. They put barricades on the roads leading up to the Shambhu border near Ambala and squatted in the middle of the road. The traffic towards Delhi was diverted to alternative routes.

A large number of trucks and other vehicles were stranded on both sides of the highway.

A number of farmers gathered at the new grain market in Ambala city, from where they marched towards various city markets to request the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed.

Most of the grain markets of Ambala district, the wholesale cloth market, Sarafa bazaar, educational institutions and several commercial establishments remained closed.

Shops also remained shut at some other places in Haryana, including in Karnal and Kurukshetra.

In Amritsar, a large number of farmers held a protest near the Golden Gate, the entry point of the holy city.

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said the Centre should repeal the “black farm laws” without further delay.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farm unions spearheading the agitation, had earlier appealed to people to support the bandh.

The bandh will be held from 6 am to 4 pm during which all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will remain closed or suspended throughout the country, it had said.

All emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief-and-rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies, will be exempted, it had added.—(PTI)

NIA Planning Fresh Raids Against Jamaat-E-Islami Cadres In Jammu And Kashmir Next Week

NIA Planning Fresh Raids Against Jamaat-E-Islami Cadres In Jammu And Kashmir Next Week

New Delhi, September 25: In its ongoing investigation against the outlawed Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) group in a terror funding case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been planning another series of raids against its cadres in Jammu and Kashmir next week.

These raids would be in continuation to the 61 search operations conducted by the anti-terror agency’s sleuths on August 8 and August 9 in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts in Jammu and Kashmir.

Highly placed sources in the NIA told ANI that the fresh set of searches would be conducted on the premises of JeI cadres and their supporters across Jammu and Kashmir any time next week.

The official, requesting anonymity, said, “These searches are being planned as the NIA investigator has found “some more leads” in connection with the case.”
“We (NIA) have got new leads during questioning of over a dozen JeI cadres and suspects linked to the banned organisation,” said the official.

Another NIA official, privy to the ongoing investigation in the case, told ANI that 10 JeI cadres and suspects were examined for over a week at the agency headquarters here and more than five suspects are still being questioned.

Those JeI suspects examined by the NIA sleuths here in the last few days belong to Ganderbal, Srinagar, Kupwara, Bandipora, Rajouri and Doda districts, said the official.

“We are looking for some more people linked to the JeI case and they will be summoned very soon as the examination is an ongoing process,” said the official.

The NIA is now engaged in “building up” the case as the suspects being questioned are among those JeI cadres whose residential premises were raided by the NIA sleuths during its August 8 and August 9 raids at the 61 locations in 14 districts in Jammu and Kashmir in the terror funding case.

The suspects are being questioned regarding the documents seized from their premises during the raids, said the official.

The official further said that the ongoing questioning with four-five JeI cadres would be continued for at least one more week.

“As we (NIA) are done with searches, the suspects are currently being examined with the documents recovered from their houses…This is just a preliminary examination in the case. We are trying to build up the case,” said the official.

The NIA along with Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had conducted searches at 56 locations on August 8 at 14 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. In continuation of the searches, the NIA sleuths further conducted searches at five more locations on August 9.

The searches included the premises of office bearers of the JeI, its members and also offices of trusts purportedly run by the proscribed organisation. Various incriminating documents and electronic devices were seized from the premises of the suspects.

JeI is an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) banned the organisation on February 28, 2019.

The case was registered against by NIA on February 5 this year in pursuance of to order from MHA relating to separatist and secessionist activities of JeI even after its proscription.

NIA investigation has so far revealed that the members of JeI have been collecting funds domestically and abroad through donations particularly in the form of Zakat, Mowda and Bait-ul-Mal purportedly to further charity and other welfare activities but these funds are instead being used for violent and secessionist activities.

The funds raised by JeI are also being channelised to proscribed terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and others through well-organised networks of JeI cadres.

JeI has also been motivating the impressionable youth of Kashmir and recruiting new members (Rukuns) in Jammu and Kashmir to participate in disruptive secessionist activities.—(ANI)

Several Killed In Shootout Inside Delhi’s Rohini Court

Several Killed In Shootout Inside Delhi’s Rohini Court

Several people are reported to have been killed in a shootout that took place inside the premises of Delhi’s Rohini court. Among those dead are also two attackers, who entered the court premises in lawyers’ attire.

A report by NDTV said that one Jitender Gogi, a gangster, was allegedly shot dead. Gogi was being produced at Rohini court when the armed members of the rival gang, dressed as lawyers opened fire.

One female lawyer too has sustained injuries. More than 30 rounds of bullets were fired in the shootout.

Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Two criminals opened fire at gangster (Jitender Mann) ‘Gogi’ when he was taken to the (Rohini) court for a hearing. In retaliation, police shot dead both the attackers. One of them was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000.”

Gogoi, a notorious gangster, was arrested around two years ago from neighbouring Gurgaon on Haryana.

India Reaches Out To Taliban,Indian Envoy Meets Senior Taliban Leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai In Doha

India Reaches Out To Taliban,Indian Envoy Meets Senior Taliban Leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai In Doha

New Delhi: In the first formal and publicly acknowledged contact, Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai on Tuesday and conveyed India’s concerns that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the discussions also focused on the safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan and the travel of Afghan nationals, especially members of minority communities to India.

The meeting took place at the Indian embassy in Doha at the request of the Taliban side and came two weeks after the outfit seized control of Kabul.

The MEA said the Taliban representative assured the ambassador that “these issues” would be positively addressed.

“Today, Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha. The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, on the request of the Taliban side,” the MEA said in a statement.

It said the discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan and the travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit India also came up.

“Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.

People familiar with India’s ties in Afghanistan said it was the first publicly acknowledged contact between the two sides in over at least two decades.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, replying to questions during his weekly briefing in the last few months on whether India has reached out to the Taliban, has been maintaining that New Delhi is in touch with all stakeholders.

It was learnt that India had opened a channel of communication with the Taliban but it was never acknowledged officially.

The meeting between Mittal and Stanekzai took place hours after the US completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, ending its 20-year-long military campaign in the country.

The last American aircraft left the Kabul airport in the early hours.

On Saturday, Stanekzai, in a clear overture, described India as an important country in the region and said the Taliban wants to maintain Afghanistan’s trade, economic and political relations with it.

“We attach great importance to our trade, economic and political relations with India and want to maintain that relation,” he had said.

“We also need to keep the air trade open,” the Taliban leader was quoted as saying by Pakistani media outlet Independent Urdu.

He was referring to the air corridor between India and Afghanistan that was established to boost trade between the two countries in view of Pakistan’s denial to allow transit access.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on August 20 held talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on the Afghan crisis during a stopover in Doha on his way back home from a four-day visit to the US.

Doha has been the venue for the intra-Afghan peace talks and the Gulf country has emerged as a crucial player in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Political leaders of the Taliban have been residing in Qatar for years.

In September last year, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations featuring various stakeholders including the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha. Jaishankar had joined it through a video conference.

Meanwhile, a high-level group comprising Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval and a number of other senior officials is focusing on India’s immediate priorities in Afghanistan following the drawdown of American forces from the country.

Official sources said that the group has been meeting regularly over the last few days following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

COVID-19: DGCA Extends Suspension Of International Commercial Passenger Flights Till Sep 30 2021

COVID-19: DGCA Extends Suspension Of International Commercial Passenger Flights Till Sep 30 2021

New Delhi, August 29: Amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Director-General of Civil Aviation on Sunday extended the suspension on scheduled international commercial passenger flights till September 30, 2021, said a circular by the office of DGCA.

However, international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.

This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA, the circular further said .

“In a partial modification on a circular dated June 26, 2021, the competent authority has further extended the validity of the circular issued on the subject cited above regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger service to/from India till 2359 hrs IST of 30th September 2021,” stated the DGCA circular.

“This restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA. However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis,” further stated the circular.

Earlier, the scheduled international flights were suspended until August 31, said the circular issued by the DGCA on July 30, 2021.—(ANI)

Delhi Court Grants Bail To Kashmiri Man Accused Of Planning To Assassinate Head Priest In Delhi

Delhi Court Grants Bail To Kashmiri Man Accused Of Planning To Assassinate Head Priest In Delhi

Srinagar, Aug 29: A local court in New Delhi has granted bail to a Kashmiri man, who was allegedly involved in planning to kill a religious priest in Delhi and was subsequently arrested by the police from a hotel in Paharganj area of New Delhi.

In a judgement, court of additional sessions judge New Delhi granted bail to Jan Mohammad Dar on the grounds that trial in the instant case is expected to consume considerable time and considering the period of incarceration of the alleged accused person.

After hearing the prosecution and the defence counsel, the court observed that charge-sheet has already been filed and antecedents of the accused are reported to be absolutely blemish free.

“In the Instant matter, charge-sheet has already been filed. Recoveries have already been affected and except for the present case, the criminal antecedents of the applicant/accused are reported to be absolutely blemish free,” reads the court order.

It reads that considering the period of incarceration coupled with the fact that trial in the instant matter is expected to consume considerable time, accused John Mohammad Dar is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing of bail bond of Rs. 50, 000.

The court while granting bail put the accused under the conditions that he shall appear on every date of hearing as fixed by the court concern.

“He shall keep his mobile phone on at all times and shall drop a pin on the google map to ensure that his location is available to the investigating officer. He shall commit no offence whatsoever during the period that he is on bail in present FIR,” the court said.

Earlier, defence counsel advocate Sarfaraz Wani submitted before the court that the accused was a resident of Kashmir and was falsely implicated and was in jail for the last three months.

He pleaded that the accused is the only bread winner of his family and a carpenter by profession. “The investigation has been completed and no purpose would be served by keeping him behind the bar,” he pleaded while praying for release of the accused on bail.

Meanwhile, the prosecution prayed that the accused was planning to assassinate the head of a religious institution in Delhi and NCR.

Notably, on May 18 this year, Delhi Police had claimed to have arrested a man, identified as 24-year-old John Mohammad Dar alias Jehangir of Pulwama, from a hotel in Paharganj for allegedly being contracted to kill Dasna Devi temple’s head priest.kno

India Reports 44,658 New COVID-19 Cases, 496 Deaths, Tally Over 3.26 Cr

India Reports 44,658 New COVID-19 Cases, 496 Deaths, Tally Over 3.26 Cr

New Delhi, Aug 26: With 44,658 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India”s total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,26,03,188, while the active cases rose to 3,44,899, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The death toll climbed to 4,36,861 with 496 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases comprise 1.03 per cent of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.63 per cent, the ministry said.

An increase of 11,174 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

As many as 18,24,931 tests were conducted on Thursday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 51,49,54,309. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.45 per cent. It has been less than three per cent for the last 32 days.

The weekly positivity rate was recorded at 2.10 per cent. It has been below three per cent for the last 63 days, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,18,21,428 and the case fatality rate stands at 1.34 per cent, the data stated.

Cumulatively, 61.22 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered under the nationwide vaccination drive till Friday morning.

India”s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.

The 496 new fatalities include 162 from Kerala and 159 from Maharashtra.

A total of 4,36,861 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 1,36,730 from Maharashtra, 37,231 from Karnataka, 34,814 from Tamil Nadu, 25,080 from Delhi, 22,794 from Uttar Pradesh, 20,134 from Kerala and 18,402 from West Bengal.

The ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

Anti-CAA Speech: Allahabad High Court Quashes Criminal Proceedings Against Kafeel Khan

Anti-CAA Speech: Allahabad High Court Quashes Criminal Proceedings Against Kafeel Khan

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court  quashed criminal proceedings against paediatrician Kafeel Khan over an anti-CAA speech made by him at Aligarh Muslim University due to lack of necessary sanction from the government.

A single judge bench of Justice Gautam Chaudhary set aside a charge sheet and cognisance order passed against Khan, noting that the requisite sanction was not taken by district magistrate from central and state governments under Section 196(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

However, he made it clear that the charge sheet and its cognisance may be taken by the court after mandatory sanction is granted by the central as well as the state governments.

The charge sheet and cognisance order was passed against Khan by the Aligarh Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) in a case wherein Khan had allegedly delivered an inflammatory speech during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at AMU in 2019.

Following the event, an FIR was lodged against Khan under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 505(2) (statement creating or promoting, enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and 109 (abetment of offence) of the IPC.

Consequently, he was arrested. Police submitted the charge sheet before the Aligarh court on March 16, 2020 and the Chief Judicial Magistrate took its cognisance on July 28, 2020. Khan then filed a petition challenging it.

According to Section 196(A) of the CrPC, no court shall take cognisance of any offence under Section 153A of the IPC, except with the previous sanction of the central government or state government or the district magistrate.

Reacting to the development, Dr Kafeel Khan said, “This is a big victory for the people of India and restores our faith in judiciary.”

“Yogi Adityanath government”s high-handedness towards people of Uttar Pradesh has been completely exposed by this ruling of the honorable Allahabad High Court,” he said.

“We also hope this brave judgment will give hope to all pro-democracy citizens and activists languishing in jails across India. Long live Indian democracy,”he added.—(PTI)

Punjab Police Recover 16 Kg Of Heroin Being Smuggled From Jammu And Kashmir

Punjab Police Recover 16 Kg Of Heroin Being Smuggled From Jammu And Kashmir

AMRTISAR: Punjab Police chief director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta tweeted: “Amritsar (rural) police recovered 16kg of heroin from Madhopur today morning.

The drugs consignment was being brought in by an Amritsar resident from J&K. Proud of the excellent work in the ongoing Drive against Drugs by @AmritsarRPolice. 57kg of heroin recovered within seven days.”

Acting on a tip-off, the police put up a naka (barrier) at Madhopur border and arrested Ranjit Singh, alias Rana, of Khazana Gate area in Amritsar, after a search of his vehicle yielded the heroin.

“Rana’s Toyota Innova car (PB-01-A-6708) was stopped on suspicion. The 16 kg of heroin was recovered from it. Our team is still at Madhopur border, and the accused is being questioned,” a senior police official said.

Rana was on his way from Jammu and Kashmir to Amritsar via Pathankot when he was intercepted by the Amritsar rural police.

On August 21, the police recovered 40.8 kg of heroin that was being smuggled from across the border near Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.

India Reports 46,164 New COVID-19 Cases, 607 Deaths; Tally Over 3.25 Cr

India Reports 46,164 New COVID-19 Cases, 607 Deaths; Tally Over 3.25 Cr

New Delhi, Aug 26: With 46,164 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India”s total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,25,58,530, while the active cases increased to 3,33,725, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

The death toll climbed to 4,36,365 with 607 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases comprise 1.03 per cent of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.63 per cent, the ministry said.

An increase of 11,398 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

India”s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on Juln 23.

India Reports 30,948 New COVID-19 Cases, 403 Deaths; Tally Over 3.24 Cr

India Reports 30,948 New COVID-19 Cases, 403 Deaths; Tally Over 3.24 Cr

New Delhi, Aug 22: India logged 30,948 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases declined to 3,53,398 comprising 1.09 per cent of the total infections, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday.

The total tally of COVID-19 cases has increased to 3,24,24,234. The death toll has climbed to 4,34,367 with 403 fresh fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The active cases have declined to 3,53,398, the lowest in 152 days, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 97.57 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the health ministry said.

A reduction of 7,942 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

As many as 15,85,681 tests were conducted on Saturday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of COVID-19 in the country to 50,62,56,239. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.95 per cent. It has been less than three per cent for the last 27 days.

The weekly positivity rate was recorded at two per cent. It has been below three per cent for the last 58 days, according to the ministry.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 3,16,36,469, while the case fatality rate stands at 1.34 per cent, the data stated.

India”s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.

Jammu And Kashmir Under ‘Direct Assault’ From New Delhi, Statehood In Full Should Be Restored Forthwith, Elections Be Held In Free And Fair Manner: Rahul Gandhi

Jammu And Kashmir Under ‘Direct Assault’ From New Delhi, Statehood In Full Should Be Restored Forthwith, Elections Be Held In Free And Fair Manner: Rahul Gandhi

Srinagar, Aug 10: Stating that J&K was “under the direct assault from New Delhi”, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Rahul Gandhi Tuesday said and the Government of India should restore full statehood to J&K and conduct the elections in a free and fair manner.

Rahul, who arrived in Kashmir on a two-day sojourn, also said that he is fighting against Prime Minister Narendera Modi and his policies of “dividing India” and he will continue his fight till he wins. Addressing a gathering at J&K Congress headquarters at Moulana Azad Road here, Rahul said today there is not the assault on J&K only but other parts of India also like Tamil Nadu, Bengal and other States. “But one thing is clear that J&K is under direct assault from New Delhi while other parts are facing an indirect attack,” Rahul thundered from the pulpit.

He said Congress party has a clear stand for J&K. “Statehood should be restored in full and there should be Assembly polls in a free, fair and transparent manner,” Rahul said.

Replying to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s suggestion regarding seeking a bill in the parliament to press for restoration of Statehood for J&K, Rahul said: “ I am not allowed to speak in the parliament. I can’t speak about Raffle, unemployment and corruption. They (BJP) have attacked judiciary, Lok Sabha and even the voice of media stands muzzled. Journalists can’t write what they want to.”

 He said that when there was a Congress government in J&K, major schemes like Udaan were launched and Panchayat polls were held.” “We brought experts to Kashmir University and sent Kashmiri youth to other states of India. But they (BJP) attacked this process too,” he said.

Rahul said that he can feel the pain of people of J&K. “My message to you is that I am with you to build a relation based on love and honour. I am fighting against PM Modi. My fight is against Modi’s ideology and violence he is preaching besides his mission of breaking India. I will continue to fight till victory,” the Congress leader said.

 He said J&K people have an age-old culture of love, honour and whatever “you want to do for people J&K should be based on love and honour.” “If you start your hatred for people of J&K, nothing can be achieved, “Rahul said in an obvious reference to BJP. He said earlier, during Covid and post abrogation of Article 370, he tried to visit J&K, but was denied all the time,” he said.

Rahul said that he has a Kashmir connection as his ancestors were living in Valley. “Today, my family lives in Delhi, before that they were living in Alahbad and before that, they were living in Kashmir. So I have inherited a tinge of Kashmiriyat that lies inside me,” he said. Rahul who is also the Congress MP said he will visit Jammu and Ladakh very soon.kno