The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

January 31, 2009

Miscreants damage Gandhi statue in Kanpur, cops clue about assailants

The statue of Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was desecrated in Kanpur on the day of his death annivesary. The statue's head was found lying in a drain.

Unidentified persons vandalised the statue in the Govindnagar locality of Kanpur. The police swung into action and later parts of the broken head of the statue were gathered from the nearby drain.

The incident angered residents of the City. Policemen were deployed in the area to prevent any violence. People gathered in the area and demanded arrest of the vandals and strict action against the persons responsible for the act.

Kanpur is biggest town of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in terms of population. Four months ago there was a similar attempt to damage this statue. The police said that they were looking for the miscreants.

TIH Bureau

January 30, 2009

Muslim of Indian origin in Barack Obama's team

After appointing Indian-Americans at important positions in his administration, United States president Barack Obama has appointed another Indian, Rashad Hussain, in his team.

Hussain, 30, has been appointed as the Deputy Associate Counsel to the American president. A University of North Carolina Graduate, Hussain did his post-graduation from Harvard.

Earlier, Preeta Bansal and Neal Katyal, two Americans of Indian origin have been inducted into the President's team. They were appointed as Counsel & Senior Policy Advisor in Management & Budget and Principal Deputy Solicitor General respectively.

Besides, Parag Mehta, Nick Rathod, Anjan Mukherjee, Rachna Bhowmik, Subhashri Ramanathan, Puneet Talwan and Natasha Billimoria are some of the other Indian-Americans who are serving in various capacities in his team.

Hussain, who is the member of legal team of Barack Hussein Obama, was previously trial attorney with the Department of Justice. Various organisations have hailed the appointment.

TIH Bureau

Comedian Raju Shrivastava gets threat from Pakistan

Comedian Raj Shrivatava has received threatening phone calls from Pakistan at his Mumbai home. The police have upgraded his security following the threats.

Shrivastava had approached the police complaining that he was threatened of dire consequences. The anonymous caller who claimed to be calling from the neighbouring country, warned him about cracking jokes regarding Pakistan.

It is believed that the threats could be regarding the stand up TV comedian's jokes which he cracks on live TV shows. Shrivastava, who achieved national fame after the Laughter Show on Star TV, is a regular feature at television shows.

Taking his complaint seriously, the Mumbai police have provided him security and also begun investigations into the source of the phone call. Recently, another comedian, Pakistani comic artiste Shakeel Siddiqui, was in the news when MNS goons had roughed him up and forced him to leave India.

TIH Bureau

January 29, 2009

Chander Mohan's wife Fiza attempts suicide

Anuradha Bali alias Fiza, who is the second wife of former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammad, attempted to commit suicide at her house.

Fiza was admitted to the hospital in an unconscious state after she consumed sedatives at her Chandigarh house. The police sources said that she had taken 30-40 tablets.

On Wednesday, she had claimed that Chander Mohan had been abducted. She had named his brother, Kuldeep Bishnoi, as the main suspect behind the kidnapping. Later Chander Mohan clarified to news persons that he had not been abducted.

Responding to calls on his cell phone from an unspecified location, he said that he was safe and sound. But Fiza's suicide bid suggests that all is not well with the couple who had staked everything for each other's company.

Chander Mohan had converted to Islam to marry her. He was already married earlier. He had to leave the post of Deputy Chief Minister. His father, Bhajan Lal, also disowned them after the marriage.

Assamese Muslim couple killed in Afghanistan

A Muslim couple, Abu Nasser, and his wife, Farheen, were killed in Afghanistan in mysterious circumstances. Abu had recently joined Mazar-e-Sharif University as professor of English.

He hailed from Tezpur in Assam and had joined the English department of Mazar-e-Sharif University as faculty member. There were conflicting reports about the circumstances in which they were reported dead.

As per one report, they got injured in a cross-fire involving the Taliban groups and died of bullets. However, there was another version that suggested poisonous smoke as the cause of death.

They were staying at night at a guest house in Kabul when the incident occurred. Abu was an alumnus of Don Bosco High School and had completed his graduation from Aligarh University before he got his MBA degree from Bhubaneswar.

The bodies have reached Tezpur and the last rites would be performed today. As of now, there has been no official word about the deaths. Indians have been increasingly under attack in Afghanistan in the last few years.

TIH Bureau

Government reduces fuel price, LPG cheaper

The Centre has lowered the prices of fuel and LPG. The cost of one litre of petrol and diesel has been reduced by Rs 5 and Rs 2 respectively. LPG cylinder is now cheaper by Rs 25.

The decision came at the cabinet meeting that took place on late Wednesday night. The decision came in effect from midnight across the country. This is the second cut in the prices of diesel and petrol in two months.

The reduction in fuel prices was on the anvil for the last few weeks. The Oil Minister Murli Deora met Pranab Mukherjee today morning. Mukherjee is heading the cabinet meetings in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is recuperating after the heart surgery.

Deora had indicated that there could be a decision on slashing the prices in the evening meeting of cabinet. The global prices of oil have come down fast in the last few months, from a high of Dollar 147 per barrel.

The UPA government is also expecting that the move would help the Congress-led government in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections that are scheduled to take place in April.

TIH Bureau

January 28, 2009

Shamshad Begum doesn't mind remixes

Legendary singer Shamshad Begum, who has been awarded Padma Bhushan, says that she has no objection to classical songs' remixes and likes to watch reality shows.

Shamshad Begum, 90, who lives at Powaai in Mumbai, said that she doesn't mind when the songs (and the music) which she rendered are remixed and sung in an altogether different tone.

Delighted at the award, the classical singer said that today there is greater freedom, which was unthinkable for youngsters in her age. "Small kids sing and dance on the stage and TV shows", she said.

The eminent playback singer said that she liked watching the reality shows on televesion in which teenagers and kids perform and compete in front of audience. "They are so small, yet so confident and their own parents encourage them", said Begum, who is living a quiet life in the Mumbai suburb.

TIH Bureau

January 27, 2009

Former President R Venkataraman passes away

Former President R Venkataraman passed away in Delhi on Tuesday. Venkataraman, a member of constituent assembly, was the India's president from 1987 to 1992.

He was 98. The former president was hospitalised and was on life suppor system for the last few days. He died on Thursday afternoon. Ramaswamy Venkataraman had served as Vice-President of the country before getting elected as the President of Indian republic.

He was born in 1910 in Tamil Nadu and had obtained a masters degree from Madras College. He had practiced as a lawyer in the High Court and the Supreme court. Besides, Venkataraman took part in the freedom struggle.

After independence, he took an active part in the politics. He was member of India's constituent assembly and was also a member of the first Lok Sabha after independence.

He later served in the United Nations and was Finance minister in the Indira Gandhi's cabinet. Prominent leaders of the country and citizens from all cross-sections have expressed their grief over the death of the veteran leader.

TIH Bureau

Shatrughan Sinha may quit BJP, join SP

Former Bollywood actor Shatrughan Sinha has issued a veiled threat to the BJP that he may leave the party if he is denied ticket from the Patna Sahib constituency in the upcoming Parliament elections.

Talking to media persons, Sinha, said that he belonged to Patna and wanted to contest the upcoming elections from the seat. "My first choice is Patna, second choice is Patna and the final choice is also Patna", he said.

Sinha clearly said that he didn't intend to become a Rajya Sabha MP. "I don't want any backdoor entry, rather I want to fight the election and get elected". Recently Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Amar Singh had accepted that he was in touch with Sinha.

On a question whether he could leave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sinha said that any thing was possible and he may even take 'sanyas' (leave politics). The former Bollywood star has been associated with the BJP for a long time.

He, however, feels sidelined in the party. In the last Parliament elections, Sinha had expressed his dissatisfaction over his neglect. The Patna Saheb constituency has a sizeable population of Kayasthas, the community to which Sinha belongs.

But another BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad is also a frontrunner for the ticket from the same constituency. Post-delimitation of constituencies, parts of the old constituency have been merged with Danapur and the party leadership is still undecided over whether to field Sinha or contest Prasad from the seat.

TIH Bureau

MNS disrupts cultural programme on Republic Day

The activists of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) that has been targeting North Indians, attacked a school in Nashik where a cultural programme was underway.

The programme was organised in the municipal corporation's school at Satpur suburban area of Nashik. Assuming that the organisers were playing Bhojpuri songs to celebrate Uttar Pradesh Diwas (UP Day), the MNS workers staged a demonstration and raised slogans.

Later they stormed into the school, pelted stones, beat up the participants and also set afire the carpets. They also threw the tent and broke the school gate. There was a scuffle between the MNS workers and the organisers.

The violent incident has occurred after a gap of almost two months. The MNS and its chief Raj Thackeray were lying low after the Mumbai terrorist attack. Earlier, they had targeted North Indians, especially immigants from UP and Bihar.

Several persons had even died in the anti-immigrant violence across the Maharashtra. After today's incident, the police have arrested some of the MNS workers involved in the attack and registered criminal case against them.

TIH Bureau

January 26, 2009

Mangalore's Taliban unapologetic over pub attack

The chief of Sri Ram Sena, Pramod Muthalik, has refused to apologise for the assault on girls in a pub that took place on Saturday night, and has justified the attack.

The Sena leader said that the girls and boys were dancing in an obscene manner in the pub. Muthalik, who has not been new to such controversies, said that the activists wanted to stop obscenity and indecent behaviour.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa described the incident as unfortunate. He said that the police have all the power to take strict action against those responsible for beating up girls.

The police have received flak for watching the attack and not taking any action when the self-appointed moral brigade barged into the pub, Amnesia, on Saturday night. A senior official even blamed the media for blowing the incident, out of proportions.

The police have arrested 18 Sri Ram Sena (SRS) activists though over a dozen are still to be identified and arrested. The officials said that the action would be taken against these SRS workers under the Goonda Act.

TIH Bureau

January 25, 2009

Pramod Muthalik's Sri Ram Sena workers beat girls in Mangalore pub

Activists of Sri Ram Sena, a right-wing Saffron group, barged into a pub and thrashed girls. Some of the victims who recieved injuries in the attack are admitted in hospital.

The 40-odd workers of Sri Ram Sena and Bajrang Dal entered the pub, Amnesia, and assaulted the girls. The teenaged girls were chased, slapped, hit and dragged. 

The incident has left the citizens shocked. Women's groups have condemnded the incident and asked for stern action from the State government. Madhu Kishwar termed it inhuman and demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the violence.

Another eminent women rights' activist Ranjana Kumari criticised the administration and said that lack of harsh action on the right-wing hooligans is resulting in increased attacks on women, whose freedom is under serious threat in the South Indian state.

The Sri Ram Sena, which claims to be an organisation involved in moral policing and preventing the youth from getting 'corrupted' by Western culture, has been in the news for similar attacks in the past also. Its chief Praveen Muthalik is known for his extremist leanings.

The Sena, which is also known as Ram Sene, has been accused of involvement in attacks on several Churches across the state in the last year. The BJP ruled Karnataka has witnessed a sudden rise in such incidents of mob violence in the last year.

National Commission for Women (NCW) member Nirmala Venkatesh said that the inquiry would be conducted by the commission. Union Minister Renuka Chaudhary said that the incident reflects the Talibanisation of the country and said that the Chief Minister should act immediately and effectively.

TIH Bureau

IPS officer arrested with drugs, 12 kg heroin seized

In a rarest of rare incidents, the Maharahstra police arrested an officer of the elite Indian Police Service (IPS) with large quantity of narcotics in Mumbai.

Saji Mohan, who was arrested on Sunday, is an officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of Indian Police Service. The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police caught the official.

The drug has been seized. It is suspected that the interrogation could reveal a huge network of drug cartel involved in illegal sale of narcotics. Drug seizures are common but the arrest of such a high-profile officer is a rare incident.

Mohan, who is an officer of the 1993 batch of IPS, has been arrested and would be produced in the court later. The ATS said that Shaji Mohan, was zonal director of Narcotics Control Bureau, when his team had seized 35 kg drug and he had kept a part of it to later siphon it off, to make money. The police said that 12 kg heroin can fetch 12 crore (120 million rupees) in the market.

TIH Bureau

January 24, 2009

Sikh youth with Lashkar links caught in Kashmir

For the first time in Kashmir valley, a Sikh youth was arrested for alleged links with the dreaded Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). The Special Operations Group (SOG) is interrogating him.

The man, Popinder Singh, 30, was caught from his home in Chaugal Handwara village in Jammu & Kashmir' Kupwara district. Offiicals said that he has been an active member of the Lashkar and has supplied arms and ammunitions to the terrorist group.

His residence was used for storing arms. The J&K police's SOG officials arrsted Singh. Though he is employed with a Primary Health Centre as a technician, Singh has been associated with Lashkar's commander Furqan, said the investigators.

He allegedly supplied arms and funds to the Lashkar's operatives and facilitated them in their operatins, said police. The police claimed that they recovered hand grenades and a pistol from him.

Earlier, there have been a few incidents of Hindu militants arrested for links with terror groups but this is the first incident of a Sikh arrested in Kashmir on such charges.

TIH Bureau

Urdu newspaper editor attacked in Hyderabad

Editor of the influential Urdu newspaper Siasat, Zahid Ali Khan, was attacked in Hyderabad on Friday. He is planning to contest election against Asaduddin Owaisi.

Zahid Ali Khan and his two associated were injured in the attack. They were admitted to hospital. The condition of one person is said to be serious. Khan had gone to attend a marriage function when the incident took place.

It is alleged that members of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is responsible for the attack. Khan has been attacked earlier also. He has announced that he would contest the election as joint opposition candidate against AIMIM's MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

Khan later went to police station to lodge a complaint. His supporters staged a protest at Char Minar that continued till after midnight. Owaisi family also runs an Urdu newspaper Etemad.

After the death of Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, his son is representing the Hyderabad parliamentary seat. However, Khan has been receiving support from some sections and is contesting the polls.

TIH Bureau

SP's Muslim leaders unhappy with Kalyan's entry

Muslim leaders of Samajwadi Party (SP) have voiced concern over Kalyan Singh's entry into the party as it can upset Muslims who remember his role in Babri Masjid demolition.

Several leaders are questioning the motive and have warned the party leadership that it may prove costly for the SP. The SP supported Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb has said that it will hurt the chances of party in the Lok Sabha elections.

"He was instrumental in the demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 and was Chief Minister when the mosque was demolished by Kar Sewaks", said Adeeb.

Another senior leader Qazi Rasheed Masood said that it was worrying development as Muslims aren't comfortable with Kalyan Singh. Singh had earlier also left BJP to join SP. He had then tried to mend fences with Muslim community.

But when he returned to BJP, he had again turned a hardliner. This had angered Muslims, who are now wary of his second entry in the party. Singh, who was once the most aggressive face of Hindutva in Uttar Pradesh (UP), has joined SP to get ticket for his son Rajbir.

Mulayam Singh hopes to get the support of backward castes like Lodhs. But many fear that it can cost him his Muslim vote, which is crucial for the party. However, SP leader Amar Singh said that the decision to induct Kalyan Singh was taken by Mulayam and anybody who objects to it can leave the party.

TIH Bureau

January 23, 2009

Court quashes ban on smoking scenes in movies

The Delhi High Court on Friday gave a verdict allowing smoking scenes in the movies. This comes as a setback to the Health Minister A Ramadoss' anti-tobacco stand.

The court held that the ban on smokign scenes violated the artistic freedom and was against the right to free speech and expression. The judge said that smoking was a reality of life.

Justice Sanjay K Kaul's quashed the Centr'es ban on smoking scenes that was passed in October 2006. The order had also banned showing smoking on television screen. The decision came on the petition of film director Mahesh Bhatt.

Union Health Minister A Ramadoss had pushed for the ban on depicting smoking scenes. He has maintained a tough stand on smoking and advised film stars to also quit smoking, as he says it glamorises the act and it makes a wrong impression on their fans and youngsters.

TIH Bureau

Manmohan Singh to undergo heart surgery

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will undergo heart surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He has been admitted and will take four weeks to return to work.

In his absence, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee will stand in for the Prime Minister and look after his work though he will not be an acting Prime Minister. Besides, Mukherjee will handle Finance portfolio this period.

He met Manmohan Singh today just before the PM was about to be admitted to the AIIMS. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was also present in the meeting and she inquired about PM's health.

The bypass surgery will take place on Saturday. Subsequently the Prime Minister would take around 3-4 weeks to recuperate and join his work. In this period, Pranab Mukherjee, who has emerged as troubleshooter for the Congress government in this regime, will handle his work. The External Affairs minister will officiate and head the cabinet meetings in this duration.

Jamiat upset over centre endorsing IAF's 'beard' ban

The Centre's validation of Indian Air Force order that bars Muslims recruited after 2002from sporting the beard has angered Jamiat-e-Ulama that plans a huge demonstration.

Angry over centre's submission in Supreme Court that keeping beard is not compulsory in Islam, Jamiat chief Maulana Arshad Madani has warned the government to mend its ways and stop playing with sentiments of Muslims.

Madani has called a Tahaffuz-e-Shariat conference on February 17. He said that government should have sought the advice of Muslim institutions or eminent Islamic scholars before making its submission on such a sensitive matter in the apex court.

Various Muslim organisations will take part in the grand convention. Corporal Mohammad Zubair has challenged IAF order barring him from keeping beard. The Supreme Court had asked the Centre to clarify its stand on the issue.

The Court had issued a notice to the Centre, asking it why the order should not be stayed. Now centre has justified the order and held that it was to bring greater cohesiveness in a combatant force.

TIH Bureau

January 22, 2009

Now Maharashtra bank targeted in Karnataka

Activists of Karnataka Raksha Vedi (KRV) vandalised the Bank of Maharahashtra (BoM) in Bangalore over the dispute regarding the claim of both states on Belgaum.

The KRV workers went on rampage at the BoM's branch at Gandhi Nagar in Bangalore (now called Bengaluru) and damaged the office. They blackened the signboard and raised slogans against Maharahstra.

Earlier, a Karnataka bank was targeted in Maharashtra and a theatre showing Kannada film was ransacked in Pune. The Shiv Sena and MNS cadre have been threatening to target Kannadigas and their property in Maharashtra.

The latest cycle of violence started after a Karnataka state bus was set ablaze in Latur in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has issued a warning to Karnataka government on the anti-Marathi violence in Karnataka.

The dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra dates back to the state re-organisation after independence when parts of Belgaum district that have sizeable Marathi-speaking population were included in the Karnataka state.

TIH Bureau

Malegaon blast accused to be tried under MCOCA

A Special court on Thursday held that charging the Malegaon blast accused under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) was valid.

All the accused in the blast are henceforth to be tried under the act. They include Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Lieutenant Colonel Purohit, Ajay Rahirkar and Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey among others.

The accused's lawyer had filed an application in the court, demanding that the provisions of MCOCA shouldn't be applied on the accused. But the court dismissed the application and said that MCOCA was applicable in the case.

The court passed the order today. It comes as a setback to the accused who have hired a battery of top lawyers including Mahesh Jethmalani to defend them. Under MCOCA, the accused's confession in police custody is considered an admissible evidence in the court.

Earlier, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had filed a charge sheet against the 11 persons accused in the Malegaon blast. The conspiracy was to avenge the terrorist attacks by Islamist organisations and later turn India into Hindu rashtra, according to the 4000 page charge-sheet filed in the court.

TIH Bureau

'Sharad Pawar a contender for Prime Minister's post'

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar may stake his claim for the top post after the Lok Sabha elections in case of a hung parliament.

The party today said that Pawar was in the race for the post of PM. In case of a fractured mandate, NCP would play an important role in formation of the next government at the centre, said the party general secretary DP Tripathi.

He said that NCP would like to contest more seats and field its candidates from as many as 50 constituencies. In a veiled warning to the Congress, Tripathi said that the NCP should not be taken for granted.

He further said that in case the NCP doesn't get adequate number of seats to contest, it will hold talks with other secular parties and field its candidates in Maharashtra and outside the state. NCP is an ally of Congress and the coalition is in power in Maharashtra.

TIH Bureau

January 21, 2009

Cop probing Samjhauta Express case gets threat to life

The woman police official, Bharti Arora, who is heading the investigations into the train blasts that had left 68 dead, has received threat to her life from an extremist outfit.

The Railway Superintendent of Police (Haryana) Bharti Arora who is conducting the investigations has received thretening call from a person who claimed to be member of an extremist group.

The caller warned her that if she went ahead with the investigations into the train bombing case, she would face dire consequences. On her complaint, a case has been registered against the unidentified caller.

The blasts that had occurred in the Samjhauta Express train which was carrying Pakistani citizens, had earlier been blamed on Islamic militants but later it was found that Hindutva extremists had a role in the terror strike.

Following the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Samir Kulkarni, Army officer Lt Col Prasad Purohit and other members of Abhinav Bharat organisation, the police probe shifted to the role of Hindu organisations.

The investigations into the Malegaon blast had led the police towards the Hindu outfits and their involvement in the train blasts. The Samjhauta Express terror strike had occurred near Panipat on February 18, 2007 and the case is yet to be solved.

TIH Bureau

Ten schoolchildren killed in mishap in Rajasthan

Ten schoolchildren and a teacher died when a truck hit a tempo that was carrying the kids in Barmer district of Rajasthan on Tuesday evening.

The children were returning home after the school was over. The tempo carrying the students of Dayanand Saraswati Higher Secondary School was hit near Ramji Ka Gol at 5pm.

The 'trailer' truck coming from Gujarat hit the tempo, causing the death of 10 children and a teacher. Ten other children were seriously injured. The police officers had rushed to the spot of accident.

The injured kids were admitted to the hospital. The officials feared that the toll may rise as many kids had recieved injuries in the mishap. The Barmer police have seized the truck.

TIH Bureau

January 20, 2009

'Hindutva militants wanted to overthrow government'

The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has submitted a charge-sheet against Malegaon blast accused, claiming that they wanted to overthrow the Central government.

In the extensive 4000 page voluminous charge-sheet that was presented in the court, the ATS said that Colonel Shrikant Purohit was the chief conspirator of the entire plan as also the financier.

The other accused, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Dayanand Pandey held over 20 meetings across the country to plan violent reaction to the Muslim militants' activities. For the purpose, Sadhus (ascetics) and Army's disgruntled officers who were sympathetic to the cause of Hindutva were roped in.

The aim was to get explosives and manpower and conduct blasts in Muslim dominated areas of different cities. The laptop of self-styled Swami Dayanand Pandey had revealed incriminating details about the activities of the organisation, Abhinava Bharat, that was allegedly involved in terrorist strikes.

TIH Bureau

Arjun Singh for judicial probe in Batla House encounter

Veteran Congress leader and Union Minister Arjun Singh stirred the hornet's nest on Tuesday when he demanded a judicial inquiry into the Jamia Nagar's encounter.

Singh said that an inquiry was necessary to clear the doubts surrounding the infamous encounter in which Delhi police special cell had claimed shooting terrorists to death.

The Minister for Human Resources Development (HRD) said that the inquiry would help in getting to the truth behind the encounter. He said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also thinking over the demand for probe.

The senior leader's statement is likely to put up further pressure on Congress that has been avoding the inquiry. Various sections have criticised Congress for not ordering probe, which is considered mandatory in any case of encounter.

Earlier, the statements of AR Antulay and Digvijay Singh on similar issues including the death of ATS Chief Hemant Karkare have showed that there is no unanimity in the party over the issues. Sections of citizens and Muslim organisations had asked for a high-level inquiry into the encounter that took place in Delhi. 

Inspector Mohan Chandra Sharma had died of a bullet in the incident. Reacting to the statement, the BJP said that Congress should clarify its stand on the Batla House encounter. It criticised the UPA government for alleged ambiguity on the encounter.

TIH Bureau

150 students fall off running train in Uttar Pradesh

Over 150 students who were sitting on the roof of a train while going to appear in army's recruitment test, fell off during journey from Allahabad to Faizabad.

Initial reports said that two youths had died. The incident took place at Chilbila. The Saryu Express was going towards Faizabad. It is reported that the train was overcrowded and the aspirants climbed up the roof of the compartments.

A tree that had fallen and leant on the railway track, caused the mishap. At least, 53 students were admitted to hospitals in Pratapgarh, Faizabad and other towns on the way.

The senior officers of police and administration had reached the spot of accident and taken the injured youths to hospitals. The police said that an inquiry would be conducted in this regard soon.

TIH Bureau

January 19, 2009

Sania Mirza in second round of Australian Open

Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, who was away from the court for a while, stormed into the second round of the Australian open on Monday with an easy win.

Mirza defeated Poland's Mara Domachowaska in straight sets and won the match in style. Sania, who is currently ranked 107 in the WTA rankings list, beat the 61st ranked Marta 6-1, 6-4.

Sania is trying to make a comeback to the competitive tennis. She is playing her first singles tournament in four months as she was trying to get over a wrist injury.

The quick victory in the initial round of the first grand slam tournament of the year would certainly boost the confidence of tennis star who has been out of touch for a while and had admitted that she was low on morale.

TIH Bureau

Dissidence in BJP grows: Kalyan Singh looks for options

Supporters of BJP candidate from Bulandshahar, raised slogans against Kalyan Singh and mobbed party chief Rajnath Singh at the party headquarters on Monday.

Kalyan Singh, the former UP chief minister, has again shown signs of getting close to Samajwadi Party. Kalyan's son has not been given ticket from the Bulandshahar constituency where the party has fielded Ashok Pradhan.

Upset over the denial of ticket, Singh's supporters have allegedly been working against the official BJP candidate in Bulandshahar and holding rallies against Pradhan.

This infuriated Pradhan and sections of BJP workers who reached the national capital and raised slogans, demanding expulsion of Kalyan Singh from the party. Singh, who had been awarded a day's sentence and sent to jail for demolition of Babri Masjid, was once posterboy of Hindutva in UP.

He was earlier also expelled from the BJP and had floated his Rashtriya Kranti Party (RKP). He had also joined Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP but later returned to the BJP. Now he wants his son, Rajvir Singh, to be given ticket.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh have already met Kalyan, who is again likely to leave BJP. Kalyan Singh is considered an important leader of the backward Lodh caste.

The caste group has a substantial presence in Western UP and other parts of the state. His exit from BJP can cause further damage as the BJP is already struggling for survival in Uttar Pradesh.

Dissidents like Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Madanlal Khurana and Uma Bharti are already holding parleys and plan to foil LK Advani's bid for the post of next Prime Minister of India.

TIH Bureau

January 18, 2009

Demand for 12% reservation for Muslims

Former Member of Parliament (MP) Mohammad Shahabuddin on Sunday urged the Centre to provide 12% reservation for Muslims in all government jobs in the country.

Shahabuddin, who heads the Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Development, said that a huge convention would be held at Delhi on February 1 where hundreds of organisation members would formally ask the Union government to provide reservation for the minority.

He said that the Sachchar committee recommendations and the Justice Ranganath Mishra commission reports should be immediately implemented. The former MP said that there is urgent need for the Centre to show its commitment to its promises regarding the report.

Shahabuddin said that the socio-economic condition of the Muslims has been extensively documented in the Sachar panel report while Justice Ranganath Mishra committee report deals with the problems and their possible solutions.

TIH Bureau

PM reaches RTO to renew license

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached the Regional Transport Office (RTO) on Sunday to get his driving license renewed. This caused a flutter in the office.

As the PM reached the RTO, the entire staff went into a state of frenzy. It is the rarest of rare occasions when a top leader goes to an administrative office personally for getting his work done.

The gestures assumes significance in a country where those who matter hardly bother to stand in queue or get their works done through the proper process, as rules are made flexible for the VIPs.

When Singh reached the office, his wife Gursharan Kaur accompanied him. His license had expired nearly 45 days ago. He had last renewed his license when he was a Rajya Sabha member.

TIH Bureau

Will support for Sanjay Dutt translate into votes?

Actor Sanjay Dutt received an unprecedented welcome in Lucknow on his arrival in the City on Saturday but the question remains whether this support is real?

Dutt reached Lucknow for the first time after the Samajwadi Party (SP) announced that Munna Bhai would contest the election for the parliament from the Lucknow seat on the party ticket.

The rousing welcome and the huge turnout on the roadsides gave a picture of popular support for Dutt, who has been in thick of controversies, most part of his early life. Now he plunges into politics from the capital of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

As former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee may not contest the election, the Samajwadi Party fancies its chance to wrest Lucknow by fielding a Bollywood filmstar. Indian citizens have often voted for glamour and movie-stars have quite often defeated established politicians in the elections.

Actors like Shatrughan Sinha, Raj Babbar, Govinda, Vinod Khanna, Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Prada and Jaya Bhaduri have been among the stars who have represented various political parties in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the last decade. Sanjay's father late Sunil Dutt was a widely respected Congress leader and now his sister Priya is also a Congress MP.

TIH Bureau

January 17, 2009

MNS' mistreatment of Pak comedian condemned

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers' act of forcing Pakistani comedian Shakil Siddiqui out of the studio, has caused outrage among artistes and citizens alike.

Flute maestro Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia was livid and disapproved of the act. "They mistreated a guest", he said. Chaurasia said that involvement of a few Pakistani misguided persons in terrorism, doesn't mean that one should start behaving in this puerile manner.

Director Mahesh Bhatt sought apology from Siddiqui for the misbehaviour. The artistes are also angry that the same MNS led by Raj Thackeray was invisible when Mumbai was attacked by terrorists.

Earlier the party was attacking non-Marathis and is again resuming the same agenda. Even Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil, who belongs to ruling Congress, has received flak for his statement that appeared to condone the act.

The stand up comedy artiste, Shakeel Siddiqui, has been a regular feature on comedy shows on television and is quite popular for his wit and unique comic style. He was forced out of the studio in Andheri where he was shooting, and taken to airport.

TIH Bureau

Navy vows action to rescue abducted Indians

The Navy is planning action against the Somalian pirates who have taken three Indians hostage after abducting them off a ship on Kenyan coast.

Navy chief Admiral Suresh Mehta today announced that strong action would be taken to secure the release of the kidnapped Indian citizens. Mehta said that Navy would go to any lengths to accomplish the task.

There were 11 members on the ship including three Indians. But most of the others (predominantly Kenyans) were allowed to go while Indian marine technicians were kept hostage. Of the three persons, one is from Kerala and another from Tamil Nadu.

The ship MV Alpha Manyara was taken away on the Kenyan coast, far away from Gulf of Aden and no Indian navy ship keeps surveillance in the region. The ship company has refused to pay ransom.

The activities of Somali pirates have become a cause of international concern and recently Indian navy had destroyed and sunk a pirate vessels in the Gulf of Aden last year.

TIH Bureau

January 16, 2009

Will Congress join hands with Mayawati?

As the Lok Sabha elections draw nearer, there is a strong possibility that Congress may leave Samajwadi Party and have an electoral alliance with the BSP.

The BSP's support to the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan initially raised the speculations of a BSP-Congress coalition at the national level and a seat-sharing arrangement in some states.

It was 12 years ago when the Congress had conceded a majority of seats to the BSP and the two parties had fought elections together in Uttar Pradesh. Senior Congress leaders believe that it was the turning point as Congress had fielded just 125 candidates and let BSP contest 300 constituencies.

Ever since the Congress' base has eroded in UP. But the recent bonhomie between Congress and Samajwadi Party during the vote on Nuclear deal seems to be coming to an end lately.

Insiders say that the party cadre in UP doesn't like to join hands with the SP. Mayawati is also playing her cards well and her letter to the Congress regarding support in forming the Congress government in Rajasthan, has been taken as a move to keep her options open.

TIH Bureau

Uma Bharti extends support to Shekhawat

Former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat may create a major problem for the BJP as party dissidents and defectors are rallying around him.

The former BJP leader Uma Bharti and her mentor Govindachara on Thursday met Shekhawat and offered him support in the Lok Sabha elections. Uma is leader of Bharatiya Janshakti Party.

Her meeting with Shekhawat assumes significance because dissidents like Madan Lal Khurana and Kalyan Singh who are sulking after they felt sidelined in the party, can join hands, say insiders.

Uma Bharti has said that Janshakti would support Shekhawat in all possible ways. The former Vice-President had alarmed the BJP leaderwhip when he had recently questioned the need to project LK Advani as Prime Minister even before the polls.

Various sections are propping up Gujarat Chief Minister Narenda Modi's name for the post of Prime Minister. Now, with Shekhawat asserting himself as one of the senior most leaders in the party, the problems for Advani are far from over.

TIH Bureau

January 15, 2009

For ICC ,Tendulkar not an all-time great cricketer

Sachin Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer in both forms of the game, has been excluded from the list of ICC though Sangakkara and Mike Hussey figure in Top 20.

The latest ICC All-time Test Player rankings, which was released yesterday, has no place for master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Surprisingly, Kumar Sangakkara figures at the sixth spot while Mike Hussey is placed at 17.

Even Dudley Nourse and Dug Walters are ahead of Sunil Gavaskar, the only Indian who figures in the last--at the bottom (20). Not just cricket fans but critics are also surprised at the omission of Tendulkar.

Bradman tops the list followed by Len Hutton, Jack Hobbs, Ponting, Peter May, Clyde Walcott, Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, Kumar Sangakkara, Matthew Hayden, Mohammad Yousuf, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Pollock, Everton Weekes, Neil Harvey and Denis Compton.

In the list of Top 20 One Day Players, Zahir Abbas is at number 2 while Tendulkar gets the 12th slot. The top player is Viv Richards. No other Indian batsman has found place in the top 20.

TIH Bureau

January 14, 2009

India Inc batting for Narendra Modi as PM irks BJP

The statements of Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as future Prime Minister of the country have sent the BJP in a tizzy.

The subtle suggestion of Reliance came at the Global Investors' Summit in Ahmedabad that has attracted Rs 12 lakh crore investment commitments within two days as global meltdown seems to have left Gujarat untouched.

The chairman of Reliance ADA group, Anil Ambani, left little for imagination. He said that one can just visulaise what Narendra Modi can do as leader of the entire country when as Chief Minister he has done wonders.

The head of Bharti Airtel, Sunil Mittal, said that Modi should be the CEO of the country. The other top industrialists also heaped praises on the Gujrat Chief Minister who has lately dissosciated himself from hardline politics and is focusing on governance and development.

The arrest of VHP state leader and the demolition of unauthorised temples was seen as a move by Modi to prove his credentials that he is a no-nonsense man. After the 2002 Gujrat carnage that witnessed killing of hundreds of Muslims across the state, Modi had become the posterboy for champions of militant Hindutva.

But the last few years have seen a shift in his style of functioning. Communal riots haven't occurred and the focus is on better administration and ending redtapism. Now India Inc's endorsement of Modi is seen as a challenge to LK Advani in the party.

The recent announcement of former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat that he will contest election and is senior to Advani in party hierarchy has already worried the party.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said that the statements suggest that there are many politicians within the BJP who are deemed suitable for higher offices like that of Prime Minister but it is not necessary that the party would have a similar view about the leader.

TIH Bureau

Priya Dutt lashes at sister-in-law Manyata

Expressing disapproval over Sanjay Dutt-Manyata's closeness to Samajwadi Party, Sanjay's sister Priya Dutt has said that Manyata was not the daughter-in-law of Dutt household.

Priya who had plunged into politics after the death of her father late Sunil Dutt, today went to the extent of saying that it was good that her father was not alive today to see the turn of events. Priya hasn't accepted Manyata alias Shahnaz Sheikh as her sister-in-law.

Though Priya later downplayed her earlier statement and said that she was 'wrongly interpreted'. Meanwhile, a hoarding in Hazratganj area of Lucknow, makes a veiled attack on the candidature of Sanjay Dutt. A photograph of assault rifle AK 47. The text of the hoarding reads 'Lucknow ir our heaven, We don't want AK forty seven'.

Recently, the Samajwadi Party had announced the candidature of Sanjay Dutt from Lucknow constituency that is represented by former PM and veteran BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee. However, as Sanjay is a convict in a case linked to Mumbai blasts, the party later declared that in case of legal hassles, his wife Manyata could be fielded.

However, this raised the heckles of Sanjay's sister Priya who represents Mumbai North West constituency in the Parliament. Already upset over her brother's choice of Manyata as wife, Priya said expressed her disapproval over Sanjay's proximity with SP.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh had recently questioned Manyata's political standing. Subsequently, SP leader Amar Singh had reminded him that she was daughter-in-law of late actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis. Dutt, who later joined Congress and entered politics had married Nargis, a Muslim.

Their son Sanjay has also married a Muslim, Shahnaz alas Dilnasheen, now named Manyata. She was an 'item girl' and couldn't get the lead roles in movies. This is also a cause of rift in the family, as Priya is unhappy with her brother's choice of his wife. For the moment, it seems the controversy over Sanjay-Manyata's political overtures is far from over.

TIH Bureau

Editors oppose plans to muzzle media

Editors of major TV news channels have protested the proposed amendment in the CTN act that may give extensive powers to bureaucrats to stop media from reporting conflicts.

The Centre wants to amend the existing Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act to regulate the release of footage in emergency situations including communal riots, terrorist attacks and even violent agitations. The government also plans forming a Media Consultative Committee that will over see the officially-sanctioned footage to be released for screening to channels.

However, the managing editors of the channels are up in arms against the decision. They feel that it would give unprecedented powers to the government and bureaucracy. Besides, it would be unhealthy for a democracy to silence the media, which is in a way reminiscent of the days of emergency.

The editors held a meeting in Delhi and dashed a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing their outrage over the proposal and urging him to refrain from amending the existing laws". They feel that the laws are sufficient and if the amendments come into effect, it would be against the right to have a free and fair media in the society.

The coverage of Mumbai terrorist strikes had come in for criticism from various quarters. Certain news channels were condemned for repeating the same footage, giving critical details about hostages that risked their lives and creating a hysteria. But it's clear now that the government move to amend the 1995 Act is all set to meet stiff resistance from the media houses.

TIH Bureau

January 13, 2009

Priyanka to contest from Uttar Pradesh!

Beleaguered Congress workers want Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra to contest election from Uttar Pradesh to revive the party that has almost vanished in the state.

Hoping that Priyanka's election campaign would revive the party's chances in UP, the State Congress Committee has urged the party chief Sonia Gandhi to field her daughter Priyanka in the Lok Sabha election.

They hope that the electorate would vote for her charisma and remind them of her grandmother, late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Priyanka is urged to contest from Sultanpur, Moradabad and Allahabad.

These are considered comparatively safe constituencies for Priyanka. UPCC chief Dr Reeta Bahuguna Joshi has said that district congress committees have communicated to the party high-command that they want Priyanka to be fielded in the election, as it can turn the tide in Congress' favour.

From mid-80s when the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute came to focus, Congress has steadily lost its base in India' most populous state. First, BJP prospered at the expense of Congress.

Later the caste-based politics further relegated the party to the background as SP, BSP became the major players and Ajit Singh's party occupied the remaining space, and Congress lost its old bastion.

TIH Bureau

Terror in Karnataka: Hindutva group nabbed for Hubli court blast

The bomb blast in Hubli court that had occurred last year was engineered by a Hindutva outfit. Karnataka police says that the mastermind Nagraj Jambagi has been arrested.

The blast had occurred in May 2008 in the Hubli court. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Raghavendra Auradkar said that nine members of the group have been found responsible for the act and have been caught.

Sources said that some of the members were linked to the hard-liner Shri Ram Sena while some others were former members of the Bajrang Dal. 

They wanted to kill some members of the radical Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which is a banned organisation, and is also alleged to have links with Islamic terrorism.

The group had earlier also planted bombs near a bridge at Dharwad on the Belgaum-Hubli highway. The Karnataka police said that the gang was involved in nine murders and many other heinous cases. The police recovered Rs 11 lakh from their possession.

The Hubli police are interrogating the members to find out what motivated them to plant the bombs. Their rivalry with the SIMI and the association of members with the extremist Hindu organisations are also being probed.

The revelation has come soon after the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya and Abhinav Bharat members for planting bomb at Malegaon. Karnataka has witnessed terror strikes and bomb blasts repeatedly and the BJP is currently at the helm in the state.

TIH Bureau

January 12, 2009

Thackeray for over 80% MHADA flats to Marathis

The Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has said that majority of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) should be allotted to the local Marathi populace.

In the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, the ageing party leader said that over 80% flats should go to the 'Marathi Manoos'. He also objected to the system of draw of lots for selection of beneficiaries.

The MHADA has announced its plan to construct 3863 flats in different localities of the metropolis. The flats would be comparatively cheaper than the flats built by private builders.

During the recent lottery for 800 flats for the Economically Weaker Sections, nearly 100,000 had turned up and Shiv Sena feels that considering those who have spent 15 years in Mumbai, as eligible for flat, is wrong.

The Shiv Sena has said that the flats should be reserved for the people of Maharashtra. Taking a cue from his uncle, MNS leader Raj Thackery also toed the same line today afternoon.

TIH Bureau

Truckers' nationwide strike ends

The eight day long strike of the transporters finally ended on Monday. The tough stand of the government forced the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to succumb.

The transporters returned to work after a gap of over a week. The strike had hit the supply of commodities across the country. Prices of vegetables had risen steeply all over the country due to the strike.

The transporters had been warned and several state governments had invoked ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) on the striking transporters.The Minister for Road Transport TR Balu announced that the strike has been called off.

He said that a high-power committee had been formed to look into the demands of the transporters. Balu thanked the Transporters Ministers of various states who had converged in New Delhi, at a meeting today.

TIH Bureau

January 11, 2009

Somdev Devvarman loses in the final

India's latest tennis sensation Somdev Devvarman lost to Croatian Marin Cilic in the final of the Chennai Open tournament on Sunday.

Devvarman who had reached the final after getting a walkover in the semi-final due to his opponent having received a wrist injury, lost in straight sets. Cilic won 6-4, 7-6.

Devvarman had raised the hopes of Indian tennis fans after he had a sensational start in the championship. Enroute to the final he had beaten Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic.

Though he faltered at the finals, critics have hailed the Assam-born tennis player. A graduate of Virginia University, he has earlier won the NCAA men's tennis championship twice.

TIH Bureau

Govt constitutes new Satyam board

The Government has constituted the new board for troubled IT major Satyam Computers with the appointment of Kiran Karnik and Deepak Parekh as its members.

The move is part of the ongoing government effort to salvage the IT major that has been going through trouled times after the Rs 7,000 crore scam involving inflated balance sheets that led to resignation of Ramalinga Raju.

Among the members who have been named in the Bord of Directors include former NASSCOM chief Kiran Karnik, former HDFC bank head Deepak Parekh and C Achuthan. Though the Board has 10 members, government has nominated only three till now.

C Achuthan, former member of SEBI, who is the third member of the new Board, is a legal expert. The government is trying to salvage the IT major and the move is part of this effort.

The Minister for Company Affairs PC Gupta told media persons that new Board will hold its meeting in the nexdt 24 hrs. He also said that the Board members will elect a chairman.

The company has lost credibility and eminent persons are being appointed to bring the company back on track. The government has hinted that the new Board would convene immediately.

Herald Bureau

The latest celebrity blogger: LK Advani

The BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani has started blogging. The octogenarian leader apparently wants to connect with the youth through his blog.

The BJP has projected Advani as its candidate for the post of India's Prime Minister. With elections just a few months away, the party is not leaving any stone unturned.

The blog has been created on Advani's website lkadvani.in that was earlier launched amid much fanfare. The first post on the recently started blog was written on January 7.

Titled 'Electioneering from handbills to internet', it has already attracted over 50 comments. The second post deals about a monk, Swami Ranganathananda of the Rama Krishna Mission.

After a few politicians who tried their hands at blogging and filmstars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan joining the fad, the BJP leader has turned to blogging.

TIH Bureau

January 10, 2009

Giant-killer Devvarman's dream run continues

Wildcard Somdev Devvarman brought joy to tennis lovers in the country as he continued his winning spree to reach the final of Chennai Open where he faces Marin Cilic.

Devvarman entered the final after he got walkover in the semis. His opponent Rainer Schuettler pulled out of the tournament due to a wrist injury. Devvarman who has had a dream run so far, now faces third seed Croatin.

Giant killer Devvarman had defeated Spanish Carlos Moya and Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the 450,000 dollars tourney. Devvarman belongs to Assam and his family lives in Guwahati.

Until his recent success in the Chennai Open, the 22-year old Somdeo Devvarman, who is a graduate from University of Virginia, was known for winning the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship. He has won the title twice. Somdev is ranked 202 as per the latest ATP rankings.

TIH Bureau

January 9, 2009

Former Satyam chief Ramalinga Raju arrested

The former Chairman of Satyam Computers, B Ramalinga Raju, who is the prime accused in the Rs 7000 crore fraud, was arrested in Hyderabad on Friday night.

The disgraced ex-chief of Satyam was on the run ever since the huge financial scam had come to light. Technically, Raju first surrendered before the police. He was subsequently arrested.

The Crime Investigations Department (CID) has registered case against him. The cases registered aginst him include cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy. His brother was also taken in custody.

The Hyderabad police are interrogating him. A strong crowd gathered when the police took him in custody. Raju would now be produced in the court on Saturday and the police would seek his remand.

Herald Bureau

India screeches to halt as fuel, gas run out

Petrol pumps are shut across the country and the shortage of gas has compounded citizens' woes. Centre has directed the states to act tough but there seems no immediate reprieve.

The ongoing oil strike has hit India badly and the truckers' strike has futher worsened the situation. Panic spread across the urban India as petrol and diesel was unavailable.

Majority of petrol pumps have run out of fuel and the Army would be pressed into service.On the third day of the strike, the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had to cancel his trip to America.

The Oil Officers' Association is demanding higher wages and refusing to call off the strike. However, the government doesn't appear in the mood to succumb to the PSU officials' demands and hints that the striking employees may be arrested.

Dozens of officials have been sacked and ESMA has already been invoked in Haryana. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder was selling at Rs 750 per cylinder and petrol at Rs 100 per litre in black. As the Transporters are also on the nationwide strike, this has exacerbated the situation.

TIH Bureau

January 8, 2009

Terror ends in North East: Assam blasts mastermind Pranjal Deka killed!

Pranjal Deka, the alleged mastermind of the serial blasts in Guwahati that occurred on January 1, has been killed on Thursday, claimed the Assam police.

Police have claimed that they shot him dead near the State capital. Deka alias Bhambhal alias Biju, 20, had planned and set off the bomb blasts in Guwahati early this month.

He was associated with the dreaded 709 battalion of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Five persons Mansar Ali, Arifa Begum, R Salam, Sahil Sheikh and K Das had died while 50 had been injured in the bombings that had occurred at different places in Guwahati.

After the serial blasts, the police had launched a combing operation. The ULFA is also alleged to have been involved in the bomb blasts in Assam that had occurred two months ago. The police had recently arrested one, Sanjeeb Talukdar, for supplying the explosives to Deka.

TIH Bureau

Sanjay Dutt to contest election from Lucknow

Samajwadi Party is fielding Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt from Lucknow constituency that is currently represented by former Prime Minister and BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The Party made an announcement in this regard today. Sanjay, whose father Sunil Dutt was a Congress leader and member of Parliament, thus makes his entry into the politics.

His sister, Priya Dutt, is already a Congress MP. SP leader Amar Singh today confirmed that Sanjay Dutt would fight the election on the party ticket. For sometime there have been speculations about Sanjay's entry in the politics.

The actor, who has been in the jail in the past, for allegedly keeping an AK 47 assault rifle during the Mumbai riots, has returned to public life and delivered successful movies like Munna Bhai MBBS.

TIH Bureau

Jharkhand CM Shibu Soren loses election

Chief Minister Shibu Soren has lost the bypoll to his opponent Raja Peter by a margin of 9,000 votes. The unprecendeted defeat may lead to President's rule in the State.

Peter is the candidate of Jharkhand Party (JP). Ever since the counting began in the morning, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader and UPA candidate, Shibu Soren, was trailing by over 4,000 votes.

Though the margin of lead decreased later in the afternoon, Soren continued to trail. Ultimately he lost the election. With Soren's loss, the Jharkhand state government is in deep trouble.

As Congress has said that it is not going to stake claim to form the next government, there could be imposition of the President's rule in the state. It is rare for a Chief Minister to lose a bypoll. The leader of JP, Enos Ekka, had affirmed that his party candidate Raja Peter would eventually emerge victorious.

Tamar is a stronghold of Maoists and has witnessed Naxalite violence in the past. JMM supremo Shibu Soren had to seek election to Assembly within six months after he became Chief Minister of Jharkhand. The constituency had fallen vacant after the death of JD (U) MLA.

At last, Pakistan accepts Kasab's nationality

After dithering for weeks, Islamabad on Wednesday finally accepted that the lone survivor of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, Ajmal Amir Kasab is a citizen of Pakistan.

The spokesperson of the Foreign office (FO) of Pakistan, M Sadiq, confirmed that Kasab is a Pak national. The Information minister Sherry Rahman also accepted it later in the evening.

India had been claiming for long that Kasab is a resident of Faridkot in Pakistan.
Of the ten gunmen who had caused mayhen in Mumbai on November 26 last year, killing 183 persons, Kasab was the only person who was caught alive.

New Delhi had recently handed over evidences pointing to Pak links of the terrorists, to Islamabad. Earlier in the day the National Security Advisor Mahmood Ali Durrani was removed from his post for a statement in this regard.

The statement was issued without the knowledge of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, sources said. The pressure of international community has worked on Pakistan and the acceptance is a result of fast diplomatic exercise by Indian government, add sources.

January 7, 2009

Satyam chairman Ramalinga Raju resigns

The Chairman of IT major Satyam Computers, Ramalinga Raju, has submitted his resignation. Satyam has been going through troubled times lately.

The resignation was sent to the Board members today. Inflated revenue was reported for several years by the company. The large-scale fraud has stunnded even the board members.

The figure of artificial cash in the balance sheets was to the tune of Rs 588 crore. Raju has nominated Ram Mynampati as Chief Executive Officer, in the letter sent to the Board. He tried to fill fictitious assets with the Maytas deal.

Large scale irregularities surfaced in the Satyam books. Reacting to his decision to step down, Raju said that he was ready to face the law of the land.

Earlier, the World Bank had banned Satyam for a period of eight years. The charges included data theft, bribing of employees and other malpractices. Several of its directors have resigned recently.

Shekhawat's statement stuns BJP

Former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhwat's plan to contest election, has surprised the BJP. He has also questioned the party's decision to project LK Advani as Prime Minister.

Shekhawat said that if health permits him then he would contest the election from Rajasthan. He also said that the BJP has deviated from its path and there is casteism and corruption in its ranks.

The veteran leader said that he is no longer with any party. On a question regarding LK Advani who has been projected as the Prime Minister if the party comes to power, Shekhawat said that the elected representatives alone can choose a leader after the elections.

The party feels that Shekhawat can hurts its chances in the upcoming Parliament elections. He said that he hasn't decided the party or the constituency but vowed to start a campaign against corruption, soon.

Shekhawat, one of the most senior leaders in the BJP, had unsuccessfully contested the election for the post javascript:void(0)
Publish Postof President, though he had lost to the UPA candidate Pratibha Patil.

January 5, 2009

Air India sacks 10 overweight air-hostesses

The domestic carrier Air India has sacked ten air-hostesses as they were 'over weight'. The sudden decision has left the hostesses fuming and they plan to drag the Air India to the court.

The Air India has confirmed that the 10 women staffers have been retrenched. Its spokesperson said that the decision was in sync with the terms and conditions of the services.

The national carrier said that adequate time was given to the hostesses to shed their extra kilos but they failed to lose weight and there was no alternative as they refused to join the ground staff either.

The air-hostesses now plan to fight against the Air India. Their lawyer has said that the decision was unjust and the case would be taken to the Supreme Court very soon.

TIH Bureau

Kasab's 'confession' handed over to Pakistan

Raising the diplomatic pressure on Pakistan, the Indian government today handed over evidences of links of the Mumbai terror strike with Pakistan to the High Commissioner of Pakistan.

The CD containing the confessional statement of Ajmal Amir Qasab was given to Pakistan, said India's foreign miniser Pranab Mukherjee. Other evidences including the list of wanted terrorists was also given to to Pakistan.

Besides, the Centre also vowed on Monday that it will share all the evidences of Pakistan-based militant organisations' involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist strike with other countries.

Urging Pakistan to honour its promises and handover the wanted terrorists to India, Pranab Mukherjee said that the evidences would be given to foreign missions within the next 24 hrs. Earlier, Pak High Commissioner Shahid Malik was summoned and given 'proofs' of these links.

TIH Bureau

Infosys, Wipro receive terror emails

Security has been enhanced at the headquarters of India's leading Information Technology (IT) firms after the recent email threats were received by them.

Half-a-dozen software compnaies in Bangalore have received terror threats. They include IT majors like Infosys and Wipro. The companies informed the police about the threatening messages.

Following the emails, the Bangalore police have heightened security in and around the campuses of these firms. The polie say that they have taken the threats seriously.

Bangalore has been targeted by terror groups in the past also, as it is the hub of India's IT industry. The Indian Institute of Science has been attacked in Bangalore and last year serial blasts had also occurred in the IT City.

TIH Bureau

Maoists attack Pashupatinath temple staff in Nepal

Hundreds of Maoists attacked the caretakers at the Pashupati Nath temple in Nepal, leaving a dozen persons injured.The Maoists want the control of the temple to be handed over to the Nepali priests.

Until now the family of Indian priests has been running the affairs and conducting the rituals at the temple.The Brahmin family from India that has been governing the religious rites for long, are to be replaced by local Nepali priests.

After the Communists seized power in Nepal, the monarchy was abolished.Nepal was the lone Hindu kingdom in the world as long as the monarchs reigned in the Himalyan nation. Now the country is officially a secular state with Prachanda at the helm.

The government had ordered that the Brahmins be replaced. Though Supreme Court stayed the order, the Maoist cadre stormed into the temple, leaving nearly a dozen injured.

Meanwhile, Hindu organisations, the 'Bhandaris' and Nepali Congress have decided to launch agitation to oppose the government's move and protest the Maoists' actions. The government has defended its step and said that it wasn't a move against Indians.

January 3, 2009

Jamshedpur lawyer to defend Ajmal Amir Kasab

Holding that it is the inalienable right of every person to have a fair trial, a Jharkhand lawyer has written to the Chief Justice of India, for letting him fight the case of Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Amir Kasab.

The lawyer, Rajiv Kumar Singh, has said that every accused has the right to a proper trial and the case should be shifted to Jamshedpur so that he can provide the due legal assistance to Kasab.

In his letter, Singh, has said that if the case can't be shifted, then he is ready to reach Mumbai and fight the case. "A lawyer ought not to think of geographical boundaries or religious differences and must take up any case he wants to plead for the sake of upholding the highest principles of justice", said Singh.

He said that nobody can scare him or deter him from going to plead the case of Kasab, as terrorists and hard-core militants in the past have got lawyers in the past and there is no question of not providing the legal help to Kasab.

Three Indians figure in Cricket's Hall of Fame

Three Indian cricketers, Bishen Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have been inducted in Cricket's Hall of Fame that lists 55 legendary cricketers of the past. The exercise marks ICC's centenary celebrations.

Spin wizard Bedi, legendary opening batsman SM Gavaskar and all-rounder Kapil Dev's names figure in the list. The ICC launched Centenary Year in Sydney and the promotional campaign 'Catch the Spirit' was announced on the occasion.

The ICC Cricket Hall of Fame includes Imran Khan, Hanif Mohammed and Javed Miandad (Pakistan), Don Bradman, Greg Chappell, Allan Border, Dennis Lillee, Keith Miller, Ian Chappell, Neil Harvey, Rod Marsh, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Miller, Ray Lindwall and Richie Benaud (Australia).

The West Indian cricketers include Garfield Sobers, Vivian Richards, Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs, Malcolm Marshall, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, George Headley, Clive Lloyd, Andy Roberts, Gordon Greenidge and Michael Holding (West Indies).

The highest number of crickets (22) are from England: Denis Compton, Frank Wolley, Brian Statham, Fred Trueman, Ian Botham, Herold Larwood, Graham Gooch, Geoffrey Boycott, WG Grace, Peter May, Len Hutton, Wilfred Rhodes, Walter Hammond, T Graveney, Sydney Barnes, Alec Bedser, Allen Knott, Colin Cowdrey, David Gower, Derek Underwood and Jim Laker.

The list includes two South African cricketers Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock while Richard Hadlee has been selected from New Zealand. The Hall of Famers list has no cricketer from Sri Lanka.

TIH Bureau

January 2, 2009

LTTE stronghold Killinochi falls to Sri Lankan Army

In a major success, the Sri Lankan army on Friday took control control over Killinochi, the stronghold of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) after fierce fighting in the island republic.

Killinochi was considered the capital of the LTTE's bastion in the trouble-torn country. It was the place where the air strips and the communcations system of the LTTE was located.

With Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse announcing the capture of the town, it is clear that battle against LTTE has reached a critical stage and the Tigers' command structure is in a disarray.

The LTTE chief V Prabhakaran is on the run. Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka was the first to announce that the army was in control of the LTTE stronghold. He said that a presidential statement was about to be made soon.

The LTTE is considered one of the most fierce militant organisations in the world. For over a decade Killinochi was in the control of the rebels. But in the last few months Army was closing in fast and the LTTE was losing ground in the battle.

TIH Bureau

Assam targeted: India's war against terrorism continues

Terrorism once again reared its head with vengeance on Indian soil on the very first day of Year 2009 as three blasts rocked Guwahati, the capital of Assam state, reminding us that a long battle lies ahead.

Suspected ULFA militants were responsible for the attacks, said the state police and the intelligence agencies. The Thursday blasts sent the country in a state of shock. Already India was reeling under the shock of Mumbai terrorist strike.

The blasts in Birubari, Bhutnath and Bhangagarh claimed five lives and sixty were injured. In October last year the state was last targeted when serial bomb blasts had killed 90 citizens.

The explosions were powerful. One bomb was planted in the dustbin. The blasts occurred near the Police Headquarters and in the market places. Incidentally, Union Home Minister is set to reach Guwahati.

TIH Bureau

January 1, 2009

BSP leader in sex scandal

A Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader who earlier headed UP Fisheries Board Ram Mohan Garg has been accused of sexually exploiting a woman for five years and shooting an objectionable video clip of her.

The politician, Ram Mohan Garg, has been accused of sexual abuse of the girl and making a video CD of the girl that shows her in an objectionable state. The police have now registered a case against Garg.

The girl had made a complaint to police that she was exploited by Garg. She had claimed that Garg was blackmailing her and threatened to make public the Video CD. However, at last she approached the police.

The UP police registered a case against the accused in Aligarh today. In the recent past, the Mayawati government has seen several such scandals. The last was the death of a PWD executive engineer at the behest of an MLA in Auraiya.

TIH Bureau

Shahrukh to contest election on Congress ticket!

Filmstar Shahrukh Khan may contest the next election from Mumbai North constituency. Khan, who is considered close to Sonia Gandhi and her family, can fight the election on the Congress ticket.

The Chief of Mumbai Unit of Congress party Kripa Shankar Singh has accepted that there is a possibility that Shahrukh may be give the ticket. Actor Govinda had won the election from the same parliamentary cosntituency in the last election.

However, the voters are unhappy with Govinda, as he hasn't worked in the constituency and hasn't been sighted in public ever since he was elected. Govinda has also been in the midst of several controversies.

Shahrukh, who is nicknamed King Khan, is a popular actor and icon among youths and middle-class. It is not sure whether Khan will accept the offer as he is at the peak of his career in Bollywood. He is considered close to Sonia Gandhi and a family friend of Priyanka-Robert Vadhera.

Though it is premature to say that he would contest, there is a possibility that Congress may expect to win the support of youths by throwing the name of the movie actor.

Film actors haven't had a very sucessful political career in the past except Sunil Dutt and to an extent, Shatrughan Sinha. Though Raj Babbar and Jaya Prada have also been MPs. Among others who failed to make a mark, the most prominent name is Amitabh Bachchan.

TIH Bureau

A forgettable year ends for India

Terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Gujarat, Assam and Jaipur that occurred in the country in the just concluded year heightened a sense of insecurity. Will the New Year bring a positive change?

The year 2008 was a tough year for India. Never had the urban areas of the country hit by terrorism so often. The intensity of the terrorist attacks and the failure to anticipate them, was a cause of greater concern.

The attacks in Mumbai added to the horrific saga of terror, which the country has faced. For the first occasion the international community seemed serious about the security concerns of India.

Apart from terrorism, India witnessed regional violence and the Raj Thackeray's MNS that threatened to divide the soceity on regional lines. One only hopes that 2009 would bring peace and prosperity to the nation and our political class will bury their differences for the greater common good of the society.

TIH Bureau

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