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LIVE! Prashant Bhushan approaches SC against CBI interim chief

14:52  Prashant Bhushan approaches SC against CBI interim chief :  NGO Common Cause through senior advocate Prashant Bhushan approaches Supreme Court against M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Last week, a high power select committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge and Justice AK Sikri decided to removed Alok Verma from the post of CBI Director, two days after he was reinstated to the post by the Supreme Court on January 8.

After 39 years of service, Verma, who was asked by the select committee to join as DG of Fire Services, Home Guards and Civil Defence, refused to take charge and resigned.

Verma had ordered the withdrawal of all transfers facilitated by Nageswara Rao when he was first appointed the interim director in a midnight change of guard at the CBI in October last year.

Verma had also recalled 13 officers, including AK Bassi and SS Gurm who were part of a special investigation team that was probing corruption allegations against special director Rakesh Asthana in the Moin Qureshi case.

Two days ago, Rao, as the interim CBI chief, had withdrawn the transfer orders and brought them back to be a part of the SIT.

Image: CBI interim chief Nageswara Rao

14:18  Woman accuses Pak High Commission staffer of touching her inappropriately:  A staffer of the Pakistan High Commission was taken to a police station here for reportedly touching a woman inappropriately, police said Monday. The woman and the staffer were brought to Sarojini Nagar police station on Sunday, they said.

According to the woman, the man touched her inappropriately in the market, a claim rejected by the staffer. The man said his hand merely brushed past the woman due to heavy crowd in the market, police said.

A senior police official said the matter was sorted out after the man apologised to the woman. The police also denied media reports that the staffer was detained. —  PTI


14:12  Asha Bhosle shared this kickass pic and we just can’t!:  If you haven’t seen this yet, here you go. Legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle recently shared a picture that we could relate to. She tweeted this picture of herself with a group of people, all of whom are busy with their mobile phones. She wrote, “Bagdogra to Kolkata… Such good company but still, no one to talk to. Thank you Alexander Graham Bell.”


13:57  Pothole story:  Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary has urged party members and civic workers to be careful about the increasing number of potholes in Uttar Pradesh. Citing instances of the state government’s alleged apathy towards the condition of the roads in the state, Chaudhary tweeted images of pothole-ridden stretches and asked party workers to wear helmets while campaigning.

The UP government had promised to make the state pothole free by June 15, 2017. To remind the government about its promise, the RLD had launched a campaign in October 2018, #Selfiewithgaddha, asking people to post their pictures with potholes, thus forcing the government to act on its promise.  — Business Standard


13:45   In defence of Durga puja:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged Durga puja committees in Kolkata to unite against “unholy forces”. Last week, the Kolkata branch of the Income Tax Department had served notices to at least 40 big-budget Durga pujas in the city to file their TDS and also disclose the sources of donation.

“Are Tirupati Balaji, Golden Temple, Jagannath Temple, Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Ajmer Sharif going to be taxed, too?” asked the West Bengal CM. Launching a blistering attack on the central government, Banerjee said, “We will not allow them to loot people who want to respect Goddess Durga and celebrate their own festival.” — Business Standard


13:38  Fire at Kumbh Mela site, no one injured:  A cylinder exploded in a tent at the Digambar Ani Akhara at the Kumbh Mela site in Prayagraj, triggering a massive fire on Monday, a day before the fair officially opens, police said. There were no immediate reports of any one being injured, Akhara police station inspector Bhaskar Mishra told PTI. Fire fighters rushed to control the blaze which engulfed the makeshift structure at the venue. 


13:32  Heard of the Directorate of Gopalan? Here’s what it does:  The Directorate of Gopalan in Rajasthan has issued a letter to all district collectors asking them to motivate donors, NGOs, social workers and cow lovers to adopt stray cows and felicitate them on August 15 and January 26. The Directorate of Gopalan of the state government works for cattle conservation, research and development.

“The idea behind the step is to conserve cows with cooperation from people. Those who adopt stray cows and undertake welfare activities will be felicitated by district collectors on the occasion of Independence day and Republic day,” Vishram Meena, director, Gopalan directorate, said.

“The directorate issued a letter to all district collectors on December 28 with details of the campaign for the conservation of stray cows. There are people who adopt stray animals in cow shelter homes. They celebrate their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and such occasions by spending time with their adopted cows. We have asked the collectors to push such initiatives,” he said.

Meena said the interested parties can give their proposal to the respective district collectors. After verification of the claims, the collectors will felicitate such people with a certificate at the district level, he said.

The order also mentions that whoever wants to adopt cows can deposit the amount decided by the local cow shelter and can visit the cows anytime. Those who want to keep the stray cows at their houses can also do so, it added. —  PTI


13:05  No chuda-dahi for Lalu today:  This will be the third year in a row that Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s (pictured) family will give the traditional makar sankranti festivities a miss. The reason? Prasad had not been granted bail in the fodder scam case.

Party spokesperson Bhai Virender said RJD members would have celebrated the event with the traditional chuda-dahi meal on Monday if Prasad had got bail.

People in Bihar consume chuda-dahi or curd with flattened rice during the festival. Many RJD leaders still remember how makar sankranti had always been a big event for party workers across Bihar to pay a visit to the former Bihar chief minister at his residence. — Business Standard

Image: Lalu Prasad Yadav celebrates Sankranti with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar in 2017


12:57  Woman conquers male-only bastion:  Another male bastion busted: Defense PRO Dhanya Sanal becomes the first woman to trek to the Agasthyarkudam peak after 2018 Kerala High Court order that women cannot be excluded from trekking to the peak. Sanal said she would stick to take the pathway and go into prohibited areas and hurt the sentiments of the tribals.


12:54  Maha CM speaks to Sena chief over ongoing Mumbai BEST bus stir:  Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Monday intervened in the BEST bus strike in Mumbai and spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to find a solution. Over 32,000 employees of the BEST are on strike since Tuesday last week and 3200-odd buses in its fleet are off the roads.

The telephonic conservation between Fadnavis and Thackeray took place after a meeting Monday in Mantralaya between striking BEST union functionaries and state chief secretary D K Jain failed to break the deadlock.

The details of the telephonic conservation between Fadnavis and Thackeray were not immediately known. The Shiv Sena has been unable to end the strike despite its affiliated union, the BEST Kamgar Sena, announcing a pullout a day into the strike. — PTI


12:52  ‘Kumbh is the greatest show on Earth’:  “Kya Facebook mein dalogi?” asked the Naga sadhu.
I said, ‘If I have your permission, I will. Your wish.’ He said, ‘Theek hai’.
So I did put it on Facebook and wrote that I had baba’s permission.
To meet the other Naga sadhus I had to walk 20 km in the 45 degrees May heat. I wanted to take photographs, they first shooed me off, then every day I spent a couple of hours there.”

Radhika Shastry attended the last two Kumbh Melas and published a book of photographs, Kumbh — The Greatest Show On Earth.

She spoke to’s Archana Masih about her encounters with Naga sadhus, a morning with the brilliant chief of the transgenders and the sadhu standing on one leg for 6 years with another 6 to go.   Read more


12:36  WPI inflation at 8-month low of 3.80% in Dec :  Inflation based on wholesale prices fell to a 8-month low of 3.80 per cent in December, 2018, on softening prices of fuel and some food items. The WPI-based inflation stood at 4.64 per cent in November, 2018, and 3.58 per cent in December 2017.

According to the government data released Monday, deflation in food articles stood at 0.07 per cent in December, against 3.31 per cent in November.

Vegetables, too, saw deflation at 17.55 per cent in December, compared to 26.98 per cent in the previous month. Inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket in December slumped to 8.38 per cent, nearly half of 16.28 per cent in November.

This was on account of lowering of prices of petrol and diesel through December. Individually, in petrol and diesel inflation was 1.57 per cent and 8.61 per cent, respectively, and for liquified petroleum gas it was 6.87 per cent during December.

Among food articles, potato prices became cheaper substantially with inflation at 48.68 per cent in December, as against 86.45 per cent in November. Inflation in pulses stood at 2.11 per cent, while in ‘egg, meat and fish’ it was 4.55 per cent.

Image: Egg, meat and fish inflation stood at 4.55 per cent.

12:20  Six weeks notice to Centre to reply on snooping PIL :  Update: The Supreme Court on Monday has given the Centre six weeks to respond to a plea challenging the notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system. The PIL challenging the government’s December 20 notification came up before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.


12:05  Cong shouldn’t treat JD-S as third grade citizens: Kumaraswamy:  As Karnataka’s ruling coalition constituents Congress and JD-S get down to brass tacks for the Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said his party should not be treated as “third grade citizens” and that both the partners adopt a “give and take policy” to put up a united fight against the BJP.

With the coalition partners expected to hold talks on the tricky seat-sharing issue amid pressure within the Congress not to cede much to Janata Dal (Secular), Kumaraswamy stressed there should not be any “pettiness” on both sides.

In an interview to PTI, the chief minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma was “fading” with growing anti-incumbency, and pitched for Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the top job while also admitting that there was a lack of consensus among anti-BJP parties on choosing Gandhi.

As his government completed seven months in office, the JD(S) leader downplayed reports of contradictions within the coalition and said he would overcome all the “bitterness” smoothly.

“Both of us (Congress-JD(S)) should go together (in Lok Sabha polls) is our opinion. Because the reason behind forming this government (in Karnataka) is to stop the BJP from coming to power and improve the atmosphere in the country…” Kumaraswamy said when asked whether the JD(S) would go it alone if seat-sharing talks fail.

He said after the formation of the coalition government in the southern state, a lot of changes had taken place in the country’s political landscape, including BJP’s downslide and Congress victory in some bypolls and assembly elections in three states. “…in my opinion if Congress loses its way and tries to move with overconfidence, what will happen they will understand, with their past political experience, I do not think they will forget them.

“They should treat us respectfully. They should not treat us as third grade citizens. There should be give and take policy,” Kumaraswamy said.

The JD(S) has demanded 12 out of 28 seats for the Lok Sabha polls, to which the Congress has expressed its reservations. In the 2014 polls, BJP had won 17 seats in the state, Congress 9 and JD(S) 2 seats.


11:55  Koregaon-Bhima case: SC refuses to quash FIR against activist Anand Teltumbde:  The Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash Pune Police’s FIR against civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde for his alleged role in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima violence and for his alleged Maoist links. The apex court also refused to interfere with the ongoing investigation in the case.

However, a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S K Kaul extended by four weeks the interim protection from arrest granted to him by the Bombay High Court.

The apex court said Teltumbde can seek regular bail from the competent trial court in this time. On December 21, the Bombay High Court dismissed the petition filed by Teltumbde seeking the quashing of the FIR and granted interim protection from arrest for three weeks.

At the Elgar Parishad event at Shaniwarwada in Pune, held a day before the January 1 caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima, located near Pune, several activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the violence, police said. — PTI

Image: Violence during the caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima near Pune.


11:31  SC notice to Centre on MHA’s snoop order:  The Supreme Court issues a notice to the Centre on a Public Interest Litigation against the MHA’s December 20 notification allowing 10 agencies to monitor any computer resource. The SC says it will examine the issue and seeks the Centre’s reply in six weeks.

A PIL was filed last month in the Supreme Court challenging the governments notification authorising 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt any computer system.

The petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma seeks quashing of the governments December 20 notification. According to the governments notification, 10 Central probe and snoop agencies are now empowered under the Information Technology Act for computer interception and analysis, Ministry of Home Affairs officials said.

The 10 agencies notified under the new order are the Intelligence Bureau, Narcotics Control Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (for Income Tax Department), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Signal Intelligence (in service areas of J-K, North East and Assam) and Delhi Police commissioner.


10:54  Would you take a dip in this river?:  Clearly, many devotees thought better than to take a dip in the Gomti river in Lucknow on Makar Sankranti because of the staggering filth. A devotee said that people throw flowers in the river even though the government has asked people not to do so. The devotee told ANI that the govt should have cleaned it ahead of Makar Sankranti.


10:35  3 Congress MLAs in Mumbai hotel with BJP leaders: Karnataka minister:  Karnataka Minister and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar said the BJP’s ”Operation Lotus” to topple the state’s coalition government was for real, alleging that three Congress MLAs were camping in a hotel in Mumbai in the “company of some BJP leaders”.

“Horse trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” he said.

Operation Lotus is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of its then-government headed by BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka in 2008.

Shivakumar, who had earned the reputation of being a “trouble-shooter” in the Congress for bailing out the party from many crises in the past, accused Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of being “lenient” towards the BJP.

“Our chief minister is bit lenient towards the BJP. By ”lenient”, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.

“The chief minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch. If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours,” Shivakumar said.

The minister said former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were aware of the development.

Shivakumar, however, exuded confidence that the BJP would not succeed in its attempt.”You have been saying that a ”kranti” (revolution) may happen after Makar Sankranti. Let us see. It is not so easy because there is already anti-defection law in place, but we are aware of what you are hinting at,” he said in an apparent reference to the opposition BJP in the state.

The minister also wondered why the income tax department and the anti-corruption bureau failed to initiate any action on a complaint by Dinesh Gundu Rao on the matter.

Many Congress MLAs in the Karnataka have alleged that they were approached by the BJP leaders to quit their party and join them.The BJP has trashed the charges, saying


10:11  Tamil Nadu takes the bull by the horns :  In Tamil Nadu, the registration of bulls and bull-tamers was concluded yesterday in Madurai, ahead of Avaniapuram Jallikattu, scheduled to be held tomorrow on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.


09:56  Sensex falls over 150 points ahead of key macro data release:  The BSE benchmark Sensex Monday dropped over 150 points tracking weakness in other Asian markets amid heavy selling by foreign investors. Market sentiment also turned cautious ahead of the release of key macroeconomic data.

The 30-share index fell 174.61 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 35,835.23 in early trade. Similarly, the NSE Nifty shed 60.10 points,or 0.57 per cent, to 10,733.85.

On Friday, the Sensex had fallen 377.81 96 points to end at 36,009.84; and the Nifty too slipped by 26.65 points to close at 10,794.95. According to analysts, this week, stock market movement will be driven by announcement of macroeconomic data points and quarterly earnings by various companies, including bluechips RIL and Wipro.

The government is scheduled to release wholesale price index and consumer price index data later in the day. The market would also continue taking cues from the movement of rupee, crude oil and investment trend by foreign investors, traders said. — PTI


09:53  Kumbh 2019: Security tightened for world’s largest human congregation :  Scores of devotees from across the country took a holy dip at Sangam Ghat on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, formerly known as Allahabad, on Monday.

Makar Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, in reference to deity Surya. The day marks the first day of sun’s transit into the Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days.

According to local authorities, approximately 1,17,000 people offered prayers to Akshay Vat, a sacred fig tree mentioned in the Hindu mythology in Prayagraj.

In the wake of Kumbh Mela, the local police is keeping a strong vigil and monitoring the regions adjoining the banks of river Ganga and its tributaries. They have also restricted vehicular movement in Prayagraj roads due to a large footfall of tourists.

The administration has taken the help of NGO’s and citizens in maintaining law and order.

“As per the order by the Director General of Police to all the senior police officials in all the districts, it has been instructed to ensure that any sort of illegal industrial activity or waste should not be discharged into the Ganges and its tributaries including the Yamuna,” Praveen Kumar, Inspector General (Law & Order), Uttar-Pradesh Police had stated on January 10.

Kumbh is the largest human congregation in the world, with lakhs of pilgrims participating in the festival with the belief that taking a dip in the holy water of Ganges River will pave the way for their salvation and would rid them of their sins.

Image: Devotees take holy dip in the Ganga on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.


09:41  Petrol touches Rs 70-mark in Delhi for first time in 2019 :  On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, fuel prices on Monday continued to witness an upward trend with petrol and diesel being sold at Rs 70.13 and Rs 64.18 per litre respectively in the national capital.

This is the first time that fuel prices reached Rs 70-mark in the year 2019.

While petrol price witnessed a hike of 38 paise, diesel got costlier by 49 paise in Delhi.

In Mumbai, petrol and diesel are being retailed at Rs 75.77 and Rs 65.73 per litre respectively.

This comes amid the perpetual rise and fall in the petrol and diesel prices across the country.In the last week of 2018, the fuel prices witnessed a dip in its prices by plummeting to its lowest. — ANI


09:33  Bachchan siblings next up on ‘Koffee With Karan’:  Karan Johar is all set to host the Bachchan siblings – Abhishek Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda – in the upcoming episode of his popular talk show.

The promo of ‘Koffee With Karan’ gives a sneak peak of the amazing camaraderie that the two share. From pulling each other’s legs to revealing their secrets, the teaser proves that the star kids are just like any other brother-sister duo.

In the clip, KJo asks the ‘Manmarziyaan’ star in the Rapid Fire round, who he fears the most – mother Jaya Bachchan or wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. When the actor chooses Jaya Bachchan, his sister immediately responds that it is actually his wife who he is more scared of.  “It is my Rapid Fire, be quiet!” retorts Abhishek. Further, when Karan asks Shweta what she tolerates about her brother, she quips, “His sense of humour!”


09:18  Indonesia finds cockpit voice recorder of crashed Lion Air jet:  

Indonesia has found the cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air plane more than two months after the Boeing Co 737 MAX jet crashed into the sea near Jakarta, killing all 189 on board, an official said on Monday.

Its been found, but we have not received information of the location yet, Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of Indonesias transport safety committee, said by text message.

The cockpit voice recorder is one of the two so-called black boxes crucial for the investigation of a plane crash.

Image: Rescue team members arrange the wreckage, showing part of the logo of Lion Air flight JT610, that crashed into the sea, at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia. Photograph: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters


09:09  Modi left out, Rahul Gandhi and LK Advani invited for Raj Thackerays sons wedding:  

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has invited top politicos in Delhi like Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his sons wedding but has not yet invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Interestingly Modis cabinet colleagues along with top BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani have all been invited for the January 27th wedding at St Regis hotel at Lower Parel.

Thackeray, who was going to travel to Delhi last week, did not do so but sent his two close aides Harshal Deshpande and Manoj Hate to do the job.

The list of people invited so far includes former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Prakash Jawdekar, Dharmendra Pradhan and Menaka Gandhi.

Both were unable to meet Rahul Gandhi at his residence.

When asked whether he would invite Modi for the wedding, Thackeray in his press meet last year said: Does Modi believe in the institution of marriage?

Thackeray who was once a strong supporter of Modi is now his bitter critic and advocates a stance of a Modi-mukt Bharat.


08:43  26/11 plotter Tahawwur Rana to be extradited to India?:  

There is a “strong possibility” of Tahawwur Hussain Rana – currently serving a 14-year jail term in the US for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack — being extradited to India, an informed source said. 

The Indian government, with “full co-operation” from the Trump administration, is currently working on completing the necessary paperwork to ensure the extradition of the Pakistani-Canadian national before his current jail term ends in December 2021.

Rana was arrested in 2009 on the charges of plotting the 26/11 terror attack. Some 166 people, including US nationals, were killed in the attack carried out by 10 Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was captured and hanged after handed down death sentence by an Indian court.

In 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. 

According to the US officials, he is set to be released in December 2021.

“There is a strong possibility of extradition of Rana to India on completion of his jail term here. We (US and India) are working on this,” a source said.

But the “challenge” is to complete the necessary paperwork during this period and overcome the cumbersome bureaucracy of the two countries and the independent judiciary, the source said.

India’s ministry of external affairs, ministry of home affairs and ministry of law and justice and the US’ State Department and the Department of Justice, each of them has their own extradition procedure in place.



08:30  Tejashwi Yadav predicts BJP’s “whitewash” after meet with Mayawati:  

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday met BSP chief Mayawati, a day after she announced an alliance with her rival, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

After the meeting, Tejashwi Yadav said the BJP would be “whitewashed” in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Tejashwi Yadav welcomed the “grand alliance” in Uttar Pradesh between Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party — in which both the parties agreed to contest in 38 seats each. He said his father, RJD chief Lalu Yadav, had always talked about a Bihar style alliance of regional parties to defeat the BJP.

A grand alliance of regional parties — chiefly the RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JDU– had defeated the BJP in the Bihar assembly election. Kumar, however, ended the alliance over corruption allegations against Lalu Yadav and his family. He later formed a government in Bihar with support from the BJP.   

Currently, the Bihar grand alliance has the Congress, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (S) and Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insan Party as its members.

“There’s atmosphere today where they want to scrap Baba Saheb’s (BR Ambedkar) constitution and implement ‘Nagpur laws’. People have welcomed the step taken by Mayawati-ji and Akhilesh-ji.The BJP will be whitewashed in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They won’t win even one seat in Uttar Pradesh. The SP-BSP alliance will win all seats,” he said.


08:11  Is Sitharaman giving clean chit to Pak on Uri, Pathankot attacks: Chidambaram:  

Hitting out at Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for reportedly stating that no major terror attack took place during the BJP-led government’s rule, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asked whether she was giving a clean chit to Pakistan in the Pathankot and Uri attacks.


“‘There has been no terrorist attack from Pakistan since 2014’ says Defence Minister. Will the Defence Minister take the map of India and locate Pathankot and Uri?” Chidambaram tweeted.

“By saying these attacks were not by or from Pakistan, is the defence minister giving a clean chit to Pakistan in respect of the Pathankot and Uri attacks?” he asked.

Incredible statement of the week that people should remember after May 2019, Chidambaram said of her remarks adding that the truth is the opposite.

The Congress had attacked Sitharaman on Saturday as well for her remarks when party spokesperson Manish Tewari said, if the defence minister’s statement was to be true, “then what was the Uri attack, where 19 soldiers were killed in a terror strike, and the Pathankot terror strike?”

Both the terror attacks had taken place in 2016.



07:48  Can’t take open-and-shut stand on Sabarimala, let people decide: Rahul:  

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier argued that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, said he cannot take an “open-and-shut position on the issue as there is validity in the arguments of both the sides.


Speaking at a press conference in Dubai on Saturday, Gandhi said the issue is “much more complicated” and he would leave it to the people of Kerala to decide on the matter.

He admitted that his initial position on the Sabarimala issue was different than what it is today.  

“I have heard both the arguments, my initial position was different than what my position is today. After I heard the arguments of people of Kerala, I can see validity in both the arguments that traditions need to be protected. I can see validity in the argument that women should have equal rights. So I would not be able to give you an open-and-shut position on this,” Gandhi said.

“After I spoke to the people in Kerala and the Pradesh Congress Committee team in the state and they explained the details, I realised that the issue is much more complicated and both sides have a valid position. I would leave it to the people to decide on this,” he said.

After the Supreme Court verdict, Gandhi had said that all women should be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple, noting that his view on the issue was different from that of his party’s Kerala unit.

The Congress in the capital had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, while the party MPs from Kerala opposed it. 

The shrine was out of bounds for girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age. The Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.


Source: Rediff