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LIVE! Her father's soul weeps, Rijiju on Gurmehar Kaur

13:58  Her father’s soul weeps, Rijiju on Gurmehar Kaur :   “She is a martyr’s daughter. His soul must be weeping that his daughter is being misguided by those who celebrate on the bodies of martyrs,” Kiren Rijiju, the Minister of State for Home, said today.

The Union Minister’s comment comes as Delhi University begins its ‘Save DU’ march in the North Campus. Rijiju tweeted his criticism of Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur’s posts blaming war, not Pakistan for the death of her father who was killed in the Kargil war.

Kaur had posted the video in May last year as an appeal for peace between India and Pakistan. When the ABVP-AISA battle broke out at Ramjas College, the 20-year-old student had posted a profile picture on Facebook holding up a placard saying, “I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP”.

Rijiju yesterday said he had disapproved of a post by Kaur and stressed, “Everyone has freedom of speech and expression. Do whatever you want but don’t say anything against the country. Students must concentrate on their studies.” 

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13:34  More memes on DU student Gurmehar Kaur’s tweet. This one by Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt. 

13:27  PM takes notes in Gujarati at meetings:  There is little doubt that PM Narendra Modi is methodical, but our source tells us just how much. During meetings with Constitutional authorities like the Chief Justice of India or with governors or even chief ministers, the prime minister takes notes and follows up contentious issues and tries to resolve them as early as possible. There were instances when age-old problems brought up by some Constitutional authorities were resolved in a week or fortnight. The discussions at the meetings are reviewed with the PMO and the concerned Union Minister. This is how solutions to at least 25 to 30 key issues were found. Interestingly, the PM takes notes in Gujarati, which people at the table may not be able to read.
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13:01  Pakistan, not war killed him: Kargil martyr Saurabh Kalia’s father tells Gurmehar:   In the wake of the ongoing controversy over Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, who alleged rape threats over her social media campaign against the student group ABVP, Kargil war hero martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia’s father NN Kalia on Tuesday said the honour and dignity of women is paramount, adding the culprits must be punished.

“Women’s honour and dignity of any caste, creed or religion is of paramount importance and Gurmehar Kaur has alleged threats of rape attempts. Anyone who attempts such heinous crime must be punished under the existing law,” he told ANI.

He, however, disagreed with Gurmehar’s assertion that Pakistan did not kill her father but war killed him.”It would have been a dishonour and insult to her father’ sacrifice for India and for all other martyrs by saying that they are not killed by Pakistan but by war. And I absolutely defer and disagree with this statement of her,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gurmehar has pulled out of a march today against campus violence. In a series of tweets, she has appealed to others to join the “Save DU” march at the Delhi University campus by students and teachers in huge numbers.

The 20-year-old was given police protection yesterday after she was trolled with tweets threatening rape over her Facebook post against ABVP.Violence erupted last week after the ABVP students allegedly manhandled and thrashed students protesting the cancellation of an event at Ramjas College at which controversial JNU student Umar Khalid was scheduled to speak.

Readour 2013 interview Saurabh Kalia’s father here

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12:43  Lady Shri Ram College faculty backs Gurmehar Kaur:  

The English department faculty at Lady Shri Ram College, where student Gurmehar Kaur is pursuing her English Honours, has released a statement backing the her right to express her opinion on issues that embroil the Delhi University.

The faculty said they were proud “that Gurmehar has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen of this country.”

Here is the faculty’s full statement:

“We, the faculty members of the English Department, Lady Shri Ram College unequivocally and strongly support our student Gurmehar Kaur and her right to express her opinion on issues that embroil our university. It is immensely gratifying to us as her teachers that she has responded sensitively, creatively and bravely to events in her immediate context rather than seek the safe refuge of silence. 

“We feel that it is the bounden duty of educational institutions to nurture sensitive, responsive and critical thinking students without the fear of violent retaliation. We are proud that Gurmehar has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen of this country. The threats of violence and brutality that she faces are absolutely reprehensible. Responses on social media by public figures such as VirendraSehwag and RandeepHooda are shameful trivialization of the intimidation that Gurmehar faces at the hands of violent mobs whose viciousness the university has recently witnessed.

“We fervently appeal to the good sense of the public and to institutions of redressal to help restore our faith in law and justice in our country and let our young citizens think and articulate without fear of intimidation.”

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12:27  SC denies nod to woman to terminate her 26-week foetus:  

The Supreme Court today refused to allow a woman, who is in her 26th week of pregnancy, to abort her foetus on the ground that it suffered from ‘down syndrome’, saying “we have a life in our hands”. 

The apex court said that as per a report of the medical board constituted to examine the 37-year-old woman, there was no physical risk to the mother in continuation of pregnancy. 

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L N Rao observed that though “everybody knows that children with down syndrome are undoubtedly less intelligent, but they are fine people.” 

The bench said as per the report, the foetus is “likely to have mental and physical challenges” but the advise of the doctors does not warrant termination of pregnancy. 

“With this report, we don’t think we are going to allow termination of pregnancy. We have a life in our hands,” the bench said.

“In these circumstances, as per the present advise, it is not possible to grant permission to terminate the pregnancy,” the court said.

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12:26  Uphaar case: SC to hear plea of Gopal Ansal:  

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on March 3 the fresh plea of real estate baron Gopal Ansal seeking modification of its verdict asking him to serve the remaining jail term in the Uphaar fire case. 

The apex court had recently asked Gopal Ansal to undergo the remaining jail term in the case while his elder brother Sushil Ansal got relief from incarceration with a prison term already undergone by him in view of age-related complications.

The younger brother has sought similar relief claiming that he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if he is sent to jail.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar assured senior advocate Ram Jethmalani that it would ascertain the availability of the bench which had heard the review and would list it for hearing on Friday. 

Senior advocate K T S Tulsi, appearing for the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, opposed the plea saying there cannot be a review of the review judgement.

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12:02  Bronze for shooter Rai at World Cup:  

India’s Jitu Rai wins bronze medal in 10m Air Pistol event at the Shooting World Cup in New Delhi.

This is Rai’s second medal having claimed the top prize in 10m air pistol mixed event with Heena Sidhu on Monday.

Ankur Mittal clinched the silver medal in a marathon double trap on Monday.

11:57  Modi, governor Narasimhan discuss AP, Telangana issues:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Governor ESL Narasimhan today discussed the setting up of a group of ministers to sort out issues relating to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, like space for government offices, river waters dispute, setting up of a high court, and the central government’s special sanction for Andhra. 

On Monday the governor had met President Pranab Mukherjee, the chief of Army staff, Chief Justice of India and the attorney general. Narasimhan could not meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh who was away campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

11:56  Samsung heir indicted for bribery, embezzlement: prosecutors:  

The heir to the Samsung empire and four other top executives from the world’s biggest smartphone maker were indicted today on multiple charges including bribery and embezzlement, South Korean prosecutors said. 

“Special prosecutors today indicted Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong… for bribery, embezzlement, hiding of assets overseas… and perjury,” said Lee Kyu-Chul, spokesman for the team probing the corruption and power abuse scandal that has seen President Park Geun-Hye impeached.

Lee was arrested earlier this month and the laying of formal charges against him and his colleagues makes them almost certain to face trial, casting new uncertainty over South Korea’s biggest firm as it seeks to recover from a humiliating recall.

The 48-year-old has effectively been at the helm of the conglomerate since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014. Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying nearly $40 million in bribes to a confidante of President Park’s to secure policy favours. Lee — who is also accused of concealing stolen assets — has denied all charges. 

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11:51  5 members of Bangladesh terror outfit sentenced to death:  Five militants from the banned JMB terror outfit were today sentenced to death in Bangladesh for killing a 66-year-old Japanese national in 2015. 

The order to hang five militants from the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh was given by a court in Rangpur, the Daily Star reported. The court acquitted two accused in the case as the allegations brought against them were not proved.

Kunio Hoshi, who had come to Bangladesh in May 2015, was gunned down on October 3 in the same year in Rangpur. His murder came five days after a 50-year-old Italian aid worker was shot dead by motorbike-born militants in Dhaka’s upmarket diplomatic area. 

Charges were framed against eight members of the JMB in mid-November 2016 for killing Hoshi. Five of them are in a Rangpur jail, while two died in “gunfights” with security forces and one militant is yet to be arrested, the report said. 

Bangladesh has seen a wave of extremist violence since 2015.

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11:16  Academy ‘deeply regrets’ Oscars best film award fiasco:  

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has apologised to the casts and crews of La La Land and Moonlight and said it “deeply regrets the mistakes” that led to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong film as winner of the best picture award.

In its first statement since the debacle at the end of the 89th Academy Awards stunned the stars gathered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and made headlines around the world, the Academy paid tribute to the “tremendous grace” shown by those involved in both films and acknowledged their experience of the night was “profoundly altered by this error”.

The statement went on to say that PwC — formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, the accounting firm that has been used by the Academy to handle the voting process for 83 years — had taken full responsibility for breaches of established protocols that led to the error.

“We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward,” it said.

Read the full statement HERE
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11:14  Staff strike hits bank operations across India:   Branches of public banks remained either closed or non-operational today as staffers and officers went ahead with their day-long strike pressing for various demands, including accountability of top executives in the wake of mounting bad loans.

Services like cash deposits and withdrawal from branches and cheque clearance have been hit hard in the strike, which has been called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions.

“The strike has been forced on us because of adamant and insensitive attitude of the bank management and IBA. They even did not bother to talk about providing compensation for the extra hours put in by bank staff during the demonetisation period,” All India Bank Employees’ Association general secretary C H Venkatachalam said. 

The UFBU is an umbrella body of 9 unions, but two Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates — the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the National Organisation of Bank Officers — are not part of the stir.

Unions are also opposed to the proposed labour reforms of the government and outsourcing of permanent jobs in the banking sector. 

Some of the demands include compensation of employees and officers for extra hours they put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of next wage revision. 

They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. 

Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters. 

The UFBU, which claims a membership of nearly 10 lakh across banks, also requested the government for cost reimbursement of demonetisation to banks. 

As many as 27 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the total business.

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10:47  Fire at Kolkata’s Burrabazar rages on despite 35 fire tenders battling it:  The fire in a century-old building in central Kolkata’s wholesale market Burrabazar continued to rage today, with 35 fire tenders working to douse the blaze which broke out last night. 

There was no report of any casualty, officials said.

Thick smoke was seen billowing out of the building engulfing the entire area. The ceiling and wooden staircase of the building have collapsed. 

Fearing that the building may collapse, the police had evacuated the building, when the fire broke out at around 9.35 pm yesterday, and adjacent houses. 

Traffic movement around Rabindra Sarani and nearby roads has been controlled as a precautionary measure. 

Firefighters continued operations overnight, defying the challenges in reaching the building located on the narrow Amaratala Lane in the densely congested Burrabazar area, a senior official of the fire department said this morning.

“The fire is still not under control but we are fighting hard to douse it. As the building is located inside a narrow lane, it is difficult to reach there quickly,” the officer said. 

State fire minister and city mayor Sovan Chatterjee was present at the scene for almost the entire night. 

On the reason for the fire, the official said it was yet to be ascertained but storage of inflammable materials quickened the spread of fire. 

Traders at the Burrabazar area have decided to keep the Bagri market close for the entire day.

10:37  Just In: Indian Embassy in US issues demarche to US State dept on killing of an Indian engineer, calling for a speedy probe: Sources

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10:36  Javed Akhtar takes aim at Rijiju: ‘I know who is polluting your mind’:  

Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar on Tuesday lashed out at Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju over his rhetorical question on Gurmehar Kaur saying, “I know who is polluting your mind.” 

Without directly referring to Rijiju, Akhtar tweeted, “I don’t know about her, but Mr Minister I know who is polluting your mind.”

On Monday, Rijiju, had posted a slew of tweets, asking, “Who’s polluting this young girl’s mind?” 

He also said, “Some people say they need freedom in India. Listen to those people taking shelter in India after facing torture in neighbouring countries.” 

He also said that “freedom of expression is not a license to shout anti-national slogans in campuses. Criticise the government but don’t abuse the motherland.”

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10:16  AP: Seven killed, 30 injured as bus falls into canal:  

At least seven passengers were killed and over 30 injured when a Visakhapatnam-bound bus fell into a canal in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today. 

Police said the toll might go up as the front portion of the bus was badly mangled and many were trapped inside. 

The private Volvo bus coming from Hyderabad lost control, hit a road divider and fell into the canal between two bridges.

The driver of the bus was said to be drowsy and thus lost control.

Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa has directed the Krishna district police to carry out rescue operations on a war-footing. The injured passengers were rushed to hospitals in Vijayawada for treatment.

09:59  Maharashtra gets a new chief secretary:  Senior IAS officer Sumit Mullick was today appointed as the chief secretary of Maharashtra.  

He will succeed Swadheen Kshatriya, who was due for retirement on January 31, but was given a month’s extension.  

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis signed the file on Mullick early this morning, an official from the chief minister’s office said.

Mullick, a 1982 batch IAS officer is additional chief  secretary and is currently serving as the chief protocol  officer in the general administration department.

He had earlier served as the divisional commissioner of Amravati and worked as secretary of school education.

He was also secretary to the governor.

Mullick is the senior-most bureaucrat in the state after Kshatriya and will retire in April 2018.

Mullick will take charge this evening.  

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09:27  More DU student marches today; Gurmehar withdraws from campaign:  

Day after BJP’s youth wing ABVP took out a Tiranga march in Delhi University, several protests marches and counter-marches are expected in Delhi University and JawaharLal Nehru University campuses today.

Students and teachers of DU and JNU along with AISA members will stage a march from Khalsa College in the North Campus to the Arts Faculty.

Congress-backed NSUI is also organising a symbolic one-day hunger strike at the arts faculty, followed by a ‘Mashaal’ rally.

Earlier in the day, Gurmehar Kaur, the Delhi University student at the centre of controversy surrounding the premier educational institution, has decided to distance herself from the patriot war playing out at the Ramjas College.

On Tuesday, Kaur posted a series of tweets, saying she will not be participating in the AISA march. “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say”, Gurmehar Kaur said.

Watch this video of Gurmehar saying that she is not scared of the ABVP and that she is ready to take bullet for the country.
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09:12  Trump blames Oscars fail on show’s political tone:  

US President Donald Trump has said the chaos that erupted at the end of the Oscars was due to Hollywood obsessing about him rather than concentrating on running a smooth show.

In an Oval Office interview with conservative website Breitbart News, Trump said Oscars organizers had taken their eyes off the ball because they “were focused so hard on politics.” 

“It was a little sad. It took away from the glamour of the Oscars,” he told the site, which was previously managed by Steve Bannon, who now serves as Trump’s chief White House strategist. 

“It didn’t feel like a very glamorous evening. I’ve been to the Oscars. There was something very special missing, and then to end that way was sad.” 

Trump’s comments came after Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty mistakenly presented the best picture statuette at the climax of the ceremony to La La Land, when Moonlight was the real winner. The mixup, which made for a chaotic end to ABC‘s telecast of the show, has been described as one of the most embarrassing moments in Oscars history.

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09:08  This is all my 20-year self could take: Gurmehar:  

Gurmehar Kaur, whose Facebook post against BJP-linked student outfit ABVP over campus violence is at the centre of a huge political row, on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce that she was pulling out the campaign.

She tweeted, “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say… I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take :)”

“The campaign is about students and not about me. Please go to the March in huge numbers. Best of luck..”

“To anyone questioning my courage and bravery.. I’ve shown more than enough.”

“One thing is for sure, next time we will think twice before resorting to violence or threats and that’s all this was about.”

Last Friday, Kaur mounted a rather simple protest against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s violence at Ramjas College last week. She posted a picture of herself on a social media site holding up a placard that read: “I am a student of Delhi University. I am not afraid of the ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me.”

This was an emphatic statement in support of free speech. The reaction to this though was shocking. Her ramarks drew sharp reactions from several BJP leaders, including Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Kiren Rijiju, who told her not to “abuse the motherland”. 

09:04  ANI reports: Dignity of a woman is of paramount imp, culprits must be punished, says N K Kalia, Kargil martyr Saurabh Kalia’s father on rape threats to Gurmehar.

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09:01  Nation is proud of you Gurmehar: Robert Vadra:  

Here’s what Robert Vadra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, had to say on his Facebook page about the controversy surrounding Gurmehar’s remarks:

“Way to go Gurmehar Kaur, for taking on fascists bravely. A daughter of a martyred army man, Gurmehar has been trolled on social media with rape threats. In an interview, she said, ‘I have been getting a lot of threats on social media. I think it is very scary when people threaten you with violence or with rape.’ Gurmehar has stood her ground and has made the entire nation & women fraternity proud. It is indeed disgusting & shameful to see a dignified woman being trolled by respectful citizens, for her remarks against politics in DU. My message to Gurmehar: “I am with you and all those people who stand for their rights & freedom of speech. The nation is proud of you for standing your ground & fighting fascist forces.”

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08:53  Wrestler Babita Phogat enters Dangal, slams Gurmehar:  

The fight over Gurmehar Kaur’s comments about ABVP and the subsequent reaction reached a new level when wrestler Babita Phogat entered the fray. 

In tweets aimed at Gurmehar, Babita tweeted on Tuesday, “Jo aapne desh ke haq m bat nhi kar sakti uske haq m bat karna thik h kya??? I condemn rape threats If log iss tarah se dhamki de rahe h to ye bahut hi galat bat h.Lekin m aapne desh k khilaf single word nhi sun sakti” (If she can’t speak in the interest of the nation, why bother taking her side? I condemn rape threats. It’s wrong if people are giving such threats. But I can’t bear a single word being spoken against my country.”

On Monday, when cricketer Virender Sehwag made a comment which criticised Kaur’s comments, actor Randeep Hooda backed his comments and came in for some criticism. 

When journalist Rana Ayyub took a jibe at Randeep Hooda’s statement that Kaur “is being used as a political pawn” saying the latter is from Haryana and he is doing his bit in liberating women, it didn’t go down well with Babita Phogat among many others. She responded to Ayyub saying “We Phogat sisters are from Haryana too. What do you know about Haryana?”

Ayyub urged Babita to speak and stand up for Gurmehar Kaur, but Babita responded saying, “Is it right to talk in favour of someone who doesn’t talk in favour of her nation?”

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08:13  Kansas shooting victim’s last rites to be performed today:  

The last rites of engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was shot dead in the United States will be performed on Tuesday.

His mortal remains reached Hyderabad late on Monday night.

Kuchibhotla was killed when 52-year-old Adam Purinton, walked into Austins Bar and Grill in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe and opened fire on Wednesday evening.

Kuchibhotla’s friend, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot, a bar-goer who tried to intervene in the attack, were also shot, but survived.

Witnesses told local media they heard the suspect yell, “Get out of my country.” Meanwhile, the FBI has launched an investigation to determine whether the shooting was a hate crime.

Purinton has been charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder. However, the White House has attempted to downplay notions that there was any correlation between the incident and President Donald Trump’s stance on immigrants.

Noting that the incident was tragic indeed, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer asserted that it was “absurd” to draw parallels between with the President’s rhetoric.

“Obviously, any loss of life is tragic, but I’m not going to get into, like, to suggest that there’s any correlation I think is a bit absurd. So I’m not going to go any further than that,” Spicer said.

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00:03  Hundreds of US Jewish graves attacked in Philadelphia:  

Police are searching for the vandals that damaged what one local rabbi said was nearly 500 headstones at a Jewish graveyard in Philadelphia.

Money is being raised to repair the graves and to identify and prosecute the apparently anti-Semitic attackers.

The vandalism comes less than a week after a Jewish cemetery near St Louis, Missouri, was vandalised.

And on Friday, religious slurs and swastikas were spray-painted in several neighbourhoods of Buffalo, New York.

On Monday, at least six Jewish Community Centers on the US East Coast – including in the Philadelphia suburbs – received telephone bomb threats, leading to building evacuations.

Source: Rediff