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LIVE! Military NOT getting its due share, says Army chief

17:55  Military NOT getting its due share, says Army chief :   A national military strategy and a security framework will be finalised very soon to effectively deal with security challenges facing the nation, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said today.

In an address at a defence think tank, the Army Chief lamented that the spending on defence is considered a “burden” by many in the country and the military is not getting its due share.

Citing China, he stressed that India’s true potential will be realised only when both economic growth and might of the armed forces go hand-in-hand.

He said the country must look for new friends and allies to deal with neighbours along India’s western and northern borders, an apparent reference to Pakistan and China.

Holding that a strong military is essential for India’s forward march, he said the general thinking among people is that expenditure on defence “is a burden” on the economy.

He said a “very strong military” is key for the economy to develop and cited China’s policy in this regard. The army chief also identified ensuring energy security as another important requirement for India to become a major power.

“While we are developing our economy, the military is not getting its due share. I think here we need to draw a lesson from China,” he said, adding military and economic growth should be “co-joint” as they are two tenants of national power. India’s defence budget for 2017-18 was Rs 2.74 lakh crore, which is 1.63 per cent of GDP. China’s defence budget is close to three per cent of its GDP.

There has been a feeling among security experts and the defence establishment that the modernisation of armed forces is taking place at a very slow pace and that government has not been allocating adequate funds for it in the last few years.


17:42  Some of Prince Philip’s famous gaffes:  Britain’s Prince Philip, 95, husband of Queen Elizabeth, who has announced he will retire from royal duties in the Autumn, is renowned for his risque, off-the-cuff remarks while carrying out official engagements.

Here are some examples:

— On a trip to China in the 1980s, he warned British students: “You’ll get slitty eyes if you stay too long.”

— In 1993, Philip told a Briton he met in Hungary: “You can’t have been here that long – you haven’t got a pot belly.”

— During a visit to Oban in Scotland in 1995 he asked a driving instructor: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the (driving) test?”

— In 1999, while on a tour of a company near Edinburgh, Scotland, he saw a poorly wired fuse box. “It looks as though it was put in by an Indian,” he said.

— In 2001, Philip told a 13-year-old boy whose ambition was to go into space that he was too fat to be an astronaut.

— While touring Australia in 2002, the prince asked an Aborigine whether they still threw spears at each other.

— In 1967, he was asked if he would like to go to Moscow to help ease Cold War tensions. “I would very much like to go to Russia — although the bastards murdered half my family,” he replied.

— On a trip to Australia in 1998, he asked a student who had just returned from a walking tour in Papua New Guinea: “You managed not to get eaten then?”

— In 2005, to celebrate Philip’s 85th birthday, two British reporters, Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton, compiled “Duke of Hazard: The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip.” Buckingham Palace was not amused.

— Asked to pick his favorite faux pas, Dampier chose Kenya’s independence ceremony in 1963 when Philip represented Britain. As the Union Jack was about to be hauled down, he turned to Kenyan independence leader Jomo Kenyatta and asked: “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

Image: The Obamas with the Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2011

17:36  Digvijaya booked for saying ‘cops radicalising Muslim youths’:  The Hyderabad police today lodged a criminal case against Congress leader Digvijaya Singh over his alleged remarks that the Telangana police has set up a “bogus” ISIS website to radicalise Muslim youths and encourage them to join the terror outfit.

17:34  Vinod Khanna’s prayer meet, Rishi Kapoor won’t be angry :  Vinod Khanna’s family held a prayer meet at Nehru Centre in Worli today. The actor passed away on April 27.

Rishi Kapoor, certainly, won’t be angry this time!

To bring you up to speed, Rishi Kapoor had slammed the ‘actors of this generation’ in a series of tweets for not attending Vinod Khanna’s funeral. Kapoor, who worked with Khanna in films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Eena Meena Deeka and Chandni, described the absence of the young generation of stars at the cremation as ‘shameful’.

‘Shameful. Not ONE actor of this generation attended Vinod Khanna’s funeral. And that too he has worked with them. Must learn to respect.’

‘…Why this? Including mine and thereafter. When I die, I must be prepared. None will shoulder me. Very very angry with today’s so called stars.’

He also lashed out at the celebrities, who were present at Priyanka Chopra’s party earlier but did not bother to attend Khanna’s funeral. ‘Angry. Met so many chamcha people last night at Priyanka Chopra’s do last night. Few at Vinod’s. So transparent. So angry with them,’ he tweeted.

The ‘young generation’ did attend the prayer meet. Take a look.


17:25  Strict action against anyone involved in Naxal activity, warns Bastar DIG:   After the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Chhattisgarh Police apprehended four suspected Naxals in connection with the deadly Sukma attack, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Bastar police P. Sundarraj asserted that strict action will be taken against any person involved in Naxal activity.

“Currently, the investigation is underway. After interrogation, we will get to know about their involvement. We are looking for some substantial evidences. A case has been registered under relevant Sections of IPC. Earlier also we have made it very clear that strict action will be taken against any person involved directly or indirectly in any naxal activity,” DIG of Bastar police P. Sundarraj told ANI.

One of the four arrested is a juvenile. The arrested suspects have been handed over to the state police.

On Wednesday, the CRPF troops along with the state police carried out a search operation at the forest area of Bulbul in Lohardaga district of Jharkhand, following which a massive ammunition cached was recovered.

As many as 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and five others were injured in the encounter with Naxals in Sukma on April 24.

The CRPF’s 74th Battalion was ambushed by the Naxals when it was manning a road construction project.

File pic: Home minister Rajnath Singh pays homage to the slain CRPF personnel at a wreath-laying ceremony at the headquarters of the 4th battalion of the Chhattisgarh Armed Forces in Raipur


17:05  Theresa May accuses EU leaders of meddling in UK election:  Accusing European Union politicians and officials of trying to influence the outcome of United Kingdom’s general election, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that she would not allow bureaucrats to walk over her government.

In an aggressive speech outside Downing Street, May tore into EU officials and said that Britain would not allow the “bureaucrats of Brussels run over us” and urged voters to “give me your backing to fight for Britain.”

Accusing EU officials of deliberately leaking misleading accounts of Brexit talks so as to adversely impact the outcome of UK election, May launched a stinging attack on Brussels after a German newspaper had reported about the difference between her and European commission president Jean-Claude during a Downing Street dinner last week.

She further added “We continue to believe that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal. But we want a deal.”

After meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace, May stated “In the last few days, we have seen just how tough these talks were likely to be. Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press, the European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened.”


16:33  Zara opens iconic store in Mumbai’s heritage building:  Spanish retail brand Zara opened one of its largest stores in South Mumbai’s Hutatma Chowk Square on May 4. The store is within the heritage-listed Ismail Building and is spread across a sprawling 51,300 sq ft area. The building dates back to more than 110 years. Zara’s team along with local architects, have worked for two years to restore the magnificent building to its former glory. Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/


16:22  Somehow justice can prevail, says Bilkis Bano after verdict :  The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of 12 people in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case while setting aside the acquittal of seven persons including policemen and doctors.

The court also dismissed an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation seeking death penalty for three of the convicts.

According to the prosecution, on March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village near Ahmedabad during the post-Godhra riots and seven members of her family were killed.

Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped while six other members of her family managed to escape from the mob.

This is Bilkis Bano’s statement after the verdict:

Through all of you, friends in the media, I wish to say to all my fellow Indian citizens, my fellow Gujaratis, my fellow Muslims, and to women everywhere I am grateful that this verdict delivered by the Honorable Judges, has, yet again, vindicated my truth, and upheld my faith in the judiciary.

My rights, as a human being, as a citizen, woman, and mother were violated in the most brutal manner,  but I have trusted in the democratic institutions of our country. Now, my family and I feel we can begin to lead our lives again, free of fear.

I am happy that the State and its officials who emboldened, encouraged, and protected the criminals who destroyed the life of an entire community, are no longer unblemished, but today stand charged with tampering of evidence. For officers of the state, whose sworn duty it is to protect citizens and enable justice, this should be their great moral shame, to bear forever.

To fellow Indians, I appeal to all of you, at a time when we hear news everyday of people being attacked and killed because of their religion or community – please help affirm their faith in the secular values of our country and support their struggles for justice, equality, and dignity. For this verdict does not mean the end of hatred but it does mean that somewhere, somehow justice can prevail. This has been an long, seemingly never ending struggle for me, but when you are on the side of truth, you will be heard, and justice will be yours in the end.  

The close friends, who have stood with me through it all, know how much me, my husband Yakub and my family owe to them for their unstinting support and love throughout this battle. For journeys like mine cannot be made alone. I am deeply grateful both to the CBI and to my lawyer who represented me during this appeal process in the Honorable Bombay High Court.

What is the case about? Read the verdict here.

16:02  Aadhar matter: Supreme Court reserves its order on whether to make it mandatory to link Aadhar card with PAN.


15:30  Macron ‘convinces’ majority of French viewers in TV debate:  For all of us rooting for French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron…

Macron has impressed more viewers than his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a fiery TV debate, a poll found today, underlining his status as the favourite for this weekend’s presidential runoff.

The candidates clashed repeatedly over terrorism, the economy and Europe in yesterday’s hot-tempered debate that was watched by 16.5 million people.

A poll by French broadcaster BFMTV found that 63 per cent of viewers thought Macron was the “most convincing” of the two, broadly mirroring the forecast result for the decisive election on Sunday.

The duel was billed as a confrontation between Macron’s call for openness and pro-market reforms and Le Pen’s France- first nationalism. Le Pen branded the former economy minister and investment banker “the candidate of the elite” and the “darling of the system”.

Also read: A Parisian affair: He is 39 and she 64


15:04  Eman’s sister swallows bitter pill, thanks Mumbai ahead of departure :   As Eman Ahmed, who was once known as ‘the world’s heaviest woman’, is set to be discharged from the Saifee hospital in Mumbai today after undergoing treatment for severe obesity, her sister Shaimaa Salim is thankful to the Indian doctors for treating her sibling.

Eman will fly to the UAE this evening, where her treatment will continue at Abu Dhabi.

Shaimaa told ANI, “I am thankful to India and the doctors in India for helping my sister.”

However, Shaima had earlier lashed out at the concerned surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala and the hospital calling them “liars” and claimed they had put Eman on massive medication to stop her “brain activity”.

Dr. Lakdawala who heads the team of doctors treating Eman refuted the charges.

Officials said this was a tactic by the family to delay Eman’s discharge because no medical facility in Egypt is willing to provide free medical services.

However, when ANI approached Dr. Lakdawala to know the other side of the story, he denied all the allegations leveled against him by Shaimaa.

In fact, the doctor said that Eman was doing well.

The doctor also said that Shaimaa is creating a scene because she does not want to take her sister back to Egypt due to financial reasons.

“Eman is fine and is doing good. She has recovered well and only a CT scan is to be done to ascertain her neurological condition.”

“Actually, Everything was right with Shaimaa for initial 15 days after Eman’s treatment started but when she recovered and we suggested that she can be taken back to Egypt, Shaimaa started to create all this drama as she doesn’t want to take her sister back to Egypt due to financial reasons,” he told ANI.

On April 21, 36-year-old Egyptian Eman Ahmed, who was the heaviest woman in the world at 500-plus kg, had lost 250kg in two months after undergoing surgery here at Saifee Hospital.

Image: Eman Ahmed being wheeled out of Saifee Hospital this morning. BJP spokesperson Shaina NC (left, behind the man in the black suit) was also there. Click on the image for another picture. Pic: Sahil Salvi.


15:02  Britain’s Prince Philip to step down from public life :  Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is to step down from public life, Buckingham Palace says. 

The Queen, who turned 91 last month, and remains the longest reigning monarch in the world, recently returned to her London residence following her extended Easter break at Windsor. The royal couple has steadily handed off onerous duties including all those involving long-haul travel and many of her regular investitures to the younger generations.

This morning Queen Elizabeth II summoned her entire household for an emergency meeting at the Buckingham Palace. While the reason for the meeting is obvious now, reports conceded the move as ‘highly unusual.’

The eleventh hour suggested something major to be disseminated.

The development had also sparked a Twitter frenzy speculating the possible death of Prince Phillip.

14:30  2 ISI operatives arrested in Mumbai:  Two suspected agents of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI were arrested from Mumbai in a joint operation by anti-terrorism squads of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, an official said today. While one of them identified as Altaf Qureshi was arrested late last night from Masjid Bunder area in South Mumbai, the second operative identified as Javed Iqbal was taken into custody from Yusuf Manzil building at Agreepada this morning, the official said.

Qureshi (37) is a hawala operator and also allegedly worked for ISI. Iqbal is an aide of Qureshi, the official said. Qureshi had allegedly deposited money in the bank account of Aftab Ali, another ISI agent, in Lucknow for carrying out espionage activities, he said. Aftab was arrested from Faizabad in UP yesterday.

14:17  Justice CS Karnan declines to undergo medical examination by 4-member medical team from govt hospital in Kolkata.


14:16  Students clash with security forces in Sopore:  More news from Sopore in Kashmir: Students in north Kashmir’s Sopore town today clashed with law enforcing agencies, protesting against the arrest of their peers by the police over the past three weeks.

Students of some educational institutions, including the local government college in Sopore, 52 km from Srinagar, held protests in their respective college premises, a police official said.

He said the students, however, tried to march on the roads, prompting the law enforcing agencies to swing into action. The police used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the protestors who resorted to stone-pelting, the official said.

He said clashes were going on when reports last came in, he said, adding that at least 10 persons were hurt in the clashes.

A police raid on Government Degree College in Pulwama on April 15 had triggered widespread protests by students across Kashmir on April 17 which have been going on intermittently since then.

Authorities had suspended class work in the higher educational institutions for over a week last month as a precautionary measure. The students were agitating over the alleged high- handedness of security forces and demanding action against those who roughed up students. A number of students were arrested during clashes in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley.

File pic: Students clashed with security forces in several places in Kashmir valley on April 17 during protests against the alleged highhandedness of security forces at a college in Pulwama in south Kashmir.

13:51  Will share details after execution: Army chief reacts to Pak mutilations :   Army Chief General Rawat’s first statement on the security operations in Kashmir’s Shopian district. “We have beefed up our counter-infiltration posture in Jammu and Kashmir,” Gen Rawat said. When asked about the possible action following the mutilation of Indian soldiers, the army chief said, “We don’t talk about future plans; we share details after execution. We retaliate to these kind of actions.”

This morning, more than 20 villages in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir were cordoned off, as the Indian Army along with other security forces launched massive anti-terror operations.

The search operations come in the wake of a surge in militancy related incidents in the past few days and recent terror attacks in the valley.

Suspected terrorists barged into a police post guarding the court complex of southern Shopian late on Tuesday night. The terrorists decamped along with five service rifles including four INSAS rifles and an AK-47 rifle.

Earlier, following the two bank robberies that took place in Pulwama on Wednesday, Pulwama Superintendant of Police Rayees Mohammed Bhat revealed that preliminary investigation has established the involvement of the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

“Until now, we have identified one militant each from Padgampora and Khagpura, which proves Lashkar’s involvement in the incident,” he said.

“It is clear that militant organisations like these are short of cash. We have also seen that they now carry more advanced technological gadgets. We are continuing the investigation,” he added.

The gunmen looted two banks, in separate incidents, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, within few hours.

Bank robberies and weapon snatching incidents have been on the rise in the Valley recently, triggering an alert.


13:17  Sukma Naxal attack: 4 arrested, including a juvenile :  The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Chhattisgarh Police apprehended four suspected Naxals in connection with the deadly Sukma attack. One of the four arrested is a juvenile. The arrested suspects have been handed over to the state police.

On Wednesday, the CRPF troops along with the state police carried out a search operation at the forest area of Bulbul in Lohardaga district of Jharkhand, following which a massive ammunition cached was recovered.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir today visited the CRPF personnel injured in the deadly Sukma Naxal attack.

“We are making efforts to prevent such kind of incidents in the future. We will try to finish this issue as soon as possible,” said Ahir after meeting the soldiers in the hospital.

He further said that a meeting will be held on May 8th to review the situation and further course of action will be discussed.

Earlier on May 1st, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in Sukma attack with country’s top security officials.

As many as 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and five others were injured in the encounter with Naxals in Sukma on April 24.

The CRPF’s 74th Battalion was ambushed by the Naxals when it was manning a road construction project.

13:02  Indian energy giant Adani signs $74 million deal with Australian steel group Arrium to buy steel for 400-km rail line for Carmichael project.


12:55  A Parisian affair: He is 39 and she 64:  Emmanuel was 15 when he fell for his school teacher, Brigitte Trogneux. She was 40 then, a married woman with three children, one of whom was Emmanuel’s classmate.

He is 39 now and she 64.

Their relationship is still going strong. The hero of this compelling love story is, of course, Emmanuel Macron, the man likely to become the next president of France. Read this lovely story on here.

12:47  India-UK to sign extradition agreement :  Just in: Bad news for liqour baron Vijay Mallya. India to sign extradition agreement with UK. A draft of the agreement has already been given to the UK. This comes after the home secretary-level talks between the two countries.
12:40  Gonda in UP is India’s dirtiest city:  Gonda in Uttar Pradesh is the dirtiest city; Bhusawal in Maharashtra is last but one in cleanliness survey. Gujarat has maximum of 12 cities among the top 50 clean cities followed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Andhra Pradesh
with eight. 

12:31  Indore is India’s cleanest city, finds Swachh survey :  Indore in Madhya Pradesh is India’s cleanest city and Gonda in Uttar Pradesh the filthiest, a nationwide cleanliness survey by the urban development ministry has found.

The survey of 434 cities, conducted as part of the Modi government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India Mission, has seen the ancient city in MP knock off Karnataka’s Mysuru, which has been topping the rankings.

Bhopal, another city in the BJP-ruled MP, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Surat in Gujarat are the other five cleanest cities, says the third edition of the Swachh Survekshan released on Thursday by urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

The cleanliness survey was carried out during January and February.

Launched in 2014, the Swachh Bharat campaign aims to make India clean and open-defecation free by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi.

Image: Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu handing announcing the awards

12:22  Election Commission of India calls an All Party Meeting on EVM issue on May 12th in Delhi.

12:14  Indore (Madhya Pradesh) tops the list of cleanest cities, as per Swachh Survekshan 2017.


12:13  Digvijaya welcomes CBI probe in ‘anti-Shivraj Vyapam’ campaign:  Unfazed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against him for being involved in a campaign targeting Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said he would continue his fight against corruption. Singh took to Twitter to react to the news of the CBI probe against him.

“NDTV- From CBI sources. Digvijaya to face action by CBI for Anti Vyapam Anti Shivraj campaign,” he tweeted.”Most Welcome. I shall continue my fight against Corruption and for all those who have been duped by Shivraj/ BJP leaders and brokers,” he tweeted in reaction to the news.

The CBI yesterday informed the Supreme Court that Singh and others would face action for running a campaign against Chouhan in the Vyapam scam on the basis of forged documents.

The Congress leader had moved a writ petition in the apex court in 2015 seeking forensic investigation of documents, including the hard disk recovered from the Vyapam office.

However, as per the CBI, the seized documents had been sent to Hyderabad’s Forensic Science Laboratory for examination and suggested no tampering.

Yesterday, the CBI in its affidavit to the top court informed that the allegations made by Singh and Vyapam whistle-blower Prashant Pandey were almost identical.

11:47  ‘How can I forgive them?’:  “In front of me they killed my mother, sister and 12 other relatives. The way we kill animals, they slaughtered us. On the 28th morning my husband and other family members had gone to a village meeting held at the home of a BJP worker. There they had pleaded for protection. All those who raped me and my sisters and murdered them were present there.”

Our 2004 interview with Bilkis Bano. Read

11:39  ‘Her face was expressionless and her talk listless’:  “My first impression was that Bilkis was traumatized by the enormous tragedy that had struck her.

“Her face was expressionless and her talk listless.She said she was tired of life and was subdued throughout our meeting. Only once did she get agitated; when I asked if she hoped to get justice.”

When met Bilkis Bano. Read the story here.


11:35  News updates :  Agni-ll Ballistic Missile test fired at 10.22 am from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha Coast as part of user trial.

Residents in Gujarat’s Anand painted Pakistan flag on a road to protest the mutilation of 2 soldiers. The police later painted it white and registered a case.

Airman in Indian Air Force commits suicide by shooting himself with a gun at Tambaram Air Force Station, near Chennai. Inquiry on.

11:33  Bilkis Bano case: 5 cops convicted :  Bilkis Bano case: Five police officers have also been convicted for tampering with evidence. The court overturned the acquittal of these police officers.

11:29  Bilkis Bano verdict: HC rejects CBI plea for death sentence :   No death penalty for Gujarat riots’ victim Bilkis Bano’s rapists, says Bombay High Court.

The Bombay High Court has ruled today that no death penalty will be awarded to three out of 11 people accused of gang-raping Bilkis Bano and brutally murdering 14 members of her family, including her three-old daughter, in Randhikpur near Ahmedabad, during the Gujarat riots of 2002.

The CBI had last year told court that this was a “rarest of rare case” and that the death penalty must be awarded to three convicts to send out a “stern message.”

The agency has alleged that there is direct evidence that the three men – Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, and Sailesh Bhatt – gangraped Bilkis, who was five months pregnant, her sister and her mother.

Bhatt also allegedly snatched Bilkis’ three-year-old daughter from her and crushed her head on a stone. The child died on the spot. Bilkis’s mother and sister were among the 14 of her family and 17 people from the village killed by the rioters on March 3, 2002.


11:09  How to build a business in the Himalayas:  The Alams saw the magical spot while on a drive to the hills. A few years later they set up home and a small handwoven shawl business, hiring local weavers, using local wool and natural colours made of root, stem and flower.’s Archana Masih met them in their home overlooking the Himalayas and got a lesson in dyeing. Read more


11:04  Four naxals arrested in Sukma :  Four naxals have been arrested in Sumka, the CRPF tells MHA. The arrests were carried out after search ops by the CRPF and state police.

A high-level meeting of the Unified Command will be held this week in Chhattisgarh to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to hit Maoists, in the aftermath of recent ambushes that has killed over 35 CRPF troops in the worst-hit Sukma district.

Chief Minister Raman Singh has called the meeting on May 5 in Raipur, officials said.

The top brass of central paramilitary forces, the Chhattisgarh police, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and state government authorities responsib ..

A high-level meeting of the Unified Command will be held this week in Chhattisgarh to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to hit Maoists, in the aftermath of recent ambushes that has killed over 35 CRPF troops in the worst-hit Sukma district.

Chief Minister Raman Singh has called the meeting on May 5 in Raipur, officials said.

The top brass of central paramilitary forces, the Chhattisgarh police, the Indian Air Force and state government authorities responsible  for the administration in Bastar and other Naxal violence hit districts of the state will take part in the meeting, they said.

The Unified Command was created in all the Maoist violence affected states in the aftermath of the 2010 Dantewada attack where 75 CRPF personnel and a state policeman, were killed in a deadly ambush carried out by Naxals.

The Command is chaired by the respective chief ministers.

Image: File pic of Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh visiting one of the CRPF jawans injured in the Sukma encounter on April 24.

10:44  Maoists attack security force’s armoured vehicle in Maharashtra:  A landmine-proof vehicle of the C-60 commandos came under attack by alleged Maoists in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Officials said the incident took place last evening near Bhamragad in the district when a patrol party of the C-60 commandos, was crossing the area.

At least 12 personnel are said to be injured in the landmine blast which targeted the armoured vehicle.

The team of security force personnel had been conducting operations in the area.

Earlier, a CRPF jawan and two Maharashtra Police personnel were injured in an exchange of fire with the Maoists.


10:38  After years of abuse, this woman wants to give triple talaq to her husband:   After years of alleged torture and abuse by her husband, Amreen Bano (24), has arrived at a decision.

She wants to give triple talaq to her husband before the community, and if it is indeed accept, will probably be the first woman to do so. Islam allows the man to give triple talaq to his wife, but not the other way round.

“I want to give triple talaq to my husband and get rid of him the same way as men do away with women using triple talaq,’ Amreen told ANI.

Amreen and her sister Farheen (22) were married to two brothers in a village near Meerut on the same day in 2012. Both the sisters have filed police complaints alleging inhuman treatment including abuse and beatings by their husbands. According to a Times of India report, in September 2016, when Amreen’s 3-year old son asked his uncle, Farheen’s husband, for Rs 5, he and the sisters were beaten. The sisters were then told to get Rs 5 lakh from their parents. As the argument escalated, Farheen’s husband gave her triple talaq and threw her out of the house.

Amreen told ANI that she suffered a miscarriage due to frequent beatings by her husband. She had approached the police saying she wanted protection but nothing was done. She now says she will give triple talaq to her husband since he has refused to provide for her and her child after the brother beat her and the sister for money.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court allowed former Union Minister Salman Khurshid to assist it in hearing a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy practices among the Muslims.

Image: Amreen Bano has asked for police protection but says, nothing was done.   


10:13   Former RAW chief A S Dulat: We refused to talk invited Pakistan back into Valley:  Former Research & Analysis Wing chief A S Dulat’s connection to Kashmir goes back more than three decades. As an Intelligence Bureau officer, he served in Srinagar in the 1980s; as IB special director he supervised the intelligence network there. In the PMO during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, he was adviser on Kashmir, work that formed the basis of his book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years. In this interview, which you can read here, Dulat discusses the current situation in Kashmir.


10:06  UK, India Home Secretaries to discuss Mallya extradition today:   Vijay Mallya’s extradition likely to be discussed in talks between Indian, UK Home Secretaries today.

A team of officials from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED)  reached London for discussions on the extradition of the liquor baron, yesterday.

A four-member team led by CBI Additional Director Rakesh Asthana will apprise British authorities about the finer points of the loan default cases against Mallya, CBI sources said. Two senior ED officials are also part of the team, they said.

Mallya’s extradition is now before the British court where neither the CBI nor the ED is a direct party. Indian agencies primarily aid and assist British prosecutors with case material to counter the plea of absconders before the courts, an official explained.

The agencies’ move to send a team to London is aimed at presenting a strong case for the extradition of the liquor baron before the court. 

The 61-year-old was arrested by British authorities last month on India’s extradition request in connection with loan default case of IDBI Bank, being investigated by the CBI. He was released on bail within hours by a London court which has fixed May 17 as the next date of hearing.

Vijay Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs. 9,000 crore to various banks, had left India on March 2, 2016.

The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps including a decision by the judge on whether or not to issue a warrant of arrest.

In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision is taken by the Secretary of State.

The ‘wanted’ person has the right to appeal to higher courts against any decision all the way up to the Supreme Court.

10:01  Online Sabotage:  A recently published book, “Behind Bars’ by NDTV journalist, Sunetra Choudhury has 31 reviews on Amazon India. Out of these, 20 have given it a one-star rating and written negative reviews. There is nothing unusual about a book getting negative reviews but a closer look reveals that 19 out of these 20 have not even purchased the book. What is going on? Welcome to the world of online trolling of authors and organized campaigns to manipulate of the ratings of their books. You can read more of this story here.
09:50  A study on unaccounted income :  Even as the government has launched a high-profile drive against black money, a 1,000-page study on unaccounted incomes in India has not been made public for a year now. Produced by the think-tank National Institute of Public Finance and Policy at the instance of the UPA government in 2012, the report was submitted to the government about a year later. You can see the entire report here.

09:47  Experts want punitive action against ‘liar’ Pakistan :   The Defence Experts on Thursday exhorted the government to take a severe punitive action against Pakistan which “has been lying over its involvement in the mutilation of two Indian soldiers’ bodies.

Defence Expert PK Sehgal told ANI that Pakistan was in a denial mode over its involvement in Krishna Ghati’s barbaric act despite all the evidences against it.

“We have clinching evidence and same has been conveyed to the Pakistan high commissioner, but we must not waste time in focussing in this area as Pakistan will remain in denial mode. The sooner we teach them a lesson it would be better from both Pakistan’s point of view as well as nation’s point of view,” said Sehgal.

He said considering the nation’s mood, the government must take swift and solid action against Pakistan.”The entire nation is looking forward to a very swift and a very solid and punitive response from the Indian army. If the government doesn’t give a go ahead in a meaningful time frame the government’s credibility would be severely degraded,” he added.

Resonating similar sentiments, another Defence Expert Praful Bakshi told ANI that it was obvious that Pakistan will deny mutilating two Indian soldiers’ bodies. “It is obvious that Pakistan will deny carrying out a heinous task of mutilating our soldiers’ bodies”. But, the blood trail is leading across. The matter stands still and Pakistan’s denial is very serious,” he added.

He said India should change its policy of not to attack first as Pakistan was taking advantage of it.”Pakistan is showing aggression all along the border. Pakistan is taking advantage of Indian policy of not attacking first. We have to change our policy from reactive to proactive. Our intelligence tells us where the terrorists are coming from. India need not wait for the attack but should take pre-emptive action,” he said.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday said Pakistan’s denial of any cross Line of Control movement by its troops and mutilation of Indian soldiers’ carries no credibility.


08:51  Pathankot on alert after 2 suspicious bags found near military base:  

Security alert was sounded in Pathankot early today when two suspicious bags were found lying unattended just a few yards away from the military base.

According to reports, locals spotted two black colour bags near Mamoon Cantt and informed the police. 

Cops immediately rushed to the spot. The area has been cordoned off.

The police recovered mobile tower batteries from the bags. Security has been beefed up in the area and a search operation is underway to find the owner of the bags.

On Tuesday, an abandoned Scorpio SUV was found in Gurdaspur district. Security agencies had then launched a manhunt after reports of 5-6 suspicious men being spotted near the vehicle.

Though nobody has been arrested yet, the police claimed the suspects belonged to Jammu and Kashmir. 

“We have broadly identified them and we are trying our best to arrest them,” Pathankot SSP Vivek Sheel Soni said.


08:14  Russia ‘greatest threat of any nation on earth’: FBI chief:  

Russia presents greatest threat to American national security, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has told lawmakers.

“Certainly in my view, (Russia presents) the greatest threat of any nation on earth, given their intention and their capability,” Comey said in response to a question during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where lawmakers expressed concern over Russian activities in the cyberspace.

Comey said “yes” when Senator Lindsey Graham asked when it comes to Russia, is it fair to say that Russia actively provides safe haven to cyber criminals.

He said “it is a fair statement,” when Senator Lindsey Graham asked if he agreed with him the only way the Russians are going to stop this for them to pay a price for interfering in the US political process.

Comey said that Russians are doing this all over the world.

The FBI chief said that in the last presidential elections, the Russians were not able to change the actual vote tally, but one day they might.

“We found no indication of any change in vote tallies. There was efforts aimed at voter registration systems, but I suppose in theory, part of the US. The beauty of our system is it’s a bit of a hairball. All different kinds of systems,” he said.

“My understanding is they have attempted it in other countries,” Comey said in response to another question from Graham.


00:07  Trump vows to work as ‘mediator’ for Israeli-Palestinian peace:  

US President Donald Trump vowed to work as a “mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator” to help broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as he welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House.

“We will get this done,” Trump vowed.

Trump reiterated the need for Israelis and Palestinians to broker a peace through direct negotiations and called on Palestinian leaders to “speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence and hate.”

“There’s such hatred, but hopefully there won’t be such hatred for very long,” Trump said, speaking alongside Abbas in the Roosevelt Room.

Source: Rediff