|India underlines bilateral ties, hopeful of solution, says Khurshid|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 20 (Agencies): India today said entire gamut of Indo-US ties needs to be kept in mind by both sides while dealing with the case against its diplomat Devyani Khobragade and hoped that the matter will be resolved despite US refusing to accept its demand of withdrawing charges against her.
Terming as "valuable" the bilateral ties, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India was conscious of this while dealing with the "hurtful" and "unacceptable" treatment meted out to its diplomat in New York.
"I am conscious of the fact that this is a valuable relationship between two countries. A relationship in which enormous investments have been made not just by governments alone, but by private sector, by groups of individuals, by organisations and I think when we deal with e...|
|People of Uttar Pradesh can bring Ram Rajya: Modi|
|VARANASI, Dec 20 (Agencies): Narendra Modi, who had consciously avoided reference to the Ram Temple issue in his earlier public meetings in Uttar Pradesh, today appeared to be making a veiled reference to it by speaking of bringing in 'Ram rajya'.
Addressing a public meeting in the temple town of the state, which sends the largest number of 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate said if the people want they can see the return of 'Ram rajya' which started from this land by voting for the right party.
"I have faith in the people of Uttar Pradesh. Your ancestors had established Ram rajya. Had the people not been empowered, there would never have been Ram rajya here. The state has all that is needed for Ram rajya. The strength, tradition and will needed for establishin...|
|BJP won't recall invitation to US envoy for Modi rally|
|MUMBAI, Dec 20 (Agencies): The BJP today said invitation extended to US Consul General in Mumbai for Narendra Modi's Sunday rally will not be recalled following the outrage over the treatment meted out to Indian diplomat Deyani Khobragade which it termed as "unacceptable".
"We don't recall an invitation after giving it. But we are sure that the US attitude is not befitting. We always treat our guests with respect but won't compromise on the issue of national pride and national power," BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
He, however, was unsure whether the US diplomat would attend the rally given the stand-off between the two countries following the episode.
"We are not aware of that," Rudy said when asked if the American diplomat would be attending the rally.
The party has i...|
|VHP wants Modi to clear stand on Ram Temple issue|
|BAREILLY (UP), Dec 20 (Agencies): Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Tagodia said that his party would support BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi only after the Gujarat Chief Minister clarified his stand on the Ram Temple issue.
"VHP will support only those parties, which talk of construction of Ram temple. The party would also have to put it in its manifesto. Modi should clarify his stand on the issue, if he wants VHP support," Togadia told reporters yesterday evening.
"Its deplorable for him (Modi), if he does not include the Ram Temple-issue in his speeches," he said, adding that in forthcoming Lok Sabha elections the issue will hot up....|
|Identify inspired teachers to shape young minds: Prez|
|CHENNAI, Dec 20 (Agencies): President Pranab Mukherjee today said it would not be possible for India to occupy high tables in international society unless it improves the quality of higher education and stressed on the need to identify inspired teachers who could shape young minds.
"We have a solid higher education infrastructure with over 650 degree awarding institutions and over 33,000 colleges but the enrolment rate in higher education in the eligible age group is just 7 per cent (18.6 million). None of our universities are among the top 200 in the world," the President regretted.
Addressing students and academicians after inaugurating the Loyola College School of Commerce and Economics here this afternoon, he said, "I feel sad and have repeated it almost like a parrot in large numbe...|
|FIR against Salman Khan, Bigg Boss for hurting Muslim sentiments|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 20 (Agencies): According to reports, an FIR or police complaint has been reportedly registered against Bigg Boss 7 host Salman Khan and management of Colours channel for allegedly insulting Muslim sentiment by sending the contestants to Jannat or Jahannum in the Bigg Boss house.
Reports also suggest that, according to the complaint, concept of Jannat and Jahannum are sacred in Islam and the show was making a mockery of the Islamic beliefs.
Earlier this week, contestant Armaan Kohli was arrested for allegedly assaulting British singer-actress Sofia Hayat inside the Bigg Boss house. He was allowed to return to the house after completing legal formalities.
The show, hosted by Bollywood actor Salman Khan for the past three seasons, throws together celebrities in a secluded...|
|5 cops sent to police remand for rape|
|CHANDIGARH, Dec 20 (Agencies): Five Chandigarh police constables, accused of raping a minor girl, were today sent to three-day police remand by a local court here.
Jagtar, Akshay, Himmat, Sunil and Anil were sent to the police remand by the district court here.
The accused, all residents of Khuda Lahora village here, have been arrested and a case under various sections of IPC had been registered, a release issued by the Chandigarh police said here.
Four of the accused were arrested yesterday, while Anil was arrested today, they said.
In a big embarrassment to Chandigarh police, a Class 10 girl yesterday lodged a complaint, alleging that she had been raped and molested by five constables for one and a half months.
In her complaint, the victim alleged that a few weeks ago, she had call...|
|Centre files review petition in SC on gay sex verdict|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 20 (Agencies): Government today moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict reviving Section 377 of IPC making gay sex an offence punishable with life term, saying "recriminalisation" of sexual intercourse between same sex of consenting adults has put the LGBT persons at risk of prosecution and harassment.
The Centre said the review petition has been filed to "avoid grave miscarriage of justice to thousands of LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders) persons" who have been aggrieved by the apex court's December 11 judgement, contending it is "unsustainable" as it "suffers from errors apparent on the face of the record".
The Centre's petition settled by Attorney General G E Vahavati sought that oral arguments be heard in an open court before disposing of...|
|DMK to contest polls with existing alliance parties: Karuna|
|CHENNAI, Dec 20 (Agencies): Dismissing media reports suggesting DMK would align with BJP, party chief M Karunanidhi today clarified that his party would contest the Lok Sabha polls with existing partners in the alliance.
Speaking after his son and party treasurer M K Stalin read out his speech, which said some journalists reported facts far from DMK's official stand in the party General Council meeting on forming alliances, he said "The press should not twist facts to their fancy. This is not only regrettable but condemnable."
Asked if DMK would contest the polls alone, Karunanidhi said, "We already have some alliance parties. We will contest the polls with them - Muslim League, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Manidhaneya Makkal Katchi and Puthiya Thamizhagam."
On Gujarat Chief Ministe...|
|Congress faces uphill task in Lok Sabha polls: Ramdev|
|SHIMLA, Dec 20 (Agencies): Yoga guru Ramdev today said that after a crushing defeat in four states, Congress faces an uphill task in the coming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"A strong anti-Congress wave is sweeping across the country and people are fed up with corruption, misrule and failure of UPA government on all fronts and itching for a change," he told reporters here.
Emergence of Aam Adami Party (AAP) in Delhi is just a reflection of mood of the people, Ramdev added.
Asserting that AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi was no match to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Ramdev said the performance of two leaders during past ten years has made clear to the people that "Modi build his stature due to his hard work, dedication and vision while Rahul inherited it".
Accusing Congress of not ...|
|196 ceasefire violations this year: Antony|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Agencies): There have been 196 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir this year till Dec 15 and all were taken up with Pakistan, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Antony told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that there were 93 ceasefire violations along the LoC by Pakistan in 2012.
"All violations of ceasefire are taken up with the Pakistan military authorities at the appropriate level through established mechanism of hotline messages, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the DGMOs (Director Generals of Military Operations) of India and Pakistan," Antony said.
He said there has been significant reduction in the incidents of ceasefire violations following telephonic talks between the director ...|
|Centre to give AAP few more days to form govt: Shinde|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Agencies): The Centre today said it will give a few more days to Aam Admi Party (AAP) to explore the possibility of forming a government in Delhi where political uncertainty continues after the recent Assembly elections threw a hung verdict.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the Central government has asked the Lieutenant Governor as to how much time the AAP has sought for formation of government in Delhi.
"We will give some more days (to AAP) for government formation in Delhi. This a democratic process," he said.
Shinde's statement indicated that the Central government was not in a hurry to impose President's rule in Delhi and ready to wait at least till Monday when AAP, with 28 MLAs in its kitty, makes public its decision whether to form the gove...|
|MHA seeking Law Ministry's view in Ganguly Case: Shinde|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Agencies): The Home Ministry has sought the Law Ministry's opinion on sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court to probe into allegations against Justice (retd) A K Ganguly and give its recommendations on the issue of removing him as chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
The move came after President Pranab Mukherjee referred to the Home Ministry a letter by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking Ganguly's removal from the high post following a law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against the former judge and his refusal to quit the post.
"Papers have come to us. I can say as of now that we have sent to legal department and then after obtaining their opinion, we will go ahead," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters ...|
|Modi's itinerary altered due to security issues|
|VARANASI, Dec 19 (Agencies): The itinerary of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is going to address Vijay Shankhnad rally here tomorrow, has been changed due to security reasons on the request of the district administration.
President of state BJP Laxmi Kant Bajpai said that Modi would visit the Sankatmochan and Vishwanath temples before the rally at the Khajuri village.
District Magistrate Pranjal Yadav said that in the letter sent by Gujarat government it was said that Modi would visit the two temples after the rally.
"We have requested Modi through a letter for not visiting Vishwanath and Sankat Mochan temples tomorrow as per schedule given by Gujrat government, when he will also address a rally at Khajuri village," the DM said.
"The Varanasi city is of narrow la...|
|U'khand to implement Lokayukta based on Lokpal|
|DEHRADUN, Dec 19 (Agencies): Hailing the passage of Lokpal Bill as historic, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said Uttarakhand will be the first state to implement a Lokayukta Act based on the anti-corruption law passed by the Parliament.
"Passage of Lokpal has been historic. I am thankful to our central leaders for this. Uttarakhand will lead the rest of the states in the country in implementing a Lokayukta Act based on the Lokpal legislation passed by Parliament," Bahuguna told reporters here today.
The statement by the chief minister makes it clear that the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act passed by the state assembly during the previous BJP rule and given Presidential assent recently will not see the light of day.
Bahuguna had reservations about implementing the Uttarakhand Lokatyukta ...|
|Devyani fell victim to planned conspiracy, alleges father|
|MUMBAI, Dec 19 (Agencies): Uttam Khobragade today alleged a conspiracy behind the arrest of his diplomat daughter Devyani in New York and said all charges against her were fabricated as he dubbed US Attorney Preet Bharara's remarks after the incident as a "blatant" attack on the Indian judiciary.
"Please take cognisance of Bharara's utterance, that the Indian legal process is meant to 'silence' the maid," Khobragade, a former IAS officer, told reporters here.
"It is a blatant attack on the judiciary of India," he said. "Is it the Prime Minister or is it Preet Bharara who rules India?" he asked.
Khobragade accused the maid of fraud and said all charges must be dropped against Devyani.
"Devyani has been falsely implicated. The entire case is a conspiracy. The FIR against her was fabrica...|
|Development of Punjab top priority of SAD-BJP govt: Badal|
|LAMBI (PUNJAB), Dec 19 (Agencies): Punjab government has formulated a number of welfare schemes for the holistic development of the state, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today.
Badal said his priority was that every person in Punjab should get food and keeping the view in mind, the SAD-BJP government had launched 'Atta-Dal' scheme a few years back under which the beneficiaries were given flour and pulses at subsidised rates.
To ensure that maximum possible people were covered under the scheme, the government has now decided to double the beneficiaries from existing 16 lakh to 32 lakh and even the rate of flour would be slashed to Re 1 from Rs 4 per kg, he said during 'Sangat Darshan' programme here.
The 86-year-old Chief Minister slammed the Congress led UPA government at the ...|
|Maharashtra prisons' security upgraded|
|NAGPUR, Dec 19 (Agencies): Replying to Vinayak Nimhan of the Congress and others, Minister of State for Home, Satej Patil said that a massive upgradation of security in prisons was taken up and accordingly Mumbai, Taloja (Navi Mumbai) and Yerwada jails were provided with modern gadgets to deal with unlawful activities of inmates.
The Yerwada prison in Pune has been equipped with a baggage scanner to check smuggling of illegal objects inside the jail besides 55 CCTVs to keep a tab on the activities of inmates there, the Maharashtra Assembly was informed today.
He said a total of 232 CCTVs will be installed in these jails. About 30 walkie-talkie sets, one mobile detector and 12 hand metal detectors have been provided to Yerwada.
Also, the government was planning to fill 563 vacant posts ...|
|Devyani was virtually trapped in a conspiracy: Khurshid|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Agencies): Amidst outrage expressed by members in Parliament, India today asserted that it will intervene "effectively and specifically" to ensure the return and restoration of dignity of its Deputy Consul General in New York who has been arrested on charges of visa rules violation.
Responding to concerns expressed by members across party lines in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid condemned the US action and said he will not return to the House if he fails in his responsibility to bring back the arrested diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
Spelling out the series of steps initiated to scale down the privileges granted to US diplomats in India, he said there was a "conspiracy" in which Khobragade was "virtually trapped".
He said the di...|
|PM seeks to deflate Modi's projection as strong leader|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Agencies): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sought to puncture BJP's projection of Narendra Modi as a strong leader, saying no one should simply talk of firm leadership without specifying for what purpose it would be used for.
Singh while addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting here, also took an obvious dig at Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, saying those promises should not be made, which are outside the realm of possibilities.
In his first major reaction after the Assembly poll debacle of Congress, he said that partymen should not despair ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"Assembly elections in a few states are not necessarily an indication of what will happen in general elections that follows some months later. We know this from the past," h...|
|1984 Riots not comparable with post-Godhra violence: Amartya Sen|
|NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Agencies): Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said the Gujarat riots of 2002 are not comparable with the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, rejecting Infosys chief N R Narayanamurthy's view that the post-Godhra violence should not stand in the way of Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister.
While describing as "absolute shame" the fact that those responsible for the 1984 riots had not been brought to judgement, he sought to differentiate between the 1984 riots and those that occurred in Gujarat under the watch of Chief Minister Modi.
Sen argued that Congress leaders, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, who were fighting elections today, were not the people responsible for the anti-Sikh riots. No one had accused them of that, whereas Modi was the Chief Minister whe...|
|Chandrababu Naidu welcomes passage of Lokpal Bill|
|HYDERABAD, Dec 18 (Agencies): Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu today welcomed the approval of crucial Lokpal Bill by Parliament.
In a statement, the former Chief Minister hailed Anna Hazare, whose untiring effort and pressure on the Central government led to the passage of the Lokpal Bill.
He wanted a strong Lokpal and effective implementation of the new law.
Chandrababu also demanded an apology from the US government over the manner in which it treated Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.
"US claims standard procedure was followed with diplomat Devyani. I question their defence and demand an apology to the nation," the TDP chief said on microblogging site Twitter....|
|Teacher rapes student, forces abortion|
|JAIPUR, Dec 18 (Agencies): A private school teacher has been arrested for allegedly raping a Class 10 student repeatedly and forcing her to have abortion in Bhilwara district in Rajasthan.
Bhuvnesh (42) had allegedly raped the 16-year-old student repeatedly and forced her to abort when she became pregnant, police said today.
Police arrested Bhuvnesh yesterday night after preliminary investigations.
When she became pregnant, Bhuvnesh forced her to have abortion and the fetus was dumped by the girl near the school in Asind town, police said.
Meanwhile, locals launched a demonstration in the town demanding stern action against the accused....|
|M.S. Dhoni's brother to contest Ranchi LS seat|
|DHANBAND, Dec 18 (Agencies): Narendra Singh Dhoni, the elder brother of Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will contest from the Ranchi Lok Sabha seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket in the 2014 general elections.
"The SP's Central Committee has announced Narendra Singh Dhoni's candidature from the Ranchi LS seat," the party's Jharkhand affairs in-charge and ex-MLC in the Uttar Pradesh bicameral, Kashinath Yadav, told a press conference in Dhanbad today.
Narendra Singh Dhoni, who recently joined the SP in Lucknow and was present here, said he had taken his family's consent before joining the party.
"Soon after joining the BJP in 2009, I left because the party did not know how to respect its workers. The SP respects both its leaders and workers," claimed the elder Dhoni, who had also ...|
|5 cabinet members retained, new HM appointed|
|RAIPUR, Dec 18 (Agencies): Nine MLAs, including five ministers from previous cabinet, were today sworn in as ministers in Raman Singh-led government in Chhattisgarh.
While Singh retained Brijmohan Agrawal, Punnulal Mohile, Amar Agrawal, Rajesh Munat and Kedar Kashyap, the new inductees are state unit BJP president Ramsewak Paikra, former Assembly speaker Premprakash Pandey, Ramshila Sahu and Ajay Chandrakar.
They were administered the oath of office by Governor Shekhar Dutt at Raj Bhawan in the presence of several local politicians and their family members.
An MLA from Pratappur seat (ST), Paikra replaced Nankiram Kanwar as Home Minister, a challenging job in the naxal-affected state, and will also look after Jail and Public Health Engineering department.
Five-time MLA Brijmohan Agarw...|