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Security beefed up in Kashmir ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 22 Oktober 2014 | 08.20

SRINAGAR: Security has been beefed up here and across the valley as separatists called for a general strike tomorrow against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength and are conducting random checking of vehicles at dozens of places in the city and elsewhere, a senior police officer said.

Special checking points have been set up at various places in the city including entry and exit points as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

The move was aimed at foiling any attempt by militants to strike in the city ahead or during the Prime Minister's visit, he said.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday said that he would spend Diwali, the festival of lights, in flood-hit Srinagar.

"Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23d October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods," Modi tweeted on Tuesday.

This will be his fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir since taking charge as Prime Minister in May.

While the announcement of the Prime Minister generated hope among the flood survivors of a comprehensive package from the centre to rebuild their lives, two factions of Hurriyat Conference have called for a general strike and peaceful protests against the visit of the Prime Minister.

"Government of India acted as the mute spectator amid worst ever floods in Kashmir and did nothing to mitigate the sufferings of the affected on ground...we will not allow anyone to rub salt into our wounds," hardline faction of Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said in a statement.

It said when Modi had not even felicitated Muslims on Eid, his celebrating Diwali in the Muslim-majority state is "unacceptable".

Shabir Ahmad Shah led faction of Hurriyat Conference also called for a general strike on Wednesday and asked people to hold peaceful demonstrations against Modi's visit.

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CBI arrests Railway Board official on graft charges

NEW DELHI: CBI on Wednesday arrested a Railway Board official for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs five lakh from a Mumbai-based tour operator for adding coaches in trains for tourist purposes.

CBI sources said Ravi Mohan Sharma, an Indian Railway Traffic service officer of 1997 batch was arrested at his residence here while allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs five lakh from a tour operator.

The sources said the bribe was allegedly paid by the Mumbai-based operator through hawala channel

They said the alleged bribe was paid to facilitate the running of special trains and additional coaches for tourist purposes.

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Delhi Metro services will be curtailed by only one hour on Diwali

NEW DELHI: Delhi Metro services will be curtailed by only one hour on Diwali on Thursday, with the last trains leaving various terminal stations at 10pm, it was announced on Wednesday. It was stated on Tuesday that the last trains that day will depart from the terminal stations at 8pm, instead of the normal 11pm.

But this was extended on Wednesday till 10pm "in view of the larger public interest", an official statement said.

The terminal stations include Dilshad Garden, Rithala, Jahangirpuri, Huda City Centre, Noida City Centre, Dwarka Sector-21, Vaishali, Kirti Nagar, Inderlok, Mundka, Mandi House, Badarpur and New Delhi.

But between 8 and 10pm on Diwali, the trains will run every 30 minutes or so.

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Ready for assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir: Bharatiya Janata Party

SRINAGAR: BJP on Wednesday said it was ready for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir any time the Election Commission decides on holding polls in the state.

"As far as BJP is concerned, we were ready yesterday, we are ready today and we are ready anytime for the elections. We have no objections," BJP leader and MoS in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh told reporters here.

Singh, however, said the timing of the elections in the state was the prerogative of the Election Commission of India.

"When elections are to be held, it is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India. It is an independent institution. It will not be fit for me to comment on that. If anyone does, he must be wiser than us," he added.

Barring National Conference, all political parties in the state have called for holding assembly elections in the flood-hit state as per schedule.

Ruling National Conference has sought deferring the polls in order to focus on relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims in the state.

The Election Commission visited Kashmir last week to assess the situation in the flood-hit areas of the state in order to take a final call on the poll schedule.

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No platform ticket between October 24 and 29 in Delhi: Northern Railway

NEW DELHI: In view of safety of passengers and to avoid over-crowding at platforms and foot-over bridges during Diwali and Chhat festivals, Northern Railway has decided to restrict sale of platform tickets at the five major stations, including New Delhi and Nizamuddin.

Platform tickets at New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamudin, Delhi Sarai Rohilla and Anand Vihar stations will not be sold between October 24 to 29, said a senior Northern Railway official.

The official said this has been done to curb rush at busy platforms during the festive season.

However, for persons coming to stations just to assist senior citizens, physically challenged, medically sick, ladies traveling alone or with children, platform tickets will be sold on demand.

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Police release sketch of suspect who set woman on fire on a train in Kerala

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 21 Oktober 2014 | 08.20

KANNUR: The railway police, probing the death of a woman who was set ablaze inside a vacant train compartment on Monday, have released a rough sketch of a youth believed to be in the age group 22 to 25, who has committed the crime.

According to the police, the incident occurred on Monday morning around 4.30am on the Kannur-Kayamkulam Executive Express.

According to those in the know of things, the police have got some vital clues about the suspect.

A middle-aged woman and a youth were seen arguing for long as they were walking on the platform and was heading to the train that was to depart later. Those who were present at the platform had given a brief description of the youth and with their help the railway police and the Railway Protection Force prepared the sketch that has now been made public.

According to the police, the two of them boarded the 13th compartment of the train much before the departure time. After a while, people noticed fire in the compartment and the youth rushed out of the train and disappeared into the darkness.

By the time police officers came to the compartment, the woman had suffered serious burn injuries as she was doused with alcohol. She died on Monday night at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital and on Tuesday afternoon, her body was handed over to her relatives after conducting the post mortem.

She has been identified as 45-year-old Khadeeja and a resident of Kondotti in Malappuram district.

CPM leader KK Shailaja said this was yet another case of attack against women in the train.

"For long we have been pleading for the posting of police inside the train compartments and in the railway platforms. This has fallen on deaf ears as neither the state government or the Railways have done nothing against this requests that has come from numerous women's organisation," said Shailaja.

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Pak Taliban fires its spokesman over allegiance to Islamic State

ISLAMABAD: Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has fired its spokesman after he along with five other commanders declared allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, which has been vying for supremacy with the al-Qaida in the region.

Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid last week said that he along with five other Taliban commanders have accepted the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chief of the Islamic State which has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria.

According to a Taliban statement, Shahidullah's actual name was Abu Omar Sheikh Maqbool and the group had allowed him to use the nom de guerre designated for its spokesperson.

The Taliban made it clear that he was no more a spokesman and Sheikh Maqbool was removed and another "brother" was named to replace him but still the decision was not made public.

The group said Sheikh Maqbool was still using it despite declaring support and allegiance to Al-Baghdadi.

The statement also said TTP chief Mulla Fazlullah owed allegiance to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

There was no immediate reaction from the former spokesman, who had fled the group's former stronghold in Miramshah, North Waziristan, following the launch of operation Zarb-i-Azb by the Pakistani military in mid-June.

There were reports that he first went Shawal valley and later fled to his native Orakzai tribal region.

Islamic State (IS) is a splinter group of the al-Qaida which has distanced itself from the outfit, chiding it for its aggressive and brutal expansion.

Recently, reports said that militants from groups affiliated with once feared al-Qaida network are abandoning their outfits to join the dreaded Islamist State. The influx has strengthened the Islamic State.

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UN chief urges resumption of Israel, Palestine talks

UNITED NATIONS: UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has called on the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiation table.

Ban made the appeal Monday while meeting Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon here, Xinhua quoted the UN spokesperson's office as saying.

While stressing the vital importance of the Israelis and Palestinians returning to dialogue to resolve their issues, Ban said "there was no time to lose if hope was to be kept alive".

The Israelis and the Palestinians resumed peace talks in July 2013 after a three-year hiatus.

The talks were deadlocked in March this year and collapsed in April, with both sides accusing the other of failing to keep its commitments. Israel wanted the Hamas- controled Gaza Strip demilitarised while Hamas demanded a lift to the blockade on the enclave.

During Monday's meeting, Ban welcomed Israel's support in setting up a temporary mechanism for facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza but demanded positive initial steps be sustained.

Last month, the UN brokered an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority to allow the necessary construction materials into the Gaza Strip under the UN monitoring.

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Idols of Jain Tirthankaras belonging to 4th century unearthed

HYDERABAD: As many as twelve idols of Jain Tirthankaras dating back to the 4th-5th century, have been found at Keesaragutta on the city outskirts.

"Twelve panchaloha (five metal) idols of the Jain Tirthankaras were unearthed during the course of conservation work on October 18, while the pathways were being laid between two temples near steps at a depth of one foot," director of Archaeology and Museums (Telangana), B Srinivas, told reporters here.

"Twelve idols of varying sizes, along with loose circular prabharahs (aura), circular parasoles of different size, pedestals and broken elephant have been found. All the bronzes (idols and other artifacts) are in Kayotsarga (standing) posture with a hook behind to accomodate chhatras (parasole) and 'prabhavali'," he explained.

Prabhavali is an aura around the deities. "Srivasta symbol on the chest is seen prominently on some of the idols and faintly on others. Choornakuntala is seen on the head of the idols. On the basis of iconography, the Jain bronzes can be dated back to 4th-5th century AD," Srinivas said.

Keesaragutta, also known as Kesaragiri in Keesara mandal of neighbouring Ranga Reddy district of Telangana, is a hill range about 300 feet high from the planes with flat and undulating areas over the top of the hills, and was enclosed by a fort wall constructed during the Vishnukundin period.

"This is for the first time that the idols of Jain religion have been recovered in Keesaragutta, which proves that Jainism co-existed along with Hinduism at Keesaragutta during the time of Vishnukundins in 4-5th century," the official said, adding that chemical treatment would be conducted on the idols.

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Nitin Gadkari's political advisor is new Madhya Pradesh BJP in charge

BHOPAL : Union minister Nitin Gadkari's former political advisor and BJP vice-president Vinay Sahastrabuddhe has been appointed the new in charge for party affairs in Madhya Pradesh. Sahastrabuddhe regarded as an RSS strategist and intellectual tactician will succeed Ananth Kumar who was general secretary in charge of the state BJP for eight years. The post fell vacant after Ananth Kumar was sworn-in Union minister for chemicals and fertilisers in the last week of May.

Vinay Sahastrabuddhe is contemporary of Nitin Gadkari and was closely associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Maharashtra. While in the ABVP he worked with both late BJP senior leader Pramod Mahajan and Gadkari. He was appointed political advisor to Gadkari when the latter was national president of the BJP.

Also known to be a crucial part of the BJP intelligentsia, Sahastrabuddhe works quietly on the party's manifestos before elections. In 1998, Shastrabuddhe started the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini - an intellectual training wing of the BJP which educates politicians and ministers of party's governments. Three years ago, Sahastrabuddhe founded the Public Policy Research Centre, a BJP aided research wing. He is also regarded an advisor and close aide of BJP national president Amit Shah.

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