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BJP MP Hukum Singh passes away

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| Feb 3, 2018, 21:48 IST
BJP MP Hukum Singh. (ANI Photo)BJP MP Hukum Singh. (ANI Photo)

NEW DELHI: BJP MP Hukum Singh passed away on Saturday at Noida’s JP Hospital, news agency ANI has reported. He was 79.

The Kairana MP was suffering from breathing problems, and had been receiving medical treatment for a month.


(With inputs from agencies)

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    Pakistan offers scholarship to influence Kashmir students: NIA

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    NEW DELHI: Pakistan is offering scholarships to Kashmiri students to prepare a generation which will be inclined towards it and most of the youth on student visa in the neighbouring country were relatives of terrorists, the National Investigation Agency said in its chargesheet in the terror funding case.

    “During the course of investigation, it was ascertained that students who were proceeding to Pakistan on student visas were either relatives of ex-terrorists or relatives of families of active terrorists who had indulged in various anti-national activities and had migrated to Pakistan or they were known to Hurriyat leaders,” it said.

    The probe agency also claimed that their visa applications were recommended to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi by various Hurriyat leaders including hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

    The chargesheet filed in a court here on January 18 revealed that terrorists who fled to Pakistan had pursued their admission matters with the help of Hurriyat leaders based in Pakistan and Pakistan administered Kashmir.

    The NIA said that scholarships are offered for MBBS and engineering seats under various schemes of the Pakistan government.

    “This shows a triangular nexus wherein the terrorists, the Hurriyat and the Pakistan establishment are the three vertices and they are ostensibly patronising the Kashmir students in order to prepare a generation of doctors and technocrats in Kashmir who will have leanings towards Pakistan,” the NIA said in the chargesheet, a copy of which is in the possession of news agency IANS.

    NIA seized a document from the house of Nayeem Khan wherein he recommends a student for admission in a “standard medical college” in Pakistan because “her family has remained committed to the freedom struggle through thick and thin”.

    Similarly, a document seized from the house of Shahid-Ul-Islam clearly shows that the Hurriyat leaders were sending recommendation to the Pakistan High Commission for the issuance of visa, it said.

    The chargesheet has named Pakistan-based terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, seven arrested Kashmiri separatist leaders and three others in the case.

    The Hurriyat leaders are Aftab Hilali alias Shahid-ul-Islam, Ayaz Akbar Khandey, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Nayeem Khan, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peer Saifullah.

    Shah is the son-in-law of Geelani who is a strong votary of Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. Hilali is a close aide of moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

    The NIA has alleged that the separatists, arrested on July 24 last year, conspired with Saeed and Salahuddin to wage war against India and secede Jammu and Kashmir from India. All of them have been booked under stringent anti-terror laws.

    The NIA also chargesheeted businessman Zahoor Ahmad Watali and two alleged stone pelters – Kamran and Javed Ahmed Bhat.

    Watali has been associated with the LoC trade and has worked as the president of the LoC Traders’ Association in the past.



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    Nagaland polls: BJP breaks alliance with NPF, releases list of candidates

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    | Updated: Feb 3, 2018, 19:55 IST

    Highlights

    • The BJP released a list of 20 candidates for the Assembly elections in Nagaland, which will be held on February 27
    • The list was released hours after Kiren Rijiju announced that BJP and NPF had parted ways, and were no longer allied. Instead, the BJP joined hands with the NDPP

    Representative Image.Representative Image.

    NEW DELHI: The BJP on Saturday released its list of 20 candidates for the Assembly elections in Nagaland, reported news agency ANI.

    The list was released hours after Union minister and BJP leader Kiren Rijiju announced that his party and the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) had parted ways after 15 years, and were no longer allied. Instead, the BJP joined hands with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).

    “We tried to have an alliance with NPF but couldn’t come to conclusion on seat sharing arrangement. So we have formally entered into an alliance with NDPP. We are very hopeful that our alliance of NDPP and BJP will form the next Nagaland government with absolute majority,” ANI quoted him as saying.

    The NDPP will contest 40 of the 60 seats in the state assembly, while the BJP will field candidates in the remaining 20, reported PTI.

    In a dramatic turnaround earlier this week, the BJP pulled out of the 11-party joint declaration that no member would be fielded in the polls until the Centre resolved the decades-old Naga crisis.

    The state will go to polls on February 27, and counting of votes will be carried out on March 3.

    The Assembly in Nagaland will expire on March 13.


    (With inputs from agencies)

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    Uma Bharati admitted to AIIMS with 'severe knee pain'

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    | Feb 3, 2018, 18:47 IST

    NEW DELHI: Union drinking water and sanitation minister Uma
    Bharati
    was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here after she complained of “severe knee pain”.

    “She had this knee ailment for some years now. Last evening the pain was unbearable for her. She had to be admitted to AIIMS last night”, a close aid of Bharati told PTI on Saturday.

    Bharati
    is undergoing treatment at the hospital’s new private ward.

    “She is stable and undergoing required medication,” a hospital source said.

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    Arrested terrorists 'got visas from Pakistan High Commission in Delhi'

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    NEW DELHI: Two “Pakistan-trained” Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists arrested by police in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday claimed that they received visas from the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, reported ANI.

    “The arrested terrorists were given Pakistani visas by Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. It’s pertinent to mention that for past couple of years police has unearthed several such modules who lure young boys to Pakistan to get trained and join militancy,” ANI quoted the Baramulla police as saying.

    The two terrorists were arrested in a joint operation by the police, Army and CRPF in Baramulla.

    “These militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba were nabbed immediately after returning via the Wagah-Attari border before they could formally join the militant ranks here in Kashmir,” PTI quoted a police spokesman as saying.

    The terrorists have been identified as Abdul Majeed Bhat, a resident of Kreeri, and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, of Pattan.

    The duo revealed that they had travelled to Pakistan on valid Pakistani visas to receive arms training, to carry out terror attacks in the Valley.

    “They said terrorist training camps are located near Burma Town, in Islamabad, and are being run by a terrorist commander operating under code names Hanzala, Adanan and Omar. Other terrorists imparting training to young boys are operating with code names Osama, Naveed and Hataf,” the spokesman said.

    Upon questioning the two also revealed that they had trained alongside a large group of Pakistani boys, most of whom were from Balochistan, reported ANI.

    The group had members as young as 10 years old.

    Earlier this week, TOI had reported that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) believes Pakistan is involved in providing technical support to separatists. The agency further believes that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI has a “Kashmir Committee” headed by a Brigadier-rank officer to plan and execute terrorist attacks, violence, stone pelting, funding, recruitment, logistics and other anti-India activities.

    Among the documents the NIA cited to prove a nexus between the Pakistani government, ISI and Hurriyat leaders, was a letter written by a Pakistani Prime Minister to main hawala conduit and charge-sheeted Valley businessman, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali.

    Watali is close to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and has been charged for bringing in several crores illegally through hawala and other means.


    (With inputs from agencies)



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    J&K govt okays withdrawal of stone-pelting cases against 9,730 people

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    JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir government has approved withdrawal of cases registered against 9,730 people involved in stone-pelting incidents, including first-time offenders, between 2008 and 2017, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday.

    The government action to withdraw 1,745 cases is subject to “certain conditions” and is based on recommendations of a committee constituted to look into the matter, Mufti said.

    She said her government has also recommended to give amnesty to more than 4,000 people, who are said to be involved in minor incidents of stone pelting over the past two years.

    In a written reply to a question in the Assembly, Mufti did not disclose the particulars of first-time offenders due to security considerations for them and their families.

    However, she said 3,773 cases were registered in 2016 and 2017, leading to the arrest of 11,290 people, of whom 233 remained untraced.

    Seven cases were not admitted and 1,692 were chargesheeted, while 1,841 cases were under investigation, Mufti, who hold the home department portfolio, said.

    Intense clashes had rocked Kashmir Valley in 2016 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July that year, resulting in the death of over 85 people.

    The chief minister said while 2,904 cases were registered and 8,570 people were arrested in connection with stone- pelting incidents in 2016, the number of such cases in 2017 dropped to 869 in which 2,720 people were arrested.

    The highest 2,330 people were arrested in Srinagar followed by 2,046 in Baramulla, 1,385 in Pulwama, 1,123 in Kupwara, 1,118 in Anantnag, 783 in Budgam, 714 in Ganderbal, 694 in Shopian, 548 in Bandipora, 547 in Kulgam and two in Doda districts during 2016 and 2017, she said.

    She said 56 government employees and 16 Hurriyat Conference activists were among the 4,949 people found involved in stone-pelting incidents, while 4,074 were not affiliated with any separatist or militant group.



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    Shivraj Singh Chouhan expands council of ministers, inducts 3 new members

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    BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday expanded his council of ministers by inducting three members, including one in the cabinet, ahead of the Assembly polls slated later this year.

    After the oath-taking ceremony of the new ministers, the chief minister said another cabinet expansion is on the cards.

    BJP legislators Balkrishna Patidar, Narayan Singh Kushwaha and Jalam Singh Patel were inducted in the council of ministers.

    While Kushwaha was given cabinet rank, Patidar and Patel were made ministers of state. Their portfolios would be announced later.

    This is the second time that Kushwaha is serving in the Cabinet led by Chouhan, who is in office since November 2005.

    The three MLAs were administered the oath of office by governor Anandiben Patel at a function in the Raj Bhavan here this morning.

    Besides Chouhan, senior ministers of his cabinet and top officials were present on the occasion.

    Patidar, who belongs to the Nimar region, is the MLA from Khargone, while Kushwaha comes from the Gwalior-Chambal region and represents Gwalior South in the Assembly.

    Jalam Singh Patel hails from the Mahakaushal region. The MLA from Narsinghpur is the younger brother of BJP MP and former Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel.

    Chouhan told newspersons another expansion of his team would be undertaken soon.

    “We have got new colleagues… This will enhance our strength and we will be able to use their expertise. Another brief expansion would be done soon,” he said.

    The Congress had opposed the expansion of the council of ministers in view of enforcement of model code of conduct in two assembly constituencies — Mungaoli and Kolaras – where bypolls are scheduled on February 24.

    Replying to a question, Chouhan said, “Raising questions without any basis has become a habit of the Congress. Cabinet expansion is a prerogative of the chief minister and I have exercised it.”

    The expansion is being seen by some as an attempt by the BJP to balance regional aspirations of the people of the state, where assembly polls are expected by the year-end.

    Before today’s expansion, the Chouhan government, in its third term, had 20 Cabinet ministers, including the chief minister, and nine ministers of state.

    According to constitutional provisions, the state can have a maximum of 35 ministers.

    The BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003.



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    What credit ratios tell you about a state’s economy

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    Banks help convert people’s savings into investment, which in turn creates employment, income and assets. The process of conversion is called credit creation in which banks lend money to businessmen, farmers and consumers who need loans and are creditworthy. States with higher credit demand and more creditworthy people convert higher share of deposits into credit and have a high credit-deposit ratio. States with low credit-deposit ratios are those whose income, savings or both are higher than their investment needs — mostly the poor ones. India’s average credit-deposit ratio is 73.6. Here’s a look at how different states fare…

    | Feb 3, 2018, 14:53 IST

    What credit ratios tell you about a state’s economy

    Banks help convert people’s savings into investment, which in turn creates employment, income and assets. The process of conversion is called credit creation in which banks lend money to businessmen, farmers and consumers who need loans and are creditworthy. States with higher credit demand and more creditworthy people convert higher share of deposits into credit and have a high credit-deposit ratio. States with low credit-deposit ratios are those whose income, savings or both are higher than their investment needs — mostly the poor ones. India’s average credit-deposit ratio is 73.6. Here’s a look at how different states fare…

    1

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    Northeast is at heart of 'Act East Policy': PM Narendra Modi in Assam

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    NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that the progress of northeastern India is “at the heart of the Act East Policy’ of the government.

    “The Act East Policy requires increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India’s east, particularly ASEAN countries,” said the PM, in an address at the inaugural session of Advantage Assam-Global Investors Summit’18 in Guwahati.

    The prosperity of people living in Northeast is key to India’s growth story gathering speed, he said.

    The PM said that the name of the summit is in essence its “comprehensive vision”, and elaborated on how cooperation between the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – will be of benefit to people of all these countries.

    “Whether it’s the ASEAN countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan or Nepal, we are all in one way or another, dominantly agrarian economies – so the unity of our farmers in these regions can propel us to new heights,” said the PM.

    He added that the recently announced Union Budget 2018 has provisions extremely beneficial for the northeast, especially its farmers.

    “Now with about Rs 1,300 crores allocated in the budget for the restructuring of the ‘National Bamboo Mission’, the people of the northeast, especially its farmers, will gain immensely,” said PM Modi.

    He also praised Assam for being ranked first among the northeastern States in the ”Ease of Doing Business’ report.

    “With present leadership of the state government, Assam is going to further improve its current position to emerge as one of the most sought after states for investment,” the PM forecast.



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    US Air Force Chief flies fighter jet Tejas in Jodhpur

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    | Updated: Feb 3, 2018, 12:59 IST

    Highlights

    • This is the first instance that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was flown by a foreign military chief
    • Goldfein is in India on an official visit and is accompanied by US Pacific Air Forces Commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy

    NEW DELHI: US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L Goldfein today flew the Indian Air Force‘s indigenous fighter aircraft Tejas from Air Force station in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

    .

    This is the first instance that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was flown by a foreign military chief.

    Manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the single-engine, mutli-role fighter jet was inducted into the Indian Air Force in July 2016.

    Goldfein is in India on an official visit and is accompanied by US Pacific Air Force Commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy.

    The General met Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Friday and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation between the two forces.

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