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Kejriwal to be sworn in as Delhi CM on Saturday 

NEW DELHI: Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal will take oath as Delhi's seventh Chief Minister on Saturday at the historic Ramlila Maidan here, capping his party's stunning electoral debut in the December 4 Assembly elections.

The date for the swearing-in ceremony was finalised at a meeting Kejriwal held with Chief Secretary D. M. Spolia.

Top officials in the Delhi government said Kejriwal and six AAP MLAs will be sworn in at a public ceremony at the Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement two years ago.

The Cabinet ministers to take oath along with Kejriwal are Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Girish Soni and Satendra Jain.

Born in Haryana and a resident of Kausambi in nearby Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh, the IIT-Kharagpur graduate in Mechanical Engineering had defeated three-time Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit in New Delhi constituency by a huge margin of over 25,000 votes.

Fortfive-year-old Kejriwal had met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday and handed over him a letter staking claim to form government with outside support from the Congress.

Following this, Jung had sent a proposal to President Pranab Mukherjee detailing AAP's stake to form the government.

The President approved the proposal yesterday and left it to the Lt Governor to finalise the date for swearing-in ceremony in consultation with the Chief Minister-designate.

One-year-old AAP had made an electrifying debut in elections winning 28 seats in the 70-member Assembly and decimating the Congress which bagged only eight seats. The BJP, along with its ally SAD's one seat, had 32 MLAs but the party declined to form the government, citing lack of majority.

Sources in AAP said Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde and all those associated with the anti-corruption movement will be invited to the swearing-in ceremony. — PTIBack








No going back on support to AAP: Congress

NEW DELHI: Congress on Wednesday made it clear that there is no going back on the issue of its support to AAP for government formation, saying it was giving its backing to the newbie’s manifesto.

“We are supporting the manifesto of AAP at least in the coming time or whatever we have committed to the Lieutenant Governor. The party will stand by it,” Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit told reporters here.

“Janardan Dwivedi (Congress General Secretary) made it very clear last night that there is no rethink,” he said, while admitting that there was a difference of opinion within the party over supporting AAP.

“There is angst among a section of party workers over lending support to AAP. Lot of our workers and leaders have been feeling that we need not support, especially after the string of abuses that AAP leaders made in public,” Dikshit said.

On Sheila Dikshit’s remark that the support is conditional and Congress may withdraw it backing, the MP said the Delhi Congress president has also stated that the support is only to the AAP manifesto.

He adopted a “first wait and see” approach on the manifesto, the promises made by AAP to “create a heaven in Delhi in three months...

“Because please remember we are also the opposition and it is the role of the opposition to be an opposition. I am very clear that the role of opposition is to oppose and see that one does what the government is supposed to do and has promised to do. And we will play that role to the best of our ability,” Dikshit said.

To question on "mud slinging and lack of trust" between Congress and AAP, he said, “We oppose each other. AAP is like making all kinds of allegation against Congress. You can’t expect there being a sense of trust and that is why our Delhi Congress chief has clarified that it’s not AAP we are supporting, but its their manifesto and whatever promises they have made.

“Let’s give them time. Give them a chance. They have asked for two to three months time to do almost everything they have spoken about,” Dikshit said. — PTIBack









No rift between me and party: Binny 

NEW DELHI: The Aam Admi Party on Wednesday claimed to have resolved the dissent by one of its MLA after he was denied a berth in the Arvind Kejriwal’s Cabinet.

Senior party leaders Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas went to the residence of Laxmi Nagar MLA Vinod Kumar Binny late last night and held parlays to pacify him.

“There is no rift between me and party. There is nothing that I was angry as I was denied a post in the ministry,” Vinod Kumar Binny told PTI.

After a long meeting, Singh and Vishwas came out and said, “there was no dissent and it was all created by media.”

“It was our regular meeting and we have been meeting on various occasion and it is one of them,” they said.

On Tuesday, Arvind Kejriwal had announced his Cabinet which include the names of Manish Sisodia, a former journalist who won from Patparganj constituency, Rakhi Birla, who defeated PWD Minister Rajkumar Chouhan, Somnath Bharti who defeated Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Girish Soni and Satendra Jain.

An upset Binny had on Tuesday walked out of a meeting with Kejriwal at his residence and told the media that he would address a press conference on Wednesday that could embarrass the party. — PTIBack








Macchil fake encounter: Colonel, 5 others to face court martial

JAMMU: The Army on Wednesday initiated court martial proceedings against six of its men, including two officers, for their alleged involvement in the 2010 Macchil fake encounter case that had triggered a two month-long agitation in the Kashmir Valley.

Army sources said those who will face proceedings include Col D K Pathania, Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 Rajput Regiment, Major Upinder and four personnel of the regiment.

On April 30, 2010, the Army had claimed that they had killed three infiltrators in the Macchil sector along the Line of Control. It had later claimed that they were Pakistani terrorists.

However, they were later identified as Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed, all residents of Nadihal in Baramulla district. They were allegedly lured to a border area and shot dead.

Following complaints from relatives of the victims, a Territorial Army jawan and two others were arrested by the police, but the incident led to unrest in the entire Kashmir Valley and widespread demonstrations in which 123 people were killed.

An official spokesperson of the Northern Command said the Army ordered disciplinary proceedings against the accused personnel of the Army units involved in the 2010 alleged Macchil fake encounter case.

“A very detailed and exhaustive enquiry was conducted with the assistance of state police and judicial department to summon witnesses, record evidence and establish culpability of the accused personnel… After detailed scrutiny of the complete incident and any wrong doings committed by the concerned personnel, the Army has ordered court martial proceedings to take the legal process to a logical conclusion highlighting the Army’s resolve of ensuring justice with speed,” the spokesperson said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police had in July 2010 filed a charge sheet against an Army Colonel, a Major and seven others in the case. The charge sheet had named Col Pathania, Maj Upinder and four others of the unit besides a Territorial Army jawan and two others for allegedly conspiring and kidnapping three youths from Sopore on the pretext of giving them jobs and later killing them in the higher reaches of Kupwara claiming they were terrorists.

The charge sheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sopore.

The state police had arrested three persons Abbas Shah—the Territorial Army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat — for alleged involvement in the case. — PTIBack








South African all-rounder Kallis to retire from Test cricket

DURBAN: South Africa's legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis will retire from Test cricket after the second Test against India starting at Durban on Thursday. Kallis, 38, however, will be available for the shorter formats of the game. 

Commenting on his decision, the veteran of 165 Test matches said: "It's been an honour and a privilege to have been part of the South African Test team since making my debut 18 years ago. I have enjoyed every moment out in the middle, but I just feel that the time is right to hang up my Test whites.

"It wasn't an easy decision to come to, especially with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format."

Kallis made his Test debut as a young and humble 20 year-old, and finishes his Test career as one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game. His statistics speak volumes for the illustrious career — 13,174 runs, 292 wickets and 199 catches.

"The last two years specifically have been a memorable journey with an exceptional group of cricketers," Kallis said. "I am fortunate enough to have ended my Test career amongst a group of talented cricketers but more importantly, friends whom I will cherish for years to come.

"I don't see it as goodbye because I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing.

"Winning an IPL title with the Kolkata Knight Riders was a special achievement, and I am still determined to taste that success with South Africa at an ICC event."

Proteas coach, Russell Domingo, says the team will miss Kallis' presence in the dressing room.

"The impact Jacques has made on South African cricket has been immense, not just as a player but as a human being. Im not sure we will ever see another player of that stature very soon.

"Jacques' calmness, maturity and presence in the change room will sorely be missed and hopefully he will still be able to play a role in this team's success in the near future.

"He has ambitions of playing in the 2015 World Cup and it will be important for us to manage him accordingly so that he is in prime form leading into the tournament."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat commented: "Although we all knew the retirement of a great player like Jacques Kallis was going to happen sooner rather than later, his decision still comes as a blow when the reality dawns that South Africa's greatest ever player and arguably the world's best all-rounder, will be playing his last Test match in this last week of 2013." — IANSBack










BSF, Pak Rangers discuss ways to counter smuggling

LAHORE: The Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Force on Wednesday discussed ways to counter illegal border crossing and smuggling as part of bi-annual talks.

The issues figured during the second round of talks at Wagah. A 13-member BSF delegation led by Director General Subhash Joshi crossed over to Pakistan via Wagah Tuesday for the talks that will continue till December 28.

“Today the two sides discussed airspace violations by helicopters and spy planes, elimination of illegal border crossing and smuggling in detail,” a Pakistan Rangers spokesman said.

Issues like inadvertent border crossing by civilians, killing of people at the border and illegal defence-specific constructions were also discussed, he said.

Maj Gen Khan Tahir Javed Khan is leading the Pakistani side at the talks. A joint statement would be issued after the talks end, the spokesman said. — PTIBack








Maoists blow up govt building in Odisha

Malkangiri: Armed Maoists blew up a block office building at Padia in Odisha's Malkangiri district early on Wednesday using powerful explosives. A group of armed ultras, including women, stormed into Padia, about 70 km from Malkangiri, in the early hours and entered the block office building after breaking the lock, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh said.

The red rebels set the building on fire before triggering a powerful blast, causing extensive damage to the structure, he said, adding no one was harmed in the attack. Four of the five rooms in the building with asbestos roof were completely destroyed in the blast which damaged volumes of documents and important records, gram panchayat officer Basant Behera said.

The SP said the attack was a desperate attempt by the Maoists to counter stepped up anti-Naxal operations mounted by the security forces in the region.

A poster found from the site stated that the attack was in protest against an encounter with security forces in September this year in which around 13 Maoists had been killed, police said, adding the poster also sought a halt to anti-Naxal operation and withdrawal of BSF from the region.

Maoists had blown up the new building of Padia block office in September, 2010, following which work was being done from the old building which now got destroyed in the pre-dawn attack, sources said. — PTIBack




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