L A T E S T      N E W S

UPSC exam to be held as per schedule on Aug 24: Govt

New Delhi: The civil services examination will be held as per schedule on August 24, the government declared on Thursday  in Parliament, while saying that consultations will be held with various parties and stakeholders on the matter after the current session.

"As for this year, there is no scope for postponement of (UPSC preliminary) examination," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said as opposition created uproar in Rajya Sabha demanding an all-party meeting immediately.
Civil services aspirants are agitating against more weightage given to English in the exam.

Naidu said the UPSC issue requires "deep" study and discussion with political parties and other stakeholders as there are both sides of the argument about the CSAT in UPSC.

"...after the session, government is ready to discuss it with all" to reach a consensus, he said, adding the government has taken a correct decision in this regard and minds of students should not be disturbed.

As members insisted for all-party meeting before August 24, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar said there is already a view among many members that it will not be possible to find a solution to the issue immediately.
"An all-party meeting has to take place to discuss wider reforms. We will inform about the date later on," he said.

Earlier, government had announced marks of English will not be included for gradation or merit in UPSC exam.

As soon as the House met for the day, opposition parties including SP and BSP raised the issue and demanded that government should immediately call an all-party meeting to resolve the matter as it affects lakhs of students.

In the Lok Sabha, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai made a strong plea that the UPSC exam should be conducted in all regional languages to provide level-playing field to students from all over the country. -PTIBack


















Rains lash parts of Haryana, Punjab

Chandigarh: Light to moderate rains lashed some parts of Punjab and Haryana on Thursday plummeting the maximum temperature by upto a few notches and raising the humidity levels in the region.

Some parts of Punjab and Haryana received rainfall last night as well as on Thursday, the MeT office said here.

While Ambala was drenched by 34.7 mm of rainfall, Patiala received 29.9 mm of rainfall.

Among other places, Ludhiana received 17.2 mm of rainfall followed by 9.7 mm at Chandigarh.

However, the humidity levels hovered upto 85 per cent in the region, the MeT office said adding that there was a fall of maximum temperature by an average of two degrees Celsius.

The weatherman has predicted light to moderate rainfall or thundershowers in the region during the next 24 hours. -PTI Back


















Army drive to remove unexploded shells from firing ranges

AKHNOOR (JAMMU): As part of its "humanistic approach" towards residents of border villages, the Army has launched a drive to clear firing ranges in the Jammu region of unexploded shells.

The drive has been named 'Mission Humsafar'. "As part of its humanistic approach towards people residing in the border villages, Army has launched 'Mission Humsafar', a major clean-up drive for unexploded shells in Kalith Field Firing Ranges in Akhnoor, Kalith and Chinota area of Jammu district," PRO (Defence) Lt Col Manish Mehta said on Thursday. 

The drive follows Operation Falah (welfare) launched by the Army to clear Kashmir's Tosa Maidan area of unexploded shells last week.

"During the mission, the Army is carrying out physical search of the complete area and any unexploded artillery shells and mortar blinds will be collected and destroyed," Lt Col Mehta said.The Army will also educate the locals regarding safety aspects to be borne in mind during firing in the range.

It has employed mine and explosive-detector dogs, remote-controlled explosive detection vehicles (RCVs), metal detectors and engineer personnel, especially trained for such tasks, equipped with gadgetry and other technical devices for this operation, he said.

"In a concerted drive to get rid of any unexploded shells and mortar blinds, Indian Army under Crossed Swords Division will carry out a major combing operation in the ranges over a number of days to make the area totally safe for movement of 
civilians and their livestock, he added.

"As informed, residents of around 20-odd villages surrounding the firing range welcomed this humanitarian initiative of the Army and were appreciative of the fact that the Army, besides ensuring security of borders and maintaining peaceful 
environment in the area, has also been constantly upgrading the standard of living of people by undertaking useful projects under Sadbhavana initiative," he said.

Kalith Field Firing Range (KFFR) which is marked into separate zones for artillery, mortar and small arms firing is located close to the Line of Control where many units of the Northern Command carry out regular field firing.

With the establishment of Kalith Field Firing Range Cell at Station HQ Pallanwala since July 2011, the ranges have been safe and incident-free and no civilian causality has been reported to have occurred inside the range area as a result of 
the blinds, the PRO said.

The locals have been in favour of re-notification of the Kalith Field Firing Ranges and the case is presently with the state government for consideration. –PTIBack



















Efforts on to bring back trooper who entered Pakistan

JAMMU: Efforts are on to bring back an Indian trooper who entered Pakistan after being swept away in the Chenab River in Jammu district, sources said on Thursday.

"Pakistan Rangers have confirmed that the trooper is in their custody. We have sought a flag meeting to get the trooper back," a Border Security Force (BSF) source said.

Satyasheel Yadav was part of a water patrol party in Akhnoor area of the international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

He was swept away in the river after their motor boat developed a mechanical fault on Wednesday, BSF sources told IANS here.

"While three of his colleagues swam to safety, Yadav was carried to the Pakistani side by the powerful currents of the river," the source added.

The incident took the trooper to Bajwaat village in Sialkot area in Pakistan.

Yadav hails from Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh.




















Hooda, Ajay Yadav bury the hatchet

CHANDIGARH: Congress national general secretary Shakeel Ahmed has said differences between Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state's power minister Ajay Singh Yadav have been resolved.

Ahmed, in-charge of Congress affairs in Haryana, said: "Differences between Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Power, Environment and Forests Minister Ajay Singh Yadav over certain issues have been resolved."

The minister July 29 submitted his resignation from the Hooda government, alleging discrimination against his area and over his being sidelined in the government.

However, he withdrew his resignation Aug 2 after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi the same day.

Haryana's 90 assembly seats go to polls in October this year.

Speaking to reporters in Rewari, 350 km from here, Ahmed Wednesday said the Congress will form the government in the state for the third consecutive term.



















91 DSPs transferred in Punjab

CHANDIGARH: In a major police reshuffle at the middle level rank police officers, the Punjab government today transferred 91 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSPs) in the state.
The transferred DSPs have been asked to join their new places of postings with immediate effect, an official spokesman said.
Majority of transferred DSPs are of the Punjab Police Service (PPS) cadre, the spokesman said.
Bal Krishan Singla, DSP Ludhiana will take over as Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP-South) Amritsar.
Amandeep Singh Brar, DSP seventh battalion Punjab Armed Police (PAP) at Jalandhar has been posted as ACP-West Amritsar.
Harkamal Kaur, DSP third Indian Reserve Battalion(IRB), Ludhiana will be the ACP-Headquarters at Amritsar. PTI Back



















Karan Singh's elder son to join PDP

SRINAGAR: Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh's elder son Vikramaditya Singh is set to join Jammu and Kashmir's main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
"Singh will join the party tomorrow at a function to be held in Jammu," a senior PDP leader said.

Vikramaditya is the grandson of the Maharaja Hari Singh, the last dynastic ruler of Jammu and Kashmir.

While Karan Singh, the last Sadr-e-Riyasat (president of the state) before the post was changed to Governor in 1960s, is a senior Congress leader, his younger son Ajatshatru Singh is a senior leader of the ruling National Conference.

Born in 1964, Vikramaditya completed his higher studies from the University of Southern California, USA. In 1987, he married Rajkumari Chitrangada Raje Scindia, daughter of sister of Jyotiraditya Scindia of Gwalior, who is a Congress leader.

50-year-old Vikramaditya is presently looking after his hotel business in Himachal Pradesh. He is also a trustee of JK Dharmarth Trust that was formed by his ancestor and the founder ruler of the Jammu and Kashmir State, Maharaja Gulab Singh. PTIBack































Herald case: Court to hear matter against Sonia, 
Rahul on Aug 28

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court, which had issued summons against Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others, on Thursday deferred till August 28 hearing in the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter pertaining to acquisition of National Herald daily.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha postponed the matter after the counsel appearing for Sonia Gandhi and others informed the court that Delhi High Court had on Wednesday stayed the criminal proceedings pending before the trial court till August 13.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for Sonia, Rahul and others, told the court that summons have not been served on accused Sam Pitroda as he stays in the USA now.

Swamy requested the court to hand over the summons issued against Pitroda to him so that he could serve it on him.

The court permitted Swamy's contention and fixed the matter for hearing on August 28.

In a reprieve for Sonia, Rahul and others, the high court had yesterday stayed till August 13 the criminal proceedings before the trial court against them.

"Renotify the matters on August 13. Till that time, the impugned order dated June 26, 2014 of the trial court against the accused shall remain stayed," Justice V P Vaish had said.

The stay had come as a relief to Sonia, Rahul and others including Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Sam Pitroda and Suman Dubey who were asked to appear before the trial court today. The Congress leaders have challenged the lower court's summoning orders against them on a complaint of Swamy alleging cheating and misappropriation of funds in the acquisition of the daily by Young Indian(YI).

Pitroda is the only accused who, so far, has not moved the high court as the summons has not been served on him.

The high court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on August 13 when the counsel for Suman Dubey and Swamy will argue their case.

While summoning the six as accused in the case, the trial court had held that Swamy has established a prima facie case of cheating, misappropriation of funds and criminal breach of trust against them.

Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the Associated Journals Limited had owed to the Congress party.

The accused persons were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property, 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. –PTIBack
















Dialogue only viable option to resolve Gaza crisis: India

UNITED NATIONS: India has said the current crisis in Gaza can be resolved through a negotiated political settlement and dialogue remains the "only viable option" to effectively address issues confronting the region and its people.

"We endorse completely Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's statement this morning that a crisis such as the one we see in Gaza can only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement with the required political will and leadership of the negotiating parties," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Mukerji told the UN General Assembly.

A 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect on Tuesday and has brought relief to millions on both sides after one month of fighting killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians and 67 people in Israel, mostly soldiers.

Mukerji said India followed the current situation in Gaza with a "great deal of concern" and supports all efforts to sustain the ceasefire.

He said India believes that a sustainable ceasefire will be linked to the resumption of the peace process for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue.

"India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issues confronting the region and its people," he said.

The special session was convened yesterday amidst the 72-hour ceasefire, which has been in effect since August 5.

Addressing the 193-nation General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations is ready to help rebuild Gaza for the last time as the "senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel must end." He said both the Israelis and the Palestinians are putting all of the international community's citizens "always at unease and concerned, looking helplessly at many people being killed." "Do we have to continue like this: build, destroy, and build and destroy? We will build again - but this must be the last time to rebuild. This must stop now. They must go back to the negotiating table. We must not repeat this periodically," he said.

India, as a founder member of the UN, strongly deplores any act of violence or threat of violence directed towards the world body, Mukerji said.

"We support strongly call for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice the perpetrators of such acts. This is the only way to uphold the credibility of the United Nations, based on the rule of law," he said.

He said India had consistently held that the blockade of Gaza that adversely affects essential services, economic activities and infrastructure development must be lifted. "We reiterate that this blockade and the issue of increasing settlement activities need to be addressed to take forward the peace process to reach a mutually acceptable political solution," Mukerji said.

He reiterated India's support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue based on the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Plan and the Quartet Roadmap resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

India's deep association and continuing commitment to Palestine is rooted in the country's modern history, Mukerji added.

The General Assembly session was also briefed by Ban's special envoy in the region Robert Serry, deputy chief of UN humanitarian efforts Kyung-wha Kang, world body's top human rights official Navi Pillay and head of the UN agency charged with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East Pierre Krahenbuhl.

Serry is currently in Cairo where Egyptian mediators are shuttling between the Israeli and Palestinian representatives to negotiate a longer pause to the fighting that is currently on hold for at least 72-hours.

Terming current crisis "a symptom of our collective failure", he said to address the underlying causes of the conflict, blockade on Gaza should end and Israel's legitimate security needs be addressed.

"The escalation just behind us, coupled with the tense situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is a warning of the bleak reality before us if we do not counter the slide towards a one-state reality on the ground and restore hope and prospect for a two-state solution," Serry said.

Speaking from Gaza, Krahenbuhl said 90 of the agency's premises were hit during the conflict.

He said that UN Relief and Works Agency had asked for investigations to be carried out regarding the attacks on agency-run schools that had been sheltering displaced Gazans.

Pillay stressed the need to investigate wrongdoings and hold those responsible to account for crimes committed during the current crisis and the military operations in 2008-2009 and 2012. Speaking from Geneva, she said that the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council last month would present its findings next March and its conclusions on what occurred in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and subsequent recommendations, should be carefully considered.

"There can be no true security without justice and respect for human rights," she said.

"Adherence to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and ensuring accountability for violations, are essential pre-requisites for any lasting peace," she said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) the conflict exasperated an already desperate situation after seven years of blockade, with unemployment at 43 per cent, food insecurity at 57 per cent and where approximately 80 per cent of the population, over half of whom are children, are dependent on external assistance.

The UN and partners have appealed for USD 367 million dollars to address immediate needs which range from medicines, ambulances to water and power plants repairs, besides food and shelter.–PTI



SGPC vs HSGMC row: SC orders status quo on gurudwaras control 

New Delhi: The Supreme court today directed rival groups SGPC and HSGMC to maintain status quo on the management control of gurudwaras in Haryana till further orders and directed the state government to take all steps to maintain law and order.

A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said that the shrines under the control of the groups at the time of passing of this interim order at 02:30 PM today shall continue to be with them.

"We are directing to maintain status quo to subject gurudwaras as existing today at 02:30 PM in all respect," the bench, also comprising justices M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said.

The apex court passed the order after Haryana government submitted that Haryana Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (HSGMC) has taken control of around 6-7 out of 52 gurudwaras in the state, a contention refuted by SGPC which submitted that its rival has taken over just one shrine in Kurukshetra district.

The bench said that there is no reason not to believe the state government's contention and directed the Haryana government to take all necessary steps for maintaining peace.

"The DGP of the state and SP of concerned districts are directed to ensure that law and order situation is not disturbed in any manner whatsoever and take all necessary measures," the bench said, while also directing the rival factions to open new bank accounts for gurudwaras, the management of which were in their possession and deposit gifts and offerings.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Haryana, contended that the situation in the state is tense but under control and it has identified five flashpoints.

He assured the bench that the state is committed to prevent any untoward incident.

Before passing the order, the bench also perused the report of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), provided by Ministry of Home Affairs through Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

The 52 gurudwaras are classified into three schedules and the first contains eight historical shrines while the second has 17 and the rest falls in the third schedule. 

The court was hearing a petition filed by Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Haryana and member of SGPC, challenging the constitutional validity of Haryana Sikh Gurudwara (Management) Act, 2014 under which a separate committee was formed to manage the affairs of the Gurudwaras in the state.

When the matter was taken up in the morning, the bench asked the state government and representatives of SGPC and HSGMC to be present at 2 PM to know the ground situation.

The Centre and the petitioner urged the court to grant status quo but the bench said that it can pass the order only after hearing all the parties and posted the case at 2 PM.

The formation of a new committee had sparked a bitter tussle between the Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) and the new panel over control of Sikh shrines in Haryana.

The petitioner said that Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 says that the power to make law in respect of SGPC as an Inter-State Body Corporate has been reserved to the Central Government only and there is no provision in law for any bifurcation by enacting a State legislation.

He said that the hasty enactment is not only against the constitutional provisions and the statutory provisions of Punjab Reorganisation Act but is also divisive in its intention to create dissension among followers of Sikh religion.

"Under the law, Haryana cannot legislate in respect of a subject where the field is already occupied by central legislation as the subject of religious institutions correlates to Entry 28 List III. The strict provisions with regard to interstate body corporate under the law have not been complied with.

"It is important to note that mandate with regard to several actions including reservation of constituencies, constitution of Sikh Gurudwara Elections Tribunal and notification of Gurudwaras for bringing them within the provisions of Section 85 of the 1925 Act have been done by the Central Government," the petition said. -PTI





India summons Pak diplomat over capture of BSF jawan issue 

New Delhi: India today summoned the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner and sought immediate release of the BSF jawan captured by Pakistan army in their territory after being swept away by a strong current of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.

The issue was also raised by the Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad with the Pakistan Foreign Office, officials sources said here.

The Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner was called by Joint Secretary incharge of Pakistan division in External Affairs Ministry Rudrendra Tandon and told that Pakistani government should facilitate the return of the BSF jawan as soon as possible, according to sources.

Meanwhile, according to sources both in BSF and in Pakistan Rangers in Lahore, the Indian jawan will be handed back tomorrow.

BSF sources said a company commander level flag meeting was held earlier today at the Nikowal border post area in Jammu's Sunderbani sector between the Force and the Pak Rangers who said the BSF jawan Satyasheel Yadav (30) would return tomorrow.

In Lahore, a senior Rangers official said "we have decided to free the Indian soldier. We have completed his interrogation. He will be handed over to the BSF tomorrow in the presence of the media after a flag meeting with BSF in Sialkot on Friday morning." -PTI 


Beniwal sack, a political vendetta: Oppn, Govt rejects charge 

New Delhi: The NDA government came under attack today over the sacking of Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal with the Opposition calling it "political vendetta", a charge it rejected by saying the action followed "serious allegations" against her and insisted there was no politics.

87-year-old Beniwal, the former Gujarat Governor who had a running battle with Narendra Modi when he was the state's Chief Minister, was removed last night just two months before her tenure as Governor of Mizoram was due to end.

Virendra Kataria, also a former Congress leader who was sacked as Puducherry Governor last month, called the action as "political vendetta" and said it was unjustified and an assault on the constitutional office.

"If Governor Kamla Beniwal was to be removed, why was she transferred to Mizoram only a few days back? #Vendetta Politics," Congress general secretary and Communication Department Chairman Ajay Maken said in a tweet.

Hitting out at the NDA government, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Beniwal's removal was a "clear cut violation" of Supreme Court judgement and a case of "political vendetta." Rejecting allegations of political vendetta, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that there is "no politics" behind the decision.

"Action against Mizoram Governor is no violation against the Supreme Court's earlier judgement. Action has been taken within rules and within the Constitution. There is no politics behind it," he said.

Pressed further, the minister said, "There are serious allegations. Government has taken note of them and taken action." He said the President has decided over it after applying his mind thoroughly on it and such decisions are "privilege" of the government.

Naidu instead accused the Congress of doing politics over the issue.

"Congress is trying to derive political mileage out of it," the minister said.

Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad said the move was in accordance with Constitutional principles.

"...the decision to remove Kamla Beniwal, the Governor is in accordance with Constitutional principles and conventions with the due approval of the President of India," Prasad said.

He said that if the government has to say anything more, it will be done on the floor of Parliament.

Congress leader Manish Tewari dubbed Beniwal's removal as a "classic case of political vendetta" and said 



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |