Thursday, October 23, 2014  


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India celebrates Diwali with traditional fervour

New Delhi: Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with traditional fervour across the country with people exchanging sweets and gifts with friends and relatives, decking up their houses with earthen diyas and tiny lights and illuminating the evening sky with fireworks.

Children and youths burst crackers and lit sparklers while families, dressed up in their best outfits, visited their neighbours, exchanged 'Happy Diwali' greetings and sweets. People also took the route of SMS and social networking websites to wish each other.

Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya from his exile after vanquishing demonking Ravana.

In the national capital, people decorated their homes and shops with colourful 'rangolis' and flowers and lit diyas.

People also celebrated Diwali in other parts of the country with traditional fervour and gaiety. Devotees thronged temples and offered prayers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the people on the occasion saying, "Lets share happiness and joy during this festive season. Share Diwali egreetings with your family and friends."

Modi today visited Jammu and Kashmir and spent some time with soldiers posted on the heights of Siachen Glacier to send the message that all Indians stand shouldertoshoulder with them.

He also greeted President Pranab Mukherjee from the icy heights on the occasion.

Modi then travelled to Srinagar to meet the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir.

In the wake of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC, there was no exchange of sweets this time between BSF personnel and Pakistan Rangers unlike previous years.

Karunakaran's kin press for action in ISRO spy case

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala High Court's recent order in the ISRO espionage case has prompted family members of former chief minister and late Congress stalwart K Karunakaran to revive their demand for action against the three police officials who had conducted the probe into the scandal.

Karunakaran's son K Muraleedharan, a Congress MLA, and daughter Padmaja Venugopal, also active in the party, have demanded action by the Oommen Chandy government based on the high court order earlier this week quashing the decision to drop action against the three retired police officers.

Both Muraleedharan and Padmaja hold that a section of leaders within Congress had used the ISRO spy case to oust Karunakaran from the chief ministership in the mid1990s.

They maintain that the decision of the Chandy government to spare the three officials, one of them a former ADGP and currently Information Commissioner, amounted to denial of justice to Karunakaran.

"Of course, we will raise the issue within the party and with the government. We expect that there would be action based on the high court order. We will also take up the matter within the party," Muraleedharan, a former KPCC president, told PTI.

On Oct. 20, while allowing the petition filed by former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, the high court had remitted the matter back to the government for reconsideration and the issuing of formal orders within three months.

The order said that the Kerala government, which was 'enthusiastic' in withdrawing the case from CBI and handing it over to state police, had not taken a serious note of the lapses in the probe by Kerala police.

Narayanan had approached the court in December 2012 seeking initiation of criminal and disciplinary action against former ADGP Siby Mathews and two retired Superintendents of Police Joshua and S Vijayan, who were held responsible by CBI for the illegal arrest of the senior ISRO scientist who was accused of being involved in the espionage case. The scientist was later discharged.

Meanwhile, the government is learnt to be examining the legal issues involved in the order to decide on the steps required to be taken.

According to government sources, although no followup action has so far been finalised in the matter, legal experts would be consulted on how to proceed in the case since the three police officers involved are no longer in service.

BJP suspends Odisha unit Vice-President Ashok Sahu

Bhubaneswar: Four days after the Kandhamal byelections results, the BJP today suspended its Vicepresident Ashok Sahu on the charge of indiscipline.

"Ashok Sahu has been suspended from the party by the state President K V Singhdeo. Sahu has also been served a showcause notice asking as to why he will not be expelled from the party," BJP spokesman Samir Mohanty told reporters here.

Sahu has breached discipline by airing his remarks in the media and Twitter posts, Mohanty said, adding that the party has sought reply from him within seven days.

Sahu said he would take the matter to the central leadership and questioned the party state President Singhdeo's style of functioning.

"He (Singhdeo) may be a member of the Balangir royal family, but I am not his servant. KV is a leader of weak personality," Sahu alleged.

Sahu, who had unsuccessfully contested as a BJP candidate from Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat in 2009, was willing to contest from the same seat where byelection was held on October 15.

He was, however, denied a ticket and the BJP fielded former party MP Rudra Madhav Ray in Kandhamal who too lost the polls.

Immediately after the bypoll results were announced, Sahu raised question as to why the Modi magic was not working in Odisha. "The party should introspect about that," Sahu has written on the social network.

Pak violates ceasefire twice; fires at BoPs in Samba

Jammu: In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistan today resorted to firing on Border Out Posts (BoPs) along the International Border (IB) in the Samba and Jammu districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Pakistan Rangers resorted to smallarms firing at a few BoPs along IB in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors at 0100 hours and 0400 hours today," a BSF spokesman said here.

The BSF troops guarding the border retaliated to the action by Pakistan, he said, adding that "there was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the firing".

While Ramgarh is in Samba district, Arnia is in Jammu.

This is third ceasefire violation since yesterday when Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire by firing on the Narianpur BoP in Ramgarh sector at around 2030 hours.

The ceasefire violation yesterday came 72 hours after the last instance of firing from across the border by the neighbouring country's troops on the night of Oct 19 in the Pargwal sector of Jammu district.

Pakistani troops had also violated the ceasefire on October 18 and 17 by resorting to firing on BoPs in the Makwal and Allah mahi Da Kothay (AMK) areas of Jammu district.

Before that, the ceasefire was violated twice on Oct 17 along the Line of Control (LoC) in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district. Ceasefire violations also took place on Oct 16 night.

In firing from across the LoC in the SaujianKirniShahpur belts of Poonch on Oct 15, a sevenyearold boy, Riyaz of Kuiyian Gotirian village, was injured.

One Ramesh Chander of Arnia town in Jammu district, who was admitted to hospital after sustaining injuries during shelling by Pakistan on Oct 6, succumbed on Tuesday, thereby taking the toll to 10 in the firing by Pakistan from across the IB and LoC in Jammu region since Oct 1.

Ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country since the beginning of this month have also left over 95 injured, including 13 security personnel.

Around 30,000 people have fled their homes to avoid the shelling, leaving 113 hamlets deserted in the border areas.

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