Archive for ‘Delhi’


“Don’t mess with Pakistan,” India is told amid Kashmir tension

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan will respond to any attack by India with “full force”, the army’s spokesman said on Friday, amid heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours over Kashmir.

Major General Asif Ghafoor was speaking a week after a Pakistani-based militant group claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitary policemen the Himalayan region disputed between India and Pakistan.

India’s top military commander in the region has alleged Pakistan’s main Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency was involved.

“We have no intention to initiate war, but we will respond with full force to full spectrum threat that would surprise you,” Ghafoor told reporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. “Don’t mess with Pakistan.”

The army’s response came two days after Prime Minister Imran Khan urged India to share any actionable evidence, offering full cooperation in investigating the blast.

He also offered talks with India on all issues, including terrorism, which India has always sought as a pre-requisite to any dialogue between the two arch-rivals.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which both the countries claim entirely.

Ghafoor also reiterated the talks offer.

“Kashmir is a regional issue,” he said. “Let us talk about it. Let us resolve it.”

India blames Pakistani Islamist militant groups for infiltrating into its part of Kashmir to fuel an insurgency and help separatist movements.

Washington and Delhi allege that the Pakistani army nurtures the militants to use them as a foreign policy tools to expand power in neighbouring India and Afghanistan. The army denies that.

One such group is Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which India blamed for attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which killed 166 people, saying its founder, Hafiz Saeed, was the mastermind.

The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction over the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan has put him under house arrest several times and banned his Islamist groups, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), which the United States and the United Nations say are terrorist fronts for the LeT.

Islamabad reinstated the ban on the groups yet again on Thursday, but Saeed remains free, allowed to roam the country and make public speeches and give sermons.

Source: Reuters


India high speed train breaks down on first trip

PM Modi flags off the Vande Bharat ExpressImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPM Narendra Modi flagged off the Vande Bharat Express on Friday

India’s fastest train has broken down on its first trip, a day after it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi.

The Indian-built semi high-speed Vande Bharat Express was returning to the capital Delhi from the city of Varanasi after its first outing when brakes in a carriage reportedly jammed.

Indian media quoted a railways spokesperson as saying the train may have struck cattle on the line.

The train reached a speed of 180km/hr (110mph) during trials.

Soon after the brakes failed, the drivers noticed smoke in the last four coaches and power was lost in all compartments.

Those on board, mostly railway officials and journalists, had to take another train to get back to Delhi.

Despite the railway ministry’s suggestion that the train may have hit a cow, NDTV reported that there were no signs of damage on the front of the train after the incident.

The new train service is expected to start its commercial run from Sunday. It is expected to reduce the travel time between Delhi and Varanasi by six hours.

Source: The BBC


Fire alarms “faulty” at Delhi blaze hotel, prompting mass reinspections

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A hotel that caught fire in the Indian capital on Tuesday, killing 17 people, passed safety checks 14 months ago, but an investigation has revealed breaches of regulations, such as faulty alarms, prompting a mass reinspection of other hotels.

Poorly enforced regulations lead to thousands of deaths in fires across India every year and officials in New Delhi say an overstretched fire service is hampering safety efforts.

The Hotel Arpit Palace passed a fire safety check in December 2017, but a copy of the initial police investigation seen by Reuters showed several breaches of fire regulations, including a lack of signs to guide guests to exits and fire alarms that did not work.

Delhi’s fire service, which is responsible for safety inspections as well as fighting fires, is now reviewing certificates issued to more than 1,500 hotels in one of India’s tourist hubs, a senior fire official told Reuters.

“Fire officers have to do a lot of work,” said Vipin Kental, Delhi’s chief fire officer. “We have to be inspectors and fight fires. We do not have the manpower.”

The city has around 1,700 firefighters, he said, which is less than an eighth of the number in New York, a city with less than half of Delhi’s population.


The fire is believed to have begun on the hotel’s first floor, spreading quickly through wood-panelled corridors, police say. Among the dead were members of a wedding party from Kerala and a two Buddhist pilgrims from Myanmar.

“From the outside, the building looked intact, but inside everything was completely charred,” a police officer told Reuters.

Two of the 17 died after jumping out of windows in desperation after failing to find emergency exits, added the officer, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

“Fire preparedness is a matter of shockingly low priority in most parts of the country,” said an editorial in the Indian Express, one of the country’s leading newspapers.

A 2018 study by India’s home ministry that found the country had just 2,000 of more than 8,500 fire stations it needs.

More than 17,000 people died in fires in 2015, according to data from the ministry, the last year for which figures are available, one of the largest causes of accidental death in India.

Fire safety is an issue for shanty towns and some of the country’s most expensive real estate.

A day after the Arpit Palace disaster, more than 250 makeshift homes were destroyed in a slum in Paschim Puri, a poor area of New Delhi, though no one was killed.

In 2017, 14 people were killed during a birthday party at a high-end bar in India’s financial capital Mumbai.

In several upscale neighbourhoods in Delhi, police shut hundreds of shops and restaurants last year for trading on floors meant for residential use, though many continue to operate illegally, residents say.

By the boarded-up Arpit Palace in the Karol Bagh area of New Delhi, wires from adjacent hotels still trail across the street, though staff there told Reuters they were complying with fire regulations.

Adding to the safety problems, poorly paid staff in the hotel and restaurant industries are often unable to help guests when fires break out, Kental said.

“They are not trained. They don’t know what to do in the event of a fire,” he said.

Source: Reuters


India capital Delhi enjoys unusual hail storm

Hail in NoidaImage copyrightPTI
Image captionMany people compared the unusual sight to scenes from Chicago or London
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India’s capital Delhi was hit by a strong hailstorm on Thursday, turning the city white and leaving people stunned and delighted.

Pictures and videos posted on social media show cherry-sized ice balls and streets covered in white.

Many people compared the unusual sight to scenes from Chicago or London.

Hailstorms “are not rare for Delhi, but their occurrence is infrequent,” according to US website Accuweather’s senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

The severe weather also forced more than 30 flights to be diverted during the early hours of the evening.

However, the hail and rain storm did have an upside. Apart from delighting Delhi’s residents, it also helped improve the city’s notoriously toxic air quality.

Hail in NoidaImage copyrightZUBAIR AHMAD ANSARI
Image captionPictures and videos posted on social media show cherry-sized ice balls and streets covered in white
Presentational white space
Presentational white space
Presentational white space

The harsh weather in the country’s north has also led to avalanche warnings and schools closures.

Source: The BBC


LIVE updates| Didi is eyeing Delhi, leaving West Bengal to middlemen: PM Modi

PM Modi addresses rally in West Bengal Live: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a public meeting in West Bengal’s Maynaguri district,

By HT Correspondent | Feb 08, 2019 16:48 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a public meeting in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district. The Prime Minister is also scheduled to address a rally in West Bengal’s Maynaguri on Friday,

This will be the prime minister’s first rally in Chhattisgarh after the BJP suffered a massive loss in the state assembly elections in December last year.

“All the preparations have been completed for the PM’s rally in Kodatarai village in Raigarh,” a spokesperson of the party said.

The rally is aimed at energising party workers and supporters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, he said.

Also Read | For Congress, BC is before Cong, AD is after dynasty: PM Modi in Lok Sabha

In Bengal, the prime minister laid the foundation stone for the four laning of the Falakata-Salsalabari section of National Highway-31 D in Jalpaiguri. This 41.7 km-long section of National Highway falls in the Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, and will be constructed at a cost of about Rs 1938 crore, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Source: Hindustan Times


Three-year-old assaulted on Delhi bus rape anniversary

A protest in India against child sex abuseImage copyrightAFP

A three-year-old Indian girl is in critical condition after she was allegedly raped by her neighbour in the capital Delhi.

The accused, a 40-year-old security guard who worked in the building the child lived in, has been arrested.

Police found the girl unconscious and rushed her to hospital where she is undergoing surgery.

The incident occurred on Sunday, which was the sixth anniversary of the brutal gang rape of a student on a Delhi bus.

Delhi Women’s Commissioner Swati Maliwal said the incident “let down” the bus rape victim, whose attack saw country-wide protests and a tightening of rape laws.

There is still no clarity on the condition of the girl or whether she will survive the attack, which local media have described as “brutal”.

Locals in the area found the accused and attacked him after the incident came to light, the Times of India newspaper said. It also quoted police as saying that the accused was treated for injuries before they arrested him.

The girl’s parents, who are daily wage labourers, were away when the incident occurred. The accused allegedly lured the girl with sweets and picked her up from outside her house.

Police have registered a case for rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, which could see the death penalty handed out to the accused.

The incident, which has prompted a fresh wave of anger and outrage in India, comes after a series of high-profile cases against children this year. In April, the brutal gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Indian-administered Kashmir dominated headlines. In June, hundreds took to the streets in the central state of Madhya Pradesh over the rape of a seven-year-old girl.

The scale of abuse in India

  • A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
  • The number of reported rapes of children increased from 8,541 in 2012 to 19,765 in 2016
  • More than 10,000 children were raped in 2015
  • 240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18
  • 53.22% of children who participated in a government study reported some form of sexual abuse
  • 50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”

‘Carnage of unbelievable proportions’: Delhi High Court convicts Sajjan Kumar for 1984 riots

Sajjan Kumar,anti-Sikh riots case,1984 anti-sikh riots case
Congress’ Sajjan Kumar was convicted today by Delhi High Court in 1984 riots case(PTI)

The Delhi High Court on Monday called the anti-Sikh riots case of 1984 “communal frenzy” after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards as it sentenced Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment in one of the cases.

As it reversed the trial court’s order acquitting Kumar, the court also directed him to surrender by December 31, 2018, and slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on him and Rs 1 lakh on all other accused in the case.

The case relates to the murder of five members of a family during the anti-Sikh riots in the Raj Nagar area in the Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984.

“What happened in the aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister was carnage of unbelievable proportions in which over 2,700 Sikhs were murdered in Delhi alone. The law and order machinery clearly broke down and it was literally a ‘free for all’ situation which persisted. The aftershocks of those atrocities are still being felt,” justice S Muralidhar and justice Vinod Goel said while handing the 203-page judgement.

Also watch | Congress’ Sajjan Kumar convicted in 1984 Sikh riots case, gets life term 

The judges also quoted a poem by Amrita Pritam on the violence after the Partition in 1947 in India and Pakistan. She escaped to India with her two children from Pakistan’s Lahore.

“She was moved to pen an “Ode to Waris Shah” in which she spoke of the fertile land of Punjab having “sprouted poisonous weeds far and near” and where “Seeds of hatred have grown high, bloodshed is everywhere/Poisoned breeze in forest turned bamboo flutes into snakes/Their venom has turned the bright and rosy Punjab all blue,” they said.

Also read | Congress’ Sajjan Kumar convicted in 1984 Sikh riots, gets life term

“The killings would continue in the streets of Delhi. Thirty-seven years later, the country was again witness to another enormous human tragedy. Following the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, on the morning of 31st October 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards, a communal frenzy was unleashed.”

‘Political patronage’

The judges recalled the violence in which thousands of Sikhs were killed, some burnt alive, as their houses were destroyed in Delhi and across the country.

“A majority of the perpetrators of these horrific mass crimes, enjoyed political patronage and were aided by an indifferent law enforcement agency … The criminals escaped prosecution and punishment for over two decades.”

“There was an abject failure by the police to investigate the violence which broke out in the aftermath of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi is apparent from the several circumstances highlighted hereinabove.”

There was an “utter failure” to register separate first report information in the case of five deaths in which Congress leader Kumar and others were sentenced.

“The failure to record any incident whatsoever in the DDR and the lack of mention of PW-1’s statement therein, amongst other circumstances, established the apathy of the Delhi Police and their active connivance in the brutal murders being perpetrated.

Here is what they also said in the summary of their judgement:

1. This was an extraordinary case where it was going to be impossible to proceed against A-1 in the normal scheme of things because there appeared to be ongoing large-scale efforts to suppress the cases against him by not even recording or registering them. Even if they were registered they were not investigated properly and even the investigations which saw any progress were not carried to the logical end of a charge sheet actually being filed. Even the defence does not dispute that as far as FIR No.416/1984 is concerned, a closure report had been prepared and filed but was yet to be considered by the learned MM.

2. The trial Court completely omitted to address the charge of conspiracy despite detailed arguments submitted by the CBI in that regard. There was a two-pronged strategy adopted by the attackers. First was to liquidate all Sikh males and the other was to destroy their Crl.A. 1099/2013 & Connected Matters Page 200 of 203 residential houses leaving the women and children utterly destitute. The attack on the Raj Nagar Gurudwara was clearly a part of the communal agenda of the perpetrators.

Read | ‘Will pay for sins’: Arun Jaitley targets Congress after Sajjan Kumar conviction

3. The mass killings of Sikhs between 1st and 4th November 1984 in Delhi and the rest of the country, engineered by political actors with the assistance of the law enforcement agencies, answer the description of “crimes against humanity”. Cases like the present are to be viewed in the larger context of mass crimes that require a different approach and much can be learnt from similar experiences elsewhere.

4. Common to the instances of mass crimes are the targeting of minorities and the attacks spearheaded by the dominant political actors facilitated by the law enforcement agencies. The criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment. Bringing such criminals to justice poses a serious challenge to our legal system. Decades pass by before they can be made answerable. This calls for strengthening the legal system. Neither “crimes against humanity‟ nor genocide‟ is part of our domestic law of crime. This loophole needs to be addressed urgently.

5. The acquittal of A-1 by the trial Court is set aside. He is convicted of the offence of criminal conspiracy punishable under Section 120B read with Sections 302, 436, 295, and 153A (1) (a) and (b) IPC; for the offence punishable under Section 109 IPC of abetting the commission of the aforementioned offences; and for the offence of delivering provocative speeches instigating violence against Sikhs Crl.A. 1099/2013 & Connected Matters Page 201 of 203 punishable under Section 153A (1) (a) and (b) IPC.


Is Delhi’s air causing lung cancer?

Air pollution levels in the Indian capital have been rising alarmingly in recent years. Today, in some parts of the city, breathing in the open air equals smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

Go to next video: Hair-raising drive through Delhi smog


Lakhs attend mega rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to press for Ram temple in Ayodhya

A sea of saffron was witnessed at Ramlila Maidan and roads leading to it in New Delhi as lakhs answered a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) call for a ‘Dharm Sabha’ on Sunday.

Various estimates suggested that over a lakh were present at the mega gathering organised to press the Centre for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The massive rally comes just two days before the commencement of Parliament’s winter session.

Amid chants of Jai Shree Ram, the gathering send across a message that the calls for a legislation to pave the way for the construction of the temple are now stronger.

At the rally, the executive head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Suresh ‘Bhaiyyaji’ Joshi, gave a warning to the Union government for the temple construction.

“Those in power today had promised to construct the Ram temple. They should listen to people and fulfil the demand. They are aware of the sentiments (of people),” he said without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government at the Centre.

“We are not begging for it. We are expressing our emotions. The country wants Ram rajya,” warned the powerful RSS leader.

VHP president Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje and its international working president Alok Kumar are also expected to address the rally.

VHP’s spokesperson Vinod Bansal had earlier told PTI that the gathering will change the hearts of all those who are not in favour of bringing the bill for construction of a grand Ram mandir in Ayodhya.

Reports say that most of the supporters came from Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat and Meerut – all of them neighbouring districts in western Uttar Pradesh. Visuals on TV showed thousands on the streets waving saffron flags and carrying posters showing a temple.

Anticipating the turnout, the Delhi traffic police had already placed diversions around Ramlila Maidan.

No traffic was allowed on Ranjeet Singh Flyover (from Guru Nanak Chowk to Barakhambha Road), JLN Marg (from Rajghat to Delhi Gate), Chaman Lal Marg near VIP gate.

Snipers were deployed on high-rises around the Maidan and other security arrangements were made.

The final Dharam Sansad’ will be held on 31 January and 1 February.

(With inputs from agencies.)


Delhi doctor used electric shock to ‘treat’ homosexuals, called it ‘genetic mental disorder’

Though Dr P K Gupta was debarred by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), he was still indulging in this bizarre practice

A doctor, who terms homosexuality as “genetic mental disorder” and uses electric shock to treat gay and lesbian people, has been summoned by a Delhi court as an accused for violating norms.

Though Dr P K Gupta was debarred by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC), he was still indulging in this bizarre practice.

The court took note of a complaint against Gupta by the DMC, which claimed that he was using hormonal and shock therapy to provide treatment. The complaint said the DMC had debarred Gupta in 2016 from practising in Delhi and as he was still projecting himself as a doctor, he was liable for prosecution.

Metropolitan magistrate Abhilash Malhotra said treatment given by doctors as a part of “conversion therapy” was not recognised either by medical science or by legislature.

Conversion therapy is an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions.

The court summoned the doctor as accused saying he was prima facie found to be contravening a provision of the Indian Medical Council Act which entails a maximum of one year jail term.

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