Today Picture

‘No controversial statements on Ayodhya issue’: Yogi tells his ministers ahead of the SC verdict

Angela Merkel criticises Modi on Kashmir, says ‘situation there is unsustainable, not good’

New Delhi: German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the Kashmir issue during her talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday evening, and conveyed that the "situation for the people in Kashmir is unsustainable and not good", according to German journalists accompanying her.

Michaela Kuefner, the Chief Political Editor at DW, Germany's international TV channel, tweeted that in a "modest pre-dinner criticism of the Kashmir clampdown, Merkel said that "the Situation for the people there is unsustainable and not good". Merkel met Modi for a second round of talks at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, official residence.

She had told German media persons accompanying her that she would raise the matter with Modi on Friday evening, though she was aware of India's position regarding Kashmir.

The German Chancellor's statement comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir was officially bifurcated into two Union Territories -- of J&K and Ladakh. The visit to Kashmir earlier this week by a delegation of European Union Parliamentary members, that stirred controversy, could also have figured in the talks.

Earlier in the day, Merkel and Modi held the Fifth Intergovernmental Consultations at Hyderabad House after which the two sides inked over 20 agreements. Earlier, during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Merkel remained seated while the national anthem of both countries was being played. India accepted a request by the German government to allow Merkel to remain seated as she is suffering from a medical condition.

It is learnt that certain provisions of the order relating to the National Anthem of India were invoked to allow Merkel to be seated when the national anthem is played. However, she was panned on social media for not standing during the national anthem, which is very short.


West Bengal government to implement social security scheme for journalists: CM Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: West Bengal government will soon implement a social security scheme to provide financial assistance to journalists, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday.

Banerjee also referred to the health insurance scheme floated by her government for accredited journalists.

Today is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Apart from the health insurance scheme 'Mabhoi' for accredited journalists, our Govt in #Bangla is soon going to implement a social security scheme to provide financial assistance to media personnel," she tweeted.

Observed annually on this day, the 'International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, is a UN- recognised day to draw attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers.


Uddhav Thackeray rings up Sharad Pawar as BJP watches from the sidelines

Mumbai: For all stakeholders in the game of thrones currently playing out in Maharashtra, not a day has gone by without a few edge-of the seat moments.

One such moment came on Friday with Uddhav Thackeray ringing up NCP leader Sharad Pawar, in a clear indication that the Shiv Sena is inching towards a non-BJP formation.

Another such watershed moment may come on November 4 when Pawar is scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi. Already, the state Congress leaders, who were in the national Capital today, have cleared the decks for the summit.

In the interim, government formation is hanging in balance with the two saffron allies playing a guessing game with each other.

First, the BJP kept its chief ally, the Shiv Sena, waiting; and, now, it is the BJP's turn to fidget on the sidelines. It is eager to discuss the nitty-gritty with the Sena in a one-to-one meeting but the Sena seems to be saying, "Aap qatar mein hain (You are in line)".

When a senior BJP leader was asked why his party was not initiating talks with Sena chief Uddhav, he admitted, "The Sena is not ready to talk. We are trying to meet and discuss their demands.

The Sena has hinted that it will first try out the option of forming a government with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. If this fails to materialise, only then will they talk to us."

It is clear that after the BJP flatly denied the CM post to the Sena for half the term and insinuated that Uddhav was lying on this issue, Sena leaders were cut to the quick.

BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari declined commenting on current political developments, only venturing so far as to say, "We have left the door open for talks with the Shiv Sena."

A source in the Sena said that only Amit Shah, the BJP's national chief, can end this impasse. But he too has washed his hands of this political mess.

"Sharing the CM post with the Sena was agreed upon between the Sena and the BJP in the presence of Amit Shah. The meeting was attended by only three people - Shah, Fadnavis and Uddhav.

Now, only Shah can clarify matters and force the state BJP leadership to implement that agreement," said a senior Sena leader. Shah can clarify matters and force the state BJP leadership to implement that agreement," said a senior Sena leader.

Shah, who was scheduled to meet Uddhav on October 30, had to postpone his visit, as there is no consensus between the Sena and the BJP." Another BJP leader said, "Uddhav Thackeray now says he will only talk to Shah."

This might be another reason the Sena is making the BJP wait. Now, Uddhav has announced he will visit Aurangabad on November 3, to review the situation there after unseasonal rains.

The BJP had earlier claiming that they would form the government on this day. But with the Sena slamming the door shut, the BJP is non-committal about the next possible date for the swearing-in.

Raj Bhavan has already begun preparations for the swearing-in, keeping in mind the possibility that the event will be scheduled at short notice.


Chief Minister bhupesh baghel inaugurates three-day Rajyotsav

Chhattisgarh’s Economy Model being discussed across the country : Mr. Bhupesh Baghel

Rraipur  :Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel, while addressing the Rajyotsav event organized on the occasion of 20th Foundation Day of Chhattisgarh, said that State Government’s policy has create enthusiastic environment in the state. State Government’s goal is to benefit village, poor, farmers, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and backward classes, basically all-inclusive development. State Government’s aim is to provide employment every hand. Chief Minister said that today, entire country is discussing how Chhattisgarh is untouched by the nationwide recession. Chhattisgarh’s economic model is being dicussed across the country. This achievement is the result of state government policies and participating of people of Chhattisgarh. State Government’s decision to procure paddy at Rs 2500 per quintal and loan waiver has miraculously resulted in increase of agricultural loan to Rs 4 thousand crore, attracting 1.5 lakh farmers who had left agriculture back to the farms. Chief Minister inaugurated Rajyotsav by lighting lamps and extended best wishes of State Foundation Day to people of the state. On the occasion, Chhattisgarh’s new industrial policy 2019-24 to people of the state and released the booklet of the policy. 
Mr. Baghel said that from automobile to textile to bullion market, each sector bloomed on the occasion of Diwali. Number of educated unemployed have reduced in the state, land registry revenue has increased by 1.5 times. Chief Minister said that the new industrial policy year 2019-2024 will result in inflow of maximum investment in backward sectors. Setting up industries at block-kevel, priority to agriculture and forest products processing industries, technical and pollution free industry have been given preference in the policy. Service sector has also been included in this policy. State Government’s goal is to develop Chhattisgarh as a hub for all sectors. State Government has taken the pledge to conserve chaar chinhaari- narva, garua, ghurua, badi. Cow dung diyas of Van Charauda have gained popularity in Delhi. We have not only built cowsheds in villages but are also developing it as economic and cultural activity centre of rural Chhattisgarh. Celebration of traditional festivals of Chhattisgarh has created an environment of zeal and fervor in the state.
Chief Minister said that State Government has launched number of schemes to solve problems of people.  Chief Mukhyamantri Suposhan Abhiyan has been launched to eradicate malnutrition. Universal PDS, Haat-Bazaar Clinic Scheme, Urban Slum Health Scheme, and Chief Minister Ward Office Scheme have been launched. 40 thousand houses have been built in 11 months under Mor Zameen Mor Makaan Scheme. Efforts are being made to benefit eligible beneficiaries under DMF. Chief Minister commemorated the martyrs of Jheeram Valley incident.
Chief Minister said that Chhattisgarh’s history is not of just 19 years. When it was a part of Madhya Pradesh, at that time also people of Chhattisgarh envisioned the formation of state. Our elders Dr Khubchand Baghel, Pt Sundarlal Sharma, Thakur Pyarelal Singh struggled to create public awareness. On the occasion Chief Minister remembered the contribution of Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh, Gundadhur, SHaheed Gendsing. Culture Minister Mr. Amarjeet Bhagat also addressed the programme. Chief Secretary Mr. RP Mandal delivered welcome speech and gave information about three-day programmes of Rajyotsav. 
On the occasion, Home Minister Mr. Tamradhwaj Sahu, Health Minister Mr. TS Singhdeo, Agriculture Minister Mr. Mohammad Akbar, School Education Minister Dr Premsai Singh, Women and Child Development Minister Mrs. Anila Bhendiya, Higher Education Minister Mr. Umesh Patel, PHE Minister Mr. Guru Rudra Kumar, Revenue Minister Jaising Agrawal, Industry Minister Mr. Kawasi Lakhma, Urban Administration Minister Dr Shivkumar Daharia, MLA Mr. Mohan Markam, many MLAs, Member of Rajya Mrs. Chhaya Verma, Mayor Mr. Pramod Dubey and many public representatives along with large number of citizens were present.



Bag with RDX contents found at Delhi IGI Airport, Terminal 3 security tightened

New Delhi: A bag with suspected RDX contents was found at the Delhi airport in the early hours of Friday, leading to restrictions in passenger movements for a couple of hours, officials said.

The black-coloured bag, first detected around 1 am by a CISF personnel in the arrival area of Terminal-3, has now been kept in a cooling pit.

Preliminary inputs suggest the content of the bag to be RDX. It was checked by an explosive detector and a dog. However, the exact nature of the explosive is being ascertained, sources said.

The explosive has been put under observation for the next 24 hours, only after which something certain about it could be said, they added.

It could be an explosive or an improvised explosive device (IED), but it is not clear at present, the sources said. The Delhi Police said a call was received around 1 am, following which the bag was found at arrival gate number two of the terminal.

"The bag was removed with the help of CISF and shifted to another place. It has not been opened yet. It seems like there are some electric wire inside it. We have increased the security of the airport premises," said Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Airport).

The incident caused panic among passengers who were not allowed to exit the terminal for sometime, sources at some airlines said.

Officials said personnel of the CISF and the Delhi Police conducted a complete anti-sabotage check of the Indira Gandhi International Airport after which passenger movement was allowed around 4 am.

The roads outside the high-security complex were also blocked, they added. Delhi airport has three terminals and domestic as well as international flights operate from the Terminal-3.


Germany, India have 'very close' relationship; delighted to be here: Angela Merkel

New Delhi: A number of agreements will be signed between India and Germany signifying their broad-based ties and the "very close" relationship between the two countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

She made the remarks after being received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where she was accorded a ceremonial welcome after arriving here on Thursday night on a two-day visit.

Speaking to reporters with Prime Minister Modi by her side, Merkel said she was delighted to be in India for the fifth Inter-Governmental Consultations.

"I would like to thank the prime minister for the very warm and gracious welcome with which we have been received here. This is my fourth visit to India and I look forward to the very interesting programme," she said.

"Germany-India are linked by very close ties. We will have discussions on issues of mutual interest. We also have the opportunity of signing a number of MoUs and agreements that shows that we have a very broad-based and deep relationship," Merkel said.

Germany and India have been cooperating for many years and will build on this cooperation in future, the German chancellor said.

"This is a very close relationship. We have great respect for this vast country and its diversity," she added.

Merkel will pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat later in the day.

She will then co-chair the fifth IGC with Prime Minister Modi, following which the two leaders will make press statements and a raft of agreements will be signed between the two sides.

Merkel will be holding talks with Modi on a host of bilateral issues and nearly 20 agreements are expected to signed between the two countries, the sources said.

Merkel will call on President Ram Nath Kovind in the evening and will also hold a meeting with the prime minister at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence.

On Saturday, the German leader will meet a business delegation and visit Continental Automotive Components India Pvt Ltd in Manesar near Gurgaon.

Before heading home, the chancellor will also visit the Dwarka Sector 21 Metro Station.

Ahead of the visit, German envoy to India Walter J Lindner had said the Modi and Merkel have a "very good relationship and they can talk about any issue. I do not want to anticipate what the two leaders will be talking about".

He was responding to a question on whether the Kashmir issue will be discussed between them.


Mumbai: Fire breaks out at Bhendi Bazar, none injured

Pakistan PM Imran Khan waives off 2 days' fee for Kartarpur pilgrims

Pakistan: Pakistan has waived entry free for only two days, for Indian pilgrims travelling to Kartarpur Gurdwara to commemorate 550 birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

No fee will be charged on birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and on the day of inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor.

In a tweet, Khan said he has waived two requirements for Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur---they won't need a passport just a valid ID and no advance booking is required.

"For Sikhs coming for a pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived 2 requirements: i) they won't need a passport - just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on the day of inauguration & on Guruji's 550th birthday," Khan tweeted.

India has repeatedly condemned the USD 20 service charge proposed by Pakistan on Indian pilgrims travelling to Kartarpur Gurdwara.

Last week, India and Pakistan signed the much-awaited agreement for operationalizing Kartarpur Corridor on "zero lines" on the border, just weeks ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

The two sides met on "zero lines" on the border and signed the agreement. The Indian delegation was led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry and the Pakistani delegation by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mohammed Faisal.

Pakistan did not agree to India's demand to make the Kartapur Gurdwara's visit, charge free. Following the low-key ceremony to sign the agreement, New Delhi had expressed disappointment on Pakistan's refusal to waive USD 20 service charge on Indians visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara and urged Islamabad to reconsider its decision given the "religious and spiritual sentiments" of the pilgrims.

According to the home ministry, the agreement, which lays a formal framework for operationalising the corridor, stated that Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor. The travel will be visa-free and pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport. Persons of Indian Origin need to carry OCI card along with the passport of their country.

Addressing the media, Faisal had then announced that under the agreement, the Indian authorities will provide a list of pilgrims 10 days ahead of their visit.

The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev. Both countries will hold events to mark the opening of their sections of the corridor.

The foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor was laid down on the Indian side on November 26, 2018. Two days later the foundation stone was laid on the Pakistani side.


Merkel excused from standing for Indian, German national anthem during ceremonial reception

New Delhi: India has accepted a request by the German government to allow Chancellor Angela Merkel to remain seated while the national anthems of both countries are played during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday as she is suffering from a medical condition.

It is learnt that certain provisions of the order relating to the National Anthem of India will be invoked to allow Merkel to be seated when the national anthem is played.

Merkel, during her two-day visit here, will hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on further expanding overall bilateral ties. Chancellor Merkel's difficulties in standing without support are known and lately, she has been seen seated at ceremonial events, both at home and abroad, which would have normally required her to stand.

The exemption as per the order is being invoked based on a request from the German side to accommodate the Chancellor's wish to be accorded the ceremonial welcome, it is learnt.