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Ram Rahim, Triple Talaq, Infosys, Ganesh Chaturthi: Top news of this week

August 26, 2017 7:07 AM
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31 dead in Dera clashes, Panchkula very tensed after conviction of Ram Rahim

Security forces remained on high alert in Panchkula as an uneasy calm prevailed in the district, the epicentre of violence triggered by the rape conviction of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The violence that claimed 31 lives and injured over 250 people has left locals in shock and anguish, with many questioning why the authorities failed to assess and control the situation in time. The Railways on Friday said 661 Haryana-Punjab-bound trains were affected ahead of the verdict in a case involving Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and after the violence following it.

A CBI special court on Friday held the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty and convicted him on charges of raping and sexually exploiting two female disciples. Trial court judge Jagdeep Singh announced the verdict amid unprecedented security. The sentence will be pronounced by the court on Monday. The sect chief was present in the court when the judgment was given in Panchkula town, adjoining Chandigarh.

The Centre welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling holding privacy as a Fundamental Right, saying the top court has only "affirmed" the government's position on this issue. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the court has said that right to privacy is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restrictions.

"The Supreme Court has affirmed what the government had said in Parliament while moving the Aadhar Bill. Privacy should be a fundamental right subject to reasonable restrictions," Prasad said. Reacting to the assertion of the Congress that the verdict was a rejection of the BJP's ideology of "suppression through surveillance", Prasad tweeted: "What has been the record of the #Congress in protecting individual liberties was seen during Emergency."

The new Rs 200 notes introduced in the market from Friday. "The Reserve Bank of India issued on August 25, 2017 Rs 200 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series, bearing signature of Urjit R Patel, Governor, RBI from select RBI offices, and some banks," it said.

The Rs 200 denomination banknote in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) series bear the signature of RBI Governor Urjit R Patel and were initially issued by select RBI offices and some banks. The new denomination has Motif of Sanchi Stupa on the reverse, with Bright Yellow being the base colour of the note, RBI said in a statement.

Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday offered to resign taking ‘full moral responsibility’ for the recent railway accidents in Uttar Pradesh but was asked to wait by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A railway carriage rammed into a house, rescue workers working for hours to pull out trapped bodies, overturned mangled coaches being hauled off with hi-tech cranes - for 24 hours since the tragedy struck, the town of Khatauli lived through frightening visuals. On Saturday evening, Manoj Baliyan and his family were enjoying the cool breeze when suddenly they heard a massive thud and saw a railway bogie flung in the air and heading towards their house like a giant projectile.

"We were sitting close to the main gate, and we ran for our lives inside the courtyard. The coach crashed into the front of our house, shattering its facade. If the bogie had entered all the way inside or crashed over from the rooftop, we all would have been buried," he said. But, this was just the beginning of the nightmare for the 42-year-old man, as injured passengers were being flung out of the doors and emergency windows by the impact of the derailment that has claimed 22 lives and left 156 injured, 26 of whom are in a critical condition.

Activists, politicians, clerics, celebrities, political outfits and NGOs, including the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) that was contending for the triple talaq, on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the controversial instant divorce among the Muslim community. While the government, women rights activists and political parties appreciated the top court's constitutional bench order banning instant divorce by a 3:2 verdict as unconstitutional, the AIMPLB said the court's order also underlined that a community's personal laws cannot be interfered with.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the judgment as "progressive" and said efforts should be made to rectify "aberrations" in personal laws that infringe on constitutional guarantees. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision was an indication of an emerging new India. BJP President Amit Shah hailed the ruling as "historic" and said it was a victory for Muslim women and their right to live with dignity.

Former hockey powerhouse Pakistan qualified for a major tournament after a gap of six years when they made the cut for the men's World Cup 2018, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced on Thursday. Pakistan, the record World Cup winners, had missed out on the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, the Netherlands, and their dark period extended even to non-qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Green Shirts, currently ranked 14th in the FIH Hero world rankings, finished in seventh position in the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final in London, meaning they faced an anxious wait to see if that was good enough to earn them qualification to the World Cup to be hosted in the east Indian city of Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16. The results at the Rabobank EuroHockey Championship, which are currently taking place in Amsterdam, have gone very much in favour of Pakistan, with all four of the semi-finalists having already qualified for the World Cup via the Hockey World League route, according to a FIH release.

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Thursday returned to the global software major as non-Executive Chairman of the Board with immediate effect. "The Board of Directors has appointed Nandan Nilekani as a non-executive, non-independent Director and as the Chairman of the Board of Directors," said the IT major in a regulatory filing on the BSE.

The Board accepted the resignation of R. Seshsayee as its Chairman and as a Director on the Board with immediate effect, as well of Co-Chairman Ravi Venkatesan though he continues as an Independent Director and Executive Vice-Chairman Vishal Sikka with immediate effect. Resignations of Directors Jeffery S. Lehman and John Etchemendy were also accepted.

Disciplined innings from former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar saw India defeating Sri Lanka by three wickets in a thrilling second One-Day International here on Thursday. Chasing a revised target of 231 due to rain, India were cruising at 108 for no loss in the 16th over. But the match turned on its head in a space of six overs as the visitors lost seven wickets for just 22 runs.

All-rounder Akila Dananjaya created havoc in the India's batting line-up as he scalped six wickets in his 10 overs. But then Dhoni (45 not out) and Bhuvneshwar A(53 not out) forged a match-winning partnership to seal the deal for India. India now lead the five match series 2-0. The visitors had defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the ODI at Dambulla.

Days after Virat Kohli and mates shared a video of crying on social media with a strong message against child abuse, the Indian skipper has been slammed by the uncle of the little kid in the viral clip. The kid, identified as 3-year-old Haya, is the niece of Bollywood singer and music composer duo Toshi and Sharib Sabri. "Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan don't know about us. We know about our child better. Haya’s nature is such that after being scolded, the next minute she runs off to play. But, because of her nature if we don’t push her, she won't study," Toshi said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

According to the report, Toshi said that the video was made for their family’s WhatsApp group and he didn’t expect that it will go viral. The video, that went viral over the weekend, shows a girl crying profusely while being tutored at home. The woman who is teaching the child numbers 1-5 can be seen physically abusing the kid while she is pleading for leniency.

Heavy rain didn't deter Bollywood celebrities from welcoming Lord Ganesha home and celebrating the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi on Friday with full enthusiasm. From Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Jeetendra to Tamannaah Bhatia, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonu Sood, Bappi Lahiri and Rakhi Sawant - everyone was in festive mode. Tusshar Kapoor, son of veteran actor Jeetendra, welcomed Ganpati in a traditional dhoti avatar and performed the rituals with complete devotion. The actor said it has been difficult this year to adjust everything according to the new young member - his son Lakkshya - but he is excited about his upcoming film "Golmaal Again".

Actress Tamannaah said the festival is more about expressing gratitude to the God than asking more from him. She sang an 'aarti' to welcome Lord Ganesha. The actress, who has just returned from the India Day Parade in New York, said: "We should respect all faiths and beliefs. I believe God is one and there are just different names. I am very proud and lucky to be an Indian."Sonu has been celebrating the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi for 18 years. He performed an aarti with wife Sonali and their children. The actor urged everyone to support eco-friendly ponds for Visarjan to avoid polluting the sea. Veteran singer Bappi Lahiri also celebrates the festival with high spirits each year, and this time it was no different. He thanked the Lord and Maharashtra state for all his success and wealth.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today launched a new version of its mid sized sedan Verna with introductory price starting at Rs 7.99 lakh ( ex-showroom Delhi). The petrol variants of the fifth generation Verna are priced between Rs 7.99-12.23 lakh while the diesel trims are tagged between Rs 9.19-12.61 lakh.

"The next generation Verna is engineered to deliver excellence in all core areas of styling, performance, technology, safety, ride and handling creating a new benchmark in the sedan segment," Hyundai Motor India MD & CEO YK Koo told reporters.


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