Live: 'P J Kurien should step down on moral grounds'

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 12, 2013 12:48 hrs

6.20 pm: 

P J Kurien should step down on moral grounds: BJP

After maintaining for days that law should takes its course in the Suryanelli rape case, BJP today took a firm stand that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien, who is facing allegations in the matter, should step down on "moral grounds".

The main opposition had been maintaining that law should take its own course in the case and that it was a matter between the victim and the Congress MP.

However, after a meeting with some BJP leaders of Kerala, who were apparently called here to apprise the central leaders of the case details, the party took a harsher stand.

"New revelations everyday in the Suryanelli rape case has made P J Kurien's position as Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha untenable. BJP, after consulting its state unit, demands that on moral grounds he should quit office till he is absolved of the charges," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

The BJP unit in Kerala has been agitating on the matter seeking Kurien's resignation and a probe into the allegations against him.

Javadekar said Kurien cannot continue till he "gets a clean chit" in the matter. "We demand that Kurien should quit till proved innocent," he said.

Left parties have already demanded that Kurien step down. The pressure on Kurien is likely to mount in the run-up to the budget session of Parliament beginning February 21.

"The state unit has been regularly updating the Central leadership about the developments on this issue. We have been consistently demanding Kurien's resignation," BJP Kerala unit Chief V Muraleedharan told PTI.

5.41 pm: 

Mulayam condemns 'politics' over stampede

The Samajwadi Party today came out in defence of the Uttar Pradesh government under fire after the Allahabad stampede, saying the responsibility of crowd management at stations lies with the Railways and it did not make adequate arrangements ahead of the Maha Kumbh.

"Making arrangements at railway station is responsibility of the Railways. It should have made prior perparations to deal with the rush of devotees," Shivpal said in Etah.

In Lucknow, both Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav condemned the "politics being played" over the incident.

"The incident is unfortunate. I condole the deaths due to stampede in Allahabad. Politics should not be played on the issue," Mulayam said.

He said the state government has provided best possible facilities for the Maha Kumbh and will continue to do so.

Mulayam also asked the state government to provide maximum possible compensation to the victims.

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, a blame-game between the Centre and the state government had erupted over what had triggered the stampede at Allahabad junction.
While the state government had blamed the Railway Ministry at the Centre, Rail Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had held "poor crowd management" by the local administration responsible for the incident.

4.31 pm:

Indian fisherman escapes from Pakistan jail

An Indian fisherman has escaped from a jail in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, according to media reports on February 12. The fisherman, identified by the media as Kishore, escaped while cleaning the main gate of Landhi Jail in Karachi on February 11.

Two prison officials were suspended after the escape. Sindh Minister for Prisons Manzoor Wassan ordered an inquiry into the incident and sought a report from the jail's administration.

3.25 pm:

Hate speech: Owaisi's voice recorded

Forensic experts on Tuesday recorded the voice of MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi in another case of hate speech.

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator was presented before a court in Nizamabad town, where the experts recorded his voice as he has reportedly claimed during the interrogation that the voice in the video footage of his speech was not his.

The court also extended his judicial custody till Feb 26. The hearing on his bail petition was also adjourned to Feb 14.

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2.10 pm:

One cop killed, one injured in Congress-TMC student union clash on campus during University polls in Kolkata.

TV reports said that crude bombs were hurled during the clash.

TMC states goons, not party workers were involved in clash.

2.00 pm:

Azam Khan blames news channels for creating panic that led to stampede

Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, who resigned as incharge-Kumbh mela, has blamed the news channels for creating panic in the aftermath of the stampede.

"The death of two persons after falling in drain was run as breaking news by channels saying that deaths took place due to stampede in Kumbh. Due to this news, people started moving to the railway station following which pressure increased there," Khan said.

As there was no proper arrangement of announcement system at the station, confusion prevailed there, he said. Khan further said that he was ready to resign as a minister, too, if laxity of any of the departments he is heading comes to the fore.

"I have no interest in continuing as minister if responsibility of departments I am looking comes to the fore", he added. Cabinet Minister Mohammad Azam Khan had yesterday resigned as the in-charge of Kumbh Mela in which 36 people were killed in stampede.

1.40 pm:

Family likely to be airlifed to Delhi for Guru's last rites

Reports said that the union government is likely to airlift the family of Mohammad Afzal Guru to Delhi to allow them to perform his last rites.

His body has been interred inside Tihar jail after he was hanged on Saturday morning.

Sources said that the possibility was being explored after the issue was discussed at a high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late last evening in Delhi.

1.15 pm:

Suryanelli case: Cops set up team to trace absconding convict

The Kerala Police has set up a special team to trace and arrest the absconding convict in the Suryanelli gangrape case, who appeared on a Malayalam TV channel alleging that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was involved in the case, as claimed by the victim.

The four-member team has left for Karnataka from where Dharmarajan purportedly gave the interview to the channel yesterday and made the startling claim.

12.25 pm:

Pope will remain most important religious thinkers of our time: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she has 'very highest respect' for German-born Pope Benedict XVI's decision to step down, a move that the Pope's brother said he was considering for months amid ailing health.

Merkel told reporters that she saw the Pope's decision as one that he made for his church and its members.

Merkel added that 'she thanked Benedict XVI for his work and wished him from the bottom of her heart all the best for the coming years.'

Merkel, who is a Protestant, praised Benedict for his efforts to promote dialogue with other Christian denominations and religions. She said that he "reached out his hand to Jews as well as Muslims."

She added that "Benedict XVI is and will remain one of the most important religious thinkers of our time."

11.45 am:

Asteroid flyby could disrupt your phone signal

An asteroid due to whizz past the Earth this week could take out vital telecommunications satellites, scientists warn.

They are sure there is no chance of the 45.7 metre wide space rock hitting the planet. However, there is a remote possibility that it could collide with one of more than 100 telecommunication and weather satellites in fixed orbits above the Earth.

The asteroid, 2012 DA14, has been closely tracked since its discovery a year ago, 'The Telegraph' reported. It is predicted to reach its nearest point to the Earth on Friday.

Experts have calculated it will stay at least 27,681 km away - easily far enough to be safe, but a very close shave in astronomical terms.

Scientists have never observed such a narrow miss before.

11.10 am:

Female agent who tracked Osama cried when she saw his dead body, reveals Navy SEAL who shot Qaeda leader

The female CIA agent, who had spent her life working on hunting down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden wept when she was shown his body, the Navy SEAL who shot him dead has revealed.

In an interview to Esquire Magazine's March edition, the Team Six member spoke out for the first time about the moment he shot down Laden, three times in the face.

According to Daily Mail, describing the moment he shot him he said, "In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. The second time as Laden went down."

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10.21 am:

UP CM Akhilesh to meet Allahabad stampede victims today

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will visit Allahabad on Tuesday to meet those injured in the stampede at Allahabad railway station.

He is also expected to take stock of relief operations for the Kumbh pilgrims.

Expressing grief over the tragedy, Yadav had earlier on Monday said that the priority of his government was to ensure safety of devotees at the Kumbh Mela.

10.00 am:

To harass wife, man makes hoax calls, tells cops wife is Afzal's associate 

They were happily married until one day his wife left him and flew to Mumbai and to harass her, this 33-year-old man started making prank calls to police claiming the woman was an associate of the now hanged terrorist Afzal Guru.

Joginder Singh Sandhu made at least 50 hoax calls to Delhi Police since January and on January 28 he claimed that a woman having his mobile number is an associate of the Parliament attack convict and that there will be bomb blasts at three places in Delhi.

Police said Sandhu married Rakhi in March 2011 after his first wife left him. He was arrested in April 2012 in a criminal case. "After his release on December last year, Sandhu started having frequent fights with his wife. He suspected that she was in a relation with a person living in Mumbai. In January, Rakhi left him," a police official said.

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9.35 am:

2 imams burn boy's feet, lock him in madrassa for 8 days

The punishment for not learning your lessons properly? Apparently burnt feet.

Two imams from a private madrassa were arrested for allegedly burning a 11-year-old boy's feet because he failed to learn his lessons properly, NDTV reported. The boy was also locked up in a room for eight days.

The horrifying case of corporal punishment came to light when the boy's uncle arrived at the madrassa to meet his nephew. He immediately rushed the boy to a hospital and filed a complaint against the imams, following which they were arrested.

9.15 am:

Afzal Guru hanging: Curfew, media gag to continue till Friday

An unofficial media gag order has prohibited the publication of newspapers in Kashmir following the execution of Afzal Guru, a report on CNN-IBN said. The gag order came in place soon after the hanging.

The curbs are likely to continue till Friday.

It's a complete lockdown at Srinagar's press colony as print editions of various valley based papers have been prohibited from publication.

Despite online editions being published with internet services being partially withdrawn, news remains inaccessible.

9.05 am:

Seismic activity in North Korea amid nuclear test concerns

Seismic activity has been detected in North Korea, the US and South Korea say, in what could be a sign of a widely anticipated nuclear test, BBC reported.

The US Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor with a 4.9 magnitude.

South Korean media also reported a "man-made earthquake" in its northern neighbour, the report added.

North Korea said last month it was planning to carry out its third nuclear test - despite a promise from the UN Security Council of "consequences".

8.38 am:

Delhi gang-rape: Magistrates, doctors to testify against five accused

Three of the magistrates, who had recorded the statement of the five adult accused in the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16, will testify before the fast track court in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, who is recording the statement of the prosecution witnesses in the in-camera proceedings on daily basis, on Monday issued summons to the magistrates for testifying in the case on Tuesday. Two doctors from AIIMS have also been called on Tuesday.

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8.07 am:

Celebrating Valentine's Day results in rape, says right wing group

Celebrating Valentine's Day by lovers and following Western traditions blindly results in rapes and other sexual assaults, right wing Hindu group Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) claimed here Monday.

HJS state convener Manoj Solanki told a press conference here that its cadre would distribute pamphlets in colleges, private tuition classes, railway stations, bus-stations and at crowded places "demonstrating the ill-effects of Valentine's Day".

"Since the Bharatiya youth is turning towards indulgence by blindly following westerners, it has been noticed that the sale of contraceptives peaks on this day in cities such as Mumbai and Pune. This leads to a rise in incidents of rapes and other atrocities," Solanki said.

7.30 am:

Australian opener Ed Cowan, middle-order batsman Usman Khawaja and IPL's million-dollar man Glenn Maxwell will be eyeing to get some batting practice in their first two-day warm-up match against the Board President's XI in Chennai today.

In the absence of regular skipper Michael Clarke and his deputy Shane Watson, who will be arriving in the next couple of days, wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade will be leading the side.

Since the full Australian squad is yet to assemble, the Aussies have exactly 11 players available right now and it will be the local association that will be providing them with substitute fielders.

"I did half a Shield game or whatever for the Vics (Victoria). Apart from that, that's it," Wade said.

"The bigger guns aren't here as yet, so we've only got 11 to pick from Tuesday," he said on Monday.

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