7. 20 pm
Asaram clarifies, blames media for creating controversy
Claiming that an "anti-men" campaign is being driven following the Delhi gangrape incident, spiritual guru Asaram Bapu today cautioned that any new law on crime against women may be misused by vested interests.
"After the Delhi gangrape incident, an anti-men campaign appears to be on. Women should be respected but no new law should be framed which can be misused by vested interests....," he said addressing his followers in Bhankari village here on outskirts of Delhi.
He cited the anti-dowry Act and the SC/ST Act and claimed that they have also been misused.
On the controversy over his remark on the Delhi gangrape victim, the guru said, "I only meant that had even one of the six accused taken 'diksha' (initiated into his teachings), the crime would not have occurred."
He blamed the television channels "who get funding from abroad" for creating controversy over his remarks.
"I am amused and I also pity them," Asaram said.
6. 30 pm
Ajmal Kasab pleaded for 'daya' in a four-line plea to Pranab
Ajmal Kasab, the face of the dastardly 26/11 terror strike on Mumbai who was hanged, had begged for "daya" (mercy) from the President through his four-line clemency plea written in elementary Urdu.
The hand written petition dated September 12, 2012, which has been made public more than a month after Kasab was hanged, shows glaring Urdu language errors.
The application has been provided to Lucknow-based activist Urvashi Sharma under the Right to Information Act.
In his brief application, Kasab pleaded, "Sir, mujhe fansi ki saza Supreme Court ho gayi hai. Fansi ki saza se mujhe chorr diya jaye. Mere upar daya karo aur muje fansi ki se riha kar de. Apka Ajmal Kasab (sic)."
It was translated by the Jail Authorities as, "Sir, I have been sentenced by Supreme Court for capital punishment (Hanged till death). It is most humbly and respectfully pleaded to spare me from death sentence and also get me released from the gallows. It is my humble request. Yours"
5. 45 pm
Delhi gangrape: MHA orders probe into friend's charge
The Home Ministry has ordered a probe into the allegation of the friend of the Delhi gangrape victim that police response to their distress call after the incident was slow.
A joint-secretary level officer of the Ministry will investigate the veracity of the claim by the software engineer that even after reaching the spot here on the night of December 16, the police were arguing over jurisdiction of the case and were hesistant to lift the 23-year-old girl, losing crucial time, a senior Home Ministry official said today.
The probe will also look into the counter-claim by the Delhi Police and check the log books of the Police Control Room vans which came to the spot where the girl and her friend were dumped by the six men after the gangrape.
Juvenile court to begin trial on Jan 15
The sixth accused, who claims he is not 18 years yet, is set to be tried at a juvenile court from January 15. The Juvenile Justice Board is said to have already called for the minor's school principal to verify the accused's age.
If the board is of the view that the accused is above 18 years, then he could be tried as an adult.
Fast-track courts for women: CJI
The brutal gangrape and murder of Delhi girl has shaken the conscience of the nation, said Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir today while asking all high courts to set up fast track courts to deal exclusively with offences against women.
The delay in disposing such cases might be one of the factors for rise in crimes against women, said CJI Kabir in a letter to all the chief justices of high courts, and added that the time has come to deal expeditiously with such cases.
The CJI said the high court chief justices should get in touch with the state governments for appointment of judicial officers but in the meantime some court should be designated as fast-track courts to exclusively deal with offences against women.
"I feel that steps should be taken immediately to set up fast track courts to deal exclusively with cases of offences against women.
"In this regard, you may identify the number of requisite posts required to be created at the level of sessions judges as well as magistrates and, thereafter, the matter may be taken up with the state governments/union territory concerned, with promptitude, to increase the number of posts, not only of judicial officers but also of support staffs and infrastructure.
"In the meanwhile, you may take a decision to set up fast track courts to be manned by existing judicial officers so that they become functional without any delay. I am sure that, judging by the present day scenario, the state governments will not decline the genuine demand of judiciary," said the CJI in his one-page letter.
Delhi rapists had tried to abduct another girl as well
According to highly placed sources, the six men, after throwing carpenter Ramadhar Singh out of the bus, drove around with the intention to abduct and rape a woman. They spotted a girl in a black dress waiting at a bus stop near the IIT flyover.
"After seeing the girl, Ram Singh directed Akshay Kumar and another accused, the juvenile, to pick her up. Hearing this, Ram Singh's brother Mukesh started driving the bus toward the girl. However, their plan did not succeed as the girl got an auto-rickshaw just before the bus stopped in front of her," a source said.
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Abu Dhabi eyes Indian tourists
Expecting to attract more tourists from India, Abu Dhabi, the largest of seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will launch a road show in India, an Abu Dhabi Tourism official said here Monday.
Speaking at a press conference, international promotion manager of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) Mubarak Al Nuaimi said India has the second largest number of tourists staying in hotels in the Arab nation, and they expected it to become the largest tourist source by 2014.
"India is now our second largest overseas market for hotel guests after Britain," Nuaimi said.
"Should the growth trends of Britain and India continue as they have been for the past 12 months, there is every likelihood that India will be Abu Dhabi's largest overseas source market for hotel guests in 2014," he said.
According to the TCA, 125,180 Indian guests stayed in hotels in Abu Dhabi by November 2012. This is a 30 percent increase from 2011.
A majority of tourists from India are for official purposes like meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions, popularly known as MICE tourists. TCA added that the UAE is also becoming popular as a wedding destination.
Nuaimi also said he expected increasing tourism would further strengthen the trade and bilateral relations.
"The relations between India and Abu Dhabi have been historical, of course this will strengthen the relations," he said.
China urges India-Pakistan dialogue
China Monday said it hopes India and Pakistan will hold talks and solve their differences in a calm and proper manner following a firing incident in Kashmir.
As a neighbour and friend of both countries, China hopes India and Pakistan will work together to maintain peace and stability in south Asia, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing, Xinhua reported.
The Pakistani military said Indian troops crossed the Line of Control (LoC) that divides both countries in Kashmir Sunday and opened fire, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring another.
India has denied the accusation, stating that mortar shells were first fired by the Pakistani army in the direction of Indian civilians near the LoC.
Pakistan and India declared a ceasefire along the LoC in November 2003.
Rajnikanth joins day-long protest against service tax
The imposition of service tax on actors will induce tax evasion and create black money, said leading actors, directors, theatre owners and others here who are on hunger-strike demanding the tax be scrapped.
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth too joined the day-long protest fast Monday.
A certain section of the showbiz industry, including producers, exhibitors and distributors, has already been exempted from paying the tax.
Now members belonging to various film industry associations are on hunger strike demanding that actors, producers and choreographers too be exempt from 12.36 percent service tax.
"The government is coming out with several schemes to bring out black money. If taxes are increased, then black money would flourish. There should be strong law to punish tax evaders," said Rajinikanth.
Besides Rajinikanth, other leading lights of Tamil movie industry on hunger-strike are - Vijay, Prabhu, Satyaraj, Bhagyaraj, Sarathkumar, Radhikaa Sarathkumar, director K.S. Ravikumar and others.
Screening and shooting of films has been cancelled till evening.
Gang-rape case: Counsel faces lawyers' protest to defend accused
A Delhi court hearing the December 16 gangrape-cum-murder case today witnessed heated arguments between a lawyer, who sought to defend the accused, and other advocates, who vehemently objected to it even as the accused could not be produced in the overcrowded courtroom.
It is for the first time that a lawyer came forward to defend the five accused amid resolutions of various advocate bodies in the city not to represent them.
Advocate Mohan Lal Sharma appeared in the court and told Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal that he had received calls from relatives of some of the accused to defend them.
He told the court that he was unable to take signatures of the accused in 'vakalatnama' (a person's authority letter to an advocate to represent him in court) as he could not go to Tihar Jail and sought the magistrate's permission to take the the same in the court itself.
The metropolitan magistrate, however, refused him the permission and asked him to go to Tihar Jail for the purpose.
Even as the court rejected Sharma's plea, two more lawyers offered their services as amicus curiae to the court.
Later the five accused - Ram Singh, Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur, could not be produced in the overcrowded courtroom, jam-packed with media persons, lawyers and police personnel, due to paucity of space.
The magistrate thereafter asked the people present in the court to make space for the accused to enter it, but despite some space having been made for them, the police refused to bring in the five saying they would bring them only after the court is completely cleared.
The accused are likely to be produced in-chamber now.
The accused were to be produced in court in response to the production warrants issued against them for today.
90-yr-old Saudi marries 15-yr-old girl
A 90-year-old Saudi man's marriage to a 15-year-old girl in exchange for a fat dowry has sparked widespread condemnation from human rights and social media activists in the kingdom.
The frightened girl locked out her husband refusing him entry to the bedroom for two successive days before fleeing back to her parents' home, the Al-Arabia reported.
But the groom insisted that his marriage was "legal and correct", and that he paid 17,500 US dollars as dowry to marry the girl, who is the daughter of a Yemeni father and Saudi mother.
He vowed to sue his in-laws to give him back the girl or return him the expensive dowry.
Congress kick-starts padayatra in Karnataka
Getting into the poll mode for the Karnataka Assembly elections due in April-May, Congress today kick-started first of its four padayatras from here.
The padayatra, which would highlight the BJP government's "failure" to expedite projects under Upper Krishna Project, would culminate at Koodalasangama on January 14, KPCC President G Parameshwara said.
The second padayatra would start in February from Basavakalyana to Jewargi and the third in March between Ullala to Udupi, Parameshwara said.
The fourth padayatra would be conducted between Mysore and Bangalore, he said.
Day-to-day trial for paternity claims on ND Tiwari
The Delhi HC orders day-to-day trial of a paternity suit by a youth against veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari.
The DNA test on Tiwari conducted in July has revealed that he is the biological father of a 32-year-old youth who today won a five-year-long legal battle on a paternity suit which the veteran Congress leader tried to scuttle from the beginning.
Man arrested for raping minor daughters
A labourer was arrested from Jag Nagar village in the district for allegedly sexually abusing his two minor daughters for over five years, police said today.
Rajkumar Kushwaha has repeatedly raped his two daughters, one a student of class IX and the other class VII student in a local school, since 2007 after his wife passed away, they said.
According to police, unable to bear the torture, the girls confided in their friends in school who narrated the incident to their teachers who informed the police.
Police arrested Rajkumar yesterday and also got the medical examination of the victims done.
Gangrape accused in court
Five of the six accused in the Delhi gang rape case were produced in a court of Metropolitan Magistrate at Saket here on Monday even though confusion prevailed over the age of the six accused, who is reportedly a minor till now but has come across as the most brutal assaulter in the group.
The Juvenile Justice Board will take up the matter of the the sixth accused, who is a minor according to a school document, on the same day, said reports.
Ram Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur are produced before the Saket court around noon.
The accused will be given copies of the chargesheet.
Girl set on fire for resisting rape attempt
A minor girl from a village in Allahabad is battling for life with 80 per cent burns after being allegedly set ablaze today by a youth along with his parents, who tried to "silence" her to "cover up" his "rape attempt".
The 15-year-old girl from Jigna village in Shankargarh area, some 50 kms from here, told police in her statement that his neighbour Gyan Patel attempted rape on her earlier today but she managed to escape, ASP (Crime) Arun Kumar Pandey said.
Later, Gyan apparently told about the incident to his parents and they all entered girl's house in the absence of her family members, she told police.
The three set her ablaze by pouring kerosene to "silence" her, she alleged in her statement.
Even as she was fighting the flames, the attackers left threatening to "make life difficult" for her family members if she complained against them, the girl alleged.
Pandey said the Shankargarh police has been directed to lodge an FIR in this regard and take action against the accused.
Owaisi asks for 4 days time
TV reports claim that Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, booked for allegedly delivering a hate speech, has asked the Andhra Pradesh police four days time to appear before the cops. He has apparently cited medical reasons.
The MLA, who now faces multiple cases for the alleged hate speech against a particular community, was earlier said to appear before the Andhra cops today.
Delhi victim is responsible for rape: Asaram Bapu
Asaram Bapu, self-proclaimed godman, has kicked up a controversy after he held the Delhi gangrape victim responsible for the sexual assault.
Media reports quoted him as saying, "Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists... She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop... This could have saved her dignity and life."
"Can one hand clap? I don't think so," he said.
Reports also said that Asaram was against harsher punishments for offenders as the law could be misutilised.
"We have often seen such laws are made to be misutilised... Dowry harassment law is the biggest example."
Fog disrupts flight schedule at IGI
Dense fog on Monday disrupted the schedule of over 30 domestic and international flights at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.
10 flights were cancelled due to operational reasons. Air India flight AI 996 from Dubai was diverted to Mumbai at around 4.45 AM due to operational reasons.
Teacher, watchman rape school girls
In Chhattishgarh's Kanker district, a school teacher and a watchman have been arrested for allegedly molesting 11 of the 75 students of a government ashram in Naharpur for over a year.
Four of the 11 girls were raped, according to medical reports.
Owaisi likely to appear before cops today
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, booked for allegedly delivering a hate speech, is likely to surrender before the police on Monday, even as fresh complaints against him poured in for the same, according to IBN live.
"He (Owaisi) will appear before the police tomorrow (Monday)," a senior police officer said.
Norah Jones to tour India in March
The music festival 'A Summer's Day' will be debuting on a high note this year through Norah Jones, the nine-time Grammy award winner.
The singer, famous for songs like 'Sunrise' will be performing three cities - Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
She will kick off the tour in Mumbai on March 3, then head to the Capital for a show on March 5 before finally wrapping things up in the Garden city on March 8.
Close shave for passengers as mini bus catches fire
Twenty passengers were saved due to their timely escape from a mini bus that caught fire near Satragachi in Howrah district today.
The bus was moving on Kona Expressway when flames were noticed in the front part of the bus, following which passengers were asked to disembark, police said.
The fire was put off shortly afterwards.
The cause of the fire is yet to be known, police said, adding that it could be due to some technical glitch.
Ang Lee to be honoured by visual effects society
"Brokeback Mountain" filmmaker Ang Lee will be honoured with Visionary Award, a prestigious prize at the Visual Effects Awards here next month.
The director has employed various techniques in a bid to bring his movies to life over the years, making stars appear as if they are sword fighting in mid-air in "Crouching Tiger", "Hidden Dragon" and creating a life-like tiger for his new adventure movie "Life of Pi".
The 58-year-old will be feted for all his hard work with the award on Feb 5, reports dailystar.co.uk.
Executive of Visual Effects Society Jeff Okun said, "Lee pushed the envelope of creation of visual effects for telling a story. In our generation, only Star Wars did that."
The inaugural trophy was handed to "Inception" moviemaker Christopher Nolan last year.
A Delhi court has taken cognisance of the charges against the five men accused of the murder and rape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi.
The court has also issued production warrants to all the accused - Ram Singh, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur - to appear before it on Monday at 12:30 pm. The next date of hearing has been fixed on January 10 at the Saket court.
The sixth accused in the case is 17 years old, according to a school document, and has been kept at a juvenile home since he was arrested.