Live: Home minister Shinde regrets 'Hindu terror' remark

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 14:53 hrs

8. 20 pm

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde regrets 'Hindu terror' remark

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has apologised for the 'Hindu terror' remark, TV channels reported today.

8. 00 pm

Chopper scam: CBI engages two law firms in Italy

 CBI has engaged two law firms in Italy for liaisoning with the authorities to get legal assistance in probing the role of Indians in connection with the alleged kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

Official sources said on Wednesday that Chiomenti law firm and Grippo law firm have been asked to help in coordinating with the Italian authorities for getting documents and other relevant material pertaining to the AgustaWestland deal for supplying 12 helicopters to India.

The two firms will represent India's case with the Italian government and the local courts for getting evidence regarding alleged kickbacks in the deal. Kickbacks to the tune of Rs 362 crore were allegedly paid to swing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland.

The sources said the joint team of the CBI and defence ministry in Italy was told that the probe in that country was also in its initial stage and that arrests made in that country so far were more of a preventive nature so that the evidence was not tampered with.

7. 00 pm

You're crossing the limits, Mamata tells journalist

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday lost her cool with a journalist who countered her claims about the number of city shops that stayed open during the strike Wednesday and said: "You are crossing your limits."

Banerjee was astounded that the reporter dared contradict her claims about the number of shops in the city where business continued as usual Wednesday, the first day of the two-day nation-wide strike called by 11 major trade unions.

The journalist entered into an argument after the chief minister told the media at the state secretariat that the people of the state had rejected the strike call, and that most of the traders in Kolkata kept their shops and business establishments open.

The reporter butted in with an observation that he had seen several shops in the city shut.

Banerjee shot back: "That is rubbish. You only had an overview. You have to go inside a market to see whether shops are open or not. Some traders who had this morning kept shops closed, opened their shutters later."

The unconvinced journalist insisted that shops were shut even as the chief minister spoke.

Banerjee retorted: "Rubbish! Who told you that those shops were closed? Which media house do you belong to?"

On being told which media house the journalist represented, Banerjee exclaimed: "Oh! That's why. Oh! That's why."

As the journalist stuck to his guns, Banerjee shouted: "Have you come here to do politics? One must be polite while speaking, please. You are crossing your limits.

6.30 pm:

Trade unions to drag Bengal government to court

Accusing the West Bengal government of "maliciously" using Calcutta High Court's name to declare the two-day strike as illegal, trade unions Wednesday said they will seek legal action against it.

They also claimed that the nationwide shutdown had a "tremendous impact" in the state.

"The high court has merely said that strike cannot be enforced forcibly, but the Banerjee government has been maliciously using its name to say that strike has been rendered illegal," CITU state secretary Shyamal Chakrabarty told reporters here.

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6.18 pm:

Girl jumps out of autorickshaw to escape molester, injured

A 22-year-old girl was injured as she jumped out of a moving autorickshaw after a man allegedly tried to molest her here, police said today.

The girl, working as a software engineer, hired a shared autorickshaw to Ameerpet from Madhapur hi-tech city at around 7.45 PM yesterday, a senior police official of Cyberabad Police Commissionerate said.

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6.13 pm:

Kolkata scientists plan to study Russian meteorite bits

Scientists in Kolkata plan to buy fragments of the meteorite that rained in on parts of Russia Feb 15 to investigate the mysteries of the "origin of life".

"We believe that complex molecules originated in space and meteorites could provide insights into the origin of life. We would like to buy and study pieces of the Russian meteorite to gain valuable insights," S.K. Chakrabarti, honorary professor at Indian Centre for Space Physics (ICSP), Kolkata, told IANS.

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5.58 pm:

Highlights of day two of Pistorius' trial

Oscar Pistorius has given his account of the night his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp died at his house in Pretoria.

Magistrate Desmond Nair ruled that Pistorius should be charged with premeditated murder, a “category six” offence that will make it very difficult for the defendant to be granted bail.

Pistorius, the world’s best known disabled athlete, broke down frequently throughout the hearing, which was adjourned at one point to allow him to compose himself.

For more, click here

5.50 pm:

The full text of the PM's remarks to the media after the all-party meeting was convened by the Speaker. Read here

5.20 pm:

Himachal set to take back land from Baba Ramdev

Less than three years after the then ruling BJP gave Baba Ramdev a chunk of prime land on lease in Himachal Pradesh, the state government Wednesday initiated the process to take it back.

The development is significant as the Congress, then in the opposition, had accused the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government of violating statutory provisions in extending favours to Baba Ramdev and Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan and enabling them to purchase land.

"Instructions have been given to the deputy commissioner to take back the possession of the land allotted to Baba Ramdev in Solan district," Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur told IANS.

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5.09 pm:

Workers at Maruti, Hero, Suzuki to go on strike tomorrow

Production at leading automobile companies in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt, including Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and Suzuki Motorcycle India, will be hit on Thursday as workers have decided to stay away from work in support of the two-day strike called by central trade unions than began today.

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4.55 pm:

Faced with protests, Shinde likely to talk to Swaraj over Hindu terror remark

Media reports state the Home Minister is likely to make a clarification soon on his comments, made at a Congress conclave last month. The sources said the BJP has agreed to withdraw its protest against Mr Shinde if he withdraws his remarks.

Shinde is likely to talk to senior party leader Sushma Swaraj to find a way out to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament during the Budget Session beginning on Thursday.

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4.40 pm:

Pistorius continues to sob as court hearing resumes

On the second day of Oscar Pistorius' bail hearing, investigating officer Hilton Botha opposed bail for the Olympian, claiming that he was a flight risk and could flee.

Botha, who arrived at Pistorius' house following the death of Reeva Steenkamp, said that police believe Pistorius used a cricket bat to break down the door of the toilet where Steenkamp was shot.

According to Botha, the shots hit Steenkamp on her right side suggesting that she was not sitting on the toilet seat but hiding inside.

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3.55 pm:

Male court cancels Nasheed's hearing

Maldivian Court cancels today's hearing after police informed it about its inability to produce former President Mohamed Nasheed at 4pm.

Nasheed has been in the Indian Mission since February 13 to evade arrest after he failed to appear in court on charges of detaining Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed while he was president.

A Maldivian court issued a fresh arrest warrant against Nasheed and directed the police to produce him before it at 4 pm today.

3.40 pm:

Police say testosterone, needles found in Oscar Pistorius' bedroom.

3.10 pm:

On bandh day, 100pc attendance at govt offices in West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the bandh called by trade unions did not affect her state. "People of Bengal have rejected the bandh. Work culture has been restored in Bengal. There is 100 per cent attendance in state government offices," Mamata said.

2.50 pm:

PM Manmohan Singh has said he hoped that all the parties will co-operate to ensure the smooth functioning of the parliament. Speaking after an all party meeting, the PM said that all the parties have an obligation to ensure that the parliament functions.

He hoped for a productive budget session.

2.30 pm:

West Bengal minister pulls up strike supporters

West Bengal Transport minister Madan Mitra today pulled up CPI(M) supporters who tried to block his car on the first day of the two-day strike called by central trade unions.

"What is your intention? Do you want to harass patients by blocking the road? Is it the lesson your party has taught you?" Mitra asked when CPI(M) workers stopped his car at Hazra crossing.

Police sources said the strike enforcers gheraoed the minister's car and hurled abuses at him.

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2.00 pm:

BJP leaders detained while protesting against Shinde

Several BJP leaders who had gathered at Delhi's Jantar Mantar to protest against Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's "saffron terror" remarks were detained by the police today, TV reports said.

From here, the party had planned to march towards the Home Minister's residence about 5 km away. Chief Rajnath Singh was leading the protests.

1.36 pm:

Bandh turns violent in Noida

TV reports said that bandh supporters had vandalised cars, shops and factories in Noida. They set vehicles on fire. Some factory owners and workers were holed up inside their factories due to fear of violence. There were also reports of the Delhi police ignoring their calls for help.

However, latest reports said that the situation is being brought under control.

1.20 pm:

Buses off the roads in some states, violence in Noida

In Gujarat, 8,500 government buses were off roads and banks remained shut. In Rajasthan, buses and autos remained off the roads while banking and insurance sectors were also hit. In Uttar Pradesh, over 7,000 buses were off roads due to the strike. In Noida Phase-II, protestors burned cars during their agitation.

1.10 pm:

Cold blooded killing of slain LTTE chief Prabhakaran's son is a war crime, says Jayalalithaa. She said she wants India to support resolution against Lanka on rights abuse at UNHCR meet.

1.00 pm:

2G scam: CBI says Chandra, AK Singh tape genuine

The CBI has confirmed that a recorded phone conversation between CBI prosecutor AK Singh and Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra is genuine, reported CNN-IBN.

The confirmation comes after the CBI took voice samples from both individuals and sent them for forensic testing to ascertain if the tape was genuine. The tape carries a conversation between the two discussing ways to allegedly weaken the 2G case.

12.30 pm:

BJP to lead protest march to Shinde's residence over his 'saffron terror' remark

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will lead a protest march to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's residence Wednesday to protest against his 'saffron terror' remark.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said Shinde's remarks have created outrage over the country. He demanded an apology from the Home Minister.

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11.40 am:

SC extends the stay on execution of death sentence of four Veerappan aides till further orders.

The next hearing will be in six months

11.30 am:

In Mumbai, its work as usual for dabbawalas

India's financial sector was crippled as all banks, insurance companies and commercial establishments in remained shut on the first of the two-day nationwide strike, organisers said.

However, Mumbai's dabbawalas, who ferry food to office-goers, are working as usual, a majority of the shops, eateries and commercial establishments opened this morning with their shutters half down but prepared to close down anytime.

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11.15 am:

Here are a few reactions on the bandh on twitter

Good to see Bandh fail. If a 2 day Bandh succeeded, the next would have been a 4 day Bandh, then a week's Bandh and finally a 30 day Bandh.

Did they forget to tell the workers and party cadres that today was a Bharat Bandh? Mumbai's running its usual marathon without a blink.

I think this Bharat Bandh was called simply because everyone felt that there has not been a Bharat Bandh for some time.

Bandh flop in Bangalore. Buses and auto easily accessible.

Bandh impact: At Delhi railway station, Rs. 2000 for a taxi ride.. Now this is what we call A nation of Pirates...

interesting no sign of Bharat bandh in Bengal, transport running, all gov offices open. kudos to CM for stopping bandh culture.

Kerala should name a weekday as Bandhday. Sunday, Monday,Tuesday, Bandhday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday #bandh #BharatBandh

If I wasn't on twitter, I wouldn't know about Bharat Bandh. No signs of it on the roads.

What Bharat Bandh man? In the age of Twitter Trends it seems so outdated. Want to make your point, come trend here.

11.00 am:

Total strike in Kerala

A Kozhikode report said the strike was total in Malabar region and hit normal life.

Barring two wheelers, all modes of transport, including buses, trucks, autorickshaws and taxis remained off the roads, police said.

All business establishments, including hotels and educational institutions remained closed, they said.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in Malabar region so far, police said.

10.50 am:

Strike could cost economy Rs 20,000 crore

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said the two-day strike was expected to cause an estimated loss of Rs. 15,000-20,000 crore.

10.35 am:

Trains stopped in Odisha, Bihar

Media reports said that protestors in Odisha stopped trains during demonstrations over the trade unions' strike across India. Protestors also stopped trains in parts of Bihar.

10.20 am:

Mamata warns employees from staying away from work

There was little impact of the two-day strike in West Bengal with situation being normal and peaceful across the state.

Shops and markets were mostly open in the metropolis.

The West Bengal government has issued a warning to employees against being absent during the strike. It urged people to continue with their daily lives. As a result many people were on the streets, but not enough cabs and other modes of transport.

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9.30 am:

Reports indicate that stones were pelted at a BEST bus in  Mumbai. No indications of any injuries thus far due to this incident.

Meanwhile auto and taxi services have been hit severely in some parts of Delhi.

9.15 am:

Public transport off the roads across India

Public transport services are off the roads in many states. The maximum impact is in Kerala where banks and shops are shut and taxis, autos, private and public buses are not running.

In West Bengal, commuters are facing problems at Sealdah and Howrah stations and at the airport. Private educational institutions are mostly closed, but shops and establishments are partially open. The bandh has impacted life in Bangalore, Punjab and Haryana as well. There's little impact in Mumbai.

8.50 am:

Strike likely to hit normal life in Delhi

Functioning of public transport, various hospitals, educational institutions and banks may get hit in the national capital as a section of workers engaged in providing these services have announced their support to the strike called by 11 trade unions.

Commuters, particularly school children and office goers in the national capital may face inconvenience as a number of auto-rickshaws and taxi unions have decided to support the strike.

A number of bus unions, including a section of Delhi Transport Corporation employees, have also extended support to the strike.

Supply of fruits and vegetables may also be affected as major trade unions in the Azadpur whole sale market have said that they will join the strike.

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8.20 am:

Ambala trade union leader killed at start of Bharat bandh

A trade union leader was killed in Ambala in the wee hours as the two-day nationwide strike called by the 11 trade unions began today.

"Narender Singh, the treasurer of a AITUC union was stabbed to death near the Ambala bus stand by some miscreants who wanted to take out buses from the depot despite the strike," AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta told PTI here.

Condemning the murder, Dasgupta said the strike would continue despite such a heinous attack.

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7.30 am: 

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses will ply during the two-day strike called by trade unions and other groups Wednesday-Thursday as all its unions have agreed not to participate in the shutdown, the government said.

"All the major unions of DTC, including DTC Employees Congress, Delhi Parivahan Mazdoor Sangh, DTC Worker's Union and DTC Unity Centre, have agreed not to participate in the strike. However, DTC has taken all preventive measures for the convenience of the passengers," said a statement from the Delhi Chief Minister's Office Tuesday.

"Besides, all officers, traffic staff or technical staff have been directed not to proceed on leave. The leave already sanctioned other than on medical grounds has also been cancelled," it added.

Key sectors of the economy may be crippled as a massive nation-wide trade union strike is set to start today, which will shut transport, banking services, shops and the postal system.

Central trade unions called for two-day mega strike as their talks with the government failed to reach a conclusion.

The unions have demanded concrete measures for containing inflation, steps for employment generation, universal social security, and making the minimum wage to Rs.10,000 per month along with daily allowance.

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