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The simmering drama in the ruling family of Uttar Pradesh reached an epic climax when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked four members of the Samajwadi party, including uncle Shivpal Yadav. The move was allegedly precipitated by Ram Gopal Yadav, who wrote a letter to party workers to rally behind the CM and accused Amar Singh of trying to create a breach among the Yadavs. Shivpal, however, appeared unfazed under the circumstances, saying he would go into the polls next year under the leadership of his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav, fondly called Netaji by supporters. Could this mean a change in the chief ministerial candidate or a new faction in the party? For now, Akhilesh has a bigger headache, since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not wasted a moment in demanding the CM must prove his majority in the assembly or resign.
Raj Thackeray probably didn't see this coming when he, along with his right-wing group, the Maharashtra Navnirma Sena (MNS), had demanded Rs 5 crore from Indian filmmakers who have cast Pakistani actors, as "penance", to be paid into the army welfare fund. Indian army officials, currently serving and retired, have condemned his move unequivocally, asking him not to play politics with an institution, "which has a strong apolitical, highly-disciplined and secular ethos". "The armed forces do not want to be dragged into such low-level political wrangling," a senior officer told a newspaper.
Industrialist Ratan Tata spoke out against an atmosphere of growing intolerance in the country at a school function in Gwalior. Shortly after a speech by Jyotiraditya Scindia, Tata said, "I think everybody knows where the intolerance is coming from and what it is," without being more explicit on the source of what he called a "curse". "We want to live in an environment where we love our fellow men. We don't shoot them, we don't kill them. We don't hold them hostages but give a bit of ourselves and we give and take," he added, alluding to the spate of atrocities directed at citizens over the last several months for exercising their fundamental freedoms to live, eat, dress and move freely.
Following the largest online data violations in the Indian banking system, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has called a meeting of all stakeholders today. The regulator may ask all banks to centralise their cyber security operations and put them under one team instead of outsourcing these critical services to third-parties.
When Karan Johar deposits the Rs 5 crore demanded by MNS into the army welfare fund, it would swell the value of the current holdings by threefold. Till last week, the fund, which was started to help out families of victims of casualty, had about Rs 1.4 crore.
Subahani Haja Moideen, who joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from Tamil Nadu, has told investigators that he was recruited by one of the attackers who killed over 130 people in Paris last year. Moideen, who was picked up by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) earlier this month, is believed to have coerced several men and women from India to join the cause in West Asia.
Off The Front Page
Two women fought off a cabbie and his friend who tried to rape and rob them on their way home from Gurgaon to Delhi. The women, who worked as security guards at an event management, were threatened at gun point but managed to flee when the car hit a divider on the road and the public gathered around it.
Virat Kohli's unbeaten 154, along with MS Dhoni's 80 off 91 balls, gave India a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the third One-Day International (ODI) match between the two opponents. With this victory, India has a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
A Lieutenant Colonel in the army allegedly committed suicide by injecting himself with poison after trying to strangle his junior, with whom he was having an affair. Forty-year-old Lt Colonel T Jadhav is married and a father of two. He was depressed since his subordinate informed him of her impending marriage plans and decided to call off their relationship.
Brijesh D. Jayal, retired air marshall of the Indian Air Force, strongly condemns India's "national security consciousness" in The Telegraph. The degeneration of the debate into petty politics is going to adversely affect the future of the discourse in significant ways, he says. One successful offensive action should not be cause for celebration as the "war" India faces is a long-term threat, Jayal argues. In no way should we give Pakistan a chance to gloat over our own internal political schisms and frictions either.
In Mint, activist Chandra Bhan Prasad traces the origins of the ongoing anti-Dalit agitations by Marathas in Maharashtra to free-market economics. He argues vast number of Dalits have been liberated from the shackles that have traditionally bound them, thanks to these reforms, causing resentment among other castes.
By brokering a "deal" between Raj Thackeray and the film industry to save Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, has weakened his office as well as severely undermined the spirit of Mumbai, Sachin Kalbag writes in The Hindu. Such a development, Kalbag says, raises many troubling questions, of which the following three are worth mentioning: "What does it say about the state's inability, or unwillingness, to stand up to extra-constitutional threats?" Second, "should the Chief Minister's office be used to broker a deal between two parties, instead of asserting its authority and standing up to hooliganism and ensuring law and order?" Finally, "what does it tell us about Mumbai's fading status as a hub for liberal, progressive political discourse when the Chief Minister plays mute spectator to what many would term political extortion?"
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