New Delhi: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti is set to become the first female chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators on Friday decided to revive the coalition government in the strife-torn state. The decision by the BJP’s 25-member Jammu and Kashmir legislature party, taken at a meeting with party general secretary Ram Madhav, ended weeks of uncertainty following the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba Mufti’s father, on 7 January. BJP’s Nirmal Singh will be deputy chief minister in the coalition government. Read More

Pathankot attack: India issues visa to 5-member Pakistan’s probe team

India on Friday issued visas to five members of a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) who will travel to the country on Sunday to carry forward the probe into the brazen Pathankot Air Base attack, blamed on Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants. “We have issued visas to five Pakistani officials, who will be going to India to get evidence about the Pathankot attack," an Indian high commission spokesperson said in Islamabad. The members of the JIT are scheduled to leave for India on 27 March. The five-member probe team comprises senior officials from both the military intelligence as well as civil administration. Read More

Arrest in Balochistan: Pakistan calls him spy, MEA says he retired from Navy, has no links with govt

The ministry of external affairs said on Friday that the Indian national arrested in Balochistan by Pakistani officials was a former Navy official but denied he was linked to the government.

The acknowledgement came a day after Pakistani officials accused the man, identified as Kulbhushan Jadhav, of “illegal entry" and “subversive activities", and local media described him as a Commander-rank officer in the Indian Navy and an officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). While such allegations by Pakistan have been on an increase in the last couple of years, this is the first instance of New Delhi acknowledging the arrest across the border of an individual associated with its armed forces. Read More

Hyderabad varsity fracas: NHRC notice to HRD ministry, Telangana govt

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday issued notices to the ministry of human resource development (HRD) and Telangana government officials over reports of “emergency like" situation in University of Hyderabad.

The Commission issued notices to the HRD secretary, Telangana chief secretary and the Hyderabad Police Commissioner, calling for reports in the matter within one week. The Commission said the “arbitrary act and high handedness" of senior university officials, police and administrative officers, as reported in media, raise “serious concerns towards safety and security of the students". NHRC issued the notices taking suo motu cognizance of reports that there is an “emergency like" situation in University of Hyderabad and there is no water, electricity, food, internet services and the ATMs are out of order. Read More

Congress pitches high, DMK stands firm

Congress went into seat-sharing talks with the DMK leadership on Friday with high hopes but came out disappointed as the DMK was unwilling to part with more than 30 seats, while the national party pitched for at least double that number. Sources said former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad began the negotiations with DMK president M. Karunanidhi by citing the 63 seats allotted to the Congress during the 2011 Assembly elections. He then invoked the legacy of the national party, stating that it was the only force with presence from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. But the DMK team, which included treasurer M.K. Stalin, women’s wing secretary Kanimozhi and principal headquarters secretary Durai Murugan, was unwilling to accede to the Congress’ demand. Read More

Sreesanth to contest on BJP ticket from Thiruvananthapuram

The BJP Friday fielded former India pacer S Sreesanth from Thiruvananthapuram seat even as it declared 50 other candidates for the Assembly polls in Kerala. After a four-hour meeting, the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the BJP announced that Sreesanth had formally joined the party and would contest from Thiruvananthapuram. Talking to reporters, 33-year-old Sreesanth said his name had been cleared by the court in a match-fixing case and he was, therefore, not worried about any Opposition attack on him regarding the controversy. A trial court in Delhi had dropped charges against him last year, but he still faces a ban on playing any form of cricket by the BCCI. Read More

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