London attacker identified as 52-year-old Khalid Masood, no prior intel on activities

The attacker who killed three people near parliament in London before being shot dead was named on Thursday as British-born Khalid Masood, who was once investigated by MI5 intelligence officers over concerns about violent extremism.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement issued by its Amaq news agency, but did not name Masood and gave no details. It was not clear whether the attacker was directly connected to the jihadist group.

Police said Masood, 52, was born in the county of Kent in southeast England and was most recently living in the West Midlands region of central England. He was known by a “number of aliases”.

“Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

“However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH (grievous bodily harm), possession of offensive weapons and public order offences” ranging from 1983 to 2003.

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier told parliament the attacker had once been investigated by the MI5 intelligence agency over concerns about violent extremism, but was a peripheral figure.

During five minutes of mayhem in the heart of London on Wednesday, Masood sped across Westminster Bridge in a car, ploughing into pedestrians. He then ran through the gates of the nearby parliament building and fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman before being shot dead.

Police arrested eight people at six locations in London and Birmingham in the investigation into the attack, which May said was inspired by a warped Islamist ideology.

The Enterprise rental car company said the vehicle used in the attack had been rented from its Spring Hill branch in Birmingham, which is located in the West Midlands.

“An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the licence plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities,” said company spokesman John Davies.

About 40 people were injured in the attack, of whom 29 remain in hospital, seven in critical condition.

The attack took place on the first anniversary of attacks that killed 32 people in Brussels, and resembled Islamic State-inspired attacks in France and Germany where vehicles were driven into crowds.

The dead were two members of the public, the stabbed policeman and Masood.

“My thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday’s awful violence,” Queen Elizabeth said in a message.

US tourist Kurt Cochran was named as one of the dead in a Facebook post by family member Shantell Payne.

“With a heavy heart I must pass the sad news of our beautiful brother, father, husband, son and friend Kurt Cochran, he could not overcome the injuries he received in the London terror attacks,” Payne wrote.

Her post said Cochran’s wife, Melissa Payne Cochran, was in hospital with a broken leg and rib and a cut on her head but would recover.

“I am New India” Innovation and Youth campaign organized at JNU addressed by Ms. Poonam Mahajan

A new India is emerging, which is being powered by the strength & skills of 125 crore Indians. This India stands for development.: PM Modi

When we mark 75 years of freedom in 2022, we should have made an India that will make Gandhi Ji, Sardar Patel & Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar proud : PM Narendra Modi

Taking this dream campaign of PM Modi further, today Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha National President Smt  Poonam Mahajan, MP (Lok Sabha) Today, addressed the Youth at a Seminar organised at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) Campus  to mark Shaheedee Diwas- March 23rd when three youth icons – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev – sacrificed their lives for the nation, Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha under the leadership of Smt. Poonam Mahajan is taking the concept of “I am New India”(#IamNewIndia) to the students and youth. The first in line is an event organised by BJYM on ““New India” Innovation and Youth” at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Taking forward the “I am New India” campaign initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Smt. Poonam Mahajan said, India is growing under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji. Dream schemes of Modi Government, be it “Make in India or start Up India, the focus population is the Youth. Prime Minister has high hopes of the Youth of India. It is the start of development of “New India” for the Youth.

“I am New India” campaign is about the aspirations of the youth in building a strong and inclusive India. The Prime Minister, while launching this campaign said that a new India was rising. “A new India of the dreams of its Yuva Shakti is taking shape. A new India that fulfils aspirations of its Nari Shakti is taking shape. A new India about giving opportunities to the poor is taking shape.”

The campaign, on Narendra Modi App, presents for youth a choice of 9 pledges ranging from women led development, drug free India, environment, job creation etc. Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, in this event, focused on the pledge to “stand for an India of Shanti, Ekta and Sadbhavana” that asks for people to pledge to be part of the New India, powered by the strength of 125 crore Indians away from any form of exploitation and to build a strong, prosperous and inclusive India by 2022.

Speaking on the occasion, Smt. Poonam Mahajan said, “It is great to know that such seminar of “Making New India“ is happening at the same place where the slogans of “Breaking India” were raised. He congratulated the organisers of the event.

The event was well received and attended. Other speakers at the event were Dr. Shiv Shakti Bakshi (National in-charge, Publication and Journal Dept., BJP) and Dr. Dhananjay Singh (assistant Professor, JNU)

 

Court accords human status to Ganga, Yamuna

In a landmark judgement, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday accorded the status of “living human entities” to the Ganga and Yamuna, two of India’s most sacred rivers.
Exercising extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, a division bench of Justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh of the High Court said, “Holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna have been declared to be treated as a living human entities.”

Agreeing with advocate MC Pant, the court cited the example of river Whanganui in New Zealand which has been given such status.

Giving the “legal status” of living humans to the holy rivers, the court ordered that the Director, Namami Gange project for cleaning and rejuvenating the river, the Chief Secretary and the Advocate General of Uttarakhand will act as the “legal parents” of the holy rivers and work as a the human face to protect, conserve and preserve them and their tributaries.

These officers will be bound to “uphold the status” of the two rivers and also promote their “health and well being”, the court said.

The matter related to mining and stone crushing along the banks of the Ganga.

On a PIL filed by Haridwar resident Mohammad Salim, the court ordered the Dehradun District Magistrate to remove encroachment from the Shakti canal of the Ganga at Dhakrani within the next 72 hours.

It ordered that the DM be suspended if he failed to comply with the directive.

The petitioner contended that though the holy rivers connect the two states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, there is “no effective distribution of properties attached to their tributaries between them”.

The court also ordered the authorities to work out the division of various properties between the neighbouring states under Uttar Pradesh Re-Oganization Act, 2000, a matter pending since the inception of Uttarakhand in the year 2000.

The court also directed the government to form a Ganga Management Board within the next eight weeks in accordance with an earlier order of the court in December 2016.

Rajya Sabha passes HIV and AIDS (Prevention & Control) Bill, 2014

A crucial bill to ensure equal rights to people afflicted with HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admission in educational institutions and jobs, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Responding to the debate on the bill, Union Health Minister JP Nadda hailed the passage of the bill. Saying today is a historic day because the government can now ensure better quality of life to people living with these diseases.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014.

The Bill, moved for consideration in the House by Health Minister J P Nadda, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS, provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment, places obligations on establishments to safeguard their rights, and creates mechanisms for redressing their complaints.

The bill seeks to assure treatment to patients without stigmatising them and for action in the event of being denied treatment.

It also makes it obligatory for the Central and State governments to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and arrange for the management of risk reduction of vulnerable populations.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath meets PM Modi

Newly appointed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath paid a visit to the capital New Delhi for the first time since assuming his post.

Adityanath met President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan and also had a meeting with Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi with whom he discussed numerous matters. UP CM was also seen in Lok Sabha.

Speaking in the lower house, he the support of all in UP’s journey of progress and reiterated his government’s commitment to law and order and good governance.

Adityanath Yogi also met BJP chief Amit Shah with whom it is believed he discussed distribution of portfolios along with the roadmap for the state government. Shah has already been quoted as saying that preparations for 2019 have begun and UP in this context is important as the party had won 73 of the 80 seats here in the last Lok Sabha elections.

He also met Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu who advised him to fast-track urban development in UP and utilise grant of 11,000 crore rupees made to the state recently under AMRUT scheme.

Earlier CM Yogi had met the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh as well as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

In his 20 minute meeting with HM Rajnath Singh who has also served as UP CM, the conversation centred around a number of matters even as the HM extended his greetings to the newly appointed government in the state.

As of now it is clear that the Yogi govt. wants to leave no stone unturned to fulfill the promises made to the people during the polls. From his first day in office announcement of commitment to transparent governance and an efficient law and order system it is clear this govt. means business.

CM Adityanath Yogi’s Delhi visit gains also significance as all eyes are on the distribution of portfolios which is on the cards soon as also the first indications of how the many election promises will be implemented.

PM Modi chairs BJP Parliamentary party meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday advised party MPs at BJP’s Parliamentary Party meeting to attend Parliament regularly on the back of instances of poor attendance of MPs in both Houses of Parliament.

He also called upon BJP workers to celebrate party’s Foundation Day on 6th April across the nation and asked them to generate awareness on GST among people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been specially vigilant when it comes to attendance in Parliament. He has always been firm in his instructions to BJP members of the house to participate enthusiastically in proceedings.

The decision to celebrate the BJP’s Foundation day on April 6 across the country was also fleshed out. A Seminar of primary members of Gram Panchayats will be organised on that occasion.

It was also decided that the Bhimrao Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations on 14th April would include a special awareness program for the BHIM app. It will be participated in by all BJP members and MLAs.

Another highlight at the Parliamentary Party meet was GST. This was the first such meet held after the Cabinet nod to 4 GST enabling bills.

PM Modi urged MPs to facilitate dialogue between officials and traders regarding the tax reform to ensure smooth flow of information. The NDA govt. at the Centre completes three years on May 26 and special efforts are being made to take the govt’s achievements to the people.

Trump nominates Indian-American to top judicial post

Amul Thapar, an Indian-American legal luminary, has been nominated by US President Donald Trump to a key judicial position on the powerful US court of appeals.

Thapar, 47, who in 2007 became the first South Asian Article III judge when he was appointed as a US District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, is the first Indian-American to be nominated by Trump for the top judicial post on Monday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Thapar will be part of the powerful US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

Thapar was among the 20 judges whose names Trump had released during his presidential campaign as shortlisted candidates for his Supreme Court nominees. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded Trump for announcing his intent to nominate Thapar to serve on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Throughout his already impressive career of public service, Amul has shown an incredible intellect and an unshakable dedication to the law,” McConnell said.

“He has earned the respect of his colleagues, and I know that he will bring to the Sixth Circuit the same wisdom, fairness, and ability that he has shown on the District Court. President Trump made an outstanding choice and I look forward to the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Thapar,” the Senate Majority leader said in a statement.

The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) which is normally critical of Trump, lauded Trump for his intent. “Judge Thapar is a respected and thoughtful jurist who has long served as role model for the South Asian and greater legal community,” said Vichal Kumar, SABA president.

“Despite being among the youngest judges in the federal judiciary, Judge Thapar quickly established a reputation as a top legal scholar among his peers. His nomination furthers SABA’s mission of ensuring a judiciary that reflects the diversity of our country and we anticipate that his eminent qualifications will earn him a swift confirmation,” Kumar said.

Prior to joining the bench, Thapar, winner of SABA’s Pioneer Award, served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 2006-2007, where he was one of the first American Attorneys of South Asian descent.

During that period, Thapar was appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) and chaired the AGAC’s Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture subcommittee. He also served on the Terrorism and National Security subcommittee, the Violent Crime subcommittee, and Child Exploitation working group.

Paswan favours legal solution to Ayodhya temple issue

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the vexed issue of construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya should be resolved legally.

“The Ayodhya issue must be resolved through a court verdict,” the Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister told reporters.

“Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not speak on contentious issues like Ram Temple at Ayodhya and scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution conferring special status to Jammu and Kashmir and instead sought votes in the name of development and eradication of corruption during electioneering in UP and other states,” Paswan said at a press conference.

Modi has committed to people of Uttar Pradesh to work for empowering poor people, development and eradicating graft and the Yogi Adityanath government should move in that direction, the Union Minister said.

Paswan, whose party — Lok Janshakti — is part of the ruling NDA at the Centre, showered fulsome praise on the Prime Minister for leading the BJP’s campaign in recently held assembly polls in five states, four of which have got a BJP-led government.

“The entire opposition has been swept away by ‘Modi Tsunami’, particularly in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Pawan said the LJP did not put up any candidate in UP despite having support base as it could have divided votes and benefited opposition parties.

He said he does not believe that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could lead the opposition campaign against Modi in the 2019 general elections.

Kumar does not stand a chance against the PM and will be swept aside in Bihar if elections were to be held today. The Prime Minister is so popular among the masses, he said.

The LJP chief drew satisfaction from his party’s decent performance in Manipur where it won a seat and is part of the BJP-led coalition government.

Speaking on the occasion, Paswan’s son and LJP MP, Chirag Paswan, claimed all is not well between RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and therefore, mid-term polls in Bihar cannot be ruled out.
“There are reports of sharp differences between Lalu and Nitish… In such a situation, mid-term polls in Bihar cannot be ruled out,” he said, adding that the LJP was prepared for any such eventually.

Yogi Adityanath takes oath as UP CM

Yogi Adityanath swarns as UP CM
Yogi Adityanath swarns as UP CM

Yogi Adityanath sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh this afternoon. Governor Ram Naik administered the oath of office and secrecy to AdityaNath and his Cabinet in Lucknow.

BJP state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and party’s national vice president Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as cabinet ministers by Governor Ram Naik at a grand ceremony at Kanshiram Smriti Upvan.

Five times MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath sworn in as UP CM in Lucknow in presence of Prime Minister Modi, BJP President Amit SHah and other senior BJP leaders; KP Maurya and Dinesh Sharma take oath as deputy CM.

They will assist 44-year-old Adityanath as as deputy chief ministers. Interestingly, none of the three is a legislator in UP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief Amit Shah and party veteran L K Advani were present at the ceremony, which was also attended by outgoing chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Several BJP chief Ministers also attended the function.

Yogi Adityanath’s name was unanimously decided as the leader of the state legislature party in the meeting of newly elected MLAs held at Lok Bhawan yesterday.

New Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is BJP’s heavyweight and firebrand leader.

He is the Mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt, a Hindu temple in Gorakhpur since September 2014.

Born on 5th June 1972 at Panchur in Pauri Garhwal of Uttarakhand, Adityanath comes from a Rajput family. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Science from Uttarakhand.

Adityanath was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at the age of 26 years in 1998. He has been elected as an MP from Gorakhpur to the Lok Sabha for consecutive five terms in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Adityanath is the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a social, cultural and nationalist group of youth in Uttar Pradesh.

A very popular leader in Uttar Pradesh, he is known for his abilities to attract eyeballs with his impressive speeches.

Yogi, known for his clout in eastern UP districts surrounding Gorakhpur, was the second most sought-after campaigner in the state in recently concluded assembly elections after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Parents of Yogi AdityaNath expressed happiness over the election of their son for the chief ministerial post of Uttar Pradesh. They said, the aim of Adityanath from very start was to serve the people and now he has been given a big role to play.