Nation marks Vasant Panchami as devotees throng banks of River Ganges to take holy dip

Allahabad, Jan 24 (ANI): Thousands of devotees thronged Sangam, the confluence of three rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati- in Allahabad to mark the religious festival Vasant Panchami on Saturday. The festival is celebrated every year in the month of Magh according to the Hindu calendar and is also called as Saraswati Puja or the Basant Festival of Kites for Sikh. The river banks were seen flooded with people who came to take holy dip in sacred river. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended greetings to the people on the occasion of Vasant Panchami. Prime Minister took to twitter for extending his wishes, hoping that the festival will bring gaiety and enthusiasm in people's life. Jan 24, 2015

Army says security arrangements in J&K enhanced for Republic Day

Srinagar, Jan 24 (ANI): General Officer Commanding of Kashmir based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha, said on Saturday that security arrangements have been enhanced in Kashmir before Republic Day. Saha said that currently the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir is stable. He added that there have been ceasefire violations in Pir Panjal area of the state and even infiltration attempts have been made but they were foiled by the army sooner or later. Jan 24, 2015

Gujarat govts circular to schools on compulsory Saraswati Puja raises controversy

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): Gujarat government has issued a circular to schools on performing a compulsory ‘Saraswati Puja’ on the day of Basant Panchmi. AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Ashutosh have condemned this act of the government saying that government should not force people to participate in worship of a particular religion or God. JD (U) leader KC Tyagi also condemned the act of Gujarat government saying that it will spread communalism. Jan 24, 2015

UAE President announces 3-day mourning for Saudi Arabia King Abdullah

Riyadh, Jan 24 (ANI): UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced three days of mourning after the passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. He said the mourning would start on Friday and ordered the UAE national flag to be flown at half-mast at all government departments in the UAE and at all embassies and diplomatic missions of the UAE overseas. Earlier, King Abdullah was carried in a simple white shroud to an unmarked grave on Friday, in keeping with local religious traditions. Wahhabi Sunni Islam, the form of religion practiced by the Saudi state, considers ostentatious displays of grief or mourning to be sinful and akin to idolatry. Before his burial, Abdullah's body was transported in a city ambulance to a mosque, where Muslim leaders, Saudi Princes, powerful clerics and billionaire Arab businessmen gathered for prayers. Jan 24, 2015

Politicos react as EC censures Kejriwal for poll code violation

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): Political leaders on Saturday react as Election Commission censured AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal for his reported remarks that BJP was inciting communal riots in parts of Delhi. Terming Kejriwal as an 'anarchist', BJP leader Sambit Patra said that people of Delhi needs administration and not anarchy. GVL Narsimha Rao said that poll panel should take harshest action against the AAP chief. Party's CM Candidate also slammed him and said that she does not believe in such actions. Congress leader PC Chacko said that such statements by AAP leader show what kind of person he is. Meanwhile, JD (U) leader KC Tyagi said that the party wants AAP to come to power and not the BJP. Jan 24, 2015

AAP condemns as Kejriwal doesn t receive formal invite for Republic Day celebration

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): AAP leaders Ashutosh and Kumar Vishwas on Saturday condemned as Arvind Kejriwal did not receive any formal invitation for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. They said that keeping aside political rivalries, all former Cabinet ministers should have received a formal invitation to attend Republic Day Parade celebrations. Vishwas and Ashutosh said that Kejriwal has been the Chief Minister of Delhi, with which relation he should have been invited. Jan 24, 2015

Former Foreign Secretary says Obama's visit will boost India-US relations

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): Former Foreign Secretary Shashank said on Saturday that US President Barack Obama's visit to India will boost relations between both countries. Shashank said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to US has given an impression to the States that he is not that kind of a leader which its investigation agencies and Pakistan had portrayed. Also, prior to Obama's visit Pakistan has been warned about conducting any terror attacks followed by Pakistan's ban on major terrorist organizations like Jamat-ud-Dawah. Jan 24, 2015

Kiran Bedi interacts with people of Krishna Nagar constituency, says vote for BJP to bring governanc

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): BJP's chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, Kiran Bedi on Saturday visited Krishna Nagar constituency and interacted with the people on various issues facing them. Bedi urged the people to vote for the BJP if they want to bring in governance to the national capital. She also appealed that the voters do not get deviated by the charming deals kept by the other political parties. She said that nothing comes free and when somebody promises to give something for free, it definitely brings in no returns. Jan 24, 2015

Delhi Metro services to be partially curtailed on Republic Day

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): The services of Delhi Metro will be partially curtailed on Jan 26 as part of the security arrangements for the Republic Day celebrations as per the instructions of Delhi Police. Metro schedules of Line - 2 (HUDA City Centre - Jahangirpuri), Line - 3 (Noida City Centre - Dwarka Sector 21), Line -4 (Yamuna Bank to Vaishali) and Line 6 (Mandi House - Badarpur) have been partially modified for January 26. Entry and Exit at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations will remain closed from 06:00 am up to12:00 Noon while Patel Chowk and Race Course Metro stations entry and exit will remain closed from 08:45 am to 12:00 Noon. Both Mandi House and Pragati Maidan Metro stations will be closed for public from 10:45 am up to 11:45 am. Jan 24, 2015

Maoists torch vehicles in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli

Gadchiroli, Jan 24 (ANI): Maoists set fire to 14 vehicles of a road construction company in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The vehicles belonging to a road construction company called Sarla, based in Andhra Pradesh, were set on fire by a group of 100 Maoists. The company had been working in the area for the last two months and had so far completed the construction of 13 kilometres of road. So far, no Maoist group has come forward claiming the responsibility for the attack. The reason behind this attack is also not yet clear. Among the vehicles burnt were eight tractors, two trucks, one road roller, one pick up vehicle and two bull dozers. Reportedly, the police have launched a manhunt to nab the culprits. Jan 24, 2015

Irom Sharmila re-arrested in Manipur a day after her release from prison hospital

Imphal, Jan 24 (ANI): Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, on hunger strike for the last 14 years in protest against alleged army atrocities, was re-arrested, a day after being released from detention in Manipur. The activist was released from a state hospital after a court found no evidence to support earlier charges filed by state prosecutors that she was trying to commit suicide by refusing food. After walking out free, Sharmila again began her fast through the night. She was examined by a team of doctors from the government hospital. She was asked by the police to go to a hospital but she refused. She is in a government hospital under police watch where she is force fed through nose. Jan 24, 2015

Security forces arrest Maoist in Jharkhand

Giridih, Jan 24 (ANI): Security forces arrested a Maoist zonal commander in a major offensive against rebels in Jharkhand, a senior police official said. A country made pistol and live cartridges were seized from his possession. Security forces and police have launched an "all out operation" against People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a breakaway faction of the CPI (Maoist) and the second largest extremist outfit in Jharkhand. Forces are raiding hideouts in Gumla, Simdega, Ranchi and Singhbhum districts of the rebel outfits' hotbed. The arrested rebel chief has been identified as Madan Rai. The Maoists, also known as Naxals in India, are inspired by the political philosophy of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. Jan 24, 2015