India retains 84th position among the world’s most corrupt nations (17th Nov 2009) Transparency International has released their annual corruption index, and has ranked China as 79th and India 84th out of 180 countries. The evaluation of the extent of corruption is based on opinion from country experts – resident and non-residents – and business leaders. The corruption index measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in a country. New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland are the top five least corrupt nations.
India second worst terror-hit country, says NGO (14th Nov 2009)India is the second worst terrorism-afflicted country - behind only war-ravaged Iraq - facing eight terror attacks in 2008 alone and losing over 3,500 lives in the last few years. Quoting a recent United States (US) report, city-based NGO "Bombay First", said India follows Iraq in the number of lives lost in terror attacks last year.
K.R. Narayanan Award for the Hindu Chief Editor N. Ram (13th Nov 2009)N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of Hindu has been chosen for this year’s K.R. Narayanan Award for his outstanding contribution to journalism in India. Instituted by the K.R. Narayanan Foundation in memory of the late President, the award is to honor individuals who have excelled in various fields. It carries a statuette, citation and a ‘ponnada.’
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda was discharged from a hospital and will be questioned by the Income Tax department in a money laundering case on Nov 10 while the Enforcement Directorate summoned him to appear before Nov 13 who is in the Rs 2,000 crore alleged Hawala and illegal investments case.
India and Sweden are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on environment as Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld visits India on Thursday for the 10th India-EU summit.The MoU will cover climate change, clean technology, clean development mechanisms, environmental protection, environmental governance and air-water quality.
Rukhsana, the valiant and determined Jammu and Kashmir girl, who took on Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists who barged into her house in September, has been appointed special police officer (SPO), a temporary job which will fetch her Rs 3,000 a month. Rukhsana is currently in Delhi. Her brother, Aijaz, too has been appointed SPO
Radhakrishnan, one of the key persons behind India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, on Saturday took over as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Dr Radhakrishnan, also director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, succeeds Dr G Madhavan Nair. Dr K Radhakrishnan is an accomplished technocrat with a distinguished career of more than 38 years in the fields of space technology, applications and space programme management.
Dorjee Khandu, who led the Congress to a two-thirds majority in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections, was sworn in as the fifth Chief Minister of the state. All the newly-elected MLAs were present at the oath-taking ceremony. Khandu, a former army intelligence officer rewarded for his exploits during the Bangladesh war, had turned a social activist before joining politics in 1980.
Oscar winner musician A. R. Rahman's 'Jai ho' has again won laurels at prestigious World Soundtrack Academy awards in Ghent (Belgium).This song from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE won "best original song written for film" category at the ninth World Soundtrack Awards announced at Ghent.
India successfully test fired the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile twice from a test range in Orissa, officials said. The missiles were fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district, some 230 km from state capital Bhubaneswar first at 10.28 a.m. and then again five minutes later at 10.33 a.m.
The tests were described as part of a "user trial”. Two naval ships tracked and monitored both the missiles hitting the targets accurately. All the radars and other sensors along the east coast monitored the missiles' trajectory parameters. The missiles have a striking range of about 350 km.Prithvi is India's first indigenously built ballistic missile. It is one of five missiles being developed under India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).Two versions of the missiles have already been deployed with the Army and the Air Force. According to defense officials in the national capital, Prithvi missile has the capability to carry 500-kg of warhead.
The Commonwealth Games Federation officials have expressed buoyancy over India's capability to host the 2010 event, after completing the second day of inspection.
Visiting shooting range in Tughlaqabad, Jamia Milia complex, the Rugby 7s facility in Delhi University and Siri Fort Complex where the badminton event is scheduled to take place, the delegates were convinced that the country could hold 'great' Games in 2010. In the press release released by the committee, Australia's Don Stockins has been quoted as saying "So far it's good. The block that we visited in the Games Village was good; if all end up like that it will be great. Delhi will be a great host and it is a very pretty city." Jamaican Olympic Association Vice-President Donald Anderson has also expressed confidence in India's facility to host the games next year.
Heavy rain and floods have inundated many parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra killing over 200 people and leaving millions homeless. The US announced $100,000 aid for the victims of recent floods in parts of southern and western India.'The heart-breaking personal loss, the destruction of homes and property, and the loss of cattle and crops have been devastating,' US ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said while announcing the aid.
Dolphin is now India’s national aquatic animal. The decision was taken following a suggestion by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said the new status for the dolphin would help save the rare freshwater species from disappearing from the country’s aqua map.
Five days of torrential rain have left at least 205 people dead and 750,000 displaced in southern India, authorities said. Floods submerged villages, severed transport and communication links and raised fears of disease spreading in relief camps. Large parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states – which weeks ago were suffering a severe drought – have been inundated. Air force helicopters dropped food and drinking water packages to hundreds of cut-off villages. The flooding worsened after authorities released water from rain-swollen reservoirs to prevent them from bursting their banks.
Air India cancels over 20 flights, pilots agitation continues. With the agitation by Air India Executive pilots entering the fourth day, the airlines cancelled over 20 flights, including 15 from the national capital, and suspended bookings for the next 15 days.
Talks between the management and the striking Executive pilots failed to break the deadlock over the issue of cut in perks. The agitation by the pilots, who are protesting against the cut in the Productivity Linked Incentives (PIL), is likely to intensify as the executive pilots working with the airlines before its merger also joined them.
India's first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 has found evidence of large quantities of water on the lunar surface, before the project was terminated by ISRO. This discovery is credited to the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration). NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an imaging spectrometer, was one of the 11 instruments on board Chandrayaan-I. M3 was aimed at providing the first mineral map of the entire lunar surface. Lunar scientist’s debate for possibility of water repositories came to an end. Chandrayaan-1 was India's first unmanned lunar probe which was launched by ISRO on 22 October 2008. After suffering from several technical issues including failure of the star sensors and poor thermal shielding, Chandrayaan stopped sending radio signals on 29 August 2009 shortly after which, the ISRO officially declared the mission over. Chandrayaan operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95 per cent of its planned objectives.
India successfully launched a cluster of six European micro-satellites into low-earth orbit after deploying its 960 kg remote sensing satellite Oceansat-2 in the polar sun-synchronous orbit. Of the six micro-satellites, four are from Germany and one each from Switzerland and Turkey, with a combined weight of 20 kg. The first four tiny spacecraft, named Cubsats, are educational satellites from European universities weighing around 1 kg and developed to perform technology demonstration in space. The other two spacecrafts are named Rubin-9.1 and Rubin-9.2 weighing 8 kg each, are primarily used for the automatic identification system for maritime applications.
An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale felt by people in parts of Assam, other north-eastern states of India, West Bengal and neighboring Bhutan Monday afternoon causing damage to various properties in both the countries. The duration of this earthquake was around 5 seconds. The epicenter was plotted in Munggar in Bhutan. Munggar, is located along the India-Bhutan border, 125 km northwest of Guwahati where the abnormal movement of earthquake was observed.
The BJP seems to be in the docks after the Lok Sabha defeat. BJP has expelled Jaswant Singh, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Khanduri from the party. Also BJP has decided to break ties with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana. BJP president Rajnath Singh also asked senior Rajasthan leader Vasundhara Raje to resign as leader of opposition. In the party meet it has been decided that Advani will resign as party opposition leader and will not be primeministerial candidate for the next election. Seems like a lot of “Manthan” or churning within the party.
The Dynamic Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is no more. Mr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy was on his way to Chittoor from Hyderabad in a Helicopter. After sometime in flight, the chopper went missing in the dense forest area of Nallamalalla hill range. A massive hunt for the missing aircraft was launched. Three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters from Bangalore were involved in finding about the helicopter and the missing YSR. After a day, the missing chopper was found in a mangled state along with five burnt bodies. About 100 people died of shock after hearing the news of YSR’s death.
Almost all the state ministers, about 22 MPs and several Congress legislators have pitched for Jaganmohan Reddy, son of Late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to be the next CM of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress meanwhile is waiting for the euphoria to settle before deciding.
A Mumbai actress has been arrested for allegedly abusing her 10-year-old maid. The TV actress, Urvashi Dhaanorkar who reportedly brought the minor girl to Mumbai in the pretext of adoption and education and kept her captive and tortured her. She had received burns and injuries. The girl told reporters that she was roughed up by the actresses. The case came to light when one of the neighbours found the girl in a bad condition and decided to go to the police. The police who rescued the girl from the Raheja Classic Society in Andheri arrested the actress under the Child Abuse Act.
An Indian Navy fighter jet crashed into the Arabian Sea and the pilot is presumed dead. The jet, a British-made Sea Harrier, plummeted into the sea 15 kilometers off Goa's coast. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
India's first Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, Bollywood actors Shahid Kapoor and Katrina Kaif and other young achievers were felicitated with prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Award.
Mahatma Gandhi's Johannesburg house, has been bought by a Bandra businessman, Pradeep Bhavnani for about Rs 2.25 crore on July 30. Mahatma Gandhi lived in this house from 1908 for three years while he fought against the racial discrimination in South Africa as a lawyer. The house that was designed by artist Hermann Kallenbach is called 'The Kraal'. Pradeep Bhavnani, who is senior BJP leader L K Advani’s nephew and a self-professed Gandhian is planning to turn it into a museum. After buying the house, he intends to buy 34 souvenirs and photographs from the Aditya Birla Group to install them in the museum. After inaugurating the museum on Oct 2, Gandhi’s birth anniversary, it will be handed over to Government of India on the same day.
Rajmata Gayatri Devi passed away after a prolonged illness at the age of 90. The people of the city gave their daily routines a miss to catch a glimpse of the Queen's last journey. They grieved the fact that the only person who really cared about their grievances had passed away. The Queen was cremated with State Honours and the event was graced by the presence of the Rajasthan Governor Shailendra Kumar Singh and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, along with several members of the State Cabinet.
Palak Agarwal, is one of the two school girls selected from India for NASA training in space shuttle designing. She is a student of 10th class in a school in remote Karnal dist. She was selected under a student programme under which a few students across the globe get an opportunity to get training in NASA.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur launched the country's first nuclear powered attack submarine, INS Arihant in Vishakhapatnam. The INS Arihant will be commissioned in the Indian Navy after extensive outfitting and sea trials. It is the first of three such vessels to be built in the country. Its length is 112-metre-long. India has achieved a 'historic milestone in the country's defence preparedness' with the launch of the submarine.
Bill Gates has received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2003, the foundation launched Avahan, a 10-year initiative to support India's efforts to reduce the spread of HIV.
The Congress president Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the Bandra Worli sea link in Mumbai. The 5.6 kilometers long cable-stayed bridge has been designed to allow for speedy road travel between Bandra and Worli. It costs Rs. 50 to take a trip on the link, and will cost Rs. 75 for a round trip. It would be nothing compared to the Rs 100 crore per year that the link will save in the vehicle operating cost alone. The link is equipped for traffic monitoring, emergency support and an automated toll system. The construction of the sea link would save people's time.
R Regupathi, a Madras High Court judge has threatened to write to the central government and the prime minister about a Union Minister seeking to influence him to release a medical student petitioner and his father, a doctor on anticipatory bail. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked both of them in connection with a forged mark sheet case.
Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) has suggested that the government may make class X examination optional for students. He said that the examination system would be reformed in accordance with the National Curriculum framework-2005. This will permit students to continue in the same school. Schools may take an internal assessment test instead. This he says, will be done in 100 days.
Indian Air Force, Army and paramilitary forces made a search for missing Air Force AN-32 aircraft which crashed over Arunachal Pradesh. The IAF began aerial reconnaissance to trace the transport aircraft while Army and paramilitary forces too have been pressed into the search operation. There were 13 people on board including six IAF officers and seven Army personnel and all of them are feared dead. The aircraft had taken off from Machuka in Arunachal Pradesh on a supply sortie and was on its way to Mohanbari in Assam when it went off radar due to bad weather and crashed. The last radio contact with the missing aircraft was 35 miles from Machuka. Top-level sources in IAF say that the flying crew of the AN-32 was highly experienced and bad weather is suspected to be the reason for the crash.
A family in Andhra Pradesh mourning the loss of their 19-year-old member Ganpati in a road accident has ensured his legacy by donating his organs and transforming the lives of seven people. Johnson, a six-year-old boy, was suffering from the dangerous blue baby syndrome but now a critical heart surgery has ensured he would live healthily. It's not just Johnson but six other people, too, who have received vital organs including the kidneys and liver donated from Ganapati’s body. Ganapati had met with an accident and was brought to hospital brain dead. Doctors counselled with the family. Though it wasn't an easy decision for Ganapati's family to donate his organs, Ganapati's elder brother Pradeep went ahead, believing that his brother will live on by this deed. Ganapati's family is unaware of the identities of any of the seven people who have benefited from his organs. But they do find solace in the thought that Ganapati continues to live on.
The common people of Mumbai may now dream of affordable homes. An ambitious low-cost housing programme promises to provide flats on rent for as less as Rs 800. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) announced that they are going to construct 133,000 flats near the city. The MMRDA, in collaboration with real estate giant HDIL, will construct the flats on 525 acres in Virar suburb in Thane district north of Mumbai. The project aims to house around 2 lakh people in the flats. The rent for the flats will range from Rs 800 to Rs 1,500 per month. Each flat measures 160 sq ft and will be given on lease for a period of five years. The Metropolitan Commissioner told that 90,000 (flats) are made for free-sale components and 43,000 are purely rental housing tenements of 160 sq feet each. Only people with a minimum monthly income of Rs 5,000 will be eligible to apply for houses. Applicants should preferably be residing in Maharashtra but it isn't a compulsory requirement. The MMRDA also announced eight other low-cost housing projects in the city to house 5 lakh families in the next few years. The authority will earn Rs 5,000 crore in rent and builders will benefit as they would be allowed to construct taller buildings with more flats.
Shravan Kumar, a 25-year-old student was attacked by teenagers in Australia is battling for life after he and three of his friends from Andhra Pradesh were attacked on May 26. Doctors are not 'very optimistic' about chances of his recovery. Shravan was critically injured after one of the boys attacked him with a screwdriver. The other three identified as A Krian, Subhash and Sandip escaped with minor injuries. The attackers abused the Indian students and asked them to leave Australia. While Shravan is still in hospital, the other three moved out of the house. This is the second attack on Indian students in a week. Meanwhile there are reports that the house where Shravan and his friends were staying is apparently robbed by some miscreants.
The amazing victory of the Congress Party and the pathetic defeat of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls 2009 has come as a surprise. Nobody expected that the Congress will bag over 200 seats on its own and cross 260 with its allies. All political Pundits and Sephologists were predicting highly fractured result on 16 May 2009, the day of counting. But May 16 became a 'black Saturday' for the Bharatiya Janata Party with an astonishing victory for the Congress. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi once again made it clear that she is not in race for the PM post of India. Ms Gandhi had made her point clear that Manmohan Singh is the Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress. This cleared a long standing doubt in the minds of many Indians who are not happy to see a foreigner as India's Prime Minister. This worked and converted into votes.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam results for the year 2008 were announced. A higher number of women have topped these numbers. The top three ranks have been grabbed by women for the first time. The Rank 1 holder, 30-year-old Shubhra Saxena from Ghaziabad has become the talk of the country. She told the media that the risk of quitting her job to serve the rural masses was worth it.
The river Ganga remains highly polluted even after being declared the 'National River' by the Central Government. Filled with chemical wastes, sewage and even the remains of human and animal corpses, it poses major health risks to around 400 million people living by its side and all others who benefit from it. The Ganga also suffers from another major problem called silting which results into chocking of its flow.
People believe that constructing dams on the Ganga could be the cause of low water level in the river. The residents say no steps have been taken to improve the condition of the Ganga. The condition of the Ganga is deteriorating by the day. There is more sand in it. Though it is declared a 'National River', no efforts are being made to clean it. If water is released from the dam, then only the water level will increase in the river. Efforts have always made to clean up the Ganga since a long time but none have been proved successful.
In the Satyam Computers bidding process, three huge companies namely Tech Mahindra, Engineering L&T, and Wilbur Ross had participated. Tech Mahindra has won in the Satyam bid by paying Rs. 1757 crore and now has 31% stake in Satyam. Tech Mahindra will pay Rs 58 per share; L&T had offered to pay of 49 Rs per share and so lost out.
Aakriti Bhatia of class 12 student of the Modern School in Vasant Vihar of Delhi died due to an asthma attack. Her parent’s alleged negligence by the school resulting in her death. It seems while taking Aakriti to hospital the school authorities removed the oxygen provided to her, also instead of calling an ambulance they waited for Akriti's father's car to take her to hospital, which could have lead to the death. However the school claims that they did everything possible to save her. Other parents and people are demonstrating against the school.
Hundreds of parents opposing the fee hike in schools protested at various places in Delhi and demanded its immediate rollback. The parents association of Guru Nanak Public School staged a demonstration and criticized the school authorities over the fee hike. All India Parents Association (AIPA) also extended its support to the demonstration. The children also shouted slogans from the classrooms. The matter of fee hike has been challenged in the Delhi High Court. The court would hear the case on April 29.
People's car 'Nano' launched amidst much waiting and expectation.
Tata Motor's 'Nano' was commercially launched in Mumbai on 23/3/09 promising to meet the expectations of people under some circumstances which is likely to bring about a change in the auto market in the nation
As prime ministerial candidate L K Advani and chief minister Narendra Modi on 27/3/09 launched the BJP’s campaign at the Kankaria lakefront, a few kilometres away, in Gandhinagar, Maya Kodnani, a minister in Modi’s cabinet, was arrested in one of the post-Godhra riot cases of 2002.
Minister of state for women and child welfare and higher education, Kodnani was arrested after the Gujarat high court cancelled her anticipatory bail on Friday in the Naroda Patia and Naroda Gam riots case. A trained gynaecologist, she resigned from the ministry and surrendered before the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team in Gandhinagar with VHP leader Jaideep Patel.
The Election Commission has found the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Varun Gandhi guilty of making remarks against Muslims in an election rally in Pilibit and in the wake, violating polls laws. The EC has also declared that the CD was not doctored and said that it will initiate criminal proceedings against him.
The EC has also asked BJP not to give a ticket to contest polls in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.
"The commission considered the speeches as a grave violation of the model code of conduct, apart from amounting to promoting feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes on the ground of religion, outraging the religious feeling of a particular community, and promoting hatred and ill-will between two classes of citizens and provoking a section of the citizens to indulge in violence."
"Any sponsorship of his candidature by the BJP, or any other political party at this election, would be perceived as endorsing his unpardonable acts of inciting violence and creating feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens of India, destroying the social, democratic and plural fabric of the country," it said.
The fraud at Satyam may well turn out to be the biggest of all scams unearthed from corporate India. Through multiple routes involving a large number of related companies and myriad transactions, the promoters of Satyam Computer Services, led by the company's Chairman Ramalinga Raju, are alleged to have siphoned out a huge quantity of money from the firm. To cover that up, the accounts were manipulated and documents were forged to declare nonexistent cash reserves and understate liabilities.
The money that was taken out may have been used, among other things, to acquire large quantities of land in what seems to be a set of speculative real estate ventures that could enrich the family. The Maytas companies that had titles that spelt Satyam in reverse were important conduits in this process, but there were clearly many more. According to reports, the Registrar of Companies has found that ''Satyam's annual report reveals several transactions with subsidiaries and other group companies by way of investments, purchase of assets and other receivables'' that point to the concealed transfer of funds out of the company.
Shockingly, one of the allegations made by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Andhra Pradesh is that the company had only 40,000 employees on its rolls as compared with the 53,000 claimed by it and the remaining 13,000 were mere fake salary accounts through which as much as Rs. 20 crore a month were taken out of the company over a period of five years. If true, this involves descent to a level of manipulation and fraud that could spell the end for Satyam.
MANGALORE PUB ATTACK
Activists of a self-styled pro-Hindu moral brigade called Sri Rama Sene barged into a pub in the coastal city of Mangalore in january and bashed up a few young girls for 'violating traditional Indian norms'.
At least two girls were punched and their hair pulled by the activists 4 p.m. Saturday at the pub Amnesia - The Lounge in Mangalore, about 350 km from Bangalore. The young men accompanying the girls to the pub on the busy Balmatta Road were also assaulted when they tried to protect their friends.
Following this shocking incident, at least 10 of the activists have been arrested by Mangalore police. From the accounts given by the eyewitnesses, who did not want to be identified, the girls were the target of attack. About 40 men forcibly entered the pub claiming unethical activities were on inside and pushed their way inside. They began assaulting the young men and women who ran for safety. At least two of the girls started screaming for help and managed to flee from the attackers.
The ugly incident has a murky dimension also with leaders of Sri Rama Sene and Bajrang Dal, another pro-Hindu organisation fighting to take credit for the attack in the name of punishing those going against 'traditional Indian norms'.
RAILWAY BUDGET 2009
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav Friday presented his sixth rail budget in February.He is the first Railway Minister to introduce the low fare air-conditioned trains known as "Garib Rath". Fifteen such trains are already running and five more are expected to start in the near future.
The Railways minister cut rail fares across ticket categories by 2% and announced plans for 43 new trains on Friday.
The fare cut will bring down rail fares on air-conditioned travel the most, mounting further pressure on low-cost airlines, while fares for second-class, second-class sleeper, and general compartments will also go down for tickets worth more than Rs 50 per passenger. Suburban commuters who use express or mail trains will also see their ticket costs get Rs 1 cheaper.
The fare cuts, announced in the government’s interim railway budget for 2009-10, are expected to set the Indian Railways back by only around Rs 700 crore but will make little difference to its cash pile of Rs 90,000 crore. In any case, Mr Prasad said a cut in fares would not necessarily lead to a loss of revenues. The Railways has cut fares four times in as many years, lowering AC first class and AC two-tier rates by 28% and 20%, respectively and taking the competition straight to the doors of the low-cost airline sector.
The Minister also proposed starting 43 new trains during 2009-10, and said the Railways would extend services of 14 existing trains. The frequency of various Rajdhani and other express trains will also be increased taking into account the rise in the number of passengers.
DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST VALENTINE'S DAY
Activists of the Hindu fundamentalist political party Shiv Sena on Wednesday staged a token protest at Central Delhis Jantar Mantar against St.Valentines Day celebrations in the capital. The activists said that they viewed celebrations of St.Valentines Day contrary to Indian ethos and a proof of the growing influence of western culture on rest of the world. Besides, the protestors said that the St.Valentines Day was corrupting the Indian youth, as most of the youth on this day take advantage of the occasion and indulge in immoral behaviour at public places.
Such protest were undertaken at quite a few places in India like Bhopal, Bangalore etc. In Uttar Pradesh, Right-wing Hindu activists beat up young couples during Valentine's Day protests across the country. Shiv Sena said it was holding protests across the country against Valentine's Day celebrations which were against Indian culture and had a "corrupting influence" on Indian youth.
Protests by Hindu and Muslim groups were reported from the national capital Delhi, central Bhopal and southern Hyderabad cities.Fifty activists of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party's student wing attacked a shop selling Valentine's Day gifts in Hyderabad and set fire to the greeting cards. They carried saffron flags and chanted slogans such as "Save Culture" and "Death to Valentine's Day." Muslim groups also campaigned against Valentine's Day and displayed posters at public places asking youth to refrain from celebrating the day.
In central Bhopal city, another Hindu right-wing group the Bajrang Dal held protests threatening to marry off lovers found "misbehaving" in public places. Other Hindu religious organizations held protests in the western Gujarat state distributing handbills to college students asking them to shun western culture.
Valentine's Day has become popular in India over the past decade with shops selling romantic cards, heart-shaped balloons, cuddly toys and other gifts. But the day has also seen regular protests by Hindu and Muslim hardliners who claim the celebrations threaten Indian culture and social norms.