Rahul Gandhi returns, puts lid on all speculation



wpid-unnamed.jpgNew Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi returned here today by a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok after a two-month long vacation at an undisclosed location.

The announcement by Congress that Rahul has taken a break coincided with the start of the Budget session of Parliament in February.

Rahul’s absence from Parliament was both a matter of serious discussion in political circles and a subject of jokes and even ridicule on social networking platforms. The Congress managers and spokespersons were finding it hard to put up a brave front while projecting that “their leader” was away to analyse the party’s electoral defeat and chalk out the future course of action. Some in the Congress also came to Rahul’s defence by asserting his right to privacy.
A big cause of embarrassment for the Congress during Rahul’s absence has been the latest suggestion by former Delhi Chief Minister Sheela Dikshit that Sonia Gandhi should continue to lead the party as Rahul lacks experience.

Two teenage girls kidnapped, raped, forced into prostitution by security personnel

Newsroom24 Desk

rape victimBhopal: Two teenage girls in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India went through a harrowing and traumatic ordeal after they were kidnapped and confined by two security personnel of the Special Armed Force (SAF) of the State Police, who raped them along with several others continuously for 50 days.

The heart rending details of the alleged kidnapping incident and the subsequent torture surfaced when the young victims managed to escape and reached the Khandwa police station this past Tuesday with their parents. They were in tears as they recounted the sordid ordeal they had gone through.

The girls told the Police that they were tortured, forced into prostitution, compelled to consume alcohol, and raped repeatedly by several persons.

Besides the two SAF constables accused of committing the crime, the Police have registered a case against more than two dozen unidentified persons.

Town inspector Khandwa Kotwali VS Sisodiya told a section of the media that since statements of the two girls were contradictory, these have been recorded in court under Section 164 CrPC. The parents of both the girls had earleir filed missing persons complaint with the police.

On Tuesday night, the Khandwa city Police registered a case under IPC Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366 (forcing or seducing a minor girl to illicit intercourse with another person, 376 (punishment for rape), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and section 13(1)(10) of the SC/ST (POA) Act and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

According to available information, one of the accused, the SAF jawans is absconding. He along with a colleague had kidnapped the two girls on February 23 after threatening to expose them before their families on the basis of an alleged video. They were kept in a forested area and sexually abused for a long period.

Attempts to contact the Khandwa SP, M S Sikarwar failed as he refused to answer calls on his mobile. The Khandwa Kotwali TI responded to a related query saying he is busy handling the “immediate law and order situation” in his area. However, a head constable at the Khandwa Kotwali police station said that the two teenage victims had been sent for medical examination and the FIR in this case has been transferred to the Anusuchit Jati Janjati Kalyan (SC/ST welfare) Wing (AJK) of the Police.

Modi and Harper bring bilateral relations between India and Canada to a new level

Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, shake hands following a joint press conference in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, shake hands following a joint press conference in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.

Newsroom Desk

Ottawa, Ontario: Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, today witnessed the signing and finalization of six significant initiatives between Canada and India that will help to further advance bilateral relations between the two countries. They were joined by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade.

Harper and Modi Wednesday also attended a reception at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum to celebrate the special relationship that exists between Canada and India. The event was part of Modi’s two-day visit to Canada, which includes stops in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Hosted by the National Alliance of Indo-Canadians and attended by parliamentarians, dignitaries and members of Canada’s vast and vibrant Indian diaspora, the event provided Prime Minister Harper with the opportunity to pay tribute to a community that contributes so much to Canada’s cultural richness and economic strength. In his remarks,Modi expressed his continued commitment to further cementing the already strong bonds that unite Canada and India.

The historic visit by Prime Minister Modi to Canada combined with the number and scope of agreements signed today between our governments clearly demonstrate the commitment of both countries to taking bilateral relations to new heights – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The initiatives announced today will promote greater collaboration between the two countries in the areas of civil aviation, railway transportation, education and skills development, space, social security and maternal, newborn and child health.

Canada and India have longstanding bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy and pluralism, and on strong interpersonal connections with the approximately 1.2 million Indian diaspora community in Canada.

With bilateral merchandise trade valued at $6.3 billion in 2014 and bilateral service trade at over $1.5 billion in 2013, a market of more than 1.2 billion people, and a predicted economic growth of 7.5 per cent in 2015, India represents exciting opportunities for Canadian businesses.

The stock of two-way foreign direct investment (FDI) between Canada and India totaled approximately $4.4 billion in 2013. Of this, the stock of FDI in Canada from India is nearly $3.8 billion and the stock of Canadian FDI in India stood at $613 million.

New initiatives between Canada and India

Civil Aviation

Transport Canada will finalize a memorandum of understanding with India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation that will promote collaboration and cooperation in areas such as airport development, planning and management; aircraft certification; regional and general aviation development; aviation safety and security; and skills development. It will also create a civil aviation working group, bringing together industry stakeholders from both countries.


Transport Canada signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Railways that will foster communication, sharing of information and exchange of best practices in rail transportation, and help create potential opportunities for Canadian private sector investment in rail development projects in India.

Education and Skills Development

Thirteen memoranda of understanding were signed between India’s National Skill Development Council and Canadian colleges and institutes in the fields of agriculture, apparel and textiles, automotive, aviation, construction, green economy, healthcare, hydrocarbons, information technology, telecom and electronics, sports sector, and water.


The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signed an updated memorandum of understanding with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that will in part recognize Indian launch capabilities for Canadian satellites. A memorandum of understanding between ISRO and the CSA on cooperation regarding outer space was first signed in 1996.

Social Security Agreement

The entry-into-force of the Canada-India Social Security Agreement will help eligible individuals qualify for retirement, disability or survivor benefits, and enable employees from Canada who are sent to work temporarily in India to continue to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan and be exempt from contributing to the Employees’ Pension Scheme of India.

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Grand Challenges Canada and India’s Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology announced an investment of $2.5 million toward five innovative projects on newborn and early childhood development in India.