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Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are important but no individual is above the party.

On Gehlot vs Pilot, Jairam Ramesh says individual doesn't matter; 'If tough action needed...'

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are equally important for the party, but the decisions to resolve the crisis in Rajasthan will be taken to strengthen the party -- not looking at the individual. The comment comes in the context of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot calling his bete noire Sachin Pilot 'gaddar' (traitor) which escalated the ongoing tussle between the two Congress leaders in the state.

Amid the protests, the Kalakshetra Foundation announced closing the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts until April 6 and asked the students to vacate the campus. (HT Photo)

Kalakshetra Foundation: College shut down amid stir against ‘sexual harassment’

Students at the Kalakshetra Foundation, an arts and cultural academy in Chennai, have staged protests demanding action against four senior male faculty members accused of sexual harassment. The Foundation has closed the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts until 6 April and asked students to vacate the campus. The students are refusing to leave until they receive justice. The protests come after the students complained that Kalakshetra had failed to respond adequately to their complaints of harassment against a senior male dancer. The National Commission for Women has closed the complaint, but the Chennai police have launched an investigation.

One of the victims says he was pressured to deny the claims of getting tortured police custody. (Representational Image)

Tamil Nadu: Forced by cop to retract complaint on custodial torture, says Victim

A victim of alleged custodial torture by suspended IPS officer Balveer Singh has claimed that he was pressured by police to retract his statement. The man, an auto driver named Vetha Narayanan, said that a police constable called to meet him and told him to retract his complaint that Singh had tortured him in custody. Singh is accused of pulling the teeth of several men and crushing the testicles of two others inside a police station in Tamil Nadu. One victim, Subhash, submitted a written statement on Thursday that Singh had pulled out four of his teeth using a cutting plier.

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin (CMOTamilNadu Twitter)

Stalin calls mega Opposition meet in Chennai next week

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s proposed meeting on “Social Justice, the road ahead” on April 3 will be joined by at least 14 opposition parties, in a show of strength amid ongoing efforts to stitch up various political combinations. The organisers are hopeful that Biju Janata Dal and YSR Congress Party will join the meeting. The meeting on April 3 might be the first of a series in various states and comes after 14 Opposition parties joined hands to move court against the “arbitrary use” of federal agencies such as the ED and the CBI.

Heavy rainfall lashed Noida on Thursday. (PTI)

Hottest to coldest: March logs drastic shift in weather pattern

India has experienced radical temperature changes this March, with the first two weeks being among the hottest and the second half among the coldest, which could put the whole month in the top ten coldest March in the past 73 years. The average maximum for India up to March 29 is 0.96 degrees Celsius below the 1981-2010 average for this interval, considered normal by the India Meteorological Department. The cooling trend is expected to continue through mid-April, with little warming even after that, according to IMD's forecast.

Special teams have also been sent to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, taking into account the possibility that Amritpal Singh could have slipped out of Punjab. (PTI)

Police scale up manhunt for Amritpal; fresh clips emerge

Punjab Police have intensified their search for Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh after he was spotted in a Hoshiarpur village on Tuesday before disappearing again. Singh has issued a video message, in which he denied setting conditions for his surrender and urged the Akal Takht acting jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to call a Sarbat Khalsa (Sikh congregation) to prove that he is the head of the community. Special teams have been sent to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to locate him, taking into account the possibility that he may have fled Punjab.

One of the main areas affected by the climate crisis is the global rainfall cycle, resulting in less rain, more droughts, and extreme rain events. (Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times)

India contributed 4.8% to climate crisis, says new research paper

India has contributed 4.8% to the global mean surface temperature (GMST) change resulting from historical emissions of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide (N2O), a new research paper has said. In comparison, United States contributed to 17.3% of the change – highest globally and China contributed to 12.3%, the paper published in Nature journal on Wednesday said.

The sixth contract of the day was signed with BrahMos Aerospace for next-generation maritime mobile coastal batteries.

Defence ministry inks 32k crore contracts in push for self-reliance

India's defence ministry has signed several contracts worth INR321bn ($4.6bn) with domestic companies for indigenous military hardware, including warships and supersonic missiles for the navy, and surface-to-air missiles and weapon locating radars for the army. The latest deals come a day after the ministry signed three contracts worth INR54bn for advanced communication satellite, automated air defence control and reporting systems for the army and electronic support measure systems for navy helicopters. The ministry has signed contracts worth almost INR520bn in the past four weeks for indigenous military hardware, including basic trainer aircraft, cadet training ships, medium-power radars, radar warning receivers and Dornier aircraft.

For the river island of Divar, with its 12,000 residents, there is no other connection to the rest of Goa except these state-run boats. (HT Photo)

Bridge too far? In a tiny Goa island, fissures over a link to the mainland

Residents of the river island of Divar in Goa are divided over a proposal to build a bridge to connect the island to the mainland. The island has a population of 12,000 and currently relies on state-run ferries to transport people and goods to and from the mainland. Some residents believe a bridge would bring economic benefits and improve access to healthcare and education, while others argue that it would destroy the island's way of life and harm tourism. The proposal faces obstacles, including opposition from local authorities, environmental concerns and the need to protect navigation channels.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI/PIB)

PM Modi to join top military meet, focus on theaterisation

India's Combined Commanders' Conference, which began on March 31 and will be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 1, will focus on India's renewed push for theaterisation, the operational readiness of the armed forces in the backdrop of the lingering border row with China, and the progress in achieving self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector, officials familiar with the matter said. The conference comes at a time when the government is pushing a bill in Parliament to empower the commanders of tri-services organisations to take action against service personnel of any of the three services.

Police try to control mob after incidents of stone pelting on a Ram Navami procession, in Vadodara on Thursday. (PTI)

22 injured as clashes mar Ram Navami processions in several states

Clashes broke out during Ram Navami processions in India with at least 22 people injured and 54 apprehended, police said. Violence erupted in Maharashtra?s Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, where a mob attacked a temple, leaving 12 people injured, including 10 policemen. Two separate incidents of stone pelting were reported from Gujarat?s Vadodara and West Bengal?s Howrah. In Kolkata, chief minister Mamata Banerjee staged a demonstration and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of orchestrating the violence. The BJP?s Amit Malvya hit back, accusing Banerjee of holding a dharna on Ramanavami and warning Hindus about Muslim areas.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Thursday. (Samir Jana/HT photo)

‘Delhi Chalo’: Mamata gives a fresh call to oust BJP from Centre

Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has called for opposition unity and urged ?aur ek dafa Delhi chalo? (once again let?s go to Delhi) to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre. She made the call during a 30-hour demonstration in Kolkata, seeking the release of central funds. Banerjee has used the slogan before, calling for a united fight against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. She described the BJP as ?Dushasana? and ?Duryodhana? ? the two antagonists from the epic ?Mahabharata?.

Rescue operations being conducted at the Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Indore on Thursday. (ANI)

13 dead as roof of stepwell at Indore temple collapses

The roof of a temple in Indore, India, collapsed during special prayers on Thursday, killing at least 13 people and injuring 17 others. The building, which is in the Patel Nagar area of the city, contains an old stepwell that had been covered by locals three years ago. The stepwell, which leads to a pool of water nine feet deep, was being pumped out of mud as the rescue operation continued. The deceased were mainly women from business class families. The temple was being renovated by the Shri Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal Mandir Trust, which had been warned by the authorities about improper construction in 2022.

Authorities in Singapore have already established that at least two of the people who contacted many Indians - claiming to work at SIIA – do not exist.

Singapore think tank takes note of fake calls to Indian experts, journalists in suspected China op

An influence operation uncovered earlier this week in India, in which people with false credentials and claiming to be from Singapore-based institutions approached Indian journalists and researchers, was wider than originally thought, according to people familiar with the matter. Leading think tanks in New Delhi were also targeted. Singapore’s Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), one of the institutions named by the individuals, said it took “the issue of fraud very seriously” and urged people to be vigilant about “suspicious communications”.

The second advance estimates for 2022-23 GDP were released on February 29.

Number theory: The state of India’s consumption at the end of FY 2022-23

India's private consumption expenditure (PFCE) is driving the country's economic recovery, according to data from HT's data and political economy team. Annual growth in PFCE was 20% in the quarter ending June 2022, but fell to 8.8% in September 2022 and 2.2% in December 2022, suggesting a weakening of consumption demand. However, RBI data on consumer confidence suggests that things are not going downhill, with the survey showing an ongoing improvement in perception on non-essential spending.

JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy protested against printing of ‘dahi’ on the packet of Nandini Probiotic Yogurt.

FSSAI revises ‘dahi’ order after uproar, allows regional names

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has revised its directive that the term Dahi (Hindi for curd) be used on packaging of curd, with the regional name within brackets after the Hindi one. The move caused controversy in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, with politicians claiming that this was another instance of Hindi being imposed. The directive from FSSAI also angered pro-Kannada activists. Curd can now be labelled as follows: ?Curd (Dahi)? OR ?Curd (Mosaru)? OR ?Curd (Zaamut daud)? OR ?Curd (Thayir)? OR ?Curd (Perugu)?,? FSSAI said in a press release on Thursday.

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