Professor's office vandalised over cartoon of Ambedkar

Suhas Palshikar

Suhas Palshikar

Activists belonging to a rookie organisation on Saturday vandalised the office of Pune University professor Suhas Palshikar over his defence of the controversial caricature of B.R. Ambedkar in an NCERT Class XI textbook.

Palshikar had on Friday put in his papers as an NCERT adviser after MPs cutting across party lines demanded the withdrawal of the 'insulting' cartoon.

Four attackers from the Republican Panthers Party came to Palshikar's office in the university around 1pm, allegedly at his own behest, to discuss the issue.

'I tried to dispel their concerns. We spoke for 5-10 minutes, after which they suddenly started raising slogans on Babasaheb Ambedkar and vandalising my office,' Palshikar said.

But he added that the men didn't attack him. While the police have arrested two of the culprits, two others are on the run.

'I really don't want the men to be punished because they didn't know what they were arguing about. Those who sent them (leaders of the outfit) should be approached and a dialogue initiated to remove their misgivings,' he said.

Funnily enough, Palshikar's assertion that the attackers were not well-versed with the issue proved true when Sachin Kharat, chief of the RPI admitted he hadn't yet seen the cartoon.

Rains cool scorching capital

Delhites got a pleasant surprise on Saturday evening when showers lashed the Capital, bringing a much-needed relief from the scorching heat.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 40.3° Celsius, a degree above normal but down from Friday's 42.6°.

The mercury, however, dipped to below 30° after the rain in the evening.

The minimum temperature was recorded at 25.2°. Some parts of the city had also witnessed drizzles on Friday.

City residents can expect some more relief on Sunday as according to the Met department, the mercury will stay below 40° Celsius. It will be partly cloudy with thunder showers expected in some areas of the Capital.

The temperature will be between 26 and 39 degree Celsius, the MeT Department said.

India's caveat to Waheed

India has asked Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed, who replaced Md. Nasheed last February in a 'controversial' change of guard, to hold early elections.

He was also directed to rein in fundamentalist forces gaining ground in the island nation. Waheed, who held a twohour meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Saturday, in his first ever visit to India as President, was told to pay heed to all 'shades of opinions' and hold elections before the scheduled polls in October 2013.

The internal situation in Maldives was discussed threadbare. So was India's security partnership with the Maldives. India wants Maldivian political parties to thrash their differences and agree to a consensus at the earliest paving way for an early election that address all accusations of the 'debatable' change of guard.

India is worried with extremist outfits gaining ground in the Maldives, which could bring instability in the country. Such groups are reportedly receiving support from the Gulf and Pakistan.

'Bad cheese' leaves 15 on Rajdhani sick

As many as 15 passengers of the Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express, including a Lok Sabha MP, took ill on Friday night after consuming food from the train's in-house pantry.

Ten hours after the train left the Capital on Friday, several passengers complained of an upset stomach and began vomiting. Among them was Kameshwar Baitha, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Lok Sabha MP.

Following the complaints, the train made a pit-stop at the Mughal Sarai Railway station to administer medical treatment to the sick passengers, all of whom, the railway officials said, felt fit enough to resume the journey thereafter.

They added that the general manager of the Northern Railway has ordered an inquiry into the matter and promised strict action against the caterer if found guilty.

'We have taken samples of the food served on the day. We'll analyse them once the train returns on Sunday,' Neeraj Sharma, spokesperson, Northern Railway.

Officials suspect rotten cheese to have caused the food-poisoning. The licensee has been identified as a Benaras-based catering firm called Ambuj Caterers, which also serves food on the Kashi-Vishwanath Express.

Rebellion in Yeddy's favour

A day after the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the alleged illegal mining during B.S. Yeddyurappa's tenure, seven Karnataka ministers sent their resignations to Yeddyurappa in protest.

In all, 10 ministers, all of them his loyalists, threatened to quit seeking change of leadership in Karnataka in his favour.

The RSS's attempts to end the crisis bore no fruit on Saturday as the group of 10 ministers sent a message to the state BJP leaders saying they would quit if chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda did not convene an emergency meeting of the party's state legislature to discuss the crisis.

The RSS leaders rushed to Yeddyurappa's residence to pacify him but had to return empty handed.

'Look at the attitude of the state BJP leaders. They have left Yeddyurappa on his own after the SC order. This is not the way to treat a leader, who brought the BJP to power in the state for the first time,' one of the ministers owing allegiance to Yeddyurappa, said.


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