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A man in western India has stabbed 14 members of his family to death before hanging himself.

Police in the city of Thane, outside Mumbai, said it is unclear why Hasnain Warekar killed his family. The bodies were discovered in the man's home.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported that the dead included six children.

The Press Trust of India said a family dispute over property was behind the attacks.

The bodies have been sent to a Thane hospital for post-mortem examinations.

India is perhaps the only country in the world where a Muslim man can divorce his wife in a matter of minutes by just uttering the word talaq (divorce) three times.

But this controversial practice of "triple talaq" is now facing a stiff challenge - the Supreme Court is considering whether to declare it unconstitutional, writes the BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi.

Shayara Bano's world came crashing down in October.

The 35-year-old mother of two was visiting her parents' home in the northern state of Uttarakhand for medical treatment when she received her talaqnama - a letter from her husband telling her that he was divorcing her.

Her attempts to reach her husband of 15 years, who lives in the city of Allahabad, have been unsuccessful.

"He's switched off his phone, I have no way of getting in touch with him," she told the BBC over phone from her home in the northern state of Uttarakhand. "I'm worried sick about my children, their lives are getting ruined."

In February, a frustrated Shayara Bano filed a petition in the Supreme Court, demanding a total ban on triple talaq which, she says, allows Muslim men to treat their wives like "chattel".

Muslims are India's largest minority community with a population of 155 million and their marriages and divorces are governed by the Muslim personal law, ostensibly based on the sharia.

Even though it has been practised for decades now, the unilateral instant triple talaq is clearly an aberration - it finds no mention in sharia or the Koran.

Islamic scholars say the Koran clearly spells out how to issue a divorce - it has to be spread over three months which allows a couple time for reflection and reconciliation. Activists say most Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned triple talaq, but it thrives in India.

I'm a bit surprised this is still allowed in India.
It just shows the lack of will for change in such a huge population.
ROHTAK, India — Even beasts can be beautiful.

Hundreds of cows and bulls walked the ramp in a north Indian town Saturday in a bovine beauty pageant aimed at promoting domestic cattle breeds and raising awareness about animal health.

As farmers led their animals, the panel of experts judged the beasts for their size and overall looks, the length of their horns and, for the cows, their milk-yielding capacities.

The judges selected 18 winners in various categories, choosing the healthiest and best-looking cows and bulls from more than 630 animals in the contest, held in the farming town of Rohtak in Haryana state

ROHTAK, India — Even beasts can be beautiful.

The judges selected 18 winners in various categories, choosing the healthiest and best-looking cows and bulls from more than 630 animals in the contest, held in the farming town of Rohtak in Haryana state


Much the same thing happens all over Britain every summer, at numerous County Shows!
Eg, http://royalcornwallshow.org/

(But at least Ramon is finally showing a bit more interest in Farming! :p)
Is India driving its students to suicide?

It is entrance exams time in India, when millions of students try their luck to get onto much sought-after engineering or medical degree courses.

Preparing for these tests is hard work so many students spend two years or more in coaching classes.

But after a spate of student suicides there is now a concern about the effect that competition to succeed is having on young peoples' mental health.


Vid at link.
India successfully launches its first space shuttle
The model shuttle reached an altitude of 43 miles before gliding down into the sea
Doug Bolton

India has successfully tested its first space shuttle, in a giant leap forward for the country's space programme.
The Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV), which took flight on Monday morning, was only a scale model - at around seven metres long, it was roughly a sixth of the size of the proposed final version.

However, the successful test is an important first step towards the goal of a fully re-usable shuttle which could be used to deliver Indian satellites into space.
Speaking to the Mint newspaper after the test, a spokesperson for ISRO, India's space agency, said: "Mission has been accomplished and all the parameters and trajectories were fulfilled."

Taking off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the island of Sriharikota at 7 a.m, the 1.75-tonne RLV reached an altitude of around 43 miles.
The shuttle glided back to Earth, and finished its flight by splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. This first mission was only meant to assess its flight capabilities - further tests will be needed to perfect the landing.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO on its achievement, writing on Twitter: "Launch of India's first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the results of the industrious efforts of our scientists. Congrats to them."
He added: "The dynamism and dedication with which our scientists and ISRO have worked over the years is exceptional and very inspiring."

It may take some time for the full-scale version to enter operation, however. The test model was developed by a team of 600 researchers over the course of five years, at a cost of around £9.7 million.
A functioning space shuttle would dramatically reduce the cost of a single trip to space. Typically, space vehicles crash into the ocean or disintegrate in the atmosphere after delivering their payloads, meaning new craft have to be built from scratch for subsequent flights.
Being able to safely land a re-usable shuttle back on Earth would remove much of this cost, potentially slashing the price of a trip to space by 10 times.

Currently, ISRO is the only national space agency working on shuttle technology. Nasa's Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, while Russia's shuttle programme ended shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The RLV's successful test puts India in competition with private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, who are both working on re-usable rocket boosters.


Isro has been running for many years. Apart from satellite launches, they have also sent probes to Mars.
There are many things in life that make very little sense.

Not that India would allegedly transport it's first ISRO satellite using a bullock cart...

Not that the UK donates £300M per annum, to aid India's poverty, yet the country allegedly has spent c£10bn on submarines and warships.

What makes no sense is the lack of any absolute reality in this project. Perhaps some people reading this will feel this is a radical and offensive post. But I genuinely don't understand the logic behind this, on any level. Technical, financial, strategic.

So India spends £10M (averaging £2M a year, for 5 years....the cost of a one big school, say) to show that perhaps, in the future, it can redevelop a technology that both NASA and Russia have already ceased using?

Somebody try justifying this, please, convincingly. Including why the European Space Agency don't even consider such things, who probably spend more than £2M a year on coffee (well, their annual budget is c£4.5bn).
Perhaps India is hoping to sell its shuttles or launch services to foreign space agencies?
There's probably some underlying financial scheme behind it.
Stalin has been unanimously elected party leader.


"DMK Treasurer and party MLA M.K. Stalin was once again unanimously elected as the organisation's legislature party leader on Tuesday.

Former Minister Durai Murgan was elected as the deputy leader at a party’s legislators meeting, which was presided over by party president M. Karunanidhi.

Party's whip R. Chakrapanai, elected from Ottanchathiram, will continue in the post and former Minister K. Pitchandi is the deputy whip.

Even after the 2011 Assembly elections, Mr. Karunanidhi stepped aside to make Mr. Stalin leader of the party in the Assembly. The wheel chair-bound leader used to say he was ready to attend the House if arrangements were made to pave the way for his entry."
The Re-usable Launch Vehicle (RLV), which took flight on Monday morning, was only a scale model - at around seven metres long, it was roughly a sixth of the size of the proposed final version.
Or it's full size and will be crewed by little people.

/They weigh less so it's cheaper to send them into orbit. :p
Deepika Bhardwaj: The woman who fights for men's rights
  • 20 January 2017
In India, where crimes against women are rampant, a female activist and documentary filmmaker stands out for being a rare voice for abused men. The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi profiles Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj as part of a series on the Asian women likely to make the news in 2017.

India regularly gets hauled over the coals for its shabby treatment of women. And rightly so.

Every 15 minutes a rape is recorded, every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported, a bride is killed for dowry every 69 minutes and every year hundreds of thousands of female foetuses are aborted and infant girls are killed, leading to an appallingly skewed gender ratio. Girls and women also have to battle lifelong discrimination, prejudice, violence and neglect.

In a climate like that, 31-year-old Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj knows she sticks out like a sore thumb, but she has some questions that are reasonable enough: "Are men not vulnerable? Do they not face discrimination? Can they not be victims?"

And she goes on to add: "Just as you don't have to be a woman to fight for women, similarly, you don't have to be a man to fight for men. I don't talk about atrocities against women because there are millions who are talking about it."

Her fight at the moment is against the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian penal code which is a tough anti-dowry law. Ms Bhardwaj is travelling across India, screening Martyrs of Marriage, her first feature-length documentary, in an attempt to persuade the authorities to re-write the law.

India introduced Section 498A in 1983 after a spate of dowry deaths in Delhi and elsewhere in the country. There were daily reports of new brides being burnt to death by their husbands and in-laws and the murders were often passed off as "kitchen accidents". Angry protests by female MPs and activists forced parliament to bring in the law.

"It was a law made with very noble intentions," agrees Ms Bhardwaj. "But a law that was made to save lives, has taken many lives."

Ms Bhardwaj is not alone in her criticism. Over the years, Section 498A has acquired the reputation of being the "most abused law in the history of Indian jurisprudence".

With cases of divorce in India steadily rising, campaigners say that disgruntled women, aided by unscrupulous lawyers, routinely misuse the law to harass their husbands and their relatives.

It has also been questioned by the Supreme Court with one judge describing its misuse as "legal terrorism", warning that it was "intended to be used as a shield and not as an assassin's weapon", and the National Commission for Women expressing concerns over its misuse. ...

Textbook instructing Indian students to kill cats sparks anger
Source: Xinhua 2017-02-11 21:34:40

NEW DELHI, Feb.11 (Xinhua) -- A textbook has triggered discontent in India for teaching elementary students to suffocate cats as an experiment to learn that living beings must breathe air.

The environmental science textbook for fourth graders, entitled "Our Green World, " instructs students to put two cats in separate boxes, one with airholes and the other without, so as to learn that "No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes."

"You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on the lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without holes has died," the textbook reads.

The textbook has been used in hundreds of schools since last April in New Delhi and the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana, the AP reported. ...

I want to know if they also get to do the Schrödinger's Cat experiment.
Life in "captivity" can be sometimes unusually good for India's lawmakers.

Ask 124 legislators belonging to the ruling AIADMK party in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, who have been shut away in a resort by their leader outside the capital, Chennai (Madras), for 10 days now.

Their leader, Sasikala Natarajan, wanted to make sure that no lawmaker was poached by a rival camp during a dramatic week of jostling for power two months after the death of charismatic and influential party leader J Jayalalitha.

Last week, the lawmakers were bussed out to a backwater beach resort, some 80km (49 miles) out of Chennai, where rooms, according to a website, rent between $79-86 (£64-70) a day.

The resort offers "simple rooms", two restaurants, spa, sauna, gym, a hot tub and an outdoor pool, and enjoys an uninspiring one-and-a-half star rating in Google user reviews.

This was quite at odds with one excited newspaper report that the lawmakers were "in a lap of luxury - swimming, sauna, massage and fine dining at a floating restaurant". ...

A tweet by a popular Indian writer fat-shaming a policeman has had an unexpected outcome - free weight-reduction surgery for him in Mumbai.

Inspector Daulatram Jogawat left the hospital on Monday, and thanked Shobhaa De for making him famous.

The writer had tweeted a picture of Mr Jogawat last month, saying the police in Mumbai had planned "heavy security" for local elections.

The viral tweet led to Saifee Hospital offering to pay for his treatment.

The hospital said Mr Jogawat was doing well after the surgery, and can lose up 80kg (176lb) in the next year. He weighed 180kg before the operation.

Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is used as a last resort to treat people who are dangerously obese (having a body mass index of 40 or above or 35 plus other obesity-related health conditions).

Sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass is where some of the stomach is removed or the digestive system is re-routed past most of the stomach. ...

I hope this doesn't result in posts to the Bizarre Beheadings Thread.

Police in southern India have filed a case against a legislator who threatened to behead those opposed to the building of a Hindu temple on the site of a destroyed mosque.

The 16th Century mosque in Ayodhya town was razed in 1992 by a Hindu mob who want to build a temple to Lord Ram.

The threat was made by T Raja Singh, a senior leader of India's governing BJP party in Telangana state.

A BJP spokeswoman criticised the remarks Mr Singh made on 5 April.

Late on Sunday, police in Hyderabad city registered a case against him for "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs", after a complaint by a Muslim political organisation.

Mr Singh has defended his statement on the flashpoint issue, saying it was aimed at those who were opposed to the Ram temple in Ayodhya. ...

These BJP types are getting head happy/

There has been outrage in India after a member of the ruling BJP party announced a bounty of 1.1m rupees ($17,018; £13,622) on West Bengal state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's head.

Yogesh Varshney issued the threat after police broke up a rally recently to celebrate Hindu god Hanuman's birthday.

Mr Varshney accused the police of brutally assaulting devotees and said the action was ordered by Ms Banerjee, whom he described as a "demon". ...

Mr Varshney is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the Hindu nationalist BJP.

Reports said the police had refused permission for Sunday's rally in Birbhum town, 180km from the state capital, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), and forcibly broke up the procession when it tried to enter a Muslim-dominated area.

Mr Varshney accused Ms Banerjee's government of targeting Hindu devotees.

"Whoever comes to me with the severed head of Mamata Banerjee… I will reward him with 1.1m rupees," he said on Tuesday, describing the chief minister as a "demon". ...

Indian police have arrested the owner of a firm that provided oxygen to a hospital where more than 100 children died allegedly because the oxygen supply was cut over unpaid bills.

The deaths occurred over a week in northern Uttar Pradesh state in August.

Manish Bhandari, who was arrested on Sunday, is accused of "breach of contract", police told BBC Hindi.

The supplier said the hospital owed the company more than 6m rupees ($93,465; £72,510).

Sock it to him!

Police in India say they have arrested a man whose smelly socks caused a dispute between him and fellow passengers on a bus.

They told the BBC they had lodged a complaint against Prakash Kumar, 27, for "causing a public nuisance".

The incident occurred en route to the capital, Delhi, after Mr Kumar removed his shoes and socks.

The stench from the socks was so bad that passengers asked Mr Kumar to put them in his bag or throw them out.

But he allegedly refused, sparking a heated argument.

Passengers then forced the bus driver to pull over at a police station in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh where the complaint was lodged.

Ancient Astronauts & Fake News.

... Today’s case in point comes to us from The Times of India, where Manimugdha S. Sharma wrote this week that the country is suffering from a massive and coordinated social media campaign of fake history launched by ultra-conservatives who are looking to undermine historical facts in order to promote a rightwing agenda tied to the nationalist agenda of Prime Minister Modi. We’ve talked before about the Modi government’s efforts to fabricate fake ancient history for India, particularly around claims
of advanced prehistoric surgery, prehistoric rockets and airplanes, and other ancient astronaut-style nonsense derived from a literal reading of Sanskrit epics.

Sharma writes that a group of rightwing trolls is engaged in all of the techniques made famous by the Russian propagandists, content farmers, and trolls operating during the 2016 American election: manipulating photographs, creating misleading or outright false memes, trolling online discussions with provocative and outrageous statements, and denying even obvious historical facts in service of political ideology. The only important difference is that the conservatives in this case are the Hindu nationalists.

For example, last week, right wing extremists circulated a fake meme using a photo of a nineteenth century Zanzibari slave trader and claimed it represented the “true” Tipu Sultan, an early modern Muslim ruler of southern India. “Nobody bothered to pause and consider whether photography was available in the 18th century. This refusal to think is what the thriving factory of fake history exploits, and is the reason it has been so successful at polarising opinion.” Another faker used a photo of a 1984 anti-Sikh riot and claimed it was a 1948 photo of Brahmins rioting after Gandhi’s assassination. ...

Not so happy now.

The minister for happiness in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is wanted in connection with a murder, police said on Wednesday.

They are hunting Lal Singh Arya, 53, who has been missing since Tuesday when a court ordered his arrest.

He is a suspect in the murder of an opposition politician in 2009 and has previously denied the charges.

Madhya Pradesh is the first and only state to have a department of happiness to boost the wellbeing of citizens.

Indian runaway train takes 1,000 passengers on engineless journey

Twenty two carriages roll out of control for seven miles in Odisha state before being stopped by rocks placed on track

Authorities believe that brakes normally applied when carriages are detached or attached to an engine were either incorrectly used or overlooked altogether.

Mobile footage posted on social media showed the carriages speeding past a railway platform as helpless onlookers screamed and yelled at passengers to pull the train’s emergency brake.

This is a bit WTF:

A 2012 government report said that almost 15,000 people were killed in various ways every year on India’s railways and described the loss of life as an annual “massacre”.
Another train story. Making them run faster, well, sort of.

The man in charge of India's railways has been mocked for sharing a video of a "high-speed" train that turned out to be a time-lapse of a slower train.

Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal, tweeted that the train was "zooming past at lightning speed". Trainspotter Abhishek Jaiswal then replied with the original footage, which he said he filmed in December for his railway-themed YouTube channel. In Mr Jaiswal's clip, the same train travels at a much slower speed.

In the video posted on his official Twitter account, Mr Goyal says the video shows "India's first semi-high speed train built under 'Make in India' initiative, Vande Bharat Express".

Anybody could make such a mistake.
That's the way to do it!

Four men, who were earlier arrested for vandalising a Unesco World Heritage site in the southern Indian town of Hampi, have been made to fix the pillar that they pulled down.

In a video clip that went viral earlier this month, three of them are seen shoving a pillar, causing it to break. A court ordered the men to fix the structure after fining them 70,000 rupees ($980; £760) each. Hampi is famous for its 16th Century ruins and is a popular tourist spot. "They took about four or five hours with the assistance of our workers to re-erect it," Muthaiah Kalimuthu, an official from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), told BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi.

The shit is really hitting the fan.

Google searches for "best toilet paper in the world" appear to have been manipulated to return images of the Pakistan national flag.

The results are believed to be the work of protesters acting in response to an attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that left at least 40 soldiers dead. It is the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule began. Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad said it was behind the attack.

The flag-toilet paper connection emerged soon after the 14 February attack in a few blogs commenting on the attack and became a trending topic on social media over the weekend. The number of people searching for the connection may have also influenced how Google returns results.