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Thousands, including top party leaders, pay tribute to him

Final tribute: Amit Shah pays his last respect to former finance minister Arun Jaitley. PTI

Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who passed away on Saturday, was cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat here with full state honours in the presence of political leaders across party lines and supporters on Sunday.

As the BJP leader’s last rites were being performed by his son Rohan Jaitley, it started raining.

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP working president J.P. Nadda were among Jaitley’s former colleagues in attendance.

Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kapil Sibal were also present at the cremation ground.

Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttarakhand, Devendra Fadnavis, Vijay Rupani, B. S. Yediyurappa, Nitish Kumar and Trivendra Singh Rawat, respectively, were also there.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in France for the G7 summit, was in Bahrain on Saturday when he said it was “upsetting and unbelievable” that someone he had known since their youth was no more. On Sunday morning, the mortal remains were taken from his South Delhi residence to the party headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, where thousands, including top party leaders and Union Ministers, paid tribute to him.

From the BJP office, the mortal remains draped in the Tricolour were carried in a procession to the cremation ground in a vehicle decorated with flowers in the afternoon.

The former Finance Minister was admitted to AIIMS on August 9 when he complained of uneasiness and and breathlessness. After being on life support for two weeks, he breathed his last at 12.07 p.m. on Saturday, according to AIIMS. He was 66.

He had been diagnosed with a form of cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, in January this year.

Last year, he had undergone a kidney transplant and in 2014, he had had a bariatric surgery. He is survived by his wife and two children.

(With PTI inputs)

Modi calls for campaign from Oct. 2

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the people to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year as a day to make India plastic-free and urged municipalities, NGOs and the corporate sector to come up with ways for safe disposal of accumulated plastic waste before Deepavali.

The call for a mass movement came after his Independence Day’s address in which he had urged the people to shun single-use plastic.

In his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat, he also asked the people to participate in the annual ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ or ‘quest for cleanliness is service.’

The ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign will begin on September 11.

Brute force unleashed, Rahul says on 20th day of shutdown

A market remains closed in Srinagar on Sunday. Nissar Ahmad The Hindu

With the official shutdown in Kashmir entering its 20th day, the Congress on Sunday accused the Modi government of curtailing the freedom and civil liberties of the people.

Posting a video on Twitter of his aborted visit to Srinagar along with 11 other Opposition leaders on Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “It’s been 20 days since the people of Jammu & Kashmir had their freedom and civil liberties curtailed. Leaders of the Opposition and the Press got a taste of the draconian administration and brute force unleashed on the people when we tried to visit Srinagar yesterday.”

Mobile phones and Internet remain cut off and movement of people is restricted, though officially no curfew has been imposed. Schools and offices have opened, but attendance has been very thin.

NSCN(IM) writes letter to the PM

Less than a month after the Centre ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status that allowed it to have its own constitution and a flag, a Naga extremist group has for the first time said a “separate flag and constitution” are necessary for an “honourable solution” to the 22-year-old peace process.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland has said any solution would be far from honourable if the core issues such as a Naga flag and constitution are yet to be agreed upon between the group and the Centre. The letter followed former IB officer R.N. Ravi’s statement that Mr. Modi had, before his appointment as Nagaland’s Governor, wanted the peace process concluded in three months.

Mr. Ravi was speaking at a civic reception in Nagaland’s capital Kohima on August 17 and allayed fears that the scrapping of Article 370 would cast a shadow on the peace process and the State.

Complete skeleton formed in A.P. using several of the giants washed ashore

From the deep: The skeleton assembled at Coringa Marine Museum at Rajamahendravaram. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

It was like a jigsaw puzzle for the young wildlife biologist looking at the skeletal remains of dead blue whales washed ashore on the Andhra Pradesh coast. But he found a way to put them all together. All in just two months. Where the parts were missing, he used plaster of Paris and put in stainless steel and screws to configure a life-size skeleton of the endangered species.

In 2017, Kumpatla Balaji, the Andhra University alumnus launched a project to use the skeletal remains to form the blue whale, replicating its natural anatomy structure. He was spurred to do so, after experts were unable to fit the bones collected from the Machilipatnam coast.

Mr. Balaji is a research scientist at the Coringa Marine Museum in Rajamahendravaram city, where the 32-ft-long life-size blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) skeleton he engineered is being preserved and on public display since early 2018.

“Dozens of skeletal remains of blue whales were lying with our museum, begging to be assembled,” said Mr. Balaji.

Chemically treated

“Many bones and the head part of the blue whale were brought to our museum by the Forest Department from Machilipatnam coast in 2017, helping me form the complete skeleton within two months,” he said.

The skeletal parts were chemically treated before being rigged together with stainless steel. At least two bones were made of plaster of Paris as they were missing.”

The blue whale falls in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Dozens of dead blue and sperm whales have washed ashore on the Nagayalanka, Machilipatnam, Kakinada, and Srikakulam coast in Andhra Pradesh since 2015. What caused their death is the subject of study.

“The way the complete skeleton of the giant animal has been developed will help preserve it for the next three decades without the need for any further chemical treatment. The skeleton is painted with a white chemical for longevity,” said Mr. Balaji.

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