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On Ambedkar Jayanti, Rohith Vemula's family converts to Buddhism

The family of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula who committed suicide at Hyderabad University in January over caste discrimination will convert to Buddhism on 14 April, the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, proud Dalit and father of the Indian Constitution.

Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of BR Ambedkar, will perform the initiation ceremony for Vemula's brother Raja and mother Radhika in Mumbai today, says the Hindustan Times.

"I have no ill feeling toward Hindus but my conscience doesn't allow me to continue in this religion. It is because of the Hindu caste system that my brother was harassed, humiliated and forced to take his own life," said Raja.

Hindu religion does not discriminate against women: SC to Sabarimala board

The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Sabarimala temple board that the Hindu religion does not discriminate against women.

"In Hindu religion, there is no denomination of a Hindu male or female. A Hindu is a Hindu," said a special three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.

The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala does not allow women aged between 10 and 50 years - that is, women of reproductive age - to worship, says the Hindustan Times. According to the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple, as well as the Kerala government, this is because the deity is celibate.

Iran probing 'Indian spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav's Chabahar business

As Iran looks into possible illegalities in the Chabahar Port business belonging to Kulbhushan Jadhav who is being held in Pakistan on charges of espionage, India has slowed down its efforts to gain consular access to him.

Investigators from Iran are looking into Jadhav's operations at Chabahar Free Trade Zone, from where his mechanised dhow Kaminda may have been used to traffic oil, guns, drugs and people, with or without his knowledge, according to The Indian Express. The Chabahar Port is on the UN's scanner for drug trafficking.

Handwara and NIT: Mehbooba meets Modi and Parrikar in Delhi

After two incidents in the past two weeks that have seen Kashmiris clash with non-locals, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti travelled to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Manohar Parrikar to quickly sort out the issues.

Mufti's People's Democratic Party, is in a coalition government with the Centre's ruling BJP.

Last week, non-local students at the National Institute of Technology clashed with local students, while on Tuesday, a girl in Handwara was allegedly molested by an army man, which led to protests and subsequent Army firing that killed four people, says The Economic Times

Manipur militants kill Army major, jawan, in separate incidents

Major Amit Deswal of 21 Para was killed in an encounter with Zeliangrong United Front militants in Manipur's Tamenglong district on Wednesday as the Rashtriya Rifles and Special Forces were engaged in a combing operation in the area. A militant has been killed in an earlier encounter, said Army officials.

Major Deswal, who came from Jhajjar district in Haryana, died after being evacuated from the encounter site, according to the Hindustan Times.

On the same day, an Assam Rifles jawan was killed and three others were injured in a bomb blast in the force's transit camp near Minuthong in Imphal West district. 

Explain Kirpal Singh's death: India to Pakistan

India has asked Pakistan for an explanation of the death in a Lahore jail of Kirpal Singh, a 54-year-old Indian accused of espionage.

Singh died even as Pakistan is yet to grant India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, also in a Pakistan jail for spying.

"Our acting high commissioner met the director-general in the ministry of foreign affairs and asked for the earliest possible repatriation of mortal remains," said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Wednesday. "We await further details."

According to The Telegraph, Pakistan has formally told India that Singh died of a cardiac arrest on Monday. However, India has asked for more details. 

Madras HC orders Tamil Nadu govt to actively protect inter-caste couples

The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to set in place a series of measures to protect couples in inter-caste marriages.

The court asked the government to set up special cells to deal with complaints of harassment and threats, and to protect the couples. These special cells must comprise the superintendent of police, the district social welfare officer and Adi-Dravida welfare officer, and include a 24x7 helpline to receive and register complaints, as well as provide assistance and protection to such couples, said Justice V Ramasubramanian, according to the Hindustan Times.

Two accused in death of RJD MLA's sister surrender

Two of the men accused in an alleged sexual assault on an RJD MLA's sister and her subsequent death surrendered before the

Bhojpur district court on Wednesday. Three other accused, all unknown, are still to be found. The court remanded the two men who surrendered to

judicial custody.

"No accused will be spared," said

Deputy Inspector General of Police A Rahman.

RJD MLA Saroj Yadav's sister was allegedly sexually assaulted, beaten up and thrown out of a moving autorickshaw by the accused on 9 April. She died in a Patna hospital yesterday, according to

The Indian Express