India’s prime minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters during a roadshow in Varanasi, India on Paril 25th. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/File

Exit polls indicate that BJP party and allies are poised to win a comfortable majority

Ranjan Gogoi has rejected the allegations as ‘baseless’. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer/File

Ranjan Gogoi is accused of sexual harassment by former supreme court employee

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote outside a polling station during the third phase of general election in Ahmedabad, India on April 23rd. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

PM’s party displays anti-Muslim bias while campaigning in Hindu-majority country

Indian women wait outside to cast their votes at a polling station in Supana village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

Only 7% of candidates who contested India’s parliamentary elections were women

Indian voters stand in queue to cast their votes at a polling station as security personnel stand guard during India’s general election in Amoni village, in northeastern state of Assam on April 11th. Photograph: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty

High turnout reported in elections billed as the country’s most important in decades

Indian Congress party president Rahul Gandhi takes part in a roadshow rally ahead of the upcoming general election, in Amethi. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

Narendra Modi on course for victory in what has been dubbed a battle ‘for India’s soul’

BJP leader and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi speaks in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

India’s ruling Hindu nationalists pledge to scrap historical statute if voted back into power

People watch Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s  address to the nation at a shop in Jammu on Wednesday. Photograph: Jaipal Singh/EPA

Prime minister says country must be able to defend itself amid criticism ahead of election

A street astrologer taking rest in hot summer afternoon in Kolkata, India in May, 2013. Photograph: Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty

Fortune-tellers, clairvoyants across country already ‘organising’ the heavens for clients

 Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with other party leaders during a National Democratic Alliance rally in Chennai. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

First stage of world’s largest democratic exercise begins with Congress Party seeking revival

Little surprised that with general elections around the corner, the josh (zeal) of patriotism hasn’t even spared the skies,” former Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted. Photograph:  Jagadeesh Nv/EPA

Air stewards were told to conclude in-flight announcements by saying “Victory to India”

Indian soldiers keeping vigil before the handing over  of Indian air force pilot  Abhinandan Varthaman at a checkpoint on the  Attari-Wagah border on March 1st. Photograph:  EPA

Opposition claims prime minister ordered the strikes on Pakistan to boost his image as a forceful leader in the run-up to election(...)

Indians  shout slogans against Pakistan as they hold posters and pictures of captive Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. Photograph: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan’s decision to return pilot has considerably soothed tension between the two sides

People celebrate during a rally in Karachi,  Pakistan  after officials claimed two Indian military aircrafts were shot down.  Photgaph: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Jingoism rampant as Pakistan and India appear to court potential disaster

Indian soldiers inspect the remains of an Indian Air Force helicopter after it crashed in Budgam district, outside Srinagar Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty

Islamabad claims it captured one Indian pilot after his aircraft was shot down

Pakistani residents walk on a bridge in the mountainous area of Balakot where the Indian Air Force launched a raid on Tuesday. Photograph: Getty Images

Nuclear-armed neighbours put respective militaries on ‘high alert’ after pre-dawn strike

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi: opposition leaders accuse him of fostering social unrest by pursuing anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist policies. Photograph:  Sanjay Kanojia/AFP

Campaigns under way reveal vicious rhetoric in appeal to electorate of 900 million voters

Indian army soldiers arrive near the site of a gun battle between suspected militants and Indian security forces in Pinglan village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday. Photograph: Younis Khaliq/Reuters

India says two masterminds of bombing in which 40 policemen died were killed in clash

Indian paramilitary soldiers hang on to an ambulance  near the  explosion site in Pampore, Kashmir. Photograph: AP Photo/Dar Yasin

Pakistani militant group claim responsibility for attack which killed at least 40, injured 13

Rahul Gandhi, president of India’s main opposition Congress Party in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis

PM Narenda Modi called ‘the Führer’ by opposition Rahul Gandhi for poor jobs figures

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: formal entry into politics has led to the Bharatiya Janata Party  accusing the Gandhi family of perpetuating dynastic rule. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra takes charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, reporting to brother

Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai, India. File photograph: Marcos Freire/EyeEm/Getty Images

Oxfam review finds 1% of country’s population holds more than half of its wealth

A Hindu holy man dances holding a mace as he arrives for a ritualistic dip in Prayagraj, India. Photograph: AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh

More than 150m expected at Ganges and Yamuna rivers for ancient cleansing ritual

In the western Gujarat and northern Haryana states, cow slaughter is punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, or a fine, or both Photograph: Deepak Malik/NurPhoto/Getty

Preserving cows under BJP rule has resulted in 65 people being lynched, beaten to death

Indian women participate in the “Women’s Wall” in Kochi. Photograph: Prakash Elamakkara/EPA

Women of all ages and occupations stood shoulder-to-shoulder in display of solidarity

 Congress Party workers celebrate the party’s lead in votes counting and potential victory in assembly elections, with a cutout of party president Rahul Gandhi at party headquarter in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

Rahul Gandhi’s Congress Party ‘revived’ ahead of next year’s national poll

The “Statue Of Unity”, the world’s tallest  statue, in India’s western Gujarat state: On the Life Expectancy Index, India is ranked 163rd of 224 countries, while the Global Hunger Index ranks it 103rd of 119. Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP

Focus on attention-grabbing such as statues rather than domestic ills, critics say

An Indian Sikh devotee offers prayers while looking through binocular towards the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib  in Pakistan Photograph: Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty

New pilgrimage route from Indian village to Sikh temple aimed to ease regional tensions

A handler bathes Coconut, a female elephant, at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre  in the northern town of Mathura, India. Photograph:  Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

NGO-run facility near New Delhi offers digital X-ray, hydrotherapy and dental wing

Election material with pictures of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Congress party president Rahul Gandhi in a shop in Bhopal. Photograph: Sanjeev Gupta/EPA

Water, power and roads no longer deemed enough to buy power in regional polls

A monkey on the banks of the Yamuna river, next to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Photograph: Saumya Khandelwal/Reuters

Demand to rename Agra, the city of the 17th-century Taj Mahal, is most curious

The heavy smog in  New Delhi. It is likely to get worse when millions of residents illuminate their homes with oil lamps and burst firecrackers on Wednesday to celebrate Diwali, the annual festival of lights. Photograph: Getty Images

The city’s toxic air, classified as ‘hazardous’, is over 15 times the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit

A general view of the “Statue of Unity” portraying Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the founding fathers of India, during its inauguration in the western state of Gujarat. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

182m-high tribute to independence leader Patel criticised for scale and cost of €355m

MJ Akbar during his swearing-in ceremony as a minister. Photograph: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

Former journalist MJ Akbar accused of predatory behaviour over 30-year period

Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta: alleges she was sexually harassed by Nana Patekar in 2008. Photograph: Getty Images

Female reporter claims junior foreign minister MJ Akbar preyed on her in job interview

Passengers stand on the side of train carriages in Mumbai. Photograph: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some 24 million candidates will take tests for highly prized government jobs

India’s supreme court in New Delhi:  Adultery is no longer punishable with a five-year prison sentence, a fine or both. Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee

Indian penal code section deemed ‘archaic, arbitrary and unconstitutional’

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/File Photo/Reuters

Narendra Modi accused of cynicism for ‘Modicare’ initiative ahead of general election

The court announced the verdict in Delhi   drawing cheers from a crowd of LBGTI Indians and their supporters gathered on a lawn outside the building. File photograph:Arun Sankar/Getty Images

Prosecutions were rare but law was frequently used to blackmail LGBT community

A  flooded area in India’s southern state of Kerala, one of the country’s worst-hit areas, where over 400 people have lost their lives. Photograph: Sivaram V/Reuters

Kerala minister launches campaign to raise funds as food runs short in relief camps

Actor-turned-politician Divya Spandana: has been accused of “appreciating the people of Pakistan, India’s nuclear rival”. Photograph: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty

Accused under antiquated law, Divya Spandana has case adjourned

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan. Photograph: Press Information Department/Handout via Reuters

Relations have deteriorated sharply between neighbouring states in past three years

‘Letter Carrier’, 1828. A lithograph from L’Inde Français, 1828. From the collection of Jean Claude Carriere. Photograph: Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images

The runners will serve remote mountainous constituencies during forthcoming byelections

Volunteers and rescue personal evacuate people  in a residential area in Ernakulam district, in the Indian state of Kerala, on Friday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Worst flooding in state in a century sparks humanitarian crisis, with 223,000 homeless

India’s supreme court castigated the authorities for not acting quickly enough to protect the Taj Mahal in Agra. Photograph: EPA/STR

Protection of monument from environmental degradation a ‘hopeless cause’, court rules

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, president of the Republic of Maldives. Photograph: Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Return of helicopters a further sign of failure to halt China’s growing influence in region

Women mourn as people carry the body of  journalist  Shujaat Bukhari, who was killed by gunmen outside his office, during his funeral in Kreeri, north of Srinagar. Photograph: Danish Ismail/Reuters

Thousands attend funeral of editor shot dead outside his office by ‘Islamic militant group’

Rumours of children being kidnapped and killed, allegedly for their body parts, spread over Facebook and WhatsApp. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

At least six killed in as many weeks over child kidnapping rumours fostered online

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

Country’s Catholic 2.4% under attack from radical Hinduism and Indian nationalism

Residents of Nanga village in India   in a building damaged by alleged shelling from the Pakistani side of the  Kashmir border on May 23th. Photograph:  EPA/Jaipal Singh

Deal will end daily exchanges of artillery and missile fire across disputed border in Kashmir

Health officials deposit a bat in a container after catching it inside a well at Changaroth in Kozhikode, Kerala on Monday. The Nipah virus outbreak has triggered a state-wide health alert. Photograph:  AFP/Getty Images

Virus transmitted by bats and pigs identified as having potential for major outbreak

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi: he has said that plastic surgery, genetic science and stem cell study existed thousands of years ago in ancient India. Photograph: Simon Dawson/EPA

Leaders of ruling BJP party reject claims that internet is a modern-day Western invention

 Relatives of Indian journalist Sandeep Sharma grieving on March 26th  after he was fatally hit  by a speeding truck in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh state, India. Photograph: Getty Images

Journalists who report on India’s ‘sand mafia’ are frequent victims of violence

People in Mumbai, India, sitting on railway tracks  on March 20th during a protest demanding recruitment into  railway services. Photograph: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

Postgraduates and some with doctorates among those seeking work with state-owned rail network

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau with  his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau,  daughter Ella-Grace  and son Xavier at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Canada pledges not to support anyone reviving a separatist movement in India

Maldivian police officers stand guard near the Maldives Democratic Party opposition party headquarters after Maldives president Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency for 15 days. Photograph: Reuters

Exiled former president calls for ‘physical presence’ to help lift state of emergency

A man sorting through his destroyed home following shelling across the “line of control” in northern Kashmir. Photograph: Getty Images

Four Indian soldiers killed in latest exchange across ‘line of control’

A rocket is fired from the Indian Navy destroyer ship INS Ranvir during an exercise drill in the Bay Of Bengal off the coast of Chennai on April 18th, 2017. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

Will strengthen presence in Indian Ocean to counter growing Chinese hegemony

The Irish woman was out celebrating her 21st birthday with friends in the Kalighat area of Kolkata. Photograph: iStock

Sujoy Mitra raped Irish woman after spiking her drink in May 2013 in Kolkata

Visitors take  selfies in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, today. India is to restrict the number of daily visitors to the 17th century monument  in an effort to preserve it. Photograph: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

Cap expected to help preserve monument and prevent stampedes due to major crowds

Indian children wear masks as they take part in a protest against air pollution: the city’s air quality index is  15 times over the permissible limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation. Photograph: EPA/Rajat Gupta

Schools closed and people advised against moving around

A beggar on the side of the road in Hyderabad, India. A senior police official said beggars would be “housed” in structures adjacent to the city jail where they were being provided with food and medical assistance. Photograph:  Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

6,000 people in Hyderabad to be put in special facility before arrival of Trump daughter

Indian schoolchildren cover their faces as they walk to school amid heavy smog in New Delhi on November 8th, 2017. Doctors are warning of a public health emergency. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty

Toxic Delhi air 16 times above permissible limits leaves millions gasping

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi pays tribute on the 148th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth , on October 2nd, 2017, at Rajghat in New Delhi. Photograph: Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

Right-wing Modern India body claims second gunman involved in New Delhi 1948 killing

Opposition members said the state government was “wilfully discriminating” against more than 200 million Muslims. Photograph: iStock

The Hindu ruling party in Uttar Pradesh has been playing down India’s Muslim past

The mother of a stampede victim sits beside her son’s body as it is transported from a hospital in Mumbai, India, on Friday. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Incident took place during heavy rain as commuters feared colonial-era bridge would collapse

Members of the National Human Rights and Crime Control Organisation hold candles along with photographs of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh during a  vigil in Amritsar, India. Photograph: Raminder Pal Singh/EPA

Authorities clash over the killing of government critic Gauri Lankesh in Bangalore

Bottles of whiskey and vodka on the shelves of a liquor store in Chandigarh, Punjab, India. Photograph:  Sanjit Das/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Authorities in Chandigarh attempt to highlight ‘ill-effects of alcohol consumption’

Relatives of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh grieve by her body at the Ravindra Kalakshetra cultural centre in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Photograph: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Gauri Lankesh (55) was critic of federal government, caste system and Hindu nationalists

Indian spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in October 2016. A judge on Monday sentenced him to 10 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.  Photograph: Tsering Topgyal/AP

Security measures deter protesters after dozens died in violence following verdict

A follower of Indian religious leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh pleads for his safety after being hit with a stick during clashes between the controversial guru’s followers and security forces in Panchkula on Friday. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

Self-styled spiritual leader Ram Rahim Singh found guilty of raping two female followers

The Hindu nationalist government has enforced the law protecting cows since assuming office in May 2014. Above, villagers in Assam state, India. Photograph: EPA/STR

As 39 military farms close, there is a quandary over what to do with the sacred cattle

Israeli security forces spray foul-smelling Skunk towards Palestinian stone throwers. Photograph: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/Getty Images

‘Indians probably have a high threshold of enduring stench,’ said an Indian police officer

India’s new president, Ram Nath Kovind, inspecting a guard of honour during a ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi on Tuesday.  Photograph: Prakash Singh/Getty Images/AFP

Former lawyer is second ‘low caste’ Dalit to assume country’s highest public office

Ram Nath Kovind: presidential candidate is an associate of the National Volunteer Corps, a Hindu group accused of stoking religious hatred against Muslims. Photograph: Tsering Topgyal/AP

Two-candidate contest likely to be won by ‘low-caste’ Ram Nath Kovind (72)

Stray cattle   in front of the state legislature of Karnataka in Bengaluru, India, on July 4th. Photograph: Jagadeesh NV/EPA

Maharashtra to deploy a new kit that can test if a meat sample contains the sacred animal

A supporter of India’s ruling BJP holds a placard during a rally to support implementation of the goods and services tax in Mumbai on Friday. Photograph: Shailesh Andrade/Reuters

Move incorporates more than a dozen state and federal levies into one tax

Bollywood actor Shabana Azmi holds a placard  during a protest in Mumbai on Wednesday against a spate of violent attacks across the country. Photograph: Rafiq Maqbool/AP

‘Not in my Name’ demonstrations called after attacks on Muslims and ‘low caste’ people

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi engaged in a mass yoga session to mark International Yoga Day:  has promised to repeal 10 obsolete laws for every new one passed. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia AFP/Getty Images

Anachronistic laws including jail terms for refusing to fight locusts in Delhi to be ditched

“War by sporting means”: cricket fans gather around the vehicle carrying the Pakistan  captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, through Karachi after his team’s surprise victory over India. Photograph: Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty

Indian police arrested 19 Muslims for celebrating Pakistan’s Champions Trophy win

Danielle McLaughlin was murdered in Goa in March.

Authorities confident about securing conviction against sole suspect in killing

Protesters run as they prepare to hurl stones towards the Indian police during a protest after Friday prayers, in Srinagar. Photograph: Danish Ismail/Reuters

Security officials warn of increased violence as gangs target military encampments

Applicants for a street sweepers’ job in Chandigarh will have to undergo a “sweeping trial” for 10 minutes to assess their broom-wielding skills. Photograph: iStock

Street cleaners’ job in northern India attracts 70 applicants for every vacancy

Danielle McLaughlin (28) was raped and killed in Goa on the west coast of India on March 13th.

Family of Donegal woman, who was raped and killed in Goa, seeking camera footage

A man walks past a roadside liquor store located along a highway at dusk in Gurgaon, Haryana.  Photograph: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg via Getty

Forced closure of bar and alcohol shops near highways leaves 1.5 million jobless

Undated family handout photo of Danielle McLaughlin, who was discovered dead in Cancona, a popular tourist area in the south of Goa, last week. File photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

Remains in process of handover to friends and officials from Irish Embassy, say police

Yogi Adityanath (centre), head of India’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),   is offered sweets after his election  as chief minister of  Uttar Pradesh. He was hand-picked by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi. Photograph: Pawan Kumar/Reuters

Yogi Adityanath accused of attempted murder and inciting violence against Muslims

Agra, home of  the Taj Mahal, is among the cities highlighted  in the India travel advice section, where the Department of Foreign Affairs warns that women have been the victims of sexual assault. Photograph: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters

Average of 92 women raped every day, with tourists told to avoid skirts and walking alone

Police are investigating the murder of Danielle  McLaughlin in Goa, India.

Buncrana woman (28) discovered dead in Goa was travelling in India using a British passport

A Sadhu or Hindu holy man with his face covered with ash puts a wallet decorated with a print of the scrapped Indian 1,000-rupee note in a plastic cover  in Kolkata, India, January 5th, 2017. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Amount of illegal currency deposited believed to be far higher than government estimates

 Prime minister Narendra Modi’s   ban on high-value currency notes  was intended to combat corruption. Photograph: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Circulating currency cut by 86%, with catastrophic effect on tourism and cash dependent businesses

Indian people line up to change old Indian rupee notes outside  banks and ATMs in New Delhi. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

Several states set to impose weekly cash limits equivalent to €689 on Indian missions

People line up at a bank in New Delhi on Friday  to change old Indian rupee notes. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

High-value notes withdrawn last month in bid to counter tax evasion and money laundering

Men scuffle as people gather outside a bank to deposit and exchange demonetised 500- and 1000-rupee notes in Rohtak, India, on Friday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Opposition parties claim dozens have died in mayhem that followed demonetisation move

Indians line up outside a bank to deposit and exchange discontinued 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes in New Delhi. Photograph: Altaf Qadri/AP

Prime minister Narendra Modi accused of overturning lives with anti-corruption measure

Indian police officers appeal for calm as people stand in a queue to exchange 500 rupee  and 1000 rupee notes for newer denominations at a post office in Ahmedabad on Thursday. Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Millions queue to replace high denomination notes following their withdrawal on Tuesday

  India’s top court has given the federal government two days to come up with a  plan to tackle alarming levels of smog in New Delhi, the world’s most polluted capital. Photograph: Getty Images

City streets shrouded in thick haze of smoke, ash and other pollutants

  Indian border  guards  carry the remains  of their colleague during  a  ceremony   in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir: Nobody has claimed responsibility for an attack that left one guard dead and another wounded, but Indian security sources believe the armed militants came from Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Latest in series of incursions blamed on Pakistan, raising tensions in Islamabad

Indian paramilitary soldiers patrol in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, on Thursday. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Cross-border operation – denied by Pakistan – ratchets up tensions between neighbours

A French Rafale fighter jet performing in the southern Indian city of Bangalore in 2011. Photograph: Jagadeesh NV/EPA

Dassault Rafale fighters a boost for Indian air force but will heighten tension in region

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