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13 killed, 15 injured as terrorists open fire near Kokrajhar in Assam

At least 13 people were killed and more than 15 others suffered injuries when a group of terrorists opened fire at a crowded weekly market near Kokrajhar town in Assam on Friday afternoon.

 
13 kiled in terror attack at Kokrajhar in Assam
At least 13 people were killed and more than 15 others suffered injuries when a group of terrorists opened fire at a crowded weekly market near Kokrajhar town in Assam this afternoon.
 
Sources said the three or four masked gunmen, wearing Army-style fatigues, struck at Balajan Tiniali near the town, about 220 km west of Guwahati, around noon, leaving at least 12 civilians dead.
 
The gunmen arrived in an autorickshaw, hurled grenades and then opened fire indiscriminately in the market before fleeing from the scene.
 
Security forces managed to shoot down one of the militants and have launched a manhunt for the remaining men, who are believed to have escaped into a nearby forest.
 
The attack has taken the security forces as well as the Assam Government and the Centre by surprise. Media reports quoted top police officials as saying that they suspected the militants were part of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) faction.
 
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was in Delhi, told journalists that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Narendra Modi had been in touch with him and had promised all help from the Centre to tackle the situation. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met Mr. Sonowal to discuss the latest developments.
 
Condemning the attack, Mr. Sonowal said the state government was committed to ensuring protection of the lives and property of the people of Assam. He said the security forces would deal strictly with the situation.
 
He said the Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam and other senior officials were rushing to the scene of the incident.
 
Mr. Sonowal announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the attack and Rs. 1 lakh each for those who suffered injuries. He also appealed to the people of Assam to maintain peace and harmony. 
 
The Chief Minister said senior Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma had left for Kokrajhar.
 
Reports said additional columns of the Army and teams of para-military forces had been moved to the area. Police officials said an AK-56 rifle and some grenades were recovered from the scene.
 
The injured persons were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment even as security forces cordoned off the area and launched a combing operation.
 
In Delhi, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju described the incident as "unfortunate" and said it had taken place at a time when peace was returning to the state. 
 
“This incident has given us a shock and it is unfortunate so many people have lost their lives," he said, adding that the elements behind the "dastardly" attack would have to be identified.
 
This is the first major incident of violence in Assam since Mr. Sonowal assumed office as the head of the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the stte on May 24 this year.
 
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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

 
Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
 
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
 
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
 
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
 
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Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
 
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
 
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male
 
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Badminton: Saina Nehwal, Sourabh Verma win men and women's National titles

File photo of Saina Nehwal
File photo of Saina Nehwal
In a  tense  battle  Saina Nehwal beat P V Sindhu 21-18, 21-15 to win her fourth title at the Yonex-Sunrise 83rd Senior National Badminton Championships 2018-19 here on Saturday.
 
 In men’s section, Sourabh Verma won his third Nationals title with a 21-18, 21-13 triumph over Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen.
 
The singles winners were awarded prize money of Rs. 3.25 lakh while the runners-up got Rs. 1.7 lakh. Each of the singles semi-finalists and the quarter-finalists got richer by Rs. 62,500 and Rs. 27,500 respectively.
 
The showdown between Saina and Sindhu, a repeat of their enthralling final from the previous edition, was undoubtedly the cynosure of all eyes at the packed stadium attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and BAI president Himanta Biswa Sarma among others.
 
Saina overcame an erratic start to slowly gain in confidence. After trailing 1-3, she drew level at 5-5 with husband Parupalli Kashyap egging her on. With not much to choose between the two, the hard-fought match continued to be even until 10-10. That was where Saina's brilliant movement and unwavering focus made a difference and the defending champion went up to 16-12.
 
Saina kept targeting the corners to keep Sindhu out of position and soon bagged the opening game.
 
A more aggressive approach from the tall Sindhu sent her up to 5-3 in the second game. The momentum soon swung Saina's way, who once more started restricting her opponent from playing her naturally attacking game.
 
With Sindhu's game collapsing into errors, a calm and steady Saina built a 12-9 advantage and soon extended it to 17-13 by pushing Sindhu to the backcourt and finding the opening for smashes. The persistent approach and her spectacular court coverage helped Saina wrap it up in 44 minutes.
 
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This was Saina’s fourth title after earlier triumphs in 2006, 2007 and 2017 while Sindhu had been looking to add to her 2011 and 2013 titles.
 
In men’s singles, Verma and Sen met in a repeat of their 2017 final. Even though Sen stormed out of the blocks, it was the patient Verma who once again mastered the younger player.
 
The 17-year-old made a fabulous start as he broke away from a 6-6 tie to race ahead to 11-6. Verma tried to prolong the rallies after that and took four points on the trot. After Sen smashed his way up to 15-13, his barrage of unforced errors cost him the lead and Verma's composure allowed him to go up to 18-16 and pocket the opening game.
 
Sen fought back to 4-4 from 0-3 down in the second game but once again could not do enough to make a dent in Sourabh’s confidence levels. The latter banked on his precision and control to surge to 11-7 before finishing in 44 minutes.
 
Verma thus tasted success at the Nationals for the third time following victories in 2011 and 2017. Sen had to remain content with a two-time runner-up show.
 
Having lost in the men’s doubles final with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the last edition, Chirag Shetty made up for it this time in partnership with Pranaav Jerry Chopra. The second seeds upset the top seeds Arjun MR and Shlok Ramchandran 21-13, 22-20 to take the men’s doubles title.
 
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Modi to visit Guwahati, Itanagar and Agartala on Saturday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Guwahati in Assam, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Agartala in Tripura tomorrow as part of a one-day trip during which he will launch several development projects.
 
In Itanagar, he will unveil a series of development projects at IG Park in Itanagar. 
 
Among other things, he will lay the foundation stone for the construction of a greenfield airport at Hollongi. At present, the nearest airport to Itanagar is at Lilabari in Assam at a distance of 80 km.
 
The airport at Hollongi will reduce the distance by a fourth. In addition to providing better connectivity to the region, the airport will also unravel the tourism potential of the state. The airport will boost the economic growth of the region and will be strategically important to the nation. The airport will have various sustainability features like green belt along approach road to act as noise barrier, rain water harvesting, use of energy efficient equipment, and so on.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of Sela Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh. It will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang Valley for civilians as well as security forces throughout the year. The tunnel will reduce travel time to Tawang by an hour and boost tourism and related economic activities in the region.
 
A new dedicated DD Channel, for Arunachal Pradesh, DD Arun Prabha, will be launched by the Prime Minister. It will be the 24th channel operated by Doordarshan. 
 
He will also dedicate the 110 MW Pare Hydroelectric Plant in Arunachal Pradesh to the nation. The project, constructed by NEEPCO, will harness hydro power potential of the river Dikrong (tributary of Brahmaputra) and provide cheap hydro electric power to the North Eastern states, thereby improving power availability in the region, an official press release said.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone for a permanent campus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at Jote, Arunachal Pradesh. It will cater to film students especially those from the North Eastern states. 
 
He will inaugurate the upgraded Tezu Airport in Arunachal Pradesh. The airport has been retrofitted and a new terminal constructed for making it fit for commercial operations under UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme.
 
As many as 50 health and wellness centers in Arunachal Pradesh will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. He will also declare 100% household electrification in Arunachal Pradesh under Saubhagya Scheme.
 
From Itanagar, the Prime Minister will return to Guwahati, where he will  lay the foundation stone of the North East Gas Grid which will ensure uninterrupted availability of natural gas across the region and boost industrial growth in the region. The grid is part of Government’s plan to provide cheap and quality gas to the entire North East Region. He will lay foundation stone of City Gas Distribution Networks in Kamrup, Cacher, Hailakandi & Karimganj districts.
 
He will inaugurate Hollong Modular Gas Processing Plant in Tinsukia, Assam. The facility will deliver 15% of the total gas produced in Assam. He will also inaugurate LPG Capacity Augmentation of Mounted Storage Vessel in North Guwahati. 
 
The foundation stone of NRL Bio Refinery at Numaligarh and a 729 km gas pipeline from Barauni to Guwahati, passing through Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam, will be laid by him on the occasion.
 
The last leg of the Prime Minister's visit will be in Agartala.  He will dedicate to the nation the Garjee - Belonia Railway Line through unveiling of plaque at Swami Vivekananda Stadium here. The line will boost Tripura as the gateway to South and Southeast Asia. He will also inaugurate the new complex of Tripura Institute of Technology at Narsingarh.
 
He will unveil the statue of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport, Agartala. Maharaja Bir Bikram is widely regarded as the creator of modern Tripura. He is credited with planning of Agartala city. Unveiling of his statue is in line with the Union Government’s policy of honouring the unsung heroes of India, who have contributed greatly to nation building, the release added.
 
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Assam: Ajmal apologises for abusing journalist, faces FIR

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A day after abusing a journalist, and threatening to "smash" his head, Lok Sabha member Moulana Badaruddin Ajmal expressed his apologies on Thursday, saying he respects media persons.
 
Ajmal, who represents Assam's Dhubri constituency, landed himself in a controversy on Wednesday over the episode.
 
Ajmal, who leads the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), faced condemnation from different sections over the incident. Several media organisations have threatened to file FIRs against him.
 
Apologising over the episode, Ajmal, who is also a perfume trader, wrote on Twitter: "Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and I have always respected media persons and everyone knows that. I have sincere regards for them. The Mankachar incident was an unintentional aberration and I sincerely apologize for that to all concerned."
 
Guwahati-based Digital Media Journalist Association of Assam (DiMJAA) has said it will file an FIR against Ajmal on Thursday.
 
Members of the media fraternity also staged a protest on Thursday at Dispur Press Club, wearing black badge.
 
The AIUDF chief got agitated on Wednesday when a journalist asked him if he will side with the party that comes to power in New Delhi.
 
He was addressing a press conference at Mankachar to honour the AIUDF leaders who won in the recently held rural polls in Assam.
 
Ajmal not only verbally abused the journalist but also asked him to get out of the venue. 
 
"I'll smash your head," he said, while snatching the boom of the journalist.
 
IANS
 

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Modi inaugurates Bogibeel rail-cum-road bridge -- India's longest -- over Brahmaputra

A view of the Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2018
A view of the Bogibeel bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country's longest rail-cum-road bridge in Bogibeel over the Brahmaputra river, that connects Dhemaji and Dibrugarh in Assam, on Tuesday.
 
Later, Modi and his cavalcade took a ride on the bridge, stopping in the middle and waving at thousands of people waiting on either sides.
 
Built at an estimated cost of over Rs 5,000 crore, the bridge is expected to help over five million people living in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and significantly enhance India's defence capability by ensuring faster movement of troops and supplies to the eastern border with China.
 
The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by the then Prime Minister of H. D. Devegowda in 1997. The construction works started only in 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
 
The bridge, situated 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh spans the Brahmaputra river and connects the town in the south to Dhemaji to the river's north.
 
It is located just over 20 km away from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border and is thus expected to act as an alternative to the Kolia Bhomora Setu in Tezpur.
 
Earlier, on his arrival at the Mohanbari airport near Dibrugarh, Modi was received by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He later left for Bogibeel in a helicopter.
 
The strategic 4.9 km rail-cum-road bridge, built by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), is the first fully welded steel bridge and the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India.
 
HCC constructed the entire 4.9 km-long superstructure, a press release from the company said.
 
"Bogibeel bridge will provide connectivity to nearly five million people residing in Upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The project boasts of multiple benefits such as strategic and speedier access for defence forces to the Indo-China border, seamless access for medical facilities to remote north-eastern states, and most importantly reducing by nearly 10 hours the transportation distance between NH-37 and NH-52, saving transportation cost, time and fuel," the release said.
 
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Mr. Arjun Dhawan, Director & Group Chief Executive Officer, HCC said, “HCC has time and again undertaken complex infrastructure projects that are benchmarks in India’s infrastructure journey. Bogibeel Bridge is an engineering masterpiece which has many technical firsts to its name. It is India’s first fully welded Warren truss girder type steel bridge. Not only has an incremental launching technique for superstructure erection been used for the first time in India, it is also the world’s longest incrementally launched steel bridge. HCC is proud to create such marvels for the nation.”
 
"The HCC team through its sheer determination and grit completed this project, as bridging the mighty Brahmaputra has always been a daunting task. The river is extremely difficult to bridge due to various reasons including its ferocious and unpredictable behaviour, high currents and turbulent waters, widespread erosion of the banks, short working period, high seismicity and the sheer remoteness of the area. With the width ranging from 1.2 km to 18 km, the Brahmaputra has been bridged only four times in the past; HCC holds the distinction of building two of these bridges and has now constructed the fifth," the release said.
 
The superstructure of the Bogibeel bridge has been constructed using special copper-bearing steel plates in order to reduce corrosion. Furthermore, due to excessive humidity in the area, a complex Corrosion Protection System specific to different components of the bridge has been implemented. To offer good stability to the heavy spans (1700 MT), seismic restrainers are provided. The bridge is designed to withstand earthquakes with magnitudes in excess of 7.0.
 
(With inputs from IANS)
 
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Kovind presents Standards to 118 Helicopter Unit and Colours to Air Defence College

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President Ram Nath Kovind presented Standards to 118 Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Colours to Air Defence College here on Thursday.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the world looks at India differently today. It is seen as an eminent power, expected to play a prominent role in shaping the global paradigm with regards to international security, trade and commerce, and environmental protection. 
 
“India’s rise in the international order has many dimensions to it. And it draws heavily from the capabilities and valour of our Armed Forces, including our air warriors,” he added.
 
“I have just returned from a visit to Vietnam and Australia. I held discussions with the leaders of both these countries in different areas of mutual interest such as defence, international security, trade and culture. 
 
“The deliberations made one thing amply clear. That, the world looks at India differently today. India is seen as an eminent power, expected to play a prominent role in shaping the global paradigm with regards to international security, trade and commerce and environmental protection,” he said. 
 
“Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we are determined to use all our might to protect the sovereignty of our nation. Whenever an occasion demanded, our brave men and women in uniform have ensured that the nation has dealt with the security challenges forcefully and effectively," he said.
 
The 118 Helicopter Unit or “Challengers” was formed on November 22, 1971, in Chabua and was then equipped with Mi-8 aircraft. Whether flying the Mi-8 or the formidable Mi-17 helicopter today, the Unit has a remarkable operational record. 
 
It has also contributed to humanitarian assistance and relief operations during natural disasters. The motto of the Unit Aapatsu Mitram, which means-Friend in Distress, is indeed an apt one. 
 
“I am confident that Challengers will continue to excel and operate as a formidable force in the years to come,” Mr. Kovind said. 
 
The Air Defence College has achieved significant milestones in Air Defence training in the past 60 years. The college provides professional training not only to officers of Indian Air Force but also to sister services and officers from friendly countries. 
 
The flying element of the College played a vital role during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. Since its establishment, the college has distinguished itself by adopting a futuristic approach towards training. 
 
The College truly lives up to its motto “Rakshanepunyasya Shikhamahe”, which means ‘ Teach to Excel in Defence’.
 
“In recognition of their outstanding performance, I am pleased to award Standards to 118 Helicopter Unit and Colours to Air Defence College. I compliment the personnel and families of the Units, past and present, for their devotion and service to the nation. The Indian Air Force is a fine force known for its prowess and professionalism,” Mr Kovind added.
 
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Two killed as ULFA triggers blast in Assam

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Two persons were killed after suspected militants belonging to the anti-talks faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) triggered a blast in Assam's Sivsagar district on Thursday evening, police said.
 
Police said the blast took place at a hardware store belonging to one Kamal Agarwala. 
 
"While Agarwala was seriously injured in the blast, a customer who was present in the store died on the spot. Agarwala was rushed to a hospital immediately but he succumbed to his inuries," police said.
 
The police is investigating the matter and will detail "the exact nature of the blast after preliminary investigation", said Sivsagar Superintendent of Police Subodh Kumar Sonowal.
 
Locals said that Agarwala and his brother had earlier received an extortion demand from the anti-talk faction of ULFA militants.
 
The anti-talks ULFA faction had on November 1 shot at a group of Hindu Bengalis in Tinsukia district in which five persons were killed.
 
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal strongly condemned the act and said that miscreants responsible for the killing will not be spared.
 
The Chief Minister, who is in New Delhi, termed the incident as an act of cowardice. He said that the state police chief has been directed to take immediate measures to nab the culprits involved in the incident.
 
IANS
 

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ISL: Mumbai end NorthEast's unbeaten run

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Mumbai City FC are on a roll registering their third consecutive victory, this time a narrow 1-0 win to halt NorthEast United FC's unbeaten run in an Indian Super League (ISL) tie at the Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium here on Friday.
 
Arnold Issoko's fourth-minute goal was the difference between the two sides as Mumbai climbed to third on the table with 13 points from seven games, the same as FC Goa and Bengaluru FC who sit above them. NorthEast United are stuck at 11 points but have a game in hand.
 
Mumbai surged ahead with their first attack. NorthEast didn't clear their lines from a Paulo Machado corner and the ball once again fell for the Portuguese midfielder. His first time shot struck Issoko's chest and crossed the line despite goalkeeper Pawan Kumar's best efforts. 
 
The hosts responded to the setback by fashioning several chances. Bartholomew Ogbeche saw a header miss the far post after he got on the end of a cross from Redeem Tlang from the right before Federico Gallego had a chance to pull one back as they won a free kick on the edge of the box.
 
However, the Uruguayan's free kick sailed over the bar with Amrinder Singh hardly troubled.
 
Mumbai had a chance of their own when a move straight from the training ground saw Machado square the ball to Rafael Bastos from a free kick. The Brazilian's shot went inches wide of the far post.
 
Mumbai had a scare when Lalthathanga Khawlring's corner caught Amrinder by surprise and the ball clipped the crossbar on its way out.
 
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Three minutes after the restart, Ogbeche made a brilliant run down the left and crossed for Juan Mascia. However, the Uruguayan striker couldn't turn it home. 
 
Mumbai had a lot of chances to double their lead as the half wore on. 
 
In the 50th minute, Moudou Sougou had a brilliant opportunity to score when he was played onside and only had to beat the onrushing goalkeeper. The Senegalese striker saw his lobbed effort miss the target, much to the disappointment of Jorge Costa.
 
Sougou missed another chance just after the hour mark. Lucian Goian's long punt found Issoko who did well to get beyond his marker and release Sougou down the left who blasted his shot over.
 
The tale of wasted chances continued at the other end too as Ogbeche got on the end of a cross and found space to shoot but his effort went straight into the hands of Amrinder.
 
A mistake from Lucian then allowed Ogbeche to be in a one-on-one situation with Amrinder but the Nigerian striker slammed his effort into the goalkeeper. Off the rebound, Rowllin Borges' shot sailed over the bar.
 
Despite a late onslaught, the visitors held on to their slender lead as NorthEast fell to their first defeat in the season.
 
IANS
 

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Militants gun down 5 in Assam's Tinsukia

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Five persons were killed in Tinsukia district of Assam on Thursday evening when a group of unidentified assailants opened fire at a public place, police said.
 
The assailants are believed to be members of the anti-talks faction of militant outfit ULFA, according to the police.
 
More details are awaited.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Assam: Man commits suicide over Foreigners Tribunal notice

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A man committed suicide on Sunday in Assam's Udalguri district allegedly after a local Foreigners' Tribunal recently served a notice on him asking him to prove his Indian citizenship.
 
Police said Dipak Debnath was found hanging from a tree in the backyard of his house in Ghagra village.
 
"Preliminary investigation indicate it to be a suicide. His family told us that Debnath was depressed after receiving a notice from the Foreigners' Tribunal which termed him as a foreigner and asked him to prove his Indian citizenship," a police officer said.
 
Although the Foreigners' Tribunal served the notice to Debnath in July asking him to appear before it on July 12 to prove his Indian citizenship, Debnath received the notice only on July 29.
 
"The draft NRC was published by the Assam government on July 30 and it included the names of Debnath, his wife and two daughters. However, Debnath went to the Foreigners' Tribunal recently to respond to the notice and a Tribunal official demanded a huge bribe to settle his case," said Uttam Debnath, a nephew of the deceased.
 
"We believe he ended his life as he was not in a position to bribe the Tribunal officials. He was scared that he will be taken to detention camps and will be tortured," said Uttam.
 
The draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30 left out the names of 40,07,707 people due to various discrepancies in the documents submitted by the people.
 
IANS
 

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ISL: Jamshedpur squander chances against 10-man NorthEast United

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NorthEast United climbed back to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) after an eventful 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the India Gandhi Athletic stadium here on Thursday.
 
Bartholomew Obgeche (20th) gave the hosts early lead before Farukh Chaudhary cancelled out his strike in the 49th minute.
 
It was the Highlanders who created the first real opening in the game after Federico Gallego surged down the right flank. The Uruguayan squared the ball back for Ogbeche from the by-line but the Nigerian's rushed shot was some way off target.
 
The Nigerian would not be denied his goal minutes later after an error from Mario Arques. The Jamshedpur midfielder was dispossessed off the ball in his own box by Gallego before Ogbeche showed a brilliant first touch and then toe-poked the ball past a hapless Subrata Paul.
 
The visitors almost hit back immediately after Calvo's intended cross from the left-flank deceived Pawan Kumar before bouncing off the crossbar. At the other end, Ogbeche continued to look dangerous with his quick feet and physical prowess.
 
Ferrando's men began exerting a greater control on the ball as the half progressed but always seemed to run out of ideas in the final third.
 
Just seconds after Redeem Tlang had forced Subrata into an excellent save, the hosts shot themselves in the foot with Komorski picking up a red card at the stroke of half-time. The Croatian defender swung his elbow wildly towards Pablo Morgado's face and the referee had no hesitation in giving him the marching orders after consulting with the linesman.
 
Come the second period, Eelco Schattorie sacrificed Nikhil Kadam to bring on defender Gurwinder Singh. Cesar Ferrando, meanwhile, threw caution to the winds by taking off defender Pratik Chaudhari for Michael Soosairaj.
 
It took just four minutes for the visitors to make their man advantage count after Reagan Singh failed to clear the ball. Morgado stole the ball before delivering a delightful cross from the left to which Farukh applied a sumptuous first-time finish with his left foot, leaving Pawan Kumar no chance.
 
With the game meandering towards the 70th minute mark, Tim Cahill was finally brought on as Ferrando went for the kill. The visitors put bodies forward in numbers with balls being launched into the box constantly but the cutting edge was missing.
 
Soosairaj came closest to taking the lead for the visitors but the 10 men of NorthEast hung on dearly for a precious draw.
 
IANS
 

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Rohit, Kohli star as India thrash West Indies in 1st ODI

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Opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Virat Kohli scored blistering centuries to help India thrash the West Indies by eight wickets in the first One-Day International match here on Sunday.
 
India dominated with the bat through out the innings as Rohit remained unbeaten on 152 while Virat was dismissed for 140. On the other hand, West Indian bowlers struggled with the line and failed to take wickets.
 
Chasing a challenging score of 322, India lost Shikhar Dhawan with just 10 runs on the board. Dhawan (4) was clean bowled by Oshane Thomas in the second over of the innings.
 
But after that Rohit and Virat joined hands and hammered the West Indian bowlers all around the stadium. In the process, the duo completed their respective centuries.
 
Virat was stumped by wicket-keeper Shai Hope off Devendra Bishoo in the 33rd over when the score was 256, but by then India had almost grabbed the game.
 
The fall of wicket brought in Ambati Rayudu (22 not out) who played sensibly with Rohit and the duo guided India home comfortably.
 
Rohit played 117 balls and slammed 15 boundaries and eight sixes while Virat played 107 balls and slammed 21 boundaries and two sixes.
 
Earlier, a brilliant century by Shimron Hetmyer (106) and some useful contributions from Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach towards the end helped West Indies post 322/8.
 
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Hetmyer played 78 balls and slammed six boundaries and as many sixes before he was dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja in the 39th over. 
 
Chandrapaul Hemraj and Marlon Samuels were the only disappointments for the West Indies as all other batters contributed and helped their team to get past the 300 run mark in their allotted 50 overs.
 
Put in to bat, West Indies started the proceedings on a positive note but pacer Mohammad Shami dismissed opener Hemraj (9) in the fifth over. But Powell and Shai Hope (32) together forged a 65-run partnership for the second wicket and took West indies past the 80-run mark. 
 
Just when things seemed good in the middle for the Windies, opener Powell (51) was dismissed by Khaleel Ahmed in the 15th over. In the next over, Samuels was also sent packing by Yuzvendra Chahal.
 
Hetmyer then arrived in the middle and stitched crucial partnerships with Rovman Powell and Jason Holder (38) before getting out in the 39th over.
 
Holder also played sensibly before getting out and towards the end, Bishoo and Roach forged a 44-run partnership for the ninth wicket to guide the West Indies to a challenging total.
 
For India Chahal took three wickets, while Shami and Jadeja took two wickets each.
 
Brief scores: 322/8 (Shimron Hetmyer 106, Kieran Powell 51; Yuzvendra Chahal 3/41) against India: 326/2 (Rohit Sharma 152 not out; Virat Kohl 140; Devendra Bishoo 1/72)
 
IANS
 

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Five killed, several injured in Assam road mishap

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At least five people, including two women, died and several others were injured when their bus fell into a water body on Saturday.
 
Police said the incident took place at a remote place called Mukalmua in Assam's Nalbari district.
 
"The bus was travelling from Guwahati to Nalbari. However, the bus driver lost control and it fell into a water body near Adabari in Mukalmua area," police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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SpiceJet to connect Hyderabad with Bangkok from October 10

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would launch a daily direct flight from Hyderabad to Bangkok with effect from October 10.
 
From the same day, the airline will also introduce a daily direct flight from Hyderabad to Guwahati.
 
The announcement was made in the august presence of Mr. K. T. Rama Rao, Minister for Industry & Commerce, Municipal Administration & Urban Development, ITE&C, Mines, Handloom & Textiles, NRI Affairs, Government of Telangana. 
 
On the occasion, senior SpiceJet officials handed over the first ticket to Mr. Rama Rao, thereby marking the formal announcement of the launch of the new flight service.
 
Ms. Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet said, “We are delighted to launch our new flights from Hyderabad. Bangkok has always been one of the most preferred global destinations and the domestic addition reiterates our conviction in the potential of the north-eastern regions. We believe our consistent efforts to connect the regional markets will revolutionise air travel across the country offering convenience for business and leisure travelers alike.”
 
A press release from the airline said SpiceJet is the only Indian carrier to provide direct connectivity between Hyderabad and Bangkok.
 
"The new flights will provide convenience to the airline’s customers traveling from the city, besides enabling them to travel to a host of other cities both on SpiceJet’s domestic as well as international network via multiple direct and onward connections," the release added.
 
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NIA court awards death for 2, life term to 2 others in 2014 killings

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A special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday awarded death sentence to two and life imprisonment to two others in the mass killings triggered by terrorist outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in 2014.
 
A statement issued by the NIA said that while two accused, Bishnu Narzary alias N Berema and Ajoy Basumutary alias B Buhumbua, have been awarded death penalty, two others, Sanju Bordoloi alias Sibigiri and Nitul Daimary alias D Naihab, have been awarded life imprisonment.
 
Although the court had convicted the four in the case on August 29, the quantum of punishment was pronounced on Saturday.
 
On December 23, 2014, NDFB militants had indiscriminately fired upon villagers of Hatijuli Shantipur village in Sonitpur district of Assam killing six persons instantly and injuring two others.
 
The Assam government had handed over the case to the NIA which registered a case on December 30 the same year under various sections and the Arms Act.
 
A chargesheet was filed against the accused on July 22, 2015.
 
IANS
 

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Assam: Three dead, many missing as boat capsizes in Brahmaputra

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At least three persons, including two college-going girls, were killed and several others were missing after a boat capsized in the Brahmaputra in Assam on Wednesday.
 
The Kamrup Metro district administration confirmed that three bodies have been recovered and said that many people who were on board the machine boat were missing.
 
"The boat was on its way from Fancy Bazar Ghat in Guwahati to Madhyam Khanda in North Guwahati with around 40 passengers and 10 motorcycles on it. 
 
"However, near Aswaklanta island, the boat's engine failed. It later collided with some concrete poles underwater, which are part of a water supply project, and capsized," said a local, adding that while some passengers from the boat to swam to the shore, some others could not.
 
"We have rescued 15 people till now. Three bodies have been recovered. Our search is on to find out more survivors," said a spokesman for the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
 
The Brahmaputra is in spate due to monsoon rains in the upper reaches of Arunachal Pradesh.
 
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered an inquiry into the incident. The Additional Chief Secretary has been told to submit a report "at the earliest".
 
IANS
 

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Second wave of floods hits Assam, 90,000 affected

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Close to 90,000 people have been affected in Assam as a second wave of floods hit the state, affecting 153 villages in six districts including Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Golaghat, Sivsagar and Charaideo.
 
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said the floods that have hit the state since June 13 have affected 10.99 lakh people. The state has registered 41 deaths -- 38 in flooding and 3 due to landslides.
 
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday reviewed the flood situation.
 
He has asked the Revenue and Disaster Management department to come up with innovative steps like constructing high-rise structure to give succour to the people who suffer from perennial floods every year.
 
From June 13 to August 3, Assam has had two waves of floods affecting 163 villages and 10.99 lakh people. 
 
Altogether 388 relief camps have been set up and 440 relief distribution centres have been opened to distribute relief items to the affected people.
 
IANS
 

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Most TMC leaders leave Silchar, Bengali groups slam TMC

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The last two members of a Trinamool Congress delegation which arrived in Silchar in Assam's Barak Valley on Thursday and were confined to the airport are likely to leave on Friday.
 
Cachar Deputy Commissioner Lakshmanan S. on Friday said that while six of them had left for Kolkata, two others were still in the airport waiting for their flight to Delhi.
 
The eight-member delegation that flew into Silchar on Thursday to assess the situation after the publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) was confined to a room in Silchar airport.
 
The delegation was tipped to meet people in Silchar. They were not allowed to go outside the airport on the ground that orders prohibiting the assembly of four or more people were in force in the town.
 
The six Trinamool MPs and two MLAs from West Bengal were also supposed to visit Guwahati.
 
Meanwhile, the All Assam Bengali Yuba Chatra Parishad has condemned the TMC's stand over the NRC and accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of making statements to gain political mileage.
 
"None of the Hindu Bengali in Assam is threatened for non-inclusion of their names in the NRC. This is just a draft NRC and time has been given to all genuine Indian citizens to enter their names in the final NRC," the group's chief adviser Sukumar Biswas told IANS.
 
"There is peace in Assam and no one is worried. Mamata didi did not stand with us when we required her. However, now she has sent her party members to aggravate the situation," Biswas said. He said no Hindu Bengali in Assam supported the TMC stand.
 
IANS
 

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Over 40 lakh excluded from Assam draft citizenship list

Over 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants have been excluded from Assam's draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on Monday, sparking concerns about their future and triggering a nationwide political row.

 
Around 2.9 crore people eligible to be included in NRC
 
 
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Over 40 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants have been excluded from Assam's draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) released on Monday, sparking concerns about their future and triggering a nationwide political row.
 
Applications of 2.89 crore have been approved in the draft list of citizens, which forms part of a long-running campaign against Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam. 
 
As the controversy over denying citizenship to 40 lakh applicants brewed, the central government urged people not to panic and asked the opposition not to politicise the issue.
 
Registrar General of India Sailesh, who released the draft, said "ample opportunity" would be given to these applicants if they file claims and objections between August 30 and September 28 before the final list is prepared. 
 
The process to finalise the list should be done by December 31, 2018.
 
"This is a draft NRC and not the final NRC. All genuine Indian citizens whose names did not figure in the NRC will get ample opportunities to enter their names in the final NRC," Sailesh said, terming the day "historic". 
 
NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said the 40,07,707 people whose names did not figure in the list would be intimated through separate letters about the discrepancies and their details would not be disclosed. 
 
Amid concerns, Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the Union Home Ministry in Delhi, said none of those whose names do not figure in the list will be taken to any detention camp or foreigners' tribunals. 
 
Security in Assam was intensified after apprehensions that there might be trouble following the publication of the draft NRC. 
 
Critics of the citizenship registry say the move seeks to drive out immigrant Muslims from Assam and was majorly supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- which rules the state.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Assam and Modi governments and alleged that those having Aadhaar card, voter identity and others documents were excluded as the authorities were "not satisfied".
 
"Forty lakh people including Hindus and Muslims were left out. All connections including Internet have been disconnected which is unfortunate. Why were connections cut? We are not able to contact them. Is it an attempt to bulldoze them?," Banerjee asked in Kolkata.
 
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Opposition parties led by the Trinamool and the Samajwadi Party created an uproar in the Rajya Sabha, forcing repeated disruptions and finally adjournment for the day.
 
The Congress asked the government to convene an all-party meet for a discussion on steps to ensure that no Indian citizen was left out. 
 
"The government must immediately call a meeting of leaders of all parties and should inform about the steps it proposes to take," senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that it was "only a draft and not the final NRC" and appealed to the opposition not to politicise the "sensitive" issue. 
 
"Whatever work is going on in the NRC is happening under the supervision of the Supreme Court. To say that the government has done it and it is inhuman and brutal... such allegations are baseless. There is no question of any coercive action against anyone," he said. 
 
"Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear... Some misinformation is being spread. Some people may not have been able to submit necessary documents. They will get full opportunity through Claims and Objections process."
 
The Assam government started the process of updating the NRC in December 2013. All residents in the state were asked to produce documents proving that they or their families had lived in India before March 24, 1971.
 
On December 31, 2017, it released the first draft containing 1.90 crore names. 
 
IANS
 

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Assam's NRC draft includes 2.89 crore names

The first complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), comprising names of 2,89,83,677 people of Assam, was published on Monday.

 
Around 2.9 crore people eligible to included in NRC
 
 
The first complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), comprising names of 2,89,83,677 people of Assam, was published on Monday.
 
Releasing the document online at the state NRC headquarters here, Registrar General of India, Sailesh said that a total of 3,29,91,384 people had applied for inclusion of their names in the document, but 40,07,707 had been left out due to some discrepancies in their documents.
 
"This is a draft NRC and not the final NRC. All genuine Indian citizens whose names did not figure in the NRC will get ample opportunities to enter their names in the final NRC," Sailesh said, terming the day "historic". 
 
"It's a historic day for Assam and India as a whole. Today we have achieved a milestone of publishing the first complete draft NRC. 
 
"The scale, size and complexity of the whole exercise are unparalleled. The process has been transparent, clear and meticulously executed with involvement of over 52,000 government officials over a period of three years," he said.
 
Assam State Coordinator for NRC, Pratik Hajela said that all those whose name did not figure in the document need not worry as there is a laid down procedures for claims and objections, which will start from August 30.
 
"Whoever, wishes to file a claim for inclusion of their names in the NRC can approach the NRC Seva Kendras and file claim from August 30. 
 
"We will start distribution of claims and objection and correction forms from August 7. The process of filing of the claims, objection and corrections will continue til September 28," Hajela said.
 
There would also be assistance for those who need assistance in filing the claims and objections, he added.
 
Hajela said that the 40,07,707 people whose name did not figure in the NRC will be intimated through separate letters about the discrepancies and there will be opportunities for them to correct the same.
 
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"Details of these 40,07,707 (people) will not be disclosed as we have to respect their privacy. 
 
"Out of them, there are 2.48 lakh people whose cases are pending before different Foreigners' Tribunals," he said adding that the status quo of these people -- whose name did not figure in the NRC -- will remain as "applicant" and not as "Indian" or "non-Indian".
 
Satyen Garg, Joint Secretary, Northeast, in the Union Home Ministry, reiterated that the none of the persons, whose name did not figure in the NRC, will be taken to the detention camps or Foreigners' Tribunals. 
 
Sufficient opportunity will be given to those persons to include their names in the final NRC, he assured.
 
The Assam government has intensified security arrangements across the state following apprehensions that there might be trouble after publication of the NRC. 
 
The Central government had already sent over 200 companies of security forces to assist the state police in handling the situation.
 
The Assam government had started the process of updating the NRC on December 2013. On December 31, 2017, the Assam government had released the first draft of the NRC which included the names of 1.90 crore people.
 
IANS
 

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Still-born found in AirAsia flight's toilet

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A still-born baby was found in one of the lavatories of an AirAsia flight that landed here from Guwahati on Wednesday afternoon, the police said.
 
The flight had originated from Imphal.
 
A police official said that a lady, who boarded the plane from Guwahati, delivered a premature baby during the journey. The suspect was identified after all female passengers onboard were questioned.
 
She was held back by the police for further investigation. 
 
The airline, in a statement, said that the new-born infant was found lifeless and abandoned in one of the lavatories when the aircraft was being prepared for landing.
 
"The police were alerted and a doctor from the medical team at the Delhi International Airport confirmed that the baby had been delivered onboard."
 
The matter has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the airline's staff are attending to other guests and cooperating with the Delhi Police. 
 
"We will be assisting in the investigation and cooperating with all concerned agencies," the statement said.
 
IANS
 
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BJP MP's daughter among 19 summoned in Assam's cash-for-jobs scam

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The daughter of BJP's Lok Sabha member R.P. Sharma is among 19 government officials issued summons on Sunday by the Assam Police in the multi-crore cash-for-jobs scam.
 
The Dibrugarh police, which is probing the case, has asked these officials to appear at the Special Branch Headquarters in Kahilipara area here on July 18 to give their handwriting samples for forensics tests.
 
These 19 include 13 officials of Assam Civil Service Officers, three of Assam Police Service and three of allied services. "Police officer Pallabi Sharma is the daughter of Bharatiya Janata Party's Lok Sabha MP from Tezpur, R.P. Sharma," said a senior official on the probe team.
 
The official said that police has already collected substantial evidence against the 19 for their alleged involvement in the job scam.
 
Certain top officials of the Assam Public Service Commission, which holds the two-stage examination for selecting candidates for plum state jobs, allegedly accepted huge bribes over several years for selecting the candidates.
 
Over 30 Assam civil and police as well as allied services officers have so far been arrested in the scam, apart from then APSC Chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul, two commission members, and other officials.
 
IANS
 
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Train services suspended in Assam's hill section due to landslide

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Running of trains has been affected in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section of Assam following landslides triggered by incessant rains for the past few days.
 
Chief Public Relations Officer of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) P.J. Sharma said at least four trains have been suspended due to the landslides, which have occurred in at least five locations in the hill section -- between Dautohaja and Phiding, Phiding station yard, between Phiding and Mahur, between Jatingalampur and New Harangajao and between two tunnels on the stretch.
 
"The landslides occurred between 1.30 a.m. and 3.30 a.m.," Sharma said.
 
As a result, the Guwahati-Silchar Fast passenger is controlled at Lumding, followed by Sealdah-Silchar Kanchanjungha Express to be controlled at Lumding.
 
"Silchar-Guwahati Fast passenger has been cancelled on date. Agartala-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express to be controlled in Badarpur," he said adding there is, however, no passenger train stranded within the affected section.
 
"Although the extent of damage is yet to be fully ascertained, restoration work has already started in all affected locations," the NFR CPRO said.
 
The Divisional Railway Manager of Lumding is already at the site monitoring the situation, Sharma said adding work is on to restart the train services as early as possible.
 
IANS
 
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16 arrested for lynching youths in Assam, CM holds review meet

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The Assam Police has arrested 16 persons in connection with the lynching of two Guwahati-based youths in Karbi Anglong district by villagers who mistook them to be child abductors, authorities said on Sunday.
 
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwala said that police was on the lookout for more people involved in the Friday evening incident.
 
Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath were brutally killed by a mob near Kathilangso waterfall. The incident has been widely condemned.
 
Agarwala said that the situation in Dokmoka, where the killings took place, was under control. 
 
"There was tension in the area following the incident but it is under control now," he said.
 
"In four to five villages around Dokmoka, fake posts went viral on social media about 'xopadhara' or child abductors in the area. Preliminary investigation says that the people in the area suspected the two youths as child lifters and attacked them.
 
"We appeal to people not to believe rumours and social media posts. We also appeal to the people to inform the police immediately if they find anyone spreading rumours and hate messages," Agarwala added.
 
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal later in the day held a high-level meeting to take stock of the law and order situation in the state.
 
Sonowal asked Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia to ensure police vigil on all activities and to put an end to canards likely to vitiate public order and peace.
 
He said that no leniency should be shown to the culprits. 
 
Chief Secretary T.Y. Das and Saikia told the media after the meeting that the state government had taken the lynchings very seriously.
 
"While 15 were arrested for their involvement in killing, one person was arrested for posting objectionable and fake information on the social media while the mob fury was on on Friday," the DGP said.
 
The officer also appealed to the people not to pay heed to rumours. "We have instructed police in all Assam districts to take action against those spreading rumours," he said.
 
A team headed by Additional DGP Harmeet Singh has been set up to strengthen web monitoring.
 
IANS
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