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Assam

Over 4 lakh marooned by Assam floods

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With flood waters inundating over 700 villages in 17 districts and affecting over 4 lakh people in the state, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday reviewed the prevailing flood situation and asked Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and other officials to remain fully alert for tackling the situation.
 
Noting that people in distress must get adequate care and response, the Chief Minister asked the DCs to activate 24x7 control rooms for immediate response to the flood situation in their districts. He enquired about the status of relief camps, distribution of relief material to marooned people and measures adopted for safety and security of animals in the flood-affected districts.
 
The Chief Minister also asked the Deputy Commissioners to update their stocks of medicines in the hospitals and ensure availability of doctors. He also asked them to take steps for adequate care for animals affected by floods and arrange fodder for them.
 
Moreover, in view of the spurt of Japanese encephalitis and malaria cases, the Chief Minister directed the health department functionaries to collect blood sample of relief camp inmates to contain the diseases.
 
Underlining the importance of prompt action by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel in rescue operations, the Chief Minister asked the DCs to remain in close touch with concerned district administrations where the teams are currently being stationed. 
 
He also directed the police to carry out regular patrolling in flood-affected areas to ensure the safety and security of property of the flood-hit people.
 
Sonowal further asked the state Power Department to take all necessary measures to prevent incidents of electrocution which may occur owing to negligence of departmental officials. 
 
Besides, in case of any casualty by floods, he directed the DCs to immediately release the one-time financial assistance to the next of kin of the victim.
 
Apart from reviewing the present situation of inundation at the Kaziranga and Manas National Parks, the Chief Minister took stock of the preparedness of the Kamrup (Metro) district administration in responding to incidents of landslide in the district. 
 
In view of several such incidents in Guwahati in the past causing loss of many lives, Sonowal asked the DC and Assam State Disaster Management Authority to identify all landslide-prone areas and sensitise the local people to vacate such places to avert any mishap.
 
IANS
 

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SpiceJet flags off daily non-stop flight on Guwahati-Dhaka route

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today launched daily non-stop flights on the Guwahati-Dhaka-Guwahati route under the Government's International Air Connectivity Scheme (IACS). 
 
The flight is the first ever to be operated under IACS, a press release from the airline said. It said the flight also underlined the airline's commitment to enhancing connectivity in the North East region.
 
SpiceJet is the only airline to offer direct air connectivity between Guwahati and Dhaka. 
 
The flag-off ceremony at Guwahati airport was attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other dignitaries.
 
Debojo Maharshi, Chief Marketing Officer, SpiceJet, said, “We are extremely delighted to launch our first ever direct flight under the International Air Connectivity Scheme between Guwahati and Dhaka. We believe that the tremendous success of RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) can be replicated in IACS as well thereby making international air travel much more affordable and convenient for Indians. Enhancing connectivity to the North-East has always been on top of our agenda and this new flight marks an important milestone in this regard.”
 
With the launch of the new flight services between Guwahati and Dhaka, SpiceJet now operates two flights under IACS besides operating a total of 43 flights connecting 24 cities under UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme.  This is the highest number of flights being operated by any Indian airline under UDAN.
 
SpiceJet is deploying its Bombardier Q400 on the Guwahati-Dhaka-Guwahati route.
 
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IAF retrieves stranded rescue team from AN-32 crash site

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday evening retrieved all the 15 members of the search and rescue team engaged in the search of the AN-32 aircraft who got stranded in the crash site along the Indo-China border, said defence spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh.
 
Singh said the 15-member search and rescue team was camping at the crash site since June 12 due to bad weather and rains.
 
"All the 15 members of the team, including eight from the IAF, four from the Army and three other civilian rescuers, were retrieved today using ALH and Mi-17V5 helicopters," Singh said, adding that the effort to retrieve them was delayed due to inclement weather and rain.
 
"The weather condition improved slightly today, allowing the risky helicopter operations to be undertaken. We did that and the team was retrieved," he said.
 
All the members were fit and in good health, he added.
 
The ill-fated AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force went missing after taking off from the Jorhat air base in Assam for Mechuka advanced landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.
 
The rescue team was air-dropped near the wreckage site of the aircraft on June 12 and subsequently retrieved the bodies and mortal remains of 13 air warriors on board the AN-32. However, the rescue team got stranded there due to bad weather.
 
IANS
 

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Mistaken identity lands Assam woman in detention camp for 3 years

Madhubala Mandal, a 59-year-old woman who was sent to a detention camp for illegal immigrants in 2016 in a case of mistaken identity, leaves after being released in Assam's Kokrajhar on June 26, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Madhubala Mandal, a 59-year-old woman who was sent to a detention camp for illegal immigrants in 2016 in a case of mistaken identity, leaves after being released in Assam's Kokrajhar on June 26, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
A woman from Assam's Chirang district, sent by a foreigners' tribunal to a detention camp three years back on suspicion that she was an illegal infiltrator after being mistaken for someone else of the same name, has now been freed.
 
"I am happy that I can take care of my daughter now. She is physically challenged, she needs my help always," said Madhubala Mondal, 59, after her release on Wednesday. 
 
Mondal, a widow who worked as a domestic help, had to spend three years at a detention camp in Kokrajhar district after she was declared a foreigner by a Foreigners' Tribunal in March 2016.
 
She could not even challenge the Tribunal's order due to extreme poverty and lack of knowledge. The case of her "illegal detention" came to light only recently when a local organization took up the case and moved a petition challenging the Tribunal's order.
 
During the fresh hearing, the police admitted that they took her to be Madhubala Das of the same village in Chirang.
 
"We have received an order from the Foreigners' Tribunal asking to release Madhubala Mondal. We forwarded the order to the detention camp and accordingly she was released from the detention camp on Wednesday," said a senior police official in Chirang.
 
The officer, who did not want to be identified, admitted that there was a goof-up regarding the name as there are three Madhubalas in the village. "She was Madhubala Das when she got married. But later after her husband died, she got married to one Mondal and become Madhubala Mondal," the officer said adding that the police picked up Madhubala Mondal instead of Madhubala Das and sent to detention camp.
 
Village residents, however, said that the woman named Madhubala Das, who was declared a foreigner by a Tribunal and her husband Makhan Nama Das, had died long before the Foreigners' Tribunal order was issued.
 
The Assam government is updating the National Register of Citizens of 1951. A draft NRC was published last year which excluded names of over 40 lakh people due to some discrepancies in their documents in proving their Indian citizenship.
 
On Wednesday, the Assam government published a draft additional exclusion list which listed over one lakh people as ineligible for enrolment in the NRC, despite the fact that their names have appeared in the draft NRC published last year.
 
IANS

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6 bodies, 7 mortal remains found at An-32 crash site

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday said it had recovered six bodies and seven mortal remains at the site where an An-32 crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.
 
The wreckage of the aircraft was located at a remote place on June 11 and since then efforts had been on reach the site and recover the bodies, an official said. 
 
The plane was carrying 13 IAF personnel from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh.
 
IANS

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IAF says no survivors in An-32 crash of June 3

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
The Indian Air Force (IAF) today confirmed that there were no survivors amongst the 13 people who were on board an An-32 transport aircraft that went missing in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.
 
"Eight members of the rescue team have reached the crash site today morning. IAF is sad to inform that there are no survivors from the crash of An32," the IAF said in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
There were eight members of crew and five passengers on board the aircraft.
 
"Following air-warriors lost their life in the tragic #An32 crash - W/C GM Charles, S/L H Vinod, F/L R Thapa, F/L A Tanwar, F/L S Mohanty, F/L MK Garg, WO KK Mishra, Sgt Anoop Kumar, Cpl Sherin, LAC SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, NC(E) Putali & NC(E) Rajesh Kumar," the IAF said.
 
"IAF Pays tribute to the brave Air-warriors who lost their life during the #An32 crash on 03 Jun 2019 and stands by with the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace," it added.
 
The aircraft had gone missing on June 2 while on a flight from Jorhat in Assam to the Mechua Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The plane, which  had taken off at 12.27 pm, lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 pm.
 
After days of search, the IAF announced on Tuesday that one of its Mi17 helicopters had spotted the wreckage of the aircraft at Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet.
 
Since then, hectic efforts were made to reach the site of the crash to establish the status of those on board and to search for the black box and cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft.
 
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R. D. Mathur has been monitoring the search and rescue operations.
 
On June 8, the IAF had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information leading to the location of the missing aircraft.
 
Mi-17 helocopters, Advanced Light Helicopters, SU-30 MKI, C130 and Army UAV were pressed into service during the search operations. The Indian Navy's Long Range Maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I and satellites were also used.
 
Besides, teams of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), local police and other agencies were involved in the search operations on the ground level from the day the aircraft went missing. 
 
The search and rescue efforts were intensified after the crash site was locted. Four Garud commandos of the IAF were dropped by helicopter yesterday near the site, where a camp has been established.
 
Also yesterday, a team that included Army and civil mountaineers was airlifted to a location close to the crash site, official sources said.
 
The thickly forested mountainous terrain and inclement weather had made the task of locating and reaching the crash site extremely difficult.
 
The Air Force flies sorties regularly to forward areas to carry essential items for the troops posted there.
 
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Wreckage of missing An-32 aircraft spotted in Arunachal

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
The Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Tuesday that it has spotted the wreckage of the AN-32 aircraft which went missing in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 with 13 people onboard.
 
"The wreckage of the missing An-32 transporter aircraft has been spotted at Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet by the IAF Mi17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told IANS.
 
"Our next effort is to get to the wreckage site to establish the status of the occupants and search for the black box and CVR of the ill-fated aircraft with tail number K-2752," Singh said.
 
On June 3, the Russian-origin An-32 trasnporter took off from Assam's Jorhat at 12.27 p.m. for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh's Shi-Yomi district bordering China. The aircraft lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 p.m.
 
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R. D. Mathur is monitoring the search and rescue operations.
 
On June 8, the IAF announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information leading to the location of the missing aircraft.
 
To locate the aircraft, Mi-17 helocopters, Advanced Light Helicopters, SU-30 MKI, C130 and Army UAV were pressed into service. 
 
The Indian Navy's Long Range Maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I and satellites were also used.
 
Besides, teams of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), local police and other agencies were involved in the search operations on the ground level from the day the aircraft went missing. 
 
IANS
 

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Wreckage of AN-32 spotted in Arunachal Pradesh: IAF

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday said it had spotted the wreckage of an AN-32 aircraft which went missing with 13 people on board on June 3 in Arunachal Pradesh.
 
The IAF tweeted: "The wreckage of the missing #An32 was spotted today 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone."
 
The transport aircraft went missing on June 3 after it took off from the Jorhat Airbase in Assam for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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IAF continues search for missing AN-32

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For the seventh day on Sunday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) continued the search for its missing AN-32 transport aircraft.
 
According to an IAF statement, poor weather in the area was hampering the operation. Helicopters and transport aircraft could carry out limited operations due to low clouds and rain in the area, but the ground teams continued the search in full force. 
 
The ground teams have made considerable headway into the search area, which has been progressively expanded based on inputs from multiple sources. Search on ground will continue through the night, the statement added.
 
On Saturday, the IAF announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for information on the location of the missing plane.
 
The transport aircraft with 13 people on board went missing on June 3 after it took off from the Jorhat Airbase in Assam for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
 
IANS

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As search for missing IAF aircraft continues, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa visits Jorhat

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
As massive search operations continued unabated for the sixth day today for the Indian Air Force's An-32 went missing on June 3 with 13 people on board, Chief of the Air Staff B S Dhanoa visited Air Force Station Jorhat in Assam to assess the ongoing efforts.
 
He was given a detailed briefing about the operations and was apprised with the inputs received so far, an official press release said.
 
He also interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft.
 
The An-32 transport aircraft had taken off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm on Monday with 13 people on board for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The aircraft lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 pm.
 
The IAF launched massive search operations soon after it was established that the aircraft had not reached its destination within the stipulated time.
 
Resources from various agencies, including ISRO. were brought into the operation to enhance the effectiveness of the search efforts. The area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. The weather in the area has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours. 
 
Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations, the release said.
 
Search efforts by ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, State Police and members of local population continued in full force today. However, aerial search could not be undertaken due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout the day. 
 
The IAF has increased the deployment of its helicopters and transport aircraft and has expanded the search area significantly since the beginning of the operations. More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed up by close analysis of the data for its synergistic amalgamation in the search operations, the release added.
 
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Massive search underway for missing AN-32

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
Despite inclement weather, a massive search operation is on for an Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft with 13 people on board that went missing over Arunachal Pradesh two days ago.
 
On Wednesday, the IAF pressed into service a SU-30 jet fighter, C130 J, Mi17 and ALH helicopters to trace the missing Russian-origin transporter aircraft that was last seen on Monday afternoon. 
 
The searches were taking place along the thickly forested routes between Assam's Jorhat and Mechuka advanced landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh.
 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites -- CARTOSAT and RISAT -- were also taking images of the area.
 
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R. D. Mathur is monitoring the search and rescue operations. He has interacted with the families of the missing IAF personnel.
 
In addition, the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Arunachal Police and local communities were trekking on the ground to search for the missing aircraft.
 
"The search is still on but the missing AN-32 is yet to be sighted," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told IANS.
 
On Monday, the AN-32 trasnporter had taken off from Assam's Jorhat at 12.27 p.m. for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh's Shi-Yomi district bordering China.
 
The aircraft lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 p.m.
 
On Tuesday, the Indian Navy's Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i conducted an aerial survey to locate the partly upgraded AN-32 aircraft.
 
IANS
 

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No trace of IAF's missing An-32 despite massive search

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Despite a massive search operation, an Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people on board a day earlier near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh remained untraced on Tuesday.
 
The authorities have deployed the Navy's P-8I aircraft to find traces of the missing plane that took off from Jorhat in Assam after noon on Monday on its way to Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh but lost contact with ground agencies 35 minutes later.
 
Defence Ministry spokesman and Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said the searches were being carried out by the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and various government and civil agencies.
 
But there was no sign of the plane or its wreckage.
 
On Tuesday, the Navy's long-range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P-8I took off from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu to join the search and rescue operation, Singh said. 
 
Navy officials said the P-8I is equipped with sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and electronic intelligence missions. 
 
The aircraft is fully integrated with state-of-the-art sensors and highly potent anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons.
 
"The P-8I aircraft has a very powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar which shall be utilised during the SAR sweeps to locate the missing" plane, a Navy spokesman tweeted.
 
On Monday, a C-130,  an An-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 of IAF and the Army's ALH helicopters were launched to locate the missing aircraft. 
 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also pressed into service satellites to help the rescuers.
 
IANS
 

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Missing IAF AN-32: Search operation resumes in Arunachal

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) in association with the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police on Tuesday resumed the search operation for the AN-32 aircraft that went missing over Arunachal Pradesh yesterday.
 
"Search and rescue (SAR) operation resumes as weather clears up on Tuesday. Two MI 17s and one ALH already deployed with the ground party of Army and ITBP," Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said, adding that more assets may be deployed if required.
 
The transporter aircraft with IAF personnel on board got airborne on Monday from Jorhat at 12.27 p.m. for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The aircraft last contacted ground agencies at around 1 p.m. Thereafter, there has been no contact with the aircraft.
 
IAF officials said that since the aircraft did not reach the destination, overdue actions were initiated by the Indian Air Force.
 
On Monday, a C-130, an AN-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 helicopters of IAF and Indian Army ALH helicopters were launched to locate the missing aircraft. Some ground reports were received on possible location of a crash site. Helicopters were routed to the location. However, no wreckage has been sighted so far, Singh said.
 
The district administration of Shi Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh also launched a search operation along with the villagers.
 
IANS
 

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IAF's AN-32 aircraft with 13 on board goes missing in North-East

AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
AN-32 aircraft (File photo: IANS)
An AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 13 persons on board has gone missing while on a flight from Jorhat in Assam to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
 
The 13 persons on board include eight members of the air crew and five passengers, a press release from the IAF said.
 
The aircraft got airborne from Jorhat at 1227 hours today and last contacted ground agencies at around 1300 hours.
 
"Thereafter, there was no contact with the aircraft. Since the aircraft did not reach the destination, overdue actions were initiated by Indian Air Force," the release said.
 
A C-130, an AN-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 helicopters of the IAF and Indian Army advanced light helicopters (ALHs) were launched to locate the missing aircraft. 
 
"Some ground reports were received on possible location of a crash site. Helicopters were routed to the location, however, no wreckage has been sighted so far. IAF is coordinating with Indian Army as well as various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. 
 
"The search operations from air and by ground parties of Indian Army are planned to continue through the night," the release added.
 
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been in touch with IAF officials and is monitoring the situation.
 
"Spoke to Vice Chief of @IAF_MCC, Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria, regarding the missing IAF An-32 Aircraft which is overdue for some hours," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"He has apprised me of the steps taken by the IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board," he added.
 
The Air Force flies sorties regularly to forward areas to carry essential items for the troops posted there.
 
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IAF's AN-32 plane with 13 people on board goes missing

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An AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 13 people on board went missing on Monday after taking off from Jorhat in Assam.
 
According to informed sources, the aircraft got airborne on Monday from Jorhat at 12.25 p.m. for the Menchuka Advance Landing Ground and lost contact with ground control at 1 p.m.
 
The plane had eight members of crew and five passengers. 
 
The IAF has employed all resources to locate the aircraft, the sources added.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Boxing: Mary Kom, Shiva Thapa, Amit Panghal fight their way to gold in India Open

Indian boxer Mary Kom celebrates her win and gold medal at the 2nd India Open on May 24, 2019 at Guwahati.
Indian boxer Mary Kom celebrates her win and gold medal at the 2nd India Open on May 24, 2019 at Guwahati.
Six-time world champion Mary Kom was crowned the 51kg champion while Amit Panghal (52kg) won his third gold medal of the year and Shiva Thapa finished on top in 60kg at the second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament at the  Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Friday. 
 
Fresh from winning her eighth medal at the Asian Championships, Sarita Devi added the India Open 60kg gold to her resume and Neeraj carried on her giant-killing form to stun Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun in 57kg. 
 
Mary displayed her experience to blow away the challenge of Vanlal Duati in a facile 5-0 win. This was the London Olympic bronze medalist’s second gold from the India Open to add to the 48kg gold she won last year in New Delhi.
 
Panghal smartly evaded the taller Sachin Siwach’s attacks in the first round to begin with a defensive approach. It was towards the end of the second round that the Asian Games gold medallist found his rhythm and started choosing the right moments to land his blows over the former world youth champion. Amit dominated the third round to make his way to the yellow metal following gold medals from the Strandja Cup and Asian Championships in 2019.
 
“Sachin's very tall. I think he's the tallest boxer I faced till date. I fought with some tall boxers in the Asian Championship but Sachin is taller than them,” said Panghal after his win. “My strategy was to either get close to him or stay away from his range. By staying away, it also helped me to assess his technique and then get close to attack from close range,” he added.
 
Much to the delight of the crowd, Shiva Thapa grabbed the 60kg gold in a revenge bout against 2018 champion Manish Kaushik a year after losing to him in the semi-finals. The Guwahati boy, who won a bronze at the continental event this year, was fierce and aggressive and did not put a foot wrong in the 5-0 demolition.
 
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Sarita Devi endured a tough fight from Simranjit Kaur to edge the World Championships bronze medalist for a 3-2 win. This was the former world champion’s first gold medal in any competition in three years following her victory at the South Asian Games in 2016 in Shillong. The veteran pugilist dedicated the prized medal to her mother whom she lost to cancer last year.
 
A day after knocking out World Championships silver medalist Sonia, Neeraj continued her sublime form to notch up a commanding 5-0 victory over Manisha, who had changed category from 54kg to 57kg.
 
Asian Championships bronze medalist Ashish showed his prowess in 69kg to soar to a 4-1 win over compatriot Duryodhan Singh Negi. Local girl Jamuna Boro delivered a flurry of punches that earned her a perfect 5-0 win over Y. Sandhyarani. World Championships bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain did not share the same fortunes despite vociferous cheers of support from the crowd. The 69kg exponent missed out on the gold in a tight contest where she ended up 2-3 to Italy’s Assunta Canfora.
 
There was no stopping Deepak in 49kg. Oozing confidence with every punch, the Asian Championships silver medalist knocked out Govind Kumar Sahani 5-0. Kavinder Singh Bisht had to settle for the silver in a 2-3 result in a hard-fought contest with 2015 Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee. This is Bisht’s second consecutive silver this year after the Asian Championships last month.
 
In 64kg, Rohit Tokas suffered a knee twist in the first round and was forced to forfeit his bout to 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Colin Louis Richarno of Mauritius. Tokas, who secured the India Open bronze a year before, had to be content with the silver.
 
Ashish Kumar’s hopes of adding the 75kg gold were dashed as he had to give a walkover to Philippines’s Eumir Felix Delos Santos due to a cut that he sustained on his forehead in the semi-finals.
 
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Modi wave takes BJP to 14 seats in northeast, NDA tally 17

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Powered by the "Modi wave", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was alone set to win 14 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in eight northeastern states, against 8 in the 2014 polls.
 
With three NDA constituents - the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) of Nagaland, the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, the National People's Party (NPP) in Meghalaya - winning three seats, the tally of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would be 17 against 11 in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
 
On the other hand, the Congress, which had a strong base in all the northeastern states but currently no government under its rule in the region, had won or was set to win only four seats (three in Assam and one in Meghalaya) against eight in 2019. 
 
The counting of votes, which started at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, was on till midnight in many of the region's 25 Lok Sabha seats.
 
In Assam, the ruling BJP had either won or was leading on in nine Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress won or was ahead in three seats this time like in 2014, including Kaliabor which was won by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's son Gaurav Gogoi. However, All India Women Congress President Sushmita Dev lost her Silchar seat to BJP's Rajdeep Roy.
 
The Assam-based All India United Democratic Front, which had won three seats last time, was leading in only one seat -- Dhubri -- where party supremo Badruddin Ajmal was in the fray. In the tribal-dominated Kokrajhar constituency, Independent sitting Lok Sabha member Naba Kumar Sarania is leading with a significant margin over Pramila Rani Brahma of Bodo Peoples' Front (BPF), an ally of BJP in Assam.
 
Like outgoing Lok Sabha, the two BJP allies, the BPF and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), would have no representation in the Lok Sabha this time, too. 
 
The ruling BJP was set to win both the Lok Sabha seats in Arunachal Pradesh -- Tapir Gao (Arunachal East) and Kiren Rijiju ((Arunachal West). The BJP wrested the Arunachal East from the Congress while the party retained the Arunachal West constituency.
 
In its maiden victory in Tripura's Lok Sabha battle, the ruling BJP, which in alliance with the tribal Indigenous People's Front of Tripura wrested power in the state in the 2018 Assembly polls, is on the verge of winning both the state's two seats.
 
In Manipur, both the Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur seats were wrested by the BJP's Rajkumar Ranjan Singh and Naga Peoples Front candidate Lorho S. Pfoze, respectively, from the Congress.
 
In Meghalaya, former Union Minister and National People's Party (NPP) candidate Agatha Sangma won the Tura Lok Sabha seat while sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala retained the Shillong seat.
 
Sangma, the younger sister of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno Sangma, defeated her nearest rival and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress by a margin of 63,775 votes.
 
In Sikkim, putting up a stunning electoral performance, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) nominee Indra Hang Subba wrested state's lone Lok Sabha seat from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, defeating Dek Bahadur Katwal by a margin of 11,585 votes.
 
IANS
 

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Boxing: Amit Panghal, Shiva Thapa enter semis at 2nd India Open

Amit Panghal in action at the Indian Open International Boxing Tournament in Guwahati, Assam on May 22, 2019.
Amit Panghal in action at the Indian Open International Boxing Tournament in Guwahati, Assam on May 22, 2019.
Asian Games gold medalist Amit Panghal (52kg) and Asian Championships bronze medalist Shiva Thapa (60kg) led 12 Indian pugilists into the semi-finals to confirm medals on the third day of the ongoing second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament at the  Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday. 
 
Former world youth champion Sachin Siwach’s dazzling performance was the highlight of the day as he knocked out the 2018 Asian Games silver medalist Rogen Siaga Ladon of Philippines 4-1 to make the last-four stage of 52kg.
 
Fresh from his Asian Championships gold medal, Panghal faced some early resistance from Thailand’s veteran Chakapong Chanpirom whom he was meeting for the very first time in his career. But the 23-year-old soon proved his mettle to earn a 5-0 win and march his way into the semi-finals.
 
“It was a tight bout. A lot of boxers have changed category from 49kg to 52kg like me. So it’s important to study each one carefully and chalk out separate strategies for each,” commented the victorious Amit after having changed his weight category from 49kg to 52kg with an eye on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
Amid deafening roars of support, local boy Shiva Thapa soared to a 5-0 win over Hellene Damien of Mauritius. Thapa, who became the first Indian to win medals from four consecutive Asian Championships just last month, started with a defensive attitude until he freed up from the second round to deliver the blows.
 
“Never have I contested against such a tall boxer before. So my strategy was to attack from inside and I am glad I could execute with perfection,” said Thapa after the win.
 
Kavinder  Bisht (56kg) continued his fine form after winning a gold at the GeeBee Boxing tournament and a silver at the Asian Championships this year. He held his nerves to stave off some stiff resistance from Mario Fernandez of Philippines and register a 3-2 win in a split decision. Mohammed Hussamuddin was not so lucky in the same category as he fell to a 2-3 defeat to Thailand’s former Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee in a hard-fought bout.
 
In 49kg, Asian Championships silver medalist Deepak outclassed Thailand’s Samak Saehan 4-1 to advance to the semi-finals.
 
Former World Championships bronze medalist Gaurav Bidhuri also progressed into the last-four stage of 56kg by dint of a commanding 5-0 win over Turkmenistan’s Bayramhan Permanov. In 52kg, Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki did not waste any time to assert his supremacy over Mauritius’s Louis Fleurot en route to a 5-0 win.
 
Last year’s India Open 60kg champion Manish Kaushik began the successful defence of his title with a 5-0 win over Thiwa Janthacumpa of Thailand. 2018 World Youth bronze medalist Ankit showed his maturity in his 5-0 demolition of Nepal’s Prakash Limbu Ijam.
 
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Boxing: Mary Kom, Nikhat Zareen to meet in semis at 2nd India Open

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Six-time world champion Mary Kom and Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen set up a semi-final showdown in 51kg at the second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament at the Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday. 
 
Manju Rani, Monika and Kalavani also entered the 48kg semi-finals to confirm five medals for India on the second day of India’s premier boxing tournament and bring India’s total medal tally to 15.
 
Nepal’s Mala Rai was no match for the London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom who wasted no time in progressing into the last four with a commanding 5-0 win. 
 
Strandja Cup gold medallist Nikhat too was equally impressive with her flurry of punches against compatriot Anamika and registered a comfortable 5-0 victory.
 
Strandja Cup silver medallist Manju Rani kept attacking her opponent, Cleo Claveras Tesara of Philippines, right from the start to earn a win by RSC (Referee Stop Contest) in Round 1 to move into the 48kg semi-finals. Monika was equally dominant in her quarter-final bout with Thailand’s Apaporn Intongsee to earn a 5-0 win.
 
Kalavani was deemed the winner by RSC in Round 2 over Bhutan’s Tandin Lhamo while Nitu did not enjoy the same fortunes and was blanked 0-5 by former world champion Josie Gabuco of Philippines.
 
Ten Indian boxers had already confirmed medals even before the start of the event with 6 in men and 4 in women being placed in the semi-finals because of the smaller size of the draw.
 
On the men’s side, Brijesh Yadav and Sanjay are already into the 81kg semi-finals and so are Naman Tanwar and Sanjeet in 91kg and Satish Kumar and Atul Thakur in +91kg. In women’s, Lovlina Borgohain and Anjali are already assured of medals in 69kg while Bhagyabati Kachari and Saweety Boora are through to the last-four in 75kg by virtue of a first-round bye.
 
Earlier in the day, four Indian men pugilists made it to the quarter-finals. Pawan Kumar made short work of reigning Youth Olympic champion Brian Agustin Arregui of Argentina 4-1 for a place in the 69kg quarter-finals.
 
Promising Indian boxer Dinesh Dagar, who upset 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist at the GeeBee Boxing tournament recently, continued his fine form to notch up a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Marjon Angcon Pianar of Philippines in the 69kg. In 60kg, Ankit proved too strong for Ryan Boy Empoc Moreno of Philippines whom he blanked 5-0.
 
In 75kg, Manjeet Panghal got a walkover into the last eight while Ashish lost 0-5 to Colin Louis Richarno.
 
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Boxing: Sonia, Manisha, Sachin give home side a winning start at India Open

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World Championships silver medalist Sonia Lather (57kg), Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun (57kg) and former world youth champion Sachin Siwach (52kg) gave India a bright start as the second edition of the India Open International Boxing Tournament began here on Monday. 
 
2017 youth world champion Jyoti (51kg), 2018 world youth silver medallist Anamika (51kg) and Shashi Chopra (60kg) led the youth brigade to wins as all seven Indians emerged victorious on the opening day to move into the quarter-finals.
 
Sonia proved too strong for Nepal’s Chandra Kala Thapa and was declared a winner by unanimous decision to move into the 57kg quarter-finals. 
 
Manisha, who won the bronze in the continental event in 54kg, continued her good form to notch up a 4-1 win over Nesthy Alcayde Petecio of Philippines and join Lather in the last-eight.
 
Having impressed at the GeeBee Boxing tournament this year with a bronze, the lanky Sachin Siwach used his height and exuded confidence with his flurry of punches to secure a flawless 5-0 win over Argentina’s Ramon Nicanor Quiroga.
 
In 60kg, Preeti Beniwal boosted her medal-winning hopes with a commanding 5-0 win over Nepal’s Sangita Sunar. Among the rising stars, Jyoti put up a spirited display in her 4-1 win over Irish Ardiente Magno of Philippines while Anamika was deemed the winner by virtue of RSC (Referee Stop Contest) over Filipino Claudine Decena Veloso in Round 3.
 
Shashi Chopra, youth world champion in 2017 in 57kg, made a seamless transition to 60kg to start off with a one-sided 5-0 victory over Tandin Choden over Bhutan.
 
Thailand’s two-time Olympian and former Asian champion Chatchai Decha Butdee asserted his supremacy in 56kg with a dominant 5-0 victory over Nepal’s Surendra Rai.
 
On Day 2, some of the key bouts will feature Mary Kom, Nikhat Zareen in 51kg, local girl Ankusihta Boro (64kg) and Ankit (60kg), Ashish (64kg) and Pawan Kumar (69kg) in men.
 
Key Results:
 
Sonia Lather (57kg) def Chandra Kala Thapa (Nepal) 5-0
Manisha (57kg) def Nesthy Alcayde Petecio (Philippines) 4-1
Jyoti (51kg) def Irish Ardiente Magno (Philippines) 4-1
Anamika (51kg) def Claudine Decena Veloso (Philippines) RSC (Round 3)
Shashi Chopra (60kg) def Tandin Choden (Bhutan) 5-0
Preeti Beniwal (60kg) def Sangita Sunar (Nepal) 5-0
Sachin (52kg) def Ramon Nicanor Quiroga (Argentina) 5-0
Chatchai Decha Butdee (56kg) (Thailand) def Surendra Rai (Nepal) 5-0
 
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Indian pugilists confident of good show at India Open

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Indian pugilists have promised a good show as the second edition of the India Open kicks off at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium here from Monday evening. 
 
As many as 16 countries are participating in this edition of the tournament In which about  200 boxers will vie for the podium. The preliminaries will be held on May 20 and 21 to be followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals, culminating in the grand finale on May 24
 
Having trained rigorously on improving their attacking game, the India Open is a place where the country’s pugilists are ready to show their supremacy despite some stiff international competition.
 
"We have been training our boxers for the last few months in such a way that they understand the need to switch from defensive mode to offensive mode faster and make it effective as well,” said Santiago Nieva, India’s chief performance director.
 
“This has resulted in many of our boxers being attacking and aggressive-minded, yet they have been able to hold their ground when needed,” he added.
 
This approach resulted in India’s unprecedented success at the Asian Championships last month where the country had a rich haul of 13 medals while individual boxers have also benefitted from it.
 
Former World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa, who had suffered a shocking semi-final loss to compatriot Manish Kaushik in 60kg at the India Open last year, agreed. The setback coupled with a few more unexpected losses made the 25-year-old introspect and work hard extensively with the coaches to change his game, which was rewarded with a bronze at the continental event this year.
 
“I have changed my game. Even in the last Asian Championships, I played much more freely. I am being more aggressive now. This is the style of boxing I have adopted now and our coaches, too, are helping me with my technique,” said Thapa.
 
The confidence of the Indian squad is bolstered as foreign boxers are now wary of India even before the start of the tournament as several teams have been thoroughly studying the Indian boxers.
 
Chatchai Decha Butdee, a two-time Olympian boxer from Thailand and former Asian champion considers the Indian challenge in 56kg to be tough. 
 
With the 2019 Asian Championships silver medallist Kavinder Bisht and 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin from India in the same category, his work is cut out.
 
“I have watched videos of Kavinder Singh Bisht to be aware of his style. I even watched his 56kg final at the Asian Championships in Bangkok this year. He definitely won’t be an easy opponent to deal with,” said the  Thai pugilist.
 
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Rain lashes Assam due to Fani impact

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Most parts of Assam witnessed incessant rains on Saturday due to the impact of cyclone Fani, one of the strongest storms to batter the Indian sub-continent in decades.
 
Following the rains, the state government has issued an alert to suspend ferry services between Jorhat and Majuli, Guwahati and North Guwahati, Dhubri and other places from Saturday to Sunday.
 
While flight services from Guwahati has been suspended till Saturday evening, the Northeast Frontier Railway has also cancelled several trains to Kolkata and Odisha. Similarly, trains from Kolkata and Odisha to Assam were also cancelled.
 
Weather experts at the Regional Meteorological Centre at Borjhar had warned of heavy rains accompanied by strong winds to lash the northeastern states on Saturday and Sunday.
 
Assam government had earlier warned the district administrations to remain alert ahead of Fani and deployed 40 companies of National Disaster Rescue Force at some vulnerable locations across the state.
 
As of Saturday, Fani has weakened into a "cyclonic storm leaving no more major threat" for West Bengal. It is situated at Shantipur in Nadia district about 60 km north of Kolkata, and is likely to enter Bangaldesh around Saturday noon.
 
The cyclone made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning.
 
IANS
 

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Assam on alert as Fani likely to hit on Saturday

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The Assam government has sounded an alert in all districts of the state following a warning that cyclone Fani will lash the state and other parts of the northeastern region for two days starting Saturday early hours.
 
The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) at Guwahati said that there will be heavy to very heavy rains in most of the northeastern states including Assam on April 4 and 5 and strong surface winds with speeds of up to 40 km per hour.
 
"Extremely severe cyclonic storm, Fani over west central Bay of Bengal has already hit coastal region of Odisha. It is very likely to impact Assam and other northeastern states on late Friday night or Saturday early morning. There will be heavy to very heavy rain accompanied by strong winds," said Sanjay O'Neill Shaw, Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) based in Guwahati.
 
Following the warning, the government has asked the district administration in all districts of the state to remain on alert during the cyclonic storm and to extend help to people in case of any eventuality.
 
The Assam government had on Thursday evacuated over 100 pilgrims from the state who had gone to Odisha. The government in coordination with the Eastern Railway had arranged three special trains to bring the pilgrims from Odisha to Kolkata.
 
Meanwhile, Assam and some other parts of the Northeast have been witnessing light to moderate rains since Friday morning. Officials of the Airport Authority of India at Guwahati also said that departure of most inbound and outbound flights from Guwahati and Kolkata have been cancelled from 3 p.m on Friday till 8 a.m on Saturday.
 
IANS

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'Won't be browbeaten': SC dismisses demand for CJI's recusal

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would not allow anybody to "browbeat" it as it rejected a plea for recusal of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi from hearing a matter on the detention centre housing illegal immigrants in Assam.
 
It also removed the former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, who had moved the plea, as the petitioner in the case.
 
"We will not remotely think of recusal as it is destructive of the institution. We will not allow anybody to browbeat the institution (the top court)," said the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna as Mander alleged bias by the CJI. 
 
Dismissing the plea, the court said it has the potential of causing damage to the institution.
 
"You take news from social media and throw at the CJI asking him to recuse himself. What will happen if institutions collapse, where will we be?" CJI Gogoi said as Mander said that he got the news of the court's observations from news portals.
 
"The day you don't trust your judges, you do great damage to the institutions," the CJI told Mander, adding that "We make mistakes and of course we do and correct them later."
 
In an apparent suggestion that petitioners can't act on the contents of social media, he asked Mander: "What if I say that you have been set up by the Assam government to save the Chief Secretary from disciplinary action."
 
"I would say that it is simply say not true," Mander said.
 
The court directed its registry to strike off Mander's name as the petitioner and substitute it with the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee. It also appointed counsel Prashant Bhushan as amicus curiae in the matter confined to the detention centres where illegal immigrants are lodged. 
 
The court said that it was appointing Bhushan as amicus as he was appearing for Mander in the matter. 
 
Describing as "scandalous" the plea for the recusal of CJI Gogoi from hearing the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that it was contemptuous as Mander is alleging that the court is using his petition for other purposes.
 
He also termed the petition - "well drafted with judgments quoted" as "nothing but forum hunting".
 
Questioning Mander for "lecturing judges as to what they should do", he said: "You can't get up as public spirited person and spit venom on anyone." 
 
Also defending the Assam Chief Secretary, Mehta told the court that he was not behind the plea for the recusal of the CJI. 
 
"The Chief Secretary did not know of the application (seeking the recusal of the CJI) till it was filed and asked me to oppose it," Mehta told the court.
 
IANS
 

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Bengaluru-bound Hamsafar express derails in Assam

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Two wheels of Bengaluru-bound Hamsafar Express derailed on Tuesday in southern Assam bordering Tripura, an official said.
 
"Two wheels of Agartala-Bengaluru Hamsafar express derailed at Margram under Karimganj district of Southern Assam today (Tuesday) morning. Accident relief train has reached the site from Badarpur (in Southern Assam). There is no casualty," said Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.
 
The cause of derailment was under investigation and work of rerailment was under progress, he said.
 
Several trains bound for Agartala, Guwahati and Kolkata were stranded in different locations in Assam and Tripura due to the accident.
 
The NFR runs several express, passenger and goods trains from Tripura capital Agartala and southern Assam through a single line up to Lumding junction, 200 km from Assam's main city of Guwahati.
 
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