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Assam

'Village Rockstars' becomes India's official entry to Oscars 2019

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Rima Das' "Village Rockstars", an Assamese movie, has been selected as India's official entry to the Oscars 2019.
 
An all-India jury constituted by Film Federation of India (FFI) under the chairmanship of Kannada producer Rajendra Singh Babu made the announcement at a press conference here on Saturday.
 
Set in Das' own village of Chhaygaon in Assam, "Village Rockstars" is the story of "poor but amazing children" who live a fun-filled life.
 
The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and India premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival 2018, also won the Best Feature Film Award at the 65th National Film Awards.
 
The 91st Academy Awards will be held on February 24, 2019.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Six electrocuted in Assam

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Six people were electrocuted in Assam's Nagaon district on Friday, police said.
 
The incident took place at a fishery in Khatowal area.
 
"The victims were killed immediately as a high voltage electric wire was in the fishery which might have fallen in it the previous day. The electricity board officials however, did not disconnect the electricity, which led to the incident," a police officer said.
 
Following the incident, an angry mob vandalised the residence of an employee of the electricity board holding him responsible.
 
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered a probe into the incident and asked Power Minister Tapan Kumar Gogoi to visit the place.
 
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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Minor earthquake shakes Kokrajhar region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Kokrajhar region of Assam late tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 90.1°E, occurred at 2253 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
The same area was rocked by a magnitude 5.5 tremor yesterday morning.
 
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Magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolts Kokrajhar region of Assam

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, jolted the Kokrajhar region of Assam this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 90.1°E, occurred at 1020 hours at a focal depth of 13 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
Reports reaching here said the tremors were felt in other parts of Assam as well as in some parts of West Bengal and Bihar.
 
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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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GAIL awards contract for purchase of pipes for Barauni-Guwahati Natural Gas pipeline

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Public sector natural gas major GAIL (India) Limited has awarded the first contract for the purchase fo 108 km of 24-innch diameter line pipes under the Barauni-Guwahati segement of the Jagdishpur-Haldia & Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL) project.
 
The contract for purchase of line pipes of 108 km was awarded to  Ratnamani at a total cost of Rs 125 crore, a press release from GAIL said.
 
Line pipe procurement activities for the rest of the 600 km trunk line upto Guwahati is at an advanced stage of tender process, it said.
 
The Barauni-Guwahati pipeline section, to be executed at a capital outlay of Rs 3,300 crore, is an integral part of the prestigious 3,405 km-long JHBDPL project, popularly known as ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’, executed by GAIL.
 
It envisages to connect eastern and north-eastern India to the existing natural gas grid. This project is planned to cover eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam.
 
"JHBDPL project is progressing in full swing and the first phase is scheduled for completion by December, 2018. The project will usher in industrial development in eastern part of India by supplying environmentally clean natural gas to fertilizer units, power plants, refineries, steel processing plants and other industries," the release said.
 
"It will also provide clean energy to households and transportation through the city gas distribution networks enroute the pipeline. City Gas Distribution projects have been commissioned at Varanasi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack while project activities are under progress at other cities of eastern India," the release added.
 
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Centre delayed NRC citing law and order problem: Congress

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The Congress on Sunday said the Modi government delayed the preparation and publication of Assam's draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) by claiming in the Supreme Court that the process can spread fear of violence among the people and pose law and order problem.
 
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Pawan Khera said: "The 'Shah' of lies and the 'Shahenshah of jumlas' tried their best to stall the NRC. The Attorney General used the fear of violence to delay the NRC."
 
He said that the Supreme Court had come down heavily on the government for its excuses to delay the publication of the NRC in Assam. 
 
"The Supreme Court ordered on November 30, 2017, that it is 'sheer inaction' on part of the executive in dragging the matter for over three years and the absence of any justifiable cause to hold back even a partial publication, which led the court to direct the publication of the draft NRC on or before December 31, 2017," the Congress leader said.
 
He said that the Attorney General had submitted that part publication of the draft NRC could result in law and order problem in as much as a large segment of the people would understand that their names have been excluded from the draft.
 
"This makes it clear on how the Modi government made all attempts to stall the process," he said.
 
Demanding an apology from the government to the people of Assam for attempting to stall the NRC, he also sought to know its stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
 
"On the one hand, the government seeks to give citizenship rights through the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (2016) to all those who migrated to India before December 31, 2014, and on the other it is playing politics on NRC," he said.
 
Khera also demanded the resignation of Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, saying that he has no right to continue as his party "shamelessly" cheated the people on the NRC issue.
 
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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Rajnath reiterates Assam NRC process fair, opposition sceptical

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday assured the Rajya Sabha that there will be no discrimination or harassment in the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and reiterated that the entire process has been fair and transparent.
 
NRC draft: No action against those left out, reiterates Rajnath
 
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday assured the Rajya Sabha that there will be no discrimination or harassment in the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and reiterated that the entire process has been fair and transparent.
 
However, the opposition was not convinced with many MPs asking as to how come an overwhelming 40 lakh people - including former MLAs, defence personnel and those from prominent families - were left out. They also wanted to know the government's future course of action.
 
Responding to a Short Duration Discussion on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, which saw disruptions and adjournments for a couple of days, the Minister said the Central and Assam governments are committed to adding the names of all genuine Indians in the list in a time-bound manner.
 
He said some people with "vested interests" were trying to create an atmosphere of fear by spreading misinformation on the social media regarding the NRC in an attempt to "internationalise" the issue. This should not be done, he said.
 
"I am reiterating that it is not the final NRC. It is just a draft NRC. Adequate opportunity will be provided to everyone for making claims and raising objections. Despite this, if anybody's name remains out of the list, he can approach the Foreigners Tribunal," Singh said.
 
He also assured that there would be no coercive action against anybody in any situation, and added that the entire process was being carried out under Supreme Court's supervision. 
 
"There has been no discrimination, and there will be no discrimination," he said, pointing out that the decision to update it was taken in 2005 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
 
After the Home Minister had made the statement, Leader of Opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded to know as to how could so many people be left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) if there was no discrimination. 
 
"The Home Minister has said the process is entirely fair and objective. If that is so, how come persons like a former Indian Air Force personnel is left out? If the entire process has been fair, what is left to be done then?" Azad asked.
 
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Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien questioned the "dichotomy" over the statements made by the Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah.
 
"This is classic double-speak. What is the real voice of the government -- What the Home Minister says here or what the BJP President says outside?" O'Brien said.
 
Samajwadi Party leader Javed Ali Khan, too, asked how could people like former legislators and the family of former President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed be left out of the NRC in Assam.
 
Nationalist Congress Party MP Majeed Memon demanded from the Home Minister as to what would happen to those left out even after the revision of the draft list.
 
Congress MP from Assam Ripun Bora argued that the guidelines for inclusion in the NRC should be "modified and simplified" and the last date -- September 27 -- for submission of claims needs to be extended.
 
Communist Party of India-Marxist member T.K. Rangarajan too asked for extension of the deadline so that people get sufficient opportunity to get their names included.
 
Members also expressed concern at the way some people and a section of the media were labelling the 40 lakh left-out people as "infiltrators". 
 
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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Those left out of draft Assam NRC can vote, says EC

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The Election Commission on Wednesday made it clear that those who have been excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens in Assam can vote if they qualify under electoral laws even if the NRC is not finalized before the Lok Sabha polls next year.
 
"Why not. Suppose I am not in NRC but if I fulfil the criteria under the Representation of People Act -- that is I am a citizen of India, 18 years of age and ordinarily resident of that area -- I can be a voter," Chief Election Commission O.P. Rawat told the media.
 
He said the voter enrollment process is not connected to the NRC although the poll panel was closely coordinating in Assam to ensure that no one is left out and eligible persons are included in the electoral roll for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
"Election Commission (EC) voter enrollment exercise is independent of NRC though they are working in synchronization. The final electoral roll to be published on January 4, 2019, will be used for general elections," Rawat said.
 
"The Election Commision of India with its objective of 'no voter to be left behind' has asked Chief Electoral Officer in Assam to coordinate closely with state coordinator NRC so as to ensure that all eligible persons are included in electoral roll. This way a final electoral roll will be published on January 4, 2019 to be used for general elections 2019."
 
He said it was a draft NRC and in the next one month all these 40 lakh individuals, who have not been included, will be informed about the reasons for their exclusion.
 
Rawat was speaking amid apprehensions that those who have been dropped out of the NRC list would not be eligible to vote.
 
IANS
 

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Assam Citizens Register row snowballs

The controversy over the NRC in Assam snowballed further on Tuesday with BJP President Amit Shah claiming that the NDA government had the courage to do what the Congress lacked on identifying foreigners as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned of a "bloodbath and civil war" over the BJP's "attempt to divide people".
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The controversy over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam snowballed further on Tuesday with BJP President Amit Shah claiming that the NDA government had the courage to do what the Congress lacked on identifying foreigners as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned of a "bloodbath and civil war" over the BJP's "attempt to divide people".
 
The Rajya Sabha was paralysed on the issue while the Supreme Court stepped in to douse fears that there will be any coercive action on the basis of the final draft that was published on Monday that left out of more than 40 lakh people from the NRC. 
 
The issue rocked the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha with the opposition accusing the ruling party of playing divisive politics ahead of parliamentary elections.
 
Shah took on the opposition to say that the NRC was a promise made in the Assam Accord signed by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
 
"What we have done is in accordance with the Supreme Court directions. We have shown the courage to do what you could not," he told the opposition members, adding the government was clear on carrying out the process of identifying infiltrators.
 
Shah, whose remarks accusing the opposition of trying to protect the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants disrupted the Rajya Sabha and forced an adjournment of the House for the day, later dared other parties to clear their stand on Bangladeshi infiltrators.
 
He said no Indian has been left out of the list. He said the entire process of the NRC was done under the supervision of the apex court and alleged that Congress did not "have the guts to prepare the list and send back the infiltrators".
 
Noting that those not in the draft NRC were suspected foreigners, he said: "They will have the opportunity to prove their citizenship." 
 
Shah accused Banerjee of indulging in "vote bank politics".
 
In the Rajya Sabha, opposition leaders asked the government to address the NRC issue on humanitarian basis.
 
The House took up a discussion on NRC suspending the Question Hour. 
 
Keeping up her attack on the BJP, Banerjee, who addressed a conclave of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, accused the BJP of trying to divide the people for the sake of votes.
 
"Only to win the election, only to win the battle, people cannot be victimised. Now they say these people cannot vote also. If they don't vote, if their list doesn't exist, don't you think they will lose their identity," Banerjee said. There were also people from Bihar, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu whose names were not in the NRC, she added. 
 
"The situation cannot be tolerated. There will be a civil war, bloodbath in the country," she warned.
 
The Chief Minister alleged that the exercise was being carried out with a political motive. 
 
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In Guwahati, former Assam Chief Minsters Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Tarun Gogoi slammed Banerjee.
 
Mahanta said the complete draft NRC was not against the Bengalis and Muslims. "Mamata Banerjee is trying to use the issue for political gains, which is not justified." 
 
Gogoi advised Banerjee to rather concentrate on West Bengal politics, saying "there is no question of harassment of genuine Indian citizens in the name of NRC updation".
 
In Lucknow, BSP supremo Mayawati slammed the Modi government over the NRC. 
 
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the final draft of NRC cannot be the basis for any coercive action by any authority. 
 
"What has been published is a complete draft NRC. It can't be the basis for any action by any authority," said a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman as Attorney General K.K. Venugopal pointed to the serious human problem.
 
The court was informed by the Attorney General that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) giving the modalities for dealing with the claims and procedures will be prepared by the concerned ministry by August 15.
 
Fixing August 16 as next date of hearing, the bench observed that the SOP must be fair.
 
The draft NRC would be open for inspection till August 7. Thereafter, from August 8, training of officials to deal with the claims and objection would commence.
 
The filing of the claims and the objections would commence from August 30 and will last till September 28.
 
IANS
 

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Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 noon on Assam NRC issue

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The Rajya Sabha was on Tuesday adjourned for an hour, till 12 noon, minutes after it met.
 
As soon as the House convened, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien raised the issue of National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) of Assam that excludes over 40 lakh names.
 
The issue had led to repeated adjournments on Monday, too.
 
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said that Home Minister Rajnath Singh would give a statement on the issue in the upper House.
 
However, as the members persisted, Naidu adjourned the House till 12 noon.
 
Earlier, before the proceedings commenced, members of Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Janata Dal-Secular among others staged protests in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament House premises against the Assam NRC.
 
IANS
 
 

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Draft NRC created massive insecurity in Assam: Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the "tardy" release of Assam's draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) that excluded more than 40 lakh applicants has created a "massive insecurity" in the state.
 
"There are reports pouring in from all corners of Assam, of Indian citizens finding their names missing in the draft NRC, creating massive insecurity in the state," Gandhi said in a Facebook post.
 
Noting the NRC was initiated by the previous UPA government under Manmohan Singh to fulfil the commitment made in the Assam Accord of 1985, he said: "However, the manner in which this exercise has been undertaken by the BJP governments at the Centre and in Assam leaves much to be desired....
 
"Clearly, after spending close to Rs 1,200 crore, the execution of this critical and highly sensitive exercise has been tardy. The government must move swiftly to resolve this crisis." 
 
Further, Gandhi appealed to all Congress party workers to maintain peace and help those against whom "injustice" is done in the draft NRC irrespective of their religion, caste, gender, linguistic group or political affiliation.
 
After the release of draft NRC, the Central government has urged people not to panic as "ample opportunity" will be given to the 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 will be done by December 31, 2018.
 
IANS
 

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Mamata accuses Centre of doing 'vote politics' on Assam NRC

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Slamming the Central government on Assam's draft NRC which left out over 40 lakh people, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the Narendra Modi-led government of doing "vote politics".
 
Banerjee accused the Centre of deliberately trying to isolate a section of Indian citizens, and said she will seek an appointment with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and urge him to "save" those who were excluded from the list.
 
The first complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), comprising the names of 2,89,83,677 people of Assam, was published on Monday, and 40,07,707 have been left out due to some discrepancies in their documents, according to officials.
 
"Forty lakh people including Hindus and Muslims were left out. All connections with Assam including the Internet, have been severed. Fifteen companies of central forces have been sent to Assam in addition to the force that is already there. We suspect it is an attempt to bulldoze people or to forcibly evict them," Banerjee told mediapersons at the state secretariat Nabanna.
 
The Trinamool Congress supremo claimed that excluding people from the NRC draft is an attempt at "political isolation" of a section of citizens by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government as many people have been excluded from the list on the basis of their last names.
 
"It is a game plan to evict humanity and human beings forcibly, and an attempt to isolate them in order to do vote politics. It is unfortunate that all connections have been severed. We are not able to contact the affected people," she alleged.
 
The Bengal Chief Minister apprehended that there would be problems in Bangladesh and West Bengal as it shares a border with Assam. She, however, said her state would not act like the Centre or the Assam government in trying to "push back" people forcibly.
 
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"Bangali Khedao and Bihari Khedao (drive out the Bengalis and Biharis) is going on in Assam. This will be a big issue for Bangladesh. Because these people might be pushed back to Bangladesh, and if Bangladesh refuses to accept them, where will the 40 lakh people go?" she asked.
 
Citing some examples of people who were left out of the NRC list in Assam, Banerjee said many Bengalis and people of Bangladeshi-origin have been left out in spite of having Aadhaar cards, passports and other identification documents.
 
"They (left out people) were made refugees by the Assam and central government. Many people submitted all the documents. Yet, they were not considered, just excluded. Some of them are staying for more than 50 years," she said.
 
Banerjee said she would meet Rajnath Singh over the issue and also send a team of representatives from Bengal to Assam.
 
"I want to appeal to the Home Minister to save them. Do not isolate them like this. They are also human beings. If needed, Parliament can amend the law to save these people. Parliamentary session is on. We will also send a team to Assam," she said.
 
Terming the draft NRC as "terrible", Banerjee said "people were helpless... they are not Rohingyas" and they are "very much Indian citizens".
 
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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NRC in Assam only a draft, some people trying to create atmosphere of fear, says Rajnath

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in Assam today was only a draft and not the final version.
 
“I want to emphatically say that this is only a draft and not the Final NRC. Everyone will have full opportunity to file claims/objections as per provision in the law. Only after the disposal of claims and objections, the Final NRC will be published,” the Minister said in a statement.
 
“Some people are unnecessarily trying to create an atmosphere of fear. I want to assure all that there is no need for any apprehension or fear. Some misinformation is also being spread. NRC process has been done impartially. Some people may not have been able to submit the necessary documents. They will get the full opportunity through Claims and Objections process.
 
“I want to clarify that even after the Final NRC, every person will get an opportunity to approach the Foreigners Tribunal. This means that even those whose names do not figure in the Final NRC will get an opportunity to approach the Tribunal. There is no question of any coercive action against anyone,” he added.
 
“NRC process is being carried out with complete fairness and transparency. It has been monitored by the Honourable Supreme Court,” Mr Rajnath Singh said.
 
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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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Home Ministry issues guidelines to Assam and neighbouring States ahead of Draft NRC publication

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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Assam State Government and neighbouring States to ensure maintenance of law and order in the run-up to and post-publication of the Draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).
 
Assam has been advised to set up a State-level coordination committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to ensure coordination among state agencies, NRC authorities and Central agencies. Round-the-clock Control Rooms at the State capital and district headquarters were to be activated to receive complaints and coordinate the prompt response.
 
The Registrar General of India (RGI) has been asked to use all means of communication including websites, toll-free numbers, SMS, and so on,  to provide information to the public about the Draft NRC. 
 
An intensive public awareness campaign has been launched to disseminate information regarding the NRC process, options available for individuals whose names do not figure in the Draft NRC, the procedure and timeline for filing claims and objections so as to address the concerns of people left out of the Draft list.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had in a statement earlier assured that every individual will get justice and will be treated in a humane manner. All individuals will have sufficient opportunity for the remedies available under the law. The government made it clear that after draft NRC publication on July 30, adequate opportunity for claims and objections will be available. All claims and objections will be duly examined, he had said.
 
The Ministry has asked Assam not to initiate any action by the Administration or the police based on the Draft NRC. There was no question of referring the persons whose names do not figure in the Draft NRC to the Foreigners’ Tribunal as people are entitled to file claims and objections and due opportunity has to be given to them before final publication. 
 
The question of referring any person to a detention centre based on NRC exercise also does not arise. State Government has been asked to issue clear instructions in this regard to all Administrative and Police functionaries.
 
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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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Rajnath says updating of Citizens Register in Assam being done in "impartial manner"

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was “being carried out in a totally impartial, transparent and meticulous manner.”
 
NRC is being updated in Assam in accordance with the Assam Accord signed on August 15, 1985. The entire process is being carried out as per directions of the Supreme Court which is constantly monitoring the process.
 
“I will like to assure everyone that the NRC exercise is being carried out in a totally impartial, transparent and meticulous manner and will continue to be so. At every stage of the process, an adequate opportunity of being heard is given to all persons. The entire process is being conducted according to law and the due procedure is being followed,” the Minister said in a statement.
 
“We will ensure that every individual gets justice and is treated in a humane manner. All individuals will have sufficient opportunity for all remedies available under the law,” he added. 
 
“Government wants to make it clear that the NRC to be published on July 30 is only a draft.  After draft publication, adequate opportunity for claims and objections will be available. All claims and objections will be duly examined. An adequate opportunity of being heard will be given before disposal of claims and objections. Only thereafter, the final NRC will be published,” Mr Rajnath Singh said.
 
“The Citizenship Rules provide that any person who is not satisfied with the outcome of claims and objections can appeal in the Foreigner’s Tribunal. Thus, there is no question of anyone being put in a detention centre after the publication of NRC.
 
“The State Government has been asked to ensure that law and order is maintained and no one is allowed to take the law into their hands and all possible arrangements are made to ensure safety and security for all. There is no reason for panic or fear. No person will be allowed to be harassed. The Central Government will provide all necessary help to Assam in this regard,” he added.
 
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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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Assam flood: Death toll is 23, situation better

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Two more people died due to floods in Cachar district of Barak Valley in Assam on Monday, taking the death toll to 23, even as the overall flood situation improved in the state.
 
According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), a total of 96,993 people in 192 villages in five flood-hit districts -- Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi -- are still reeling under the flood.
 
"Two people died in Cachar district, taking the death toll to 23," an ASDMA official said. But the situation was improving, with water level in most areas receding. None of the major rivers flowed above danger levels on Monday.
 
"We have closed down most relief camps. As on Monday, only 74 camps are operational -- mostly in Karimganj district. Only 22,000 people are staying in the camps as of now," the ASDMA official said.
 
Meanwhile, the flood situation in Hailakandi has improved further, with all the three major rivers flowing much below the danger level. 
 
"The number of villages still reeling under flood waters is 40... Flood water has receded in other parts of the district," an official said.
 
IANS
 
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