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Bihar

PNB official, construction firm owner, property dealer killed in Bihar in 12 hours

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At least three persons have been killed by unidentified gunmen over the past 12 hours in three different districts of Bihar, prompting a scathing attack by the opposition on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's governance.
 
The latest victim was a construction firm owner, who was gunned down in broad daylight on Saturday in Darbhanga district. Hours before that a bank official was abducted from Gaya and killed. 
 
A property dealer was murdered in Begusarai late on Friday. All these murders came barely 48 hours after the murder of a well-known businessman's father in Vaishali.
 
All cases were still open, police said. 
 
"Nitish Kumar is busy meeting in Delhi, discussing seat sharing with BJP President Amit Shah and criminals are busy killing businessmen. 
 
"Nitish Kumar has no time for anything other than preparing for 2019 Lok Sabha polls," former Deputy Chief Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad's son Tejashwi Yadav said.
 
In the latest attack, K. P. Shahi, the owner of Shahi Construction Company, was shot dead around 11 a.m. while he was enroute to his office from his residence in Darbhanga district. 
 
Four motorcycle-borne masked men targeted his vehicle and fired indiscriminately, killing him on the spot. Shahi Construction was engaged in road construction at three or four places. 
 
Police suspect 'rangdari' or extortion by a criminal gang as the reason behind his killing. 
 
Darbhanga Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Malik said it is difficult to say what the motive was, but "we have constituted an SIT to probe the case". 
 
Shahi's murder came barely nine hours after the murder of a Punjab National Bank (PNB) Customer Service Point (CSP) in-charge Pintu Singh in Gaya district.
 
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Singh was abducted late on Friday from near Amas at 11 p.m. He is believed to have been shot dead around 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to Amas Police Station Shayam Lal Saran. Deep injury marks were found on his head. 
 
Meanwhile, in Begusarai district, a property dealer Mahesh Singh was shot dead by unidentified criminals around midnight, police said. He was killed in Paspura village under Mufassil Police Station, a district police official said. 
 
All these killings came barely 48 hours after a businessman was shot dead in Vaishali district. 
 
The back-to-back killings have triggered violent protest by villagers, who have blocked the GT Road disrupting traffic for hours, Saran said. 
 
Gunjan Khemka, an industrialist was shot dead on Thursday in Hajipur. His son, Gopal Khemka is a well-known businessman in Patna. 
 
Khemka was targeted on his way to his factory in Hajipur, about 30 km from Patna, Vaishali Superintendent of Police Manavjit Singh Dhillon said. 
 
Police are still in dark and yet to make any breakthrough in the case. 
 
Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders have targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the rise in crime and total collapse of law and order.
 
Besides Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav, senior Congress leader Tariq Anwar and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha have questioned Nitish Kumar's self-claimed rule of law in Bihar.
 
"There is no law and order in Bihar. It is free for criminals and they do whatever they wish," RJD spokesperson Bhai Virendar said. 
 
Ruling JD-U and BJP leaders have refuted opposition leaders allegations. 
 
IANS
 

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LJP to contest on 6 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, announcement on Saturday

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After some hard bargaining by the Lok Janshakti Party, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar is understood to have sealed a seat-sharing deal for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the BJP and the Janata Dal-United contesting an equal number of 17 seats each leaving the rest of the six seats to the party headed by Ram Vilas Paswan.
 
In a bid to retain the LJP in its fold, the BJP is also believed to have agreed to give a Rajya Sabha seat from its quota to the party.
 
The seat-sharing arrangement is likely to be made public on Saturday in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan. 
 
The LJP national spokesperson Sanjay Saraf told IANS, "It has been decided that our party would contest six Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and get one Rajya Sabha berth." 
 
Earlier in the day, Union Minister Arun Jaitley held discussions with Ramvilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan over seat sharing arrangements in Bihar for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
 
The discussion came a day after LJP leaders met BJP President Amit Shah and shared their concerns over the delay in holding talks over the seat sharing issue.
 
After the meeting with Jaitley, LJP Parliamentary Board Chairman Chirag Paswan expressed the hope that talks would move in the right direction.
 
"Talks are going on. An announcement will be made at an appropriate time. We have put our points before the BJP leadership and the important thing is that we are being heard. Hope everything will be fine," he told reporters.
 
His uncle, Ram Chandra Paswan, who also attended the meeting said that the LJP would remain part of the NDA.
 
"We are and will remain in the NDA. Seat sharing will be announced this week," Ram Chandra Paswan said. 
 
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"The party, which is having strongholds in any specific area, should be respected. We are a small party. We need adequate time for preparation. That's why we wanted the issue to be resolved at the earliest," he told reporters.
 
Sources in the BJP said a final arrangement of seats would be formalised after a meeting of the BJP and LJP leaders with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in Delhi.
 
A Bharatiya Janata Party leader also claimed that talks were going in the right direction and everything will be finalised soon.
 
In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had contested from 30 seats and won 22, while the LJP won six seats and lost one. The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), which is now a part of the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar, bagged three. 
 
In 2014, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) had contested on its own but performed poorly. It had won only two seats.
 
On Thursday, BJP leader and Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav first went to meet Chirag and Ram Vilas Paswan and the three leaders later went to the residence of Amit Shah. They were joined there by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
 
The BJP and the Nitish Kumar-led JD-U had declared earlier that they would contest an equal number of seats in Bihar in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS
 

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After ditching NDA, Kushwaha joins Congress-led UPA

 
Kushwaha joins grand alliance in Bihar after quitting NDA
Giving a jolt to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, former Union Minister and one-time ally Upendra Kushwaha joined the Congress-led UPA on Thursday and declared his party Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) will contest the elections as part of a 'grand alliance'.
 
Kushwaha, who on December 10 quit as the junior human resource development minister and from the BJP-led NDA, joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Congress headquarters here in the presence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha Jitan Ram Manjhi and Congress Treasurer Ahmed Patel.
 
The development came on a day when another "disgruntled" BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in the national capital. 
 
The LJP is said to be unhappy with the BJP over seat-sharing in Bihar ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Chirag Paswan on Wednesday had admitted to a "few concerns" and had said "It was for the biggest party in our alliance, the BJP, to address the concerns". He had also praised the Congress for raising "real" issues of the youth and farmers during the recently concluded Assembly polls in five states. 
 
Kushwaha, who is the second BJP ally to quit the Modi government after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was unsparing in his attack on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as well Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
 
Addressing the media, Kushwaha accused Nitish Kumar of attempting to weaken and destroy the RLSP in connivance with the BJP. 
 
"Nitish Kumar is a big conspirator. He got help from Delhi government. He decided that Kushwaha has to be demolished so that he will not be able to take up the issues of Bihar," he said.
 
Kushwaha attacked Modi for betraying his promises made during the 2014 election campaign, of addressing the issues of education, jobs and healthcare for the people of Bihar. 
 
"But on all fronts, he failed to fulfill his promises. There was a difference between his talk and action. I never believed there could be so much difference," he said.
 
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He also praised Congress President Rahul Gandhi for honouring the party's promises of loan waiver for farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where the party has formed the government after winning the recent Assembly polls. 
 
Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said a "pre-poll grand alliance" was imperative to defeat the BJP government at the Centre. 
 
Asserting that first steps towards forging a grand alliance was being taken, Tejashwi also hinted at paying court to the LJP to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). 
 
"There was speculation about whether Kushwaha would join the UPA. Today his party is part of the grand alliance. It was Kushwaha's decision to join, nobody forced him. 
 
"Similarly whether or not the LJP will join the grand alliance, that is their decision. But the country's (political) climate is changing, you need to wait and see," said Tejashwi.
 
While Tejashwi remained tight-lipped about any bid to woo Paswan to the grand alliance, sources said leaders of the Congress and the RJD were mulling a meeting with the LJP supremo. 
 
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of imposing an "undeclared emergency" in the country and wrecking democratic institutions, saying a "pre-poll grand alliance" of opposition parties was the need of the hour. 
 
"If we don't unite, people will not forgive us," he said exuding hope that Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) would sooner or later become a part of the anti-BJP "grand alliance". 
 
"Like-minded parties opposed to the BJP are steadily uniting. Both the SP and the BSP need not be told, they know what they should do. And I believe, their decision would be based on what the people of the country want, which is to get rid of the Modi government," he said. 
 
Remaining evasive about whether his party was open to the idea of Rahul Gandhi being the prime ministerial face of the grand alliance, Tejashwi praised the leadership qualities of the Congress President. 
 
"The issue is not who will be the Prime Minister, the issue is whether our Constitution, our country will be will be protected or not from the BJP onslaught. 
 
"The recent Assembly poll results have displayed Gandhi's leadership qualities. The way he is striving to bring all opposition parties to a single platform is praiseworthy. I believe opposition parties are uniting and we will together defeat the Modi regime," added Tejashwi.
 
IANS
 

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Kushwaha meets Ahmed Patel, set to join grand alliance

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Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha met Congress Treasurer Ahmed Patel here on Saturday amid indications that the former's party will join the grand alliance in Bihar soon.
 
RLSP spokesperson Madhav Anand told IANS that Patel came to meet Kushwaha at his residence and they discussed political issues concerning Bihar.
 
He said there was a possibility of Kushwaha also meeting Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the coming days. 
 
Party sources said that an announcement of RLSP joining the grand alliance is expected soon. 
 
Kushwaha had resigned as a Minister in the Narendra Modi government on December 10 and his party had also quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance. 
 
Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) are part of the grand alliance in Bihar. 
 
IANS

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Congress MP from Bihar Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi passes away

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Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP from Bihar's Kishanganj, Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi, passed away early on Friday following a heart attack. He was 76.
 
According to district officials, he died at the Kishanganj Circuit House. He will be buried at his native Tarabadi village.
 
Qasmi was a noted Islamic scholar and a popular face of the party in the state, particularly in Seemanchal comprising Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar districts.
 
He won the Kishanganj seat on a Congress ticket in the 2009 general elections after five consecutive failures. He retained the constituency in 2014 despite the Narendra Modi wave in Bihar and across the country.
 
He had defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party's Dilip Kumar Jaiswal by a margin of over 1 lakh votes in 2014.
 
He was a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board and also a founder member of the All India Milli Council.
 
IANS
 

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SC entrusts all Bihar shelter home probes to CBI

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed over the investigation into all the 17 cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of children at shelter homes in Bihar to the CBI.
 
The court said: "If the state government had done its job properly, the cases might not have gone to the CBI."
 
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Deepak Gupta directed the Bihar government to provide all manpower, resources and logistical support to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) even as counsel for the state government made a last-ditch bid to keep the investigation with the state police.
 
Allowing CBI to expand its existing team of investigators already probing the Muzaffarpur shelter home horror, the court said none of the members of the investigating team would be withdrawn without the permission of the court.
 
Initially the CBI counsel told the court that its earlier October 26 order directing the officiating Director M. Nageswara Rao to perform only the "routine tasks" was coming in the way of taking decision on its yesterday's suggestion to take over investigations in all the 17 cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse of children, at shelter homes in Bihar.
 
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on October 26 directed Nageswara Rao "not to take any policy decision(s) or any major decision(s) and only perform routine tasks essential to keep the CBI functional."
 
Noting that the October 26 order was no impediment in CBI taking over the investigations in all the 17 cases of child abuse in Bihar shelter homes, Justice Lokur said, "This (October 26 order) does not say that all investigations will stop."
 
The court lambasted the Bihar government saying it has taken all the remedial steps and issued instructions to investigating officers to invoke and incorporate the stringent provisions of criminal law against the accused in Muzaffarpur shelter home horror case.
 
"Can such a direction be issued to an investigating officer? Can Inspector General of Police say invoke certain provisions against an accused and ask the investigating officer to add these sections (of criminal law)?" said Justice Lokur wondering by that corollary, the supervising officer can ask the investigating officer not to invoke certain provisions against the accused.
 
Justice Gupta said such directions to the investigating officer could be counter-productive at a later stage.
 
On Tuesday, the court slammed the Bihar government for not invoking the stringent provision of penal code and that of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) against the accused.
 
The court appeared unimpressed as senior counsel Gopal Singh patting the Bihar government said "The court gave us 24 hours, but we have made rectifications in 12 hours by invoking stringent provisions of the criminal law against the accused."
 
Brushing aside the resistance by Bihar government, with State Chief Secretary present in the court, on handing over the investigation to CBI, Justice Lokur said, "We have seen what you have done." Gopal Singh had said, "This kind of order (transfeering investigation to CBI) will cast doubts" on the ability of the state police.
 
IANS
 

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ADB to provide $ 200 million loan to improve state highways in Bihar

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed here today a $200 million loan to finance widening and upgrading of about 230 kilometers of State Highways in Bihar to all-weather standards with road safety features. 
 
The signatories to the loan agreement for the Bihar State Highways III Project (BSHP-III) were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Rajeev P. Singh, Officer in-Charge of ADB's India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB. 
 
The project agreement was signed by Mr. Vipin Kumar, Resident Commissioner, Govt. of Bihar and Mr. Chandra Shekhar, Chief General Manager, Bihar State Roads Development Corporation Limited. 
 
Mr. Khare said the loan would complement the efforts of the Government of Bihar to upgrade all State Highways to meet the minimum two-lane standard with better surfaces and improved road safety leading to improved connectivity. 
 
Mr. Singh said that the new loan would continue ADB's support in the development of the road sector in Bihar. The improved roads under the project will contribute to savings in vehicle operating cost and travel time, reduce vehicle emissions, and improve road safety. The project will also establish a State-level Road Research Institute to improve technical and management capacity of the Road Agency Staff. 
 
Since 2008, ADB has provided four loans to Bihar, amounting to $1.43 billion, to upgrade about 1,453 km of State Highways and to construct a new bridge over the Ganga near Patna, an official press release said.
 
This BSHP-III project, approved by the ADB Board in October this year, will involve upgrading State Highways to standard two-lane width with road safety features and paved shoulders including reconstructing, widening, and strengthening culverts and bridges. The project will also build institutional capacity of the State for road design and maintenance and incorporate appropriate new technologies in the State's road sub-sector, the release added.
 
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Absconding former Bihar Minister surrenders

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Former Bihar Minister Manju Verma, who was absconding for nearly three months in an arms case related to the Muzaffarpur shelter home horror, surrendered at a court on Tuesday.
 
Manju Verma surrendered in the Begusarai District Court after a lower court and the Patna High Court rejected her interim bail petition. The Supreme Court had slammed Bihar Police for its failure to arrest her. 
 
According to police, Manju Verma covered her face while reaching the court. 
 
Police in Bihar on Saturday started attaching the properties of Manju Verma after a court order in an arms case connected to the Muzaffarpur shelter home horror. 
 
Verma faces arrest under the Arms Act following the recovery of 50 live cartridges from her residences in Patna and Begusarai during a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid. 
 
Last month, a court in Begusarai issed a warrant against here. 
 
Last month, her husband Chandrasekhar Verma, who had been absconding for a month, surrendered before a court after which he was sent to 14 days judicial custody in connection with the shelter home case. 
 
Manju Verma resigned on August 8 following allegations that Brajesh Thakur, the main accused in the Muzaffarpur case, had links with her husband. Thankur is now in the Muzaffarpur jail. 
 
Of the 42 girls lodged at the short-stay home run by Thakur's NGO, 34 were found to have been sexually assaulted. The crime came to light after a social audit by the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai. 
 
IANS
 

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Muzaffarpur horror: Five girls, not two, died in shelter home

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The Central Bureau of Investigation has discovered that five minor girls, and not two as reported earlier, died in a shelter home in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district.
 
Their post-mortem examinations were conducted at a government hospital, police said on Monday. 
 
The CBI, probing the alleged rape of 34 girls at the shelter home, on Sunday searched documents at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital and found that the post-mortem examinations of five girls of the shelter home were conducted there. 
 
According to the hospital register, the post-mortem examinations of two girls were conducted in 2013, two in 2015 and one in 2017. 
 
The CBI officials are now trying to find out as to whom the bodies of the girls were handed over after their autopsies and also whether cases were registered in the matter. 
 
"A team of CBI officials is likely to soon interrogate some hospital doctors to collect more details about the case," a district police officer said. 
 
The CBI had earlier found human bones at a cremation ground on October 4 following a tip-off. It had also carried out an extensive excavation at the shelter home premises on suspicion that some inmates might have been killed and buried there, but could not recover anything from there. 
 
Last month, a shelter home employee Krishna Ram, who also ran the press of Brajesh Thakur -- the main accused -- told the CBI sleuths that some bodies were stuffed in gunny bags and disposed of in the Burhi Gandak river a year ago. 
 
However, the CBI could not recover anything from the river. 
 
According to the CBI, Ram disclosed that Brajesh Thakur had ordered the disposal of the bodies. 
 
He reportedly revealed that two inmates of Thakur's NGO, Seva Sankalp Ewam Vikas Samiti, had died under mysterious circumstances and their bodies were dumped in the river from Akharaghat Bridge with the help of Guddu, another employee of the shelter home, and Vijay Tiwari, Thakur's driver. 
 
Of the 42 girls lodged at the short-stay home run by Brajesh Thakur's NGO, 34 were found to have been sexually assaulted. The crime came to light after a social audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, five months ago.
 
The shelter home has been sealed, and Thakur sent to jail. 
 
The Supreme Court is monitoring the CBI probe into the case. 
 
IANS
 

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Bihar dismisses 175 police constables, suspends 23 officials for rampage

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The Bihar government on Sunday dismissed 175 police constables and suspended 23 police officials for rampaging in the city after the death of a female colleague, who was reportedly denied leave despite being ill.
 
More than 300 police constables had gone on the rampage here on November 2, damaging properties and attacking police officers, after a woman colleague who had reportedly been refused leave died.
 
Of the 175 police constables dismissed, most were trainees.
 
The government also suspended 23 police officials, including havildars and assistant sub-inspectors.
 
According to officials, the action was taken after a high-level meeting of top police officers here.
 
Hours after the police constables went on a rampage, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked Bihar police chief K. S. Dwivedi to submit a detailed report at the earliest. 
 
IANS
 

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Australian tourist found hanging in Bihar

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An Australian tourist was found hanging from a tree at an orchard near Bihar's Bodh Gaya on Saturday.
 
Gaya city Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar said the deceased was identified as Heath Allan, 33, a resident of Westmead, a suburb of Sydney in Australia.
 
"Some local residents spotted the body of a foreigner hanging from a tree and informed the police. We have recovered the body and sent it for post-mortem examination," Kumar said.
 
Kumar said a suicide note was also found near the site, besides his bag and a diary.
 
Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from Patna, is considered the holiest of Buddhist shrines where Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Bihar constables attack officers, probe ordered

 
Cops go on rampage after ailing womanconstable dies in Patna
More than 300 constables went on a rampage here damaging properties and attacking officers after a woman colleague who had been reportedly refused leave died early on Friday, leaving at least one officer in a serious condition.
 
Three police officers and two journalists were injured as the protesting trainee constables, including a large number of women, attacked and ransacked officers' quarters at the Patna Police Lines.
 
The constables complained that they were forced to put in long hours of work without being provided basic facilities. 
 
"We work without food, water and toilet facility. It is impossible to get leave even for genuine reasons," one of them told the media. Others echoed him.
 
They said the woman constable died due to sheer negligence and the "inhuman and authoritarian stance of her seniors". 
 
She reportedly had dengue and had sought leave. However, despite repeated requests, she was not granted leave, a constable complained.
 
Bihar Director General of Police K. S. Diwedi, who was in Delhi on Friday to attend a meeting, reacted sharply to the unrest in police force.
 
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Videos on social media showed policewomen rampaging through police stations, shattering LED television and furniture. 
 
When a senior officer, Mohammad Maslehuddin, tried to pacify them, they hit him with a baton on his head.
 
Deputy Superintendent Maslehuddin's family told IANS that he had been admitted to a private hospital and his condition was serious.
 
"He was first attacked in the office and beaten. When he tried to escape and reached his official quarter, they forcibly entered it and tried to kill him.
 
"However, his young daughter saved him by standing at the door and challenging the mob. The house was also ransacked," a family member said.
 
Diwedi said in New Delhi that such indiscipline would not be tolerated. 
 
"The protesters will be punished and trained to follow discipline."
 
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked Diwedi to submit a report at the earliest. A probe headed by Inspector General N. H. Khan has been ordered.
 
Additional Director General S. K. Singhal told the media that the situation had been brought under control.
 
IANS
 

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Tariq Anwar returns to Congress, party urges other leaders to come back

Congress President Rahul Gandhi welcomes back former NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar into the party in New Delhi, on October 27, 2018. (Photo: IANS/Congress)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi welcomes back former NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar into the party in New Delhi, on October 27, 2018. (Photo: IANS/Congress)
Hours after former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar returned to the Congress on Saturday, almost two decades after he had walked out, the party appealed to others leaders to come back.
 
Anwar returned to the Congress in the presence of party President Rahul Gandhi. Anwar had in 1999 joined NCP chief Sharad Pawar and some others in quitting the Congress to protest the appointment of a person of foreign origin -- Sonia Gandhi -- as the party chief.
 
Gandhi welcomed Anwar into "the Congress family", the party tweeted, posting a picture of the two leaders shaking hands.
 
Anwar, who represented Katihar (Bihar) in the Lok Sabha, had quit the NCP and his Lok Sabha membership on September 28 expressing disagreement with party chief Sharad Pawar whom he has been upset with for giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Modi in the Rafale deal.
 
Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, who was present at the press conference at the party headquarters, said, "Anwar met Gandhi and then joined the party."
 
Gehlot said that more people would come to Congress due to the kind of "atmosphere" being created in the country. 
 
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, Gehlot said, "Only two people are running the country -- Modi and Shah." 
 
He also said that the people of the country have understood that whatever they (BJP) had said has turned false. 
 
Gehlot appealed to former Congress leaders to return to the party fold.
 
"As the biggest party of the country, the Congress has a rich history before and after Independence. 
 
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"Indira Gandhi was assassinated when she was the Prime Minister. Rajiv Gandhi was also assassinated when he was set to become the Prime Minister again. And today they question what Congress did in the last 70 years. They don't have any history of their participation in the Independence movement," he said. 
 
"And now they talk about Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as they know they have failed on all fronts," he said.
 
Congress Bihar in-charge Shakti Sinh Gohil said, "With Anwar joining back the party, the Grand Alliance would be strengthened as he has the experience of working in the party."
 
Gohil said that disaster was set to hit the NDA and more leaders would join Congress in the coming days.
 
Comparing Modi to a ruler who can do anything to save his chair, the Congress's Bihar in-charge said, "Modi is such a ruler, who when he finds any danger to his kingdom compromises."
 
Taking a jibe at the Janata Dal-United and BJP seat sharing formula announced on Friday, Gohil said, "Now as the king has found that his kingdom was in danger, they have stitched a deal in Bihar."
 
Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the President of the JD-U on Friday announced that both the parties will contest an equal number of seats in the Lok Sabha elections in the state next year under a seat-sharing formula between them.
 
IANS

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19 years on, Tariq Anwar returns to Congress fold

Congress President Rahul Gandhi welcomes back former NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar into the party in New Delhi, on October 27, 2018. (Photo: IANS/Congress)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi welcomes back former NCP General Secretary Tariq Anwar into the party in New Delhi, on October 27, 2018. (Photo: IANS/Congress)
Days after quitting the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Tariq Anwar on Saturday returned to the Congress here in the presence of party President Rahul Gandhi - almost two decades after he had walked out.
 
Gandhi has welcomed Anwar into "the Congress family", the party tweeted posting a picture of the two leaders shaking hands.
 
Anwar had quit the NCP and his Lok Sabha membership on September 28 expressing disagreement with party chief Sharad Pawar whom he has been upset with for giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal.
 
Anwar had in 1999 joined NCP chief Sharad Pawar and some others in quitting the Congress to protest against the appointment of a person of foreign origin -- Sonia Gandhi -- being appointed the party chief.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Police officer killed in Bihar encounter

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A police officer was killed during an encounter with criminals in Bihar's Khagaria district, police said on Saturday.
 
"Pasraha Station House Office Ashish Kumar Singh was killed late Friday night in the encounter," Khagaria Superintendent of Police Minu Kumari said. 
 
Bihar Police Association President Mirtunjay Kumar has demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore to the victim's family. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Girl students oppose molesters, thrashed

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Students of a residential school for girls in Bihar's Supaul district were thrashed when they tried to oppose a bid to sexually harass them, police said on Sunday.
 
The incident happened when a group of youths forcibly entered the Kasturba Awasiya Balika Vidyalay on Saturday evening with the intention of molesting the girls. 
 
In the ensuing fracas, 34 girls were injured and have been admitted to a hospital. 
 
"Action will be taken against the accused and security arrangements will be made at the school," District Magistrate Baidyanath Yadav said.
 
A case has been registered, said Vinay Kumar, a district official. The accused have been identified, but no arrests have been made as yet.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Tariq Anwar quits NCP, LS; unfortunate, says party

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In a jolt to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), one of its founding leaders, Tariq Anwar, on Friday quit the party and the Lok Sabha expressing disagreement with party chief Sharad Pawar who he said gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal.
 
"I have resigned from the NCP as well as the membership of Lok Sabha because I totally disagree with Sharad Pawar's statement in support of Modi on Rafale deal," he told the media here. 
 
"The Prime Minister is fully involved in the Rafale deal," said Anwar, a party general secretary, reacting to Pawar's television interview in which he said he did not think people doubt Modi's intentions on a personal level. 
 
Jolted by his move, the party said the decision was "unfortunate" while Pawar's daughter and party MP Supriya Sule said the NCP chief's comments on the Prime Minister and the Rafale deal have been misunderstood as he has actually demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal.
 
Anwar, 67, who was expelled from the Congress in 1999 along with Pawar and P. A. Sangma after they questioned the foreign origins of Sonia Gandhi, said he personally respected and honoured Pawar but felt his statement in support of Modi was unfortunate. 
 
"I do not agree with his statement and have resigned from the party and membership of Parliament," the MP from Katihar said.
 
Anwar told IANS that he was forced to take this decision to prove his moral stand in politics. "I am telling people one thing and cannot take another stand," he said. 
 
Anwar's resignation brings down the NCP's strength in the Lok Sabha to six.
 
Anwar, who has been a Lok Sabha member several times and in the Rajya Sabha once, said he will talk to his supporters before taking a move to join any party.
 
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Reacting to his resignation, NCP general secretary Praful Patel said Anwar's decision was sudden and unfortunate and felt it was not correct on his part to have exited in this manner without any discussion with the leadership.
 
He said he has noted that Anwar was angry over some remarks made by Pawar on the Rafale deal. 
 
"We are surprised but sad at the same time. We want to clarify that Anwar who was with the party since its birth and was a founder... you have left suddenly and in this fashion without any discussion with the leadership, it is not correct," he said.
 
Pawar's statement in an interview to a television channel was welcomed by BJP chief Amit Shah who praised him for "placing national interests above party politics".
 
Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, Sule said it was "disappointing" that the issues raised by Pawar in the interview regarding the Rafale fighter jet deal were ignored.
 
"It's disappointing that people have not heard Pawar ... where he has clearly raised three questions: 1) what is the justification for a 300 percent price increase from Rs 526 crore to Rs 1,670 crore which potentially could be a significant loss to the exchequer?," said Sule, a Lok Sabha member and a daughter of Pawar.
 
"2) If such doubts have been raised and the government is so confident, then why are they shying from setting up a JPC? 3) When the BJP raised both price and specification issues during the Bofors allegations, then why are they hiding behind artificial justification of secrecy of agreements vis-a-vis both commercial price and offset agreements."
 
IANS
 

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Tariq Anwar quits NCP, LS after Pawar praises Modi

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Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) General Secretary Tariq Anwar on Friday quit the party and the Lok Sabha, expressing his disagreement with party chief Sharad Pawar who gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal.
 
"I have resigned from the NCP as well as the membership of Lok Sabha because I totally disagree with Sharad Pawar's statement in support of Modi on Rafale deal," he told the media here. 
 
"The Prime Minister is fully involved in the Rafale deal," he said, reacting to Pawar's television interview in which he had said he did not think people doubt Modi's intentions on a personal level. 
 
Pawar's statement was welcomed by BJP chief Amit Shah who praised him for "placing national interests above party politics".
 
Anwar, 67, who was expelled from the Congress in 1999 along with Pawar and P. A. Sangma after they questioned the foreign origins of Sonia Gandhi, said he personally respected and honoured Pawar but felt his statement in support of Modi was unfortunate. 
 
"I do not agree with his statement and have resigned from the party and membership of Parliament," the MP from Katihar said.
 
Anwar told IANS that he was forced to take this decision to prove his moral stand in politics. "I am telling people one thing and cannot take another stand," he said. 
 
Anwar, who has been a Lok Sabha member several times and in the Rajya Sabha once, said he will talk to his supporters before taking a move to join any party.
 
IANS
 

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Cabinet nod for new domestic terminal, allied structures at Patna Airport

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the construction of a new domestic terminal building and other allied structures at Patna airport at an estimated cost of Rs 1,216.90 crore.
 
After construction of the new terminal building, the passenger handling capacity of the airport will go up to 4.5 million passengers per annum (MPPA) from the existing 0.7 MPPA, an official press release said.
 
The new terminal building will have an area of 65,155 sqm, including basement area of 18,650 sqm, with world-class passenger facilities, the release said.
 
With the construction of the new terminal, there will be an increase in economic activities in Patna region, which will create additional jobs, it said.
 
The project is a part of the package for Bihar announced by the Prime Minister.
 
Patna airport is one of the major airports in the Eastern Region. The existing terminal building is a timeworn double storied structure and is operating at four times of its capacity.
 
"The construction of the new domestic terminal building and other allied structures at the Patna airport has become inevitable as the traffic has increased at a tremendous rate in last few years," the release added.
 
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Muzaffarpur ex-Mayor, driver shot dead

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Former Muzaffarpur Mayor Samir Kumar and his driver were shot dead on Sunday night by unidentified assailants in the Bihar town, police said.
 
Samir and his driver, who was not identified immediately, were fatally shot by motorcycle-borne criminals armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.
 
The criminals hailed the former Mayor's SUV to a stop at the Banaras Chowk in Muzaffarpur. As they stopped, the assailants fired dozens of bullets at Samir and his driver and fled, a police official said.
 
The crime has created panic in Muzaffarpur. Police has registered a case.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Man hired for honour killing in Telangana arrested in Bihar

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A hired killer who allegedly murdered a young Dalit man in a case of honour killing in Telangana's Miryalguda town was arrested from Bihar's Samastipur district on Tuesday, police said.
 
Subhash Sharma, who was allegedly hired to murder Pranay Kumar, was taken into custody from Jagatsinhpur. 
 
Samastipur police officer Paritish Kumar said Sharma was arrested by a team of Telangana Police along with the local police. He was produced in a court and handed over to Telangana Police on transit remand. 
 
Pranay Kumar, 23, was hacked to death on Friday as he was coming out of a hospital along with his wife Amrutha Varshini, with whom he had an inter-caste marriage. 
 
They were in love since their school days and had married against the wishes of the girl's parents. Since then, he was facing threats to his life. 
 
Amrutha, who is five-months pregnant, blamed her father, Maruthi Rao, for the murder. 
 
Police earlier arrested Maruthi Rao, his brother Shravan Kumar and three others in the sensational case. 
 
Maruthi Rao allegedly paid Rs 10 lakh to the hired killer. He reportedly told police that 'honour' was more important for him than his daughter.
 
Calling her father a devil, Amrutha vowed never to go back to him. She said she would live with her slain husband's parents.
 
IANS
 

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Political strategist Prashant Kishor joins JD-U

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Election strategist Prashant Kishor on Sunday formally joined the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in the presence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ahead of the party's state executive meeting here.
 
JD-U spokesperson Sanjay Singh confirmed Kishor's joining.
 
"Now Prashant Kishor is a JD-U leader," Singh said.
 
Shortly after the announcement, Kishor tweeted: "Excited to start my new journey from Bihar!" 
 
The 41-year-old former UN official, who founded the Indian Political Action Committee (I-Pac), was tasked with running the JD-U's campaign during the 2015 Bihar polls after he parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 
 
After the success of the Grand Alliance, Nitish Kumar named Kishor as his adviser for planning and programme implementation with status  equivalent to a state Cabinet Minister. 
 
Last week, Kishor hinted at his political debut while addressing an event at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad. 
 
Kishor had formulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi' election strategy in the 2014 elections.
 
IANS
 

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Elderly couple found dead in Patna

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A retired commissioner of Irrigation Department and his wife have been found dead in their house in the Bihar capital. Four people have been detained, police said on Friday.
 
Harender Prasad Singh, 88, and his second wife Sapna Das Gupta, 70, were found murdered late on Thursday in Dujra's Buddha colony here.
 
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said an investigation is on. Those detained include a maid servant, a caretaker of their house, and a driver. They are being interrogated.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Satya Pal Malik named as new Governor of Bihar

Satya Pal Malik
Satya Pal Malik
Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik was today transferred and appointed as the new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
He will succeed Mr. N. N. Vohra, a retired IAS officer, who has been holding the position since June, 2008.
 
Mr. Malik, 72, a former Member of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, was appointed as the Governor of Bihar on September 30, 2017.
 
In  other appointments made today, the President named Mr. Lalji Tandon as the new Governor of Bihar, Mr. Satyadev Naryan Arya as the Governor of Haryana and Ms. Baby Rani Maurya as the Governor of Uttarakhand.
 
Mr. Ganga Prasad, Governor of Meghalaya, has been transferred and appointed as the Governor of Sikkim. Mr. Tathagata Roy, Governor of Tripura, has been shifted to Meghalaya, while Mr. Kaptan Singh Solanki, Governor of Haryana is transferred and appointed as the new Governor of Tripura.
 
Mr. Malik was a member of the 9th Lok Sabha, representing Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh in the Huse from 1989-91.
 
He served two terms in the Rajya Sabha, from 1980-86 and from 1986-1992. He was also a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly during 1974-77. 
 
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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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