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Bihar

Woman, daughter gangraped in Bihar

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A woman and her daughter were allegedly gangraped by nearly a dozen youths in Bihar's Gaya district, police said on Thursday.
 
"The police have detained 20 youths and are interrogating them to identify the main accused among them," Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra told the media.
 
The incident took place on Wednesday night near Sondiha village.
 
"The youths forcibly stopped a local doctor travelling with his wife and daughter. The doctor's hands and legs were tied and he was left in a nearby field while his his wife and daughter were gangraped," the police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Former Union Minister L.P. Shahi dies at 98

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Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister L.P. Shahi died early on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here. He was 98.
 
"He was shifted to AIIMS on Thursday after he complained of chest pain," Shahi's daughter-in-law, Veena Shahi, told IANS from Patna.
 
"He passed away around 3 a.m," she said, adding that his mortal remains will be brought to Patna in the evening. The final rites would take place on Sunday in the Bihar capital, she added.
 
The Congress veteran from Bihar was elected as MLA in 1980, defeating Jai Narain Prasad Nishad of the Janata Party. He became MP from Muzaffarpur in 1984 and later served as the Education and Culture Minister.
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi condoled Laliteshwar Prasad Shahi's death saying his loss will be felt by all party leaders. He also offered floral tributes to the veteran Congress leader at his south Delhi's R.K. Puram-located residence.
 
"The loss of L.P. Shahi, freedom fighter, former Union Minister and CWC (Congress Working Committee) member will be felt by all of us in the Congress Party. 
 
"My thoughts and prayers are with his family in their time of grief. May his soul rest in peace," Gandhi tweeted.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also condoled the death and said: "With Shahi's death, society has lost a great leader and social worker. It is an irreparable loss to politics and society."
 
Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi in his condolence message said: "Bihar has lost a great leader and a literary scholar. And personally it's a big loss for me."
 
IANS
 
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Paswan shown black flags in his constituency

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Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan was on Thursday shown black flags by protesters in his parliamentary constituency Hajipur in Bihar, police said.
 
Over two dozen protesters belonging to the Sanyukt Sangharsh Morcha waved black flags at the convoy of the Lok Janshakti Party supremo near a hotel in Hajipur, the district headquarters of Vaishali, where he was slated to address the media on the completion of four years of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.
 
The protesters said they were expressing displeasure over Paswan's alleged neglect of Hajipur since 2014. 
 
"No development project has been started or new work undertaken in Hajipur," they claimed.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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All five convicts in Bodh Gaya blasts case get life

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An NIA court here on Friday awarded life imprisonment to all the five persons earlier convicted in the 2013 serial blasts that rocked Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, a lawyer said.
 
Judge Manoj Kumar Sinha, presiding over the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, had in May convicted Umer Siddiqui, Azharuddin Siddiqui, Hauser Ali, Mujibullah Ansari, and Imtitaz Ansari.
 
The life imprisonment is the maximum punishment that could be given in the case, NIA lawyer Lalan Kumar Sinha told reporters here. 
 
The NIA chargesheet had said that the blasts on July 7, 2013, were carried out with the motive to kill domestic and foreign pilgrims, especially Buddhists, at the temple to create terror. 
 
As many as 13 bombs were planted, out of which around 10 exploded. Three live bombs were defused later by security forces. Five persons, including two monks, were injured in the blasts. 
 
The Bodh Gaya temple is a Unesco World Heritage site, where the Buddha attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago. 
 
IANS
 
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RJD wins Bihar's Jokihat Assembly seat by more than 41,000 votes

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The opposition RJD has wrested the Jokihat Assembly seat from the ruling JD-U in Bihar. RJD candidate Shahnawaz Alam won the seat by more than 41,000 votes, officials said on Thursday.
 
After trailing in the initial round of counting, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) established a comfortable lead after 24 rounds. 
 
The Jokikhat seat fell vacant following the resignation of JD-U MLA Sarfaraz Alam, who joined the RJD. Voting for the seat took place on Monday. 
 
The JD-U was backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while the RJD had the support of the Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) of former Chief Minister of Jitan Ram Manjhi. 
 
Jokihat is a Muslim-dominated Assembly constituency, considered stronghold of former Union Minister and Shahnawaz Alam's father Mohammad Taslimuddin, who died last year leading to a bye-election for the Araria Lok Sabha seat. 
 
This is the second time this year when the RJD contested polls in the absence of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was jailed after being convicted in the fodder scam. At present Lalu Prasad is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mumbai after getting provisional bail. 
 
The RJD under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav,former deputy chief minister and younger son of Lalu Prasad, proved again that it has an edge over the JD-U of chief minister Nitish Kumar. 
 
Two months ago, RJD had defeated JD-U in bye-elections for the Jahanbad assembly seat and the Araria Lok Sabha seat. 
 
IANS
 
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Lightning, thunderstorms kill 19 in Bihar

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At least 19 people were killed due to lightning and thunderstorms in Bihar, officials said on Tuesday.
 
"The state government has ordered ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives," Pratyaya Amrit, Principal Secretary of the Disaster Management Department said.
 
Five deaths were reported in Gaya and Aurangabad districts followed by four deaths in Munger, three in Katihar and two in Nawada. 
 
Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds uprooted trees, damaged houses and brought down power cables across the state on Monday. 
 
The downpour also brought down the temperature. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Manoj Sinha flags off Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express

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Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha flagged off the 22551/22552 Darbhanga-Jalandhar City Antyodaya Express (Weekly) through video conferencing from Rail Bhawan here today.
 
Member Traffic, Railway Board, Mohammad Jamshed, Member Traction, Railway Board, Ghanshyam Singh and other senior officials of Railways were present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on  the occasion, Mr Sinha said Indian Railways have been making many efforts for providing connectivity all over the country and giving access to the countrymen along with making travel easy and comfortable. This Antyodaya Train will make it easy to commute for those travelling from Bihar to Punjab thus providing connectivity to the people of Bihar. The train is fully equipped with good facilities like Bio-toilets, mobile charging, and so on, he added.
 
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Lalu gets six weeks provisional bail for treatment

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The Jharkhand High Court on Friday granted jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad six weeks provisional bail for medical treatment.
 
His lawyer had sought three months provisional bail on health grounds, telling the court that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief wanted to get treated in Mumbai.
 
Hearing the petition, Justice Apresh Kumar Singh sought a medical report from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
 
Lalu Prasad, who was undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) here after he was brought here from AIIMS on May 1, is currently in Patna on three days parole to attend the marriage of his eldest son Tej Pratap on May 12.
 
In the Birsa Munda jail here since December 23, 2017 being convicted in a fodder scam case, he was admitted to RIMS on March 17 following complaints of uneasiness.
 
He has been convicted in four fodder scam cases since 2013 -- the latest being the Dumka treasury case in which a special Central Bureau of Investigation court sentenced him to a 14 year jail term.
 
IANS
 
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Five girls drown in a pond in Madhubani district of Bihar

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Five girls drowned in Bihar's Madhubani district on Wednesday when they had taken out buffaloes to graze, police said.
 
The girls slipped into deep water in a big pond near Navtoli village under Babubarhi block in Madhubani and drowned, a district police official said.
 
According to police officials, the girls, following their return from a government-run middle school, went as usual to take the buffaloes to a nearby field when the accident occurred. 
 
The bodies have been recovered and sent for autopsy, police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Lalu Prasad gets parole, to attend son's marriage

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Jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday secured five days parole to attend his elder son's marriage in Patna on May 12.
 
The parole was granted following consultations between the jail administration and the Home Department. Lalu Prasad had sought five days parole to attend Tej Pratap's wedding. 
 
The former Bihar Chief Minister is being treated at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) here after he was brought here from the AIIMS in New Delhi on May 1. 
 
He is likely to leave for Patna by air on Wednesday evening. 
 
The RJD leader has been convicted in four fodder scam cases since 2013 -- the latest being the Dumka treasury case in which a CBI court sentenced him to 14 years in jail.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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7 dead as bus overturns, catches fire

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At least seven passengers were burnt to death after a bus overturned and caught fire on Thursday in Bihar's East Champaran district, officials said.
 
Bihar Disaster Management Minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav told the media that they had received information about seven persons dying in the accident.
 
Pratyay Amrit, Principal Secretary - Disaster Management Department, said that most of the charred bodies were still inside the bus.
 
According to police, an air-conditioned bus from Muzaffarpur to Delhi met with the accident after the driver lost control over it.
 
Soon after the bus overturned, it caught fire and the seven persons were either charred or died due to suffocation from smoke inside the vehicle.
 
Police officials said the passengers who managed to come out of the bus had been admitted to a hospital.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased.
 
IANS
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Four arrested for molesting minor in Bihar

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Four persons in Bihar's Jehanabad district have been arrested for molesting a minor girl, the video of which went viral on social sites, police said on Monday.
 
The video, captured by a local, shows the girl being hounded and molested by a group of youths in broad daylight. The incident took place on Saturday, the police said.
 
Jehanabad's Superintendent of Police Manish Kumar said a special investigation team (SIT) arrested four of the accused. "Others have been identified and a hunt is on to arrest them," he said.
 
The SIT also siezed a motorbike seen in the video.
 
According to police official Shayam Sundae Singh, an FIR was lodged against seven people involved in the case.
 
IANS
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NDMA conducts training programme for CBRN emergencies at Patna airport

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The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) began a five-day basic training programme at the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport here yesterday to enhance the  preparedness of Airport Emergency Handlers (AEHs) to respond to CBRN emergencies.
 
CBRN emergencies pertain to threats emanating due to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear material.
 
The training programme is being conducted in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS).
 
Four such programmes have already been conducted earlier - one each in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai and Varanasi.       
 
An official press release said the programme consists of lectures as well as field training, including live demonstrations of detection and decontamination including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Apart from equipping the airport emergency handlers to handle CBRN emergencies, the training programme will also enable them to provide medical first aid and initial psycho-social support.
 
Experts from the domain departments viz. Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), INMAS, NDMA, etc. will deliver lectures and hold demonstrations on various areas related to CBRN emergency management.
 
A total of 200 personnel will be trained on various aspects of CBRN emergencies. This includes sensitization of 150 working level staff in a half day module.
 
A team of NDRF, trained for CBRN emergency, is posted in Patna and their expertise will also be utilized in the programme.
 
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Yashwant Sinha snaps links with BJP, says will launch campaign to 'save democracy'

 
Yashwant Sinha snaps ties with BJP
 
 
Senior BJP leader and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who has been trenchant in his criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, on Saturday announced that he was snapping his links with the party and launching a countrywide campaign to save  democracy.
 
"I am announcing here from this stage that I am ending my long time relationship with the Bharatiya Janata Party," he said while addressing the first meeting of the Rashtra Manch, founded by him.
 
Eighty-year-old Sinha, who had joined the BJP in the mid-90s, said "Aaj se mera BJP ke saath rishta samapt ho gaya. Main apna sambandh viched kar raha hun BJP se. Main BJP se khud ko alag kar raha hun (From today my relation with BJP is over. I'm severing my ties with the party...)."
 
He said that from now he will try to unite all non-BJP parties, "I will not join any political party and will have nothing to do with party politics." 
 
"I am not an aspirant for any top post and I am making it clear here that I am not at all interested in seeking any post," he added.
 
Sinha, who was Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, attended the meeting of the Rashtra Manch along with BJP MP Satrughan Sinha, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Congress leader Renuka Choudhary and AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh.
 
In 2017, Sinha had created a political storm with an article in the Indian Express claiming that the Indian economy was poised for a hard landing after demonetisation and GST. 
 
Again, earlier this week, he had written an open letter to BJP MPs asking them to challenge the leadership before the next elections so that correctives could be taken.
 
IANS
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Deputy CM Sushil Modi among three BJP nominees for Bihar LC polls

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Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Health Minister Mangal Pandey are among the three candidates whose names were announced for the Bihar Legislative Council polls by the ruling BJP on Sunday.
 
Sanjay Paswan, a former Union Minister and Dalit face of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bihar, is its third candidate.
 
The opposition Congress -- part of the Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Grand Alliance along with Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) -- also announced the name of Prem Chandra Mishra.
 
The Election Commission has announced April 26 as the polling date for the biennial elections to 11 Legislative Council seats that will fall vacant on May 6. 
 
BJP ally Janata Dal-United is yet to formally announce the names of three candidates. 
 
JD-U sources said that party President and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will file the nomination on Monday, the last date for filing of papers along with two other candidates.
 
Last week, the RJD announced the names of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, Santosh Manjhi, son of another former Chief Minister and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, RJD state President Ram Chander Purve and Mohsin Qadir.
 
While the terms of 10 sitting members will end on May 6, one seat fell vacant when Narendra Singh was disqualified on January 6, 2016, ahead of the end of his term on May 6, 2018.
 
Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi, Rabri Devi and Mangal Pandey are among those whose terms will end on May 6.
 
IANS
 
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DCW chief's fast enters Day 3, two more minors raped

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An indefinite hunger strike by Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal demanding death penalty for rapists entered the third day here on Sunday even as two more minors were raped across the country.
 
Maliwal launched the protest at Rajghat on Friday in the wake of the horrific rape incidents in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao and Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua districts.
 
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, she said: "I will not break my anshan (fast) until the Prime Minister does not (promise) the country a better system for the safety of our daughters."
 
As Maliwal continued her fast in Delhi, authorities in Patna said a minor girl was gang-raped on Sunday. The incident took place at 12.30 a.m. near a railway line in the heart of Bihar's capital.
 
"Both the accused (Chotu Kumar and Phekan Kumar) were caught by a police patrol that heard the girl's cries for help. The girl also identified both of them," police officer Rama Shankar Singh said.
 
In Odisha, police said a four-year-old girl was raped by a youth in Balasore district. The accused, 24-year-old Nityacharan Jena, is a neighbour.
 
On Friday, when the girl was playing outside, Jena lured her to his house with chocolates and raped her, according to police. The girl has been hospitalised. Her family lodged a police complaint on Saturday.
 
Meanwhile in Srinagar, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah demanded a special Jammu and Kashmir Assembly session to pass a bill to hand out capital punishment to those convicted of raping minors.
 
"It is only by awarding capital punishment to perpetrators of such heinous crime that incidents like Kathua rape and murder can be prevented in future," the former Chief Minister said. 
 
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has already said that Jammu and Kashmir will soon pass a bill for death sentence to those who rape minors.
 
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Modi blasts opposition for 'dividing' the country

Amid nationwide protests by Dalits after a Supreme Court order allegedly diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the opposition of dividing the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the National Convention of Swachhagrahis, at Motihari in Bihar, on April 10, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the National Convention of Swachhagrahis, at Motihari in Bihar, on April 10, 2018
Amid nationwide protests by Dalits after a Supreme Court order allegedly diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the opposition of dividing the country.
 
"They (opposition) are creating hurdles in the work of the government from the streets to Parliament. Today you have a government at the Centre which is working to unite the people of the country while the opposition is working to divide the people," Modi told the National Convention of 'Swachhagrahis' here.
 
Eight persons were killed and dozens injured during Dalit protests on April 2 turned violent following a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Dalits and Tribes.
 
Tuesday's event was organised as part of the centenary celebrations of the Satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi in Champaran.
 
Hitting out at the former UPA government led by the Congress for delaying projects, the Prime Minister said his government was completing all its mission and commitments with the cooperation of the people.
 
Describing the Madhepura Electric Locomotive Factory as a prime example of Make in India and a source of employment in the region, he said work on the project was first approved in 2007 but it began only three years ago when the NDA government came into the power.
 
On Tuesday, the first engine rolled out of the factory.
 
"This is the style of working of this government. 'Ab atkane, latkane and bhatkane wala kaam nahin hota'. Now the culture of stopping files is not there. The government is committed to fulfil all its mission," he said.
 
He said the changes brought in the society through development works had created problems for the opposition and they were unable to accept this. 
 
"They cannot see the poor getting empowered. They feel if the poor are strengthened, then they (opposition) will not be able to speak lies. They will not be able to fool them," he said. 
 
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The Prime Minister showered praise on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his patience and able administration in fighting corrupt and anti-social forces.
 
"It is not so easy," he said, adding that the Centre extended its full support to the efforts of Nitish Kumar in fighting against corruption and his efforts towards sanitation drive for social change.
 
On the occasion, the Prime Minister launched several development projects. He unveiled a plaque to mark the foundation stone of Motijheel Project, the Bettiah Nagar Parishad Water Supply Scheme and four Ganga Projects.
 
Modi laid the foundation stone for the doubling of railway lines between Muzaffarpur and Sagauli as well as between Sagauli and Valmikinagar. 
 
He dedicated the first phase of the Madhepura Electric Locomotive Factory to the nation. Via video link, he flagged off the first 12,000 HP Freight Electric Locomotive, and the Champaran Humsafar Express.
 
The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for a road lane of NH-2 in Aurangabad Bihar-Jharkhand border section and distributed awards to Champion Swachhagrahis from across the country.
 
Mahatma Gandhi launched the Champaran Satyagraha on April 10, 1917 against the British to fight for the rights of farmers who were forced to undertake indigo cultivation.
 
IANS
 
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Modi to attend concluding ceremony of centenary of Champaran Satyagraha

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the concluding ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha in Bihar during a day-long visit to the state tomorrow.
 
On the occasion, he will address a gathering of about 20,000 Swachhagrahis or Ambassadors of Cleanliness in Motihari.
 
"Swachhagrahis are the ‘foot soldiers’ and motivators to implement the Community Approaches to Sanitation (CAS) at the village level. Swachhagrahis are key to driving progress towards achieving an open defaecation free nation," an official press release said.
 
Mahatma Gandhi launched the Champaran Satyagraha over a century ago, on 10th April, 1917 against the Britishers to fight for the rights of farmers who were forced to undertake indigo cultivation. April 10th, 2018 marks the end of the centenary year celebrations of the Champaran Satyagrah, and is going to be celebrated through the “Satyagrah se Swachhagrah” campaign.
 
Mr. Modi will also unveil several development projects on the occasion such  as laying of Motijheel Project; Bettiah Nagar Parishad water supply scheme under AMRUT; four sewerage projects, worth Rs 1111.56 crore aimed at creating a sewage treatment capacity of 60 million litres daily for Patna,under Namami Gange; doubling of railway lines between Muzaffarpur and Sagauli, and Sagauli and Valmikinagar; Motihari-Amlekhgang Oil Pipeline Project; dedication of first phase of Madhepura Electric Locomotive Factory and flagging off of the first 12,000 HP Freight Electric Locomotive and Champaran Humsafar Express.
 
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Six dead as Dalit protests turn violent in different states

Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
 
Bharat Bandh over "dilution" of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others. But the top court denied an urgent hearing of the matter.
 
Protesters clashed with police in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha -- states where normal life was paralysed in varying degrees amid incidences of violence and arson.
 
The central government rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to violence-hit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
 
A Home Ministry official in Delhi said two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) were sent to Meerut and one company each to Agra and Hapur in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Clashes turned deadly in Madhya Pradesh where five persons were killed and dozens injured, forcing officials to impose curfew in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts. Protests were also held Bhopal as agitators blocked roads in the state capital.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made a passionate appeal for peace.
 
Police said one person each was killed in Bhind and Morena while three died in Gwalior. The dead in Morena was identified as Rahul Pathak, a student leader. 
 
Gwalior District Magistrate Rahul Jain told IANS that at least 22 persons were injured, some critically, in clashes in his district, where prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were also imposed.
 
"Three people have been conformed dead in Gwalior." Jain said.
 
A man identified as Pawan Kumar was killed in Rajasthan's Alwar as violence was also reported from other parts of the state including Jaipur, Ajmer. Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
 
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Punjab and Haryana also saw widespread protests.
 
Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed and Class 10 and 12 examinations were deferred in Punjab, which has the highest concentration of Scheduled Castes, constituting nearly 32 per cent its 2.8 crore population.
 
Hundreds of protesters carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shopkeepers and other establishments in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda too shut down.
 
Protests also took place in Rohtak and other towns of neighbouring Haryana.
 
In Bihar, activists disrupted rail and road traffic. Mobs shut down markets and shops as well as educational institutions, police said.
 
Supporters of the Bhim Army and other Dalit outfits halted over three dozen long-distance and local trains, stranding thousands of passengers.
 
Violence was reported from Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna and Bhagalpur when protestors clashed with police.
 
Violence also erupted in parts of Uttar Pradesh as protesters attacked shops, looted some and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut, Saharanpur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
 
Many cars were targeted and their window panes smashed. At some places, government property was targeted. 
 
Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut while a passenger bus was set on fire. 
 
Also in Meerut, over 500 Dalit youths targeted the media and broke their cameras as they were trying to photograph the protests. 
 
Gujarat's major towns and cities also saw protests by Dalits amid reports of vandalism from Ahmedabad and Jamnagar.
 
Amid widespread anger and violence, the Modi government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek recall of its judgment that ruled that there would be no automatic arrest of an accused following a complaint moved under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 
The Supreme Court had held on March 20 that police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the complaint filed under the act before acting on it. 
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government "with due respect, does not agree with the reasoning given by the apex court".
 
IANS
 
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Two killed as violence grips India amid Dalit protests

Two persons were killed and many injured as violence gripped parts of India on Monday as Dalit groups enforced a day-long country-wide shutdown against a Supreme Court order they say dilutes a law to prevent atrocities against the marginalized Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
Bharat Bandh over "dilution" of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Two persons were killed and many injured as violence gripped parts of India on Monday as Dalit groups enforced a day-long country-wide shutdown against a Supreme Court order they say dilutes a law to prevent atrocities against the marginalized Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated Dalit activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others.
 
Protesters clashed with police in Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Odisha -- states where normal life was paralyzed in varying degrees amid incidences of violence and arson.
 
Clashes turned deadly in Madhya Pradesh where two persons were killed and dozens injured, forcing authorities to impose curfew at many places. Police said one person was killed in Bhind and the other in Morena.
 
Gwalior District Magistrate Rahul Jain told IANS that at least 22 persons were injured, some critically, in clashes in his district, where prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were also imposed. 
 
Protesters blocked rail tracks and set fire to vehicles, with plumes of fire and smoke seen on near barren roads.
 
The Madhya Pradesh government called the Army to control the situation in Bhind, Morena and Gwalior.
 
Punjab and Haryana also saw widespread protests.
 
Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed and Class 10 and 12 examinations were deferred in Punjab, which has the highest concentration of Scheduled Castes, constituting nearly 32 per cent its 2.8 crore population.
 
Hundreds of protesters carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shopkeepers and other establishments in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda to shut down.
 
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Protests also took place in Rohtak and other towns of neighbouring Haryana.
 
In Bihar, activists disrupted rail and road traffic. Mobs shut down markets and shops as well as educational institutions, police said.
 
Supporters of the Bhim Army and other Dalit outfits halted over three dozen long-distance and local trains, stranding thousands of passengers.
 
"Train services have been badly disrupted due to the protest," an East Central Railway official told IANS.
 
Violence was reported from Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna and Bhagalpur when protestors clashed with police.
 
Violence also erupted in parts of Uttar Pradesh as protesters attacked shops, looted some and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut and Saharanpur.
 
Many cars were targeted and their window panes smashed. At some places, government property was targeted. 
 
Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut while a passenger bus was set on fire. Pro-reservation groups indulged in vandalism at the Muzaffarnagar railway station, stoning the Kocchi Express.
 
Also in Meerut, over 500 Dalit youths targeted the media and broke their cameras as they were trying to photograph the protests. 
 
Amid widespread anger and violence, the government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek recall of its judgment that ruled that there would be no automatic arrest of an accused following a complaint moved under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 
The Supreme Court had held on March 20 that police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the complaint filed under the act before acting on it. 
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government "with due respect, does not agree with the reasoning given by the apex court".
 
He said senior government lawyers "will argue this matter with all their legal preparations and authority that this judgment needs to be reconsidered". 
 
IANS
 
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Shaktisinh Gohil appointed as Congress in-charge of Bihar

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi has appointed senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil as the party's in-charge of Bihar in place of Dr. C. P. Joshi, a senior party leader from Rajasthan.
 
"The party appreciates the hard work and contribution of Dr. C. P. Joshi who is relieved from the charge of the General Secretary In-charge of Bihar," a press release issued by Mr. Ashok Gehlot, General Secretary, All India Congress Committee (AICC), said here today.
 
Mr. Gandhi has also appointed Mr. Anugrah Narayan Singh as the party's in-charge of Uttarakhand, Mr. Gehlot addded.
 
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Union Minister's son sent to judicial custody in Bihar

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A Bihar court on Sunday sent Union Minister Ashwini Choubey's son Arijit Shashwat, accused of inciting communal violence in Bhagalpur, to judicial custody for 14 days.
 
Bhagalpur Senior Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar said that Shashwat, who had been evading arrest for over a week, surrendered and was produced in a court.
 
"Police have strong evidence against Arijit Shashwat and an FIR was lodged against him," he said.
 
Earlier, Shashwat surrendered at around 12.30 a.m. outside the Mahavir temple near the Patna railway station, shouting slogans like "Jai Shri Ram" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai", district police official Rakesh Dubey said.
 
Last week, a case was lodged against Shashwat, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, on charges of taking out a procession without prior permission, inciting communal sentiments and roaming with arms on the streets of Bhagalpur.
 
He moved a bail plea in a civil court, following which the court on March 27 sought the case diary from the police to ascertain his role in the communal flare-up on March 17.
 
The court then issued an arrest warrant against Shashwat.
 
Minister Choubey has dubbed the FIR "a piece of garbage" registered by "corrupt police officers".
 
Shashwat contested the last Assembly polls on BJP ticket from Bhagalpur and lost.
 
IANS
 
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Modi flags off train between Varanasi and Patna

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a train for Patna from Manduadih Railway Station, launched various development projects and addressed a public meeting at the DLW Grounds here yesterday.
 
Mr Modi complimented the people of the pilgrim city for extending a warm welcome to French President Emmanuel Macron. He said the Government is committed to the continuous development and upgrading of the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), that manufactures diesel-electric locomotives and its spare part, describing it as  a symbol of the industrial development of Varanasi.
 
He appreciated the efforts of the State Government in the housing sector and urged it to ensure that more people get access to housing facilities. The Prime Minister also commended the exhibition of various “waste to wealth” initiatives at the venue.
 
There is immense potential for tourism in Varanasi, and all efforts should be made to keep the city clean, he added. Referring to the recently announced Ayushman Bharat scheme, he said it will transform the health sector by providing top quality healthcare to the poor.
 
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ADB to provide $ 84 million loan for improvement, expansion of water supply in Bihar

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The Government of India and the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $84 million loan here today for improvement and expansion of water supply in Bhagalpur and Gaya towns in Bihar.
 
The tranche 2 loan is part of the $200 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) for the Bihar Urban Development Investment Programme that was approved by ADB in 2012 to provide sustainable urban infrastructure and services in four towns in Bihar – Bhagalpur, Gaya, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.
 
“The Project 2 will improve access to better quality and sustainable water supply, for the people of Bhagalpur and Gaya towns. It will also promote better water management practices that will result in a citywide coverage with 24-hour uninterrupted supply of treated water of 135 litres per capita per day in both cities,” said Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed the loan agreement for Government of India.
 
“The loan finances will support civil works subprojects and would benefit 1.1 million people in the two project towns with increased coverage of treated water supply by 2021; train 400 urban local body (ULB) staff in the management and operation and maintenance (O&M) of water supply systems, and help ULBs improve technical and financial management of the water supply operations,” said Mr Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission who signed the agreement for ADB. 
 
The project agreement was signed by Mr. Vipin Kumar, Resident Commissioner on behalf of the Government of Bihar.
 
The two towns under the project would achieve the national urban service goals or match many of the national averages for urban service delivery performance in India. The investment programme will assist ULBs in designing affordable tariffs for O&M cost recovery.
 
The loan will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 5 years, an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s lending facility based on the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), and a commitment charge of 0.15% per year.
 
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CCEA okays doubling of Muzaffarpur-Sagauli and Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar rail lines with electrification

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved the doubling of the 100.6 km long Muzaffarpur-Sagauli and the 109.7 Km Sagauli-Valmiki Nagar railway lines with electrification at completion costs of Rs. 1347.61 crore and Rs. 1381.49 crore, respectively. 
 
These projects will cover the districts of Muzaffarpur, East Champaran (Motihari) and West Champaran (Bettiah) in Bihar, an official press release said.
 
Areas served by this route are densely populated regions of north Bihar. At present passenger trains suffer congestion and stoppages on the Muzaffarpur-Valmiki Nagar route as the line capacity utilization is upto 213%. 
 
As many as 38 mail/express trains are running in this section with thousands of passengers travelling daily. Additional capacity will ease congestion and allow faster and reliable movement with minimum delays. In addition, it will enhance safety through more availability of maintenance blocks, the release said.
 
"In addition to decongesting the entire route from Muzaffarpur to Valmiki Nagar, doubling will improve capacity and connectivity, thus paving way for economic prosperity and overall development of the region. Development of eastern regions of the country is important for achieving the ‘New India’ vision of Prime Minister by 2022.Champaran is on the border with Nepal, thus doubling of this line will lead to better connectivity with neighbouring countries as well," the release said.
 
"Electrification will lead to faster trains, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable environment. Further, It will reduce fuel import dependence, and result in energy costs savings for Railways and forex savings for the country," the release added.
 
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