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Chandigarh

29 killed, 250 injured in violence after Panchkula court convicts Dera Sacha Sauda chief in rape case

At least 29 people were killed and more than 250 others suffered injuries as thousands of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage after he was convicted in a rape case by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana on Friday.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
At least 29 people were killed and more than 250 others suffered injuries as thousands of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went on the rampage after he was convicted in a rape case by a special CBI court in Panchkula, Haryana today.
 
The quantum of punishment for the 50-year-old self-styled godman will be pronounced on August 28. Meanwhile, he was taken into judicial custody and flown in a helicopter from Panchkula to Rohtak, where he was lodged in a special jail.
 
Police officials said 28 people had died in Panchkula, which bore the brunt of today's violence, several of them in police firing. There were clashes between Ram Rahim's supporters and the police in Sirsa, where the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters are located.
 
One person died and four people suffered injuries in police firing in Sirsa, where the situation remained tense, with large numbers of Ram Rahim's followers gathered inside the Dera headquarters.
 
The officials said the police had been able to clear the mobs off the streets in all other towns in Haryana.
 
About 60 policemen also suffered injuries in today's incidents, including two senior superintendents of police and one deputy superintendent of police, they said.
 
In Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who returned during the day from a visit to Kyrgyz Republic, spoke to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and discussed the situation with them. Mr. Rajnath Singh assured them of all necessary assistance from the Centre.
 
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said he had talked to the Chief Secretary of Haryana who had told him that the situation was being brought under control. "The situation is tense but under control," he said, adding that the Centre was monitoring the situation continuously.
 
Thousands of Singh's supporters had gathered at different points in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana and Punjab and violence erupted shortly after news of his conviction came.
 
 
29 dead as Dera followers bring Panchkula to its knees
In Panchkula, scores of vehicles, including fire tenders, outdoor broadcast vans of television news channels and two-wheelers were set ablaze. The mobs also attacked some government property. Police used teargas, lathi-charges, pellet guns and finally resorted to firing to disperse the mobs.
 
A former follower of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had accused him of repeatedly raping her inside the Dera campus near Sirsa in Haryana in 1999. The first information report in the case had been filed in 2002.
 
The mobs targetted media vehicles and attacked some journalists reporting from the scene.
 
Incidents of violence were also reported from various other places in Haryana as well as Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.
 
In Delhi, some buses in Jahangirpuri and other localities and two coaches of a train parked in the railway yard at Anand Vihar were partially burnt after they were set on fire by miscreants. Police said reinforcements had been rushed to all affected and patrolling had been stepped up all across the city. The situation was under control, they added.
 
Though thousands of policemen had been deployed in Panchkula and elsewhere in Haryana to prevent any untoward incident, they were unable cope with the wave of violence that started after the verdict was pronounced. Police used teargas shells to try and disperse the mobs. Curfew was imposed in some towns of Punjab.
 
Television pictures showed ambulances bringing scores of injured persons to the government hospital there.
 
The Railways had, as a precautionary measure, cancelled some 300 mail, express and passenger trains passing through  Haryana in the past few days.
 
The Centre had sent several companies of central armed police forces to Haryana at the request of the state government and the Army's assistance had been sought at some places.
 
Mr. Khattar urged people to stay calm and maintain peace. He said strict action would be taken against those who disturb the peace and took law into their own hands.
 
In Gurgaon, near here, the police staged a flag march which passed through Kherki Daula, IMT Manesar, Bilaspur, sohna, Bhondsi and Badshapur as a precautionary measure.
 
"A close watch is being kept on the anti-social elements and miscreants who try to take advantages of such situation," a press release from Gurgaon Police said.
 
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the "instances of violences" were "deeply distressing". He said he strongly condemned the violence and urged everyone to maintain peace.
 
"The instances of violence today are deeply distressing. I strongly condemn the violence & urge everyone to maintain peace," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"The law & order situation is being closely monitored. I reviewed the situation with the NSA & Home Secretary," he said.
 
"Urged officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy and provide all possible assistance that is required," he added.
 
In Delhi, the police has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the assembly of five or more persons, as a precautionary measure in 11 districts, including New Delhi.
 
"Adequate police arrangements in place & Law & Order situation under control. Officers with reserve force on rounds to maintain peace," the Commissioner of Police said on Twitter.
 
"Appeal to all to maintain peace & order. #DelhiPolice on full alert. Strict legal action will be taken against miscreants for any violation," he added.
 
Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded the resignation of Mr. Khattar and urged the Prime Minister to put the interests and safety of Indians before his party's interests.
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed grave concern and shock at the violence.
 
Ms. Gandhi spoke to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh about the situation. She urged the Governments of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh to ensure the safety and security of citizens. She also appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony.
 
"Violence & brutality have no place in our society. Condemn the rampage and lawlessness in Haryana & appeal to restore peace and tranquility," Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
 
Mr. Amarinder Singh appealed to the people of Punjab to maintain peace and harmony. "We won't allow anyone to disturb the peace and tranquility of our state," he added.
 
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Aspiring business leaders should build a culture of inclusiveness: Naidu

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Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu today said that aspiring business leaders should build a culture of inclusiveness and shape their actions to have a positive impact in the lives of those who need support.
 
Inaugurating the 15th edition of ISB Leadership Summit 2017 at the Mohali campus of the Indian School of Business (ISB) on the theme “Transforming Tomorrow: The Future Unravelled”, Mr Naidu said an area of concern has been the growing inequalities and exclusion of certain sections of the population.
 
“We must be attentive to these trends and see that we build a culture of inclusiveness. The Antyodaya approach advocated by Gandhiji, Dr. Ambedkar and Deen Dayal Upadhyayaji should serve as our guiding principle. The students must listen to diverse voices, especially those which are feeble and almost inaudible now,” he added.
 
The Vice-President said the students should break new ground. Innovation, thinking outside the box and accessing knowledge from across the globe and adapting it to Indian context would be crucial. He also asked them to be mindful of the ethical dimension while building the physical, material and intellectual wealth. "Let us remind ourselves of what Gandhiji had said about the means and ends," he added.
 
Mr. Naidu called for a collective resolve to root out corruption and undesirable elements like communalism, casteism, fundamentalism, criminalization of politics, gender discrimination and atrocities on women and weaker sections. "We must recognize the devastating impact of terrorism and launch a coordinated strategy to root it out," he added.
 
Pointing out that there was a general recognition, echoed in the assessment of the World Bank in 2017, that India is the fastest growing economy in the world, he said that it was time to capitalize on the demographic dividend by enthusing, equipping and empowering youth who constitute 65 % of country’s population.
 
The Vice-President said that while the country could be legitimately proud of what was accomplished so far, the India of tomorrow will have to be a country which would translate the dreams of the freedom fighters into tangible reality.
 
"If this is the future India we wish to unravel, we have to build it individually and together," he added.
 
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Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh gets total of 20 years in jail in 2002 rape cases

Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was on Monday sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison, three days after his conviction on Friday in two 2002 rape cases had triggered large-scale violence by his followers which left 38 people dead and more than 260 others injured in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was today sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison, three days after his conviction on Friday in two 2002 rape cases had triggered large-scale violence by his followers which left 38 people dead and more than 260 others injured in Panchkula and Sirsa in Haryana.
 
CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh, who normally holds court in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, pronounced the sentence in a makeshift courtroom set up in the library of the Sunaria jail in Rohtak, where the 50-year-old self-styled godman was lodged since Friday after his conviction.
 
The judge awarded Gurmeet Singh to ten years in prison in each of the two cases and said that the sentences would run consecutively and not concurrently. He has also imposed a fine of Rs. 15 lakhs on Gurmeet Singh in each of the two cases.
 
Initially, when details of the sentence filtered out of the court, mediapersons had assumed that the sentences would run concurrently. 
 
The picture, however, became clear a little later when the defence lawyer clarified that his client would spend 20 years in prison because the two sentences would run consecutively, one after the other.
 
In view of the violence that broke out after Gurmeet Singh's conviction on Friday, the authorities decided against holding the proceedings in Panchkula and, therefore, the judge was flown in a helicopter to Rohtak.
 
In the proceedings held this afternoon, the judge heard arguments from both prosecution and defence lawyers on the sentence before awarding Gurmeet Singh ten years in prison. The offence predates the new anti-rape laws brought in by the Centre in 2013 which prescribe more stringent punishments for such crimes against women.
 
According to sources, Gurmeet Singh broke down before the sentence was pronounced and pleaded for leniency, saying that he was innocent. His lawyers also urged the court to show leniency in view of the social work and welfare activities carried out by him and the Dera. Lawyers for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on the other hand, called for the maximum sentence for the "heinous crime".
 
Gurmeet Singh is expected to appeal against the verdict in the High Court, while the CBI is also expected to seek enhancement of the sentence.
 
After the pronouncement of the sentence, Gurmeet Singh was taken for a medical examination, following which he was due to taken back to the jail.
 
He had been flown to Rohtak from Panchkula in a helicopter late on Friday afternoon after his conviction in the case.
 
The Haryana Police had made elaborate security arrangements around the jail in Rohtak and the rest of town as well as in all other towns of Haryana to prevent any repeat of Friday's violence. Apart from the state police, personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces were deployed all over the state and the Army was on standby.
 
Two former followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, or "sadhvis", had accused him of repeatedly raping them inside the Dera campus near Sirsa in Haryana in 1999. The first information report in the case had been filed in 2002.
 
At the Dera headquarters in Sirsa, large numbers of its followers continue to stay put inside and the district administration is making efforts to persuade them to leave the premises and return to their homes.
 
Schools and colleges in the state remained closed in Haryana today as a precautionary measure.
 
Police officials said security forces had been given strict instructions to deal appropriately with any situation that might develop after the pronouncement of the sentence. "Our aim is to ensure law and order," they said.
 
The police had searched and sanitized more than 100 Deras in different parts of Haryana over the past three days.
 
More than 920 people had been arrested till yesterday in connection with Friday's violence. Several people were also taken into preventive detention as a precautionary measure ahead of today's pronouncement of sentence against Gurmeet Singh.
 
As many as 76 vehicles, including many motorcyles, were burnt by the mobs on Friday -- 53 in Panchkula  and 24 in Sirsa.
 
Thousands of Singh's supporters had gathered at different points in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana and Punjab ahead of Friday's verdict and violence erupted shortly after news of his conviction came.
 
In Panchkula, scores of vehicles, including fire tenders, outdoor broadcast vans of television news channels and two-wheelers, were set ablaze. The mobs also attacked some government property. Police used teargas, lathi-charges, pellet guns and finally resorted to firing to disperse the mobs. The mobs also targeted media vehicles and attacked some journalists reporting from the scene.
 
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Though thousands of policemen had been deployed in Panchkula and elsewhere in Haryana to prevent any untoward incident, they were unable cope initially with the wave of violence that started after the verdict was pronounced. Order was restored in about three years, during which several lives were lost and property worth crores of rupees destroyed.
 
The Railways had, as a precautionary measure, cancelled some 300 mail, express and passenger trains passing through  Haryana in the past few days.
 
The Centre had sent several companies of central armed police forces to Haryana at the request of the state government and the Army's assistance had been sought at some places.
 
On Saturday, the Haryana government came under flak in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which pulled it up for its poor handling of the situation after the delivery of the verdict by the CBI court in the 15-year-old case.
 
"You let a city like Panchkula burn  for political motives," the court remarked. "You let the situation escalate. You surrendered to the situation," it said.
 
The state government has attracted a lot of criticism for preventing some 1.5 lakh followers of Gurmeet Singh from gathering in Panchkula in the days before the court verdict, despite the ban it had imposed on such gatherings.
 
The CBI had registered the case against Gurmeet Singh in December 2002 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court following an anonymous complaint received by the Prime Minister's Office in April 2002 that he had sexually exploited two of his female followers who were staying in a hostel at the Dera's headquarters in Sirsa. The CBI filed the chargesheet against him in July 2007. It mentions sexual exploitation of two "sadhvis" by him between 1999 and 2001.
 
The special CBI court framed charges against him under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in September 2008. The two complainants recorded their statements before the court between 2009 and 2010. The court decided to hold daily hearings in the case from July 2017 and arguments concluded on August 17. 
 
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Gurmeet Ram Rahim case: Court to pronounce sentence Monday amidst tight security

The Haryana Police said on Sunday that they had made elaborate security arrangements across the state ahead of Monday's pronouncement of the sentence against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted in a rape case by a Special CBI Court in Panchkula on Friday.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
The Haryana Police today said they had made elaborate security arrangements across the state ahead of tomorrow's pronouncement of the sentence against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted in a rape case by a Special CBI Court in Panchkula on Friday.
 
As many as 38 people died and more than 260 others suffered injuries when supporters of the self-styled godman went on the rampage in Panchkula, Sirsa and other towns in Haryana as well as at various places in Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.
 
Haryana Director General of Police Baljit Singh Sandhu told journalists in Panchkula today that those killed in the violence included 32 in Panchkula and six in Sirsa, where the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect is located.
 
Gurmeet Singh, 50, was flown in a helicopter late on Friday afternoon to Rohtak, where he is now lodged in the district jail. To prevent any law and order problems, the Special CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh will travel to Rohtak tomorrow and pronounce the sentence there after hearing the defence and prosecution arguments in this regard. The sentence is expected to be pronounced around 2.30 pm tomorrow, police officials said.
 
Mr. Sandhu said there were no untoward incidents in any part of the state today and curfew had been lifted in all towns, except Sirsa.
 
At the Dera headquarters in Sirsa, large numbers of its followers continue to stay put inside and the district administration is making efforts to persuade them to leave the premises and return to their homes.
 
Mr. Sandhu said the police had made elaborate arrangements to ensure law and order all over the state, including in Panchkula, Sirsa and Rohtak. Apart from the Haryana Police, personnel of paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas and the Army is on standby.
 
However, schools and colleges in the state will remain closed tomorrow as a precautionary measure, he said. He said that, apart from Rohtak and Sirsa, no restrictions were in force in any  part of the state.
 
Police officials said security forces had been given strict instructions to deal appropriately with any situation that might develop tomorrow. "Our aim is to ensure law and order," they said.
 
Mr. Sandhu said as many as 103 Deras in different parts of Haryana had been searched and sanitized over the past two days.
 
Mr. Sandhu said efforts were also on to restore normal train and bus services in the state as quickly as possible after these were suspended for a few days ahead of Friday's verdict in anticipation of trouble.
 
He said as many as 926 people had been arrested so far in connection with Friday's violence.
 
According to him, all six killed during the violence in Sirsa had been identified. He said 24 of those killed in Panchkula had been identified, and 20 bodies had been claimed their relatives -- 10 in Haryana, nine in Punjab and one in Rajasthan.
 
Of those injured, only 17 people were currently undergoing treatment in hospitals, including three policemen.
 
Mr. Sandhu said as many as 76 vehicles, including many motorcyles, were burnt by the mobs on that day -- 53 in Panchkula  and 24 in Sirsa.
 
A former follower of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had accused him of repeatedly raping her inside the Dera campus near Sirsa in Haryana in 1999. The first information report in the case had been filed in 2002.
 
Thousands of Singh's supporters had gathered at different points in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana and Punjab ahead of Friday's verdict and violence erupted shortly after news of his conviction came.
 
In Panchkula, scores of vehicles, including fire tenders, outdoor broadcast vans of television news channels and two-wheelers, were set ablaze. The mobs also attacked some government property. Police used teargas, lathi-charges, pellet guns and finally resorted to firing to disperse the mobs. The mobs also targeted media vehicles and attacked some journalists reporting from the scene.
 
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Though thousands of policemen had been deployed in Panchkula and elsewhere in Haryana to prevent any untoward incident, they were unable cope with the wave of violence that started after the verdict was pronounced.
 
The Railways had, as a precautionary measure, cancelled some 300 mail, express and passenger trains passing through  Haryana in the past few days.
 
The Centre had sent several companies of central armed police forces to Haryana at the request of the state government and the Army's assistance had been sought at some places.
 
On Saturday, the Haryana government came under flak in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which pulled it up for its poor handling of the situation after the delivery of the verdict by the CBI court in the 15-year-old case.
 
"You let a city like Panchkula burn  for political motives," the court remarked. "You let the situation escalate. You surrendered to the situation," it said.
 
The state government has attracted a lot of criticism for preventing some 1.5 lakh followers of Gurmeet Singh from gathering in Panchkula in the days before the court verdict, despite the ban it had imposed on such gatherings.
 
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Chandigarh stalking case: Congress accuses BJP of protecting its leader's son

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala talking to newspersons in New Delhi on August 7, 2017.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala talking to newspersons in New Delhi on August 7, 2017.
The Congress today accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government at the Centre of putting presure on the Chandigarh Administration to protect the son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, who was arrested here on Saturday for allegedly stalking Varnika Kundu, the daughter of a senior IAS officer, in the Union Territory late on Friday night.
 
The youth, Vikas Barala, and one of his friends were arrested and later released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections fo the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA).
 
As a political and public outcry against the episode continued today, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference here today that the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Police reported directly to the Centre and the Union Government was conspiring to protect Mr. Barala and his son.
 
According to Mr. Surjewala, the "sordid" episode was clearly a case of attempted abduction of a girl and outraging of her modesty but the police had not mentioned these sections in the first information report (FIR) against the two youths and instead booked them for bailable offences such as stalking and wrongful restraint.
 
He wondered what had transpired between 2.30 pm on Saturday, when Chandigarh deputy superintendent of police Satish Kumar had said that it was a case of kidnapping and outraging the modesty of a woman, and 5 pm that evening when he said that the youth had been charged for stalking and wrongful restraint.
 
Mr. Surjewala said the police's plea that the girl's complaint did not mention a kidnapping attempt in her statement before a magistrate did not hold water, given the fact that she had made several statements to that effect.
 
"Why is the Government trying to cover up and protect the Haryana BJP chief's son in this case," he asked.
 
He also expressed surprise at the reports that CCTV footage was missing from at least five cameras on the route on which the girl's car was followed by the two men in a sports utility vehicle (SUV) on that night.
 
Mr. Surjewala said it was clear from the girl's complaint that the youths had followed her car for seven kilometres, made multiple attempts to stop her and at one point also come up to her car and banged on the window in an effort to force their way into the vehicle. "This is clearly a case of attempted abduction and outraging the modesty of a woman," he said and wondered why the relevant sections of law were not applied in the FIR.
 
"The Prime Minister and the Home Minister and the BJP President must answer these questions to the people of India," he said.
 
Meanwhile, Chandigarh Police said they were investigating the case from all angles andwould not hesitate to add more sections of the law in the FIR if necessary. They said they were taking legal opinion in the matter and urged the media not to conduct a media trial in the matter but allow the law to take its course.
 
Mr. Subhash Barula, a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly, also said yesterday that he respected the law and that the "truth" would come out in court.
 
Mr. Satish Kumar, the deputy superintendent of police in the Union Territory, had said yesterday that the girl, a disc jockey, had called up the police late on Friday night and told them that the two people were following her in a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
 
The police immediately put out the number of the SUV on its wireless network and soon located it and apprehended the two men, who appeared to be drunk, he said.
 
On the basis of a complaint from the girl, the police booked both youths and placed them under arrest, he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said the youths had chased the girl for quite a distance and even tried to stop her car two or three times. They also banged on the girl's car with their hands, he said, quoting her complaint. He said a medical examination of the two youths indicated that they had been drinking alcohol. Their vehicle was impounded.
 
The duo were booked under Section 354 D (stalking) of IPC and 185 of the MVA (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), police said.
 
After the complainant recorded her statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the police added Section 341 of the IPC ( wrongful restraint) in the first information report (FIR) against the two men.
 
Mr. Kumar said the police would take legal opinion to see if other sections of the IPC could be added in the FIR. He also denied there was any pressure on the police in the matter.
 
Mr. Khattar said he was confident that the Chandigarh Police would investigate the case properly. "I believe in the law," he said.
 
"This issue is not about Subhash Barala. It is an issue about an individual and law will take its own course," he said.
 
Ms Kundu, who decided to come out openly in the matter and has given interviews to television channels, posted an account of her ordeal on her Facebook page and thanked the Chandigarh Police for the manner in which it responded to her distress call. "They almost restore my faith in the system," she said.
 
"I was driving home from the sector-8 market at about 12:15am, and crossed the road into sec-7, where the petrol pump is. I was also on the phone with a friend at the time, and realised about a minute later that a car was following me.
 
"It was a White SUV, and as I noticed it, it pulled up and started driving alongside my car. I was now in sec-7, heading towards the lights next to St.Johns' in 26. There were 2 guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me," she said.
 
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"By now I was totally alert and mildly panic-y, so I decided to turn right from the St.Johns' traffic lights towards Madhya Marg(a more crowded, seemingly safer road). I tried to turn right from the lights but the SUV blocked my way, forcing me to go straight into sec-26. At the next turn, I tried to turn again, but this time they went a step further. Right at the turn, they blocked the road in front of my car, and the guy in the passenger seat got out of the car and started walking towards me. I reversed as fast as I could and went straight and took the next right turn before they could catch up again," she said.
 
"I used this time to also call the cops at 100, and explain to them the situation and my exact location and where I was headed. The cop who answered my call, intuitively sensed the urgency in my voice, and promised me that help would be along very soon. I hung up and had now reached the main road, and hadn't seen the SUV for about 15 seconds, so I hoped, that they'd seen me calling the cops and disappeared. I was wrong.
 
"I was now on a straight road for about 5-6 kms (Madhya Marg), and that entire time, the SUV stayed alongside my car, trying to bully me into stopping every 10-15 seconds LITERALLY. I was in a full-blown panic attack by now because they would keep trying to corner me, and I'd somehow manoeuvre my way out and keep moving. My hands shaking, my back spasming from fear, half in tears, half bewildered, because I didn't know if I'd make it home tonight. Who knew when, or if, the cops would show up.
 
"These guys INCESSANTLY bullied me all the way to Solitaire (end of 6 kms), and at the traffic lights, blocked my car for the final time. This time they meant business, because they left me absolutely no space to move or escape, and the passenger JUMPED out of the car and moved towards mine.
 
"I don't know how, but I reversed my car and moved to the right where there was space, all this while constantly honking so the few vehicles around would know something was wrong. At this point, the guy had reached my car, banged loudly on my window, AND TRIED TO OPEN THE DOOR HANDLE!
 
"Just as he did this, I saw a PCR pull up at the lights, quite possibly in response to my call. They heard me honking, and saw the SUV swerving left and right in an attempt to block me, and a couple of cops ran out towards the SUV, nabbing it just in time, because they were blocked in by traffic," she said.
 
She went on to say how she drove home, informed her father and the two of them then went to the police to file a complaint.
 
Mr. Virender Kundu, the girl's father, also took to Facebook today to make his family's stand on the case clear. "We promise all the people and the groups supporting us that WE SHALL NOT, EVER, BACK OUT OR STAND DOWN, irrespective of hardships or pressures."
 
"We will not interfere with the investigation or the prosecution, just as we do not want the accused to influence the investigation in any way. The police and prosecution should be allowed to do their job. We will join investigation whenever required by the police. We will contest in the court if we feel the charges are diluted or inadequately framed .
 
"Our target is to ensure that the guilty are brought to book. They are adult men, students of law, who are fully aware of the consequences of their actions, and hence must be appropriately punished. We want them to be punished for the offences they have actually committed, and awarded punishment commensurate with their culpability. Not over punished, but definitely not under punished either.
 
"It is unfortunate that the families of the accused have to face hardship. We do not hold them responsible for the crimes of these men.
 
"We firmly believe that after 70 years of independence and democracy, the legal system of our country is mature and geared up to deliver justice. Dispensation of justice should not require anything from the complainant except that she speak the truth at all times, and does not back out. We promise that," he said.
 
"The protection and prevention system of Chandigarh Police works, and Varnika is alive and safe today as a proof of its working. We expect the judicial system to work just as well.
 
"In a cut and dried case like this, where there is nothing hazy or unclear in terms of actions or identities, if the system fails to deliver justice, then there is something deeply rotten in our society, our government and our country. Then we all need to look into ourselves, question our honesty as well as patriotism, and see where we have led our country to.
 
"In my mind, the issue is not of Varnika being assaulted or two specific criminals to be punished. The issue is, does our country allow a woman to live as a free and equal citizen, and if she is wronged, does it give her enough confidence to even claim justice? If not, we are no better than a lawless, barbaric society," Mr. Kundu added.
 
Mr. Kundu had earlier posted a detailed account of the incident on Facebook. "We are thankful that she survived this ordeal. The goons had a very clear intention of abducting her, and she escaped due to her courage and presence of mind, but it was a very close call, and her trauma is unimaginable. I suppose it will take her a long time to go back to a normal life.
 
"As a father of two daughters, I feel compelled to take this matter to its logical conclusion. The goons must be punished, and the law must take its course. As would be expected, the goons are from influential families. We all know most such cases of harassment go unpunished and even unreported. Most people would not want or dare to take on goons from influential families. I feel if people with some privileges like us cannot stand up to such criminals, nobody in India can. More importantly, I will be failing in my duty as a father to my daughter if I did not stand with her completely in this matter.
 
"I am sharing this with you all for two reasons. One, to give a true and clear picture of what happened. Two, to get some assurance of support in case its needed.
 
"Our clear intention is to bring the culprits to book. We do not intend to harm the families or relatives. However, we know it's not going to be an easy struggle. The possibility of harassment and witch-hunting, threats and even physical harm is undeniable, even though unlikely. Influential families can sometimes take desperate measures to discredit or disable the complainants. Sane friends may advise us against our course of action. We may be foolhardy. 
 
"However, I know that the trauma and hurt my daughter has undergone cannot be undone. If we do not persist in trying to bring the guilty to justice, more and more daughters will suffer this hurt. Maybe some may not be as lucky as Varnika. Someone has to stand up. We are standing. So long as we can," he said.
 
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New buildings of two institutes under Department of Biotechnolgy inaugurated at Mohali

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Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the new Administrative and Research Buildings of two national institutes under the administrative control of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology at Mohali near here yesterday.
 
The institutes are the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) and Centre of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB).
 
Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, DBT, Prof. Arun Kumar Grover, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr. T.R. Sharma, Executive Director, NABI, Dr. Rajender Singh Sangwan, Chief Executive Officer, CIAB and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. 
 
NABI is the first agri-food and nutritional-based biotechnology institute set up by DBT in the Knowledge City at Mohali. 
 
CIAB has been set up adjacent to NABI and is the first institute dedicated to generation of secondary agriculture bioproducts through value addition to unutilized and underutilized biomass. Both the institutes area part of agri-food cluster in the Knowledge City, Mohali along with its neighboring institutes, like; IISER, ISB, INST and Biotech Park. 
 
The 50-acre campus comprises laboratory buildings, 15 acres of land for field experiments, a large glass house, transgenic net houses, office area, housing, guest house, research scholar hostel, utilities and other requisite services. 
 
The building complex of CIAB has a total floor space of 77,000 square feet built at a cost of Rs 43 crore, whereas NABI has a total floor space of 3,17,500 square feet built at a cost of Rs 135 crore, an official press release said.
 
The institutes, apart from providing quality research in the field of agricultural biotechnology and bio processing, also provide innovative technologies in the field of food processing.
 
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Haryana BJP chief's son arrested for stalking, released on bail

 
Haryana BJP chief's son held for stalking girl
Vikas Barala, the son of Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Subhash Barala, and one of his friends were arrested here on Saturday for allegedly stalking a girl, the daughter of an IAS officer, in the city late on Friday night.
 
The two men, Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar, were later released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), official sources said.
 
Faced with a political and public outcry, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar assured journalists that the law would take its course in the matter.
 
Mr. Subhash Barala, a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly, also said he respected the law and that the "truth" would come out in court.
 
Mr. Satish Kumar, the deputy superintendent of police in the Union Territory, said the girl, a disc jockey, had called up the police late on Friday night and told that the two people were following her in a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
 
The police immediately put out the number of the SUV on its wireless network and soon located it and apprehended the two men, who appeared to be drunk, he said.
 
On the basis of a complaint from the girl, the police booked both youths and placed them under arrest, he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said the youths had chased the girl for quite a distance and even tried to stop her car two or three times. They also banged on the girl's car with their hands, he said, quoting her complaint.
 
He said a medical examination of the two youths indicated that they had been drinking alcohol. Their vehicle was impounded.
 
The duo were booked under Section 354 D (stalking) of IPC and 185 of the MVA (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), police said.
 
After the complainant recorded her statement before a magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), the police added Section 341 of the IPC ( wrongful restraint) in the first information report (FIR) against the two men.
 
Mr. Kumar said the police would take legal opinion to see if other sections of the IPC could be added in the FIR. He also denied there was any pressure on the police in the matter.
 
Mr. Khattar said he was confident that the Chandigarh Police would investigate the case properly. "I believe in the law," he said.
 
"This issue is not about Subhash Barala. It is an issue about an individual and law will take its own course," he said.
 
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The girl posted an account of her ordeal on her Facebook page and thanked the Chandigarh Police for the manner in which it responded to her distress call. "They almost restore my faith in the system," she said.
 
"I was driving home from the sector-8 market at about 12:15am, and crossed the road into sec-7, where the petrol pump is. I was also on the phone with a friend at the time, and realised about a minute later that a car was following me.
 
"It was a White SUV, and as I noticed it, it pulled up and started driving alongside my car. I was now in sec-7, heading towards the lights next to St.Johns' in 26. There were 2 guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me," she said.
 
"By now I was totally alert and mildly panic-y, so I decided to turn right from the St.Johns' traffic lights towards Madhya Marg(a more crowded, seemingly safer road). I tried to turn right from the lights but the SUV blocked my way, forcing me to go straight into sec-26. At the next turn, I tried to turn again, but this time they went a step further. Right at the turn, they blocked the road in front of my car, and the guy in the passenger seat got out of the car and started walking towards me. I reversed as fast as I could and went straight and took the next right turn before they could catch up again," she said.
 
"I used this time to also call the cops at 100, and explain to them the situation and my exact location and where I was headed. The cop who answered my call, intuitively sensed the urgency in my voice, and promised me that help would be along very soon. I hung up and had now reached the main road, and hadn't seen the SUV for about 15 seconds, so I hoped, that they'd seen me calling the cops and disappeared. I was wrong.
 
"I was now on a straight road for about 5-6 kms (Madhya Marg), and that entire time, the SUV stayed alongside my car, trying to bully me into stopping every 10-15 seconds LITERALLY. I was in a full-blown panic attack by now because they would keep trying to corner me, and I'd somehow manoeuvre my way out and keep moving. My hands shaking, my back spasming from fear, half in tears, half bewildered, because I didn't know if I'd make it home tonight. Who knew when, or if, the cops would show up.
 
"These guys INCESSANTLY bullied me all the way to Solitaire (end of 6 kms), and at the traffic lights, blocked my car for the final time. This time they meant business, because they left me absolutely no space to move or escape, and the passenger JUMPED out of the car and moved towards mine.
 
"I don't know how, but I reversed my car and moved to the right where there was space, all this while constantly honking so the few vehicles around would know something was wrong. At this point, the guy had reached my car, banged loudly on my window, AND TRIED TO OPEN THE DOOR HANDLE!
 
"Just as he did this, I saw a PCR pull up at the lights, quite possibly in response to my call. They heard me honking, and saw the SUV swerving left and right in an attempt to block me, and a couple of cops ran out towards the SUV, nabbing it just in time, because they were blocked in by traffic," she said.
 
She went on to say how she drove home, informed her father and the two of them then went to the police to file a complaint.
 
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Rajnath Singh chairs meeting of Home Minister’s Advisory Committee for Chandigarh

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A meeting of the Home Minister's Advisory Committee for the Union Territory Chandigarh was held here yesterday under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. 
 
The Union Territory was represented by Mr. V. P. Singh Badnore, Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Chandigarh, Ms. Kirron Kher, Member of Parliament and other Members. 
 
The members had suggested 46 agenda items relating to different fields of development of Chandigarh. The items that were discussed during the meeting included issues relating to land, building bylaws, traffic, parking and service matters. The status of grant of subsistence allowance to Home Guards of Chandigarh and extension of Court fee (Punjab Amendment Act, 2016) was informed in the meeting. The members also stressed the need for increasing the revenue share of Municipal Corporation and to resolve the problem of solid waste management in Chandigarh. 
 
The Union Home Minister directed the officers to expedite the issues pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs and also follow up the issues pending with other Ministries. He also advised the Chandigarh Administration to look into the issues which are of priority nature. 
 
Other participants of the meeting included Mr. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State (Home), Mr. Rajiv Mehrishi, Union Home Secretary, Mr. Rajiv Gauba, Officer on Special Duty (Home), Mr. Hari Krishna Paliwal, Advisor and senior officers from Ministries of Home Affairs, Health & Family Welfare, Human Resource Development, Social Justice & Empowerment and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. 
 
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Noida girl Raksha Gopal tops CBSE Class XII exam, Chandigarh students bag next two slots

 
Raksha Gopal of Amity International School tops CBSE Class XII exam
Raksha Gopal, a student of Amity School, Noida has topped the Senior School Certificate Examination (Class XII) 2017 held by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) held by it from March 9 to April 29, the results of which were announced here today.
 
Ms. Gopal secured 498 marks out of a possible 500. The second rank went to Bhoomi Sawant of DAV School, Chandigarh, who got 497 marks.
 
The third rank was shared by two boys studying in the same school, Bhavan's, also in Chandigarh. They secured 496 marks.
 
Students can see their results on the following websites: www.results.nic.in, 
www.cbseresults.nic.in and www.cbse.nic.in.
 
As many as 10,20,762 students appeared for the examination this year at 3504 centres acrosss the country and 8,37,229 of them passed, making for a pass percentage of 82.02% this year, lower than 83.05% recorded last year.
 
The Trivandrum region registered the highest pass percentage at 95.62%, followed by Chennai with 92.60% and Delhi with 88.37%.
 
Girls outperformed boys, with a pass percentage of 87.50% this year as compared to 78% for boys.
 
A press release from CBSE said as many as 10,091 students had secured more than 95% marks in the examination, while 63,247 students got more than 90% marks.
 
The release said the post-result CBSE Counselling would begin on May 28 and continue till June 11, from 8 am to 10 pm.
 
As many as 65 Volunteer Principals, trained counsellors, Special Educators from CBSE-affiliated government and private schools and a few psychologists will be available for tele-counselling.
 
Students can dial a toll free number 1800 11 8004 from any part of the country and get in touch with operators for general queries related to results or with counsellors for one-to-one telephonic counselling.
 
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Amarinder Singh sworn in as Chief Minister of Punjab

Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh was sworn in as the 26th Chief Minister of Punjab in Chandigarh on Thursday after he led his party to a resounding win in the February 4 elections to the state legislative assembly.

 
Amarinder Singh sworn in as Punjab CM, Sidhu as Minister
Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh was sworn in as the 26th Chief Minister of Punjab here today after he led his party to a resounding win in the February 4 elections to the state legislative assembly.
 
After votes were counted on March 11, the Congress bagged as many as 77 of the 117 seats in the Assembly, while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine, which had ruled the state for 10 years, ended up in third place with 18 seats. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, was a distant second with 20 seats. Two seats went to the Lok Insaf Party.
 
With this, Capt. Amarinder Singh, 75, who was administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Punjab Governor V. P. Singh Badnore at a simple ceremony in Raj Bhavan, has returned to the Chief Minister's chair after a gap of a decade.
 
Along with him, nine other Ministers were also sworn in, including former Indian Test cricketer and former Member of Parliament Navjyot Singh Sidhu, who had switched from the BJP to the Congress just ahead of the polls on January 15 this year.
 
The other Ministers are Braham Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, nephew of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sadhu Singh Dharamkot, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh Sodhi and Charanjit Singh Chann. Two women, Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana, were sworn in as Ministers of State.
 
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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi were amongst those present at the ceremony. Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Ajay Maken, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Sachin Pilot and Partap Singh Bajwa and Capt. Amarinder Singh's wife, former Union Minister Preneet Kaur, were also present.
 
The victory in Punjab was the sole comfort in the recent elections to five State Assemblies for the Congress, whose alliance with the then ruling Samajwadi Party came a cropper in Uttar Pradesh. It was also routed in Uttarakhand, where it had been in power. It emerged as the single largest party in Goa and Manipur, but could not muster the numbers required to get a simple majority in the two Houses and could only watch as the BJP quickly cobbled together a post-poll coalition and installed its leaders as Chief Ministers in both states.
 
Born on March 11, 1942, Capt. Amarinder Singh, the head of the erstwhile ruling family of Patiala in Punjab, was educated at Lawrence School, Sanawar; The Doon School, Dehra Dun; The National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune and the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.
 
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and then in May, 2014 to the current Lok Sabha from Amritsar, but he had resigned in November last year. He was the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha till he resigned his seat. He served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007 and was elected to the State Legislative Assembly five times.
 
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Five world-class educational institutes to be set up for minority students

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Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here yesterday that five world-class educational institutes would be set up to provide better traditional as well as modern education to students belonging to minority communities.
 
Addressing a national seminar organised by Minority Community Teachers Association, he said these institutions would provide education in technical, medical, Ayurved, Unani, and so on.
 
A high-level committee has been working on fast track to chalk out a framework for these institutions and the committee will soon submit its report.
 
The Centre was working on a strategy so that these institutes can get started in 2018. The Ministry has proposed 40 % reservation for girls in these institutions, he added.
 
Mr Naqvi said the Centre’s focus was to provide quality education as well as employment-oriented training to minority students. The Ministry has been running several schemes for the purpose.
 
In the Union Budget 2017-18, allocation for Minority Affairs Ministry has been increased to Rs. 4195.48 crore for 2017-18. This is Rs. 368.23 crore more than the 2016-17 Budget allocation of Rs 3827.25 crore with an increase of about 9.6 %, he added.
 
More than 70 % of this Budget would be utilised for educational empowerment of minorities and job-oriented programmes for them, he said.
 
The Minister said hundreds of crores of rupees has been provided for various scholarships and skill development schemes such as “Seekho aur Kamao”, “Nai Manzil”, “Nai Roushni”, “Usttad”, “Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centre” and “Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarship for Girls”. Besides this, funds under Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) will also be utilised for various educational development activities.
 
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An amount of Rs. 393.54 crore has been given for Merit-cum-Means based scholarship; Rs. 950 crore for pre-matric scholarship; Rs. 550 crore for post-matric scholarship; Rs. 250 crore for “Seekho aur Kamao (with an increase of Rs. 40 crore compared to last budget); Rs. 176 crore for “Nai Manzil” (with an increase of Rs. 56 crore compared to last budget); Rs. 113 crore for Maulana Azad Education Foundation; and Rs. 170 crore as equity for NMDFC.
 
Mr. Naqvi said, for 2017-18, the Ministry has set a target to provide scholarships to about 35 lakh students. Employment oriented training will be provided to more than 2 lakh youths belonging to minority communities.
 
The Government has also approved 16 “Gurukul”-type residential schools across the country and decided to help those madrasas who are also providing mainstream education.
 
The Ministry’s efforts for educational empowerment of minorities include establishing “Garib Nawaz Skill Development Centre”, “Begum Hazrat Mahal Scholarship” for girls, and establishing 500 quality residential schools and job-oriented skill development centres.
 
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Mukherjee to visit Chandigarh on Sunday

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a day's visit tomorrow to Chandigarh, where he will inaugurate the 12th edition of CII Agro Tech 2016.
 
On the same day, he will also address the 15th anniversary celebrations of Indian School of Business at Mohali, an official press release added.
 
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Anti-trafficking legislation in Parliament soon, says Maneka Gandhi

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Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi today said that the Government would bring an anti-trafficking legislation during the coming winter session of Parliament.
 
Addressing the Regional Editors' Conference here, the Minister said the provisions of the Bill would cover rescue, relief and reintegration of trafficked persons. For the first time, it would also make a distinction between those trafficked and the traffickers, she added.
 
Ms. Gandhi highlighted the steps being taken by the Government for the safety and protection of women and children. Recently, the Ministry   launched POCSO e-Box, a simple and easy facility for children or adults to register complaints of child sexual abuse or harassment.
 
As many as 81 complaints have already been received on this e-Box, the Minister said. In another important initiative to track missing children,  the ‘Khoya Paya’ portal has already reported nearly 6000 cases of missing/sighted children since its launch last year.
 
Runaway/Missing children are also being helped under Special Operating Procedures developed in association with Railways. The Minister said 13.000 children have benefitted from this initiative. Posters are being pasted in all railway coaches to report children in distress.
 
Some of the other landmark initiatives include decision to install panic buttons on all cell phones for women in distress from January 1, 2017, setting up of nearly 170 One Stop Centres for women affected by violence by March 2017, Flagship programme ‘Beti bachao Beti Padhao’ to reverse the declining child sex ratio, 33% reservation for women in police force, and setting up a large Home for 1000 widows in Vrindavan, Ms Gandhi said.
 
The guidelines for matrimonial websites were being implemented to prevent their misuse. An online portal, ‘Mahil e-Haat’ for women to sell their products has been set up on which business worth nearly Rs six lakh was transacted in the first six months itself, she said.
 
STEP programme of training women has been completely revamped, women sarpanches were being trained to empower them to administer the villages professionally, and scheme of Gender Champions has been launched in schools, she said.
 
Last but not the least, the Government is now working full time to revamp the anganwadi system to change ways in which nutrition is being administered to children and pregnant women in them, the  Minister said.
 
To ensure healthy children, the Government is now working for six months' mandatory maternity leave for working women for which the Ministry of Labour and Employment has moved to introduce amendments in the Act, she added.
 
Editors and senior journalists from the Northern states of Punjab, Haryana, UP, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Union territory of Chandigarh and from the North-eastern states are attending the two-day conference organised by the Press Information Bureau.
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Regional Editors’ Conference for Northern, NE States to begin in Chandigarh on Monday

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Punjab Governor V. P. Singh Badnore will inaugurate a two-day Regional Editors’ Conference for Northern and North Eastern States in Chandigarh on Monday.
 
Around 100 senior journalists from the Northern States of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, the Union Territory of Chandigarh and the North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram are expected to participate in the conference.
 
Union Ministers from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Women & Child Development, Road Transport & Highways, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare and Development for North East Region will address the conference, an official press release said.
 
Various policy initiatives of the Central government relating to these Ministries will be the focus of discussions during the six sessions of the conference.
 
The main purpose of the conference is to enable the senior representatives of regional media to acquire a deeper perspective and context with regard to key initiatives, policies, programmes and achievements of the different Union Ministries.
 
The occasion will also provide the editors an opportunity to interact with the Union Ministers and seek clarifications on these issues.
 
This is the third Regional Editors’ Conference being organized by Press Information Bureau during this calendar year. The earlier Regional Editors’ Conferences this year were held in Jaipur and Chennai.
 
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Chandigarh airport wins IBC Award for Excellence in Built Environment

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Chandigarh International Airports Limited (CHIAL) has won the IBC Award for Excellence in Built Environment 2014-15 for the new integrated terminal building.
 
CHIAL, a joint venture company of Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the States of Punjab and Haryana, was conferred with IBC award and Trophy at the inauguration of the Indian Building Congress’ (IBC) 21st Annual Convention here.
 
The award was presented by Union Urban Development Minister M  Venkaiah Naidu, in the presence of IBC President Shobhit Uppal. Mr D. Kamra, General Manager (Engineering-Project), received the award on behalf of AAI.
 
The IBC’s vision is to build a living environment which is sustainable, affordable, aesthetic, eco-friendly, energy-efficient, cost competitive, technology driven and conducive to healthy life meeting the needs of Indian population, the release added.
 
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Punjab Governor V. P. Singh Badnore given additional charge as Administrator of Chandigarh

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The President today appointed Mr. V. P. Singh Badnore as the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh in addition to his duties as Governor of Punjab.
 
Mr. Badnore, a former member of Parliament from Rajasthan and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was among the four new Governors appointed by the President yesterday.
 
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Cabinet okays transfer of land from IISWC to HUDA

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The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for transfer of 13,290.30 square meters of land belonging to the Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation (IISWC) Research Centre at Chandigarh to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) for construction of 60 meters Peripheral Master Road in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Panchkula.
 
An official press release said that the land would be transferred at the collector rate applicable as on date.
 
The Cabinet also approved the transfer of 178.75 square meters of land belonging to HUDA to the IISWC Research Centre, Chandigarh. 
 
There will also be a mutual exchange of 410 square meters of land between IISWC Research Centre and HUDA, the release added.
 
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Nadda inaugurates new health facilities at PGIMER, Chandigarh

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With the government having undertaken major expansion of nursing and technical education, the number of such institutes have registered a three-fold increase, according to Union Health & Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.
 
Addressing the 1st convocation ceremony at the National Institute of Nursing Education at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) here yesterday, Mr Nadda said, “The government has given high priority for improving the Nursing and Midwifery cadre through skill development and continued professional development.”
 
Among the initiatives undertaken for strengthening of nursing cadre were establishment of ANM/GNM Schools, Upgradation of institutions from School of Nursing to College of Nursing, Training of Nurses and development of 11 one-year specialisation courses.
 
The initiatives also included revision of curriculum for all nursing programs, new ‘Nurse Practitioner courses, Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care Program, Nurse Practitioner in Primary Healthcare Program, Nurses registration Tracking System (Live Register), and establishment of national PhD consortium for Nursing Research.
 
The proposed ‘Nursing Practice Act’ will empower nurses and more reforms can be done in Nursing regulation, he added.
 
Earlier, Mr Nadda dedicated two more AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants) outlets at PGIMER -- one in Nehru Hospital for providing generic medicines and orthopaedic surgical implants and another in the Advanced Cardiac Centre  (ACC) for providing affordable cardio vascular medicines and implants, taking the total number of such outlets at the institute to three.
 
The first shop which was established in April, 2016 has already crossed Rs.5 lakh per day mark of value of drugs dispensed.
 
The Minister also inaugurated a Sleep Lab in the Department of ENT for the diagnosis and surgical treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This lab is the first to be started in ENT Department in North India. It is designed to evaluate, diagnose, treat and help patients to manage OSA.
 
The sleep study is a painless process conducted on the patient at night. H will received a complete sleep report with diagnoses of sleep related problems the next day.
 
Advanced Eye Centre of PGI received the femtosecond laser technology equipment which would ensure fast, accurate and predictable cataract surgery, the first of its kind in India, which has been installed at the cost of Rs. 7 crore.
 
Health Minister also dedicated Kitten MRI/Mock MRI Scanner at PGI which is specifically designed to make MRI scanning safer and more child friendly. In this facility, children will be exposed to the environment of MRI scanning before the the first scan is actually taken. This facility has been acquired at an approximate cost of Rs. 13 crore.
 
One of the major breakthroughs achieved by the PGI is in the form of Telemedicine facility with three remote locations, namely Community Health Centre, Pooh in District Kinnour of Himachal Pradesh; Pampa Hospital, Sabrimala in Kerala and Sheshnag base camp on way to Amarnath Shrine.
 
Mr Nadda said these three telemedicine nodes in remote areas have been established by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in collaboration with Department of Space. These centres have been connected with Telemedicine node at PGI to provide remote health care over telemedicine platform.
 
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International Yoga Day on Tuesday, Modi to lead main event in Chandigarh

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The city is all geared up to host the Second International Day Of Yoga, IDY-2016 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi participating in a mass demonstration of Common Yoga Protocol at the Capitol Complex here tomorrow.
 
President Pranab Mukherjee will likewise hold a mass yoga demonstration involving around 1000 persons at Rashtrapati Bhavan..
 
The participants will include officers and staff of President’s Secretariat, their family members, members of Delhi Police, ITBP and President’s Bodyguard, as well as other residents of the President’s Estate. Participants of the In-Residence Programme for scholars from IITs, IISERs and IISc-Bangalore currently underway at Rashtrapati Bhavan will also participate in the event. They will all perform the common protocol finalized by Ministry of AYUSH. The event is being organized in collaboration with Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.
 
In Chandigarh, the main function will begin at 6.30 am. It will include 45 minutes of yoga protocol demonstration. Around 30,000 people are expected to participate in the event while 10,000 more will perform at 100 different venues. The emphasis this year will be on participation of physically challenged people, youths and those from weaker sections of the society.
 
An official press release said elaborate arrangements have been put in place to ensure smooth performance at the venue. 
 
The complex is divided into eight blocks where 500 master trainers along with their team members will perform. Nearly 600 buses are being used to ferry the participants to the venue. As many as 300 pre-fabricated bio-toilets and 30,000 mats are being used on the occasion.
 
A full dress rehearsal took place at the venue yesterday.
In the run up to the event, Mr Modi released a commemorative postal stamp on Surya Namaskara in New Delhi today. 
 
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken up the initiative 'Yoga Olympiad' with participation from school children from government schools in order to promote yoga.
 
Reputed yoga institutions will participate in the International Day of Yoga by leading the demonstration functions across the country. Yoga demonstrations will also be organized at several places in the national and state capitals.
 
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Similar events have been planned at all district headquarters in the country in association with prominent yoga institutions.
 
In the National Capital Territory Delhi, the main events organized by Ministry of AYUSH and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) will be at Connaught Place, Lodhi Garden, Nehru Park and Talkatora Garden. Other major yoga events to take place in Delhi will be in Dwarka, Rohini and Yamuna Sports Complex.
 
More than 173 Indian missions across the world are also organizing Yoga demonstrations to spread awareness for International Day of Yoga.
 
A theme song for International Day of Yoga, named ‘Yog Geet’ has been released this year in addition to the Yoga Protocol of forty five minutes. This song is of 3 minutes and 15 seconds in Hindi language. Written and produced by Deeraj Saraswat, Gandhar T.D. Jadhav and Gatha Jadhav have lent their voice to the song. Music has been composed by Sumanto Ray.
 
International Day of Yoga was organized in India and throughout the world for the first time last year, after United Nations General Assembly, in December 2014, declared 21st of June as International Day of Yoga.
 
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Progress under urban missions in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh to be reviewed

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Implementation of new Urban Missions -- the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission -- in the States of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh will be reviewed at a meeting in Chandigarh today.
 
Mr Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development), along with concerned Mission Directors from the Ministry of Urban Development, Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, Advisor to the Administrator of Chandigarh and concerned officials besides some Municipal Commissioners will attend the day-long review meetings to be held separately state-wise at the Secretariats of Punjab, Haryana and UT Guest House. 
 
District Collectors and other field officials will participate in the review through video-conferencing, an official press release said.
 
These meetings are being held as a part of State-wise review meetings being held by the Ministry of Urban Development. Such reviews have so far been held in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Jaipur and Visakhapatnam.
 
As many as 20 cities in Haryana, 16 in Punjab and Chandigarh have been included in the Atal Mission which is aimed at improving basic urban infrastructure relating to water supply, sewerage networks, storm water drains, urban transport and open and green spaces.
 
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For the year 2015-16 under AMRUT, an expenditure of Rs. 408 crore has been approved for Haryana, Rs. 710 crore for Punjab and Rs. 573 crore for Chandigarh for improving basic infrastructure in mission cities. 
 
The Central Government has agreed to provide an assistance of Rs. 219 crore for Haryana, Rs. 276 crore for Chandigarh and Rs. 319 crore for Punjab for the State Annual Action Plans approved for 2015-16. Action Plans for 2016-17 of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh under AMRUT will be considered for approval soon.
 
Under Smart City Mission, Ludhiana in Punjab was selected among the first batch of smart cities and the Ministry has approved Ludhiana’s Smart City Plan with a proposed investment of Rs. 1,049 crore. The Ministry of Urban Development has already released Rs. 200 crore for 2015-16 for Ludhiana.
 
Faridabad in Haryana and Chandigarh have been subsequently selected among the second batch of 13 smart cities in a Fast Track Competition.
 
Under Swachh Bharat Mission, Central assistance of Rs. 56 crore has been released to Punjab, Rs. 30 crore for Haryana and Rs. 1.70 crore for Chandigarh.
 
The Coordination Committee for Development of Chandigarh will also meet today, the release added.
 
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UIDAI launches exercise to cover leftover population

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The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has launched an initiative to enrol leftover population for Aadhaar (unique identification numbers) in four States and Union Territories -- Haryana, Goa, Chandigarh and Puducherry.
 
Aadhaar saturation levels are more than 100% in these four places (as per projected population figure of 2015). Aadhaar saturation can cross 100% when the migrant population also enrolls in that particular state. As on May 12, 2016, over 101.26 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated across the country.
 
As part of the initiative, people who have not yet enrolled in Haryana, Goa, Chandigarh and Puducherry are being asked to register themselves at https://wenrol.uidai.gov.in.
 
On completing the simple registration formality, such people would be enrolled for the Aadhaar number on a priority basis.
 
“This exercise has been initiated to ensure that no one is left without an Aadhaar number in these four States/UTs which has more than 100% Aadhaar saturation, statistically speaking. It is part of our overall effort to ensure complete Aadhaar coverage across the country,” said Director General & Mission Director of UIDAI, Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey.
 
This pilot exercise in the four States/Union Territories will be conducted between May 13 and June 15. Enrolment request of only persons over the age of 18 years will be accepted on the portal mentioned above.
 
Providing a mobile number as well as other demographic details is also mandatory as a mobile OTP-based verification will be conducted once the person submits the enrolment request. The person will be then contacted and enrolled on a priority basis through special camps or at the enrolment stations located near him/her. Based on the experience of this pilot, the special drive will be extended to other states too.
 
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SpiceJet introduces additional flights from Delhi to Chandigarh, Amritsar, Dharamsala

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has added additional flights from Delhi to Chandigarh, Amritsar and Dharamsala in its summer schedule.
 
A press release from the airline said the schedule had introduced a fourth frequency on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, a third frequency on the Delhi-Dharamsala sector and a second frequency on the Delhi-Amritsar route.
 
Ms Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP, Commercial, SpiceJet, said, “We are truly grateful to the overwhelming response of our customers to the summer schedule we introduced recently. SpiceJet has been achieving the highest load factor consistently for the past ten months, which clearly reinstates its brand preference. Our upgraded summer schedule is a step further to cater to the robust demand on key routes during the holiday season.”
 
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Finch, Bravo take Gujarat Lions to 5-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab

Aaron Finch slammed 74 and Dwayne Bravo bagged four for 22 to steer debutants Gujarat Lions to an emphatic five-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) with 14 balls to spare here tonight.
 
Put in to bat first, the hosts posted 161 for six from their 20 overs on the strength of a 78-run partnership for the first wicket by openers Murali Vijay (42) and Manan Vohra (38).
 
In response, the Rajkot-based Gujarat Lions made 162 for five, with opener Finch leading the way with a superb 74. Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten with 41 to see his side through.
 
KXIP began well, with both Vijay and Vohra in fine fettle as they added 78 for the first wicket. But once Vohra fell in the ninth over, they lost momentum and lost quick wickets -- Vijay, Glenn Maxwell (2) and skipper David Miller (15) -- to be reduced to 102 for four.
 
Marcus Stoinis (33) and Wriddhiman Saha (20) steadied the innings with a 55-run partnership for the fifth wicket before they were both dismissed in the final over.
 
Apart from Bravo's superb spell of four for 22, Ravindra Jadeja shone with figures of two for 30.
 
Gujarat Lions lost Brendon McCullum (0) in the very first over, with just one on the board, but skipper Suresh Raina (20) and Finch steadied the boat with a 51-run partnership for the second wicket and kept the visitors firmly in control of the match. Both batsmen retained the upper hand against the KXIP pacers and picked the loose deliveries for punishment.
 
Once Raina left in the sixth over, Finch continued the good work in the company of Karthik, who faced 26 balls and struck seven fours on his way to 41 not out. Finch fell in the 12th over. His 74 came off 47 balls and included 12 hits to the boundary.
 
Ravindra Jadeja (8) and Ishan Kishan (11) helped Karthik to take the side past the finishing line without any hiccups.
 
Scorecard
Kings XI Punjab 
M Vijay b Jadeja 42
M Vohra c Karthik b Jadeja 38
DA Miller b Bravo 15
GJ Maxwell b Bravo 2
WP Saha c Jadeja b Bravo 20
MP Stoinis c Finch b Bravo 33
AR Patel not out 4
MG Johnson not out 0
Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 4) 7
Total (6 wickets; 20 overs) 161 (8.05 runs per over)
Did not bat: P Sahu, MM Sharma, Sandeep Sharma
Fall of wickets: 1-78 (Vohra, 8.2 ov), 2-91 (Vijay, 10.4 ov), 3-101 (Maxwell, 11.4 ov), 4-102 (Miller, 11.6 ov), 5-157 (Saha, 19.3 ov), 6-157 (Stoinis, 19.4 ov)
Bowling
P Kumar 4 0 25 0
PJ Sangwan 2 0 21 0
JP Faulkner 4 0 39 0
S Ladda 2 0 21 0
RA Jadeja 4 0 30 2
DJ Bravo 4 0 22 4
 
Gujarat Lions 
AJ Finch st Saha b Sahu 74
BB McCullum st Saha b Sandeep Sharma 0
SK Raina c Johnson b Stoinis 20
KD Karthik not out 41
RA Jadeja run out (Johnson) 8
Ishan Kishan c Sharma b Johnson 11
DJ Bravo not out 2
Extras (lb 3, w 3) 6
Total (5 wickets; 17.4 overs) 162 (9.16 runs per over)
Did not bat:JP Faulkner, P Kumar, PJ Sangwan, S Ladda
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (McCullum, 0.6 ov), 2-52 (Raina, 5.3 ov), 3-117 (Finch, 11.5 ov), 4-133 (Jadeja, 14.3 ov), 5-151 (Ishan Kishan, 16.5 ov)
Bowling
Sandeep Sharma 3 0 21 1
MG Johnson 4 0 35 1
MM Sharma 2.4 0 24 0
MP Stoinis 2 0 27 1
AR Patel 2 0 17 0
P Sahu 4 0 35 1
 
Player of the match - Aaron Finch (Gujarat Lions)
 
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Chandigarh becomes kerosene-free from April 1

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The Union Territory of Chandigarh will be declared kerosene free with effect from today, thanks to efforts made by the city administration and oil marketing companies.
 
No further distribution of subsidized kerosene will be done in Chandigarh from the month of April, 2016 onwards, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with the help of Chandigarh Administration, had been working for the last few months to make Chandigarh a "kerosene-free city".
 
The Ministry had facilitated households using kerosene oil to switch over to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
 
As part of the efforts, camps were organized in various localities in consultation with the Chandigarh Administration to provide LPG connections without any hassls. Deposit-free LPG connections were provided to below poverty line (BPL) households and interest-free loan scheme was launched for above poverty line (APL) households. 
 
During this campaign, a total of 15,249 LPG connections were provided in Chandigarh city, including 1574 for BPL households, the release added.
 
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Kohli's unbeaten 82 powers India to last four with six-wicket win over Australia

 
Virat Kohli slammed an unbeaten 82 to steer India to a six-wicket win over Australia in their last Group 1 Super 10 match and into the semi-finals of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament here tonight.
 
Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18 not out) came together at 94 for four at the end of 14 overs and added 67 in their unfinished fifth wicket partnership to take the hosts to the target of 161 with six wickets in hand and five balls to spare.
 
Opting to bat first in this crucial match, that was to decide the second semi-finalist from Group 1, Australia put up a challening 160 for six in their 20 overs.
 
Opener Aaron Finch topscored for them with 43, and he was ably supported by fellow-opener Usman Khawaja (26) and Glenn Maxwell (31).
 
Chasing 161 for the all-important win, India suffered some early reverses to find themselves at 49 for three after 7.4 overs, losing openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Rohit Sharma (12) as well as Suresh Raina (10). 
 
All-rounder Yuvraj Singh made 21 and added 45 for the fourth wicket with Kohli to help stabilise the innings. Yuvraj faced 18 balls and hit a six and a four in his knock. India still needed 67 from six overs at that stage.
 
Kohli and Dhoni kept the scoreboard with the help of several quick singles and twos and waited for the loose deliveries for the boundaries. At the end of 17 overs, the hosts required 39 from 18 balls.
 
Clearly, the Indians needed to accelerate the scoring rate and Kohli rose to the occasion, and how! In Faulkner's next over, the batsman altered the equations completely by hitting the first two balls for fours, first a pull towards deep backward square leg and then an exquisite square drive. Before the cheering crowds could settled down, he sent the third ball soaring over wide long-off for a six. Five more runs came from that over -- 19 in all.
 
With 20 runs needed from the last two overs, it was Nathan Coulter-Nile's turn to get the Kohli treatment as the right hander struck four fours -- a square drive, a shot past fine leg, one over extra cover and finally a superb cover drive.
 
Four runs were needed from the last over and Dhoni had the pleasure of bringing up the winning runs, despatching a low full toss from Faulkner to the wide long-on fence.
 
India were through with five balls to spare, and Kohli sank on to the ground in sheer relief after that incredible win, which seemed such a distant possibility at one stage of the innings.
 
Kohli faced 51 balls and struck nine fours and two sixes in his magical innings.
 
Overall, the huge crowd here had a real cricketing feast served for them, first by the Australian batsmen and then by the India
 
New Zealand hadalready made it to the last four from the group with an all-win record. Both Australia and India hadwon two of their three previous outings before today's engagement and needed to win today to make it to the knock-out stage.
 
Left-hander Khawaja struck Ashish Nehra's first ball of the innings for a four through square leg to make clear the Australians' intentions today. He followed this up by despatching the first three balls sent down by Jasprit Bumrah to the ropes in the next over.
 
Finch also started smashing the ball out of the park. He sent two juicy full-length balls, which spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled on his leg, straight over the bowler's head and into the stands.
 
Together, the pair put on 54 runs for the first wicket before Khawaja departed in the fourth over, caught behind by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni off Nehra. His 26 came off 16 balls and included six fours.
 
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David Warner came in at number three and departed in the eighth over after making just nine. Ashwin redeemed himself by getting him stumped by Dhoni before the batsman could cause much damage.
 
The smart captaincy of Dhoni resulted in the wicket of his counterpart Smith (2) in the 10th over. Dhoni introduced Yuvraj Singh into the attack and he provided the breakthrough off the very first ball. Smith tried to push a short one to cover, but the ball found the inside edge of his blade and travelled to the safe hands of Dhoni behind the stumps.
 
Meanwhile, Finch settled down at the crease. He finally left in the 13th over, with the total at 100. He skied the last ball of an over from Hardik Pandya and ended up offering a catch to Shikhar Dhawan at long-on.
 
Maxwell looked dangerous as he held the innings with Shane Watson (18 not out). He made his exit in the 16th over, with the total at 130, bowled by pacer Bumrah. 
 
James Faulkner (10) sent the first ball of the last over by Bumrah high straight into the hands of Virat Kohli at long-on. Peter Nevill (10 not out) hit a boundary off the penultimate ball of the innings and topped it with a six off the final delivery.
 
India will now meet the West Indies in the semi-finals, while New Zealand will play England in the other.
 
Scorecard
Australia
U Khawaja  c Dhoni b Nehra 26
A Finch c Dhawan b Pandya  43
D Warner st Dhoni b Ashwin  6
S Smith c Dhoni b Y Singh 2
G Maxwell  b Bumrah 31
S Watson not out 18 
J Faulkner c Kohli b Pandya 10
P Nevill not out 10
Extras (11w, 1nb, 2lb) 14
Total (6 wickets; 20 overs) 160 (8 rpo)
Did not bat: A Zampa, N Coulter-Nile, J Hazlewood
Fall of wickets: 1-54 (Khawaja, 4.2 ov), 2-72 (Warner, 7.5 ov), 3-74 (Smith, 9.1 ov),4-100( Finch, 12.6 ov), 5-130 (Maxwell, 16.4 ov), 6-154 (Faulkner, 19.1 ov)
Bowling:
A Nehra 4 0 20 1
J Bumrah  4 0 32 1
R Ashwin 2 0 31 1
R Jadeja 3 0 20 0
Y Singh 3 0 19 1
H Pandya 4 0 36 2
 
India 
S Dhawan  Khawaja b Coulter-Nile 13
R Sharma b Watson 12
V Kohli not out 82
S Raina  c Nevill b Watson 10
Y Singh c Watson b Faulkner 21
MS Dhoni not out 18
Extras (2w, 3lb) 5
Total (4 wckets; 19.1overs) 161 (8.40 rpo)
Did not bat: R Jadeja, H Pandya, R Ashwin, J Bumrah, A Nehra
Fall of wickets: 1-23 (Dhawan, 3.5 ov), 2-32 (Sharma, 5.5 ov), 3-49 (Raina, 7.4 ov), 4-94 (Yuvraj, 13.6 ov)
Bowling:
J Hazlewood 4 0 38 0 
N Coulter-Nile 4 0 33 1
S Watson 4 0 23 2
J Faulkner 3.1 0 35 1
G Maxwell 2 0 18 0
A Zampa 2 0 11 0
 
Player of the Match: Virat Kohli (India)
 
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