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Haryana

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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Rahul Gandhi blames Haryana govt. for Dalit killings in Faridabad

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday visited Sunped village in Haryana, where two children died and their parents suffered injuries in an arson attack on ther house on Tuesday, and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state for the killings.

 
Rahul Gandhi says visit to Faridabad village no photo op
 
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today visited Sunped village in Haryana, where two children died and their parents suffered injuries in an arson attack on ther house on Tuesday, and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state for the killings.
 
"Today, in India, those who are weak, those who are poor are facing such atrocities," he told newspersons after meeting the father of the children, Jitender, and other members of the family.
 
"They asked me, 'What was our fault, what wrong did we commit?'" he said.
 
"They did not commit any mistake. They are poor and weak and that is why they were attacked," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that he was told that a group of people had met administration officials to convey their fears. The officials told them to go back to their homes because no one had actually died, he said.
 
"It is the Chief Minister's responsibility to protect the people of the state. Different incidents are happening, in Haryana and elsewhere around the country," he said, calling for strict action against those responsible for the attack as well as the policemen who were negligent in their duties. He said the family of the victims wanted a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
"The truth is that this is not a government of the poor and the weak. I have offered all possible help to the family. Whatever they need, they just have to ask," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said these incidents were the result of an "attitude" that is shared by the Prime Minister of the country, the Chief Minister of Haryana, the ruling BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its ideological mentor.
 
"The attitude is that if somebody is weak, he can be crushed," he said. "What you are seeing is the result of this attitude."
 
"We don't want such incidents to happen, and we will fight to ensure this," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi reacted angrily when a reporter asked him about the BJP accusation that his visit was just a "photo op".
 
"It's insulting when someone says that when someone comes here. It's not insulting to me, but it's insulting these people. What do you men by 'photo op'? People are dying left, right and centre in this country. People are being beaten up in this country. What do you mean that it is just a photo op?" he asked.
 
"Absolutely, I will visit. I will visit again, again, and again," he added.
 
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Jitender's wife Rekha, four-year-old son Vaibhav and eight-month-old daughter Divya suffered burns in the attack. The children succumbed to their injuries yesterday, while their mother is battling for survival in a hospital. Jitender also suffered minor injuries while trying to save his family, souces said.
 
Angry villagers blocked the busy Faridabad-Mathura highway in protest against the incident and demanded the immediate arrest of those named in the police complaint. 
 
Seven policemen, including those tasked to guard the village, have been suspended by the authorities for alleged negligence. Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.
 
Apart from Mr. Gandhi, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat, former Union Minister and Haryana Congress leader Kumari Selja, Haryana Janhit Congress (Bhajan Lal) leader Kuldeep Bishnoi and National Commission for Scheduled Castes member Ishwar Singh visited the village to meet the bereaved family.
 
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Modi "deeply concerned", asks for report on Nadia nun's gang-rape, Hisar church attack

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has voiced deep concern about the alleged gangrape of an elderly nun at Nadia in West Bengal recentlyand the attack on a church at Hisar in Haryana and sought an immediate report on the incidents.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has voiced deep concern about the alleged gangrape of an elderly nun at Nadia in West Bengal recentlyand the attack on a church at Hisar in Haryana and sought an immediate report on the incidents.
 
"PM is deeply concerned about the incidents in Hisar, Haryana and Nadia, West Bengal," the Prime MInister's Office (PMO) said on micro-blogging site Twitter today.
 
"PMO has asked for immediate report on facts & action taken regarding the incidents in Haryana and West Bengal," it added.
 
A 71-year-old nun was allegedly gang-raped by dacoits at a convent in Nadia district in the early hours of Saturday. The incident has triggered protests in West Bengal and the state government has ordered a probe by the CID in the case.
 
In the second incident, a church under construction at Kaimri village near Hisar in Haryana was vandalised by a group of people on Sunday.
 
Both the incidents have evoked widespread condemnation across the country, with the Christian community expressing serious concern about the safety of churches and other institutions.
 
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BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar to be sworn in as Haryana CM on Sunday

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Lal Khattar, a first-time member of the legislative assembly and former "pracharak" of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Haryana later on Sunday.

Manoharlal Khattar
Manoharlal Khattar
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Lal Khattar, a first-time member of the legislative assembly and former "pracharak" of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Haryana later today.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony that will be held at Panchkula near here.
 
BJP president Amit Shah, former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states are also expected to be present at the function.
 
Mr Khattar, 60, was elected as a member of the Haryana Legislative Assembly from Karnal, winning his maiden election with a margin of more than 63,000 votes.
 
The elections, held on October 15, saw the BJP capturing power for the first time in the state, winning 47 seats in the 90-member house. 
 
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala came in second with 19 seats, while the Congress, which ruled the state for the last 10 years, had to rest content with third place, with 15 seats.
 
The Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) won two seats and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one seat each. Independents won five seats.
 
Mr Khattar had been unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party by the party's newly-elected legislators here on October 21.
 
Later, senior BJP leader and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was sent here as the party's Central observer for that meeting, accompanied Mr Khattar to call on Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki to apprise him of the party's decision.
 
Mr Solanki invited Mr Khattar to form the new government in the state. 
 
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Mr Khattar was born on May 5, 1954, in Nigana village of Maham tehsil in Rohtak district. His father Harbans Lal Khattar was a Punjabi shopkeeper who had migrated to India during the 1947 Partition.
 
After passing out of school, he moved to Delhi, where he ran a shop near Sadar Bazar while studying for a degree from the University of Delhi.
 
Mr Khattar joined the RSS in 1977 and became a full-time pracharak three years later. In 1994, he was deputed to the BJP. He was Organisational General Secretary of the BJP in Haryana between 2000 and 2014 and was the head of its campaign election committee in Haryana for the recent Lok Sabha elections. He was later made a member of the BJP's National Executive. He is a bachelor.
 
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Modi to launch Swachh Shakti 2019 from Kurukshetra on Tuesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch Swachh Shakti 2019, a convention of women sarpanches, and distribute the Swachh Shakti-2019 awards in Kurukshetra during his Haryana visit tomorrow.
 
Modi will visit the Swachh Sundar Shauchalay exhibition and address a public meeting. He will also inaugurate or lay the foundation stone for various development projects in the state.
 
Swachh Shakti-2019 is a national event which aims to bring in to focus the leadership role played by rural women in Swachh Bharat Mission. Women sarpanches and panches from all over the country will be attending the event, an official press release said.
 
Around 15,000 women are expected to participate in this year’s Swachh Shakti event aimed at empowering the women, it said.
 
The event is organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Haryana Government. The event will showcase the achievements of Swachh Bharat and the recently conducted Swachh Sunder Shauchalay (neat and clean toilet) campaign.
 
Modi had launched the Swachh Shakti program first in 2017 at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. At that event, 6000 women sarpanches from across the country had assembled on the occasion of the International Women’s Day under the banner of Swachh Shakti 2017. The Prime Minister addressed and honoured them.
 
Swachh Shakti-2018 was held at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. As many as 8000 women sarpanches, 3000 women Swachhagrahis and women champions from other walks of life from across the country received recognition for their outstanding contribution towards Swachh Bharat during the event.
 
"Swachh Shakti is an example of how at the grass root level, rural women champions are acting as a change agent to mobilize the community and lead from the front women taking initiatives for a Swachh Bharat. 
 
"The movement is a part of ongoing activities under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission, launched on October 2, 2014, by Modi aimed at achieving a Clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by October 2 this year," the release added.
 
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India to host 2023 Cricket World Cup as scheduled: ICC CEO David Richardson

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday made it clear that the 2023 World Cup will be held in India as scheduled, rubbishing all the speculation regarding shifting of the venue.
 
ICC CEO David Richardson told mediapersons here that though the issue of tax exemption is still to be solved, the 2023 World Cup will be hosted by India.
 
"Getting tax exemptions is very important for world cricket because every cent that is made by the ICC revenue-wise is put back into the game. This helps countries like the West Indies who don't generate as much revenue," he said at an event to announce the ICC’s five-year partnership with Coco-Cola.
 
The Union Finance Ministry  did not give tax exemptions to the ICC when the country hosted the 2016 World T20 following which the ICC asked the BCCI to either pay $23 million (Rs 161 crore) as compensation or lose the 2023 World Cup rights.
 
"But having said that, there are no plans of shifting the venue (from India) and I'm sure we will get it (exemption) in the end. We've still got a lot of time," he said.
 
He admitted that the ICC is facing an ever-increasing threat of corruption in the game. “It's not just about anti-corruption but also about player conduct. In recent times, we have had several unruly incidents around the world and we have taken really firm steps there to make sure that everybody understands we need to protect the spirit of cricket."
 
"The ICC has adopted a more pro-active approach to take strict actions against certain frivolous individuals who move around trying to fix cricket matches. We are continuously trying to disrupt them as much as possible and the players are doing the right thing by reporting any incident," he said.
 
Asked about the schedule for the 2020 T20 World Cup in which India and Pakistan won't meet in the group stages for the first time since 2011, he said, "We have arranged the groups in a way that has credibility and is based on the ranking system. The teams are placed according to their ranks. In this case, Pakistan were number one in the rankings in their group and India number two,” replied Richardson.
 
"...we found no credible way of putting them in the same group. Hopefully from a world perspective they will meet each other in the semi-finals or final."
 
Richardson, who will step down after the World Cup in July, said convincing India to use DRS was a memorable achievement for him.
 
"Some things took a little longer than we'd like to implement. One of them was to convince India that DRS was a good thing. It probably took so long because in the first trial that we conducted, all the decisions seemed to go against India. So we had to convince Anil Kumble that it could work," he added.
 
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Seven dead as four-storeyed under-construction building collapses in Gurugram

 
Seven dead in Gurugram building collapse
At least seven workers died when an under-construction four-storeyed building collapsed here early this morning, official sources said.
 
More than 150 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Fire Brigade and other agencies continued a search till late into the night for more people who might be trapped under the debris, they said.
 
According to some sources, the building collapsed when the workers wre adding an additional floor to it.
 
The building, located in Ullawas village in Sector 65 of Gurugram, near Delhi, collapsed around 5.15 am today, Sanjeev Singla, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), told journalists earlier in the day.
 
He said some labourers who were sleeping in the building were trapped under the rubble. He said exact numbers could not be immediately ascertained, but they could be around six or seven.
 
Sources said it was difficult to ascertain the number of workers who were in the building because nearly all of them were migrant labourers from other states.
 
The police have traced the owner of the building and are questioning him.
 
"The building was unstable and was being constructed without  proper technical expertise," Singla said, adding that the cause of the collapse would be established only after a proper inquiry.
 
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Six labourers feared trapped as building collapses in Gurugram

 
Four-storeyed under-construction building collapses in Gurugram
About six labourers were feared trapped under the debris of an under-construction four-storeyed building that collapsed here early this morning, official sources said.
 
More than 150 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Fire Brigade and other agencies were involved in a massive rescue operation to find those believed trapped under the rubble, they said.
 
The building, located in Ullawas village in Sector 65 of Gurugram, near Delhi, collapsed around 5.15 am today, Sanjeev Singla, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), told journalists.
 
He said some labourers who were sleeping in the building were trapped under the debris. He said exact numbers could not be immediately ascertained, but they could be around six or seven.
 
The police have traced the owner of the building and are questioning him.
 
"The building was unstable and was being constructed without  proper technical expertise," Singla said, adding that the cause of the collapse would be established only after a proper inquiry.
 
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Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat emerge richest wrestlers at PWl players draft

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Punjab Royals picked up wrestling's poster boy  Bajrang Punia for Rs 30 lakh during the players draft for the Pro Wrestling League’s (PWL) here on Friday. 
 
Vinesh Phogat, the first Indian woman wrestler to win a gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games last year, went to Mumbai Maharathi for Rs 25 lakh. 
 
Both Bajrang, who will take part in the 65kg category, and Vinesh, who will wrestle in the 53kg category, featured for UP Dangal in the last edition. 
 
The six teams picked 54 from a strong pool of 225 players which included prominent Olympic medalists, continental champions, world champions, national champions and other wrestlers from all over the world. With the completion of the players’ draft, PWL-4 will see participants from Asia, Europe, Africa and the American continent.  
 
Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik (62kg), who was with Mumbai Maharathi in the last edition, was bought  by Delhi Sultans for Rs 20 lakh. 
 
The highest-paid foreign wrestlers were Venesa Kaladzinskaya (53kg) from Belarus,  and Khetik Tsabalov (74kg) from Russia, went to UP Dangal and   Delhi Sultans, respectively, for Rs 25 lakh each.
 
The Delhi Sultans also got Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist Rahul Aware (57kg) and 2018 World Military Championship gold medalist Khetik Tsabolov from Russia, who will feature in the 74kg category. 
 
The 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Pooja Dhanda (57kg) went to debutant MP Yodhas along with national champion Ritu Phogat (53kg) and Sandeep Tomar (57kg). Another prize catch for the debutants has been 2018 European Championship gold medalist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan who will wrestle in the 65kg category.
 
World Junior Championship gold medalist Anastasia Nichita (57kg) of Moldova goes to Haryana Hammers and 2018 Junior National Championship gold medalist Sachin Rathi (74kg) goes to Mumbai Maharathi. 
 
The European Championship bronze medalist Tayana Omelchenko (62kg) from Azerbaijan was also picked by Haryana Hammers along with  Commomwealth Games silver medalist Praveen Rana (74kg).
 
The 2018 Pan American Championship bronze medalist Betzabeth Angelica (57kg) from Venezuela went to Mumbai Maharathi.
 
Among the national championship gold medalists last year, Amit Dhankhar (74kg) went to Punjab Royals, Jitender (74kg) went to UP Dangal, Rajneesh (65kg) went to Haryana Hammers and Harphool (65kg) went to Mumbai Maharathi.
 
The fourth edition of the popular wrestling league is scheduled to held from  from January 14-31 and offers a prize purse of Rs 1.9 crore for the winning team and Rs 1.1 crore for the runners-up team. It promises to be bigger and better than ever this year with the addition of a new team from Madhya Pradesh.
 
WFI president Brijbhushan Sharan Singh said: “I am really glad to announce that PWL-4 is happening from January 14, 2019 and I welcome the new team, MP Yodha from Madhya Pradesh. Wrestling is a very popular sport in India with huge fan following and PWL is only enhancing its popularity year after year. 
 
"After the draft today, all teams look pretty balanced with a good mixture of youth and experience. The foreign wrestlers in the fray will make PWL-4 an interesting event to be watched and followed in various social media platforms. PWL is also giving our young wrestlers a platform to participate with world class wrestlers which will go a long way in sharpening their skills in the coming years.”
 
COMPLETE LIST:
 
MP Yodha: Ritu Phogat (53kg), Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Elise Manolova (62kg), Shilpi Yadav (62kg), Vasil Mikhaillov (74kg), Andrea Carolina (76kg), Deepak (86kg), Akash Antil (125kg)
 
Delhi Sultans: Pinki (53kg), Rahul Aware (57kg), Katherina Zhydachivska (57kg), Sakshi Malik (64kg), kviatkoski Andrey (65kg), Khetik Tsabolov (74kg), Jitendra (74kg), Shustovo Anastasia (76kg), SumitMalik (125kg)
 
UP Dangal: Vanesa Kaladzinskaya (53kg), Rahul Aware (57 kg), Naveen (57kg), Sarita (57kg), Navjot Kaur (64kg), Pankaj Rana (65kg), Epp Mae (76kg) Irakli Misituri (86kg), Giorgi Sakandelidze (125kg)
 
Haryana Hammers: Seema (53kg), AnastasiaNichita (57kg), Ravi Kumar (57kg), Tayana Omelchenko (62kg), Rajnesh (65kg), Praveen Rana (74kg), Kiran (76kg), Ali Shabanov (86kg), Khotsianivski Aleksander (125kg)
 
Mumbai Maharathi: Vinesh Phogat ( 53kg), Betzabeth Angelica (57kg), Ibragim Ilyasov (57kg), Shilpi Yadav (62kg), Harphool (65kg), Sachin Rathi (74kg), Zsanett Nemeth (76kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Baitseev Vladisiav (125kg)
 
NCR Punjab Royals: Anju (53kg), Mimi Hristova (57Kg), Nitin Rathee (57kg), Bajrang Puniya (65kg), Anita (62kg), Amit Dhankhar (74kg), Alina Stadnik Makhynia (76kg), Dato Marsagishvili (86kg), KoreyJarvis (125kg)
 
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Bye-elections on January 28 to fill vacancy each in Haryana, TN legislative assemblies

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The Election Commission today said it would conduct bye-elections on January 28 to fill vacancies from Jind the Haryana Legislative Assembly and Thiruvarur in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
 
An official press release said the notification for the bye-elections would be issued on January3 and the last date for filing nominations will be January  10.
 
Nominations will be scrutinised on January 11 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures will be January 14. Counting of votes will be taken up on January 31, the release said.
 
 The Model Code of Conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included.
 
The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State Government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the district of the State concerned, the release added.
 
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Seven killed in Haryana road accident

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Dense fog claimed seven lives when an unidentified heavy vehicle hit two cars on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in Haryana early on Saturday, police said.
 
The victims belonged to Chandigarh and included three women, two minors and their driver.
 
Three others were injured in the accident and rushed to the Civil Hospital in Ambala before being referred to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh as their condition was serious.
 
The accident took place on the fog-enveloped highway close to the Drive In-22 resort near Ambala, around 40 km from here.
 
The victims, who were in two cars, were on their way from Chandigarh to Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh. They had stopped on the highway as one of the cars developed a snag and the heavy vehicle rammed into their cars from behind in the heavy fog.
 
Police said the driver of the unidentified heavy vehicle escaped from the spot.
 
Eight persons had died in a massive pile-up of vehicles in thick fog in Haryana's Jhajjar district on Monday.
 
Dense fog has been prevailing over most parts of Punjab and Haryana in the past few days, especially along highways. The region is experiencing cold wave conditions for over a week.
 
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Government gives nod for further probe involving Vadra, Hooda: Gurugram top cop

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Gurugram Commissioner of Police K. K. Rao on Friday said the Haryana government has given permission to further investigate the alleged land scam case registered against Robert Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and others.
 
Addressing a press conference, Rao said, "We had sought permission from the state government after the case was registered at a Gurugram police station. The authorities have granted us the permission, so we are investigating the alleged land scam further."
 
The police registered the case against Vadra, Hooda and others on September 1 at Kherki Daula police station.
 
The case was registered on the complaint of Surender Sharma, a resident of Tauru, alleging that a company belonging to Vadra's Skylight Hospitality had cheated people and the government.
 
A case was registered under sections of 420 (cheating), 120 (hatching conspiracy) and 467, 468, 471 (forgery) under the Indian Penal Code.
 
After the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in Haryana, it set up a one-man commission of Justice S. N. Dhingra on May 14, 2015, to probe the alleged scam.
 
The commission probed the alleged irregularities in the grant of licence by the Haryana Department of Town and Country Planning to some companies, including those of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of then Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in Sector 83 of Gurugram for developing commercial colonies.
 
Deals were allegedly inked for land in Shikohpur, Sihi, Kherki Daula and Sikanderpur Badha villages in Gurugram.
 
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Three headless bodies found in Haryana

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Three headless bodies were found inside a plastic drum lying near a canal in Haryana's Bhiwani district on Friday, police said.
 
The bodies, which were dumped along the Bhiwani-Rohtak highway, were found by people in Kharak village of Bhiwani, some 300 km from here, who then informed the police.
 
The victims include a girl aged 10-12 years and a small child, police official Prem Singh said.
 
He told the media that the bodies had been cut into small parts and identification was proving to be difficult. 
 
Police have launched an investigation and are trying to identify the victims even though the heads of all three are missing.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Haryana road accident: 8 killed, 10 injured near Jhajjar flyover

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Eight persons, including seven women, were killed and ten critically injured in a massive pile-up of around 50 vehicles because of dense fog on the National Highway 71 in Haryana.
 
The accident occurred on Monday morning on the Rewari-Rohtak-Jalandhar highway near Jhajjar flyover.
 
The eight people who died were travelling in an SUV from their village in Kirdodh in Jhajjar, to outer Delhi's Najafgarh for a condolence visit when it was crushed between a tractor trolley carrying building material and a truck, police said.
 
The deceased were identified as Satpal (48), Santosh Devi (45), Kanta Devi (34), Premlata (50), Laxmi (63), Ramkali (35), Sheela Devi (61) and Khazani Devi (36).
 
The injured, including Pushpa (30) and Mangeram (50), were referred to PGIMS Rohtak, while the other eight victims, aged between 30 and 51 years, were admitted to various hospitals.
 
Haryana Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister O. P. Dhankar announced Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 1 lakh for those injured.
 
The accident led to a 2 km-long traffic jam on the highway.
 
IANS
 

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Over 69% voting in Haryana municipal polls

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More than 69.39 per cent voters cast their vote in the municipal elections in Haryana on Sunday, a senior state election commission official said here.
 
State Election Commissioner Dalip Singh stated the polling in all 110 wards of the Municipal Corporation, Hisar, Rohtak, Yamuna Nagar, Panipat and Karnal, and 25 wards of Jakhal Mandi (Fatehabad) Aand Pundri (Kaithal) respectively, was completed on Sunday evening.
 
The overall percentage in these elections was 69.39, Singh said.
 
The election to the posts of mayors will be held directly for the first time. Singh said 59 candidates (40 men and 19 women) contested the election for the seats of Mayor.
 
Voting was held on Sunday for five municipal corporations and committees in Haryana.
 
Elections to the five municipal corporations and committees of Hisar, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Panipat and Karnal were held. Voters braved the cold weather to come out and cast their votes.
 
The voting started at 7.30 a.m. A total of 14,01,454 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise.
 
Haryana Police had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. 
 
Over 7,000 police personnel, including women police officials, were on duty.
 
Officials said for the first time in the electoral history of municipal elections in the country, none of the above (NOTA) was introduced as an option in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) contested the elections on their respective party symbols, the Congress has chosen not to use the party symbol for candidates backed by the party.
 
The elections are being considered important before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and Assembly polls likely to be held in October 2019. The BJP has been in power in Haryana since October 2014.
 
IANS
 

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Voting underway for Haryana municipal polls

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Voting was underway on Sunday for five municipal corporations and committees in Haryana.
 
Only a few voters were seen at polling stations due to the cold weather.
 
Voting started at 7.30 a.m. and will continue till 4.30 p.m., election officials said.
 
Elections to the five municipal corporations and committees of Hisar, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Panipat and Karnal were being held.
 
The election to the posts of mayors will be held directly for the first time.
 
A total of 14,01,454 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 136 wards of the municipal corporations and committees.
 
The State Election Commission (SEC) said that there are 744,468 male voters and 656,986 female voters.
 
The Haryana Police has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. 
 
Over 7,000 police personnel, including women police officials, are on duty.
 
Officials said that for the first time in the electoral history of municipal elections in the country, none of the above (NOTA) has been introduced as an option in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
There are 1,292 polling stations for the elections. Out of these, 304 are sensitive and 166 are hyper-sensitive. The highest number of polling stations (303) has been set up in Yamunanagar district.
 
Director General of Police (DGP) B. S. Sandhu said on Saturday that the entire police administration is fully geared up to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections.
 
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are contesting the elections on their respective party symbols, the Congress has chosen not to use the party symbol for candidates backed by the party.
 
The elections are being considered important before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and Assembly polls likely to be held in October 2019.
 
The BJP has been in power in Haryana since October 2014.
 
IANS

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Gurugram businessman allegedly commits suicide

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A 47-year-old businessman on Monday allegedly jumped to his death from his ninth floor apartment in an upscale housing society here in Haryana, police said. No suicide note was found.
 
The victim was identified as Naresh Hasija, who lived in a flat in Park View Apartments here with his family. He allegedly jumped off the floor around 3 a.m.
 
A case was registered at the Sector 50 police station.
 
"Hasija, his wife and children watched a movie on television till late on Sunday. His elder son was studying till 2 a.m. on Monday. The reason behind this extreme step is not clear immediately," police officer Baljeet told IANS.
 
The family hails from Sonipat in the state.
 
IANS

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CBI files chargesheet against Hooda, Vora in AJL land allotment deal case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday filed a chargesheet against former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora in a case related to the re-allotment of a plot in Panchkula to Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald newspaper.
 
The CBI in its chargesheet alleged that Hooda, in conspiracy with Vora, had abused official position and dishonestly re-allotted the institutional plot in Panchkula to AJL at old rate and caused wrongful gain of approximately Rs 67.65 lakh to the private company and corresponding wrongful loss to the government exchequer.
 
The chargesheet was filed before a Special CBI Judge in Panchkula Court in Haryana. The chargesheet named Hooda, the company AJL and its chairman Vora as accused in the case. 
 
The agency has formally charged the accused under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), Section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act for committing criminal misconduct and obtaining pecuniary advantages. 
 
A case was registered on April 5 2017 on the request of Haryana Government by the CBI which has also taken over the investigation of First Information Report dated May 5 2016, earlier probed by State Vigilance Bureau of Panchkula. 
 
On August 24 1982, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) allotted a plot in Panchkula to AJL for publishing a Hindi Daily Newspaper, "Nav-Jivan". 
 
"The Estate Officer of HUDA on October 30 1992 resumed the said plot, as the said private company (AJL) failed to carry out the construction as per the terms and conditions of allotment," CBI said. 
 
"AJL had been given ample opportunities for completion of construction at the site."
 
But the land was left unused and AJL did not publish any newspaper from that plot. It was further alleged that the plot was instead mortgaged by the private company to Syndicate Bank, New Delhi, and the loan availed of against the mortgage of the plot was used for commercial purpose.
 
AJL filed an appeal against the resumption order, which was dismissed by the Chief Administrator, HUDA, Panchkula on July 26, 1995. 
 
Thereafter, the AJL challenged the July 26 1995 order before the Finance Commissioner and Secretary, Haryana, Town and Country Planning Department, but the same was also dismissed on October 10 1996. 
 
"The Legal Remembrancer, Haryana had given legal opinion that the resumed plot could not be re-allotted, since the order had attained finality, after the dismissal of the revision petition filed by the AJL," the CBI said. 
 
During the investigation, it was revealed that then chairman HUDA, Hooda allegedly overruled the opinion of Legal Remembrancer, Haryana and the proposal of the officials of HUDA for floating new advertisement for the allotment of the institutional plot at the prevalent current rate on flimsy grounds. 
 
CBI said that Hooda has misused his official position by wrongly ordering for re-allotment of the plot at old rates plus interest to the AJL on August 28 2005. Hooda has served as the Chief Minister of Haryana from 2005 to 2014.
 
IANS
 

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Fire breaks out in Howrah-bound Kalka Mail, six hospitalised

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A fire broke out early on Tuesday in a coach of the Howrah-bound Kalka Mail near Kurukshetra in Haryana, an official said. Six passengers were hospitalised.
 
"Fire broke out in front of the SLR (Seating cum Luggage Rake), next to the locomotive of Howrah-Kalka Mail between Dhirpur and Dhonda Khedi station around 2.55 a.m.," Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar told IANS.
 
Following the blaze, the loco pilot immediately stopped the train and detached the affected coach. This prevented the fire from spreading to other coaches. No one was injured, Kumar said.
 
However, six passengers were admitted to hospital after they complained of breathlessness.
 
The traffic on the route was affected for about an hour, he added.
 
The passengers of the SLR coach were shifted to other coaches as the train resumed its onward journey without the SLR.
 
IANS
 

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5 killed as car falls from bridge in Haryana

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Five persons were killed and nine others injured in Hisar town of Haryana on Wednesday when a speeding car ran over two men sleeping on the roadside and then fell from a bridge, police said.
 
The out of control car had first hit another car on the Jindal bridge before running over the two sleeping labourers from Bihar, a police officer said.
 
It had three occupants when it fell from the bridge, killing all of them.
 
The accident happened after traffic was allowed along one-way on the bridge causing congestion, as work was going on in the other part, the police officer said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Modi opens KMP Expressway; says it will cut pollution, traffic in Delhi

 
Modi inaugurates Western Peripheral Expressway
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Kundli-Manesar section of the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway in Haryana, saying it will help in reducing vehicular pollution in the national capital.
 
The 136.65-km long six-lane Expressway, which will provide an alternative route to vehicles to go towards Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, will help in easing traffic flow, especially of heavy vehicles, through Delhi.
 
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the Expressway would lead to more development of the National Capital Region (NCR). 
 
He said the 83-km Kundli-Manesar section was completed four months ahead of the revised deadline. The 53-km Palwal-Manesar section was inaugurated in April 2016. 
 
Modi dedicated the KMP Expressway, also called as Western Peripheral Expressway, to people from Sultanpur village in Gurugram district. 
 
"Our government has undertaken the massive expansion of highways and railways in the country to bring more development. Everyday, 27 km of highways are being made," Modi said while addressing a gathering on the occasion. 
 
Taking a dig at the previous government, Modi said the BJP governments (in the Centre and states) were determined to get work executed and completed compared to earlier when projects would just linger on. 
 
"Work was going on on this (KMP) Expressway for 12 years. You should have got this Expressway 8-9 years back. It was to be used during the (2010) New Delhi Commonwealth Games. This shows the work culture of the previous government which encouraged delays and wastage of public money," Modi said. 
 
"Had this Expressway been completed on time, the traffic mechanism in Delhi would have been something else. With the completion of this Expressway, heavy vehicles can avoid entering Delhi. This will help in reducing pollution in Delhi. This Expressways speed up the economy, environment, ease of living and ease of travelling," Modi said. 
 
The Expressway, built at a cost of Rs 6,434 crore including land acquired at a cost of Rs 2,788 crore and construction done at a cost of Rs 3,646 crore, was originally to be completed by 2009-end but got mired in controversies and litigation. Its initial cost was Rs 1,915 crore. 
 
It was rescheduled to be completed by February 19, 2019, but has been completed before the fixed date. It passes through five districts in Haryana: Sonipat, Jhajjar, Gurgaon, Mewat and Palwal.
 
The Expressway would connect four major national highways -- Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar, Delhi-Agra-Varanasi-Dankuni, Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Delhi-Hisar-Fazilka-India-Pakistan border. 
 
The Haryana government has announced plans to develop five new cities over an area of 50,000 hectares on each side of the KMP Expressway. 
 
For the convenience and safety of commuters, trauma centre and police patrolling vehicles have been deployed on  the expressway. 
 
After every 14 km, one ambulance and one recovery van with a helpline number have been stationed for speedy response in case of accidents or emergencies. The expressway has been developed as a green corridor, the spokesman added. 
 
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Ballabhgarh Metro and laid the foundation stone for the Haryana Vishwakarma Skill University in Palwal.
 
The Ballabhgarh Metro link will connect the 3.2-km long Escorts Mujesar-Raja Nahar Singh (Ballabhgarh) section with the Kashmere Gate-Escorts Mujesar from village Sultanpur. It will be known as the Violet Line. 
 
Ballabhgarh has become the fourth city in Haryana to get Metro connectivity after Gurugram, Faridabad and Bahadurgarh. 
 
IANS
 

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India to release eight captive-reared vultures with tracking devices

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Eight captive-reared critically endangered white-backed vultures are set to take wings early next year for the first time in India since the vulture conservation centre near here was set up in September 2001.
 
The Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre on the edge of the Bir Shikargaha Wildlife Sanctuary is a joint project of Haryana and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) with the British government's Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species Fund to investigate the massive decline of three critically endangered Gyps species of vultures in India.
 
Six captive-bred vultures and two rescued from the wild will be tagged with a 30-gram device for satellite telemetry each with a battery backup of three-four years and this will help understanding their behaviour and survival instincts in the wild, BNHS Principal Scientist Vibha Prakash told IANS here.
 
He said the vultures would be released most probably by March-April next year in the Bir Shikargaha sanctuary where the BNHS is working to declare it as vulture safe zone, which extends transboundary into Himachal Pradesh where the wildlife awareness among the villagers is quite high.
 
"If any of the released vulture die or get injured, we can recover them. Satellite telemetry will help us to know the cause of death and prevent other vultures dying from that cause."
 
The satellite tags will also be useful in discovering whether the captive-bred birds behave normally in the wild with other closely-related species.
 
In the first event of its kind in South Asia, the government of Nepal and national and international conservation organisations released critically endangered white-backed vultures in the wild on November 9, 2017.
 
India is home to nine species of vultures. Three of these species, the white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed vultures, underwent catastrophic population declines of greater than 90 per cent in the mid-1990s. The birds are now listed as critically endangered.
 
The vulture, a nature's scavenger, cleans the environment of animal carcasses. Villagers rely on them to dispose of cattle carcasses.
 
The reason, say biologists, for bringing the vultures to the brink of extinction in South Asia is mainly the extensive use of diclofenac in treating cattle. Vultures that consumed the carcass of animals treated with diclofenac died with symptoms of kidney failure. The Indian government banned its veterinary use in 2006.
 
BNHS scientist Prakash said "if there is no toxicity-related death of these eight birds in two years, then we will go for release of 20-25 birds each year".
 
"We are planning to introduce 100 pairs each of the three species of white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed in the wild in the next 10 years. Before that, findings from the first proposed release batch will be crucial in the future programmes."
 
The long-billed and slender-billed vultures will be released in Madhya Pradesh and Assam, respectively.
 
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Officials admit the flight to freedom of these endangered vultures is still caught in red-tapism in the Haryana Forest Department, which has been authorised to procure 10 platform terminal transmitters or satellite telemetries through global bidding.
 
"These birds have been shifted to the pre-release aviary for over a year and a half. Twice their release was postponed last year. The only hurdle is the procurement of satellite telemetries and that too is bogged down by bureaucratic delays," an official, requesting anonymity, told IANS.
 
"The birds are now two to four years old and this is the best age group for their release. The delay in their release will definitely delay the vulture reintroduction programme," he added.
 
Prior to this release, two captive Himalayan griffon vultures were released in the wild in June 2016 from the Pinjore centre on an experimental basis.
 
Both birds were wing-tagged and leg-ringed for identification, but not tagged with satellite transmitters.
 
It was part of Asia's first Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme under which the captive-bred birds were to be introduced in the wild.
 
The team managed to monitor one released bird for a day before it disappeared, while the second bird was tracked for almost a month and never sighted again.
 
The Pinjore centre, Asia's first centre of its kind, houses 289 Gyps species vultures; 198 of them bred at the facility that is funded by the central government.
 
Two such conservation and breeding centres are in Rani in Assam and Rajabhatkhawa in West Bengal.
 
IANS
 

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Air pollution 25 times higher in Faridabad

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While the air-quality across the national capital was deteriorating, Faridabad on Sunday recorded the worse pollution levels in the region, over 25 times higher than the safe limit, causing confusion among weather experts.
 
According to Faridabad's pollution monitoring station, the PM2.5 or particles with diameter less than 2.5 mm, was found 1,515 microgrammes per cubic metres at 9 a.m., while by 12 p.m. it dropped to 1,457 units and 1,452 units by 1 p.m.. 
 
The permissible limits of PM2.5, one of the finest pollutant in air, is 60 units as per national and 25 units as per international standards.
 
The experts have however, claimed the high readings might have been a technical glitch despite the fact that air-quality of the region was "very-poor" .
 
"This must be a technical glitch, pollutants cannot be so abnormally high. The 1,515 units of PM2.5 is way more. We are looking into the matter," Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Member Secretary Prashant Gargav said.
 
On Sunday, the national capital continued breating toxic air, as the air quality remained very-poor.
 
By 1 p.m., the average PM2.5 across 36 regions in Delhi was 223 units while average of 48 units in 247 units across NCR.
 
IANS
 

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Gurugram judge's son shot at by guard dies, family donates organs

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Gurugram's Additional District and Sessions Judge Krishan Kant's son, who was lying 'brain dead' in Medanta-The Medicity hospital here after being shot at by the judge's security guard on October 13, was declared dead by the hospital on Tuesday.
 
"A very critical Dhruv was on life support since he was admitted to the hospital on October 13. He died around 3 a.m. on Tuesday. The family of the deceased donated his organs," A.K. Dubey, Medical Superintendent of Medicity, told IANS.
 
Dhruv (18) and his mother Ritu (38) were shot and injured by their guard Haryana Police constable Mahipal Singh (32) at the busy Arcadia market in Sector 49 here on October 13 afternoon.
 
The judge's wife had died late that night.
 
Police had said that Mahipal Singh shot at Dhruv and Ritu in a fit of rage.
 
Deputy Commissioners of Police Sumit Kuhar and Sulochana Gajraj had addressed the media for the first time after the incident on October 17.
 
According to them, the victims had gone to shop at the market. When they returned, Mahipal Singh was not near the car.
 
"Upset over his absence, Ritu scolded Mahipal Singh while Dhruv asked him to hand over the keys of the car. Angry over their behaviour, the guard first started beating Dhruv who was seated on the passenger seat. A few minutes later he shot at him twice," Kuhar said.
 
"The accused also beat up the judge's wife before shooting at her," the officer had said earlier.
 
Mahipal, whose services were terminated, is currently in Gurugram's Bhondsi jail.
 
IANS
 

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Golf: Teenaged Sifat Sagoo emerges as best amateur at HWIO

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Teenager Sifat Sagoo, youngest of the Indian players in the field, emerged as the low amateur after a superb round of 2-under 70 on the final day of the Hero Women’s Indian Open here on Sunday.
 
The 17-year-old Sifat   who finished in Tied-33rd place  said that "but for the second day, when I shot 79 and did nothing right, it could have been a great tournament. But I am still happy with the other rounds and especially the final round, where I had three bogeys in a row from sixth to eighth, but fought back with four birdies and no bogeys in last 10 to finish under par at 70.”
 
She added, “It will go a long way in boosting my confidence. I have some more years in amateur golf and definitely want to play pro golf in the future.”
 
 Sifat, who represented India at the recent Asian Games in Jakarta said, “My father (Harvinder), has been a big inspiration for me and since he is a regular golfer, it was he who got me into the game.”
 
Sifat recalled her experience of the Asian Games very glowingly. “To represent my country at the Asian Games is a feeling I cannot express in words. It has been one of the high points of my short career. To be able to play against some of the best amateurs in Asia was a great feeling. It was a huge step for me and one that will always be in my memory.”
 
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