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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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Congress fields Hooda father-son, Bhajan Lal kin in Haryana

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The Congress on Sunday announced the name of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for the Sonipat seat and Bhavya Bishnoi, a grandson of former Haryana strongman Bhajan Lal, for the Hisar seat.
 
By fielding Hooda, the Congress is trying to send a message to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Haryana that the election in the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana is not going to be easy.
 
Hooda is a prominent Jat leader who remained Chief Minister from 2005 to 2014. Sonipat seat has considerable number of Jat community voters.
 
His son, Deepinder Singh Hooda, is the Congress nominee for the adjoining Rohtak seat, the traditional stronghold of the Hooda family.
 
The Congress also announced Bhavya Bishnoi, son of former Hisar MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, for the Hisar Lok Sabha seat.
 
Bhavya will face sitting MP Dushyant Chautala (Jannayak Janata Party) and former IAS officer Bijender Singh (BJP), son of Union Minister Birender Singh.
 
The Congress had earlier named former Union Minister Selja as its candidate for the Ambala seat and state Congress president Ashok Tanwar for the Sirsa Lok Sabha seat.
 
The party on Sunday named former minister Nirmal Singh from Kurukshetra. Congress leader and industrialist Naveen Jindal was the MP from Kurukshetra from 2004 to 2014 but he lost the last Lok Sabha election to BJP's Raj Kumar Saini.
 
The Congress has announced former Haryana Assembly Speaker and Hooda confidant Kuldeep Sharma to contest election from the Karnal seat.
 
Within days of announcing the name of Lalit Nagar for the Faridabad Lok Sabha seat, the Congress on Sunday changed its candidate. It has now named Avtar Singh Bhadana from that seat.
 
The party has fielded former MP Shruti Chaudhary, who is the daughter of former cabinet minister Kiran Chaudhary, from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh and former cabinet minister Ajay Singh Yadav from the Gurgaon seat.
 
The Congress, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, managed to win only the Rohtak seat. The BJP won seven seats while the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) bagged two seats (Hisar and Sirsa).
 
Voting for all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana is scheduled to take place on May 12.
 
IANS
 

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50 killed, scores hurt in rain, thunderstorm in north-west India

 
Heavy storm hits Western & Central India, takes lives
As many as 50 people were reportedly killed and scores of others injured in thunderstorms, hail and dust-storm and rain that lashed Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana since Tuesday evening.
 
The maximum number of deaths was reported from Rajasthan where 25 people were said to have lost their lives in a severe thunderstorm that struck the state.
 
An active western disturbance over eastern Iran and neighbourhood had been moving eastward since Monday, which caused cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan and its neighbourhood at lower tropospheric levels, said the Met department.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the families of those killed in the natural calamity.
 
Rajasthan Relief and Disaster Management Secretary Ashutosh A. T. Pednekar said five people died in Udaipur, four each in Jhalawad and Jaipur, two each in Bundi, Jalore and Rajsamand, and one each in Baran, Bhilwara, Alwar, Hanumangarh, Pali and Pratapgarh districts.
 
Winds blowing at 60 kmph blew away roofs of many houses and uprooted trees and electric poles in many parts of the state, officials said.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia payment for the families of the deceased.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, 15 people died in the untimely rain and accompanying lightning on Tuesday evening. "Three persons each died in Indore, Dhar and Shajapur, two in Ratlam, and one each in Chhindwara, Rajgarh, Sehore and Alirajpur areas," an official statement said. 
 
Officials said pouring rain damaged properties in Bhopal, Indore, Dhar, Shajapur, Sehore, Ujjain, Ratlam, Khargone, Badwani, Chhindwara, Alirajpur and Rajgarh areas.
 
Extensive damage to crops has also been reported from many parts of the state.
 
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister Kamal Nath in a tweet assured all support to the affected families and farmers whose crop has been destroyed in the hailstorm.
 
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In Maharashtra, 11 people were killed over the past 72 hours, besides four others last week, in thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and rain, officials said. Among the victims were nine killed by lightning between Sunday and Tuesday, and four by thunderbolts on April 4-5.
 
Parts of Mumbai and suburbs, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar received showers on Sunday and Monday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday forecast thunderstorms with lightning and strong winds at various places in Nanded, Latur and Osmanabad.
 
In Gujarat, according to unofficial reports, 12 people died in the rain, hailstorm and dust-storm that hit the state towards Tuesday evening. The maximum loss of life and property was reported from the Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions. 
 
Meanwhile, a report from Chandigarh said standing wheat crop was damaged after rain, dust-storm and strong winds lashed Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday-Wednesday. Harvesting of wheat is on for the past 10 days in most parts of the two states.
 
The Punjab government has ordered a special survey to assess crop damage. 
 
According to the Met department on Wednesday evening, the Western Disturbance, which caused severe weather over major parts of northwest India and adjoining central India on Wednesday, has further moved eastwards. The resultant reduction in moisture incursion from the Arabian Sea is likely to weaken the intensity of the system from Thursday. 
 
However, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds (speed reaching 40-50 kmph) are likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, northeast Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand during the next 24 hours. 
 
Isolated thundersquall and hail-storms are likely over East MP and north Chhattisgarh during the next 24 hours. Thundersqualls are also likely over Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during the period.
 
IANS
 

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Two killed, 3 hurt in CNG car fire in Gurugram

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Two persons were killed and three others injured in an explosion in a CNG kit-fitted car, parked in a fireworks godown in the Kadipur industrial area near Sector 10, police said on Monday.
 
The cause of the explosion is yet to be ascertained. The fire spread rapidly and soon engulfed the warehouse, said Subhash Bokan, PRO, the Gurugram Police. 
 
While a security guard, identified as Bawa, died on the spot, another person succumbed to injuries at the civil hospital. Three others were referred to Safdarjung Hospital. Their condition was stated to be critical. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Deepender, Selja figure in new Congress LS list

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The Congress on Saturday released a list of 18 Lok Sabha candidates, fielding Deepender Singh Hooda from Rohtak, former Union Minister Kumari Selja from Ambala and Ashok Tanwar from Sirsa in Haryana.
 
The party has fielded Shruti Chaudhary from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Captain Ajay Singh Yadav from Gurgaon and Lalit Nagar from Faridabad in the state. 
 
Hooda, son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is a sitting MP from Rohtak. Selja, a former Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, had contested the 2014 election from Ambala but lost. 
 
Tanwar is also being fielded again from Sirsa and Chaudhary from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh. 
 
The party also declared three candidates for Madhya Pradesh -- Dewasish Jararia from Bhind, Ashok Singh from Gwalior and Dinesh Girwal from Dhar.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the party has nominated R. K. Chaudhary from Mohanlalganj, Ummed Singh Nishad from Ambedkar Nagar, Krishna Patel from Gonda, Raj Kishore Singh from Basti, Rajesh Mishra from Salempur, Devvrata Mishra from Jaunpur, Ajit Pratap Kushwah from Ghazipur, Shiv Kanya Kushwah from Chandauli and Rama Kant Yadav from Bhadohi.
 
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Gallacher wins Hero Indian Open; Rashid, Chikka finish tied 10th

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher with Hero MotoCorp Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Pawan Munjal after winning the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram on March 31, 2019.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher with Hero MotoCorp Ltd Chairman and Managing Director Pawan Munjal after winning the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram on March 31, 2019.
First round joint leader Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher survived a quadruple-bogey disaster and staged a stunning comeback, carding three birdies in the last four holes for one under 71 fourth round, to pip Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura by a shot to claim the $ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open Golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Sunday. 
 
Gallacher’s aggregate of nine-under-par 279 give him a one-shot lead over Kawamura. The 44-year-old Scot held his nerves round as he recovered from a horrible quadruple-bogey on hole seven to take home the winner’s prize purse of $291,660.
 
Kawamura had a chance to force a play-off with Gallacher at the last but could not take it into extra time as he could only make par. The Japanese settled for second place on his own following a 73.
 
"I was chasing the lead and was three behind to start the day. I got off to a slow start and then made a quadruple bogey but I was very calm, saw that I was only 5 behind. I told myself, just stick in there. You never know on this golf course, it can turn around very quickly, given how tough it's playing and then I went three under in the last three holes,” the Scot said after the win.
 
About the quad bogey, he said, “I actually forgot all about it. It was a tough pin and I was trying to get my drive as long as possible as it was down wind and it ended up left against the fence on the left. Changed club to a three wood and the next shot I lost the ball as well so I went back to start again. Got on the green and two-putted that."
 
Local favourites Rashid Khan (70) and S. Chikkarangappa (74) finished as the highest-placed Indians in tied-10th position.
 
Finland’s Kalle Samooja aced the 12th hole from 127 metres with his pitching wedge, marking the first time in the history of the Indian Open that three hole-in-ones were made in the same year.
 
Chikkarangappa (74-70-66-74), who had raised hopes of the home fans by finishing tied 6th after the third round, failed to produce the same form and returned a poor 2 over 74 last round to slip to four places down the rung.
 
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Chikka had double bogeys on the 5th and 10th and he also dropped a stroke on the 14th. He hit three birdies and with an aggregate of 4 under 214 shared the tied place with 7 others including compatriot Rashid Khan and overnight joint leader Sihwan Kim.
 
Young Rashid Khan (72,70,72,70), who was tied 21st after a 72 on Saturday, came up with much improved showing, firing two under last round which propelled him to tied 10th with a total of 4 under 284.
 
Playing steady golf Rashid hit birdies on the 2nd and 9th but dropped strokes on 5th and 8th to go out at par 36. Coming back he started with a bogey but recovered his ground by hitting two successive birdies on the 11th and 12th to complete his round at 70.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma, who was overnight tied 15th, had a poor last round day as he carded three over par 75 to tumbled 12 places to end tied 27 at par 288. 
 
Shubhankar Sharma (69-73-71-75), unlike yesterday when he had recovered well after an early double-bogey, could not do an encore on the last. He had two double bogeys on the 8th and 14 and he also missed shots on the 11th and 12th. His three birdies on 2nd, 15 and 18th reduced the gap to some extent in this round.
 
Gaganjeet Bhullar had a one under 71 round and that took him up 24 places to end at tied 39 with three over 291
 
Former champion SSP Chawrasia tied 47 overnight returned three over 75 round and with a tournament total of four over 292 ended two places above at tied 45.
 
Ajeetesh Sandhu (74,71,73,75) with three over par last round stayed put at tied 54 with five over 293 total. Gaurav Pratap Singh and Rahil Gangjee were tied 69 at 13 over 301.
 
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Golf: Last hole blues for leader Suri, Chikkarangappa keeps Indian hopes alive

S. Chikkarangappa
S. Chikkarangappa
Chikkarangappa S. fired six-under-66 to keep Indians' hopes alive as seven other home challengers struggled to keep afloat while it turned out to be last hole blues for leader Julian Suri on the third and penultimate day of the US$ 1.75 million Hero Indian Open at the demanding DLF Golf & Country Club here on Saturday.
 
Only three of eight Indians in fray -- Chikkarangappa (six-under), Shubhankar Sharma (one-under) and SSP Chawrasia (one-under) -- shot under-par scores.
 
Overnight leader Julian Suri looked set to consolidate his lead at the top as he was 13-under with three bogeys against six birdies but on the last hole he fumbled and carded a double bogey to finish the round one under 71 and was forced to share of the lead with England’s Callum Shinkwin who returned 4 under 68. Both totalled 11under 205 at the end of the third day.
 
“I think a couple of the mistakes I made today were after long waits on the tee box and that was quite a long wait on 18. No excuses, totally my fault and I need to compose myself better and I think that is a bit of a learning curve for me after being out of tournament golf for a while now.” Suri said.
 
“You have to be on your game at all times. Any slip up or anything can be pretty penal. I am feeling good with my overall game despite 18 there, the game feels good. I know Callum played well today. I knew that the putt on 18 was to keep a share of the lead which was big for me to make that and I will hopefully take some of that momentum into tomorrow, he added.
 
 
The 25-year-old Chikka, an Asian Tour regular and two-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), seems to be the only Indian with some hope going into the final round as he is now placed tied sixth at six-under-210, five behind the joint leaders Julian Suri and Callum Shinkwin
 
Chikka’s third round exploits lifted him 35 places from his overnight tied 41st.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma produced a hard-fought one-under-71 to move up four places to tied 15th at three-under-213.
 
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Chikkarangappa (74-70-66) has been experiencing a career revival since November last year. Over the last five months, he has won two events on the PGTI and also finished runner-up at an Asian Tour event that helped him seal his card in Asia for 2019.
 
Chikka carried his form into the Indian Open as was evident from his third round performance. Today he had a dream start as he struck the ball to perfection from the very outset and as a result conjured birdies on the first, second and fourth.
 
His putting was the highlight as he picked up four more birdies on the ninth, 10th, 11th and 13th. This stretch saw him make a couple of 12-feet birdie conversions. He finally dropped his only bogey of the day on the 17th.
 
“I started really well and that set the tone for the rest of the day. My ball-striking was right up there as I hit almost all greens in regulation and found all fairways. The putting was also sharp,“ Chikka said after his round.
 
“I will take seven birdies and a bogey on this golf course any day. This is my best round at this course and almost feels like a course record.  
 
“I’ve been in good touch since late last year and that helped my confidence coming into this tournament. I just feel good about all aspects of my game at the moment.
 
“As for the last round, I just need to enjoy myself on the course and play with no expectations. Hopefully, the rest should fall in place," he said.
 
Shubhankar Sharma (69-73-71) recovered well after an early double-bogey on the second to shoot a brave 71. Sharma came up with five birdies and two bogeys between the fifth and 18th to close the day with a respectable score.
 
Rashid Khan dropped two places to tied 21st after a 72 on Saturday. His score read two-under-214.
 
 Former champion SSP Chawrasia was tied 47th at one-over-217 while Ajeetesh Sandhu was a further shot back in tied 54th.
 
Gaurav Pratap Singh occupied tied 59th place at three-over-219, Gaganjeet Bhullar was tied 63rd at four-over-220 and Rahil Gangjee was tied 66th at five-over-221.
 
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Rashid, Shubhankar keep Indian hopes alive as Julian Suri leads in Hero Indian Open Golf

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Young Delhi Golfer Rashid Khan and Chandigarh-based Shubhankar Sharma carded contrasting second rounds to keep Indian hopes alive as they trailed the leader Julian Suri of the United States by eight shots at the halfway stage of the the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Friday.
 
Two-time Asian Tour winner Rashid shot two-under-70 while two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar returned one over 73 and were the best-placed Indians as both were tied 19th with a tally of two-under-142. 
 
The cut was declared at two-over-146. Seventy professionals made the cut. Out of a total of 37 Indians in the fray, only eight made the cut.
 
Suri stretched his overnight lead to three after carding a second consecutive five-under-par 67. The 27-year-old American, who shared a one-shot lead at the end of the first round, fired an eagle and five birdies against two bogeys for a 10-under-par 134.
 
Suri, who last won on the European Tour two years ago, credited his hot putter for yet another commendable round in the event, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
 
"I hit it really well the whole day and I just tried to free it up a little bit on the second nine with my putting. I putted with more feel instead, which is how I have usually been putting, and I gave myself a lot more chances,” said the American, who is of Indian descent.
 
Thailand’s Prom Meesawat, American Berry Henson and India’s Rashid Khan settled eight shots off the pace following rounds of 74, 72 and 70 respectively.
 
Henson, a one-time Asian Tour winner, was glad his conservative approach paid off as he made it into the weekend rounds after trading three birdies against three bogeys.
 
“I’ve only hit one driver over the past two rounds. I hope to take a bit more of a risk over the weekend and try and get in better positions to score. Today I just hit my three-wood off the tee just to keep my ball in play. That was my game plan, to keep my ball in play and stay away from the big numbers,” said Henson.
 
 After his round Rashid said, “I had a good start and finish today. I placed the ball well and rolled in the putts. Shooting an under-par round on this course is always an encouraging sign so I’m quite satisfied with today’s effort.
 
 “This course requires a lot of patience as you have to play away from some of the flags. I managed to do that well today.
 
“I had a good preparation for this event as I was invited to practice for a few days at the Kalhaar Blues & Greens Course in Ahmedabad last week. Playing at Kalhaar gave me a feel of the DLF Golf & Country Club as both courses are similar in many ways," he said.
 
On the other hand, Shubhankar said he was not too happy with the day. “ A one-over is not what I had expected today. I didn’t feel like I played bad but missing crucial putts on the front-nine made a lot of difference. I was just struggling to make pars on the front-nine.”
 
“I was in a position to birdie the fourth and eighth but ended up dropping bogeys there which in effect meant that I lost four shots on those two holes. Those two bogeys were definitely big setbacks.
 
“If I had birdied the fifth and moved to one-under once again, things could’ve been very different. Landing it in the water on the eighth was also a big disappointment. The importance of scoring on the front-nine can be stressed by the fact that one doesn’t get too many birdie opportunities on the back-nine here.
 
“I made pars on the last two holes but was not satisfied with a couple of shots there as well. I could’ve been in better positions on both holes," he said.
 
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Shubankar tied 7th, two shots behind leaders at Hero Indian Open Golf

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Shubhankar Sharma and Rahil Gangjee led the home side’s challenge as Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and American Julian Suri at five-under-67 jointly led the field on the opening day of the Hero Indian Open at the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Thursday.
 
Shubhankar carded three-under-69 to be at tied seventh place, two off the lead. Gangjee fired a steady two-under-70 and was tied 16th at the US$ 1.75 million event.
 
Shubhankar, a 10th tee starter, made an early gain with a long birdie conversion on the 12th. The 22-year-old, who was in good putting form through the day, then made two consecutive birdies on the 18th and first, the latter being another long conversion from 15 feet, to take his score to three-under.
 
Two-time European Tour winner Sharma’s excellent approach shot on the par-5 fourth landed six feet from the pin thus setting up an eagle for him.
 
The Chandigarh-based golfer was in the joint lead at five-under through 14 holes before he hit a rough patch on the sixth and seventh. He found the bunker on the sixth and seventh and thus dropped successive bogeys there to close the day with a three-under.
 
“I think I played very well today and didn’t make too many mistakes. I missed a couple of key putts on the front nine. Made a silly mistake on six and seven but apart from those holes I am pretty happy with how I finished,” said Sharma.
 
Rahil Gangjee mixed three birdies with a bogey during his round of 70. The other Indians who got off to a decent start were Om Prakash Chouhan (71) tied 28th place, Gaganjeet Bhullar (72) and Rashid Khan (72) who were both in tied 46th place.
 
Among other prominent home side names, Shiv Kapur (74) and two-time Indian Open champion SSP Chawrasia (74) were both tied 76th while another former winner Anirban Lahiri (77) was tied 107th.
 
Stephen and Julian Suri, were followed by four others who carded four-under 68. That group included Robert Karlsson, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, and Thailand’s Prom Meesawat.
 
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Placed Tied-7th with Sharma were Scott Hend, Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng,Poom Saksansin, and Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura.
 
Gallacher, a three-time European Tour winner, fired a stunning 67 to take the morning clubhouse lead on his own while three players stayed one shot behind including Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
 
Aiming for a first win on Indian soil, Hend recovered brilliantly from a bad front nine by closing with three consecutive birdies in his final three holes.
 
"After my 17th and 18th hole, we thought we would be flying tomorrow night. I three-putted the 17th and hit two balls into the water hazard on hole 18 which was a bit of a nightmare. To come back after that was great, and I think so far this year this was the best round that I have played,” said Hend, coming off his 10th Asian Tour victory last week in Malaysia.
 
Gallacher and Suri had contrasting fortunes at the same Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club last year. The Scotsman was Tied-seventh, while Suri headed home early with rounds of 76-82. Gallacher’s card included six birdies, one bogey, a double and a closing eagle, while Suri had seven birdies and a bogey on either side of the course.
 
A year ago, Gallacher tied for seventh at the Hero Indian Open and that effort included five-under 67, which he equaled on Thursday. Gallacher said, “It was a perfect morning. Cool to start with and then it heated up later on in the round, and not too much wind, so it was perfect today.
 
“I think you have to get it in play off the tee, there is just so much trouble. I think if you get the tee shot in place you can hit a couple of nice iron shots and take advantage of the par fours that are quite short, drive a couple, and knock it onto the par fives. It is quite a strategic course. I don’t think you need to be the longest player on the Tour to play it, I think you’ve just got to plot your way around it.”
 
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Anirban, Chawrasia to lead home challenge at the Hero Indian Open

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Former champions Anirban Lahiri, S. S. P. Chawrasia and 2018 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Shubhankar Sharma will lead the home challenge in the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open commencing on Thursday here at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
 
Anirban and Chawrasia between them have won the Hero Indian Open three times in the period between 2015 and 2017
 
Apart from Lahiri, Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar, youngsters like Khalin Joshi and Viraj Madappa, who broke through last year, and others will be part of the Indian campaign.
 
The field has the 2018 Scottish Open winner Brandon Stone, long-hitting Bernd Wiesberger, four-time European Tour winner, and Gavin Green, a former Asian Tour No. 1, who are strong contenders
 
Jazz Janewattananond (No. 71),  Adrian Otaegui (No. 73), Shaun Norris (No. 90) and Jorge Campillo (No. 93) David Law (Vic Open), Aaron Rai (Hong Kong Open) and Scott Hend (Maybank Malaysian Championships) are among the other foreigners in the fray.
 
Lahiri is here on the back of a solid performance last week at the Valspar Championship in Florida, where his last round 68 was equal best score on a windy and tough Sunday.
 
Sharma was seventh here last year after going into Sunday with the lead, but his middling finish at T-30 while defending the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur had a strong finish and that will help steady his nerves.
 
Hend, who broke a near three-year drought with the Maybank title last week is here. So is last year’s other top-three finisher Sihwan Kim of the USA and Maybank Runner-up Nacho Elvira of Spain.
 
All of them will be looking with some trepidation at the course. But both Lahiri and Sharma said the course is playing much better than last year.
 
Added Lahiri, “It looks immaculate. This course is probably in the best shape that any of us has seen so far. It seems to be the most playable compared to all the other years we’ve played.
 
“The greens are definitely a lot softer and the grass has settled down. In the sense of what to expect this week, it will be a great golf course, we’ll see how it goes because it really changes depending on if the tees are pushed back or pushed forward. That’s a big factor here.”
 
 Indians are always considered the toughest to beat on home soil, but with the field having four players in Top-100 of the world, none of whom is an Indian, besides a lot of others ranked between 100 and 150, there will be a stiff battle over the next four days.
 
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Wiesberger stars as World Team beats Asians in Skills Challenge at Hero Indian Open

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Bernd Wiesberger put his rivals on the notice. The display he put up at the Hero Skills Challenge here on Tuesday indicated that he is on the right path. 
 
The Austrian, who was out of action from May to November last year due to a wrist injury, showed some skillful play as he won his team, the Rest of the World (RoW), three of the four Skills against an Asian foursome at the action-packed forerunner of the Hero Indian Open, which gets underway on Thursday.
 
The Challenge was played out at the ninth hole of the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
 
Each Skill win was worth $ 2,500, which meant the RoW won US $ 7,500, while the Asian team won US $ 2,500. But the winnings were donated to a charity.
 
The prizes were given away by Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp.
 
Wiesberger was the star of the RoW team comprising captain, Pablo Larrazabal and his Spanish teammate, Adrian Otaegui, the second highest ranked player in the field, and South African Brandon Stone.
 
The Asian team comprised skipper Shiv Kapur, two-time Hero Indian Open winner SSP Chawrasia, Asian Tour 2018 No. 1 Shubhankar Sharma and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who has been having a great season.
 
It was Kapur, who set the ball rolling for the home team, as he hit his chip shot from 80-odd yards to 18 inches with his first attempt and decided to forego his next two attempts as RoW’s Larrazabal and Otaegui were further than that from the pin. Chawrasia was the second Asian player in the Challenge.
 
The next Skill required precision and none was better than Wiesberger, who hit the platform with the Hero Bike on it twice in three shots. For Asia, Chawrasia failed on all three tries and Jazz managed it once in three shots. Stone also failed in his attempts.
 
Skipper Larrazabal was the best when it came to the bunker shot from 67 yards and hit his shot to within five feet five inches Shubhankar and Jazz of Asia were unable to get closer than that. Otaegui was the second RoW player.
 
In the final Skills Challenge, the Long Putt, Wiesberger was again the best, putting to 15 inches from the far end of the green on the ninth. Kapur and Shubhankar were the ones to have a go at the Challenge, while the second RoW player was Stone.
 
The action now shifts to the official Pro-Am scheduled for Wednesday.
 
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Kapur hopes for advantage, Stone, Wiesberger find course spectacular

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Seasoned campaigner Shiv Kapur on Tuesday expressed optimism about performing well in the Hero Indian Open saying he still feels he has played enough at the Gary Player Layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club here to get some advantage from the familiarity.
 
The star-studded Hero India Open is slated to be played here from 28 to 31 March.
 
“I missed the cut the last two years so I will obviously be doing things differently. Tee to green I’ve played it well the past two years it just hasn’t been able to do well on the greens. This year the greens are playing quite different so my focus this time around is to try and focus more on the greens, the more you play this course you just learn where to miss it” Shiv said.
 
“It’s the kind of golf course where you can get quite defensive just knowing there is trouble everywhere and you have to confront it. Visually it’s a very intimidating golf course but the actual landing area is quite generous.” he added.
 
Aaron Rai, who came for the tournament last year also , lavished praise on the course. “It (the course) is in incredible shape and is probably my favourite course in the world. It is very scenic to walk around, but more importantly it is a great course, a great test, so you have to be on.
 
“It would be incredible. My grandparents from both my mum and dad’s side were born in India, so back home as well I and my family have Indian heritage, so to even compete in India is a blessing, so if it was to happen and go one step further that would be a privilege, especially around a course like this where you need to be on your mental, and physical game, so a long way to go but if that did happen it would be incredible and a dream come true," he said.
 
Title contenders Brandon Stone, making his first appearance, and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who played at the same club five years ago, were awe-struck with their first look at the course.
 
Stone, who shot a 10-under 60 while winning the Scottish Open last year, said, “It’s my first time coming to India and so far, spectacular. I took my first tuk tuk ride yesterday, which was a lot of fun, and my first time looking at the course today. Mr (Gary) Player has come up again with another very unique design.”
 
“The condition of the golf course is spectacular – ten out of ten – the ground staff have done an incredible job here."
 
Wiesberger, who came to India for the 2014 edition of the Avantha Masters, said, “I haven’t been to India for five or six years so it’s nice to be back and I am looking forward to coming to a golf course that has been described as somewhat challenging, and something different to what we see on a regular basic."
 
Wiesberger missed out playing between May and November because of an injury. He said, “Unfortunately, I was out from May until November and that was quite a tough break for me, not having any golf to play over summer with the injury in my left wrist. I still feel the effects of it a little bit, but I’m not where I want to be, so my results have not been anywhere to what I expect of myself but at the same time I am kind of taking it easy, week by week.”
 
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Child rescued from Haryana borewell after 48 hours

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After a 48-hour-long rescue operation, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, who fell into a 70-foot narrow borewell in Haryana's Hisar district, was rescued on Friday, said officials.
 
The child is safe and kept under observation. His condition is stable, an official supervising the rescue operation told IANS.
 
The rescue team had to dig a parallel well to create a passage to reach the child, officials said.
 
Comprising of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indian Army and the district administration personnel, the rescuers were at work in the Balsamand village.
 
They provided oxygen and food items in the borehole. Also, a night-vision camera was planted to keep watch over the child.
 
Nadeem Khan, son of a road construction worker, fell into the borewell on Wednesday evening. He is the youngest of five siblings. Earlier, an attempt was made to pull the child out with the help of a net.
 
The hole was dug by a villager to install a tubewell.
 
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Haryana: Infant falls into borewell, rescue efforts on

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The efforts to rescue a one-year-old boy who fell into a 70-foot narrow borewell in the Balsamand village, Haryana, on Wednesday continued on Thursday, said officials.
 
The child is safe, an official supervising the rescue operation told IANS.
 
The official said steps have been taken to supply oxygen inside the well. Also, a night-vision camera has been planted to keep a watch on the child, who took a sleep last night.
 
The rescue team is digging a parallel well to create a passage to reach the child, officials said.
 
The rescue team, comprising the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indian Army and the district administration personnel, is at work at the village in Hisar district.
 
Nadeem Khan, son of a road construction worker, fell into the borewell on Wednesday. He is the youngest of five siblings.
 
Earlier, an attempt was made to pull the child out with the help of a net.
 
A villager had dug the borehole to install a tubewell.
 
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Aseemanand among four acquitted in Samjhauta blast case

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A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Wednesday acquitted all four accused, including Hindu leader Swami Aseemanand, in the February 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast which killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis.
 
The NIA court had in January 2014 framed charges against Aseemanand and three others -- Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma. All of them were present in the court on Wednesday.
 
They had been charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, sedition and more.
 
The blast on February 18, 2007 in the train, which runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Haryana's Panipat left 43 Pakistanis, 10 Indians and 15 unidentified people dead. A dozen people, including 10 Pakistanis, were also injured.
 
The blasts took place in two coaches of the train (Delhi-Attari) near a railway station in Diwana village, 160 km from here.
 
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Karnal ex-MP Arvind Sharma joins BJP

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Former Congress MP Arvind Sharma, who joined the BSP five years ago ahead of the Haryana Assembly polls, on Friday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here in the presence of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
 
Sharma, a former MP from Karnal in Haryana, quit the Congress to join the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) during the Assembly elections. He was defeated by BJP's Ashwani Kumar Chopra in the Lok Sabha polls of 2014.
 
In the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls, he was declared the Chief Ministerial candidate of the BSP but the party won only one seat. Sharma lost from both the seats he had contested. He left that party too in 2016.
 
The Karnal constituency, now represented by the BJP, comprises Karnal and Panipat districts and has nine Assembly segments.
 
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NIA court reserves verdict in Samjhauta Express blast case

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A special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court here on Monday reserved verdict in the February 2007 Samjhauta Express link train blast in which 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed.
 
The special NIA court reserved its judgment till March 14, following a fresh petition from a Pakistani national on Monday.
 
The petitioner said eyewitnesses from Pakistan, who were present on the train when blasts took place, were not sent summons nor asked to appear before the court. They were also not issued visas to come to India for court proceedings, he said.
 
The NIA court had in January 2014 framed charges against Hindu leader Swami Aseemanand and three others -- Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma -- in the case.
 
All accused were present in the NIA court on Monday.
 
They were charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, sedition under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Explosive Substances Act, the Railways Act, the Damage to Public Property Act and the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act.
 
Arguments in the case had concluded on March 6 and the NIA court had said the verdict would be pronounced on March 11.
 
The blast on February 18, 2007 in the train, which runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Panipat in Haryana left 68 people -- 43 Pakistanis, 10 Indians and 15 unidentified persons -- dead. As many as 64 were passengers, and the other four were railway officials. A dozen people, including 10 Pakistanis, were also injured. 
 
Blasts took place in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express link train (Delhi-Attari) near a railway station in Diwana village, 160 kilometre from here.
 
Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group 'Abhinav Bharat', was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 19, 2010 from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, for his alleged role in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad that killed 14 people. 
 
The NIA, which questioned Aseemanand about his role in the Samjhauta blast case, said it had evidence against him and others.
 
Over 250 witnesses were examined during the trial, out of which some had turned hostile.
 
The charge sheet in the case was filed in 2011, four years after the incident.
 
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IGL to supply CNG, PNG in Kaithal district of Haryana

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Public sector Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL), the largest CNG distribution company of the country, has said that it has received a letter of intent (LOI) from the Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) for supply of compressed natural gas (CNG) and piped natural gas (PNG) in the Kaithal district of Haryana.
 
The LOI has come after the 10th round of bidding to lay City Gas Distribution (CGD) network in the district, a press release from the company said.
 
It is expected that the first CNG station and PNG connection would be made available within a year. IGL has already started its CGD project in adjoining Karnal district, the release said.
 
Priyanka Soni, Deputy Commissioner, Kaithal announced the decision at a function held here on Friday.
 
Satpal Garg, Member, PNGRB, E.S. Ranganathan, Managing Director, IGL, and other senior officials from the district administration and IGL were present on the occasion.
 
Addressing the gathering, Soni called upon IGL to undertake timely implementation of the project and assured all support from the district administration for statutory clearances. 
 
Garg said PNGRB is facilitating the roll-out of CGD projects across the country with an objective of making India a gas-based economy and increasing the share of gas in the overall energy basket of the country from the current 6% to 15%. 
 
Ranganathan outlined the plans of IGL to set up CNG refueling infrastructure and piped gas facilities in the area. He announced that as per minimum work programme, IGL plans to set up 4 CNG stations and provide PNG connections to around 10,000 households in the next two years across the geographical area.
 
He added that, along with domestic kitchens, IGL would be providing gas connections to industries and commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants and hospitals in the region.
 
IGL, a joint venture of PSUs, GAIL (India) Ltd. and BPCL is already engaged in supplying CNG and PNG in Delhi, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Rewari and Gurugram.
 
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Gaurika survives a scare to win fifth leg of Hero WPG Tour

Gaurika Bishnoi
Gaurika Bishnoi
Gaurika Bishnoi survived anxious moments in the closing stages of the final round as she warded off Neha Tripathi’s spirited challenge to win the fifth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour event here on Friday.
 
Interestingly, all the five legs have produced different winners, signifying a close contest among the women professionals. 
 
Gaurika , who led by four shots after the second round, completed a start-to-finish win with a final round of 71 even as Neha Tripathi made a late charge with an impressive four-under 68 to come within a shot of the winner.
 
The winner had rounds of 72, 70 and 71 with none of her cards being above par. That showed a lot of consistency, which has been a hallmark of her play.
 
While Gaurika and Neha were engaged in a big battle, Gursimar Badwal (73) was third while Ridhima Dilawari (73) was Tied-fourth with Smriti Mehra (74).
 
Afshan Fatima (70) was sixth, Siddhi Kapoor (77) slipped to seventh, Khushi Khanijau (71) was eighth while Jyotsna Singh (71) and Ananya Datar (74) were Tied-10th.
 
Neha, who was four behind Gaurika at the start, turned in one-under 35, the same as the leader. Thereafter, the action started heating up on the back nine. After 12 holes the situated remained the same despite a birdie and a bogey from Gaurika, the same as Neha.
 
Then Neha had three birdies in a row from 13th to 15th, while Gaurika only had pars and the gap was down to one. 
 
Amidst pressure, Neha dropped a shot on 16th and even though she birdied the 18th, she fell short by one despite a brilliant three-under 33 on the back nine and a round of 68, which was the best of the week.
 
The final day produced five under-par rounds as the players went all out.
 
Gaurika did not have any birdies in the last six holes, but she was steady for six straight pars and logged her first win of the year following one runner-up and another third place finish.
 
This week, Diksha Dagar, Amandeep Drall, Vani Kapoor, Tvesa Malik and Astha Madan are playing in Australia and hence missed this event.
 
Despite not winning the title, Neha Tripathi moved to the top of the Hero Order of Merit with Rs. 4,51,400, as Gursimar Badwal lies second with Rs. 3,90,400 and Gaurika Bishnoi moves up to third with Rs. 3,76,800. Amandeep Drall with Rs. 3,44,000 and Afshan Fatima with Rs. 2,61,400 complete the top five.
 
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Gaurika extends lead to 4 shots in fifth leg of Hero WPG Tour

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Overnight leader Gaurika Bishnoi fired 2-under 70 to further consolidate her lead on the second and penultimate day of the fifth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Classic Golf & Country Club here on Thursday.
 
Gaurika, who is looking for her first win this season after coming close in the fourth leg in Ahmedabad, where she finished runner-up, carded five birdies while dropping three shots during the second round for a score of 2-under 70 and a total of 142.
 
Neha Tripathi, winner of the inaugural leg this season in Pune, carded the only other sub-par round of the day (71) and is lying second at a score of 146. Three other golfers - Gursimar Badwal, winner of Leg 2, along with Siddhi Kapoor and Smriti Mehra, are a shot behind Neha at 147. 
 
Winner of the third leg in Ahmedabad, Ridhima Dilawari was a further shot behind in sixth place with a score of 148.
 
Gaurika began the day with a bogey on the first hole, but bounced back in style with back-to-back birdies in the par-3 second and par-5 third holes. She slipped again at the par-4 seventh hole with a bogey but recovered quickly for a birdie on the ninth. 
 
In the back nine, another bogey in the tenth meant that she was again back at par. Playing steadily thereafter, she picked up a birdie on the fourteenth hole before finishing on a high with another birdie on the final hole.
 
Neha Tripathi carded bogeys on the par-5 ninth and fourteenth holes, but also hit birdies on the second, seventh and the eighteenth, and would be happy to have finished the day at 1-under 71 after her score of 75 in the opening round. 
 
Gursimar Badwal ran into some early trouble with two consecutive bogeys on the opening two holes, but managed to stage a recovery thereafter to close the round at 1-over 73, combining 4 bogeys with 3 birdies.
 
The only amateur in the fray, Natalii Gupta (73) is at seventh position with a score of 151, while Afshan Fatima (73) and Ananya Datar (77) are at tied-eighth with 152. Khushi Khanijau (77) with 154 completes the top-10.
 
In the final round tomorrow, Komal Chaudhary, Anisha Padukone and Sifat Alag will tee off first, followed by Anousha Tripathi, Mehar Atwal and Suchitra Ramesh in the second group. 
 
The third group will see Ayesha Kapur, Jyotsana Singh and Khushi Khanijau, followed by Ananya Datar, Afshan Fatima and amateur Natalii Gupta. Ridhima Dilawari, Smriti Mehra and Siddhi Kapoor will form the penultimate group, followed by the leaders Gursimar Badwal, Neha Tripathi and Gaurika Bishnoi.
 
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Gaurika emerges sole leader after first round of fifth leg of Hero WPG Tour

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In-form Gaurika Bishnoi emerged sole leader despite a bogey finish in the first round of the fifth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Par-72 Classic Golf & Country Club on Wednesday. 
 
Gaurika took a two-shot lead over Smriti  Mehra, Siddhi Kapoor and Gursimar Badwal, who all carded two-over 74 to be tied at second  place, while rookie Ananya Datar and experienced Neha Tripathi are tied-fifth with three-over 75 each.
 
The leader had a flying start with birdies on first and fourth but she gave away those gains with bogeys on fifth and seventh. She dropped yet another bogey on Par-4 10th, but quickly made up on the Par-3 11th. A birdie on Par-5 14th indicated an under-par finish before she dropped a shot on the Par-5 18th.
 
Gaurika, who is looking for her first win this season, has been close to winning when she finished runner-up in the fourth leg and third in the third leg.  
 
Smriti had one birdie on Par-3 second and after that she dropped shots on seventh, 11th and 14th for a 74, while Siddhi’s sole birdie of the day came on Par-4 seventh, the only player to birdie the hole. She had three other bogeys.
 
Also on 74 was Gursimar, winner of the second leg. She was three-over for the front nine, before she picked up her first birdie on the Par-5 14th, which afforded the maximum birdies on the day. She bogeyed 16th and birdied 17th to finish at 74.
 
Ridhima Dilawari, who won the fourth leg, had an unimpressive three-over 39 on the back nine and carded four-over 76 to be seventh, while Khushi Khanijau with four bogeys in last four holes shot 77 to be eighth.
 
Amateur Natalii Gupta and Anisha Padukone shot 78 each to complete the Top 10.
 
In the second round, Suchitra Ramesh, Jyotsana Singh and Komal Chaudhary will go out together in the first group. Mehar Atwal, Anousha Tripathi and Sifat Alag will follow in the second group, while Ayesha Kapur, Afshan Fatima and Anisha Padukone will make up the third.
 
The fourth three-ball will see amateur Natalii Gupta, Khushi Khanijau and Ridhima Dilawari, while the penultimate group will feature Neha Tripathi, Ananya Datar and Gursimar Badwal. Siddhi Kapoor, Smriti Mehra and Gaurika Bishnoi will tee off last in the lead group.
 
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Cabinet approves setting up of new AIIMS at Manethi, Haryana

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The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for the establishment of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Manethi in Rewari district of Haryana at a cost of Rs. 1,299 crore.
 
The Cabinet also gave its nod for the creation of one post of Director in the basic pay of Rs. 2,25,000/- (fixed) plus NPA (however, pay + NPA would not exceed Rs. 2,37,500) for for the new AIIMS, an official press release said.
 
The new AIIMS will add 100 MBBS seats and 60 B. Sc. (Nursing) seats, the release said. It will have around 750 hospital beds and 15-20 super specialty departments.
 
As per data of current functional AIIMS, it is expected that each new AIIMS would cater to around 1500 OPD patients per day and around 1000 IPD patients per month.
 
"Establishment of new AIIMS involves creation of Hospital, Teaching Block for medical & nursing courses, residential complex and allied facilities/services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi and other six new AIIMS taken up under Phase-I of PMSSY. The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the Region.
 
"The proposed institution shall have a hospital with capacity of 750 beds which will include Emergency / Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality& Super Speciality beds. In addition, there will be a Medical College, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Guest House, Hostels and residential facilities. The establishment of the new AIIMS will create capital assets for which requisite specialized manpower will be created, based on the pattern of the six new AIIMS, for their maintenance and upkeep. The recurring cost on these Institutions shall be met through Grant-in-Aid to them from Plan Budget Head of PMSSY of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," the release said.
 
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"Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region.
 
"The establishment of new AIIMS will serve the dual purpose of providing super, specialty health care to the population while also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that can be available for primary and secondary level institutions / facilities being created under National Health Mission (NHM). Construction of new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses on new AIIMS are also fully borne by the Central Government.
 
"Setting up new AIIMS in is expected to result in employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Further, indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS. The construction activity involved for creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well," the release added.
 
The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), a Central Sector Scheme, aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular. AIIMS in Haryana was announced by the Finance Minister in his Interim Budget Speech for the year 2019-20. Cost of construction and running of the new AIIMS would be met by the Central Government under PMSSY.
 
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