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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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Floods hit life in Punjab and Haryana, Delhi threat dips

Hutments submerged in the swollen Yamuna river which is flowing above the danger mark with the water level at 206.60 metres, in New Delhi on Aug 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Hutments submerged in the swollen Yamuna river which is flowing above the danger mark with the water level at 206.60 metres, in New Delhi on Aug 21, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Large areas across Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday remained affected by the floodwaters which have submerged crops and marooned villagers even though water levels in swollen rivers were receding, officials said. In Delhi, the Yamuna was still above the danger level, but not rising any more.
 
Punjab has declared a national calamity, while Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar carried out an aerial survey of the affected areas in his state.
 
In Delhi, the Yamuna continued to flow above the danger mark at 206.44 metres at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, but was now showing a receding trend, a Flood Control Department official told IANS but added the situation is still "critical".
 
The water level rose due to rain in northern India and discharge of water from the Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana.
 
Thousands of people living along the banks of the river in Delhi were moved to safer places. They have been asked to stay in the tents until the water level comes down to normal. Rail and vehicular traffic on the Old Yamuna Bridge was suspended as the water level rose.
 
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot inspected a relief camp at Usmanpur on Wednesday, while Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from the city, visited the flood-affected areas of Kisan Basti, Usmanpur and Gadhi Mandu.
 
In Punjab, more than 300 villages, mainly in Ropar, Jalandhar and Ferozepur districts, were badly affected by flooding by the Satluj river and authorities on Wednesday deployed helicopters to airdrop food and water supplies to the residents.
 
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had asked the Financial Commissioner to officially declare a natural calamity in the villages as a unit in order to facilitate the affected people to claim insurance against the losses.
 
He also asked the Finance Department to immediately clear the pending relief funds to the tune of around Rs 100 crore.
 
An official with the state Drainage Department said the overall situation in the Beas and Ravi rivers was under control though danger continued to lurk in areas adjacent to the Satluj river and further downstream at the Harike headworks in Ferozepur.
 
Meanwhile, relief teams of the Indian Army under the Western Command were carrying out rescue operations in various areas of Punjab and Haryana.
 
In Haryana, with the decline in rainfall activity in the past two days, the water level came down in the swollen Yamuna river, which was responsible for flooding in Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat and Sonipat districts.
 
A dozen villages in Yamunanagar district were flooded by the excess water released from the Hathnikund barrage, submerging thousands of acres of paddy, sugarcane and maize crops. Farmers in other districts were also hit and were demanding special 'girdawari' to assess the crop loss.
 
Meanwhile, the Bhakra Dam authority, which has been facing criticism for flooding downstream in Punjab with the release of water from the dam, on Wednesday said it has managed to handle one of the worst-ever floods in the region in 40 years.
 
Bhakra Beas Management Board Chairman D. K. Sharma told IANS that the release of controlled water from the dam into the Satluj river from August 16 onwards helped in keeping the dam deflection angle - where the structure is minutely displaced when reservoir is filled close to its carrying capacity - under control.
 
"An unprecedented hydrological event on the night of August 17 occurred when there was an inflow of 311,130 cusecs. It raised the water level to 1,681.33 feet on August 19.
 
"Keeping in view the safety of the dam, we had to resort to controlled water release of 19,000 cusecs through the spillway from August 16, which was increased to 41,000 cusecs on August 19 in addition to the release for the power generation through the turbines," Sharma said.
 
Sharma said they were monitoring the inflows into Bhakra reservoir continuously, and it has also been decided to bring down its present level by at least five feet to 1,675 feet to handle possible future floods.
 
The next challenge for the board is the Met prediction of the next spell of heavy rainfall from August 23.
 
In Maharashtra, where the toll in the Pune division has crossed 50 while another four are missing, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and superstar Aamir Khan have contributed Rs 11 lakh and Rs 25 lakh, respectively towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
 
The worst-hit is Sangli district accounting for 26 deaths, followed by Kolhapur with 10, Satara 8, Pune 9 and Solapur one. Two people are still missing in Kolhapur and one each in Sangli and Pune districts.
 
In Kerala, the Pinarayi Vijayan government decided that Onam celebrations will be low key as the state is still recovering from devastating floods.
 
Heavy rains have battered several districts of the state since the past fortnight leaving 125 people dead and destroying property worth crores. Over 6,000 people are still staying in 86 relief camps set up in the state.
 
Last year, the state government was forced to cancel Onam celebrations after the state witnessed similar floods and devastation.
 
IANS
 

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13 persons rescued from floods in Jammu, Haryana by IAF

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) saved 13 lives in two separate rescue missions carried out in flood-affected areas in Jammu and Haryana on Monday.
 
The missions were carried out in Jammu and Karnal in Haryana with the active coordination of the local administration of the districts.
 
In Jammu, the rescue mission to rescue four people stranded in the flooded Tawi river was undertaken by a team of Garud commandos led by Wing Commander Mukul Khare.
 
The team, which embarked on the mission with a Mi-17 helicopter, not only found it impossible to land at the site where the civilians had been stranded but also to lower a harness due to obstructions.
 
An IAF official said a commando was lowered from the helicopter to the site where he hooked the stranded civilians to a harness. They were lifted and dropped at a safer location near the banks of the Tawi river.
 
Earlier, on the intervening night of August 18 and 19, the IAF had rescued nine people stranded in the Yamuna river in Karnal district of Haryana upon getting an SOS call from the local administration.
 
The rescue operation was undertaken in low-light conditions with the help of an Mi-17 chopper.
 
The aircraft reached the rescue site and a thorough recce was conducted before lifting the survivors, who had been latching on to a broken hut in a flooded area, up to the helicopter. The survivors included three adults and six children.
 
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Hooda backs Article 370's abrogation, puts Congress on notice

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In a significant political move, senior Congress leader and two-time Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, here on Sunday, supported the Narendra Modi government's move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.
 
Addressing a 'Mahaparivartan Rally' in his hometown, Hooda said he would not compromise with anyone on the issue of patriotism. "When the government does something right, I support it", he said. 
 
He also announced a 25-member panel, comprising 13 MLAs owing allegiance to him, to decide the future of the party in the state. "Since the issue (to continue with the Congress or not) pertains to the future of people, I can't take the decision alone," he said.
 
The decision of the 25-member committee "will later be announced in Chandigarh," he said.
 
It's a clear signal to the central Congress leadership to hand over the party's reins in the state to Hooda, or he would go his own way ahead of the Assembly polls, slated later this year. 
 
Speculations were rife that Hooda and his son Deepender Singh Hooda, former MP, might quit the Congress after they said they were sidelined by the party high command. They may either join Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) or float their own outfit.
 
A day earlier, Hooda had a closed-door meeting with top Congress leaders in New Delhi during which they tried to convince him not to take any hasty decision to quit the party as it had always accorded him due importance.
 
While Haryana's main opposition -- the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) -- has seen most of its legislators and leaders joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), infighting continues to dog the Congress.
 
In the absence of any political direction and agenda, the Congress workers were disillusioned, said a former Congress Minister.
 
In the October 2014 polls, the BJP improved its 2009 tally of four to 47, followed by the INLD with 19 legislators and the Congress coming third with 15 seats.
 
Two seats went to the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), and one each to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Five Independents were also elected.
 
IANS

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After backlash, Haryana CM says 'daughters are our pride'

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Following sharp criticism from Rahul Gandhi and several women's organisations to comments by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Kashmiri women, the Chief Minister clarified saying "daughters are our pride".
 
In a reply to Rahul Gandhi's tweet, Khattar tweeted on Saturday: "Dear Rahul Gandhi ji, at least at your level, you shouldn't react on distorted news. I'm attaching the video of what I actually said, and in what context -- this will give you clarity of mind."
 
In another tweet, Khattar said: "I have always had an honest dialogue with the public. Daughters are our pride and daughters from all over the country are our daughters."
 
The controversy began when Khattar was speaking at an event in Fatehabad about the state's poor sex ratio on Friday. Khattar had said that people were claiming that Kashmiri women can be brought to the state for marriage now after Jammu and Kashmir's special status was scrapped.
 
"You know Haryana is infamous for its poor sex ratio and female foeticide, but we started a campaign that brought our sex ratio up from 850 to 933. This is a big work of social change."
 
"So our (minister O.P. Dhankar) Dhankhar ji said we will have to bring 'bahus' (daughters-in-law) from Bihar. Now some people are saying Kashmir has been opened, we can bring girls from Kashmir also. Jokes aside, if (sex) ratio is fine, then there will be balance in society."
 
However, his comments triggered a political row drawing sharp reactions.
 
Outgoing Congress President Rahul Gandhi described Khattar's remarks as "despicable", saying that it reflected what "years of RSS training does to the mind of an insecure man".
 
IANS

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10-month-old infant dies after falling into open manhole

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An open manhole in Gurugram's sector 31 area claimed the life of a 10-month-old infant, police said on Tuesday.
 
The infant was playing with his 15-year-old brother on the pavement of a road.
 
The deceased's grandfather Tek Chand said that he runs a stall on the road where the infant was crawling near the uncovered manhole and fell inside.
 
Local residents especially street vendors are agitated over the negligence of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram which did not cover the manhole on the deep sewer line.
 
MCG officials are tightlipped following the incident.
 
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Golf: Harendra Gupta fires 67 for five-shot win in PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit

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Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta shot a superb  five-under 67 last round to chalk out a five-stroke win at the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Aravalli Golf Course here on Thursday.
 
Gupta (70-64-67), who totaled 15-under 201 for the week, bagged his 10th title on Thursday. It was his first win in three years.
 
Mumbai’s Anil Bajrang Mane (70-70-66) fired the day’s joint best score of six-under 66 to finish runner-up at 10-under 206. His second-place finish propelled him into the lead in the PGTI Feeder Tour Order of Merit.
 
The winner, leading by four shots going into the final round, brought all his experience to the fore on Thursday as he made an eagle, four birdies and a bogey. Playing without any pressure, he managed to drive home the advantage that he had gained in the previous round. After a birdie on the third, he drove the par-4 green on the eighth and chipped in from 30 yards for an eagle-two. It was his third eagle-two in two days.
 
Harendra made his only bogey of the day on the 10th but then roared back with three more birdies on the 11th, 16th and 17th. He drove the par-4 16th green to set up a two-putt birdie and sank putts from a range of 15 to 20 feet on the 11th and 17th.
 
“I just built on the momentum from yesterday. It’s been a terrific week. I made four eagles and four chip-ins this week. The second round of eight-under 64 was one of my best in recent times. It served as a huge confidence-booster," Gupta said after the win.
 
“Today I didn’t feel any pressure as such. I struck the ball really well and drove two of the par-4 greens. I’ve won after a long time and, hopefully, this win will give me the much-needed self-belief to get my game back on track.”
 
Mane, who was overnight tied-seventh, climbed five spots to second place on day three courtesy his 66 that included seven birdies and a bogey. He drained a 20-footer for birdie on the 17th. It was his third runner-up finish on the Feeder Tour. He had finished fourth at last week’s Feeder Tour event at Chhawla. His consistency on the tour so far this year has given him the lead in the Feeder Tour Order of Merit.
 
Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya (72) took third place at five-under 211. Faridabad’s Abhinav Lohan (72) shared the fourth place along with Chandigarh’s Yuvraj Singh Sandhu (66) and Pune’s Sagar Raghuvanshi (66) at four-under 212. Ramesh Kumar (70), the other Faridabad golfer in the fray, finished tied-seventh at three-under 213.
 
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Golf: Harendra Gupta fires 64 to emerge second round leader

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Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta fired a blistering eight-under 64 to emerge leader by four shots at 10-under 134 after the second round of the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Aravalli Golf Course in Faridabad here today.
 
Nine-time winner Gupta’s stunning round featured two eagles-twos, six birdies and a double-bogey.
 
There was a three-way tie for second place at six-under 138 between first-round leader Chandigarh-based rookies Amrit Lal (72) and Shabeg Singh Kooner (69) and Sri Ganganagar’s Sandeep Singh (69). 
 
Delhi’s Sachin Baisoya carded an error-free seven-under 65 to take a share of fifth place at five-under 139 along with another Delhi golfer Jaiveer Singh Atwal (72).  
 
Gurugram’s Kushal Singh sank two eagle-twos during his round of 70. He ended the second round in tied 10th at three-under 141. The two local  golfers, Abhinav Lohan (four-under 140) and Ramesh Kumar (one-under 143) were placed tied seventh and tied 12th, respectively.
 
The cut was applied at six-over 150. Thirty-eight golfers made the cut for the third and final round.
 
Harendra Gupta (70-64), who was overnight tied ninth, leapfrogged the rest of the field on Wednesday thanks to his outstanding wedge play. Harendra was one-over through four holes after a double-bogey on the fourth where he hit a poor bunker shot and followed that up with a missed putt from two feet.
 
However, Gupta then made a tremendous recovery that began with birdies on the eighth and ninth. He landed his approach within inches of the flag on the ninth. A couple of quality chip-putts earned him two more birdies on the 11th and 12th.
 
The seasoned Harendra finally enjoyed a fantastic finish picking up five shots on the last three holes. On the 16th he holed his second shot from 65 yards and on the 17th he again holed his second shot, this time from the bunker, from 30 yards, to pick up consecutive eagle-twos.
 
Gupta capped the round with another terrific wedge shot from 120 yards on the 18th that resulted in a four-feet birdie conversion.
 
Harendra said, “My wedge play today was probably the best it has ever been. It was unbelievable to make two eagle-twos in succession and then back it up with another birdie right at the end. It was a remarkable recovery considering I was one-over through the first four holes.
 
“I’ve not had a very consistent season so far so this round will do me a world of good. I’ll need to be accurate with the tee shots in the final round as the fairways are narrow and the rough is up.”
 
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Golf: Rookie Lal grabs first round lead, Gulfam shines with two eagles

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Teenaged rookie Amrit Lal of Chandigarh shot a  six-under 66 to grab the first-round lead in the Tata Steel PGTI Feeder Tour event at the Aravalli Golf Course in Faridabad, Haryana on Tuesday.
 
Delhi's Jaiveer Singh Atwal carded a five-under 67 to occupy second place.
 
Fifty-two-year-old veteran Gulfam (Delhi) produced an incredible two eagles during his opening round of four-under 68 to share the third spot with another Delhi-based golfer Bhanu Pratap Singh and Pune’s Sagar Raghuvanshi.
 
Chandigarh’s Harendra Gupta, one of the leading names in the field, fired a 70 to be placed tied ninth.
 
The two Faridabad golfers, Abhinav Lohan (71) and Ramesh Kumar (73), were placed tied 13th and tied 23rd, respectively.
 
Amrit Lal, playing in only his third professional event, sank nine birdies in exchange for a bogey and a double-bogey on Tuesday. He made consecutive birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth and on the closing three holes, the 16th, 17th and 18th.
 
Lal was sharp with his short-game as he chipped in from the bunker for a birdie on the seventh and drained two 20-feet birdie putts on the first and the 18th. He also converted four chip-putt birdies.
 
He said, “My driving and my short-game were spot-on today. I also played a couple of excellent bunker shots. I only had one bad hole and that was the fifth where I found the hazard and subsequently three-putted for a double-bogey.
 
“This performance is a huge confidence-booster as these are early days for me in professional golf. Hitting good tee shots will hold the key on this course over the next two days.”
 
Gulfam, who won an event on the Feeder Tour in 2014 and also sealed the number one spot on the tour’s Order of Merit the same year, holed his approach shots on the first and 17th, both par-4s, to make two eagle-twos during his round. The experienced campaigner’s rescue shot found the hole from 185 yards on the first while on the 17th he holed his wedge shot from 90 yards.
 
He also made two birdies and two bogeys in round one. He left himself a tap-in birdie on the par-3 fourth where his brilliant tee shot landed two feet from the flag.
 
Gulfam said, “It’s the first time ever that I’ve made two eagles in a round. Two eagle-twos are even more special. I felt it was a day when luck also seemed to favour me as I holed out two shots from a long distance. My ball-striking was fantastic. However, my putting still isn’t up there so I’ll need to get it going to create more chances in the next two rounds.”
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Sonipat region of Haryana

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Sonipat region of Haryana this morning.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 28.9°N and longitude 77.0°E, occurred at 0743 hours at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
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Haryana Steelers name Panchkula as their Official Centre for Pro Kabaddi League Season 7

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Title contenders Haryana Steelers on Wednesday announced Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula (Haryana) as their Official Centre for the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League.  
 
The JSW Sports-owned franchise also named the experienced defender Dharmaraj Cheralathan as their team captain for the coming season.
 
Formed in 2017, Haryana Steelers qualified for the play-offs in their very first season. Based out of the city of Sonipat previously, the franchise has decided to shift base to Panchkula in order to continue their pursuit of popularizing the sport throughout the state of Haryana. Organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League had earlier announced Panchkula as a new venue where a total of 11 league matches will take place.
 
The franchise, which has appointed former India captain Rakesh Kumar as their head coach, also named the vastly experienced Dharmaraj Cheralathan as team captain, and will count on the 44-year old’s immense experience and understanding of the game to lead them to the play-offs and beyond this season.
 
Cheralathan was present at the occasion in Panchkula along with Rakesh Kumar, who backed the Steelers’ young squad to perform well in the upcoming season. “We have a very good mix of players in the team and, in Dharmaraj, an experienced leader to lead them through the season.
 
"We have had a good pre-season camp at the Inspire Institute of Sport over the past months and the team is raring to start this season with an eye on the Pro Kabaddi League trophy," said the former Indian captain, who is a veteran of two World Cups and three Asian Games gold medal winning teams.
 
JSW Sports CEO Mustafa Ghouse, who was also present on the occasion, said he was delighted with the decision to choose Panchkula as the Steelers’ Official Centre. 
 
"Kabaddi is a sport that is followed throughout the state of Haryana, and we wanted to make sure that we also give our fans in Panchkula the opportunity to experience world-class action. 
 
"The team is scheduled to play four matches in the city this season, and we look forward to our fans coming to the stadium to see their favourite players perform. I am also delighted to announce that Dharmaraj Cheralathan will be captaining the team and would like to wish him and the team all the very best for the season ahead," said Ghouse.
 
Haryana Steelers will start their Pro Kabaddi League season against Puneri Paltan on Monday, 22nd July 2019 at 20:30hrs IST at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.
 
Title sponser  APL Apollo Chairman Sanjay Gupta, said, “We are very happy to come on board with Haryana Steelers as title sponsors. Our first venture into sports sponsorship was with JSW Sports for Delhi Capitals and now we are looking forward to an exciting season of the Pro Kabaddi League with the Haryana Steelers.”
 
Shreevar Kheruka, CEO Borosil Glassworks Ltd. said, “We at Borosil are proud to be the official hydration partners of the Haryana Steelers. We have been associated with the team since last year and look forward to a strong-as-steel performance from them at this season of the Pro Kabaddi League."
 
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Four of a family found dead in Gurugram

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Four members of a family were found dead inside a house here, police said on Monday.
 
According to the police, they were informed of the incident in Sector 49 here by the neighbours.
 
"A team reached the spot and broke open the house and found the four dead bodies. As per initial investigation, Prakash Singh, working at a chemical factory, is suspected to have ended his life after killing the family," said a senior police officer.
 
Police have sent the bodies for post mortem examination. Singh was working in a chemical factory in Hyderabad and his wife used to run a private school, as per initial probe.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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TT: Tamil Nadu's Vishwa, Madhya Pradesh's Anusha win Junior titles

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Fifth-seeded Vishwa Deenadayalan of Tamil Nadu battled it out to overpower spirited Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta (Mizoram) 4-3 to win the Junior Boys' title of the UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (North Zone) at the DPS Hall in Sonepat, Haryana on Saturday.
 
In the Junior Girls final, top seed Anusha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh prevailed over second seed Swastika Ghosh of Maharashtra 4-2.
 
In the see-saw boys' final, things were going in favour of the Tamil Nadu boy who led comfortably at 3-1 and looked like emerging an easy winner. But the never-say-die attitude of Jeho kept Vishwa on tenterhooks as the Mizoram boy, cashing in on his opponent’s lapse of concentration and unforced errors, particularly in the sixth game, won the next two to restore parity. In fact, the extended fifth game, which he won against Vishwa gave him the confidence and a real good chance for the last assault in the decider.
 
However, the TN boy just slowed down the game and executed some brilliant strokes which pushed Jeho behind somewhat. Yet, the Mizoram lad fought himself back but with a few points separating the two, Vishwa always had the upper hand. In the end, the Tamil Nadu paddler won comfortably to hoist the trophy.
 
Earlier in the semi-finals, Vishwa overcame state mate Preyesh Suresh Raj 4-2 after the left-hander failed to capitalise on the chances despite having an edge. However, it was a tough outing against Delhi’s Shreyaans Goel who squandered a 3-0 lead when Jeho opened out from the fourth to win the remaining games for a 4-3 verdict.
 
The girls' final, too, had all the trappings of a tough contest. It was pleasing to see the girl from Madhya Pradesh, who did exceedingly well while trying her hands in women singles the other day, keeping real focus in her category in annexing the title.
 
Swasitika, on the day, was inconsistent despite levelling the score after the first two games. But when Anusha took a 3-1 lead it was all but over for the Maharashtra girl who managed to take one more game. In the end, Anusha won the extended points in the sixth game to seal her fate. 
 
Results:
 
Junior Boys: Final: Vishwa Deenadayalan (TN) bt Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta (Miz) 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 12-14, 3-11, 11-8; Semi-finals: Vishwa Deenadayalan bt Preyesh Suresh Raj (TN) 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5; Jeho Himnakulhpuingheta bt Shreyaans Goel (Del) 8-11,8-11,10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8.
 
Girls: Final: Anusha Kutumbale (MP) bt Swastika Ghosh (Mah) 11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 13-11; Semi-finals: Swastika Ghosh bt Munmun Kundu (WB) 11-6, 13-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-3; Ausha Kutumbale bt Anargaya Manjunath (Kar) 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4. 
 
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TT: Manav wins Youth Boys title; Prapti lifts girls crown

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Top-seeded Manav Thakkar trounced Manush Shah 4-0 to lift the Youth Boys trophy in the final of the UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (North Zone) at the DPS Hall  in Sonepat, Haryana on Friday.
 
In the Youth Girls’ final, a tentative Prapti Sen overcame Srushti Haleangadi of Maharashtra 4-2 for the crown.
 
Until the final, the left-handed and second-seeded Shah did everything right except overcoming the blues against Manav who, almost all the time, managed to beat him. So, it was according to script even today and after taking the first game rather easily, Manav was stretched a bit in the second. 
 
That was the only occasion when Shah looked like coming back in the match. But having won the second one on extended points, the PSPB paddler finished it off in style to go embark on his trips to Busan and Geelong for the Korea and Australia Open championships.
 
Thakkar started aggressively and finished exactly the same way in the straight-game win. But for Shah, he was unable to get his forehands right and even when he did, Manav hardly missed his returns.
 
Prapti, who plays brilliant at times, had some starting problem and it took her quite some time to calm her nerves down. It was very much in evidence as the somewhat off-colour West Bengal girl lost the first and won the second to catch her breath first. But after the marathon third game which Srushti won, it was the turn of Prapti to win the next which probably brought her confidence back against a resilient Srushti.
 
Thakkar had to play the toughest semi-final in recent times when Haryana’s Jeet Chandra challenged him in a well-contested match. 
 
After losing the men's singles final tamely yesterday, he jumped into a 2-0 lead before Jeet hit the groove nicely to level the score. Even in the second game, he stretched  Thakkar after a few deuces, shattering his confidence somewhat.
 
Thereafter, both players took a game each before the decider which went Thakkar's way.
 
Shah, on the other hand, easily beat Telangana’s SFR Snehit after dropping his third game.
 
In the Youth Girls semi-finals, Srushti Haleangadi easily beat Anusha Kutumbale, who did well to reach the women's singles semi-finals where she lost to eventual winner Akula Sreeja yesterday. She found the Maharashtra girl a hard nut to crack. Even otherwise, she made a lot of unforced errors which helped her opponent’s cause more than anything else.
 
She won just the second game, but Srushti went from strength to strength after going 2-1 up, never to look back.
 
Similarly, Prapti Sen won a tough first game and continued in right earnest against West Bengal mate Moumita Dutta, who just managed to the third game win, won 4-1.   
 
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One person arrested in Panipat for GST fraud

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The Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI), Regional Unit, Rohtak (Haryana) has arrested Sunny Singhal of Panipat, who was allegedly found involved in issuing fake invoices from various firms without the actual movement of goods having a taxable value of Rs 146.62 crore and fraudulently passing input tax credit (ITC) amounting to Rs 16.54 crore.
 
He allegedly passed on such fraudulent ITC to some of the buyers who availed of the same to discharge their GST liability against their outward supplies with an ulterior motive to defraud the Government exchequer, an official press release said.
 
During the course of the investigation, Singhal admitted that these firms were opened by him in the name of different persons as proprietorship firms. He used to issue bills without movement of goods and for this, he used to earn commission and some of the entries in the diaries/records resumed were of such commission.   
 
Singhal was found to have committed offences under the provisions of Section 132(1)(b)(c) of the Central Goods & Services Tax Act (CGST), 2017, which are cognizable and non-bailable offences under Section 132(5) of the CGST Act, 2017, being punishable under Section 132(1)(l)(i) of the CGST Act, 2017.
 
He was arrested on June 25 under Section 69(1) of the CGST Act, 2017 and produced in Rohtak Court the next day. The court has sent him to judicial custody till July 9. During the investigations conducted so far into the fake billing racket in this case, DGGI, Regional Unit, Rohtak has recovered an amount of Rs 3.75 crore from the GST evaded. Further investigations in the matter are in progress, the release added.
 
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Sreeja wins women's title, Amalraj opens season with men's crown

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Unfancied Akula Sreeja (RBI) created an upset as she overpowered Haryana’s Sutirtha Mukherjee 4-2 to lift her maiden women's singles title in the UTT National Ranking Table Tennis Championships (North Zone) at the DPS Hall, Sonepat in Haryana on Thursday.
 
Sreeja’s uncomplicated game plan kept her in contention right from the quarter-final when she ousted seeded Sagarika Mukherjee last night. She won a tough semi-final which must have done a world of good when she faced Suthirtha in the final.
 
The girl from Hyderabad was down 0-2 but the win in the third extended game changed the complexion of her approach even as the Haryana girl, a former national champion and No. 4 seed, seemed to have dropped her guard at the crucial junctures. Sreeja won the next game, again on extended points, before sealing her opponent’s fate with two more wins—the last two going her way with minimal points.
 
An elated Sreeja  said: “It was unexpected. But the win against Anusha (Kutumbale) gave me the confidence. After winning the third and fourth games in the final, I knew I needed a bit of luck to clinch it,” said the RBI girl.
 
In men's singles, Anthony Amalraj was in the best form of his life when he beat top-seeded Manav Thakkar 4-1. It must have been the easiest of finals that Amalraj had played in several seasons, particularly after a tough semi-final against Sudhanshu Grover earlier in the day.
 
Manav was unlike himself, lacking focus while Amalraj was both quick in executing his shots and establishing a comfortable 3-0 lead. His crisp shot from close to the table and those returns from way straight made him the favourite. So much so, Manav was struggling to cope with the speedy Amalraj and yet managed to take a game off him. But it was too late in the day as Amalraj quickly pulled the shutter down on him.   
 
Except for the two semi-finals, one each in men's singles and women's singles, the other semi-finals went down to the wire with Amalraj overcoming a stiff resistance by Sudhanshu Grover and Akula Sreeja from Anusha Kutumbale.
 
Manav dropped just one game after leading 2-0 before stifling out the left-handed Sanil Shetty who was all over and could not cope with his guile. On the other hand, it was a tough fight for the experienced Amalraj who got a real scare from his PSPB mate, Sudhanshu, who took the fifth and sixth games to level the score to take it to the decider. Amalraj simply pooh-poohed the threat and disposed of Sudhanshu in the decider, stopping him at just two points.
 
Similarly, it was rather easy for Haryana’s Suthirtha who blanked out reigning national champion Archana Kamath. However, a tug-of-war was witnessed in the second semi-final with the pendulum of fortune swinging from one end to another as both Sreeja and Anusha kept winning alternate games. Even in the decider, the game got extended but after deuce Sreeja showed enormous maturity against a nervous Anusha to win the last two crucial points to clinch a berth in her maiden final.
 
Men:
 
Semi-finals: Manav Thakkar bt Sanil Shetty (PSPB) 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6, A. Amalraj bt Sudhanshu Grover (PSPB) 8-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-8, 11-13, 8-11, 11-2.
 
Final: Anthony Amalraj (PSPB) bt Manav Thakkar (PSPB) 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8.
 
Women: 
 
Semi-finals: Sutirtha Mulherjee bt Archana Kamath (PSPB) 12-10, 12-10, 11-8, 11-5, Akula Sreeja bt Anusha Kutumbale (MP) 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 3-11, 12-10.
 
Final: Akula Sreeja (RBI) bt Sutirtha Mukherjee (HRN) 6-11, 7-11, 14-12, 13-11, 11-9, 11-9.
 
 
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Haryana Congress leader shot dead in Faridabad

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Haryana Congress leader Vikas Chaudhary was shot dead by two assailants outside a gym in Faridabad on Thursday, police said.
 
Chaudhary, 42, who was considered close to state Congress Chief Ashok Tanwar, was fired at from close range when he came out of the gym. 
 
He was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead.
 
The crime was recorded on CCTV camera, the police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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NDMA to conduct mock exercise on earthquake preparedness in Delhi, NCR on Friday

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The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with the State Governments, will conduct a mock exercise on earthquake preparedness in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) tomorrow.
 
The exercise aims to improve preparedness and response mechanisms of the local administration in the event of an earthquake, an official press release said.
 
It will cover Delhi (all 11 districts), Haryana (4 districts - Jhajjhar, Faridabad, Gurugram and Sonipat) and Uttar Pradesh (3 districts - Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad and Meerut).
 
In the run-up to the mock exercise, Coordination and Orientation Conferences have been conducted with the States of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana with the participation of all stakeholders of States and concerned districts, the release said.
 
Prior to the final exercise, a day-long Table Top Exercise was conducted with all the participants to ensure the smooth facilitation of the exercise. 
 
Senior officials from all stakeholder departments such as police, health, education, firefighting, civil defence, public relations and transport attended these preparatory meetings besides representatives of Army, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs)/ Central Police Organisations (CPOs).
 
The release said the exercises deal with simulated scenarios of earthquakes and consequent secondary disasters wherein the participants are trained on key aspects of disaster management such as the formation of Incident Response Teams, activation of Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs), coordination among various participating agencies, rescue and evacuation besides medical preparedness.
 
The entire NCR falls either in seismic Zone IV or Zone III and is, therefore, highly vulnerable. This exercise will help in filling gaps, ensuring better communication and improving coordination among various stakeholder agencies. It will also generate awareness among the local population who need to be conscious of the vulnerability of the NCR, the release said.
 
Under the Centre's 100-Day Action Plan, several mock exercises on different disasters have been planned across the country. This is the first exercise from that series. While an exercise is underway ahead of the upcoming Amarnath Yatra, other exercises include a flood and an earthquake preparedness exercise in July in Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, respectively. These exercises culminate into a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise in Tamil Nadu in August.
 
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IAF's Jaguar suffers bird hit, lands safely in Ambala

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It was a narrow escape for an Indian Air Force Jaguar pilot on Thursday at an air base here when a bird hit the aircraft, officials said.
 
One of the engines of the aircraft failed after being hit by the bird. The pilot, however, managed to land safely.
 
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Table Tennis: Double delight for Haryana, men also lift team trophy

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It turned out to be a double delight for the hosts as Haryana men emulated their women by overpowering Delhi 3-1 to lift the winners’ trophy in the team event of the UTT National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the DPS School, Sonepat, Haryana on Monday.
 
On Sunday, Haryana women blanked out Delhi 3-0. The team championships were reintroduced in the zonal event after nearly four decades.
 
But it was not as easy as the hosts would have thought it to be as they faced some stiff resistance from Delhi, especially after Parth Virmani levelled the score after Soumyajit Ghosh had provided the crucial lead in the opening match by beatingPayas Jain in straight games.
 
Even for Ghosh it was not hunky-dory as Payas, despite being down 6-10 in the opening game was on game point before losing his grip to lose it. That signalled Ghosh’s domination, despite being rusty, as he sewed it up soon.
 
But in the next tie, the promising Jeet Chandra was found wanting against experienced Parth who just dropped a game before winning it. However, Utkarsh Gupta, who had a 2-0 lead against left-handed Jubin Kumar, failed to capitalise on the advantage as he ran out of steam after them when Jubin unleashed his trademark backhands which brooked little resistance from Utkarsh.
 
With a 2-1 cushion, it was rather easy for Ghosh playing his reverse singles against Parth who failed to impress on his return to the table. 
 
Probably, the lead by Haryana put pressure on him and he simply wilted with Ghosh gaining ascendancy.
 
In the men's and women's singles events qualifiers, which began this morning, only two rounds of play was possible before the men's team final. Most of the tried and tested pros were in line to qualify for the main draw but the crucial third round later tonight will determine their fate.
 
But for the seeded players in both men and women sections, it was an off-day as they would be joining the 60 and 40 qualifiers, respectively, in the second stage beginning tomorrow.
 
Men: Final: 
Haryana bt Delhi 3-1 (Soumyajit Ghosh bt Payas Jain 13-11, 11-7, 11-5, Jeet Chandra lost to Parth Virmani 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, Jubin Kumar bt Utkarsh Gupta 7-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6, Soumyajit Ghosh bt Parth Virmani 9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6).
 
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Table Tennis: Haryana girls beat Delhi for team title

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Haryana blanked out top-seeded Delhi 3-0 to win the women's team championships of the UTT National Ranking (North Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the DPS School in Sonepat, Haryana on Sunday.
 
Sutirtha Mukherjee, Oishwarya Deb and Riti Shankar  polished off  Delhi's Vanshika Bhargava, Garima Goyal and Kritika Malik in style. Except for the second rubber, in which Oishwarya was stretched fully, the other two Haryana girls had it rather easy.
 
Haryana men will take on Delhi men tomorrow in the final. In their semi-final matches, Haryana defeated Rajasthan 3-0, while Delhi accounted for Punjab by the same margin.
 
Earlier in the semi-finals, Haryana girls beat Rajasthan 3-0 as Sutirtha Mukehrjee, Suhana Saini and Anjali Rohilla did their job to perfection. Similarly, Punjab was no match to Delhi as Vanshika, Garima and Tamanna Saini notched up a 3-0 triumph.
 
Meanwhile, in the singles events, beginning tomorrow, India’s top-ranked players in the world -- G. Sathiyan, A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra -- have chosen to opt out of the season-opener. This may have taken the sheen off the championships here, but would certainly provide the opportunity to the rest of the field, including the India hopefuls to make a good progress.
 
However, the other top Indians guns are very much in the fray with Manav Thakkar getting the top billing in men's singles when the open seeding took place today. Amalraj, who is seeded No. 2, could be running into the top-seeded Manav in the title clash.  
 
As for women's singles, reigning national champion Archana Kamath got the top seeding, with former national champion Madhurika Patkar at No. 2.  However, Krittwika Sinha Roy, who finished runner-up at the Cuttack Nationals, finds herself in the bottom half of the draw and seeded at No. 7.
 
The qualification events in women's singles begin tomorrow and it would be followed by men's singles. The competition department of TTFI has discontinued with the system of picking two qualifiers from each group for the main draw after finding the process somewhat cumbersome. From this season, only one qualifier from each group will go through to the second stage, which is a knock-out. 
 
Results:
 
Women:  Haryana bt Delhi 3-0 (Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Vanshika Bhargava 11-4, 12-10, 11-8, Oishwarya Deb bt Garima Goyal 11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9, Riti Shankar bt Kritika Malik 14-12, 11-9, 11-7.
 
Semi-finals: Delhi bt Punjab 3-0 (Vanshika Bhargava bt Ananya Thakur 12-10, 11-7, 11-7, Garima Goyal bt Neha Patial 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, Tamanna Saini bt Aarushi Arora 11-6, 11-4, 11-3; Haryana bt Rajasthan 3-0 (Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Iti Sharma 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, Suhana Saini bt Nikita Rautela 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, Anjali Rohilla bt Manisha Sharma 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6.
 
Men (Semi-finals): Delhi bt Punjab 3-0 (Utkarsh Gupta bt Nikhil Kumar 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, Payas Jain bt Harnooor Singh 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7, Aadarsh Om Chetri bt Kartik Dogra 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5); Haryana bt Rajasthan 3-0 (Jeet Chandra bt Shubham Ojha 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, Soumyajit Ghosh bt Vivek Bhargava 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, Sourav Saha bt Anukram Jain 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.
 
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Two kids among three killed in fire at Faridabad school

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Three people, including two children, died in a major fire that broke out at a private school in Haryana's Faridabad on Saturday.
 
According to Fire Department officials, the fire started from a cloth godown inside the school located in Dabua Colony. 
 
"Fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the blaze has been brought under control. Its cause is yet to be ascertained," said an official. 
 
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