Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.

Five killed as magnitude 6.7 earthquake hits Manipur, other NE states

At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of Monday.

Massive 6.7 quake strikes northeast India
At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of today.
Official sources in Imphal said more than 45 people had been reported injured in the quake.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.8°N and longitude  93.5°E, occured at 0435 hours at a focal depth of 17 km.
According to IMD, the epicentre of the earthquake was in Tamenglong district of Manipur, about 35 km from Imphal, the state capital.
The tremors were also felt in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, among other places.
Initial reports from Manipur spoke of damages to many buildings and houses. People in many places ran out of their homes to safety as a precautionary measure. Many people posted pictures of damaged buildings and walls with cracks on social media sites. Some government offices and a six-storeyed building in Imphal were among those affected.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke over the telephone to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on an official visit to Assam, and asked him to oversee the situation.
Mr. Modi also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on the situation.
The Manipur Government has sought the assistance of the Army and the Assam Rifles in the rescue and relief efforts.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Mr. Modi was continuously monitoring the situation.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been instructed to move from Guwahati to the areas affected by the earthquake.
Mr. Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to Mr. Gogoi and the Manipur Chief Secretary about the situation and assured them of all possible help from the Centre.
"I'm also contacting other North Eastern states to know the extent of damage caused by the earthquake," he added.
In New Delhi, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coordinating with the State Governments concerned, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence (Mod), NDRF, Ministry of Communications and other Departments and agencies for seach, rescue and relief efforts.
NDMA officials have spoken to the Control Rooms and Relief Commisioners of all the States in the North-East and West Bengal.
Communication systems are functioning, particularly those of state-owned BSNL, in the affected areas.
The National Crisis Management Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting here this morning to assess the situation and provide all necessary help from the Government of India.

How polo-playing Manipuri women are breaking barriers, leading a quiet revolution

Women of Manipur, the birthplace of modern polo, are challenging the stereotypes that polo is a game for men
Women of Manipur, the birthplace of modern polo, are challenging the stereotypes that polo is a game for men
Polo, often thought of as a game of the rich, has also been generally dominated by men. However, a quiet revolution is taking place at the very place where it all started -- the northeast Indian state of Manipur, which is considered the birthplace of modern polo.
While men had been playing this game here for centuries, the spotlight has now shifted to women of the state who now field five professional polo teams to compete with the world's best. These Manipuri women from humble backgrounds are not only shattering stereotypes that polo is a game for men, but also that it is the privilege of the rich.
L. Somi Roy, conservationist and partner at Huntre! Equine, has been one of the main crusaders for women's polo in the state and sees it also as a campaign to save the iconic Manipuri pony, whose numbers have been declining over the years. He says while Manipuri women traditionally did not play polo as it was an equestrian game coming out of a martial tradition, in modern times, in the 1980s, they got inspired by their male relatives.
"The All Manipur Polo Association encouraged them. About 40-45 per cent of polo players in the world are women. So we are just catching up. It's pretty gender free as a sport, so it puts them on the level of men when they play together," Roy tells IANS. 
While Manipur produces one-third of male players and three-fourths of women players in the country, Roy says most of these players from an isolated, economically-underdeveloped state are not members of the Indian Polo Association.
Yet, the state has India's longest polo season -- November to March -- with two international and four state tournaments, including the Manipur Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament, the only such tournament in India where teams from the US, UK, Canada, Kenya, Australia and Argentina have participated alongside Manipuri girls.
The matches are held in Imphal's Mapal Kangjeibung Stadium, the oldest running polo ground in the world.
Filmmaker Roopa Barua, who started documenting the story of women's polo in Manipur in 2016, says a young polo sisterhood is developing in the state that ploughs on despite adversity and political turmoil.
"Around 2014-15, there was an effort to bring in international women players to play in Manipur. Part of this effort was to create a campaign to save the Manipuri pony which is endangered. I saw a symbiotic relationship developing and I followed this story for four years," she tells IANS.
This documentation culminated in a film which intends to take the story of these strong women players to the world. The documentary film, "Daughters of the Polo God" was showcased earlier this month at the IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival in New Delhi, and would also be screened at the Bombay Stock Exchange on March 26.
"Manipuri players are natural horsewomen and extremely athletic. As I stayed on throughout the tournament, I saw that women's polo was becoming a growing story. The symbiotic relationship between women's polo and the endangered Manipuri pony was a very unique concept," Barua said.
Nineteen-year-old Tanna Thoudam, one of the protagonists of the film, was inspired to play polo when she saw some women players playing in a match in 2010. 
"Their enthusiasm lit a desire in me to play polo. I've felt close to horses since my uncle brought them home. But before that, horses roamed about everywhere. My family was not very well off and my uncle couldn't afford to buy a horse," she says.
Tanna joined the Assam Rifles Polo Club in 2011 and became the only junior to make it to the final Manipuri team for the 2017 Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament. "It was the happiest moment of my life."
Thoinu Thoudum, founder of the Chingkhei Hunba Polo Club, says it is good to have a women's tournament as it encourages girls to start playing polo while also showing solidarity and respect for women players.
Jetholia Thongbam started playing polo in 2016 and carried on even after her sister stopped playing following her marriage. She believes that Manipuri players are becoming better every year by playing with international players.
"Playing with the United States Polo Association (USPA) team was a great experience. Though their skills are very different from ours, we could learn a lot," she says.
N. Ibungochoubi, Secretary of the Manipur Polo Society, says the relationship between Manipuris and horses is special.
"Horses for centuries here are owned by people, they are trained, they are broken. And then they are let loose to graze freely in the open wetlands of Manipur."
But lately, the Manipuri ponies have lost their home to urban blight with their numbers declining from 1,893 in 2003 to just around 500 in 2014.
This is where this symbiotic relationship between humans and horses can potentially be a game-changer.
"Here is one (polo) community whose welfare is so closely tied with the welfare of the animal on which the game is played. We felt that since India did not have any women's polo tournament, Manipur could be, and should be, the home of women's polo in India," Somi Roy says.
He adds that going to play polo in Manipur is like going to Mecca. 
"For people who know the history of polo, Manipur is a special place - that's where it all came from. And then we say it's going to be played on the original Manipuri pony, and then we tell them that it is on the world's oldest living polo ground. It's a fairly irresistible invitation," Roy adds.
(The weekly feature series is part of a positive-journalism project of IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation.)

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Minor earthquake shakes Bishnupur region of Manipur

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Bishnupur region of Manipur late tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.5°N and longitude 93.8°E, occurred at 2250 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.

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KIYG once again puts focus on footballing gems from North East

There is no denying the fact that the North-East is on its way to becoming a major talent pool for Indian football. The team for the 2017 Under-17 World Cup hosted in India had as many as 10 players from Manipur and Mizoram in the ranks. These states continued their glorious run at the just-concluded Khelo India Youth Games where they shared four of the eight medals handed out.
While Mizoram’s boys won the Under-21 gold, Manipur bagged the U-21 girls’ tournament in dramatic yet identical penalty shoot-outs.
The North-East is extremely football-centric and that shows in their grassroot level programmes. Mizoram has its own football league where young talents are scouted from every nook and corner of the state and trained. According to Hmingsanga, coach of the U-21 Mizoram football team, having the state’s own football league has improved the tactics and styles of the players.
“My boys may have not played for the big leagues but they are regulars in the Mizoram Premier League which started in 2012. Football is highly popular in the state and having a televised league gives the players more motivation since they get more recognition,” he says.
About the team’s performance through the tournament, Hmingsanga adds, “We began training from November and were confident that we would perform well. Khelo India was a big deal for my boys and they showed it till the end. All of them are from small villages and did not expect luxurious treatment from the organisers. That came as a nice surprise.”
“They were well rested and content before the matches which helped. And before every fixture we prayed for a good match. I guess all our prayers were answered.”
Manipur, on the other hand, has a long history of football champions. The U-17 World Cup team featured eight footballers from the state. The extreme level of passion for football in Manipur has impressed one and all including the Sports Ministry, which is planning to build a world class football academy in the state. 
Players from the state were expected to perform well in Khelo India Youth Games and they did not disappoint.
Their success story was credited to the players’ families. Says coach, Shanta Singh, “Manipur is not an economically strong state. But people wish to see at least one national level player in their family. To fulfil this dream they work really hard and support their kids as much as they can.” 
He adds that even though sports like boxing were getting medals and recognition for the state, kids choose football at a very young age which helps to secure a big pool of talent right from very early on.
With Khelo India Youth Games being a national-level platform to showcase young talent, these two states have managed to steal the limelight and will hope to continue this with their passion for football.

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Rajnath Singh assures Biren Singh on the protection of rights and interests of people of Manipur

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh of the Centre’s commitment to protecting the rights and interests of the people of the state.
Mr Biren Singh had called on the Union Home Minister along with Manipur BJP President and Rajya Sabha MP, Ksh. Bhabananda Singh here on January 12. 
They discussed issues related to the protection of the rights and interests of the indigenous people of Manipur. Mr Rajnath Singh assured them that the interests of all North Eastern states including Manipur and their culture and heritage will be fully protected and that he will call a meeting of all the concerned states Chief Ministers to discuss requisite safeguards in this regard, an official press release said.
Mr Biren Singh submitted a memorandum for giving Presidential assent to Manipur People Bill, 2018. The Home Minister assured him that the Ministry would examine the Bill.

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Manipur journalist detained under NSA gets one-year jail term

Kishorechandra Wangkhem, a 45-year-old staff reporter of a local cable network, ISTV, who was detained under the National Security Act (NSA) in last week of November by the BJP-led coalition government in Manipur, has been sentenced to a 12-month jail term.
The court sentencing came after he was arrested a second time within 24 hours over a Facebook post in which he had mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren calling Biren the "puppet" of Modi.
His first arrest was for attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal West, ordered his release after the first arrest on November 27 as his Facebook post did not amount to sedition. But, within a few hours, he was rearrested under the NSA. 
Lawyers said that the government should have challenged it in a higher court. They feel that a higher court will not take it seriously since the journalist was detained under the NSA wthout challenging the order of the CJM.
As Manipur celebrated the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi, he reportedly resigned from the cable network and posted his Facebook message attacking Modi and Biren.
He contended that the Rani had nothing to with Manipur and its history. Angered by the happenings, he is also said to have used some abusive words.
However, the Press Council of India and the Indian Journalists Union strongly condemned the first attack, while support also came from the local journalists. 
The All Manipur Working Journalists' Union (AMWJU), however, refused to join the issue in the second instance of arrest. Ranjana Elangbam, his wife, said nobody came to his rescue.
Brozendra Ningombam, President of the AMWJU and Editor in Chief of ISTV, said that the AMWJU does not get involved in issues which have nothing to do with the profession of journalism.
Earlier this month, a review committee had approved the detention of Wangkhem under the NSA for one year. 
Congress leaders said that democracy has been murdered in Manipur. State Congress spokesperson Khumkcham Joykishan said that the BJP does not tolerate dissenting voice and dared the BJP to arrest him since he has been speaking against the government.

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Minor earthquake shakes Chandel region of Manipur

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, shook the Chandel region of Manipur early this morning.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.1°N and longitude 94.0°E, occurred at 0420 hours at a focal depth of 49 km.

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Seven Rohingya immigrants handed over to Myanmar

Seven Rohingya Muslims were on Thursday formally handed over by Indian authorities to Myanmar officials at Moreh in Manipur, in the wake of the Supreme Court's refusal to stay their deportation.
The seven men were arrested in Assam in 2012 for illegally entering India and have since served their six-year prison terms in Silchar district.
They were brought to Moreh from Assam by Assistant Commandant Sudashu Kumar posted with the paramilitary force in Assam. After completion of formalities, the seven persons were handed over to Aung Myo, Deputy Director of Immigration in Myanmar.
Following Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's directive, northeastern states sharing international borders with different countries in the region had tightened security to ensure that displaced Rohingya Muslims do not enter India.
Police sources said that several Rohingya immigrants were arrested at Moreh as well as Jiribam district bordering Assam, including Rohingya girls suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea for a stay on the deportation of the seven Rohingya immigrants.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph dismissed the plea as the Centre said that Myanmar had accepted them as their citizens. 
The Rohingya people are a minority Muslim community from the Rakhine state in Myanmar. 
Earlier in the day, in Delhi, the Supreme Court refused to stop the deportation of the first batch of seven Rohingyas illegaly settled in Assam's Silchar since 2012 to Myanmar.
Hearing the plea by Prashant Bhushan on the deportation scheduled on the day, the three-judge bench dismissed it as the Centre informed the court that Myanmar has accepted them as their citizens.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court these seven Rohingyas were arrested for being illegal immigrants. 
They were convicted and have already served their sentence. They have themselves requested to be sent back to their country, he said.
It was upon their request that the Ministry of External Affairs got in touch with the authorities in Myanmar which confirmed them to be their nationals and said were willing to take them back, the Centre told the court.
Appearing for petitioner Mohammad Salimullah, Bhushan told the bench that it should ask the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) first to interview the refugees to know their wishes -- whether they wanted to go back.
Bhushan told the court that the Rohingya refugees face the risk of persecution and death if they are deported back to their country.
As Bhushan said it was the apex court's responsibility to protect their lives, Chief Justice Gogoi said: "You do not have to remind us of our responsibility, we are aware of it."

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ADB to provide $ 150 million loan for improving road connectivity in West Bengal, NE region

ADB logo
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of lndia signed  a $150 million loan here on Monday to finance continued improvements to road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of lndia. 
The signatories to the Tranche 2 Loan Agreement for the $500 million South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity lnvestment Program were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of lndia; and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's lndia Resident Mission, who signed for ADB. 
Approved in 2014, the program aims to expand about 500 kilometers of roads in lndia's North Bengal and North-Eastern Region that will enable efficient and safe transport within lndia and regionally with other SASEC member-countries.
The Project Agreement for the state of Manipur was signed by Mr. Sheikh Abdul Hakim, Under Secretary (Works) and for the National Highways and lnfrastructure Development Corporation Limited was signed by Mr. W. Blah, Executive Director (Works).
After signing the loan agreement, Mr. Khare said that the program is an important initiative in regional connectivity aimed at increasing domestic and regional trade through North Bengal-North East Region International Trade corridor by upgrading key roads. He said that it will give a boost to lndia's efforts to promote regional connectivity in South Asia.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Yokoyama said that the new loan will help upgradation of key national and state highways in Manipur and construct an important international bridge for crucial last-mile connectivity between in-country trunk road network and neighbouring countries.
The Tranche 2 Project will upgrade about 65 kilometers of lmphal-Moreh Section of National Highway in Manipur, construction of about 1.5 km of an international bridge between lndia and Nepal, and completion of about 103 km of a State Highway in Manipur between lmphal and Tamenglong under Project-I. The project will reduce transaction costs along the targeted cross-border corridors substantially, creating economies of scale and commercial prosperity, an official press release said.

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First project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme to be inaugurated in Manipur on Tuesday

Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla will inaugurate the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism here tomorrow.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons and Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma will be present at the inauguration of is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs 5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. As many as 30 projects/major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.
The project in Manipur was sanctioned in September 2015 for Rs 72.30 Crores. It covers two sites, the Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological sites of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.  It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.  Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.  Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart; Sound and Light Show, Construction of Rock Garden, Utility Block; Audio Guide, Eco Friendly Conveyance, Development of Crafts Houses and Parking on Naga Nullah; Polo Gallery; Reception and Ticket Counter. 
The work has been carried out at a cost of Rs 63.90 crore. Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.  Under the project, a pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake have been carried out for Rs 4.89 crore.
The Ministry is developing the tourism infrastructure in the region under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. It has sanctioned 15 projects covering all North Eastern states for Rs. 1301.47 crore.
Foreign tourist arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double-digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists, in turn, has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.
A number of facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centres, Interpretation Centres, better last mile connectivity, heliports, wayside amenities region, SEL Shows, Eco Log Huts, Rope Way, Golf Course, theme parks etc. are being developed up in the region under the above schemes to enhance the experience of tourists when they visit the region. 
The Ministry organises International Travel Mart every year in one of the Northeastern states with the objective of providing a platform to these sates to showcase its tourism potential to prospective international and domestic buyers an opportunity to interact with them. This year the 7th Edition of ITM is scheduled to be held in November in Agartala, Tripura.

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Manipur staged killings: SC asks CBI to take 'rational' call on arresting accused

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CBI Director to take a "rational" decision if arrest and custodial interrogation of accused was needed into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur by Army, Assam Rifles and state police.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U. U. Lalit questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Kumar Verma , who was present in court in pursuance to the court's order, why no arrest has been made after it was informed that the agency has filed two charge sheets in trial court on Monday morning, naming fourteen accused.
"Have you (CBI) arrested anyone during the investigation? Was there any custodial interrogation? Normally arrest is essential for the investigation," said the bench.
The CBI chief replied that it has not arrested anyone because it could not find any reason to arrest them as it doesn't have anything to recover from them (accused) after almost 30 years.
At this, the bench slammed the CBI and asked, for example "if a man rapes a woman nothing will be recovered, but you will not arrest the person because nothing could be recovered?"
"So, you want Manipur to be surrounded by murderers (as accused were not arrested). According to your charge sheets, they are murderers, yet you allow them to roam around in the streets of Imphal? At least 14 murderers (who were named in recently filed charge sheet) roaming around in Manipur. What will happen to the society if this is allowed?"
The court, however, did not pass any direction to arrest the accused but left it to the CBI to take "rational" call whether it wants to arrest the accused, take them into custody, send them to judicial custody, or not arrest them.
"Not satisfied" with the pace of investigation into the alleged fake encounter in Manipur, the bench last week had sought personal appearance of CBI director before it on July 30 to decide the steps to be taken to expedite the process.
During the hearing, the CBI chief told the court that five more final reports will be filed in separate cases by August 31.
Target is complete probe in 41 cases, said the CBI chief adding that charge sheets in 20 more cases will be filed by the year end and probe in remaining 14 cases will continue.
"By your estimate we don't see light in this till March 2019," said the bench while observing that progress in investigation was "pathetic", and questioned such slow pace of progress.
"We are dealing with human lives..." the court added while telling the CBI chief that it already has all the basic material and information with it as issue has been dealt by the NHRC, there was Commission of Inquiry, judicial inquiry, and the Justice Santosh Hegde report.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the court that "system" was slowing down the CBI and it has to follow CBI manual as per which it has to go through six-seven step vetting.
The bench then cut short to three the six-seven steps of scrutiny process.
It also ordered inclusion of more officers in the SIT to "expedite" the investigation, and posted the matter for hearing on August 20, also asking CBI chief to remain present in court on that day.
The court also pulled up the CBI for filling FIRs against dead persons, who were victims.
Last week the bench had said it was tired of the agency's "snake and ladder game" and it was not satisfied with the pace of the probe while summoning its director to explain about the timeline and also about the manner of the probe.
It was upset with the CBI on its failure to submit final investigation reports, which the CBI has assured to be filed by July 27, but during Friday's hearing, the CBI had instead wanted more time to file final reports.
The court was hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up the Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by the commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.

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Nine killed in Manipur landslide

9 killed in landslide in Manipur's Tamenglong
At least nine persons, including five children, died after a landslide hit Manipur's Tamenglong district early on Wednesday.
Among the victims were three girls and two boys, while two more children have gone missing, Adim Panmei, Chairman of State Disaster Management said.
Panmei and his team along with the police and fire fighters are searching for the two missing children, but District Collector Ravindra Singh said chances of finding them alive were slim. 
The national highway adjoining Nagaland was also damaged by the landslide that was triggered by heavy rains. All traffic on the route has been suspended. 
In another incident, a young mother and her nine-year-old daughter were swept away by a strong current in the Iril river on Tuesday. 
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Indian Army attacks NSCN-K camp in Myanmar, inflicts 'casualties'

In another strike, Indian Army commandos have attacked an NSCN-K camp in Myanmar, inflicting some casualties, an army source said on Thursday.
"A team of 12 Para Commandos attacked a check post of the NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang) situated in the vicinity of its Shwelo camp inside Myanmar on Wednesday. The gunfight continued for half hour," an army official told IANS. 
The rebels suffered at least four to five casualties, he said, adding there was no casualty on the army side.
The commandos were equipped with rocket launchers, mortars and automatic grenade launcher to carry out the strike, he said, adding the operation lasted for two hours after being started at 2 p.m. 
According to the official, the area of operation was 3 km beyond border pillar 151 on the India-Myanmar border across Nagaland's Mon district.
The pursuit of the rebels was undertaken after three Assam Rifles personnel and three others were wounded in an ambush by NSCN-K rebels in Mon on June 18.
NSCN-K's Deputy Minister, 'Colonel' Isak Sumi, confirmed that Indian Army "in huge numbers" crossed Chenmoh village and arrived at the international boundary some kilometres away from the "Naga Army" (NSCN-K) forward post, but were detected.
"On realisation that their presence has already been detected they resorted to blank firings randomly for several minutes to which the Naga Army responded and prevented any further advance. Casualties could not be ascertained," Sumi wrote on his Facebook page.
The NSCN-K faction abrogated a ceasefire signed in 2001 with the Indian government on March 27, 2015, just a month before the truce was up for renewal.
Subsequently, they went on a killing spree, attacking Indian soldiers in Nagaland and Manipur. The outfit even mounted the deadly ambush on a convoy of the 6 Dogra Regiment in Manipur's Chandel district on June 4, 2015, killing 18 soldiers.
Following this, the elite army special forces personnel entered Myanmar, raided two insurgent camps and inflicted "significant casualties".
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Minor earthquake jolts Myanmar-Manipur border region

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between Myanmar and the Indian state of Manipur today.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 23.8°N and longitude 94.5°E, occurred at 1637 hours at a focal depth of 40 km.
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Northeast flood situation grim, Army help sought

Floods wreak havoc in Northeast India
The flood situation in the Northeast continued to be grim on Thursday with at least nine people losing their lives and thousands displaced in Assam, Manipur and Tripura, where the state governments have sought Armys help in rescue operations.
Two people lost their lives in a landslide in a remote location in Assam's Dima Hasao district and one person died in Golaghat due to floods even as a total of 1,66,836 people are marooned in seven districts of the state. 
This is the first wave of floods to hit the state this year and according to Disaster Management Department officials, 370 villages were submerged by floods since Wednesday evening. The districts of Hojai, Cachar, Golaghat, Hailakandi, Karimganj, and East and West Karbi Anglong have been affected.
Three major rivers are flowing above the danger mark at different places, officials said.
While Dhansiri river is flowing over the danger level at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Barak river is flowing above Cachar followed by Badarpurghat at Karimganj, and at Matizuri in Hailakandi. Kushiyara river is flowing above danger level in Karimganj district, the officials said. 
The state government has pressed National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force teams into service in the affected areas for search and rescue operation. NDRF sources said that 422 persons have been rescued in from Karimganj, Hailakandi, Cacahar and Golaghat as on Thursday. 
Over 36,000 people are living in 115 relief camps in the flood-affected districts.
Train traffic has been affected following landslides triggered by incessant rains for past few days. 
Northeast Frontier Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer P.J. Sharma said at least four trains have been suspended due to the landslides, which have occurred in at least five locations in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday sought the Army's assistance in rescue operations in the flood-hit state as incessant rains continued for the third day leading to floods and landslides -- forcing some 50,000 people to take shelter in relief camps and claiming four lives.
Deb informed Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh in a telephonic conversation on Thursday morning of the situation and apprised him of the steps taken by the state government. 
He also requested the Home Minister to "urgently" increase the number of National Disaster Response Force personnel in the state. 
An official statement said the Centre has assured all the necessary support to Tripura to deal with the flood situation, while asking Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, to take necessary action.
Meanwhile, an official of the Tripura Disaster Management Control Centre said that around 50,000 people of over 10,000 families took shelter in around 200 relief camps in different parts of the state mostly in northern Tripura.
"At least four people, including two aged men and a teenager, died across Tripura since Tuesday due to landslides, falling trees or fishing in flooded rivers," the official said.
"We have kept ready a Pawan Hans helicopter and sent requisition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide two more copters to rescue marooned people and to provide relief to the affected families if necessary."
He said that IAF helicopters on Wednesday and Thursday could not fly from Silchar in southern Assam due to bad weather.
The Disaster Management official said that the situation in northern Tripura's Unokoti district deteriorated after three old embankments of the Manu River were breached.
Waters of many rivers of Tripura are flowing over the danger levels. Flood waters inundated many villages, homes, paddy fields highways besides low-lying areas. 
Landslides have occurred in many highways affecting movement of traffic.
In Manipur, two persons including a 7-year-old boy drowned in Thoubal district. 
Four members of a family in Chajing in Imphal west district were trapped in the second floor of their submerged house. The government has requested the Army to rescue them. 
Chief Minister N.Biren Singh supervised the repairing works of the breached banks of the Imphal river on Wednesday, said officials, adding that he left only when the breached bank was repaired. 
Several houses and paddy fields in Thoubal district have been inundated from Thursday morning. Flood waters are running across the state and national highways. Officials said that more areas in the Imphal east and west districts had been inundated. 
The NH 37 linking Manipur with Assam was severely damaged near Sinam village in Noney district. Due to landslide and massive depressions along this highway triggered by the rains the vehicles cannot ply. Most of the drivers had turned back to come along the NH 2 that passes through Nagaland. 
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Congress to push for government formation in Manipur, Meghalaya

The Congress leaders in Meghalaya and Manipur said on Thursday that they will stake claim for formation of government in the two states since the party had emerged as the single largest party in the recent elections.
The Congress leaders said that since the BJP which had become the single largest party in Karnataka was allowed to form the government the same should not be denied to the Congress. 
In Meghalaya, the National People's Party had bagged 19 seats in the 60 member House and the Congress had secured 21 seats but was denied the chance to form the government in February. 
Former Manipur Chief Minister and Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh told IANS that he will stake claim to form the Congress government. 
In Meghalaya, the Congress had secured 28 seats while the BJP got just 21 in the March 2017 elections. 
He said that this chance cannot be denied to the party since the BJP was given a chance to form the government after denying the same to the Congress and JDS combined which command a majority in the southern state. 
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Foreigners allowed to visit Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur unrestricted

In a significant move, the Union Home Ministry has allowed foreigners -- except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan -- to visit tourist locations in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. which were so far restricted areas.
With the decision, applicable from April 1, foreigners now can visit the three states for the next five years without any permit, an official said. 
Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur were, since the last six decades, kept under Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime. 
Earlier, from January 1, 2011, the PAP was initially lifted for one year from the three states as per a December 30, 2010 circular of the Union Home Ministry. 
"Foreign tourists can visit tourist locations in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur without any PAP from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2013. Citizens from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan are still banned from all PAP areas," the Home Ministry official said. 
The areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958. 
The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area.
The official further said a review is going on to lift PAP from other areas too. 
As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extraordinary reasons to justify his or her visit.
Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits. 
In cases, where the power to issue such permits has not been delegated to a subordinate authority by the Central government, the application for the special permit has to be referred to Union Home Ministry for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit. 
With an aim to promote tourism, the government, time to time by notification, exempts some of such restricted or protected areas from the need of special permission for foreigners to visit them.
Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without the prior approval of the Home Ministry to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the certain exceptions. 
In cases of foreign diplomats, including the members of the United Nations and international organisations holding diplomatic or official passports, the special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs. 
In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union Home Ministry.
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Former Manipur CM R K Dorendra Singh passes away, cremated with state honours

Former Manipur Chief Minister R.K. Dorendra Singh passed away here on Friday and was cremated here on Saturday with full state honours. He was 84.
The three-time Chief Minister expired at the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences here. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. 
The Manipur government has announced a three-day state mourning. The flag will fly half mast and there shall be no state function during this period. 
As Chief Minister thrice in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he had tried to solve the armed movement and several insurgents had come overground and had been rehabilitated. He had also been the Speaker and Minister several times as well as a Rajya Sabha member. 
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Speaker Y. Khemchand and others have condoled his death.
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Redefine R&D as research for development: Modi

Modi inaugurates 105th Indian Science Congress
The 105th session of the Indian Science Congress began here in the capital of Manipur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling upon scientists to work for solving societal problems. Time has come, he said, to redefine Research and Development (R&D) as ‘research for development’.
“The time is ripe to redefine ‘R&D’ as research for the development of the nation – that is ‘R&D’ in the real sense. Science is after all, but a means to a far greater end – of making a difference in the lives of others, of furthering human progress and welfare,” he said in  his inaugural address at the Congress, being hosted by the Manipur University. He said science and technology could help facilitate "ease of living" for the people.
Referring to the focal theme of this year’s congress - “Reaching the Unreached through Science and Technology”, he said scientific knowledge should be applied to solve day-to-day problems in various sectors such as housing, malnutrition, clean energy and elimination of diseases.
Innovative ideas can bring about change. For instance, he said, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor from Madurai has developed a method to reuse plastic waste in construction of roads and has given it for free to the government. This technology has already been used to lay over 5000 kilometers of roads across 11 states. In the same way, scientist Arvind Gupta is inspiring students to learn science through toys made out of waste. Chintakindi Mallesham has developed a machine that significantly reduces time and labour required to weave sarees. 
The Prime Minister said the country’s scientific achievements need to be actively communicated to people, in order to help inculcate scientific temper among the youth as well as to attract them to careers in science. “We have to throw open our national institutions and laboratories to our children. I call upon scientists to develop an appropriate mechanism for interaction with school-going children. I also urge them, to spend 100 hours every year, with 100 students of classes 10,11 and 12 discussing various aspects of science and technology,” he added.
At the same time, India is moving ahead in high science. Chandrayan-2, to be launched soon, will include landing and travel on the surface of the moon by a rover. Indian scientists have also played a key role in the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Collaboration. The third LIGO detector is coming up India. “It will expand our knowledge in basic sciences in areas of lasers, light waves and computing,” he said.
There should be greater coordination within the S&T sector. For example, Mr. Modi said, ISRO uses one of the best battery systems to run its satellites in space. The same technology can be used by other institutions to develop cost effective and efficient battery systems for mobile hones and electric cars. India should become a major player in developing technologies, devices, standards and manufacturing for 5G broadband networks by 2020.
He said the government would like to develop Clusters of Excellence in Science in Cities, around important scientific institutions. These clusters will bring together science and technology partners from academia, research institutes, industry and startups to help promote new discoveries, and create globally competitive research hubs.
“The Indian economy is on a high growth trajectory. But we rank low in Human Development Indicators. One of the important reasons for this inconsistency is major inter-state and intra-state disparity,” Mr Modi said. In order to address this, he said, the government had launched a programme to improve the performance of over 100 ‘aspirational districts’ with focus health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development and infrastructure. He wanted scientific institutions to catalyze creation and diffusion of appropriate technologies in these districts.
About 5000 Indian and foreign delegates are participating in the five-day annual event, which was earlier scheduled to take place in Hyderabad in January. 
(India Science Wire)
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Minor earthquake shakes Churachandpur region of Manipur

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Churachandpur region of Manipur this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.5°N and longitude  93.4°E, occurred  at 0756 hours at a focal depth of 27 km.
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Minor earthquake shakes Churachandpur region of Manipur

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Churachandpur region of Manipur this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.0°N and longitude 93.5°E, occurred at 0701 hours at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
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Mohun Bagan pip Neroca in five-goal thriller .

Birthday boy Dipanda Dicka notched a brace and Akram Moghrabi netted the winner as Mohun Bagan came out 3-2 victors over Neroca FC in the Hero I-League at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Sunday.
Felix Chidi and Singam Subhash Singh scored the goals for the home side but were not able to hold their lead and allowed the visitors to get back into the game.
Chidi was brought back into the line-up in place of Nedo Turkovic as Neroca FC looked to win and stay on top of the league table. 
Sankarlal Chakraborty made three changes to his side - Kinshuk Debnath, Yuto Kinowaki and Mallick replaced Rana Gharami, Faiaz and Raynier Fernandes. 
The hosts did not have to wait too long to break the deadlock. Singam Subhash Singh robbed the ball of Kinshuk before chipping it over the custodian in the 16th minute to give his side a wonderful start to the game. 
The celebrations of the first goal were cut short four minutes later when Akram Moghrabi released Dipanda into the box. The striker was brought down before he could get his shot away by Bishorjit and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. 
Aser Dipanda stepped up to hit the net for the tenth time this season and to level things for Mohun Bagan.
Just as the visitors thought they were back in the game, a failed overhead clearance by Kinshuk allowed Tondonba to find Chidi who did his best impression of a fox in the box by neatly slotting the ball past Shilton to make it 2-1 in the 24th minute. 
A fantastic cross into the box from Moghrabi was not headed on target by Dipanda three minutes later but he was forgiven for his big miss in the 36th minute.
The Neroca defence was caught napping by Bagui's cross and this time, Dipanda made no mistake and for the second time in the game, Mohun Bagan were level. Bagan kept piling up the pressure and were rewarded on the stroke of half-time.
Nikhil Kadam's cross was flicked on across the face of goal by Kinowaki into the path of Akram Moghrabi. The striker nodded the ball in from close-range to make it 3-2.
Subash threatened twice after the restart. A dangerous cross by the forward forced a good save from Shilton Paul with Sushil lurking behind the goalie to head the incoming ball into the net in the 70th minute.
A minute later, Subhash Singh took the entire Bagan defence out of the equation with a delightful flick to release Chidi. Unfortunately for the striker, the ball was behind him as he had made the run early and hence could not get his shot away.
Neroca built  attack after attack as the game progressed but Gift Raikhan's men were not able to penetrate the Bagan defence, thereby ending the game on the losing side and leaving the title race unpredictable.
There hasn't been any change in the league table but Neroca FC's title hopes have got severely hurt after today's loss.
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Minor earthquake recorded in Churachandpur region of Manipur

An  earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in  the Churachandpur region of Manipur in the  early hours of today.
A  bulletin from the  India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.3°N and longitude 93.2°E, occurred at 0110 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
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No lessons learnt in quake-prone Northeast

It is often said that earthquakes don’t kill people; it is the buildings that do. If building codes are not enforced in seismically active zones, even moderate intensity quakes can cause widespread damage to buildings and injure people. This is what is happening in the Northeast, a new study has pointed out.
Manipur was hit with earthquake of intensity 6.7 on January 4, 2016 which caused devastation in state capital, Imphal, and adjoining areas. It provided an opportunity to scientists to understand risks posed to buildings and the state of construction practices in the region. While many buildings collapsed, it was noted that the damage caused to public building was disproportionate to the observed intensity of shaking.
Scientists from three Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) – Kanpur, Guwahati and Patna - undertook a reconnaissance survey of earthquake affected regions immediately after the quake, and revisited the area after three months to see the condition of damaged structures and restoration work. Results of this study have now been published in journal Current Science. 
It was found that while several reinforced concrete (RC) buildings in Imphal suffered varying degree of damage, traditional wooden houses made using bamboo and wood - known as Shing-Khim - reported no damage. Government buildings, covered in the study, were damaged heavily because they did not conform to seismic code of practices, and there is general lack of enforcement of existing regulations and codes. In addition, factors like inferior quality of raw materials and shoddy workmanship contributed to collapse of buildings.
“The seismic risk in the region is growing at an alarming pace with increasing inventory of vulnerable construction,” the study has concluded. The 2016 quake, it said, “should be regarded as a preview of what is likely to happen in the event of a greater shaking expected for the region and should hasten the community to take necessary steps.”
Dr Durgesh C Rai, a professor of civil engineering at IIT Kanpur, who led the study, told India Science Wire that “despite considerable awareness in public about earthquakes and associated risks, both public and administrators, chose to ignore the threat and continued to build structures which were not earthquake-resistant.” 
Due to such negligence, he said, “many publicly-funded buildings suffered severe damage under shaking intensity of VI–VII which is not only ironic but also represents the utter betrayal of the public trust.”
Buildings at the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Government Polytechnic and Central Agriculture University (CAU) are all government funded and supervised constructions, and were expected to perform satisfactorily during earthquakes, but they all experienced moderate to severe damages. Large building campuses such as CAU were constructed on landfill soil and they performed extremely poorly during the earthquake shaking, the study pointed out.
The newly constructed concrete buildings of world famous Ima Keithel or Mothers’ Market too suffered damage. The market earlier operated from bamboo structures which were functional but were in poor condition due to lack of maintenance. So the government dismantled the market and built three concrete structures in 2010. All three buildings have similar elevation and plan but only one of them showed better performance during the earthquake.
“The traditional constructions using lighter timber and bamboo have performed well and no damage to such structures in Imphal was reported,” Dr Rai added. “Despite available knowledge, seismic safety remains neglected and the society is not adequately prepared due to lack of implementation.” 
He said the lessons from the Manipur quake are applicable for the entire northeast region.
The research team also included Hemant B. Kaushik and Vaibhav Singhal. 
(India Science Wire)
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