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Punjab

Kartarpur corridor: Foundation stone replaced amid row over credit

A massive political slug-fest was played out on Monday in full public view, shoving protocol to the side in the presence of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, as political leaders from opposing sides in Punjab bared it at what was meant to be solemn celebration related to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara corridor project.
 
Naidu lays foundation stone for Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib corridor
A massive political slug-fest was played out on Monday in full public view, shoving protocol to the side in the presence of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, as political leaders from opposing sides in Punjab bared it at what was meant to be solemn celebration related to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara corridor project.
 
Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday laid the digital foundation stone of a road project that will link the Kartarpur corridor (in Pakistan) by pressing a button.
 
The actual foundation stone was removed by the authorities just three hours before the event after Punjab cabinet Minister and local legislator Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa objected to the names of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Minister Harsimrat Badal on the foundation stone.
 
A clearly upset Randhawa announced that he would 'boycott' the foundation stone ceremony and even put black tape on the stone where the names of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Punjab PWD Minister Vijay Singla and his own (Randhawa) were put on the foundation stone along with the names of the Badals.
 
Officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), sensing that the situation could get unpleasant in the presence of dignitaries, removed the foundation stone and replaced it with the digital one.
 
The foundation on the screen carried the names of Vice President Naidu, Punjab Governor V. P. Singh Badnore, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
 
Though the ceremony was to celebrate the approval of the governments of India and Pakistan to allow the Kartarpur corridor to enable people to pray at the gurdwara in Pakistan, leaders of the Akali Dal and its ally BJP on one side and Punjab's ruling Congress on the other not only indulged in running each other down and claiming credit for getting the project cleared but even raised slogans against each other in the presence of the Vice President.
 
Harsimrat Badal, in her address at the function, took a dig at the Congress leaders over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. There was immediate sloganeering against her by Congress leaders and activists.
 
When Gurdaspur MP and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar was giving his vote of thanks, he hit back at the Akali Dal leadership by making Punjab a drugs hub. This led to protests and sloganeering by Akali Dal leaders, including Harsimrat's brother and former Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
 
Earlier, Randhawa was seen speaking and gesturing angrily to officers while they made arrangements for the high-profile function.
 
The Minister, the Congress legislator from Dera Baba Nanak, was visibly disturbed and shouted at officers. He later told a TV channel: "I will not boycott the function but I will boycott the foundation stone itself. I cannot see my name and those of my ministerial colleagues along with the Badals."
 
"The Badals have no contribution in getting the Kartarpur corridor project cleared. They ruled Punjab from 1997 to 2002 and again for 10 years (2007-17). Did they come here to offer prayers while in power? They are only trying to take credit (for the Kartarpur corridor) just because they (Akali Dal) have an alliance with the BJP," the Minister said.
 
Randhawa blamed the NHAI officers for the foundation stone controversy. He said that he had serious objections to the foundation stone carrying the names of the Badals. 
 
"The sanctity of the function should have been kept. The foundation stone should have carried only the names of the Vice-President and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh," Randhawa said.
 
The Minister was also upset that the Congress leadership in Punjab, including him (as the local minister and legislator), Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar (the Punjab Congress President) and cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu were being deliberately ignored for the function while all attention was being given to the Badal family.
 
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Randhawa's outburst came even as the SAD-BJP and Congress leaders in Punjab were in the midst of a major controversy in claiming credit for getting the Kartarpur corridor project cleared by the governments of India and Pakistan.
 
The NDA government at the Centre, of which the SAD is a part, approved the project in Punjab linked to the Kartarpur corridor on November 22. The date of the foundation stone was hurriedly decided for November 26 to ensure that it was done before Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the actual Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan on November 28 (Wednesday).
 
The Congress government in Punjab was going to hold its own function here this week but Chief Minister Amarinder Singh decided to be part of the central government function itself.
 
The SAD-BJP combine leadership has also been trying hard to take the credit away from state cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu who in August went to Pakistan for the swearing-in of his cricketing friend Imran Khan and was the first to announce that Pakistan was keen to open the Kartarpur corridor for devotees from India.
 
The Akali Dal leadership, including Harsimrat Badal, branded Sidhu as a 'traitor' for hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in function. They questioned his statements regarding Pakistan's move on the Kartarpur corridor.
 
Harsimrat Badal is now herself headed to Pakistan as the central government's representative for the foundation stone ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor on Wednesday. Sidhu is also going for the same event.
 
It was at the Kartarpur gurdwara, which is located around two to three kilometre from the India-Pakistan border and is situated right opposite the border belt in Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur district, that Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), spent 18 years of his life till he died in 1539.
 
The gurdwara, which fell in Pakistan territory following the partition of India in 1947, has major significance in Sikh religion and history.
 
For the past 71 years, ever since partition, Sikhs have been offering prayers near the international border.
 
IANS
 

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Three killed, 15 injured in grenade attack near Amritsar

Three people were killed and at least 15 others injured when two motorcycle-borne masked youths threw a grenade at a religious congregation in Rajasansi area in Punjab's Amritsar district on Sunday, police said.
 
3 killed, 20 injured in grenade blast in Amritsar
Three people were killed and at least 15 others injured when two motorcycle-borne masked youths threw a grenade at a religious congregation in Rajasansi area in Punjab's Amritsar district on Sunday, police said.
 
The grenade attack took place on the Nirankari Satsang Bhawan of the Nirankari sect in Adliwala village, about 15 km from Amritsar. The sect campus is located in Amritsar's rural belt.
 
The injured were rushed to hospitals in Amritsar. A few of them were in serious condition, police said. All victims were sect followers from nearby villages who had gathered for the Sunday weekly religious meeting.
 
Witnesses told the police that two youths on a motorcycle, their faces covered, forced entry to the sect campus by pointing a pistol at a woman volunteer at the gate.
 
"Everything happened within a couple of minutes. They got in, threw the grenade and fled," one man told the police.
 
The attack came amid a high alert issued on November 14 by the Punjab Police regarding the movement of 6-7 terrorists in the state. 
 
Punjab Police Inspector General (Border Range) S.P.S. Parmar confirmed to the media that three people were killed in the grenade attack.
 
Asked if it was a terror attack, Parmar said that all angles were being investigated.
 
"The people had gathered for prayers. There were around 200 people. Preliminary reports suggest that the two persons threw one grenade. Three people have been killed and 15 to 20 are injured. No firing took place," Parmar said.
 
"We are investigating the incident from all angles," Parmar said.
 
Senior police officers rushed to the village following the grenade attack.
 
Congress legislator Raj Kumar Verka told the media that no compromise would be made by the Congress government in Punjab on terrorism.
 
"We will deal with it strictly," Verka said, admitting that the incident showed intelligence failure on the part of the Punjab Police.
 
The Punjab Police, along with the Jammu and Kashmir Police, had recently busted two modules of Kashmiri students who were studying in institutions in Punjab and having links to terrorist outfits in troubled Kashmir.
 
Posters of Kashmiri terrorist Zakir Mussa had mysteriously appeared in Punjab's Gurdaspur district on Friday saying that he had been seen in Punjab.
 
The Nirankari sect has millions of followers across the country and abroad. The sect has its headquarters in Delhi.
 
IANS
 

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58 dead, 72 injured as train mows down Dussehra revellers in Amritsar

As many as 58 people were killed and 72 others injured after a speeding train mowed down a large group of people who had strayed on to the railway tracks at Joda Phatak, a level crossing, during Dussehra celebrations here this evening, sources said.
A view of a train crashing through a crowd of people who had strayed on to the railway tracks during Dussehra celebrations at Joda Phatak in Amritsar, Punjab on October 19, 2018. Photo taken from a video posted on Twitter by an eyewitness.
A view of a train crashing through a crowd of people who had strayed on to the railway tracks during Dussehra celebrations at Joda Phatak in Amritsar, Punjab on October 19, 2018. Photo taken from a video posted on Twitter by an eyewitness.
As many as 58 people were killed and 72 others injured after a speeding train mowed down a large group of people who had strayed on to the railway tracks at Joda Phatak, a level crossing, during Dussehra celebrations here this evening, official sources said.
 
There were conflicting reports about what exactly happened but it appeared that, as the effigy of Ravana was set ablaze and fire crackers flew all around in the dark, several people from the crowd unwittingly moved on to the railway tracks, close to the venue of the celebrations, to avoid being singed by the fire crackers.
 
The loud noise and the blinding lights appeared to have prevented the people from noticing that a train was speeding towards them. Before the people, engrossed by the spectacle before them, realised what had happened, the Jalandhar-Amritsar train went by in a flash, running over several of them.
 
Amritsar Police Commissioner S. S. Srivastava told reporters that 58 people had died and 72 had suffered injuries in the incident.
 
The injured, many of them in a critical condition, were rushed to the Civil Hospital, the Medical College Hospital and other hospitals in the city.
 
Hundreds of people gathered at the scene. While many of them were grieving for their near and dear ones, others were angry with the authorities for failing to ensure the safety of people participating in the celebrations. Similar crowds also gathered outside the hospitals.
 
Senior officials from the district administration, the police and the Northern Railway had reached the spot and were supervising the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on micro-blogging site Twitter that he was rushing to Amritsar to personally oversee the relief effort. He was due to leave on a visit to Israel later tonight but the trip has now been called off.
 
Capt. Amarinder Singh also announced that the Punjab government would give Rs. 5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those who were killed in the incident and free treatment for the injured.
 
"Rushing to Amritsar to personally supervise relief & rescue in tragic rail accident on Dussehra in Amritsar. My govt will give Rs 5 lakh to kin of each deceased & free treatment to injured in govt & pvt hospitals. District authorities have been mobilised on war footing," he said.
 
"We will do everything possible to assist the injured. Have directed the district administration to leave no stone unturned to ensure the best possible treatment for them," he said, adding that a Crisis Management Group had been set up to monitor the relief and rehabilitation efforts.
 
"The state will remain in mourning tomorrow in view of #Amritsar train mishap. All offices & educational institutions will remain closed," he added.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident.
 
"Extremely saddened by the train accident in Amritsar. The tragedy is heart-wrenching. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and I pray that the injured recover quickly. Have asked officials to provide immediate assistance that is required," he said.
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said, "The train accident in Punjab in which over 50 people have died is shocking. I urge the state government & Congress workers to provide immediate relief at the accident site. My condolences to the families of those who have died. I pray that the injured make a speedy recovery."
 
Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who was on an official visit to the United States, is flying back to India after cancelling his remaining engagements.
 
IANS adds:
 
A large number of some 700 people were watching the huge Ravan effigy in flames amid exploding crackers while on the tracks at Joda Phatak near Dhobi Ghat within the city when the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU passenger train coming to Amritsar from Hoshiarpur came hurtling down around 7 p.m.
 
It took just about 10-15 seconds for the train to pass -- and leave behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies.
 
Amritsar Police Commissioner S.S. Srivastava told reporters that 58 people have died and 72 have been rushed to hospitals in the city. The toll could go up, Srivastava said. 
 
Video clips posted on social media showed some people who had apparently seen the approaching train trying to run away from the site. A few of them were also mowed down.
 
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Wails and cries filled the air as people frantically looked for their near and dear ones. Severed bodies, including those of children, were lying at the accident site hours after the incident with angry people not allowing authorities to remove them.
 
"I have lost my child. I want him back," an inconsolable mother was wailing at the disaster spot.
 
Most people reportedly could not hear the hooting of the train due to the exploding crackers.
 
"Out of nowhere came the train," said a man, while speaking to journalists. "Before anyone could realise what was happening, it ran over scores of people."
 
"When the effigy started to burn in full flow, people began running away from it fearing it may fall over them," said another man. "They did not realise that a speeding train was coming and the train did not sound its hooter."
 
Another man felt that the tragedy would have claimed at least 100 lives. The dead included several children, another witness said.
 
Ironically, moments before the tragedy, another train passed the area but there were no casualties, a railway official said.
 
A local resident, Nirmal Jit Sindhu, alleged that the Dussehra celebrations were organised by forcing the local administration to grant permission near the railway tracks.
 
He said last year the administration had not granted permission for the use of this venue for Dussehra celebrations owing to its proximity to the tracks.
 
Some people blamed Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur, who was the Chief Guest at the celebrations, saying her late arrival delayed the burning of the effigy by more than half an hour.
 
Sidhu told a news channel on telephone from Bengaluru that the death toll was alarmingly high.
 
BJP leader and former local bodies minister Anil Joshi blamed Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur for running away from the Dussehra celebrations site soon after the train accident.
 
"The Dussehra celebrations were organised without the local administration permission. She (Navjot Kaur) disappeared midway during the ceremony when she was apprised about the disaster," Joshi told reporters.
 
"The driver didn't slow down the train and was watching towards the burning Ravana," said one of the witnesseses.
 
Another woman was inconsolable as she said her son was missing.
 
"The administration and the Dussehra committee are at fault as they should have informed the railways authorities about the celebrations", said another eyewitness.
 
Eyewitnesses said there were no barricading near the railway tracks and the people were forced to see the Dussehra ceremony by standing on tracks.
 
The effigy of Ravana was being burnt around 200 feet away from the railway track.
 
A railway official said in New Delhi that the drop gates at the spot were down but people still massed on the tracks in violation of railway rules.
 
Several senior railway officials were set to fly by an Indian Air Force plane to Amritsar to help oversee the relief and rescue effort.
 
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Congress wrests Gurdaspur in Punjab from BJP, its ally IUML retains Vengara in Kerala

In a morale booster for the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat from the BJP by a huge margin and its ally, the IUML, retained the Vengara Assembly seat in Kerala in bye-elections held on October 11.
 
Congress' Sunil Jakhar wins Gurdaspur LS bye-election
In a morale booster ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has wrested the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha  seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a huge margin and its ally, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), retained the Vengara Assembly seat in Kerala in bye-elections held on October 11.
 
Congress candidate Sunil Jakhar drubbed Mr. Swaran Singh Salaria of the BJP by a record margin of 1,93,219 votes in Gurdaspur.
 
In Vengara, Mr. K. N. A. Khader, the candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), who is a member of the IUML, won from Vengara, defeating his nearest rival, P. P. Basheer of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), by a margin of 23,310 votes in the October 11 bye-election.
 
Counting of votes was taken up in both constituencies this morning, and the results were out by noon.
 
Gurdaspur had fallen vacant following the death on April 27 of well-known Hindi film actor Vinod Khanna, who represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha as a candidate of the ruling BJP.
 
Mr. Jakhar polled 4,99,752 votes against the 3,06,553 votes secured by Mr. Salaria. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Suresh Khajuria got just 23,579 votes.
 
Considering the fact that Mr. Khanna had won the seat by an impressive margin of 1.35 lakh votes in 2014, the bye-election ended up being a cakewalk for Mr. Jakhar, 63, the Congress Punjab unit chief and son of late Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar.
 
In between, in March this year, the Congress won a resounding victory in the elections to the Punjab Legislative Assembly and its leader Amarinder Singh returned as Chief Minister of the state. The bye-election had turned into a battle of prestige for both sides.
 
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had ended up on the losing side in all the nine Assembly segments in Gurdaspur. Mr. Jakhar has managed to turn this around, winning from all the nine segments this time.
 
Gurdaspur was considered a Congress stronghold for long years, with its candidate Sukhbuns Kaur Bhinder winning the seat five times in a row from 1980 to 1996 before the BJP brought in Khanna, a top Bollywood actor, as its candidate in 1998. The actor-turned politician was re-elected from the seat in 1999, 2004 and then in 2014. In 2009, former Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa by a thin margin of 8,359 votes.
 
Mr. Jakhar described the bye-election result as a "referendum" on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's government at the Centre and said the people of the constituency had sent a "strong message of resentment" over its policies.
 
"Congratulations to @sunilkjakhar ji for his impressive win in #Gurdaspur bypoll, it's a victory for @INCPunjab policies & development agenda," Mr. Amarinder Singh on microblogging site Twitter.
 
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"Assure people of #Gurdaspur that every single promise made by @sunilkjakhar will be fulfilled and all development works will be fast-tracked," he added.
 
Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu said, "This is a beautiful Diwali gift, packed with a red ribbon, for our would-be party president Rahul Gandhi."
 
In Vengara, Mr. Khader polled 65,227 votes against 41,917 secured by Mr. Basheer, a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the main constituent of the ruling LDF in the state.
 
Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) candidadte K. C. Naseer ended up third with 8,648 votes while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee K. Janachandran  Master, finished fourth with 5,728 votes in the results announced today.
 
The bye-election in Vengara was necessitated by the resignation of IUML leader P. K. Kunhalikutty, who was elected to the Lok Sabha on April 12 from the Malappuram seat that fell vacant following the death of former Union Minister E. Ahamed.
 
While the UDF celebrated the victory, the LDF drew satisfaction from the fact that they had reduced the IUML candidate's victory margin from 38,057 votes in the 2016 Assembly elections, when Mr. Kunhalikutty had won, to 23,310 votes in this bye-election.
 
Today's results have come just three days after the Congress swept the municipal elections in Nanded-Waghala in Maharashtra, considered a stronghold of the party. The party won 67 of the 81 seats, while the BJP won four and its ally Shiv Sena got just one.
 
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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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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.
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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.
 
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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.
 
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Punjab, Goa go to the polls to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
Punjab and Goa went to the polls today to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers were steadily increasing as the day progressed. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, will end at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states have single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females. There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader is also contesting the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala, where his opponent is former Army chief Gen J J Singh, a candidate of the SAD.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, is contesting from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Football: Sethu FC overpower Manipur Police to win Hero Indian Women"s League

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Riding on Sabitra Bhandari's brace, Sethu FC  (Madurai) overcame Manipur Police SC 3-1 to win the Hero Indian Women’s Football League trophy in Ludhiana, Punjab on Wednesday.
 
Manipur Police led 1-0 at half time, but Sethu staged a comeback in the second session, pumping in three goals to win their first title.
 
Radharani Devi had put Manipur Police in the lead towards the end of the first half, but an own goal by Umapati Devi put Sethu back in the game, before Nepal international Bhandari turned up the heat to score two goals and win it for the Madurai-based side.
 
Sethu got off with more chances in the first half, as they kept the Manipur attackers in check and built on their swift counter-attacks to move the ball up the pitch quickly. 
 
Their left winger Sandhiya had the first clear chance a little after 10 minutes, when she received the ball just inside the box but she muffed it as she scuffed her instep shot.
 
The winger had another good chance when she received the ball from a melee inside the Manipur box, but her shot rolled inches wide of the post.
 
Manipur’s prolific goalscorer Bala Devi was tightly marked, and she often had to drop to the midfield or to the right wing, in order to make some space for herself. 
 
Manipur’s goal came with a little over a minute of regulation time left for the first half, as Radharani leaped above the rest to nod in a corner from the left.
 
In the second session, Sethu  started on an attacking note and got the equalizer when Dangmei Grace cut through the right flank  and sent in a low cross to captain Indumathi Kathiresan, whose powerful drive was deflected by Manipur Police defender Umapati Devi into her own goal (1-1).
 
Five minutes later, the Madurai side took the lead as mercurial striker Bhandari was set through on goal. She  rounded off the keeper, before slotting it into the net from an angle.
 
Bhandari scored her second goal when Sandhiya broke swiftly down the left and played her in through the channel between the left back and the left centre-back. The Nepal international opened up her right foot and slotted it into the bottom corner to make it 3-1
 
From then on, it was a matter of seeing out the Manipur attacks and, Sethu defenders Ashalata Devi and Sweety Devi, and midfielders Sumithra, Ratanbala and Indumathi  foiled  all the attempts.
 
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Women's football: Manipur Police to take on Sethu FC in final of Hero Indian League

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Manipur Police and Sethu FC (Tamil Nadu) chalked out contrasting victories over their respective rivals on Monday to set up a title clash in the Hero Indian Women’s Football League in Ludhiana.
 
In the first semi-final, riding on Bala Devi’s four goals, Manipur Police overpowered Gokulam Kerala FC 4-2 despite being one player down in the second half, while in the other semi-final Sethu FC thrashed SSB Women FC 8-1.
 
Thanks to Bala Devi, Manipur Police ousted Gokulam after trailing 1-2 at one stage and played with one player less after defender Romi Devi was sent off in the 47th minute.
 
Manipur took the lead at the quarter-hour mark. Daya was played into the box via an aerial through ball, but was fouled by Gokulam centre-back Poli Koley, resulting in a penalty and Bala Devi made no mistake in converting it.
 
Gokulam started to play their counter-attacks off Manisha and got their equalizer through a corner, as Bina Devi turned it into her own net from a melee.
 
In the second half, Gokulam striker Anju Tamang penetrated the Manipur box and fired a shot that was blocked off the line. However, it had struck Romi Devi’s hand and she was subsequently sent off. Ranjana Chanu converted the ensuing penalty to put Gokulam in front for the first time.
 
Manipur, however, did not lie low, despite being one player down. They pressed forward, and earned another foul inside the opposition box, which gave them a penalty to equalise from. Bala Devi duly converted it to put her side level.
 
Bala put Manipur ahead again with a superb goal. A minute later, Bala with a powerful left-footer sent the ball home (4-2)/
 
With this performance, Bala now moves on to 26 goals in six matches in this tournament so far.
 
In the other semi-final, Sabitra Bhandari scored four goals enabling Sethu FC to rout SSB Women FC 8-1.
 
Dangmei Grace put them in the lead within the first quarter of an hour. The India international was in form as she created the chance that led to the second goal which was scored by Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari. Grace soon added a third on the stroke of half-time.
 
Grace scored one a few minutes after the restart, while Sabitra Bhandari scored two more as both the India and the Nepal internationals completed their hat-tricks, before Dular Marandi pulled one back for SSB. However, Ratanbala soared up the pitch from the restart and immediately restored Sethu’s six-goal cushion just a minute later.
 
The final   will be played on Wednesday.
 
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Women's football: Bangalore record first victory, Kolhapur wins but out of contention

Bangalore United FC in action against Baroda Football Academy in the Hero Indian Women's Football League in Ludhiana on May 16, 2019
Bangalore United FC in action against Baroda Football Academy in the Hero Indian Women's Football League in Ludhiana on May 16, 2019
Bangalore United FC and Kolhapur City chalked identical 2-0 victories over Baroda Football Academy and SAI-STC Cuttack, respectively, in the Hero Indian Women’s Football League in Ludhiana on Thursday.
 
Bangalore United got their first win as they beat Baroda Football Academy through goals from Sivakumari Arumugam and Paromita Sit. With this win Bangalore now move on to four points from as many games in Group II.
 
Bangalore were the dominant of the two sides as they kept the ball for long spells and passed it around.
 
Captain Amoolya Kamal was perhaps their most influential player from the middle of the park, combining well with Khushbu Kumari to form a formidable mid-field partnership.
 
The winners got their breakthrough with a little less than 10 minutes left for the half-time whistle, when Sivasankari gave them the lead.
 
After the changeover, Baroda attempted to orchestrate their attacks through left winger Mona. However, Bangalore pushed their defence stalwart Komal Kumari into the holding mid-field position to neutralise the threat.
 
Bangalore threw forward Paromita into the mix in the second half, and she had an influence on the play, linking up with Amsa.
 
With a little under 10 minutes of regulation time left, Paromita once again linked up with Amsa, who cut inside and relayed it off for captain Amoolya. The Bangalore captain's first-time shot rattled the crossbar.
 
The combination finally worked out with about five minutes of regulation time left. Amsa was fed the ball on the right wing, as she dashed into the box and sent in a low cross that Paromita merely had to tap into the goal from inside the six-yard-box.
 
In the other match of the day, it was a mixture of both experience and youth, as captain Kamala Devi and Renu scored the two goals for Kolhapur.
 
With this win, Kolhapur climbed over SAI to the third place on the table with seven points, but it was not enough for them to make it to the semi-finals.
 
Kolhapur were on the offensive from the very start and got the lead early on when Kamala Devi dribbled past two defenders and fired it in from outside the box on the seventh minute.
 
They went on to double their lead in a little over 10 minutes before the half-time whistle, when Renu put one in from long range. The India U-19 international received the ball on the right, dribbled past a defender and sent in a cross that sailed over SAI keeper Subha Patra into the goal.
 
The proceedings continued to be dominated by Kolhapur in the second half, as they looked up to their strong backbone -- Jabamani Tudu in defence, Kunti Kumari Lakra holding the middle, and Nigerian Crystal Eke leading the line.
 
With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Renu had a chance to score a brace when she controlled a cross from the left and unleashed a fierce shot that thudded the crossbar. 
 
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Women's football: Gokulam (Kerala) top group 1, SSB (Bengal) closer to semi-final

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Gokulam Kerala outplayed Hans Club Delhi 3-1 to top Group 1 with an all-win record in the Hero Indian Women's Football League in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
 
Earlier, SSB Club (Bengal) thrashed Panjim Footballers 6-2 to keep their hopes alive for a semi-final berth.
 
For Gokulam, who have already secured a spot in the semi-finals, the goal scorers were Anju Tamang, Ranjana Chanu and captain Dalima Chhibber while Anushka Samuel netted one for Hans Women.
 
Gokulam forward Anju Tamang put her side in the lead in the 10th minute. However, Hans  drew parity in the 20th minute through  Anushka Samuel.
 
However, the Kerala team, dominated the play for most of the first half, and eventually regained their lead, when Ranjana Chanu scored an absolute blinder of a goal. 
 
Gokulam captain Dalima Chhibber extended their lead a little after the hour mark, when the ball was crossed in from the left and she tapped it into the goal from inside the box.
 
Hans had the chance to halve the lead mid-way through the second half, when Anushka was played through on goal as she beat the Gokulam offside trap. She only had goalkeeper Linthoi to beat, but the latter made a fine save to keep Gokulam’s two-goal cushion.
 
With this result, Gokulam finished the group with five wins out of as many matches, having scored a total of 16 goals and conceded just one.
 
In  an another match, Ranjita Devi, Sumila Chanu and Sangita Basfore scored a brace each for SSB, while Karishma Shirvoikar netted two for Panjim.
 
It was Panjim which took the lead against the run of play when Karishma finished a swift move to put them in the lead.
 
However, once SSB settled into the game they equalized through international Sangita Basfore as they went on to dominate the game for the rest of the half.
 
In the second half, Chanu and Basfore struck in quick succession to give SSB a 3-1 lead.
 
Chanu struck again a few minutes later as she dribbled past two defenders inside the box and slotted it into the bottom corner. Ranjita  added a fifth for SSB, when she nodded in a corner from close range.
 
With a little under 10 minutes to go, Ranjita scored again, this time from a melee inside the penalty area, before Karishma added a consolation goal for Panjim in the dying seconds of the game.
 
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Women's football: Manipur Police in semi-finals, Cuttack FC keeps hopes alive

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Striker Bala Devi fired three goals as Manipur Police trounced FC Kolhapur City 7-1 to storm into the semi-finals while SAI-STC Cuttack pipped Bangalore United FC 1-0  to keep their hopes alive for a last-four berth in the Hero Indian Women's Football League in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
 
Apart from Bala Devi, other goal scorers for Manipur were Irom Prameshwori Devi (2) Pramodini Chanu and Daya Devi (one each).
 
Manipur started on an aggressive note and went 2-0 up in the first 15 minutes itself, with Irom Prameshwori Devi and Bala Devi being the goal scorers.
 
Kolhapur retaliated and their Nigerian forward Crystal Eke broke the offside trap, dummied Manipur keeper Roshini Devi, and walked the ball into the goal (1-2).
 
However, Manipur took  a two-goal lead again as Bala Devi scored another right on the stroke of half time (3-1).
 
Manipur dominated the second half by playing a highly effective offside trap. Daya Devi added a fourth for Manipur when Bala played her into space on the right and the former beautifully chipped Kolhapur keeper Gyurme Dolma Tamang.
 
The winners added two more goals, thanks to Bala Devi, who dribbled past three players and laid it off for Salam Pramodini Devi to fire it past the keeper. A couple of minutes later, Bala scored her third goal to complete the rout.
 
In another match,  Deepa Nayak converted a penalty late in the second half to earn three points for SAI, after the side from Odisha suffered a 0-10 loss against Manipur Police SC in their first game.
 
Jyoti Kumari was awarded the Player of the Match for her gutsy display in defence.
 
Bangalore United started off the game at a high tempo, enjoying long bouts of possession, as they pushed the likes of Paromita Sit and UK forward Tanvie Hans up front. While Sit led the line, Hans dropped back to pick up the ball and spray it around the park.
 
SAI, however, defended resolutely till the end of the first half, and came out with more purpose in the second. India U-18 international Soni Behera played a crucial role in the middle of the park, aiding the defence to thwart the Bangalore attacks.
 
Their plan worked perfectly and a counter-attack with a little under a quarter-of-an-hour left, when a hand ball inside the Bengaluru box by Sivasankari Arumugam resulted in a penalty for SAI, which was duly converted by Deepa Nayak.
 
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Priyanka claims to be a Punjabi 'bahu' in Bathinda

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra here on Tuesday attempted to establish a link with local voters by saying as the wife of a Punjabi she felt at home in Punjab and among its people.
 
She also hailed the valour of Punjabis and their ability to remain happy in all circumstances.
 
Addressing a public rally, in support of Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Priyanka asked people to teach a lesson to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the harassment meted out to them. 
 
While taking on Narendra Modi for "brazenly lying and cheating to further his political interests", the Congress leader criticised the SAD on the issues of sacrilege and mafia rule during their regime.
 
Describing Punjab as the land of gurus and criticising Akalis for sacrilege, Priyanka said those who destroyed Sri Guru Granth Sahib were destroying the soul of Punjab.
 
Priyanka, accompanied by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, appealed tp the people to strengthen the Congress with their vote in this battle "for the future of India: and to teach "arrogant" Harsimrat Kaur Badal, SAD candidate from Bathinda, a lesson for the Akali misdeeds.
 
Pointing to the poor response to Modi's Monday rally at the same ground, Priyanka hailed people for their befitting reply to the Prime Minister's saga of false promises. Taking a dig at Modi's "radars in clouds" remark, she said the Prime Minister's truth had come on the people's radar and it was time for him to focus on unfulfilled promises.
 
Lambasting the Akalis, she said they had handed over the state to drugs, liquor, sand and transport mafia during their 10-year-rule. If Punjab's youth were being destroyed by 'chitta', it was because of the BJP and the Akalis, she said.
 
She said when Rahul Gandhi raised the drugs issue before the Assembly elections, they (Akalis) ridiculed him, only to be exposed later.
 
As many as 12,000 debt-ridden farmers had committed suicide during the Modi rule and farmers were getting neither proper prices for their crops nor requisite seeds and other facilities, Priyanka said. The Prime Minister refused to spare even five minutes to listen to woes of farmers, she alleged.
 
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Gokulam Kerala beat Panjim Footballers 2-0 for their fourth straight win

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Gokulam Kerala FC beat Panjim Footballers 2-0 for their fourth straight win while Hans FC defeated Rising Students' Club 2-1 to record their second victory in the Hero Indian Women Football league in Ludhiana on Saturday.
 
India internationals Sanju and Anju Tamang were on target for the Kerala side, but it was their teenage mid fielder Manisha, who stole the show to take the Player of the Match award.
 
It was defence-vs-attack all through as Gokulam took the initiative from early on.  Sanju intercepted a pass from the right and unleashed a drive into the bottom corner.
 
Gokulam picked up where they left off in the second half as Manisha dictated terms from midfield again. She linked with Bawitlung, who played a delicious one-two with Babysena Devi to break free of her marker, but Panjim keeper Ashika Gadekar came off her line and swept the ball off the Mizo forward's feet.
 
However, Manisha created an opening which led to the second goal. She  sold a dummy at the edge of the penalty box, and played a delicate through ball to Anju Tamang, who merely had to beat the keeper, which she did with great aplomb. This win took Gokulam a  step closer to the semi-final spot, as they now have 12 points from four matches – a perfect record in the tournament so far.
 
In another match, Hans  FC  kept their hopes alive as they beat Rising Student Club 2-1. Hans FC’s Nigerian midfielder Rita Casia was the star of the show as she controlled the midfield and also scored an absolute scorcher from long range.
 
Rising Student Club started off the game with the higher tempo, incessantly going on the attack in the early exchanges.
 
However, it was Hans who had the earliest chance, when Jyoti Ann Burrett knuckled a free-kick from long range. Her shot was well-placed, but it was saved by RSC keeper Rani Bhowmick. Krishna Barick had an early opportunity to put RSC in front when she got the ball inside the opposition area, switched to her left foot, but Hans keeper Vanshika Rana thwarted the attack.
 
Hans midfielder Rita Casia put her side in the lead with a powerful shot giving RSC goalkeeper Rani Bhowmick  no chance to block it.
 
Hans doubled their lead soon after, when Anushka Samuel broke free and slipped it past Bhowmick (2-0). Sradhanjali Panda scored in injury time to pull one back, but it was too little, too late for RSC.
 
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Gokulam Kerala trounce SSB Club 5-0, Panjim Footballers pip FC Alakhpura 2-1

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Gokulam Kerala trounced SSB Club 5-0 for their third straight win while Panjim Footballers pipped FC Alakhpura 2-1 to record their first win of the Hero Indian Women’s Football League in Ludhiana on Thursday.
 
Gokulam Kerala‘s Anju Tamang was the star of the show, as she scored a brace and played a crucial role in her side’s big victory.
 
Gokulam started the game off swiftly, as they broke the deadlock straight from the kick-off. An intricate move was finished off by India international Tamang. The entire move took Gokulam just 14 seconds, which makes this the fastest goal of the season.
 
Gokulam widened the lead when Anita Rawat scored minutes before the half-time break. Sanju soared up the left flank and sent in a low cross that was tapped in by Rawat.
 
The Kerala side started off in almost exactly the same fashion in the second half as well, when they got the ball from SSB, registered a shot on target from Ranjana Chanu, and watched in delight as the opposition keeper Manju fumbled the ball over the goal-line.
 
Bawitlung Vanlalhriattiri made it four with a little over a quarter of an hour of regulation time left on the clock. The second-half substitute was played through on goal, as she rounded off the keeper, sold a dummy and walked the ball into an unguarded goal.
 
Tamang added another goal in the second-last minute of regulation time to make it another 5-goal victory for the Kerala side.
 
In the other match, Panjim Footballers overpowered FC Alakhpura 2-1 in a tight affair.
 
Karishma Shirvoikar broke the Alakhpura defence twice to help Panjim earn the three points, but it was the tactical defence of Scindia Saudatikar that stole the show and earned the defender the Player of the Match Award.
 
Shirvoikar beat the Alakhpura offside trap, ran on to an aerial ball that was played in behind the defence, and slipped it past the Alakhpura keeper Neelam to put Panjim in the lead.
 
Having taken the lead, Panjim were happy to sit back and let Alakhpura have the ball, while they concentrated on keeping their defensive shape intact.
 
Keeping their backline strong was a strategy that worked wonders for Panjim, who had conceded three in their previous match against Hans Women FC.
 
It took them a little over 10 minutes after the start of the second half to double the score. Again, it was an aerial ball played in behind the defence, as Karishma ran on to the ball and lobbed it over the keeper.
 
Alakhpura reduced the margin as India U-18 international Samiksha expertly nodded the ball home.
 
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K L Rahul's carnage helps Punjab beat Chennai

 
Opener K L Rahul's blistering 71 off 36 balls, followed by Nicholas Pooran fireworks (36 off 22 balls), guided Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) to an impressive six-wicket win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at the PCA I. S. Bindra Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Rahul's run rampage made most Chennai bowlers look helpless. The opener, whose stunning knock was decorated with seven fours and five massive sixes, bought up his half-century off just 19 balls. It's now the third fastest half-century of the ongoing season.
 
Chasing the 171-run target, Rahul and his partner Chris Gayle (28 off 28) gave Punjab a flying start and the hosts were 33/0 in the first three overs, before the former clobbered Harbhajan Singh for 24 runs in the next over.
 
While Gayle, the self-proclaimed 'boss of universe', mostly remained silent, there was no stopping Rahul whose carnage of Chennai bowlers saw Punjab reaching 85/0 in just seven overs. At one stage it looked as if the hosts would cross the line in just 15 overs as their scorecard read 106/0 in 10 overs.
 
Harbhajan finally gave Chennai some respite with a much-needed breakthrough, dismissing a dangerous Rahul in the 11th over. Rahul trying to go for the maximum sliced a delivery high in the air and Imran Tahir made no mistake at extra cover. 
 
Just in the next ball, Harbhajan packed back Gayle to reduce the hosts to 108/2. The Caribbean had tried to clear the fence but ended up giving a catch to substitute Dhruv Shorey at long-on.
 
The two new batsmen -- Pooran and Mayank Agarwal -- could add only another 10 runs in Punjab's scorecard before Harbhajan showed his class to send Agarwal to the hut. Agarwal could contribute just seven runs.
 
It seemed the Yellow Brigade would make a comeback in the game. But Pooran seemed in a hurry to finish things off as his lusty blows saw Punjab crossing the 150-run mark in 14.5 overs. Pooran couldn't continue till the last as Ravindra Jadeja cut short his stay in the 17th over. However, it was too late for the visitors with Punjab comfortably placed at 163/4.
 
With just 8 more runs needed, Mandeep Singh (11 not out off 9) and Sam Curran (6 off 7) easily drove Punjab home with 12 balls to spare.
 
For Chennai, Harbhajan was the pick of bowlers as he scalped three wickets, but leaked 57 runs from his four overs. Jadeja bagged one for 16 runs.
 
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Earlier, opener Faf du Plessis's 96 off 55 balls and Suresh Raina's 53 off 38 balls helped Chennai post 170/5 in the allotted 20 overs.
 
The duo was involved in a crucial 120-run second wicket partnership, building the platform for a fighting total as the lower middle-order failed to contribute. 
 
While du Plessis' knock was laced with 10 boundaries and four sixes, Raina's innings contained five fours and two hits into the stands.
 
Put in to bat first, openers Shane Watson (7 off 11) and du Plessis started on a good note, adding 30 runs in the initial four overs. But in the next over Curran drew first blood for Punjab as he castled Watson.
 
Raina and du Plessis then anchored the innings, helping Chennai reach the 50-run mark in 7.1 overs before they further developed the partnership to take their side to 79/1 at the half way stage.
 
They continued to play sensibly and kept the scorers busy as Chennai touched the three-digit mark in 12.5 overs. Meanwhile, du Plessis also notched up his second half-century of the season off 37 balls.
 
Just when it seemed that they would comfortably steer Chennai to an imposing total, Raina mistimed a slower delivery by Curran to give an easy catch to Mohammed Shami at short fine-leg.
 
Curran struck again in the 19th over to send back a well-settled du Plessis, who fell short of his century by just four runs with Chennai's scorecard reading 163/3.
 
Shami then dismissed Kedar Jadhav (0) and Ambati Rayudu (1) in the final over as Chennai skipper M.S. Dhoni (10) and Dwayne Bravo (1) remained unbeaten at the end of 20 overs. 
 
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab 173/4 in 18 overs (KL Rahul 71, Nicholas Pooran 36; Harbhajan Singh 3/57) beat Chennai Super Kings: 170/5 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 96, Suresh Raina 53; Sam Curran 3/35) by 6 wickets.
 
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du Plessis, Raina lift Chennai to 170/5 vs Punjab

 
Half-centuries by opener Faf du Plessis (96 off 55) and Suresh Raina's (53 off 38) helped Chennai Super Kings (CSK) post 170/5 against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) even as Sam Curran (3/35) starred for the hosts in their Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) clash at the PCA I.S. Bindra Stadium, here on Sunday.
 
The Chennai duo was involved in a crucial 120-run second wicket partnership, building the platform for a fighting total as their lower middle-order failed to contribute. While du Plessis' knock was laced with 10 boundaries and four sixes, Raina's innings contained five fours and a couple of hits into the stands.
 
Put in to bat first, openers Shane Watson (7 off 11) and du Plessis started on a good note, adding 30 runs in the initial four overs. However, in the next over Curran drew first blood for Punjab as he castled Watson.
 
New batsman Raina and du Plessis then anchored the innings, helping Chennai reach the 50-run mark in 7.1 overs before they further developed the partnership to take their side to 79/1 at the half-way stage.
 
They continued to play sensibly and kept the scorers busy as Chennai touched the three-digit mark in 12.5 overs. Meanwhile, du Plessis also notched up his second half-century of the season off 37 balls.
 
Just when it seemed that the duo will comfortably steer Chennai to an imposing total, Raina mistimed a slower delivery by Curran to give an easy catch to Mohammed Shami at short fine-leg.
 
Curran struck again in the 19th over to send back a well-settled du Plessis, who fell short of his century by just four runs with Chennai's scorecard reading 163/3.
 
Shami then dismissed Kedar Jadhav (0) and Ambati Rayudu (1) cheaply in the final over as Chennai skipper M. S. Dhoni (10) and Dwayne Bravo (1) remained unbeaten at the end of 20 overs. 
 
Brief scores: Chennai Super Kings: 170/5 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 96, Suresh Raina 53; Sam Curran 3/35) vs Kings XI Punjab.
 
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CSK aim to cement top spot against KXIP

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Having already booked their berth in the playoffs, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will want to strengthen their top spot in the points table when they take on Kings XI Punjab in their last group stage encounter of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) edition at the IS Bindra Stadium, here on Sunday.
 
Chennai thrashed Delhi Capitals by 80 runs in their last match at M A Chidambaram Stadium, thus sealing the top spot with 18 points. 
 
Chennai would be buoyed by the fact that their skipper M S Dhoni is in tremendous form in the ongoing season and has scored valuable runs towards the end. 
 
Their bowling mainly relies on the spin trio of Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja who have been amongst the wickets throughout this IPL.
 
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) dented Kings XI's chances of finishing in the top four after beating them by seven wickets in Mohali.
 
Kings XI openers K L Rahul and Chris Gayle failed to score against KKR, a reason why they couldn't reach the 200-run mark in Mohali. However, Sam Curran's form is something which will give a lot of confidence to the Punjab-based franchise. 
 
With 10 points from 13 games, Kings XI must win against CSK to stay alive in the competition. However, it wouldn't be an easy task for R. Ashwin's men to secure victory against a formidable and consistent CSK. 
 
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul (wk), Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Agnivesh Ayachi, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar 
 
Chennai Super Kings: Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Karn Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Deepak Chahar, Mohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Dhruv Shorey, Scott Kuggeleijn, Monu Kumar, Mitchell Santner, Chaitanya Bishnoi, N Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif
 
IANS

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Hero Indian women’s football league to kick off in Ludhiana

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The 12-team Hero Indian Women’s League will kick off in Ludhiana, Punjab tomorrow.
 
Defending champions Rising Student’s Club kick-start the Hero IWL edition as they face off against Gokulam Kerala FC in the first match.
 
The  teams  are divided into two groups of six each. Group I consists of Rising Student’s Club, Gokulam, FC Alakhpura, Hans Women Football Club, Central SSB Women Football Club and Panjim Footballers. 
 
Group II consists of Manipur Police, Sethu FC Bangalore United FC, SAI-STC Cuttack, FC Kolhapur City, and Baroda Football Academy.
 
“Women's football in our country is going through an exciting phase. We have seen the Indian women's team produce some great results on the international front,” said All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das.
 
“We are sure to see the rise of more talented players in the third season of the Hero Indian Women's League. I would like to thank the Punjab Football Association for their support in hosting the IWL, and wish the participating clubs all the best for the tournament in Ludhiana,” he added.
 
NNN
 

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Gill keeps KKR's playoff chances alive with 7-wicket win over KXIP

 
Shubman Gill struck his second consecutive half-century as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) kept their playoff chances alive by defeating Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the PCA I.S. Bindra Stadium here on Friday.
 
Gill, who opened the batting with Chris Lynn, remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls, his innings laced with five fours and two sixes.
 
Chasing 184 for victory, KKR were always in the driver's seat with Gill and Lynn joining hands for a 62-run opening wicket partnership.
 
After Lynn (46; 22b; 5x4; 3x6) was dismissed, caught and bowled by compatriot Andrew Tye, Robin Uthappa and Gill continued the carnage before the former picked out Mayank Agarwal at long off off R. Ashwin. Uthappa looked good for his 22 off 14 deliveries.
 
But the day belonged to Gill, who showed superb timing to milk boundaries at will even as Andre Russell, batting at number 4, failed to produce his usual spark with a 14-ball 24, with Mohammed Shami removing him with a well-directed bouncer which Tye caught at deep square-leg.
 
The over where Gill took on Ashwin to bring his third IPL fifty in 36 balls was a treat for the eye as the U-19 World Cup winner hit two gorgeous sixes and a silken late cut for a boundary.
 
Skipper Dinesh Karthik (21 off 9 balls not out) smashed Sam Curran for a six and a four to hit the winning runs in the 18th over, as KKR won with 12 balls to spare. KKR posted 185/3 in 18 overs.
 
The result saw KKR jump to fifth spot with 12 points and one to play, against already-qualified Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
 
Kings XI, meanwhile, dropped to seventh in the eight-team points table with one game to go, and their chances are all but over.
 
Earlier, Curran (55 off 24 balls not out) notched up his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) half-century with the help of seven fours and two sixes as Kings XI posted 183/6, plundering 58 runs in the last five overs after Karthik asked them to bat first.
 
Curran, who did not play the last couple of matches, came in to bat when Kings XI were 140/4 after 13.3 overs, having lost Agarwal (36; 26 balls, 4x2, 6x1) and, more importantly, Nicholas Pooran (48; 27 balls, 4x3, 6x4) in quick succession.
 
The England all-rounder made the most of a reprieve after he was dropped on 17 by Rinku Singh off Sunil Narine, hitting Harry Gurney for 22 runs in the final over, including three fours and a six off the last four deliveries.
 
Pooran had set the platform with a brilliant knock as he shared 69 runs for for the third wicket with Agarwal.
 
Sandeep Warrier (2/31) jolted Kings XI early, accounting for both of their top-performing batsmen K. L. Rahul (2) and Chris Gayle (14).
 
Rahul was the first to go with Chris Lynn taking his catch at mid-on after the India batsman tried to clear the infield.
 
Warrier then set Gayle up with a short ball which the veteran West Indies opener failed to negotiate, hitting straight to backward square-leg where Shubman Gill took an easy catch.
 
Kings XI were in some sort of trouble at 41/2 after the powerplay overs. This is when Pooran came to the party, taking the likes of Piyush Chawla, who had a forgettable day, to the cleaners by scoring at a brisk rate.
 
The hosts were 84/2 at the half-way stage with Pooran going great guns, and KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik failing to stop him even with spinners operating from both ends.
 
This is when Karthik introduced Nitish Rana into the attack and the move worked as Pooran holed out to Sandeep Warrier at deep mid-wicket, bringing his knock to an abrupt end.
 
Kings XI struggled to get going after Pooran's dismissal but once Curran got going, there was no looking back even after Gurney bowled a brilliant 18th over to leak just four runs and take a wicket.
 
Brief scores: Kings XI Punjab - 183/6 (Sam Curran 55 not out, Nicholas Pooran 48; Sandeep Warrier 2/31); Kolkata Knight Riders - 185/3 in 18 overs (Shubman Gill 65 not out, Chris Lynn 46)
 
IANS
 

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Chandigarh man arrested for wife's murder in Goa

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A 28-year-old Chandigarh-based part-time travel agent Sukhvinder Singh has been arrested by the Goa Police for allegedly murdering his wife while on a holiday in North Goa's Arpora village on April 27, a police officer said on Friday.
 
Singh, who is accused of murdering his wife, was nabbed from a hotel in Ludhiana, Punjab, after a manhunt which spanned days and across several cities, Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch) Pankaj Kumar Singh told reporters on Friday.
 
"During interrogation it was revealed that on the fateful day, the couple had a heated argument resulting in a fight after which he slit her throat with a knife," the SP said.
 
Singh and his wife, Alka Saini, 25, from Himachal Pradesh, had checked into a resort in Arpora village located 20 km from Panaji.
 
The woman was found dead with injuries to her neck by hotel maintenance staff on April 27 and Singh was reported missing, following which the Goa Police had filed a murder case at the Anjuna police station.
 
Pankaj Kumar Singh said that police had sent teams to multiple locations including Delhi, Chandigarh, Kapurthala and other places, where the accused was known to have relatives. 
 
Sukhvinder Singh was eventually arrested from a hotel room in Punjab's Ludhiana town, the police officer said.
 
IANS
 

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KKR win toss, ask Kings XI to bat first

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Dinesh Karthik won the toss and elected to field first against Kings XI Punjab in a must-win Indian Premier League (IPL) game for both teams here on Friday.
 
While KKR named the same team that won against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens last week, Kings XI, looking to snap a three-game losing streak, brought back Sam Curran and Andrew Tye in place of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and David Miller.
 
Teams:
 
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, R Ashwin (Captain), M Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
 
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (Captain/wicket-keeper), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Sandeep Warrier
 
IANS

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Warner signs off in style as SRH beat KXIP by 45 runs

 
David Warner notched up his eighth half-century of the season to help Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings XI Punjab by 45 runs in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here on Monday.
 
Warner, who is the tournament's highest scorer, smashed a typically belligerent 81 off 56 balls. His innings was laced with seven fours and two sixes in his last game for Sunrisers as he has to leave for Australia to take part in their World Cup preparations.
 
The home team posted 212/6 after being asked to bat first.
 
Chasing 213 for victory, K L Rahul staged a lone battle for Kings XI with a brilliant 56-ball 79 (4x4, 5x6) but the  other batsmen failed to deliver around him as they limped to 167/8 in 20 overs.
 
Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (27) shared a 60-run stand for the second wicket after Chris Gayle (4) departed early.
 
But once Agarwal holed out to Vijay Shankar at cow corner off Rashid Khan (3/21), Kings XI did not have any good partnership going before debutant P Simran Singh (16) joined hands with Rahul for a 53-run association, which was too late in the end.
 
It took a brilliant catch from skipper Kane Williamson to remove World Cup bound Rahul off Khaleel Ahmed (3/40) towards the end of a spectacular innings which lasted 95 minutes.
 
Courtesy the result, Sunrisers moved to 12 points from 12 matches while Kings XI remained on 10 points from 12 outings.
 
Earlier, Warner was removed by Ashwin in the 16th over but the damage was already done by then with Manish Pandey (36; 25b; 3x4; 1x6), Wriddhiman Saha (28; 13b; 3x4; 1x6) and Mohammad Nabi (20; 10b; 2x6) contributing to the total.
 
For the visitors, Ashwin (2/30) was the pick of the bowlers as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, returning to the team, was taken for 66 runs in his four overs, including one in which the Afghanistan spinner leaked 26 runs, the most expensive spell of bowling this IPL.
 
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After Warner was dismissed, Kings XI reined in their rivals a bit with a flurry of wickets but still could not stop Sunrisers from crossing the 200-run mark. Sunrisers could manage just 17 runs in the last two overs, losing three wickets.
 
It was a dream start for the orange army as they raced to 53/0 in four overs, and then 77/0 after Powerplay, both scores the fastest this season.
 
Warner and Saha shared a 76-run opening wicket stand before the India Test wicketkeeper under-edged a delivery by M. Ashwin to Simran Singh behind the stumps.
 
Pandey and Warner continued the carnage, combining for an 82-run stand for the second wicket.
 
Just when it looked like they would post a score well past 200, R. Ashwin snared two wickets in the 16th over, first removing Pandey and then accounting for Warner.
 
While Pandey was taken at short fine leg by Mohammed Shami, Warner was taken at point by Mujeeb after Ashwin came round the wicket.
 
Williamson scored a quickfire 7-ball 14 but could not continue in the same vein as Kings XI managed to do some damage control with Shami taking two wickets, including Williamson's, in the 19th over and Arshdeep Singh getting the back of Rashid Khan (1) in the last over.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 212/6 (David Warner 81; Manish Pandey 36; R Ashwin 2/30; Mohammed Shami 2/36) beat Kings XI Punjab 167/8 in 20 overs (KL Rahul 79; Rashid Khan 3/21; Khaleel Ahmed 3/40).
 
IANS

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Warner smashes 81 as SRH post 212/6 against KXIP

 
David Warner notched up his eighth half-century of the season to end his Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign this season in style as Sunrisers Hyderabad posted 212/6 in their 20 overs against Kings XI Punjab in a key match here on Monday.
 
Warner, who is by far the tournament's highest scorer, smashed a typically belligerent 81 off 56 balls, his innings laced with seven fours and two sixes.
 
Warner, who will leave for Australia to be part of their World Cup camp, was removed by Kings XI skipper R. Ashwin in the 16th over but the damage was already done by then with Manish Pandey (36; 25b; 3x4; 1x6), Wriddhiman Saha (28; 13b; 3x4; 1x6) and Mohammad Nabi (20; 10b; 2x6) contributing to the total.
 
For the visitors, Ashwin (2/30) was the pick of the bowlers as Mujeeb Ur Rahman, returning to the team, was taken for 66 runs in his four overs, including one in which the Afghanistan spinner leaked 26 runs, the most expensive spell of bowling this IPL.
 
Since Warner was dismissed, Kings XI reined in a bit with a flurry of wickets but still could not stop Sunrisers from crossing the 200-run mark. Sunrisers could manage just 17 runs in the last two overs, losing three wickets.
 
It was a dream start for the orange army as they raced to 53/0 in four overs, and then 77/0 after Powerplay, both scores the fastest this season.
 
Warner and Saha shared a 76-run opening wicket stand before the India Test wicketkeeper under-edged a delivery by M. Ashwin to Simran Singh behind the stumps.
 
Pandey and Warner continued the carnage, combining for a 82-run stand for the second wicket. Just when it looked like they would post a score well past 200, R. Ashwin snared two wickets in the 16th over, first removing Pandey and then accounting for Warner.
 
While Pandey was taken at short fine-leg by Mohammed Shami, Warner was taken at point by Mujeeb after Ashwin came round the wicket.
 
Skipper Kane Williamson scored a quickfire 7-ball 14 but could not continue in the same vein as Kings XI managed to do some damage control with Shami taking two wickets, including Williamson's, in the 19th over and Arshdeep Singh getting the back of Rashid Khan (1) in the last over.
 
Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad: 212/6 (David Warner 81, Manish Pandey 36; R Ashwin 2/30, Mohammed Shami 2/36)
 
IANS
 

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SRH, Kings XI will look to return to winning ways in Hyderabad

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After facing defeats in their previous encounters, both Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will look to turn back to winning ways when they face each other at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, here on Monday.
 
Hyderabad had to face a crushing seven-wicket defeat in their last encounter against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur. Defending 161 on Saturday, SRH bowlers struggled to get breakthroughs as Royals easily reached the target with five balls to spare and theoretically kept their chances alive of making it to the play-offs. 
 
Punjab, on the other hand, also faced defeat against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their previous encounter in Bengaluru. Chasing a massive 203-run target last Wednesday, the R. Ashwin-led side managed to score 185/7 in their 20 overs, thus losing the match by 17 runs.
 
Both the teams have 10 points with Kings XI standing below the SRH owing to lower run rate. And they would be hoping to get two crucial points and move upwards in the points table. 
 
Squads
 
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Martin Guptill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Kane Williamson (c), Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Sandeep Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi, Rashid Khan, K Khaleel Ahmed, Abhishek Sharma 
 
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Moises Henriques, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul (wk), Murugan Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Agnivesh Ayachi, Darshan Nalkande, Varun Chakravarthy, Arshdeep Singh, Simran Singh, Harpreet Brar 
 
IANS
 

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