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Rajasthan

Asaram Bapu convicted in minor rape case

Five years after charges of rape were levelled against Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted the self-styled godman and four others in a 2013 rape case.

File photo of Asaram Bapu. (Photo: IANS)
File photo of Asaram Bapu. (Photo: IANS)
Five years after charges of rape were levelled against Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted the self-styled godman and four others in a 2013 rape case.
 
Asaram was convicted under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) act and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.
 
The judgement was pronounced by Judge Madhusudan inside the Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram is lodged.
 
Asaram Bapu was arrested in 2013 on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Uttar Pradesh's Shahajahanpur. She had accused him of raping her at his Jodhpur ashram in August. The victim was a Class 12 student at his Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The 77-year-old godman is facing trial in two other sexual assault cases: one in Rajasthan here and the other in Gujarat. 
 
He was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013. 
 
He also faces multiple charges, including wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment.
 
The chargesheet named Asaram and four others -- Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya.
 
The quantum of punishment will be announced later.
 
IANS
 
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Salman gets bail against personal bond of Rs 50,000

After spending two nights in a Jodhpur jail, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted bail on Saturday in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 by District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi.

 
Salman Khan convicted in black buck poaching case
 
 
After spending two nights in a local jail, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted bail on Saturday in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 by District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi.
 
Arguments on the actor's bail application, which had been taken up yesterday, continued this morning before the judge reserved his order for the post-lunch session.
 
While granting him bail, the judge asked Salman, 52, to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each with guarantees that he will adhere to all the bail conditions.
 
The court said Salman would have to secure special permission from it to travel abroad.
 
He is expected to be released by this evening after completion of various legal procedures, sources said.
 
Salman had spent a second night in the Central Jail here last night because the arguments on his bail plea could not be completed yesterday.
 
The superstar was convicted by a local court on Thursday and was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the two-decade-old case.
 
Salman and other Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam allegedly went hunting on October 1-2 in 1998 outside a forest reserve near Kankani village in Jodhpur while shooting for "Hum Saath Saath Hain" in 1998. 
 
While Salman was found guilty, the four co-stars and a local, Dushyant Singh, were acquitted.
 
Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri convicted Salman under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
 
(With  inputs from IANS)
 
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15 dead, 31 injured as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan

At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan on Friday afternoon, official sources said.

 
At least 15 dead as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan
At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan this afternoon, official sources said.
 
Police officials in Tonk told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured were initially taken to nearby hospitals from where they were referred to a hospital in Jaipur.
 
All the victims were men and were going to attend a marriage when the mishap occurred in the Malpura area of the district around 3 pm.
 
Senior district admininstration and police officials rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue and relief efforts, the sources said.
 
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condoled the loss of lives in the incident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the next-of-kin of those killed.
 
She also asked State Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria and other senior ministers and officials to rush to the spot and ensure the best possible medical care for the injured.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident. 
 
"The bus incident at Tonk, Rajasthan is very heart-rending. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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Denied LS ticket by BJP, Jaswant Singh says will file nomination on Monday

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a ticket by the party to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer, confirmed on Sunday that he would file his nomination from there on Monday, presumably as an independent candidate.

Not furniture that BJP can adjust me: Jaswant
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a party ticket to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer in Rajasthan, today confirmed that he would file his nomination from there tomorrow, presumably as an independent candidate.
 
At the same time, he ruled out joining the Congress or any other party, saying it was insulting to him for any party to even think on such lines.
 
Reacting to media reports that the Congress might try and rope him in, Mr Singh, 76, told newspersons in his village that he had spent his entire political life in the BJP and had never thought of joining any other party.
 
"If the Congress is thinking along those lines, it is a waste of their time," he said.
 
But, despite repeated queries, he refused to confirm or deny whether the Congress had, in fact, made any overtures to him or not.
 
To another question, Mr Singh said he would go to Barmer tomorrow and file his nominations. "I will go to Barmer, will discuss the issue with others and act accordingly," he said.
 
Asked if he would resign from the party before filing his nomination, he said these things would be known tomorrow.
 
Mr Singh was particularly unhappy with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's statement that the party could not "adjust" Mr Singh in its list of candidates and that it would find other ways of using his abilities.
 
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"I saw on television a party leader saying that the could not 'adjust' me. The choice of words shows their way of thinking and their arrogant nature. It is insulting to me. I am not a piece of furniture, a chair or a table, which can be moved to some other part of the room if it does not fit in one place.
 
"I don't want to be 'adjusted'," he said. "All my life, I have worked for the party, in its best interests, to the best of my ability," he said.
 
About Barmer, he said it was the place where he was born and where he had grown. "All that I know today, I learnt from here," he said.
 
Asked about the caste equations in the area, Mr Singh regretted that the social fabric of the region was being torn by such considerations. He said he had never practised such politics. "You cannot divide society and people in this manner. If we persist in doing so, the state will end up as a second-rate UP, a third-rate Bihar," he said.
 
The BJP had, on Friday, announced that its candidate from Barmer would be Col Sonaram Chaudhary, a former MLA, who had recently joined it after resigning from the Congress, ignoring Mr Singh's claims and his wish that he be allowed to contest what could possibly be his last election from his home turf.
 
Reacting to the move, Mr Singh had hit out at the party yesterday, saying that it had been encroached upon by "outsiders", an obvious reference to the fact that it had given tickets to several people who had joined it in recent weeks, ignoring the claims of party loyalists.
 
He also made it clear to journalists at Jodhpur on his way to barmer that he would not indulge in any kid of bargaining with the party for post-election positions or any other officers from it.
 
"My sense of honour is not subject to trading," he said, even as Mr Jaitley and BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the party would utilise Mr Singh's abilities in some other way.
 
Mr Rajnath Singh said the importance that the BJP acccorded to Mr Singh could not be judged on the basis of an election ticket alone. "He is far above that," he said.
 
"The challenge today is between the real BJP and the fake BJP," Mr Singh said. "Only the people can decide on the difference between the two," he said.
 
He said he had lived and struggled all these years to uphold the principles on which the BJP was founded and it was important that he continued to do so.
 
He said it was for the BJP to realise what would add value to the party, to India and to the people of India.
 
The BJP's decision to deny the ticket to Mr Singh is being seen as yet another indication that the old order in the party is being forced to yield place to the new.
 
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According to media reports, Mr Singh had conveyed to the BJP leadership that he would contest the election from Barmer as an independent candidate if the party decided against nominating him.
 
He has never contested from Barmer, having been elected to the Lok Sabha from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan in 1991 and 1996, and from Darjeeling in West Bengal in the last general elections in 2009.
 
According to sources, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had pushed for a ticket for Col Choudhary, a Jat leader, after he joined the BJP some time ago.
 
Col Choudhary had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Barmer to Mr Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who now represents Sheo - a part of the Barmer Parliamentary constituency - in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
 
The move to deny Mr Singh a ticket has also upset a section of BJP workers in Barmer, who staged protests and tore party posters to express their anger.
 
The denial of the party nomination to Mr Singh came just a day after the BJP had, on Thursday, managed to mollify its veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani into accepting the party's decision to field him from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, though he had expressed his wish to shift to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Earlier, another party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi, was reportedly upset after he had to make way for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his constituency of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He was persuaded finally to move to Kanpur.
 
Another senior leader, Lalji Tandon, had to give up his claim over Lucknow, the seat held by him, to accommodate Mr Rajnath Singh, who decided against contesting from Ghaziabad, the seat he had won the last time.
 
In Punjab, three-time MP and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu had to make way in Amritsar for senior leader Arun Jaitley.
 
Yesterday, the BJP denied renomination to seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East and fielded well-known actor Paresh Rawal as its candidate from the constituency. Mr Pathak is known to be close to Mr Advani and was reportedly not on very good terms with Mr Modi.
 
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Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra joins Congress

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Rajasthan BJP MLA Manvendra Singh, the son of BJP veteran and former Union Minister Jaswant Singh, joined the Congress here on Wednesday.
 
A MLA from Sheo in Barmer, Manvendra Singh had announced in September that he was quitting the BJP. He was formally inducted into the Congress in the presence of party President Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot.
 
Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot said Manvendra Singh's presence would further boost the Congress fortunes in the coming Assembly polls.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Manvendra all set to join Congress on Wednesday

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Former Union Minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party in September, is likely to join the Congress on Wednesday, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot said on Tuesday.
 
Manvendra Singh had exited BJP on September 22.
 
He will join Congress on the auspicious day of Maha Durgaashtami on October 17 in New Delhi at 10 a.m., Pilot told IANS.
 
Speculation regarding his joining the Congress party was doing the rounds soon after he quit the ruling party during a mammoth Swabhiman Rally organised at Pachpadra in Rajasthan's Barmer. 
 
However, he did not open his cards during or after the rally.
 
Singh is a sitting legislator from Sheo and should join the Congress along with his wife. A few other BJP members might also join the Congress, informed sources said.
 
Singh's relationship with the BJP turned sour in 2014 when the party refused to give a ticket to his father and former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh. 
 
The latter contested the elections as an independent candidate but lost to the BJP candidate Sonaram Chaudhary.
 
Other BJP leaders who left the saffron party over allegations of being neglected were seniors like Ghanshayam Tiwari and Usha Punia among others.
 
Earlier, when Manvendra Singh announced his departure, Pilot had said that BJP needs to do an introspection as to why so many senior leaders were leaving the saffron fold. 
 
IANS
 

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Zika virus cases reach 72 in Jaipur

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The number of people infected with the Zika virus rose to 72 in Jaipur, officials from the health department said on Monday.
 
The number of people carrying the virus was put out after a review meeting chaired by Additional Chief secretary (Health) Veenu Gupta.
 
The officials said that 280 teams were surveying the affected areas by visiting each and every house. Around 96,000 houses had been surveyed till date.
 
Since Sunday, the health department has started issuing challans against owners of houses where larvae of the mosquito that transmits the virus were found.
 
The virus is transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. It causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, and muscle and joint pain. It is particularly harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is significantly smaller than expected upon birth. 
 
Till Monday evening, 68 such challans were issued and penalties of Rs 44,000 were imposed.
 
Screening and anti-larvae measures are continuing in the capital city. Samples are also being collected from those suffering from fever, the officials said.
 
The people in the affected areas are being advised to temporarily suspend water storage, and the same is being supplied via tankers.
 
IANS
 

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55 cases of Zika virus confirmed in Jaipur

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A total of 55 cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Jaipur, making it the country's biggest outbreak of the disease to date. Officials sources said that a WHO team will be visiting the city soon to monitor the measures being taken to check the virus outbreak in Jaipur.
 
Govind Pareek, Public Relations Officer, Medical and Health Department, could not confirm when the WHO team is arriving in the city. "The team will visit the virus-affected areas of Jaipur and monitor the overall situation," he said.
 
State health officials have issued directions that starting Sunday, the residents of houses where larvae are found will be penalized. Those not permitting anti-larva measures in their houses will also be penalized.
 
Health officials have issued strict directions asking doctors to monitor the health of pregnant women who are in their first trimester and are suffering from fever. This is because the virus can impact the growth of foetus's brain in pregnant woman.
 
A review meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Veenu Gupta on Saturday was informed that 276 teams have toured 11,313 houses and destroyed 2,282 larvae on Thursday.
 
On Friday, 152 women in their first trimester were tested in the affected areas and virus was tested negative among them.
 
Pareek said that on Saturday, 279 teams were deployed in affected wards of Shastri Nagar and 11,895 houses were surveyed out of which 2,269 found positive for mosquito breeding.
 
Out of 50,336 containers checked, around 3,770 were found positive for larvae and hence on-spot source reduction was done and containers treated with temephose during survey.
 
IANS
 

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Congress won't make false promises, says Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday promised poll-bound Rajasthan that if elected, the Congress chief minister would go to all sections of society to know their 'mann ki baat' and not make "false promises."
 
Gandhi was addressing the party's 'Sankalp Maha-rally' in Bikaner. 
 
The Congress chief dismissed Prime Minister Modi's assertion that the country had not witnessed any growth before he ascended to power, taking potshots at the ruling BJP on a host of issues -- from demonetisation to Rafale fighter jet deal and farmers' demands.
 
"Modi-ji has a misconception that he runs the country, this is his arrogance," said Gandhi. "Our country is not being run by BJP or Congress, Modiji or Rahul Gandhi," Gandhi said, adding, the country is being run by farmers and youths. "It is our duty to help waive their loans and stand with them."
 
"When our government comes to power, our leaders will not make false promises; they will neither promise Rs 15 lakh in your account nor claim to generate two crore jobs in a year. They will listen to what you say and will work accordingly," he added.
 
On demonetisation, he said, "We cannot rectify Modi-ji decision, but I can promise that once Congress forms government, we will bring GST in its real form by bringing one tax and clean tax."
 
On Rafale deal, he said had the Prime Minister Modi given Rs 30,000 crore (which he alleged were given to a private company) to small and medium traders, lakhs of people would have got jobs.
 
IANS
 

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Centre monitoring cases of Zika virus disease in Rajasthan

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The situation in Jaipur where a few cases of Zika virus disease have been reported is being reviewed at the level of Union Minister of Health and monitored on a daily basis by the Secretary, Health.
 
A high level Joint Monitoring Group of Technical Experts headed by Director General, Health Services (DGHS) has met twice to monitor the preparedness and response measures, an official press release said.
 
Another High Level Central Team is already placed in Jaipur (since October 5) to further oversee and assist containment operations on the field. Till date a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A Control Room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation, it said.
 
All suspect cases in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories. The State Government has been supplied with IEC material prepared to create awareness about Zika virus disease and its prevention strategies.
 
"All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through NHM. Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are being taken up in the area as per protocol by the state government. The State Government has been supplied with IEC material prepared to create awareness about Zika Virus diseases and its prevention strategies.
 
"Zika virus disease is an emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide. Symptoms of Zika virus disease are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.
 
"In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January/February 2017 and second outbreak in July 2017 from Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.
 
"The disease continues to be on disease surveillance radars of Union Health Ministry although it is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern vide WHO notification since November 18, 2016," the release added.
 
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SpiceJet launches direct flights on Delhi-Kishangarh route

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today launched daily direct services on the Delhi-Kishangarh-Delhi route, providing connectivity from the national capital to places such as Ajmer and Pushkar in Rajasthan.
 
The marble city of Kishangarh -- located 33 km from Ajmer and 45 km from Pushkar -- will be Spicejet's eighth destination in  the country and the second in Rajasthan (after Jaisalmer) under UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme.
 
SpiceJet is the first and only carrier to offer daily direct air connectivity between Kishangarh and Delhi, a perss release from the airline said.
 
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet is proud to put Kishangarh (Ajmer) on the country’s aviation map and connect it with Delhi and multiple domestic and international destinations on our network. The new flight services will unleash the tourism potential of the city like never before providing a convenient mode of travel for the millions of tourists and pilgrims who visit Ajmer and Pushkar. The new flight will also provide a boost to traders and businesses of the marble city.”
 
Pushkar is one of the oldest cities in India. The city is home to the famous Jagatpita Brahma Temple considered to be one of the five sacred pilgrimage destinations for Hindus.
 
The famous Ajmer Sharif Dargah of Sufi Saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti located at Ajmer attracts millions of people every year from India and abroad. The new daily flight will provide pilgrims and tourists a much better access to Ajmer and Pushkar, the release said.
 
SpiceJet will be deploying its Bombardier Q-400 aircraft on the route.
 
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Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram to go to the polls between Nov 12-Dec 7

The Election Commission announced on Saturday that elections to the Legislative Assemblies in five States -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram -- would be held between November 12 and December 7.

Poll dates for Assembly elections in five States
The Election Commission today announced that elections to the State Legislative Assembly in Chhattisgarh would be held in two phases on November 12 and 20, while Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram will have single-phase polling on November 28 and Rajasthan and Telangana on December 7.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all the five states on December 11 and all the results are expected to be out by late that evening.
 
The term of the Assembly in Chhattisgarh is due to expire on January 5, 2019; Madhya Pradesh on January 7, 2019; Rajasthan on January 20, 2019 and Mizoram on December 15, 2018.
 
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in Telangana had decided to go in for early polls and, accordingly, the Governor of the State had dissolved the Assembly with immediate effect on September 6, 2018, nearly nine months before its term was to end.
 
The Assembly elections, especially in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, will be a major test for the BJP, which is ruling in these States as well as at the Centre, as well as for the Congress, which is making a strong bid to regain power in the three States.
 
The BJP has been in power for the past 15 years in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and is seeking a second consecutive five-year term in Rajasthan.
 
In Telangana, which was carved out as a new state from Andhra Pradesh in June, 2014, Mr. K Chandrasekhar Rao of the TRS, the first Chief Minister of the state, is seeking a second term. In Mizoram, the Congress is hoping to continue in power.
 
There are 90 seats in the Chhattisgarh Assembly, 230 in Madhya Pradesh, 200 in Rajasthan, 40 in Mizoram and 119 in Telangana.
 
Under the law, the Election Commission is required to hold general elections to constitute the new legislative assemblies in these states before the expirity of their present terms or within six months from the date of premature dissolution of the Assembly.
 
Chief Election Commission O P Rawat told a press conference here today that the Commission had drawn up the schedules for holding the elections after taking into consideration "all relevant aspects like climatic conditions, academic calendar, major festivals, prevailing law and order situation in the State, availability of Central Police Forces, time needed for movement, transportation and timely deployment of forces and in-depth assessment of other relevant ground realities".
 
 "The Commission seeks the active cooperation, close collaboration and constructive partnership of all the esteemed stakeholders in the electoral process and strives to employ the collective synergies towards delivering a smooth, free, fair, peaceful, participative and festive General Assembly Elections, 2018 in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram & Telangana," he said.
 
According to the schedule, 18 constituencies will go to the polls in the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh on November 12. The notification for the first phase of elections will be issued on October 16 and the last date for filing nominations is October 23. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on October 24 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures will be October 26.
 
The  notification for the remaining 72 constituencies in Chhattisgarh, which will go to the polls on November 20, will be issued on October 26 and the last date for filing nominations is November 2. Nominations will be scrutinised on November 3 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is November 5.
 
The notification for elections to all 230 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, which go to the polls on November 28, will be issued on November 2 and the last date for filing nominations is November 9. Nominations will be scrutinised on November 12 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is November 14.
 
The notification for the elections to all 200 constituencies in Rajasthan, which will go to the polls on December 7, will be issued on November 12 and the last date for filing nominations is November 19. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on November 20 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is November 22.
 
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The notification for the elections to all 40 constitutencies in Mizoram, which have polling on November 28, will be issued on November 2 and the last date for filing nominations is November 9, with scrutiny of papers on November 12 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures on November 14.
 
In Telangana, where all 119 constituencies will go to the polls on December 7, the notification for the elections will be issued on November 12 and the last date for making nominations will be November 19. Scrutiny of nominations will be taken up on November 20 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is November 22.
 
Mr. Rawat said the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for candidates, political parties and State Governments had come into effect immediately in all the five States and it would also be applicable to the Union Government insofar as announcements or policy decisions pertaining to them are concerned.
 
He said the Commission had made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of the MCC Guidelines. 
 
"Any violations of these Guidelines would be strictly dealt with and the Commission re-emphasizes that the instructions issued in this regard from time to time should be read and understood by all Political Parties, contesting candidates and their agents/representatives, to avoid any misgivings or lack of information or inadequate understanding/ interpretation. The government of the poll-bound States has also been directed to ensure that no misuse of official machinery/position is done during the MCC period.
 
"The Commission has also issued instructions for swift, effective and stringent action for enforcement of Model Code of Conduct during the first 72 hours of announcement of the election schedule and also for maintaining extra vigilance and strict enforcement action in the last 72 hours prior to the close of polls.  These instructions have been issued in the form of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for compliance by the field election machinery," he added.
 
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Lynching victim Pehlu Khan's son shot at in Rajasthan

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Unidentified assailants on Saturday opened fire at a car in which Rajasthan lynching victim Pehlu Khan's son Irshad, and other key witnesses in the 2017 case were going, officials said.
 
They were on their way to a court in Rajasthan's Behrod for a hearing. Pehlu Khan was lynched by a mob last year on the suspicion of smuggling cows.
 
Irshad has lodged a complaint in Alwar alleging "some unidentified miscreants opened fire on their car while they were on their way to Behrod to appear for a hearing". 
 
He was accompanied by key witnesses in the case who were to appear in the court to register their statement. Those in the car included Ajmat, Rafeeq, Areef and human rights activist Asad.
 
Irshad said at around 9 a.m., a black car, having no number plate, overtook them and one of its occupants called them to say that they should not go to depose as witnesses in the case.
 
Also, they were asked to stop the car but when they did not, they were shot at. Soon after, they went towards Behrod side while Pehlu Khan's son and the witnesses went back to Alwar.
 
Alwar Superintendent of Police Rajendra Singh said the case will be thoroughly investigated. He also said the footage collected from CCTVs was being reviewed.
 
Asked why they did not get a complaint register in Behrod, Irshad said "they were too scared and hence preferred to stop their car in Alwar". However, Singh said had they lodged their complaint in Behrod, the culprits might have been booked earlier.
 
Pehlu Khan's son has requested officials to shift the case to Alwar or Tijara, saying it is risky for them to travel to Behrod each time for a hearing as they have been getting constant threats there. 
 
IANS
 

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Cabinet okays assistance of Rs. 825 crore for relining Sirhind and Rajasthan Feeder Canals

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a financial assistance of Rs 825 crore for relining Sirhind and Rajasthan feeder canals to curb waterlogging in Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts of Punjab.
 
An official press release said the Cabinet approved providing Central assistance of Rs. 620.42 crore and Rs. 205.758  crore for relining Rajasthan feeder canal and Sirhind Feeder Canal, respectively, over five years (2018-19 to 2022-23).
 
Implementation of the twin projects would help in addressing the problem of water-logging in 84,800 hectares of land in Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts in South-West Punjab.
 
It would also enhance the flows and water availability in the two canals, the release said.
 
Farmers in the area would be benefitted due to stabilisation and improved irrigation in 98,739 hectares of land due to relining of Rajasthan Feeder and 69,086 hectares due to relining of Sirhind Feeder.
 
Funding will be through NABARD under the existing system for the 99 PMKSY-AIBP projects under LTIF.
 
In addition to existing monitoring mechanism for projects by Central Water Commission (CWC), an Expert Project Review Committee will be constituted to oversee the overall implementation of these projects.
 
The approved cost of relining of Sirhind Feeder Canal is Rs 671.478 crore and that of Rajasthan Feeder Canal Rs 1305.267 crore at 2015 PL.
 
Of the total estimated cost, Rs 826.168 crore would be provided as Central Assistance (Rs 205.758 crore for Sirhind Feeder and Rs 620.41 crore for Rajasthan Feeder).
 
Investment clearance of revised cost estimates amounting to Rs 671.478 crore and Rs 1305.267 crore for  Sirhind Feeder and Rajasthan Feeder respectively have been accorded on April 6, 2016.
 
A team under Chairman CWC visited the projects in 2016 and another team under Mr A B Pandya, former Chairman, CWC during 2017. They recommended remedial works to be taken up. The Punjab Government also conveyed its financial concurrence on April 26 this year.
 
Sirhind and Rajasthan Feeders take off upstream of Harike headworks and flow through Punjab before crossing over to Rajasthan. The twin canals have common banks and were constructed in the 1960s as lined (brick) channels to convey water to command areas in Punjab and Rajasthan.
 
The Government of Punjab has reported considerable seepage loss due to damages in the lining of both Sirhind and Rajasthan Feeders. As a result, apart from reduced flows in these canals, the adjacent areas have been affected by waterlogging causing huge agricultural losses.
 
The project would mitigate the waterlogging problem and enhance the flows/ water availability in the two canals.
 
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BJP MLA Manvendra Singh quits party, says 'Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool'

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Former Union Minister Jaswant Singh's son and BJP MLA from Sheo constituency in Rajasthan, Manvendra Singh, on Saturday announced his decision to sever ties with the party.
 
He made the announcement while addressing a mammoth "Swabhimaan Rally" in Pachpadra of Barmer district.
 
The differences between Manvendra and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) surfaced in 2014 when his father Jaswant Singh was denied ticket from Barmer parliamentary seat, from where the party fielded Colonel Sonaram. Jaswant Singh still contested as an Independent and lost the election.
 
On Saturday, amid thousands of supporters, he raised a slogan "Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool" in the rally. He said that he had been maintaining silence for the last four-and-a-half years obeying senior leaders of the party. "But, now I have lost all my patience."
 
He also sought opinion on his decision from the people attending the rally, to which the crowd responded saying "BJP Chhodo" in unison.
 
The rally was attended by many senior leaders from the Rajput community.
 
Speaking on the occasion, he said: "My fight for self-respect will spread to the entire state and its impact will also echo at the central level. Pachpadra is the starting point of this storm and its impact will also reach Jaipur."
 
However, Manvendra has not yet disclosed the course his political career will take from here on, but announced that he will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Meanwhile, speculations are rife that he would join the Congress party soon.
 
When contacted, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) President Sachin Pilot told IANS that he would not make any comments on the matter now.
 
However, he said that the list of BJP leaders leaving the party is getting longer which shows that all is not well with the party. 
 
"Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje should introspect on this issue," he added.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul targets 'chowkidar' PM, questions his silence on Rafale, Mallya

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
Sharpening his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a variety of stinging barbs, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday questioned Modi's silence on Rafale fighter jet deal scam, the flight of businessmen facing money-laundering charges and demonetisation fiasco.
 
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls himself the country's watchman. But the Indian masses have started saying, 'gali gali mein shore hai, desh ka chawkidaar chor hai (there is noise in lanes that the watchman is a thief)," said Gandhi in Dungarpur while addressing a rally.
 
"I want this 'chowkidaar' to answer why the Rafale aircraft price went up over three times from the one contracted during the UPA's tenure; why Anil Ambani was taken to France to sign Rafale contract and why this chowkidar was silent when Vijay Mallya ran away from India with Rs 9,000 crore after meeting Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley," Gandhi said.
 
He said the Prime Minister spoke of black money, brought in demonetisation and forced the entire country to stand in queues. 
 
"Farmers, workers and labourers were seen standing in huge queues outside banks. But did you see any person in suits, or Lalit Modi or Vijay Mallya or Ambani standing in queues? It was only the poor who sweated outside the banks in queues," he said.
 
"Even (Finance Minister) Jaitley confirmed that Mallya had met him before going to London. In such cases when a constable allows a thief to run, we put him also behind bars. Now, the Finance Minister helped a thief who ran away with Rs 9,000 crore. Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi silent?" he asked.
 
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Gandhi also questioned if any of the citizens in India got Rs 15 lakh deposited in their account which the PM had promised.
 
He said that Congress would not make "fake" promises. "We shall never make promise of transferring Rs 15 lakh, but we promise that we shall make cent per cent efforts to promote Rajasthan," he added.
 
"We shall make an endeavour to listen to your 'Mann ki baat', instead of sharing our 'Mann ki Baat' which our PM does," he said.
 
Calling 'Make in India campaign a failed show, he said the Prime Minister promised to bring in new jobs. "However, you keep searching for Make in India label in your shirts, trousers, shoes and phones and only get to read Made in China."
 
When you see Narendra Modi smiling in a poster, and watch (Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje) smiling on TV, you should know that poster and ad in TV is being made from your money. Crores of public funds are being used to take out Gaurav yatras".
 
"Once Congress forms government, we will ensure that banks give loans to small traders, small and medium entrepreneurs and farmers so that no one has to fry pakoras," he said.
 
"We shall convert 'gabbar singh tax' into GST to ensure that small traders don't suffer," he said, adding that GST has been introduced to please a few industrialists without giving any thought for small traders.
 
IANS
 

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Rajasthan slashes VAT on petrol, diesel by 4%

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Sunday announced that the state will reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel and petrol prices by four per cent.
 
She said that while VAT on petrol was 30 per cent, it was 22 per cent on diesel.
 
With the reduction, petrol and diesel prices will come down by an average Rs 2.50, Raje added.
 
She said that the state will bear a financial burden of Rs 2,000 crore due to VAT reduction.
 
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the Chief Minister was forced to reduce VAT under pressure. "Looking at the immense support to the bandh call given by Congress against the fuel hike, she had to reduce the price, he said.
 
Gehlot added that the decrease in petrol and diesel prices is insufficient and the state government should bring down the price of LPG cylinders too.
 
IANS
 

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Keep Gaurav Yatra free from government programmes, Rajasthan HC tells BJP

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The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the BJP to keep its ongoing Gaurav Yatra free from government programmes.
 
Justice G. R. Moolchandani issued the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that alleged misuse of government machinery for the yatra being taken out under the leadership of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
 
The high court also said that various programmes which were being organised in the name of the state government during the yatra should be stopped.
 
The court observed that if during the yatra -- a political event -- the Chief Minister inaugurates a public function, the impression would be glorification of a political party. "Keeping in view the principles laid down in two decisions of the Supreme Court, we declare that no state function should be organised during the Gaurav Yatra," said the court. 
 
On August 10, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court Pradeep Nandrajog had issued notice to the Bharatiya Janata Party to submit the expense details of the yatra.
 
The party has submitted the report placing the expenses at Rs 1.8 crore.
 
On August 27, Justice Nandrajog had reserved his judgement after the final arguments concluded.
 
The PIL was filed by advocate Vibhuti Bhushan Sharma. 
 
IANS
 

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MiG-27 crashes near Jodhpur, pilot ejects safely

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An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-27 aircraft crashed near Jodhpur in Rajasthan during a routine mission on Tuesday but the pilot ejected safely, officials said.
 
Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Sombit Ghosh said a court of inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident.
 
He clarified that there was some misinformation earlier with respect to the number of pilots.
 
The MiG-27, which took off from Jodhpur, came down near Devriya village. Villagers were the first to rush to the site.
 
An eyewitness, Champalal, said two or three fighter planes were in the air when one of them was seen emitting smoke. It came down suddenly with a loud noise and the area was engulfed in thick smoke. 
 
The pilot was taken to a hospital. 
 
IANS
 

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IAF MiG aircraft crashes near Jodhpur, pilots eject safely

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An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG aircraft crashed near Jodhpur in Rajasthan during a routine mission on Tuesday, the Defence PRO said. Both pilot and co-pilot ejected safely.
 
The MiG 27 fighter jet, which had got airborne from Jodhpur, came down near Devriya village. 
 
The pilots avoided dense residential colonies and the jet crashed on an open field, Colonel Sombit Ghosh, Defence PRO, said. 
 
A major accident was averted by the timely decision of the pilots, he said.
 
Thick smoke emanated from the spot, as villagers rushed to the site.
 
A Court of Inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident, Ghosh said.
 
Eyewitness Champalal said that two-to-three fighter planes were flying when one of them was seen emanating smoke. It came down suddenly with a loud noise and the area was engulfed in thick smoke. 
 
The pilots were taken to a hospital in an air ambulance.
 
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Rahul kicks off Rajasthan poll campaign with roadshow, attacks Modi

 
Modi did not answer my questions in Parliament: Rahul Gandhi
 
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a number of issues, including the Rafale deal with France, and asked why a 70-year-old defence public sector unit HAL was ignored for manufacturing the fighter jet.
 
Gandhi also questioned how the cost of one aircraft, which was Rs 540 crore when the UPA government had signed the deal, rose to thrice its value to Rs 1,600 crore under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre.
 
"Now, when this question is asked to a man, who claims he has 56-inch chest, and who says I am a 'chowkidaar' of the country, he prefers to remain tight-lipped in Parliament during 1.5 hours of discussion," he said.
 
Gandhi was speaking at a Congress rally in Jaipur on Saturday. He kicked off the party's poll campaign for the state Assembly elections later this year by holding a mega roadshow in the city.
 
He also questioned the Prime Minister on his promise of generating two crore employment opportunities anually.
 
"While China generates 50,000 jobs every 24 hours, India employs only 450 youths in the same period. Isn't this proportion inappropriate?" he said, adding that India has better talent, better numbers and better quality of hardworking people.
 
Recalling the promise made by the Prime Minister of Rs 15 lakh coming to every citizen's account, Gandhi said Modi failed to fulfil all the promises he made.
 
On farmer suicides, he sought to know if industrialists' loans can be waived off, why cannot those of farmers.
 
"Loans worth 2,30,000 crore of 15 top industrialists were waived off by the PM, but the farmers loans were not," he said.
 
"If industrialists are unable to repay loans, those are called NPAs (non-performing assets), but if farmers fail to pay back, they are called defaulters and are sent behind the bars. Why this discrimination?" he asked.
 
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The Gandhi family scion also had a piece of advice for the Prime Minister: "If you are hugging industrialists, you should also hug a farmer."
 
He pointed out that even the demonetisation was implemented to help top industrialists.
 
The Congress President announced that after coming to power, his party will bring one GST slab for all goods and shall also bring petrol and diesel within the ambit of GST to ensure that inflation comes down.
 
Launching more attacks on Modi, Gandhi said: "Many times PM says 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao', but he never says from whom they should be protected. In UP, BJP MLA rapes a woman, but PM remains mum. So, many rapes are being reported, but PM never says a word.
 
"Even in Rajasthan, females feel insecure to walk alone. Modiji, women never felt so miserable in the last 70 years under the Congress rule as they are feeling now."
 
Asserting that the Congress will form the governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Gandhi said that no "parachute candidate" will be given tickets in these elections. 
 
"The voice of ground workers will be the voice of Congress in state. Our first step is to win Assembly elections and next is to win Lok Sabha elections," he said.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi to visit Jaipur on August 11

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi will visit Jaipur in Rajasthan for a day on August 11, the party said on Monday.
 
During his visit, he will address the PCC delegates, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) President Sachin Pilot.said.
 
On Monday, a meeting called by Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi was attended by former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot and state party in-charge Avinash Pandey to discuss strategies and poll preparations for the Assembly elections this year and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
According to Pandey, Gandhi directed the party leaders to avoid issuing any statement on chief ministerial face for the Assembly polls. "No matter how senior a leader, any unwanted comments on to-be CM face will not be tolerated," Gandhi is said to have warned those present.
 
The Congress leaders will sit together after elections to zero in on the Chief Minister's name and the Assembly elections will be contested under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, Pandey added.
 
IANS
 

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Shah flags off 'Gaurav Yatra' in Rajasthan, kicks off poll campaign

 
Rajasthan is progressing from BIMARU state to developed state: Amit Shah
 
 
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Saturday flagged off "Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra" at Charbhuja temple in Rajsamund, which is also being seen as the official start of the party's election campaign in the state.
 
Before flagging off the Yatra, Shah and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje offered prayers in the renowned Vishnu temple.
 
Addressing a huge gathering on the occasion, Shah asked the Congress to give an account of the work done by its leaders during their four generations of rule.
 
"Instead of shooting 40 questions, you should present the report card of the last four generations of Congress, which ruled the country for many decades," he said.
 
The BJP chief said that Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra has been converted into a victory march as the Chief Minister of this state is taking out this procession and is ready to present her report card before the public for the works done during her tenure, he said.
 
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Attacking the Congress, he said that the Congress leaders failed to make any significant achievement during their successive terms in the government. 
 
"Rajasthan was referred to as a 'Bimaru' state earlier. But ever since Raje took over the reins, the state is being counted as a developed state."
 
On Friday, Raje performed pooja of the bus to be used in the Yatra, which the party is calling as "Vijay Rath".
 
Meanwhile, refuting the charges levelled by Shah, state Congress vice president Archana Sharma said that the BJP leaders, instead of answering a decent question, are issuing indecent statements. 
 
"'Who has authorised the PWD officials to organise this political event?' was our question and the BJP has failed to answer the same. It seems they are baffled and hence are beating around the bush instead of speaking to the point," she said.
 
IANS
 

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Jaipur’s walled city, the next proposed site for UNESCO World Heritage recognition

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The walled city of Jaipur has been proposed for recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said on Tuesday.
 
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, Dr Sharma said as per Operation Guidelines 2017, only one site can be nominated by the state party each year.
 
"The recognition as a World Heritage site is a matter of great pride. It impacts the local economy by giving a boost to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, the creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of the sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia. Besides, it adds to the prestige of the country as well as the prescribed site," he said.
 
At present, there are a total of 37 World Heritage sites in India. Cultural sites under protection of the Archaeological Survey of India are Agra Fort (1983); Ajanta Caves (1983); Ellora Caves (1983); Taj Mahal (1983); Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984); Sun Temple, Konarak (1984); Churches and Convents of Goa (1986); Fatehpur Sikri (1986); Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986); Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986).
 
Elephanta Caves (1987); Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004); Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987); Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989); Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993); Qutab Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993); Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003); Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004); Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007).
 
Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013) Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums; Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014); Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016).
 
Under Protection of Ministry of Railways: Mountain Railways of India (Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004).  
 
Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple, Management Committee is the Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002). Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums are The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010).
 
Under Protection of Chandigarh Administration is The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016).
 
Under Protection of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is the Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017).
 
Under Protection of Government of Maharashtra is Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018).
 
In natural sites, under the protection of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes is Kaziranga National Park (1985); Keoladeo National Park (1985); Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985); Sunderbans National Park (1987); Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005); Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu; Great Himalayan National Park (2014).
 
Under the Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes are Khangchendzonga National Park (2016).
 
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Police officer suspended over Alwar lynching

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Rajasthan Police on Monday suspended an assistant sub-inspector, Mohan Singh, for the undue delay in taking to a hospital a man brutally attacked by cow vigilantes in Alwar district who later died.
 
Police source said Mohan Singh had been suspended for negligence and delay in taking Rakbar alias Akbar to the hospital at the earliest on Saturday.
 
Action has also been taken against four constables, the sources said.
 
The action came hours after Director General of Police O.P. Galhotra formed a high-level team to probe why it took nearly four hours to reach a hospital just four kilometres from the site of the attack and whether the policemen halted on the way to have tea.
 
IANS
 
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