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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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Army deployed for flood relief in Kota, Jhalawar

Army personnel rescuing people in flood affected areas of Rajasthan. (Photo: IANS)
Army personnel rescuing people in flood affected areas of Rajasthan. (Photo: IANS)
The army has deputed its flood relief columns of the Sapta Shakti Command in the Kota and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan following heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday.
 
One column each has been deputed in Kota and Jhalawar districts, according to Col Sombit Ghosh, PRO, Defence Rajasthan. The army has been kept as standby in the Dholpur and Sawai Madhopur districts.
 
Deployed on the request of the civil administration, the army columns are helping in rescue of people marooned on rooftops and evacuation from low-lying areas. They are also distributing relief materials and providing basic amenities and other humanitarian assistance to the people.
 
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has declared a red alert in Baran, Chittaurgarh, Kota and Jhalwar for the next 24 hours.
 
Red alert signifies that action should be taken immediately and vigil should be maintained in and around the area with reference to heavy rainfall.
 
According to met officials, Gangdhar in the Jhalawar district recorded the highest amount of rainfall at 22 cm on September 14-15, followed by Durg in same district at 19 cm.
 
The Pratapgarh district has recorded 16 cm rainfall in these two days. Many areas of Banswara have reported around 8-9 cm rainfall.
 
The met department has warned heavy rainfall in Bhilwara, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajasmand, Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh, Sirohi, Kota, Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts in the next 24 hours.
 
According to local officials, the swollen Chambal river has created islands in many villages and the NDRF and the SDRF teams are engaged in rescue and relief operations.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot here on Saturday had called a meeting to review the situation and issued directions for quick relief in flood-affected areas.
 
IANS
 

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Gang attacks Rajasthan police station, escapes with wanted criminal

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Around two dozen men opened indiscriminate fire with AK-47s inside Behror police station in Alwar, Rajasthan on Friday morning and escaped with wanted gangster Vikram alias Papla Gurjar, who was in the lock-up.
 
The policemen meanwhile were hiding in an adjoining room trying to save their lives. They later informed their seniors about the incident, following which Superintendent of Police Amandeep Singh reached the police station.
 
He said the attackers were from Haryana. They attacked the police station around 8.45 a.m. and escaped with Gurjar, who is wanted in several murder cases in Haryana, and had been arrested on Thursday.
 
Police sources said the gang had earlier managed to free Gurjar while he was being taken for hearing in Mahendragarh (Haryana).
 
They added that special investigation teams have been formed to probe the case and state highways between Jaipur and Delhi, and Alwar and Narnaul have been sealed.
 
IANS
 

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Four die of electrocution while cleaning sewerage line in Rajasthan

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Four workers reportedly died of electrocution on Wednesday while cleaning a sewerage line in Manvakheda village of Udaipur district on Wednesday, the police said here.
 
"Two workers went inside an under-construction sewerage chamber on Wednesday morning to put the sewage line in place. When both of them did not return for a long time, one more labourer went inside to trace them. When he too did not come, people raised a hue and cry," an officer said.
 
"Meanwhile, a JCB driver passing by, stopped and went into the chamber to help, but he too did not return. The horrified crowd then called the police and civil defence teams who took out four bodies from the location," he added.
 
Police sources confirmed that there was an 11 KV electric pole nearby from which electricity was being supplied. Authorities are discussing the possibility that current passed through the pole into the sewerage chamber as it was raining at that time.
 
The bodies have been kept in the mortuary of the district hospital and the families informed of the accident. Once the bodies are identified, a post-mortem will be conducted, the officer said.
 
Police will probe the company which was given the tender for sewage cleaning and further action would be taken against the guilty, the officer said. 
 
IANS
 

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Three IAF personnel killed as truck falls into gorge in Barmer

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Three IAF personnel were killed and three others severely injured on Wednesday when the truck carrying them fell into a gorge in Barmer district of Rajasthan, police said.
 
"The Indian Air Force has a camp at the hilltop (a height of 100 feet) as well as at the base in Chouhatan. This truck was coming down from the camp with six IAF personnel seated inside when it fell into the gorge. Three people have lost their lives, while three are severely injured and have been shifted to a hospital in Barmer," said Ajeet Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police.
 
"We are investigating if it was due to brake failure or something else," Singh added. 
 
IANS
 

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Manmohan Singh elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan

File photo of Dr.  Manmohan Singh
File photo of Dr. Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Monday.
 
Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not put up any candidate due to lack of numbers in the assembly, Manmohan Singh was declared elected after the scheduled time to withdraw nominations ended on Monday. 
 
Chief whip Mahesh Joshi accepted the certificate of election on behalf of the former Prime Minister.
 
The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of sitting member, BJP state chief Madan Lal Saini.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Assembly Speaker C. P. Joshi congratulated Manmohan Singh,
 
"I congratulate former PM Dr #ManmohanSingh ji on being elected unopposed as a member of #RajyaSabha from #Rajasthan. Dr Singh's election is a matter of pride for entire state. His vast knowledge and rich experience would benefit the people of Rajasthan a lot," Gehlot said in a tweet.
 
"Many congratulations to the the world renowned economist Dr Manmohan Singh for being elected unopposed as Rajya Sabha MP," the Speaker tweeted.
 
With Manmohan Singh's election, the Congress now has one MP from the state. It had drawn a blank in the April-May Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS

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Rajasthan to now have death penalty for 'honour killing'

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The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed a bill providing for the death penalty for those convicted of committing hate crimes against couples in the name of "maintaining honour and tradition".
 
The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019, provides for death penalty or life imprisonment for rest of their natural life for "whoever causes death of a couple or either of them on the basis that marriage of such couple has dishonoured, or brought disrepute to, the caste, community or family". 
 
A fine up to Rs 5 lakh can also be slapped on the guilty.
 
Even those injuring a couple or either of them will be liable for rigorous imprisonment of a term not less than 10 years, or even life imprisonment and with fine that may extend to Rs 3 lakh.
 
Even a simple injury to a couple or either of them will also entail a jail term of three to five years and a fine up to Rs 2 lakh.
 
Those holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste or inter-community marriages in the name of family honour will also be held accountable and punished, under the new law.
 
Prohibiting any person or group to gather with such an intention to discuss or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law, "on the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned", it held any such gathering to be unlawful.
 
Any person organising such assembly and every participant could face a jail term not less than six months and up to five years, as well as a fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
 
The bill was tabled in the Assembly on July 30 by Law Minister Shanti Dhariwal. 
 
IANS
 

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India slow in checking brain drain: Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan during the 12th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2019. (Photo: Shaukat Ahmed/IANS)
Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan during the 12th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2019. (Photo: Shaukat Ahmed/IANS)
India-born scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan had made headlines in 2009 when he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with two of his peers for their research on the structure and function of the ribosome. In an exclusive interview with 101Reporters earlier in the Rajasthan capital, Ramakrishnan spoke on brain drain and what China is doing to check the problem while India isn't.
 
Q: How equipped do you think India is for making path-breaking discoveries?
 
A: I think it's not just a question of providing equipment and things like that, it's also a question of having good mentors and people who themselves have made path-breaking discoveries, because that is how young people learn. They learn it from people who have done very well. India has a lot of good scientists but not quite so many who are world leaders in their field. So, what India needs is more of those. And that will happen gradually if the government invests in science and technology.
 
Q: In terms of providing an environment conducive to research, how does India fare in comparison with other countries?
 
A: It is hard to say because I really don't know about the infrastructure in India. But there are some places that are doing well. I would say that India has not invested as much as China, not nearly as much. And China is very rapidly catching up with the West. I don't see that same speed of catching up in India. China is also attracting a lot of well-known Chinese scientists to return to the country. More importantly, they are also attracting international scientists, westerners who have a lab in China and they train the next generation of Chinese students. I don't see anything like this in India.
 
Q: If Indian scientists with overseas exposure do return to their homeland, in which ways can it catalyse advancement in research?
 
A: When Deng Xiaoping opened China and allowed Chinese students to study abroad, he was criticised by some people who said it could result in tremendous brain drain. And he said even if one out of a hundred comes back, it will be useful for advancing Chinese science and technology. I think that's the way to look at it. Not everybody will come back. Going from any country to any other country broadens your mindset and you learn new ways of thinking. So, these people when they come back, often will do interesting and important work.
 
Q: What do you think is responsible for brain drain from India? 
 
A: I think people don't just migrate for the sake of equipment. They go because there is an overall environment in which they want to work. Like they have colleagues with whom they interact. And freedom, less bureaucracy and so on. There are many reasons as to why people migrate. Another is that they go abroad to study, as I did, and then they get used to the lifestyle there, the freedom and the scientific environment and then it's hard for them to come back. That might just be a stronger reason and that's where probably most of the brain drain is, where they go as students and don't come back.
 
Q: How crucial is the role of technology in a country's overall development?
 
A: If it weren't for science and technology, we couldn't even support half of today's world population. Life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years. In the previous centuries, 2,000 years, there was no increase in life expectancy. I think there is no question that science and technology are of critical importance.
 
IANS

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ED attaches assets worth Rs. 4.75 crore in a corruption case

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The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) said on Monday that it had, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA),   provisionally attached immovable assets worth Rs. 4.75 crore of Mahesh Chand Sharma and his family members and relatives in a corruption case. 
 
The attached properties include agricultural land worth Rs. 1.69 crore at Sanganer and Dudu Tehsil of Jaipur and ten plots and flats at various locations in Jaipur, a press release from ED said.
 
According to the release, the ED had initiated investigation on the basis of FIR and charge-sheet filed by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Jaipur against Mahesh Chand Sharma and others.
 
Sharma had worked in the Health and Medical Department of Rajasthan Government as Nursing Tutor (Nursing Grade- 2), College of Nursing, SMS Medical College and also as Member, Indian Nursing Council (INC), New Delhi. He, along with his associate, was trapped by ACB for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs. 5 lakh from a nursing institute for adding the name of the institute on the website of INC (which was deleted earlier).
 
The release said that, later on, ACB investigations established that the accused had amassed illicit earning amounting to Rs. 10.6 crore, which is 372% more than his known and legal source of income. 
 
"Investigation under PMLA revealed that Mahesh Chand Sharma has used the proceeds of crime for purchase of agricultural land, residential flats and plots in the names of his wife, son and family members. This was done to layer, place and integrate the illicit money in the formal financial system in order to project it as untainted.
 
"Accordingly these immovable properties worth Rs. 4.75 crore have been attached. Further investigations to identify the remaining proceeds of crime are underway," the release added.
 
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Pink City of Jaipur becomes India’s 38th UNESCO World Heritage site

India’s nomination of Jaipur City got inscribed today on the World Heritage List of UNESCO during the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee held at Baku, Azerbaijan. 
 
The nomination of Jaipur City has successfully been done by complying with the various UNESCO guidelines of 2017. With the successful inscription of Jaipur City, India has 38 world heritage sites that include 30 Cultural properties, seven Natural properties and one mixed site.
 
India's nomination was initially recommended by the ICOMOS (advisory body of World Heritage (WH) Centre for Cultural Sites) as Deferral, but the 21 nation World Heritage Committee debated it and after discussion decided to inscribe it on the World Heritage list.
 
Union Minister for Culture Prahlad Singh Patel expressed his happiness on the inclusion of the Pink City Jaipur in World Heritage List and congratulated people of the city for this prestigious tag.
 
The excerpts of the proposed statement of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) before the World Heritage Committee was presented by India as follows:
 
The City of Jaipur is an exceptional urban example in indigenous city planning and construction in South Asia. Unlike other medieval cities of the region, Jaipur was deliberately planned as a new city on the plains open for trade as opposed to hilly terrain and military cities of past, though its planning still ensured a response to the surrounding hilltops in all directions.
 
The site selected within the valley that lay to the south of Amber hills was comparatively flat and unmarred by any previous construction.  Besides an exemplary planning, its iconic monuments such as the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal excel in artistic and architectural the craftsmanship of the period.
 
Jaipur is an expression of the astronomical skills, living traditions, unique urban form and exemplary foresighted city planning of an 18th-century city from India. Jaipur is an exemplary development in town planning and architecture that demonstrates amalgamation and important interchange of several ideas over the late medieval period.
 
The countries that supported India's nomination was Brazil, Bahrain, Cuba, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, China, Guatemala, Uganda, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Angola, St. Kitts and Nevis. Australia and Norway initially proposed referral but after the debate, they agreed for Inscription of Jaipur city.
 
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Tension in Jaipur after rape of minor girl

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Tension prevailed here after a group of people surrounded a police station and vandalized several cars to protest the rape of a seven-year-old girl, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Police said the girl was taken to an isolated place on Monday by a man who identified himself as her father's friend. After raping her, he left the profusely bleeding girl on the road.
 
Later on Monday night, her family members took her to Kanwatiya Hospital from where she was referred to JK Lon Hospital.
 
The girl was admitted in the surgical ICU. The medical report stated that she has abrasions on her chest and injuries on the forehead.
 
It added that she was, however, stable with minor abrasions on her private parts.
 
Following the incident, tension gripped the Shastri Nagar area of Jaipur on Tuesday morning as protesters surrounded the local police station after smashing the panes of several cars on Monday night.
 
Divisional Commissioner K. C. Verma has suspended Internet services in 13 areas of the city from July 2 till July 3, 10 a.m. 
 
A case has been registered under the POCSO Act and the police are looking for the accused.
 
A huge crowd had gathered near the Kanwatiya Hospital, demanding the immediate arrest of the accused.
 
Police Commissioner Anand Shrivastava said: "The girl is out of danger. Senior doctors are treating her. We shall try for the harshest punishment for the accused once he is arrested," he said, urging the people not to believe rumours.
 
Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas reached the hospital to meet the girl on Tuesday. 
 
"We all are trying to arrest the accused soon. There is just no space for people committing such crimes in our society," he said. He also requested the people not to play politics on this issue.
 
Health Minister Raghu Sharma has ordered free treatment of the girl.
 
IANS
 

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Rajasthan Assembly gives live coverage on YouTube as media boycott proceedings

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As the media continued to boycott the Rajasthan Assembly proceedings for the second day on Friday in the wake of several restrictions imposed on them, officials broadcast the proceedings live on YouTube, making it first such live telecast on the Internet.
 
Playing down the media boycott, Speaker C. P. Joshi said, "If journalists come, they are welcome. If they do not come, then also they are welcome. The 'boycott' just doesn't matter as we are live on YouTube." 
 
The Assembly session started on Thursday. However, media personnel who had already been issued passes, were surprised to see that the authorities had specifically restricted their visits to the offices of the Speaker, ministers and other MLAs.
 
Eventually the media personnel refused to go to the press gallery on the second day too and relied on YouTube to report the proceedings.
 
The issue of media boycott was raised by BJP MLA Madanlal Dilawar during zero hour. However, the Speaker said that they need not worry as people can watch the proceedings on YouTube.
 
Later while speaking to the media, he said, "I have taken this decision to maintain discipline in the Assembly. If a journalist wants to talk to any minister or MLA, s/he can give a request slip to the PRO. If a journalist wants to meet a minister, s/he would have to wait for the minister's consent. I can't allow blanket coverage of the Assembly for everyone".
 
Surprisingly, certain sections of Assembly proceedings which are expunged will also be made available to the people. 
 
Assembly secretary Pramil Kumar Mathur said: "This initiative will help in bringing about transparency in government work. The common man can now listen to the people's representatives and see if they raise relevant issues".
 
A Twitter handle has also been created to update information on Assembly proceedings, he said.
 
IANS
 

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14 dead, 26 injured as tent collapses during rain in Rajasthan

At least 14 people were killed and 26 injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during rain in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least 14 people were killed and 26 injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during rain in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
 
"Around 1,000 people had gathered under a tent to listen to Ram Katha in Jasol village of Balotra area, when a storm played havoc around 3.30 p.m. Most participants were senior citizens," said District Collector Himanshu Gupta.
 
Balotra Sub-Inspector Khetaram Parmar told IANS: "Some 14 people have lost their lives, while 26 injured have been admitted to the district hospital."
 
There are reports of many people getting electrocuted after an electric wire fell to the ground. According to an eyewitness: "The breaking of the wire in the rain led to a stampede in which many people were electrocuted."
 
Meanwhile, a video has also gone viral since the evening, in which Murlidhar, the man delivering the discourse, is seen asking people to evacuate the tent even as the structure crashes.
 
Parmar added that the number of injured was much higher as many people had been shifted to private hospitals by their families. However, their exact number was yet to be confirmed.
 
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Chaudhary cancelled his Ranchi tour and left for Barmer to monitor the situation.
 
The state government has formed a five-member team, comprising senior officials, to look into the relief work. A compensation of Rs 5 lakh has also been announced for the families of each of the deceased, while every injured will get Rs 2 lakh.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has directed Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner B. L. Kothari to investigate the tragedy.
 
Expressing anguish over the tragedy, Gehlot wrote on Twitter: "The loss of lives of so many people during Ram Katha in Jasol, Barmer is unfortunate and sad. I pray to God to bestow peace on the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families. I also wish quick recovery to the injured."
 
"The local administration is engaged in rescue and relief work. The officials concerned have been asked to investigate the incident. They have also been asked to provide quick medical treatment to the injured and all help to the families of those affected," he tweeted.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his condolences. "Collapse of a pandal in Rajasthan's Barmer is unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I wish the injured a quick recovery," he tweeted.
 
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted: "Extremely sad to hear about the death of over dozen people in Jasol in Barmer who were listening to Ram Katha. I pray to God for the departed soul and to give patience to the grief-stricken families."
 
IANS
 

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11 dead, many injured as tent collapses during religious gathering in Rajasthan

Around 11 people died and many were injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Around 11 people died and many were injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
 
Police said the death toll could go up as a huge crowd had gathered to listen to a Ramkatha discourse in Jasol village in Balotra area of Barmer. The injured were rushed to the nearby hospital.
 
Speaking to IANS, Balotra Sub-Inspector Khetaram said: "The exact number of the dead will be given after some time. Right now, the entire police machinery is busy providing medical aid to the injured and helping control the crowd."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Rajasthani folk dancer 'Queen Harish' killed in road accident

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Rajasthan's renowned folk dancer Harish Kumar aka "Queen Harish", famous for performing dressed up as a woman, died in a road accident in the state's Jodhpur district early on Sunday, police said.
 
Three others were also killed in the accident around 5.30 a.m. when their SUV slammed into a parked coal-laden truck in Bilada area as they were on their way to Jaipur from Jaisalmer, local station house officer (SHO) Sitaram said.
 
The other deceased were identified as Lateefa, Ravinder alias Banti and B. K. Khan. Six others were injured in the accident and were taken to MDM Hospital, said police officials.
 
A case has been registered against the truck driver for parking the truck on the road and he will be arrested soon, Sitaram said.
 
Famous among tourists for his rendition of Rajasthani folk dances including Chakari, Bhavai, Taraju, Terah Tali, Ghoomar Kalbeliya and others in Jaisalmer, Harish Kumar had also performed in 60 nations around the world and received several international awards.
 
Also known as a choreographer, he had been seen in Bollywood film "Jai Gangajal" and had also performed at Isha Ambani's wedding in Jodhpur. Even Aishwarya Rai was mesmerised with his unique ability to match steps on high beats.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condoled his death, terming it a "big loss to the artistic world". "He brought a distinguished identity to Jaisalmer with his different dancing style which was dedicated to folk art of the state. His death is a big loss to the artistic world," he said in a tweet. 
 
IANS
 

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Rajasthan CM rejects resignation of Minister Kataria

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday rejected the resignation of state Minister Lal Chand Kataria who had resigned a few days back taking moral responsibility for the Congress party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections in his constituency by over one lakh votes.
 
Rejecting his resignation, Gehlot said that at the time when the election results have not been in favour of the Congress, the moral responsibility of party members increases to unitedly face the challenges ahead and contribute in providing good governance in Rajasthan.
 
"In the past, you have rendered your duty as a Union Minister, also you have been MLA many times and hence your experience shall benefit the state," he said.
 
Kataria had reportedly resigned as state Agriculture Minister, citing the rout of the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
 
In a press release, Kataria said he had sent his resignation to the Governor through Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who has come under attack from Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the Congress failed to win even a single seat in Rajasthan.
 
However, the offices of neither the Chief Minister nor the Governor could confirm that Kataria had quit.
 
Kataria himself could not be reached on telephone to confirm if he had resigned.
 
However, on Friday, Kataria confirmed that he had gone to Uttarakhand after submitting his resignation.
 
His press release, which had gone viral on social media, said he considered it morally inappropriate to continue as minister after the party's defeat. 
 
"This resignation should not be connected to any other factor," he said, adding he would remain a member of the Assembly and continue to articulate people's grievances. 
 
IANS
 

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Rahul meets Alwar gangrape victim, assures justice

Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference  after meeting the Alwar gang-rape victim, in Jaipur on May 16, 2019. Also seen are Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. (Photo: IANS)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing a press conference after meeting the Alwar gang-rape victim, in Jaipur on May 16, 2019. Also seen are Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. (Photo: IANS)
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met the Alwar gang-rape victim, and assured her and the family of justice.
 
Speaking to the media after the meeting in Thanagaazi, Gandhi said that this was an emotional issue for him and not a political one.
 
"The victim will definitely get justice. Strict action will be taken against the accused. I have come here to meet the family and not to play any kind of politics. I will take action on whatever I have said here," he said.
 
"We can't tolerate such things. As soon as I heard about the case, I called (Chief Minister Ashok) Gehlot. We want to give a strong message not only to the people of Rajasthan but to the entire nation so that such heinous incidents are not repeated anywhere."
 
Gandhi was accompanied by Gehlot, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, party state in-charge Avinash Pandey and Alwar Congress candidate, Jitendra Bhanwar Singh.
 
Gandhi was slated to visit Alwar on Wednesday but the trip was cancelled due to bad weather.
 
Before Gandhi's visit, the family said that they would raise a demand for a job for the couple so that the victim and her husband can be sent to a place where no one identifies them.
 
IANS
 

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Harmanpreet's 51 helps Supernovas win Women's T20 title

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Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's blistering half-century (51 off 37) helped Supernovas win the inaugural season of the Women's T20 Challenge 2019 as they defeated Velocity by four wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, here on Saturday.
 
Chasing the 122-run target, Supernovas were hobbling midway as they were reduced to 64/5. But Harmanpreet not only anchored the innings but also clobbered most Velocity bowlers.
 
Supernovas were off to a poor start as they lost opener Chamari Athapaththu (2). She fell short off the crease while converting a couple in the second over.
 
Priya Punia (29 off 21) and Jemimah Rodrigues (22 off 25) then repaired the early damage, adding 44 runs for the second wicket as Supernovas crossed the 50-run mark in 9.3 overs. With everything going Supernovas' way, Amelia Kerr came with a much-needed breakthrough for Velocity and cut short Rodrigues's stay in the middle in the 10th over.
 
Supernovas then witnessed a middle-order collapse. They lost Punia, Natalie Sciver (2 off 6) and Sophie Devine within the next 11 runs. But Harmanpreet rose to the occasion, took the command and denied her opponents making any further inroads.
 
Harmanpreet forged a crucial 51-run partnership with Radha Yadav (10 not out off 4), setting the platform for the victory. The duo was on their way to steer Supernovas home comfortably, but Amelia struck in the 19th over to send back a well-settled Harmanpreet, leaving opponents seven runs away with four balls remaining.
 
After few singles, Radha smashed a last-ball four to seal a four-wicket win for the Supernovas.
 
For Velocity, Jahanara Alam and Amelia Kerr scalped two wickets each.
 
Earlier, some disciplined bowling by Supernovas restricted Velocity to 121/6 even as Sushma Verma (40 unbeaten) and Amelia (36 off 38) made valuable contributions.
 
Lea Tahuhu picked two wickets for Supernovas, conceding 21 runs from her 4 overs, while Anuja Patil, Sophie Devine, Sciver and Poonam bagged one wicket each.
 
Asked to bat first, Velocity were off to a poor start as Tahuhu struck in the very second delivery of the match to dismiss opener Hayley Matthews for a duck.
 
Anuja then jolted Velocity as she sent back incoming batswoman Danielle Wyatt (0) in the next over. Things worsened for Velocity as Tahuhu struck again to send back opener Shefali Verma (11), leaving the side reeling at 14/3.
 
Mithali Raj (12) and Veda Krishnamurthy (8) then tried to stabilise the ship, adding 23 runs for the fourth wicket before Devine also joined the Supernovas party by claiming the wicket of Krishnamurthy. Sciver then claimed the wicket of Mithali, putting Velocity in deep trouble as the scorecard read 37/5 in 7.3 overs.
 
Sushma and Amelia then anchored the Velocity innings and added 71 runs in the next 10.5 overs to take their side past the three-digit mark in 17 overs. Amelia became a victim of Poonam in the 18th over and Sushma then added 13 runs in the remaining deliveries to help Velocity reach a fighting total.
 
Brief scores: Supernovas 125/6 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 51, Priya Punia 29; Jahanara Alam 2/21) beat Velocity 121/6 in 20 overs (Sushma Verma 40 not out, Amelia Kerr 36; Lea Tahuhu 2/21) by 4 wickets.
 
IANS

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Velocity post 121/6 against Supernovas in T20

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Some disciplined bowling by Supernovas restricted Velocity to 121/6 in the final of the Womens T20 Challenge 2019 even as Sushma Verma (40 unbeaten) and Amelia Kerr (36 off 38) chipped in with valuable contributions.
 
Lea Tahuhu picked two wickets for Supernovas, conceding 21 runs from her four overs, while Anuja Patil, Sophie Devine, Natalie Sciver and Poonam Yadav bagged one wicket each.
 
Asked to bat first, Velocity were off to a poor start as Tahuhu struck in the very second delivery of the match to dismiss opener Hayley Matthews, who failed to open her account.
 
Anuja then jolted Velocity as she packed back incoming batswoman Danielle Wyatt (0) in the next over. Things worsened for Velocity as Tahuhu struck again to send back opener Shafali Verma (11), leaving the side reeling at 14/3.
 
Mithali Raj (12) and Veda Krishnamurthy (8) then tried to stabilise the ship, adding 23 runs for the fourth wicket before Devine also joined the Supernovas party by claiming the wicket of Krishnamurthy. Sciver then claimed the wicket of Mithali, putting Velocity in deep trouble as the scorecard read 37/5 in 7.3 overs.
 
Sushma and Amelia then anchored the Velocity innings and added 71 runs in the next 10.5 overs to take their side past the three-digit mark in 17 overs. Amelia became a victim of Poonam in the 18th over and Sushma then added 13 runs in the remaining deliveries to help Velocity reach a fighting total.
 
Brief scores: Velocity 121/6 in 20 overs (Sushma Verma 40 not out, Amelia Kerr 36; Lea Tahuhu 2/21) vs Supernovas.
 
IANS
 

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'Suspicious' Georgian aircraft forced by IAF to land in Jaipur

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A Georgian An-12 cargo aircraft was forced by Indian Air Force (IAF) jets to land at Jaipur airport on Friday after it created alarm by entering Indian air space from an unscheduled point in north Gujarat, official sources said.
 
The aircraft, belonging to Ukrainian company MotorSich, was heading for Delhi from Karachi when it deviated from its scheduled flight path and did not respond to radio from Indian controllers and security agencies.
 
Since air routes in the area were closed due to the geopolitical situation between India and Pakistan, the aircraft's entry from an unscheduled point led to the IAF scrambling its air defence interceptors and they approached towards the unknown aircraft for investigation.
 
On visual contact, the aircraft was identified as Georgian An-12 flying at 27,000 feet, but it neither responded on the international distress frequency nor to visual signals. However, when challenged, the aircraft responded and informed that it was a non-scheduled flight that left Tbilisi (Georgia) for Delhi via Karachi.
 
However, it was escorted to Jaipur by the Indian Air Force and after it landed, its two pilots were being questioned by security agencies. 
 
IANS
 

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Alwar gang-rape: All 6 accused arrested, BJP holds protests

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The prime accused in the Alwar gangrape case was picked up from Uttar Pradesh's Mathura on Thursday and one more accused later in the day even as BJP held protests accusing the government of "deliberately suppressing" the case in view of the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Hours after fourth accused Mahesh was arrested from Shahpura late on Wednesday, the prime accused Hansraj was arrested from Mathura on Thursday morning, police said. The remaining accused Chhotelal was apprehended later in the day. 
 
Ashok Gujjar, Inderaj Gujjar and Mukesh were arrested earlier.
 
According to the FIR filed by the victim, the incident took place on April 26 when the five accused allegedly waylaid her and her husband, took them to an isolated place and gang-raped her in front of her husband. The accused also recorded the crime and uploaded the video on social media, which went viral.
 
Director General of Police Kapil Garg said that the charge sheet will be presented in the court at the earliest and all efforts made for the most harsh punishment to the criminals. Five of the six were held for the crime while the sixth has been arrested for making the video viral, he added.
 
"This was a heinous crime which is unacceptable in society. I had no pressure in this case but was stressed that such a crime has been reported here," he said.
 
The crime sparked off controversy after the victim's husband on Wednesday accused police of delaying action, allegedly in the wake of the second round of Lok Sabha elections in the state on May 6.
 
Soon after his allegations came out, there were protests with people from all sections demanding justice for the couple and accusing the state government of intentionally delaying action in the case for political gain.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party had staged a march to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's residence on Wednesday but were stopped on the way by police. 
 
On Thursday, the BJP held a protest at the collectorate with Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and BJP state President Madan Lal Saini also present. 
 
Rathore demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into police "inaction" in the case, while Saini said that BJP had held similar protests all across the state.
 
BJP's Rajya Sabha member Kirorilal Meena, who reached Alwar on Thursday, appealed to the authorities to take strict action against Superintendent of Police Rajeev Pachar and SHO Sardar Singh under The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, for intentionally keeping the case on hold and depriving the Dalit victim and her husband of justice. 
 
He said suspending the inspector, disciplinary action against other personnel of the Thanagaazi police station and departmental action against the SP was not enough and they should be sent behind bars.
 
IANS
 

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Supernovas beat Velocity by 12 runs

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Despite valiant knocks by Danielle Wyatt (43 off 33) and skipper Mithali Raj (40 unbeaten off 42), Velocity failed to cross the line by 12 runs against the Supernovas in the third and final contest of the Womens T20 Challenge 2019 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Thursday.
 
Chasing a challenging 143-run target, Velocity got off to a bad start after losing their first wicket with just seven runs on board as Radha Yadav dismissed opener Shafali Verma (2 off 4) cheaply.
 
Velocity's other opener Hayley Matthews (11 off 12) also departed soon, leaving her side in deep trouble as Velocity's scorecard read 21/2 in 3.3 overs, thanks to Anuja Patil who claimed the wicket of the opener.
 
Wyatt and Mithali then shared a 56-run partnership to repair the early damages but Poonam Yadav soon broke the developing partnership as she packed back the former in the 12th over with Velocity still 66 runs away from victory.
 
Experienced Mithali was then joined by Veda Krishnamurthy (30 unbeaten off 29) and the duo stabilised the innings, helping Velocity touch the three-digit mark in 16 overs.
 
They both played sensibly, denying their opponents any further onslaughts however, some disciplined bowling by helped Supernovas pip Velocity by just 12 runs.
 
For Supernovas, Radha, Anuja and Poonam picked a wicket each.
 
Earlier, Jemimah Rodrigues' magnificent unbeaten 77-run knock rocketed Supernovas to 142/3.
 
Asked to bat first, Supernovas' opener Priya Punia (16 off 16) and Chamari Athapaththu (31 off 38) started on a cautious note with the scorecard read 13 for no loss in the first three overs. Shikha Pandey came up with the first breakthrough for Velocity as she dismissed Priya in the fifth over, leaving Supernovas at 29/1.
 
Athapaththu and new batswoman Rodrigues then repaired the early damage, helping their side cross the 50-run mark in 8.1 overs. Amelia Kerr finally broke the well-settled partnership as she sent back Athapaththu in the 13th over when Supernovas were at 84 runs.
 
Rodrigues was then joined by Sophie Devine (9 off 14) and they both added a crucial 50 runs for the third wicket even as the majority of the runs were scored by the former as she clobbered most of the bowlers for some clean hits. Kerr dispatched Devine in the 19th over after which Supernovas added 10 runs to post a challenging total.
 
For Velocity, Kerr scalped two wickets conceding 21 runs while Pandey managed to bag one for 17 runs.
 
Brief scores: Supernovas 142/3 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 77 not out, Chamari Athapaththu 31; Amelia Kerr 2/21) beat Velocity 130/3 in 20 overs (Danielle Wyatt 43, Mithali Raj 40 not out; Poonam Yadav 1/13) by 12 runs
 
IANS

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Women's T20 Challenge: Velocity record easy win over Trailblazers

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England top-order batswoman Danielle Wyatt starred with the bat as Velocity opened their account with a three-wicket victory over Trailblazers even as Deepti Sharma gave them a last-minute scare, in the second game of the Women's T20 Challenge here on Wednesday.
 
Chasing a paltry 113 for victory, Velocity were never in trouble with Wyatt scoring a brisk 46 off 35 balls, her innings laced with five fours and two sixes.
 
Skipper and veteran India batswoman Mithali Raj (17) gave her good company as the pair almost took the team over the line.
 
With two runs needed from 20 balls, Wyatt was removed by Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the 17th over, and in the next ball Veda Krishnamurthy was run out.
 
It was a comedy of errors in the next over, as Deepti, who returned magical figures of 4/14, snared three wickets in five balls with no run being scored.
 
First, Mithali yorked herself to lose her stumps, followed by Shikha Pandey who was cleaned up as she tried a needless sweep. Amelia Kerr did the same as Velocity lost five wickets without adding a single run.
 
In the final ball of the 18th over, Sushree Pradhan finally hit the winning runs as the side won with 12 balls to spare.
 
Earlier, India left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht (2/13) and New Zealand leggie Kerr (2/21) shared four wickets between them to restrict Trailblazers to 112/6 after Velocity skipper Mithali asked them to bat first.
 
For Trailblazers, who pulled off a thrilling two-run win against Supernovas the other day, Harleen Deol (43 runs off 40 balls) top-scored with the help of five boundaries.
 
Bisht was particularly impressive in her four overs, keeping the run-flow in check as Trailblazers failed to get any sort of momentum going.
 
Mandhana, who scored a brilliant 90 in their match against Supernovas, failed to continue her good show with the bat as she was dismissed by Shikha Pandey, caught behind by wicketkeeper Sushma Verma.
 
Trailblazers kept losing wickets at regular intervals with Deol holding one end up.
 
Brief scores: Trailblazers: 112/6 (Harleen Deol 43; Ekta Bisht 2/13, Amelia Kerr 2/21; Velocity 113/7 (Danielle Wyatt 46; Deepti Sharma 4/14)
 
IANS
 

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Trailblazers pip Supernovas by 2 runs

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Despite Harmanpreet Kaur's valiant 46 off 34, Supernovas suffered a two-run defeat to Trailblazers in the first match of the Women's T20 Challenge at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Monday.
 
Chasing a 141-run target, Supernovas' opener Priya Punia (1 off 6) fell with just six runs on board. Chamari Athapaththu (26 off 34) and Jemimah Rodrigues (24 off 19) then added 49 runs for the second wicket in just 27 balls before the latter fell short of the crease while trying to convert a single.
 
Only eight runs later, Athapaththu became a victim of Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the 11th over. Gayakwad turned things worse for the Supernovas as she struck again to send back incoming batswomen Natalie Sciver (1 off 4) cheaply with their scorecard reading 74/4.
 
Harmanpreet and Sophie Devine (32 off 22) were then involved in a brisk 48-run partnership as their side approached the target but Sophie Ecclestone cut short the latter's stay, dismissing her in the 13th over. Harmanpreet then single-handedly fought the contest and kept the scoreboard ticking, taking her side to the verge of victory but her side fell short by just a couple of runs.
 
For Supernovas, Rajeshwari and Sophie scalped two wickets each.
 
Earlier, Trailblazers' skipper Smriti Mandhana's brilliant knock of 90, backed by Harleen Deol's 36, helped their side post 140/5 against the Supernovas.
 
Smriti, who repaired the early damage, faced 67 balls and her knock was laced with 10 boundaries and three hits into the stands.
 
Put in to bat first, Trailblazers lost opener Suzie Bates (1 off 4) early with just 11 runs on the board after 1.3 overs. Anuja Patil accounted for the wicket of the opener.
 
The Supernovas, however, failed to make any further inroads soon as the Trailblazers duo of Smriti and Harleen put up 50 runs for the second wicket in 9.4 overs. The duo then helped their side touch the three-figure mark in style as Smriti smashed leggie Poonam Yadav for a six over extra cover in the 16th over.
 
Pacer Sophie Devine finally came up with the much-needed breakthrough as she dismissed Harleen in the 19th over before Radha Yadav also jolted Trailblazers by sending back a well-settled Smriti in the final over.
 
Dayalan Hemalatha (2*) and Stafanie Taylor (2*) could then only manage to add three runs to the team tally.
 
Brief scores: Trailblazers 140/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 90, Harleen Deol 36, Radha Yadav 2/28) beat Supernovas 138/6 in 20 overs (Harmanpreet Kaur 46, Chamari Athapaththu 26, Sophie Ecclestone 2/11) by 2 runs.
 
IANS
 

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Smriti helps Trailblazers post 140/5 vs Supernovas

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Skipper Smriti Mandhana's brilliant knock of 90, backed by Harleen Deol's 36, helped Trailblazers post 140/5 against the Supernovas in the first match of the Women's T20 Challenge at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Monday.
 
Smriti, who repaired the early damage, faced 67 balls and her knock was laced with 10 boundaries and three hits into the stands.
 
Put in to to bat first, Trailblazers lost opener Suzie Bates (1 off 4) early with just 11 runs on the board after 1.3 overs. Anuja Patil accounted for the wicket of the opener.
 
The Supernovas, however, failed to make any further inroads soon as the Trailblazers duo of Smriti and Harleen put up 50 runs for the second wicket in 9.4 overs. The duo then helped their side touch the three-figure mark in style as Smriti smashed leggie Poonam Yadav for a six over extra cover in the 16th over.
 
Pacer Sophie Devine finally came up with the much-needed breakthrough as she dismissed Harleen in the 19th over before Radha Yadav also jolted Trailblazers by sending back a wel- settled Smriti in the final over.
 
Dayalan Hemalatha (2*) and Stafanie Taylor (2*) could then only manage to add three runs to the team tally.
 
Brief scores: Trailblazers: 140/5 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 90, Harleen Deol 36; Radha Yadav 2/28) vs Supernovas
 
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