L A T E S T      N E W S

No proposal to deploy Army in Naxal-hit states: Antony

NEW DELHI: There is no proposal to deploy Army in the Maoist-hit states, Defence Minister A. K. Antony said on Monday.

The Centre has rushed 2,000 additional paramilitary force personnel to Chhattisgarh in the wake of the Naxal attack on Congress leaders that claimed 27 lives, including that of PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel.

The decision was taken following a request from the Chhattisgarh government which sought more forces to provide security to political leaders as well as to engage in anti-Naxal operations, official sources said on Monday, adding that the units will be in the state in a day or two.

There are around 30,000 paramilitary personnel already deployed in Chhattisgarh mainly for anti-Naxal operations across the state.

Chhattisgarh is one of the worst Maoist violence-affected states and nearly 1,900 lives have been lost in last eight years, of which around 570 were civilians, 700 security personnel and the rest were Naxal cadres.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state's Bastar district, killing 27 persons, including PCC chief Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 32 others, including former Union Minister V. C. Shukla. — PTIBack










Naxal attack: NIA to probe possible lapses

NEW DELHI: The Anti-terror National Investigative Agency (NIA) will begin its probe on Monday into the deadly Naxal attack on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh to find out possible lapses on the part of the central forces or the state government.

Action will be taken if anyone is found guilty, Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh told reporters here on Monday.

“We have asked the NIA to investigate the Maoist attack.

Security lapses could have taken place. Any lapse on the part of central forces or the state government, buck will have to be stopped somewhere. We have to take action,” he said.

Asked whether the mastermind of Saturday’s attack on Congress workers has been identified, Singh said it was too early to say that and any conclusion could be reached only when the probe is completed.

The Centre has already deployed 30 battalion (approximately 30,000 personnel) in Chhattisgarh to help the state government carry out anti-Naxal operations.

Earlier, Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh said an official order formally handing over the case to NIA to carry out the investigation would be issued soon.

“We will issue the order of NIA probe. The NIA team will also go to Chhattisgarh today,” he told reporters here.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had on Sunday said that NIA will probe the Maoist attack on Congress leaders and the Centre has received a go-ahead from Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for it.

Heavily-armed Maoists had on Saturday ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in the state’s Bastar district, killing 24 persons, including PCC chief Patel, his son Dinesh, Congress leader Mahendra Karma and ex-MLA Uday Mudliyar and injuring 32 others, including former Union Minister V.C. Shukla. — PTIBack








Nand Kumar Patel cremated with state honours

RAIGARH/RAIPUR: The final rites of Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh, who were killed in the Naxal attack on Saturday, were performed with state honours at their native village Nandeli in Raigarh district on Monday.

Patel’s younger son Umesh performed the rites, in the presence of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Raman Singh and a host of other leaders.

The funeral procession started from the family’s house in Nandeli and converged at a place on the outskirts of the village where Nand Kumar’s parents had been cremated years ago.

Thousands of villagers from the region took part in the procession, raising “long live Nand Kumar” and anti-state government slogans.

Apart from the Chief Minister and Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Assembly Ravindra Choubey, Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh, Madhya Pradesh Congress Chief Kantilal Bhuriya, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, other cabinet ministers and several senior Congress leaders were present.

Patel and his elder son Dinesh were killed when heavily armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Bastar district on Saturday, killing 27 people and injuring 37. — PTIBack










Media is hounding me, says BCCI chief

CHENNAI: A defiant and combative Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) president, who has decided to hang on to his position despite the IPL spot-fixing scandal, on Monday said his resignation is being sought only by a “hounding media”.

Srinivasan, whose son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan has been arrested for alleged involvement in betting, reached here after attending the IPL final on Sunday night in Kolkata, where the crowd booed him during the presentation ceremony.

“The press is hounding me, the media is hounding me. I have already clarified everything in the press conference. I have no reason to resign,” Srinivasan retorted when journalists at the airport asked him about the scandal and whether he should resign on moral grounds.

Srinivasan had on Sunday held a press conference hours before the final to declare that he would not step down. He also announced the setting up of a three-member enquiry panel to investigate the scandal, that led to the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players.

The BCCI president asserted that he has done nothing wrong and rejected reports of a revolt against him in BCCI. He made it clear that he would not be “railroaded, pushed and threatened to quit”.

“My support is complete and not one member in BCCI has asked for my resignation”, he had said.

“I have a job and we will act strictly. I assure you, the BCCI will act without fear or favour to investigate and if player, franchise or owners have breached any rules, action will be taken”, he said.

The three-member enquiry commission will consist of two members of the IPL Operations Committee and an independent person in whose appointment he will have no role.

The five members of the committee are Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla, Sanjay Jagdale, Ajay Shirke and Ravi Shastri. — PTIBack









Perfect time to retire from IPL, says Tendulkar

KOLKATA: Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who called it quits from the IPL after Mumbai Indians lifted the title, said it was the perfect time to retire from the Twenty20 event as he has to "face the reality" after turning 40.

"I think this is the right time to stop playing IPL. I am 40. I have to face the reality. I had decided that this would be my last season. And now the ending is perfect," Tendulkar said after Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs at the Eden Gardens on Sunday to lift their maiden IPL trophy.

Tendulkar, who played 78 IPL matches accumulating 2,334 runs at an average of 34.83, had to stay out of the final after failing to recover from a left-hand injury that he picked up a fortnight ago in a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The veteran, who scored one century and 13 half-centuries during his overall IPL stint, played just 14 matches this season making 287 runs at an average of 22.07 with 54 being his highest.

"For the World Cup I had to wait for 21 years and this (the IPL) for six years. So, it's never too late. This is my last IPL. It's the perfect way to end it," a jovial Tendulkar said after his team's triumph.

"I have got to be realistic here. I've enjoyed my six seasons with MI. It's been fantastic journey. This season was superb. We thought our third season was the best but this one is the icing on the cake," he added.

The affable right-hander, however, did not specify whether he would compete for Mumbai in the Champions League Twenty20 which is scheduled for October.

"I can't wait to hold this trophy. I waited for six years. I can never thank the fans enough. A big thank you to all the supporters who enjoyed cricket. Cricket is the winner and we have been able to produce some fantastic cricket here," he added.

Asked about how it felt playing at 40, Tendulkar said, "Anil (Kumble) said 40 is just a number. We have worked hard together. Even on optional practice because despite all the travelling everyone turned up.

"Things don't come easily, you have to work hard for them. It's exciting but you have to alter your body clock in the grind of IPL because matches finish after or close to midnight. And, sometimes we catch a flight at eight in the morning making all the adjustments that are required," he added.

On whether he would be tempted to play the Mumbai Indians opening match at the Wankhede next season, Tendulkar said, "It's tempting. But this is the best point. Thank you very much, now I can't wait to touch the trophy."

This is the second format from which Tendulkar has announced his retirement after having called quits from the ODIs in December last year right before the series against Pakistan.

Tendulkar went out from the ODIs after amassing 18,426 runs in 463 matches at an average of 44.83. The diminutive right-hander has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred — the first in this form of the game.

The cricket fans will now have to wait till the end of the year when Tendulkar is likely to be seen in action against South Africa in a three-Test series where he is expected to complete a historic 200 Tests. — PTIBack









21 die as bus falls into canal in UP

ETAH (UP): At least 21 persons, including a newly-wed bride, were killed and 23 others injured when a roadways bus they were travelling in fell into the Hazara canal in the district, the police said on Monday.

The incident occurred late on Sunday night when the driver of the bus going to Delhi from Farukhabad lost control over the vehicle and it fell into the canal in Pilua area, they said.

While bodies of 21 persons were fished out from the canal, 23 others were saved by the locals and a police team.

Among those killed included 11 of a family, including a newly-wed bride, going to Ghaziabad from Aliganj after the marriage ceremony.

The injured have been admitted to a hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable, the police said.

According to the passengers, the driver of the bus was in an inebriated condition.

Some passengers are said to be missing and police was trying to trace them. Their exact number is yet to be ascertained, Etah District Magistrate Lokesh M said, adding relief and rescue operation were on.

Those killed included 10 men, four women and seven children, SSP Radheymohan Bhardwaj said. — PTIBack








Girls outshine boys in CBSE Class XII exams

NEW DELHI: Over 82 per cent students on Monday cleared the 2013 Class XII Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations, with girls once again outshining the boys and the Chennai region beating others in the overall pass percentage.

The results were declared across the country on Monday, with the total pass percentage standing at 82.10 per cent, an increase of about two per cent over the last year, said a statement issued by the CBSE.

In all, 9,44,721 students registered for the Class XII examination this year, which was also an increase of 15.81 per cent over 2012.

Girls continued to fare better than boys with 87.98 per cent clearing the exams as compared to 77.78 per cent boys.

Among the regions, Chennai once again put up the best performance with a pass percentage of 91.83.

The results this year in particular assumes significance for students who aspire to make it to the IITs as weightage is given for the Class XII performance.

Accordingly, the cut off score for the top 20 percentile will be 391 for general category students this year, the statement said. For OBC, it will be 389, SC 350 and ST 338.

Rank holders in the JEE advance under the new format must be among the top 20 performers for admission to the IITs. — PTIBack









Manmohan optimistic ahead of Japan visit

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, in a statement before his departure on a three-day visit to Japan, said he proposed to invigorate India’s relations with Japan in the political, security and energy spheres.

“We will explore ways to harness the full potential of our Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership by intensifying and balancing our two-way trade and investment linkages,” the Prime Minister said.

“There is a growing congruence in our interests and I see this relationship as an essential component of our vision for enduring stability and prosperity in Asia,” he added.

Calling Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe his “good friend”, Manmohan Singh said that he “will build on the momentum imparted by successive summits to the India-Japan Strategic and Global Partnership”.

The annual bilateral summit was to be held November last year but was postponed as Japan went in for elections.

“The visit will also allow the two governments to take stock of the progress in flagship projects in our partnership, like the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and to facilitate bilateral engagement for meaningful and mutually beneficial association,” the statement said.

“I also hope to exchange views with Prime Minister Abe on important regional and global developments of shared interest,” the Pprime Minister said.

The Prime Minister and his wife are scheduled to meet the Emperor and Empress of Japan during the visit.

“As on every previous visit to Japan, I look forward to a gracious audience with Their Majesties the Emperor and the Empress of Japan,” he said.

The Prime Minister will meet Japanese political leaders and address captains of Japanese business and industry.

Singh will arrive in Thailand Thursday, where he will be meeting Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

“Thailand is an important bilateral partner as well as a regional leader situated at the heart of ASEAN. During my talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, I will carry forward the new dynamics in our relations since her milestone visit to India as chief guest at our Republic Day in 2012,” he said.

“Thailand and India share centuries-old people-to-people, cultural and spiritual ties. Being maritime neighbours, we also share common interests in maritime security. Our defence and security cooperation with Thailand is progressing well and it will be my effort to further enhance it during my visit,” the Prime Minister said.

“As one of our top trade and investment partners in ASEAN, Thailand is an essential part of India’s integration with the region,” he added.

He said that during the visit to Thailand, India would re-emphasise its commitment to building a stronger partnership with ASEAN.

“Thailand’s importance to India is also underpinned by its potential as a hub of connectivity between India and Southeast Asia. The Trilateral Highway project will connect our Northeast with Thailand through Myanmar and create avenues for commercial and cultural interaction,” he said.

“My visits to Japan and Thailand will add depth and new meaning to our ‘Look East’ policy and contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific,” the Prime Minister said. — IANSBack




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