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Naxals kill 11 in Chhattisgarh

RAIPUR: Six members of a polling party and five CRPF personnel were killed as Naxals struck twice today in a gap of less than an hour, blowing up a bus and an ambulance in Bijapur and Bastar districts of Chhattisgarh.

10 persons were also injured in the two incidents.

The Naxals attacked the polling party near Ketulnar village at about 11 am when it was returning after voting in the region, Additional Director General of Police (Naxal Operation) RK Vij told PTI.

Polling was held in the Naxal-affected Bastar constituency on April 10.

When the election team reached near a pond in Ketulnar village between Gudma and Kutru, the Naxals triggered a landmine blast, he said. "Six polling personnel were killed on the spot and as many people were injured," the ADG added.

The rebels fled to the core forest after security personnel launched a retaliatory attack. Reinforcements were rushed to the spot and efforts are being made to retrieve the victims from the jungle, he said.

Less that one hour later and about 100 km away, Naxals blew up an ambulance carrying CRPF personnel under Darbha police station.

The incident took place in Kamanar village when around nine CRPF personnel were travelling in 108 Sanjeevani ambulance, he said.

Five CRPF personnel were killed and four injured in the incident.

The personnel belonged to 80th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and were heading towards Jagdalpur district headquarter, a senior officer said.

A police official told PTI that around 75-100 armed rebels were involved in the ambush on the polling party. After triggering a landmine blast, the Naxals opened indiscriminate firing on the bus. 

The slain CRPF personnel have been identified as Inspector M.K. Rai, Assistant Sub-Inspector Kanti Bhai, Head Constable's Sitaram and M. Umlesh and Constable Dinesh. — PTIBack












Flight MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call: Report

KUALA LUMPUR: The co-pilot of missing Malaysian airliner flight MH370 attempted to make a mid-flight call from his mobile phone just before the plane vanished from radar screens, a report said on Saturday citing unnamed investigators.

The call ended abruptly possibly "because the aircraft was fast moving away from the (telecommunications) tower", New Straits Times quoted a source as saying.

But the Malaysian daily also quoted another source saying that while Fariq Abdul Hamid's "line was reattached", there was no certainty that a call was made from the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8.

The report — titled a "desperate call for help" — did not say who he was trying to contact.

Fariq and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah have come under intense scrutiny after the plane mysteriously vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Investigators last month indicated that the flight was deliberately diverted and its communication systems manually switched off as it was leaving Malaysian airspace, triggering a criminal investigation by police that has revealed little so far.

The fate of flight MH370 has been shrouded in mystery, with a number of theories put forward including a hijacking or terrorist attack and a pilot gone rogue.

There have been unconfirmed previous reports in the Malaysian media of calls by the captain before or during the flight but no details have been released.

The NST report said that Flight 370 flew low enough near Penang island on Malaysia's west coast — after turning off course — for a telecommunications tower to pick up the co-pilot's phone signal.

The phone line was "reattached" between the time the plane veered off course and blipped off the radar, the government-controlled paper quoted the second source as saying.

"A 'reattachment' does not necessarily mean that a call was made. It can also be the result of the phone being switched on again."

Malaysia's transport ministry told AFP that it was examining the NST report and will issue a response.

The Malaysian government and media have repeatedly contradicted each other and themselves over details of the search and criminal investigation. — AFPBack












Manavjit Sandhu pips Michael Diamond to clinch gold

NEW DELHI: India's Manavjit Singh Sandhu produced some excellent shooting to clinch the men's trap gold medal ahead of two-time Olympic champion Michael Diamond at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, USA.

The 37-year-old Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee shot scores of 121 and 13 in the qualification and finals, respectively, to finish on the podium with the yellow metal dangling around his neck.

It was some achievement by the former world number one Indian and world champion as he was up against Australia's Diamond, who had won the top prize in the 1996 Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in 2009, besides winning five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

On Friday, Diamond shot 119 and nine in the qualifications and finals, respectively.

Manavjit scored 14 out of 15 targets in the semifinals. The Indian sharpshooter had last won at the World Cup stage four years ago.

The bronze medal went to Alexey Alipov of Russia who shot 121 and 12. Ireland's Derek Burnett, who topped the scoring in the qualifications with 123, failed to replicate his form in the semifinals where six shooters competed.

"We had some of the world's best shooters competing today. Winning the match against Michael Diamond has been definitely challenging but at the end you have to hit your own target, and the final score is what it is," Manavjit said after his win.

"I have prepared for this first World Cup throughout the winter season. We had several championships and trials in India in the last months. I never stopped shooting," the shooter, currently ranked 16th in the world, added.

One of the finest shotgun shooters in the country, Manavjit had last month clinched the Patiala Cup for the overall gross score in trap, double trap and skeet, at the Indian Shotgun Open here.

In the 2012 London Olympics, Manavjit finished 16th in the qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks and failed to enter the final of men's trap event.

But this win will warm him up nicely for the busy international calendar ahead, with the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and Asian Games all lined up from July to September.

As many as 64 quota places for 2016 Rio Olympics will be up for grabs at the World Championships, scheduled to be held later this year in Grenada, Spain. — PTIBack










Rahul files nomination papers

Amethi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday filed his nomination papers from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

He was accompanied by his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The Congress leader arrived in Sultanpur and held a road show from there to Gauriganj in Amethi before driving to the district magistrate’s office to file his papers, Congress leaders said.

Sonia has filed her papers from Rae Bareli constituency.

Rahul, the incumbent member from Amethi, is locked in a three-cornered contest in Amethi, with the BJP fielding TV’s ‘favourite bahu’ Smriti Irani and the Aam Aadmi Party Kumar Vishwas.

While Vishwas has been camping in Amethi for the last two months, Irani has also been in town for the last few days.

Both leaders have accused Rahul of neglecting development in his constituency.

Amethi will vote on May 7. — IANSBack










FIR lodged against Azam Khan

Ghaziabad: A day after Election Commission cracked the whip against Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for his controversial remarks on Kargil war, the Ghaziabad Police on Saturday booked the Uttar Pradesh Minister on charge of promoting enmity on ground of religion and other offences but he remained defiant.

“We have registered an FIR against Azam Khan under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of IPC.

“He has been booked at Masuri police station of Ghaziabad,” said Subodh, station house officer of Masuri police station.

The charges also include Sections 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Before registering an FIR against Khan, who is a close aid of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Ghaziabad DM and ADM held a meeting with SSP to discuss the next course of action on this matter.

In this meeting, the decision to book Azam Khan was taken and within few minutes Khan was registered for his alleged inflammatory speech over Kargil War.

On April 7, SP leader, during his party rally in Muslim-dominated area Masuri area, said that Kargil ki pahadiyo ko fateh karne wala koi Hindu nahi tha, balki Kargil ki pahadiyo ko nara-e-takbeer Allah-Hu-Akbar kehkar fathe karnewale Musalman fauji the (peaks of Kargil were not conquered by Hindus, but by Muslim).

The Election Commission had on Friday banned him from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh and had asked authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against them.

Speaking in Rampur on Saturday, Azam Khan said he did not speak anything wrong and was a “nationalist”.

He said that the EC’s step was “premature” as he was not given a hearing and he will urge the Commission to review its decision. — PTIBack











Shah for review of EC ban on his rallies

NEW DELHI: BJP leader Amit Shah said on Saturday he would urge the Election Commission (EC) to review its order banning him from holding public meetings in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making "hate speeches" during the election campaign.

The EC on Friday banned Shah and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from holding any public meetings or road shows in the state.

"The EC has asked me to reply by today (Saturday) evening. I will send a request to it to review its decision. I will also explain in what context that speech was given," Shah told a news channel.

"I respect the EC that is why I am not holding any rally or programme after getting the notice. I just seek time from the commission along with recording my speech so that I can give the answer in what context the statement was given. I have a valid explanation for my comment and I will send it to the commission," said Shah.

The EC had also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to lodge a FIR against Shah and Khan for making hate speeches during the election campaigns.

While Shah, a close aide of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, asked the voters to cast their ballot for revenge for the Muzaffarnagar riots, Khan said Muslims soldiers were to be credited for India's victory in the Kargil War.

The poll panel pulled up the state government for not acting with "required alacrity" against the two leaders.

Despite the EC sending notice to Khan earlier, he was still indulging in activity that violates the model code of conduct, it said. — IANSBack




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