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Retired colonel injured, wife murdered in Panchkula

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Chandigarh, March 6 (IANS) A retired colonel was injured while his wife was killed after assailants barged into their house in Panchkula near here in broad daylight on Wednesday and attacked them with sharp-edged weapons, police said.

According to the police, former servants were believed to be behind the crime.

The incident took place at around 1.30 pm. The victims have been identified as Col R.K. Sharma (retd), wife Sushila Sharma and their maid.

Police Commissioner Sibash Kabiraj, who visited the spot, said the assailants also took away some cash from the house.

“We have obtained the CCTV footage and got vital clues,” he added.

–IANS

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Online helicopter service booking begins for Amarnath Yatra

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Srinagar, June 17 (IANS) Online booking of helicopter service for this year’s Amarnath Yatra began on Sunday. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has started the facility for both Baltal and Pahalgam yatra routes for this year’s 52-day long Shri Amarnath Yatra starting on June 29.

A statement by SASB said on Sunday that the annual pilgrimage of Amarnath is starting on June 29 and will conclude on August 19 on the day of Raksha Bandhan coinciding with Shravan Purnima festival.

Officials said that for the north Kashmir Baltal route, helicopter service is being provided on Neelgrath- Panjtarni-Neelgrath, and for Pahalgam route, it will be available on Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam route.

However, officials added that online booking of the helicopter service can be availed by visiting the official website JKSASB.nic.in

“Offline tickets or priority will not be available, hence the booking will be on a first come first serve basis and will be provided directly to the devotees,” an official said, adding that one way fare from Pahalgam to Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs 4,900; two-way fare at Rs 9,800; one way fare from Neelgrath to Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs 3,250 and both way fare at Rs 6,500.

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Pilgrims undertaking the yatra must have a health certificate while booking the helicopter tickets.

Journey from Panjtarni helipad to the holy cave and back takes time, so the available slots for the pilgrims will be visible with a gap of at least 5 to 6 hours between the trips.

“The traveller must carry original photo identity card and a health certificate during the journey while the pilgrims must reach the respective helipads at least 30 minutes before the booked time slot.

“Charter booking is only allowed for travel between Srinagar and Neelgrath with priority seats on the connecting service running between Neelgrath and Panjtarni,” a statement noted.

“The preparations for the pilgrimage are in full swing. The advance registration for pilgrims has already started from April 15. This year, 125 langars have been permitted to be installed up to the holy cave,” an official said.

J&K Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha, on May 16, during his visit to Katra, urged devotees to become messengers and spread the message of Lord Shiva.

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–IANS

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Assam Police foil drug peddling attempt; 3 arrested

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Guwahati, June 16 (IANS) Assam Police have foiled an inter-state drug peddling attempt and arrested three narcotics peddlers including one resident of violence-hit Manipur on Sunday, officials said.

According to the police, the consignment of drugs was coming from Manipur and the peddlers were trying to deliver it somewhere in Goalpara district in Assam. However, the police foiled that attempt and seized contraband items.

An official said that the Special Task Force (STF) of Assam Police received prior information about the movement of narcotics in two vehicles.

“We received information that a notorious drug peddler, namely, Nasiruddin a.k.a. Nasir Bhai of Goalpara district and his associates in two vehicles would receive a narcotics consignment bound from Sora in Manipur to Goalpara which would be carried by a Manipuri carrier, namely Salim. He is a resident of Sora in the neighbouring state of Manipur,” he added.

The police said that a vehicle was intercepted in front of Boko Police Station in the Kamrup district and recovered at least 30 packets of heroin kept in a bag.

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“The total weight of the seized narcotics substances was 420 grams. Three occupants of the vehicle, Nasir Bhai, Atikur and the Manipuri carrier Salim were apprehended,” a police officer said.

However, a second escorting vehicle which was looking out for police checks escaped.

The house of the driver, Shohidul Islam of Matia area was searched, but he escaped, leaving behind the vehicle and his family members resisted and facilitated his escape, according to a statement by the police.

Necessary legal actions in the matter were initiated, police mentioned.

Meanwhile, in a joint operation of Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Police, at least 30,000 Yaba tablets were seized in Karimganj district on Sunday.

The BSF said that the market value of the seized contraband items must be around Rs 3 crore.

Two drug peddlers identified as Atikul Rehman and Saharul Islam were arrested. Both of them are residents of Karimganj district.

–IANS

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Haryana to soon start recruitment of 'Van Mitras'

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Chandigarh, June 16 (IANS) Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini on Sunday announced that recruitment of ‘Van Mitras’, who will be given an honorarium to take care of newly planted tree saplings, under the ‘Van Mitra’ Scheme will begin soon.

Presiding over a review meeting of the Forest and Wildlife Department, he also warned that if there is a delay in extinguishing the fire in forests, “accountability will be fixed from forest guards to senior officers”.

He directed the officers to ensure arrangements for supplying water from canals or tube-wells to national parks like Kalesar, Sultanpur and other dense forests so that this water can be used by wildlife during extreme heat and to aid in extinguishing fires.

The CM directed the officers to regularly map existing plants and those planted annually under the plantation campaign using drones.

He reviewed in detail the annual plantation drive conducted by the Forest Department and directed that these plants be geo-tagged and their growth should be monitored for five years with the help of drones.

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The Chief Minister was informed that a budget of Rs 150 crore has been allocated for the plantation drive for 2024-25, while Rs 10 crore will be spent on herbal parks.

He also said illegal cutting of trees from the forest areas will not be tolerated, and if any employee is found to be complicit, action will be taken against them.

He also released a brochure for the ‘Pran Vayu Devta’ scheme. The Chief Minister was also informed that under the scheme, the state government plans to provide an annual pension of Rs 2,750 to those who take care of trees over 75 years old. So far, 3,819 such trees have been identified under the scheme.

–IANS

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Eknath Shinde defends Sena leader Waikar's LS poll victory, dismisses oppn's 'EVM malfunction' claims

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Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena supremo Eknath Shinde on Sunday strongly defended the victory of his party leader Ravindra Waikar from Mumbai North West constituency against Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Amol Kirtikar while dismissing the opposition’s charges of malfunctioning of EVMs at the counting centre.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister also questioned the opposition’s move to raise doubts over the EVMs’ functioning only in case of Waikar’s victory.

“The people of the constituency have elected Ravindra Waikar, and it is a people’s victory. The opposition is misleading the people over the EVM,” Shinde said while taking a swipe at the opposition, reiterating that Waikar had been elected by the people.

Waikar has rebutted the opposition charges, saying that it has been done because of its defeat.

“There were policemen, candidates and the candidates’ representatives present at the counting centre. So how can Ravindra Waikar go in and do something different? I don’t know how this is possible. The Opposition is unable to digest its defeat and therefore these allegations are made,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the Returning Officer of Mumbai North West Constituency Vandana Suryavanshi has also denied the malfunctioning of the EVMs.

”EVMs are standalone devices without any wired or wireless connectivity with units outside the EVM system. Advanced technical features and robust administrative safeguards are in place to rule out any possibility of manipulation. Standards include conducting everything in the presence of candidates or their agents,” the Returning Officer said.

The denial by Shinde, Waikar and the Returning Officer came after the Opposition alleged that there was a malpractice in the counting of votes in Mumbai North West constituency.

Waikar defeated Kirtikar by just 48 votes.

Waikar’s brother-in-law has been accused of taking a mobile phone to the counting centre.

–IANS

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We all will work for the nation, says Rijiju says after meeting Kharge

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday met Congress President and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge for discussions ahead of the coming session of Parliament and asserted that all will work for the betterment of the country.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha is scheduled to commence on June 24 and will go on till July 3. The oath-taking ceremony of new MPs and the election of the Speaker will be held during the session.

Rijiju, in his social media post, said that he had a “pleasant” meeting with the opposition leader, who shared many experiences of his own life.

“I had a pleasant courtesy meeting with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress Party President Shri Mallikarjun Kharge ji. He shared with me about many valuable experiences of his life. Together, we all will work for the nation,” he said on X.

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Rijiju, a BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, was made a Cabinet Minister in the third consecutive NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in charge of Parliamentary Affairs and Minority Affairs. While he earlier served as the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Minority Affairs and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Sports and Youth Affairs, he was made the Law Minister in 2021 and later shifted to the Earth Sciences and Food Processing Industries Ministries.

–IANS

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