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Why deploy NSG for 'firecrackers' recovery: Mamata Banerjee

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Kolkata, April 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Saturday, questioned the Central government and BJP over the joint operations of CBI and NSG at Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas district on Friday. She also asked for the rationale behind deploying NSG for recovery of “ordinary firecrackers.”

In a significant operation at Sandeshkhali on Friday afternoon, the CBI recovered a huge cache of foreign and Indian-make firearms, explosives and crude bombs from the residence of a relative of suspended Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Shahjahan at Sandeshkhali. Later, the NSG commandos also joined CBI in the search operations.

On Saturday, the Chief Minister also expressed doubts about the authenticity of the arms and explosives recovery and even went to the extent of claiming that there is no guarantee that those items were planted there by those who have claimed to have “recovered” them.

“The NIA is deployed even when a firecracker bursts. NSG is being deployed as if there is a war-like situation. And such operations are being conducted even without informing the state police. They did the same thing at Sandeshkhali on Friday. What is the guarantee that they themselves did not plant the items there?” the Chief Minister questioned while addressing an election rally at Kulti under Asansol Lok Sabha constituency in West Burdwan district.

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Referring to the event at Sandeshkhali, she also accused BJP of trying to create an air of fear in West Bengal while the polls are underway. “They are trying to change the electoral game through the use of muscle and money power,” she said.

The Chief Minister reached the meeting venue at Kulti in a chopper. There, she slipped while sitting on the seat of the helicopter. However, she did not receive any injury and reached the meeting venue safely.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister also claimed the BJP candidate this time from Asansol, who was elected from adjacent Burdwan-Durgapur constituency in 2019, got elected last time by spending money.

–IANS

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BJP youth leader shot in Indore; search to nab suspects underway

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Bhopal, June 23 (IANS) A BJP youth leader was allegedly shot dead in Indore at the Chiman Bagh Chowk early on Sunday morning, police said.

The victim has been identified as Monu Kalyane, a youth wing leader of the BJP’s Indore District unit.

Kalyane was supposed to organise a ‘Bhagwa Rally’ by Sunday evening, for which, he along with his associates, had been putting up banners at several places in the city.

“Monu and some of his friends were putting up poster, banners early on Sunday morning, during which, he was shot dead,” a senior police officer told the Press.

Police have launched a search operation to nab two suspects, Piyush and Arjun, who are Monu’s neighbours.

Police said the preliminary investigation suggested that the murder was the result of a personal rivalry.

Local BJP leaders, including former BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, son of senior BJP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya reached the victim’s home.

Sources told IANS that Monu was close to Akash Vijayvargiya.

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Meanwhile, a group of people pelted stones and set vehicles on fire that were parked outside Piyush and Arjun’s homes.

Police were trying to control the situation. Further details are awaited.

–IANS

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Union ministers Jaishankar, Puri pay tributes to victims of Kanishka bombing on 39th anniv of terror attack

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Union Ministers S. Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri paid homage on Sunday to the over 300 victims of the Air India ‘Kanishka’ flight bombing, commemorating the 39th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

In a post on X, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar expressed his condolences, stating, “Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history. Pay my homage to the memory of the 329 victims of AI 182 ‘Kanishka’ who were killed on this day in 1985. My thoughts are with their families. The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated.”

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, also took to X, sharing images of his tribute.

He remarked, “My homage to 329 victims of Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182. This dastardly bombing on 23 June 1985 remains one of the most reprehensible acts of terror committed against India.”

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Puri further condemned the ideology behind such attacks, stating, “Actions anchored in such extremism have no place in a sane & civilised world. Unfortunately, the systems & mindsets that condoned Kanishka bombing & subsequent acts of terrorism continue to find forces & sympathisers violating international norms & commitments to combat violent extremism & terrorism.”

The Air India Flight 182, en route from Montreal to New Delhi, exploded 45 minutes before it was scheduled to land at Heathrow Airport, London, on June 23, 1985.

All 329 people on board, mostly Canadians of Indian descent, lost their lives.

The bombing was attributed to Sikh militants, believed to be retaliating against ‘Operation Bluestar,’ a 1984 Indian Army operation aimed at removing terrorists holed up inside the Golden Temple with arms and ammunition.

–IANS

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Yogi govt to plant 350 million saplings this year

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Lucknow, June 23 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government plans to plant 350 million saplings this year to expand Uttar Pradesh’s green areas.

The goal is to increase the state’s green cover from 9 to 15 per cent by 2026-27 with public cooperation.

Specific targets have been set for all departments and divisions in the state-wide campaign. The Yogi government has also directed proper preparations to ensure the availability of high-quality saplings for all stakeholders.

As in the previous year, this year, preparations have begun for a safe plantation and the achievement of the target.

The goal is to plant 350 million saplings, with specific targets assigned to various departments: 140 million from Forest, Environment, and Climate Change, 125.9 million from Rural Development, 25 million from Agriculture, 15.5 million from Horticulture, 12.8 million from Panchayati Raj, 10.6 million from Revenue, 3.5 million from Urban Development, 1.8 million from Higher Education.

Besides, 1.3 million saplings each will be planted by Public Works, Railways, and Water Power, 1.2 million from Basic Education, 1.1 million from Health, 900,000 from Industry, 800,000 each from Industrial Development and Secondary Education, 700,000 each from Home-Animal Husbandry, 600,000 each from Energy and Cooperation, 500,000 each from Housing Development, Defence, and Technical Education, and 300,000 each from Labour and Transport.

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Under the campaign, saplings will be planted in all 18 divisions.

Targets for all have been fixed. Lucknow division has been given the target of planting the maximum number of saplings.

Four crore saplings will be planted in the Lucknow division, 3.13 crore in Kanpur division, 2.76 crore in Chitrakoot, 2.58 crore in Jhansi, 2.27 crore in Mirzapur, 2.20 crore in Ayodhya, 1.95 crore in Devipatan, 1.89 crore in Prayagraj, 1.87 crore in Bareilly, 1.78 crore in Varanasi, 1.76 crore in Moradabad, 1.74 crore in Agra, 1.43 crore in Gorakhpur, 1.34 crore in Azamgarh, 1.20 crore in Aligarh, 1.14 crore in Meerut division, 1.08 crore in Basti and 88 lakh in Saharanpur division.

There will also be geo-tagging of plantation sites. The Forest Department will plant 12.60 crore saplings in the divisions, and other departments will plant around 22.40 crore saplings.

The Yogi government has directed officials to plant trees statewide to turn Uttar Pradesh green.

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Trees will be planted on forest land, village panchayat and community land, around expressways and canals, on land owned by development authorities and industrial complexes, on defence and railway land, on medical and educational institution grounds, on other government properties, on private farmland with farmers’ cooperation, and by citizens on their private premises.

–IANS

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Under-construction bridge collapses in Bihar's East Champaran

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Patna, June 23 (IANS) An under-construction bridge collapsed in Bihar’s East Champaran district in the wee hours of Sunday.

The incident occurred in the Ghorasahan block in the district. The construction of the bridge was underway under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana with a cost of Rs 1.59 crore. The 40-foot-long bridge was built between the Amwa village of Ghorasahan block and the Chainpur railway station.

Locals claimed the concretisation of the bridge was taking place late on Saturday night. As soon as the concretisation was done, it collapsed.

The bridge was built by Motihari’s Dhiraj Construction Private Limited. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Rama Devi, former BJP MP of Sheohar, on March 10 this year.

“The bridge is being constructed in two spans. The concretisation of the bridge was done from one side on Saturday. After that, last night dozens of anti-social elements came at the construction site in some vehicles and broke the support of the bridge. Due to this, the bridge collapsed. The administrative officer has been informed about this,” said SN Mandal, Executive Engineer, PWD Dhaka sub-division of East Champaran district.

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Meanwhile, the villagers claimed that the material being used in the construction of the bridge was of low quality. The bridge is not being constructed as per the estimate. As a result, it collapsed along with the casting.

“The bridge collapsed due to the irregularities being done in the construction. A high-level investigation is needed here. The engineer is using low-grade materials for the construction of the bridge. This is the reason why the bridge collapsed,” said Deepak Kumar Singh, a villager.

Earlier, a 30-foot-long bridge built on the canal of the Gandak River in Siwan collapsed on Saturday. That bridge was 40-45 years old. People said that the bridge collapsed due to soil cutting during the cleaning of the canal.

Last week, another bridge built with an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore in the Sikti block of Araria collapsed before its inauguration.

–IANS

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Woman ends her life after poisoning minor sons in UP

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Hamirpur, June 23 (IANS) In a shocking incident, a woman allegedly poisoned her two minor sons to death and then committed suicide after a fight with her brother in Muskara in the Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

According to the family members, Mohini, 26, had a love marriage against the wishes of her family, but was presently living separately from her husband.

Recently, following a fight, her brother had rebuked her and asked her to go back to her husband’s place.

On Saturday evening, she forcibly fed eatables laced with poison to both her sons and then committed suicide by consuming the same.

Police, on being informed, rushed to the spot and shifted all three bodies to the mortuary for post-mortem examination.

Her family members said that Mohini had a love marriage with Hemant, a resident of Kachhuwa village in the Rath area, ten years ago.

“It came to fore that due to frequent disputes between the husband and wife, she had been staying in Noida for the last two years with her two children Gautam, 5, and Harsh, 3, and was earning her living by working as a daily-wager. Last week, she came to her parents’ house in Bandwa from Noida,” the family members said.

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After coming to her maternal home, she had a fight with her brother Golu who asked her to leave the house and go back to her husband’s place.

On Saturday evening, she told her mother and other siblings that she was going to Noida with her two children but instead of going to Noida, she along with her children committed suicide by consuming poison near the premises of Bank of Baroda in the area.

Police station in-charge Shashi Pandey said, “The matter is being investigated thoroughly. Action will be taken against the culprits on the basis of a complaint and autopsy report.”

–IANS

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