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3 Passengers Die As 12 Coaches Of Chandigarh-Dibrugarh Express Derail In UP

LUCKNOW, July 18: Three passengers have died and 20 are injured after several coaches of the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh express train derailed in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda today. The incident took place in Pikaura which is located between Gonda and Jhilahi in Uttar Pradesh.

A rescue team has been sent to the site for relief operations. Some people are reportedly injured and visuals show passengers standing on the sides of the track with their luggage. Train number 15904 was heading to Dibrugarh in Assam from Chandigarh.

Out of the 12 coaches, four coaches of the AC compartment derailed a few kilometres before the Jhulahi railway station. Several trains have been impacted on the route and a few trains have been diverted, Pankaj Singh, CPRO, North Eastern Railways said.

The route of the Katihar-Amritsar Express and Guwahati-Shrimata Vaishnodevi Katra Express has been diverted.

Publish NEET-UG Results City-Wise And Centre-Wise, Supreme Court Tells NTA

NEW DELHI, July 18: NEET-UG exam results are to be published in their entirety by noon Saturday, the Supreme Court told the National Testing Agency - which is under-fire over allegations of leaked question papers and violation of marking protocol - on Thursday afternoon.

The full results are to be published on the NTA's website. However, the identities of the students will be masked, the court instructed the NTA.

Amid Huge Row, Karnataka Pauses Bill For Reservation In Private Sector Firms

BENGALURU, July 17: The Karnataka government has paused, and will further study, a bill directing private firms in the state to reserve jobs for Kannadigas. The bill, cleared Monday, requires firms in India's IT capital to prioritise local hires for 70 per cent of non-management roles and 50 per cent of management-level jobs.

"The bill intended to implement reservation for Kannadigas in private sector institutions, industries and enterprises is still in the preparation stage. A final decision will be taken after comprehensive discussion in the next cabinet meeting," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has posted on X.

The quota announcement was first made by the Chief Minister Tuesday evening.

The Chief Minister said his "pro-Kannada government" would ensure all "Kannadigas (get) an opportunity to lead a comfortable life in the motherland... and avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada". However, his X post said the bill mandated 100 per cent reservation at certain levels.

Fury and outrage followed Siddaramaiah's post, with business leaders like Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the opposition, led by the BJP, targeting the Congress government.

Major Crackdown Launched On Terror Network In J&K After Doda Encounter

SRINAGAR, July 17: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have launched a major crackdown on terror network after a deadly encounter in the Union Territory's Doda in which four personnel of the army including an officer were killed in action on Monday.

The police say several overground workers and supporters of terrorists have been arrested and the crackdown has been intensified. Meanwhile, a counter-terror operation is underway in the Desa area of Doda.

A large number of troops from the army and para-military forces are conducting search operations and area domination in the region.

The firing was first reported in the Kalaan Bhata last night and then near Panchan Bhata at 2 am during the ongoing anti-terrorist operation in the Desa forest area, where four Army personnel were killed in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Four Indian Army soldiers, including an officer, were killed in action during an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

Captain Brijesh Thapa, Naik D Rajesh, Sepoy Bijendra, and Sepoy Ajay laid down their lives in the line of duty.

This was the second major encounter in the Jammu region after five soldiers were killed in action in Kathua last week.

The attack, in which five soldiers were also injured, was a coordinated strike on two trucks carrying at least 12 troops.

The terrorists targeted the trucks, which were around 500 metres apart, with grenades and, in worrying signs, used armour-piercing bullets (those tipped with hardened steel) and an M4 assault rifle.

Terrorist attacks, which started in Poonch and Rajouri districts, have now spread across Jammu, the region that was free from terrorism till a few years ago.

Over the last 32 months, 48 soldiers have been killed in action in the Jammu region.

Officer Among 4 Soldiers Killed In Action In Encounter With Terrorists In J&K

JAMMU, July 16: Four Indian Army soldiers, including an officer, have been killed in action during an encounter with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district on Monday.

Captain Brijesh Thapa, Naik D Rajesh, Sepoy Bijendra, and Sepoy Ajay laid down their lives in the line of duty, the Army said in an online post.

"General Upendra Dwivedi, Chief of army staff, and all ranks of the Indian Army convey their deepest condolences to the brave hearts, Captain Brijesh Thapa, Naik D Rajesh, Sepoy Bijendra and Sepoy Ajay, who laid down their lives in the line of the duty, while undertaking a counter-terrorist operation in Doda in order to ensure peace in the region. Indian Army stands firm with the bereaved families in this hour of grief," the post read.

According to officials, a joint operation by the Indian Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police was launched in the Desa area of Doda based on specific information about the presence of terrorists.

"Contact with terrorists was established at about 9 pm in which heavy firefight ensued. Initial reports suggest injuries to our bravehearts," the Army had posted on X on Monday night.

At least five soldiers were critically injured in the encounter, officials had said.

According to sources, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to the Indian Army chief, General Upendra Dwivedi, and taken stock of the ground situation and ongoing operation in Doda.

Singh said he was deeply saddened by the loss of the soldiers and that his heart goes out to the bereaved families. "The Nation stands firmly with the families of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. The Counter Terrorist operations are underway, and our soldiers remain committed to eliminate the scourge of terrorism and restore peace and order in the region," he said.

This was the second major encounter in the Jammu region after five soldiers were killed in action in Kathua last week.

The attack, in which five soldiers were also injured, was a coordinated strike on two trucks carrying at least 12 troops.

The terrorists targeted the trucks, which were around 500 metres apart, with grenades and, in worrying signs, used armor-piercing bullets (those tipped with hardened steel) and an M4 assault rifle.

Terrorist attacks, which started in Poonch and Rajouri districts, have now spread across Jammu, the region that was free from terrorism till a few years ago.

Over the last 32 months, 48 soldiers have been killed in action in the Jammu region.

There are reports over 60 foreign terrorists - trained in jungle warfare - may be operating in the Jammu region alone, even as the shadow of fear has spread across all 10 districts of the province.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the Army to deploy the full spectrum of its anti-terrorist capabilities to eliminate terrorism in the Jammu region.

CRPF Soldier Killed In Attack By 'Suspected Kuki Insurgents' In Manipur's Jiribam: Police

IMPHAL, July 14: A soldier of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was killed in action after a joint patrol with the state police was ambushed by "suspected Kuki insurgents" in Manipur's Jiribam district, the police said in a statement today. Two police commandos were injured, the police said.

The police said the joint patrol came under heavy fire from the suspected insurgents in the district bordering Assam. The CRPF soldier was inside a patrol SUV when the suspected insurgents opened fire.

Visuals of the ambush site shows the SUV with several bullet holes and a shattered rear windshield. Two police commandos who were inside the vehicle were also hit.

"We returned effective fire. The insurgents took cover of the forest and ran away. A combing operation is going on," a senior police officer told NDTV on phone from Jiribam, 220 km from the state capital Imphal.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh in a post on X condemned the attack by who he called "suspected Kuki militants".

Before today's ambush, tension in Jiribam had been high in recent weeks following clashes between the Meitei community and the Hmar tribes.

The district didn't see violence for over a year since Meitei-Kuki ethnic clashes began in May 2023; however, clashes erupted in Jiribam last month, forcing over a thousand people from both the communities to live in relief camps, some in neighbouring Assam.

Kuki civil society groups alleged Meitei insurgents have been attacking their villages in Jiribam.

The Kuki Inpi in a statement today said the only solution to the ongoing conflict is to grant the Kuki-Zo tribes a separate administration. "We have been observing the precarious situation and the rationality of the central government where we are being cornered as though the Meiteis and its associates are above the law. It would be a shame on the Indian government to fail to protect the lives and rights of the minorities as the largest democracy in the world," the Kuki Inpi said in the statement signed by Jangminthang Singson, Khupneh Dimngel, Boisy Singson and Paominngam Haokip.

Meitei groups have refuted the allegations, and said nearly a dozen Kuki-Zo insurgent groups that have signed the suspension of operations (SoO) agreement have been attacking civilians and security forces in violation of ground rules.

"We are shocked to see some Kuki groups blaming the death of the CRPF jawan on the action by the security forces against them. This is an insult to the sacrifice of the soldier who was killed in the cowardly attack by suspected Kuki militants, which also left three policemen," the Meitei Heritage Society (MHS) said in a statement today.

"The SoO agreement must be scrapped to allow security forces to effectively counter these militant activities and restore peace in the region. The MHS calls upon the government to prioritise the safety and security of its citizens and take all necessary steps to bring those responsible for these killings to justice," the MHS said.

Manipur's second lifeline National Highway 37 which connects Imphal with Assam's Cachar passes through Jiribam. The other lifeline that connects Manipur with the rest of the country is National Highway 2, which remains blocked in Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district. This highway goes to Assam via Nagaland. The Kuki tribes also allege the Meitei community has blocked all essential items and cargo trucks from going to the hill areas where they live.

The ethnic violence between the valley-dominant Meitei community and nearly two dozen tribes known as Kukis - a term given by the British in colonial times - who are dominant in some hill areas of Manipur, has killed over 220 people and internally displaced nearly 50,000.

Armed people on both sides call themselves "village defence volunteers", a definition of the belligerents that has become the most controversial since nothing stops these "volunteers" from killing people under the insurance provided by "in self-defence".

The general category Meiteis want to be included under the Scheduled Tribes category, while the nearly two dozen tribes that share ethnic ties with people in neighbouring Myanmar's Chin State and Mizoram want a separate administrative carved out of Manipur, citing discrimination and unequal share of resources and power with the Meiteis.

INDIA Bloc Wins 10 Seats, BJP 2 In Key Polls Across 7 States

NEW DELHI, July 13: The Opposition INDIA bloc won 10 of the 13 seats that went to polls across seven states, backing up their strong show in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP, which returned for a record third term at the Centre last month, managed to claim only two seats.

In Punjab, AAP's Mohinder Bhagat scored a decisive victory in the Jalandhar West constituency, with a margin exceeding 23,000 votes. Meanwhile, in West Bengal, the TMC showcased its dominance by capturing all four seats contested.

Himachal Pradesh witnessed a notable debut as Kamlesh Thakur, wife of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, secured victory in the Dehra constituency. The Congress further strengthened its position by claiming the Nalagarh seat, while the BJP managed to secure a win in Hamirpur.

Chief Minister Sukhu, after the win said that people of Himachal Pradesh have given a befitting reply to those hatching "conspiracies to topple the government".

"People of Himachal gave us 40 seats in 2022. People have given a befitting reply to the kind of poaching that happened in state politics in the past," Sukhu said.

"This also gave the message that the people of the state are aware and awake and that such poaching will not work. Three independent MLAs had no reason to resign. They could have simply allied with the BJP, but even they learned their lesson," he added.

In Tamil Nadu, the DMK's Anniyur Siva won the Vikravandi assembly seat by a significant margin of nearly 60,000 votes. The Congress won both seats in Uttarakhand, while the BJP's Kamslesh Pratap Shahi won the Amarwar seat in Madhya Pradesh.

Independent candidate Shankar Singh won the Rupauli assembly bypoll in Bihar's Purnea, defeating JDU's Kaladhar Prasad Mandal by a margin of 8,246 votes.

These bypolls were the first since the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which saw the BJP winning 240 seats - 32 short of the majority. The NDA, however, managed to cross the halfway mark of 272 with a total tally of 293 seats. The Congress-led INDIA bloc clinched 232 seats.

Supreme Court grants interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal in ED case, to remain in jail in CBI probe

NEW DELHI, July 12: The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is facing prosecution by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case in connection with now-scrapped excise policy scam, saying it has referred to a larger bench certain questions of law relating to the need and necessity of arrest.

The ruling came on a plea by Arvind Kejriwal challenging the legality of his arrest by ED in the case registered in connection with the Delhi excise policy ‘scam’.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener will remain in jail as he is still in judicial custody in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s corruption case linked to the Delhi excise policy.

“As we are referring the matter to a larger bench, we have, despite our findings on reasons to believe, considered whether interim bail should be granted to Arvind Kejriwal. Given the fact that right to life and liberty is sacrosanct and Arvind Kejriwal has suffered incarceration for over 90 days and the questions referred above, require in-depth consideration by a larger bench, we direct Arvind Kejriwal will be released on interim bail…”, said a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta.

Reading out the operative part of the judgement, Justice Khanna also said it was up to Kejriwal to decide whether he should continue to remain in office as the Delhi chief minister.

“We are conscious that Arvind Kejriwal is an elected leader and the chief minister of Delhi, a post holding importance and influence. We have also referred to the allegations. While we do not give any directions since we are doubtful whether the court can direct an elected leader to step down or not function as a chief minister or as a minister, we leave it to Arvind Kejriwal to take a call,” said the bench.

The bench said it had made it clear it is “not examining the question of bail but we are only going into the question of what are the parameters of Section 19 (of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act), what is the jurisdiction of the court to go into the grounds of arrest?”

“We have explained the difference between sections 19 and 45. As far as Section 19 is concerned, it’s subjective opinion of the officer, but amenable to judicial review…Whereas Section 45 is concerned, it’s an exercise undertaken by the court itself and not by the officer. So, the power of the court is different from the power of the officer,” Justice Khanna said reading from the order.

“The power of the court under Section 19, while exercising the power for examining the reasons to believe is different from the power of the court under Section 45,” said the bench.

“On the aspects of Section 19… after a detailed discussion, we have held that as far as reasons to believe are concerned, they meet with the parameters of Section 19,” added the bench.

“But having said, so, we have raised an additional ground, which relates to need and necessity of arrest…we felt that this question whether it can be read into section 19, issue of need and necessity of arrest, especially in view of the principle of proportionality…we have referred that question to the larger bench”.

The court said it framed three questions in this regard.

“Whether the need or necessity of arrest is a separate ground to challenge the order of arrest passed in terms of Section 19(1) of PMLA? Whether need and necessity of arrest refers to the satisfaction of common parameters of arrest…or relates to other personal grounds and reasons regarding the necessity to arrest a person in the facts and circumstances of the case?” And if the two questions are answered in affirmative, “what are the parameters and facts that have to be taken into consideration by the court by while examining the question of need and necessity to arrest?”

LS Speaker Om Birla pitches for reforms in UNSC at BRICS parliamentary forum meet

ST. PETERSBURG, July 11: Lok Sabha Om Birla on Thursday pitched for reforms in the United Nations Security Council and emphasised that parliaments could play a key role in “advancing the agenda of progress and sustainable development.”

“BRICS member countries represent the interests of developing countries and in this context, we have collectively emphasised the need to reform international organisations such as the United Nations Security Council, World Trade Organization, and to make global governance more democratic,” Om Birla told the 10th BRICS Parliamentary Forum at St. Petersburg, his first foreign visit after getting re-elected as the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha.

Birla was speaking at the forum’s first plenary session on the theme of “The BRICS Parliamentary dimension: prospects for strengthening inter-parliamentary cooperation”.

Birla also welcomed the four new members -- Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- into the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, saying India believes that the addition of new members to the BRICS family will not only strengthen BRICS as an organisation but will also give impetus to our future efforts towards a better and sustainable future.

“As members of our parliaments, we can play an important role in advancing the agenda of progress and sustainable development. Under parliamentary diplomacy, we exchange ideas, innovative laws and best practices through inter-parliamentary forums such as the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU),” he said.

“Inter-parliamentary cooperation is vital to promote inclusive growth. Parliaments play a central role in protecting the interests and expressing the concerns of emerging markets and developing countries and the role of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum should be seen in this light. We are happy that today BRICS is striving to establish a more inclusive global governance system,” Birla added.

The speaker added that climate change, inclusive socio-economic development, food and nutrition security, and attainment of SDG goals are challenges for the present world whose immediate solution is necessary to secure the common future of humanity. “The role of our parliaments and mutual cooperation among them is very important in formulating the necessary policies and programs to achieve these and in monitoring their implementation,” he added.

5 Armymen Killed In J&K; Terrorists Threw Grenade On Truck, Then Opened Fire

SRINAGAR, July 8: Five Army personnel were killed and six injured after terrorists attacked a military convoy in the remote Machedi area of Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district on Monday afternoon. The Army vehicles were on a routine patrol on the Machedi-Kindli-Malhar road when attacked about 150 km from Kathua.

The injured have been shifted to a hospital for treatment.

After the initial attack - terrorists threw a grenade and then opened fire - the security forces retaliated but the terrorists fled into the nearby forest, officials said.

Reinforcements were then rushed in and a search op was launched to track down the terrorists.

Officials said there is intermittent firing going on between the terrorists and the security forces.

This is the second attack on the Indian Army in the Jammu region in the past 48 hours.

On Sunday an Army camp in Rajouri district was attacked. One soldier was injured.

Today's attack came 24 hours after six terrorists were killed across two separate encounters in J&K's Kulgam district. The encounters, which began on Saturday, also claimed the lives of two soldiers, including a para-trooper, while another soldier sustained injuries, police said.

'Retest Our Last Option, Panel Must Probe Paper Leak': Supreme Court On NEET

NEW DELHI, July 8: The Supreme Court on Monday advised caution as it heard a clutch of petitions for a re-test of the May 5 NEET-UG exam, the results of which were released last month and have been marred by leaked questions and the award of 'grace marks', or preferential marking, for 1,563 students.

The court said certain circumstances - specifically "(if) the time lag between the leak and exam is limited" - would argue against a re-test. "If students were asked to memorise (leaked questions) on the morning of the exam, the leak might not have been so widespread..." the court said this morning.

The three-judge bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said it therefore was loathe to order a re-test for nearly 24 lakh students - many of whom come from poor families and could ill-afford to spend money travelling to exam centres - unless necessary. A re-test is the "last option", it said.

"One thing is clear... questions were leaked. The sanctity of the exam has been compromised... this is beyond doubt. Now we have to establish the extent of the leak," the Chief Justice said, "We have to be careful while ordering a re-test. We are dealing with the careers of lakhs of students."

"You don't cancel because some students cheated. We must be careful..."

The Supreme Court said a re-test could only be ordered if there was sufficient time (the court did not specify how much this should be) between the leak of the questions and conduct of the exam.

"... or if we can't identify candidates who are guilty of wrongdoing, then a retest has to be ordered."

On the subject of the time lag, the court also sought details about the printing process and, in a humorous aside, reminded the NTA (the National Testing Agency, the central body that conducts the exam) to not reveal details. The NTA had been served a notice by the court two weeks ago.

Therefore, instead of ordering an immediate re-test, the court advised the constitution of a multi-disciplinary panel to probe this issue, which is already being investigated by the CBI and the police.

The CBI's investigation spans multiple states and has already led to the questioning of individuals and several arrests connected to the case. The next hearing in this case has been set for Thursday.

The court, meanwhile, also rapped the government for being in "denial" and said it should be "ruthless" in dealing with candidates who paid for the leaked exam and those who supplied the question paper.

"Let us not be in self-denial about what happened..." the bench, also including Justice JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said, adding, "Assuming we do not cancel, what will the government do to identify the beneficiaries? You have to be ruthless... bring some sense of confidence to the process."

Last week the government said it does not intend to cancel the May 5 exam or hold a re-test, and insisted there were no large-scale irregularities in the conduct of the NEET-UG test.

'I Am Here As Your Brother': Rahul Gandhi's Message Of 'Peace' For Manipur

IMPHAL, July 8: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had a message of "peace" for the people of Manipur after he visited relief camps in the violence-hit state. "I want to tell Manipur, I come here as your brother. I want to work with you to bring back peace in Manipur," he said.

The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, while addressing a press briefing, claimed that there was not much improvement in the situation in the state: "It's the third time I have come here since the problem started and it has been a tremendous tragedy. I expected some improvement in the situation but was disappointed to see no marked improvement."

Rahul Gandhi landed at the Imphal airport this afternoon and visited the relief camps in Jiribam and Churachandpur districts and offered support to the victims of violence there.

He also called on Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey during his visit. "We had a conversation with the Governor and we expressed to the Governor that we would like to help in whatever way we can. We also expressed our displeasure and we said that we are not happy with the progress that has taken place here," Mr Gandhi said.

"I don't want to politicise the issue," he insisted.

He will stay in Imphal tonight and hold meetings with Manipur leaders.

This was Gandhi's third visit to the state and first after the Lok Sabha elections, in which the Congress won both constituencies in the ethnic violence-hit state.

Manipur's two Lok Sabha MPs - Angomcha Bimol Akoijam (Inner Manipur) and Alfred Kanngam S Arthur (Outer Manipur (ST) - and other senior party leaders including AICC General Secretary, KC Venugopal were accompanying Rahul Gandhi.

During his visit, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) urged Gandhi for an immediate political solution to the ethnic hostilities.

Top Hizb commander among two slain in Madergam Kulgam encounter

SRINAGAR, July 7: Two terrorists including a top Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) commander were killed in an encounter in Madergam area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Sunday.

A top police officer confirmed Srinagar based news agency Kashmir Scroll that on Saturday afternoon following inputs about the presence of terrorists, a joint team of forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Madergam.

As the joint team of forces zeroed in on the suspected spot, the hiding terrorists fired on the team, which was retaliated, triggering a gunfight.

During the gunfight, two terrorists were killed who both are residents of Shopian district, he said.

He said that one among the slain was HM commander Aadil Hussian Wani, resident of Kutipora Shopian, while the second was identified as Faisal Bashir Lone of Kanipora Shopian.

He said that search operation in the area is still going on.

2 Soldiers Killed In Action, 4 Terrorists Shot Dead In Jammu And Kashmir's Kulgam

KULGAM, July6: Two soldiers were killed in action today in separate encounters with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district. Four terrorists were subsequently gunned down by the forces, while four others are believed to be hiding.

The back-to-back encounters began after security forces launched anti-terrorist operations based on specific information about the presence of terrorists at two separate places in the district.

At Modergam village, one soldier was killed after troops came under heavy terrorist fire during a massive assault by joint forces of the CRPF, Army, and local police on a target house where at least two terrorists are believed to be trapped.

The situation escalated quickly as the forces descended upon the village, swiftly establishing a cordon to trap the terrorists. In the initial gunfire, a soldier sustained injuries and later died during treatment.

In another encounter in Kulgam's Frisal area, drone footage showed the bodies of four terrorists killed in a fierce gun battle. One army soldier was killed in action and another was injured.

The bodies of terrorists could not be retrieved amid heavy fire coming from the target site. Two more terrorists are present at the encounter site, they suspect.

The region has recently seen a surge in terrorist activities, with several encounters reported across different districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Just last month, security forces successfully neutralized three terrorists in the Gandoh area of district Doda.

Bihar Suspends 16 Engineers After 10 Bridges Fall In Quick Succession

PATNA, July 5: Sixteen engineers of the water resources department in Bihar have been suspended after 10 bridges collapsed in the last 15 days across the state, a statement by the department said.

Bihar Development Secretary Chaitanya Prasad told reporters the state government is serious about the issue. He said the contractors responsible for building the bridges will be traced and held to account.

The 10th bridge that collapsed in the state was reported from Saran district on Thursday. It was also Saran district's third bridge to fall in a span of 24 hours.

The 10 bridges that collapsed were in Siwan, Saran, Madhubani, Araria, East Champaran, and Kishanganj districts.

"The Chief Minister [Nitish Kumar], after a review meeting on Wednesday, instructed officials to conduct a survey of all old bridges and identify those that require immediate repairs," Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Chaudhary told reporters, adding investigation is going on.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav, however, alleged 12 bridges have collapsed in Bihar since June 18.

"Twelve bridges have collapsed in Bihar since June 18... Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are silent over these incidents in Bihar. What happened to the claims of good governance and a corruption-free government?" Yadav said in a post on X. "These incidents show how corruption is rampant in every department of the state government," he alleged.

The Bihar road construction department has prepared a bridge maintenance policy and asked the rural works department to finalise its plan as soon as possible.

Rural works department minister Ashok Choudhary criticised Mr Yadav for allegedly doing nothing to remedy the situation when he held this portfolio for over 15 months.

"The RJD leader [Tejashwi Yadav] must remember that he held the portfolio for more than 15 months during the previous mahagathbandhan government. What was he doing then? The previous RJD-led Bihar government and he should be held responsible for this mess," Choudhary said.

Out On Parole, Amritpal Singh, Engineer Rashid Take Oath As Lok Sabha MPs

NEW DELHI, July 5: Jailed radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who were granted parole to take oath as members of the Lok Sabha, were sworn in as MPs on Friday amid heavy deployment of security personnel in and around the Parliament complex.

While Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, was in Delhi's Tihar jail in a terror funding case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Singh was lodged in a prison in Assam's Dibrugarh district for offences under the National Security Act.

They were brought to the Parliament complex by security personnel this morning.

The MPs-elect took oath in the chamber of the Lok Sabha Speaker after completing formalities, a source said.

Singh, 31, and Rashid, 56, won the recent Lok Sabha elections from Khadoor Sahib in Punjab and Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, respectively, as Independents while being incarcerated.

They could not take oath as members of the 18th Lok Sabha on June 24 and 25 along with the other winning candidates.

As Sensex, Nifty Surge, Chief Justice Of India Advises SEBI To Be Cautious

MUMBAI, July 4: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud today advised market regulator SEBI and the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) to exercise caution amid a significant surge in equity markets and pitched for more tribunal benches to ensure that the "backbone is stable".

Inaugurating the new SAT premises, CJI Chandrachud pitched for authorities to consider opening up new benches of the SAT given the higher workloads because of higher quantum of transactions and newer regulations.

Referring to newspaper articles calling the crossing of the 80,000 points milestone by the Bombay Stock Exchange as an ecstatic moment, where India is entering a "stratospheric domain", the CJI pointed out that such events emphasize the need for regulatory authorities to ensure that everyone holds their "balance and nerves" amid the wins.

"The more you see the surge in the stock market, the greater the role, I believe, for SEBI and SAT, as institutions which will exercise caution, celebrate the successes but at the same time, ensure that the backbone is stable," the CJI said.

He added that SEBI and appellate fora like SAT assume "immense national importance" in fostering a stable and predictable investment environment, and explained how this can benefit in economic growth for the country.

"When investors feel assured that their investments are protected by law and that there are effective mechanisms for dispute resolution, they are more likely to invest in the country's markets. This influx of investment can lead to better economic outcomes such as increased capital formation, job creation and overall economic growth," the CJI said.

The role of SAT in the "dog eat dog" world of finance is that of a referee in ensuring that everybody plays by the rules, he said, stressing on the need to be updated by keeping pace with new developments.

With the rapid growth in the number of market participants and transaction volumes, there is a likelihood of an increase in disputes and may be even instances of regulatory non-compliance, he said.

In addition, issues like market conduct and corporate governance have increased appeals filed with SAT "manifold", the CJI said, pitching for an early filling up of the vacancies at SAT to ensure that the tribunal functions effectively and at full capacity.

CJI Chandrachud, who called the event as a "homecoming" because he had appeared in the tribunal first as a lawyer, also pitched for more SAT benches pointing out that the statutes allows for it.

He later told reporters that creating additional benches is a "policy issue" and he has flagged the issue as the Chief Justice of India given the growth in the work. "It is an aspect which should be considered by those who have responsibility for taking these decisions," he said.

SAT's presiding officer Justice PS Dinesh Kumar said there are 1,028 pending appeals in the SAT and it has disposed of over 6,700 appeals since its inception in 1997.

The CJI said timely actions and correction of aberrations is very important in the financial sphere, and cited a 5-bench judgement on a critical matter recently which came within a month of the original order as a case in point.

The CJI also shared the thinking during the selection of the SAT head recently to point out that there is a perception in the "highest level of government" that it is a key tribunal in terms of economic regulation.

"Therefore it is necessary to have a person who may not necessarily be someone who has practiced securities law or presided over securities cases but who has the basic and robust approach to regulation," he said.

He also launched a new website of the SAT on Thursday which has been created by the National Informatics Centre, and stressed on the need to devote adequate attention to the issue of technology.

With the advancements in the digital arena, there is a need to reimagine the concept of access to justice, he said.

Hemant Soren Back As Jharkhand Chief Minister After 5 Months In Jail

RANCHI, July 4: Hemant Soren was sworn in as Chief Minister of Jharkhand this evening, completing a five-month political arc stretching from January - when he quit minutes before his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate, which has accused him in a land fraud worth crores - to June - when he was given bail by a High Court that said records do not indicate his "direct involvement" in the alleged scam.

After taking oath Soren said, "From 2019 the present 'mahagathbandan' government has done all the work as per interests of people here. During political ups and downs, Champai Soren took forward those initiatives... because I was in jail. (Now)... because of the court's order, I could come out..."

The Chief Minister's wife, Kalpana Soren, once seen as a possible temp for her husband's job, said he would "continue to work for (the) people... like he has always", but fired a warning (of sorts) to the party ahead of a state election just months away. "... we have less time now," Mrs Soren told the press.

Hemant Soren was sworn in at 5 pm in Raj Bhavan with his father, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha patriarch and two-time former Chief Minister, Shibu Soren watching. Shortly before he was sworn in, the son had met the father. "Met respected baba and took his blessings to deal with upcoming challenges," he said.

Champai Soren Quits As Jharkhand Chief Minister, Paves Way For Hemant Soren

RANCHI, July 3: Setting the ball rolling for Hemant Soren to take over as the Jharkhand chief minister again, his close aide, Champai Soren, has resigned from the post just five months after taking oath.

Champai Soren, who is seen as the number three in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, was sworn in on February 2, two days after then chief minister Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a land scam.

He was released on bail on June 28 by the Jharkhand High Court which noted that there was reason to believe that he was "not guilty of the offence".

After handing over his resignation to Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan on Wednesday evening, Champai Soren, who was earlier reported to be upset over being asked to leave the post, said in Hindi, "When the leadership had changed, I was given responsibility. You know the sequence of events. After Hemant Soren came back, we (the coalition) picked him as our leader and I have resigned. I am following the decision taken by the coalition."

Asked when he would take oath, Hemant Soren, who was standing next to Champai Soren, said more details would be given later.

Jharkhand is ruled by a coalition consisting of the JMM, Congress, RJD and the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.

Earlier on Wednesday, the JMM had elected Hemant Soren as the legislature party leader, paving the way for him to take over as chief minister. The move defied a very strong buzz that Champai Soren would retain the post and Hemant Soren would return as chief minister only after the Jharkhand Assembly elections, due later this year, if the coalition won.

Leaders of the ruling coalition reached a consensus on Hemant Soren's return during a meeting at Champai Soren's residence. Among the attendees were Congress' Jharkhand in-charge Ghulam Ahmad Mir, state president Rajesh Thakur and Hemant Soren's wife and MLA Kalpana Soren.

Sources said the decision was taken to ensure that the elections were fought with Hemant Soren as the face of the party. JMM has 27 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly, the Congress has 18 and the RJD and the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation have one each.

116, Including Children, Killed In Stampede At Religious Event In UP

HATHRAS, July 2: At least 116 people, including 108 women and seven children, were killed after a stampede broke out at a religious event in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras on Tuesday, officials have said.

The stampede occurred during a 'satsang' (prayer meeting) which was attended by thousands. Visuals from the Community Health Centre showed several bodies being brought there in buses and tempos in the presence of crying relatives.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken note of the incident and, on his directions, a committee has been set up to investigate the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Droupadi Murmu also expressed their condolences to the families of those who were killed and said they were praying for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Hathras District Magistrate Ashish Kumar said that, according to numbers received from the community health centre, 50-60 people were killed. Officials in Etah district confirmed the deaths of an additional 27.

Later in the evening, Inspector General (Aligarh Range) Shalabh Mathur, said the number had gone up to 116.

"The stampede broke out in Phulrai village within the Sikandra Rao police station limits in Hathras. This was a private event and permission had been given by the sub-divisional magistrate. Security arrangements were made by the administration but the other arrangements were supposed to be made by the organisers," Kumar said.

IG Shalabh Mathur said a case is being registered and the names of the people who took permission for the event will be added. Prima facie, it appears that there were more people than were allowed.

A woman who attended the 'satsang' said it was organised in honour of a local guru, Bhole Baba aka Narayan Saakar Hari, and the stampede broke out as the crowd began to leave. Sources said devotees were stopped from leaving until the self-styled guru's car left, causing a big crowd build-up in a small area.

A compensation of ₹ 2 lakh each has been announced for the families of the dead and ₹ 50,000 for the injured. Officials said a case will be registered against the organisers.

Rahul Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, also extended his condolences and requested workers from the INDIA alliance to help with the rescue and relief efforts.

Jailed J&K MP Engineer Rashid Can Take Oath: Anti-Terror Agency NIA

NEW DELHI, July 1: The anti-terror agency NIA has granted consent for jailed Kashmir leader Engineer Abdul Rashid Sheikh to take his oath as an MP. The matter now awaits a final order from a Delhi court, which is expected to rule on the conditions of his oath-taking tomorrow.

Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, won the Baramulla seat as an Independent candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Rashid has been imprisoned in Tihar Jail since 2019. The NIA charged him in a terror-funding case, preventing him from taking his oath alongside his peers in the 18th Lok Sabha.

Despite his detention, Rashid managed to secure a remarkable win, defeating former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by a margin of over 2 lakh votes.

On Saturday, Additional Sessions Judge Kiran Gupta mandated the NIA to respond to Rashid's application for interim bail to facilitate his oath-taking. The court directed the anti-terror agency to file its reply by July 1.

Advocate Vikhyat Oberoi, representing Rashid, argued that his client's electoral victory signifies the strong democratic mandate given by the people of Baramulla. "He won with a vast majority. People love him and want him to fight for their rights in Parliament democratically," Oberoi stated.

Rashid's legal team drew parallels with a similar case involving AAP MP Sanjay Singh, suggesting that Rashid, who is under court custody, should be allowed to take his oath. They argued that the NIA's role should be minimal in facilitating this process, referencing the procedural handling of Singh's case where court custody did not obstruct parliamentary participation.




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