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Debabrata Saikia seeks judicial probe into Assam lynching

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Guwahati | The Leader of the Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia today demanded a judicial probe into the lynching of two youths in Karbi Anglong district last week.

In a statement, senior Congress leader Saikia urged Assam Chief Minister to “institute a judicial enquiry” to get to the root of the motive behind spreading fake news across social media fora such as WhatsApp and Facebook, which resulted in the lynching of the two youths.

He said that it was essential for the government to ascertain whether the fell victims to a nation-wide conspiracy of creating an atmosphere of fear and doubt via social media.

Saikia referred to similar rumours about the presence of child-lifters being spread in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, while pointing out that already several people have been lynched as a result.

“The opposition leader said that there was ample scope to suspect that the well-coordinated spreading of fake news might be a ploy to divert people’s attention from issues of actual importance.

“In view of increasing doubts about a section of supporters of a particular political ideology being the masterminds behind such fear and hate-mongering, Saikia said that the Chief Minister should take it upon himself to order a thorough probe to unearth the truth and consequently prevent more damage being caused in Assam by such poisonous propaganda,” the statement said.

The two youths, Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath, had gone to the picnic spot of Kangthilangso waterfalls under Dokmoka police station in Karbi Anglong on Friday. While returning, their vehicle was stopped at Panjuri Kachari by a group of irate villagers, who pulled them out and killed them for being child-lifters.

Altogether 63 persons have been arrested from different parts of Assam for killing the youths and spreading rumours and hate messages on social media.

While 28 persons were held for killing the duo, the rest 35 were arrested for posting hate messages and rumours on social media.

The main accused Alfajoz Timung, who was out on bail in an old murder case and was arrested yesterday for the lynching, had asked the villagers over telephone to stop the duo’s vehicle and spread rumours of them being child-lifters.

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Amarnath Yatra: Security forces asked to maintain synergy

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Jammu | Ahead of the annual Amarnath yatra, security forces have been asked to maintain “highest level of alertness” and “synergy,” police said today.

The two-month long pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high cave shrine of Amarnath will commence on June 28.

All border police stations , posts and check-points have also been directed to be strengthened and activated to neutralize any attempt of infiltration by terrorists from across the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC), a police spokesman said.

He said the directions were passed at a high level meeting chaired by Inspector General of Police, Jammu, S D Singh Jamwal here last evening and attended among others by senior police, Army, paramilitary forces and state and central intelligence agencies.

The meeting was convened to discuss and review security arrangements for the pilgrimage.

“All officers have been directed to maintain highest level of alertness and synergy among themselves and also to share intelligence on real time basis so that nefarious designs of anti-national elements and their mentors can be thwarted, the spokesman said.

He said a detailed briefing was given by officers of Intelligence agencies and Army and police with regard to security arrangements to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of the pilgrimage.

Addressing the meeting, the IGP stressed upon the need to organise night patrolling on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway regularly and maintain close cooperation with all forces deployed in their area of jurisdiction.

Singh asked senior superintendents of police to ensure adequate security in their respective districts particularly at base camp Bhagwati Nagar here, the spokesman said.

The Jammu police chief stressed upon officers of border districts to lay joint check points and ensure patrolling on all probable infiltration routes.

He also directed that all border police stations, posts and check-points should be strengthened and activated so as to neutralize any attempt of infiltration by terrorists from across the IB and the LoC.

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Subramanian’s resignation no surprise; experts fed up by financial anarchy: Congress

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The Congress today said the resignation of Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has not come as a surprise as all ‘financial experts’ in Modi government are fed up of its ‘colossal economic mismanagement” and are stepping down.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala cited examples of ex-Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan in this regard.

“Financial experts’ of Modi government are completely fed up by its colossal economic mismanagement, tepid economic reforms and financial anarchy,” he said on Twitter.

“CEA, Arvind Subramanian’s resignation after the stepping down of Niti Aayog’s Arvind Panagriya and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan comes as no surprise!” he said.

Subramanian will be leaving the finance ministry after nearly 4 years because of “pressing family commitments” and return to the US,” Union minister Arun Jaitley said today.

He was appointed as the CEA to the finance ministry on October 16, 2014, for a period of three years. In 2017, his term was extended by a year.

“A few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important to him. He left me with no option but to agree with him,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post.

The minister, however, did not say as to when Subramanian will relinquish the office.

“Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return for personal reasons-to researching & writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank,” Subramanian tweeted minutes after Jaitley’s post.

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Saradha scam: Nalini Chidambaram fails to appear before Enforcement Directorate

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Chennai | Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram on Wednesday failed to appear before the Enforcement Directorate after she was summoned for questioning in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal.

Nalini Chidambaram was given interim relief by the Madras High Court bench of justices Anand Venkatesh and MM Sundresh after it reserved its order. Nalini Chidambaram had earlier challenged the April 24 order of the court which had rejected her petition against ED’s summon asking her to appear personally as a witness in its money laundering probe in the Saradha chit fund case.

The Enforcement Directorate had first summoned Chidambaram in September 2016 as a witness in the Saradha chit fund scam case. KTS Tulsi who appeared for Nalini Chidambaram accused the ED of “political vendetta”, Tulsi argued that no other advocate appearing for Saradha group had been summoned by the central agency so far.

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