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India condemns attack on Afghan Sikhs, PM Modi extends assistance

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Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the terror strike in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad province and termed it as an attack on country’s “multicultural fabric”.
Taking to Twitter on Monday morning, PM Modi said that India stands ready to assist Afghanistan “in this sad hour”
At least 19 people were killed in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad as a suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Sikhs, which was on its way, to meet President Ghani. Most of those died in the blast were Hindus and Sikhs, including the only Sikh candidate in upcoming legislative elections.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also expressed heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The minister said that she will be meeting the family members at 6 pm on Monday.
The attack happened at a market located near the provincial governor’s compound where President Ashraf Ghani was holding meetings.
Avtar Singh Khalsa, a longtime leader of the Sikh community who had planned to run in the parliamentary elections set for October, was killed in the attack.
Criticising the attack, the Indian Embassy in Kabul on Sunday tweeted: “We strongly condemn the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack in #Jalalabad today evening which resulted in the death of 20 innocent Afghans, including 10 members of the Afghan Sikh Community, and injured more than 20 persons.”
“We convey heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and pray for early recovery of the injured…The attack again underlines the need for united global fight against international terrorism without discrimination and accountability of those who support terrorists in any manner,” it said.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also condemned the attack and extended help to the victims and their families.
He further called upon the global community to come together to fight “against barbaric forces of terror.”
Afghan President Ghani, who is on a two-day visit to Nangarhar, earlier on Sunday, attended the inauguration of a new hospital complex.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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