Guwahati: Access to Right to Information must be ensured to the deprived and marginalised segments of the society, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said.
“Right to Information can be made an effective tool by ensuring that the voices of the deprived and marginalised segments of the society are heard loud and clear,” Gogoi said while inaugurating the one-day Regional Workshop on Right to Information Act, 2005.
Assam was one of the pioneer states, which introduced the Right to Information by a separate State Act in 2002, he said.
“Public servants who serve the people with good faith and intention must be protected unlike those who have malafide intention and are in nexus with vested circles. Those who take risks and take hard decisions without fear or favour for the common good, must be given protection,” Gogoi said.
Favouritism, nepotism and corruption must be weeded out by ensuring transparency and accountability in governance, vital for strengthening the roots of democracy, he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out the need for involvement of civil societies and NGOs in removing the lacunae in implementation of the RTI Act.
“More and more people are coming forward to assert their rights and dues and this is definitely a healthy sign of democracy. The RTI Act can play a pivotal role in making people aware of their rights by creating awareness,” he said.
State Chief Information Commissioner, H S Das said the RTI Act enacted in 2005 has completed ten years of its implementation.
The good practices adopted by various states together with the problems confronting the states in implementing the RTI Act would be deliberated upon and the vital inputs would be placed before the National Convention to be held on October 16 and 17 in New Delhi.
The idea of the Right To Information (RTI) is to make citizens aware about their rights and also to eradicate corruption.
To make a government transparent RTI is of utmost importance.But this is not being utilized by the marginalised and they are the worst sufferers of corruption. (PTI)
Agartala: Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman in broad daylight in a high security zone of the city after both her sons confessed of their involvement.
Based on the confession of two sons — Deepjoy Saha (32) and Bitonjoy Saha (22) — involved in the murder of their mother Shanta Saha, police arrested two others identified as Ranbir Lodh (43) and Krishna Dey (41), who were hired to kill her. A local court of Agartala sent four of them to six days police custody.
They will be produced again on October 11 next.
CID officials had earlier indicated that the plan to murder Shanta was hatched by Deepjoy and Bitonjoy, her husband Pradip Saha, an engineer working in the state police, and her niece with whom Deepjoy is having an affair.
Fifty-three years old Shanta was murdered in the government quarter, where the residences of home secretary, chief secretary, DGP and other top police officials and Chief Justice are located.
Police has also traced a whatsapp message sent by Shanta’s niece to her elder son questioning how long it will take to execute the plan. The message was sent just before Shanta was murdered.
Police claimed that the behavior of both the sons after murder of their mother was casual. (UNI)
Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Wednesday called for the creation of a separate union ministry for India’s mountain states, and lamented the Centre’s move to do away with the special category status states.
“Due to geographical and historical reasons, the resources of the mountains, both natural and human, are either under-utilised or ill-utilised,” Tuki said while inaugurating the fourth edition of the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit (SMDS) here.
“Therefore, policy decisions to protect and sustainably harness these resources must be put in place. The role of the union government is paramount in providing an umbrella for all the mountain states, preferably in the form of a separate ministry,” he said.
“Issues and challenges emerging from two very important policy changes — replacement of Planning Commission with NITI Aayog and recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission — need to be discussed and over-viewed specifically with regard to the mountain states,” Tuki said.
Sponsored by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) and GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) India, this edition of the SMDS, the fourth since 2011, is being hosted by the Sustainable Mountain Development Forum Arunachal Pradesh (SMDFA).
Tuki also emphasised on the crucial role played by the Himalayas in cooling down of Earth.
He, however, regretted the fact that the mountains and its people faced a fragile relation with the majority of the people.
“The mountain people, comprising about 50 million, who are the custodians of the mountains, live a marginalised life in the remote and inaccessible world devoid of all the luxuries of modern development and progress,” the chief minister said.
Mountain people are portrayed in bad light even in the parliament complained Tuki. Lok Sabha member from Sikkim and IMI councillor P.D. Rai lamented that the country’s mountain states were falling behind on every human development indicator. (IANS)
TURA, Oct 07: A week after being kidnapped by a group of deserters from the Achik Matgrik Elite Force (AMEF), NH-44 engineer, Waseem Ahmed, was on Wednesday rescued by a joint group of policemen from near the village of Gabil, bordering West, East and North Garo Hills.
The village, which is about 45 kms from the town of Tura, is a purported hotbed for militants given its remoteness and dense vegetation, coupled with pathetic roads.
Ahmed was kidnapped by members of United Achik Security Force (UASF) between 5:30 – 6 pm on September 20, 2015 from the village of Rongap-Megaggre under Samanda block in East Garo Hills. Ahmed was employed in BSC & CC and was overlooking the construction of the upcoming NH-44. He was returning to the camp of the company in Samanda when he was waylaid and taken at gunpoint.
SHILLONG, Oct 07: KHADC Deputy Chief Executive Member, PT Sawkmie, on Wednesday slammed social activist Michael Syiem for filing the anti-ADC Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that seeks dissolution of District Councils in Meghalaya.
Opposing the PIL, Sawkmie said the move is extremely unfortunate at this particular juncture as the indigenous community is facing numerous problems and the PIL seeks to dissolve the very institution that looks after the welfare and interest of traditional institutions and heads besides preserving the age old customary laws of the indigenous community.
KOLKATA, Oct 07 (IANS): The CBI on Wednesday arrested Manoranjana Sinh, estranged wife of former union minister and Congress leader Matang Sinh, and grilled cinestar-turned Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scams.
Along with Manoranjana, CBI sleuths arrested city-based entrepreneur Santanu Ghosh in connection with the scam.
Manoranjana and Ghosh were grilled by the CBI’s Special Crime Branch in the satellite township of Salt Lake for hours before they were eventually arrested.
SHILLONG, Oct 07: Employees of Dr Hugh Gordon Robert Hospital on Wednesday demanded the authority concerned to immediately clarify on the alleged financial irregularities by the hospital management.
A delegation of the employees of the hospital met the Senior Administrative Secretary of the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian (KJP) Assembly Rev NS Phawa on the matter here on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, youths who claimed to be from the Church had accused the Hospital’s Medical Superintendent, Dr David D Tariang and Administrative Officer KT Rynjah of inflating their own salaries without the consent and approval of KJPA, thereby violating the Memorandum of Association (MoA).
SHILLONG, Oct 07: Lower primary school teachers in the state are all set to get a chance to improve their marks by re-appearing in the upcoming Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate (HSSLC) Examination, 2016.
The state government has decided to allow the teachers to re-appear in the examination in view of the need to meet the minimum qualification as specified by National Council for Teacher’s Education (NCTE).
One of the NCTE norms states that the teachers teaching at the elementary level have to secure minimum 45 percent aggregate to be eligible for the job.
AGARTALA, Oct 07 (IANS): Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials registered 200,470 cases for travelling without a ticket or with an irregular ticket and realised Rs.13.65 crore in fines from April to August, an official said here on Wednesday.
“NFR officials registered 200,470 cases of travel without tickets or irregular ticket passengers. A fine of Rs.13.65 crore was realised from these passengers,” NFR’s chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.
“To discourage ticketless travel, the NFR has put systems in place whereby surprise checks are conducted by flying squads,” he said.
Fortress checks are also conducted in stations. The NFR officials during surprise checking are accompanied by security personnel from the Railway Protection Force and the Government Railway Police.
Another NFR official said that unlike in other parts of India, cases of ticketless travel or passengers with irregular tickets were very negligible earlier in the north-eastern region, particularly Assam.
“As cases of ticketless travel or travel on irregular tickets in north-eastern region increased, the NFR stepped up surprise checks by flying squads and other railway officials,” he said.
Kochi: Their super star co-owner Sachin Tendulkar cheering them from the stands, Kerala Blasters FC got their campaign off to a rollicking start, recording a convincing 3-1 win over NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) football here on Tuesday.
After a goal-less first half, Kerala Blasters opened the scoring in the 49th minute through Josu at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The lead was doubled when former India striker Mohammad Rafi headed one in the 68 minute. Sanchez Watt soon consolidated the hosts’ position with another goal in the 72nd minute, leaving the visitors clueless.
The NorthEast, who finished last in the inaugural edition, finally found themselves on the scoresheet when Argentine Nicolas Velez brought the margin down with a strike in the 82nd minute. The effort was a mere consolation as last season’s finalist Blasters garnered full points from the game in front of their home crowd.
The Blasters went ahead when Josu, a Barcelona youth product, unleashed a powerful left-footer to send the ball to the top corner of the net after C K Vineeth’s attempted overhead kick fell on his way.
Following a long throw-in into the box by Rahul Bheke, Carvalho’s flick was headed in by Rafi at the far post to leave the home fans jubilant.
More agony was in store for the visiting side as Sanchez Watt, who is a product of the Arsenal youth school, took the ball beautifully after being fed by Bywater and Rafi. Watt was onside and with no defender marking him, it was easy for him to shoot the ball between goalkeeper Rehenesh’s feet and into the back of the net.
As all looked lost for the north-easterners, Velez reduced the margin after he cut inside following a pass by Silas.
Earlier, in the first half, both teams failed to find the back of the net. When they managed to spilt the defence, their strikers were caught offside. (PTI)
Margao: Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata may have crossed the Chennayin FC hurdle with ease but face another tough rival in Zico’s FC Goa without their star striker Helder Postiga in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Wednesday.
The Portuguese international strained his hamstring muscle in the opener against Chennaiyin while scoring his second goal, in a 3-2 win, and had to be stretchered off the field.
Postiga will initially go to Portugal and then travel to Atletico Madrid’s academy in Madrid for treatment.
“Our marquee player Helder Postiga who unfortunately suffered a strain during the first match against Chennaiyin FC while scoring his second goal of the match is going back to Portugal for further treatment. On behalf of Atletico de Kolkata we have sent his MRI reports for further consultation with specialists at Atletico de Madrid,” Alberto Marrero, ATK sports director, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The defending champions, thus will take confidence from the fact that they have never been beaten by a side known for their aggressive football.
ATK will hope to ride on that confidence to win again on Wednesday after a morale-boosting victory in the opening match. The task for Zico’s side is, thus, cut out.
However, the Brazilian legend will surely have a trick or two up his sleeve to surprise his counterpart Antonio Lopez Habas.
It will be a contest where not only the skills of players but the decision making of both coaches will be put to the test.
In the absence of the 33-year-old Postiga, Cape Verdean striker Valmiro Lopes Rocha (Valdo) may start the game.But filling in the shoes of Postiga could be a difficult ask.
Goa, on the other hand, were impressive in their opener against Delhi Dynamos which they pocketed 2-0.
An own goal from Dynamos defender Souvik Chakraborty and a Reinaldo strike from close range sealed Dynamos’ victory.
Atletico’s biggest threat at the Fatorda Stadium will be posed by the pacy winger Romeo Fernandez and the crafty midfielder Jofre Mateu, who had played a crucial role for ATK in their success last year. Medio Mandar Rao Desai, the Man-of-the-Match in FC Goa’s win against Delhi Dynamos, will also be a formidable opposition.
A crucial man for the title holders would be Canadian playmaker Iain Hume, who has to be at his best, and will be expected to supply a steady stream of passes for the strikers. (IANS)
New Delhi: Former cricket and BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was on Tuesday admitted to a hospital here after suffering from acute deep vein thrombosis, a deep clot in the blood vessel.
“Navjot Singh Sidhu was admitted to Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals Delhi today (Tuesday) evening with acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a life threatening condition if not treated on time,” said a statement from the hospital, adding he was now stable.
During DVT, clots create obstruction in the blood vessel, hindering the normal blood flow.
Doctors treating Sidhu said that Sidhu was stable after necessary treatment.
“Sidhu has been put on blood thinners and has been recovering well. His condition is said to be stable as of now,” the statement said. (IANS)
New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar says he wants to promote cricket in the United States by engaging the huge South Asian diaspora there through the T20 series for former stars in his endeavour to globalise the sport.
Come November, and ‘Sachin’s Blasters’ will take on ‘Warne’s Warriors’ in a three-match T20 series ‘Cricket All-Stars Series 2015′. The other two matches will be held in Houston and Los Angeles on November 9 and 11.
“During last year’s MCC bicentenary match at Lord’s, I realised that all of us, I mean the former cricketers still have a lot of passion left. We realised that crowds still come and fill up the stadiums when we play. Then I felt that we could continue with our passion and also promote cricket in different parts of the world,” Tendulkar told PTI during an exclusive interaction today.
While there has been an official ODI game between New Zealand and West Indies, played at Florida, the United States remains an unchartered territory for cricket even as the likes of Tendulkar, Warne, Curtly Ambrose, Ricky Ponting get ready to enthrall their fans in this part of the world.
Asked if Tendulkar’s presence will open the American market for Indian cricket, his response was a cautious one.
“I don’t know whether it will open the market for India but the basic idea is to get the locals excited and get them involved with the game of cricket. This is an ideal opportunity to globalise the game. It gives us opportunity to take cricket in the United States,” Tendulkar said.
Asked about the famous Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly combination opening the batting against Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose, Tendulkar laughed and said, “That is precisely the idea of these matches. I have so many friends in the United States and there are so many people who are cricket fans. However, many of them have never got a chance to watch us live in action.
“Many of friends would travel to India to watch me play, but this will give an opportunity to all of them to watch all these superstars live in action,” said Tendulkar.
Not someone to take even exhibition games lightly, Tendulkar has started light training and he intends to build it up as time progresses.
“Well, I haven’t started practising with that intensity but it is a slow start. I gradually plan to build it up,” he sounded as focussed as ever as he gets ready for some intensive net session at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
When asked if he would train with the Mumbai Ranji team, he explained, “No, it would be wrong to disturb Mumbai Ranji team’s training schedule. Also I need to do T20 specific training and they are playing Ranji Trophy. But yes, I would love to be around the Mumbai Ranji team,” said the maestro.
For the 42-year-old iconic batsman, it will also be a “challenge” to play in stadiums which are originally meant for baseball.
“It’s not the first time that I will be playing matches in baseball stadiums. Way back in 1990 and 1994, I had played a couple of matches at Skyzone stadium in Canada. Since these are not proper international cricket Stadiums (NY’s Citi Field, Minute Maid Park in Houston and LA Dodgers’ Stadium), one needs to adjust to the angles.
“But then since the spectators sit very near to the boundary line, you get a feeling that you can engage with the crowd which is also important,” Tendulkar signed off. (PTI)
Kolkata: The South African and Indian cricket teams landed in the city on Tuesday for the third Twenty20 International outing at the Eden Gardens here on October 8.
Ringed by a heavy cordon of security personnel, the two sides flew into the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at around 1.50 pm and were driven straight to a posh five star hotel.
South Africa have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. The visitors would seek to keep up the winning momentum and make it a clean sweep ahead of the five-game ODI and four-match Test series. On the other hand, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian outfit will try to salvage some pride in the dead rubber and raise their confidence level for the coming engagements. (IANS)
London: English football champions Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he had discussions with Alex Ferguson for succeeding him as Manchester United’s manager after the latter’s retirement in 2013, but always had eyes for his current job.
Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2013 for his second spell at the club after earlier taking charge from 2004 to 2007. Mourinho left Real Madrid and started his second stint at Chelsea when he signed a four-year deal, a month after Ferguson had announced David Moyes would be replacing him at United.
The Portuguese was believed to be a contender for the position, but claims Ferguson knew he wanted to return to Chelsea.
“Every manager in the world looks at Manchester United as a huge club but I wanted to come to Chelsea. And we didn’t bring that to the table because we were so open and he knows so much about myself that he knew that for almost a season, I want to leave Real Madrid and I want to come to Chelsea,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by BBC on Monday.
“He (Ferguson) told me a huge secret, not many people knew, like, one month or two months before the decision. I know that he trusts me, because if he doesn’t, he doesn’t tell me but I was scared. I was scared so when finally he informed the media about this decision it was a sense of relief,” he said.
Manchester United finished seventh in their first English Premier League season without Ferguson in 2013-14 whereas Mourinho guided Chelsea to the second spot.(IANS)
Karachi: The chances of Pakistan and India resuming their bilateral cricket ties this year in December were dealt another blow when the country’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz said that he saw no chance of a revival in the current situation.
Aziz, who is an advisor on National Security to the Prime Minister, told the media in Islamabad that he was not optimistic about cricket ties being revived between the two nuclear power countries because of the existing situation between the two neighbouring nations.
According to television channels, Aziz said: “I see no chance of cricket between Pakistan and India under the current situation. The situation first needs to be made favorable in other things as well first.”
Aziz’s remarks came one day after PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan returned from India saying he would be meeting the new BCCI chief next week in Dubai on the sidelines of the ICC meeting to discuss the planned series in the UAE and the MOU signed between the two boards to play six series between 2015 and 2022.
Aziz said although the PCB was trying its best to talk to Indian cricket officials the potential of having the series were not good.
“The PCB can comment on this in detail but I am not very hopeful of any cricket series soon,” he said.
Pakistan and India have not played a Test series since 2007 due to strained relations even though the greenshirts did tour India for a short limited overs series in the winter of 2012/13.
BCCI has said that the December series is subject to first getting clearance from their government and the relations improving between the two countries.
Shaharyar has been pressing for the series to be held and has even discussed the matter with Aziz but after the prime ministers of both countries didn’t meet on the sidelines of the recent UN assembly in New York hopes have dwindled that any series will be held in December.
Shaharyar himself admitted on returning to Lahore that if India didn’t play than PCB would consider an alternate plan which included having the Pakistan Super League in December in UAE instead of the announced dates of February 4 to 24th.
A PCB official contacted late night said that the PCB was also bound to get clearance from its government for any bilateral series with India.
“We have still not given up hope but the comments by our national security advisor means the series is in danger,” he said. (PTI)
Baku (Azerbaijan): Youngest ever GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia annexed the World Cup Chess Championship defeating compatriot Peter Svidler 6-4 in a thrilling finale that concluded here today.
Karjakin and Svidler thus joined five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and American duo of Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura in the line-up for the Candidates tournament to decide the challenger for Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next world championship.
Setting himself up for an unlikely bout in the tiebreak games after being down 2-0 under normal time control in the four-game mini-match, Karjakin showed stronger nerves in the final that will be best remembered for massive blunders in a high quality contest.
Karjakin and Svidler now There are two places still left to be filled for the ‘Candidates’ that is likely to be held in March next year.
The World Cup had six Indians and only SP Sethuraman had lasted till the third round under the knock-out format that started with 128 players.
Sethuraman caused a major upset in round two defeating highest rated Indian P Harikrishna.
In the final, Svidler missed several opportunities to become the first player ever to win the world cup twice.
Leading 2-0 under normal games, the Russian was just a draw away from the crown when a disaster happened and he lost the next two games on the trot.
With Karjakin forcing a tie-break, Svidler lost the first rapid game but came back to square once again while in the ten-minute games that ensued, he again missed a real opportunity to seal the contest in his favour.
The match was finally decided in the blitz tiebreak wherein Karjakin won two on the trot to win the title. The World Cup had two games under normal time control except the final which was played over four games.
In case of a tied result, games of shorter duration were played to determine the winner. (PTI)
Laitumkhrah triumph as Shillong United continue dry run
Shillong: Shillong United continued a three-match winless run as they suffered a defeat in the Shillong Premier League after going down 2-0 to Laitumkhrah on Tuesday at Polo Grounds. Laitumkhrah walked away with two late goals to complete a comprehensive win despite facing stiff resistance from United. Rungsning Muinoa put Laitumkhrah in the lead with a 74th minute strike that beat the keeper. United pushed for an equaliser but were unsuccessful before finally going down 2-0 in the 90th minute when Owolesho Abey scored the second goal to give Laitumkhrah three points and a second straight win over Shillong United after beating them 1-0 in the first leg. Jongksha progressed to a 3-2 victory in their Second Division football match against Laitlyngkot on Tuesday after a double strike by Skhemborlang Rynjah. Skhemborlang scored in the 48th and 64th minutes while Everst Khar added one in the 59th minute. Laitlyngkot’s goal scorers were Frankie Thabah (55) and Skhemborlang Majaw (68). In Third Division football, Nongsohphoh beat Mawkriah West 5-2 while Lawsohtun thrashed CAC 6-0.
Vishnu, Lakshit roll ahead in Fenesta Open N’atl Tennis C’ship
New Delhi: Defending champion Vishnu Vardhan, seed two in the draw, used his potent ground strokes to whip Manish Sureshkumar 6-3, 6-4 in men’s singles in the Fenesta Open National tennis Championship here today. Initially seeded one in the draw, before Sriram Balaji stormed into the main draw as a qualifier, Vishnu played consistently and got into a rhythm against Manish. Part-time professionals were involved in a long contest in men’s singles as Lakshit Sood, who trains in Noida, outslugged seasoned pro Nitten Kirrtane 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2. Experienced fourth seed VM Ranjeet took time to settle down before downing Prajwal Dev again in a three setter 4-6,6-3,6-1.The Women’s Singles category saw a bit of a battle when 16-year-old Mihika Yadav offered some resistance against defending champion Prerna Bhambri before losing 4-6, 1-6 in the women’ section. It was an easy outing for Snehadevi S Reddy, title favourite and top seed, as she did the demolition job against Sneha Padamata with a clinical 6-0, 6-0 win. Among juniors, top seeds Aryan Goveas and Zeel Desai moved in the next round of the Boys? and Girls’ categories of the under-18. (UNI)
Tax fraud case against Messi, not father, dropped
Barcelona: The Spanish prosecution on Tuesday asked for the exoneration of FC Barcelona Argentine star Lionel Messi from tax fraud charges. It also urged that the player’s father, Jorge Horacio, be imprisoned for 18 months for defrauding 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million), based on the fact that Messi was not aware of the fiscal offences, reports Efe. The lawsuit was originally filed by the prosecution against Messi and his father, who is also his agent; however, it asked that the case be archived after both defendants paid a sum of 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in reconciliation, including interest. Jorge confirmed that he is fully responsible for managing his son’s financial affairs, but the judge decided to maintain Messi’s status as a defendant, which was then endorsed by the court of Barcelona. However, the prosecution asked for Messi’s acquittal as he blindly followed the instructions of his father, who is accused of establishing a company in a country considered a tax haven, to evade taxes payable on the player’s image rights between 2007 and 2009. (IANS)
State climbers to take part in NE eventBy Our Reporter
SHILLONG: A 10-member team of climbers from Meghalaya Rock Climbing and Mountaineering Association will leave Shillong to participate in the 17th North East zone Sports Climbing Competition to be held at Agartala, Tripura from October 5 to 8. The team will be led by Layleigh Petra Nongkynrih and Bakordor Umsnong. Meanwhile, the association has expressed its gratitude to the Assam Regimental Centre for providing the Association with necessary training facilities in preparing for the competition.
KABUL: Taliban fighters on motorbikes have carried out hit-and-run attacks on Afghan forces trying to clear Kunduz city of insurgents, more than a week after the militant movement briefly seized the provincial capital.
Adopting new tactics, Taliban fighters have been firing at security forces at checkpoints and then melting away into residential areas, rather than directly engaging in gun battles, said Hamdullah Danishi, acting governor of the northern city.”This is a new policy for the Taliban,” said Danishi. “They want to create fear among residents so they cannot resume their normal lives.”
The failure of US-trained Afghan troops and police to swiftly recapture Kunduz is an ominous sign for the government of President Ashraf Ghani and the administration in Washington.It underscores concerns about national forces’ ability to protect the country when most of the remaining foreign troops leave.
Already NATO forces are a small fraction of their peak, now that their formal combat mission has ended, and US President Barack Obama is reassessing the timetable for a final drawdown which currently envisages removing all but a few US soldiers by the end of 2016.Battles have raged around Kunduz for the last nine days as government forces, backed by US air strikes, have tried to drive out Taliban fighters.
Its brief capture was one of the Islamist militants’ biggest victories in the 14-year insurgency.The city of 300,000, which was the last stronghold of the Taliban before the group’s ouster in 2001, holds symbolic importance to the insurgency and has come under threat multiple times this year.
Security forces reported significant progress in trying to retake Kunduz on Monday, and some shops in the centre opened for the first time since it fell to Taliban fighters.But clashes broke out again today, said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a spokesman for Kunduz police.
“There are sporadic shootings in some areas,” he said.Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said today morning that their fighters had surrounded the police headquarters and governor’s compound in Kunduz, a claim which was rejected by local officials.At least 55 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in sometimes fierce fighting that marks an escalation in the Taliban’s campaign to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul and reintroduce their harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
In the capital, police said at three Taliban fighters were killed and seven policemen wounded in a 10-hour gun battle that began late yesterday after insurgents attacked a residential area close to the Russian embassy.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it was a suicide attack against an intelligence centre in Kabul.An Afghan security source said two gunmen had attacked the house of a tribal elder in Kabul and an adjacent building belonging to a former governor of the southern Helmand province. (Reuters)
SHILLONG, Oct 06: The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a stay order against a recent demolition order issued by the High Court of Meghalaya.
It may be mentioned here that the High Court of Meghalaya in its order issued last month, has given 15 days’ time to the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) to demolish as many as 23 buildings, which were found to have violated the Meghalaya Building Byelaws.