Two troopers of 18 Assam Rifles were killed and six others injured in a bomb blast in Manipur’s Chandel district near the India-Myanmar border on Monday, sources in the police said.Suspected insurgents detonated a remote-controlled bomb on the roadside near the District Collectorate at 6 a.m. and Rifleman Indra Singh was killed on the spot, while Rifleman Sohalal died of his injuries within hours.The troopers, along with armed guards, were on their morning jog. Additional forces from neighbouring districts have been rushed to launch a massive combing operation.No outfit has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Calling the ₹10,000-crore relief package announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for farmers hit by unseasonal rain “grossly inadequate”, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday demanded that the government provide ₹25,000 per hectare as compensation to farmers without any conditions attached.The Sena chief, who toured parts of Aurangabad district to assess crop damage, parried questions on the tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sena over government formation, merely saying the people would come to know soon enough if his party would be in power.“The damage to crops is so extensive that the government must immediately give recompense of at least ₹25,000- ₹50,000 per hectare for these farmers… nothing will happen in the ₹10,000 crore package announced,” Mr. Thackeray said, stating that the farmers stared at an existential crisis because of this ‘wet famine.’At a time of fraught relations with ally BJP, the Sena president’s criticism of the relief package chimed in with that of the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP), which dismissed the assistance as “a joke.” When asked if his party would form the new government to ensure help to distressed farmers, Mr. Thackeray refrained from giving a direct answer and merely said it was “inappropriate” to speak of government formation at a time when farmers were suffering. Dig at FadnavisThe Sena chief, however, took a swipe at Mr. Fadnavis, remarking: “Despite the monsoon withdrawing, it seems to be saying mi punha yein (I shall return)… now, this has created fear among people.”Mr. Thackeray was referring to Mr. Fadnavis’s oft-repeated assertion of mi punha yein (‘I shall return’) during the Assembly election campaign that he would easily return as chief minister for a second term.Mr. Thackeray also took jibes at the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, saying it was New Delhi’s “duty” to help Maharashtra’s farmers in their hour of crisis. “The State has given its wholehearted blessing to the ruling party at the Centre by voting it back to power in the general election. When the Prime Minister had come to Ausa in Latur ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, I had told him the people will give you their blessings if you assure relief during drought. I now expect the Centre to extricate Maharashtra’s farmers from this crisis,” he said.The Sena chief had toured drought-hit parts of the State before a particularly acrimonious run-up to his party sealing the alliance with the BJP before the general election.Warning to banksHe exhorted crop insurance companies do away with cumbersome documentation and not create impediments while giving insurance aid to farmers. “I also urge banks to behave in a humane manner in this grave hour facing farmers,” he said, warning that Shiv Sainiks would take to task any financial institution that created obstacles in disbursing credit to farmers. “There is a need to give succour to farmers and not conduct surveys via helicopters. The farmers’ subsistence crops have been destroyed in one night at many places,” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking that the despair had reached such a point that farmers were contemplating extreme steps.Appealing to farmers not to commit suicide, the Shiv Sena chief said his party stood firmly behind them and would leave no stone unturned to provide them just assistance.
Five-time champion Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a second place finish following a draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in the 13th and final round of 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands.Viswanathan AnandThe World Champion could draw a big consolation from the fact that he would be the number one ranked player all over again as the results here proved that he will be overtaking world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next rating list.Hikaru Nakamura of United States won the title after drawing his final round game with Wang Hao of China.Nakamura tallied 9 points in all, a half point more than Anand in this category-20 super tournament between 14-players.The American not only performed way beyond his rating of 2751 but also finished ahead of the world’s top four ranked players.Anand got the better position with his black pieces but could not find a breakthrough AS Nepomniachtchi simply got an impregnable position in the endgame arising out of a Sicilian defense game.The Indian ace settled for a draw in 37 moves.”Disappointing,” Anand said after the final results were out.”When I reached a plus-four score (Four wins and rest draws), I felt I was well on my way to a final victory but Hikaru just kept winning, picking up six points in a row, which was quite amazing.”But I’m not unhappy; it’s difficult to be unhappy with a plus-four score. It’s a pity I didn’t manage to win the tournament but I think I performed above my rating, which isn’t bad at all,” the World Champion said.advertisementThe third place was shared by Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia who both scored 8 points apiece. The last round of the tournament turned out to be a damp with all the games ending in draws for the first time in the event this year.- With PTI inputs
Explosive openers Chris Gayle and Kevin Lewis along with spinner Sunil Narine were missing from the West Indies line-up for the T20I series against India. Andre Russell first missed his flight to India and then was ruled out of the series with injury adding to the fact Dwayne Bravo has already retired last month from international cricket.Denesh Ramdin though feels that absence of their top players was a major reason for their defeat in the Twenty20 series, as a Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni-less India steamrolled the current T20 world champions.Barring two ODIs, the Caribbean side was easily crushed by the hosts, who won the Test, the ODI and the Twenty20 series with ease.”It’s difficult to build a team given the current scenario. When you look at our T20 players they are in demand all over the world, so yes, we are suffering in that aspect. Our senior players did not turn up for the tour, and that’s one of the reasons why we are 2-0 down in this series”, Ramdin said ahead of the third and final T20 in Chennai on Sunday.”It’s all about having food on the table. The players are good enough to be taken by a team in another part of the world, then I can’t stop a player who’s out there to improve.”The West Indies batsmen struggled to pick chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav and it played a huge role in India’s dominant show in all three series, said Ramdin.advertisement”Guys haven’t been able to pick him, and basically he was been one of the threats in the middle overs and unfortunately we couldn’t’t push on.” Ramdin said it was more disappointing that despite being the world T20 champions they could not perform well in shortest format.”We played our first game at Eden Gardens, where we were expecting to do well. But we didn’t adapt as well as we should. We didn’t’t string any partnerships either. T20 banks on momentum and partnerships, and we couldn’t’t do that,” he said.”But Hope and Hetmyer have had success, to transfer themselves from 50-over mindset to T20 cricket. They have tried their best, and one needs 10-12 balls to get a start, but they haven’t capitalised. A lot of T20 cricket is about momentum and we haven’t been able to build on it, he added.Ramdin said the spinners will play a key role in tomorrow’s match.There’s a system in place. The wickets in WI are similar to India, slow and turning. On this wicket, with the square boundaries a bit bigger, it’s important our spinners bowl better tomorrow. On this wicket it is very important that we bowl the right lengths.”Talking about lack of top class fast bowlers from West Indies, which has produced some legendary players such as Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Ramdin said there were “some good pacer coming through”.”But they lack in experience because our first-class series is so short. Some guys get injured and some get thrown into the big stage. But our first-class level and international level has a big gap. They still need to get up there in terms of fitness and accuracy.”Ramdin hoped the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) would help unearth more talent in the years to come.”I would like to use the Indian Premier League as an example. Indian cricket is so strong in all formats because of the IPL, since young players come through the system. So in five years, hopefully our cricket can take off to that next level, because we have some exciting T20 and 50-overs cricketers,” he signed off.(With inputs from PTI)