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Red Fort violence planned by BJP, says Arvind Kejriwal | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday accused the BJP workers of of orchestrating the violence that took place on Republic Day at Red Fort during farmer’s tractor parade.
Addressing Kissan Mahapanchayat in Meerut, Kejriwal said farmers can be anything but anti-nationals.
“The entire Red Fort incident was planned by them. Many people told me that they were deliberately shown wrong path as they didn’t know streets of Delhi. Those who hoisted flag were their (BJP) workers,” Kejriwal alleged.
The Delhi chief minister slammed the Centre of filing cases against farmers for carrying out “anti-national activities”.
“Even Britishers did not have this courage. They call our farmers terrorists, Even Britishers did not oppress our farmers to this extent, they did not fix nails on the ground. This government has left behind the Britishers,” he said.
Kejriwal further claimed that government wanted to take away farmer’s lands and give them to 3-4 capitalists.
“Centre’s three farm laws are death warrant for farmers. The government wants to take away their lands and give them to 3-4 capitalists. Farmers will become labourers in their own fields, that is why it’s do or die situation for farmers,” the AAP leader said.
Protesters broke barricades to enter New Delhi and clashed with police in several parts of the national capital during the January 26 ‘tractor rally’ protest organised by the farmers.
The protestors had also entered Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.
(With agency inputs)



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Arrival of ‘sticky bombs’ in Kashmir sets off alarm bells | India News – Times of India

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SRINAGAR: Security forces battling a decades-long insurgency in Kashmir are alarmed by the recent arrival in the region of small, magnetic bombs that have wreaked havoc in Afghanistan.
“Sticky bombs”, which can be attached to vehicles and detonated remotely, have been seized during raids in recent months in the Jammu and Kashmir, three senior security officials told Reuters.
“These are small IEDs and quite powerful,” said Kashmir Valley police chief Vijay Kumar, referring to improvised explosive devices. “It will certainly impact the present security scenario as volume and frequency of vehicular movements of police and security forces are high in Kashmir Valley.”
The arrival of the sticky bombs in Kashmir – including 15 seized in a February raid – raises concerns that an unnerving tactic attributed to the Taliban insurgents in nearby Afghanistan could be spreading to the India-Pakistan conflict.
Afghanistan in recent months has seen a series of sticky-bomb attacks targeting security forces, judges, government officials, civil society activists and journalists. The attacks – some as victims sat in traffic – have sown fear, while avoiding substantial civilian casualties.
None of the devices seized in Kashmir was produced there, a senior security official said, suggesting they were being smuggled from Pakistan. “All of them have come via drone drops and tunnels,” he said, asking not to be named.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan.
India accuses Pakistan of backing the insurgency in Kashmir, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives since the 1990s. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it gives only moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiri people fighting for self-determination.
Officials said the bombs are particularly worrying because they can be easily attached to vehicles using magnets, potentially allowing militants to carry out assassinations or target military convoys that regularly criss-cross the valley.
In February 2019, a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing 40 soldiers – the deadliest attack on Indian forces in the region – bringing India and Pakistan to the brink of another war.
Police chief Kumar said that security forces were changing protocols to deal with the new threat. The measures included increasing the distance between private and military traffic, installing more cameras on vehicles and using drones to monitor convoys.
A difference between militants in Kashmir and Afghanistan is that the Taliban have tremendous ability to move around in urban and rural areas, which, along with the easier availability of explosives, make the bombs a potent threat.
The Taliban, which initially said it was behind some of the attacks, has since denied any involvement in the attacks.
“The Taliban has targets, can reach them, and kill them with impunity. The whole structure of the attack – and its endless repetition – is what makes the bomb effective,” said Avinash Paliwal, a senior lecturer in international relations at SOAS University of London.
“In Kashmir, the space for such ability to manoeuvre with ease is limited.”



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Popyrin fights back to win maiden ATP title in Singapore | Tennis News – Times of India

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Australia’s Alexei Popyrin stormed back from a set down to beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 and clinch his first ATP Tour title at the Singapore Open on Sunday.
Popyrin fired 11 aces and broke serve five times to hand fourth seed Bublik who is still searching for his first title a fourth defeat in a final.
“We put in a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off,” Popyrin said in an on-court interview.
“Also my family behind the scenes … they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also and this is for them, this is for them 100 per cent.”
The 21-year-old, who upset Marin Cilic in the last-four, made a slow start and dropped the opening set but produced an instant response, breaking Bublik’s serve three times in the second to hand out a rare bagel.
The former junior French Open champion did not let up in the third, surging to a 4-2 lead before closing out the victory when Bublik double faulted.
He became the second player to win a maiden title this year after Briton Dan Evans triumphed at the Murray River Open.



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Indian Women’s League 2020-21 to be hosted in Odisha | Football News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Sunday confirmed Odisha as the venue for the forthcoming Indian Women’s League (IWL) 2020-21 edition.
The dates for the tournament will be announced soon. AIFF appreciated Odisha Government’s longstanding partnership with Indian Football wherein the latter have been providing its stadia and state of the art training facilities to national teams across various age groups and genders – all in an effort to take Indian Football forward together.
Praful Patel, President, AIFF in his statement said: “The Government of Odisha has been a great supporter of Indian Football. We are very thankful to Naveen Patnaik, Vishal Kumar Dev, Vineel Krishna, and the entire Sports Department of Odisha for extending all the support & help to organise the Hero Indian Women’s League. Over the years, the tournament has provided the platform for a lot of budding women footballers to showcase their talent and provide them the option of taking up football as a career.”
The AIFF stays committed to the development of women’s football in the country. India is scheduled to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022 which will be followed by the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022. The 2020-21 Hero IWL, will hence, provide an opportunity for scouts to look at, and unearth new talent for the Women’s National Team.
Tushar Kanti Behera, Minister of State, Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, in his message, said: “Holistic development of sports in India, and Indian football, in particular, is Odisha Sports’ vision. Odisha has been synonymous with women’s football in India for a long. I am an ardent supporter of women’s empowerment, and the hosting of the Indian Women’s League in Odisha allows us the opportunity to contribute to the development of women’s football in the country along with the All India Football Federation. Women sportspersons in India have been bringing huge laurels for the country and I am confident our women footballers will garner more glory in the near future.”
Since the pandemic, Indian Football has been leading it from the front to bring back sporting action in India. It all started with the Hero I-League Qualifiers which were followed by the ongoing Hero Indian Super League and the Hero I-League.
Indian women’s football has also had its fair exposure at the International stage in recent times with the senior women’s team assembling for a two-month training camp on December 1, 2020, in Goa which was followed by three matches in Turkey, against Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine.



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Couple goals: Kajol and ​Ajay Devgn​

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Couple goals: Kajol and Ajay Devgn



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Exclusive! Sanya Malhotra: Theatre was the reason I became an actor; it has its own charm – Times of India

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After having to stay away from theatres for a year, film aficionados heaved a sigh of relief after the government allowed cinema halls to open with 50 per cent occupancy. Egged by the outcome, several films announced their release dates and started working towards meeting it.

But now, with the rise in Covid cases, the possibility of another lockdown looms large. Recently, ETimes got in touch with actress Sanya Malhotra to find out what she thought about visiting a theatre amidst the pandemic. Does she feel that people are still skeptical about going to the theatres? “I recently went to a theatre to watch a film and I felt very safe. I am still hoping that people will go and take all the necessary precautions that they are supposed to (use masks, sanitise, wash hands regularly). Theatre ka mazza hi alag hai (the experience of watching a film in a theatre is unparalleled), I was so overwhelmed when I was sitting there after a year,” she gushes.

The actress went on to add that OTT watching comes with comfort but also agreed that theatre has its own charm. “Theatre was the reason I became an actor; it has its own charm. I was so happy watching something on the big screen. Of course, OTT platforms provide you with a lot of comfort but a theatre experience has a different charm and experience altogether.” Ask her which film did she go to the theatres for and she reveals, “I watched ‘Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi’, Seema Pahwa ma’am’s film. It is an amazing film!”

In 2020, Sanya stole hearts with her crackling chemistry with Aditya Roy Kapur in ‘Ludo’, which was a digital release. Ask her if she wanted it to be a theatre release, and she says, “Not really. Because it released on OTT, it reached a lot of countries. As the movie released during the pandemic, it was gratifying to be sitting at home and yet getting to entertain so many people out there, right in the comfort of their homes. It was a different experience as an actor–a much more relaxed experience. It was through social media that I learnt how well the movie was doing and the song ‘Oh Betaji’ became all the rage. So yeah, I never felt that it should have happened any differently.”



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Bat has to be the first line of defence on spin-friendly pitches: Vengsarkar | Cricket News – Times of India

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AHMEDABAD: Apart from dominating England in their own backyard, with three centuries at Lord’s alone, former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar was a master batsman against spin bowling at home as well. His career highest of 166 (against Sri Lanka) on a Cuttack wicket that aided a vicious turn and saw puffs of dust getting kicked up, is one that best illustrated his ability.
With a lot of talk on batsmen facing difficulties on the spin-friendly pitches that were laid out in Chennai and Ahmedabad for the second and third Tests respectively between India and England, Vengsarkar, who played 115 Test matches, spoke on how to approach spinners in such conditions.

Excerpts:
India won the last two Tests on a difficult wicket. What are the things you need to take care while batting on these surfaces?
The advantage for us (India) was that we are used to playing local cricket and domestic cricket against quality spinners. So that helped us quite a lot. Basically, when you see that the ball is seaming or turning, you have to work hard for runs. When the ball is spinning, one should play very late and ensure not to jab at the ball. Also, you need to ensure that bat is your first line of defence.

How do you approach and read the ball?
You allow the ball to turn or bounce or whatever (it is doing). It also comes out of habit. Suppose if you can’t work out the ball from the bowler’s hand, you can then work out from the air and the spinning of the seam. These things you develop only after playing and getting into a habit. We play quality spinners at domestic level. That helps us a lot.

Batting against Ravichandran Ashwin, what would you keep in mind?
The first and foremost thing is that you have to see what sort of a wicket you are batting on and then accordingly, you adapt to conditions. Ashwin is a top-class spinner. So when you are playing a top-class spinner, you know he will be up to something. He has got some more (extra) variety up his sleeve so you have to anticipate what he is going to bowl next. That is very important. It all depends on the wicket and the situation of the match, whether you want to grind, whether you want to play late, whether you want to attack. There is no fixed way. You can’t say I will bat this way or that way, you have to improvise then and there.

How did you find the batting of Rohit Sharma in the last two Tests?
He is one of the best batsmen in the world. There is no question about it. The way he plays fast bowling on any surface, whether it is seaming or bouncing. Or even against spinners (in the last two Tests). It is a treat to watch him bat.

What do you attribute his batting skills to?
He has a great defensive technique. Because if you have to score runs on any kind of wicket, you need a good defensive technique. He has that. I’d say he has everything. How he changes gears, how he approaches the game, his attacking technique. The way he played against spinners is a treat to watch just like it is watching him against fast bowling.
You had a love for Lord’s. You are the only visiting batsman to make three Test centuries at the venue. What made it possible?
Those days while touring England, we used to play a lot of side games against County teams i.e., matches outside of Test cricket. That helped us to adapt to conditions especially in England. Once you adapt to conditions, you can spend more time in the middle and get runs in the middle. So that gives you confidence. It gave me confidence.



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ICC will get written assurance from BCCI by March regarding issuance of visas for our players: Ehsan Mani | Cricket News – Times of India

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KARACHI: PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said the ICC has assured them it will get a written assurance from the BCCI by next month that all its players, officials, fans and journalists will be issued visas for the T20 World Cup to be held in India.
On Sunday, Mani also said that the Asia Cup scheduled to be held in June this year in Sri Lanka will need to be postponed if India qualifies for the World Test Championships final.
“I have informed the board that the BCCI was supposed to give us visa assurances by 31st December but that didn’t happen because their President, Saurav Ganguly was twice hospitalised,” he said at a media conference here.
“But I have now again taken up this matter with the ICC and am in touch with them. I also have another virtual conference with them tomorrow on this issue. The ICC has told us that we will get our written confirmation by the end of next month.”
The PCB chief said it was their right to demand this assurance and no one can keep Pakistan out of the World Cup.
“Either we will be going to the World T20 with full protocols or it will have to be moved elsewhere,” he said while insisting that the PCB wanted written assurances that India will issue visas for Pakistan team, fans and journalists.
To a question about whether the World T20 could be shifted to a neutral venue at this late stage, Mani said granting visas for Pakistani nationals was not the only issue confronting the Indian board.
“There is also the problem of tax exemption to the ICC for the event and the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The ICC has already in a contingency planning decided the World T20 can also be moved to UAE if need arose,” he said.
Mani also said if India qualifies for the WTC final it would be impossible for the Asia Cup to be held this year as planned due to a clash of dates.
“The way things look most probably the Asia Cup will be postponed until 2023,” he said.
The World Test Championship final is slated at Lord’s from June 18-22.
India needs at least a draw in the fourth and final Test against England in the ongoing four-Test series to set up a clash with New Zealand in the World Test Championship final.
Pakistan was to initially host the Asia Cup but surrendered it to Sri Lanka after problems over India not being able to tour Pakistan for the tournament.
Mani also made it clear that Pakistan had no problems with the World T20 being held in India but just wanted to be absolutely sure that there are no problems with issuance of visas for its team, officials, fans and journalists closer to the tournament.



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Srinagar eatery owner’s son succumbs to injuries 11 days after being shot | India News – Times of India

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SRINAGAR: Akash Kumar Mehra, the 25-year-old son of owner of a famous vegetarian eatery at Durganag locality of Dalgate, succumbed to his injuries 11 days after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists fired upon him.
Mehra, son of Ramesh Kumar, was shot at by one of the three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists on the evening of February 17. He sustained bullet injuries on his chest and in the abdomen. He was immediately shifted to the SMHS hospital where he was being treated till Sunday morning.
Akash was put on ventilator few ago, the doctors at the hospital said.
Mehra’s father Ramesh was running his vegetarian eatery since 1993 at the Dalgate and over a period time gained fame among the tourists and the locals.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range Vijay Kumar on February 19, 2021 at a press conference in Srinagar had said that three terrorists were arrested for carrying out the attack on Akash Mehra.
He said that the bike and pistol used in the attack by the trio have been seized and that the terrorists have confessed to the crime.
He identified the assailants as Suhail Ahmad Mir and Owais Manzoor Sofi, both residents of Dangarpora in Anantnag while third one was identified as Vilayat Aziz Mir of Wampora in Pulwama district.



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At least seven dead on bloodiest day of Myanmar protests against coup – Times of India

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Myanmar police fired on protesters on Sunday in the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations against a military coup and at least seven people were killed and several wounded, political and medical sources and media said.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership on Feb. 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
The coup, which brought a halt to tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, has drawn hundreds of thousands onto the streets and the condemnation of Western countries.
“Myanmar is like a battlefield,” the Buddhist-majority nation’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter.
Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Soldiers also reinforced police.
Several wounded people were hauled away by fellow protesters, leaving bloody smears on pavements, media images showed. One man died after being brought to a hospital with a bullet in the chest, said a doctor who asked not to be identified.
A woman died of a suspected heart attack after police swooped to break up a Yangon teachers’ protest with stun grenades, her daughter and a colleague said.
Police also opened fire in Dawei in the south, killing three and wounding several, politician Kyaw Min Htike told Reuters from the town.
The Myanmar Now media outlet reported two people had been killed in a protest in the second city of Mandalay.
Police and the spokesman for the ruling military council did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Police broke up protests in other towns, including Lashio in the northeast and Myeik in the deep south, residents and media said.
‘NEVER KNEEL’
Junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing said last week authorities were using minimal force to deal with the protests.
Nevertheless, at least 10 protesters have now died in the turmoil. The army said a policeman has been killed.
The crackdown would appear to indicate determination by the military to impose its authority in the face of widespread defiance, not just on the streets but more broadly in the civil service, municipal administration, the judiciary, the education and health sectors and the media.
“The Myanmar security forces’ clear escalation in use of lethal force in multiple towns and cities … is outrageous and unacceptable,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
Hundreds of protesters refused to leave the streets by early afternoon in Yangon. Many set up barricades while others chanted slogans and sang protest songs.
“If they attack us, we’ll defend. We’ll never kneel down to the military boots,” said Nyan Win Shein from one Yangon protest.
Early in the day, police swooped to disperse a teachers’ protest with stun grenades, sending the crowd fleeing. One teacher, Tin New Yee, died of a suspected heart attack, her daughter and a fellow teacher said.
Police also hurled stun grenades outside a Yangon medical school, sending doctors and students in white lab coats scattering. A group called the Whitecoat Alliance of medics said more than 50 medical staff had been arrested.
State-run MRTV television said more than 470 people had been arrested on Saturday when police launched the nationwide crackdown. It was not clear how many were detained on Sunday.
‘INSTIL FEAR’
Youth activist Esther Ze Naw said earlier people were battling the fear they had lived with under military rule.
“It’s obvious they’re trying to instil fear in us by making us run and hide,” she said. “We can’t accept that.”
The police action came after state television announced that Myanmar’s U.N. envoy had been fired for betraying the country, after he urged the United Nations to use “any means necessary” to reverse the coup.
The ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, remained defiant. “I decided to fight back as long as I can,” he told Reuters in New York.
While Western countries have condemned the coup and some have imposed limited sanctions, the generals have traditionally shrugged off diplomatic pressure. They have promised to hold a new election but not set a date.
Suu Kyi’s party and supporters said the result of the November vote must be respected.
Suu Kyi, 75, who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest, faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols. The next hearing in her case is on Monday.



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