Daily Bulletin: Rajnath Singh to visit Srinagar to review security after Pulwama attack, Modi to flag off Vande Bharat express; day's top stories
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Pulwama to carry our ground-level assessment after the attack; Narendra Modi will flag off the Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi today, Youtube turns 13
Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir after the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama claimed at least 35 lives
Narendra Modi will flag off the Vande Bharat Express from New Delhi station today
The Puducherry CM Narayanaswamy is likely to continue his dharna on Friday, protesting Governor Kiran Bedi's negative stand towards his government.
Rajnath Singh to visit Srinagar after Pulwama attack
At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and several injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kilograms of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
"We regret to inform that 37 personnel (have been killed) and five personnel were injured in the ID blast at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir. The injured are being treated at the 92 base hospital of the Army in Srinagar," the CRPF statement said. More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Srinagar to review the situation. He is likely to hold review meetings with senior security and police officials to make a ground level assessment. According to reports, the Ministry of Home Affairs is bringing in teams of the NIA and forensic experts to investigate the attack.
Opposition leaders extended condolences to the families of the deceased, and said the "cowardly" attack was "deeply disturbing". The Congress cancelled the lunch it was scheduled to host on Friday for the ambassadors of G20 nations, PTI said. Reports also said that the Youth Congress will protest against the attack outside the Pakistan High Commission on Friday.
India also asked the UN Security Council to official list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist and sought a global ban on terror operations in Pakistan. The Cabinet Committee on Security will also meet on Friday morning, reports said.
Narendra Modi to flag off Vande Bharat Express
India's first semi-high speed train, the Vande Bharat Express, will be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday from the New Delhi railway station. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and members of the Railway Board will be on board the train on its inaugural journey, a statement from the PMO said.
The train will travel from Delhi to Varanasi in nine hours and 45 minutes. This includes stoppage time of 40 minutes each at Kanpur and Allahabad where there will be special programmes. At the New Delhi railway station, Modi will inspect the facilities in the train and address a gathering on the occasion.
The semi-high speed Train 18, which has been recently rechristened Vande Bharat Express, can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour and has travel classes like the Shatabdi trains but with better facilities. It aims to provide a totally new travel experience to passengers. It has 16 air-conditioned coaches of which two are executive class. The total seating capacity is 1,128 passengers. It is much more than the conventional Shatabdi rakes of an equal number of coaches, thanks to shifting of all electric equipment below the coaches and seats in the driving coach also.
Modi is also scheduled to visit Jhansi on Friday, where he is expected to lay the foundation stone of a defence corridor in Uttar Pradesh.
Puducherry chief minister Narayanaswamy to continue dharna
The Puducherry chief minister is likely to continue his dharna on Friday, protesting Governor Kiran Bedi's "negative stand" towards "his government". After sleeping on the pavement close to the Raj Nivas wearing black shirts on Wednesday, Narayanasamy, his ministers and party MLAs stayed put at the same place through Thursday even as Bedi left for New Delhi early in the morning amid tight security by Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel.
They have been demanding that the Lt Governor accord sanction to 39 government proposals, including a free rice scheme. Functionaries of different wings of the ruling Congress and the DMK have also joined the protest, which came close on the heels of similar agitations by Narayanasamy's West Bengal and Delhi counterparts Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal against the Centre.
IndiGo to cancel around 130 flights today
Acute shortage of pilots along with NOTAMs at some airports has forced IndiGo to cancel around 130 flights on Friday, according to a PTI report. NOTAMs or notice to airmen is given to pilots and include information on potential hazards on a flight route. The cancelled flights account for almost 10 percent of the airline's operations, the source said.
The Gurugram-based budget carrier operates over 1,300 flights per day with a fleet of 210 planes. "IndiGo has cancelled around 130 flights for Friday as it continues to face a shortage of pilots," the report quoted a source as saying.
The budget carrier has been cancelling flights since last Saturday after rain and hailstorm hit the Delhi-NCR region last week. On Thursday it did not operate as many as 70 flights, citing reasons like planned cancellations and partial closure of the Bengaluru airport due to the Air Show.
India set to announce squad for upcoming limited-overs series against Australia
BCCI to announce Indian squad for upcoming T20 and ODI home series against Australia. Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah are likely to return to the side as India begin their final preparations ahead of the ICC World Cup. A possible toss up between the selection of left-arm pacers Khaleel Ahmed and Jaydev Unadkat is also expected.
YouTube turns 14
YouTube is all set to celebrate its fourteenth anniversary on Friday. YouTube is considered as the second largest search engine as it is like the go-to platform for watching and streaming videos. It was this day when three former employees from PayPal launched a video streaming website now popularly known as YouTube.
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The DGP said around 6,000 policemen have lost their lives fighting militancy in Jammu and Kashmir
Hathras case: Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi call Uttar Pradesh govt unethical and insensitive, accuse it of 'protecting criminals'
The Congress leaders also launched a social media campaign, urging people, especially women, to speak up for the Hathras victim
The Congress leaders made the comments in reference to reports of a BJP MLA and his son allegedly taking away a man accused of harassing a woman from police custody on Saturday