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Johor Cup 2018: Determined Indian hockey colts beat Japan 1-0

With Japan on the rise with both their senior and junior teams making good progress in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, the India colts had their task cut out.



Indian Hocky Team

Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 9 (IANS) The Indian junior mens hockey team registered their third successive victory at the 8th Sultan of Johor Cup 2018 as they beat Japan 1-0 in a closely-fought match here on Tuesday.

The rain-affected India-Japan match which was stopped for a few minutes during the first quarter was intensely fought between the two teams.

With Japan on the rise with both their senior and junior teams making good progress in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, the India colts had their task cut out.

Their attack was often challenged with good, disciplined defence structure that Japan adopted during the entire duration of play. Though India made a few chances in the opening quarter with the team winning a PC, it was denied by a good Japanese defence.

With the second quarter too ending in a stalemate with both teams at 0-0, the third quarter saw India up their attack.

While two PCs were awarded to India after a Japanese infringement, it was in the second attempt that skipper Mandeep Mor converted a well-executed PC in the 42nd minute.

Leading by only a goal, India put all their might into defence with goalkeeper Pankaj Rajak making some excellent saves to keep his team in the lead.

India overcame a close shave when Japan won a PC with minutes left for the final hooter, however, the chance was missed and India held their nerves to seal the match.

Earlier in the tournament, India had won 2-1 against Malaysia and 7-1 against New Zealand.

The Indian colts will next take on defending champions Australia in their fourth match on Wednesday.


Sidhu puts Congress, Amarinder on back foot with Pulwama comments; trolled on social media



Navjot Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, Feb 16 (IANS) Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has again put the Congress party and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on the back foot with his comments defending Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy which left 49 troopers dead.

Despite the passage of 24 hours after Sidhu made his comments on a popular TV show on Friday and reiterated the same again on Saturday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has not commented on the the utterances of his minister so far.

Sidhu’s cabinet colleagues in Punjab have also been silent on his comments.

Informed sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said that there was no move to dismiss Sidhu from the Cabinet despite the anger being vented out on him for his Pulwama comments.

Sidhu was dropped from the TV show after a growing clamour on social media seeking his sacking from the show as well as the Punjab council of ministers.

The cricketer-turned-politician sounded a discordant note on Friday, advocating strongly that the dialogue with Islamabad should continue even after the biggest terrorist attack on security forces in Kashmir Valley.

Sidhu, who takes every opportunity to harp on his friendship with Pakistan Prime Minister and former cricketer Imran Khan, had said: “Wherever wars are fought and such things (Pulwama type attack) happen, dialogue also continues simultaneously. There is a need to find a permanent solution (to issues between India and Pakistan).

“Such people (terrorists) have no religion, no country and no caste. When a snake bites, its anti-dote is also snake poison,” Sidhu said, justifying his take on the dialogue between the two nuclear neighbours.

Though Sidhu condemned the Pulwama terror attack on the CRPF convoy, he added that the entire nation (Pakistan) could not be blamed for the actions of a handful people.

“This (attack) should be condemned by all. For a handful people, you cannot blame an entire nation. Those behind the attack must be punished,” Sidhu had said.

Sidhu on Saturday defended his comments claiming that his statement was “deliberately distorted” as the people were scared of him.

In November last year, at least six of the ministers in the Amarinder government had reacted sharply to Sidhu’s comments regarding Amarinder Singh’s leadership made in Hyderabad.

Amarinder himself had made his displeasure known to Sidhu regarding the latter’s visit to Pakistan in November last year. While Sidhu had chosen to go to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor project at the invitation of Pakistan Prime Minister, Amarinder had declined the invitation saying that Pakistan Army was killing Indian soldiers at the Line of Control (LoC) and conspiring to revive terrorism in Punjab.

Amarinder had gone on record to point out that he told Sidhu that he had declined the invite from Pakistan but Sidhu insisted that he would go in his “personal capacity”.

Sidhu, who was a star campaigner for the Congress party last year in the election-bound states of Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telengana and Rajasthan, had recently raked up another controversy when he indirectly questioned Amarinder Singh’s leadership by commenting that he (Amarinder) was not his (Sidhu’s) captain (leader).

However, Sidhu later clarified that Amarinder was like a “fatherly figure” for him.

Though Amarinder has welcomed the move by India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor project, he has dubbed the whole affair as a “bigger conspiracy” hatched by the Pakistan Army.

Citing the fact that Pakistan Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, had “broken the news of opening the Kartarpur Corridor to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their prime minister”, Amarinder said that the whole affair smacked of a bigger conspiracy.

Sidhu had tried to hog all the limelight on the Kartarpur Corridor project after breaking the news about it in August last year. “The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is clearly a game plan of the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence).

“A bigger conspiracy seems to have been hatched by Pakistan Army against India. Pakistan is attempting to revive militancy in Punjab and thus everyone should be wary of all of its overtures, no matter how grand they appear to be,” Amarinder had said earlier.

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Goa Lokayukta recommends CBI probe into tablet-PCs purchase, slams sluggish government



Manohar Parrikar

Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) Slamming the BJP-led coalition government for dragging its feet over probing a possible scam in the procurement of thousands of tablet-PCs for distribution to school students in 2013, the Goa Lokayukta has recommended a CBI probe to track down a cartel of businessmen who could have rigged the tender.

Goa Lokayukta Justice P.K. Mishra in his report, a copy of which is available with IANS, has also blamed the reluctance of the state government to probe the matter, due to the “fear of old skeletons” falling out of cupboards, while also ticking off then Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma for his lackadaisical approach vis-a-vis the probe.

“It would be more appropriate, the matter relating to further inquiry relating to the bidding process in 2013-14 in particular and bidding process before 2013 and after 2013 in general, is entrusted to a more independent body such as CBI,” Mishra has said in his report. The document was submitted to the Goa government last month.

Mishra also stated that his recommendation for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, also stems from the fact that the state anti-corruption bureau had been dragging its feet vis-a-vis probing the possibility of “cartelisation” of the tablet-PC tendered purchase.

“From the very fact that the ACB has apparently kept quiet for about two years by now, it is apparent that the ACB is reluctant to bring out the matter to its logical conclusion by completing the inquiry and booking the persons responsible if any for any conspiracy or even corruption,” it further added.

In 2013, then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar-led government was one of the first states in the country to allot 47,000 free tablets to students from Class V and VI. The tablets were distributed amid much fanfare on Parrikar’s birthday in December.

Eventually, the scheme was withdrawn by a subsequent BJP-led ruling dispensation led by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar in 2015, after Parrikar was elevated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as Defence Minister.

The Lokayukta probe followed a complaint made to the anti-corruption authority by activist Aashish Kamat, who alleged that the state exchequer had been defrauded by a cartel of businessmen who had manipulated the tender issued by the Goa government’s Information Technology Corporation. The complaint also estimated a scam of approximately Rs 12.64 crore in the purchase of tablet-PCs and violation of Central Vigilance Commission guidelines.

The Lokayukta in its report has said that the government’s dragging of its feet vis-a-vis the authority’s recommendation for a probe into the alleged scam, was perhaps to avoid old skeletons from tumbling out of cupboards.

“The main thrust of the report was a recommendation to inquire further in the matter relating to the bidding process in 2013-14 in particular and the bidding process before and after 2013 in general with a view to find out whether there had been a cartel formed during the year 2013-14 or during previous years or subsequent years,” Mishra said in his report.

“However, the state government for reasons best known to itself, or may be to avoid old skeletons falling out of cupboards does not want to enquire further into such aspect, notwithstanding the fact that similar process had been severely criticised in audit report,” the report also stated.

The Lokayukta report also picks on the role of then Chief Secretary for lacking promptness in signing off on the anti-corruption’s recommendations for a probe.

“It is also worthwhile to indicate that not only in this case but in every case, where the Chief Secretary as the competent authority was required to file ‘action taken or proposed to be taken’ report, no such report has been filed within the stipulated time in any of the matters,” the report said.

“This is indeed a sad commentary on the way the previous Chief Secretary had acted in respect of various reports of the Lokayukta where such Chief Secretary was the competent authority,” it added.

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Opposition stands with our security forces and government: Rahul on Pulwama Attack



Rahul Gandhi , Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Feb 15: The Congress on Friday strongly condemned the Pulwama terror attack and said that the entire opposition stood with the security forces and the government.

“This is a terrible tragedy. This type of violence done against our soldiers is absolutely disgusting. The entire opposition will stand together with our jawans and our Government. No force can divide or break this country”, Congress President Rahul Gandhi stated while addressing a press conference with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister said “Today is the day of mourning. Our country has lost close to 40 armed forces jawans and our foremost duty is to convey to their families that we are with them. We shall never compromise with the terrorist forces”.

“The Congress party stands in full support of our jawans and their families. We will do all that is necessary to keep this nation united”, he added.

In a gruesome attack, nearly 40 CRPF troopers were killed in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.


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