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Maoists torch vehicles in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli

Gadchiroli, Jan 24 (ANI): Maoists set fire to 14 vehicles of a road construction company in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The vehicles belonging to a road construction company called Sarla, based in Andhra Pradesh, were set on fire by a group of 100 Maoists. The company had been working in the area for the last two months and had so far completed the construction of 13 kilometres of road. So far, no Maoist group has come forward claiming the responsibility for the attack. The reason behind this attack is also not yet clear. Among the vehicles burnt were eight tractors, two trucks, one road roller, one pick up vehicle and two bull dozers. Reportedly, the police have launched a manhunt to nab the culprits. Jan 24, 2015
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Irom Sharmila re-arrested in Manipur a day after her release from prison hospital

Imphal, Jan 24 (ANI): Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, on hunger strike for the last 14 years in protest against alleged army atrocities, was re-arrested, a day after being released from detention in Manipur. The activist was released from a state hospital after a court found no evidence to support earlier charges filed by state prosecutors that she was trying to commit suicide by refusing food. After walking out free, Sharmila again began her fast through the night. She was examined by a team of doctors from the government hospital. She was asked by the police to go to a hospital but she refused. She is in a government hospital under police watch where she is force fed through nose. Jan 24, 2015

Security forces arrest Maoist in Jharkhand

Giridih, Jan 24 (ANI): Security forces arrested a Maoist zonal commander in a major offensive against rebels in Jharkhand, a senior police official said. A country made pistol and live cartridges were seized from his possession. Security forces and police have launched an "all out operation" against People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a breakaway faction of the CPI (Maoist) and the second largest extremist outfit in Jharkhand. Forces are raiding hideouts in Gumla, Simdega, Ranchi and Singhbhum districts of the rebel outfits' hotbed. The arrested rebel chief has been identified as Madan Rai. The Maoists, also known as Naxals in India, are inspired by the political philosophy of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong. They say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers. Jan 24, 2015
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Assam beefs up security ahead of Republic Day

Guwahati, Jan 24 (ANI): Assam tightened security across all its districts ahead of 66th Republic Day. In a sign of growing warmth between the two nations, US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest at this year's Republic Day glitzy parade which showcases country's military might and rich heritage. The preparation for Republic Day, which is celebrated on January 26, is in full swing. Participants including men in uniform and school students carried out rehearsals in dusty ground, while the state is under security blanket and CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the parade ground. Security personnel are carrying out regular checks at railway platforms, tracks and also conducting frisking of vehicles and commuters on road in Guwahati city. As the northeast is home to several separatist revolts, thousands of troops are deployed to prevent any untoward incident. Director General of Police (DGP), Khagen Sharma said there are intelligence inputs that militants are desperate to create mayhem on the eve of Republic Day. Jan 24, 2015
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US officials review security in Agra ahead of Obama's visit

Agra, Jan 24 (ANI): US security officials visited city of Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh to review various aspects ahead of the visit of US President Barack Obama. The US President, along with first lady Michelle Obama, will arrive in New Delhi on January 25 on invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The members stayed for hours and interacted with officials regarding security preparations in Agra city. Officials paid visit to the local Sarojini Naidu Medical College to have a look at the trauma centre and other facilities. Kumar added all arrangements, including the critical care ambulance, are in place. Agra is set to become a fortress ahead of Obama's visit on January 27. The historic monument Taj Mahal will be closed to visitors on that day. Jan 24, 2015
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J and K separatist group calls for shutdown to protest Prophet's cartoons published by Charlie Heb

Srinagar, Jan 24 (ANI): A complete shutdown called by a separatist group in Jammu and Kashmir, to protest against blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Mohammad published in a French magazine, paralysed normal life. The call for protest was given by Chief of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Yaseen Malik, against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which has been known for lampooning Islam. In the rally called 'The Prophet Prestige Rally', protestors shouted slogans against the magazine and demanded the cartoonists behind drawing Prophet's caricatures be hanged. Roads and markets in Srinagar wore a deserted look as shops across the valley remained shut and vehicles stayed off the roads. A protestor, Faraz Ahmed said the protest was against the disrespect shown by Charlie Hebdo against Islam. Jan 24, 2015
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Prime Minister Modi confers bravery awards to children

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented the National Awards for Bravery to 24 children from across the country ahead of Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the children had shown courage in the face of adversity and could not stop themselves from acting with valor, adding that they had inspired many others in the society. Modi commended the awardees for their selfless act. He urged the children to work towards their goals and dreams relentlessly. Of the 24 children, there are eight girls and 16 boys. Four will be honoured with the award posthumously. The Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, was also present on the occasion. The awardees are invited to New Delhi for the award and also participate in the Republic Day parade on January 26. Jan 24, 2015
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Dancing cop becomes a rock star like figure among riders in Indore

Indore, Jan 24 (ANI): Moving his feet and hands in sync with the fast moving lights on a busy intersection, a traffic cop in Madhya Pradesh has virtually become a traffic stopper. Unlike his colleagues, Ranjit Singh is a rock star for his fans who are thrilled with his dancing skills with which he controls the maddening crowd and unruly drivers. Singh is constantly on the move at the busiest cross-section at Mahatma Gandhi Road in Indore as he moonwalks from one corner to another to ensure smooth ply of traffic. Synchronising his moves with the timings of traffic signals is what sets Singh apart from other traffic policemen. Singh's moves have started paying off. He said there is a visible improvement in the traffic sense of the locals. He has become a role-model for drivers and pedestrians alike. Singh has been felicitated by authorities for his unique style of disciplining the roads and the chaotic traffic, having received a total of 46 awards so far. Jan 24, 2015
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Residents expect Obama to speak on Kashmir issue while on his visit to India

Srinagar, Jan 24 (ANI): Residents of Jammu and Kashmir expected US President Barack Obama to speak about Kashmir issue and help improve relations between India and Pakistan. Obama will arrive in India on Sunday for the second time during his tenure, to build on what he calls one of the defining relationships of the 21st century. He was invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will be the first US President to attend Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26. Meanwhile, residents of the valley said that Obama could set a peaceful mood between India and Pakistan. Militants have been targeting security bases in Kashmir since 1990s, when there was a full-blown insurgency against Indian rule in a region over which India and Pakistan fought two of their three. Jan 24, 2015
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Bhopal gas victims urge US President Obama for justice ahead of his India visit

Bhopal, Jan 24 (ANI): Victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, world's worst industrial disaster, called upon US President Barack Obama to ensure justice for survivors by directing Dow Chemicals to appear for hearings and clean toxic waste. In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 tons of methyl isocyanate gas accidentally leaked from a pesticide factory owned by US multinational Union Carbide Corp. and was carried by the wind into the surrounding slums. Social activist Satinath Sarangi said they have called upon Obama and demanded extradition of John Macdonald, secretary of Union Carbide. Obama will arrive in India on Sunday for the second time during his tenure, to build on what he calls one of the defining relationships of the 21st century. Jan 24, 2015