Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Sun, 24 Mar 2019 00:00:00 +0530 Attack kills 50 in Peul village, Mali http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12958/attack-kills-50-in-peul-village--mali http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12958/attack-kills-50-in-peul-village--mali Sat, 23 Mar 2019 22:22:45 +0530 ]]>Traditional Dogon hunters killed at least 50 people in an attack on a Peul community village in central Mali on Saturday. Bamako | Traditional Dogon hunters killed at least 50 people in an attack on a Peul community village in central Mali on Saturday, military and local officials said.
"At least 50 Peul civilians have been killed Saturday in the village of Ogossagou by traditional hunters, said a military source. Cheick Harouna Sankare, the mayor of neighbouring Ouenkoro, confirmed the toll.

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Syria force takes IS bastion, 'caliphate' wiped out  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12957/syria-force-takes-is-bastion---caliphate--wiped-out- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12957/syria-force-takes-is-bastion---caliphate--wiped-out- Sat, 23 Mar 2019 22:18:53 +0530 ]]>Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old "caliphate" Saturday after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria. Baghouz (Syria) | Kurdish-led forces pronounced the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old "caliphate" Saturday after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.
Fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces raised their yellow flag in Baghouz, the remote riverside village where jihadists of a variety of nationalities made a desperate, dramatic last stand.
The SDF's victory capped a deadly six-month operation against the final remnants of the caliphate which once stretched across a vast swathe of Iraq and Syria, and held seven million people in its sway.
World leaders hailed the victory as a major landmark in the fight against IS and its ideology, but warned that the group that spurred a spate of global terror attacks was far from defeated.
"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100 per cent territorial defeat of ISIS," spokesman Mustefa Bali said in a statement, using another acronym for IS.
In Al-Omar, an oil field used by the SDF as a staging base, fighters in their best fatigues laid down their weapons and broke into song and dance.
They joined top Kurdish and Arab tribal officials, as well as a leading US envoy, for a ceremony unveiling a monument to their fallen comrades and celebrating the landmark victory.
The state proclaimed in mid-2014 by fugitive IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi started collapsing in 2017 when parallel offensives in Iraq and Syria wrested back its main hubs Mosul and Raqa.
The nearly five years of fighting against the most brutal jihadist group in modern history left major cities in ruins and populations homeless.
The territory administered by the remnants of IS continued to shrink month after month and in September 2018 the SDF launched a final offensive on the last dregs of the "caliphate" in its Euphrates Valley strongholds.
SDF fighters last week expelled IS fighters who refused to surrender from an encampment on the edge of Baghouz and have since been hunting down a few survivors hiding on the reedy banks of the Euphrates.
"Those who lasted the longest were mostly foreigners... Tunisians, Moroccans, Egyptians," Kurdish fighter Hisham Harun, 21, told AFP.
Around him, the former jihadist encampment was littered with bullet-riddled truck carcasses, discarded suicide belts and torn tents where the caliphate's last families sheltered for weeks.
Some bodies of suspected IS fighters could also be seen.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the offensive has left 630 civilians, 750 SDF fighters and around 1,600 jihadists dead.
Kurdish officers and aid groups were flummoxed by the number of people who poured out of Baghouz, a small village even few Syrians knew of until this year.
As SDF forces pummelled IS positions and US warplanes dropped huge payloads on the riverside village, tens of thousands of people fled over a rocky hill.
For weeks, the ghostly figures of the caliphate's last denizens hobbled out of the besieged village, famished, often wounded but sometimes still defiantly proclaiming their support for IS.
The Kurdish-led force and foreign intelligence have screened more than 60,000 people since January, around 10 per cent of them jihadists turning themselves in.
Most of the people evacuated from the smouldering ruins of Baghouz in recent days were relatives of IS members who now fill overcrowded camps further north in Syria's Kurdish-controlled region.
The biggest of them, Al-Hol, is struggling to host 74,000 people, including at least 25,000 school-aged children.    Among them are thousands of foreigners from France, Russia, Belgium and 40-plus countries that are in most cases unwilling to take them back.
"The needs are huge and the camp is overwhelmed," Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said Friday upon returning from a five-day visit to Syria.
Speaking at the ceremony in Al Omar, top SDF commander Mazloum Kobane warned that a new phase had begun in anti-IS operations.
The US has vowed to draw down its forces in Syria, but Kobane appealed for sustained coalition assistance to help smash sleeper cells "which are a great threat to our region and the whole world".
US coalition envoy William Roebuck agreed and said "we still have much more to do to achieve an enduring defeat" of IS.
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the fall of Baghouz saying "a significant threat to our country" has been "eliminated".
British Prime Minister Theresa May chimed in, calling Saturday's victory "a historic milestone".
The jihadists retain a presence in eastern Syria's vast Badia desert and various other hideouts from which they could wage the kind of deadly guerrilla insurgency that accompanied the rise of the Islamic State group.
John Spencer, a scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point, warned that while the geographic caliphate had been dismantled, IS was far from defeated.
IS "is a terrorist organisation, all they have to do is put down their weapons and try to blend in with the population and just escape," he told AFP.
"They're not gone, and they're not going to be gone." After almost five years of fighting and heavy losses, the Kurds are now exposed to threats from both Damascus and Turkey.
Kobane appealed for dialogue with both as another page of the deadly eight-year-old Syrian conflict is being turned.

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Exit polls can be telecast only after final phase of polling, EC advisory includes websites http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12956/exit-polls-can-be-telecast-only-after-final-phase-of-polling--ec-advisory-includes-websites http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12956/exit-polls-can-be-telecast-only-after-final-phase-of-polling--ec-advisory-includes-websites Sat, 23 Mar 2019 21:56:37 +0530 ]]>Exit polls can only be telecast on the evening of May 19 after the last phase of Lok Sabha election gets over, the Election Commission said on Saturday as it issued an advisory to the media in which websites and social media platforms were included for the first time. New Delhi | Exit polls can only be telecast on the evening of May 19 after the last phase of Lok Sabha election gets over, the Election Commission said on Saturday as it issued an advisory to the media in which websites and social media platforms were included for the first time.
The Commission said that TV, radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms should ensure that the contents of programmes telecast/broadcast/displayed by them during the 48-hour period before the end of polls in each phase "do not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect" of any particular party or candidate.
The elections in seven phases would begin on April 11 and end on May 19.
The advisory is also applicable for Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh where assembly polls are being held simultaneously.
"... In this connection, attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act  1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during  the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll in the first phase and half an hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the states," it said regarding the exit polls.
The EC said the advisory shall among other things include display of  any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes.
"The Election Commission will monitor the broadcasts made by news broadcasters from the time elections are announced until the conclusion and announcement of election results.
"Any violation by member broadcasters reported to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) by the Election Commission will be dealt with by the NBSA under its regulations," it said.
It also said news broadcasters must not air any final, formal and definite results until such results are formally announced by the Election Commission of India, unless such results are carried with clear disclaimer that they are unofficial or incomplete or partial results or projections which should not be taken as final results.  The first phase is on April 11, Phase 2 on April 18, Phase 3- April 23, Phase 4 - April 29, Phase 5 - May 6,  Phase 6 - May 12 and Phase 7 is on May 19.
The counting of votes is on May 23. 

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Harbhajan excel as CSK blow away RCB for 70  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12955/harbhajan-excel-as-csk-blow-away-rcb-for-70- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12955/harbhajan-excel-as-csk-blow-away-rcb-for-70- Sat, 23 Mar 2019 21:53:15 +0530 ]]>Harbhajan Singh rocked the top-order with a three-wicket burst as Chennai Super Kings shot out Royal Challengers Bangalore for a paltry 70 in 17.1 overs in the opening encounter of the Indian Premier League. Chennai | Harbhajan Singh rocked the top-order with a three-wicket burst as Chennai Super Kings shot out Royal Challengers Bangalore for a paltry 70 in 17.1 overs in the opening encounter of the Indian Premier League on Saturday.
On a slow Chepauk turner, the senior off-spinner opening the bowling, rolled back years with figures of 3/20 in his four-over spell that deflated Virat Kohli's men completely.
Once Harbhajan had wreaked havoc, Imran Tahir (3/9 in 3 overs) tormented RCB even more with his traditional leg-breaks to kill the contest in the first half. With so much assistance for spinners, Ravindra Jadeja wasn't going to be left behind, finishing with 2/15 in 4 overs.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's inspired move to open with Harbhajan paid brilliant dividends as he removed rival skipper Kohli (6) in the fourth over and RCB never recovered from that early blow.
Having gauged the pace of the pitch, Harbhajan altered the length of his deliveries effectively and also reduced the pace to trouble the batsmen.
While he was lucky as his off-break dropped short but Kohli's mistimed pull-shot was taken by Jadeja at mid-wicket boundary.
Moeen Ali slog swept Harbhajan for a six but that was all that he could manage with a length delivery stopping on him as he tried to check his drive and loopy return catch was gleefully accepted.
AB de Villiers (9) wanted to hit out of trouble and was first dropped by Imran Tahir and off the very next ball was caught by Jadeja at mid-wicket boundary. With Shimron Hetmyer (0) getting run-out needlessly, RCB were in the dumps even before halfway stage.
It was the perfect platform for Tahir and Jadeja, who looked unplayable with the pitch offering reasonable turn and the lower-order's confidence shot to pieces.

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Thousands demand second referendum at anti-Brexit march in London http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12954/thousands-demand-second-referendum-at-anti-brexit-march-in-london http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12954/thousands-demand-second-referendum-at-anti-brexit-march-in-london Sat, 23 Mar 2019 21:46:50 +0530 ]]>Thousands of people took to the streets of central London on Saturday for one of the biggest anti-Brexit marches to demand another referendum over Britain's membership of the European Union. London | Thousands of people took to the streets of central London on Saturday for one of the biggest anti-Brexit marches to demand another referendum over Britain's membership of the European Union (EU).
Protesters descended upon the capital from up and down the UK to participate in the “Put it to the People” march, dubbed as one of the UK's largest attracting an estimated 1 million people to demand that the British people are given another chance to vote on Brexit after MPs have failed to break the impasse over the issue in Parliament.
“Here in London, thousands of people from across our city and country have come together to send a clear message: Enough is enough – it's time to give the British public the final say on Brexit,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a Twitter statement as he joined the march.
Campaigners marched from Park Lane to Parliament Square in the heart of London, followed by a rally in front of the House of Parliament.
They have found the backing of a series of anti-Brexit politicians, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Conservative Cabinet minister Justine Greening and former Tory Attorney General Dominic Grieve, and former Tory turned Independent Group MP Anna Soubry.
The protest, organised by anti-Brexit groups such as People's Vote, Britain for Europe and Open Britain, comes at the end of another hectic week in British politics when Prime Minister Theresa May secured a short delay to the March 29 Brexit deadline.
She will now try and get her own twice-defeated withdrawal agreement passed in a third vote in the House of Commons next week. However, the deal may not be tabled again unless the government is confident of winning this time.
It is also preparing for a series of indicative votes in Parliament to give deeply divided cross-party MPs the chance to table some options they are willing to back on Brexit in place of her rejected divorce deal over the controversial Irish backstop clause.
Unless May's deal is passed by MPs, the UK will have to come up with an alternative plan or else face crashing out without a deal on April 12 under the EU's strictly set caveats to the delay of the Article 50 mechanism.
If the deal does make it across the Commons finish line, the UK will be given until May 22 to finalise leaving the 28-member economic bloc under the withdrawal agreement.
In a letter to all MPs on Friday evening, May offered to talk to them over the coming days "as Parliament prepares to take momentous decisions".
The anti-Brexit march comes as a counter pro-Brexit “March to Leave”, which started in the town of Sunderland in north-east England a week ago, continues its journey towards London.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage re-joined the March to Leave in Linby, near Nottingham, on Saturday morning telling around 200 Brexit supporters that May had reduced the nation "to a state of humiliation".
Meanwhile, a record-breaking online petition on the UK Parliament's website calling for Brexit to be cancelled by revoking Article 50 has attracted more than 4.3 million signatures within days.
Many MPs have expressed the hope that it would add further weight to demands of a second referendum because the June 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit took place against a very different set of circumstances.

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IT dept dismisses "Yeddyurappa diary" as "forgery document"  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12953/it-dept-dismisses--yeddyurappa-diary--as--forgery-document-- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12953/it-dept-dismisses--yeddyurappa-diary--as--forgery-document-- Sat, 23 Mar 2019 20:54:34 +0530 ]]>The Income Tax Department Saturday dismissed as a "forgery document" and a "set of loose papers", the 'Yeddyurappa diary' about alleged bribe payment to top BJP brass that has created a political furore. Bengaluru | The Income Tax Department Saturday dismissed as a "forgery document" and a "set of loose papers", the 'Yeddyurappa diary' about alleged bribe payment to top BJP brass that has created a political furore.
The Congress, citing a media report, had Friday demanded a Lokpal probe into the charge that the state BJP chief had paid Rs 1,800 crore as bribe to the party top brass, which Yeddyurappa had dismissed as "atrocious and malicious." "Our conclusion after studying it was that it is a forgery document. It is a set of loose papers," principal chief Income Tax Commissioner of Karnataka-Goa Region B R Balakrishnan told reporters.
He said "There was an attempt to just make use of the diary to influence some other investigation, which we have not succumbed to. We have done our job in this case as well." The documents, which were photocopies, were seized from Karnataka water resource minister D K Shivakumar's residence during a raid carried out by the Income Tax department on August 2, 2017, he said.
The papers were sent to the forensic science laboratory in Hyderabad, which returned it saying that they need the original papers, Balakrishnan added.
He said that whatever came out in the magazine (Caravan) which broke the story was not part of the Income Tax department's seized material.
Balakrishnan stated that in view of various Supreme Court decisions on admissible evidence, "this particular diary has no evidentiary value."
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said at a press conference in New Delhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come forward and clarify on the matter.
Yeddyurappa had said that "all issues raised by Congress leaders are irrelevant and false."
"The issue is a closed chapter," he had said, adding that he was consulting legal experts on the issue and thinking about filing a defamation case.
Meanwhile, the state BJP demanded that the Congress leaders apologise after Balakrishnan dubbed the alleged diary as loose sheets of papers and a forgery document.
"Congress leaders who levelled false allegations against BJP and its leaders stand exposed in public.
If Congress leaders have left any sensibility in them and respect for public sentiments, they should immediately apologise," the party said.
Regarding the outcome of raids at a Karnataka minister's residence, (apparently referring to Shivakumar), Balakrishnan, without mentioning his name, said the process to confiscate the Benami property worth Rs 75 crore has been initiated.
"The immediate consequence of a Benami transaction is that you lose the property. Prosecution is a different thing.
We will think about that," Balakrishnan added.
Balakrishnan, who called the press conference to give details about the IT department's achievements in the Karnataka-Goa region in the last one year, said the region showed collection of Rs 1.11 lakh crore.
It carried out more than 300 surveys, resulting in detection of undisclosed income of Rs 911 crore, he said.

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Hand of God? Bangladeshi's Messi drawing comes alive http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12952/hand-of-god--bangladeshi-s-messi-drawing-comes-alive http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12952/hand-of-god--bangladeshi-s-messi-drawing-comes-alive Sat, 23 Mar 2019 20:49:40 +0530 ]]>A young Bangladeshi architect has earned fame after his digital drawing of footballer Lionel Messi was matched in real life six years later. Dhaka | A young Bangladeshi architect has earned fame after his digital drawing of footballer Lionel Messi was matched in real life six years later.
Suhas Nahian's 2013 artwork shows Messi dribbling past a group of players in green and white, leaning his head forward as one of the defenders grabs his red-and-blue Barcelona jersey.
Photos of Messi shot during a recent match against Real Betis show him in an almost identical pose, complete with one defender on the ground as the Argentinian charges through.
"I painted something 6 years ago, and football gods made the image come true," Suhas, 29, said on Instagram.
He told AFP that he watched the La Liga match, which saw Messi score a hat-trick as Barcelona won 4-1, but noticed nothing exceptional until a friend phoned him and excitedly pointed out the striking similarities.    "I looked back and found those are actually very similar." he said.
"It was fascinating. I was surprised."
Suhas, who now owns an architecture firm, said the digital painting he drew as a student in 2013 was shared by a football fan page called Plaantik at that time.
"I am glad my only painting brought me so much fame, as it has been published in many Spanish, Argentine and Indian media," he said.
Suhas said he did not choose Betis's white and green jersey for his artwork consciously.
"Barcelona's jersey is very vibrant with blue and red, so from the point of colour I wanted to paint the rest of the painting in green so that Messi stays in focus," he said.
"So I chose this green and white jersey, not specifically thinking of Betis but from the sense of colour." Suhas said his artwork was part of a football-themed series that he wanted to do including Messi's dribbling, Cristiano Ronaldo's header and Xavi's turn.
"I am a Barcelona fan but I admire all great players. This is why I wanted to draw this football series. But after the painting on Messi's dribbling, I could not complete the rest," he said.

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BJP takes dig at Rahul over rise in income between 2004 and 2014 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12951/bjp-takes-dig-at-rahul-over-rise-in-income-between-2004-and-2014 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12951/bjp-takes-dig-at-rahul-over-rise-in-income-between-2004-and-2014 Sat, 23 Mar 2019 20:45:05 +0530 ]]>The BJP Saturday cited the rise in Congress president Rahul Gandhi's income between 2004 and 2014 to question its source, claiming he had no ostensible source of income. There was no immediate response from the Congress. New Delhi | The BJP Saturday cited the rise in Congress president Rahul Gandhi's income between 2004 and 2014 to question its source, claiming he had no ostensible source of income.
There was no response from the Congress.
BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media that Gandhi's income had risen from over Rs 55 lakh in 2004 to Rs 9 crore in 2014 as per his election affidavits, and asked how can an MP witness such a jump in income.
"In his election affidavit in 2004, his income was Rs 55,38,123 while in 2009, it rose to Rs 2 crore and in 2014 it rose to Rs 9 crore. We know how much an MP earns. We want to ask what is this Rahul Gandhi model of development without an ostensible source of income," he said.
Referring to Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra, Prasad said, "Till now, we had seen the Vadra model of development under which you invest Rs 6-7 lakh and earn Rs 700-800 crore in two-three years. Now we have come across the Rahul Gandhi model of development." The senior BJP leader also claimed that Gandhi and his sister had a 4.69-acre farmhouse in Delhi that was rented out to a firm, Financial Technologies (India) Limited, that had been issued show-cause notice for violations pertaining to National Spot Exchange promoted by it.
"When the notice was served, the place was rented out... FTL made a cheque payment of Rs 40 lakh. The firm was issued a notice and within 10 months the place was rented out to them," he said, questioning its timing.
He also questioned Gandhi whether he had bought two properties of Rs 1.44 crore and Rs 5.36 crore from Unitech which was linked to the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
"The maximum trial in the case happened before we came to power. I had said the 2G judgement was legally unsound and morally improper. One judge had commented, 'I had been waiting for evidence for seven-eight years'. Is the wait for evidence and the property purchase linked? The matter is under appeal and we have asked for expeditious hearing," he alleged.

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Diary charges: Jaitley says falsehood and forgeries can never influence polls  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12950/diary-charges--jaitley-says-falsehood-and-forgeries-can-never-influence-polls- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12950/diary-charges--jaitley-says-falsehood-and-forgeries-can-never-influence-polls- Sat, 23 Mar 2019 20:40:43 +0530 ]]>Accusing the Congress of passing off forged and fabricated photocopies as B S Yeddyurappa's diary, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said falsehood and forgeries cannot influence polls as voters are wiser than politicians. New Delhi | Accusing the Congress of passing off forged and fabricated photocopies as B S Yeddyurappa's diary, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said falsehood and forgeries cannot influence polls as voters are wiser than politicians.
The Congress on Friday sought an investigation by the Lokpal into a media report that alleged bribes of Rs 1,800 crore were paid to BJP's top brass by former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
The allegations were based on photocopies of BSY's purported diary which were submitted to the tax department.
Observing that the forged and fabricated photocopies manufactured and provided by the Congress party were passed off as BSY's diary, Jaitley stressed "falsehood and forgeries can never influence a poll. Just as voters are wiser than politicians, they are also wiser than those who ride on the 'caravan' of falsehood and forgeries." In his blog titled "The Opposition's 'Caravan' Achieves a New Low – From Falsehood to Forgery", the minister also accused some media organisations of endorsing falsehoods. The documents, Jaitley said, appear to be a self-serving forgery of the Congress party and its leader.
"Faced with odds on a daily basis, the Congress party needed to distract from the self-goal created by Sam Pitroda. He had questioned the Air Force's targeted attack at Balakot. The 'caravan' of falsehood was ready for a 'Rahul Bailout',” Jaitley wrote.
Pitroda, the Indian Overseas Congress chief, Friday questioned the government's aggressive action against Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack.
He also sought more facts from the Modi government on Balakot air strikes last month while referring to international media reports questioning claims that over 300 terrorists were killed in the IAF action.

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Crude bomb goes off at RSS worker's house, 2 children injured http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12949/crude-bomb-goes-off-at-rss-worker-s-house--2-children-injured http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/12949/crude-bomb-goes-off-at-rss-worker-s-house--2-children-injured Sat, 23 Mar 2019 20:23:05 +0530 ]]>The incident occurred when the children, aged 8 and 12, apparently pulled some objects out of a shed in the house while playing. Police arrived at the scene and a search of the house yielded seven swords, an axe and a steel rod. Kannur (Kerala) | A crude bomb went off at a RSS worker's house near here Saturday, injuring his child and its friend, police said.
The incident occurred when the children, aged 8 and 12, apparently pulled some objects out of a shed in the house while playing, the police said.
Police arrived at the scene and a search of the house yielded seven swords, an axe and a steel rod.
A case under Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act has been registered in this connection, police sources told PTI.
Meanwhile, the children with injuries in their arms and legs were taken to hospital.

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