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NIA arrests six Islamic State suspects from Kerala for plotting attacks

Indian police have arrested six members of an Islamic State-inspired group suspected of plotting attacks on key figures and public places during the Hindu festival of Diwali

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ISIS. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 3,2016:  (Reuters) – Indian police have arrested six members of an Islamic State-inspired group suspected of plotting attacks on key figures and public places during the Hindu festival of Diwali, the national counter-terrorism agency said on Monday.

Islamic State has struggled to win over many recruits in India, which is home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population.

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But over the past year or so, the National Investigation Agency has found small groups of people in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu who have either traveled to Syria to join the militant Sunni group or planned attacks inside India.

On Sunday, the NIA picked up six men while they were in a meeting in a hilltop shrine in Kerala and said they were gathering explosives and other material to mount attacks in southern India during Diwali later this month.

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“During the searches, incriminating material including electronic devices have been seized from their possession and search of their premises,” the agency said in a statement, calling them members of an “Islamic State-inspired terror module”.

The men were between the ages of 24 and 30, an official at the agency said. Reuters was not in a position to independently confirm the police claims.

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Earlier this year, investigators said 12 men, six women and three children went missing from Kerala and were later believed to have joined Islamic State.
(Reporting by Rupam Jain, Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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Maoist Commander says Rs 5 cr was given to kill Jharkhand ex-Minister

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Kundan Pahan
Maoist Commander Kundan Pahan with Police ADG and other officials in Ranchi. ians

Ranchi, October 13: Jailed Maoist commander Kundan Pahan in his interrogation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that he was given Rs 5 crore to kill former Jharkhand Minister Ramesh Singh Munda in 2008.

According to sources in the police, Pahan admitted to taking a contract of Rs 5 crore to kill the then Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator Munda. The contract was given by another former Minister Gopal Krishna Patar alias Raja Peter.

Raja Peter was arrested on Monday by the NIA in connection with the murder of Munda.

Munda was gunned by Maoist guerrillas in a public meeting on the outskirts of Ranchi in July 2008.

Sources in the police said the deal was struck between the politburo of the banned Maoist organization, Communist Party of India-Maoist, and Raja Peter.

Initially, Rs 3 crore was paid in advance and Rs 2 crore was paid after Munda was killed. The remaining Rs 2 crore could not reach the politburo of the CPI-Maoist as Maoist commander Balram Sahu escaped with the money. Balram was later arrested by police.

NIA is investigating how such a huge amount came to Raja Peter and who were the sponsors. Raja Peter is at present on NIA remand.

The sources revealed that the NIA is investigating the murder of Munda from many angles. The NIA is likely to interrogate more jailed Maoists to unveil the murder mystery.

Raja Peter had created history by defeating then Jharkhand Chief Minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren in the January 2009 by-election to the Tamar seat, which fell vacant after the murder of Ramesh Singh Munda. After Shibu Soren lost the poll, President’s Rule was imposed in Jharkhand. Raja Peter was again elected from the seat in the November 2009 Assembly poll and later became Minister.

Along with Raja Peter, NIA arrested Assistant Sub Inspector Sheshnath Singh in the Munda murder. Singh was the bodyguard of Munda and he allegedly passed on information about the movement of Munda to Maoists.(IANS)

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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