Daily wrap: 207 killed, 500 injured in SL blasts; Madurai Tahsildar suspended

Sri Lanka
The April 21 serial blasts in Sri Lanka claimed more than 359 lives. Since then the country is in the grip of fear and trepidation.

207 killed, 500 injured as blasts hit on Easter in Sri Lanka

At least 207 people were killed and around 500 others injured in a string of eight powerful blasts, including suicide attacks, that struck three churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, shattering a decade of peace in the island nation after the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE. The blasts – one of the deadliest attacks in the island nations history – targeted St Anthonys Church in Colombo, St Sebastians Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 am (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. Explosions were reported from three five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricketer Virat Kohli condemned the attack. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also offered his solidarity with Sri Lankans through a tweet.

Tahsildar suspended for entering room with poll records

The election authorities on Sunday (April 21) ordered the suspension of a woman Tahsildar here for violating the election code by entering a storage room, where polling records were kept. The suspension order was issued by the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo after a detailed inquiry was conducted into the incident. The inquiry was ordered following a complaint given by the CPI(M) candidate in Madurai Lok Sabha seat, S Venkatesan on Saturday (April 21),alleging that an unidentified person had entered the strong room, where EVMs had been stored and taken a copy of some documents.

Congress promises to shape a safer India

The Congress is keen to address all national security issues but no decision will be ad hoc or arbitrary, senior party leader P Chidambaram said. In an apparent bid to counter the allegation that the Congress has been vague on national security, PC said the ideas mentioned in the Lieutenant-General DS Hooda Report would be implemented when the ‘party assumed power.’

Pakistan deplores India’s decision to suspend cross-LoC trade

Pakistan on April 21 deplored India’s “unilateral” decision to suspend cross-LoC trade and rejected the allegations regarding its “misuse” by elements from across the border to smuggle weapons, narcotics, fake currency and foment terrorism. Hardening its stand against Pakistan, India on April 18 indefinitely suspended cross-border trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir after reports of very large scale “misuse” of the cross-LoC trade. Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the Indian action was based on “groundless accusations” that this mechanism is being used for smuggling, narcotics, fake currency and terrorism. “This litany is all too familiar and in line with India’s frequent attempts to portray legitimate activities of the people,” in Jammu & Kashmir as linked to terrorism, the FO said.

Pak puts on display documents of Jallianwala Bagh massacre

For the first time in its history, Pakistan has put on display rare documents of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to mark its 100th anniversary. The six-day exhibition showcasing about 70 historical documents related to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and Martial Law in Punjab in April 1919 opened at the Lahore Heritage Museum here on April 20. A year earlier, Pakistan had exhibited the archives of the trial of revolutionary leader Bhagat Singh in Lahore. The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar (undivided Punjab) during the Baisakhi festival on April 13, 1919, when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration, leaving scores dead. “The government has decided to showcase archives of different historical events and famous personalities so that people could know what had happened during that period,” said Abbas Chughtai, archive department director of Pakistan’s Punjab province government.

Jet Airways’ lenders keen on non-IBC route if bidding fails

As they explore ways to recover debt, lenders of Jet Airways are in favour of a resolution outside the insolvency law framework in case the ongoing bidding process fails to take off, sources said. Running into debt of more than ₹8,500 crore, Jet Airways has shut down operations temporarily after lenders decided against extending emergency funds for its survival. SBI, the lead lender of the seven-member consortium of domestic banks that have extended loans to the airline, has started the bidding process for stake sale in the carrier and clarity about potential bidders would emerge next month.

IAF shifts Abhinandan out of J&K, may recommend him for Vir Chakra

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face of the tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, has been shifted out of Srinagar and posted to a frontline air base in the western sector, official sources said on Saturday (April 20).It is also learnt that the IAF was going to recommend Varthaman’s name for Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, which is the third highest after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.