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News at Nine

2100 HRS






  • over 200 peopleincluding three Indians killed in Sri Lanka in bomb explosions targetingchurches and hotels during Easter services; Seven suspects arrested.

  • World leaderscondemn the attack; India offers all possible help to the island nation.

  • Campaigning forthird phase of Lok Sabha elections ends; Polling on Tuesday.

  • BJP releases anotherlist of seven candidates for Lok Sabha polls; Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhanto contest from Delhi's Chandni Chowk and his cabinet collegaue Hardeep Purifrom Amritsar.

  • In IPL Cricket; Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets inHyderabad; Match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kingsunder way in Bengaluru.

  • The Services liftSantosh Trophy Football, beating Punjab 1-nil in the final at Ludhiana.



In Sri Lanka, atleast 207 people were killed and more than 400 injured in a series of bombblasts targeting churches and hotels during Easter services today. Three Indiannationals, Laxmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh, are among the twenty-sevenforeigners killed in the attacks. Two other Indians, Subramaniam and Jairam,are among the injured.


Following theexplosions, curfew has been imposed in the country. A police spokesman said,the curfew will remain effective till further notice. The government has alsoimposed a ban on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook to avoidrumours.  


Six bomb blaststargeted three five-star hotels in Colombo and three churches across thecountry. The explosions hit St. Anthony's Church in Colombo and other twochurches in Negombo and Batticaloa. The attacks happened around 9 AM when thechurches were organizing Easter mass while services were organized at thehotels. Another explosion was reported in the suburb of Colombo.


Sri Lankan policehas arrested seven suspects for their involvement in the serial blasts. Thepolice said initial investigations show some of the attacks could have beencarried out by suicide bombers. Detailed investigations are on.


State DefenceMinister Ruwan Wijewardena described the blasts as a terrorist attack byreligious extremists, but added that no one has claimed responsibility for theblasts.

Our Colombocorrespondent reports that this is the biggest attack in Sri Lanka since thewar against LTTE ended in 2009.


"The attackswere quite coordinated and were targeted at minority Christians as well asforeign nationals. Interestingly, facts have emerged showing there wereintelligence inputs for such attacks as week ago but police failed to preventit. Government sources confirm involvement of local extremist groups and it hasto be seen where there were any involvement of foreign groups. Police alsosuspect involvement of suicide bombers in the attacks, considered worst form ofviolence since war against LTTE ended in 2009. Government has urged public tostay calm and maintain harmony within religious communities. However, it iscertain that effects of today’s attacks will be felt for months to come.Santosh Kumar, for Air news, from Colombo"



Prime Minister NarendraModi spoke to President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena and Prime MinisterRanil Wickremsinghe and conveyed heart-felt condolences at the loss of innocentlives in today’s terrorist attacks. During the telephonic conversation, Mr Modirenewed the offer of all possible help and assistance to Sri Lanka for ensuringits security against the challenges such as those posed by terrorism.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President AmitShah have also expressed grief at the multiple bomb blasts in Sri Lanka.


Strongly condemning the serial blasts in Sri Lanka,India said, it has always opposed and rejected terrorism in all its forms andmanifestations. The External Affairs Ministry, in a release, said, New Delhiurges for concerted action by the international community against terrorism,including cross-border terrorism.


Meanwhile, ExternalAffairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoke to Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Tilak Marapana and conveyed that India isready to provide all humanitarian assistance. She told her counterpart thatIndia is ready to despatch its medical teams if required. Earlier in a tweet,Mrs Swaraj said, she is in constant touch with the IndianHigh Commissioner in Colombo.



World leaders havecondemned the series of blasts in Sri Lanka. Describing the bombings ashorrible terrorist attacks, US President Donald Trump said, America standsready to help Sri Lanka.


 Russian President Vladimir Putin said, Moscowremains a reliable partner of Colombo in the fight against internationalterrorism.


Leaders from severalcountries including Britian, Germany, Turkey, New Zealand, Bangladesh andPakistan have expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka.

Condemning theattacks, Pope Francis said he is praying for all those who are suffering fromthe bloodshed. 



Campaigning for thethird phase of Lok Sabha elections has ended. 116 constituencies, spread over13 States and two Union Territories, will go to polls in this phase on Tuesday.


These include, all 26 constituencies in Gujarat, 20 in Kerala; 14 each inMaharashtra and Karnataka; 10 in Uttar Pradesh; Seven in Chhattisgarh; Six inOdisha; five each in Bihar and West Bengal; four in Assam; Two in Goa, One eachin Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Tripura.


Election to Tripura (East) was postponed to the third phase over securityreasons.


In Gujarat, the lastday of campaigning saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally in Patanwhile BJP President Amit Shah held a roadshow in Gandhinagar. Duringcampaigning, the two key parties- the ruling BJP and the opposition Congressexuded confidence of a good performance. With this, campaigning for fourAssembly bypolls in Dhrangadhra, Manavadar, Unjha and Jamnagar (Rural) seatshas also ended. We have a report:


"Prominent Congress candidates held road show and motorcyclerally in their respective constituency before the curtain down on publiccampaign. Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer S. Murali Krishna instructed allpolitical workers to leave the constituency, where they are not voters. Theborders of Gujarat with neighboring states have been sealed. The Flying Squadand Static Surveillance Team would remain active round the clock, while policewould remain to check illegal activities. Yogesh Pandya,AIR News,Ahmedabad"


Later in the day,Prime Minister Modi addressed a public meeting at Chittorgarh in Rajasthanwhich is scheduled to go to polls in the 4th and 5th phases. Mr. Modi said, NDAgovernment successfully fought against poverty, corruption, illiteracy andterrorism in the last five years. He alleged that Congress only did vote bankpolitics and betrayed people for years of its rule.


In Uttar Pradesh,leaders of all political parties made last ditch effort to woo the voters infavour of their party candidates. More from our correspondent:


"Key contestants In this phase are Samajwadi Party patriarchMulayam Singh Yadav, Union Minister Santosh Gangwar,  SP leader Azam Khan, BJP's Jaya Prada andVarun Gandhi and  Pragatisheel Samajwadi Partychief Shivpal Yadav. Most interesting is Shivpal Yadav is pitted against hisnephew Akshay Yadav of SP  from Firozabadseat. There are one hundred 20 candidates for 10 seats spread over 12 districtsin state. MS Yadav, AIR News Bareilly."


In Odisha, 42assembly constituencies will also go to polls in this phase. Leaders of politicalparties including BJP and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) undertook whirlwindtours of the constituencies, mostly situated in coastal and central Odisha.


In Maharashtra, 14Lok Sabha seats will go to polls in the third phase. Senior leaders from theBJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress sought support of voters for their respectiveparty candidates during their campaigning.


In Goa, by-polls tothree Assembly seats will also be held in the third phase. Polling will be heldin a single phase for North Goa and South Goa Lok Sabha constituencies andShiroda, Mapusa and Mandrem Assembly seats.


Our Karnatakacorrespondent reports on key candidates of different parties contesting in thethird phase.          


"Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge is seeking re-electionfrom Gulbarga reserved constituency for the third time. In Uttara Kannada, BJPleader Ananth Kumar Hedge is seeking re-election for the sixth time. G MSiddeshwara of BJP is seeking re-election for the fourth term from Davangere.Another BJP leader Ramesh Jigajinagi is trying his luck from Bijapur for thethird time. In Dharwad, Prahlad Joshi is seeking a hat-trick, while taking onhis old rival Vinay Kulkarni from Congress. Congres is contesting from 11 seatsand JD(S) in three seats by fielding alliance candidates. BJP has fielded 14contestant. Sudhindra AIR News Bengaluru"


In Assam, Guwahati,Barpeta, Dhubri and Kokrajhar parliamentary constituencies will be covered inthis phase. Polling personnel at a few places in far flung Nalbari  and Kamrup have already started their journeyto the polling stations.



Continuing with election stories, BJP has releasedanother list of seven candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The listcontains names of four candidates for Delhi, one each for Uttar Pradesh, MadhyaPradesh and Punjab.


Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who is representingChandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency, has been fielded again from the sameseat. Delhi BJP unit President Manoj Tiwari will contest from North East Delhi,Pravesh Verma from West Delhi, and Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi.


The party has fielded another Union Minister HardeepPuri from Amritsar in Punjab. Shankar Lalwani will contest from Indore inMadhya Pradesh, and Harinarayan Rajbhar from Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh.



In Odisha, electionto the Patkura Assembly constituency under Kendrapara district has beenpostponed following the death of sitting MLA and BJD candidate Bed PrakashAgarwal. Patkura is scheduled to go to polls in the 4th phase on 29th of April.



Senior BJP leaderand Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has alleged that the institution of ChiefJustice of India, CJI, is being destabilised. In a Facebook post, he saidunverified allegations of harassment against CJI Ranjan Gogoi are beingleveled. The Minister suggested that those who peddle falsehood should be dealtwith in an exemplary manner. Mr Jaitley said, the incident of a junior formerlady employee of the apex court making harassment charges against the CJI hasacquired a disproportionate magnitude.



Easter wascelebrated across the globe today. It signifies the resurrection of JesusChrist after his crucifixion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. Special massprayers were held at churches across the country and abroad to mark the day.


Our Panajicorrespondent reports on the celebrations in Goa.


"On Easter Sunday, special masses were organised across Goa,with the ones at the Panaji and Old Goa churches drawing large participation.Processions were also held in Margao and surrounding areas of Salcete taluka inSouth Goa. Easter is being celebrated with traditional Goan food includingsorpotel, vindalhoo, cross buns, dodols and cashew nut-based Easter eggs. Inher Easter greetings message, Goa governor Mridula Sinha said, Jesus Christgave the valuable lessons of love, brotherhood, forgiveness and compassionthrough self-sacrifice. Saikat Sarkar from Goa for AIR"


President, Vice President and Prime Minister greetedthe people on Easter.


In IPL cricket,Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kolkata Knight Riders by nine wickets at Hyderabadtoday. Sunrisers won the toss but elected to bowl. Put into bat, Kolkata KnightRiders scored 159 for 8 setting out 160 run victory target for the Sunriserswhich they overhauled by scoring 161 for1 with 30 balls remaining. With thiswin, the Sunrisers have climbed to third position on the pointstable. As for Kolkata, today's defeat has dealt a considerable blow to theirchances of qualifying for the playoffs.


The second match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and  Chennai Super Kings is underway at Bangalore.Put into bat, Royal Challengers were 118 for 3 in 15 overs when reports lastcame in.




In Football, theServices lifted the Santosh Trophy, beating Punjab 1-nil in the final atLudhiana today. In the first half, both the teams were goal-less. In the secondhalf, Services scored the lone goal and held on till the final whistle.



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