The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has declined to transport four elephants from eastern Assam’s Tinsukia to Ahmedabad for the July 4 Jagannath Rath Yatra until the Gauhati High Court resolves the matter and the State Forest Department clarifies an order of the Supreme Court regarding transfer of elephants.Assam-based animal rights activists Urmi Mala Das and Nandini Baruah had on Friday filed a public interest litigation at the high court challenging the Assam government’s decision to transport four juvenile elephants, two of them females, in railway wagons to Ahmedabad. Their PIL followed a petition filed via email to the court by Canada-based activist Sangeeta Iyer.PIL filed“We will not dispatch the elephants unless we receive a clarification sought from the Forest Division on an order by the Supreme Court. Besides, there is a PIL to watch out for,” said Masood Alom, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager of NFR’s Tinsukia Division. Hearing a case related to Kerala, the SC had in May 2016 said: “The state government shall not issue any ownership certificate to any of the persons in possession of elephants. That apart, the persons who are in possession of elephants shall not transfer the elephants outside the state nor shall they part with the elephants by way of transfer in any manner…” Officials of NRF’s zonal headquarters in Guwahati’s Maligaon confirmed the decision not to transport the elephants until the legal issues are resolved. They also trashed reports that the elephants were being dispatched quietly before the PIL is heard on Monday.
Kevin Pietersen scored a double ton helping England to a commanding 474/8 despite Praveen Kumar’s fiver on the second day of the first Test against India at Lord’s on Friday. Watch KP’s 200 and MSD bowl | Score At stumps, India were 17/0 in 6 overs with openers Gautam Gambhir and Abhinav Mukund at the crease.Though KP’s ton and Praveen Kumar’s five-wicket haul were the highlight of the day, it was India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who managed to grab the maximum eyeballs.And it wasn’t his keeping, but his bowling that hit the limelight – yes, the India skipper, and one of the most successful wicketkeepers that India has produced, bowled on the day.Soon after the lunch when a few overs were left for the new ball to be taken, Dhoni pulled off his gloves and took to bowling to fill the void left by Zaheer Khan, who pulled his hamstring on Thursday.The change also saw Rahul Dravid keeping wickets. And Dhoni could have sent Pietersen back into the pavilion if the DRS hadn’t ruled otherwise. On-field umpire Billy Bowden had given him out when the ball seemed to have nicked off his bat on to the keeper Rahul Dravid. But the reviews ruled against it and Pietersen went on to complete his ton.England started with the overnight score of 127/2 with Pietersen and Jonathan Trott in the middle.The clear and sunny sky aided the batsmen as the ball seemed to come on to the bat unlike Day 1 when the ball was swinging a lot more with the nip in the air following the morning showers.advertisementJonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen were going strongly against India and the duo had put on 98 runs for the third wicket when Praveen Kumar struck.And it was the swing, albeit only a little, that did the trick. The ball kept low moved in and struck against Trott’s pads. He fell for 70 and India got the crucial third wicket on 160.Post Trott’s dismissal, Pietersen took up the challenge and went ahead consolidating the innings. At lunch England were cruising at 217/3 with Pietersen and Ian Bell in the middle.The second session saw Kumar strike again and this was post Dhoni’s cameo with the ball and Pietersen’s 18th Test ton.Kumar couldn’t get Pietersen, but he got rid of his partner Ian Bell with a ball that took the edge of his bat to land in keeper Dhoni’s gloves behind the stumps at 270/4. Bell scored 45.But Kumar’s over was far from over and two balls later he got England’s fifth wicket with new man Eoin Morgan walking back on a duck. From 270/3 England were down to 270/5, but they still had a good batsman in Matt Prior.At tea, England were sitting pretty on 305/5 with Pietersen and Matt Prior at the crease.The third session too was dominated by Pietersen even though Prior scored a fine 71 before going down to Kumar, who finished with a five-wicket haul with Stuart Broad being his last victim on the day.Kumar did take up the challenge in the absence of senior pro Zaheer Khan and claimed his maiden five-wicket haul at Lord’s, yet the Indians were missing their pace-spearhead.No wonder it had prompted ‘Captain Courageous’ to shun his gloves and take to bowling.
Sachin Tendulkar is set to another feather to his already crowded cap as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday announced that the iconic Indian cricketer will be conferred the membership of the Order of Australia, an honour “rarely” awarded to non-Australians.The 39-year-old Tendulkar, who is currently in South Africa playing in the Champions League Twenty20, will become only the second Indian after former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee to get the honour.Sorabjee was made an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for service to Australia-India bilateral legal relations” in 2006.”Cricket is of course a great bond between Australia and India. We are both cricket-mad nations. I am very pleased that we are going to confer on Sachin Tendulkar, membership of the order of Australia (AM),” Gillard, who is on a visit to India, told reporters here.”This is a very special honour very rarely awarded to someone who is not an Australian citizen or an Australian national. The award will be conferred on him by cabinet Minister Simon Crean when he visits India,” she said.”So, a special honour and a very special recognition of such a great batsman. The honour is very special and Sachin is a very special cricketer.”Tendulkar is not the first cricketer to be made an Order of Australia AM as in 2009, West Indies legend Brian Lara was also made an honorary member.Another West Indies legend, Clive Lloyd, is an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia, having been conferred the award way back in 1985.advertisementThe right-handed Tendulkar, considered the finest batsman in contemporary cricket, has 15,533 runs in 190 Tests besides a mammoth 18,426 runs in 463 ODIs.