A kangaroo court in western Assam’s Barpeta district made three people cough up ₹15,000 for stealing lotuses from a wetland.One of Assam’s prime wetlands, with 39 species of indigenous fish, the 91-hectare Kapla Beel has been a major source of income for the villages around it. The wetland is also known for its lotuses that the villagers protect.But the lotuses – as buds or in bloom – kept vanishing for a week before Durga Puja. The villagers formed a vigilante group and on October 4 caught three people from a neighbouring village under Sarthebari police station. The men were let go but on the condition they face a kangaroo court comprising elders of the two biggest villages adjoining the wetland. A couple of days ago, the court decided to penalise the three with a fine of ₹5,000 each for stealing the aquatic flowers. “We did not intervene as the trial did not involve any physical assault or violation of law. The three were flower traders and had been harvesting the lotuses without permission from the stakeholders,” a local police officer said.
Washington: Donald Trump’s personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout resigned on Thursday after she shared information about the president’s family with journalists, US media reported. Westerhout’s unexpected departure came after Trump learned that she had talked about his family and White House matters with reporters at an off-the-record session during the president’s recent working vacation in New Jersey, The New York Times reported citing unnamed sources. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLater, other outlets — including CNN and Politico — also reported her departure citing unnamed sources. CNN said Westerhout had failed to make clear during the interaction with journalists that her comments were off the record, and one reporter disclosed the conversation to the White House. Westerhout’s office was in front of the Oval Office and she had been described as Trump’s “gatekeeper” in US media. She had been his personal assistant from the beginning of his presidency. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe Trump administration has been particularly sensitive about staff leaking information to the media, with the president railing against both officials and journalists over reports about the state of affairs in the White House. The New York Times said Westerhout was now a “separated employee” and would not be allowed into the White House. A former administration official described Trump and Westerhout’s relationship as “close”, CNN said, but added that talking about his family was “a red line”. Westerhout was not a high-profile staffer, but her exit adds to a long list of administration officials who have quit since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.