A massive fire broke out at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) in Pune’s Pashan area on late Monday evening.According to officials, the blaze which originated in the methanol lab (in Pilot Plant III) at around 8 p.m. and inflicted extensive damage, seriously gutted the ground and the first floors. While there was a major loss of property, no casualties or injuries were reported.“Since the premises were under renovation , no experiment was being carried out in the laboratory and no scientist or student was near the pilot plant at the time of the conflagration,” said Dr. Prakash Wadgaonkar, Chairman, Safety wing.The cause of the blaze has yet to be ascertained. Dr. Wadgaonkar further informed that a committee has been constituted under the Director, CSIR-NCL to probe the cause of the fire.10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot and a team of 50 jawans were engaged in fire-fighting with a quarter of an hour of the fire. The inferno was brought under control within an hour.The pilot plant occupies around 10,000 sq.ft. and houses reactors and allied equipment.Last year, in May, a similar fire broke out owing to a short circuit. However, in that case, thanks to some effective firefighting, a major accident was averted. read more
A helicopter carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and three others, including senior IAS officer Pravin Pardeshi in the Chief Minister’s Office, collapsed while landing immediately after takeoff at Nilanga in Latur district. No one was injured in the incident.Mr. Fadnavis was in Latur to participate in the BJP’s ‘Shivar Samwad Sabha’ (farm communication rallies). He was travelling back to Mumbai.Mr. Fadnavis said on Twitter, “Our helicopter did meet with an accident in Latur but me and my team is absolutely safe and ok. Nothing to worry.”A Maharashtra government Sikorsky helicopter VT-CMM took off from Nilanda SE of Latur at 1200 hrs with six persons on board, including Mr. Fadnavis. After the takeoff, the pilot decided to land back as he found a variable wind pattern. During the landing, the helicopter got entangled in wires and fell down. All on board were safe, said a statement from the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation). read more
VHP leader Atul Vaidya, who was convicted in Gulbarg society massacre case of 2002 riots, has been granted bail by Gujarat High Court. Vaidya was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the case involving brutal massacre of 69 people at Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad. Among those killed in the minority community dominated society in North Ahemedabad included former Congress parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri also.The High Court held that Mr Vaidya’s petition challenging his conviction is pending before the court and he already served one year in jail so a regular bail can be granted to him. He is the first convict to get a regular bail in the case in which 23 persons were convicted by the special SIT court in 2016.
Six Rohingya refugees, including three women, staying on the outskirts of Mujedi village here were allegedly beaten up by unidentified locals on Saturday morning.The Rohingyas alleged the locals were opposed to the sacrifice of buffalo calves on Id-ul-Zuha. No arrests have been made so far.A case has been registered on charges of rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, wrongful confinement and assault on women to outrage their modesty under the Indian Penal Code at the Sadar Ballabgarh police station.“The assailants belonged to Mujedi, Mirzapur and neighbouring villages, but they are yet to be identified. Efforts are on to identify them and arrest them,” said Inspector Hans Raj, the Station House Officer of the Sadar Ballabgarh police station.Staying in a jhuggi-jhonpri cluster in Sector 70, the 40-odd Muslim families, working as rag-pickers, had pooled in money to buy two calves from Delhi on Friday for sacrifice.“We had tied the calves to a tree when two men tried to untie them and take them along. Two women happened to notice the duo and raised an alarm. When we reached the spot, they accused us of having stolen the animals,” said Sakir Ahmed, who had come to settle at the cluster along with his family a year ago from Delhi.“But we produced evidence that we had bought the animals. At this the two offered to buy the calves, but we refused. The duo then left,” he said.Later in the evening, two more men came to the slum cluster and told them not to sacrifice the animals.Anticipating danger, the refugee families promised to return the animals the next morning.But, around two dozen men, some of them on motorcycles, reached the settlement around 5 a.m. on Saturday and allegedly beat up the men and women.“The assailants abducted four of our men and took them to Mirzapur village. They were taken to a nearby forest and brutally beaten with lathis,” said Mohammad Jalil, 28, alleging that two women were also molested and their clothes torn off.The four men were let off two hours later with the warning to not to report the matter to the police, the residents of the cluster said.But Sakir called the Police Control Room around 8 a.m. and the police took the injured to a civil hospital in Ballabgarh.At the hospital the injured claimed they could barely walk and were hit by lathis and stones.Following the incident, a few policemen have been deployed outside the settlement for the security of the refugees.The families claimed they had set up the cluster a year ago but never faced any problem before. read more
Sabarmati Express case: top developments over the years Compensation orderedThe Bench expressed regret at the inordinate delay of over two years before reading out the operative part of the verdict. The court held that that the State government had failed in discharging its duty in maintaining law and order during the incident and directed it to pay compensation of ₹10 lakh each to the families of 59 persons killed in the train fire.The Bench said the trial court judgment did not address this aspect and compensation to those who suffered injuries should be decided by the government.Trial court judge P.R. Patel, now posted as Registrar in the High Court, had held the case as the “rarest of rare” and accepted the findings of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT, which probed the case.The SIT had found that the attack on the train was a “pre-planned conspiracy” to target Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya.It may be noted that the State government-appointed inquiry commission, headed by Justice Nanavati, also concluded that the “incident was a result of pre-planned conspiracy” and not an accident.The inquiry commission was tasked with probing the train fire and the communal riots that followed in which more than 1,200 people, a majority of them from the minority community, were killed in violence that lasted two months. The Gujarat High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence awarded to 11 persons in the 2002 Godhara train burning case to life imprisonment.It also upheld the life imprisonment awarded to 20 other convicts while endorsing the acquittal of 63 other accused.In March 2011, the special trial court had convicted 31 persons, of whom 11 were sentenced to death and the remaining 20 awarded life in prison.On Monday, more than two years after the hearing was completed in a set of appeals filed by the convicts as well as the prosecution challenging the trial court order, the High Court’s division bench of Justices A.S. Dave and G.R. Udhwani pronounced the verdict.Acquittals unchangedThe court refused to alter the acquittal of 63 accused including late Maulana Umarji, who was dubbed by the Gujarat police and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) as the mastermind of the train burning case. Maulana Umarji died in 2013.The High Court rejected the appeals filed by the SIT against the acquittal of 63 people, and also its appeals seeking enhancement of sentences. The court also rejected the appeals against conviction.The Bench relied on the testimonies of injured witnesses, passengers, railway employees, Railway Protection Force personnel, two policemen from Godhra, the Gujarat railway police, experts from forensic laboratories and also confessional statements.Also Read read more
Militants attacked a police party with grenades in Pulwama’s Tral on Tuesday morning. No one was injured in the attack.Preliminary reports suggest militants fired a grenade from a rifle launcher at a police party.“There was a huge explosion but no one was injured,” said a police official.
Three militants were killed on Thursday after the police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) and the Army’s 10 Garhwal surrounded a house where they were holed up.In an encounter that lasted several hours, the house was razed to the ground. A police official said bodies of three militants were recovered from the site. One of them was identified as Shabir Ahmed Thokar of Pulwama. He had joined the Jaish-e-Muhammad in 2016. Police said the others were foreigners and part of a fidayeen group. “Three AK-47 rifles, three magazines, 111 rounds and other ammunition were recovered too,” said the police.Local youth tried to disrupt the operation against the militants and clashed with the security forces. A civilian suffered bullet injuries and four youth were hit by pellets. A vehicle was set on fire by the protesters.Militant killed in SoporeIn a separate operation in Baramulla’s Sopore, a “foreign militant” was killed in Sagipora village. The gunfight started when the security forces launched a combing operation in Sagipora village following a tip-off about the presence of militants.“The hiding militants opened fire on the search party. The militant was killed in the retaliatory fire. An Army para trooper was injured,” said the police. The terrorist was identified as Muzamil from Pakistan, affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was a ‘commander’ for north Kashmir, said a police spokesman.An AK rifle, five magazines, 124 rounds, an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), five UBGL rounds and other ammunition were recovered from the encounter site.Over 200 militants killedDirector General of Police (DGP), J&K, S.P Vaid the death toll of militants has crossed the 200 mark this year. “Today, the collective efforts of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Indian Army, the CRPF and the people of Kashmir have led to the neutralisation of more than 200 militants in the year of 2017 alone. This marks a huge landmark for establishing peace and stability in the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. read more
Debt waiver for farmers is all set to be the key issue of confrontation between the ruling Congress government and the Shiromani Akali Dal in the budget session of the Punjab Assembly beginning on Tuesday.The SAD has announced that it will “gherao” the State Assembly on March 20 to protest against the alleged “betrayal” of farmers by the Congress government, which they say has taken a U-turn on the “complete farm loan waiver” — a key 2017 Assembly election promise.‘Theatrics’, says CMReacting to the announcement, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh termed it as “theatrics” and dared the Akalis, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, to “gherao” Parliament instead so as to pressurise the Central government into waiving off farmers’ debts.“Akalis are now shedding crocodile tears for the farmers after failing to do anything for them during the 10 years of SAD-BJP rule. Not only had the Akalis failed to extend even an iota of support to Punjab’s distressed farmers during their regime, they also could not persuade the BJP-led Central government in the past four years to come out with a debt waiver scheme for the farmers,” said Capt. Singh, adding, “If Sukhbir Badal was really concerned about the plight of the farmers, he would have taken up the issue with the Centre and managed to secure some relief for the aggrieved community.”‘State of despair’Meanwhile, Mr. Badal reviewed arrangements for the party’s rally in Chandigarh ahead of proposed “gherao” of the Assembly. “Party workers were determined to reach the State Assembly to make the Congress government hear the voice of the farmers, who are in a state of despair and frustration at the government’s turnaround on the loan waiver promise,” he said.Waiver certificatesCapt. Singh, however, pointed out that around 82,000 farmers had already been issued debt waiver certificates by his government, with a clear road map for settling the loans of all the 1.25 million small and marginal farmers covered under the debt waiver scheme by November 2018.The principal opposition Aam Aadmi Party’s MLAs also had a meeting to discuss the floor strategy for the budget session. As many as 15 of the 20 AAP MLAs attended the meeting.“The party has decided to forcefully take up the issues of farmer and farm labourers’ suicides, betrayal of the youth on the promise of giving jobs besides the failure of the government to curb drugs and illegal mining,” Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Khaira said here. read more
In a state of shock and disbelief, the mother of the teenage girl, who was kidnapped and allegedly gang-raped by five men — two of them from the same village — in an under-construction room adjacent to a temple at Mohari village in Haryana, is yet to come with terms of the incident as her faith in “humanity” has been shattered.“What wrong did my daughter do to anybody that they [accused] did this to her… One of the accused is our neighbour… If you can’t trust a neighbour then whom can you trust… My faith on humanity has been shattered,” said the inconsolable mother, who wants speedy trial and strict punishment for the culprits.Main culprits at largeWhile the Haryana police on Monday arrested three accused, who allegedly stood as guards during the assault — the two other key accused, identified as Mellu and Kala, who raped the 14-year-old girl on the intervening night of April 19 and April 20 —are still at large.Also Read Ashok Kumar, sarpanch (village head) of Mohri village in Yamunanagar, with a population of around 1800 split almost equally among Hindus and Muslims, says the incident has brought shame to the entire village.“While the victim should be punished, the incident should not be given a communal colour. We all are living in harmony here. The entire village is standing behind the victim and the family,” he said.Three arrestedSenior Superintendent of Police, Rakesh Kalia, who visited the crime scene on Monday assured that culprits would not spared and would be arrested soon.“Three suspects have arrested while search operation for other accused is underway. A case had been registered under the POCSO Act and various Sections of the IPC including 365/452/506, against the accused,” he said.Mr. Kalia said the incident didn’t occur inside the temple as being claimed in some section of media, instead it was committed in a room near the temple, referred to as dharamshala. Female peon molests girl student, held in Mumbai Indian men have become animals: Bihar Governor The victim’s mother, in her complaint, has alleged that the accused had on April 19, after midnight, barraged into their house, while her daughter was sleeping with her siblings, gagged her and kidnapped her. They took her to a nearby under-construction room on the temple premises and allegedly gang-raped her. They smashed her head on the ground before fleeing the spot, she added, while narrating her daughter’s ordeal.“That night my husband and I were not at home. We work as labourers and had gone to Ladwa in Kurukshetra, to lift grain from the market yard on April 19. When we returned the next evening, my daughter was in pain and started crying, later she narrated the entire incident,” she said.“Traumatised after the incident, my daughter has been asking me and my husband to ensure that the culprits don’t go unpunished and are hanged. We don’t want any compensation but justice and that too quickly,” the victim’s mother told The Hindu.Accused well-offThe victim’s uncle, who lives the next door, said while it is good that the police have arrested three accused, it was vital that the two key accused should not get away.“Both are from relatively well-off families, but we are hopeful that police will investigate the matter in fair manner,” he said.Also Read read more
Panaji: Health Minister of Goa, Vishwajit Rane, dismissed Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah’s recent pro-Karnataka comment on the Mahadayi inter-state water dispute as a mere electioneering statement, and said the party chief had Goa’s interests at heart.“In an election many statements are made. I am confident Amit Shah will ensure that the interests of Goa are protected irrespective of whatever statement may have been made. We are confident that he will take the right decision,” Mr. Rane said, at a press conference here on Friday.Election rallyAt a poll rally in Karnataka, Mr. Shah promised to resolve the Mahadayi dispute in six months and said waters from the multi-State river would flow into Karnataka. BJP’s South Goa MP and State unit spokesperson Narendra Savoikar also had said last week that irrespective of Mr. Shah’s comment, the BJP in Goa had faith in the Mahadayi Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal, which is due to deliver a verdict on the issue. Mr. Shah is scheduled to visit Goa on Sunday. Mr. Rane said, “We will have a discussion with him. A man of his stature will take the right decision.” Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are locked in a legal battle over the Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the Mahadayi. While Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mahadayi basin to the nearby Malaprabha river basin, Goa has opposed it. The tribunal is expected to give its verdict in a few months read more
Next Page »