News Flash – 31 March 2018

National News

 

 

Viral CCTV footage helps cops first find victim, then nab chain-snatchers

CCTV grab of the crime at a Malad building.

 

 

MUMBAI: Parvatiben Gada was getting into the elevator of her building in Malad’s Govind Nagar when a man ran up behind her, snatched her gold chain and fled. The CCTV footage of the incident quickly went viral on WhatsApp, prompting cops to track down Gada and convince her to press charges last week. Ten days later, the man who snatched Gada’s chain as well as his associate who was waiting for him on a bike were nabbed late on Thursday. The school-dropout duo was released from prison earlier this year. “Riyaz Alam Shaikh (33) and Akash Naik (24) are career criminals. After nabbing them, we came across CCTV footage of two other robberies at jewellery shops involving the duo. It was necessary to hunt them down soon as the CCTV grabs could cause concern among citizens,” said deputy police commissioner Vinay Rathod. After robbing Gada on March 19, they made minimal use of phones. The police hunted for them in Govandi, Mankhurd and Mira Road on the basis of specific information. Naik was eventually nabbed in Vasai around 11.30pm on Thursday. After sustained interrogation, he provided the whereabouts of Shaikh. Another team picked up Shaikh from Ghatkopar within hours.

 

Their modus operandi were to surveil a target and strike when the person is most vulnerable. In Gada’s case, they waited till the watchman left his position. “We are fortunate my mother did not sustain injuries,” Gada’s son, Chandresh, told TOI. He added that the family had not lodged a complaint on their own accord as they had not expected to get the chain back. On November 21, 2017, and February 8 this year, Shaikh and Naik struck at jewellery shops. The footage from the shop shows one of the asking an employee to show him various chains and tries them on. Once he gains the employee’s confidence and they relax, he makes a dash for the door with the chains on. The other robber keeps the bike ready outside and they escape. “A red-coloured Hero Hunk used in Gada’s robbery was recovered from the duo. A Honda Unicorn stolen from Nala Sopara and a third bike stolen from Aarey have also been found. The fuel tanks of the stolen bikes were filled up to the maximum capacity so the bikes wouldn’t break down midway. There are seven to eight criminal cases registered against each of them and they have also been convicted in some of these cases,” said investigating officer Ghanshyam Nair.

 

 

Robbers loot passengers of Ambala-bound train soon after it leaves Nizamuddin station

 

 

NEW DELHI: Four armed robbers looted valuables from passengers of an Ambala-bound train early Friday morning, soon after it departed from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station here, officials said. The incident took place around 4 am on the Nizamuddin-Ambala passenger train when it stopped in an area between the station and Tilak Bridge. The train had left Nizamuddin at 3:56 am, they said. “Four robbers armed with knives threatened 12 to 15 passengers travelling in the train’s general coach and decamped with their valuables such as mobile phones,” Northern Railway spokesperson Nitin Chowdhary said. “The robbery took place when the train stopped at Nizamuddin-Tilak Bridge. One person suffered minor injuries, rest of the passengers are fine,” he said. The passengers have filed a preliminary complaint at the New Delhi railway station and the Government Railway Police (GRP) has registered a case, the official said. The spokesperson said that a joint team of the GRP and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is probing the matter.

 

 

Two more held for bank heist, car used to carry booty recovered

 

 

CHENNAI: Two more suspects were arrested on Friday in connection with the bank heist case, in which lockers were cut open and 130 sovereigns of gold jewellery worth Rs 40 lakh were looted by a gang from the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) branch in Virugambakkam on Monday. Two car drivers- Bahadur, 35, and Pratap, 32, were arrested and a Toyota Innova, used to transport the accused and the booty, was seized from them. Police said efforts are on to get custody of seven suspects, including Shabi Lal, in Nepal. The other suspects- Dev Singh, Bheemlal, Kudusingh, Thej Bahadur and Ganesh, who are in Nepal now, were already arrested in Nepal for involvement in a few criminal cases registered in Delhi and Nepal.

 

The Nepal police on Thursday arrested the prime suspect of the heist, security guard, Shabi Lal. He was arrested after the city police sought the help of Interpol through the CBI. However, the Nepal police refused to hand over Shabi Lal, since there was no extradition treaty between India and Nepal to transfer suspects involved in criminal cases. Chennai police nabbed the two car drivers after CCTV camera footage showed the duo driving in the car, carrying cylinders. Police had also learnt that the suspects had used an Innova bearing a Karnataka registration to escape after the crime, which led them to the duo, said an investigating officer. The two confessed to the police that Shabi Lal, who had worked in Chennai and Tiruvallur for the last 15 years in various companies as a security guard and maintenance staff, was behind the crime. He had hatched the plan for the heist and took the gang’s help, police said.

 

 

International News

 

 

Russia declares ‘high alert’ in town hit by landfill fumes

A bust of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin in the center square with the Volokolamsk’s Kremlin Museum and Exhibition Complex in Volokolamsk, near Moscow.

 

 

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday announced a “high alert” in a town where noxious fumes have leaked from a landfill site, distributing masks and respirators to residents who have held repeated protests. The Kremlin said it was closely watching the situation in Volokolamsk, a town of around 20,000 people about 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Moscow. Residents have long demanded the closure of a landfill site that has been emitting a noxious sulphurous smell, in a rare case of coordinated grass-roots civil action. Last week, doctors treated dozens of children who complained of dizziness and nausea because of fumes from the Yadrovo landfill site near the town, which is in the Moscow region. A spokesman for the regional emergencies ministry said “a state of high alert” had been imposed in the town and that monitoring of the environment “will be stepped up” with the “non-stop” testing of air quality. Local authorities had also begun distributing medical masks and respirators to those who needed them, he said. Volokolamsk residents had on Thursday held a rally demanding that the authorities formally declare a state of emergency, which they have not so far done. Another rally is planned for Sunday. “We are in constant touch with the regional authorities and the government over this,” President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “Everyone understands that this is a complicated problem, that it cannot be solved overnight”. Officials say a new facility will eventually be built which will not emit fumes. Russia sends almost all its rubbish to landfill and there is no obligation for people to recycle household waste, creating a growing problem despite the country’s vast territory.

 

 

Deadly clashes in Gaza mark start of Palestinian campaign

 

GAZA CITY: Thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday in the largest such demonstration in recent memory, and 15 were killed by Israeli fire on the first day of what Hamas organizers said will be six weeks of daily protests against a stifling border blockade. It was the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas. Fourteen of the marchers were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire in clashes along the border fence, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Another Palestinian was killed earlier Friday. The Israeli military said thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tires toward troops deployed on the other side of the border fence. It accused militants of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of mass protests, saying that in one incident, Palestinian gunmen fired toward soldiers. The large turnout of the flag-waving marchers in the dangerous border zone was a testament to Hamas’ organizing skills, but it also signaled desperation among Gaza residents after a decade-old border closure. Life in the coastal strip has deteriorated further in recent months, with rising unemployment, grinding poverty and daily blackouts that last for hours. Asmaa al-Katari said she participated in the march despite the risks and would join upcoming protests because “life is difficult here in Gaza and we have nothing to lose”. The history student said she is a descendant of refugees from what is now Israel’s southern Negev Desert. She said her grandfathers had lived in tents as refugees. “I want to tell the world that the cause of our grandfathers is not dead,” she added.

 

Gaza resident Ghanem Abdelal, 50, said he hopes the protest “will bring a breakthrough, an improvement, to our life in Gaza”. He had brought his family to a protest tent camp near Gaza City — one of five set up several hundred meters from the border fence — where he distributed water bottles to women and children sitting on a mat. Israel had threatened a tough response, hoping to deter breaches of the border fence. The Israeli military released video showing a row of snipers perched on a high earthen embankment facing the Gaza crowd in one location. Israel also used a new means of crowd control Friday — small drones that each dropped several tear gas canisters on protesters below. People quickly scattered when they saw the drones approaching. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting late Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “an independent and transparent investigation” into the deadly clashes and council members urged restraint on both sides. Friday’s high death toll and prospects of daily protests in coming weeks have raised concerns about another escalation along the volatile frontier. Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas have fought three cross-border wars in recent years. The protest campaign is meant to spotlight Palestinian demands for a “right of return” to what is now Israel. A large majority of Gaza’s 2 million people are descendants of Palestinians who fled or were driven from their homes in the 1948 Mideast war over Israel’s creation. The 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel, on May 15, is marked by Palestinians as their “nakba,” or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted.

 

The planned mass sit-ins on the border are also seen as a new attempt by Hamas to break the border blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized Gaza from forces loyal to its rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2007. The continued closure has made it increasingly difficult for Hamas to govern. Other attempts to break the blockade, including wars with Israel and attempts to reconcile with the West Bank-based Abbas, have failed over the years. The latest Egyptian-led reconciliation efforts collapsed earlier this month, when a bomb targeted but missed Abbas’ prime minister and intelligence chief during a visit to Gaza. Hamas and Abbas traded accusations after the bombing, signaling that any deal on Hamas handing the Gaza government to Abbas is increasingly unlikely. The Hamas leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, said the protests are a signal to Israel and the world that “our people will not accept the continuation of the siege”. Israel and the Trump administration expressed concern in recent months about a looming humanitarian crisis in Gaza and appealed to the international community to fund large-scale development projects there, including a desalination plant. However, such plans appeared to be linked to a deal on Abbas taking charge in Gaza, and Israel didn’t say what it would do if such an arrangement didn’t work out. Friday’s violence began before dawn when a 27-year-old farmer picking parsley in his field was hit by an Israeli tank shell in southern Gaza, the Health Ministry said. Another farmer was injured by shrapnel. Israel’s military said troops directed tank fire toward suspicious figures on the border. Later in the day, mosque loudspeakers urged Gaza residents to head to the border encampments. A Hamas-linked bus company ferried protesters to the area.

 

In all, tens of thousands gathered at the encampments, though not all headed to the border, witnesses said. Other Palestinian factions also participated in organizing the protests. The Health Ministry said at least 1,000 people were injured, including 758 by live fire and the rest by rubber bullets and tear gas. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum praised the turnout. “The large crowds … reflect the Palestinian people’s determination to achieve the right of return and break the siege and no force can stop this right,” he said. Groups of marchers threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with live fire, tear gas and rubber bullets. The military said thousands participated in the clashes. Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, commander of the Israeli military’s Southern Command, which includes the Gaza border, said he held Hamas responsible for the violence and alleged there were attempts to “carry out terror attacks under the camouflage of riots”. The army said Israeli soldiers opened fire at two Palestinians who approached the fence and shot at soldiers in northern Gaza. It said troops also fired on Palestinians who had infiltrated into Israel.  The military had doubled its standard troop level along the border, deploying snipers, special forces and paramilitary border police units, which specialize in riot control. Friday’s protest campaign began as Jews prepared to mark Passover, and it is scheduled to culminate with the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, in mid-May. The anniversary of Israel’s founding will be particularly fraught for Palestinians this year. The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to mark the occasion. The planned embassy move falls in line with Trump’s recognition in December of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that has infuriated Palestinians who seek the city’s Israeli-annexed eastern sector as a future capital.

 

 

Pakistan: Terrorists kill 3 police officers in bomb attack

 

 

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Pakistani police say terrorists that struck a police convoy with a bomb attack have killed three officers in the country’s northwest. Police official Mohammad Khan says Friday’s attack was aimed at the newly appointed district police chief, Zahid Ullah, who escaped unhurt. Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned of more in the future. Dera Ismail Khan is a central town in the country’s northeast and a gateway to the North and South Waziristan tribal regions, which have been a base for local Taliban until recently when the army in series of operations killed or captured militants. Violence, however, has persisted in the town.


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