News Flash – 09 May 2019

National News



15 Thane Hospitals Sealed for flouting rules on Fire Safety



Thane: As many as 15 hospitals were sealed by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) on Wednesday following directions of the Bombay high court last month to act against those found flouting fire safety rules. Six of these were in Naupada and Majiwada, four in the Kalwa-Mumbra-Diva belt and five in the Wagle Estate area, said the TMC administration. The Bombay high court had on April 18 ordered the shutting down and sealing of all private hospitals and nursing homes in Thane that lacked approvals from the fire department. Shashikant Kale, chief fire officer, said a meeting was held in the last week of April and was followed by a survey by the town planning department, the medical health department, the fire brigade and the anti-encroachment team of the TMC. “A notice was served on all the 15 units found flouting the fire safety norms, following which they were asked to voluntarily evacuate the patients and brace for legal action,” Kale said. “We have sealed the hospitals which have not complied with fire safety guidelines”. The high court direction had come on a public interest litigation filed by Sapan Shrivastav, who claimed there were many private health institutions in the city that were fire hazards and were a danger to the lives of patients, doctors and other staff. The court referred to the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act that requires establishments to obtain the fire NOC and empowers the fire department to close down establishments that fail to obtain clearances and violate safety rules.



500 guests have close shave as fire ravages Wedding Tent

GUTTED: The fire may have been started by a guest lighting a firework under the shamiana at the entrance.



New Delhi: Nearly a month after a tragedy was averted when a massive fire gutted two tents in Pitampura, a similar fire broke out in a wedding tent at a DDA park in Keshavpuram on Tuesday night. More than 500 guests had a narrow escape through a rear exit as the fire, caused allegedly when a guest lit a firework under the shamiana at the entrance, ravaged the venue. Seven fire tenders doused the flames in 45 minutes. According to chief fire officer Atul Garg, the blaze broke out around 11pm at Satya Tent House, when the guests accompanying the groom arrived from Patel Nagar. As they entered, one of them lit a flower pot under the shamiana that caught fire. Seeing the blaze, most guests ran inside and got trapped. The fire soon spread to the changing rooms erected next to the entrance. Cops said gold jewellery and some valuables kept in these rooms were gutted. “While one team tried to douse the fire, another evacuated the guests by cutting open the tent’s cloth walls. A police team also reached and pulled out most of the guests,” said Garg. A relative of the tent owner said they had opened the fire safety exit for the guests to escape. “We will charge the wedding party for the losses as the repair will take Rs 30-40 lakh,” he added. The booking was made through the DDA website. The park has two wedding tents erected next to each other. A fireman pointed out that several fire safety norms were ignored while erecting the semi-permanent structures. Their walls had a huge amount of thermocol and plastic material due to which the fire spread quickly, he said. The owners will also be questioned on the violation of norms specified by DDA. A case for causing damage due to fire has been registered.



International News



Blast outside Sufi shrine in Lahore kills 8

Security officials examine the blast site outside a Sufi shrine in Lahore on Wednesday.



Islamabad: At least eight people were killed, five of them policemen, and more than 25 injured in a suspected suicide bombing outside the shrine of a hugely popular Sufi saint in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday. The blast, targeting a police van, occurred at 8.45am outside the shrine of Data Gunj Baksh, dedicated to Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery, an 11th-century Sufi saint of Persian origin, inside Lahore’s old walled city. The shrine, known as Data Darbar, is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from both the Sunni and Shia traditions of Islam every year. The numbers, however, go up in the Muslim holy month of Ramzan. Hizbul Ahrar (HuA), a splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack. The group shared a statement with the media stating that its target was the police. According to the police, the blast was a suicide attack and the target was a police mobile van parked outside Gate 2 of the shrine. Footage from the scene showed a badly damaged police vehicle and debris strewn in front of the shrine.



Arif Nawaz Khan, Punjab’s police chief, confirmed the death of five Elite Force (branch of the police) personnel. “Personnel of the Elite Force were the target of the attacker. The suicide bomber could have caused more damage because of the direction he had approached from, but he went straight to the police vehicle,” Nawaz Khan said. He said there had been no specific warning about a threat to the shrine. An initial probe by the bomb disposal squad revealed that 7 kg of explosive material was used in the attack. Khalid Gondal, vice-chancellor of King Edward Medical University, said nine persons were killed while the condition of four among the injured was critical. The hardline extremists view mystical Islam, deeply rooted in the subcontinent, with contempt and consider its follower’s heretics. In the past decade, terrorists, had targeted shrines of prominent Sufi saints across Pakistan. In 2010, Data Darbar was struck in what was then one of the deadliest suicide attacks on a Sufi shrine in Pakistan, killing nearly 50 people.

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