News Flash – 22 November 2017

National News




Rane could have simply issued an electronic traffic ticket, or consulted his seniors before deciding to remove the car from a no-parking zone on SV Road, Malad West.



Mumbai: The Malad constable who towed away a car even though a 27-year-old woman was breastfeeding her child inside will remain under suspension as the traffic police’s inquiry has reportedly faulted him for the row, whose video went viral. The inquiry, conducted by deputy police commissioner (traffic) Sanjay Jadhav, has concluded that constable Shashank Rane endangered the life of the mother and the child by towing the car. Rane could have simply issued an electronic traffic ticket, or consulted his seniors before deciding to remove the car from a no-parking zone on SV Road, Malad West. Jadhav has submitted the report to joint police commissioner (traffic) Amitesh Kumar. It has not been made public yet, but Mirror has learned about the findings from another senior official with the traffic police. Rane, who is attached to the Malad traffic chowky, was suspended immediately after a video of the November 11 incident sparked a public outcry. He will remain off duty till officials decide what action should be taken against him. The episode has divided the traffic department as another mobile video apparently showed that the woman, Jyoti Mali, was initially not sitting inside the car with her seven-month-old child. She boarded the vehicle after it was attached to the tow truck. The child was in the hands of the father who was standing on the road. A cop opened the right rear door and asked her to get down, but she refused. Both the videos showed traffic cops arguing with Jyoti, who was apparently annoyed because other cars parked on the same stretch were being spared.


The senior official who discussed the inquiry report with Mirror said Rane should have dealt with the situation differently after it became clear that the woman was not going to step out. “We have clear guidelines: vehicles should be towed away only as a last resort. Towing is a time-consuming and an expensive process. We generally remove parked vehicles if they block the traffic or if there are special circumstances such as a VIP visit,” the official said. “Besides, it’s common sense not to tow away a vehicle with occupants still on board”. The joint and deputy police commissioners (traffic) met Rane to hear his side of the story. He told them the car was only being taken to a nearby police station to register an offence. “The constable should have consulted senior officials before taking that call. In this case, it’s not relevant whether the woman was already inside the car or sat later. You cannot remove a vehicle with someone sitting inside,” the unnamed official said. Earlier, Rekha Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, had earlier said a case should also be registered against Jyoti if she had acted irresponsibly.



100 shots fired in Dwarka gun battle as cops nab carjackers


NEW DELHI: Residents of Shanti Park near Dwarka Mor in southwest Delhi were shocked to hear gunshots ring out in the locality around noon on Tuesday. In a span of 15 minutes, close to 100 shots were exchanged as cops from two states were locked in a fierce battle with criminals holed up in a flat of a four-storied apartment building. As bullets flew around the building, other residents were asked to lock themselves in. Finally, five criminals — all carjackers from Punjab‘s Lawrence Bishone-Sampat Nehra gang who were partying in the flat — were arrested without anyone getting hurt. “Seventeen guns, including 15 pistols, a .315 bore rifle and a 12 bore shotgun, apart from 100 rounds of different calibre, were seized from them. We have handed them over to the Punjab police for further investigations and would aid them in nabbing the other members of the group,” said DCP (south-west) Shibesh Singh. “It seemed as if someone was bursting crackers from the balcony. However, as the firing went on, we all became alert to the danger. We had first presumed that they were terrorists,” said Surinder Pal, who owns a grocery shop in the lane next to the encounter site. A Punjab police team had been tracking the gangsters hiding in the apartment. The building has a property dealer’s office on the ground floor and residential flats on the upper floors. The Punjab cops had identified the building, next to Metro pillar number 768, with the help of an informer.


The five arrested men have been identified as Deepak Singh, Sumit, Tikoo, Sumit Mehar and Krishan. Cops took positions while a joint team tried to barge into flat number 204 in the building, where the criminals were having a party. Suddenly, Deepak fired from a .312 bore rifle, followed by shots from a 12 bore shotgun which led the cops to back off. A fierce encounter ensued. During the encounter, Deepak jumped off the balcony, landed on his feet and fled after firing a few rounds at the police team. The cops barged into the flat soon thereafter and nabbed four of his associates. Deepak was later caught from the neighbourhood. However, a sixth member of the group, Ravi, has been absconding since the shootout. “We had first presumed that they were terrorists,” said Surinder Pal, who owns a grocery shop at the lane next to the encounter site. It was found that Deepak had rented the apartment from one Inderjeet Singh two months back. On Tuesday, he had called other gang members for a meeting over lunch. The men are being interrogated to find out the whereabouts of Ravi, who provided logistical support to the gang in Delhi. Deepak was found to be involved in at least half-a-dozen cases of murder and has been shifting his base from Punjab for the past three months to evade the cops.



Safety panel nod for Metro roll-out


HYDERABAD: In a move that finally clears the decks for the 30-km Miyapur to Nagole flag off of the much awaited Hyderabad Metro Rail, the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) on Monday gave L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (LTHMRL) the green light to operate the stretch between SR Nagar and Mettuguda. L&T officials said they got the clearance to inaugurate the entire 30-km stretch after a team of officials from the CRS, led by commissioner of railway safety (south central circle), Ram Kripal, inspected the Hyderabad Metro Rail works over three days. The CRS team, which was in the city from November 17 to 19, inspected the civil works, tracks, Rail Over Bridge (RoB), viaducts, stations, electricals, signaling and train control systems, telecommunication, rolling stock and other systems of the Hyderabad Metro Rail, and also conducted speed trials. An elated municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao tweeted late in the evening: “Happy to announce that Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety cleared 10-km stretch from Mettuguda to SR Nagar.


All statutory clearances in place now for Hyderabad Metro. All set for launch now.” So far, the Hyderabad Metro Rail had clearances only for operating the 8-km Nagole Mettuguda and the 12-km Miyapur-SR Nagar stretches on the 30-km Miyapur-Nagole corridor, with the 10-km Mettuguda-SR Nagar stretch being the crucial missing link. While L&T secured the safety clearance for the Nagole-Mettuguda stretch in April 2016, it got the nod for the Miyapur SR Nagar stretch in August 2016. Even as the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) gave L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (LTHMRL) clearance to operate the stretch between SR Nagar and Mettuguda, Metro Rail officials said this stretch was an important link to completing the Nagole-Miyapur corridor. “This authorisation will enable us to operate the Metro Rail from Nagole to Miyapur via Ameerpet Interchange Metro Station seamlessly. CRS approval for Stage-1- Nagole to Mettuguda and Stage-2 – Miyapur to SR Nagar have already been authorised for commissioning.


This is a great moment for team L&TMRHL and its partners,” said L&TMRHL managing director and chief executive officer Shivanand Nimbargi, pointing out that the minor pending works along the corridor would be completed shortly. Both, the state government and L&T were worried about clearance for the missing stretch, which was mandatory for kicking off operations as the Telangana government had already invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Miyapur Nagole corridor, as part of first phase of the project on November 28 when he is slated to inaugurate the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017, to which President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump will be heading the US delegation. Though the L&T and Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited had initially proposed kicking off operations on the 8-km Nagole-Mettuguda stretch, the state government had turned it down stating that running the service on such a short route would not serve any purpose and asked the project developer to complete the entire 30-km corridor. In fact, a few days ago KTR had announced in the Assembly that if only an 8-km stretch was inaugurated, it would not serve the purpose of commuters and the much vaunted Hyderabad Metro Rail may be labelled a failure.



After monsoon-induced lull, dengue strikes back in Chennai


CHENNAI: Heavy rainfall just after the monsoon set in over Chennai almost a month ago put the brakes on a dengue outbreak, but the lull was deceptive and fleeting: Hospitals in the city have started to report a resurgence in the vector-borne disease, with a spike in cases over the past week. Doctors on Tuesday warned that the problem, not confined to the city, is likely to worsen if the government and public fail to take adequate measures to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. Tamil Nadu has recorded more than 52 dengue deaths, or nearly 25% of the mortalities from the disease nationwide in 2017. Data from the National Vector Control Disease Programme shows the state had more than 20,000 dengue cases between January 1 and November 19, a period in which Kerala recorded 19,543 cases and 35 deaths. The two states account for 40% of 216 dengue deaths in the country this year. Kerala had by June recorded 4,735 cases, more than Tamil Nadu’s 3,259 cases. But dengue cases and mortalities peaked in Tamil Nadu in July and August. “There was a decline in dengue after the rain,” said Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital medical director Dr S Balasubramanian. “Now it’s going up again”.


Former director of public health Dr S Elango said Tamil Nadu underreporting dengue. “We had more than 80 dengue deaths two months ago,” he said. “There were deaths in Tiruvallur and Madurai on Monday and Tuesday. But some officials are recording causes of some deaths as viral hemorrhagic fever so as not to increase the count”. The health department would not officially confirm a rise in cases but entomologists say mosquito populations will increase after rain. “The showers washed away eggs, larvae and pupae but adult mosquitoes that survived have new breeding grounds,” state chief entomologist Abdul Khader said. Greater Chennai Corporation officials say they can’t ensure that there is no mosquito breeding in private spaces. “In places that have reported dengue cases, we’ve found mosquitoes breeding in houses,” said director of public health Dr K Kolandaswamy.



International News



Suicide car bomb kills 21 in town north of Baghdad



KIRKUK, Iraq: A suicide car bomber killed at least 21 people in an attack on a busy market in a town north of Baghdad on Tuesday, a security official said. Dozens more were wounded when the attacker blew up the vehicle in the middle of the fruit and vegetable market in Tuz Khurmatu, the official said. A doctor at the town’s general hospital put the number of wounded at 80, some of them lightly injured. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Suicide attacks in Iraq are usually claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, which has suffered a string of military defeats and last week lost control of the last town the jihadists held in the country. Tuz Khurmatu is home to a mixed Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen population. It was the scene of deadly violence in mid-October when Iraqi forces retook it from Kurdish control in response to a Kurdish independence referendum. Turkmen MP Niazi Maamar Oglu said an attack of Tuesday’s magnitude had not been seen in the town “for years”. A security chief in Salaheddin province, Mehdi Taqi, told AFP that a curfew was imposed immediately after the bombing. “There are still some areas west of Tuz Khurmatu that serve as hideouts for IS and we will soon be carrying out operations to clean them up,” Taqi added.



At least 50 dead in Nigeria mosque bombing: Police



KANO (NIGERIA): At least 50 people were killed today when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, police said, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists. The blast happened during early morning prayers at the Madina mosque in the Unguwar Shuwa area of Mubi, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) by road from the Adamawa state capital, Yola. “So far we have at least 50 dead from an attack at a mosque in Mubi,” Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar told AFP. “Several people were injured. We don’t have the figure now because they have been taken to several hospitals for treatment. “It was a (suicide) bomber who mingled with worshippers. He entered the mosque along with other worshippers for the morning prayers. “It was when the prayers were on that he set off his explosives”. Asked who was responsible, Abubakar said: “We all know the trend. We don’t suspect anyone specifically but we know those behind such kind of attacks”. The attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamist militants whose insurgency has left at least 20,000 people dead and more than 2.6 million others homeless since 2009. Haruna Furo, head of the Adamawa state emergency management agency, and Musa Hamad Bello, chairman of the Mubi north local government area, both confirmed the attack. They gave lower death tolls but both said the number of those killed was likely to rise. Another emergency services official described the blast as “devastating”. He said only that there were “high casualties”. Abubakar Sule, who lives near the mosque, said he had just returned home when he heard the blast.


“I was there when the rescue was on and 40 people died on the spot and several others were taken to hospital with severe and life-threatening injuries,” he added. “The roof was blown off. People near the mosque said the prayer was mid-way when the bomber, who was obviously in the congregation, detonated his explosives. “This is obviously the work of Boko Haram”. Boko Haram briefly overran Mubi in late 2014 as its fighters rampaged across northeastern Nigeria, seizing towns and villages in its quest to establish a hardline Islamic state. The town’s name was changed temporarily to Madinatul Islam, or “City of Islam” in Arabic, during the Boko Haram occupation. But it has been peaceful since the military and the civilian militia ousted them from the town, which is a commercial hub and home to the Adamawa State University. In recent months, Boko Haram activity has been concentrated on the far north of Adamawa state, around Madagali, which is near the border with neighbouring Borno state. Earlier this month, at least two civilians were killed when dozens of Boko Haram fighters tried to storm the town of Gulak but were repelled by soldiers. There have been repeated suicide bombings in the area, which lies not far from the Sambisa Forest area of Borno, where the militants had a base. Boko Haram fighters are also said to be hiding in the Mandara mountains, to the east of Adamawa state, which forms the border with neighbouring Cameroon.

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