News Flash – 3 October 2018

National News



Kisan Jam: Delhi Borders on Chaos


New Delhi: It was one of the biggest challenges that Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik had to face during his tenure on Tuesday as his force had to handle over 25,000 protesters and using force was not an option. Delhi Police managed to pass the test with the help of around 5,000 police and paramilitary personnel, multi-layer barricading and interstate coordination on a WhatsApp group. The top brass comprising the two law and order chiefs, Sandeep Goel and R P Upadhyay, joint commissioner Ravindra Yadav and others held a marathon brainstorming session on Monday evening to chalk out the final strategy. Intelligence about fringe groups mixing with the farmers was shared with the officers and they were told to ask their subordinates to profile such miscreants. The inputs had suggested that these elements could try and create unrest. The senior officers arrived at a consensus on multiple barricading as plan-A of crowd control. It was decided that such barricading would be increased from what transpired on the spot. As per plan, a large wall comprising around 500 barricades in 4-5 layers was created on NH-24 making infiltration almost impossible. Big boulders were also used to secure other entry points. According to the final plan, 11 DCPs were deployed in each shift since Monday evening. Each DCP had one company force with him, apart from one ACP and inspectors. At the main spot near Ghazipur, 15 companies of CP Reserve Force, six companies of paramilitary and around 15 companies of local policemen were deployed.


Joint commissioner Yadav said regular announcements were made through public address systems about Section 144 Cr PC being in force. “The protesters were assured through their leaders that their demands were being projected at appropriate levels,” he added. Delhi Police remained in constant touch with their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh and shared real-time information through WhatsApp. Patnaik and UP DGP O P Singh also spoke on the phone about the final plan of action on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Patnaik remained at the spot through the afternoon. The farmers largely agreed for a sit-in protest while talks were on, but one group tried to act otherwise. Armed with lathis, they clashed with the cops. However, they were quickly controlled using mild force. This was the only physical confrontation in the entire protest. “We had made adequate arrangements to deal with Bhartiya Kisan Union and other farmer activists based on inputs that they would attempt to enter Delhi in large numbers along with tractor-trolleys as passenger carriers. We didn’t stop individual movements (without tractor/trolley) and had arranged buses for this purpose,” Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said.



CCTV Surveillance for Women’s Safety



Bengaluru: Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday said all roads and localities in Bengaluru will soon come under CCTV surveillance in a bid to clamp down on rowdy activities and chain snatching incidents. Speaking after participating in Gandhi Jayanti celebrations at the Vidhana Soudha, Kumaraswamy said making the city safe and ridding it of rowdy elements was a priority of his government. He said posting “good police officers” in Bengaluru was a first step towards this end. “Women going to grocery shops and temples are being robbed off their valuables,” the chief minister said. “This should stop and we will put an end to such incidents. I have told officers to install CCTV cameras on every road and locality without bothering about the costs”. Kumaraswamy said the government will build Gandhi Bhavans in all district headquarters which will offer skill development programmes for youths throughout the year besides spreading Gandhi’s teachings.


“Sites for Gandhi Bhavans have already been identified in 18 districts and the process of identifying land in the remaining districts is on and will be completed shortly,” he said. “We will soon begin construction. These Bhavans will provide space for events that will steer society in the right direction. Government is also planning to set up skill development programmes for youths at these centres,” he said. He also brushed aside media reports that the state government is mulling handing out licences to 1,000 new liquor shops. “Let me make it very clear…there is no such proposal before me,” he said. “I was the one who banned arrack in Karnataka and to say that I am going to allow more liquor shops is unbelievable”. Several government and non-governmental organisations held Gandhi Jayanti events in the city. Residents, including children of about eight apartments near Hoodi Circle, Whitefield, participated in a drive to clean their streets. They picked up plastic and other waste in the area.



Alert tenants foil robbers’ entry into gated society



Hyderabad: Alert residents of a gated community at Shamshabad near RGI Airport foiled an attempt by thieves to forcibly enter the premises on Monday night, following which police tightened security in the locality. The incident occurred at Nakshatra gated community comprising villas and apartment blocks. According to the police, one of the residents saw a group of people trying to scale the boundary wall, which is equipped with a solar powered fence on top, during the wee hours of Tuesday. “At around 2am, one of the residents saw about four people cutting the solar fence on the boundary wall. He raised an alarm along with other community members, after which the offenders fled the scene,” RGI Airport Inspector A Gangadhar said. Immediately after the incident, the residents alerted the police and the patrolling team rushed to the spot. “Part of the solar fence was damaged as there was no power supply. The gated community has CCTV cameras installed only at the entrance. We are trying to see if the movements of any of the suspects were caught on CCTV cameras nearby,” the inspector said. After the incident, police held a meeting with the residents of the community.



8-yr-old dead, 10 injured in bomb blast near TMC leader’s Nagerbazar office


Kolkata: A blast 35 feet away from South Dum Dum Municipality chairperson and Trinamool Congress leader Panchu Roy’s Nagerbazar office on Gandhi Jayanti morning claimed the life of an eight-year-old boy and injured his mom and nine others. The blast, initial investigations revealed, was caused by a “socket bomb” that comprised a pipe about six inches long, which contained ammonium nitrate and shrapnel. It shook up the entire Nagerbazar residential-cum-commercial neighbourhood and was powerful enough to shatter window panes 60ft away and pierce the metal shutter of a shop across the lane. Witnesses nearest the blast site recalled being engulfed in thick black smoke that reduced visibility to near-zero. “All I could hear were people screaming,” Debatrisha Sengupta, a resident of a building on the other side of the lane, said. Besides claiming eight-year-old Bibhas Ghosh’s life, it caused life-threatening wounds in at least four of the 10 injured. It also caused a political controversy, with TMC and BJP trading conspiracy charges and Roy himself claiming that the bomb — kept in a sack next to a fruit stall — was planted by BJP and RSS workers and was meant for him. Tuesday’s blast came four years to the day after the Khagragarh blast in Burdwan, which killed two bomb makers. Cops picked up a few men for questioning but officials said they would be able to throw light on the most important questions — who kept the bomb, who the bomb was meant for and how it exploded — only after a proper probe. CM Mamata Banerjee did not issue any statement till late Tuesday night. The bomb exploded around 9.10 am in Kazipara, a lane off the Nagerbazar crossing, when locals were having tea at two shops on either side of the blast site. Bibhas, who was standing with his mother, was badly burnt and died at SSKM Hospital at 12.30pm, a little more than three hours later.



His mother, Basanti alias Sita, and three others were critical and were being treated at three different hospitals. Fruit vendor Ajit Haldar, who was right next to the bomb, lost part of his pelvis and was at R G Kar Hospital; Subham Dey had a splinter embedded in his head and was undergoing treatment at Bangur Institute of Neurology; Sangeeta Prasad was admitted at Dum Dum’s ILS Hospital with shrapnel injuries in her abdomen. The metal pipe that formed the bomb flew off like a projectile, hitting the overhead rolling shutter box before ricocheting onto another shop’s shutter across the 20-foot road. “It appears that the blast was caused by an improvised bomb of low intensity. We are trying to find out who may have left the bomb,” Barrackpore City Police commissioner Rajesh Kumar Singh said. “The attackers knew my office was next door and that Trinamool workers frequented the area. I think this is the handiwork of the RSS that has a history of antisocial activities in this area,” SDDM chairperson Roy said. He usually reaches the office around 9 a.m. but was delayed on Tuesday and reached it barely 10 minutes after the explosion.


Rajarhat MLA and state technical education minister Purnendu Basu, too, hinted at the BJP’s involvement. “It was a planned attack. Those who kept the device there knew that Trinamool workers and leaders assembled there around that time. I feel this cannot be done by the CPM or the Congress. Neither can our own party workers do this. The only suspect is the BJP,” Bose said. The BJP rubbished the allegations with party president Dilip Ghosh claiming it was the result of Trinamool infighting. He also demanded an inquiry by the National Investigation Agency. Blasts are not rare in Bengal, where the BJP has emerged as the Trinamool’s main challenger since 2016. After the October 2014 Khagragarh blast in Burdwan, Bengal has seen several other explosions of lower intensity. But this is the first time that an explosion of this magnitude has reached Kolkata’s doorstep. The blast, coming ahead of the festive season, adds to cops’ worries. Meetings were underway at Lalbazar with plans to beef up security around markets and shopping centres in the run-up to Durga Puja.



Two rail derailments within 5 hours in city


Chennai: A man was crushed to death by a container on a weighbridge at Ambattur Railway Station following a derailment, while an empty rake of a passenger train collided with a diesel loco and went off the rails near Egmore Railway Station, both accidents occurring within five hours on Tuesday. Around 5am, a diesel shunting engine smashed side-on into a rake of Uzhavan Express between Chennai Egmore and the Gopalapuram yard, sending it off the rails. The train was being taken to the yard for maintenance while the loco was coming from the other direction. A top railway source attributed this to ‘human error’. Fortunately, there was no death or injury due to the incident. Around 9.30am, at Ambattur Railway Station, a rake of wagons filled with ballast rolled back on its own from one of the tracks and crashed into an electronic in-motion weighbridge on the shunting neck of the track, with the brake van and a wagon going off the rails after hitting the dead end. The weighbridge container fell on Mani, crushing him to death.


An official railway spokesman said passenger train movement on other lines was not affected due to this. “A multi-disciplinary inquiry has been ordered,” he said. Government Railway Police (GRP) registered a case under Section 174 for suspicious death and started investigation. Top Southern Railway officials, who had a holiday for Gandhi Jayanthi, made rounds of Egmore and Ambattur stations through the day due to the accidents. Sources said a train carrying ballast rolling on its own was a serious lapse. “Every such train is secured at a stabling station so that it doesn’t run away on a down gradient. This has not happened in this case. The railway police may also book cases under Section 304(A) of IPC which is for causing death due to negligence,” a Southern Railway officer said. A source said the force may have come from an earthmover which was loading ballast into the wagon. The Egmore incident will also be probed by a railway committee as it is a serious safety lapse on the part of the operations department. It has also resulted in damage to a passenger coach.



Kolkata Fire: Fire at Calcutta Medical College, over 250 patients evacuated

Kolkata Fire: Ten fire tenders have been rushed to the spot.



Kolkata: A fire broke out at Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata on Wednesday morning. Ten fire tenders have been rushed to the spot to douse the fire. No casualty has been reported as of now and at least 250 people have been evacuated and are being moved to different blocks. According to preliminary reports, the fire broke out at the Department of Pharmacy early this morning. Smoke engulfed the ground floor of the hospital’s main building where the dispensary is housed and many patients reportedly tried to jump out of the window to save themselves. Local media footage shows few of them being taken out of the building with their saline drips. Few patients could also be seen lying on the floor waiting for help. A disaster management team of the Kolkata Police, fire officials and senior officials are on the spot. A senior fire official said the fire has been brought under control.



International News



Indonesia hunts for quake survivors as toll crosses 1,200



Palu: Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for reinforcements in a desperate search for survivors of a devastating earthquake and tsunami on Sulawesi island, as the official toll rose above 1,200 on Tuesday and looting fueled fears of lawlessness. Officials fear the toll could soar, as most of the confirmed dead had come from Palu while some remote areas have been cut off since Friday’s 7.5 magnitude quake triggered tsunami waves. “There are some main priorities that we must tackle and the first is to evacuate, find and save victims who’ve not yet been found,” Widodo told a government meeting to coordinate disaster recovery efforts. He said he had ordered the national search and rescue agency to send more police and soldiers into the affected districts, some cut off by destroyed roads and downed bridges. The official toll surged to 1,234, the national disaster agency said. Nearly 800 were seriously injured. The Red Cross said the situation was “nightmarish” and reports from its workers venturing into one cut-off area, Donggala, indicated it had been hit “extremely hard”.

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