News Flash – 31 August 2018

National News



Attacked by Mobile Thief, commuter falls to Death

Chetan Aherrao (35, right) was on the footboard talking to his family when he was hit as the train left Kalwa station.



Thane: In yet another instance of a commuter dying in the Mumbai region after coming under attack from a fatka robber, a 35-year-old Nashik resident fell to his death from a running local train after being targeted at Kalwa station. The incident occurred in the early hours of August 19. The wife and parents of the victim, Chetan Aherrao, and railway authorities had initially thought it was a simple case of him falling off a train, but his missing cellphone raised suspicions. The railway police eventually found that he was the victim of a crime after examining CCTV footage from the platform (No. 1) — a bone chilling sequence from the time Aherrao was struck by the robber till he died (refer to graphic on page 2). The face of the robber too can be seen on the footage. The case was registered on Tuesday and the accused, Ajay Solanki, was picked up from the slums abutting the Kalwa railway station a day later.



In Nagpur district, villagers cling to homes as Gosikhurd waters rise

THAT SINKING FEELING: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC had ordered the resettlement of the villagers two years ago.



Nagpur: Over 200 persons are clinging on to small islets in Gosikhurd reservoir in Umred, Kuhi and Bhiwapur tehsils of Nagpur district even as they face risk of drowning. These villages have already been taken over for Gosikhurd project but are still left with small populations. Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC) now wants to increase water level in the dam by another 1.5 metres. This can increase irrigation by 40,000 hectares. If the level goes up, these islets will be submerged too. VIDC is now shifting the marooned villagers in boats. The forcible eviction had to be done as locals did not respond to repeated notices, says VIDC. There are four such islets spread over an area of around 20km which need to be evacuated. On Monday, 57 persons were shifted from Kharad village in Kuhi. The operations will continue for a month with people being shifted in small batches, said a source in VIDC. There are four more pockets where there is access by road which are being cleared too. This makes for 110 families in all. Over the years, VIDC has shifted more than 10,000 persons from the submergence land. Now the last batch of 110 families or 400 to 500 people remain, said an official.


Sixteen families of Sonarvahi village in Kuhi claim they have no other place to go. Despite two attempts to rehabilitate them at the new settlements, like in Chirva, they were turned back by other ousters already living there. They claim it was due to caste differences. They are now back to their original marooned village despite a high court order to resettle them at a suitable location. Two years after the order, villagers who await justice had called on district collector Ashwin Mudgal last week. “Ever since the administration decided to raise water level, life has become a daily struggle. Our farms have been submerged. We have to wade through knee deep water to go out. Vehicles are parked over 3km away from village,” said Shankar Dahake from Sonarvahi. Another villager Mahendra Badge blamed district’s guardian minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule for favoritism and moved the HC. “It was on minister’s instructions that plots allotted to us were cancelled,” he said. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC also passed strictures against Bawankule and termed his diktat to cancel plot allotment as illegal.



Twice in a week: Snatchers strike in High-Security Zones



New Delhi: Two incidents of snatching around high security zones have surprised police. In the first one, two bikers rode in Bikaner House and snatched a gold chain from an elderly woman taking a stroll with her grandchildren. The woman aged 75 said the miscreants may have followed her into the campus as she was returning from the walk around 9am on August 25. They were two of them on a motorbike. They grabbed her chain from behind, turned back and sped off through the exit gate. The woman later told the police that the rider wore a blue and white chequered shirt while the pillion rider who snatched the chain wore an orange shirt. They both were in their 20s, she said. Footage from CCTV cameras around the area is being scanned to identify the men. In the other incident, a woman journalist going towards ITO in an autorickshaw on an assignment was robbed near Delhi Secretariat. The three-wheeler stopped at a signal when two men on a motorcycle pulled at her handbag. The journalist resisted and even injured her wrist in the struggle, but the assailants managed to take it and flee.


“I called up the PCR and asked them to stop the men near Pragati Maidan or somewhere there but they managed to get away,” the victim said. The journalist told the police later that the bag contained cash, some cards, including her ID, and other important papers. She said the man riding pillion who snatched the bag wore a white shirt and black trousers. The number plate of the bike was also not visible. Incidentally, police didn’t find any CCTV camera near the police headquarters that was pointed towards the stretch or had its recorder switched on. A clip from the ITO signal was so grainy that the bikers couldn’t be identified. The journalist however asked the police to verify some of the suspicious bikes that she could spot in some enhanced clips. The anti-snatching unit of the central district has been roped in to track them down.



3 Armed Robbers loot Rs.50 Lakhs Jewellery from East Delhi store

The robbers took away the digital video recorder of the store too.



New Delhi: Three robbers held the owners of a jewellery store at gunpoint and took away items worth more than Rs 50 lakh in east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar. Police said they were informed about the incident by one of the owners, Gaurav Sharma, who said armed men had attacked him and his wife. DCP (east) Pankaj Singh said a case has been registered. The men fled with the DVR of the store, so the CCTV cameras of the stores nearby will be scanned. Sharma said he and his wife opened the store at 11am every day and his brother and sister-in-law joined them later. “However, on Thursday, I took my wife for a check-up as she is pregnant, while my brother and sister-in-law opened the store. When my brother was taking out jewellery from the racks, three men came in wearing caps and started abusing them,” said Sharma. When Sharma’s brother, Vijay, protested to the behaviour, all the three men took out guns from their pockets and threatened them. “One of them put a gun to my sister-in-law’s head while the other two ransacked the store and filled their bags with jewellery. A few customers who came were told that the store wasn’t open,” he said. Fearing the customers would inform the police, the three men left on two bikes in a jiffy. “I suspect some men who posed as buyers and approached us in the last one week to be involved in the incident,” Sharma said.



Women’s security a priority, cops to tighten vigil at shopping hotspots ahead of Pujas


Kolkata: With the state’s biggest festival only one and a half months away, the Kolkata Police is busy drawing up its last minute pre-puja bandobast. One important task is to ensure women’s safety, especially during the shopping season that has already started. “Shoppers are thronging the markets in the run-up to the Pujas. We are prepared for the challenge,” a senior officer from Lalbazar told TOI. Sources said that New Market and Dakshinapan will have cops in plainclothes based on recent incidents, besides the usual hotspots like Gariahat and Hatibagan. The newly formed Wingers team — an all-women police squad on scooters that is cracking down on eve-teasers and petty snatchers active on the road — have already nabbed 65 persons within a month of its formation. They are helping cops by providing important inputs. Their experiences are crucial to the security plans, claimed Lalbazar sources. “The maximum number of people were arrested from Millennium Park and Victoria Memorial areas, others were nabbed from different zones between Maidan and Jadavpur University,” said an IPS officer. Police officers said the Wingers team, that is currently focusing on south and central Kolkata, will soon be expanding their patrol zones before the Pujas.


The police, along with the state administration, will be meeting the Puja organizers likely before September 15 to discuss various security aspects. A survey was carried out by all the 71police stations of the city. Local cops have collected details about the possible size of pandals and idols, traffic circulation plans and the expected footfall at all the Puja pandals. The survey, claimed Lalbazar officials, has revealed that there are several Pujas that can upset police plans this year. “It is not that the organizers are breaking rules. But take the Deshapriya Park-Gariahat stretch as an example. Besides Deshapriya Park and the Tridhara pujas that are major draws, two other pujas — including Hindustan Park — attract a considerable footfall. Similarly, some of the famous pujas in areas like Bhowanipore have grand plans too. The entire idea is for Lalbazar to know what the organizers are up to so that we can plan accordingly,” explained an officer. Besides this, cops are also marking the bad roads and faulty street lights — a routine annual affair in association with civic bodies — for the Pujas. Times View: This type of round-the-year -planning can make the city’s biggest festival season safer. Cops should similarly plan ahead to keep traffic moving during the Durga Puja week.



City Hospitals reports year’s 1st Swine Flu death in state


Kolkata: A 55-year-old woman from Kakdweep in South 24 Parganas died of swine flu at CMRI Hospital on Wednesday, becoming the first victim of the H1N1virus in the state this year. Debola Mandal had been admitted with high fever on Sunday. A test at the hospital’s laboratory confirmed the disease and Mandal passed away in the isolation unit. Though this is the first instance of a swine flu death in Bengal this year, a few cases have been reported in recent weeks. Last month, a techie was admitted to a private hospital with swine flu. More than 20 swine flu deaths were reported from the state last year and more than 200 had been affected. According to experts, the virus thrives and spreads between May and August. Mandal had been admitted in a serious condition, according to CMRI doctors. She had been quarantined during treatment but could not be revived. According to virologists, the H1N1virus starts circulating in May, thrives during monsoon, peaks in July and retreats by August-end.


The health department held a meeting on swine flu last month with all senior health officials from across the state. The latter were asked to be on alert, but no case was reported till the death on Wednesday. “Swine flu can be fatal, especially for the elderly and those with low immunity. It is a kind of influenza that affects the respiratory system very fast,” said consultant Arindam Biswas. However, he added that an outbreak seemed unlikely this year. “Fortunately, no case has been reported this year so far. Since we have come to the end of August, the time for the spread of the virus is almost over,” he said. Swine flu spreads through cough and sneeze like ordinary flu. Its symptoms, too, are similar. But swine flu patients often tend to suffer from severe breathlessness. It was difficult to prevent swine flu during an outbreak, said Biswas. “Using masks is an option, but they don’t offer foolproof protection. Swine flu is a droplet infection and spreads easily. Early diagnosis is a must and treatment should begin as early as possible,” he added.



Students with Swords on Bus Spark Panic

OPEN VIOLENCE: Grabs from the viral video show a group of youths on an MTC bus dragging swords on the ground.



Chennai: The menace of students of one city college or the other ‘terrorising’ road-users just doesn’t seem to stop. A group of 12 sword-wielding Presidency College students gave passengers on an MTC bus a scare near the Mint flyover on Thursday morning, police said. A student on the front footboard and another in the rear were seen leaning out, dragging the swords on the road to create sparks, and rasing slogans. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media. As the bus from Red Hills to Karanodai (57F) reached the Mint flyover near Kondithope around 8am, two students took out the weapons from their bags. Their friends riding beside the bus on two-wheelers cheered on, recording the footage on their mobile phones. Some of the students covered their faces with handkerchiefs. Rasing slogans hailing their college, the students got off at Anna Square. Later, the Anna Square police conducted inquiries with Presidency College officials and arrested A Anandaraj, 18, of Nerkundram, for creating a public nuisance. Police also detained Arun, 19, Siva, 19, Jegan, 18, Dilli, 19, Gopi, 18, Dheena, 19, Murugesh, 20, and 19-yearold Damodharan. On several occasions in the past, college students celebrating ‘bus day’ have hijacked MTC buses, causing hardship to passengers. Many commuters and others feel this has gone on for too long. “Police have banned bus day celebrations. However, they have failed to monitor such unruly behaviour of students who do not allow passengers to travel peacefully,” said Shyamala, an employee of a private firm. In October 2017 and January 2018, after videos of some students wielding weapons on suburban trains went viral they were arrested.



National News



Fighting obesity: UK may ban sale of energy drinks to kids



The UK could ban the sale of energy drinks to children in an effort to fight childhood obesity and hyperactivity. The government will hold a public consultation on its plan to introduce legislation to bar the sale of caffeine-laden drinks to children and young adults, PM Theresa May’s office said on Wednesday. The proposals add to government efforts to boost child health, including measures to cut sugar in soft drinks. Excessive consumption of energy drinks has been linked to headaches, sleep problems, stomach aches and hyperactivity in kids, as well as obesity. “It is vital that we do all we can to make sure children have the best start in life and I encourage everyone to put forward their views,” May said.

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