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Banihal/Jammu: Four persons including three members of a family were killed and two others critically injured on Saturday after their SUV skidded off the road and plunged into a 500-ft-deep gorge in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

The accident occurred near Binjoni area of Senabati when the SUV occupants were returning from Sharvadhar Yatra (Pogal Paristan), a police official said.

While Surjeet Singh (50) and his wife Koshalia Devi died on the spot, their daughter Neelam Devi (20) and another person succumbed to injuries in a hospital, he said.

The condition of two others is stated to be critical and they are undergoing treatment at the hospital, he added.

A mud house also suffered extensive damages after the SUV hit it while rolling down, but the inmates escaped unhurt, the official said.

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New Delhi: The CPI(M) Saturday condemned the killings of 10 Gond tribals over a piece of land in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district and accused the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government of “protecting” the land mafias.

A CPI(M) delegation visited Ubbha village on Friday to meet the families of the victims.

The party said in a statement that the villagers told the six-member delegation “horrifying” details of the clash.

Ten people were gunned down and 28 injured in the clash between supporters of Ubbah village headman Yagya Dutt and the tribal villagers on Wednesday.

“The Adivasis have been tilling the land for the past seven decades but no government gave them land pattas which was their right. After the Adityanath government took office, the Adivasis have been threatened by the local land mafia to stop tilling the land. Even though the Adivasis had complained to the authorities, the government and administration refused to act.

“The Adityanath government is trying to put the responsibility on others but it is during its rule that the land mafia led by the pradhan claimed to have ‘bought’ the land and unleashed terror on the Adivasis. It is highly condemnable that the government has not given a single rupee to help the injured and on the contrary some were forcibly discharged from the hospital,” the party said in the statement.

The party alleged that the BJP government was responsible for “protecting the land mafia and denying land pattas to the Adivasis”.

“The CPI(M) demands that land pattas be immediately given to the Adivasi families who have been tilling the land for over seven decades.

“It demands strong action against the administration officials and the police who connived with the criminals and immediate arrest and stringent punishment of all those involved in the brutal massacre. It demands immediate compensation to the families of those killed and to the injured,” the statement said.@PTI

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Thane: Navi Mumbai police have arrested two persons from Satna in Madhya Pradesh, a week after three men were found brutally killed in a godown in Turbhe area, an officer said.

According to investigators, previous enmity seems to be the trigger behind the crime in which Rajendra Pal (30), Irshad Khan (20) and Naushad Khan (19) were found stabbed in their heads and faces in the scrap shop godown located in Turbhe industrial area on July 13. Police had also found that the attackers had stolen Rs 2 lakh kept in a cupboard from the spot.

The accused, identified as Sebhu Khan (Pathan), 25, and Sheru Khan (Pathan), 27, were arrested on July 18, the officer said.

DCP (Zone I) Pankaj Dahane told reporters Friday evening that the accused and the victims had a running feud and had quarrelled in the past.

“One of the accused had worked with the deceased persons,” he said, adding that the Pathans, who originally hailed from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, had a criminal past.

A case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 302 (Punishment for murder) and Arms Act.

The officer said teams of local police and crime branch studied various angles and also analysed technical inputs before tracking down the Pathans.@PTI

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Chennai: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday said the Union government was not making any attempts to impose Hindi in Tamil Nadu and was trying to promote Tamil as well.

Sitharaman’s response to queries of reporters here came in the backdrop of state political parties protesting the conduct of recent Postal department exams in English and Hindi only.

They had alleged that it was a form of “Hindi imposition” in Tamil Nadu, which incidentally had witnessed a successful anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s spearheaded by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

One can question the government if such things were done knowingly or not, but should not jump to a conclusion that it was imposition of the language, she said.

“Central government does not do Hindi imposition,” she asserted.

“If somewhere, at an administrative level, if something happens, don’t come to a conclusion that it is imposition. Definitely there is no imposition (of Hindi). We are also involved in development of Tamil,” she said.

As part of the Centre’s ‘EK Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ scheme, efforts have been made to popularise Tamil in northern states of the country, she added.

“There is no Hindi imposition,” the Union Minister reiterated.

Earlier, political parties, including the ruling AIADMK, had protested against questions in the postal department’s examination for appointments of postmen and assistants in rural areas held last week being only in Hindi and English, and not Tamil.

After the issue echoed in Parliament, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured the Rajya Sabha that the examination would now be held in all local languages, as per the notification of May 10, 2019 of the department concerned with examination, including in Tamil.

To a question on views from certain quarters against the budgetary proposal on Zero Budget Farming vis-a-vis agriculture, Sitharaman said it has already been tried out in some states.

“This is a free country and people can give their opinions. But there are states which have done it at the ground level– Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Karnataka– zero budget farming has been helpful to farmers (in these states),” she said.

The proposal was part of the government’s endeavour to double farmers’ incomes, she added.

Zero Budget Farming involves total lack of dependence on chemicals and fertilizers and using natural ingredients including herbs in the farming process.@PTI

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New Delhi: Former Delhi chief minister and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit passed away in Delhi on Saturday. She was 81.

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh police have busted a racket involved in manufacturing synthetic milk and other products and distributing them to branded outlets in various states, a police officer said Saturday, adding that 62 people have been arrested.

The Special Task Force (STF) Friday raided factories based at Ambah in Morena district and Lahar in Bhind district of the Gwalior-Chambal region, around 400 kms from here, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Bhadoriya told PTI.

Police seized huge quantity of chemicals and preservatives besides around 10,000 litres of synthetic milk, over 500 kg of spurious ‘mawa’ or condensed milk and around 200 kgs synthetic cottage cheese in the operation.

The arrested persons were allegedly supplying highly toxic synthetic milk and milk products like ‘mawa’ and cottage cheese to branded outlets in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, he said.

“As many as 20 tankers and 11 pick-up vans containing spurious milk and other products were seized,” the SP said.

Synthetic milk was being supplied to various areas in MP, UP and Rajasthan located closer to Morena and Bhind districts while other synthetic products to farther districts.

“A huge quantity of liquid shampoo, detergent, refined oil, maltodextrin powder, sodium thiosulfate and other chemicals were seized during the raids,” the SP said, adding that the accused were using high quantity of preservatives.

He said STF sleuths also raided a dozen other locations on Saturday but found these premises locked.@PTI

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NEW DELHI: Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday made himself “unavailable” for the Indian team’s tour of West Indies as speculations raged about his future.

An Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army, it is learnt that Dhoni will be spending better part of the next two months with his regiment.

“Dhoni has made himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies as he will be spending two months with his paramilitary regiment,” said a top BCCI official .

Dhoni, 38, has intimated his decision to the BCCI prior to the selection committee meeting on Sunday.

The official, however, made it clear that Dhoni is not retiring from cricket at the moment.

“We would like to say three things. He is not retiring from cricket right now. He is taking a two month sabbatical to serve his paramilitary regiment which he had committed much earlier,” he said.

“We have now intimated his decision to skipper Virat Kohli and chairman of selectors MSK Prasad,” the senior official added.

With Dhoni pulling out of the tour, Rishabh Pant is expected to be first wicketkeeper in all three formats while Wriddhiman Saha will be Pant’s understudy in the Tests.@PTI

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Srinagar: Journalist bodies Saturday afternoon held a strong protest at
Kashmir Press Club against a report published in Times of India newspaper, targeting Kashmir media and journalists.

The media fraternity staged protests after an insinuating story published by The Times of India on Friday about Kashmir Reader, Kashmir Editors Guild, and Kashmir Press Club.

The protesting journalist fraternity unanimously denounced the reporter and the newspaper for running the “baseless” story, and called the story “highly objectionable”.

“Baseless insinuations published in a reputed newspaper like Times of India in fact violate the basic standards and ethics of journalism,” they said.

“It (the story) seems to have been filed by the concerned reporter with malafide intent to bring disrepute to the elected journalist members in particular and the entire (Kashmir Press) club in general,” it said.

The journalist bodies said that Pandit’s grouses stem from the fact that he was asked to step down by other members after a series of controversies and disgraceful public behaviour on his part.

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Srinagar: A husband-wife duo was killed and four others injured on Saturday after a cab rolled down into a gorge in Ukhral tehsil of Ramban district in Jammu and Kashmir, reports said.

“A vehicle coming back from Shravadhar yatra in Pogal-Paristan met with an accident and rolled down into a gorge near Binjoni area of Senabatti in the district,” it said.

The deceased were identified as Surjeet Singh (50) and his wife Koshalia Devi – both residents of Koot Pogal.

They were declared dead on arrival at PHC Ukhral.

Four others, including the driver, injured in the mishap, were shifted to district hospital Ramban.

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Guwahati: Four more people in Assam died due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE), taking the toll to 101 in the state, a National Health Mission (NHM) bulletin said.

One death each was reported from Udalguri, Baksa, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts on Friday, it said.

The deceased were undergoing treatment at different hospitals.

The number of JE-positive cases increased to 439, as 13 new ones were registered, the bulletin said.

JE is a vector-borne disease that affects the brain.

The NHM bulletin further said that cumulative figures for JE/AES (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) deaths in the state since January was 222, while the number of JE/AES-positive cases during this period stood at 1,569.@PTI

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