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Glacier burst: 18 bodies recovered, 202 missing, says state government




At least 202 people are missing while 18 bodies have been recovered so far after a flash flood inundated a power project at Raini village in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, the state government said on Monday.

The ITBP, which is engaged in rescue and relief operations, also cited updated inputs received from the local administration, and said that 202 people are still missing.

In an official release, the Uttarakhand government said that 18 bodies have been recovered so far while 202 people are still missing.

The state government said the list was prepared on Monday afternoon.

It added that about 25-35 people are trapped inside a tunnel, and the operation to rescue them is underway. The state government said the people trapped inside the tunnel are also included in the list of the 202 missing people.

An ITBP official said that 21 people from Rhitwik company, 100 from the associate company of Rhitwik, three from HCC Company, 21 from Om Metal, two persons each from Tapovan, Ringi and Karchao village, 46 people from Rishi Ganga Company and five people from Raini village are still missing.

The tragedy took place after the water level in the Dhauliganga river, one of the six sources of the Ganga river, suddenly surged on Sunday morning following an avalanche near the Rishi Ganga power project. The 85 km river meets the Alaknanda river at Vishnuprayag at the base of Joshimath mountain.

The ITBP said the flash flood occurred in Rishi Ganga at around 10.45 a.m. due to a glacier falling into it, thereby exponentially increasing the volume of water.

Due to this, the Rishi Ganga hydro project was completely devastated, it said.

Around 425 personnel of the ITBP, 70 personnel of the SDRF, 129 personnel of the NDRF and 124 from the Armed forces are carrying out the rescue and search operations in the area.

The paramilitary force said connectivity of its Border Outposts was totally restricted due to the bridge destruction near the Reni village.


Delhi HC seeks FB’s response on hacking of Bhojpuri actress’ page




The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response over the petition filed by Bhojpuri film actress Neha Shree seeking directions to Facebook and others to restore access to her FB page and account on the social media platform –which were hacked, and are being used to post explicit and illegal content.

A bench of Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice in the matter to respondents — Facebook Inc, Delhi Government, and Delhi Police, and asked them to file a reply in the matter while listing the matter for the next hearing in March 28.

Adv. Kartickay Mathur and Adv. KK Shukla, representing the actress apprised the HC that a complaint has been registered on November 20 about the hacking of the Facebook page.

In order to remove the obscene, immoral, and illegal content from the page and restore it, the counsels sought the court’s direction, praying for a police probe in the matter.

The petitioner submitted that she is a leading Bhojpuri actress and also appearing in various television shows, and she was also awarded by Rashtriya Gaurav Award.

She started her Facebook account and page in 2012 and since and subsequently, it reached more than 40 lakh followers on the social media platform.

However, the page got hacked on the night of October 19 and she received an email from Facebook stating that she has been removed as the administrator of the Neha Shree Facebook page.

Immediately after receiving the mail, a complaint was raised with Facebook informing them about the hacking. However, she only received “auto-generated” and “pre-typed” messages while nothing was done to restore her access.

Even after 30 days of the hacking, the issue has not been resolved despite complaints in different offices of Facebook in the city.

Meanwhile, due to posting of the obscene material on the hacked Facebook page, the petitioner’s image which she had created with hard work in the last 10 years has suffered adversely, the petitioner said.

She has been receiving mails from friends, relatives, fans, and followers regarding the immoral content being posted on her Facebook account.

Though the petitioner has tried to reason upon them to clarify that account has been attacked by the hacker but it is difficult for her to reach out to her 40 lakh followers among whom the reputation of the petitioner has badly suffered, her petition contended.

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13 held for lynching AASU leader in Assam




Thirteen people, including the key accused, have been arrested in connection with the alleged lynching of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leader Animesh Bhuyan in Jorhat city.

The students’ body has announced to continue their protests until the perpetrators were given “exemplary punishment”.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday asked the police to file a charge-sheet within a month for a speedy trial of the case in a fast-track court and directed Special Director General of Police, Law and Order G. P. Singh to personally supervise the case and take prompt actions against the attackers.

A magisterial probe was also ordered into Monday’s horrific incident.

On the instructions of the Chief Minister, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu visited Bhuyan’s house in Dergaon on Tuesday and assured the family of according strict punishment to the perpetrators.

The Chief Minister also announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the 30-year-old AASU leader.

According to police, on Monday around 50 people following an argument attacked AASU leader Animesh Bhuyan, his associate Pranay Datta, and journalist Mridusmanta Baruah when they tried to assist an elderly accident victim while many people were onlookers, who did nothing to stop the lynching and others captured the incident on their mobile phones.

Police said that the prime accused Neeraj Das and 12 others have so far been arrested and a probe is on.

Das was earlier arrested in a drugs trading case and was out on bail while there are few other cases pending against him. Bhuyan, 30, was the Education Secretary of the Brahmaputra Anchalik Committee under the Golaghat district unit of the AASU.

AASU chief advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya and president Dipanka Kumar Nath also visited the family of the slain leader on Tuesday. Bhattacharya, while talking to the media, urged the state government to take the full responsibility of Bhuyan’s family.

Nath said that in the recent past, at least three lynching incidents have taken place in Jorhat and surrounding areas. Sadly, the law enforcing agencies are not taking appropriate actions against the attackers. “We remain alert so that no lapse takes place in probing the case. We would not keep quiet until the attackers are given exemplary punishments,” the AASU leader said.

Various units of the AASU oorganised protests across the state on Tuesday demanding justice for Bhuyan.

Strongly condemning the incident, various leaders, political parties and organisations, including the youth wing of the ruling BJP, Congress, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Raijor Dal, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti have urged the government to take exemplary and speedy actions against the culprits.

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151 custodial deaths this year: Centre





A total of 151 custodial deaths have been reported in the country this year with Maharashtra reporting the highest at 26, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Maharashtra reported maximum 26 deaths in police custody followed by Gujarat (21) and Bihar (18). About 11 deaths each in police custody were reported from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Responding to BJP MP Varun Gandhi’s question, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that according to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), 151 cases of death in police custody were reported November till 15.

As per the seventh Schedule of the Constitution, police and public order are state subjects. “It is primarily the responsibility of the state government concerned to appropriately prevent and ensure non-occurrence of police atrocities and protect the human rights of the citizens,” Rai said.

Underlining that the custodial deaths or violations involving the state police and jail authorities also fall within the jurisdiction of the state governments, he said: “In view of this, the Central Government does not intervene directly in the matters of custodial deaths. The Centre has issued advisories and the NHRC has issued guidelines and recommendations to be followed by the states/UTs in all cases of custodial deaths,” the minister said.

In addition, workshops and seminars are also organised by NHRC from time to time to sensitise officers in state governments for better protection of human rights and particularly protection of rights of persons in custody, he added.

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