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Aalam Shaikh, brother of Chief Engineer Rahman Shaikh of the P305 barge, which sank off the Mumbai coast during Cyclone Tauktae, has alleged that its captain did not take the cyclone warning seriously.

He also said that safety equipment and life rafts on the vessel were faulty and that the captain was forced to go ahead given the risks of such rough weather.

Captain Balwinder Singh is one among the 26 people still missing. Mumbai Police filed a case against him on Friday after Rahman Shaikh, the rescued chief engineer of the vessel, lodged a complaint against him.

A furious Aalam Shaikh, who is also a chief engineer, told The Sunday Guardian, “This FIR registered against Captain today is not enough. All those responsible should be booked and hanged to death for killing 49 innocent people. Why did DG Shipping not check the vessels and safety equipment inside properly? Why were warnings ignored by the captain? The captain had been in continuous touch with the owner of the ship and was pressured by the owner to take such a big risk, putting so many lives at stake! A former captain belonging to the company said he had left the job because he had been pressured in the same way. Everyone from the captain to ONGC, the ship owner to charterer, is responsible and should be held accountable.”

Earlier from the Apollo Hospital in Tardeo, a video was released in which chief engineer Rahman Shaikh, who is recovering from his injuries, said, “There was a miscalculation on the captain’s behalf and also the company. Everyone on board barge P305 could have been saved had many of the life rafts not had punctures and the captain had taken the cyclone warnings seriously.”

Aalam Shaikh also said how his brother had alerted the captain multiple times. “The cyclone warning came on the 11th and 12th and that’s when my brother alerted the captain and asked him to leave for harbour. Other vessels in the vicinity also left. But he said that the winds were not expected to cross 40 kmph and the cyclone would cross Mumbai in one or two hours. But in reality the wind speed was more than 100 kmph. Five anchors broke. They couldn’t withstand the cyclone,” he said.

The barge also hit an unmanned oil rig once after which there was a big hole through which water started coming in, said Aalam Shaikh. Life rafts were used but most of them were punctured, he said. Shaikh said that the crew tried to pump out the water but the hole was too big. “When it was out of control, the team went up, where they found that the captain was missing,” he said.

Aalam, who is involved with ship management services, alleged that the vessel was bought as scrap from Malaysia. “Why was such a thing allowed?” he questioned. “Such companies and vessel owners should be blacklisted,” he demanded.

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Tension in Punjab over ‘conversion’ of Guru’s inn into mosque



The case of converting Guru ki Sarai into a mosque in Gujjara locality in Rajpura, Punjab, has gained momentum and police force has been deployed in the tehsil premises.

On Monday, the matter was heard in front of the SDM during which people of the Muslim-Sikh community were present. People from the Hindu community were also present.

This inn was given the form of a gurdwara. The Hindu side says that earlier people of Hindu and Sikh society used to serve here. After sometime, it was converted into a mosque without anyone’s consent and permission. The Hindu organizations have also protested against this incident.

SDM Himanshu Gupta says that the police force has been deployed to ensure that law and order situation does not deteriorate. This matter has been in discussion for many days.

The Hindu side alleges that people gather here every day at the time of Namaz. Also, the sound of loudspeaker causes trouble to the common people.

During the hearing, a large number of people including Punjab Dharmacharya, head of Gau Raksha Dal, Satish Kumar had reached. As the number of people increased, the police also increased their security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident.

On the other hand, RCFAI, a Kerala-based organization, had built three more mosques in the same district in 2019. After this the intelligence agencies were alerted. According to the report of the Ministry of Home Affairs, mosques have been built in districts adjoining Punjab with terror funding.

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Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar on Tuesday said that killings of Kashmiri Pandits are plans to push them out of Kashmir.

Vijay Kumar, who met the protesting Kashmiri Pandits at Sheikhpora village in Budgam, and urged them not to think of leaving Kashmir as the “same was plans of militants and their masters across” that has to be foiled by all means.

“Shortcomings in security grid will be addressed very soon and at the same time we will eradicate terrorism. I assure you (Kashmiri Pandits) of every help and better and enhanced security cover in the days ahead.”

Assuring the protesters here, he said: “Everyone including police, army and even local people will have to fight against terrorism. I urge the protesters not to do anything that will make our enemy successful. To push you out of Kashmir is the plan of militants and their masters which has to be foiled you and us collectively.”

The IGP said attacking the Kashmiri Pandit community is a ploy of the terrorists to drive them out of Kashmir which “we will never allow to succeed.”

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Police along with security forces have arrested two terrorist associates – Zahid Ahmad Sheikh and Sahil Bashir Dar – of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Budgam.

Incriminating materials of proscribed terror outfit LeT, explosive material and ammunition including one hand grenade, two pistol magazines and 15 AK-47 rounds have been recovered from their possession

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Centre to provide RFID tags to Amarnath pilgrims; drones to be deployed on yatra routes

Union Home minister Amit Shah reviews J-K security situation.



In a bid to a hassle-free Amarnath Yatra, beginning June 30 after a gap of two years, the central government on Tuesday decided to provide Radio Frequency Identification Card (RFID) to all pilgrims. The pilgrims will also be insured with Rs 5 lakh.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a meeting with Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha, central government secretaries and officials from the CRPF and Home Ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired two separate back-to-back marathon meetings, attended by all stakeholders including Jammu and Kashmir Governor Manoj Sinha, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Intelligence Bureau Chief Arvind Kumar, on preparations for the yatra.

Resuming Amarnath pilgrimage is a challenging task as Jammu and Kashmir which has witnessed several incidences of targeted killings in last few months by terrorists following which Ministry of Home Affairs asked security agencies operating in the state to enhance counter-terror operations.

Shah said: “Hassle-free journey for the pilgrims is a priority of the Narendra Modi government. All arrangements should be made which includes creation of additional electricity, water and telecom facilities.” The Home Minister also stressed for enhancement of mobile connectivity along the yatra route as he directed that earth-moving equipment should be placed at vantage points to clear the route in case of landslides.

The Home Minister asked for an adequate number of oxygen cylinders, medical beds at an altitude of more than 6,000 feet and deployment of ambulances and helicopters to deal with any emergency medical situation.

During the meeting, it was also decided to enable Wi-Fi hotspots to ensure connectivity

throughout the 39 km yatra route from Pahalgam in South Kashmir. The other route is through Baltal in central Kashmir where a pilgrim treks for nearly 15 km.

About 12,000 paramilitary personnel (120 companies) in addition to Jammu and

Kashmir Police are expected to be deployed along the two pilgrimage routes – one from Pahalgam and the other via Baltal, officials said.

Drone cameras will help the security forces to ensure protection of the pilgrims, sources said.

Top officials of the Ministries of Health, Telecom, Road Transport, Civil Aviation, IT took part in the meeting to discuss logistics for the annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva at an altitude of 3,888 metres.

Online registration for Amarnath Yatra 2022 started from April 11 and the Home Ministry has already sanctioned nearly 50 companies of CAPF for the purpose to provide security during the pilgrimage as Jammu and Kashmir is expecting nearly five lakh pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine this year.

While online registration has already begun, the pilgrimage is scheduled to be held for 43 days between June 30 and August 11.

The J&K administration had cancelled the annual Amarnath pilgrimage due to the

prevailing Covid-19 situation in 2020 and 2021 after a discussion with Amarnathji

Shrine Board members.

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CM residence attack: Security stepped up, cops tell HC



Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi Police on Tuesday informed the Delhi High Court that security of the Delhi Chief Minister’s residence has been beefed up and no protest will now be allowed at Civil Lines Metro station. Advocate Sanjay Lao appeared for the Delhi Police and sought adjournment in the matter stating the affidavit is yet to be verified by the Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain (who was not there due to some personal difficulty) and added that more security personnel have been deployed at the Delhi Chief Minister residence. “Proposal to curtail entry on the road nearby to Delhi CM residence is also under consideration”, he added. The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla allowed the request for adjournment and fixed the matter for May 30 and said to let the status report be filed by the next date in a sealed cover. The Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner submitted that imposing Section 144 around the house like Rashtrapati Bhawan and other places should also be considered. Earlier, The Delhi High Court had shown displeasure with the Delhi Police status report over the incident of violent protest and vandalism outside the Delhi Chief Minister and said what happened at the residence of a constitutional functionary is a very disturbing state of affairs. The bench had said, we are not satisfied with the status report in regards to ‘Bandobast’ made at the CM residence. The Bench while seeking a further status report from the Police, directed it to disclose reasons for the failure of the arrangement made and fixed the responsibility of the lapses in the next status report. The court during the hearing on the last date of the hearing further said that three barricades were breached by the protestors. You (Police) need to look into the functioning and bandobast. It could have been anybody, Union Minister, etc. There has been a lapse on part of the force and we want the Commissioner of Police to look into this.

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India on Tuesday outright and unequivocally rejected the “farcical resolution” passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly over the delimitation exercise in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. India did not stop here only, but it went beyond that and hit out at Pakistan’s leadership as well. In what is being described as a clear message to Pakistan’s premier Shehbaz Sharif, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “It is regrettable that instead of putting their own house in order, the leadership in Pakistan continues to interfere in India’s internal affairs and engage in baseless and provocative anti-India propaganda.”

The diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian, now the message to Pakistan from India is clear that the new government under PM Shehbaz Sharif is no different from previous regimes. “So, in view of this, Sharif should not also expect that India would open any window of opportunity to restore normal diplomatic ties with Pakistan even now,” sources said. “It’s a well calculated reaction that India came up with, hitting out at Pakistan’s leadership against the backdrop of Pakistan’s National Assembly passing resolution on delimitation in J&K,” sources added. PM Sharif has already on many occasions signaled his Kashmir-centric approach. Pakistan’s National Assembly on last Thursday unanimously passed a resolution introduced by its Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari denouncing the delimitation

exercise in Jammu and Kashmir.

MEA spokesman Bagchi was quick to bring up the issue of terrorism, demanding that Pakistan immediately cease anti-India cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism. “Stop the grave and persistent human rights violations in Pakistan occupied Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, refrain from effecting any further material changes in the status of PoJKL, and vacate the Indian territories that are under your illegal and forcible occupation,” he said.

Sources said that the Modi government is not going to compromise on the issue of terrorism is an unambiguous message that Shehbaz should understand.  In this context, Jaishankar’s views expressed in the book “Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery” need to be recalled.  Jaishankar in the book wrote, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been crystal clear that he will never allow terrorism, especially of the cross-border nature, to be normalized, and this determination has shaped India’s policy towards Pakistan since 2014.” “Is there any clearer message needed by Pakistan regarding India’s policy towards cross-border terrorism and for that matter towards Islamabad,” ask diplomats. “PM Modi will neither overlook nor tolerate terrorism,” they add. “Before any bid to internationalise Kashmir, the Shehbaz government should think twice about the Modi government’s determined approach with regard to terrorism in the region,” officials say.  

On 12 May, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution rejecting the Delimitation Commission’s report which was released earlier this month. Reacting to the resolution, MEA spokesman Bagchi said, “Pakistan has no locus standi to pronounce on or interfere in matters that are internal to India, including the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal and forcible occupation.” Asserting that the entire territory of the UTs and Ladakh “has been, is and shall always remain an integral part of India”, Bagchi added that the delimitation exercise is a “democratic exercise based on the principles of extensive stakeholder consultation and participation”.


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CBI books Karti Chidambaram for ‘bribery’ to provide visa to Chinese firm



The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against five accused including private persons based in Chennai, Mumbai, private companies based in Mumbai, Mansa (Punjab), etc and unidentified public servants and private persons. The accused include Congress leader Karti P. Chidambaram.

As per the CBI, the case has been registered on certain allegations including bribery to facilitate the issuance of visas to a Chinese company beyond the ceiling. The other four accused in the case have been identified as S. Bhaskararaman (close associate) based in Chennai, Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa (Punjab) based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra), and other unidentified public servant(s) and private person(s).

“It has been alleged that the private company based at Mansa was in the process of

establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa (Punjab) and establishing of the plant was outsourced to a Chinese company. It has been further alleged that the project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company of Mansa was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at District Mansa (Punjab) and needed Project VISAs over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the security agency said in a press release.

Further, the CBI informed that as per allegation, the representative of the said private company approached a person based in Chennai through his close associate/frontman, and thereafter they devised a back-door way to defeat the purpose of the ceiling (maximum of Project VISAs permissible to the company’s plant) by granting permission to re-use 263 Project VISAs allotted to the said Chinese company’s officials. “It has been alleged that in pursuance of the same, the said representative of Mansa-based private company submitted a letter to Ministry of Home Affairs seeking approval to re-use the Project VISAs allotted to this company, which was approved within a month, and permission was issued to the company. A bribe of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly demanded by said private person based in Chennai through his close associate/Frontman which was paid by the said Mansa based private company,” the release stated. As per the release, it has also been alleged that the payment of said bribe was routed from Mansa based private company to said private person of Chennai and his close associate/Frontman through a Mumbai based company as payment of false invoice raised for Consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese VISAs related works whereas the private company based at Mumbai was never in any kind of work relating to VISAs rather it was in an entirely different business of industrial knives.

Sources said the case is related to foreign remittances received by Karti Chidambaram between 2010 and 2014. As per sources, Karti had allegedly received Rs 50 lakh from a person named Sabu. The CBI on Tuesday conducted coordinated raids on at least 10 premises of Rajya Sabha MP Chidambaram and his son, Karti, across multiple locations, including their Delhi’s official residence and Chennai house, on Tuesday. A CBI team visited the official residence of P. Chidambaram at Lodhi Estate in Delhi and conducted searches for around six hours. Soon Karti took to Twitter saying, “I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record.”

P. Chidambaram also tweeted that a CBI team searched his house in Chennai and official residence in Delhi, during which the search team found and seized nothing. “The team showed me an FIR in which I’m not named as an accused… I may point out that timing of the search is interesting,” said Chidambaram.

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