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Uttarakhand mishap victims bodies drifted to Rudraprayag and Srinagar, recovered

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Chamoli (Uttarakhand) [India], February 10 (ANI): Few bodies, which have drifted to Rudraprayag and Srinagar districts due to the Alaknanda river’s heavy flow following glacier burst in Uttarakhand, Chamoli Police said on Wednesday.
The rescue operation is underway inside Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli.
Meanwhile, ITBP personnel were seen carrying ration to villages, which have been cut off due to glacier burst and traversing through mountainous terrain in the state.

There is not much progress in the ongoing rescue operation following the glacier burst, said Uttarakhand Director General of Police (DGP), Ashok Kumar on Wednesday.
Out of 32 bodies that have been recovered — 8 have been identified while 24 are still unknown. The rescue teams have also recovered two Uttarakhand Police personnel bodies.
“Not much progress in the rescue operation. We have recovered 32 bodies, 8 identified, 24 unknown. The rescue team also recovered 2 Uttarakhand Police personnel bodies. Cannot confirm the exact number for missing and dead people but it is between 192 and 204,” Kumar told ANI.
Speaking about the challenges being faced by the rescue team, Aparna Kumar, DIG Sector HQ, ITBP, Chamoli said: “The challenge we are facing is that debris and slush are coming out from the tunnel. Machines to continue to work inside the tunnel. We need to progress carefully as water with high pressure might come from inside the tunnel.”
A team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and other agencies continue to conduct rescue operation inside Tapovan tunnel, Uttarakhand on the third day today.
A meeting of all agencies including senior officials of ITBP, NDRF, Army and local administration has been called today to decide further course of action.
A glacial broke in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand on Sunday, which led to massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project. (ANI)

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Delhi-based corporate couple donates Rs 10 crore to TTD

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Words of wisdom and acts of kindness hold great relevance, especially in troubled times. As the nation slowly gets back to its feet, still reeling under the impact of a pandemic, power couple and corporates Shalini and Sanjay Passi came forward to donate Rs 10 crore to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam on Friday. The donation will support the philanthropic goals of Sri Venkateswara Bhakt Channel and Shri Venkateswara Sarva Sreyas Trust.

The trust known for its many progressive social welfare programs is not just spiritually close to the couple but the two also respect the many ‘ acts of kindness’ undertaken by the trust ranging from education, hygiene, hunger management, health care etc. “My husband and I respect and admire the charity programs undertaken by the trust. Be it the Annaprasadam program under which the trust feeds over 15,000 devotees each day or the various educational programs founded and run by the temple. The trust truly strengthens our belief that religion is all about caring for those in need. Especially in these troubled times,” shares Shalini. 

Sanjay adds, “At Pasco Group, CSR walks hand in hand with commerce. We believe that a corporate organisation needs to nurture and look at the world that exists beyond the balance sheet.” Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam’s philanthropy ranges from on-ground support of the visiting devotees, going beyond to fund super-speciality health care facilities, technical institutes, vocational training programs and more.

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Sensex nosedives 1,939 points, worst in 11 month

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NEW DELHI: A broad-based sell-off in equities and weak global cues amid rising bond yields played a Black Friday for Indian stock markets as the Sensex posted its worst single-day performance since 30 March 2020.

The BSE S&P Sensex closed 1,939 points or 3.8 per cent lower at 49,100 while the Nifty 50 tumbled by 568 points or 3.76 per cent to 14,529. The global selloff was triggered by an overnight sharp rise in US 10-year treasury yields. When bond yields rise, equity markets generally underperform.

Rising oil prices and the US airstrikes on Syria led to the negative sentiments of investors who feared foreign outflows and reversal of interest rate cycle.

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Give me 5 years to forget the last 25: Kejriwal in Surat

Abhijit Bhatt

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

A grand road-show was organised by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after an impressive victory in 27 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation. Following that, he addressed a public meeting at the Takshashila complex where 22 students had lost their lives due to a fire in 2019.

At the public meeting, Kejriwal thanked the people of Surat and paid tribute to the children who died in the Takshashila fire. He spoke about bringing clean politics in Surat and Gujarat in the coming days, and providing all facilities to the people of Surat just like he has in Delhi. “Give me five years and forget the last 25 years of the BJP,” Kejriwal appealed.

“Today, the boys of Gujarat are struggling for college admission after passing 10th and 12th standard. They are struggling for jobs if they get admission in college. Why has the BJP not given jobs to youth in 25 years? What these people couldn›t do in 25 years, we did in five years,” he added.

The Delhi CM also declared that his party, the Aam Aadmi Party, would be surprisingly successful in the next Assembly election. The youth leadership will get a place in the Assembly and the government will not ask the youth for employment, they will fight for their rights by creating employment themselves, he said.

He also appealed that people vote in the upcoming elections for District Panchayat and Taluka Panchayat as well as the Nagarpalika elections.

He further assured that AAP would solve the problems of not receiving proper electricity and prices for produce that farmers in Gujarat are facing, if it is voted to power.

Kejriwal also used the platform to publicly call on some good Congress leaders to join the Aam Aadmi Party along with those within the BJP who are true patriots and want to contribute honestly to the development of the country. 

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Ambani bomb scare: Threat letter calls it ‘a trailer’; NIA reaches Mumbai

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A suspicious vehicle was found parked near businessman and billionaire Mukesh Ambani›s residence, Antilia, in Mumbai on Thursday. The car was laden with 21 gelatin sticks which is an explosive material.

In an exclusive conversation with The Sunday Guardian, Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Chaitanya S. said that an FIR has been registered at the Gamdevi Police Station against unidentified persons in connection with the seizure of a vehicle. An FIR has been registered for the case under Indian Penal Code Sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 465 (punishment for forgery), 473 (making or possessing counterfeit seal), 506(2) (criminal intimidation, if threat be to cause death or grievous hurt), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy). Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 (punishment for attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property) has also been included in the FIR.

A threat letter was also recovered from the car which mentioned the names of industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his wife, Nita Ambani. The handwritten letter was reportedly written in Hinglish with grammatical mistakes, calling the planted explosives a ‹trailer› and warning that there will be a return after more preparation to assassinate the whole family later. The contents of the letter read: “Nita bhabhi aur Mukesh bhaiya aur family, ek jhalak hai ye. Agli baar ye saaman pora connect ho ke aayega. Original gaadi mein aayega. Tum pura family ko udaane ke liye intajaam ho gaya hai. Sambal jaana. Gud nit”.

The olive-coloured Scorpio with gelatin sticks was found abandoned on Carmichael Road in Mumbai’s posh Pedder Road area. The SUV had a wrong number plate and was found about 500 metres away from the Ambanis’ house on Altamount Road. The SUV had been apparently stolen from Mumbai›s Vikhroli area and the police have identified its real owner, but the suspect has not been traced so far. Hiren Mansook, the car owner, said his car had crashed in Thane and stopped moving, which is why he had he left his car there, only to come back the next day and realise that it had been stolen. The car owner reached the Commissioner of Police office for further investigation on the case.

Mumbai Police has deployed its personnel outside the Ambanis’ house after the explosives were found in the area, tightening security at Antilia. The police also called in the bomb squad after the police control room was informed about the vehicle. On Friday evening, the National Investigation Agency team also reached the Mumbai Commissioner of Police office to investigate the case further.

Reliance Industries released an official statement which said, “We are thankful to Mumbai Police for their quick and immediate action. We are confident that Mumbai Police will complete their thorough investigation quickly.”

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Upset G-23 leaders may give strong message to Gandhis from Jammu today

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The rebellion within the Congress—brewing within the party for months between senior party members and Team Rahul Gandhi comprising young leaders—is all set to come out in the open. Days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “North-South” remark, senior leaders from north India are expected to make a strong statement against the top party leadership in Jammu on Saturday.

While Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to head towards the poll-bound Tamil Nadu on Saturday, the party’s dissenters, also known as G-23 leaders who had questioned the party’s functioning in a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi, will hold a show of strength in Jammu.

Senior Congress leaders Anand Sharma, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kapil Sibbal, Raj Babbar, Vivek Tankha, Ghulam Nabi Azad will address an event in Jammu on Saturday which Manish Tiwari is also expected to join. They all belong to north India.

On the condition of anonymity, a senior leader of the Congress G-23 told ANI on Friday that it is a message to Rahul Gandhi: “We will tell the country that from north to south India is one.”

Last year in August, G-23 leaders through a letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed their discontent and urged the top leadership of Congress to bring immediate reforms, including organisational elections from the grass-roots to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) level.

Today, they are once again up in arms against the Gandhi family and their loyal close circle who are holding key positions in the party and the parliament.

A senior leader from G-23 said, “What’s happening in Congress today is a clear violation of the agreement reached in Congress Working Committee in December last year, but there are no signs of any reforms or election.”

According to G-23 sources, the leaders are also furious over the treatment meted out to Ghulam Nabi Azad, who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and was not accommodated by the Congress high command.

A leader from the G-23 group said, “When other parties were offering seat to Azad, PM spoke so well about him. Our congress party leadership showed no respect to him. In fact, a lawyer who is fighting cases of Robert Vadra has been brought to Rajya Sabha.”

Mallikarjun Kharge’s appointment as leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha by Congress, while ignoring other senior leaders also enraged members of G23.

A senior leader from the G-23 grouping told ANI that the flashpoint or the tipping point is the north-south statement made by Rahul Gandhi in Kerala recently.G-23 sources said that leaders will speak their minds, show solidarity, and give a message to the party leadership.

According to sources, Congress’ top leadership is aware about the moves of G-23 leaders. A top source in the party said leadership is keeping an eye on the whole episode and “not in a hurry to come to any conclusion”.

It is also important to note down that Gandhis have not reacted in the episodes yet, although the last attempt was made to cool down the situation was done in December last year, when G-23 leaders were invited by Sonia Gandhi at her residence for meeting.

WITH ANI INPUTS

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INDIA FINDS 81 ROHINGYAS ADRIFT AT SEA, ASKS BANGLADESH TO TAKE THEM

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India is negotiating with Bangladesh to take back 81 Rohingyas whose boat drifted into its territorial waters in mid-February. Eight Rohingyas on that boat have already died and one has gone missing, possibly drowned in the Andaman Sea.

“We are in discussions with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure their safe and secure repatriation,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava has said.

However, a Bangladesh foreign ministry press release has made clear the country’s unwillingness to take back the sea-stranded Rohingyas on the ground that their boat is far away from the country’s territorial waters.

But Srivastava insisted that 47 of the boat’s 90 occupants possessed identity cards issued to them by the UNHCR office in Bangladesh, which indicated clearly they were displaced Myanmar nationals and persons of concern to UNHCR registered by the Bangladesh government.

Speaking at a video briefing, Srivastava had said that, on 11 February, the boat sailed from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh carrying 64 women including 8 girls and 26 men including 5 boys.

“The engine of the boat failed on February 15 and since then it has been drifting. Due to the severe conditions, we understand that eight occupants have died and one of the occupants had been missing since February 15,” Srivastava said.

“When we learnt of the boat in distress, we immediately dispatched two Coast Guard ships to provide food, water and medical assistance to the occupants. Seven of them were administered IV fluids,” he added. But Bangladesh does not seem inclined to take back these Rohingyas. A press statement by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday said that the UN news release “clearly specified the location of boat at Andaman Sea which lies to the southeast of Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands”.

The MOFA statement said: “The boat has been traced approx. 1700 km away from Bangladesh at a location which is approx 492 km from Myanmar, 363 km from Thailand, 281 km from Indonesia and 147 km from India. The location is far off the territorial water of Bangladesh and proximate to other littoral states.”

“Other states, particularly those, on whose territorial water the vessel has been found, bear the primary responsibility and they should fulfill their obligation under international law and burden-sharing principle,” it added.

So by implication, the Bangladesh foreign ministry seems to be putting the onus of rescue and relief for the Rohingyas on India. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, had raised the alarm earlier this week over the missing boat.

More than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are living in teeming camps in Bangladesh, including tens of thousands who fled after Myanmar’s military conducted a deadly crackdown in 2017.

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