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Tamil Nadu should plead for CBI probe into Andhra killings, says PMK boss S Ramadoss

The Tamil Nadu government should implead itself in cases in Supreme Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking a CBI probe into the April 7 gunning down of 20 woodcutters by police, PMK chief Dr S Ramadoss said on Sunday.

The Tamil Nadu government should implead itself in cases in Supreme Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking a CBI probe into the April 7 gunning down of 20 woodcutters by police, PMK chief Dr S Ramadoss said on Sunday.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam should also lead a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee to press for a probe either by the CBI or by a Supreme Court judge headed panel, he said in a statement here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Tamil Nadu government should implead in cases in SupremeCourt and AP High Court seeking CBI probe into the firing onwoodcutters and press for the demand,” he said.The 20 tribal woodcutters from Tamil Nadu were killed in police firing in Seshachalam hills in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The deaths have sparked protests in Tamil Nadu with various political parties demanding a CBI probe.Expressing anguish at the “Centre declining to intervene in the issue”, he alleged a probe by “Andhra Pradesh will only be an eyewash… Only the Tamil Nadu government should take steps to secure justice for the kin of those killed,” he added.He also said the request for CBI or judicial inquiry should be taken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh.”If these are not done, it may have to be regarded that the Tamil Nadu government is not bothered to unravel the mysteries behind the murders of 20 Tamils,” he said. Pressing for a CBI probe, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President EVKS Elangovan demanded slapping of murder cases against Andhra Pradesh police officials responsible for the killings and their arrest.”Since two states are involved only the CBI should probe this,” he told reporters here.He said the state government’s stand was not known on the opposition parties’ demand for a CBI probe. “It is not known why AIADMK chief Jayalalaithaa and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are keeping silent,” he said.Tamil Maanila Congress chief G K Vasan said a re-postmortem should be done by doctors from renowned institutions like AIIMS in states other than Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.”Since apprehensions may be raised on the veracity of the autopsy’s outcome if it were to be done by those from either TN or AP, doctors from an institution like AIIMS should do it,” he said.

Swine flu scare: With 5 more deaths, toll rises to 2,172; number of cases reach 35k mark

According to the Union Health Ministry, 2,172 personsdied due to the disease till Friday, while the number of persons affected across various states was 35,138.

Picture for representational purposes only

AFP photo
Swine flu claimed lives of five more persons as the death toll climbed to 2,172 in the country while the number of persons affected by the H1N1 virus breached the 35,000-mark.According to the Union Health Ministry, 2,172 persons have perished due to the disease till yesterday while the number of persons affected across various states was 35,138.In the worst-hit state of Gujarat, the death toll stood at 439 while 6,565 people have been affected by the H1N1 virus since January. In Rajasthan, the toll reached to 430 while the number of affected persons climbed to 6,677. Twelve people have died of swine flu in Delhi, which has seen 4,261 cases of the deadly disease.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swine flu fatalities in Maharashtra stood at 445 while, in Madhya Pradesh the toll was 316, with 4,892 and 2,260 persons having been affected by the disease respectively. In Karnataka, swine flu has killed 85 people and affected 2,967 while Punjab has seen 56 casualties and Haryana 54 due to the H1N1 virus after another person succumbed to the disease in the state.Uttar Pradesh has recorded 45 casualties with the death of another person while 26 people have succumbed in West Bengal. The toll climbed to 24 in Himachal Pradesh. While 23 people perished to the disease in Andhra Pradesh, the death toll increased to 25 in Chhattisgarh. Twenty people have died of swine flu in Jammu and Kashmir.In Telangana, another person perished due to the disease which has claimed lives of 79 persons so far, where 2,316 persons have been affected. The toll in Kerala has climbed to 19 while Uttarakhand has reported 13 deaths.

Snooping on Netaji’s family: Venkaiah Naidu favours probe

Hyderabad:Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today sought a thorough probe into the reports of snooping on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s family while describing the episode as shocking.

“Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is the beloved son of India. There is news that there was surveillance on his family members, whom they are meeting, where they are going. I feel a thorough inquiry should be conducted and full facts must come to the open,” the parliamentary affairs minister told reporters here.

Naidu said he would like to speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. “It is a shocking matter. Netaji is a darling of the masses. How far it is true about surveillance… during whose regime it happened. Who is responsible? People need to know the full facts,” he said.

He wondered why Congress leaders are taken by surprise on the matter. “None needs to have objections if the matter is studied further and full details are brought out,” he said.

On the recent incident of some terror suspects being killed in Telangana, Naidu asked why MIM leaders were silent when policemen on duty were killed.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Naidu refused to comment when asked about the killings of wood-cutters in Andhra Pradesh and the suspected terror operatives in Telangana, but asked why some human rights outfits do not allegedly react much when ordinary people die.

“Some people react sharply when an encounter of terrorists or those facing serious charges happen. When ordinary people or the voiceless die, human rights associations don’t react much. The state governments are considering these (issues). As a Union Minister, I don’t wish to comment,” he said.

He, however, said all have the right to seek an inquiry on a matter of importance. On the release of terror mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, he said Pakistan must walk the talk on controlling terrorism. The Centre has already lodged a protest on the matter.

PTI

Chittoor encounter: Vaiko en route to Andhra Pradesh detained with supporters by police

Preventing MDMK chief Vaiko from undertaking his proposed protest in neigbouring Andhra Pradesh against the recent encounter deaths

Vaiko

dna Research & Archives
Preventing MDMK chief Vaiko from undertaking his proposed protest in neigbouring Andhra Pradesh against the recent encounter deaths, Tamil Nadu police today detained him and about 1,000 of his supporters while they were on their way to Chittoor.”I demand the immediate arrest and slapping of murder charges against police officials responsible for the fake encounter and killing of 20 Tamils,” Vaiko said.Demanding probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge on the issue, he sought adequate compensation to the families of 20 woodcutters killed in the encounter which he termed as “fake”.He was detained along with over 1,000 party activists before he could proceed by road to Chittoor, 36 km from here in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. They were lodged in a hall and are likely to be released after some time, police said.

PMK wants Tamil Nadu to investigate into Chittoor encounter

This probe panel should comprise police officers, advocates and human rights activists among others, party founder S Ramadoss said.

S Ramadoss

PMK on Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government to hold a detailed investigation into the status of those people who left the state to work as daily wage labourers in Andhra Pradesh against the backdrop of Andhra Pradesh police gunning down 20 woodcutters alleged to be red sanders smugglers.This probe panel should comprise police officers, advocates and human rights activists among others, party founder S Ramadoss said in a statement here. He said relatives of those who had gone to Andhra Pradesh to work in the construction industry from Villupuram and Dharmapuri districts had complained that their whereabouts were not known even as there were allegations that the red sanders mafia had held many of them as bonded labourers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Therefore, Tamil Nadu government should hold a detailedinvestigation into the status of those who left Tamil Nadu to work as daily wage labourers in Andhra Pradesh. The government should prepare a list of such persons and find out if they arelodged in prison or held as bonded labourers by red sanderssmugglers or had been killed,” he said.Expressing concern over the gunning down of the 20 people by Andhra Pradesh police, he slammed the police personnel for their ‘brutality’ and criticised the state government for backing them.He also alleged that the victims were tortured before and after their death, referring to burn marks and other injuries on their bodies.

Red sander ‘smugglers’ encounter: How Naidu’s govt scored a self-goal with lame defence

Hyderabad: Has the Chandrababu Naidu administration scored a self-goal in the ‘encounter killing’ of 20 woodcutters in Seshachalam forest? Have the Andhra Pradesh political and bureaucratic leadership failed to gauge the backlash in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu?

A practicing advocate Krishna Murthy, who hails from Tamil Nadu, raised the issue of the encounter in the court of the Chief Justice of India. The court directed him to file a petition so that it could take appropriate decision on the same.

N Chandrababu Naidu in a file photo. AFPN Chandrababu Naidu in a file photo. AFP

N Chandrababu Naidu in a file photo. AFP

Krishna Murthy told the media on Thursday that he would seek a CBI probe, a judicial inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge into the “encounter” and also booking of criminal cases against the officials responsible for the killings, if the encounter was proved to be fake in the inquiry.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has clandestinely called for an explanation from the Andhra government. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had to do a lot of explaining, in “self-defence”, to Rajnath Singh over phone.

The Andhra Pradesh government fiercely defended the action of the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Special Task Force (RSASTF) in killing 20 woodcutters in the encounter.

The Forest Minister of the State, a former Forest Minister, a government advisor, the DGP, and senior police officials and some MLAs, who were specially tasked to air the government’s standpoint, took up cudgels on behalf of the government and asserted that the encounter was just.

Although the top brass has been quick to come in defence of the ‘encounter killings’, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the neighbouring Tamil Nadu Government and the whole gamut of opposition parties and the Rights activists have not taken kindly to the killings.

Many commoners and politicos, other than those belonging to the ruling TDP, are reacting alike to the purported ‘encounter’, as they are seeing it only as a blatant state-sponsored massacre.

The slew of incidents in Tamil Nadu exposed how some Tamil groups are seething with rage. Buses belonging to the State-owned APSRTC were stoned at Koyambedu bus station soon after the incident forcing the corporation to stop the services between the two States in the last three days.

Country bombs were hurled at the Andhra Bank, Thoothukudi branch early on Thursday, while a Heritage Fresh retail store chain — a company promoted by the family of AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu – was attacked in Chennai.

Dharna by Vaiko, leader of MDMK, in Chittoor condemning the “encounter killings”; the announcement of ex-gratia to the kin of the victims by Tamil Nadu government; the first vitriolic reaction by DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi; and the “strongly-worded” missive dashed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvan to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart has an egg on the face of the AP Government.

Naidu went into a huddle on Thursday afternoon with senior bureaucrats, politicians, police officials, legal experts, including the Advocate-General, and discussed the issue threadbare. He wanted that the State should put up a very strong argument in defence of the encounter, as the High Court admitted a petition and directed the DGP to file his reply.

The government also is working on answers to pertinent queries raised by different rights organisations, opposition parties, Ministry of Home Affairs, High Court of Hyderabad and the public interest litigation – if at all the Supreme Court admits it.

The story published by Andhra Jyothy, a Telugu newspaper known to be close to the TDP, said surveillance cameras were placed at different places in the Seshachalam forest and the movement of the smugglers and woodcutters was recorded before the “action”, in fact, embarrassed the government.

Incidentally, another report published by Eenadu, which is also a TDP-friendly newspaper, with the eyewitness account on how the woodcutters were picked up by the police and were bumped off, too caused ample discomfort in the power corridors of Andhra Pradesh.

Now, the state government is working overtime to justify its action.

Though the Bharatiya Janata Party initially endorsed the action of the AP government, it slowly withdrew from that stand. While Venkaiah Naidu made a statement in favour of the encounter, it is learnt that the BJP unit of Tamil Nadu voiced its concern. Accordingly, the BJP is now playing it safe on the encounter in Andhra Pradesh.

This naturally irked the rank and file of the TDP.

Interestingly, the TDP, which always musters support for its acts of omission and commission, has pressed its social media brigade into service to create a positive discourse in favour of the State’s action. Many of those who have no role in the encounter or decision-making began making posts on how could any one defend smugglers and they tried to create a buzz spurning the critics of the TDP regime’s actions. A question they raised was what the “smugglers” or their “hires” were doing in the forest at the dead of the night.

But the eyewitness accounts published in different newspapers punched holes not only in the police story, but even the “positive discourse” being spread.

Andhra Pradesh encounter: Jayalalithaa expresses doubts; urges CM to undertake probe

The former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister also announced relief of Rs 2 lakhs to the families of those who got killed in the encounter.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Expressing grief over the gunning down of 20 alleged red sanders smugglers in Andhra Pradesh, AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa on Thursday expressed doubts over the encounter and urged AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to initiate action based on a fact-finding probe.”After the points raised by media and social activists besides publishing of photographs, there are fears whether the action by the Andhra Pradesh police is correct,” she said.The former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that it was ‘doubtful’ whether the authorities had used ‘require power’ against the alleged smugglers even if it was assumed that they were involved in illegal smuggling activity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I request the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (Chandrababu Naidu) to hold a probe to establish facts and initiate action based on that,” she said in a statement.Further, she announced a relief of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the encounter on behalf of her party, adding that state Ministers, MPs and MLAs of the respective districts will hand over the same to the families in person.

Killed red sander ‘smugglers’ taken off bus: Witness account punches holes in police’s story

The Andhra Pradesh police version of events with regards to the killing of 20 red sanders smugglers in Chittoor district has received a crippling blow after a ‘witness’ has come forward to say that he saw seven of the supposed ‘smugglers’ dragged off a bus by Andhra Pradesh policemen near the border between the two states, mere hours before the incident.

The man, identified as a labourer named Sekhar from Murugapandi village, reportedly said that he had been sitting on the same bus, when police had boarded and picked passengers off it.

The Indian Express spoke to villagers as well as some of Sekar’s relatives, to whom he had spoken after the incident. He had reportedly told them that he had been spared “because he was sitting next to a woman and police thought he was her husband”.

AFPAFP

AFP

The report adds that Sekhar had told villagers he was with D Mahendran, a plumber who had offered to help him find the job of a carpenter. The Express narrates his account as follows:

“Mahendran had a window seat. A middle-aged woman was in the middle seat and Sekhar next to her. A few kilometres before the Andhra check-post, the bus stopped. A police team entered the bus through the rear door and started picking up passengers, one at a time. The police took Mahendran with them but spared him because they thought he was the woman passenger’s husband.”

The Times of India notes that soon after the incident, Sekhar said he got off the bus at the next stop and returned to his village.

Since then he has reportedly been in hiding, because he is afraid that the police will catch and kill him for speaking out. However he has been in touch with some reporters, and also reportedly gave a statement to a Tamil television channel.

Reports said that Sekhar could appear before the National Human Rights Commission which is probing the incident.

Villagers have also told reporters that after the ‘encounter’, police had come by with photographs of the men to the village, and asked that they be identified.

The damning statement by Sekhar comes on top of a number of glaring discrepancies in the police version of events, which was that the encounter had taken place while members of the Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Special Task Force (RSASTF) had been engaged in combing operations in Srinivasa Mangapuram, Srivarimettu and Eethangunta and wood cutters engaged in chopping down the rare trees had attacked them with stones and axes. The police have maintained that they acted in self defence.

However for one thing, as pointed out in this Indian Express report, “At one of the two sites where bodies were found, seven of the nine dead had been shot in the face or the back of the head. Many had burn injuries — on the abdomen, shoulders and hands, the skin peeling off”.

The police had said that the ‘burn’ marks had been caused by the ‘summer heat’.

And as pointed out by Firstpost senior editor G Pramod Kumar, “How is it possible in an armed melee, that too one which took place in the woods, that the task force members were able to take aim at the victims’ faces and the backs of their heads? If it was indeed in self defence as they claim, where are the injuries of the task force members? Reportedly, only two of them were injured. Do two injuries warrant a firing that killed 20 people?”

The Times of India added that “the logs strewn near the bodies were evidently not fresh: A few of them had numbers neatly painted on them and could have been from an earlier seizure.” Also raising suspicion was the fact that there were no red sanders trees in the vicinity of the location where the encounter had taken place.

The TOI report also quoted CPI’s P Harinath Reddy , who visited the spots, as saying that the knives the men were found with were rusted. “They could not have used them to cut anything. It’s a staged encounter.The government is targeting workers instead of going after contractors who employ them to smuggle wood,“ he told the newspaper.

A fresh report in Times of India today added that “some bodies appeared to have been dragged from another place. None of the trees on the periphery of the clearing where the bodies were found had bullet marks. While the STF said there were more than 100 people carrying logs, only about 20 logs were recovered – as many as the men killed.”

Human rights groups have been up in arms over the incident, that they have described as nothing short of cold blooded murder. A number of civil rights groups have moved courts, and the National Human Rights Commission has asked the government of Andhra Pradesh for a detailed report after one of its members observed that it involved “serious violation” of human rights of the individuals and the firing could not be justified on the ground of self defence.

The Home Ministry has also stepped in and asked the government for a report on the incident. PTI reported that Naidu had already explained to the Home Minister the circumstances leading to the killing of the 20 men. A report is expected to follow.

The incident has caused widespread anger in Tamil Nadu, with protests across the state. A number of Andhra Pradesh state transport buses were damaged, and security has been stepped up at establishments belonging to people of Andhra origin.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister OP Panneerselvam has also written a strongly-worded letter to Naidu demanding a “credible and speedy” inquiry into the episode and responsibility fixed for possible human rights violations.

How the Andhra government reacts to the latest piece of evidence remains to be seen. So far they have been stoutly defending the actions of the police. How long they will be able to do so remains a mystery.

CPI(M) demands CBI probe into gunning down of ‘workers’ in Andhra Pradesh

CPI(M) central committee member K Balakrishnan on Wednesday demanded a CBI probe into the killing of 20 people, many of them Tamils, in Seshachalam forest range by Andhra Pradesh Police.

CPI(M) central committee member K Balakrishnan on Wednesday demanded a CBI probe into the killing of 20 people, many of them Tamils, in Seshachalam forest range by Andhra Pradesh Police.Speaking to reporters, he condemned the gunning down of the workers and said only a CBI probe would bring to light the full facts. “The shooting down of workers from Tamil Nadu is unjustified and deserves to be condemned in strongest terms`, he said. On the Puducherry government’s free rice scheme, he said government was unnecessarily complicating it by modifying it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When neighbouring Tamil Nadu was in a position to supply 20 kg free rice to around 1.90 crore ration card holders, why could not Puducherry continue to supply 10 kg rice a month free of cost, he asked.”Where is the need to announce distribution of cash of Rs 300 per card instead of continuation of 10 kg rice. The scheme is manageable in Puducherry where there are only 3.4 lakh ration card linked families,” he said. Balakrishnan said CPI(M) would launch an agitation on April 23 to urge Puducherry government to restore status quo and supply rice through ration shops.

Andhra Pradesh encounter case: Protests rage across Tamil Nadu over killing of 20 woodcutters

With protests emanating from across the border, Andhra Pradesh government’s media advisor Parakala Prabhakar maintained that it was an encounter in which “smugglers” attacked policemen with sickles, stones and axes.

The bodies of loggers who were killed by an anti-smuggling task force lie on the ground in a remote forest of Andhra Pradesh.

AFP
Protests erupted in Tamil Nadu today over the controversial gunning down of 20 people, many of them woodcutters from the state, on charges of red sanders smuggling in the forests near Tirupati but the Andhra Pradesh government maintained that it was an encounter during which the police was attacked.Political parties and rights groups condemned the incident as a violation of human rights saying the woodcutters, in search of jobs, were picked up from a bus and killed in cold blood. They demanded a probe independent of the AP government and by a Supreme Court judge.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu government announced a solatium of Rs three lakh each to the kin of labourers who were killed yesterday in the police action. National Human Rights Council (NHRC) chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said in Delhi that the Council will examine whether the ‘encounter’ was genuine or fake. AP Chief Secretary and DGP have been issued notices on the incident. He said while the police will justify the incident, initial reports said that those killed were unarmed.With protests emanating from across the border, Andhra Pradesh government’s media advisor Parakala Prabhakar maintained that it was an encounter in which “smugglers” attacked policemen with sickles, stones and axes. “It was purely as a self-defence our forces opened fire when they were outnumbered by the smugglers. Previously we had lost 6 brilliant officers at the hands of smugglers,” he said refuting allegations that they were shot from the close range and in cold blood. He also dismissed charges that the woodcutters were picked up from a bus and killed captivity.A team of Tamil Nadu revenue and police officials have been sent to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh to bring back the bodies of those killed. Bus services to and from Andhra Pradesh were suspended by both the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh State transport corporations with a posse of police personnel deployed in bus stations following stone pelting incidents. Protest demonstrations continued across the state, with PMK chief Dr S Ramadoss alleging that “this (encounter) was pre-planned and there was enough evidence to prove this.” “Since the killings are pre-planned, it is not fair for Andhra Pradesh to probe it. The probe should be done by a sitting Supreme Court judge,” he said.The issue should also be taken to the notice of President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the “victims’ kin should get justice,” he added.Fringe outfits like Naam Tamilar Katchi and others staged agitations in front of Andhra Bank here and establishments with AP links.Speaking to reporters in Tirupati, AP Revenue officials said they have made all arrangements to ensure that bodies are promptly handed over to the kin of those killed.Hearse vans of the TN Health Department have also been sent to AP to bring back the bodies, the government said.Students of the Government Vellore Law College staged protests on the Vellore-Chittoor Road. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi cadres blocked a train in Walajah Road railway junction near Vellore and 50 men were detained by police. Scores of advocates staged protests in several towns, including Mayiladuthrai and Tirunelveli.Tamil Maanila Congress chief GK Vasan said people suspected ulterior motive in the killings and said only a probe could establish if it was a staged encounter. Minister of State for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan said, “I feel that it is an absolute necessity to find out the real reasons for their killings from Andhra Pradesh police,” adding that only lawful measures like prosecution should be pursued in handling all issues.Puthiya Tamilagam chief Krishnasamy said it was important to bring to book the kingpins of the smuggling ring.A senior police official told PTI that the process of identifying those killed yesterday was almost complete and they hailed from districts, including Tiruvannamalai and Vellore.

Shame on Andhra: Shooting red sander ‘smugglers’ in the face is summary execution

The “encounter-killing” of 20 labourers in Seshachalam forests near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday by a state-level task-force for their alleged role in red-sandalwood smuggling is one of the most intense extra-judicial killings the country has witnessed in recent years. The action killed 20 unarmed people in about an hour. This is a ferocity that is reported only from war fronts.

Media reports said the smugglers, or rather their hired workers who were cutting and transporting sandalwood trees, attacked police with sickles, axes and stones although none of them mentioned hand-to-hand combat.

PTIPTI

PTI

Reportedly, the workers, who numbered about 150, hurled stones and sickles at the task force men. Even so, the excessive reaction in the end appeared like summary executions. Were the task-force men so ill-trained that they couldn’t find other ways to contain a mob-attack?

The Andhra Pradesh government is yet to come out with a status report and explain the need for such a brutal response and the level of casualties. After all, it was only red-sander (shorter for red-sandalwood) smuggling and not a border-skirmish with heavily armed militants or an uncontrollable riot that the task-force was sent to handle.

And this is not the first time this has happened.

It was a widely reported fact that Andhra Pradesh was fed up of red-sander smuggling and the number of labourers, allegedly most of the from Tamil Nadu, involved. State police men had been killed in earlier encounters. The state DGP has reportedly said that about 2000 labourers, mostly from Tamil Nadu, are under custody. He also said that often the police had to use open grounds to present them before a magistrate because they entered in such large numbers. Each time, about 200-400 people were arrested in one go.

Moreover, the wood is quite precious because it fetches a lot of money in the international market and recently the state earned about Rs 1000 crore from an auction of sander seized from the smugglers.

So was this encounter a desperate action to instill fear in the labourers employed by the smugglers?

Available evidence does suggest deliberate intent.

According to this Indian Express report, seven in a heap of nine bodies, have been shot either in the face or in the back of the head.

How is it possible in an armed melee, that too one which took place in the woods, that the task force members were able to take aim at the victims’ faces and the backs of their heads? If it was indeed in self defence as they claim, where are the injuries of the task force members? Reportedly, only two of them were injured.

Do two injuries warrant a firing that killed 20 people?

The Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin encounter cases had raised the conscience of the country about extra-judicial killings and earned a bad name for Gujarat. But the fact of the matter is that most parts of India are notorious for unjustified killing of people by police and security forces.

A 2013 report said 555 encounter cases were registered in four years, with the highest number coming from Uttar Pradesh.

While some argue that this is a result of a non-functioning criminal judicial system, which forces the police to take the law into their own hands to deliver justice as they see fit, others say that it is a demonstration of the highhandedness of the state.

There have been cases in which alleged criminals have been killed to mollify public anger or to weaken insurgency movements. Anyway, every encounter killing, fake or otherwise, is a blot on the country’s criminal justice system and a huge violation of human rights. If presented to the justice system, most of the victims of these encounter killings would have escaped death and some of them, even jail.

The National Human Rights Commission and the Tamil Nadu Government, where the incident has begun swelling into an inter-state issue, have taken cognisance of the encounter.

Now that the deaths have already occurred all that one can expect is a judicial investigation. The Andhra Pradesh government will be happy if the Tamil workers are scared out of their forest jaunts. But this is unlikely because it is poverty and utter helplessness that finally drive them to work for the smugglers.

If the Tamil Nadu government is serious about protecting its people, they should discourage the villagers by alternative employment and social assistance.

In 2014, the Supreme Court had issued a 16-point guideline to be followed “as the standard procedure for thorough, effective and independent investigation” which includes the recording of the tip-off, filing of FIR and investigation by an independent CID and magisterial involvement. However, the history of delivering justice on encounter killings has been rather dismal. For instance, in the 555 cases recorded during four years till 2013, only 144 had been resolved.

So, in the end, it’s the combination of scant regard for human rights, the failure of our criminal justice system and a guaranteed impunity or possibly the lure of gallantry awards, that breed encounter killings. They are not mere encounters, but extra judicial killings in which Indian citizens are summarily executed even before being legally charged with a crime.

The Seshachalam episodes shows that despite the NHRC and SC oversight, our governments are getting more and more intolerant, autocratic and rights-violative.

Andhra Pradesh: 20 smugglers killed in encounter with police in Chittoor

Hyderabad: At least 20 red sander smugglers were killed on Tuesday in two gunfights with police in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The gunfights occurred in Seshachalam forest around 5 am in two places within a radius of one km in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor, about 500 km from Hyderabad.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Kanta Rao told reporters that over 100 smugglers and labourers helped them to attack policemen, forcing them to open fire in self-defence.

IANS

Is loss due to tsunami insurable?

The case being examined by the SC pertains to loss due to the devastating 2004 disaster

Representation Pic

Is “tsunami” an insurable risk or not under the terms of the government’s Marine Hull Insurance policy covering all risks pertaining to perils at sea? The Supreme Court has decided to examine this issue pertaining to a case, in a first of its kind, arising out of damage caused to assets of the Krishnapatnam Port Trust (KPT) by the great tsunami of 2004. KPT, a privately built port is located in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. It has challenged the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s January 30 verdict that says, “Tsunami is an excluded risk” as the loss to KPT occurred on account of an earthquake, which was excluded in the policy, and the insurance company is not liable to reimburse the loss caused to the company.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur admitted the plea filed by KPT against United India Insurance Company Ltd, a public sector general insurance company under the ministry of finance. The petition, filed by KPT through its counsel Vipin Nair, said in May 2004 that the insurance company had issued a policy with insured value of Rs 1.5 crore covering all risks under the MarineHull insurance policy for KPT’s properties including a dredger. The petitioner said the total sum insured was Rs 7.57 crore and a sum of Rs 4,02,872 lac was paid as the insurance premium to the company. It also cited the breakup of the insurance cover for Marine Hull risks Rs 1.5 crore, dismantling risks (Rs 1.5 crore), burglary risks (Rs 1.5 crore), transportation risks (Rs 1.5 crore), personal accident cover for the crew (Rs 7 lakh), third party liability (Rs1.5 cr). The dredger, which is an ocean vessel used for removal of material like silt, rocks, debris etc in any excavation, cleaning or deepening of any port or harbour in any river or sea. Due to the devastating tsunami in December 2004 the insured dradger was submerged in the sea at Krishnapatanam Village in Andhra Pradesh. A surveyor of the insurance company in July 2005 had given the assessment saying it was a “constructive total loss” and assessed the value of loss about Rs 1.1 crore. The petitioner’s counsel argued that the ITC Port Risks Clause 4 covers damage or loss to the insured caused by “perils of the seas, rivers, lakes or other navigable waters”. Clause 5, however, provides for an exception and states that “Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption” shall not be covered under the policy. It is significant to note that “Tsunami” has not been excluded under this clause and therefore would be an insurable risk. The National Consumer Commission had rejected the argument and said “Tsunami” also stands excluded as a risk under the policy in view of the fact that it was an ‘Earthquake’ which was the proximate cause for Tsunami.

Ex health minister Ramadoss urges PM Mod to raise pictorial warnings on tobacco products

As India debates whether or not to increase the size of pictorial warnings on packages of tobacco products, former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that the government should bat for increasing the size of the warnings.

DNA reports that Ramadoss was of the opinion that the warnings should occupy at least 80 percent of the display as opposed to the 40 percent space stipulated to it now.

Newsminute reports:

Saying that pictorial warnings on tobacco products were introduced during his term as Union Health Minister, he said,” We faced a lot of opposition, 120 MPs opposed the move, but we introduced the warnings. The tobacco lobby is very strong in India.”

Anbumani Ramadoss. Agencies.Anbumani Ramadoss. Agencies.

Anbumani Ramadoss. Agencies.

The Center has stayed the decision that was supposed to be finalised on 1 April.

DNA quotes Health Minister JP Nadda as saying: “The committee has said that they want to deliberate it further. They have asked for more time for deliberation. Till that time, the warning which was to come up on advertisement and on the packets has been stayed.”

Dilip Gandhi, head of Parliamentary panel on subordinate legislation examining the provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act,which had sought deferment of the move, had said all studies in this regard have come from abroad and one should consider the Indian aspect too.

“All agree on the harmful effects of tobacco. But there is no Indian survey report to prove that tobacco consumption leads to cancer. All the studies are done abroad. Cancer does not happen only because of tobacco. We have to study the Indian context, as four crore people in states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are dependent on bidi-making through Tendupatta,” Gandhi told PTI. His comments had led to an uproar.

In fact, it’s not just the BJP, several other parties are against the idea of increasing the size of the warnings.

The Indian Express quoted Congress MP from Karnataka, SP Muddahanumegowda as saying, “We need to hear more from the tobacco farmers, tobacco manufacturers and tobacco consumers. That is why we thought the notification should be kept in abeyance till we have heard all these people. It was a universal decision. One or two people did express concern about the condition of consumers but they were not displeased or anything of that sort”.

RTI reveals 82% of tribal rights entitlement cases are quashed

The Forest Rights Act of 2006 provides land rights to forest-dwelling communities.

dna Research & Archives
Under the 2006 Forest Rights Act, providing land rights to forest-dwelling communities of the country, only 15 lakh complainants out of the 39,56,262 cases filed; were given the legal recognition to their property.Responding to an RTI query, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs stated that 39,56,262 complaints were filed under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 till November last year.15,51,826 complainants were provided with the entitlement to their lands and other resources. Around 32,67,888 complaints or 82.6% of the cases registered under the act were disposed off, they said.Providing information about the states’ response to complaints under the act, the ministry said that Andhra Pradesh provided entitlement to 1,69,370 complaints out of 4,11,012 cases filed.Bihar delivered verdict on 28 out of 2,930 cases and Chhattisgarh reported 97.1% redressal by acting upon 3,36,590 out of 8,17,809 complaints.72,418 out of 1,90,051 complaints were redressed by Gujarat; 15,296 out of 42,003 by Jharkhand; 1,96,969 out of 5,92,221 by Madhya Pradesh; 1,45,752 out of 3,49,543 by Maharashtra; 3,42,818 out of 6,08, 476 by Odisha; 18,488 out of 93,635 by Uttar Pradesh and 33,838 out of 40,309 by West Bengal, they said.Out of the 2,58,780 cases registered in Karnataka, 1,73,082 complaints were cancelled and 7,427 entitlements were provided, the ministry added.

12 years on, conjoined twins Veena and Vani find hope of happy separation

For 12 years Veena and Vani have been inseparable, literally. Limbs fused since birth, life has been far from normal for the conjoined twins. There seems to be hope of a happy separation finally. In the news and at the centre of public sympathy in Andhra Pradesh ever since their poor parents started seeking medical remedy, help finally comes from a group of doctors from UK. The process involves a complex surgery and the doctors have assured them that there is a 75 percent chance of both the children leading normal lives.

David Dunaway, head of Craniofacial Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK, and Noor Ul Owase Jeelani, the paediatric neurosurgeon at the same hospital, were in Hyderabad a couple of months ago, had reviewed the condition of the twins and discussed with their parents the complexities of a series of possible surgeries.

Veena andVeena and

Veena and Vani

The confidence of the UK doctors stems from the fact that they had successfully separated two such pairs in the past. Now, in this case, they are weighing a series of straightforward surgeries that could be simpler than a long single one, which could cause brain inflammation and heavy bleeding.

What makes the case so tough and complicated? The dural sinus that pumps blood from heart to brain is only one for both, but the brains are two. While the artery can be restructured for only one of them, the other needs a completely fresh support system to come up.

The cost involved is humungous too, with the ballpark figure somewhere between Rs 10 crore and Rs 15 crore. But the reassuring part is the Telangana government has, in principle, agreed to foot the bill.

The case goes back to October 17, 2003, when the newly-born babies of Murali and Nagalakshmi of Suryapet in Nalgonda district in Telangana, were admitted to the government General Hospital in Guntur soon after a caesarian operation. It was Dr Y Nayudamma, a paediatric surgeon with four successful operations involving conjoined twins to his credit, who studied the case and started treating them. The first round of surgery was performed in December 2004.

But much to their misfortune, Dr Nayudamma retired from service in 2006 and ever since, the case has remained a big puzzle for doctors. According to the latest report the doctors sent to Niloufer Hospital and also Telangana Government a couple of days ago, they stated that the twins would have to stay in London for 10 months for pre and post-operative medical supervision.

Now, the ball is in the state government’s court, which needs to officially give its clearance and provide the pledged financial support to the parents. Till then, they are only keeping their fingers crossed.

EC to complete linking Aadhaar with photo ID cards by August: Brahma

Guwahati: The Election Commission of India on Tuesday said it would complete linking of Aadhaar numbers with voter photo identity cards across the country, except North East, by August this year.

Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma. IBNLiveChief Election Commissioner HS Brahma. IBNLive

Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma. IBNLive

“By May, the Southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa will complete the linking. This will be first time in India. This will completely eliminate duplication of 85 crore Indian voters,” Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma told reporters in Guwahati.

The linking of the two cards was expected to clear 6-8 percent duplication in the electoral rolls, he said.

Referring to the Assembly polls in Assam next year, he said the EC has initiated the process to update the voter list.

“The Assembly polls in Assam are due before May 2016. In any election, the first allegation against the Election Commission is about the non-purified rolls. So before one year, we start purifying the electoral rolls,” he said.

The agency’s updating process is an ongoing work with addition, deletion and correction of the data in voters list, he added.

“In Assam, 95 percent of the 1.9 crore voters have been issued photo identity cards. By July, we will issue cards to all the voters,” Brahma said, adding the agency would ensure that there would be no duplication of voters.

He said the ECI had launched a portal in January this year for the voters updating and correcting the information themselves.

PTI

School kids land in hospital after teacher makes them stand shirtless in the sun

In a shocking incident of corporal punishment in Andhra Pradesh, two students were hospitalised after they were made to kneel in the sun, shirtless for three hours for not doing their homework.

The New Indian Express reported that, “Teacher Anil Kumar Raja of Mandal Parishad Primary School at Maradapalem village in Bheemili lost his cool as the students did not do their homework. The victims, Surya Teja of class IV and Dilip Kumar of class V are siblings. It is said that the boys suffered dehydration and collapsed after standing under the sweltering sun.”

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to reports the father of the boys was passing the school and noticed the two boys who were punished and even expressed his displeasure with the teacher.

According to The Hindu, “The parents approached the management and Mandal Education Officer Sai Babu. It is learnt that the matter was solved, after the MEO had reprimanded the teacher.”

The furious father also lodged a complaint against the incident with the village ward member and the sarpanch.

While the teachers have been pulled up for their behaviour, reports suggest that it was the boys’ parents who had allegedly asked the teachers to punish them.

The New Indian Express reports, “When contacted, Bheemili police said that they haven’t received any complaint and no police case has been registered. However, sources at the school blamed the parents for telling the teachers to “discipline” their children, as the kids were poor in academics.”

Teacher makes two children stand shirtless in sun, hospitalised

In a shocking incident of corporal punishment in Andhra Pradesh, two students were hospitalised after they were made to kneel in the sun, shirtless for three hours for not doing their homework.

The New Indian Express reported that, “Teacher Anil Kumar Raja of Mandal Parishad Primary School at Maradapalem village in Bheemili lost his cool as the students did not do their homework. The victims, Surya Teja of class IV and Dilip Kumar of class V are siblings. It is said that the boys suffered dehydration and collapsed after standing under the sweltering sun.”

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to reports the father of the boys was passing the school and noticed the two boys who were punished and even expressed his displeasure with the teacher.

According to The Hindu, “The parents approached the management and Mandal Education Officer Sai Babu. It is learnt that the matter was solved, after the MEO had reprimanded the teacher.”

The furious father also lodged a complaint against the incident with the village ward member and the sarpanch.

While the teachers have been pulled up for their behaviour, reports suggest that it was the boys’ parents who had allegedly asked the teachers to punish them.

The New Indian Express reports, “When contacted, Bheemili police said that they haven’t received any complaint and no police case has been registered. However, sources at the school blamed the parents for telling the teachers to “discipline” their children, as the kids were poor in academics.”

Spectrum auction garners bids worth Rs 77,000 crore at the end of three days

The government has garnered bids worth around Rs 77,000 crore at the end of three days of spectrum auction as telecom operators continued to bid aggressively.

The government has garnered bids worth around Rs 77,000 crore at the end of three days of spectrum auction as telecom operators continued to bid aggressively.”The bidding has taken place in all bands. At present, a value of approximately Rs 77,000 crore has been committed by bidders in respect of provisionally won spectrum. There is still spectrum, which is yet to be sold. Bidding would recommence tomorrow,” the DoT said.The DoT added the auction of spectrum in 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz Bands recommenced today and 6 rounds of bidding were completed.Till now, 17 rounds of bidding has taken place in three days. The auction will continue tomorrow, it added. At the end of 11 rounds on Thusday, the bids value stood at Rs 65,000 crore.The government is expecting to raise over Rs 82,000 crore from the auction, but the final amount is expected to go much higher if bids continue at such an aggressive pace.However, the government will not release results of the auction because of a court ruling. Incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with Reliance Jio to protect their spectrum they need to carry voice and data in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market. In all, eight bidders are in fray.The auction is the biggest ever sale of 2G and 3G airwaves where government is selling spectrum in four bands: 2,100 megahertz (Mhz), 1,800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz.On the third day on Friday, operators continued aggressive bidding in 900 MHz band with price increment in various circles whereas there was not much bidding in Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh circles in the 2,100 MHz band. Good bidding was also witnessed in 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands.

Swine flu claims 36 more lives, death toll rises to 1,041

New Delhi: Swine flu has claimed 36 more lives raising the toll to 1,041 even as the number of people affected by the H1N1 virus in the country breached the 19,000 mark on Saturday.

As per data collated by the Health Ministry, the total number of deaths due to swine flu was 1,041 till Friday while the number of people affected were 19,046.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Health Ministry had yesterday given the figure of those affected to be 18,105.

In Rajasthan, the death toll has climbed to 257 while the number of those affected stood at 5,403.

As many as 256 people have died of the disease in Gujarat, which is among the worst affected states. So far, 4,162 people have been affected in the state.

In Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the total number of deaths has been reported to be 151 and 131 respectively.

The disease has claimed 56 and 42 lives in Telangana and Punjab respectively. In Delhi, ten persons have died of swine flu while the number of affected has risen to 2,791.

Karnataka has reported 42 deaths till now, Haryana – 21, Andhra Pradesh – 12, Himachal Pradesh – 8, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala – 7.

Health Minister JP Nadda had on Friday admitted that the country was facing a shortage of laboratories for testing swine flu and had assured that efforts were being made to set up such facilities in all states.

The government has been repeatedly asserting that it is “very serious” on combating the challenge and has asked people not to panic but be alert.

PTI

Swine flu cases on rise in Andhra Pradesh

Swine flu coordinator for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, K. Subhakar has claimed that the situation was under control despite the number of death cases due to swine flu have climbed to 16.

Swine flu coordinator for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, K. Subhakar has claimed that the situation was under control despite the number of death cases due to swine flu have climbed to 16.A total of 105 cases have been reported so far in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.Subhakar said cases reported in the states are stable and there is no need to panic.”The swine flu situation in Telangana state is under control. There is no need for any apprehensions. Even though the cases are increasing over last 10 days, I think 16 cases were reported in last 12 days but all the cases are stable,” he said.Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 virus. H1N1 symptoms are similar to those produced by other influenza viruses – fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and respiratory problems.Doctors say children, elderly people and those suffering from respiratory problems are highly susceptible to the virus.The 2009 global outbreak of swine flu, or H1N1, claimed over 17,000 lives including 2,725 in India between May 2009 and November 2010.In New Delhi, three people have died of the virus this year from around 30 cases reported.

Coal scam case: Enforcement Directorate registers 17 new money laundering FIRs

Enlarging the ambit of its money laundering probe into the coal blocks allocation scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered 17 fresh criminal cases against firms from various parts of the country.The ED had already filed 16 PMLA FIRs in this probe.”The agency has filed 17 new FIRs in the coal blocks allocation matter. These cases, filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), are against firms based in several states including Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha,” official sources said.They said the agency will now issue summons to the executives and record their statements even as it plans to attach some assets of these firms under money laundering laws.The CBI, which is also probing the case along with the ED, has registered close to three dozen cases under various sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).ED, the sources said, had already scrutinised a number of documents and financial statements of these firms, after taking them from CBI, before the latest criminal charges were pressed.The agency has also recently questioned former Minister of State for Coal Dasari Narayan Rao who has been named along with other private parties in a particular case.It has also seized assets worth nearly Rs 200 crore as part of these investigations till now.”Some more attachments of assets, including immovable properties and fixed deposits of those individuals and companies named in the ED FIRs, will be done,” the sources said.While the Supreme Court is monitoring the probe of both ED and CBI, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on blackmoney too is reviewing the overall investigations and coordination between the two central agencies in these cases.

15 killed, 30 injured in AP bus accident

The ill-fated bus after it met with an accident at Adadakulapalli near Penukonda in Ananthapur district on Wednesday

PTI
Fifteen people, mostly college students, were killed and 30 others injured when a state-run bus in which they were travelling fell down a dug up area adjoining a hilly road in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district, on Wednesday.Among the 15 deceased were 10 college students, including a girl, a forest guard and some other passengers, a police official said. Police added 14 persons died on the spot, four others died in various hospitals of Penukonda, Hindupur and also Bengaluru. “Condition of at least another seven victim is serious due to injuries,” said a doctor at Hindupur hospital.”The toll has risen to 15 with the death of some injured persons undergoing treatment at different hospitals. Most of the deceased are college students. At least 30 others are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Bengaluru, Anantapur and Penukonda,” Deputy superintendent of police, Penukonda (Sub-Division), N Subbarao said.The accident occurred at around 8.30am between Madakasira and Penukonda ghat road in the district where a long stretch of the area adjoining the road had been dug up and the road was being levelled, said the DSP, who is monitoring the rescue and relief work. AP Home Minister N Chinna Rajappa ordered an inquiry into the mishap.The state government also announced an ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.Prime minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the mishap and condoled the loss of lives. He also wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the accident. AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu also expressed grief over the tragedy.Nearly 50 people were travelling in the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus which was going to Penukonda from Madakasira, Anantapur District Superintendent of Police SV Rajshekhar Babu said.He said that road work was going on near the accident spot and a large area was dug up on one side where the bus rolled down. “It seems the driver tried to overtake an autorickshaw which resulted in the mishap,” Subbarao said. Police, revenue and RTC officials were engaged in relief operations, the official added.Andhra Pradesh Transport minister Sidda Raghava Rao said relief and rescue operations were underway at the accident spot.

At least 20 feared dead in bus mishap in Andhra Pradesh

At least 20 people are feared dead after a passengers bus fell into a ravine in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday morning.According to TV reports, The incident took place near Penukonda. There were around 40 passengers in the bus and at least four students are among the dead. Injured passengers have been rushed to Bengaluru hospital.More details are awaited.

BJP chief Amit Shah to visit Andhra Pradesh, Telangana on January 8 and 9

Aiming to strengthen the party organisation in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, BJP president Amit Shah would visit the two states this week.Shah would hold a meeting of BJP’s Telangana office- bearers on January 8, state unit president and MLA G Kishan Reddy said. The agenda would be to discuss the membership drive and strengthening the organisation in the state, he said. BJP has been focusing on improving its presence in the southern and eastern states. It did well in the two Telugu-speaking states in the 2014 elections in alliance with TDP. Its performance was particularly impressive in Andhra Pradesh as it bagged two Lok Sabha seats and four Assembly constituencies. BJP is now a partner in government in the state.

Andhra Pradesh: Jaganmohan Reddy to observe two-day fast over farmers’ issues

The YSR Congress on Monday said that its President Y S Jaganmohan Reddy would undertake a two-day fast shortly, seeking justice for farmers in Andhra Pradesh on various issues.The party alleged that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led Andhra Pradesh government is “repressing” farmers who reside in the proposed state capital region near Vijayawada. A YSR Congress delegation led by Jaganmohan Reddy met AP Governor E S L Narasimhan here on Monday and submitted a representation to him detailing the “harassment being meted out to farmers who are not willing to part with their lands” in the proposed AP capital region.The party sought an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge into the alleged harassment, a YSR Congress release quoted party leader Dharmana Prasad Rao as saying, after he met the AP Governor. “Y S Jaganmohan Reddy will sit on a two-day fast at Tanuku in West Godavari district on January 31 and February 1 to protest against anti-farmer policies of the TDP government,” Rao said. Besides its lopsided approach towards acquiring land, the the TDP-led AP state government has failed to provide minimum support price (MSP) to farmers and give proper relief and rehabilitation to Cyclone Hudhud-affected farmers, he said.”The two-day dharna will highlight the failures of the TDP-led AP state government in handling farmers’ issues,” he said. YSR Congress MLAs from Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts accompanied Jaganmohan Reddy to the Raj Bhavan and gave a representation narrating the “trauma of locals who are not willing to part with their land” for the proposed AP state capital region. It is unfair for the state Home Minister and other ministers of the district to blame the YSR Congress for the incident of arson and fire which took place in the proposed capital region last month, the YSR Congress leader said. “Making such reckless statements without verifying facts despite being in a responsible position, has aggravated the situation and the police is using force to name YSR Congress leaders as those responsible for the arson. In such a situation, we have no faith in the state investigation and we demand an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge,” he said. The AP Governor gave the YSR Congress delegation a patient hearing, Dharmana Prasada Rao said.

Centre will help in developing new Andhra Pradesh capital: M Venkaiah Naidu

Union Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu said in Vijaywada on Sunday that the Centre will extend all kinds of support for developing the new capital of Andhra Pradesh around Vijayawada.Addressing a gathering while unveiling the statue of freedom fighter and designer of the Tricolour Pingali Venkayya, Naidu said people of Andhra Pradesh should support the government in establishing the new capital in and around Vijayawada.The minister said he has confidence that those farmers who will relinquish their land (for developing capital), will not be forgotten and justice will be done to them as the vision of chief minister Chandrababu Naidu is to make a world class capital. Meanwhile, heading a meeting on discussion over proposed project of Buckingham canal inland waterways system to be developed from from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh to Pondicherry, Naidu said that the project will prove to be a boon for Andhra Pradesh.The discussion was held to study challenges, problems and solutions for development of the inland waterways system. He said the Centre is keen to develop the inland waterways which will reduce traffic burden on road and railways.Chairman of National Inland Waterways Authority Amitabh Verma in his presentation at the discussion said the total length of the project is 1,078 kms which runs from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and the expected cost of the project is Rs 3,200 crore. The canal will be built across 1,450 hectare and the number of old constructions and structures on the canal like bridges have to be reconstructed for movement of vessels, and continuous supply of water also needed.He said preliminary survey which is currently underway will be completed by March this year and a comprehensive study would be taken up later.

Rape, cyber crime rose in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh in 2014 even as crime rate declined

The crime rate in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana saw a slight decline in 2014 though rape and cyber crime cases rose while police arrested an aide of Indian Mujahideen ‘media in-charge’ and foiled attempts by some youths including an ex-Google employee to join ISIS.The National Investigation Agency (NIA) tasted success by arresting Myanmarese national Khaleed alias Mohammed Khalid, one of the prime accused in the Burdwan blast case. Hyderabad Police on October 22 arrested Shah Mudassir alias Talha, a member of SIMI and Shoeb Ahmed Khan alias Tariq Bhai, an associate of Mansoor Ali Peerboy (media in-charge of Indian Mujahideen, Pune Module), from Secunderabad here. Police said the duo from Maharashtra were allegedly planning to go to Afghanistan to get training from al Qaeda for carrying out terror activities in India.Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy said they were in the process of collecting enough evidence against Hyderabadi youth Mothasim Billah, a former SIMI activist, who had promised to finance their travel to Afghanistan.In August, Hyderabad Police “foiled” an attempt by a group of four young men from the city, including two engineers, to join ISIS after they were tracked down to Kolkata from where they were allegedly preparing to flee to Iraq.Similarly, 30-year-old former Google employee Munawad Salman, who was allegedly plotting to join ISIS was detained by Hyderabad Police in October. They also counselled a 21-year-old student, who too was allegedly in touch with a suspected ISIS activist over a social networking site.The overall crime graph showed a minuscule 0.41 per cent decline in Telangana with a total of 93,392 cognisable cases reported in 2014 compared with 93,780 cases in 2013, though cases of molestation (‘outraging modesty’) and rape increased in Telangana in 2014 compared with the previous year. Cyber crime cases went up to 618 in 2014 from 334 last year.Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma said Left-wing extremism activities in the newly-carved state are under effective check and four extremists were reported in 2014 against five in 2013. As many as 68 members of the banned CPI (Maoist) surrendered before police while 18 extremists were arrested in Telangana.Andhra Pradesh Police chief JV Ramudu said law and order situation improved in the state in 2014 as compared to 2013, which saw statehood stirs. Overall crime against women came down to some extent but rape incidents registered an increase. Cyber crime increased with 410 cases in 2014 compared to 306 in 2013. Overall crime against women came down to some extent but rape incidents registered an increase. Cyber crime increased with 410 cases in 2014 compared to 306 in 2013. During 2014, 75 extremists (CPI-Maoists) were arrested and 93 surrendered. As many as 3,393 red sander smugglers were arrested in different districts of Andhra Pradesh and several of tonnes of the precious wood was seized from them.In August, Hyderabad Police arrested an army man Naib Subedar Patan Kumar Poddar from Secunderabad on espionage charges. The police’s remand report said that he came in contact with a woman, believed to be a Pakistani national, on Facebook in 2013, and shared classified information about deployment of Army units, location of artillery regiments among others.In October, 11-year-old Shaikh Mustafa died after he was found burnt under mysterious circumstances in a defence area here as police filed a murder case against unknown Army personnel and intensified their probe to crack the case, which triggered tension. In a related development, in November, army jawan Lance Naik Appala Raju, who was among those questioned by a police team investigating the case, committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle.In May, communal clashes broke out in Kishanbagh in Old City area here over alleged burning of a religious flag, even as three persons were killed following police firing.In October, 17 people including several women were killed following a explosion at a fire cracker manufacturing unit at Vakatippa village in East Godavari district.Andhra Pradesh Police arrested Amway India CEO William Scott Pinckney in May in connection with a criminal case filed against the direct-selling company for alleged financial irregularities in operations.In June, Regional Director of a Koraput-based DRDO unit RK Satpathy, suffered injuries after a juvenile pickpocket attacked him with a blade when he was caught for stealing a cell phone in the crowded Charminar area. He was subsequently arrested.Among the sensational cases, during Agusut-September 12 members of a ‘snake gang’ which had terrorised the residents of Old City area were arrested.Five persons were arrested for allegedly gangraping a Mumbai-based dancer-cum-model, who was brought to the city for performing for a New Year event.A 23-year-old student at the city-based English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) was allegedly gangraped in the university premises by a fellow student and another youth in November. Cyberabad police here registered cases against organisers of ‘Kiss of Love’ on the University of Hyderabad campus for ‘obscene act’ after a group of students organised a demonstration in support of the campaign in Kerala. A case was also registered for criminal trespass against members of BJPs youth wing BJYM, who staged a protest against the event.In July, two senior officials of a school in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh were arrested in connection with the brutal caning of three visually-impaired boys.In November, police constable PObulesu was arrested for trying to kidnap vice-chairman of Aurobindo Pharma K Nityananda Reddy.Tollywood actor Uday Kiran (33), allegedly committed suicide at his flat here on January 5, apparently after film offers dried up of late, pushing him into mental depression and financial crisis.Hyderabad Police in January cracked the case of burglary of 15.57 kg of gold ornaments and coloured stones from the Tanishq jewellery showroom in Panjagutta area here and arrested Kiran, a mason, who wanted to become a pilot, along with his cousin Anand.In February, a labourer from Jharkhand was arrested here in connection with the theft at Muthoot Finance in Zaheerabad town and 7 kg gold ornaments and Rs 13.42 lakh in cash were seized from his possession.Cyberabad Police brought to the city Izazul Sheikh, arrested in connection with hacking of former cricketer VVS Laxman’s bank account, who during interrogation revealed that he opened over 30 accounts in Kolkata to siphon off funds.In an “honour” killing case, parents of a 26-year-old woman software engineer, were arrested for allegedly killing their daughter barely two days after she married a man from another community against their wishes in Guntur district.In another case of suspected honour killing in August, a man allegedly murdered his 19-year-old daughter because she married a boy of another caste in Nalgonda district of Telangana. He was subsequently arrested.Hyderabad Police busted a kidney selling racket in April and arrested three persons in connection with the Colombo-based kidney selling racket, following death of a 26-year-old local youth in Sri Lanka.During March-April, Andhra Pradesh police arrested over 40 people including brokers and medical students (candidates), for their alleged role in irregularities in PG Medical Entrance Test conducted by Vijayawada-based Dr NTR University of Health Sciences.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister unveils ‘smart village’ plan

Chandrababu Naidu
File Photo

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday unveiled a draft of ‘Smart Village’ plan aimed at making Andhra Pradesh, a top state in the country by 2029.”Andhra Pradesh should be developed in all fronts with the comprehensive development of villages with public participation,” Naidu said in a press conference while releasing the document ‘Smart Village, Smart Ward towards Smart Andhra Pradesh’.The Chief Minister appealed to various sections of society, including public representatives, Tollywood personalities, entrepreneurs, NGOs, NRIs etc., to become stake-holders in realising this ambitious initiative.The CM said suggestions from villages will be incorporated into the final draft, to be released on January 18, and state government has created a dedicated portal–www.smart village.gov.in–for the purpose.Naidu said villages would be developed with funds from both government and the partners of smart village. The CM listed 20 items to be taken up under ‘smart village’, which included, “vibrant livelihood opportunities at every household, (setting up of) micro enterprises, home for all with access to toilets, safe drinking water and power, 100% institutional deliveries, no girl child marriages, bank accounts for all households, besides telecom and internet connectivity.”Also Read: Rs 2,000 crore for disabled in next four years, says Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu