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SIT to probe breach in Tiware dam; Rs 5 lakh will be given to kin of the deceased: Girish Mahajan

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government late Wednesday evening announced a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into the breach in Tiware Dam in Ratnagiri district which has led to at least 11 deaths.

The dam in Chiplun tehsil developed a breach late Tuesday night, leading to flooding of seven downstream villages. While 11 bodies have been recovered so far, officials fear the death toll could mount to 23 as many persons are missing. "An SIT will probe the breach," said Water Resources minister Girish Mahajan. The SIT would probe the allegation that officials neglected repeated complaints about leaks from the dam, he said.

"Strict action would be taken against those responsible. The houses which were washed away will be reconstructed in four months," he told reporters at Kamathe in Ratnagiri district after visiting the dam site. The kin of the deceased will be given Rs 5 lakh, he added. As per a preliminary report, the dam developed a breach due to heavy rains in adjoining Satara district, the minister said.


India has never and will never be one voice: Top 10 quotes from Rahul Gandhi's resignation letter

In more trouble for the crisis-hit Congress, Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, publicly announced his resignation as its president, taking responsibility for the Lok Sabha polls debacle, and called for "hard decisions" to rebuild the party and making people accountable for the "failure" of 2019.

In a four-page open letter, Gandhi also urged the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to entrust a group of people with the task of finding a new president as it would not be proper for him to do so. The 49-year-old leader -- who has been adamant on his decision to quit as party president since May 25, two days after the results in which his party won 52 seats -- also stressed on the need for the Congress to "radically transform itself".

Here are top 10 quotes from Rahul Gandhi's resignation letter:

1. The Indian nation must unite to reclaim and resuscitate our institutions. The instrument of this resuscitation will be the Congress party.

2. Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party.

3. It is a habit in India that the powerful cling to power, no one sacrifices power. But we will not defeat our opponents without sacrificing the desire for power and fighting a deeper ideological battle.

4. A free and fair election requires the neutrality of a country's institutions -- an election cannot be fair without arbiters, a free press, an independent judiciary and a transparent Election Commission that is objective and neutral.

5. Nor can an election be free if only one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.

6. We didn't fight a political party in the election. Rather, we fought the entire machinery of the Indian state, every institution of which was marshalled against the opposition.

7. It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India.

8. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India's future to a mere ritual.

9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's victory does not negate the breath of corruption allegations against him, no amount of money and propaganda can ever hide the light of the truth.

10. Today, the BJP is systematically crushing the voice of the Indian people. It is the duty of the Congress party to defend these voices. India has never and will never be one voice.

(Inputs from Agencies)



World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli could face a ban before semi-finals for arguing with umpire

Though India have made it into the semi-finals after a victory against Bangladesh, India skipper Virat Kohli might get banned before the World Cup semis. Virat Kohli landed himself in trouble, just after India defeated Bangladesh by 28 runs at Edgbaston.

According to Asian Age, during the 12th over of that match, Mohammed Shami appealed for a leg before wicket versus Soumya Sarkar after the ball hit Sarkar on his pads. However, umpire Marias Erasmus rejected the appeal and declared Soumya Sarkar not out.

Kohli reviewed. However, the on-field umpire rejected Kohli’s claim and declared Soumya Sarkar not-out as per the decision handed by the third umpire. Then, Kohli went on to argue with the umpire, which could cost Kohli dearly. The skipper had already been fined for arguing with an umpire during the match against Afghanistan. He was fined 25 percent of his match fee and received one demerit point. India captain Virat Kohli was found to have breached Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct. Kohli seemed to have breached Article 2.1 subsection of Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which is linked to “Excessive appealing during an International Match”.

What is a Level 1 breach?

Level 1 breach holds a maximum penalty of 50 percent of the player’s match fee and one or two demerit points, depending on the level of breach. However, when a player gains four or more demerit points within the span of two years, it is converted into suspension points which results to a player getting banned. Two suspension points lead to a ban from one Test, two ODIs or two T20Is, whichever is scheduled first. Demerit Points stay for a period of two years on a player’s disciplinary record from the date of enforcement before getting deleted from the record.


BJP says Delhi minister involved in Hauz Qazi incident; AAP hits back

New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday accused Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain of being involved in an attack on a Hindu temple in Hauz Qazi area of the old city, with the Minister calling the claim "baseless and false" and filed a police complaint against BJP leaders.

Among the BJP leaders who made the allegations were former Union minister and BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel, Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari and BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa. Goel said Hussain twisted a parking brawl episode into a communal fight. Sirsa alleged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers with playing divisive communal politics. Goel said during his visit to Hauz Qazi area on Tuesday, locals told him that Hussain gave a "communal colour" to a clash for a parking space.

"Those involved in stone pelting should be punished, and the involvement of Hussain should be checked and action taken against him," Goel told media. In a tweet, Sirsa said: "We always knew Kejriwal and his ministers are playing divisive communal politics. This is now proved. We demand Hussain and Kejriwal resign for encouraging anti-social elements," Sirsa said. Tiwari demanded that Hussain must be arrested.

"This is highly condemnable, Kejriwal your own Minister is part of the mob ...BJP demands immediate arrest of Hussain, MLA from Ballimaran," Tiwari tweeted. The AAP said being the local MLA, Hussain was called by the SHO to calm down the protestors. The Minister, in his complaint lodged at the IP Extension police station, charged Goel and Sirsa with spreading "rumours" and levelling "baseless allegations". He said AAP leaders are getting "threat calls" after fake rumours were spread against them. Reacting to the police complaint, Goel said his allegations are based on what locals told him during his visit to the area.


Mumbai: Heaviest rain in decade triggers chaos

Heavy rain has caused at least 15 deaths and triggered massive rail, road and air transport disruptions in India's financial capital Mumbai.

The victims died when a wall collapsed on them in the early hours of Tuesday after persistent rainfall for two days.

Authorities have declared a public holiday on Tuesday and have requested people to stay indoors.

Met department officials have confirmed that this is the heaviest rainfall in the city for a decade.

Experts have blamed rapid construction and bad urban planning for what many call Mumbai's annual rain chaos.

The victims were mostly labourers working at a construction site in the suburban area of Malad. Authorities said the wall had weakened after several days of rainfall.

Onlookers gather at the site of a wall collapse in Mumbai on July 2, 2019

The city has witnessed continuous rain in the past two days, causing flood-like situation in many areas.

Officials have requested people to be cautious.

Railway officials have also announced that the suburban rail network, which is known as the city's lifeline, will not be running on several routes, with officials from the central railways - one of the three main lines in the city - calling it "nature's fury".

Aviation authorities have also shut down the main runway at Mumbai's international airport after a plane skidded off the runway while landing amid a heavy downpour. Officials said no passengers were injured in the incident.

Mumbai, which is the financial capital of India, has the second busiest airport in the country.

So far, more than 50 flights have been diverted with at least another 50 cancelled.

The second runway continues to be in operation but several flights are likely to be delayed or cancelled.

The city's low-lying areas have turned into flood zones and residents are being forced to stay indoors.

Some have blamed the city's civic authorities for not preparing for the heavy rainfall.

Indian children jump into the water of a flooded street after heavy rain showers in Mumbai on July 1, 2019


Mumbai was also brought to a halt in 2017 as well when heavy rain lashed the city. And it witnessed one of its worst disasters in 2005 when at least 900 people died in rain-triggered floods.

Thousands of people migrate to the city every day in search of jobs which fuels rapid construction, which is very often unregulated. Many areas in the city have ageing drainage systems and that causes flooding as well.

India arrests after mob attacks female forest officer

Sixteen men have been arrested after a female forest official was brutally beaten with sticks by a mob as police officers watched in the southern Indian state of Telangana.

The mob, led by a member of the state's ruling party, was protesting against a tree plantation drive on Sunday.

A video of the incident has gone viral, and the party has condemned the attack on Twitter.

The forest officer is being treated in hospital for severe injuries.

A video of the incident shows the mob attacking the officer with bamboo sticks, as she stands on a tractor and tries to placate them.

She is repeatedly hit with the sticks until forest officials and local police step in to disperse the mob and contain the attack.

The footage has gone viral in India and led to outrage across the country.

This prompted a high-ranking official of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party, Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, to condemn the incident on Twitter.

The leader of the mob has been identified as Koneru Krishna Rao, a local official who is the brother of a TRS lawmaker. The party confirmed that he has also been arrested.

In his defence, Mr Rao told local media that he was trying to "ensure justice for tribal farmers as forest officials were destroying their crops".

"The forest department is terrorising tribal farmers and confiscating their land forcefully", he alleged, adding that the attack was "accidental".

Two police officers, who were at the scene at the time of the attack, have been suspended for failing to protect the officer, BBC Telugu confirmed.

The incident occurred in the town of Kagaznagar, where the state's forest department has been authorised to carry out a plantation drive as part of the Kaleshwaram project - a large irrigation scheme, which was inaugurated last week.

Mumbai rains: Amid heavy rainfall, Maharashtra government declares July 2 as public holiday

Mumbai: Amid heavy downpour causing water logging at various places in the financial capital and surrounding metropolitan area, the state government has declared July 2 as a public holiday.

"In wake of the extremely heavy rainfall forecast by the IMD, the Government of Maharashtra has declared a public holiday on 2nd July as a precautionary measure for Mumbai city and its citizens," said BMC CPRO. Earlier the state government has declared July 2 as a holiday for all the government and private schools.

"Would like to announce and confirm that tomorrow 2nd July 2019, has been declared as holiday, for all schools (public and private) in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and kokan areas," said Maharashtra School Education Minister Ashish Shelar. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted, "Intermittent rain in city and suburbs, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places" for the next 24 hours.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Pravin Pardeshi has directed all the ward officer to reach their office and monitor the flood situation. The Central railway has also suspended the movement of suburban trains, citing safety hazard. The Railways said the state government and various other agencies have been requested to run extra buses between Mumbai and Pune for intercity travellers.

Issuing advisory to West Bengal over killings my 'right': Amit Shah

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday asserted that it was his ministry's "right" to issue an advisory to the West Bengal government after the state witnessed political killings and appealed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ensure such incidents do not recur.

Shah was speaking in the Rajya Sabha while replying to a debate on a statutory resolution on extension of President's rule in Jammu and Kashmir. "It is my right to give suggestions. It is not because of general law and order situation but because of political killings motivated by political reasons," he said. The Home Minister said he appeals to Banerjee to ensure the political killings do not recur in her state.

His remark came in response to questions by the Trinamool Congress members who asked why the Home Ministry had issued advisory to West Bengal and not to BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, which too was witnessing killings. Making a distinction, the Home Minister said the killings in Uttar Pradesh were not politically motivated, unlike West Bengal. After his reply, Trinamool member Derek O'Brien raised a point of order, objecting to naming of Banerjee in the House and saying that political killings in West Bengal are taking place not only because of one particular party. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, however, overruled him, saying Shah had not made any derogatory remark against the Chief Minister but only made an appeal to her.

Jammu and Kashmir: 20 killed as bus rolls down into gorge in Kishtwar

Jammu: At least 20 passengers were killed when a mini bus rolled down a hilly road and fell into deep gorge in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district on Monday, a senior police officer said.

The bus, which way on its way to Kishtwar from Keshwan, skidded off the road at Sirgwari and rolled down into the gorge around 7:30 am. Bodies of 20 passengers have been recovered so far, IGP, Jammu, M K Sinha, told PTI. Earlier, police officials had said that 24 people have been killed in the accident. Rescue operation is going on, he said.


Goods train derails near Karjat-Lonavla section; 10 trains cancelled, 4 diverted

Mumbai (Maharashtra): 10 trains were cancelled after a goods train derailed between Jambrung and Thakurwari in Karjat-Lonavla section earlier today, the Central Railway said. Furthermore, four trains have been short terminated while four others have been diverted via Kalyan-Igatpuri-Manmad.

"Trains which were cancelled include 22105 CSMT-Pune Indrayani Express, 12127 CSMT-Pune Intercity Express, 11007 CSMT-Pune Deccan Express, 11026 Pune-Bhusaval Express, 51318 Pune-Panvel Passenger, 51317 Panvel-Pune Passenger, 12124 Pune-CSMT Deccan Queen and 12126 Pune-CSMT Pragati Express," said Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Mumbai.


11029 CSMT-Kolhapur Koyna Express between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Pune was cancelled while 11025 Bhusaval-Pune Express was short terminated at Nasik Road and cancelled. 11301 CSMT-KSR Bengaluru Udyan Express JCO, 11049 Ahmedabad-Kolhapur Express JCO, 12297 Ahmedabad-Pune Duranto Express JCO and 22944 Indore-Pune Express JCO were diverted via Kalyan-Igatpuri-Manmad, according to the statement.

20822 Santragachi-Pune Humsafar Express was short terminated at Panvel and 17614 Huzur Sahib Nanded-Panvel Express JCO short terminated at Pune. 17613 Panvel-Huzur Sahib Nanded Express JCO on Monday will originate from Pune, the release said.

"11030 Kolhapur-CSMT Koyna Express JCO will short terminate at Pune and will work as 11029 CSMT-Kolhapur Express JCO from Pune on Monday," it added. In the wake of the derailment, intercity trains leaving from Mumbai to Pune have been cancelled and long-distance trains from Mumbai via Pune will be diverted via Igatpuri. The Railways said state government and various other agencies have been requested to run extra buses between Mumbai and Pune for intercity travelers.