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Schoolchildren die in boat capsize

Srinagar: Four schoolchildren drowned and at least 14 are missing after a river mishap near Arampora Handwara in the northern border district of Kupwara late on Saturday afternoon, reports our correspondent.

Handwara police chief S.D. Jamwal said 12 persons, including 11 schoolchildren and one woman, were rescued by search parties till darkness set in.

The children were trying to cross the Pohru river, which was flooded, on their way home from school. The river had a hook rope — device used to ferry boats across rivers in Kashmir — fastened on its either side and seeing no boatman around, the children decided to cross the river themselves by boat, police said.

The rope, however, could not withstand the strong currents of the swollen river and snapped. The boat was swept away by the turbulent waters and it capsized in the middle of the river.

“We don’t have the exact number of children in the boat when it capsized. Reports say there were nearly 30 from two private schools who were trying to cross the river,” Jamwal said.

As news about the tragedy reached Jagirpora village, residents rushed to the spot and, together with police and security forces, launched a massive search operation.

Authorities said so far, 12 children and a woman have been rescued while around 14 are missing. The search operation to trace them is still continuing despite the heavy downpour. With the Valley being lashed by heavy rains since Friday, all the major rivers in Kashmir are flooded.

Wing to add to Interpol muscle

New Delhi: The CBI has mooted a proposal to strengthen the Interpol wing of the agency by establishing an Interpol Investigation Unit, reports our special correspondent.

The proposal stresses on the need to strengthen Interpol, especially the extradition cell, CBI director P.C. Sharma said, addressing a conference of Interpol liaison officers of states and Union Territories in Ghaziabad.

The CBI is also installing the Global Communication System — 24/7 — to update its infrastructure and tackle growing international crime, the agency said in a news statement. Through this new communication system, the Interpol in Delhi can transfer information regarding wanted persons to all the 181 member countries via Internet photographs, fingerprints and other data.

The CBI director said law enforcement agencies faced problems when conducting investigations abroad, assimilating information for foreign agencies, serving summons and warrants outside the country, and arresting foreigners here and Indian criminals abroad.

Offices shift to Srinagar

Jammu (PTI): The state civil secretariat and other offices will reopen in Srinagar on May 5 following the darbar shift which is effected twice every year.

On Saturday, about 7,000 government officials and employees began moving to Srinagar for the next six months, officials said. The government, they added, has arranged for a tight security cover to shift official records from Jammu to Srinagar.

Babri case

Rae Bareli (PTI): A special court hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case, in which deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and seven others are facing trial, on Saturday adjourned the case for hearing till May 13. As the proceedings began, defendant lawyers sought exemption from the court for the personal appearance of the accused which was granted for the day by judicial magistrate Vinod Kumar Singh.

DMK rally claims 1

Salem (PTI): One person was killed when crackers were burst at a DMK meet in Rayakotta near here, police said. The DMK youth wing had called the meeting to protest against several state government policies. When the chief guest — former minister Mullaivendran — arrived, activists greeted him by bursting crackers. The victim sustained burn injuries and died on the spot, police said.

Sharad charges

Jabalpur (PTI): A local court on Friday allowed withdrawal of pending criminal cases against Union civil supplies minister Sharad Yadav and 66 others on a petition filed by the state government expressing its desire not to prosecute further. According to the prosecution, during a bandh in Jabalpur on September 16, 1983, charges of attempted murder were levelled against Yadav, who was then a student leader, and several of his associates.

Exam scam arrest

Mumbai (PTI): Former chairman of Maharashtra Public Service Commission and prime accused in the multi-crore answer paper scam S.D. Karnik was on Saturday arrested by the anti-corruption bureau and remanded in police custody till April 30 by a special court. He was arrested after he surrendered in keeping with a high court directive.

To raise awareness about the Sikh community, public elementary school students in California will receive a new colouring and activity book — titled The Boy With Long Hair — which explains why Sikh men wear turbans and refrain from cutting their hair.


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