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Panels at odds on AIDS death

New Delhi: No two investigative reports could have been more at odds with each other.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (Naco) have come up with completely divergent conclusions on the controversial death of Pavanamma, a 32-year-old AIDS patient, in Kuppam district in Andhra Pradesh, reports our special correspondent. Both organisations had sent teams to the spot to investigate the incident.

Pavanamma, a single mother with a six-year-old child, was allegedly abandoned by her brother and mother and left alone in the backyard of a house. On July 3, she was rushed to a crematorium and burned.

The NCW report presented before the media on Thursday said Pavanamma died an “undignified” death because of the callous attitude of her family and local authorities, including HIV/AIDS project officers, panchayat members and medical staff. The NCW also raised a question mark over whether she was dead at the time she was taken to the crematorium.

aco countered, saying “the patient died a dignified death”. Project director Meenakshi Dutta Ghosh said: “The family provided palliative care as best as they could with their limited financial means. There is no reason to believe she died of anything other than natural causes.” Naco does not lend credence to the NCW’s suspicion that Pavanamma was “lingering” when she was taken to the crematorium.

SC relief for vehicle owners

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that insurance companies must pay the owner of a vehicle even if its driver has no valid licence, provided the accident is not the driver’s fault, reports our legal correspondent.

Earlier, in a case involving New India Assurance Company, the apex court had ruled that if the driver had a fake licence or none at all, the insurance company would not be liable to pay the owner.

But in the current case involving Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, a Maruti van “caught fire due to mechanical reasons”, with which the driver, who had no valid driving licence, had nothing to do, the court said.

The Bihar state consumer forum and the National Consumer Forum had earlier cited the New India case to disallow the appeal of Jitendra Kumar, the vehicle owner.

On appeal, a Supreme Court division bench of Justices . Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh on Friday said the New India judgment would not apply to the case under consideration.

Students swept away by floods

Jaipur (PTI): Eleven people, including seven school children, have been killed in rains and flash floods in Rajasthan since Thursday, police said.

Five children were swept away in flash floods in Sawaimadhopur district’s Jakholas and two at Barnala, police said. The Met office forecast rains till Sunday.

Minority leaders

New Delhi: National Commission for Minorities chairman Tarlochan Singh, who had come under fire from Muslim and Christian leaders for being soft on Hindutva hardliners, has been granted cabinet rank. Commission vice-chairman M. S. Usmani has been given the status of a Union minister of state.

Hope for TN staff

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minster Jayalalithaa announced on Friday that according to the high court order, the explanatory and review petitions submitted by the expelled employees to their respective appointing authorities on not reporting for duty on July 2 or even earlier, “should be considered immediately from today itself.” The decision was taken after a long meeting between Jayalalithaa and her cabinet colleagues and top-level officials.

Yasin Malik

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik was granted bail on Friday. He was arrested on July 15 for not responding to a non-bailable warrant issued on charges of “aiding” and “abetting” terrorism in the Valley.

Veerappan appeal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has allowed the father of a Veerappan victim to appeal against a Tada court verdict acquitting people who had allegedly aided the brigand. Abdul Karim’s son Shakeel Ahmed, an IPS officer, was killed in an encounter with Veerappan.

Indians held

Colombo (PTI): Sri Lankan police on Friday arrested 112 Indians and six Pakistanis who had arrived in the island to travel illegally to Italy, officials said. This is the largest number of Indians arrested in the country.

Tick

The Delhi government will start a door-to-door survey from Saturday to identify non-school going children in the 10-14 age group. “Around 28,000 teachers will take part in the survey, to be held on July 19, 20, 26 and 27,” chief minister Sheila Dikshit said.


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