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Nation at a Glance

7 Dalits charred after goats stray

Lucknow: Seven persons of a family, including three children, were burnt alive in a punitive raid organised by one Dalit group on another in Unnao district of central Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night, reports our special correspondent.

The victims belonged to the Kanjar caste — a Dalit group living on the fringes of Dostpur Shivli village. Their fault was that one of their goats had strayed into the fields of Ram Das Pasi, a powerful leader of a higher Dalit caste, earlier in the day, said Rameshwar, son of Ganga Ram, whose family was murdered.

Rameshwar told police a mob of more than 150 armed Pasis raided their house at night, beat up his family and set their thatched huts ablaze. “They had surrounded the house to make sure no one could get out, but I managed to slip away during the raid and rushed to the police for help,” he said.

Unnao district magistrate Ajay Singh Yadav said all the 11 accused named in the gruesome killing have been arrested.

Police inquiries revealed Pasi had released Ganga Ram’s goat only after giving him a thrashing and warning him to keep off his fields in future.

“Some relatives of Ganga Ram had come to his house on Wednesday evening to attend the engagement ceremony of his son,” an Unnao police official investigating the case said.

“The Pasis thought Ganga Ram was mobilising men for a punitive raid against them. They gathered their own mob and decided to teach the Kanjars a lesson,” he added.

Pak train for Sikh pilgrims

Islamabad: A special train carrying Sikh pilgrims to the birthplace of Guru Nanak pulled out of Wagah station on Wednesday for the first time since rail services between India and Pakistan were suspended in January 2002 after the attack on Parliament, reports our correspondent.

With smiling faces and boxes of sweets, about 400 Sikhs from India crossed over to Pakistan by foot at Wagah and trooped to the station to take the train specially arranged by the Pakistan government for the devotees heading to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, 220 km from Wagah.

“We have brought with us 27 copies of Sikhism’s holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, the message of peace and love, and sweets for our hosts,” pilgrim Obkar Singh said.

The jatha (group of pilgrims) is travelling to the gurdwara, considered the first Sikh guru’s birthplace, to celebrate his 534th birth anniversary.

They boarded the train at Wagah station amid extraordinary security — the station was out of bounds to Pakistanis — and arrived at Nankana Sahib at night.

Geelani returns to Valley home

Srinagar: Suspended Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Geelani, who was acquitted after spending almost two years in jail in connection with the 2001 Parliament attack, returned home on Thursday.

He was welcomed by family members and several local trade union leaders. Geelani told reporters he would dedicate himself to the “struggle against injustice and oppression in all forms”. “I would like to begin by trying to help the undertrials, many of whom are Kashmiris who were in jail with me and have no access to legal aid,” he said.

Rebels butcher cop

Jammu (PTI): A special police officer was abducted from his house in Doda district by militants, taken to nearby forests, severely tortured and slaughtered. The body was found with knife wounds and cigarette burns.

Boy hurt in blast

Salem (PTI): A student was seriously injured when a gelatine stick he was playing with exploded inside the classroom of a high school in Mallur, 20 km from here. The Class VIII student sustained injuries on his face and lost two fingers.

Dawood brother

Mumbai (PTI): A special court has directed the jailor of the central prison to provide Iqbal Kaskar, younger brother of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, special food twice a day during Ramazan. Designated judge A.P. Bhangale issued the order following a plea from Kaskar, an accused in a land grabbing case.

Stone strikes boy

Burdwan: Two-year-old Bittu Talukdar was hit in his head when a group of people hurled stones at Jaugram in Hooghly at the passing Saraighat Express on Thursday night. His parents had to wait with the injured Bittu, who was sitting by the window, for half-an-hour before the train stopped at Burdwan to admit him. His condition is stated to be serious.

Passengers looted

Muzaffarnagar (PTI): Dacoits looted valuables worth several lakhs of rupees from passengers of a Hardwar-bound tourist bus at gun point on the Delhi-Dehra Dun national highway.

Tick

The department of science and technology has exhorted scientists from the country’s premier institutes to adopt certain departments of universities in their vicinity to increase the quality of scientific and technological manpower.


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