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Nation at a Glance

Bomb hoax call sparks panic

Srinagar (PTI): Panic gripped the busy Lal Chowk area in the heart of the city on Monday afternoon when a man claimed that militants had strapped him with explosives. The claim turned out to be a hoax.

The man, identified as Javed Ahmed from Bandipore, had been kidnapped by militants a few days ago. Police said Ahmed said the militants had demanded a ransom of Rs 4 lakh from his family. It was agreed that he would be returned to his family on Monday after the ransom was handed over to the militants at Lal Chowk.

But no one turned up to pay the money and the militants left Ahmed saying he had been tied with an improvised explosive device (IED) which would be defused only after the ransom was paid, the police said.

Ahmed started shouting at the chowk, which prompted the authorities to rush a bomb disposal squad to defuse the explosive device. But the police found no IED on his body and declared the call a hoax. Ahmed has now been detained by the police for questioning.

Sex offenders’ term reduced

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court has upheld a Rajasthan High Court order convicting four persons for sexually exploiting and blackmailing schoolgirls in Ajmer but reduced their life term to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The Ajmer sex scandal had hit the headlines in the early 1990s. It was found that a gang, after befriending some schoolgirls had raped them, photographed them in compromising positions and used these to exploit them.

The trial court had convicted eight persons of rape and sentenced them to life imprisonment. However, the high court acquitted four of them but maintained the life sentence on the others.

The state government appealed against the acquittals in the Supreme Court and the four still in jail challenged their conviction.

ismissing the appeals filed by the state as well as the convicted four, a bench of Justices . Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh said: “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the ends of justice would be met if the sentence is reduced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.”

728 stones in man’s kidney

Ahmedabad (PTI): Doctors removed 728 stones from the kidney of a 50-year-old man here recently.

“Though the patient, Maganlal Jain, had no complaints of pain or uneasiness in his stomach, the X-ray did show a big cluster of stones in his kidney....We were just amazed to find that there were hundreds when he was operated on and they came tumbling out,” a doctor at the hospital said. The patient had a complaint of kidney stone even 25 years ago but never thought he had “accumulated such a collection”, he said.

The doctor said he had operated on patients having 182 stones. A Mumbai-based doctor had removed 185. “But this was unimaginable,” he said. The patient is recuperating well, the doctor said.

Rail crossing crash

Phagwara (PTI): Five persons, including three from a family, were killed on Monday when the Jammu-bound Swaraj Express hit three vehicles at the manned Santokhpura railway crossing. Witnesses said after the Dadar Express passed the crossing, the gateman opened the barrier. People began crossing the tracks when the Swaraj Express came roaring down. The gateman brought the barrier down trapping the victims on the track.

Boy killed by kin

Allahabad (PTI): A boy was allegedly kidnapped and killed by one of his cousins, who was later arrested, police said on Monday. Eight-year-old Shantanu Bhatnagar was allegedly kidnapped from Mumfordganj on Sunday by cousin Rahul, who then killed him and dumped him by the roadside in the industrial police circle area.

Liquor deaths

Fatehpur (PTI): Three persons died after reportedly consuming spurious alcohol in Bindki near here. Two of the dead were college teachers. Three others were taken seriously ill and have been admitted to a hospital.

Munde injured

Mumbai (PTI): BJP state chief Gopinath Munde sustained minor injuries when the dais on which he was standing collapsed. Munde was addressing a meeting on Sunday in the Marathwada region with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray.

Tick

A French naval ship, Latouche-Triville, a destroyer, will reach Chennai on Tuesday on a four-day goodwill visit. The ship is equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and also anti-submarine active/passive homing torpedoes.


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