photo-article-logo Thursday, 05 October 2023

News of the day: Disastrous train accident in Odisha claims 261 lives, Book on Sidhu Moosewala's death and many more

Here are the latest developments from India and abroad

Our Web Desk Published 03.06.23, 06:33 PM
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Huge cranes and bulldozers have been brought in to raise the last coach which rescuers had not been able to reach as yet in operations to pull out survivors and the dead from the mangled steel of three trains that derailed one on top of another in a horrific sequence, killing at least 261 people and injuring more than 900 in Odisha's Balasore district, officials and witnesses said Saturday.

Other officials said work on the last passenger wagon was the only work left, other than removing the debris and clearing tracks for operations.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the Coromandel Express train involved in a horrific rail tragedy in Odisha on Friday entered the loop line and crashed into a goods train parked there instead of the main line just ahead of the Bahanagar Bazar station, a source said.

The coaches of Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express capsized after crashing into the coaches of Coromandel Express that had scattered on the adjacent track.

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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared one-day state mourning on Saturday in view of the horrific train crash that killed more than 200 people and injured around 900.

"Important Announcement: In view of tragic rail accident at Bahanaga, Hon'ble Chief Minister, Sri Naveen Patnaik has ordered for State Mourning for a day. Hence no State celebration to take place on 3rd June through out the State," the Information & Public Relations Department of the Odisha government tweeted.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the horrific train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district was the “biggest of the century” and a proper investigation was needed to get to the truth.

Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday visited the train accident site in Odisha's Balasore. He said the Commissioner of Railway Safety, South East Circle will inquire into the Odisha train accident.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspected the triple train accident site at Bahanaga in Odisha’s Balasore district to take stock of relief operations.

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Opposition party leaders, while expressing condolences over the deaths of more than 200 passengers in the Odisha train accident, have raised questions about the signalling system of the railways which purportedly led to the crash.

"My fervent prayers for those affected & their families. ...That an alleged signalling failure led to 3 trains crashing is shocking beyond belief. There are serious questions which need answering," TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale tweeted.

Expressing shock and grief at the tragic train accident in Odisha, opposition leaders on Saturday stressed the importance of prioritising the safety of passengers by railways, while there were also demands to fix accountability and for the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

"We have many questions to ask of the prime minister and the railway minister but those can wait since the immediate task is of rescue and relief," Kharge said.

The Congress on Saturday said the "horrendous" train accident in Odisha reinforces why safety should always be the foremost priority and asserted that there are many questions to ask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw but those can wait as the immediate task is of rescue and relief.

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Thirty-three-year-old Shankar Das was returning home after seven months and was seated at the last but one general compartment at the rear end of Yesvantpur Express when the tragedy struck. “The people I was talking to and having a good time with a moment ago were suddenly lying all around me, covered in blood and possibly dead. I was numb with shock,” Das said, his voice choking.

Three passengers of the train crash in Odisha who arrived here on Saturday claim the number of deaths in the accident at Balasore is likely to be much higher than known now, as the unreserved compartments were packed, carrying mostly migrant workers to Tamil Nadu or Kerala.

A young woman passenger who arrived at the Chennai Airport told mediapersons: "We felt the train derail. The lights began to flicker. There was smoke. I am not sure how many trains were involved. We were scared. Passengers inside the compartment were safe. Some suffered minor injuries. The elderly were removed from the compartment with the help of volunteers," she said.

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The Delhi High Court on Saturday sought a report from the LNJP hospital on the health condition of AAP leader Manish Sisodia's ailing wife as it reserved its order on his interim bail plea for six weeks in a money laundering case arising from the alleged excise policy scam.

"Arguments heard. Order reserved. Let a report be called from LNJP and be filed by today evening," said Justice Sharma after a hearing held on a court holiday.

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Social media giant Meta's Facebook took action against 41 per cent of complaints it received from users and Instagram against over 54 per cent of grievances raised by users in April 2023, according to the company's latest India Monthly Report.

As per the category-wise information disclosed by Meta, Facebook "actioned on" less than one-fourth grievances of users where they claimed that the content is showing them in partial nudity or in a sexual act.

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The Kerala government has criticised the removal of chapters on the Periodic Table and challenges to democracy, among other topics from Class 10 textbooks by the NCERT, and said it amounts to challenging democratic and secular values.

"The unilateral action of the NCERT to remove the topics under the guise of rationalisation is a challenge to the democratic and secular values of our country. Kerala has already declared that it cannot be accepted, as it challenges the entire existing democratic order in the country," State Education Minister V Sivankutty has said in a statement issued on Friday night.

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At least 15 people were injured when suspected Kuki militants armed with sophisticated weapons and bombs attacked two villages in Manipur's Imphal West district, police said on Saturday.

Personnel of the state police and Manipur Rifles stationed at the two villages - Phayeng and Kangchup Chingkhong - retaliated leading to an exchange of fire that lasted for more than four hours on Friday night and later pushed back the militants to nearby hills, the police said.

Soon after ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur last month, 20-year-old Jamngaihkim Gangte and six of her family members left their home in Imphal to get to a nearby CRPF relief camp. However, only four of them made it after hours of dodging murderous mobs and being cooped up in a car boot.

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ifty-nine MPs from 19 parties have written to the German ambassador to India seeking his intervention in ensuring the return of an Indian baby girl who was taken away from her parents by the German authorities in September 2021.

"We do not cast aspersions on any agency in your country and assume that whatever was done was thought to be in the best interests of the baby. We respect the legal procedures in your country, but given that there are no criminal cases pending against any member of the said family, it is more than time to send the baby back home," the parliamentarians wrote.

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A new book gives a detailed account of the death and the subsequent investigation into the murder of Punjabi singer-rapper Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu -- popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala.

"Who Killed Moosewala?", scheduled to release on Monday, is written by journlaist-author Jupinderjit Singh.

An icon for many, Moosewala had also been a controversial figure. There were allegations that he promoted gun culture and violence, and rumours that he had ties with certain gangs.

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