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  • Artificial limbs given away to physically challenged persons.

    Over 30 persons with different degrees of physical disability got mobility, thanks to the efforts of the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust and Mobility India.At a three-day camp on the BCT campus at Haripuram in Rambilli mandal in the district, a team of six experts from Mobility India worked on customising the prostheses to fit the individual patients.

    The team had taken measurements of the patients from 21 villages in eight mandals around Haripuram during an earlier visit.in the three-day camp that concluded on Tuesday, the technicians and physiotherapists helped the patients feel and use the artificial limbs.patients who were already using some other prostheses needed a little help in adjusting to the new ones, the new patients needed some amount of counselling also to be able to get back on their feet, Hariharan of Mobility India explained.

       in the camp, nin ent levels of disability were given away wheelchairs, eight persons were fitted with artificial limbs, nine persons were given callipers and one person was given crutches.10 patients were also given physiotherapy.

    Addressing an important need, the BCT is setting up a full-fledged physiotherapy unit to provide physiotherapy services to the villagers in the area, BCT secretary B. Sri Ram Murthy said.

    One student of the BCT was trained at Mobility India and worked along with the team at the camp, another person was undergoing six- month training there. Once the person returns, the physiotherapy training centre would be fully functional, he added.

  • Blast for HPCL CMD promises probe

    HPCL Chairman and Managing Director S. Roy Choudhury on Monday said they could curtail the damage due to blast and fire leading to collapse of cooling tower at the Visakh Refinery by taking timely action.stating that they had installed world-class fire fighting equipment, he told reporters that they could prevent spread of fire to other sensitive units of the refinery due to immediate intervention.

    Earlier, Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy, Congress MLAs Malla Vijay Prasad and Ch. Venkataramaiah, CPI (M) State secretariat member Ch. Narsinga Rao and others interacted with Mr. Choudhury and other top officials of the HPCL and demanded enhanced compensation and permanent jobs to kin of contract workers killed in the blast. Mr. Choudhury said they had installed state-of-the-art facilities to fight fire and prevent accidents and had achieved compliance to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)-Process Safety Management (PSM) standards.

    Terming the August 23 blast as most unfortunate, he said they would take action against officials if they were found guilty. Contractors if found responsible would be blacklisted, he stated. He said they would engage international experts and go for third-party check before commissioning any project and promised to conduct probe into the accident with transparency. Due to timely action, fire that gutted Crude Distillation Unit-3 on May 17 was doused without any casualty.

    Air ambulance:

    He said all those injured were being extended best possible health care in super-speciality hospitals. Instead of one-seater, they were trying to engage a three-seater air ambulance to carry patients with less than 50 per cent burns to Mumbai for better care. HPCL doctors have been brought from Mumbai to provide expert guidance.

    To a question, HPCL Executive Director V.V.R. Narasimham said they had off-site and on-site emergency response system in place and an arrangement for mutual assistance with neighbouring establishments like the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and the Andhra Petrochemicals.Rajya Sabha MP thanked the HPCL management for agreeing to give compensation to the injured persons and consider jobs of permanent nature through workers’ societies to one member from the families of contract workers killed in the blast.

  • Non-political JAC unveils logo

    AP is synonymous with greenery and is better known as the grain bowl of India, and the logo and flag for the Samaikyandhra movement have been designed to represent this imagery, the Samaikyandhra non-political JAC member Chintakindi Srinivasa Rao said.Addressing the media after JAC chairman and former Vice-Chancellor of Acharya Nagarjuna University V. Bala Mohan Das released the logo and flag design, Srinivasa Rao said that parrot green background represented the greenery of the farms and the Telugu Thalli statue was used in the flag to rekindle the pride and affection for the State. 

    The JAC would support all the protest movements of the constituent members, Prof. Bala Mohan Das said. The JAC would conduct a roundtable with different sections of society, including intellectuals, youth and employees, among others, and draw up a plan of action for the agitation to be taken up to protest against the decision of the Congress party and the Central government to bifurcate the State.

    If the bifurcation of the State was inevitable, the Centre would have to prove its commitment by actually creating the infrastructure for a new capital, including roads, sanitation, healthcare, education and industry, among others, before bifurcating the State. The Centre has not lived up to its promise of providing for creation and development of the new capital in States such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, he said.In the undivided State the government transferred the surplus from other regions to fund the development of the State capital Hyderabad. This has led to unequal development. 

  • Cheif Minster accuses Congress of ignoring Samaikya stir

    Expressing his strong displeasure at the lackadaisical attitude of the Congress’ central leadership in dealing with the 60-day old agitation against the State’s bifurcation, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday sought to know how the concerns of the Seemandhra region would be addressed.at a press conference, Mr. Reddy spoke of the fate of 1.6 lakh government employees, who were working in various parts of the State under the zonal system. 

    If the State was divided, at least 30 per cent staffers falling in this category would face hardships, he said. Similarly, there was no clarity on the fate of an overwhelming number of pensioners who had settled in Hyderabad and its surrounding areas.

    Mr. Reddy also sought an answer to the issue of employment and educational opportunities in Hyderabad and wondered how it would compensate the youth and students of Seemandhra, who had made a beeline to State capital in search of the same. Quoting the Srikrishna Committee report, the CM said every year 10.6 per cent people migrated to the twin cities, which only proved its importance.

    He said government employees were on strike for almost two months despite financial hardship, which only proved their commitment to the cause of united Andhra Pradesh. He justified his concerns, saying that as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, he had every right to think about their well-being and welfare.

    Speaking about irrigation projects and the fall-out of bifurcation, he said Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam projects would bear the brunt.“If the State is divided and monsoon plays truant, there will be water war,” Mr. Reddy said.

    He said Polavaram project was already facing objections from neighbouring States on the issue of submergence and the same fate would befall Dummugudem and Pulichintala too. He said sharing of river water was the key issue before Centre proceeds with its decision to divide the State.On the power front too, he predicted a gloomy scenario, stating that generation units on either side of the Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar projects would focus on providing power to their respective States.

     

     
  • YSRC seeks status quo on bifurcation

    A delegation of YSR Congress leaders led by its honorary president, Y.S. Vijayamma, called on President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Tuesday and urged the Centre not to go ahead with the division of the State until the people of both the regions were satisfied that no injustice would be done to them.in a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Ms. Vijayamma described the situation in Andhra Pradesh as volatile and said the State was completely paralysed because of the ongoing agitation against the “arbitrary and irrational decision taken by the CWC”.

     

     

    Unique problems:

     

     

     

    Observing that there were unique problems as far as AP was concerned, the memorandum said that Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Area has emerged not only as the political capital of AP but also as a super economic power house accounting for 70 per cent of the manufacturing GDP of the State and 95 per cent of the software activity, besides housing almost all the institutions of higher learning.

    Seeking to know the fate of investments of people from Andhra region, irrigation projects and water sharing if the State was divided, Ms. Vijayamma said that bifurcation would create huge problems for people of Andhra region, particularly in the context of the entire manufacturing industry and software business remaining in HMDA.

    The memorandum said, “We are shocked that the Congress party, which has not expressed any opinion at all on the three all-party meetings held on the subject of statehood for Telangana has, all of a sudden, announced that it is in favour of the division of the State without any public debate and discussion on critical issues like water sharing, revenue sharing and the future of Hyderabad city, in which people of both the regions viz. Andhra and Telangana have been living peacefully for the last 57 years.”

    Ms. Vijayamma said there was absolutely no governance in the State for the last four years and demanded that status quo be maintained in case justice could not be rendered to both regions. 

  • Seemandhra Ministers put leadership on notice

    Seething with resentment over what they felt was the Core Committee’s one-sided decision to create separate Telangana, Ministers from Seemandhra on Friday warned the party leadership that they would take tough decision if their plea against division of the State was ignored.They dashed off a letter party chief Sonia Gandhi conveying their strong feelings after a meeting of a large contingent of State Ministers, Union Ministers and MPs at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan.

    Several leaders wanted Union Ministers to take the mantle of convincing the high command against bifurcation of the State and criticised them for not doing enough for protecting the interests of Seemandhra people. The 90-minute long meeting entrusted to Union Ministers K. S. Rao, K. Chiranjeevi and M. M. Pallam Raju the responsibility of handing over the letter to Ms. Gandhi. In their letter, the leaders recalled how Andhra Pradesh was created in 1956 when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister and how Indira Gandhi had strongly opposed bifurcation in 1969.

    Even the Rajiv Gandhi was always against division, they pointed out, and urged Ms. Sonia Gandhi not to take the blame for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. They pointed out that if Telangana was created without consulting them, they would be forced to take certain hard decisions. “The impression we get after coming here is that the high command has taken a decision in favour of Telangana. We want to put as much pressure as we can to see that the high command reconsiders its move,” a senior Minister told The Hindu from New Delhi.

    “It’s all speculation”

    Talking to reporters, Minister for School Education S. Sailajanath expressed the hope that the Centre would not take a decision without considering the party’s fate in Seemandhra. Minister for Municipal Administration Maheedhar Reddy said that the Ministers were still hopeful that that State would remain united.Dr. Sailajanath claimed that the talk of division was mere speculation.

    Top Seemandhra leaders holding deliberations on the Telangana issue at APBhavan in New Delhi on Friday.

  • Sonia Gandhi to travel to US for health check up.

    Congress president Sonia Gandhi is travelling to the US for a medical check-up, a senior party leader said Sunday."Her going to the US for medical check-up is due," he said but declined to give any details when asked about reports that she may fly out Monday evening.

    Before vote in House, Sonia is rushed to AIIMS with chest pain:

    Gandhi, who had undergone a surgery in the US for an undisclosed ailment in August 2011, had flown there on September 2 last year for a check-up. She had again been to the US in February this year.

    Sonia discharged from AIIMS; no cause of concern, say doctors:

    The UPA chairperson was on August 26 admitted to AIIMS after she was taken ill in the Lok Sabha where her pet welfare legislation and UPA's ambitious food security Bill was in the final stages of adoption.

     
  • Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal arrestedto be brought to Delhi today.

    In a major breakthrough for security agencies in India, Yasin Bhatkal, a key conspirator in several bomb blasts and co-founder of the banned Indian Mujahideen (IM), and another IM operative Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, were arrested from the India-Nepal border in Bihar’s Raxaul town on Thursday.yasin, originally named Mohammad Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa, is on India’s list of 12 most-wanted terror suspects. He is involved in Pune’s German Bakery blast and blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai.

    He and Asadullah were arrested near Nahar Chowk in Raxaul, East Champaran district, about one km from the international border of Nepal, around 8:30 a.m.the Bihar police detained him in Raxaul and the National Investigation Agency made the formal arrest. He was then taken to the district headquarters in Motihari.

    Bhatkal in NIA remand, to be brought to Delhi:

    Police is likely to conduct a DNA test on Yasin Bhatkal to establish his identity. Immediately after Yasin's arrest by Bihar police, the security agencies contacted the Karnataka police and requested it to send a team for his identification. A team of Karnataka Police has been flown to Bihar and they confirmed that the arrested person is Yasin who hails from karnataka's coastal village Bhatkal, official sources said.  

    The key IM operative, wanted in a series of terror strikes across the country that have killed hundreds of innocent people, was formally arrested at Raxaul on the Indo-Nepal border at about 8 am on Thursday. The icing on the cake for India was Asadullah Akhtar, held and arrested with Bhatkal. Akhtar is the man suspected to be the planter or co-planter of Bhatkal's deadly bombs. Both were taken into custody by the Bihar Police.

    An NIA team arrived in Bihar from Delhi and conducted the operation along with the local police and the intelligence wing of the SSB.when he crossed the border, he was apprehended. He was wearing a denim shirt and khaki pants. A lot of homework had gone into this operation.there were manual as well as technical inputs with the local police. Initially, he denied his identity.

     

  • Rahul Gandhi ordinance remark: Public humiliation weakens Manmohan Singh further.

    Even in extremely tense moments, Prime Minister Manmohan Singhdisplays minimum emotion. But on Friday he would've steeled himself ahead of meeting barack Obama, knowing his every nuance is under scrutiny.test is all the more severe on foreign soil amid hectic international engagements that include an encounter with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in the wake of escalating terror strikes and opposition attacks.

    If Rahul Gandhi's remarks amount to public humiliation for the PM and his government, Singh will take care not to let it show. Congress president Sonia Gandhi's soothing words must be helping his efforts. She called him to reassure the party's support. Sources said the call was to assuage any hurt.Even the Rahul, in his letter to the PM written today, emphasized his respect for Singh and his leadership.

    The Congress decision to release contents of the letter pointed to damage control efforts against the backdrop of the rising perception that the Congress vice-president's dramatic performance was a direct humiliation of the PM's office.letter from the Congress vice-president was meant to emphasize that his defiance was over a matter of principle rather than disrespect the Prime Minister.

    Statements released on Singh's behalf from the US indicate that the attempt was succeeding. A reference to Rahul having written to him and the promise that the Cabinet will consider his views on Singh's return don't signal defiance or a bruised ego.manner Rahul rubbished the ordinance to help convicted legislators far surpassed the tongue lashings CPM boss prakash karat handed out to Singh over the nuclear deal with the US during UPA-1.

    The incident shreds what remains of Singh's prime ministerial authority - already eroded by scams ranging from commonwealth games to colgate.Many of his Cabinet colleagues apparently resent PMO directions.But the stiffest cost the PM will pay is in the eyes of the public that has in the past seen him as a PLU, a man who enshrines middle class values of hard work and honesty.

    Singh, increasingly seen as a leader who failed to check corruption, will find his esteem further lowered by Rahul's actions. Not too long ago, Singh would have been expected to stand up to such an ordinance rather than swimming with the political class.alacrity with which Congress ministers - including many who didn't bat an eyelid in ratifying the ordinance in the Cabinet - raced to greet Rahul's criticism of the government can only have made matters worse.

       It was left to Sanjaya Baru, a former media advisor to the PM, to bat for Singh, saying Rahul's remarks smacked of insubordination and that Singh must immediately quit. The consensus in Congress is that Singh is unlikely to do so. In fact, Baru himself said the PM has the ability to take knocks on his chin.


    Till now, differences between Congress's first family and the government have been carefully managed.Sonia Gandhi  has ensured that no slight is ever offered to the PM and scrupulously stuck to protocol.only recently, on UPA-2's fourth anniversary, Sonia praised Singh for remaining dignified in the face of vitriolic opposition attacks. She has always emphasized that Singh will complete his term.

    Rahul, too, has been deferential. Asked a few months ago about his then impending new party responsibilities, he said it would be up to his "two bosses" - Sonia and Singh.PM reciprocated, dismissing suggestions that he and Sonia are not on the same page over legislation like food security and land acquisition. On Rahul, Singh went to the extent of saying he is ready to work under the leader.

    Genuflection to 10 Janpath hardly evokes comment in Congress. It is pretty much the done thing. The PM is unlikely to misread the mood in his party. But he may hold a grouse that the ordinance isn't his brainchild and he had gone along with what Congress wanted. This is, as far as can be ascertained, what happened.

  • All four found guilty of Delhi gang rape and murder,injuries meant to kill, court says.

    After 9 months of agonising wait for the victim’s family, a fast track court here on Tuesday held all four accused guilty of a criminal conspiracy to gang-rape, murder and commit unnatural sex on the 23-year-old physiotherapy student on December 16 last.quantum of sentence is likely to be decided on Wednesday.

    The heinous crime against the “helpless woman” was committed by six accused, including a juvenile, on a moving bus when she, along with her boyfriend, was returning home after watching the evening show of Life of Pi at Saket PVR in South Delhi.accused were also found guilty of attempting to kill the boyfriend by brutally assaulting him when he tried to defend her, and of abduction, dacoity and robbery.victim’s dying declaration, the eyewitness account of her boyfriend and the DNA test proved crucial for the court to hold the accused guilty.

    Though the case against prime accused Ram Singh was abated after he committed suicide at Tihar Jail here when the trial was in progress and the juvenile was held guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board and sent to a correction home last month, the fast track court held the two guilty of these offences.

    Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta had conspired to gang-rape and murder the victim as they “deceitfully” got her and her boyfriend to board the bus, making them believe that it was a public transport vehicle, before shutting the door and not allowing any other passenger along the route to get in.

    Shedding more light on the conspiracy charge, Justice Khanna said the accused put off the interior lights of the bus, pinned down the victim’s boyfriend in the middle of the vehicle, took the woman to its rear seat, pulled off her clothes and committed the crime. So the purpose of the accused was not to earn fare by allowing the victim and his boyfriend to board the bus but to defile her body and murder her.

    “The act of abducting the victim by deceit, robbing, causing injuries and the act of some accused in pinning down the complainant [the boyfriend] while others took their turns in committing rape unnatural sex and while one of them continued driving the bus and lastly throwing them out of the moving bus, sharing the booty, destroying evidence thoroughly show illegal agreement among them to commit such an illegal act and they had knowledge of the same,” the judge said.

     

    Akshay ThakurMukesh SinghPawan GuptaVinay Sharma

        Akshay Thakur                                    Mukesh Singh                              Pavan Gupta                                     Vinay Sharma                                                                  

     

  • Gang Rape in Noida, 2 constables Arrested.

    New Delhi:  A woman has allegedly been gang-raped at an apartment in Noida in Uttar Pradesh, just across the border from Delhi. Four people, including two constables have been arrested.survivor filed a police case this morning.case comes on a day when the first verdict in the December 16 gang Rape will be delivered. A juvenile court will decide if one of the 6 accused, who was 17 at the time of the fatal attack, is guilty of rape and murder.
    attack on a young student and her male friend on a moving bus in Delhi stunned India and ignited massive street protests, which resulted in an overhaul of archaic laws to punish sexual crimes.

     

  • Juvenile child rapist and killer threatens victims sister after release.

    I have been acquitted," says Vishal , standing in front of his single storey, modest house in north Delhi's Rohini area. A few hundred metres away lives a family whose six-year-old daughter was brutally raped and cut to pieces by him. The family lives in constant terror because Vishal, earlier this year, allegedly threatened to do the same to their younger daughter. 

    A trial court had sentenced Vishal to death for the 2007 rape and murder. However, the high court held him to be a juvenile at the time of the crime. Since he had already spent five years in prison, Vishal walked free. 

    Now, delhi police says it plans to cite Vishal's case before the Supreme Court to push for reforms in the juvenile act,Last amended more than a decade ago, the JJ Act makes no distinction on the nature of crime for those under 18 and allows for a maximum of three-year term in a reform home. 

    Vishal was spared death despite conviction thanks to the act, though he had brutally raped and murdered his minor victim in the neighborhood, chopped her body and threw the parts in two public toilets. A trial court handed him the death holding his age to be 20 years. But, relying on a bone ossification test — which put his age between 16-20 years at the time of the crime — and statements by his sisters, Delhi high court declared him a "juvenile in conflict with law". It's a decision whose repercussions are still playing out in the area, because Vishal was released from prison after the HC verdict. 

    Family can't believe law let the killer roam free :
    When TOI visited the dirty, crowded neighbourhood, Vishal's demeanor varied from calmness to suspicion. He suddenly turned hostile and stopped talking during the short late-morning interaction. Living just a stone's throw away from his house, the family of the victim expressed shock that their daughter's killer is free even though he had been awarded the death penalty. Worse, he is back in their neighborhood. 
     

    Terrorized family had complained to the local police in January this year, which lodged a case of criminal intimidation and criminal trespass against Vishal. However, he was released soon after on bail. Since then, locals say, the victim's parents remain tense over the safety of their younger daughter. 

    When TOI visited their house, it learned just how fragile their existence was. Nagender, the girl's father, is battling acute TB in a government hospital and his wife, Kaveri, spends most of her time tending to him. A relative, Manoj, takes care of the minor girl when she is home. But, he too has to often step out for long periods for work. "Our family just can't digest the fact that the killer is living right in our midst and the police and judiciary can't do anything about it," says Manoj, pointing to the direction of Vishal's house. 

    At Vishal's house, another layer of reality emerges. "Baree ho kar aaye hain (I've come out after being acquitted)" he says, when asked about his jail term. His elder sister and brother-in-law agree, oblivious of the legal nuances that granted him freedom. "My wife loves her brother madly. She sold off a nearby plot to fund the lawyer's fee while fighting the case in court," says Arun, who does odd painting jobs for a living. 

    When TOI asked Arun why Vishal and his sister were getting ready to leave for Haridwar, he opened up a little. "Ever since he returned from jail, Vishal behaves weirdly. He is always scared he will be taken back to prison. Recently, he disappeared for months and we had to file a missing report with the cops. 

    "We learnt that he had injured himself while he was with kawarias in Haridwar. So we lodged a missing report in Haridwar too after searching for him. We found him in a disheveled state and brought him home. But Haridwar Police wants to verify his identity before they close the case," Arun explained. 

    Both husband and wife insists Vishal suffers from mental illness and is on medication. He even tried to commit suicide, they say. His sister, between sobs, kept stressing that he was innocent. 

    They remain unaware that a special leave petition is being prepared at the highest levels of the Delhi Police. Sources say the SLP will not only challenge the Delhi high court's decision favoring Vishal in November last year, it is also expected to urge the apex court to settle questions of law. 

    SLP stems from the stand taken earlier this year by the prosecutor in the Richa Kapoor case. She argued that the appeal must urge the apex court to clarify if in heinous crimes, courts can also weigh the conduct of a juvenile accused and brutality of the crime, and not just go by medical evidence "which is not conclusive and varies according to region, diet, race etc and hence isn't conclusive proof." 

    Relying on the prosecutor's note, the SLP is likely to argue that Vishal is certainly no innocent minor lawbreaker. "To conclusively hold that ... the accused had not attained the age of discretion so as to understand the consequences of his heinous act, is not free from ambiguity or doubt," the note said. 
    This case should give food for thought to those who think the age of juveniles should be fixed irrespective of the nature of the crime. Clearly some of those who are chronologically "juvenile" may not be so in other ways. In the urge to ensure that the young are treated humanely, we must not lose sight of the fact that the rights of their potential victims cannot be ignored. That is why many countries do not make the distinction between adult and juvenile absolute. They adjust it to the nature and seriousness of the crime. We once again urge our lawmakers to recognize that this is an urgent need in India too.