Yasin Bhatkal and Four Others Convicted for Hyderabad Twin Blasts, Sentenced to Death

Yasin Bhatkal and four other Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives were sentenced to death on December 19, 2016 in relation to the twin blasts in Hyderabad in 2013. The blasts which occurred at Dilshuk Nagar killed 130 people. Yasin Bhatkal is the founder of the terror outfit and this is the first time the National Investigative Agency (NIA) has convicted a top leader of the organisation.

Yasin Bhatkal, Haddi, Zia Ur Rehman, Mohammed Akhtar and Ajaz Shaikh were held guilty by an NIA court on December 13. However, the prime suspect and the mastermind behind the attack, Riyaz Bhatkal (Yasin Bhatkal’s brother) is on the run and is believed to be in Pakistan.

As reported by the Firstpost, “It was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres,” said Sharad Kumar, Director General of NIA.

According to the Hindustan Times, “The NIA court felt that the twin blasts case falls in the category of rarest of rarest crimes and hence, all the five accused are liable for death sentence,” the National Investigation Agency (NIA) advocate told reporters.

Besides the death sentence, the court also imposed penalties ranging from Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 on the five convicts.

Sources: Indian Express, Hindustan Times, NDTV, FirstPost

5 dead and many trapped as building collapses in Hyderabad

As a seven storey building collapsed at late night yesterday in Nakaramguda, Hyderabad; five people have already been declared dead and many more remain stranded inside the debris of the massive under- construction building.

According to Business Standard, three bodies have recovered and two have been sent to hospitals. Cyberabad Police Commissioner told to the press earlier in the day that Rekha (35) and her four year old son have been pulled out from the site alive. Except from one family all the victims of the tragic incident are workers who lived in the cellar of that building.

Rescue operations are underway since morning with National Disaster Response Force ( NDRF)along with workers from local administration working hand in hand  and it could move well into the night; Mayor Bonthu Ram Mohan, Mayor of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation told the PTI.

14 people were reported to be trapped inside the building and any more survivors are very unlikely said the rescue officials to NDTV.

“The building was poorly constructed and flouted norms in the materials used, hence the collapse,” said the Mayor.

Telengana state authority is promised to take strong actions against the building owner over alleged violation of construction rules and the officials who were involved in the sanction of the plans.

SOURCES: Indian Express, Business Standard, NDTV

Image Sourced from The Indian Express

EC to purchase new EVMs for 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The Election Commission of India has been granted  Rs 1009 crore to purchase new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This step has been taken to update the old machines before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The purchase will take place through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad.

According to the  Saturday’s approval,the election body has been assigned to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19. It will be a conjectural unit cost of Rs 7,700,and Rs 9,300 respectively. The approximate cost  will be will be Rs 1,009.6 crore.

On Wednesday, The Union Cabinet has also  given the poll body the authority to choose and to decide the amount to be ordered on BEL and ECIL as well. The decision should be based on their production capacity,and past performance in supply of machines. This will help Commission to manage everything. The Law Ministry stated to The Indian Express, “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019”.

On July 20, the Union Cabinet had approved a similar proposal out by Election Commission to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs, the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 as well.

SOURCES: The Indian Express, TOI

IMAGE SOURCES: Representation Picture

Hyderabad comes to a stand-still after heavy rainfall.

The state of Telengana has been affected by the continuous rains and the capital city of Hyderabad has been the worst affected. Four columns of Army have been deployed in the city and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district to help in the relief-rescue effort. The army has set up control room in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). While a 60-member National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) team has been put on stand-by, both the teams are co-ordinating with each other and monitoring the situation closely. Special control rooms have been set up in different districts to keep an eye on the situations. The Chief Minister of Telengana, K. Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered the officials to carry out rescue and relief operations in the affected districts. The situation is supposed to worsen after the Met department’s alert on five more days of rainfall in the state. The municipal corporation as well as few NGOs’ have been working tirelessly to provide food packets and milks in many of the low-lying areas in the city. The government has asked the IT companies to allow their employees to work from home as rains continued for the third day in the Cyber City. While 60-70 per cent IT employees worked from home on Friday, IT companies were tenterhook in putting in place the business continuity plan (BCP) in case the workforce from Hyderabad disrupts, it can be channelled to Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore to keep the work going. Nasscom sent an advisory to all its members to allow them to work from home till the situation gets normal. Citizens fear to walk out of their homes as the roads are submerged and are filled with potholes and manholes. Since the roads have been damaged, walking more than 7 kilometres have been advised against. The electricity supply had been disrupted in many parts of the state due to tree fall, snapping of electricity cables and tripping of feeders. However, power supply was restored in few of the places after the cuts were reported. Many of the educational institutes in the districts of Khammam, Warangal and Medak have declared holidays following the warnings of more rainfall in the next few days by the Met Department.

Cisco to help Telangana build digital zone smart city in Hyderabad

US based networking equipment maker CISCO signed an MoU with the Telangana government to accelerate the digital transformation of Hyderabad, reported Livemint.  Through this Digital Zone smart city project and a Center of Excellence (CoE), Hyderabad seems to be pacing towards digitalisation.

As per the deal with Telangana, Cisco will open a centre of excellence, set up digital zone smart city project in Hyderabad and a Living Lab on the T-Hub premises to foster the innovation and enable start-ups to build solutions around internet of things (IoT) and cyber security. It will look to implement smart parking, smart lighting, environmental sensors, traffic analytics at key junctions, smart waste management and a control center to monitor and manage the city.

In Karimnagar, Cisco is also planning to help develop remote education in 10 schools and deploy digital solutions to make the experience of visitors to the historic Qutubshahi tomb near Golconda, better.

“Digitisation will be key to how cities, communities and countries maintain global competitiveness, increase GDP growth, foster innovation and create new jobs,” said Dinesh Malkani, president of Cisco India and South Asia, as reported in The Business Standard.

 

 

Need for Stricter Action Against Drunk Drivers

With the latest drunk driving case in Chennai, another innocent life has been lost where a drunk driver in a Mercedes hit an auto driver. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as drunken driving cases are concerned in Indian cities. There have been a number of cases of road rage across the bigger cities. Be it Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad or Delhi, pedestrians and other drivers are not safe at any time of the day and night.

 

What lies beneath the surface is the will to appear “cool” or “macho” by openly flouting the norms and knowing that one will get away with it. There is a serious lack of fear of legal punishment among the youth especially. The offence they are charged under is Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which is a bailable offence. Imprisonment is usually up to three months. This is the cost one pays for taking someone’s life.

 

Other countries such as Taiwan and China have much stricter laws for driving under the influence of alcohol such as the death penalty or life imprisonment as well as a sentence of up to 18 years. There is some hope now with the Supreme Court Committee on Road Offences ruling on March 22 this year. There will now be stricter implementation of traffic laws for offenders such as revoking the license and higher fines. This is a start, however, there is an entire psyche behind the thousands of people who are willing to their own lives at risk along with those with them inside the vehicles and outside.

 

Even after being caught, there have been many instances like the young man in Janakpuri in New Delhi, who hit three people in the early hours of June 13 with his car, one of whom succumbed to injuries. He was allegedly drunk and asked the cops to call his father for compensation. This appalling laxity in dealing with drunk drivers and tests being conducted hours after arrest, which could lead to absorption of the substance into the blood stream and thus going undetected, is just unacceptable.

 

Innocent lives have been lost and families ruined as in the case of the Hyderabad incident where members of three generations of the same family were killed on July 4, is just one in a long list of horrific accidents caused due to drunk driving. Swift action by the Police and the judiciary along with strict penalties for drunk drivers is the need of the hour. What remains to be seen is whether the implementation will be what it is supposed to be and how it affects the mindset of the people.

PARALYMPICS MEDALIST, ADITYA MEHTA MORTIFIED AT AIRPORTS

The Paralympics’ silver medal winner Aditya Mehta was humiliated at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. On his arrival, he was asked by the security personnel to remove his clothes and prosthetic. The medallist was taking his flight for the home in Hyderabad from Delhi. Mehta was totally embarrassed in front of everyone.

Earlier this week, on Sunday he was treated in a similar manner at the Bengaluru airport. He was allowed to board the flight only after he passed all his belongings and the prosthetic through the scanner.He chose the social media to share his experiences.

“…Is this the kind of treatment given to physically-challenged persons? He said in a post addressed to civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju.I am usually not perturbed by such behaviour, but the attitude with which I was forced to remove my limb put me down terribly. Airports are supposed to have full body scanners so that we are not forced to remove our prosthesis,’’ said Mehta to Times of India. He urged the airport authorities to be sensitive towards disabled people.

The process of security check was carried out according to the guidelines of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security of India (BCAS).Further, a Directorate General of Civil Aviation official told The Times of India that “The rules do not exempt the screening of prosthesis so we have no choice but to check them.”

Source- TOI, Sportswallah