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Gangster’s Facebook post leaves Punjab Police red-faced

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Saraj Sandhu
Source: Saraj Sandhu, who is being chased by the state police

Chandigarh, Nov 13: A Facebook post by a gangster, involved in the killing of a Hindu leader in Amritsar, admitting to his crime, has left the Punjab Police embarrassed.

Saraj Sandhu, who is being chased by the state police, not only admitted to killing Hindu Sangharsh Sena leader Vipan Sharma, but even suggested that the “killing should not be linked to religion”.

Police sources told IANS on Monday that the social media post of Sandhu, who has been on the run since the killing on October 30, along with three other accused, was being investigated.

“We are verifying whether the gangster has uploaded the post or someone else has done it for him. He must be in touch with some people,” the police source said.

In his post, Sandhu has justified Sharma’s killing. He claimed it was carried out to seek revenge. Sharma was involved in a conspiracy to kill Sandhu’s friend’s father.

The Punjab Police had, last week, arrested Sukhraj Kaur, Sandhu’s mother, from her home in Sultanwind near Amritsar on charges of harbouring her son and other criminals.

Sandhu was clearly seen pumping seven bullets into Sharma in a CCTV footage. Another accomplice of Sandhu, who also fired at Sharma, had his face covered.

Sharma was killed in broad daylight on October 30. Since both killers were wearing turbans and bearded, the police was working on the angle of Sharma being targeted by Sikh radicals.

In the past two years, a few Hindu leaders have been targeted by pro-Khalistan elements trying to re-emerge in Punjab.

Sharma was the district president of Hindu Sangharsh Sena in Amritsar. He was shot dead in the Bharat Nagar area near Batala Road.

At least four assailants were involved in the attack, the police said later.

The state Police last week busted a terror module operating in Punjab which was being linked to the killing of Hindu leaders in the state.

Five members of the module have also been arrested and weapons recovered from them.

Further investigations were on and more arrests were expected. The terror module is being linked to pro-Khalistan elements based in Britain, Italy and Canada.

IANS

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Maharashtra sees new daily Covid high, tally crosses half mn mark

Of the eight divisions, only Latur and Akola remain in the sub-10,000 cases bracket, though the numbers of new infectees continue to mount steadily.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

Mumbai, Aug 8 : With a new high of 12,822 cases, Maharashtra’s Covid-19 tally on Saturday shot past the half-million mark, while the state saw 275 more deaths, health officials said.

Saturday’s tally surpasses the previous peak of 11,514 cases on Thursday.

The total number of cases now stands at 503,084, and the death toll at 17,367 – both highest in the country. The Health Department said that of the total cases, 147,048 are active.

According to Saturday’s figures, there was one death roughly every 5 minutes and a staggering 534 new cases every hour.

However, the state recovery rate rose to 67.26 per cent, while the current mortality rate stood at 3.45 per cent.

On Saturday, 11,081 recovered patients returned home, taking the total number of discharged patients to 338,262.

Of Saturday’s fatalities, Pune again notched the highest deaths, at 67, followed by Mumbai’s 58, and Thane’s 48 deaths.

Mumbai’s deaths — again in the 50-plus range — took its toll to 6,751, while the number of cases increased by 1,304 to 122,316.

There were also 17 deaths in Raigad, 14 in Palghar, nine in Kolhapur, eight each in Nashik, Dhule, and Sangli, seven in Solapur, six each in Jalna and Nagpur, four in Ratnagiri, three in Beed, two each in Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, and Yavatmal, and one each in Satara, Latur, Osmanabad, and Akola.

The MMR (Thane division) saw its toll shooting up sharply by 137 to 10,629, while 3,744 new cases took its tally to 263,619.

Pune district’s total cases have now reached 109,988, with the death toll increasing to 2,633, while Thane district had 103,642 cases with 2,961 fatalities, as on Saturday.

With 75 more fatalities, the Pune division’s death toll has reached 3,367 and the case tally zoomed up with 3,409 new cases to 126,715.

Nashik division has recorded 1,400 fatalities and 47,076 cases, followed by Aurangabad division with 668 deaths and 20,077 cases, Kolhapur division with 405 fatalities and 15,297 cases, Latur division with 327 fatalities and 9,822 cases, Akola division with 312 fatalities and 9,734 cases, and Nagpur division with 205 deaths and 10,243 cases.

Of the eight divisions, only Latur and Akola remain in the sub-10,000 cases bracket, though the numbers of new infectees continue to mount steadily.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine now stands at 989,612, while those in institutional quarantine total 35,625.

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Idukki landslide: 18 dead, search resumes for 50 missing

A massive search operation using man and machine, is underway on Saturday to find 50 odd people reported missing after a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district.

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Kerala Landslide

Idukki: Since the Thursday midnight tragedy struck Rajamalai, 18 people have lost their lives while more than a dozen have been rescued and are under treatment in various hospitals in Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.

The tragedy took place about 30km from the popular tourist destination of Munnar when big boulders came down on four lines of estate houses.

State Minister for Electricity, M.M.Mani, who hails from the district said the state government will do everything possible to help the victims, so would the Tea company, that owns the estate.

“The exact number of missing will have to be ascertained by the tea company, as it’s their residential lines and the local village council will also have to work with them. The chances of getting a survivor from the debris is slim now,” said Mani.

A huge number of rescue personnel drawn from the NDRF, Kerala Police, Fire Force, locals and volunteers are carrying out the massive search exercise.

While the Kerala government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to each of the deceased’s families, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakh each.

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Lady Hardinge staff stage protest over salary dues

The employees of Lady Hardinge had recently returned to work following an order from the Delhi High Court. The contractual workers were allegedly terminated earlier.

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Lady Hardinge Staff

New Delhi, Aug 7 : Contractual workers of the Centre-run Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) on Friday protested at the hospital’s gate against non-payment of salaries in the last two months.

About 70 workers raised slogans against the hospital management on various issues, including their pending salaries.

The employees of Lady Hardinge had recently returned to work following an order from the Delhi High Court. The contractual workers were allegedly terminated earlier.

“Even during the pandemic, the attitude of both the Centre and the state government regarding the salaries and security of the employees in many hospitals in Delhi has not been right,” said a statement by the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), which also took part in the protest.

The workers alleged that they have not received their salaries for months.

“During the lockdown, we were asked not to come and for two months we didn’t receive any salary. But even after we joined back and started working in covid wards, we didn’t receive any salary. So we had to raise our voice,” said Sudha, one of the protesters.

Meanwhile, Surya Prakash, the President of AICCTU, who was present at the protest, blamed the government for their negligence over the issue.

“Since the beginning of August, the campaign has been carried out by the workers and employees of different sectors. But the government is not listening. Labour laws are being abolished at a rapid pace. The AICCTU appeals to the justice-loving and democratic people of Delhi to stand firm against the attacks on the people and ensure their participation in the struggle to save the country,” he said.

A week ago, dozens of aggrieved protesters had gathered outside the LHMC, a dedicated Covid-19 facility, and protested against the hospital administration. They said that over 75 Multi Tasking Staff (MTS) at the hospital were “illegally” asked to leave from August onwards.

However, the Delhi High Court had dismissed their termination after hearing the matter on July 31.

The court had also directed a senior official of the Health Ministry to look into the matter and submit a report before the next date of hearing on October 5.

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