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Kerala: Explosion at Cochin Shipyard kills 5



Cochin Shipyard
Representative Image

Kerala: Five persons were killed and a dozen others injured in a blast inside an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) tanker at the Cochin Shipyard here in Kerala on Tuesday, police said.

Those working at the time of the blast mostly included daily labourers and contract workers. Tuesday being a holiday, no regular workers of the shipyard were present.

The blast took place around 11 a.m. in the water tank of the berthed ONGC tanker Sagar Bhushan when some 20 workers were working in the tanker ship.

The Sagar Bhushan has been docked at the Cochin Shipyard for a month for repairs and maintenance.

High ranking police and top shipyard officials have reached the accident site.

Speaking to the media, Kochi City Police Commissioner M.P. Dinesh said: “The death toll from the blast includes some who apparently choked on the smoke after the explosion.

A probe has been ordered, Dinesh said.

A trade union leader present at a private hospital here said nine workers were admitted there.


Farm laws: Rahul Gandhi urges PM Modi to protesting farmers




Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to the farmers protesting against the three farm laws and give them a “healing touch”.

Sharing a news report about the protest of farmers in Punjab marking the festival of Dussehra by burning effigies of PM Modi and corporate companies against the Central government’s three farm laws, Rahul Gandhi said it is a “dangerous precendent” which is bad for the country.

“This happened all over Punjab yesterday. It’s sad that Punjab is feeling such anger towards PM. This is a very dangerou precedent and is bad for our country. PM should reach out, listen and give a healing touch quickly. ” Rahul wrote on Twitter.

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Coal scam: Ex-Union Minister Dilip Ray sentenced to 3 years jail




Dilip Ray

Former Union minister Dilip Ray was on Monday sentenced to three-year imprisonment in a coal scam case. Ray was convicted in the case which pertains to irregularities in the allocation of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999.

A Delhi court had earlier this month reserved the order for October 26 after hearing arguments from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well the convicts. The court directed the convicts to be present before it physically on that date.

Besides Ray, former minister of state (coal) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, the CBI had sought life imprisonment for other convicts – two senior officials of the Ministry of Coal at that time, Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, and Castron Technologies Ltd’s (CTL) director Mahendra Kumar Agarwalla.

Ray was convicted under various sections including 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to criminal breach of trust of trust by a public servant.

“I am very surprised at conviction under section 409 of the IPC as the same court in the past has acquitted people in 409 IPC in view of three-judge bench judgement of Supreme Court. However, I welcome sentence not being harsh of three years having been imposed by the court,” said Vijay Aggarwal, advocate who represented various accused in 2G scam and is also representing various accused in coal scam cases.

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‘Democracy being hollowed out’, Sonia Gandhi attacks PM Modi, Centre




Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

Congress President Sonia Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of doing “sinister conspiracies” behind every political protest opposing it and being determined to pursue its “authoritarian strategy” regardless of consequences.

In an op-ed written for Hindustan Times, the senior Congress leader attacked the central government over using investigative agencies to target political opposition and dissenters, diverting attention from people’s real problems, handling anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest and Hathras rape case, and more.

Sonia Gandhi began the article by calling democracy of India – world’s largest -at the crossroads and added that it is clear that its economy is in deep crisis. She goes on by saying, “that all the pillars of a democratic system of governance are under assault.”

The fundamental right to freedom of expression has been systematically suspended through suppression and intimidation, she wrote. Dissent is deliberately stifled as “terrorism” or branded as an “anti-national activity”, added she.

According to Sonia Gandhi, the Centre diverts attention from real problems of the people by pronouncing bogus threats to “national security” everywhere. “Of course, some of these threats are real and have to be dealt with uncompromisingly but the Narendra Modi government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conjure up sinister conspiracies behind every political protest, indeed behind any and everything they see as opposition to them,” she stated.

She further alleged the government in Centre for using investigative agencies to target political opposition, as she said: “Every organ of State that could possibly be used to target political opposition has already been pressed into service — the Police, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and even the Narcotics Bureau.”

The Congress chief accused the Modi government of designating political opponents as enemies of the country. Calling it a “self-serving”, she said that the move unleashed the “most draconian laws in our penal code against any and every protester who disagreed publicly with the BJP and its politics.”

She charged the government for labelling anti-BJP protests as anti-India conspiracies by giving examples of protests against the CAA and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). She further said the Modi government “chose to vilify it and made it a divisive issue in the Delhi elections.”

“The BJP may have differences with dissenters and civil society activists. Indeed, the same activists have often protested against Congress governments as well. But to paint them as anti-national conspirators promoting communal violence is prejudicial and extremely dangerous for democracy,” article stated.

Taking up the gang-rape and murder case of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, she said that the state government’s response was “vile”.

She said the PM Modi claims to represent 130 crore Indians but his government treats political opponents, dissenters, and those who did not vote for the ruling party as “second-class citizens without democratic rights”.Concluding the article the senior political leader said the citizens of India are not just an electorate but only they are the nation and country will thrive only when democracy as envisioned by our Constitution.

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