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Ramazan shopping keeps Hyderabad bright and alive at night

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Hyderabad, June 23: Traffic jams are a common sight in parts of Hyderabad, especially in the Old City, during peak hours every single day. But during the holy month Ramazan, the city witnesses traffic snarls throughout the night.

It is chock-a-block well past midnight at the famous markets around the historic Charminar and other commercial centres like Mallepally, Mehdipatnam and Toli Chowki.

With the fasting month entering the last phase, Eid shopping has reached a crescendo in Hyderabad.

The Old City, with its rich Islamic history and cultural heritage, never sleeps during Ramazan. Men, burka-clad women and children try to grab whatever they can for Eid, which marks the culmination of the holy month.

Crowded and dazzling markets, illuminated shops, qawalis blaring from hotels and eateries, the aroma of ‘Haleem’, shouts of hawkers selling everything from safety pin to clothes to ‘atar’ (perfumes), the area around Charminar presents an extraordinary spectacle.

As one crosses the Musi river to enter the Old City, the stretch from Madina Building to Charminar and the adjoining markets are packed with shoppers who come not only from the city and Telangana but also nearby states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The month-long festivities of Ramazan reach the peak during last ‘ashra’ (10 days). If the business in the first 20 days is dominated by dates, fruits, dry fruits, food items, groceries, skull cap, ‘atar’ and surma, the last days witness splurging sprees among families buying clothes, footwear, bangles, jewellery, mehndi, crockery and household items.

Traders of dry fruits do brisk business while ‘sewian’ (homemade vermicelli) is in huge demand.

While the Charminar area has been the epicentre of Eid shopping for decades, the activity has spread to other parts of the city in recent years. Nampally, Mallepally, Asif Nagar and the stretch from Mehdipatnam to Toli Chowki too see shopping till ‘sehri’ (pre-dawn meal before fast begins).

Many shoppers prefer to end their shopping with ‘shar’ at hotels, serving Haleem, biryani, kebabs and other dishes.

With Muslims accounting for about 30 percent of the city’s estimated nine million population, every commodity associated with the festivities opens up huge business opportunities.

The volume of business, mostly in the unorganised sector, is beyond anybody’s guess. Thousands of hawkers occupy the pavements setting up makeshift shops. The authorities too look the other way.

“There is no other festivity which goes on non-stop for the whole month and in no other Indian city can you find such kind of celebration,” said Ritesh Sharma, General Manager at Taj Falaknuma Palace.

While the city has witnessed changes in the way people shop, with the onset of shopping malls and big stores, for many Eid shopping is incomplete without a visit to Madina, Patthergatti, Patel Market, Laad Bazar and other traditional markets around Charminar.

“You get everything with a wide range to choose from. It’s also light on the pocket,” said Irfan Ahmed, a retired government employee.

The city comes also alive because of spiritual activity in the last days of the holy month. The devout throng mosques to offer special prayers which continue till 3 a.m.

By Mohammed Shafeeq

IANS

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Snake rescued from Delhi Assembly premises

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File Photo: Delhi Legislative Assembly

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A five-feet-long snake was rescued on Wednesday from the Delhi Assembly complex here by an animal welfare NGO.

The snake, which was identified as a non-venomous Royal Snake, was found taking refuge in an air cooler installed in the library block on the premises, following which it was rescued by Wildlife SOS.

The team said several snakes had been rescued from the Vidhan Sabha complex in the past, though this was the second case of rescue of a Royal Snake.

“Several snakes have been rescued from the premises since it is located very close to Kamla Nehru Ridge, which is home to a variety of wildlife,” said Wildlife SOS Special Projects Manager Wasim Akram.

Protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Royal snakes are excellent climbers and are found on trees, low bushes and hiding in crevices.

Delhi is home to 13 species of snake, of which only two — common krait and common cobra — are venomous.

IANS

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Improper to dub Asaram as rapist: Ex-cop Vanzara

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Jodhpur: Asaram Bapu gets life term in 2013 rape case. Photo: IANS

Ahmedabad, April 25 (IANS) Former Gujarat top cop D.G. Vanzara came out in defence of Asaram Bapu after the self-styled godman was convicted and handed a life term in jail in a 2013 rape case of a minor by a Jodhpur court in Rajasthan on Wednesday.

The former Deputy Inspector-General of Gujarat, who was allegedly involved in fake encounter cases, stated that it was improper to dub Asaram a “rapist”.

“We respect the judgment and are not contesting or supporting any action proven in a court of law.

“However, it is improper to dub Asaram as rapist for being convicted in the sexual assault case,” said Vanzara, who arrived at Asaram’s Ahmedabad-based ashram after the Jodhpur SC/ST Court Judge Madhusudan Sharma pronounced the verdict.

Vanzara said: “In the FIR lodged by the victim or in the chargesheet filed, nowhere does it say that she was raped. What it says is that he tried to touch her improperly,” said Vanzara.

According to Vanzara the victim never stated that she had been raped even during the trial.

“Her virginity was found to be intact when medical tests were carried out after the complaint. This was never a case of rape. The sentence is not based on rape committed.

“The victim said that Bapuji had touched her with bad intent, which is also a crime. But I doubt whether Asaramji did so. He has been convicted in this matter but decision of any court is not final,” Vanzara added.

“We respect this decision but will go to the higher court against it. We believe that we will get justice,” he said.

Vanzara, in the past too, had claimed that the case against Asaram Bapu was a frame-up. “Being a police officer, I know that the entire case against Asaram Bapu is a frame up. The FIR against him is fake,” he had said in 2016.

Vanzara said that the case against Asaram was a conspiracy, as the 77-year-old godman was a “protector of the Sanatan Hindu dharma”.

The survivor, who was a Class 12 student at Asaram Bapu’s Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh, was raped in August 2013.

Following complaints about her sickness while in Chhindwara, the godman had summoned the girl and her family to his ashram in Manai village on the outskirts of Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

According to the victim’s complaint, she was raped for an hour by the godman on the intervening night of August 15-16, 2013.

She reported the matter to her parents, who in turn had filed a zero First Information Report (FIR) with the Kamla Nagar police station in New Delhi on August 20.

Asaram Bapu was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013.

The godman was convicted on Wednesday under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Two co-accused were also convicted in the case.

The police chargesheet against Asaram Bapu and four other co-accused Shiva, Shilpi, Sharad and Prakash was filed on November 6, 2013, under the Pocso Act, the JJ Act and the IPC.

Informed sources said the court also convicted Shilpi (warden of Asaram’s ashram) and Sharad, while Shiva and Prakash were acquitted in the case.

Asaram Bapu is facing trial in another sexual assault case in Gujarat.

IANS

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SunSource to set up 2.5MW solar plant at Jamia Millia university

With the installation of the 2.5MW plant, the university is expected to save over Rs 1 crore annually apart from significantly contributing to the environment.

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New Delhi, April 24 : Solar solutions provider SunSource Energy said on Tuesday that it is on course to set up a 2.5MW solar rooftop plant at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University, by the end of June 2018.

In a statement, the Noida-based SunSource said the plant would help the university save around Rs 1 crore in energy costs per year.

“Jamia Millia recently signed an MoU with SunSource (which in turn was approved by the Solar Energy Corporation of India) to execute the project on a turnkey basis for the next quarter of a century under the Renewable Energy Service Company model (RESCO).

“Electricity would be supplied at Rs 3.39 per unit for a period of 25 years,” it said.

The installation of solar panels on over 50 rooftops of various buildings like central library, colleges and departments of Jamia and the hostels had already started, it added.

Commenting on the developnment, university Vice-Chancellor Talat Ahmed said in a statement: “Jamia Millia University’s current project is an attempt to run the university on renewable energy and will position it as a leader among central universities in the use of renewable energy. The solar plant would also greatly benefit students pursuing BTech and BVoc degrees at Jamia Millia.”

The university “will incur no cost on the setup and maintenance as it will be taken care of by SunSource Energy, with the support from the SECI”.

“With the installation of the 2.5MW plant, the university is expected to save over Rs 1 crore annually apart from significantly contributing to the environment,” said SunSource COO and Co-founder Kushagra Nandan.

SunSource has executed some prestigious solar rooftop projects here including at the India Habitat Centre and Vasant Valley School, and is currently involved in over 200MW of solar projects in India and internationally and targets to reach 1.5 GW (gigawatt) capacity by 2025, the statement said.

The firm expects to reach an annual turnover of over Rs 600 crore by 2020.

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