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RTI activist brutally assaulted in coal-belt area in Meghalaya

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RTI ACT

Shillong, Nov 8 (IANS) Meghalaya women’s rights activist, Agnes Kharshiing, and her two companions were brutally assaulted in a coal belt area in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Thursday.

Medical officials at the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences said that Kharshiing is in a critical condition with cut injuries on her skull bone.

Her companion Amita Sangma also suffered severe injuries besides their driver E Kurbah, who is also para legal volunteer. Both are admitted in NEIGRIHMS

“A group of 30-40 people, including women who are mostly dealing with coal trade, attacked us at Lum Sohshrew area around the coal depots after Kharshiing went and lodged a complaint at the Lad Rymbai police station on the illegal mining and transportation of coal in the district,” Kurbah said.

The NGT had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students’ Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in the Jaintia Hills.

“We were waylaid by a three to four vehicles and they later dragged us out of the vehicle. They snatched away our mobile phones. They kicked and punched us and Kharshiing was hit by a log from behind. It was a scary incident. I managed to escape from the scene after pleading with the attackers to leave me alone. I informed police personnel at Lad Jowai,” Kurbah said.

R Chandranathan, who took over as Meghalaya police chief on Thursday, told IANS that he has directed the local police to register a case and bring the perpetrators to book.

“A police officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police will investigate the incident,” Chandranathan said.

The attack on Kharshiing, who is also the chairperson of Civil Society Women’s Organisation, an influential women’s group, was the second attack on social activist in East Jaintia Hills district.

On March 19 this year, RTI activist, Poipynhun Majaw, who was the president of the Jaintia Youth Federation was attacked and found murdered in Khliehriat, the district headquarters of East Jaintia Hills.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma strongly condemned the incident of attack on Agnes Kharshiing and her team.

“We have issued necessary directions to the police and district administration to investigate the matter and arrest those behind the attack. Civil Society plays an important role in a democratic system as they are instrumental in highlighting the concerns of the people.” Sangma said in a statement.

“Violence in any form will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to justice,” the statement said.

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Himachal Pradesh : Three houses gutted in fire in Mandi

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Maharashtra fire


Himachal Pradesh, Jan 23 : As many as three houses were gutted in a massive fire at Mandi district in Chhatri market area on Wednesday.

A major fire broke out in Chhatri market area of Mandi district. Fire tenders are present at the spot.

Fire fighting operation is underway. No injuries or casualties have been reported yet.

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Road links in Himachal hampered after snowfall; hundreds stranded

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Himachal Pradesh snowfall

Shimla, Jan 23: Road links in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday were hampered a day after widespread snow and rain, blocking highways and link roads, while hundreds of commuters were stranded across the state, officials said here.

Snow hit vehicular movement beyond Shimla town, while traffic on the Pathankot-Chamba highway was also badly hit. The entire Kinnaur district is cut off. However, there was no loss of life.

After two consecutive days of snow, most of the roads in the state interiors remained closed to traffic, stranding travellers and commuters.

Road links to Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal were cut off, a government official told IANS.

While picturesque tourist town Manali recorded 30 cm of snowfall, it was 39.6 cm in Kalpa and 30 cm in Manali. Dharamsala had 53 mm of rainfall.

“There is no movement of traffic towards Kinnaur district on the national highway five beyond Tapri. Work is on to restore electricity in Kinnaur. The Pangi valley in Chamba district is also cut off from the rest of the state,” an official said.

State capital Shimla saw 44.5 cm of snowfall and a low of zero degree.

The higher reaches of Kullu, Mandi, Kinnaur, Shimla, Sirmaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts have been experiencing snow.

Keylong town in Lahaul-Spiti district saw over three feet of snowfall.

Officials said bad weather has affected the road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Kullu and Sirmaur districts and efforts were being made to reopen the roads.

There are chances of moderate snow in the state till Thursday, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official told IANS.

The government has advised people not to venture to the high hills of Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts owing to avalanche threat.

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Cloudy Delhi morning, 25 trains delayed

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cloudy morning delhi

New Delhi, Jan 23: It was a cold and cloudy morning in the national capital on Wednesday with the minimum temperature recorded at 8 degrees Celsius, the Met said. At least 25 Delhi-bound trains were delayed due to dense fog in several parts of northern India.

“The sky will remain partly cloudy throughout the day with chances of light rain or thundershowers,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.

A fog cover delayed 25 trains heading here by two to six hours.

The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 per cent. Visibility in Safdarjung area at 8.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 metres while in the Palam area the visibility at 7.30 a.m. was recorded at 100 metres.

The city recorded 27.8 mm rain in last 24 hours.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the overall air quality here continued to be ‘moderate’ as on Tuesday, with the air quality index (AQI) being 99.

On Tuesday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 19.4 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season’s average, while the minimum was 12.5 around five notches above normal.

IANS

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