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Need to concentrate on some states lagging behind in education: Prakash Javadekar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> There is a need to concentrate on states like UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, MP and Rajasthan which are lagging behind in the education sector when compared to the other states, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday. Inaugurating the 29th All India Urdu Book Fair at the powerloom town of Bhiwandi in the district, the Minister said “As far as education is concerned, statistics reveals that Muslim, Hindu and other community members progressed in states of Kerala, TN, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat while it was not so in other states. There is a dire need to pay attention to this.” He said that the present government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken up several measures to promote Urdu language and various steps have been taken in this direction.The minister, who praised Urdu as a lovely language and the script as nothing but an example of calligraphy, said the Urdu Academy and Council have come out with several publications. Even the Wikipedia has an assistance in Urdu which was not there previously. On standard of education in government schools and on issue of dropouts, the Minister said, “The government has decided to take several measures to ensure that the standard of education in the government schools in the country improves and the issue of dropouts is addressed.”He appreciated role played by various educational institutions, universities, research centres in addition to the NGOs in promoting Urdu language. He said plans are afoot to go in for online teaching of Urdu where every one can take education in their spare time. The Minister said the World Urdu Conference will be held in Delhi in March 2017. On the occasion, Javdekar gave slogan — ‘Sabko Siksha, Aachi Siksha’. “If the ‘Talim’ (teaching) improves everything improves and the country makes progress,” said Javdekar.

Building collapses in Bhiwandi, one killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A beggar was crushed to death when a three-storey building in the powerloom town of Bhiwandi collapsed in the early hours on Friday.The ‘Samata’ building, situated in Nizampura locality, which had been declared dangerous and vacated earlier, collapsed at around 1.30 AM, police said.Mohammad Momin (53), who was sleeping on a road adjacent to the building, was buried in the debris as the structure collapsed, Thane city police control room said.Police and local civic body personnel rushed to the site after the incident.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi gets bail in RSS defamation case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was on Wednesday granted bail by a court in Bhiwandi near here in a defamation case over his alleged comment against the RSS on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.Rahul, who reached the Bhiwandi magistrate court in neighbouring Thane district around 10.30 AM amid tight security along with his supporters, appeared before Judge Tushar Waze, who adjourned the case till January 30, 2017.Former Union Minister Shivraj Patil stood as surety for the bail for the Congress leader.The case against Rahul was filed by a local RSS functionary, Rajesh Kunte, over the former’s speech in Bhiwandi on March 6, 2014 in the run up to Lok Sabha polls.During the rally, Rahul had allegedly claimed, “The RSS people had killed Gandhi.”The complainant’s counsel Nandu Phadke told the court that if Rahul was ready to accept his “mistake” then he was willing to withdraw the case against him as the complainant (Kunte) believed in “forgive and forget.” Also, Rahul should give an undertaking that he will not repeat it in the future, Phadke demanded.When Rahul’s lawyer Ashok Mundargi requested for a date and sought the court to exempt him from personal appearance, owing to his political commitments, the complainant’s lawyer said Rahul may be treated as an “ordinary citizen”.On September 1, Rahul had preferred to face the trial as an accused in the defamation case, submitting before the Supreme Court that he stood by “every word” of his statement.The Congress vice president had expressed his readiness to face the trial after the apex court refused to interfere with the criminal proceedings pending against him before the trial court. He then withdrew the appeal filed by him against the Bombay High Court judgement refusing to quash the defamation case and summons issued to him by the trial court.The apex court also declined Rahul’s plea that he be exempted from personal appearance before the Bhiwandi court which had taken cognisance of the complaint of an RSS functionary by summoning him as an accused in the case.Last evening, Rahul reached Mumbai to a rousing welcome by party workers and state leaders.Several party workers carried placards which read: “Bapu ke samman mein, Rahul Gandhi maidan mein” (For Mahatma Gandhi’s honour, Rahul Gandhi joins fight”; “Gandhiji ke hatyaro se sangharsh rahega jari” (fight against Gandhi’s killers will continue) and “Rahul Gandhi sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai” (Rahul Gandhi carry on the fight, we are with you).

Rahul Gandhi appears before Guwahati court for defamation case; allowed to go for Rs 50,000 bond

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appeared before the Guwahati court in connection with a criminal defamation case filed by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer and was allowed to go after putting up a bond of Rs 50,000.”He (Rahul Gandhi) has appeared before the court and has been allowed to go on a bond of Rs 50, 000,” said Bijan Mahajan, RSS lawyer.Earlier on Thursday morning, Rahul went all guns blazing at the RSS for their ‘divisive’ ideology, saying he will not be deterred and will continue to fight for the poor, unemployed youth, for the unity and harmony of this country, no matter how many cases are filed against him.RSS volunteer Anjan Bora filed a criminal case against the Congress vice-president for making false statements to tarnish the image of RSS. Gandhi had said that women were made to sit at the entrance of a satra (a monastery) so that he would not be able to enter.”I would like to thank the people of Guwahati for the love and affection they have showed. I am against the ideology of the RSS and all such other organisation, which is there to divide India and are harmful for this country. Regardless of which religion they come from, I am for the unity of this country and for the love and affection between the people,” Gandhi said.”These cases are being put against me because I am fighting for the poor people of this country because I am fighting for the rights of the farmers, unemployed youth who have aspirations, who have dreams and who are being denied those aspirations because our government is running in the interest of 12 or 15 people. The idea is to make sure that I do not fight for the young, unemployed youth,” he added.The Congress vice-president is facing another criminal defamation charge because of the speech he made in Bhiwandi.The RSS, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for his speech at a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, in 2014. In the speech he had said that “people belonging to the RSS had killed Gandhiji and now they speak about Gandhi.”The case started in a court in Bhiwandi and then went to the Mumbai High Court before finally coming to the Supreme Court.

I’m against RSS’ divisive policy, will not be deterred: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday went all guns blazing at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for their “divisive” ideology, saying he will not be deterred and will continue to fight for the poor, unemployed youth, for the unity and harmony of this country, no matter how many cases are filed against him.”I will not be deterred. I am happy. Let them put as many cases as they want, I will continue to fight for the unity of this country, for love and affection between the people of this country,” Gandhi told the reporters outside the court.On Thursday, Gandhi made a personal appearance in a Guwahati court over a case of criminal defamation against the Hindutva organisation. RSS volunteer Anjan Bora filed a criminal case against the Congress vice-president for making false statements to tarnish the image of RSS. Gandhi had said that women were made to sit at the entrance of a satara (a monastery) so that he would not be able to enter.”I would like to thank the people of Guwahati for the love and affection they have showed. I am against the ideology of the RSS and all such other organisation, which is there to divide India and are harmful for this country. Regardless of which religion they come from, I am for the unity of this country and for the love and affection between the people,” Gandhi said.”These cases are being put against me because I am fighting for the poor people of this country because I am fighting for the rights of the farmers, unemployed youth who have aspirations, who have dreams and who are being denied those aspirations because our government is running in the interest of 12 or 15 people. The idea is to make sure that I do not fight for the young, unemployed youth,” he added.The Congress vice-president is facing another criminal defamation charge because of the speech he made in Bhiwandi. The RSS, the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for his speech at a rally in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, in 2014. In the speech he had said that “people belonging to the RSS had killed Gandhiji and now they speak about Gandhi.”The case started in a court in Bhiwandi and then went to the Mumbai High Court before finally coming to the Supreme Court.

RSS slapping cases because I fight for the poor: Rahul Gandhi in Guwahati court over temple row

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi arrived in Guwahati on Thursday to appear before a local court in a defamation case filed against him by the RSS.

Speaking to reporters near Kamrup court in Guwahati, Rahul thanked the people of Assam for showing him so much love. “I have always been against the ideology of RSS. Not just RSS, but every other organisation which aims at dividing the nation. I am for the unity of this country.”

The fact that RSS is slapping cases against him in such numbers is because he fights for the poor and bats for the youth of the nation, Rahul alleged.

The case is regarding Gandhi’s visit to the Barpeta Satra, a 16th-century Vaishnavite monastery on 12 December last year. He was supposed to enter the Satra before taking part in a roadshow, organised nearby, but did not do so and instead hit the road show directly.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. AFPCongress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Later in New Delhi, he told media persons that some RSS workers prevented him from entering the Satra. He also alleged that the RSS have incited the local women to prevent him from entering the Satra.

An RSS volunteer filed the defamation suit against Gandhi not only denying the role of RSS into the incident but also alleging that Gandhi’s statement to media in New Delhi had tarnished the image of Satra.

Kamrup chief judicial magistrate Sanjoy Hazarika had summoned Gandhi to face trial under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which states, whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or both.

On 2 August, the court had deferred its decision whether to issue summons against the Congress vice president as an “accused” in the criminal defamation case.

A spokesman for Congress’ state unit said that Gandhi will appear before the court at around 10.30 am. Later he is also expected to address a meeting of party workers before returning to New Delhi Thursday evening.

Another RSS volunteer from Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi slapped a defamation case against the Congress scion alleging that Rahul, at an election rally, blamed the RSS for Gandhi’s death. Kunte, according to PTI, said that the Congress leader had sought to tarnish the reputation of the Sangh through his speech. Kunte then filed the defamation suit in a Maharashtra court.

With inputs from agencies

Fire breaks out at Kalyan dumping yard in Maharashtra, none hurt

A major fire broke out at the Aadhar Wadi dumping yard in Kalyan this evening in the district following which at least 12 fire tenders were pressed into service, civic officials said. Anil Laad, Disaster Control officer of the Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation (KDMC) said the blaze erupted at around 5.30 PM. The dumping yard is of KDMC. Officials said no one was injured in the blaze. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief of Regional Disaster Management Cell of Thane Region Santosh Kadam said at least 12 fire tenders, including some from neighbouring towns of Thane, Bhiwandi, Ambarnath and Ulhasnagar, were pressed into service and efforts were on to douse the fire, he said.

Govt may announce new Metro lines in Mumbai Metropolitan Region

In the next couple of years, there is a possibility of the state government announcing new Metro lines in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to connect various municipal areas with each other and with Mumbai. Among the first two, that are likely to be executed are Kasarvadavli-Thane-Wadala and Kalyan-Bhiwandi-Thane Metro routes.In order to identify which Metro lines will be feasible to enhance the connectivity in MMR, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has initiated the process to revise and update its Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS) report, so that new Metro lines and other transportation as well as infrastructure options can be looked at. Bid has been floated to appoint an agency for updating the CTS.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A lot has changed in the last decade since the existing CTS study was conducted in the MMR. There has also been substantial rise in the population in MMR. There is need to update the CTS report,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA. The research for the last CTS study was done between 2005 and 2007 and was published by the MMRDA in 2008.”We already have Kasarvadavli-Thane-Wadala Metro line in pipeline. The next would be Kalyan –Bhiwandi-Thane corridor. Once the CTS is updated then other Metro lines in the MMR too will be identified for implementation,” said Madan.Once of the prime factors for having these two routes is to establish connectivity with the Kalyan Growth Centre planned by the MMRDA. The development authority is Special Planning Authority for Kalyan-Ambernath areas.Moreover, the state government has plans to make Bhiwandi a formal logistics hub because of numerous godowns. Various establishments operating in Mumbai, have their storage facility in Bhiwandi for cheaper real estate.Though various measures were recommended in the CTS report, but not even a quarter of them have been converted into reality by the development authority or through the urban local bodies in the MMR.Some of the recommendations include upgrading the existing suburban rail network, having a network of Metro rails, multiple sea links of the western coast of Mumbai, Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, passenger water transport on both the coastlines of Mumbai, etc.

Nihal Bitla, face of progeria campaign in India, dies at 15

A 15-year-old boy, who was suffering from Progeria and had become the face of a campaign against the rare genetic disorder in the country, has died.

Nihal Bitla, from Bhiwandi in adjoining Thane district, was fighting the disease that aged him eight times faster than
normal.

Nihal and his family had taken up the task of raising awareness about the disease. Image courtesy - Facebook/Aamir KhanNihal and his family had taken up the task of raising awareness about the disease. Image courtesy - Facebook/Aamir Khan

Nihal and his family had taken up the task of raising awareness about the disease. Image courtesy – Facebook/Aamir Khan

He was at his grandparents’ house at Karimnagar in Telangana to attend a family wedding. On Monday evening, he felt dehydrated due to the scorching heat and had to be rushed to a private hospital for treatment.

Within a few hours, he passed away, family sources said. His last rites were performed in Karimnagar yesterday.

Nihal and his family had taken up the challenge of raising awareness about the incurable disease, which has an incidence of one in four million, and of finding more such cases for medical intervention in the country.

The boy, who was part of a clinical trial for Lonafarnib drug in Boston to test if the drug could delay ageing, had posted his pictures on Facebook and Twitter to reach out to parents, specially in rural areas.

Progeria or Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria syndrome, from which Nihal suffered, causes accelerated ageing in children, leading to premature death mostly due to heart attacks.

Progeria finally claims 15-year-old Nihal’s life

Nihal Bitla (15), Mumbai’s only child with progeria, passed away at his home town in Telangana late on Monday evening. The Bhiwandi resident was attending a family wedding when he suffered brain stroke and was admitted to a hospital in Karim Nagar.It was a gene test at the Parel-based National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health by Dr Parag Tamhankar which confirmed that Nihal had Hutchinson Gilford Progeria – a genetic disorder that accelerates ageing– when he was 10 years old.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He is one of the 60 children in India who has been diagnosed with progeria. Nihal was treated at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, US, to receive the only known treatment for progeria.A team of doctors, including Dr Leslie Gordon, co-founder and medical director at Progeria Research Foundation (PRF), first identified the drug – lonafarnib – that could improve the cardiovascular health and lifespan of these children.”I met him two weeks back on a Progeria Day event. He was helping us with the awareness programme. When I thanked him, he said, ‘In friendship, no thank you and no sorry!'” said Dinesh Chindarkar, co-founder and director of Media Medic Communication, which is handling PRF’s communication in India.He added that Nihal was witty and full of life. “He was hail and hearty when we met last. He was a gadget freak and encyclopedia of robotics and automobiles,” said Chindarkar.With the help of Dr Thamankar, Nihal was sent to this foundation where he spent a month and received treatment and his movements became more flexible.Nihal had to stop his schooling when he was in class IV because of deteriorating health. In an interview to dna in August 2015, Nihal had said he wanted to be a painter.Most kids with progeria do not live past the age of 13. The disease affects both sexes and all races equally. It affects about 1 in every 4 million births worldwide. PRF has been undertaking a national donation campaign on April 15 – Progeria Day – for the last four years.Chindarkar said that Nihal was the face of progeria in India and was actively promoting awareness programme on the disease, along with PRF, which is on a mission to find others in India who suffer from the disease.According to the foundation, there are an estimated 300-350 children worldwide with the disorder. Of these, 60 children are believed to be from India. Right now, only 125 cases are known. PRF has launched a campaign to find out the others and treat them.”Currently, there is no proper treatment available across the world. This is the only foundation that is working on drugs for the disease. Of the estimated 60 children in India with the disease, we know only five. One was Nihal. He was the eldest. The other four are from Bihar,” said Chindarkar.

Fires in Vizag, Delhi museum, Kollam temple: India needs to take safety more seriously

Hours after six firemen were injured due to a massive fire that broke out at the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi, another major fire broke out at Biomax Fuels Limited (BFL), a bio-diesel manufacturing unit in Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ) in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday night.

On Sunday, six persons, including four children, died and over 700 houses were gutted in two separate incidents of fire in Bihar’s Lakhisarai and Darbhanga districts.

On 12 April, a powerloom unit on the ground floor of the building in Bhiwandi, Thane had caught fire which gutted two of the building’s floors and left several residents stranded for hours.

On 11 April, a fire had broken out at a dumping ground in Mulund, Mumbai.

Firefighters try to extinguish a massive fire at the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi. PTI

Firefighters try to extinguish a massive fire at the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi. PTI

One of the worst tragedies in the country this year took place on 10 April when fire broke out at the Puttingal Devi temple complex in Kollam, Kerala after sparks emanating from a fireworks display ignited a store room filled with crackers and pyrotechnic material. Over 100 people were killed in the tragedy.

Fires had also erupted on 28 January and 20 March at the Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai and the smoke from the fire had reached as far as Wadala.

Almost as alarming as the frequency of such incidents is the negligence behind many of them.

India seems to have a problem when it comes to implementing measures which could either prevent such mishaps from happening or minimising the damage caused by them.

For example, the fire safety mechanism of the National Museum of Natural History in the Ficci building in Delhi – which could have controlled the fire that broke out – was not functioning. “The fire safety systems were there but they were not functioning at the time when we tried to operate them. Had they been working, the fire would have been curtailed at the earliest time,” Deputy Fire Chief Rajesh Panwar had said.

After the fire at the powerloom unit in Bhiwandi, Thane Police PRO Gajanan Kabdule had told PTI that the owners of the building had got the powerloom factory (ground and first floor) constructed in 1997-98, and had later built the second, third and fourth floors allegedly without taking any permission and had used it for residential purposes.

He had also said that these floors were constructed without any proper plan by an engineer, and no safety measures had been adopted by the owners.

The FIR had further stated that the owners had failed to install fire safety equipment on the ground and first floor. Also, no precautionary measures were taken for the safety of occupants on the upper floors, which had 66 houses.

But perhaps the most tragic case of negligence was that which caused the Kollam temple fire tragedy.

The Kollam District Collector A Shainamol had said that no permission had been given for the fireworks competition — which caused the tragedy — because of the competitive nature of the event and lack of space in the temple. Yet, the competition had still taken place.

Additional District Magistrate of Kollam Shanawaz had also said that the ban order on the fireworks competition had been violated.

The most disappointing part about the aftermath of the tragedy was that authorities were still adamant on holding such fireworks displays. The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages about 1,255 temples in Kerala, had said on 11 April that it was not for a complete ban on such displays.

“In various temples fireworks display is part of temple rituals and we cannot ban it,” Prayar Goapalakrishnan, President of TDB, had said.

As Dinesh Unnikrishnan wrote in this Firstpost article, “Competitive fireworks that are way beyond the order of a spectacle intended to entertain public but exhibition of money power, religious clout and open defiance of law, would continue to happen in ‘God’s own country’ and have its share of blood (God forbid) as man must pay the price of his misadventures. (sic)”

As for the fires in the dumping grounds in Mulund and Deonar, the problem of uncontrolled dumping was only compunded by the presence of the “garbage-mafia gangs“, which traded scrap obtained illegally from dumping grounds by hiring underage rag-pickers.

India needs to urgently and strictly implement policy measures and put into place safety mechanisms which will prevent loss of lives in mishaps which could have been prevented.

With inputs from agencies

Allow atheists to take oath in the name of Constitution: PIL

Two Pune residents have filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court (HC), seeking directions to lower courts and its staff to allow atheists to take oaths while deposing in court by keeping their hands on the Indian Constitution.Sunil Mane and wife Laxmikanta Mane, in their petition, cited two court incidents, in Bhiwandi and Pune, where two government officers had wanted to take oath by putting their hands on the Constitution, but were not allowed to do so.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the Oaths Act of 1969, which is still in force, a witness can swear by Universal God without referring to any religious denomination, the petition said.The format prescribed is: “I do swear in the name of God, solemnly affirm that what I shall state shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”Further, it says that inside courts ‘the Constitution of India’ is the only holy book. The petitioners wish to assert that the Constitution is, in fact, the only modern sacred book and the democratic values in the society are real progressive thought of religion to be followed. A person of any religion cannot object to taking oath on the Constitution as it is our duty to abide by the Constitution. This will help in unnecessary flaring of communal thoughts, and also not create problems for people who are atheists.The petition states that cases like those of the two public servants are happening in various courts, but in the absence of any legal provision, the courts are not allowing the witnesses to depose.People who are not believers but have full faith in the Indian Constitution are being denied permission to depose during judicial proceedings at various levels in Maharashtra when they request that they will administer oath in the name of the Indian Constitution.The liberty of thoughts, expression, belief and faith is inclusive of not keeping any belief on concept of God and all such persons also have the right to follow their belief and faith.The petition, which will come up for hearing in due course, prays for directions from the court to declare that those, who are not willing to take oath in the name of God or by putting their hands on any religious book, shall be allowed to take oath in the name of Indian Constitution. Guidelines are issued to all courts in Maharashtra with respect to The Oaths Act 1969 and Indian Constitution. All courts in Maharashtra are given instruction on taking suo moto action proactively against the people giving false affidavits

Firefighters douse flames in garment factory in Bhiwandi; over 200 residents rescued

The fire that broke out on Tuesday morning in a garment factory in Bhiwandi has been doused, officials confirmed. More than 200 residents have been rescued and firefighters are in the process of clearing the fumes.

Fire at Bhiwandi building. IBNLiveFire at Bhiwandi building. IBNLive

Fire at Bhiwandi building. IBNLive

Seven residents of the nearby area who helped the firefighters save the people trapped were injured in the rescue operation and one is in critical condition, an official said.

An officer from the fire brigade present at the spot said that the four-storey building had a powerloom on the ground floor and private residences on the rest of the floors. An elderly lady who lives in the building was rushed to Sion Hospital for stress-related issues.

Many residents tried to escape from the second floor with the help of firefighters. Others broke an iron gate on the fourth floor to reach the terrace so the firefighters could rescue them. The building was only two years old and the officials are yet to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire broke out at 6 am. Four fire engines from Bhiwandi were sent to the area.

Fire tenders from Thane and Kalyan were also called to the spot for rescue efforts.

Ambulances and four water tankers were rushed to the spot to battle the fire.