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12 feared dead, four missing in landslide in Titli-hit Odisha

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Odisha

Bhubaneswar | At least 12 people were feared dead and four missing in a landslide triggered by heavy rain after cyclone Titli in Odisha’s Gajapati district, Special Relief Commissioner B P Sethi said Saturday.

The incident occurred when some villagers took shelter in a cave structure following very heavy rainfall on Friday evening, he said.

“There are reports about the death of 12 people in a landslide caused by heavy rains in Baraghara village under Rayagada block in Gajapati district. We are verifying them,” Sethi said.

Four people were missing and they were feared trapped under the debris, he said.

The district collector of Gajapati was asked to visit the spot to ascertain the situation and give a detailed report, he said.

After getting the report, financial assistance will be provided to the affected people as per government provisions, Sethi said.

He said the area where the landslide took place was remote and the roads to location were blocked by uprooted trees.

A rescue team, including personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), rushed to the area which was ravaged by incessant rainfall. The cyclone had made a landfall on Thursday southwest of Gopalpur near Palasa, said an official.

Meanwhile, rescue and relief operation gained momentum as water has started receding in other areas, officials said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was reviewing the situation, was slated to undertake an aerial survey of some of the affected areas, including Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts.

As many as 1,27,262 people were sheltered in 963 relief centres Friday, while the NDRF and the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were deployed to speed up rescue and relief operations, Sethi said.

Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Puri, Kandhamal and Kendrapara districts were affected by floods, he said, adding Ganjam was categorised as the “worst-affected”.

Two helicopters requisitioned from the Indian Navy are being engaged in air dropping operation in Ganjam district, said, officials.

The chief minister has directed Finance Minister Sashi Bhushan Behera and SC-ST Development Minister Ramesh Majhi to proceed to Kandhamal district to monitor the relief and restoration work, an official in CMO said.

Patnaik had earlier formed a three-member ministerial team to visit the flood-affected Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts and monitor the operations there.

The state government cancelled the Dusshera vacation of all its employees in the southern and central division, including Bhubaneswar, in view of cyclone Titli and subsequent flooding in different parts of the state.

About 60 lakh people were affected in the cyclone and flood and normal life was badly hit in Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts where the flood situation remained grim as water levels in major rivers such as Rushikulya and Bansadhara crossed danger marks, official sources said.

Sethi said Balasore district was also affected by the flood.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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trupti desai

Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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