Andhra Pradesh

Biennial elections for 10 seats in AP Legislative Council on March 21

The Election Commission today said biennial elections would be held on March 21 to fill up vacancies that will arise in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council due to the retirement of 10 sitting members from nine Local Authorities' constituencies.

Two of the members, Mr Patil Venugopal Reddy from the Anantapur Local Authorities' constituency and Mr Y S Vivekananda Reddy from Kadapa will retire on March 29.

The other seven members - Bommireddy Raghvendra Reddy (Nellore), Ch. Ganga Bhavani (West Godavari), Mr Mallula Lakshminarayana, Mr Gidugu Rudra Raju (both East Godavari), Mr Gorle Hari Babu Naidu (Srikakulam), Mr R Reddappa Reddy (Chittoor), Mr Tirumala Srinivasulu (Kurnool) and Mr Syed Aminul Hasan Jafri (Hyderabad) - are due to retire on May 1.

The notification for the elections will be issued on February 25 and the last date for making nominations is March 4. Counting of votes will be taken up on March 23, an official press release added.


AP CM expresses concern over abducting of Malkangiri collector

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today expressed concern over the kidnapping of Mr R Vineel Krishna, the collector of Malkangiri district in Orissa.

Mr Krishna, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, was abducted by armed Maoists last night from Janatapi in the district last night.

The Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary S V Prasad to speak to the Chief Secretary of Orissa and get information regarding Mr Krishna at the earliest and help his safe return.

Following the Chief Minister's instruction, Mr Prasad spoke to his Orissa counterpart D K Patnaik in detail over telephone and requested him to make all efforts to get exact information about Mr Krishna's whereabouts and help his safe return, an official release said here.


PRP-Cong merger formalities to be over in a month: Chiranjeevi

The formalities for the merger of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) with the Congress would be completed soon, its chief and film actor K Chiranjeevi said here today.

Talking to reporters after calling on Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President D Srinivas along with PRP legislators, he said there were some technicalities involved for the merger and the whole exercise would be completed in one month.

"After the process is over, we will be real Congressmen and later a massive public meeting will be organised to formalise the merger," Mr Chiranjeevi said.

"I met Mr Srinivas to take his blessings and good wishes as I know him since many years," he said.

"We all are committed to take forward the Congress party by strengthening the leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and strive for the overall development of the state," he said.

The actor-turned-politician said he was happy with the cooperation extended to him by the APCC chief.

When a reporter asked him to comment on his charges of corruption against late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy's regime during 2004-09, Mr Chiranjeevi said, "No one will tolerate corruption at any cost."

He said Ms Gandhi was trying to cleanse the system and eliminate corruption.

The APCC President said Mr Chiranjeevi had not pointed directly at Mr Rajasekhar Reddy or accused him of corruption. He had only said that there was corruption in various schemes implemented during that period, he said.

Mr Srinivas said all sections of people in the state had welcomed the PRP merger with Congress.

"I expressed my thanks to Mr Chiranjeevi after he made a courtesy call by meeting me. With total unity, we will strengthen the Congress Party further," he said.

"I and my party functionaries will take into confidence the PRP leaders and workers to strengthen the leadership of Ms Sonia Gandhi in the days ahead," Mr Srinivas added.


Biennial elections to six AP Legislative Council seats on March 13

The Election Commission has decided to hold biennial elections to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council on March 13 from three graduates' and three teachers' constituenies where the terms of office of members are expiring on March 29.

The members whose terms are ending include M V S Sarma (Srikakulam-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam), Balasubramanyam Vitapu (Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor) and Venkata Siva Reddy Mundla (Kadapa-Anantapur-Kurnool), all from graduates' constituencies.

Members from teachers' constituencies whose terms are ending are Dachuri Rami Reddy (Prakasam-Nellore-Chittoor), Pochim Reddy Subba Reddy (Kadapa-Anantapur-Kurnool) and P Sudhakar Reddy (Mahabubnagar-Ranga Reddy-Hyderabad).

An official press release said the notification for the elections would be issued on February 15 and the last date for making nominations will be February 22. Counting of votes will be taken up on March 15.


Indian Rotorcraft Ltd to commence operations at GMR Aerospace Park

The GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Ltd., a part of the GMR Group, has announced that it has reached an in-principle agreement on terms with Indian Rotorcraft Ltd to locate an AW119ke helicopter assembly and flight testing facility at the GMR Aerospace Park in Hyderabad.

The 8-seat AW119Ke is a top-of-the-range helicopter in the single engine market and has excellent performance even in extremely hot and high operating environments, a press release from GMR said.

It said that more than 190 AW119 helicopters have been ordered to date in around 30 countries by more than 90 customers.

"The AW119Ke is ideally suited to perform a wide range of tasks including law enforcement, utility, fire-fighting, EMS, VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport as well as military missions," it said.

According to the release, an area of 10 acres has been allocated within the aviation specific Special Economic Zone of the Aero Park with an option for future expansion of the current facility or in order to establish new capabilities.

The site was selected by Indian Rotorcraft after an exhaustive process of evaluation of other potential sites in India. Indian Rotorcraft Ltd will commence construction after all necessary Governmental approvals are obtained. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered from the new facility in 2012.

The AW119Ke assembly line, the first of its kind in private sector in India, will provide industrial opportunities in the aerospace sector in India and will enable the company to play an increasing role in the development of the Indian helicopter market, the release said.

Indian Rotorcraft is a joint venture of AgustaWestland, a Finmeania company, and Tata Sons for a final assembly line for the AW119Ke helicopter. It will be responsible for AW119Ke assembly, completion and delivery for the worldwide market.

"We are pleased to welcome Indian Rotorcraft to the GMR Hyderabad Aerospace Park. Tata Sons and AgustaWestland are leaders in their respective fields and the GMR Group takes pride in being the chosen partner to these two eminent companies. I would like to wish the venture all success and I hope this sets a trend for many other leaders in the aviation sector to start making Hyderabad their home," GMR Group Chairman G M Rao, said.


CBI arrests PRO, LDC of Regional Passport Office, Secunderabad on bribery charges

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a Public Relation Officer (PRO) and a lower division clerk (LDC) of the Regional Passport Office, Secunderabad for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.4000 from an applicant for a passport.

The applicant had alleged in a complaint to the CBI that the accused persons had demanded a bribe of Rs 4000 from him for processing his application.

The CBI laid a trap and the accused PRO was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 4000 from the complainant.

The agency said in a press release said that searches were conducted at the residential premises of both the accused. Cash worth Rs.3.5 lakhs, fixed deposit receipts (FDR)worth Rs 4 lakhs, and a locker key were seized from the residence of the PRO and some incriminating documents were recovered from the residence of the other official.

Both the accused were produced before the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderabad. Presently, the accused persons are in police custody upto February 11, the release added.


Central team leaves for AP districts to assess crop damage

A Central team which arrived here today has left for East Krishna, West Krishna and Khammam districts to assess the crop damage and other losses suffered by the state due to the heavy rains in December last year.

Revenue Minister N Raghuveera Reddy yesterday said the team would undertake visits to the affected districts for three days in two groups.

One group would tour East and West Godavari districts and the second one Krishna and Khammam districts.

The team would return to Hyderabad on February 10 and call on Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy before leaving for New Delhi where they would submit a report to the Centre.

Mr Reddy had briefed the team on the losses suffered, at the shamshabad airport soon after their arrival.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has requested the Centre for an assistance of Rs 450 crore for the loss suffered due to heavy rains.


Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam announces merger with Congress

The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of film star-turned politician Chiranjeevi today announced its unconditional merger with the Congress.

Announcing this to reporters here this evening, Union Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily and Mr Chiranjeevi, after a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence, said Mr Chiranjeevi would now be a member of the Congress.

"The Praja Rajyam and the Congress have decided to merge. Mr Chiranjeevi has decided to become a member of the Congress," Mr Moily said.

They said the decision was being taken in the interest of the people of Andhra Pradesh and for fighting poverty in the state.

Asked whether the merger was aimed at weakening his political opponents, mainly Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy who recently severed his ties with the Congress, Mr Chiranjeevi said the merger was not against any personality but for fighting social injustice and helping the cause of farmers in the state.

Mr Reddy has more than 20 legislators in the Andhra Assembly and his resignation would have severly affected the Congress. Mr Chiranjeevi has 18 MLAs including 16 from the Andhra region and two from the Telangana region.

Asked whether he expected anything from the Congress in return including a Cabinet post, the film star-turned politician categorically denied any such agreement, saying the merger with the "125 year-old" party would give him a larger platform to fight for social justice and removal of poverty.

"No, not at all. I have no such idea," Mr Chiranjeevi said when asked whether he was hoping to join Cabinet after the merger.

Asked whether the merger was "unconditional" he agreed and said "it is not about what we get, but what people get...I don't expect anything."

He said the objective of social justice could be achieved better from a bigger platform. This was the best time to join together, he said.

To a question on if he expected opposition to the move from his party, Mr Chiranjeevi said he did not expect or face any opposition.

He said that since he was in public life, it was his duty to see that people did not have any problems. There was no selfish motive attached to the merger, he added.

Mr Chiranjeevi was accompanied by senior PRP leader C Ramachandriah at the meeting with Ms Gandhi. Defence Minister A K Antony was also present. Mr Chiranjeevi had met Mr Antony in Hyderabad recently when he was invited to Delhi.


Venkataswamy has lost his mental balance: Congress

In a sharp reaction to Congress leader G Venkataswamy's statement that Congress President Sonia Gandhi should step down from her position immediately, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it appeared that Mr Venkataswamy had lost his mental balance.

"The party has taken note of his comments. It appears, unfortunately, that he has lost his mental balance. Appropriate action, at an appropriate time, in an appropriate manner will be taken," Mr Singhvi told newspersons.

Mr Venkataswamy had yesterday caused a flutter by demanding that Ms Gandhi should step down as Congress chief immediately.

"There will be no future for the Congress if she continued to be at the helm of affairs," Mr Venkataswamy had charged at a press conference in Hyderabad.


SC refuses to entertain Reddy bros' petitions on illegal mining

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain the petitions of the Reddy brothers, who are ministers in the B S Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka, against a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into alleged illegal mining in Obulapuram and Bellary areas.

The company, Obulapuram Mining Company Private Limited, owned and controlled by G Janardhan Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy, had come in appeal to the Supreme Court against Andhra Pradesh High Court order vide which the decision of the state government ordering CBI investigation was upheld.

The Reddy brothers sought permission of the apex court to withdraw their petitions when they found a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar was not inclined to entertain their petitions.

The court permitted the petitioners to withdraw their petitions and dismissed the same as withdrawn.

Special Forest bench headed by the CJI was examining the issue of illegal mining of iron ore in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

The SC-appointed Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC), in its report submitted to the court, has recommended a complete ban on the mining by Reddy brothers and has also sought directions from the court not to permit them to transport the iron ore already excavated.


India condemns US forcing Indian students to wear radio tags

India today reacted sharply to United States authorities forcing some Indian students to wear radio tags to keep track of them after they ended up being duped by a fake university in California.

"We demand the US government to initiate severe action against those officials responsible for this inhuman act. Indian students are not criminals. The radio collars should be immediately removed," a UNI report quoted External Affairs Minister S M Krishna as saying in Bangalore.

Talking to reporters, he said his Ministry had conveyed its objections to the US Government and was keeping a close watch on the situation.

"We have extended help to the students through the Indian mission in the US. The Ministry will extend all help to the students. The parents need not worry since the matter has been taken up with appropriate authorities.

Several Indian students, most of them from Andhra Pradesh, had landed up at the illegal Tri Valley University (TVU) in Pleasanton and were radio tagged by the authorities to track their movement.

In Delhi, the Ministry said the Government of India was seriously concerned about the impact of the US federal action against Tri Valley University on the Indian students enrolled at the now closed university.

"A majority of the Indian students at the university had transferred from other US universities; approximately 100 students had obtained visas from US mission in India; and, a number of students in the US as dependents of their spouses, had enrolled in the University after taking the required authorization," a statement from the Ministry said.

It said the Consulate General of India in San Francisco and the Ministry were in touch with the Indian students and US authorities.

"We have conveyed to the US authorities that the students, most of who are victims themselves, must be treated fairly and reasonably, and that the use of monitors on a group of students, who were detained and later released with monitors in accordance with US laws, is unwarranted and should be removed," it said.

"The students should be given ample opportunity to clarify their position and present their case; those who wish to return to India should be allowed to do so voluntarily; those students who have not violated any visa or immigration laws should be given opportunity to adjust their status; and, those who are eligible to seek transfer to other universities should be given adequate opportunity and time to do so," it said.

The Ministry said it had also asked the US Government to provide it full information on the affected students and keep it informed as the investigation unfolds, as well as, on the action being taken against the promoters of the university and others involved in perpetrating the fraud.

The principal investigator into the case has provided the Indian consulate in San Francisco a list of Immigration Attorneys, who are prepared to guide/advise the students free of charge, on immigration procedures. This list is available on the website of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco. The Consulate has also put up a link on its home page to receive details of all ex-TVU students present in the US.

The preliminary information provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Consulate is that they propose to bring out a detailed advisory for all students of TVU, sometime next week, which will be available on its website. It will provide guidance to eligible students regarding what they can do to seek admission in other schools.

ICE has advised that all students of TVU, wherever they are, should report to the nearest ICE office for instructions. Those students who are presently in India with TVU sponsored Visas should not travel to the US with that visa. They can apply to other universities and, if admitted, could apply afresh for new visas.

"The Ministry and our Mission / Post in USA would do everything possible to safeguard the legitimate interests of the Indian students and render all necessary consular assistance," the statement added.


Three engineering students killed in road accident in Andhra Pradesh

Three engineering students were killed when a bus in which they were travelling fell into a roadside ditch at Srinivasa Mangapuram, about 20 kms from here today.

According to police, an Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus, which was carrying 45 passengers, was proceeding to Tirupati from Madanapalle when it fell into a roadside ditch near the railway gate located at Srinivasa Mangapuram.

Two engineering students were killed on the spot and 25 others injured, five of them seriously, including the bus driver.

The injured were shifted to government Ruia hospital in Tirupati through four 108 ambulances. Another engineering student succumbed to injuries at the hospital, police said.

The deceased were identified as Manikanta, Munichandra and Anil (all below 23 years and studying at Sree Vidyanikehhan Engineering College).


"I did not expect Padma Vibhushan": Akkineni

Veteran Telugu film actor and Padma Vibhushan awardee Akkineni Nageswara Rao has said that he did not expect the honour conferred on him by the Centre.

Talking to newspersons at Jubilee Hall on the sidelines of a function here yesterday in connection with late music Director Adinarayana Rao "Aaradhana", organised by the Department of Culture, he said "I express my thanks to the government for giving me the prestigious award."

Mr Rao said there were no such awards when he made his debut in the film industry. "The award will inspire me to work more energetically," the Dada Saheb Phalke awardee said.


MLAs joining Jagan embarrassing but morally incorrect: Kiran Reddy

Expressing disappointment over some Congress MLAs and MPs joining rebel party leader Jaganmohan Reddy's recent protest in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today admitted that it was "embarrassing but morally incorrect" to go against the party on whose symbol they were elected.

Talking to newspersons on a visit to the capital to plead with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his colleagues for clearance of various pending state projects yesterday, Mr Reddy said he would have accepted their participation if they gave up their memberships and then attended any protest anywhere.

Asked about Mr Jaganmohan Reddy's comments that the support of his Congress MLAs to the Andhra government was a big favour, the Chief Minister retorted that no one was at the mercy of anybody.

"Everybody, including late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was at the mercy of the Congress and its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. No doubt, YSR was a tall leader of the Congress, building the organisation brick by brick but there were several leaders who had worked hand in hand with him for over three decades," he said.

The Congress, particularly, Ms Gandhi, had always treated the late Chief Minister with due regard. The party had made his son Jaganmohan Reddy an MP and his mother an MLA and his family should be "indebted" to the Congress, he added.

Mr Reddy said YSR too had never challenged the authority of the Congress High Command at any point of time despite all his differences at the state level. As far as Mr Jaganmohan Reddy's contribution was concerned, he was elected in 2009 as an MP and nothing more.

Answering questions on Telangana agitations, the Chief Minister said his government was committed to allowing all protests not crossing their limits in a democracy. Every citizen has his own right to protest without resorting to violence.

During his meeting with the Prime Minister, he had urged Dr Singh to speed up the clearances of Expenditure Finance Committee for Polavaram project and the state government had promised to send a detailed project report on Pranahita Chavella irrigation project.


TTD temple jewels intact and in order: Wadhwa committee

The six-member committee led by Justice D P Wadhwa, retired Supreme Court judge, has declared that all jewels in the treasury of Lord Venkateswara are safe and intact.

The committee was constituted on January 4, 2010.

Addressing the media after handing over the 187-page detailed report to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Specified Authority Chairman J Satyanarayana on the jewels inventory of the world-famous Venkateswara Temple and other TTD sub-temples here yesterday, Justice Wadhwa said, "All the jewels are in order and the system to keep track of jewels is well placed, established and maintained by temple administration of TTD."

Senior journalist Sri Potturi Venkateswara Rao, who is also one of the members of the committee, said, "After verifying all the jewels personally, physically and technically, all of us have unanimously declared that the jewels are intact and safe."

Besides vouching for the security of the temple ornaments worth crores rupees, the committee also made important recommendations to the TTD which includes: setting up of an exclusive treasury with state-of-art security apparatus and a museum with fool proof security to display the jewels for the benefit of visiting pilgrims.


Justice Jaya Roy appointed as Judge of Jharkhand High Court

The President has appointed Ms Justice Jaya Roy, Additional Judge of the Jharkhand High Court, to be a Judge of that High Court with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.

An official press release said here today that the President had also appointed Mr Prashant Kumar and Mr Pradeep Kumar as Additional Judges of the Jharkhand High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from today.

Mr Bira Kishore Misra has been appointed as an Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court, for a period of two years with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

The release said the President had, similarly, appointed Mr Arup Kumar Goswami, to be an Additional Judge of the Gauhati High Court, for a period of two years with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.

Mr Gurijala Krishna Mohan Reddy, and Mr Kolla Surya Appa Rao have been named as Additional Judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court, in that order of seniority, for a period of two years with effect from the dates they assume charge of their offices, the release added.


16 students injured as bus plunges into canal in Andhra Pradesh

As many as 16 students were injured when a school bus belonging to Sri Prakash Educational Institutions, Tuni, went out of control and plunged into a canal after hitting a motorcyclist near Kolimeru village on the Tuni-Kottam Road near here today.

Police sources said the motorcyclist was one of those injured and admitted to the government hospital at Tuni.

Over 45 students -- all studying from nursery to first year intermediate -- were travelling in the bus which was on its way back to Tuni after picking up students at Mulagapudi, Rajavaram and surrounding villages.

The condition of at least three students is stated to be serious, the sources added.


Hyderabad native nominated for judgeship in New Jersey

An Indian-American lawyer who has tried to promote understanding between Muslims and law-enforcement officials is set to be nominated as a judge by Governor Chris Christie of neighbouring New Jersey.

A statement from the governor's office said Mr Christie intends to nominate Sohail Mohammed, a Clifton-based attorney, for the judgeship in Passaic County.

Mr Mohammed was born in Hyderabad and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. As an attorney, Mr Mohammed has pursued 70 per cent of his cases in immigration, 20 per cent corporate and the rest crime related.

Following the terrorist attacks in 2001, he defended several people rounded up on suspicion by police.

"He worked in the aftermath of the attacks to try to foster trust between American Muslims and law enforcement, particularly federal officials," The New York Times reported.

In 1993, he earned his degree from the Seton Hall University School of Law.

Mr Mohammed was selected as a "per lawyer" for five years beginning 2006 and in 2009, the New Jersey Monthly named him as one of the "Most Influential People in NJ".

A spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, hailed the nomination announcement.

"It is just evidence of the growth and maturity of the American Muslim community and our contributions to American society," The Daily Reporter said, citing Mr Hooper.

After the governor formally nominates him, Mr Mohammed will have to be confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in order to assume the judgeship.


6 drown as car falls into canal in Andhra Pradesh

Six people, including two children, drowned when the car in which they were travelling fell into an irrigation canal at Vendra village in Palakodure mandal.

Police said the ill-fated car was proceeding to Bhimavaram when the mishap occurred last night.

Five of the bodies were retrieved while a search was on for the sixth victim.

The deceased were identified as Anjaneya Reddy, Srinivasa Raju, D Saraswathi, Radha, Padma and Sai Ahinava Sharma.


Kerala authorities release partial list of Sabarimala stampede victims

Following is the partial list of those killed in yesterday's stampede near here involving Sabarimala pilgrims:

1.  Ajukumar(34), Pollachi, Tamil Nadu
2.  Ananth Solar(16), Belgam, Karanataka
3.  Anmaparsu(22), Dharapuram, Tamil Nadu 
4.  Aravindahan Majeriya, Andra Pradesh 
5.  Arul(20), S/o Ramachnadra, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 
6.  Arun(20), Medtak, Andra Pradesh 
7.  Ayyappan(30), Dharamapuri, Tamil Nadu 
8.  Babu, Prakash Nagar, Mysore, Karanataka 
9.  Balu (Balraj) Thirunelvelly, Tamil Nadu 
10. Balu, Balagi, S/o Lekshmanan, Thirupathi, Andra pradesh 
11. Basu Gokkat, Karanataka 
12. Chandhu (32), Belgam, Karanataka 
13. Ellappa Durgappa (26), Ellar, Belgam, Karnataka 
14. Govindaraj, Mettupalaym, Tamil Nadu 
15. Greenu(26), Housur, Nelkonda, Andra Pradesh 
16. Gudhi(30), (Praveen), Karnataka 
17. K Ramar, Thriuvannamali, Tamil Nadu 
18. Kalimani(31), Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu 
19. Korukutty, Vengara Malappuram, Kerala 
20. Krishnan, Dharmapuri, Potty Tamil Nadu 
21. Krishnanprasad(34), Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
22. Madhu, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
23. Maheshwar(26), S/o Lingappa Dharvada, Karnataka 
24. Maleswar(26), Gurghatti, Karanataka
25. Manjunath(21), Dharsak, Karanataka 
26. Murukesh(50), Meloor, Ootty, Tamil Nadu 
27. Nagarajan(26), Kaveri Nagar, Bangalore, Karanataka 
28. Nanguganesh(30), Andhra Pradesh 
29. P Churuli, Andhra Pradesh 
30. P N Unnikrishnan(48), Putiyakavu, Thripunitara, Kerala 
31. P Ramu, Mavettilnagaram, Andhra Pradesh 
32. Padbanabhan(46), Palakkad, Kerala 
33. Prasanth(44), Selam, Tamil Nadu
34. Purushotham(45), Gokat, Karnataka 
35. Rajarethinam(30), Pollachi, Tamil Nadu 
36. Rajkumar(30), Meloor, Ooty, Tamil Nadu 
37. Raju, Onkala Dt, Andhra Pradesh 
38. Ramachandra, S/o Muthuthevar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu 
39. Ramakrishnan(65), Coimbatoor, Tamil Nadu 
40. Ramar(25), Goodallor, Tamil Nadu 
41. Rambasu Redddy, Andhra Pradesh 
42. S Aravind(23), Vijyavada, Andhra Pradesh 
43. Sarvesham Ramanattu(31), Karinagar, Andhra Pradesh 
44. Seetharam(26), Gokka, Karnataka 
45. Selvaraj Ayya   
46. Selvaraj(38), Thirnelvelly, Tamil Nadu 
47. Servegam, S/o Rajamallia Udoor Village, Karnataka 
48. Sidhuram, Kudak, Karnataka 
49. Sivalinga Iyya(16), Murukkottumedu, Karanataka 
50. Sreenu Huzur, Andhra Pradesh 
51. Subramaniyan(35), Chinnakachipuram, Tamil Nadu   
52. Subramaniyan(38), Dhanavakpuram, Karnataka 
53. Suresh, Mysore, Karanataka 
54. Teepesh(26), Bellary, Karanataka 
55. Thankkam, C/o Karuppya 3 cent, Thoothukkudy Tamil Nadu 
56. Unnikrishnan, Trippunithara, Kerala 
57. Ushakanth(26), Sri Lanka 
58. Venketesh Parasuram(28), Belgam Karnataka 
59. Venkida Subbaya57), Pullampettu, Medal, Kadappa, Andhra Pradesh
60. Vishunumoorthy(25), Basuragu, Karanataka .


Bodies of 21 Ayyappa pilgrim-victims from AP identified

The bodies of 21 people from Andhra Pradesh who died in yesterday's stampede at Sabarimala in Kerala have been identified.

Officials, quoting latest statistics on the toll, identified the deceased as V Prasad (21) of Krishna District, P Ramu (44), Prasanth, Beeju, Raju of Prakasam District, Govindaraju (32) of Srikakulam, Rajkumar Appa(40) of Nizamabad, Rambabu Reddy (65) of Nalgonda, Ramchandra (50) of Medak, Aravind (24) of Vijayawada in Krishna District, Venkat Subbaiah (57) of Kadapa, Govind (25) of Prakasam, Churali, Venkateswara Rao (28), Gangadhar of Machilipatnam of Krishna, Sarvam (30) of Utnoor of Adilabad district, Arun Kumar (32) of Gadval of Mahboobnagar, B Prasad (25), Ganesh of Chirala of Prakasam, Athunth (22) of Vijayawada and Gajjala Venkateswara Rao of Guntur district.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed deep grief over the tragedy which left 102 dead at Pulmedu in the deep forests of Kerala's Idduki district last night and reviewed the situation with authorities concerned.

The Chief Minister asked the Chief Secretary to find out the details of deceased and take all measures to bring the bodies to here from Kerala as soon as possible.

Moreover, the government had set up a help centre at the Secretariat and further details can be had on 9010204277 and 9440414788.


Congress core group meets to discuss Telangana issue

A meeting of the Congress core group was held here yesterday evening to discuss the demand for a separate state of Telangana that has been raised from many quarters in Andhra Pradesh.

The meeting, held at the 7, Race Course Road residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was attended by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party, including Home Minister P Chidambaram, sources said.

The issue of the separate state of Telangana has caused divisions within the party with several party leaders from Andhra Pradesh expressing themselves in favour of a separate state.

A delegation of Congress leaders from the state had met top Congress leaders here on Wednesday and favoured formation of a separate state.

Sources said the party is mulling idea of a Deputy Chief Minister in Andhra Pradesh from the Telangana region.

The party yesterday announced that Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief D Srinivas, who hails from Telangana, would continue in the position.


SC issues notices to Centre and AP on Azad encounter

The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and the state of Andhra Pradesh on the alleged killings of Maoist spokesman Cherukuri Rajkumar "Azad" and freelance journalist Hemchandra Pandey by the Andhra Pradesh Police.

Taking serious note of the killings, the Supreme Court said, "We cannot allow lawless killings by the state."

A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha issued the notices to the Centre and state of Andhra Pradesh on a petition filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh seeking a judcial inquiry into the killings.

Justice Alam also said, "We hope the Republic of India will not have the stains of the killings of her own children."

Azad and Pandey were killed on the night intervening July 1 and 2 last year.

The police version is that the search party was attacked by Maoists and the two were killed in retaliatory fire.


Cong MPs from Telangana meet top leadership, say demand justified

Congress MPs from the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh today met top leaders of the party here and said the demand for a separate state was justified.

Terming the demand for Telangana as "genuine and very old", 14 Congress MPs, who met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily here, said that there was no alternative to the formation of a separate state.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Keshava Rao said, "We want a separate Telangana. It is a people's movement."

Sources said the MPs also submitted a memorandum to the Finance Minister that stated that there was no alternative to a separate state of Telangana.


4 pilgrims from AP killed in road accident in Tamil Nadu

Four Ayyappa devotees hailing from Andhra Pradesh were killed and seven others critically injured when a car in which they were travelling rammed into the rear of a stationary container truck at N Subbaiapuram village on the Sattur-Kovilpatti Highway near here early today.

Police said a group of 11 Ayyappa devotees, hailing from Pesapattu village in Rengareddy district of Andhra Pradesh, were returning to their native place after a pilgrimage to Sabarimala in Kerala when the mishap occurred. The mishap occurred at 0300 hrs due to poor visibility owing to dense fog.

The deceased were identified as S Mahesh (26), S Palraj (25), K Sai (16) and P Srinu (22). All the injured were admitted to the Government Hospital at Sattur. They were later shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) at Madurai. The condition of one of the injured pilgrims was stated to be critical.

Sattur Taluk police have registered a case and were investigating the mishap, the police added.


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