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Rajasthan

Asaram Bapu convicted in minor rape case

Five years after charges of rape were levelled against Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted the self-styled godman and four others in a 2013 rape case.
File photo of Asaram Bapu. (Photo: IANS)
File photo of Asaram Bapu. (Photo: IANS)
Five years after charges of rape were levelled against Asaram Bapu, the Jodhpur Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe Court on Wednesday convicted the self-styled godman and four others in a 2013 rape case.
 
Asaram was convicted under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) act and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.
 
The judgement was pronounced by Judge Madhusudan inside the Jodhpur Central Jail, where Asaram is lodged.
 
Asaram Bapu was arrested in 2013 on the complaint filed by a teenage girl from Uttar Pradesh's Shahajahanpur. She had accused him of raping her at his Jodhpur ashram in August. The victim was a Class 12 student at his Chhindwara Ashram in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The 77-year-old godman is facing trial in two other sexual assault cases: one in Rajasthan here and the other in Gujarat. 
 
He was arrested in Indore and brought to Jodhpur on September 1, 2013. He has been in judicial custody since September 2, 2013. 
 
He also faces multiple charges, including wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and sexual harassment.
 
The chargesheet named Asaram and four others -- Sanchita alias Shilpi, Sharad Chandra alias Sharat Chandra, Prakash and Shiva alias Sava Ram Hethvadiya.
 
The quantum of punishment will be announced later.
 
IANS
 
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Salman gets bail against personal bond of Rs 50,000

After spending two nights in a Jodhpur jail, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted bail on Saturday in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 by District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi.
 
Salman Khan convicted in black buck poaching case
 
 
After spending two nights in a local jail, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan was granted bail on Saturday in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 by District and Sessions Court Judge Ravindra Kumar Joshi.
 
Arguments on the actor's bail application, which had been taken up yesterday, continued this morning before the judge reserved his order for the post-lunch session.
 
While granting him bail, the judge asked Salman, 52, to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 and two sureties of Rs. 25,000 each with guarantees that he will adhere to all the bail conditions.
 
The court said Salman would have to secure special permission from it to travel abroad.
 
He is expected to be released by this evening after completion of various legal procedures, sources said.
 
Salman had spent a second night in the Central Jail here last night because the arguments on his bail plea could not be completed yesterday.
 
The superstar was convicted by a local court on Thursday and was sentenced to five years imprisonment in the two-decade-old case.
 
Salman and other Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam allegedly went hunting on October 1-2 in 1998 outside a forest reserve near Kankani village in Jodhpur while shooting for "Hum Saath Saath Hain" in 1998. 
 
While Salman was found guilty, the four co-stars and a local, Dushyant Singh, were acquitted.
 
Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri convicted Salman under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
 
(With  inputs from IANS)
 
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15 dead, 31 injured as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan

At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan on Friday afternoon, official sources said.
 
At least 15 dead as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan
At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan this afternoon, official sources said.
 
Police officials in Tonk told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured were initially taken to nearby hospitals from where they were referred to a hospital in Jaipur.
 
All the victims were men and were going to attend a marriage when the mishap occurred in the Malpura area of the district around 3 pm.
 
Senior district admininstration and police officials rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue and relief efforts, the sources said.
 
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condoled the loss of lives in the incident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the next-of-kin of those killed.
 
She also asked State Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria and other senior ministers and officials to rush to the spot and ensure the best possible medical care for the injured.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident. 
 
"The bus incident at Tonk, Rajasthan is very heart-rending. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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Denied LS ticket by BJP, Jaswant Singh says will file nomination on Monday

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a ticket by the party to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer, confirmed on Sunday that he would file his nomination from there on Monday, presumably as an independent candidate.
Not furniture that BJP can adjust me: Jaswant
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a party ticket to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer in Rajasthan, today confirmed that he would file his nomination from there tomorrow, presumably as an independent candidate.
 
At the same time, he ruled out joining the Congress or any other party, saying it was insulting to him for any party to even think on such lines.
 
Reacting to media reports that the Congress might try and rope him in, Mr Singh, 76, told newspersons in his village that he had spent his entire political life in the BJP and had never thought of joining any other party.
 
"If the Congress is thinking along those lines, it is a waste of their time," he said.
 
But, despite repeated queries, he refused to confirm or deny whether the Congress had, in fact, made any overtures to him or not.
 
To another question, Mr Singh said he would go to Barmer tomorrow and file his nominations. "I will go to Barmer, will discuss the issue with others and act accordingly," he said.
 
Asked if he would resign from the party before filing his nomination, he said these things would be known tomorrow.
 
Mr Singh was particularly unhappy with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's statement that the party could not "adjust" Mr Singh in its list of candidates and that it would find other ways of using his abilities.
 
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"I saw on television a party leader saying that the could not 'adjust' me. The choice of words shows their way of thinking and their arrogant nature. It is insulting to me. I am not a piece of furniture, a chair or a table, which can be moved to some other part of the room if it does not fit in one place.
 
"I don't want to be 'adjusted'," he said. "All my life, I have worked for the party, in its best interests, to the best of my ability," he said.
 
About Barmer, he said it was the place where he was born and where he had grown. "All that I know today, I learnt from here," he said.
 
Asked about the caste equations in the area, Mr Singh regretted that the social fabric of the region was being torn by such considerations. He said he had never practised such politics. "You cannot divide society and people in this manner. If we persist in doing so, the state will end up as a second-rate UP, a third-rate Bihar," he said.
 
The BJP had, on Friday, announced that its candidate from Barmer would be Col Sonaram Chaudhary, a former MLA, who had recently joined it after resigning from the Congress, ignoring Mr Singh's claims and his wish that he be allowed to contest what could possibly be his last election from his home turf.
 
Reacting to the move, Mr Singh had hit out at the party yesterday, saying that it had been encroached upon by "outsiders", an obvious reference to the fact that it had given tickets to several people who had joined it in recent weeks, ignoring the claims of party loyalists.
 
He also made it clear to journalists at Jodhpur on his way to barmer that he would not indulge in any kid of bargaining with the party for post-election positions or any other officers from it.
 
"My sense of honour is not subject to trading," he said, even as Mr Jaitley and BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the party would utilise Mr Singh's abilities in some other way.
 
Mr Rajnath Singh said the importance that the BJP acccorded to Mr Singh could not be judged on the basis of an election ticket alone. "He is far above that," he said.
 
"The challenge today is between the real BJP and the fake BJP," Mr Singh said. "Only the people can decide on the difference between the two," he said.
 
He said he had lived and struggled all these years to uphold the principles on which the BJP was founded and it was important that he continued to do so.
 
He said it was for the BJP to realise what would add value to the party, to India and to the people of India.
 
The BJP's decision to deny the ticket to Mr Singh is being seen as yet another indication that the old order in the party is being forced to yield place to the new.
 
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According to media reports, Mr Singh had conveyed to the BJP leadership that he would contest the election from Barmer as an independent candidate if the party decided against nominating him.
 
He has never contested from Barmer, having been elected to the Lok Sabha from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan in 1991 and 1996, and from Darjeeling in West Bengal in the last general elections in 2009.
 
According to sources, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had pushed for a ticket for Col Choudhary, a Jat leader, after he joined the BJP some time ago.
 
Col Choudhary had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Barmer to Mr Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who now represents Sheo - a part of the Barmer Parliamentary constituency - in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
 
The move to deny Mr Singh a ticket has also upset a section of BJP workers in Barmer, who staged protests and tore party posters to express their anger.
 
The denial of the party nomination to Mr Singh came just a day after the BJP had, on Thursday, managed to mollify its veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani into accepting the party's decision to field him from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, though he had expressed his wish to shift to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Earlier, another party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi, was reportedly upset after he had to make way for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his constituency of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He was persuaded finally to move to Kanpur.
 
Another senior leader, Lalji Tandon, had to give up his claim over Lucknow, the seat held by him, to accommodate Mr Rajnath Singh, who decided against contesting from Ghaziabad, the seat he had won the last time.
 
In Punjab, three-time MP and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu had to make way in Amritsar for senior leader Arun Jaitley.
 
Yesterday, the BJP denied renomination to seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East and fielded well-known actor Paresh Rawal as its candidate from the constituency. Mr Pathak is known to be close to Mr Advani and was reportedly not on very good terms with Mr Modi.
 
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Army deployed for flood relief in Kota, Jhalawar

Army personnel rescuing people in flood affected areas of Rajasthan. (Photo: IANS)
Army personnel rescuing people in flood affected areas of Rajasthan. (Photo: IANS)
The army has deputed its flood relief columns of the Sapta Shakti Command in the Kota and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan following heavy rains on Saturday and Sunday.
 
One column each has been deputed in Kota and Jhalawar districts, according to Col Sombit Ghosh, PRO, Defence Rajasthan. The army has been kept as standby in the Dholpur and Sawai Madhopur districts.
 
Deployed on the request of the civil administration, the army columns are helping in rescue of people marooned on rooftops and evacuation from low-lying areas. They are also distributing relief materials and providing basic amenities and other humanitarian assistance to the people.
 
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has declared a red alert in Baran, Chittaurgarh, Kota and Jhalwar for the next 24 hours.
 
Red alert signifies that action should be taken immediately and vigil should be maintained in and around the area with reference to heavy rainfall.
 
According to met officials, Gangdhar in the Jhalawar district recorded the highest amount of rainfall at 22 cm on September 14-15, followed by Durg in same district at 19 cm.
 
The Pratapgarh district has recorded 16 cm rainfall in these two days. Many areas of Banswara have reported around 8-9 cm rainfall.
 
The met department has warned heavy rainfall in Bhilwara, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajasmand, Banswara, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh, Sirohi, Kota, Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Bharatpur and Dholpur districts in the next 24 hours.
 
According to local officials, the swollen Chambal river has created islands in many villages and the NDRF and the SDRF teams are engaged in rescue and relief operations.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot here on Saturday had called a meeting to review the situation and issued directions for quick relief in flood-affected areas.
 
IANS
 

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Gauba chairs NCMC meeting to review flood situation in MP, Rajasthan

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The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba met here today to review the prevailing flood situation in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
 
Gauba took stock of the current situation, preparedness, rescue and relief operations and directed that immediate assistance, as sought by the states, be provided to meet the crisis.
 
Both the States informed the NCMC that extremely heavy rainfall and the consequent discharge of water from the Gandhi Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh and other reservoirs in the two states had caused flooding in the upstream as well as downstream areas.
 
Action to evacuate and rescue people and livestock were taken by the states and no loss of life has been reported. Adequate teams of the NDRF and the Army have also been deployed and are engaged in rescue work.
 
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that while there has been very heavy rainfall in these States over the past few days, the intensity is likely to decline from tomorrow.
 
Senior officials of the Ministries of Home and Defence, as well as those from IMD, NDRF and Central Water Commission,  attended the meeting. Chief Secretaries and other senior officers from the State Governments participated in the meeting through video conference.
 
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IIM Udaipur launches one-year MBA in Digital Enterprise Management

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Indian Institute of Management Udaipur (IIMU) has launched a one-year full-time residential MBA in Digital Enterprise Management (DEM), said to be the first such programme that will cater to the needs of a fast-changing world.
 
A press release from IIMU said the course, with its emphasis on analytics and new technologies, would enable managers to work efficiently in the emerging digital business enterprises.
 
"This program is designed for experienced professionals aiming to explore new and emerging technologies and intending to gain an understanding of managerial functions in digital enterprises," it said.
 
The DEM program will provide students with an opportunity to develop a working knowledge of emerging technologies and acclaimed practices as the course curriculum is prepared in consultation with  industry experts, the release said.
The Institute has set up an academic advisory board for developing the new program. The board comprises founders of successful digital companies in the country like Pranay Chuley (Quikr) and Hitesh Oberoi (Info Edge India Ltd).
 
Senior leaders from leading consulting companies, including Ganesan Ramachandran (Accenture) and Kamesh Mullapudi (Deloitte) are also part of the board. Nitin Bawankule (Google) and Sreejit Roy (IBM) bring in the expertise of the technology companies.
 
K Harishankar (Unilever), an expert in digital transformational initiatives from the CPG world and Ravi Vijayaraghavan (Flipkart), proficient in the use of analytics in solving real-life business problems, are also members of the advisory board.
 
IIMU has already entered into an MoU with several  leading companies across business verticals.  There are various others in the pipeline that would collaborate in the process of sharing and development of knowledge in the digital world.  
 
For instance,  IBM will give the students relevant and enhanced industry exposure by virtue of its experts delivering guest lectures on leading-edge technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics, with industry use cases, as well as by providing a platform to the students for short-term projects in the digital space.  
 
IIMU has also executed MoU with leading consulting firm- Accenture, which advises and enables large, global companies on their digital transformational strategies; E-commerce start-up company Quikr – comprising real-estate industry (Common-Floor), blue and grey collar jobs (Baba Job) and in online sale of used items (mobile, cars and household goods); ITC Infotech – a company that works on green and brownfield projects on digital twin, Industry 4.0 and in CPG verticals.  
 
"This approach of engaging with leading organizations helps bridge the gap between academia and industry so that students get a jump start and are ready to enter the workforce with relevant experience," the release said.
 
Pankaj Patel, Chairman, IIM Udaipur, said, "The way technology is changing the world, future careers are going to be quite different than what we see today.  
 
"At IIM Udaipur, we don’t just want our students to prepare for this change but welcome it. The DEM program would cater to the needs of emerging digital business enterprises and the aspirants," he added.
 
"The one-year program provides students with a solid foundation in management fundamentals and exposes them to contemporary practices of data-driven decision making. This program provides a well-rounded exposure to business management, data analytics, and emerging technologies that are severely in demand in the corporate world," the release said.
 
"Students will learn from academicians and industry practitioners through case studies, simulations, frameworks and practical lab projects," it said.
 
Talking about the relevance of the program, Pranay Chulet, founder, Quikr and Member, Academic Advisory Board added, “Our dependency on technology is increasing. Technology has started influencing our lives in so many ways. The way we make decisions is starting to get dependent on technology. It is important that today’s managers understand that.”
 
This is a full-time residential program, and admission is through the GMAT/GRE. This program is ideal for professionals with a graduate degree and 3+ years of work experience.
 
Students start the program in April of the first year and graduate in March of the following year. Interested candidates can apply online through the IIM Udaipur website, the release added.
 
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Gang attacks Rajasthan police station, escapes with wanted criminal

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Around two dozen men opened indiscriminate fire with AK-47s inside Behror police station in Alwar, Rajasthan on Friday morning and escaped with wanted gangster Vikram alias Papla Gurjar, who was in the lock-up.
 
The policemen meanwhile were hiding in an adjoining room trying to save their lives. They later informed their seniors about the incident, following which Superintendent of Police Amandeep Singh reached the police station.
 
He said the attackers were from Haryana. They attacked the police station around 8.45 a.m. and escaped with Gurjar, who is wanted in several murder cases in Haryana, and had been arrested on Thursday.
 
Police sources said the gang had earlier managed to free Gurjar while he was being taken for hearing in Mahendragarh (Haryana).
 
They added that special investigation teams have been formed to probe the case and state highways between Jaipur and Delhi, and Alwar and Narnaul have been sealed.
 
IANS
 

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SC allows UP girl to meet her parents in Delhi

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Supreme Court judges on Friday interacted with the girl who went missing from Shahjahanpur in UP and allowed her to meet her parents as per her wish, and also directed Delhi Police to facilitate the travel of her parents to Delhi.
 
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to produce the girl before it. She had gone missing after accusing former Union minister Swami Chinmayanand of sexually harassing her. 
 
A bench headed by Justice R. Banumathi said the judges will interact with the girl and the interaction will be kept confidential.
 
The Uttar Pradesh Police had told the court that the girl, a law student, had been found with a friend in Rajasthan. The UP government's standing counsel informed the court that the girl was safe and that she was being taken home by a police team. 
 
In the evening after briefly interacting with the girl, Justice R. Banumathi said the girl did not wish to go back to Shahjahanpur, instead, she wanted to stay in Delhi to meet her parents. 
 
The court has given directions for her safe and comfortable stay at any of guest houses on the panel of Delhi Legal Services Authority.
 
"We are concerned about her safety and comfort. We will not allow lawyers to meet her. Let her parents meet her first," said the court.
 
Shobha Gupta, the petitioner, insisted the court should allow her parents to talk to her, as her father is eager to speak to her.
 
Vikramjeet Banerjee, representing UP, said she is not an accused and whatever is comfortable for her "we are ready to make those arrangements".
 
The judge observed that Delhi police should get her parents from Uttar Pradesh.
 
The court observed that the girl was very responsive to the questions put to her.
 
The court said as per girl's statement, she left her native place along with three college mates, who are also famliy friends, and told the judges that after meeting her parents, she will decide on her future course of action.
 
"Considering the facts of the case, we direct Delhi Police to depute a team to make her travel to Delhi comfortable", observed the court.
 
The court also directed the registry to make arrangements for the stay of the girl in the guest house for four days.
 
"The registrar will coordinate the meeting of girl with her parents. The girl shall not meet others till she meets parents. The girl will use the landline phone at the place of her stay, and the guest house will permit her to use the landline to talk to her parents", said the court.
 
The UP counsel argued that she should not have access to anybody except her parents, and objected to lawyers meeting her. The court barred her from meeting except parents till the court meets her again.
 
The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on Monday.
 
The girl, a law student, had gone missing on August 24 after posting a video on Facebook, alleging that a "big leader of the Sant Samaj" had "destroyed the lives of many other girls and has also threatened to kill me". She requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help her.
 
The woman's video was widely circulated on social media. Based on the video, her father blamed Chinmayanand, a former Union Minister who heads the management of the college where the woman studies.
 
The police filed the family's case only on August 27, three days after she went missing, and charged Chinmayanand with kidnapping and criminal intimidation.
 
The former MP, however, was not questioned. His lawyer asserted that the allegations were false and it was an attempt to extort money from the politician.
 
"We did conduct raids in the Chinmayanand ashram. Our teams spoke to several people in his ashram. Our first focus was to recover her safely," the Uttar Pradesh Police chief said.
 
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, decided to take up the case after lawyers raised concerns that it could turn into another Unnao case where a powerful Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar -- expelled only recently from the party -- is accused of raping a minor girl from his village in 2017 and conspiring to murder her in a recent car crash.
 
Chinmayanand, 72, runs an ashram in Shahjahanpur and five colleges in the town. He also runs ashrams in Haridwar and Rishikesh. 
 
Chinmayanand has been refusing to answer questions posed by journalists.
 
IANS
 

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Four die of electrocution while cleaning sewerage line in Rajasthan

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Four workers reportedly died of electrocution on Wednesday while cleaning a sewerage line in Manvakheda village of Udaipur district on Wednesday, the police said here.
 
"Two workers went inside an under-construction sewerage chamber on Wednesday morning to put the sewage line in place. When both of them did not return for a long time, one more labourer went inside to trace them. When he too did not come, people raised a hue and cry," an officer said.
 
"Meanwhile, a JCB driver passing by, stopped and went into the chamber to help, but he too did not return. The horrified crowd then called the police and civil defence teams who took out four bodies from the location," he added.
 
Police sources confirmed that there was an 11 KV electric pole nearby from which electricity was being supplied. Authorities are discussing the possibility that current passed through the pole into the sewerage chamber as it was raining at that time.
 
The bodies have been kept in the mortuary of the district hospital and the families informed of the accident. Once the bodies are identified, a post-mortem will be conducted, the officer said.
 
Police will probe the company which was given the tender for sewage cleaning and further action would be taken against the guilty, the officer said. 
 
IANS
 

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Three IAF personnel killed as truck falls into gorge in Barmer

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Three IAF personnel were killed and three others severely injured on Wednesday when the truck carrying them fell into a gorge in Barmer district of Rajasthan, police said.
 
"The Indian Air Force has a camp at the hilltop (a height of 100 feet) as well as at the base in Chouhatan. This truck was coming down from the camp with six IAF personnel seated inside when it fell into the gorge. Three people have lost their lives, while three are severely injured and have been shifted to a hospital in Barmer," said Ajeet Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police.
 
"We are investigating if it was due to brake failure or something else," Singh added. 
 
IANS
 

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Manmohan Singh elected to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan

File photo of Dr.  Manmohan Singh
File photo of Dr. Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Monday.
 
Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not put up any candidate due to lack of numbers in the assembly, Manmohan Singh was declared elected after the scheduled time to withdraw nominations ended on Monday. 
 
Chief whip Mahesh Joshi accepted the certificate of election on behalf of the former Prime Minister.
 
The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of sitting member, BJP state chief Madan Lal Saini.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Assembly Speaker C. P. Joshi congratulated Manmohan Singh,
 
"I congratulate former PM Dr #ManmohanSingh ji on being elected unopposed as a member of #RajyaSabha from #Rajasthan. Dr Singh's election is a matter of pride for entire state. His vast knowledge and rich experience would benefit the people of Rajasthan a lot," Gehlot said in a tweet.
 
"Many congratulations to the the world renowned economist Dr Manmohan Singh for being elected unopposed as Rajya Sabha MP," the Speaker tweeted.
 
With Manmohan Singh's election, the Congress now has one MP from the state. It had drawn a blank in the April-May Lok Sabha elections.
 
IANS

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Manmohan to file nomination for RS on Aug 13

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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose tenure as Rajya Sabha member ended in June this year, is set to return to the Upper House of Parliament from Rajasthan, party sources said.
 
A Congress source said Manmohan Singh will be the party's candidate for the Rajya Sabha.
 
He said the former Prime Minister will file his nomination on August 13.
 
Manmohan Singh has represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha for 28 years.
 
The Rajya Sabha elections in Rajasthan was necessitated after the death of BJP MP Madan Lal Saini, who passed away in a Delhi hospital.
 
Saini was elected to the Upper House last year when the BJP was in power in the state. The Congress has a majority in the 200-member Assembly.
 
IANS
 

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Rajasthan to now have death penalty for 'honour killing'

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The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed a bill providing for the death penalty for those convicted of committing hate crimes against couples in the name of "maintaining honour and tradition".
 
The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019, provides for death penalty or life imprisonment for rest of their natural life for "whoever causes death of a couple or either of them on the basis that marriage of such couple has dishonoured, or brought disrepute to, the caste, community or family". 
 
A fine up to Rs 5 lakh can also be slapped on the guilty.
 
Even those injuring a couple or either of them will be liable for rigorous imprisonment of a term not less than 10 years, or even life imprisonment and with fine that may extend to Rs 3 lakh.
 
Even a simple injury to a couple or either of them will also entail a jail term of three to five years and a fine up to Rs 2 lakh.
 
Those holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste or inter-community marriages in the name of family honour will also be held accountable and punished, under the new law.
 
Prohibiting any person or group to gather with such an intention to discuss or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law, "on the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned", it held any such gathering to be unlawful.
 
Any person organising such assembly and every participant could face a jail term not less than six months and up to five years, as well as a fine up to Rs 1 lakh.
 
The bill was tabled in the Assembly on July 30 by Law Minister Shanti Dhariwal. 
 
IANS
 

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'Wish I had infrastructure and facilities like this', says Sunil Chhetri after visting Zinc Football Academy

Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri interacting with young footballers at the Zinc Football Academy at Udaipur on July 27, 2019.
Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri interacting with young footballers at the Zinc Football Academy at Udaipur on July 27, 2019.
National football team captain  Sunil Chhetri visited the Zinc Football Academy in Zawar, Udaipur on Saturday and commented, “Wish I had infrastructure and facilities like this."
 
The football icon engaged in an interactive session with the young footballers of Zinc Football, a Hindustan Zinc initiative, and was delighted to see the world-class infrastructure in Zawar. He said that initiatives like this would lead Rajasthan and Indian football to greater heights in the future.
 
Speaking on his visit, Sunil Chhetri said, "I have seen a football academy for the first time in Rajasthan and I am really very happy to see the state-of-the-art infrastructure here. Initiatives like Zinc Football, with the kind of world-class infrastructure that is there, will help uplift the cause of Indian football in the coming years. I wish I had access to infrastructure and facilities like this while growing up. With the right guidance, I am sure the kids here can go a long way not only within Rajasthan but at the national level as well."
 
The excitement among the young footballers of Zinc Football was palpable as they got to see their icon from up close and interact with him. Sunil Chhetri emphasized upon the various facets that go into the making of a top professional footballer and shared his experiences with the visibly thrilled kids. Excitement reached fever pitch when Sunil took to the field and engaged with the kids for a short game.
 
President of Vedanta Football, Annanya Agarwal said, “We couldn’t have been happier to host Indian football’s biggest superstar, Sunil Chhetri. His achievements and what he has done on the pitch is there for everyone to see, and it was extremely gratifying to see him interact with our young footballers and inspire them to reach greater heights.  As a group, Vedanta is focused on building a development model for grassroots football in the country and identify and cultivate footballing talent, roping in icons such as Sunil Chhetri in the process.”
 
Swayam Saurabh, Chief Financial Officer, Hindustan Zinc Ltd., said, “At Hindustan Zinc, we are committed to Zinc Football as it aims to usher in a footballing revolution in the state of Rajasthan. I am glad that our kids got a chance to interact with their idol which I am sure will help them going forward."
 
With the belief that timely intervention of technology and data-driven analysis can help grassroots football in the country and subsequently take Indian football to the next level, Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta Group company, initiated the Zinc Football programme as part of their social investment programme. At the core of the programme is a full-fledged residential academy with 40 of the best under-15 footballers who have been scouted from over 5,000 children.
 
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India slow in checking brain drain: Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan during the 12th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2019. (Photo: Shaukat Ahmed/IANS)
Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan during the 12th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival on January 25, 2019. (Photo: Shaukat Ahmed/IANS)
India-born scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan had made headlines in 2009 when he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with two of his peers for their research on the structure and function of the ribosome. In an exclusive interview with 101Reporters earlier in the Rajasthan capital, Ramakrishnan spoke on brain drain and what China is doing to check the problem while India isn't.
 
Q: How equipped do you think India is for making path-breaking discoveries?
 
A: I think it's not just a question of providing equipment and things like that, it's also a question of having good mentors and people who themselves have made path-breaking discoveries, because that is how young people learn. They learn it from people who have done very well. India has a lot of good scientists but not quite so many who are world leaders in their field. So, what India needs is more of those. And that will happen gradually if the government invests in science and technology.
 
Q: In terms of providing an environment conducive to research, how does India fare in comparison with other countries?
 
A: It is hard to say because I really don't know about the infrastructure in India. But there are some places that are doing well. I would say that India has not invested as much as China, not nearly as much. And China is very rapidly catching up with the West. I don't see that same speed of catching up in India. China is also attracting a lot of well-known Chinese scientists to return to the country. More importantly, they are also attracting international scientists, westerners who have a lab in China and they train the next generation of Chinese students. I don't see anything like this in India.
 
Q: If Indian scientists with overseas exposure do return to their homeland, in which ways can it catalyse advancement in research?
 
A: When Deng Xiaoping opened China and allowed Chinese students to study abroad, he was criticised by some people who said it could result in tremendous brain drain. And he said even if one out of a hundred comes back, it will be useful for advancing Chinese science and technology. I think that's the way to look at it. Not everybody will come back. Going from any country to any other country broadens your mindset and you learn new ways of thinking. So, these people when they come back, often will do interesting and important work.
 
Q: What do you think is responsible for brain drain from India? 
 
A: I think people don't just migrate for the sake of equipment. They go because there is an overall environment in which they want to work. Like they have colleagues with whom they interact. And freedom, less bureaucracy and so on. There are many reasons as to why people migrate. Another is that they go abroad to study, as I did, and then they get used to the lifestyle there, the freedom and the scientific environment and then it's hard for them to come back. That might just be a stronger reason and that's where probably most of the brain drain is, where they go as students and don't come back.
 
Q: How crucial is the role of technology in a country's overall development?
 
A: If it weren't for science and technology, we couldn't even support half of today's world population. Life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years. In the previous centuries, 2,000 years, there was no increase in life expectancy. I think there is no question that science and technology are of critical importance.
 
IANS

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6 morning walkers crushed by speeding vehicle in Rajasthan

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Six elderly men who went for their morning walk were crushed to death by a speeding vehicle in Kumher city in Bharatpur district on Thursday, the police said.
 
"Six people, all of them aged between 60 and 65, were sitting on the roadside to relax after their morning walk when a vehicle mowed them down at around 5 a.m.," Ram Roop Meena, Station House Officer (SHO) at Kumher police station told IANS.
 
All the victims received head injuries. They were rushed to a hospital where they succumbed to their injuries, Meena added.
 
The victims have been identified as Raghudayal Baghel, Prem Singh Baghel, Niroti Saini, Makhan Nagar, Hari and Rameshwar, the SHO said. 
 
The driver fled the spot along with the vehicle, which the locals identified as a pick-up. 
 
IANS
 

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ED attaches assets worth Rs. 4.75 crore in a corruption case

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The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) said on Monday that it had, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA),   provisionally attached immovable assets worth Rs. 4.75 crore of Mahesh Chand Sharma and his family members and relatives in a corruption case. 
 
The attached properties include agricultural land worth Rs. 1.69 crore at Sanganer and Dudu Tehsil of Jaipur and ten plots and flats at various locations in Jaipur, a press release from ED said.
 
According to the release, the ED had initiated investigation on the basis of FIR and charge-sheet filed by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Jaipur against Mahesh Chand Sharma and others.
 
Sharma had worked in the Health and Medical Department of Rajasthan Government as Nursing Tutor (Nursing Grade- 2), College of Nursing, SMS Medical College and also as Member, Indian Nursing Council (INC), New Delhi. He, along with his associate, was trapped by ACB for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs. 5 lakh from a nursing institute for adding the name of the institute on the website of INC (which was deleted earlier).
 
The release said that, later on, ACB investigations established that the accused had amassed illicit earning amounting to Rs. 10.6 crore, which is 372% more than his known and legal source of income. 
 
"Investigation under PMLA revealed that Mahesh Chand Sharma has used the proceeds of crime for purchase of agricultural land, residential flats and plots in the names of his wife, son and family members. This was done to layer, place and integrate the illicit money in the formal financial system in order to project it as untainted.
 
"Accordingly these immovable properties worth Rs. 4.75 crore have been attached. Further investigations to identify the remaining proceeds of crime are underway," the release added.
 
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Pink City of Jaipur becomes India’s 38th UNESCO World Heritage site

India’s nomination of Jaipur City got inscribed today on the World Heritage List of UNESCO during the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee held at Baku, Azerbaijan. 
 
The nomination of Jaipur City has successfully been done by complying with the various UNESCO guidelines of 2017. With the successful inscription of Jaipur City, India has 38 world heritage sites that include 30 Cultural properties, seven Natural properties and one mixed site.
 
India's nomination was initially recommended by the ICOMOS (advisory body of World Heritage (WH) Centre for Cultural Sites) as Deferral, but the 21 nation World Heritage Committee debated it and after discussion decided to inscribe it on the World Heritage list.
 
Union Minister for Culture Prahlad Singh Patel expressed his happiness on the inclusion of the Pink City Jaipur in World Heritage List and congratulated people of the city for this prestigious tag.
 
The excerpts of the proposed statement of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) before the World Heritage Committee was presented by India as follows:
 
The City of Jaipur is an exceptional urban example in indigenous city planning and construction in South Asia. Unlike other medieval cities of the region, Jaipur was deliberately planned as a new city on the plains open for trade as opposed to hilly terrain and military cities of past, though its planning still ensured a response to the surrounding hilltops in all directions.
 
The site selected within the valley that lay to the south of Amber hills was comparatively flat and unmarred by any previous construction.  Besides an exemplary planning, its iconic monuments such as the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal excel in artistic and architectural the craftsmanship of the period.
 
Jaipur is an expression of the astronomical skills, living traditions, unique urban form and exemplary foresighted city planning of an 18th-century city from India. Jaipur is an exemplary development in town planning and architecture that demonstrates amalgamation and important interchange of several ideas over the late medieval period.
 
The countries that supported India's nomination was Brazil, Bahrain, Cuba, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, China, Guatemala, Uganda, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Angola, St. Kitts and Nevis. Australia and Norway initially proposed referral but after the debate, they agreed for Inscription of Jaipur city.
 
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Tension in Jaipur after rape of minor girl

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Tension prevailed here after a group of people surrounded a police station and vandalized several cars to protest the rape of a seven-year-old girl, officials said on Tuesday.
 
Police said the girl was taken to an isolated place on Monday by a man who identified himself as her father's friend. After raping her, he left the profusely bleeding girl on the road.
 
Later on Monday night, her family members took her to Kanwatiya Hospital from where she was referred to JK Lon Hospital.
 
The girl was admitted in the surgical ICU. The medical report stated that she has abrasions on her chest and injuries on the forehead.
 
It added that she was, however, stable with minor abrasions on her private parts.
 
Following the incident, tension gripped the Shastri Nagar area of Jaipur on Tuesday morning as protesters surrounded the local police station after smashing the panes of several cars on Monday night.
 
Divisional Commissioner K. C. Verma has suspended Internet services in 13 areas of the city from July 2 till July 3, 10 a.m. 
 
A case has been registered under the POCSO Act and the police are looking for the accused.
 
A huge crowd had gathered near the Kanwatiya Hospital, demanding the immediate arrest of the accused.
 
Police Commissioner Anand Shrivastava said: "The girl is out of danger. Senior doctors are treating her. We shall try for the harshest punishment for the accused once he is arrested," he said, urging the people not to believe rumours.
 
Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas reached the hospital to meet the girl on Tuesday. 
 
"We all are trying to arrest the accused soon. There is just no space for people committing such crimes in our society," he said. He also requested the people not to play politics on this issue.
 
Health Minister Raghu Sharma has ordered free treatment of the girl.
 
IANS
 

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Rajasthan Assembly gives live coverage on YouTube as media boycott proceedings

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As the media continued to boycott the Rajasthan Assembly proceedings for the second day on Friday in the wake of several restrictions imposed on them, officials broadcast the proceedings live on YouTube, making it first such live telecast on the Internet.
 
Playing down the media boycott, Speaker C. P. Joshi said, "If journalists come, they are welcome. If they do not come, then also they are welcome. The 'boycott' just doesn't matter as we are live on YouTube." 
 
The Assembly session started on Thursday. However, media personnel who had already been issued passes, were surprised to see that the authorities had specifically restricted their visits to the offices of the Speaker, ministers and other MLAs.
 
Eventually the media personnel refused to go to the press gallery on the second day too and relied on YouTube to report the proceedings.
 
The issue of media boycott was raised by BJP MLA Madanlal Dilawar during zero hour. However, the Speaker said that they need not worry as people can watch the proceedings on YouTube.
 
Later while speaking to the media, he said, "I have taken this decision to maintain discipline in the Assembly. If a journalist wants to talk to any minister or MLA, s/he can give a request slip to the PRO. If a journalist wants to meet a minister, s/he would have to wait for the minister's consent. I can't allow blanket coverage of the Assembly for everyone".
 
Surprisingly, certain sections of Assembly proceedings which are expunged will also be made available to the people. 
 
Assembly secretary Pramil Kumar Mathur said: "This initiative will help in bringing about transparency in government work. The common man can now listen to the people's representatives and see if they raise relevant issues".
 
A Twitter handle has also been created to update information on Assembly proceedings, he said.
 
IANS
 

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World Bank to provide $ 250 million loan for Rajasthan State Highways Development Programme

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The Union Government, the State Government and the World Bank today signed a $ 250 million loan agreement for the Rajasthan State Highways Development Program II Project to build the state's capacity to better manage its highways and improve traffic flows on selected highways.
 
The World Bank-supported project will support the construction, upgrading, improvement and maintenance of 766 km of state highways and major district roads. It will also help build an online project management system and a smartphone application to handle contract management, data reporting, quality control, and so on, an official press release said.
 
Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs said the development of state highways in Rajasthan was crucial to the success of the National-Level Connectivity Programs.
 
The World Bank Project will not only help the state expand its road network but also have a lasting impact on the design and implementation of statewide transport capital investments.
 
The loan agreement was signed by Khare on behalf of the Union Government and Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India) on behalf of the World Bank. The project agreement was signed by M L Verma, Chief Engineer & Additional Secretary, Public Works Department on behalf of  Rajasthan and Shanker Lal.
 
According to the release, the project will help build the capacity of the Public Works Department (PWD), which is responsible for about 70% of the state’s road network, as well as of the Rajasthan State Highways Authority.
 
The State Government had launched the Rajasthan State Highways Development Program in the financial year 2014-15 as a flagship program under its vision of a Resurgent Rajasthan. This ambitious plan aims to develop 20,000 km of State Highways and major District roads through public-private partnerships.
 
The World Bank-supported project will help the state improve its competitiveness by increasing access to basic services for the population at large, especially those living in rural areas and smaller centres along the corridors, the release said.
 
Road safety is a major component of the project, with more than 10,000 road traffic-related deaths reported in the state in 2017. A global information system-based database will enable recording and reporting of road accidents as well as the storage, analysis and dissemination of this information. Citizens will be empowered to report road accidents in rural areas through a simple-to-use smartphone application.
 
Kamal Ahmad said that the project has a significant focus on road safety - from helping build the state’s capacity for road safety management by using proactive and preventive methods, to using innovative tools to capture accident data, including from rural areas. 
 
Another important component includes gender audits for road designs and security enhancements for women and girls at bus stops, etc. The project will also help incorporate road designs to support the differently abled.
 
Additional focus will be on making the roads resilient to climate change, particularly high temperatures and flooding, and also to develop institutional capacity for climate risk management. The project will support resource efficient growth through the use of greener materials. 
 
Mesfin Wodajo Jijo and Reenu Aneja, World Bank Task Team Leaders for the project said a crucial aspect of the project is that it will support the operationalization of the Rajasthan State Highways Authority. The goal is to transform the management of the strategic road network through a State Highways Agency that will be accountable to the public for the services it delivers. 
 
The $ 250 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 25-year maturity including a 5-year grace period.
 
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Rajasthan BJP chief Madan Lal Saini passes away at AIIMS in Delhi

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Rajasthan BJP chief Madan Lal Saini, who was admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here last week, died on Monday, a hospital official said. He was 75.
 
"Saini was admitted in the hospital on June 22. He passed away today (Monday) evening around 7 p.m," an AIIMS official told IANS, adding that the BJP leader was "having some blood-related issues". 
 
Saini was appointed as the party's Rajasthan chief last year, months before the state went to assembly polls.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah and Rajasthan Chief Ashok Gehlot condoled the death of Saini.
 
"The passing away of Shri Madanlal Saini Ji is a major loss for the BJP family. He contributed to strengthening the party in Rajasthan. He was widely respected for his congenial nature and community service efforts. My thoughts are with his family and supporters. Om Shanti," the Prime Minister tweeted.
 
"Just received the saddening news of Madan Lal Saini's death. Saini, who held several posts in the party was a true public servant whose whole life was devoted to the party and society. He was instrumental in strengthening the BJP in Rajasthan.
 
"The demise of Madan Lal Saini is an irreparable loss to the BJP family. I express my condolences to the bereaved family in this hour of grief and pray to the Lord for the peace of the departed soul," Amit Shah said in a series of tweets.
 
"Shocked and saddened to hear about the passing away of Madan Lal Sainiji, President of BJP Rajasthan. My thoughts and prayers are with his family members. May God give them strength to bear this loss. May his soul rest in peace," Gehlot tweeted.
 
IANS
 

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14 dead, 26 injured as tent collapses during rain in Rajasthan

At least 14 people were killed and 26 injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during rain in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least 14 people were killed and 26 injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during rain in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
 
"Around 1,000 people had gathered under a tent to listen to Ram Katha in Jasol village of Balotra area, when a storm played havoc around 3.30 p.m. Most participants were senior citizens," said District Collector Himanshu Gupta.
 
Balotra Sub-Inspector Khetaram Parmar told IANS: "Some 14 people have lost their lives, while 26 injured have been admitted to the district hospital."
 
There are reports of many people getting electrocuted after an electric wire fell to the ground. According to an eyewitness: "The breaking of the wire in the rain led to a stampede in which many people were electrocuted."
 
Meanwhile, a video has also gone viral since the evening, in which Murlidhar, the man delivering the discourse, is seen asking people to evacuate the tent even as the structure crashes.
 
Parmar added that the number of injured was much higher as many people had been shifted to private hospitals by their families. However, their exact number was yet to be confirmed.
 
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Kailash Chaudhary cancelled his Ranchi tour and left for Barmer to monitor the situation.
 
The state government has formed a five-member team, comprising senior officials, to look into the relief work. A compensation of Rs 5 lakh has also been announced for the families of each of the deceased, while every injured will get Rs 2 lakh.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has directed Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner B. L. Kothari to investigate the tragedy.
 
Expressing anguish over the tragedy, Gehlot wrote on Twitter: "The loss of lives of so many people during Ram Katha in Jasol, Barmer is unfortunate and sad. I pray to God to bestow peace on the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families. I also wish quick recovery to the injured."
 
"The local administration is engaged in rescue and relief work. The officials concerned have been asked to investigate the incident. They have also been asked to provide quick medical treatment to the injured and all help to the families of those affected," he tweeted.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his condolences. "Collapse of a pandal in Rajasthan's Barmer is unfortunate. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and I wish the injured a quick recovery," he tweeted.
 
Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted: "Extremely sad to hear about the death of over dozen people in Jasol in Barmer who were listening to Ram Katha. I pray to God for the departed soul and to give patience to the grief-stricken families."
 
IANS
 

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11 dead, many injured as tent collapses during religious gathering in Rajasthan

Around 11 people died and many were injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
People gathered at the site where a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer, on June 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Around 11 people died and many were injured when a massive tent erected for people attending a religious gathering collapsed during a dust storm in Rajasthan's Barmer on Sunday, police said.
 
Police said the death toll could go up as a huge crowd had gathered to listen to a Ramkatha discourse in Jasol village in Balotra area of Barmer. The injured were rushed to the nearby hospital.
 
Speaking to IANS, Balotra Sub-Inspector Khetaram said: "The exact number of the dead will be given after some time. Right now, the entire police machinery is busy providing medical aid to the injured and helping control the crowd."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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