Nine dead, 27 rescued after trekkers get trapped in forest fire in Tamil Nadu

At least nine people died and 27 others suffered injuries after a group of about 36 trekkers were trapped in a massive forest fire that broke out in Theni district in southern Tamil Nadu on Sunday.
9 dead in Tamil Nadu forest fire
At least nine people have died and 27 others suffered injuries after a group of about 36 trekkers were trapped in a massive forest fire that broke out in Theni district in southern Tamil Nadu yesterday.
Theni district officials told NetIndian over the telephone that the deceased included three men and six women.
The officials said that, of the 27 persons rescued, ten were safe without any injuries. The other 17 had been hospitalised with various degrees of burns, they said.
Apart from the fire brigade, police and other emergency services personnel, the Ministry of Defence had pressed into service Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters to help in the search and rescue efforts.
Efforts were on to ensure that all the trekkers are accounted for, the officials said.
The fire broke out when a group of trekkers, including several women, were returning from a trek organised by the Chennai Trekking Club to mark Women's Day. They were trapped on a hillock, with flames all around them. The group included 27 people from Chennai and about ten from Erode and Tirupur, sources said. They were returning to base in smaller groups when the fire started, the sources said.
Local people and forest officials were among the first responders to the fire.
Responding to a request from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palanisamy, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to mount rescue and evacuation operations.
The IAF promptly launched efforts to evacuate those trapped in  the fire, with helicopters from the Sulur Air Base doing a recce of the area in Kurangani. Commandos from the base also reached Theni to help the local authorities.
The fire broke out in a remote area with no communication facilities. The thick smoke and heat from the flames and fading light hampered the rescue efforts.
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8 killed as bus rams into petrol tanker in Tamil Nadu

Eight people, including two children and the bus driver, were charred to death and eight suffered serious burn injuries when the private bus in which they were travelling caught fire after ramming into a petrol tanker near Samathuvapuram at Sithtode in Erode district of Tamil Nadu this morning.
Police said the private luxury bus was on its way to Coimbatore from Bangalore when driver Sasikumar tried to overtake the petrol tanker carrying fuel to Sulur Air Force.
The bus hit the tanker and immediately caught fire which killed Sasikumar, Kiranbai of Mangalore, Jaya of Hosur, a two-year-old and a ten-year-old child on the spot while Kiranbai's husband Kevalchand and Jaya’s husband Muthusamy died at Erode Government Hospital.
Two persons, who suffered burn injuries, were admitted to the Ganga Hospital at Coimbatore where one of them who had 95 per cent burns died, Hospital Director, Dr S Raja Sabapathy, told UNI.
Another youngster, working as a software engineer in Wipro, suffered 25 per cent burn injuries. His lungs were affected due to inhaling of smoke, the doctor said.
Soon after the bus hit the tanker, people from nearby areas immediately rushed to the spot, broke open the windows and saved the passengers.
The petrol tanker driver, meanwhile, took the vehicle away from the mishap scene to avoid further casualties.
The bodies were sent to Government Hospital for post-mortem examination, police added.

5 charred to death as bus catches fire in Tamil Nadu


Five people, including a driver and two children were charred to death and ten others suffered burn injures when when a private bus caught fire after dashing against a tanker lorry transporting petrol at Sithtode in Erode district of Tamil Nadu early this morning.

Police said the private luxury bus was on its way to Coimbatore from Bangalore.
The mishap occurred when the driver Saikumar tried to overtake the tanker lorry which was carrying a petroleum product to Sulur Air Force station.
Two others among the four killed were identified as Kiranbai, wife of Kevalchand, hailing from Mangalore and Jaya. The two children, a 2- year-old and a 10-year-old child, could not be identified immediately, police added.
The ten passengers, who suffered serious burn injuries, were rushed to various government and private hospitals in Erode and nearby Coimbatore city for emergency medical treatment.
When the mishap occurred, the public nearby rushed to the spot. They broke open the glass windows of the bus and helped to rescue the other passengers.
On seeing the bus in flames, the driver of the tanker drove the tanker away from it. The bodies of the deceased were sent to the Government general hospital here for autopsy, police added.

6 killed, 12 injured as bus rams into stationary truck in Tamil Nadu


Six people were killed, three on the spot, and 12 others seriously injured when a Coimbatore-bound state transport corporation bus rammed into a stationary truck at Valayakkaranur near Kumaramangalam in Erode district of Tamil Nadu this morning.

Police said the state-owned bus was coming from Salem when the mishap occurred. 
The injured were admitted to various hospitals in Erode, Coimbatore and Kumarapalayam.
The bodies were taken to Kumarapalayam General Hospital for autopsy, police added.

Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.


Another former DMK minister held in TN in land grabbing case


Former DMK Minister N K K P Raja and four others, including the Erode Mayor and a party district deputy secretary, were arrested here today in connection with a land grabbing case.

Continuing the crackdown even after a massive agitation by the DMK, the special police for land grabbing cell arrested Raja, the former Handloom Minister, Erode Municipal Corporation Mayor K Kumar Muruges, party's district deputy secretary O C Viswanathan, his son Rajendran and one Subramaniam in an early morning operation.

Raja became the second minister of the previous DMK regime to be taken into custody in the continuing crackdown by the AIADMK government on land grabbing after Veerapandi S Arumugam.

They were taken into custody following a complaint from one Ramasamy a few days ago that Raja and 11 others, including Muruges and Viswanathan, had visited his house in 2007 and forcibly obtained his signature to sell 60.5 acres of his land at Thendralnagar in Perundurai for the amount he had borrowed from Subramaniam, police said.

He had complained that no money was paid to him, police said. Cases have been registered against Raja and 11 others under various IPC sections including 420 (cheating).


Police said Raja was arrested from his house at Kavindapady near here and the other four at their respective houses in Erode and Perundurai.

Police are on the lookout for seven others. The arrested were taken to the Erode Land Grabbing police cell located in the district police office, where Raja told police that he was innocent, and wanted them to show him the complainant, but the police said he would appear in court when the trial begins.

"False cases have been foisted against me," Raja said.


Erode Collector surprises school authorities with humility


District Collector R Ananthakumar today took people by surprise when he went to the Kumalan Kuttai Panchayath Union Elementary School, with his daughter in tow, to seek admission for her, much like a common man.

The head master and teachers in the school were also taken aback on seeing the Collector trooping in with his daughter and even wondered if he had come for a surprise check.

However, it turned out that Mr Ananathkumar, who was recently transferred to Erode by the new AIADMK government, had gone to the school to seek admission for his second daughter, Deepika. His first daughter is studying in a matriculation school in Dharmapuri.

Parents of other would-be students were even more surprised when the Collector turned down the VIP seat offered to him by the head master. He sat on the bench provided for parents.

He admitted his daughter to the second standard in the Tamil medium, leaving the parents wondering why when the normal practice for VIPs is to put their children in expensive English medium schools.


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