A 14-year-old Dalit girl killed, eyes gouged out in Uttar Pradesh

A 14-year-old Dalit girl was found killed with her eyes gouged out in Jalaun. Police said her neighbour has been arrested charged with abduction and murder. The autopsy report is awaited to ascertain whether the victim was raped or not.

According to reports, the girl, a resident of Ata area in Jalaun district, went out for some work on Saturday evening, but never returned home. Her parents lodged a missing person”s report with police the same night.

Her body was found on Sunday afternoon in a secluded spot. Her clothes were torn and her eyes gouged out, indicating torment and possible rape before murder, sources in police said.

DIG (Jhansi range) Subhash Singh Baghel, who visited the crime scene with Jalaun Superintendent of Police Avadesh Singh, said Ranjit Ahirwar had been arrested and booked under Sections 302 and 363 of the IPC on the basis of the complaint given by the girl”s father.

“The suspect already has a case under Section 376 (rape) pending against him. He is also accused of molesting a minor relative, which went unreported. We are waiting for the post-mortem report (to confirm or deny rape) before further action can be taken. The arrested man is being interrogated,” the DIG said.



Eleven people were killed and 23 injured in Maharashtra accident

Eleven people were killed and 23 injured in a head-on collision between a container truck and a state transport bus, police said here on Monday.

The crash took place late on Sunday near Neemgul village, according to Dhule Control Room official A.L. Patil.

“The bus was headed to Aurangabad when the collision took place on the Shahada-Dondaiche Road. The drivers of both vehicles were killed,” Patil told .

The toll was expected to increase as the condition of at least three was said to be serious.



At least Thirty Two people killed by lightning in Bihar

At least 32 people, including women and children, were killed and over a dozen injured in incidents of lightning strikes across Bihar in last 24 hours, an official said on Wednesday.

Eight deaths were reported in Jamui, seven in Aurangabad, five in Banka, three each in Bhagalpur and Rohtas districts followed by two deaths in Nalanda and one death each in Gaya, Munger, Katihar and Araria districts.

“The state government has ordered ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives,” said an official of the Disaster Management Department.

According to the weather office, lightning strikes occur in the state during the June-September monsoon season.




Seven soldiers, civilian killed in Himachal building collapse

Seven soldiers and a civilian were killed and 28 others rescued after a four-storey building in Himachal Pradesh’s Kumarhatti town where Assam Rifles troopers were holding a party, collapsed due to rain, rescuers said on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner K.C. Chaman said six soldiers were still trapped in the debris and a rescue operation by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Army and the state police was on to save them.

The 28 people who were rescued comprised 17 soldiers and 11 civilians.

The dead included the building owner’s wife.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur along with his Cabinet Minister Rajiv Saizal, MP Suresh Kashyap and state Assembly Speaker Rajiv Bindal reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation.

Later, they met the injured.

Thakur, who has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident, said as per his information the structure was not raised as per building specifications.

He ordered the registration of an FIR against the building owner Shail Kumar, who was away when the structure collapsed.

According to officials, the incident took place at around 4 p.m. on Sunday when soldiers, belonging to the Assam Rifles of nearby Dagshai Cantonment, were having their party at the roadside eatery-cum-residential complex which caved in due to heavy rain.

Both soldiers and civilians were present in the building, located on the Kumarhatti-Nahan road, around 55 km from Shimla.

The Deputy Commissioner said first the fourth floor of the building collapsed. Then the entire building caved in.

Locals blamed unscientific construction methods and violations in the granting of construction-sanction for the building collapse.



29 passengers killed in Agra-Lucknow Expressway accident

At least 29 people were killed on Monday when a passenger bus fell into a gorge on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.

The bus, after hitting the divider, fell into the 40-feet-deep gap between two flyovers on the Yamuna Expressway near Milestone 161 (Jharna nallah) under Etmadpur police jurisdiction of Agra district at around 4.15 a.m.

The double-decker bus with about 50 passengers on board was heading to Delhi from Lucknow.

Police reports said that 20 passengers have been rescued so far and efforts were on to rescue the rest.

Initial reports suggest that the accident occurred after the bus driver of the UPSRTC Jan Rath dozed off at the wheel.

Expressing grief over the tragedy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the victims’ kin.

He also instructed officials to expedite rescue and relief work at the spot, adding that proper treatment should be provided to the injured.

Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police O.P. Singh has directed the officials to carry out relief and rescue work. All senior officials have reached the accident site.



15 people were killed killed in Pune wall collapse on Saturday

At least 15 people were killed and three others injured on Saturday when the compound wall of a building collapsed here, officials said.

The incident occurred early Saturday morning trapping the victims as they slept in their huts, the police and NDRF officials said.

Teams of rescuers which rushed to the spot have managed to rescue three people including two minors.

The victims comprise 10 men and five children. Work is on to save others still feared trapped in the rubble.



At least four persons, killed as rains batter Mumbai on first day

At least four persons, including a minor boy, were killed and two others injured in different incidents as monsoon made a grand entry in Mumbai and surroundings on Friday, hitting normal life with the usual woes of water-logging in many areas, delays in flights, road and train traffic.

In Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai, four persons of a family including a minor girl suffered electrocution from some live wires in the vicinity of their home in which two perished and two were injured.

The deceased are — Rajendra Yadav, 60 and Sanjay Yadav, 24, while the injured victims are Dipu Yadav, 24, and five-year old Asha Yadav, said the BMC Disaster Control.

In another incident in Andheri, a 60-year old woman Kashima Yudiyar, was electrocuted near the RTO office and declared dead on admission to a hospital.

An eight-year old boy, Mahender Badga from Teranpada village in Vikramgad in adjoining Thane district, was killed when struck by lightning as he played outside his home today, police said.

Three persons — Chandrakant Todavale, Chetan Tatthe and Vijay Naagar — were injured in a wall crash outside their home, in which the condition of Naagar is described as critical.

As rains continued to lash the city, the lifelines of Mumbai — the Central Railway, Western Railway and the main roads and Eastern Express Highway and Western Express Highway — were hit with water-logging in several places.

An airport official said there were normal visibility-related delays of average 15 minutes, mainly for incoming services, but operations continued largely unaffected.

The subways at Milan in Santacruz, Dahisar, Malad and Andheri were shut for some time as they were flooded with some vehicles stranded inside and there were huge traffic snarls on both the EEH and WEH.

The Mumbai Traffic Police imposed diversions in many parts of the city including Sion, Dadar, Kurla, Sewri, Chembur, Khar, Bandra, Andheri, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Wadala, Kings Circle as the main roads were submerged in upto two-three feet waters.

Local trains on both the CR and WR were affected with delays ranging from 15-45 minutes and owing to water-logging on railway lines, stranding millions of commuters, especially students. The tracks were flooded in parts of Palghar, Thane and eastern and western suburbs on the suburban section, forcing 12 cancellations besides 105 services delayed.

According to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the city received 67 mm rains, the eastern suburbs notched 120 mm, and the western suburbs recorded 90 mm rainfall.

A few suburbs like Andheri, Juhu, Vikhroli, Kurla and others received in excess of 120-130 mm rains during the same period.

In a huge relief to Mumbaikars and the civic administration, the catchment areas of some of the lakes supplying to Mumbai received good rains on the opening day of the season. Vehar Lake (209 mm), Tulsi Lake (143 mm), Modak Sagar Lake (69 mm) and Middle Vaitarna (78 mm).

It maybe recalled that the IANS on Thursday (June 27) had highlighted the severe water crises staring at Mumbai and the BMC had started dipping into its emergency reserve stocks to quench the thirst of its 17 million people.

The IMD Mumbai has forecast a few heavy spells of rains later tonight and a wet weekend as rains will continue over the next two days.

The rains brought relief from the sultry heat with temperatures hovering at a comfortable minimum of 24 degrees Celsius and maximum of 30 degrees Celsius since morning.

Besides Mumbai, adjoining districts of Thane, Raigad and Palghar also received good rains since Thursday night, spelling cheer for the farmers and commoners.



At least 30 people were killed, lightning strikes across Bihar

At least 30 people were killed and over a dozen others injured in incidents of lightning strikes across Bihar in the last 24 hours, an official said here on Thursday.

The deaths occurred in Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Saharsa, Purnea, Araria, Katihar, Jamui, Khagaria, Madyepura, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Mitigari and Gaya districts, the state disaster management department official said.

“The state government has ordered an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh each to the victims’ kin,” the official added.

According to the weather office, lightning strikes occur in the state during the June-September monsoon season.


Science & Technology

2 killed as thunderstorm hits flights, trains, road traffic in Mumbai

Two minors were killed as a severe thunderstorm, accompanied by lightning and heavy rains, disrupted air, road and rail traffic in Mumbai late on Monday night, officials said.

Two boys — Tushar Jha (12) and Rushabh Tiwari (11) — were electrocuted near their tenement in Poisar slums in Kandivali East, the BMC Disaster Control cell said.

All flight operations were suspended due to low visibility at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at around 10 p.m. and efforts were on to resume traffic from the alternative runway.

An United Air Newark-Mumbai flight was diverted to Delhi, while another 11 incoming domestic and international services were also diverted to other airports, said official sources.

A Thai Airways aircraft, while vacating the runway, hit a guard light and damaged a signage, and some debris were found on the runway. Efforts were on to clear it for normal operations, said airport sources.

An official said that flight operations were resumed after around two hours for both incoming and outbound services.

Rail traffic was hit on the Central Railway’s harbour line near Chunabhatti due to a technical snag in the overhead pentograph, and an overhead wire tripping near Diva station, hitting normal operations.

Even on Western Railway, a snag in the overhead wire at Mahim delayed services which were running around 15 minutes late.

Road traffic was slowed down on the Eastern Express Highway and Western Express Highway and the arterial roads due waterlogging in some low-lying areas.

There was at least one incident of tree falling on a road which further hit traffic in South Mumbai.

Scores of office-goers and commuters returning home from their offices were hit badly due to the rains and stormy weather.

Earlier on Monday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had issued a forecast of a thunderstorm over Mumbai, Thane and Raigad.



4 killed in Australia shooting, gunman arrested

At least four persons were killed and several injured in a shooting in Australia’s Darwin city on Tuesday. The suspected gunman was arrested by the police.

Eyewitnesses said the gunman walked into the Palms Motel on Darwin’s Esplanade and opened fire with a pump-action shotgun in a number of rooms just before 6 p.m.

The suspected gunman, aged 45, was later arrested, national broadcaster ABC News reported.

The police said in a statement that there was “currently four casualties, multiple injuries and multiple crime scenes”, but added they did not believe the incident to be terror related.

Multiple witnesses told ABC News that the gunman was looking for someone called “Alex”.

Witness Leah Potter said that a woman was shot multiple times in the legs at the Palms Hotel.

“A man came running with a woman in his arms from next door which is the Palms Motel, which is the motel next to my motel, and he just dropped her on the footpath right in front of us.

“I ran and got some towels and wrapped up her legs, she had little holes all in her skin on both her legs and she was bleeding everywhere,” Potter said.

Another witness, John Rose, told The Australian newspaper that he saw the gunman walk into the motel with a sawn-off shotgun.

“He shot up all the rooms and he went to every room looking for somebody and he shot them all up, then we saw him rush out, jump into his Toyota pick-up, and rush off,” Rose said.

According to Australian news site, the police were treating the the Palms Motel as the main crime scene but had also cordoned off a social club less than a mile away.


Social Media

Rajasthani folk dancer ‘Queen Harish’ killed in road accident

Rajasthan’s renowned folk dancer Harish Kumar aka “Queen Harish”, famous for performing dressed up as a woman, died in a road accident in the state’s Jodhpur district early on Sunday, police said.

Three others were also killed in the the accident around 5.30 a.m. when their SUV slammed into a parked coal-laden truck in Bilada area as they were on their way to Jaipur from Jaisalmer, local SHO Sitaram said.

The other deceased were identified as Lateefa, Ravinder alias Banti and B.K. Khan. Six others were injured in the accident and were taken to MDM Hospital, said police officials.

A case has been registered against the truck driver for parking the truck on road and he will be arrested soon, Sitaram said.

Famous among tourists for his rendition of Rajasthani folk dances including Chakari, Bhavai, Taraju, Terah Tali, Ghoomar Kalbeliya and others in Jaisalmer, Harish Kumar had also performed in 60 nations around the world and received several international awards.

Also known as a choreographer, he had been seen in Bollywood film “Jai Gangajal” and had also performed at Isha Ambani’s wedding in Jodhpur. Even Aishwarya Rai was mesmerised with his unique ability to match steps on high beats.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condoled his death, terming it a “big loss to the artistic world”. “He brought a distinguished identity to Jaisalmer with his different dancing style which was dedicated to folk art of the state. His death is a big loss to the artistic world,” he said in a tweet.



New Delhi, Woman, 4-year-old son killed in Delhi’s Patel Nagar

A 26-year-old woman and her 4-year-old son were found dead at their house in Delhi’s Patel Nagar on Thursday night.

The woman’s throat was slit with a sharp weapon, while the boy, who was apparently hanged, was found lying on the floor of their house in Prem Nagar, the police said.

According to the police, they received two different PCR calls about the incident.

“A police team was sent right away to the house,” a senior police officer said.

Police said the identity of the murderer is still unknown.

The husband of the deceased works in a factory in Moti Nagar.



Civilian among three killed in Shopian gunfight in J&K

While a police statement said that three militants were killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, it was confirmed later that one of the victim was a civilian.

The police said in a statement on Thursday that three militants were killed in the gunfight that took place earlier in the day in Handew village.

While two victims were identified as Yawar Mushtaq and Shakeel Ahmed, both Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants from Shopian, the third was identified as a civilian, Ishtiyaq Ahmed Bhat.

A soldier, Rohit Kumar Yadav who was injured in the gunfight, succumbed to his wounds on Thursday night in the Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar, the police said.

In Thursday’s two gunfights in Pulwama and Shopian districts killed a total of five militants, two civilians and two soldiers.

Three Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants, including a top commander identified as a Pakistan national Khalid Bhai, a civilian and a soldier were killed in a gunfight in Dalipora village of Pulwama.

Police said Khalid Bhai had masterminded the 2017 attack on the Lethpora CRPF camp in Pulwama district in which five troopers were killed.

In a third shootout between the security forces and militants in Kupwara’s Kandi forests on Thursday, there were no reports of any casualty.



How Paytm killed its e-commerce dream in India (Part I)

Exactly two years back, Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, keeping Alibaba model in mind, took a plunge into the burgeoning e-commerce space where Amazon and Flipkart (now owned by Walmart) were two dominant forces.

Nurturing a little grudge that he never had a chance to study at the Harvard University, Sharma de-merged the e-commerce business into a separate entity by the name of Paytm Mall to address India’s large online retail opportunity with cashbacks.

Confident that the growing number of smartphone users would help it sail through, the new entity started off with the same shareholding as the parent company of Paytm – One97 Communications Limited — and raised $200 million from SAIF Partners and Jack Ma-run Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Paytm Mall managed to raise over $650 million from Alibaba, SoftBank and SAIF Partners.

Alibaba — a pioneer in the online-to-offline (O2O) marketplace — soon realised that giving cashback to attract customers was a short-term strategy which won’t help Sharma make Paytm Mall a third big player in the fast — growing Indian ecommerce market — poised to touch $84 billion in 2021 from $24 billion in 2017.

Paytm Mall’s losses mounted and in the financial year 2018, the company posted a loss of nearly Rs 1,800 crore on revenue of Rs 774 crore. According to Forrester Research, the market share of Paytm Mall almost halved in 2018 — to 3 per cent from 5.6 per cent in 2017.

Sharma, however, is still optimistic and wants to run Paytm Mall in the face of massive competition which, the analysts feel, is the end-game as his focus should be on the digital payments market which Alibaba always wanted him to excel in.

Several attempts to reach out to Paytm, including emails, calls and even a personal visit to One97 Communications Limited’s Noida Sector 5 office for their version did not elicit any response till the press time.

According to Thomas George, Senior Vice President and Head CyberMedia Research (CMR), Paytm is currently facing several challenges.

“Paytm is far behind the top two e-commerce players in terms of market share. They have a single-digit share against the top leaders which are commanding over 30 per cent. Plus, the service standard set by these market leaders is quite remarkable,” George told IANS.

On the other hand, Paytm is not making investments in stocking and delivering products.

“Paytm Mall’s primary catchment segment was its payment wallet customers base. This base is not growing as anticipated,” George added.

Paytm’s Payment Bank vision is also under scrutiny.

“The Paytm payment bank could have helped the company to create a buzzing marketplace and attract more consumers onboard. While billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has invested in Paytm, we had seen Alibaba diluting its stake too,” George noted.

Over the past few years, Paytm has been bleeding massively in online retail business and there is no respite in sight.

In a mega deal in India’s e-commerce space, the world’s retail giant Walmart in May last year announced it was buying 77 per cent equity stake in the country’s largest e-tailor Flipkart for $16 billion.

After the two US retails giants, Reliance Industries last year announced to enter the e-commerce space with an aim to transform the lives of around three crore merchants across the country, enabling them to do all that large enterprises and e-commerce giants are able to do with the help of technology.

For Paytm Mall, the news of Reliance entering the e-commerce ring was like a nightmare.



2 JD-S members among Indians killed in Sri Lanka blasts

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said that two Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) members were among the five Indians who were killed along with 285 others in the deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka.

“I am shocked to hear that a seven-member team of JD-S workers from Karnataka, who were touring Colombo, has gone missing after the bomb blasts. Two of them are feared killed in the terror strike. I am in constant touch with the Indian High Commission on the reports of those missing,” Kumaraswamy said in a series of tweets.

“External Affairs Minister @SushmaSwaraj has confirmed the death of two Kannadigas, K.G. Hanumantharayappa and M. Rangappa, in the bomb blasts… I am deeply shocked at the loss of our JD-S party workers, whom I know personally. We stand with their families in this hour of grief.”

On Monday morning, the Indian High Commission in Colombo confirmed the names of Hanumantharayappa and Rangappa. The tweet came after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday night had confirmed the names of three other Indian nationals — Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar and Ramesh.

It was not immediately clear if the other three were also JD-S members.



Two killed, 10 injured in CNG car blast in Gurugram

Two persons were killed and at least 10 others injured in a fire caused by an explosion in a CNG kit-fitted car parked near a fireworks warehouse in an industrial area here on Monday, police said.

Though the cause of the blast in the Kadipur industrial area near Sector 10 is yet to be ascertained, it is suspected that someone might have thrown fireworks at the car. The fire spread rapidly and soon engulfed the warehouse, Gurugram police spokesman Subhash Bokan said.

The deceased have been identified as Nepal Mahto alias Bawa, a native of Bihar, and Sattar of Rajasthan. 10 other labourers were also injured in this incident.

Two persons, identified as Bharat Bhushan Kataria and Bhupesh Kataria, have been arrested in connection with the incident, police said.



Aspiring Hyderabad pilot killed in New Zealand mosques attack

A youth from Hyderabad aspiring to become a commercial pilot was among the 50 people killed in the New Zealand mosques attack. He is the third man from Telangana confirmed dead.

Ozair Khadir, 25, a resident of Noor Khan Bazar area in the old city here, was in the list of Indians named by the Indian High Commission in New Zealand as those who died in the Christchurch attack.

Farhaj Ahsan and Mohammed Imran Khan are the other two men from Telangana killed but their names did not figure in the list.

Khadir, who was undergoing training of commercial pilot in Christchurch, was at Al Noor mosque to offer Friday prayers when a terrorist opened fire on March 15.

Initially he was listed among the missing but later the authorities confirmed that he was among the dead, leaving the family crestfallen.

Khadir’s family members said his elder brother Omair Khadir, a commercial pilot in Singapore, rushed to New Zealand and was making arrangements to bring the body back home.

Their parents, who live in Saudi Arabia, were also heading to New Zealand.

Relatives said Khadir, second of the four siblings, was born in Saudi Arabia. He wanted to become a pilot like his elder brother and had gone to New Zealand a year ago.

Besides Khadir, Ahsan, 31, a software engineer from Hyderabad and Imran Khan, 35, a restaurateur hailing from Karimnagar district, were identified as the dead.

Ahsan’s parents and in-laws have left for New Zealand for his burial there. Khan’s family members, who live in the US, have also rushed to New Zealand.

Ahmed Iqbal Jahangir, also from Hyderabad, was injured in the attack and is recovering in a hospital in Christchurch.



At least 40 people were killed in New Zealand mosques massacre

At least 40 people were killed when gunmen said to be whites opened indiscriminate fire at two mosques in Christchurch city on Friday in what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said was a terror attack.

Ardern said 10 people were killed at the Linwood Avenue Mosque and 30 at the Al Noor Mosque near Hagley Park and a further 20 people were seriously injured, The New Zealand Herald reported.

The Christchurch Hospital said 48 people had suffered gunshot wounds.

Ardern called the killings “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and an “unprecedented” situation.

At least one of the killers was an Australian man. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the suspected attacker as an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist”.

The Australian reportedly filmed as he shot victims – and wrote a manifesto declaring his intentions, saying “it is a terrorist attack”, Christchurch Police Commissioner Mike Bush told the media.

BBC quoted witnesses as saying that they ran for their lives and saw people bleeding on the ground outside the Al Noor mosque.

The gunman targeted the men’s prayer room in the mosque and then moved to the women’s room.

“It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack. From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects’ vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed,” the Prime Minister said.

Three men and a woman were arrested after the massacre, authorities said.

“These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world,” Ardern said.

She said it was obvious the attacks had been planned for some time.

Police said there were also multiple improvised explosive devices attached to vehicles as part of the attack.

“This goes to the seriousness of the situation,” Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

The Bangladesh cricket team now touring New Zealand had a narrow escape as the entire team had gone to one of the mosques near Hagley Park for Friday prayers.

Player Tamim Iqbal tweeted that the “entire team got saved from active shooters”.

Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus said most of the team had gone to the mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.

Authorities called off the New Zealand-Bangladesh third Test match that was set to be played in Christchurch.

The government advised people not to go to mosques until further notice. All Christchurch schools were hurriedly shut down.

One man, Robert Weatherhead, told Newstalk that he took in people who escaped from the Al Noor mosque.

He described the gunman as “white, aged in his 30s or 40s and wearing a uniform”, but he could not make out what the uniform was.

Another witness, who was in the front row of devotees when the gunman came in, told The New Zealand Herald that the suspect first shot people outside, adding that he heard the gun being reloaded about three times.

“The gunman began shooting in all directions,” the witness said.

A woman told the Christchurch Star she lay in her car near the mosque as four to five men came running towards her.



Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) commander Mudasir killed in Tral

Family of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) commander Mudasir Khan has identified his body as one of the two militants killed in Tral encounter, police said on Monday as it awaited forensic reports.

“One of the two slain militants has been identified as Mudasir Khan, alias Mohammad Bhai, JeM commander believed to have masterminded the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed,” an officer said.

The two were killed in the Sunday gunfight with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pinglish village in Pulwama district.

“The second militant also belongs to the JeM, however, his exact identity is yet to be ascertained,” the officer added. “DNA tests will be carried out as the bodies have been charred.”

It is the JeM commander’s family which came forward and identified him, the police officer said.

The house in which the militants were hiding was completely destroyed in the operation by the security forces.

The army said three militants were killed. The police has so far, though, recovered only two bodies.

The JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Pulwama on February 14 that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers dead in the worst ever attack since militancy began in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.



Four Indians among 157 killed in Ethiopia plane crash

As many as four Indians were among the 157 people killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday.

The plane, Boeing 737 Max-8 en route to Nairobi, crashed shortly after taking off from the Ethiopian capital, killing all 149 passengers and 8 crew on board, according to media reports.

“Profound condolences to the families of 149 passengers killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash soon after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi. Among them were 4 Indians & 4 UN staff. RIP,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight, the BBC reported. They included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, 7 French, 6 Egyptians, 5 Dutch citizens, 4 Indians and 4 from Slovakia.

Three Austrians, 3 Swedes, 3 Russians, 2 Moroccans, 2 Spaniards, 2 Poles and 2 Israelis were also on the flight.

One passenger each belonged to Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

The crash happened at 8.44 a.m., six minutes after the Boeing 737 Max-8 took off.

The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.



Three killed in Pakistan shelling on Line of Control

Three civilians were killed in shelling by the Pakistani army on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, officials said on Saturday.

Police said a woman and her two children were killed in Salotri village of Jhalas area in Krishna Ghati sector of the LoC when a shell fired by Pakistan army exploded inside a house on Friday night.

“Besides, four others including two civilians and two army soldiers have been injured in Pakistani shelling and firing,” a police officer said.

Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been trading heavy fire on the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts since the last eight days.

Local residents have described the hostilities on the LoC as ‘war-like situation’.

Authorities have closed all educational institutions within 5 km from the LoC in these two districts and asked people to remain indoors.