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Himachal Pradesh Landslides and Rainfall Claim Over 50 Lives, Search and Rescue Underway

Landslides and rain claim 50+ lives in Himachal Pradesh. Rescue ongoing. Cultural events canceled.

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Himachal Pradesh Landslides and Rainfall Claim Over 50 Lives, Search and Rescue Underway
Photo:PTI

Shimla: Tragedy struck Himachal Pradesh as Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu reported that more than 50 individuals lost their lives in the past 24 hours due to severe landslides and incessant rainfall. The situation is compounded by fears that over 20 people might be trapped beneath the debris.

CM Sukhu conveyed ongoing efforts to conduct search and rescue operations within the affected region. Given the grim circumstances, the state has decided to forego cultural festivities on Independence Day.

The chief minister shared, “In the last 24 hours, the state has seen a tragic loss of over 50 lives. With more than 20 individuals still trapped, the toll could rise further. The search and rescue operation is in progress. We have chosen not to host cultural events on Independence Day.”

Leaders such as President Droupadi Murmu, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Mallikarjun Kharge, BJP Chief JP Nadda, and Congress figures Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have reached out to offer support to the state government.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed profound sorrow over the loss of lives across the state. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are fully engaged in endeavors for rescue and relief.

Shah took to the microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter) to express condolences to bereaved families and pray for their strength in enduring sorrow. He also wished for the swift recovery of the injured.

The state government shared that train operations between Kandaghat and Shimla are suspended due to the devastating situation.

“The Kalka-Shimla railway track segment between Jutogh & Summer Hill railway stations, at km 92/6-92/7, has been washed away due to a landslide in Shimla’s Summer Hill area. Train movement between Kandaghat and Shimla has been canceled,” the government’s statement read.

Shimla DSP Vijay Raghuvanshi affirmed the ongoing rescue work in the affected Summer Hill area, marked by both landslides and heavy rainfall.

“Today, we have retrieved eight bodies since morning. Our work is considerably challenging. The cooperation from the community has been significant. We are uncertain about the precise number of people present at the site. SDM, SP, and SDRF are all actively involved. Despite the adverse weather, we continue with our rescue efforts,” stated the Shimla DSP.

President Droupadi Murmu also extended condolences to those affected by the rain-related incidents.

“I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate accidents resulting from heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the grieving families, and I wish a speedy recovery to those injured,” she conveyed in a tweet.

BJP National President JP Nadda connected with CM Sukhu and State BJP President Rajeev Bindal, expressing concern and pledging full support to the state during this time of cloudburst and landslides.

Earlier today, a cloudburst in Jadon village, Solan, led to the loss of seven lives, along with the destruction of two houses and a cowshed.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has anticipated potential rainfall in Punjab, Haryana, and areas bordering Himachal Pradesh for the upcoming days.

“Regions of Punjab and Haryana bordering Himachal Pradesh might experience heavy rainfall,” informed Manmohan Singh, Director of the Meteorological Department. Chandigarh is also expected to witness precipitation.

“In the coming weeks, the temperature, which currently ranges from 34 to 36 degrees Celsius in Punjab and Haryana, is likely to decrease.”

HP Traffic, Tourist, and Railways Police have temporarily closed the road from Anu to Hamirpur town. They advise using Pakka Bharo or Dang Kawali Road for travel to Anu.

Karnataka

HD Deve Gowda Warns Grandson Prajwal Revanna to Return Amid SIT Investigation

Former PM HD Deve Gowda demands his grandson, MP Prajwal Revanna, wanted by SIT over sexual abuse charges, return from abroad to face justice.

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HD Deve Gowda Warns Grandson Prajwal Revanna to Return Amid SIT Investigation
(File Photo : economictimes)

Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda issued a stern warning to his grandson, Hassan JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna, who is wanted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) over sexual abuse charges, to return from abroad immediately. The warning was delivered through a letter posted on X, wherein Gowda emphasized the importance of regaining public trust, which has supported him for over six decades.

Prajwal Revanna left for Germany on April 26 after voting in the Lok Sabha polls. Following the sexual abuse charges against him, Karnataka’s political landscape was shaken, prompting the state government to establish the SIT and secure an Interpol blue corner alert to track him down.

Gowda’s public reprimand came after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel Prajwal’s diplomatic passport. Days earlier, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Prajwal’s uncle, expressed ignorance about his nephew’s whereabouts and appealed for his return through the media.

On his 91st birthday on May 18, Gowda broke his silence, expressing no objection to legal action against Prajwal. He alleged that the Congress government fabricated cases against his son, HD Revanna, Prajwal’s father, who serves as Holenarasipura MLA. Revanna faced arrest over the alleged kidnapping of Prajwal’s victim but was released on bail.

In his letter, Gowda recounted the emotional turmoil caused by the allegations against Prajwal. He described his shock and pain, stating that he supported the harshest legal penalties if Prajwal is found guilty. He acknowledged the severe criticism directed at his family and refrained from countering the public’s harsh words, asserting his commitment to truth and conscience.

Gowda insisted he had no prior knowledge of Prajwal’s activities or his foreign trip, emphasizing his faith in divine justice. He avoided commenting on political conspiracies or falsehoods, trusting that those responsible would eventually face divine retribution.

Gowda concluded his letter with a definitive warning: Prajwal must return and submit to the legal process. This was not a mere appeal but a direct order, with severe familial and legal consequences for non-compliance. Gowda stressed that neither he nor his family would interfere with the investigation, underscoring the paramount importance of justice for the victims of Prajwal’s alleged actions.

Gowda’s firm stance highlights his dedication to maintaining integrity and justice, reflecting his deep commitment to the principles he has upheld throughout his extensive political career. The former Prime Minister’s demand for Prajwal’s return and accountability underlines a significant moment in Karnataka’s political and judicial landscape.

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Mangaluru

High Drama at Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja’s Residence Amid Police Inquiry

Tension escalated at MLA Harish Poonja’s residence in Belthangady as police visited for inquiry, leading to protests and high drama involving party workers.

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High Drama at Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja’s Residence Amid Police Inquiry
(Photo: X/@HateDetectors)

The serene surroundings of Gardadi in Belthangady were disrupted on Wednesday as a tense standoff unfolded at the residence of Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja. The incident, rooted in ongoing legal inquiries and heightened by political activism, culminated in a dramatic day marked by police presence, political rallies, and fervent exchanges.

Police Inquiry Sparks Tension

The episode began with the arrival of a police team at MLA Harish Poonja’s residence. This visit was part of an ongoing investigation related to a case filed against the MLA. According to Dakshina Kannada (DK) SP Ryshyanth C B, the MLA had been summoned for an inquiry but had initially declined to attend, leading to police intervention at his home.

SP Ryshyanth emphasized, “We have served a notice in the morning and received a copy of the notice issued. Despite this, there was a lack of cooperation until the evening, but the MLA’s representatives have now agreed to attend the inquiry.”

Political Showdown

As news of the police presence spread, a large number of party workers and prominent political figures, including DK MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, MLA D Vedavyas Kamath, and others, gathered at the MLA’s residence. The scene quickly turned confrontational as party workers engaged in heated exchanges with the police, chanting slogans like “Bharath Mata ki jai” and voicing their discontent against the Congress-led government.

Amid the rising tensions, additional police personnel were deployed to manage the crowd and maintain order. Advocate K Shambhu Sharma clarified that the police were there in connection with a case filed against the MLA, emphasizing the need for proper notice as per Supreme Court guidelines.

Allegations and Legal Battles

The legal troubles for MLA Harish Poonja stem from multiple incidents. The primary case involves allegations of the MLA pressuring a station officer to release BJP Yuva Morcha Mandala President Shashiraj, who was arrested for illegal quarrying and stocking explosives. Consequently, the MLA was booked under IPC Sections 353 and 504.

The situation escalated further when another case was registered against the MLA. This second case was related to a protest organized without prior permission in front of the Vikasa Soudha in Belthangady. During the protest, the MLA allegedly made provocative remarks against the police and hinted at potential unrest similar to the DJ Halli and KJ Halli incidents in Bengaluru. This led to charges under IPC Sections 143, 147, 341, 504, 506, and 149.

Political and Social Ramifications

The unfolding drama at MLA Harish Poonja’s residence highlights the intricate interplay between law enforcement and political activism in India. The incident has sparked a broader conversation about the responsibilities and conduct of elected officials, the legal processes involved, and the role of political supporters in such high-tension scenarios.

Political analysts suggest that such incidents could have significant implications for the upcoming elections, influencing public perception and voter behavior. The MLA’s actions and the response from law enforcement are likely to be scrutinized closely in the coming days.

Conclusion

The events at Gardadi on Wednesday are a stark reminder of the complexities inherent in the intersection of politics and law enforcement. As MLA Harish Poonja navigates the legal inquiries and the political fallout, the situation remains a focal point for both his supporters and detractors. The coming days will reveal the broader implications of this high-stakes drama in Belthangady.

As the investigations proceed and political maneuvers continue, the community and the state will be watching closely, anticipating the next developments in this unfolding saga.

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Karnataka

61 Terminated Safai Karmacharis Await Reinstatement from DRDO’s CABS

61 safai karmacharis terminated from DRDO’s CABS in March seek reinstatement and justice against contractor extortion.

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61 Terminated Safai Karmacharis Await Reinstatement from DRDO's CABS
(Representational Image)

In March 2024, 61 safai karmacharis, all women from marginalized communities, were terminated from their positions at the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), a part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This sudden termination has left these workers in a state of uncertainty and has raised significant concerns regarding workers’ rights, extortion by contractors, and the treatment of marginalized communities in India.

Background of the Termination

The termination of these workers did not happen in a vacuum. The safai karmacharis allege that their dismissal was a direct result of their decision to raise their voices against the injustice and extortion practices of their contractor. According to the workers, the contractor was demanding an illegal cut of Rs 4,200 from their monthly wages to release their salaries. When the workers, backed by the Karnataka General Labour Union, affiliated with the All India Central Council of Trade Unions, protested against this malpractice, they were relieved of their duties.

Role of the Regional Labour Commissioner

In 2023, the safai karmacharis had approached the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) to lodge a formal complaint about the extortion. The Labour Commissioner intervened, but the resolution was short-lived. On March 23, 2024, when the women reported for duty, they were informed of their termination. They were told that a new contractor, Indian Security Agency, had taken over, and their services were no longer required.

Demands and Actions by the Labour Union

The Karnataka General Labour Union has been at the forefront of this battle, demanding the immediate reinstatement of the terminated workers. They have also called for criminal and disciplinary action against the contractor for his illegal extortion practices. Additionally, the union is seeking a refund of the extorted amounts and demanding dignified working conditions for the safai karmacharis at CABS.

Agreement and Its Violation

In a meeting held on May 9, 2024, an agreement was reached between the commission for safai karmacharis and representatives of CABS to reinstate the terminated workers. However, despite this agreement, the workers have not been reinstated, leaving them in a precarious situation.

Working Conditions at CABS

The terminated workers have also raised concerns about the unhygienic working conditions at CABS. They report that they were not provided with adequate safety equipment, which is essential for their job. This neglect not only compromises their health and safety but also reflects a broader issue of disregard for the welfare of marginalized workers.

The Impact of Termination on Workers

The sudden termination has had a profound impact on the lives of these workers. Many of them are the primary breadwinners of their families, and the loss of income has led to financial distress. The psychological impact of losing their jobs under such unjust circumstances has also been significant.

Broader Implications for Workers’ Rights

This incident highlights broader issues concerning workers’ rights in India, particularly for those from marginalized communities. The exploitation of workers by contractors, the lack of accountability, and the failure to uphold agreements made with labor commissions are systemic problems that need urgent attention.

Call to Action

The Karnataka General Labour Union continues to press for the reinstatement of the 61 safai karmacharis. They are advocating for a system that ensures fair treatment, dignified working conditions, and strict actions against those who exploit workers. Their struggle is not just for their own reinstatement but for a broader change in how marginalized workers are treated in India.

Conclusion

The case of the 61 terminated safai karmacharis from DRDO’s CABS is a stark reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by marginalized workers in India. As they await justice, it is imperative for authorities to address their grievances, ensure their reinstatement, and take concrete steps to prevent such injustices in the future. The fight for their rights is a fight for a more equitable and just society where every worker is treated with dignity and respect.

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