Lightning strike in Bihar kills 18 in 24 hours


At least 18 people were killed, while nearly half a dozen were injured in incidents of lightning strikes across Bihar in last 24 hours, an official said on Wednesday. The deceased also included women and children. 

According to an official of the Bihar State Disaster Department, the casualties were reported from Kaimur, East Champaran, Jehanabad, Gaya, Patna, Vaishali and Muzaffarpur.

Five deaths were reported from Kaimur, three from East Champaran and one each in the remaining districts, he said. 

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

According to the weather office, lightning strikes are usually reported during the June-September monsoon season.

One killed in clash between Patna University hostel students, locals


A 45-year-old man, a bystander during a clash between Patna University hostel students and local residents, was killed after a stone thrown by one of the parties hit him on the head.

The police have arrested 20 students in this regard.

The clash took place after eight students were earlier arrested for passing objectionable remarks against a local girl.
According to the police, around 12.30 am on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, over a hundred students living in Cervantes and Minto hostels of Patna University and local Lalbagh residents began pelting stones at each other. Mohammed Shoukat, who had been standing at a tea stall, was hit by a stone on his head, and died on the spot.

His death sparked fresh protests from locals, forcing police to raid the hostels. Twetny students were arrested around 2 am. To avoid further clashes, police have been deployed at Lalbagh and near the hostels.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Garima Malik said: “We are taking stern action. The police deployment will continue and more arrests can be made”.

The chain of events started on Saturday, when inmates of the two PU hostels took out a protest march against the “poor quality” of food served in hostel canteens. During the protest, some students allegedly passed objectionable remarks against a local Labagh girl. After some locals protested this, one resident was beaten up. Police later arrested eight hostel students for passing the remarks and for assaulting the local resident.

The Monday night protest was triggered after students learnt that three Lalbagh residents had recorded their statements with the police against the arrested students.

Meanwhile, Patna University administration has taken stock of the situation and might take action against the students after an internal inquiry.

Militant, Soldier, Bihari Labourer Killed In Shopian


SRINAGAR — A militant of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and an army soldier beside a Bihari labouerr were killed in a gunfight at Ittoo Mohalla Pandushan area of South Kashmir’s Shopian on Friday afternoon.

Official sources said that body was recovered from the site of the encounter late today evening. The body was taken to DPL where the slain has been identified as Zeenat-Ul-Islam of Memander.

After conducting all necessary formalities, the body of the slain was handed over to his legal heirs for last rites, they said.

Earlier, an army man was also killed during the encounter, they said, adding that an army man has suffered injuries.

The injured soldier was immediately taken to army hospital for treatment, they said.

A police officer also confirmed the killing of a militant and a soldier during the operation so far.

He said that the operation is still going on in the area. According to the officer one more militant is still hiding in the area.

According to reports, one body is still lying near the encounter site and it is believed to be that of a non-local man namely Mujeeb, a resident of Bihar who was working as a labourer in the area. However, there was no official confirmation in this regard so far.

Earlier in the day, youth took to streets and pelted stones on forces near the encounter site. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In forces action, one youth namely Sahil Ahmad of Chogalpora Shopian sustained pellet injury in his left eye.

Sahil was immediately taken to district hospital Kulgam for treatment where from he was referred to SMHS Srinagar for specialized treatment.

On Thursday evening, the encounter broke out at Ittoo Mohalla Pandoshan village after a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation.

One CRPF jawan killed in IED blast triggered by Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district


Raipur: A CRPF jawan was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast triggered by Naxals in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday, officials said.

The blast took place around 6 am near a camp of 195th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Pushpal in Bastar when one of its patrolling teams was returning after an anti-Naxal operation, a senior police officer told PTI.

The force had launched the operation on Tuesday night in the forests along the border of Bastar and Dantewada districts, he said.

A constable-rank jawan, Raushan Kumar (23), a native of Bihar’s Nalanda district, was killed in the blast. It was triggered as he accidentally stepped on the IED when the team was passing through a road construction site near Bodli village, the officer said.

The constable’s body was taken to the Pushpal camp from where it will be shifted to his battalion headquarters in Dantewada’s Barsoor, he said.

A search operation is underway in the area where the blast took place, he said.

Jharkhand to bear education expenses of children if family head killed in elephant attack


The Jharkhand government will provide free education to the children of a family, which has lost its only earning member to an elephant attack, an official statement said here on Thursday.

All district deputy commissioners have been apprised of the government’s decision, it said.

“If a family head dies following attack by elephants, children of that family will get free education in government schools,” said the statement issued by the office of Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

The direction came following a meeting of the Jharkhand State Wildlife Council, chaired by the chief minister, on Wednesday.

Among others who attended the meeting were Additional Chief Secretary (forest department) Indushekhar Chaturvedi, Principle Secretary to the Chief Minister Sunil Kumar Barnwal and the forest department chief Sanjay Kumar.

Special efforts are being made to reduce man-animal conflict in Jharkhand, with focus on plantation of bamboo trees in the forests – one of the major sources of food for elephants, the statement said.

An “underpass will be constructed between Ranchi and Jamshedpur for the safe passage of elephants” along the forested areas, it said.

According to government records, 87 people were killed in elephant attacks in the state in the 2018-19 fiscal.

Between January and June this year, at least six persons died in elephant attacks in the Ranchi forest division.

Bihar assembly sees uproar as 5 lynched in 4 days


Five people were killed in a spate of mob lynchings in four days in Bihar. Recently, there has been a rise in cases of mob violence in the state, raising questions about law and order. The latest incidents were reported from Chhapra and Vaishali districts.

The first incident took place on Thursday, July 18 in Chhapra when enraged villagers beat three thieves to death. Apparently, all three were known for stealing cattle from the villagers. The father of one of the victims has demanded rigorous punishment for the accused. The police have taken cognisance of the matter and taken eight people in custody.

Subsequently, three incidents took place on Friday, July 19, in Vaishali and Bhojpur. In two separate incidents in Vaishali, villagers brutally thrashed a robber while he was trying to flee after looting a bank.

Another incident happened on Sunday, July 21, when a mob of angry villagers attacked and killed a youth. According to the villagers, the young man was punished for murdering a girl. The situation in all these villages remained tense as on Monday.

Meanwhile, the opposition attacked the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government over the “deteriorating” law and order in the state. Leaders belonging to RJD demanded an answer from the government, while BJP legislator Jeevesh Mishra said, “The people of Bihar are taking law in their hands out of frustration. However, this is not right. They should hand over the accused to the police.” He also said that the state will have to take necessary steps.

7 Children Among Eight Killed After Being Struck By Lightning In Bihar



Eight people, seven of them children aged 15 years or below, were killed and eight others were injured after lightning struck them in Bihar’s Nawada on Friday afternoon, an official said.

According to Sub Divisional Officer, Sadar, Nawada, Anu Kumar, the children were residents of Dhanpur Musahari village falling under Kalichak police station area and had taken shelter under a tree while it was raining.

The people who died have been identified as Ramesh Manjhi, 26, Chhotu Manjhi, Ganesh Manjhi and Monu Manjhi (all 15 years old), Nitish Manjhi, 12, Pravesh Kumar, 10, Chhotu Manjhi, 8 and Muni Lal Manjhi, 5, Mr Kumar said.

In addition, eight others were injured and seven of them were being treated at the Sadar hospital while the condition of another was stated to be critical and he has been admitted to Pavapuri in the adjoining Nalanda district, the official said.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar issued a statement expressing grief over the tragedy and announcing an ex-gratia of Rs. four lakh to the family of the people who lost their lives.

He also issued instructions for proper medical assistance to those who have sustained injuries, a release issued by the Chief Ministers office said.

Former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi issued a statement expressing grief and demanding that the ex-gratia amount be raised to Rs. 20 lakh each.

At Least 15 Killed Including 4 Children, Many Feared Trapped Under After Wall Collapses Due To Heavy Rains In Pune


15 people have been confirmed dead and many more are feared to be trapped under after a portion of a wall of a residential building in Pune, Maharashtra collapsed.

All the victims including four children and a woman were living in temporary shelters built for labourers working in a nearby construction site. The victims were natives of either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh.

According to the police, a portion of the 12 to 15-feet-high wall collapsed between 1.30 and 1.45 am crushing the victims under it.

Those injured have been shifted to a local hospital. Rescue teams including the NDRF are continuing their search for more possible survivors.

Police had earlier said that 17 people were killed in the incident.

Dramatic visuals from the spot also showed a number of cars also trapped under the debris.

According to officials, prima facie the reason behind the collapse of the wall was the heavy rains. However, an investigation has been launched into the mishap to look into all aspects including whether the shelters which were barely 40 feet away from the residential building’s wall was illegal.

“We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and those responsible will be punished,” District Collector Naval Kishore Ram who visited the spot said.

Pune like other parts of Maharashtra received heavy rains on Friday.

Over 73.1 millimetres of rain was recorded in the city in the past 24 hours, the second highest rainfall in June since 2010.

22 killed in rain-related incidents in Maha, Jharkhand; dry spell continues in North India


Twenty-two people were killed and seven injured in Maharashtra and Jharkhand in rain-related incidents, even as the dry spell continued in most parts of north India which was reeling under sweltering heat.

At least 15 people, including four children, were killed and two injured in Pune when a portion of the 22-ft high compound wall of a housing society collapsed on adjoining shanties following incessant rains, trapping the sleeping families under the debris, officials said.

The incident took place between 1:30 am and 1:45 am at Kondhwa and the victims were labourers and their family members, a majority of them from Bihar, who were living in makeshift shelters at the under-construction residential project where deep excavation work was underway.

Heavy monsoon rains continued to lash Mumbai and its neighbouring areas for the second consecutive day on Saturday and at least five persons were injured in rain-related incidents, officials said.

The suburban local trains, called the lifeline of Mumbai, remained largely unaffected and were running as per their schedule. However, in view of IMD’s heavy rainfall forecast, the Central Railway (CR) cancelled some express or passenger trains, especially those between Mumbai and Pune.

According to the officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), 39 incidents of short circuit, 104 incidents of uprooting of trees or falling of tree branches were reported from various parts of the city.

In Maharashtra’s Thane district, two people died of electrocution in separate incidents caused by incessant rains on late Friday night. While the first incident occurred in Thane city, the other one occurred in Ambarnath.

Two people died on Saturday after being struck by lightning in separate incidents in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, police said.

While Shrikrishna Dhabal (69) was struck by a lightning bolt while working in his field in Sangrampur taluka, farm labourer Yuvraj Gavande (35) died in a similar manner in Jastgaon villege, they said.

Three people, including two teenagers, died in lightning strikes in Jharkhan’s Gumla district during heavy rains on Friday evening.

In the national capital, mercury settled five notches above normal on Sunday. The minimum temperature was recorded at 30 degrees Celsius, two notches above normal, while the maximum temperature settled at 42.3 degree, five notches above normal.

Parts of south Gujarat received extremely heavy rainfall Saturday, with the IMD stating that districts in the south and central parts of the state were likely to receive heavy rainfall over the next two days with upper cyclonic circulation formed over the region.

The IMD warned of heavy rains in Valsad, Navsari, Dangs, Surat, Narmada, Chhota Udepur and Vadodara districts over the next two days, adding that upper cyclonic circulation had formed over the south Gujarat region.

Valsad received 130 millimetres rainfall in a 24-hour period till Saturday morning, while Bhavnagar and Vadodara got 52.8 and 34 mm rainfall respectively, IMD data showed.

Heatwave continued to sweep the Jammu region as mercury touched 43.1 degrees Celsius, four degrees above average. Summer capital Srinagar, on the other hand, continued to experience pleasant weather with a high of 29.6 degrees Celsius, up by over two notches but below the season’s average.

In Punjab and Haryana, rains remained elusive even as the maximum temperatures were recorded to be between two to five notches above normal. Bhiwani and Narnaul were the hottest place in the twin states with mercury settling at a high of 42.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal.

While Amritsar braved a high of 42.4 degrees celsius, five notches above normal, the maximum temperature at Ambala was 41.8 degrees Celsius, also five notches above normal.

Moderate rain and thunderstorm were witnessed at isolated places in Eastern Uttar Pradesh even Banda was recorded as the hottest place in the state, recording a temperature of 44.8 degrees Celsius, which is eight degrees above normal.

Heatwave also swept some parts of the state and Allahabad sizzled at 44 degrees Celsius.

According to the IMD, rain and thundershowers were observed at many places over Assam, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, North Interior Karnataka and at most places over Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.

Extremely heavy rainfall was observed at a few places over Konkan and Goa and Gujarat region, it said.

The Meteorological Department has issued a fresh yellow weather warning for thunderstorm in Himachal Pradesh for July 3. It has forecast thunderstorms accompanied with hailstorm and gusty winds in several parts of middle hills of the state on July 3.

The weather office issues colour-coded warnings to alert people ahead of severe or hazardous weather that has the potential to cause “damage, widespread disruption or danger to life”. Yellow is the least dangerous of all the weather warnings. It indicates the possibility of severe weather over the next few days.

The Odisha government Saturday put all 30 districts in the state on alert in view of the IMD forecasting enhanced heavy rainfall over the next three days. The step was taken after the IMD indicated formation of a low pressure area in north Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood, which is likely to intensify into a depression during the subsequent 48 hours.

“Under its influence, enhanced rainfall activity is very likely over the districts of Odisha,” said H R Biswas, the director of the IMD, Bhubaneswar.

“They Were Witches”: Jharkhand Woman, Daughter Killed Over “Black Magic”


NEW DELHI: A woman and her daughter were hacked to death by three men over allegations of witchcraft in the remote tribal-dominated east, police said Saturday.
The 50-year-old woman and her young daughter were beaten by their neighbours before being attacked with knives on Wednesday night in West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand.

Police said the victims’ family was embroiled in a land dispute with one of the accused, who used black magic allegations as a cover-up to commit the crime.

“One of the accused told the villagers that the women were witches and responsible for deaths and diseases in the village. They attacked the women in the night and killed them brutally,” district police chief Indrajit Mahatha told AFP.

The woman’s husband filed a complaint against the accused who are on the run, he said.

More than 2,000 people — many of them women — were killed in India on suspicion of witchcraft between 2000 and 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Some states, including Jharkhand, have introduced special laws to try to curb crimes against people accused of witchcraft and superstition.

Experts say belief in witchcraft and the occult remains widespread in impoverished rural communities across India. There are also occasional reports of human sacrifices.

Earlier this month police in northeastern Assam state said they suspected a case of human sacrifice after finding the headless body of a woman near a Hindu temple.