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Sporadic violence mars polling in Andhra Pradesh

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Amaravati, May 13 (IANS) Sporadic incidents of violence, including between a YSRCP MLA and a voter, marred the polling in Andhra Pradesh for simultaneous elections to the state Assembly and Lok Sabha on Monday.

Supporters of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) clashed in a few places. The violence disrupted the polling process for some time at a couple of polling centres.

In Tenali in Guntur district, YSRCP MLA and candidate for Assembly elections, A. Sivakumar attacked a voter at a polling station. The voter raised an objection when the YSRCP MLA allegedly jumped the line. After a heated exchange, the YSRCP leader slapped him. When the voter hit the MLA back, the latter’s supporters thrashed him. The incident sent panic among voters, including women. Police intervened to bring the situation under control.

The Election Commission took serious note of the incident and ordered that Sivakumar be placed under house arrest till the completion of the polling.

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The YSRCP, however, said Sivakumar went to the polling booth after receiving information that women voters were harassed by TDP workers. It alleged that TDP workers abused Sivakumar as well, which led to the clash.

Tension gripped Tadipatri in Anantapur as the supporters of the YSRCP and the TDP clashed near a polling booth. Both the groups pelted stones at each other. A BSF jawan was injured in stone pelting.

Both parties have blamed each other for the incidents of violence.

Meanwhile, the TDP has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission about the violence at various places. It claimed that due to violence resorted to by the YSRCP, many voters left without casting their votes.

TDP president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu wrote a letter to the Election Commission that over 120 incidents of violence were reported during the polling. He alleged that at all places, YSRCP leaders resorted to violence and that police acted with bias.

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The TDP alleged that YSRCP leaders attacked TDP and Jana Sena workers in Tirupati when they tried to resist attempts to do rigging.

Incidents of violence were reported from Sri Sathya Sai, Guntur, Palnadu, Konasaeema, Madhurawada, Nellore and other districts.

Chandrababu Naidu alleged that there was no protection even for police personnel. He appealed to people to foil the conspiracy.

On the other hand, the YSRCP alleged that TDP men attacked and injured a YSRCP member at a polling booth in Ongole constituency.

–IANS

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J&K Police constable involved in drug trade sacked

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Jammu, May 26 (IANS) A police constable in J&K’s Reasi district was dismissed from service on Sunday for being involved in the drug trade, officials said.

Selection grade police constable Tariq Hussain Shah was booked last year under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

SSP Reasi, Mohita Sharma ordered the dismissal, officials said.

“He was dismissed for prolonged unauthorised absence from duties and for being an accused in drug trafficking. He was booked under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at Jammu’s Bakshi Nagar police station last year,” an official said.

“The SSP said in the order that charges of violations of police rules and regulations, absenteeism, grave misconduct, indiscipline, and negligence were proved against the constable making him unfit to serve the department. The stern departmental action of dismissal has been taken after the delinquent cop did not pay heed to series of signals, attendance notices and show cause notices which were served upon him,” the official added.

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After the present DGP R.R.Swain took over the command of the J&K Police, instances of misconduct, indiscipline, corruption, or rudeness to the public which have been brought to his notice have received prompt attention and action.

–IANS

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Doctors save 18-month-old girl who ingested mosquito repellent

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Doctors at a hospital in Hyderabad saved an 18-month-old girl who accidentally ingested a mosquito repellent. The girl from Bhilai was airlifted to Hyderabad after her condition deteriorated.

After struggling to breathe, she was initially taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a hospital in Raipur, where she was placed on a ventilator. As her lungs began to fail, and she couldn’t breathe properly despite full ventilator support, the hospital in Raipur contacted KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur in Hyderabad.

A specialised team of six, including two intensivists, a perfusionist and a cardiac surgeon, flew to Raipur.

Upon examination, they diagnosed severe chemical pneumonitis caused by hydrocarbons in the insecticide.

As the ventilator was ineffective in oxygenating her body and her heart was failing severely, the medical team decided to use ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) to support her breathing and stabilise her condition.

The girl received one of the rarest and most complex treatments, involving the insertion of a cannula near her neck to bypass her heart and lung to save her life.

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After the procedure, the baby was transported via road ambulance to Raipur Airport and then transported via charter air ambulance to Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

From there, she was taken to KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

She was on VA-ECMO for nine days, showing gradual improvement. Then, she spent another five or six days on a ventilator.

Afterward, she was placed on high-flow oxygen, and eventually low-flow oxygen.

During this period, an infection was treated with antibiotics.

After 18 days of treatment, the baby fully recovered, became active, and was discharged last week in good health with a normal neurological outcome.

“The treatment provided significant support to her heart and lungs. The advanced facilities at KIMS Cuddles Kondapur, combined with the expertise of a highly skilled medical team, made it possible to transport her to ECMO from Raipur and treat her successfully. Experienced cardiac and vascular surgeons ensured precise blood vessel cannulation,” said Dr. Parag Dekate, Clinical Director of Pediatrics and Head Of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, KIMS Cuddles, Kondapur.

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–IANS

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Rajkot fire: CM Bhupendra Patel conducts on-site inspection

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Sunday conducted an on-site visit to assess the aftermath of the devastating fire at TRP Gamezone in Rajkot, which claimed 35 lives.

Chief Minister also visited the Rajkot AIIMS and other hospitals to check on the injured and interacted with victims and their families.

He also met the families of those who lost their lives, offered condolences and assured them full support.

At Rajkot’s Hirasar Airport, Chief Minister Patel held a high-level review meeting to discuss the relief and rescue operations. He directed a thorough investigation and insisted on strict punitive action against those responsible.

A 100-bed burn ward has been set up at PDU Medical College in Rajkot to treat burn victims. Additional doctors and paramedical staff have also been deployed to ensure no lapse in medical care. Expert surgeons and trained nurses from Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Morbi, Junagadh, and Bhavnagar have also been deployed in Rajkot.

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At least 20 ambulances have also been put into service to enhance transportation facilities for quick intensive care.

Air ambulance services have also been put into service to transport DNA samples of the deceased and their family members’ referral samples to the Gandhinagar Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for urgent identification.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been formed to probe the incident which will be headed by Additional Director General of Police Subhash Trivedi.

The SIT has been asked to furnish the preliminary report to the state government within three days.

Rajkot City Police has ordered the closure of all game zones in the city as a precautionary measure as the inspections for fire safety and other security measures are ongoing.

Administration has said that immediate punitive action will be taken against game zones operating without a Fire No Objection Certificate (NOC) or any other necessary permissions, and they will be shut down.

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–IANS

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KTR accuses Telangana govt of Rs 1,000 crore scam in rice procurement

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) working president K. T. Rama Rao has accused the Congress-led Telangana government of Rs 1,000 crore paddy lifting and rice procurement scam.

He demanded Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy and civil supplies minister Uttam Kumar Reddy to clear themselves of the allegations. He challenged them to initiate a judicial inquiry with a sitting judge

He accused CM Revanth Reddy and minister Uttam Kumar Reddy of being implicated in the scam in the civil supply department.

Addressing a news conference at BRS central office, Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, KTR accused the Congress party of looting the government exchequer.

He claimed that the civil supplies department, under the supervision of Uttam Kumar Reddy and Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, awarded tenders to four companies to lift paddy from rice millers in the state. He accused both the Chief Minister and the minister of constituting a committee, issuing guidelines, and calling for tenders — all on January 25 itself.

“The government showed no urgency in fulfilling electoral promises, but it swiftly awarded these tenders dubiously in one day with jet speed,” the BRS leader remarked. He alleged that the Congress government was looting government funds in the name of global tenders for 35 lakh metric tons of paddy.

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He noted that local rice millers were ready to purchase the same paddy for Rs 2,100 per quintal, but the government sold it at prices ranging from Rs 1,885 to 2,007 per quintal to companies like Kendriya Bhandar, LG Industries, Hindustan Company, and NACAF, who secured the tenders by quoting lower rates.

KTR further accused these four companies of blackmailing local rice millers, demanding Rs 2,230 per quintal, which is Rs 200 more than their tendered rates, leading to Rs 800 crore scam. He pointed out that according to the tender agreement, these companies had no right to demand money instead of paddy from the rice millers.

He stated that these companies failed to lift the paddy within the stipulated 90-day period, which ended on May 23, and they sought an extension from the government, which is under positive consideration. He accused the government of trying to extend the period to fleece more money from the millers instead of taking action against the companies for violating tender conditions.

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KTR demanded that the government release a white paper detailing how much paddy had been lifted and address the allegations of money collection from millers instead of paddy. He criticised the government for its silence on this multi-crore scam for over two weeks. KTR also faulted the government policy for tendering fine and raw paddy at the same price.

He criticised the government for purchasing fine rice at Rs 15 more per kilogram than the market price. He noted that the BRS government, under KCR, had introduced fine rice for school and hostel students as a humane initiative, but the Congress government was exploiting this noble cause for corruption. Even today, new fine rice with 10 per cent broken rice is priced at around Rs 42 per kilogram in the market, while the government is paying Rs 57 per kilogram to companies.

He highlighted that the same four companies involved in the dubious paddy lifting tenders were also awarded tenders for buying fine rice, raising public doubts. These companies quoted the nearly same rate in tenders, blatantly rigging the process, KTR said.

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KTR reminded that the erstwhile government used procured paddy for fine rice supply, securing better quality fine rice at just Rs 35 per kilogram. He accused the government under Revanth Reddy and Uttam Kumar Reddy of engaging in a Rs 300 crore scam in fine rice procurement by procuring 2.20 lakh metric tons. He demanded the immediate cancellation of tender awarding letters for fine rice procurement from these shady companies.

KTR urged the BJP and its leaders to show their commitment by involving central agencies and the FCI to investigate this scam. He reminded that the FCI always monitors paddy procurement and minimum support price transactions as per the Food Security Act. The central government’s silence also raised suspicions of collusion with the Congress government in this paddy scam.

If the Congress and BJP fail to clarify their roles in this thousand-crore paddy and fine rice scam, KTR warned that they would seek judicial intervention.

–IANS

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Smartphone theft, smuggling gang busted in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Hyderabad Police have busted an international smartphone theft and smuggling gang and apprehended 31 accused including a Sudanese national.

The sleuths of Commissioner’s Task Force, South, East and South-East Zone Teams along with local police seized 713 smartphones, an autorickshaw, two computers and one laptop, total worth Rs 2 crore.

According to S. Rashmi Perumal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Commissioner’s Task Force, Hyderabad, a spate of mobile phone snatchings has been seen in recent days in the process of which robberies, extortions and even a murder have taken place. While investigating this, it was discovered that a major criminal network has been operating in the city involving cell phone theft offenders, host of receivers of these stolen cell phones (both national and international) who are in the business of unlawful transport of these cell phones out of the country to sell them for illegal profits.

Police found that several stolen cell phones are being dismantled in niche markets, their IMEI numbers being changed and the resultant components such as mobile screens, cameras, and speakers are subsequently being used as replacement parts for existing damaged mobiles received from customers at a fraction of price in comparison to original company rates. A few weeks back, a similar major network of stolen cell phone racket was busted by the Task Force and several persons were arrested.

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In the latest case, the Task Force arrested 15 offenders/snatchers, nine receivers and four mobile phone technicians who were unlocking stolen handsets and tampering with their IMEI numbers.

An international end receiver of stolen mobiles has also been arrested. He is identified as Mohamed Musa Hassan Gamaralanbia (26), who is into the phone accessories business. The Sudanese national was residing in the Nanal Nagar area in Hyderabad.

The foreign national was illegally exporting the cell phones via sea route.

The seized mobile phones relate to 27 cases booked at various police stations in Hyderabad. The accused cell phone offenders were committing thefts/extortion of cell phones in crowded areas like buses/bus stations, wine shops and public meetings.

All the accused (except one Sudanese national) are natives of Hyderabad and are common friends. With desires to lead a lavish life and finding their earnings insufficient, they collectively hatched a plan to commit theft/snatching of cell phones and further sell these stolen cell phones to receivers to earn money illegally.

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The DCP has advised citizens to be vigilant when moving in crowded places and to report any snatching/theft incidents to the police at the earliest. She also cautioned mobile shop owners in the city to refrain from purchasing/selling of stolen cell phones or engaging in illegal activities such as tampering with IMEI numbers as strict legal action will be taken against them.

–IANS

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