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Articles on this Page
- 09/10/17--23:39: _Delhi school studen...
- 09/12/17--06:57: _Man risks life to r...
- 09/14/17--00:06: _Republic TV reporte...
- 09/17/17--05:53: _ Hungry cobra made...
- 09/19/17--22:36: _Family terrified af...
- 09/21/17--22:45: _Crows on hire to he...
- 09/22/17--08:14: _White tiger dies af...
- 09/25/17--07:28: _Girl riders somersa...
- 09/25/17--08:11: _Navi Mumbai water p...
- 09/27/17--20:27: _Jilted lover molest...
- 09/27/17--20:30: _229 LPG cylinders e...
- 09/27/17--20:39: _Friends’ selfie cap...
- 10/02/17--20:23: _Tumour removed from...
- 10/03/17--06:39: _Terrified car drive...
- 10/05/17--08:48: _School girls wade t...
- 10/05/17--09:33: _ Heavy rain cuts of...
- 10/15/17--18:57: _Onlookers save woma...
- 10/15/17--19:17: _Shop employees run ...
- 11/16/17--06:07: _Brave security guar...
- 11/16/17--06:14: _Elephant pulled out...
- 12/30/17--05:59: _India's dancing cop...
- 01/01/18--00:24: _Article 0
- 01/05/18--03:43: _ Underwater prayer ...
- 01/09/18--20:51: _Commuter recalls da...
- 01/19/18--03:16: _Hundreds of Indian ...
- 09/12/17--06:57: Man risks life to rescue lamb from abandoned borewell
- 09/17/17--05:53: Hungry cobra made to spit out plastic bottle it had swallowed
- 09/19/17--22:36: Family terrified after cobra takes shelter in son’s school shoe
- 09/21/17--22:45: Crows on hire to help devout Hindus worship ancestors
- 09/25/17--07:28: Girl riders somersault in air after head-on collision with car
- 09/25/17--08:11: Navi Mumbai water pipeline bursts forming spectacular plume
- 09/27/17--20:30: 229 LPG cylinders explode turning truck into a massive bomb
- 09/27/17--20:39: Friends’ selfie captures moment a student drowns in pond
- 10/02/17--20:23: Tumour removed from mouth of python in rare surgery
- 10/03/17--06:39: Terrified car driver stranded in flash flood
- 10/05/17--09:33: Heavy rain cuts off major software hub in Bangalore
- 10/15/17--18:57: Onlookers save woman driver from dangerously flooded road
- 10/15/17--19:17: Shop employees run for cover as customer’s mobile phone explodes
- 11/16/17--06:07: Brave security guard shot, but fights off ATM robbers
- 11/16/17--06:14: Elephant pulled out of dry well after marathon rescue effort
- 12/30/17--05:59: India's dancing cop spreads traffic awareness, reduces accidents
- 01/01/18--00:24: Article 0
- 01/05/18--03:43: Underwater prayer meet held for fishermen killed by Cyclone Ockhi
- 01/09/18--20:51: Commuter recalls daily horror of overcrowded Mumbai local trains
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
A Class 10 student of a posh school ruptured his eardrum and lost 25 per cent of hearing ability following a bizarre game of slaps with his friends.
The victim’s parents said the traumatised boy has stopped going to school and weeps constantly. He has not been eating or sleeping properly after the assault, which took place on September 4 at Pathways School in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi.
A video of the disturbing incident, shot by a classmate, has gone viral drawing widespread support to the victim’s parents, who described it as an act bullying.
School Director Shalini Advani dismissed the allegations by the parents and said that it was a consensual 'slap-bet'.
In a slap bet, popular among high school students, the winner gets to slap the loser as hard as he can.
In a letter addressed to the parents of the School she wrote that the child who got hit was the one who laid the bet.
“In that sense, it was not an act of bullying but an act with two participants, who behaved stupidly," she noted.
The video shows about five students outside the school washroom, where the ‘slap bet’ takes place. As other students watch, one of them gives a stinging slap to the victim, who winces in pain and tries to cover his face with his arm.
After the victim's parents complained, the students involved in the incident were made to apologise in the school assembly in the presence of their parents.
The boy, who slapped has been suspended for a month, and two others for two weeks.
In a breath-taking rescue effort, a brave youngster pulled out a lamb from an abandoned borewell risking his own life.
A local TV channel TV 9 reported that the incident occurred at a village near South Indian city of Vijayapura.
The man and his friends spotted an abandoned borewell and heard a lamb bleating from inside. The poor animal had fallen inside the borewell, which had been left uncovered, after it had failed to yield water.
They could see that the animal had got struck at a shallow depth.
A video of the incident shows them discussing in Kannada language that someone would have to be lowered inside the borewell upside down to pull the lamb out.
The know that the manoeuvre is extremely risky as the man would plunge to a suffocating death if the people holding his legs lose grip.
The first volunteer backs off saying it would be hard to breath inside.
A second volunteer steps in saying he is willing to go inside if his friends can hold on to his feet. After they assure, he is lowered inside, hands first.
They find that the lamb is stuck deeper than they thought.
In the heart-stopping moments that follow, the man risks disappearing into the borewell with two friends hanging on to his feet.
But the effort pays off and the man finally tells his friends to pull him up. He surfaces clutching on to the lucky lamb by its ears.
Reports of children falling into uncovered borewells surface periodically from all over India. Farmers, who dig these wells abandon them when they fail to yield water, unwilling to incur the additional expense of covering them up.
Many of these wells – literal death traps – are strewn across the country waiting for a young victim to step into them.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
The ultra-competitive Indian TV industry hit a new low on Monday night when a reporter tried to remove lapel mike of a rival channel from a man being interviewed on a live show.
It did not matter that the man, Varun Thakur, was grieving the murder of his eight-year-old son who was found in school in a pool of blood.
The reporter, an employee of Republic TV, has not been identified. She was desperate to get Thakur’s time, who was being interviewed at his home, by a rival channel Times Now.
Thakur was scheduled to speak to Times Now till 9.15 pm and then switch to Republic TV.
But he spent a little more time on Times Now and then announced that he was cutting short the TV interviews as he had to attend to a very important guest, who had come to meet him.
It was then the Republic reporter decided to grab him by his collar.
Viewers of the Times Noack w show were baffled to see a pair of hands cutting into the frame to remove the mike and another pair of hands restoring them.
There were five instances where a hand could be seen trying to remove the microphone from Thakur’s lapel.
Activist Tehseen Poonawalla shared a behind the scenes video of the ugly incident.
It shows the Republic reporter distracting and arguing with Thakur when he was on the live show. As she tries to snatch away the mike, she is pulled back another unidentified woman, who restrains her. The agitated TimesNow crew can also be seen protesting.
The incident drew widespread condemnation as a transgression of media ethics.
Thakur’s son Pradyuman was murdered by a school worker, who tried to sexually assault him in the washroom, and then slashed his throat. The unfortunate boy died of his injuries in the hospital later.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
A snake rescuer saved a cobra’s life by helping it regurgitate a plastic bottle it had swallowed.
The incident occurred last week at a village near the South Indian town of Sirsi.
The cobra had entered the house of Munaf in Landakanahalli village. It ate an egg and then swallowed a plastic bottle that was lying in the backyard.
The bottle made it sick and the cobra was unable to move. The family saw the inert cobra in their home, panicked and called Prashant Hulikal, a snake rescuer.
He caught the snake, helped it regurgitate the bottle, though the egg also came out with it.
The animal was later released in a nearby forest.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
A family was shocked after a poisonous cobra took refuge inside a shoe of their .
Luckily, a team of snake rescuers who were at hand took the shoe away. They took the package to a forest, placed the shoe on ground and tapped it with a stick.
As they watched in amazement, a fully grown adult cobra emerged, with his hood fully open and ready to strike.
The incident occurred in Alwar, which lies in a hilly region and is marked by a healthy population of reptiles.
On September 10, a family in the city spotted a cobra entering their home. They locked the door and called First Step - Saving Wildlife, a local volunteer-driven animal welfare organisation.
The volunteers searched for the cobra in the house and were unable to find it.
As they were ready to pack up, the eight-year-old son of the family touched his shoe accidentally, which responded with a hiss sound.
Vivek Jaiswal of First Step said the cobra scared by the commotion that followed its entry into the home had sought refuge in the shoe, which looks like its natural nesting place.
He decided to take it to a nearby forest, Sariska Reserve area, and release it there.
Jaiswal, who has been rescuing snakes for the last 12 years,” I have seen snakes hiding in furniture, automobiles and even refrigerators, but never in a shoe so far.”
He said the incidents of snakes entering homes seeking refuge shoot up during monsoons. The organisation has been getting about 10 calls a day, he said.
Staf correspondent, NewsCrunch
An enterprising man rented a crow in Nashik, Maharashtra, to help devout Hindus perform ancestor worship.
The crow he handled took a bite from the offerings made by his customers. For each bite of the crow he charged Rs 10.
Hindus worship their ancestors annually in a 16-day period called Pitru Paksha, which ended on September 19.
They offer prayers and perform rituals to ensure their ancestors find peace in heaven.
A key element of the ritual is cooking a multi-course meal and offering it to crows, which are considered links to the departed souls.
But the expansion of cities have destroyed the habitat of these birds making them a rarity. So, during this period many struggle to find crows to accept the ritual offering, creating a novel business opportunity.
While it was known that crows were being offered for hire in this period, the practice was documented for the first time this year.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
Video has emerged from India of Bengal tigers attacking and injuring a white tiger at a biological park.
The white tiger succumbed to its injuries later.
In video shot by a visitor, filmed on Sunday (September 17), two Bengal tigers can be seen mauling the helpless white animal. A third Bengal tiger can also be seen in the video.
In total, three Bengal tigers attacked and injured two white tigers in the incident at the park.
The two white tigers had accidentally walked into a separate enclosure where the Bengal tigers were kept at Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).
A fight immediately broke out between the two groups, with the Bengal tigers particularly targeting the weaker of the intruder before a group of shocked visitors.
The park officials struggled to separate the tigers and restore peace.
Santosh Kumar, executive director of the park, said the white tigers may have stepped out of the enclosure when the staff opened the gates to let safari buses out. The big cats managed to walk along safari buses without drawing attention.
The lapse came to officials’ notice only when a fight broke out among the animals.
Santosh said: "Our staffers are careful while operating gates. But as Sunday was a busy day and three vehicles had lined up, they may have failed to notice the tigers stepping out."
Last month, a zebra had died after falling into a ditch dug by BBP staffers to erect a pole in an enclosure.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
Two girls flew into the air and did a somersault after their scooter collided head-on with a car.
A third girl, who was riding with them, also fell on the road, and all three luckily escaped with just minor injuries.
The incident, which took place in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, on September 21, was caught on a CCTV camera.
The footage shows the girls overtaking a jeep on a busy road. They fail to notice a white car coming from the opposite direction and collide with it.
The force of the impact hurls the girls in the air and two of them fall on the ground after a mid-air tumble.
The local police have registered a case and are probing. They said the girls may be guilty of negligent driving and were in violation of a traffic rule, which prohibits three riders on a two-wheeler vehicle.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
A water pipeline burst into a spectacular 30-feet plume on Saturday (September 23) in India after it was hit by an earthmover.
About two million litres of precious liquid was wasted in the incident that occurred at 11 am at Navi Mumbai in India.
A Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation official said an earthmover used by a private contractor ruptured the main pipleline at Kamothe, which supplies water to Navi Mumbai.
The force of the water’s flow caused a 30-foot plume which drew onlookers and held up traffic.
The Hindu quoted Mohan Sonawane, executive engineer, Morbe Dam, saying: “The impact displaced the valve leading to wastage of around 2.5 million litres per day (MLD).”
Though the officials started repair work quickly, the mishap affected water supply to large parts of the city. ‹ see less
AP police arrested on Tuesday a 19-year-old youth, who molested a girl in a revenge attack, after she tried to end their relationship.
B. Sai’s (19) two friends Karthik (22) and Pawan (21), who aided him in the offence, and captured the horrifying attack on a mobile camera, have also been arrested.
The accused posted the video online, where it went viral.
The attack took place on August 29 but the girl’s father filed a complaint at Kanigiri police in Andhra Pradesh only on September 24.
The head of Prakasam district police Satya Yesu Babu said his officials acted quickly and took the men into custody.
Media reports said the girl, who cannot be named under the Indian laws, had gone with a woman-friend to meet Sai at a temple on the outskirts of the Kanigiri town.
After she told Sai that she was not happy with the relationship and wanted to end it, he allegedly molested her in retaliation.
Sources in police said details of the case were still sketchy and a full probe would establish all the facts.
The woman-friend tried to intervene to save the girl and has been listed as a witness in the case, the police said.
Staff correspondent, NewsCrunch
A truck carrying 229 LPG cylinders was burnt to ashes after it caught fire and set off a chain of explosions.
The incident occurred near Nainital at 11.30 am on Monday.
The truck was transporting cylinders from Haldwani to Almora in the Kumaon division, when its engine caught fire. The driver and his assistant saw smoke rising from the bonnet while crossing the Birbhatti Bridge.
They stopped the truck immediately and tried to put out the fire in vain. The fire spread quickly singing them before they could flee the spot.
It then spread to the container, which had the packed cylinders, setting them off in a massive series of explosions. Some of cargo flew out of the truck, which had turned into a fireball, and exploded again in the vicinity adding to the damage.
Five fire tenders and 15 fire fighters fought for six hours to douse the flames.
The incident led to huge traffic jams as officials shut down National Highway 87, where the incident occurred. The Birbhatti bridge has been closed and would be opened only after an evaluation by structural engineers from IIT-Roorkee, said officials.
Dipendra Kumar Chaudhary, district magistrate of Nainital, told The Times of India: “Safety measures in gas plants and transport vehicles would be reviewed to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again.”
The truck driver and his assistant have been admitted to a hospital in Nainital with burn injuries.
A 17-year-old student drowned in a pond near Bangalore, India, just as his friends were clicking group selfies.
A photo taken during the selfie session caught Vishwas drowning in the background. But his friends, who were busy striking poses for the camera, failed to notice him drowning.
Twenty-five students from National College had gone trekking to a hill near Bangalore on September 23.
After the students came down the hill at 2 pm, a few of them went to a nearby pond to swim and take selfies.
Vishwas, who did not know how to swim, slipped and fell into the water while posing for the photos, and drowned.
They noticed that he was missing after an hour. Sumanth, a student in the group, said, “After swimming, we left to visit a temple, and realised that Vishwas was not around.”
While a few went to search for him, a classmate, who was replaying the new selfies on his mobile phone, noticed that Vishwas had drowned in the tank in a photo.
The group then rushed to the pond and fished his body out.
The police have registered a case of unnatural death and are probing the incident.
“The students ignored a signboard put up by local villagers saying that no one should enter the water,“ a police officer said.
Vishwas’ father Govindappa, who rushed to the spot, has lodged a complaint with police alleging that negligence by the National College management had cost his son’s life.
In a rare surgery, a team of veterinary doctors removed a 300 gm tumour from the mouth of a python at the Kamla Nehru zoo in Indore, India.
The zoo staff had noticed that the python had stopped eating and alerted the doctors, who found a rapidly growing tumour in the lower jaw of its mouth. They tried to control it through medicines and decided on the surgery after the approach failed.
The animal would have died had it been left untreated, said doctors.
The surgery – a first in India – posed many challenges.
“There was no information on how to administer anaesthesia. We struggled to figure out the dosage and route,” said Dr Uttam Yadav, director of the zoo, who was also part of the operating team.
The doctors researched, consulted several experts, even spoke to their peers in Japan to plan the surgery.
A team of senior veterinarians led by Yadav and Dr BP Shukla from Mhow veterinary college performed the complex operation, which lasted for four hours.
The snake was administered anaesthesia at a spot four inches above its anus. Though the reptile took one-and-a-half hour to fall unconscious, the doctors did not increase the dosage, fearing for its life.
They then cut through the mouth to reach the tumour, which turned out to be non-malignant.
The 27-kg, 13-feet and 12-year-old snake is recovering well and is expected to regain its full functionality soon.
The surgery was carried out in the last week of August but was announced only recently.
A man was stranded after his car got caught in flash-flood in the South Indian city of Hyderabad on Monday.
The gushing waters pounded his car, overflowing its bonnet and windshield even as he sat glued to his seat helplessly.
The narrow road not only helped the water level rise quickly but also made it impossible for the car to turn in any direction.
An onlooker can be seen signalling the driver to get off the car or reverse it. The driver gesticulates indicating there was no way to do it.
While the driver seems to have escaped, a massive cloudburst killed three people in the city Monday evening.
Heavy rains pounded the city in just a two-hour span, triggering flash-floods, which swept off vehicles and damaged buildings.
Officials appealed to citizens not to step out and at least 50% of city was blacked out after the rains.
Traffic came to standstill on most roads.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was pressed into service and rescue operations continued till late night.
Seven girls in school uniform were caught on camera crossing a flooded river just holding each for support.
They were desperate to get to their school on the other side of the river Barnai to write their exams.
A video shows the girls wading through waist deep water of the river, which rises to their chest in certain spots. They cross the entire width of the river risking their lives, holding up their books wrapped in a plastic sheet.
The girls are from the village Bade Damali about 25 kilometres from the Central Indian city of Ambikapur.
Bade Damali and a several other villages in the area get marooned during the monsoons when Barnai swells due to heavy downpour.
People of these villages get cut off from rest of the district and have no option but to wait for the flood waters to recede before resuming their normal lives. The wait may last a few days and sometimes extend to a few weeks as well.
Media reports said the government’s campaign on education had raised awareness and the girls prefer opted to brave the flood than miss their exams.
Villagers complain that their longstanding demand for a bridge across the river has not been met.
Heavy downpour cut off Electronic City, one of the major software hubs of India’s tech capital, Bangalore.
The city received an average 42 mm of rainfall Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m on Thursday.
Bommanahalli and Electronics City received the first heavy showers around noon, while the northern area received heavy rains by 3 pm.
The rain flooded the streets and marooned Electronic City. The engineers, who took the elevated flyover, got struck in the traffic jam at nearby areas such as Madiwala.
The harassed commuters took to social media to express their ire at the government, which had failed to provide good infrastructure for the city.
Officials said the ongoing excavation work for metro had blocked the water outlets and led to the flooding of the streets.
A woman car driver, who was being swept away on a flooded road, was saved by a group of onlookers.
The incident took place on the outskirts of Bangalore, India, on October 13 night.
Bangalore, like many parts of India, has been receiving record rain this year.
The city was lashed by heavy downpour on October 13 evening, which flooded the roads.
A group of onlookers noticed a car, which was dangerously stranded, on a flooded road on the outskirts of the city.
The strong currents were pulling the car towards a huge drain which was sucking in and overflowing with water.
In a video from the spot, the onlookers can be heard wondering if there was anyone inside.
One of them notices that there is indeed a woman inside and raises an alarm. The group is initially reluctant to step into water as the current is too strong and the drain too close.
But one of them plunges in prompting several others to follow.
They approach the car, open its door, and come back with a woman - terrified but lucky to be saved at the nick of time.
Employees of a shop went through a scare when a customer’s mobile phone exploded into a ball of fire.
The incident occurred at Batala, Punjab, India, on October 10.
The customer had come to buy a new phone.
A CCTV camera at the shop recorded the customer trying to remove sim card from his old phone with a sharp instrument.
Suddenly sparks flew and smoke rose from the handset, prompting shop employees to run for cover.
The phone exploded into flames and started burning till one of the shop employees mustered courage to push it away from the counter.
No one was hurt in the incident.
Special correspondent, NewsCrunch
A security guard valiantly fought off two ATM robbers even after being shot.
The incident occurred at a village in outer Delhi, India, on November 15.
Two men had followed a cash van on a bike with a plan to barge in and steal money when it was being loaded to the ATM machine.
One of them got off from the bike and shot the guard, Dilip Tiwari, in the leg. The injured man instead of giving in meekly opted to challenge him.
Seeing his partner in crime grappling with Dilip, the other man was forced to leave the getaway bike and try to loot the money himself.
As he kicked open the door, the man loading the machine came out. But before the criminals could attempt to take the money, the bleeding guard took on them again.
He persistently blocked their way ignoring their threats that they will shoot him dead. Seeing that they were much younger and stronger than him, Dilip even pleaded with them to go away.
Seeing that he was adamant in coming in the way the two men gave up, snatched his gun and drove away. They also fired a few times in the air to keep onlookers at bay.
Only after they fled, Dilip slumped on the steps, indicating the heroic effort it had taken to thwart the robbers.
Tiwari was taken to a hospital, treated for a bullet injury in his right leg, and then discharged.
The Kanjhawala police have registered a case and probing a CCTV footage from the area to ascertain the identity of the gunmen.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) M N Tiwari said the police are yet to make any arrest.
Special correspondent, NewsCrunch
An elephant was rescued from a 18-feet well after a 36-hour long operation in Chattisgarh, India.
The adult female elephant was part of an 18-member herd, which had gone to a village in Surajpur district, to raid crops on the night of November 12.
The villagers woke up from their sleep hearing the noise and managed to chase away the herd by lighting up torches and waiving them at the intruders.
As the scared elephants ran back to the nearby Pratappur forest, one of them fell into a dry well in the darkness.
The villagers heard the cries of the herd, which had surrounded the well, and stood there screaming in distress.
They thought a calf may have fallen into the well as it had happened a few times in the past. One of them managed to flash a light into the well and was astonished to see an adult female elephant inside.
The villagers alerted the local forest officials who rushed to the spot and started the rescue operation on November 13 morning, by which time the herd had retreated to the forest. They brought in two excavators and dug a path to the well. But the elephant, which was injured in a front leg, refused to climb up.
They then brought in two cranes and hauled up the elephant after tranquilising it. They wrapped a lifting sling around the stomach of the behemoth and harnessed it to the cranes, which lifted the elephant and placed it on a truck.
Forest officials said the animal would be taken to a nearby rehabilitation camp and treated for its injuries. It would be sent back to the forest later, they said.
Throughout the marathon effort, the officials kept the animal hydrated and fed it fresh paddy, which it refused, and jaggery, which it ate.
A traffic policeman in Indore, India, who dances his way to managing traffic has been grabbing headlines.
Whistling constantly, he twists and turns in style, and does his famous moonwalk to steer the waiting vehicles.
Ranjeet Singh, 38, who has been with the traffic police since 2005, says his moves have a method – to create awareness on traffic rules.
“I could not bear to see so many youngsters dying or getting maimed. So I hit upon a way to send the message,” he says.
Though Ranjeet Singh had never danced before, the idea came to him naturally. He started with small steps, refined his moves gradually and went on to perfect the hugely popular moonwalk technique.
Initially, the response from the commuters was mixed, but now 90 percent of the people are supportive, he says.
If he sees anyone breaking a traffic rule, he pulls them aside and counsels, asking them to think about their families. “It works, people promise to change and they do,” he says.
The city of Indore has recognised that Ranjeet Singh has done a remarkable job spreading awareness on traffic rules and in helping reducing accidents, which used to claim more than 500 people annually.
His bosses are happy that he has improved the image of the police.
Scorching sun or pouring rain, there is nothing to stop Ranjeet Singh from dancing in the streets.
Where does he get his energy? “I love my work and I love my country. I see it as a patriotic duty to reduce accidents. That gives me energy,” he says.
In his free time, Ranjeet Singh also doubles up as a motivational speaker and mentors new hires of the police department.
Indian Christians celebrated Christmas with caution on Monday following a spate of attacks from radical Hindu groups on festivities.
Hindu groups have targeted the run-up to Christmas celebrations across the country alleging that the festivities were just a cloak for missionaries to convert Hindus forcefully.
On December 21, Hindu activists allegedly disrupted singing of Hindi carols at the Aligarh Church of Ascension, a tradition which goes back 1858. A small group of men forced their way inside and kicked the musical instruments and shouted anti-Christian slogans.
Hardline Hindu activists had also sent letters warning Christian schools in Aligarh against involving Hindu students in Christmas activities.
On December 19, Hindu extremists allegedly raided a community centre in a village in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, where Christmas celebrations were being held. They threw copies of Bible and posters of Jesus Christ to ground and roughed up participants.
On December 14, police detained an entire choir of 35 members, which was going door to door singing carols and celebrating Christmas in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. A Hindu militant organisation alleged that they were converting Hindus in the region.
On December 9, Hindu activists allegedly attacked and vandalised a prayer hall in Coimbatore disrupting Christmas celebrations. A pastor, Karthik, suffered an injury to his head, and a woman suffered a fracture, and a few others suffered minor injuries.
There have been other incidents as well in which even families praying inside their homes have allegedly been targeted.
Taking note of the attacks, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, (CBCI), said the minority community was losing faith in the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
The Cardinal also pointed out that attacks by Hindu groups targeting Christians across India have increased since the Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014.
Cardinal Cleemis also led a delegation to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the country’s top security official, and complained that the police were playing a biased role and not acting against the attackers.
Christians constitute 2.4% of India’s over 1.3 billion population.
A team of scuba divers held an underwater prayer meet to pay homage to fishermen killed by Cyclone Ockhi.
Twelve divers – 10 of them drawn from the affected fishing community – dived to a depth of eight metres near Kovalam in South India and prayed for 22 minutes.
The multi-religious team read prayers according to their individual faiths from laminated sheets of paper. They prayed for those who died and those who are still missing at sea.
Severe tropical cyclonic storm Ockhi which struck parts of South India later November killed 65 fishermen, according to official estimates. Scores of fishermen, who went missing in sea, are yet to be traced.
The under water prayer meet was organised by Friends of Marine Life (FML), a local NGO, and Bond Ocean Safari, an underwater adventure sports group.
FML coordinator Robert Panipilla said the prayer meet was held to comfort the grieving families. “We also prayed for the Almighty to make the officials respond better during future emergencies,” he added.
The fishermen’s families have been protesting saying the Indian government failed to trace the missing men as its response to the disaster was delayed and lethargic.
Director of Bond Ocean Safari Jackson Peter said the prayer meet also helped to draw attention to climate change. “We had never seen a cyclone on the Indian east coast lining the Arabian Sea. We are yet to wake up to the dangers of climate change,” he said.
Mumbai's local trains carry more than eight million people a day, a population of a small country.
They are also among the world’s most overcrowded trains and tourists are cautioned not to take them during peak hours.
Recently, it was so crowded one day, even a veteran daily commuter, Prem Tiwari, 29, could not catch a train. Instead, he took a video of the shocking crush, which went viral.
Tiwari, who works as a software engineer, has been taking trains for the last 15 years. Despite the long experience the daily horror has not diminished.
He spends five hours every day in the crowded trains to get to work and return. “It is so packed, people crush against my stomach and chest… It becomes hard to breath, he says.
A bigger challenge is to get into the train and then get out during the peak hours.
Nearly 4,500 passengers are packed into these trains during peak hours, as against a carrying capacity of 1,700.
But there are ways to manage.
Tiwari usually takes the train in the opposite direction to reach the last stop and starts the reverse journey afresh. “The crowd would be much less there, I will at least find a place to stand,” he says.
Another common tactic is to run parallel to the train on the long platform and jump in before it comes to a stop.
“This is a high-speed chase and risky. There is a chance of colliding against the electric poles,” he says.
The overcrowding, the jostling and the high-speed chase are a perfect recipe for accidents. More than 3,000 people lose their lives while commuting every year.
“I am fortunate that I have never seen a live accident. But I have seen people being carried on a stretcher. A friend in college broke into five pieces after he came under a train,” says Tiwari.
Tiwari points out that officials have added more coaches and increased frequency of trains. But the number of commuters always grows in proportion and it looks like more of the same, he adds.
Tiwari, who sings and whistles, in his pasttime runs a youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIhMGfGe-Oo_1vVu0dwrGHA
Hundreds of villages organised cockfights, defying an official ban, as part of traditional celebrations during Sankranti, a harvest festival, which concluded on January 17.
Thousands of people flocked to watch the illegal bloodsport that was widely held in the coastal districts of the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
On January 8, the State High Court had warned the officials to enforce the ban on cockfighting strictly.
Despite the heavy presence of officials and the police at the venues, there was no let-up in cockfighting, which has been opposed by several animal welfare organisations in India.
Activists say roosters’ suffer grievous injuries due to sharp knives tied to their legs before the fight.
The fight continues till one of roosters is killed or maimed.
Thousands of roosters – costing from USD 200 to USD 2,500 depending on breed – take part in these fights. Owners train their birds for several months, which are raised on a nutritious diet of almonds, cashews, minced meat and eggs.
N G Jayasimha, managing director of Human Society International, said: “Cockfighting is not only cruel to animals but also encourages gambling and child labour. A practice that glorifies illegal activities should have no place in a civil society.”
Cockfighting generates a revenue of USD 150 million to organisers with illegal betting contributing a major portion of it. Viewers can be seen placing bets on their favourite roosters without any fear from the police, who can usually be spotted in the vicinity.
Senior police officials said they made a serious attempt to enforce the ban and had arrested over 2,000 organisers and gamblers in just two districts of the state.
But media reports said official efforts failed to make any impact on the ground.
The districts were dotted with hundreds of cockfighting arenas, which had made seating arrangements for thousands of people coming from different parts of the state.
Eager organisers also showed reporters how they tied sharp knives to roosters’ legs and allowed filming of the fights as well.
Anjaneya Reddy, a resident of Bhimavaram said, “Cockfighting is part of our culture. It cannot be wished away with a law. It is stoo popular to be banned”