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2 dead, 2 missing as heavy rains pound Mumbai, nearby areas; Aaditya Thackeray visits affected areas

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A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has recovered the body of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl after four people fell into an open drain as a part of a chawl collapsed in heavy rain in Mumbai’s Santacruz East.

A woman and a girl are now missing while another girl was rescued by the police and shifted to VN Desai hospital.

The NDRF team was moved to the site to carry out search and rescue operations soon after the incident

According to reports, three rooms of Trimurti Chawl collapsed at Agripada, in Dhobighat area of Santa Cruz.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray and BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal visited the rain-hit areas in Mumbai.

Aaditya had earlier tweeted urging people to stay indoors.

“Stay home! We’ve been monitoring the situation and the @mybmc is working round the clock. Please cooperate and stay home,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, at least one person was killed in Thane as heavy rain clobbered Mumbai since Monday night with the state government declaring a holiday in the city and Mumbai Metropolitan Region areas.

According to a report in IANS, a 15-year-old boy Rakib A Mandal was electrocuted and died on the spot when he came in contact with a live wire of a street-light pole near the Owala Hanuman Temple on Ghodbunder Road in Thane.

Severe waterlogging is being witnessed in various parts of Mumbai following incessant rainfall since late Monday. Waterlogging was reported from the regular chronic spots of Sion, Kings Circle, Wadala, Dadar, Kurla, Mulund, Borivali, besides subways at Andheri, Kandivali and Dahisar.

A red alert has been issued for two days for Mumbai, Thane amid heavy rains.

The city has been semi-paralysed as the road traffic and suburban trains were affected due to waterlogged tracks.

Services on sections of suburban sector were halted or crawling on the Western Railway, Central Railway at various locations, while the Harbour Line was paralysed from Kurla to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

BEST bus services diverted on at least eight routes in various parts of Mumbai city and suburbs.

Landslides have also been reported from parts of Mumbai due to the heavy rainfalls throughout the night.

A massive landslide on the Western Express Highway between Kandivali-Malad paralysed south-bound traffic at dawn today, but there were no casualties.

Soon afterwards, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation deployed six JCBs to start work of clearing the debris, stones and the highway is likely to be cleared for operations by evening.

According to the BMC, more than 230 mm of rainfall was recorded in Mumbai city in the last 10 hours.

“230 mm rainfall occurred within 10 hrs. It’s a flood-like situation. Mithi river had swelled up in the morning because of heavy rains, crossing the danger mark. As of now, it is flowing below danger level. The evacuation of people has also been stopped right now,” BMC Commissioner told ANI earlier today.

Mumbai’s civic body informed that except for essential services, all other offices in the city will be closed today.

“Owing to the heavy rainfall since last night and forecasts of extremely heavy rain by @IndiaMetDep all offices and establishments in Mumbai, except emergency services, will remain shut,” the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tweeted.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that extremely heavy rain will occur at isolated places in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts of Maharashtra on August 4 and August 5. Ratnagiri district is also expected to receive extremely heavy rainfall on August 4, while Paldhar district is expected to receive extremely heavy rain on August 5.

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‘Second wave of coronavirus at its peak in Delhi,’ says Arvind Kejriwal, cites experts

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Delhi was witnessing the second wave of coronavirus and has now turned the corner, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

The sudden spike in case, crossing 4,000 which took place earlier this month was the second wave of the disease, he said.

CM’s remarks came while speaking at a programme in PUSA (Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University).

“On September 16, Delhi recorded approximately 4,500 cases. After that, the cases started to decline and in the last 24 hours, 3,700 cases have come up in the national capital. In the coming days, the numbers will decline further,” he said.

“From July 1 to August 17, cases were in control. So experts are believing that the second wave of coronavirus which had hit Delhi is now on peak and its intensity will be less in the coming days,” he contended.

With a fresh spike of 86,508 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India has crossed the 57 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health on Thursday.

India, which continues to remain the second-worst affected country’s total Covid-19 caseload now stands at 57,32,518 out of which 9,66,382 are active coronavirus cases which account for 16.85 per cent of all cases.

With 87,374 patients that have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the recoveries continue to remain more than the number of new coronavirus infections for the fifth consecutive day, according to data by Ministry of Health.

Delhi’s total coronavirus case load after daily spike of 3,714 cases now stands at 2,56,789 Covid-19 cases.

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Conspiracy grew right after 2019 parliamentary elections: Police in Delhi riots chargesheet

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In its chargesheet filed over the investigations in the Delhi violence, the Delhi Police said the conspiracy was plotted right after the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“From the day that the results of the 2019 Parliamentary elections were declared, the tone and tenor of the public utterances of the key conspirators of the present case have shown a clear streak of affinity towards violence which had started playing out in their minds,” it said.

Police have filed a 2,695-page “final report” in the chargesheet filed against 15 people under the stringent UAPA in a case of alleged conspiracy related to the February riots in Northeast Delhi.

The chargesheet filed by the police includes the names of former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, Pinjra Tod’s Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, former DU student Gulfisha, Jamia Millia Islamia PhD student Meeran Haider and Jamia Coordination Committee media coordinator Safoora, among others.

“Internationally, terrorist activity is defined as the use of violence to force a government to accept/submit to political demands,” the final report, signed by DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwah and ACP (Special Cell) Alok Kumar said.

“The conspiracy grew in an organic manner from the formation of a group called MSJ, an overtly communal seed that was sown after CAB to the subsequent formation of JCC and finally the emergence of DPSG, which provided a secular facade and naxal genes of violent resistance to an otherwise radically communal agenda,” it said.

The report further said that conspirators, by their ingenuity and criminality of thoughts, presented an entirely new dimension to the meaning of ‘hate speech’. Theirs was covered in the sugarcoat of nationalism which hit the sour and sordid truth that it was in fact a well-thought out attempt at igniting and reinforcing a pan-Islamic identity.

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Freelance journalist, who also worked for China’s Global Times, arrested for spying in Delhi

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The Delhi Police on Saturday said that the freelance journalist, who was caught in the national capital of spying, was also providing sensitive information about India’s border strategy and army deployment to Chinese intelligence.

Police further claimed to have busted a major spying operation amid soaring tensions between the two countries.

The police told that a Chinese woman, Qing Shi, and a Nepalese man, Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra, have been booked along with Sharma under the Official Secrets Act.

“Freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma arrested under Official Secrets Act for passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. A Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies,” the Delhi Police said.

“Journalist Rajeev Sharma was involved in passing sensitive defence and strategic information to Chinese intelligence officers from 2016 to 2018. He used to meet them at several locations in different countries,” Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP, Special Cell Delhi Police told.

“His 2 associates-a Chinese woman and Nepalese man, have a company in Mahipalpur, from where they exported medicines to China. Money sent from China was given to agents here. As per probe, transactions of Rs 40-45 lakhs have taken place in last 1 year,” the officer told.

“Rajeev Sharma has almost 40 years of experience as a journalist. In additional to his experience as a journalist in several news firms in India, he has written articles for Chinese media agency Global Times as a freelance journalist,” he added.

“Huge numbers of mobile phones, laptops and other incriminating and sensitive material have been recovered,” the police said.

Sharma is a journalist accredited with the Press Information Bureau (PIB).

Yesterday, senior police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav had said. “He was found to be in possession of some classified defence-related documents. The investigation is in progress and further details will be shared in due course.”

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