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11 killed, 50 injured in Jharkhand temple stampede

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Ranchi: At least 11 people were killed and 50 injured in a stampede at a temple in Jharkhand’s Deoghar town early Monday, police said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained at loss of lives”. 

Over 100,000 people were in a queue, many waiting since Sunday night to get into the famous Baidyanath Temple, when the stampede took place. Deoghar is 300 km from here.

A senior police official said 11 people were killed and 50 people others injured.

During ‘Shravan’ month of the Hindu calendar, more than 30 lakh people offer prayers at the Baidyanath temple. On Mondays, the number goes up substantially and around two lakh people offer prayers.

Prime Minister Modi condoled the deaths in the stampede.

“Pained at loss of lives due to the stampede in Jharkhand. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased in this hour of grief. I pray that the injured recover quickly,” Modi said on Twitter.

“I spoke to Chief Minister Raghubar Das on the incident.”

The stampede in Jharkhand took place less than a month after a stampede in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh. At least 27 pilgrims were killed and over 60 injured on July 14 in the stampede at the start of the Godavari ‘Maha Pushkaralu’ — the Kumbh Mela of the south.

Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar said all the injured have been admitted to Sadar hospital in Deoghar for treatment and added the stampede was a result of a “large crowd”.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed in the stampede at Deoghar in Jharkhand. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured.”

He said Chief Minister Das apprised him of the situation in Deoghar and “asked for extra RAF deployment”.

The minister said one extra Rapid Action Force (RAF) battalion will be sent to Deoghar for “better crowd and security management”.

The Jharkhand government has announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh each to the kin of victims and Rs.50,000 to injured, an official said.

Raghubar Das has ordered a high level probe into the incident.

“The government would initiate action against officials found responsible for the incident,” Das told the media in Ranchi.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)