The Bombay High Court on Monday reserved its order in a plea filed by activist Anand Teltumbde seeking to quash an FIR against him for his alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence.Senior counsel Mihir Desai, appearing for Mr. Teltumbde, said, “All the letters mentioned by the prosecution in the case were not found in his house in Goa as no one was there and the house was locked. The police could not raid or seize anything from there. In fact, we can seek sanction to prosecute the officers for defamation.”He said such stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act have been levied upon Mr Teltumbde where there is no provision of anticipatory bail and getting a bail is very difficult.Assistant Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai relied upon the charge sheet filed against Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale, the others who were arrested in connection with the violence, and said letters have been found on Mr. Wilson and Mr. Gadling’s laptops highlighting a role played by Mr. Teltumbde in the violence.Ms. Pai mentioned four letters and one page of accounts details that indicated that Mr. Teltumbde was gathering support and success for the event at Bhima Koregaon.She read out a letter allegedly written by Mr. Teltumbde that said, “The agitation at Bhima Koregaon has been very successful except for the death of a few and Dalit sentiments are clearly against the BJP and therefore we must keep up the pressure.” Ms. Pai presented a sealed envelope with letters to the court and said one of them written by Mr. Teltumbde’s brother, Milind mentions the role played by his brother. At this Mr. Desai intervened and said, “Do they want to implicate me or find the truth?”After hearing all the arguments, a Division Bench of Justices B.P. Dharmadhikari and S.V. Kotwal said they, “want to discuss the matter” and reserved their order.
Generally, trees are cut down for building roads. But in Arunachal Pradesh, a village is hoping that a flourishing tree will help spur the construction of a road. Residents of Kallek village in Siang district have developed a track to the State’s largest tree, standing almost 65 metres tall.The trekking track, the brainchild of 14 households in Kallek, was fuelled by the hope that the tree, called Atang Ane, and the variety of birds it attracts would popularise trekking enough for the local authorities to act on their 20-year-old promise to pave the road from the highway to the village. Kallek, inhabited by the Adi community, is 48 km from Pasighat, the Siang district headquarters. The last 10 km from the highway to the village, marked by a tough and hilly terrain, has been in the making for two decades now. “Atang Ane, which has grown into a huge tree today was once a fragile sapling, brought here from Myanmar. It was planted by a village elder,” said Tamang Tamuk, the head ‘gaonburah’ (village elder) of Kallek. Atang Ane (Ficus elastica) means ‘mother rubber tree’ in the Adi dialect. A three hour trek from Kallek, it stands as the largest multi-trunk tree in Arunachal Pradesh, spreading over an area of 59.8 m. “The trek from Kallek to Atang Ane is not just about gawking at a huge tree. It is also a birdwatchers’ paradise,” said Gandhi Darang, who runs Ane Siang Tours & Expeditions in Itanagar.Birds in the area include the great hornbill (the State bird), sunbird, white-tailed robin, barwing, collared treepie, parrotbill, and shrike babbler. In fact, 252 species were recorded in the Siang region during a six-year study that ended in 2016. Of these, 66, including six endangered ones, were reported for the first time. read more
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) completely decimated the four-party grand alliance in the general election, establishing its dominance again in mineral-rich Jharkhand on Thursday. Showing its utter superiority in the electoral battle, the NDA was all set to romp home to a 12–2 victory. By 10 p.m., the BJP’s poll percentage was estimated at a staggering high of 50.80%. The Congress came a distant second with 15.60%. In 2014, the BJP had won 12 of the 14 seats. This election, it had left the Giridih seat to the All Jharkhand Students’ Union. Shibu Soren losesShibu Soren, a seven-time MP and a cult figure in Jharkhand politics, could not overcome the BJP juggernaut in Dumka, a bastion of the JMM. He lost by over 40,000 votes.Barring the Lohardaga and Khunti constituencies, where there was a semblance of opposition challenge, the NDA candidates had either inflicted crushing defeats on the grand alliance candidates or taken a comfortable lead. In Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Palamu and Kodarma constituencies, the margin of lead was in excess of four lakh votes.Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, comfortably defeated Congress candidate Gopal Prasad Sahu by 4.79 lakh votes.Following the unprecedented victory, Chief Minister Raghubar Das reached the party office and expressed his gratitude to the people of Jharkhand. read more