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School van rams into train, 13 children killed; UP CM rushes to spot

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KUSHINAHAR: A school van rammed into a train killing thirteen people and seriously injuring seven others in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. The mishap took place at around 6:45-7 am when Thawe-Kapatanganj passenger train (55075) was passing the railway crossing. There were at least 25 people, mostly children in the van.

As per witnesses, all those killed in the crash are aged under 10. Many of those injured could not even be taken to the hospital and succumbed to their injuries on the spot.

Eyewitnesses are blaming it on the administration as the incident took place on an unmanned railway crossing. The death toll is likely to rise. As per initial reports, the bus belonged to Divine public school in Kushinagar.

 

Giving details of the incident, police said that the injured have been taken to the hospital. “There were nearly 25 school kids in the van. The children were on their way to their school when the incident took place. The incident took place near a rail crossing. The injured have been taken to the hospital. Many residents of the area had gathered when the incident took place,” Additional SP Hari Govind said.

He also added that the railway crossing gates are not closed when the train passes. Some are saying that the railway official who used to give the green signal to the trains did not turn up for work on Thursday. The Railways is, however, maintaining that its employee tried to stop the train but the incident could not be averted. “It was unmanned level crossing gate at Behpurva, with Gate Mitra deployed there. He tried to stop but the unfortunate incident happened at unmanned gate 45 near Dudhi station in Banaras division,” spokesperson for Railways Ved Prakash said.

Along with children, the driver has also been killed in the accident. It is being reported that the train usually passes this unmanned crossing at around 6 am but was running late on Thursday morning and crossed at around 6:45 am.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condoled the death of the children and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the deceased’s family. He has also ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter by the Gorakhpur commissioner. He has directed the district administration to provide all possible help and medical aid to the victims. The UP CM is rushing to Kushinagar for on-the-spot assessment of accident site.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death of the children. “I am extremely saddened on hearing about the death of school students in a collision between a school van and a train in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar. The UP government and the Railway Department will take appropriate action,” he said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased. “I received the unfortunate news of the death of school children. I have asked senior officials to conduct a probe into the incident. Railways will give a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of the dead over and above the aid announced by the Uttar Pradesh government,” he said in a tweet. An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.
An accident relief medical train from Gorakhpur has been dispatched to the site.


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Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman

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Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.

“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.

 

On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.

“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.

The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.

Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.

“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.

Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.

“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.

The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.

Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”

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Keep trying, truth can’t be extinguished: Rahul’s dig at PM

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidaar” campaign drew barbs from the opposition after BJP leaders rushed to add “chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the truth “cannot be extinguished”.

“You can keep trying Modi, but the truth cannot be extinguished. Every Indian is saying it. #ChowkidarChorHai P.S: Do force Sushma ji to add “Chowkidar” to her handle. It’s looking very bad,” he posted.

 

Minutes after PM Modi added “Chowkidar” to his twitter title, BJP leaders and ministers followed suit. From Union minister Arun Jaitley to party chief Amit Shah, and even foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, added “Chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.

Along with Congress, the leaders of other parties took a dig at PM Modi and his party.

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National

Priyanka draws inspiration from grandmother Indira to ‘be fearless’

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Prayagraj: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is in Uttar Pradesh campaigning for the party, is drawing inspiration from her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who taught her to be fearless.

“Sitting in the courtyard of Swaraj Bhawan, the room is visible where my grandmother was born,” she tweeted late on Sunday, while spending sometime in the 19th century mansion here. The ancestral home was owned by her great-great grandfather, Motilal Nehru.

The 47-year-old recalled how her grandmother often rocked her to sleep with the bedtime story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl from medieval France, who believed God chose her to lead France to victory in its Hundred Years War with England. She succeeded and is honoured as the Maid of Orleans.

 

“I still have those words imprinted in my heart. Become fearless and all will be good,” she added.

Party president Rahul Gandhi appointed his younger sibling as the eastern in-charge of Uttar Pradesh on January 23.

The fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family still at the helm of the party is striving hard to win the Hindi heartland state.

Priyanka Gandhi has embarked on a Prayagraj to Varanasi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency) boat ride on the river Ganga, making small pit stops and meeting crowds on the banks.

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