12.11.19

Somewhere in Hyderabad....

Seventeen people, including a loco pilot, suffered injuries when a local city train leaving Kacheguda railway station collided with inbound Hundry Intercity Express. Six coaches of the MMTS (multi-modal transport system) service derailed due to the impact. After an eight-hour rescue effort, MMTS loco-pilot was extricated alive from the mangled cabin. Had MMTS driver not applied brake, it could have been a bigger tragedy.

As a result of the accident, train services on the Kacheguda–Falaknuma section were affected, resulting in cancellation of at least 26 trains.

MMTS loco pilot D Chandrashekar, 35, who got stuck in the mangled cabin, was extricated around 6.30 pm by a team of NDRF, GHMC’s DRF and railway medical relief van staff after an eight hour non-stop effort. Railway officials said “his condition is stable” and he was rushed to a local hospital for treatment.

Around 10.35 am, an MMTS (Lingampalli-Falakunma) service started from platform number 2 of the Kacheguda station towards its destination, Falaknuma. Seconds later, it crashed into the inbound Hundry Express (Kurnool-Secunderabad) at the track interchange. The Hundry Express, which was waiting at the outer signal, was heading for platform number three, when the mishap occurred. Several passengers also fell out of the coaches due to the impact of the collision.

A look of the accident spot reveals that both loco pilots could see each other as their cabins collided. Due to the impact of the collision, MMTS loco pilot Chandrashekar got stuck in his cabin. Apart from his cabin, vendor coaches too suffered damages. A coach of the differently-abled persons was among the bogies derailed.

Of the 16 passengers rushed to Osmania General Hospital, five persons—Shekhar, Rajkumar, Raheemuddin, Anuradhamma, Ibrahim— were grievously injured. “They have been admitted with serious injuries and fractures. Shekhar’s condition is very critical. He has suffered multiple fractures,” OGH superintendent Dr B Nagender said.

Senior South Central Railway officials reached the spot and started relief measures. SCR additional general manager B B Singh who visited the spot, said, “Preliminary investigation revealed that the accident took place due to human error. We have ordered a high level inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety, Secunderabad, into the accident. We are yet to get all details of the accident.”

Supreme Court Relied On ASI’s Evidences, Travellers’ Tales

The presence of symbols of Hindu religious significance inside and outside the Babri Masjid, which were acknowledged by Muslim witnesses, suggested actual worship took place down the centuries and large congregations visited the disputed site during festivals, the Supreme Court has said.

The SC’s observations in its verdict on the Ayodhya case, bolster the argument that the Hindu community persisted with its claim to worship and the evidences gathered by the Archaeological Survey of India pointed to a religious structure of Hindu origin.

“The oral testimony of Hindu devotees establishes the pattern of worship and prayer at Sita Rasoi, Ramchabutra and towards the ‘garb grih’, while standing at the railing of the structure of the brick wall,” the court has said. The argument that the Ayodhya site’s significance went beyond faith alone, is important even as the court held that the ASI report could not be used to settle a title suit.

The judgement evaluates faith-tradition, ASI evidences, traveller accounts and witnesses to state that the presence of a masjid did not deter Hindus from continuing their worship at the disputed site and within the precincts of the structure prior to the incidents of 1856-57 (when riots broke out over access to the plot).

“The physical structure of an Islamic mosque did not shake the faith and belief of Hindus that Lord Ram was born at the disputed site. On the other hand, learned counsel fairly stated that the evidence relied on by the Sunni Wakf Board to establish the offering of namaz by the Muslim residents commences from around 1856-57,” the SC ruled.

The accounts mentioned by the court have often been part of BJP’s political campaign where the party has argued that the site is of much more significance to the Hindus than a mosque at Ayodhya was to Muslims. Records of travellers indicate, said the court, that there was “historical presence of worshippers and the existence of worship at the disputed site even prior to the annexation of Oudh by the British and the construction of a brick-grill wall in 1857.” The wall was built by the British colonial administration to separate the inner and outer courtyards and restrict access of Hindu devotees.

While the ruling notes that the ASI report does not conclude that remnants of the pre-existing structure were used for the purpose of constructing the mosque or there was an act of razing, it notes a reasonable inference can be drawn that foundations of the mosque is based on the walls of a pre-existing structure. This underlying structure was suggestive of Hindu religious origin.

VHP eyes crowdfunding to build Ayodhya temple

The VHP has decided to seek contributions for the proposed Ram temple and has also decided to explore ways to enlist the involvement of Ram bhakts in its construction, potentially setting the stage for yet another mass mobilisation for the Ayodhya temple.

“Ram bhakts from across the country will be approached for contributions to construct the temple. The Ayodhya movement was associated with the faith and sentiments of scores of Hindus and they will have to do their bit, including ‘kar seva’, whenever the project begins,” said Vinod Bansal, national spokesperson of the VHP, the Sangh-affiliate which spearheaded the campaign for the construction of temple.

Besides, the VHP has decided to suggest that the trust which is to be formed within three months to supervise the temple construction work, should facilitate symbolic participation of “ bhakts” in the construction of what has been touted as a “grand Ram temple”. Devotees from all 718 districts of the country will be invited in delegations to stay for at least a week and help in the construction work, the VHP functionary said, in an indication that another round of “kar seva” could be in works.

“Kar seva”, or voluntary work, formed an important part of the VHP-led ‘mandir’ movement, with lakhs reaching Ayodhya in 1990, and again in 1992, the second round resulting in the demolition of Babri masjid. VHP functionaries in Delhi confirmed the crowd-funding plan.

“There is no ambiguity about the plan that funds will be pooled in directly from Hindu devotees of Lord Ram spread across the globe. The process to seek contributions will start soon for which teams will be constituted to ensure that it is done smoothly,” VHP working president Alok Kumar said.

The VHP’s statements come amid reinforced indications that it will have a significant representation on the temple trust. The Supreme Court had, in its verdict on Saturday, denied any role for the VHP-promoted Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas in the construction.

However, sources said the government, which will have the final say in the matter, appears inclined to include in the trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who headed the Nyas, as well as some of the key Hindu seers aligned with the VHP.

The decision to pool funds is in sync with what Mahatma Gandhi had suggested when he offered his support for the reconstruction of Somnath temple. Gandhiji gave his consent to the move to revive Somnath temple which had been attacked and plundered by invaders, but told the prime movers— Sardar Patel and K M Munshi—that they should not take money from the government.

“For a temple dedicated to Lord Ram, funds must come from the public. Tax-payers’ money should not have any role in the project,” Kumar said. “Some people may contribute ‘shilas’ (sandstone), while others may donate money. We leave everything to people.” he added.

VHP functionaries said enlistment of popular support for the construction of the temple will be a respectful gesture to the devotees, who have waited for generations to see it happen.

Industrial production posts steepest fall in 8 years

In signs of continuing weakness in the economy, India’s factory output shrank to the lowest level in eight years as all three broad-based sectors of capital goods production, consumer durables, and infrastructure and construction goods contracted.

The Index of Industrial Production fell 4.3 per cent in September as compared to a contraction by 1.4 per cent in August 2019 and a growth of 4.6 per cent in factory output in the same month a year back, data released by the Ministry of Statistics showed on Monday.

The second straight month of contraction has taken the IIP to its lowest level since it shrank by 5 per cent in October 2011.

On a quarterly basis, the second quarter of 2019-20 fiscal (July-September) saw IIP contracting by 0.4 per cent (Q1 3 per cent expansion and 5.3 per cent growth in Q2 FY19).

In September 2019, capital goods output dropped 20.7 per cent from a year ago, while consumer durables fell 9.9 per cent. Infrastructure and construction goods output fell 6.4 per cent. Intermediate goods was the only usebased classification that grew 7 per cent in September.

The contraction in IIP in September has dampened prospects of a quick recovery in economic growth after it slipped to a six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter this year.

Gross Domestic Product data for July-September is due on November 29.

Low agricultural growth is feeding into low agricultural and non-agricultural wage growth in rural areas, which is impacting rural demand adversely, he said, hoping of a cut in the interest rate in December.

During April to September, the IIP growth remained almost flat at 1.3 per cent compared to 5.2 per cent in same period last fiscal.

A slowdown was witnessed in the manufacturing sector, which declined by 3.9 per cent in September as compared to 4.8 per cent growth a year ago.

The power generation sector output dipped 2.6 per cent in September, compared to 8.2 per cent rise a year ago. Mining output too fell by 8.5 per cent in September as against 0.1 per cent climb in the corresponding month last fiscal.

Capital goods production, which is a barometer of investment, declined by 20.7 per cent in September compared to a 6.9 per cent hike in the yearago month.

Consumer durables and consumer non-durables have recorded growth of (-) 9.9 per cent and (-) 0.4 per cent, respectively.

Massive protest at JNU

Hundreds of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University staged massive protests right outside the university premises demanding a rollback of the proposed fee hike and changes in the hostel manual that imposes curfew hours, dress code and other restrictions on students.

The agitating students waited all day demanding a meeting with the University’s Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, who refused any discussion on fee hike and other issues raised by the students.

The students clashed with policemen deployed to control the situation as the protest turned unruly. They upturned barricades and hurled shoes at the cops. The police in turn resorted to water cannons and batons to control the crowd that finally dispersed in the evening after an assurance from the Ministry of Human Resources to look into their grievances. They were backed by the JNU Teachers Association that held a Teachers’ Assembly on Monday where the police action was condemned and a strong demand for the VC to step down was made.

“The police action was clearly only to defend the obstinate refusal of the VC to engage in any dialogue with students on their concerns….The Assembly was an expression of the collective view of the JNU faculty that the changes in the hostel manual and the steep increase in hostel charges are unacceptable. It is the university’s responsibility to provide residential and mess facilities to students at reasonable cost and hostels cannot be run on a self-financing principle as the new Hostel Manual proposes,” an official statement of JNUTA read.

Students claimed that the fee hike was three-fold to 999 per cent in varying cases that would drive out 40 per cent of the students since a large number come from economically weaker sections of society. The varsity has increased fees for a single-occupancy room from Rs.20 to Rs.600 per month and from Rs.10 to Rs.3,000 for a double-occupancy room. A new service charge of Rs.1,700 per month has been levied, taking up the monthly hostel fee from Rs.2,000 to Rs.2,300. The onetime mess security deposit has also been raised from Rs.5,500 to Rs.12,000.

The JNU administration explained that this was the first fee revision in 19 years and that the previous fee structure was outdated and extremely low. The authorities have previously stated that an annual expenditure of Rs.10 crore on electricity, water and service charges is incurred. This, they said, has to be borne from the general fund given by the University Grants Commission that could have otherwise been used for maintenance and giving the university a facelift.

The students demanded the resignation of the VC.

Cytotron

The US Food and Drug Administration’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health has designated a medical invention by a Bengaluru-based scientist as a “breakthrough device” in liver, pancreatic and breast cancer treatment.

Cytotron, developed by Rajah Vijay Kumar, aids in tissue engineering of cancer cells, altering how specific proteins are regulated to stop these cells from multiplying and spreading.

“We are pleased to inform you that your device and proposed indication for use meet the criteria and have been granted designation as a breakthrough device,” states a communique from the FDA wing to Shreis Scalene Sciences, the company that had taken the device to the US.

Cytotron is intended to cause degeneration of uncontrolled growth of tissues. “It is indicated for treating protein-linked, abnormally regenerating disorders such as neoplastic disease, and allowing extended progression free survival, with pain relief, palliation, improved quality and dignity of life,” says the letter.

Kumar had developed Cytotron at the Centre for Advanced Research and Development, which is headquartered in Bhopal, after nearly 30 years of research into cellular pathways and interactions with specifically modulated fast radio bursts.

“It is a great feeling that after so many years of hard work, against all odds, an institution like the USFDA is designating our work as a breakthrough in the treatment of three types of cancers,” Kumar said.

New technologies in the battle against cancer have generally been hard to come by. It’s even rarer for an Indian device to get breakthrough status in the US. The Centre for Devices and Radiological Health is responsible for pre-market approval of medical devices in the US, ensuring they are safe to use and effective. “The devices will all be made in India, given that there are hardly any imported components. And our American partner will take the device to the US. Cytotron is already an approved medical device and is in use in the UAE, Mexico, Malaysia and Hong Kong, among others,” Kumar said.

How it works: Generically known as rotational field quantum magnetic resonance, Cytotron uses fast radio bursts, high energy and powerful short radio bursts in which both electric and magnetic components of the electromagnetic signals are “circularly” polarised.

FRBs are produced when a radio signal travels through a powerful instantaneous magnetic field on its path to the target. “FRBs can be used to communicate with the cellular command and control, to up or down regulate a specific protein or gene,” Kumar said in a statement.

He added: “In cancer cells, Cytotron does two things: First, it alters the protein pathways of a pro-apoptosis protein called p53 via p21 inducing programmed cell death in the cancer cells. Second, exposure to Cytotron stops metastasis by inhibiting the epithelial mesenchymal transition cells, responsible for spread of cancer; 90% cancer patients die due to metastasis.”

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