Citizens' Issues
Mumbai hooch tragedy toll mounts to 100
The death toll in the Mumbai hooch tragedy - the worst in 11 years in Maharashtra - shot up to 100 on Monday, police said.
 
"The toll has reached 100 and another 48 people are under treatment in various hospitals," Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni, who is also Mumbai Police spokesperson, told IANS.
 
The victims had consumed liquor at a country liquor bar in Malwani area on June 17 night.
 
The Crime Branch has launched a manhunt across Mumbai and its surroundings for at least four bootleggers who are said to be the kingpins of the illicit liquor trade.
 
Police have nabbed around 20 people following the tragedy.
 
Alarmed by the steadily rising death figures, the Maharashtra government cracked down by suspending four excise department officials on Saturday and eight police personnel on Friday.
 
The government is also planning to amend laws pertaining to the sale, storage and transportation of country liquor to avoid similar tragedies in future, officials said.
 
The victims were mostly residents of Laxmi Nagar slums and had consumed the cheap liquor in Rathodi village nearby.
 
In December 2004, 87 people died in two separate incidents in Mumbai.

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Now, IIT-Kharagpur to offer MBBS degree
Now, get a medical degree from a top engineering institute! IIT-Kharagpur in West Bengal would be the first engineering institute in India to venture into medical education.
 
The hospital-cum-medical college, named Dr B.C. Roy Institute of Medical Science and Research, is likely to become operational by 2017, an official said on Monday.
 
The hospital will have 400 beds in the first phase while another 750 beds will be added gradually.
 
"The government has already sanctioned a grant of Rs.230 crore for the facility. Construction work will start soon and is expected to be completed within 26 months," IIT-Kharagpur director Partha Pratim Chakrabarti said in a statement.
 
"It will bring the two diverse disciplines of engineering and medicine together in education and research. Technology will be used to access and treat large number of patients through satellite centres and secondary hospitals."
 
Authorities have already sought approval from the Medical Council of India for providing undergraduate medical education courses like MBBS. AIIMS will design the medical courses. 
 
Last week, the union health ministry cleared IIT-Kharagpur's decade-old demand to start specialised medical courses. 
 
The medical college will award MBBS, MD, MS and DM degrees. But the focus will be on research - specially in biomedical, clinical and translational areas.

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SC to hear Swamy's plea against arrest warrant in July
The Supreme Court will hear in July BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea challenging the non-bailable warrants issued against him by a court in Assam over his controversial comments that mosques were not religious structures.
 
A vacation bench of Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice Arun Mishra directed listing the matter for hearing in the first week of July before an appropriate bench after Swamy sought adjournment telling the court that senior counsel Ram Jethmalani representing him in the case was abroad.
 
Swamy said he has challenged the constitutional validity of the Indian Penal Code's Sections 153(a) and 295(a), contending that they were vaguely worded and were prone to be misused, like Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which was recently read down by the apex court.
 
Section 153A provides for punishment for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, while Section 295A provides for punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
 
Swamy contended that there has to be a distinction between the incitement or advocacy and the expression of opinion.
 
He held that everything that one says could not be lumped together under these sections and there has to be a nexus or linkage between what was said in an alleged breach of two sections and things actually happening.
 
The apex court on March 24, while quashing Section 66A of the IT Act held that it was violative of the Constitution's Article 19(1)(a) guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression, while hearing a batch of petitions, including one by Shreya Singhal, questioning the arrest of two girls - Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan - for posting on social media comments critical of Mumbai bandh in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
 
The case against Swamy in Assam relates to his comments in March wherein he had said in Guwahati that mosques were just buildings with no religious sentiments attached to them and could be pulled down anytime.
 
He had noted that in Saudi Arabia, mosques, if required, are pulled down and constructed at other places.
 
Following a complaint, a case was registered against Swamy on charges of conspiracy and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
 
The additional chief judicial magistrate of Assam's Karimganj district has asked police in Assam and Delhi to present Swamy before it on or before June 30.

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