ATS mock drill sparks row after 'terrorists' raise slogans related to a particular community

News Network
January 22, 2023

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Chandrapur, Jan 22: A police mock drill in a temple in Chandrapur in Maharashtra landed in controversy after the personnel posing as terrorists were allegedly shouting slogans connected to a particular community.

A group of lawyers has submitted a memorandum to the district police authorities on the issue, while Superintendent of Police Ravindrasingh Pardeshi on Sunday said all efforts would be taken to ensure such an error is not repeated.

The mock drill, which was conducted on January 11 at the renowned Mahakali Temple here, enacted a scene in which a group of terrorists took over a place of worship and held devotees hostage before being apprehended by security forces. 

"Videos of the drill showing the personnel who played the part of terrorists in the mock drill shouting particular slogans. This portrays one community in a negative light and makes one believe all terrorists are from this community," said Farat Baig, part of lawyers' group here.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the office of the district SP against such sloganeering and portrayal. This act of the police amounts to defaming a community. Obviously, the script of the mock drill must have been overseen by the SP and other senior officials," Baig said.

When contacted, SP Ravindrasingh Pardeshi said his department will "take necessary steps to ensure such an error is not repeated". The mock drill was carried out by personnel from the local police, the Anti-Terrorism Squad, the specialised combat unit C-60, among others, officials said.

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News Network
January 15,2023

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Kathmandu, Jan 15: An aircraft with 72 people on board crashed in Nepal on Sunday, a spokesman for Yeti Airlines said.

"There are 68 passengers on board and four crew members... Rescue is underway, we don't know right now if there are survivors," Sudarshan Bartaula said.

The plane crashed between the old and new Pokhara airports in central Nepal.

The wreckage was on fire and rescue workers were trying to put out the blaze, said local official Gurudutta Dhakal.

"Responders have already reached there and trying to douse the fire. All agencies are now focused on first dousing the fire and rescuing the passengers," Dhakal said.

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News Network
January 22,2023

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At least nine people were killed and others hurt when a gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night, according to law enforcement sources and witnesses.

The shooting occurred on the 100 block of West Garvey Avenue at around 10:22 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Seung Won Choi, who owns a seafood barbecue restaurant on Garvey Avenue across from where the shooting happened, said three people rushed into his restaurant and told him to lock the door.

They said there was a man with a semiautomatic gun in the area. The shooter, they said, had multiple rounds of ammunition on him, so that once his ammunition ran out he reloaded, Choi said.

Wong Wei, who lives nearby, said his friend had gone to the dance club that night with a few of her friends. His friend was in the bathroom when the shooting started.

When she came out, he said, she saw a gunman and three bodies — two women and one person who he said was the boss of the club, Wei said. He said his friend escaped to his home around 11 p.m.

The shooter was carrying a long gun and appeared to fire indiscriminately, his friends told him.

“They don’t know why, so they run,” he said.

The shooting occurred near the site of a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Tens of thousands had gathered Saturday for the start of a two-day festival, one of the largest Lunar New Year events in the region.

Earlier in the day, crowds were enjoying skewers and shopping for Chinese food and jewelry. Saturday’s New Year festival hours were scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

John, 27, who declined to give his last name, lives near the shooting site. He got home around 10 p.m. and heard about 4 or 5 gunshots, he said. Then he heard police cruisers “smashing” down the street. He went downstairs at around 11:20 p.m. to see if the shooting occurred at the New Year festival.

“My first concern was I know they’re having a Lunar New Year celebration,” he said. But he said he saw that the festival had already been cleaned up for the day when he arrived. He went to the scene of the shooting and saw one person being put on a stretcher. Another person had a bandage on their arm.

Video on social media showed police and fire units swarming an area on Garvey Avenue and treating victims.

Injured people were taken to multiple hospitals in the area.

It was unclear if a suspect was in custody.

The violence left many in the area stunned.

Edwin Chen, a 47-year-old delivery dispatcher, rushed over from Woodland Hills to Monterey Park around 12:30 a.m. after hearing the news. Chen grew up in the area, he said, and about a dozen of his relatives and friends live there.

He said he was saddened this happened just as the community was celebrating Lunar New Year.

“This is [supposed to be] a happy time,” he said. “I want to find out as much as possible. It’s still shocking.”

“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia, the first Asian American to hold citywide office in L.A., said in a tweet.

Monterey Park, a city of 61,000 in the San Gabriel Valley, has a majority Asian American population. Located east of Los Angeles, the suburb is 65% Asian American, 27% Latino, and 6% white, according to census data.

One of the anchor suburbs in the San Gabriel Valley, Monterey Park is a hub of Asian American supermarkets and restaurants.

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News Network
January 27,2023

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Nanded, Jan 27: A 22-year-old medical student was strangled to death and set ablaze allegedly by her father, brother and three other male relatives over her love affair in Maharashtra’s Nanded district, an official said.

The police on Friday arrested the five for the killing that took place on January 22 in Pimpri Mahipal village under Limbgaon police station, around 600 km from Mumbai, an official said.

Shubhangi Jogdand was strangled to death with a rope by her family members, who later set her ablaze and threw her remains in a stream to destroy the evidence, he said.

The victim was a third year student of Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS) and her marriage had been fixed.

However, she informed the man chosen by her family that she was in love with another man from her village, the official said.

The victim's family had been upset after the wedding was called off, he said.

The woman’s father, brother, uncle and cousins took her to a farm on the night of January 22, and they allegedly killed her and tried to destroy the evidence, the official said.

The accused have been arrested under section 302 (murder) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, he added. 

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