Evidence of 'lost' river that ran through Thar Desert 172,000 years ago found

Agencies
October 21, 2020

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Bikaner, Oct 21: Researchers have found the evidence of a "lost" river that ran through the central Thar Desert, near Bikaner, as early as 172 thousand years ago, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the region.

The findings, published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represent the oldest directly dated phase of river activity at Nal Quarry in the central Thar Desert.

The study by researchers from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, Anna University in Tamil Nadu, and IISER Kolkata indicates that Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today.

This evidence indicates a river flowed with phases of activity dating to approximately up to 172 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, Rajasthan, which is over 200 kilometres away from the nearest modern river.

These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert as well as dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, the researchers said.

The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Paleolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations, they said.

The researchers noted that the potential importance of 'lost' rivers for earlier inhabitants of the Thar Desert have been overlooked.

"The Thar Desert has a rich prehistory, and we've been uncovering a wide range of evidence showing how Stone Age populations not only survived but thrived in these semi-arid landscapes," said Jimbob Blinkhorn from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

"We know how important rivers can be to living in this region, but we have little detail on what river systems were like during key periods of prehistory," Blinkhorn said.

Studies of satellite imagery have shown a dense network of river channels crossing the Thar Desert, according to the researchers.

"These studies can indicate where rivers and streams have flowed in the past, but they can't tell us when," explained Professor Hema Achyuthan of Anna University.

"To demonstrate how old such channels are, we had to find evidence on the ground for river activity in the middle of the desert," Achyuthan said.

The team studied a deep deposit of river sands and gravels, which had been exposed by quarrying activity near the village of Nal.

The researchers were able to document different phases of river activity by studying the different deposits.

"We immediately saw evidence for a substantial and very active river system from the bottom of the fluvial deposits, which gradually decreased in power through time," Achyuthan said.

The researchers used a method called luminescence dating to understand when quartz grains in the river sands were buried.

The results indicated that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred at approximately 172 and 140 thousand years ago, at a time when the monsoon was much weaker than today in the region.

River activity continued at the site between 95 to 78 thousand years ago, after which only limited evidence for the presence of a river at the site, with evidence for a brief reactivation of the channel 26 thousand years ago, the study found.

The river was flowing at its strongest during a phase of weak monsoonal activity in the region, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the Thar Desert, the researchers said.

The timeframe over which this river was active also overlaps with significant changes in human behaviour in the region, which have been linked with the earliest expansions of Homo sapiens from Africa into India, they said.

"This river flowed at a critical timeframe for understanding human evolution in the Thar Desert, across South Asia and beyond," said Blinkhorn.

"This suggests a landscape in which the earliest members of our own species, Homo sapiens, first encountered the monsoons and crossed the Thar Desert may have been very different to the landscape we can see today," he added.

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News Network
December 2,2020

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Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said the Congress will oppose if the government tries to bring in legislation against "love jihad" and cow slaughter in the state during the coming winter session. His comments come in the wake of the Uttar Pradesh governor giving assent to an ordinance against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions, which provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine of up to Rs 50,000 under different categories.

"Love jihad" is a coinage used by right wing activists to refer to the alleged campaign of Muslims forcing Hindu girls to convert in the guise of love. A delegation of Muslim leaders today met Siddaramaiah and held discussion as the government has decided to introduce the anti-cow slaugher bill during the state legislature session starting from December 7.

"Why has anti-cow slaughter legislation not been implemented in BJP ruled state of Goa? Why Karnataka? Muslim leaders had come to meet me expressing fear that if the law is enacted some of them will have to face difficulty and losses. We will oppose it strongly if the matter comes up for discussion during the session," Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying by his office in a release.

The Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan had recently said the anti-cow slaughter bill will be introduced during the winter session. He had also said if the law was enacted, along with prohibition on slaughter, sale and use of beef, illegal transportation of animals for slaughtering would be stopped.

Terming the ordinance enacted in Uttar Pradesh, which among others also curbs religious conversions only for the sake of marriage, as unconstitutional, Siddaramaiah said after crossing a certain age everyone has the right to marry a person of choice. He said there is nothing in the constitution which specifies that a person has to choose a life partner from a specific community.

"This ordinance is without any sanity or discretion," he claimed. Stating that inter-religious marriages have been happening in the county between Hindus and Muslims from the time of the Mughals, the former Chief Minister said the constitution does not provide for implementing such a law.

If such a law is questioned in the court, it will get dismissed.If the government goes ahead with bringing in such a law despite it being against the constitution, it will prove the true intentions of the government, he said. "It makes clear the malicious intent of the BJP to disturb peace in the society," he said.

Last month Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had said that the government will take strong measures to put an end to religious conversion in the name of love and marriage. Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai too had said the government was considering a law against religious conversion for the sake of marriage, even as several BJP leaders had put forward similar demands.

However, reacting to Siddaramaih's statement, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said there was no proposal of enacting a law against religious conversion for the sake of marriage before the government for now. "I don't know why he (Siddaramaiah) is issuing statements by guesswork. Being the scrutiny committee chairman,I can say that no such proposal has come before me yet," he added.

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News Network
November 27,2020

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Ahmedabad, Nov 27: Five coronavirus patients were killed while six others suffered burn injuries after a fire broke out in the ICU of a designated Covid-19 hospital in Gujarat's Rajkot in the early hours of Friday. A short-circuit is said to have caused the fire.

This is the second deadly incident in which coronavirus patients were burnt to death in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Earlier in August, eight patients had succumbed in a similar incident in Ahmedabad.

Fire officials said that the fire broke out in the ICU of Uday Shivanand hospital in Mavdi area, where a total of 33 patients were admitted. Officials said that the fire broke out at around 12:30.

"Five patients have died in the incident. Prima facie, it seems that the short circuit was the reason but it needs a detailed inquiry," Rajkot district collector Ramya Mohan told DH.

Officials said that the condition of one of the six injured patients remains critical. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who happens to be from Rajkot, ordered IAS officer AK Rakesh, Principal Secretary - Panchayats, Rural Housing and Rural Development, Gandhinagar, to probe the incident. Rupani also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to be given to the family of the deceased.

Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda termed the probe as an "eyewash" and said that "This is the fifth such incident in the past few months which shows the failure of the government."

In August, eight Covid-19 patients were killed in a similar incident at Shrey hospital in Ahmedabad. The police arrested the managing trustee of the hospital Bharat Mahant who was released on bail hours after his arrest. He was booked for causing death due to criminal negligence, section 304A of IPC, triable by a magisterial court.

 

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Agencies
November 18,2020

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Mumbai, Nov 18: Mumbai police on Wednesday asked Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel to appear before them on November 23 over "objectionable comments" on social media aimed at spreading communal tension.

This is the third time Mumbai police have asked the actor to appear before the Bandra police in the matter.

Kangana had earlier informed the police that she was busy with a wedding in the family and will be available only after November 15.

Mumbai police had issued the second notice to Kangana Ranaut and Rangoli Chandel on November 3 and ordered them to appear before it on November 10. Both the sisters have been booked for allegedly promoting enmity between communities through their remarks on social media.

Earlier, the Bandra police on October 21 issued a notice to Kangana and her sister to record their statements in the case. However, Ranaut's lawyer had then sent a reply to the police station, saying she was in Himachal Pradesh and busy with the wedding preparations.

Last month, the Bandra metropolitan magistrate's court had ordered the police to investigate a complaint filed by Bollywood casting director and fitness trainer Munawwar Ali Sayyed, referring to tweets and other statements of Ranaut and her sister.

The Bandra police subsequently registered an FIR against Ranaut and her sister under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), 295-A (deliberate acts hurting religious sentiments) and 124-A (sedition), 34 (common intention) and also asked Kangana and her sister to appear before the police.

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