Death toll climbs from India’s monsoon floods

(FILES) In this photograph taken on July 5, 2017, an Indian woman carries cow dung, which is used as fuel for fires, on a raft through floodwaters in Buraburi village in Morigoan district in the northeastern state of Assam. At least five people were killed and 10 missing July 11 after a massive landslide buried homes in a remote village in northeast India, a disaster management official said. An avalanche of mud and rock struck the village after weeks of heavy rain in Papum Pare district in the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh along the border with China. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2017
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Death toll climbs from India’s monsoon floods

NEW DELHI: The death toll from severe monsoon flooding across India has risen to at least 76, officials said Monday, with eight people killed in the past day in the worst-hit states.
Heavy rain in Gujarat has claimed 11 lives since Saturday as the monsoon intensified across the western state.
“Seven of these died in the last 24 hours and at least four others are still missing,” Pankaj Kumar, a Gujarat government official, told AFP.
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in India’s northeast have been the hardest-hit, while pockets of the eastern states of Odisha and Bihar have also been affected.
In the hilly state of Assam 60 people have been killed and a state-wide emergency relief operation has been underway since the wet season arrived in April.
“One person died in the last 24 hours. Thousands have been rescued and are now in 118 relief camps set up by the government across 21 affected districts,” said Rajib Prakash Barua, a senior official with the state’s Disaster Management Authority.
Rains had eased in some parts of the state but five major rivers were still at danger levels, he added.
Rescue teams have also delivered grass and other feed to animals stranded in flooded sections of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, home to India’s famed one-horned rhinos and other native species.
Power supply and rail and road services have been disrupted in the five worst-hit states.
Parts of Arunachal Pradesh have endured some of their worst floods and landslides for years amid more than a week of incessant rain.
At least five people were killed by a landslide last week in a remote village along the border with China.
The government has called in the army to help with relief and rescue operations in some parts of the worst-hit states.


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.