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14, including 11 women, consumed by Kamala Mills blaze in Mumbai, BMC in the dock

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14, including 11 women, consumed by Kamala Mills blaze in Mumbai, BMC in the dock

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Reverberations of the tragedy heard in Parliament as BJP MP Kirit Somaiya blames Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, enquiry ordered

midnight blaze that broke out in an upmarket restaurant situated in South Mumbai’s Kamala Mills compound and quickly spread to neighbouring eateries claimed 14 lives, including those of 11 women, on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.

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Doctors from Mumbai’s KEM Hospital, who examined the bodies of the deceased have told the media that prima facie the cause of death appeared to be asphyxiation and not burn injuries for most of those who died in the tragedy, suggesting that the death toll could have been contained – or prevented altogether – had fire safety and emergency evacuation norms been followed by the eateries that were gutted in the fire.

The inferno that consumed and then completely annihilated the 1 Above restaurant – where the fire first broke out at – and its surrounding eateries like Mojo’s Bistro, has once again brought to the fore the lackadaisical and negligent attitude of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation towards ensuring that commercial establishments in the Maximum City adhere to fire safety regulations.

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It is learnt that around 20 people have sustained injuries in the blaze, with two of them reported to be in a critical condition. The injured are undergoing treatment at the KEM Hospital, Sion Hospital, Airoli Hospital and Bhatiya Hospital.

 Sources said that the fire broke out from the false roof of 1 Above restaurant where a group of friends – mostly women – were celebrating a birthday bash. The false roof was made of inflammable bamboo, a reason being cited to explain why the blaze spread so quickly.

 The flames then spread to the Mojo’s Bistro next door. The management of Mojo’s Bistro has claimed that all the safety norms were being adhered to by the establishment and that the staff was trained to deal with such situations.  “We are extremely saddened by the incident. Mojo’s has all its fire safety norms, certificates, and procedures in place. The staff are (sic) thoroughly trained in fire drills hence our staff was able to evacuate all our guests and themselves out to safety with zero injuries. There were NO cylinders on our premises. We are fully complying with the authorities to help in any way we can,” the Bistro said in a statement released to the media.

 The Mumbai police has booked 1 Above owners Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the establishment, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

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As President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other political leaders expressed shock at the tragedy and their condolences to the victims, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also came in for heavy flak from lawmakers for its negligence.

 In the Lok Sabha, BJP’s Kirit Somaiya – an MP from Mumbai – slammed the BMC and its “corrupt officials” for the tragedy, terming Kamala Mills compound and the neighbouring Phoenix Mills compound – both situated in South Mumbai’s Lower Parel locality – as “death traps”. Somaiya demanded a fire security audit of these former mills in Mumbai which have now turned into upmarket venues that house posh eateries, pubs and shopping arcades. Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant also demanded a judicial inquiry in the incident. Incidentally, while the Shiv Sena rules the BMC – the most cash-rich civic body in India – the BJP is the second largest party in the corporation’s council.

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Since the tragedy occurred, several media organisations have highlighted how the commercial establishments in Kamala Mill Compound were blatantly violating fire safety norms and the manner in which the BMC had, despite being repeatedly warned by activists and locals about the situation, failed to crackdown against these eateries for the violations. However, what is interesting to note is the fact that the Kamala Mills Compound also houses offices and studios of some major television news channels – like Times Now – (the transmission of which was interrupted for several hours in the wake of the blaze) but journalists working for these organisations, many of whom are known to visit these eateries often, have failed to report on the violations in the past.

 Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also ordered an inquiry in the incident and directed BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to ensure that strict action is taken against any official of the civic body whose negligence is proven.

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Hemant Soren meets PM Modi in Delhi, first meeting after release from jail

He secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

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Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in Delhi. This was his first meeting with the Prime Minister after he was released from jail where he spent around five months.

Taking to X, Jharkhand Chief Minister said that the meeting was a courtesy call. Notably, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 this year in connection with a money laundering case related to an alleged land scam.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president had spent around five months in prison, he secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

On July 3, JMM leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Soren stepped out of the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi Friday following the grant of bail by the Jharkhand High Court.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, while granting bail, noted that the Court’s findings satisfy the condition that there exist reasons to believe that Soren is not guilty of the PMLA offence he has been accused of.

Following Soren’s bail on July 3, the outgoing Chief Minister Champai Soren had said that the party alliance decided to elect Hemant Babu (Hemant Soren) as leader, after which he resigned from his post. Champai Soren tendered his resignation to Governor C P Radhakrishnan and soon after Hemant Soren staked a claim to form the government. Soren along with alliance party leaders met the Governor after he reached Ranchi on July 3 evening from outside. Hemant Soren took oath as the 13th Chief Minister of the State on July 4 again.

Meanwhile, earlier today, BJP leader Deepak Prakash claimed that Hemant Soren’s government of 4.5 years has been one that wreaks havoc on the public, one that takes away employment from the youth. Hemant Soren’s government is a synonym for corruption. The government has been involved in a mining scam, a tender scam and one that has brought jungle raj in the state, he added.  

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NDA numbers drops below Rajya Sabha majority mark, can impact passage of bills

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With the completion of the term of four Rajya Sabha MPs, the BJP’s number fell by the same number.

Since the current strength of the Upper House is 225, the BJP’s numbers now stood at 86 and the National Democratic Alliance led by it has 101 members, which is less than the majority mark of 113.

The members whose term ended on Saturday are Rakesh Sinha, Ram Shakal, Mahesh Jethmalani and Sonal Mansingh. They had been chosen by President Droupadi Murmu on the advice of the BJP as non-aligned members and later joined the party cohort.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc has 87 members, the Congress with 26, Trinamool Congress 13, AAP 10, DMK 10. The remaining members are from parties that are not in either camps.

What this means is that the BJP will need the help of other unaligned parties to get bills passed. These range from Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK and the YSRCP and the Biju Janata Dal. Both the governments of the YSRCP and the BJD were voted out in the recent assembly elections.  While the BJD has earlier lent issue based support, it has announced it will not return similar favours now, especially after the BJP won the assembly election.

The AIADMK had split from the NDA ahead late last year in anticipation of the Lok Sabha elections. It had claimed its continuance in the NDA would hurt its Lok Sabha prospects from the state.

Similarly, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi of K Chandrashekhar Rao also can help the BJP. With so much dependent on parties that have bene sidelined in recent polls, the BJP has a bigger job of coralling the numbers in the Upper House than running the NDA coalition, which is purring along since the election victory.

Some 20 seats are vacant in the House and elections to these will fill the total number of Rajya Sabha seats.

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Rahul Gandhi spotted in Delhi pizzeria in viral video while PM Modi, others attend Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant wedding

Lalu Prasad Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the wedding.

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Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, was spotted at pizzeria restaurant in Delhi, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other politicians were attending Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s wedding in Mumbai.

The undated viral video has been shared widely on social media platforms with a claim that the Congress leader did not attend the high-profile wedding of Ambani in the dream city, instead chose to spend time at a Delhi restaurant.

Sharing the video on X, formerly Twitter, wrote that while all the political leaders attended the Ambani family wedding, Rahul Gandhi was at a restaurant ordering pizza.

Visuals shared online show that the Raebareli MP, wearing a light blue t-shirt, sitting across from someone and engaging in a lively chat.

PM Modi attended the “Shubh Aashirwad” ceremony of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Mumbai on Saturday night at the Jio World Convention Centre.

The Ambani family welcomed the Prime Minister and escorted him to the stage. Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant took blessings from the PM.

Before that, the Prime Minister was in Mumbai to lay the foundation stone for multiple projects related to roads, railways, and ports, worth more than Rs 29,400 crore.

Among the prominent leaders who attended the Ambani family wedding ceremony in Mumbai on Saturday were Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Deputy Chief Minister Pawan Kalyan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

From the INDIA bloc Samajwadi Party Chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, along with his family, was spotted at the ceremony.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the wedding on Friday.

The BJP leader, Smriti Irani, who recently lost her Amethi seat in the Lok Sabha election, was spotted along with her husband, also attending the wedding ceremony.

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