February 10th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

Ten killed in India festival stampede

At least 10 people died Sunday in a railroad station stampede in northern India as tens of millions flocked to the banks of the Ganges River for a Hindu religious festival, a railway spokesman said.

The crush took place in Allahabad, the site of this year's Kumbh Mela festival, where Hindu pilgrims gather to bathe in the Ganges. Railway spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena blamed overcrowding for the crush, but said details were "sketchy."

There was no immediate comment from police or officials from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was "deeply shocked" by the deaths and promised to extend "all possible help" to state authorities.

"I send my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved families and wish those injured a speedy recovery," Singh said in a statement issued by his office.

Kumbh Mela is billed as the world's largest religious gathering and the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages. Devotees believe that washing themselves in the Ganges frees them from past sins.

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Filed under: Hinduism • India • Religion
February 5th, 2013
07:21 AM ET

Testimony begins in India gang rape and murder trial

The trial in the brutal gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old medical student formally began Tuesday in New Delhi.

Five suspects are accused of attacking the woman and her male companion as they rode a city bus. The woman, badly injured in the attack, died two weeks later. She had been flown from India to Singapore for treatment. Her companion survived.

The attack has sparked protests and prompted widespread debate over the way India handles sexual assaults and the treatment of women.

Read more: Hearing ordered for gang rape suspects

'She could have been me': Action urged after Delhi gang rape case

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Filed under: India • Justice • World
January 22nd, 2013
03:04 AM ET

Another apparent gang rape in India

A woman who went to visit her brother at a hospital in eastern India was allegedly gang-raped by six men Sunday night, police said.

If medical records bear out the woman's account, it will be the latest in a string of such brutal attacks in the country.

On her way home from the hospital, the 25-year-old woman was taken by two hospital custodians to a river bank where she was sexually assaulted by the pair and four other friends, said B.K. Aich, a police superintendent in Mayurbhanj District in Odisha state.

All six were arrested.

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Filed under: India • World
January 22nd, 2013
01:37 AM ET

Accused wants gang rape case moved out of Indian capital

The lawyer for one of the men accused in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman wants the trial moved out of New Delhi, where emotions have run high over the case.

The defense lawyer will argue before the Indian Supreme Court today that transferring legal proceedings outside the Indian capital would ensure a free and fair hearing.

The case has gripped India, prompting protests in the capital and other cites over the treatment of women and criticism of the way sexual assault cases are dealt with.

 

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Filed under: India • World
January 8th, 2013
01:00 PM ET

Lawyer in India rape case urges not-guilty pleas

[Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET] A lawyer who says he's representing three of the five men charged with raping and fatally beating a woman on a New Delhi bus - a case that that prompted angry protests over the country's treatment of women - said Tuesday that he has advised his clients to plead not guilty.

"So far they have agreed to my advice, but a clearer picture will emerge by tomorrow evening," the attorney, Manohar Lal Sharma, told CNN. "I fear they might come under pressure to change their mind."

Sharma said one of those he is representing is Ram Singh, the main suspect accused in the case. The other two are Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur, he said.

(Editor's note: The initial post incorrectly said that Sharma urged his clients to plead guilty.)

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Filed under: Crime • India
January 8th, 2013
08:57 AM ET

India: 2 soldiers killed in firefight with Pakistani troops

Two Indian soldiers died in a firefight Tuesday with Pakistan army troops in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Indian Army said in a statement, amid heightened tensions in the region. India said a group of Pakistani troops had crossed the Line of Control - the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region. A spokesman for the Pakistani military denied the report, calling it a "baseless allegation."

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Filed under: India • Pakistan
January 3rd, 2013
08:01 AM ET

Indian court charges gang-rape, murder suspects

Five men accused of gang-raping a 23-year-old Indian woman on a New Dehli bus have been formally charged with rape, murder and kidnapping, senior police official Suman Nalwa told CNN.

The attack on the woman, who died from severe injuries last week, has appalled and enraged many Indians, prompting widespread debate over the way the country handles sexual assaults and the treatment of women in Indian society. The trial is expected to begin this week.

iReport: What's your reaction to how India handles sexual assaults?

Misogyny in India: We are all guilty

Opinion: End culture of rape in 2013

November 20th, 2012
10:32 PM ET

Report: Mumbai attacker executed

India on Wednesday executed Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the last surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, CNN-IBN reported, citing the home minister.

A Mumbai judge ruled in May 2010 that Kasab, a Pakistani, would be hanged. He was convicted of murder, conspiracy, and waging war on India.

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November 19th, 2012
01:24 PM ET

Stampede kills at least 10 in eastern India

At least 10 people were killed in a stampede during a Hindu ritual in eastern India Monday, police said.

The crush occurred on a bridge along the banks of the river Ganges in Patna, capital of Bihar state, according to authorities.

The site was packed by hundreds of thousands of devotees celebrating the annual festival of Chhath, Patna's police chief Jayant Kant told CNN.

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Filed under: India • Stampede
August 29th, 2012
02:11 AM ET

Indian Supreme Court upholds death sentence for Mumbai gunman

he Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence for Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, prosecution lawyer Gopal Subramaniam said.

A court sentenced Kasab, a Pakistani, to death in 2010 on charges of murder, conspiracy and waging war on India. The High Court of Mumbai upheld his conviction and sentence in February last year.

Authorities of the Mumbai prison where Kasab is being held then filed a plea on his behalf to the Supreme Court.

Now that his appeal has been rejected by India's highest court, the last avenue open to Kasab is to file a clemency petition with the president.

During the November 2008 assault on Mumbai, 10 heavily armed men attacked landmarks around the city, including the luxury Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.

More than 160 people were killed in the coordinated attacks that lasted three days.

Indian forces killed nine of the suspects, but Kasab, who was photographed holding an assault weapon during the violence, survived and was arrested.

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Pakistan, India hit by deadly flooding
Indian residents wade through floodwaters in Jawahar Nagar colony in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, on August 23.
August 23rd, 2012
01:13 PM ET

Pakistan, India hit by deadly flooding

Dozens of people have died in Pakistan and India's northern Rajasthan state amid flash floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains, officials said Thursday.

At least 21 deaths are confirmed in Pakistan, said Maj. Iftikhar Ahmed Taj of the National Disaster Management Authority.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged in the flooding, which has hit parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, he said.

Rescue workers are seeking to deal with a major landslide in the Kashmiri city of Muzaffarabad, according to the disaster agency.

Roads are blocked, some 390 houses have been damaged and an unknown number of people are dead and injured, the agency said. Some families trapped by the landslide have been given emergency food and water supplies.

Elsewhere in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, seven people were killed in Bagh by a flash flood and a landslide, while more than 100 houses were damaged in Koti, the disaster agency said.

More rainfall is on the way in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, some isolated places in northeast Balochistan, and the country's capital, Islamabad, according to the agency.

Clean-up also was under way Thursday in neighboring India, where heavy rain in Rajasthan left 20 dead, the Rajasthan state department told CNN. Ten died in the capital, Jaipur, it said.

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Filed under: Flooding • India • Pakistan • Weather • World
August 13th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Police detain Indian corruption activist

Police detained famed Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev as he led an anti-corruption march toward the national parliament building Monday, a police spokesman said.

"Remove Congress and save the country," the yoga guru said to thousands of supporters before officers took him into custody, referring to the ruling Congress Party.

The saffron-clad yoga teacher, whose televised breathing exercises are watched by millions, has been staging a demonstration since last week to demand repatriation of what he calls "black money," or illegal Indian wealth in foreign banks.

He also favors the creation of a strong anti-corruption watchdog agency to deal with endemic graft in the country, echoing a key demand raised by another veteran activist, Anna Hazare, whose hunger strikes last year galvanized huge public support.

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Filed under: India • World
July 31st, 2012
12:42 PM ET

India hit by second, even larger power outage

 India suffered its second huge, crippling power failure in two days Tuesday, depriving as much as half of the vast and populous country, or up to 600 million people, of electricity and disrupting transport networks.

The first power grid collapse, on Monday, was the country's worst blackout in a decade. It affected seven states in northern India that are home to more than 350 million people.

But Tuesday's failure was even larger, hitting eastern and northeastern areas as well.

Both blackouts cut power in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

The power companies that operate the affected electricity grids reported Tuesday's collapse on their websites.

With about 1.2 billion people, India has the second-highest population of any country, behind China.

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July 25th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Ethnic clashes in India kill dozens, displace thousands

Ethnic clashes in India's northeastern Assam province have left 32 dead as of Wednesday and sent an estimated 150,000 fleeing their homes to escape the violence, police said.

Long-standing tensions between the predominant Bodo tribes people and minority migrant Muslim settlers erupted into bloodshed nearly a week ago and has largely gripped the province's Kokrajhar district, which borders on neighboring Bhutan to India's north, said Assam police chief J.N. Chaudhury.

What sparked the mayhem is not yet known and under investigation, he said. But it has resulted in incidences of attacks and counter attacks between the two groups, CNN sister network CNN-IBN has reported.

Five of those killed died when police fired on mobs engaging in rioting and arson, according to Chaudhury, who said that the district had witnessed similar fighting in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

"For now, our priority is to stop the violence and arson. It may take some days to rebuild trust," he said.

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Filed under: India • Islam • Religion • World
May 14th, 2012
02:37 AM ET

Plane crashes in Nepal, killing 14

A small plane crashed as it attempted to land in a mountainous area of Nepal on Monday, killing 14 of the 21 people on board, an aviation official said.

The plane was coming into land at the airport at Jomsom, a popular tourist town in central Nepal, when it crashed, said Purusottam Shakya, deputy director of air traffic service operations in Kathmandu.

There were three crew members on board the plane and 18 passengers, most of whom were Indian, according to Shakya.

The seven survivors were being transferred to the town of Pokhara, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) west of Kathmandu.

Jomsom is the gateway to Muktinath Temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus from Nepal and India.

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May 7th, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Clinton urges India to go further in reducing Iranian oil imports

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday applauded India's efforts to reduce its imports of Iranian oil but urged it to cut them further to keep pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.

"We think India as a country understands the importance of trying to use diplomacy to resolve these difficult threats and is certainly working toward lowering their purchases of Iranian oil," Clinton said in Kolkata, the first stop on her visit to India. "We commend the steps they've taken thus far and hope they will do even more."

The United States and other Western countries are using economic pressure on Iran, particularly on its oil industry, to try to push Tehran into halting its nuclear program.

They have encouraged Asian countries like India, Japan and South Korea - key consumers of Iranian oil - to cut back their purchases.

U.S. officials say India has lowered the amount of oil it buys from Iran in recent months. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government is also wrestling with stubbornly high inflation and is wary of provoking upward pressure on prices.

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Filed under: India • Iran • State Department
April 8th, 2012
02:42 AM ET

Pakistani rescuers resume search for 135 trapped in avalanche

Rescue crews resumed their frantic search Sunday at a Himalayan military outpost near the Indian border where a massive avalanche buried up to 135 people, all but 11 of them Pakistani soldiers.

A blanket of rock and snow covering one square kilometer - about the size of a large city block - slid over the base on the Siachen glacier early Saturday morning, entombing it under 70 feet of snow.

The Siachen Glacier, known as the world's highest battleground, is 6,300 meters (20,670 feet) high and spans 77 kilometers (47 miles) across the Line of Control that separates India- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Poor weather had forced the crews to retreat Saturday night, after a day-long search at the base yielded no survivors.

"It's a very massive scale slide," said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Saturday. "They are under the slide but we haven't lost hope. The rescue work is on, and we are keeping our fingers crossed."

Crews flew in heavy machinery flown from neighboring Rawalpindi. Sniffer dogs and troops using bulldozers worked the ground.

Abbas said the military had not been able to establish contact with anyone inside the base since the avalanche.

It was the first such disaster at the mountain headquarters in its two decades of existence, the military said.

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April 7th, 2012
02:25 AM ET

Pakistani official: More than 100 soldiers trapped in avalanche

More than 100 soldiers are trapped after an avalanche in the Siachen glacier, a Pakistani military official said Saturday.

Rescue operations are under way, and no deaths have been confirmed, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.

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April 5th, 2012
04:38 AM ET

Indian authorities propose prisoner swap with Maoist rebels

Indian authorities offered to free 27 prisoners in return for the release of an Italian citizen and a local legislator held hostage by Maoist rebels in the eastern state of Orissa.

The chief minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, appealed in a statement Wednesday to the left-wing insurgents to release the Italian Paolo Bosusco and the state lawmaker Jhina Hikaka immediately, requesting they be "unharmed and in good health."

Bosusco and another Italian tourist, Claudio Colangelo, were abducted in the province's Kandhamal district on March 14. Colangelo was set free 11 days later, but Bosusco has remained captive.

The guerillas also kidnapped Hikaka, a member of the state's legislative assembly.

Patnaik specified that 23 prisoners would be freed to secure Hikaka's release and the other four for Bosusco's.

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Filed under: India • Italy
March 19th, 2012
02:08 AM ET

2 Italians abducted by Maoist rebels in eastern India

Two Italians have been kidnapped by Maoist insurgents in eastern India, the local authorities said Monday, in what is believed to be the first abduction of Westerners in the region.

Italian nationals Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo have been held hostage by left-wing rebels in the eastern state of Orissa since Wednesday, said Rajesh Prabhakar Patil, the top administrator of the state's Kandhamal district.

"As of now, the government has expressed its willingness to negotiate" to secure the Italians' release, Patil said, noting that the kidnappings came to light Sunday.

Anti-Maoist operations, part of a decades-long conflict, have been suspended in the troubled Kandhamal area, and the authorities are in the process of appointing a mediator for talks, he said.

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