Gujarat: Site of a popular hot water spring, but Tuwa village has not a drop to drink

Tuwa in Godhra tehsil attracts around 100 tourists every day, as it is the only place in Central Gujarat with a hot water spring — the water is known to be rich in minerals that help cure skin ailments.

Every day at least three times or more during summers, Jamnaben Panda (43) and her elder daughter trek 1 km from their home in Khari faliya of Tuwa village in Panchmahals to a neighbourhood locality in search of water. Under the harsh sun, over the cracked dry land, crossing a dry farm, a road and an unmanned railway line, they reach the only source of water for around 60 families in two localities of Tuwa village combined — a well. Jamnaben’s family is one among 20 households in Khari faliya of Tuwa that have no source of potable water in their neighbourhood.

Tuwa in Godhra tehsil attracts around 100 tourists every day, as it is the only place in Central Gujarat with a hot water spring — the water is known to be rich in minerals that help cure skin ailments. People in the village believe in a folklore that states that the hot spring has existed from the time of the Pandavas and was visited by Lord Ram as well. It is believed that Lord Ram shot an arrow and pierced the land in Tuwa to allow the hot water to spring up to cure saint Surdas bapu. The place has since has been considered holy and also has a Shiv temple.

However, due to the presence of the hot water spring, people living within a radius of 2 km find that the groundwater in their villages is also hot besides being hard water. The temperature of the hot water spring is usually between 54°C to 65°C and the water is alkaline in nature with high salt and mineral content, rendering the underground water around the area unsuitable for consumption.

Khari faliya, which lies east of the hot water spring and the river, is a settlement developed after people from Mahisagar district were rehabilitated during the Panam Dam project over 40 years ago. The settlement was built up over uninhabited land around 1 km from the hot water spring. However, even after these many years, the struggle for potable water continues.

“We are a family of six and we have nine goats and two cows. Every day we have to walk to the well that is at least a kilometre from here to fetch drinking water,” says Jamnaben. “We cross a railway line too which we know is risky, but there is no other option for us.”

She says the Khari river river lies around half a kilometre from here, but the water is not fit for direct consumption and the river runs dry during peak summers. “We use it for other household purposes. During summers, the problems escalate as water resources are limited and even dry up, while the number of people dependent on it are many,” Jamnaben adds. The Khari is a small tributary of the Mahisagar river and passes through Tuwa.

Tuwa is among 448 of 591 villages in the Panchmahals that is listed under the Regional Water Supply Schemes in the district.

But the farms, where the villagers mostly grow cotton and corn, lie parched and uncultivated for want of irrigation, and the men are forced to migrate outside in search of work. Two years ago, pipelines were installed to help the villagers draw water from a Narmada canal built eight kilometres away in Moti Kathdi, but the three water collection points in the village have no water supply.

“When these water pipes were installed, we were elated. We even got surplus water for two days but there has been no water supply after that,” Dinesh Panda who is also a member of the Tuwa panchayat and was rehabilitated from Santrampur during the Panam dam project, says. “In this stretch, all the villages are facing a water crisis. Many households are dependent on the canal water. The water has to be more than sufficient to satiate the needs of every household which is not the case,” he adds

The water supply department however claims that the issue is restricted to lack of power supply. “In Tuwa, water is being provided through the Narmada canal from Moti Kathdi,” Executive Engineer of the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewage Board (GWSSB) GR Mahajan says. “We have received complaints regarding disruptions in water supply due to power shortage by Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB). We have now asked the GEB for 24-hour power supply so that enough water reaches all the villages.”

Arvind Panda, another villager, shows a deep well that they had dug for underground water, outside his house. The well, which does not have a proper wall lining, is covered with grass and muddy water. “This pit will get filled once it starts raining. We can then use the water. The underground water is always hot even during winters and is salty, so we can not consume it, but can use it for other purposes,” Arvind says. The locality, which is not connected by any proper road to the other villages, now awaits the monsoon for some relief from their water woes.

On the other side of the river, close to the holy hot springs site, lies another neighbourhood of the same village, Kandachpura. Cattle-herders who migrated from Kutch during the great famine of 1900 live here. Six years ago, a Narmada water pipeline reached their village, but the water supply is not constant.

“If we get water today, we might get water again after two or three days,” village Sarpanch Suresh Gadhvi says. “So we generally tend to store water for using on days when there is no supply.”

The locality, a settlement of 40 households, had three hand-pumps for water supply initially.

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Take 5: ‘People spit gutka & throw cigarette butts’

While attending a hearing in Mumbai on June 7 in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, BJP MP Pragya Thakur refused to sit, saying the courtroom “has not been swept, I have allergies”. A 62-year-old cleaner at Delhi’s Patiala House courts speaks on condition of anonymity on what it takes to keep the courtroom clean.

Written by Ananya Tiwari

Recently, BJP MP Pragya Thakur complained about a dusty courtroom in Mumbai.

I have never heard of her… But the courts get dirty because people spit gutka and throw cigarette butts all over. They drink tea and throw cups around. Shouldn’t they thrown them in dustbins. We work very hard daily to keep the court clean.

How many people do the job?

There are about 12-14 cleaners and each person has to clean six to seven courtrooms. If any cleaner is absent, we have to do his or her work as well.

How long are your shifts?

We start working at 6.30 am. On most days, work continues till 3 pm. But, sometimes, it stretches to even 6 pm. We work for five-six days a week and receive a monthly salary of Rs 46,000.

What are your tools at work?

We use wipers, mops, brooms and phenyl.

Were you trained on the job?

No, I have been doing this work since my youth. I was only 20 years old when I first got a job as a court cleaner.

(The writer is an intern)

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Mumbai: At Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a walk-in show on fireflies

The months of May and June are the best time to observe fireflies, as this is their mating time and they can be in roaming around in hordes, nature experts said.

In a first in the city, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park organised a three-day show on fireflies from Wednesday to Friday. The walk-in show, organised in collaboration with the Nature Information Centre (NIC) at the tourism zone of SGNP, offered participants a chance to stay in the woods at the SGNP campsite to observe fireflies.

For James Gonsalves (20), a botany student who regularly attends NIC activities, this event was one he just couldn’t miss.“This is the first time I saw a festival organised for fireflies in Mumbai. Last week, when I was here for a camera trapping workshop, we spotted some fireflies and it piqued my interest. I knew I couldn’t miss this,” said Gonsalves.

“To see so many of them all in a corner of this busy city shows how little we know about them,” said Zeenat Kayanawala, another nature enthusiast.

Fireflies, also known as lampyridae, are bioluminescent insects that belong to the family of beetles, SGNP officials said. “Known for emitting light from their abdomen, they are found almost everywhere in the world except Antarctica. They do not have a particular habitat but are said to thrive in forests and fields. It is very rare to spot fireflies in Mumbai as they are usually driven away from their habitat due to too much light and clearing of forests, which has caused their numbers to decline in the city. They are mostly seen in the outskirts, in Bhandardara and Purushwadi,” said an official.

The months of May and June are the best time to observe fireflies, as this is their mating time and they can be in roaming around in hordes, nature experts said.

In the show, participants where informed about fireflies by Jayesh Vishwakarma, education officer of the NIC, before they were taken on a walk to observe fireflies. “I have been planning for this festival for a month and I just wanted people to join me in admiring these creatures,” said Jayesh, who is also a wildlife biologist. He added, “Fireflies have always been a part of the Mumbai fauna and we have always celebrated them. But I personally am very fond of these little creatures and wanted to share what I know about them with everyone.”

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Delhi Cong. to hold protests against govt.

The Delhi Congress on Saturday announced it would organise demonstrations in each of the 70 Assembly constituencies of the Capital against what it alleged were “severe” power cuts and water shortage.

It claimed that the AAP government had failed to address issues related to these sectors. Party’s three working presidents — Haroon Yusuf, Rajesh Lilothia and Devender Yadav — will lead the demonstrations on Tuesday.

“According to the direction of Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit, all the Residents’ Welfare Associations of Delhi, who were part of the Bhagidari Scheme during the Congress regime in Delhi, and those RWAs which were not part of Bhagidari, will also be invited to join in the Congress demonstrations in all the 70 Assembly constituencies in Delhi,” Mr. Yusuf said.

“The people are harassed and fed up with the power and water shortage in these peak summer days. There is not only severe shortage of water, but the water people are otherwise getting is unfit for consumption,” Mr. Yusuf alleged.

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Women’s panel adalat turns focus on condition of elderly

Cases of domestic violence, harassment also heard

As many as four cases heard by the Kerala Women’s Commission mega adalat here on Saturday had to do with elderly women being cheated of their wealth, raising questions about the pitiful condition of the elderly in the State, according to Chairperson M.C. Josephine.

In one case, a 92-year-old woman’s property was taken away by her nephew, who was asked by the commission to pay the worth of the property, ₹6 lakh, to her.

In another case, a 90-year-old woman was placed in a private old age home against her wishes by her son. The commission will take action against the home, which is running without a caretaker, and has asked her son to make arrangements for a home nurse.

Next adalat on June 18

The adalat took up 88 cases at the Collectorate, of which 19 were disposed of, seven were handed over to the police and 62 cases in which the respondent or complainant did not appear were set aside for the next adalat to be held in Ernakulam on June 18. The adalat was held by Ms. Josephine, Women’s Commission Director V.U. Kuriakose and members E.M. Radha and Shiji Sivaji.

Two cases of domestic violence, both related to dowry demands, came up before the adalat.

The commission is looking into the case of a woman who has accused her husband’s family of harassment in the name of dowry. She alleged that the family forced her to abort their second child.

In another case, a woman complained of domestic violence at the hands of her mother-in-law, despite having given nearly gold worth ₹1 crore and property as dowry.

Two cases of harassment at the workplace were heard.

Two teachers complained of verbal abuse by a colleague and the commission is awaiting further reports on the matter.

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Two-year-old dies after being run over in parking lot

A two-year-old boy was killed when he came under the wheels of a moving car while playing in front of his house. The incident occurred in the parking lot of an apartment in Marathahalli on Wednesday afternoon.

The deceased, Jissu Madak, was the son of Libaran Madak, a security guard at the apartment in Munnekolala. Madak’s wife worked as house keeping staff in the apartment. The couple have two children, Jissu being the younger one, the police said.

On Wednesday afternoon, while Madak’s wife was busy with her chores, Jissu was playing outside. One of the residents of the apartment began reversing his car, but failed to notice Jissu and ran over him. Jissu was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared brought dead.

Based on the complaint filed by Libaran, the police have charged the car driver with death due to negligence and are investigating.

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Belapur Fort restoration work starts today

The 458-year-old Belapur Fort, located just 3km from the City Industrial and Development Corporation’s (Cidco) headquarters at the heart of the business district, will finally see restoration work starting on Sunday.

The ₹17-crore repair work which was supposed to start in February this year was postponed owing to the Lok Sabha election, during which the model code of conduct was enforced. Before that, Cidco had planned to start restoring the 16th-century structure in May 2018 but called it off as the tendering process to appoint a contractor resulted in quotations beyond the allocated budget.

Priya Ratambe, Cidco’s public relations officer (PRO), said, “The work would start on a positive note. We will ensure that work is completed in 28 months and might be extended if the need arises.”

The planning agency, last year, said it plans to build an amphitheatre, food court, parking plaza and senior citizens’ centre around the fort “to make the place more happening and engaging.”

Ratambe confirmed that the plan to build the extra facilities around the fort was still on.

Historians and heritage enthusiasts welcomed the move but have also warned Cidco against erecting too many commercial elements around the fort, as it might weaken its very foundation.

The Belapur Fort, situated atop a hillock at Kille Gaothan, was built between 1560-1570 by the Siddis — an ethnic group from East Africa that settled in India in the medieval era — after they took control of the area from the Portuguese. The fort was then controlled by the Marathas and then the British, who are said to have done considerable damage to it. Some historians believe there is an underground tunnel that connects the fort to Elephanta Island.

Siddhi Dawra, a history blogger who lives in Belapur, said the fort has been a witness to the rich history of the state. “It was Peshwa Bajirao’s brother, Chimanji, who recaptured it from the British and renamed it Belapur Fort. History tells us a lot about our victories and losses and this is exactly why forts like these must be preserved for future generations,” he said.

Dawra said the fort was already crumbling and too much commercial activity around it might weaken it further. “Cidco should be careful with their restoration efforts,” he said.

Raghu Jadhav, a 56-year-old villager who lives in the area, said, “Our forefathers must have seen the full glory of the fort; we have only seen crumbling ruins. A lot of wild vegetation has grown on it now. We [the villagers] sometimes have replace the falling stones in their right position.”

Aditya Devkar, 45, another local resident, said having the fort in his village’s backyard is a matter of pride. “We have passed down stories about the fort from our grandfathers to our children. If it had been restored earlier, it would have been saved. But I’m happy they are starting the work now.”

An official from Cidco, on the condition of anonymity, said care has been taken to ensure the materials used for restoration match the ones that have been used to build the structure. “Restoring a fort is no easy work. We have to conserve its old form as well as its glory. We need to be fully satisfied that the contractor we appoint would be able to deliver on this. We’re hopeful that the fort will survive for more generations to come,” he said.

Louiza Rodrigues, head of the history department at Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College in Matunga, said Cidco’s efforts can turn out to be detrimental but can also regenerate interest about the fort itself. “Cidco should ensure its restoration is inclusive and does not harm the original structure of the fort,” she said.

First Published:
Jun 16, 2019 00:17 IST

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Bihar encephalitis death toll rises to 65

The toll from acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Bihar reached 65 on Saturday. Of these, 55 deaths have been reported from Muzaffarpur’s Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and 10 from Kejriwal Maternity Clinic (KMC), a private hospital.

SKMCH’s medical superintendent, Dr SK Shahi, confirmed the deaths of eight more children on Saturday. So far 55 children had died at the hospital, he added.

As many as 53 children, with AES like symptoms, were admitted to the two hospitals on Saturday. These children were brought from various parts of the district as well as adjoining East Champaran, West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Vaishali, and Samastipur districts. District authorities said that the children were suffering from high and irregular fever, vomiting, seizures, and acute headaches.

Bihar’s principal secretary (health), Sanjay Kumar, and other health department officials visited SKMCH on Saturday to review the situation. Kumar checked paediatric intensive care units, with a team of encephalitis experts and later held discussions with the attending doctors.

Kumar told journalists that a seven-member central team, which was monitoring the AES outbreak in Bihar, was yet to ascertain the reason for the spread of the disease.

“The central experts are of the view that there are multiple factors behind the children falling sick from the viral disease broadly named AES,” Kumar said. “It is high time researchers did an in-depth investigation for ascertaining the causes behind the AES outbreak,” he added.

Five nursing staff members and a team of doctors being sent from government hospitals in Patna are likely to help the medical team at SKMCH.

An advisory issued by the state health department said children between 1 and 15 years were susceptible to AES and Japanese encephalitis and timely treatment was the best way to deal with them. It said that the disease had spread because of excessive heat and humidity. Bihar is facing an intense heat wave.

The health department also asked people not to give lychee to children. It also said that if a child has eaten lychee during the day, then it should be ensured that the child gets a healthy meal before going to sleep.

Bihar’s main opposition party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), accused the state government of being in a “state of oblivion” over the outbreak. An RJD delegation, led by state party chief Ram Chandra Purve, also visited SKMCH on Saturday, and met the families of the patients and doctors of the central team.

Attacking the state government, Purve said, “The chief minister is in a state of oblivion, while children are losing their lives at the hospital of Muzaffarpur. Why has not he visited the hospital yet?” he asked. “…the central team has expressed doubts about malnutrition, lychee, drinking water, and dietary habits as factors for the spread, and have confused the people,” he added.

First Published:
Jun 15, 2019 23:48 IST

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Manchester united

One of the most enduring rivalries on the cricket field plays out once again today as India meet Pakistan in a World Cup match.

The conch shell booms. “Om Jai Jagadish hare, swami…” the chant fills the oldest temple hall in Manchester. The Friday sun has set, and dark skies return to drench the city. Inside, priest Krishan Joshi, who came to England 23 years ago, performs an aarti after finishing the chants. A few Indians, eyes shut, dwell on their dreams.

In her 40s, Sarbani Chatterjee — who says “Manchester is okay I guess, it’s not Kolkata, it’s raining all the time here” — wants to enroll her son Ishaan into a cricket club. Joshi offers help, his son is at a cricket club. “80 pounds for four weeks. It’s very good,” he says. Joshi’s son, who is at cricket and comes later, wants to play cricket for England. “Youner son… opposite. No cricket. His mother brought him a 150-pounds Apple watch, and in three days, he opened to find what is inside,” he says. Laughter. Sarbani coaxes the priest, asking for help to get her son into the same cricket club as his son. “Kuch kariye na (Please do something), they are not answering my calls.” Priest as medium to god and cricket.

“Do you have tickets for the India-Pakistan match? Ishaan would love to go,” she asks Joshi next. Sarbani is disappointed with the reply. Joshi talks about how in his WhatsApp group, the 70-pound ticket is being offered at 1,000. Outside, the pitter-patter continues.

It has rained only in the evenings last two days, raising hope that cricket’s biggest blockbuster event, India vs Pakistan, can take place on Sunday. For the teams the result of this league game will play a crucial role in their qualification to the knock-out stage, but for the fans it isn’t just a fight for the two points at stake. It’s a must-see match for multiple reasons.

At a kebab house, not too far away from the temple, Aamir Bhatti, a middle-aged man who came from Pakistan 12 years ago and now runs this shop, is amazed that pavilion tickets are being sold in the black market for 4,000 pounds. “A regular job would earn you 1,500 to 2,000 pounds a month. So that would mean more than two months ka salary for a ticket. Shauk hai, logon ka. Apni apni marzi (People have their interests).”

Aamir’s “shauk” is watching the Indian television show Crime Patrol. He has subscribed to it on his phone. “The show tells you what can happen when life gets out of control. I tell my children also to watch it.” He is trying his best to keep his life in control. The wife and children are in Pakistan, in colleges, and he didn’t want to disturb their education. “Once they finish studies, maybe I will bring them here. Not now.”

Back at the temple, Sarbani says, “I don’t know too many Pakistanis. There are lots of them here. They are not bad.” And adds, “They have been okay to me. I don’t have any Pakistani friends but I buy all my stuff in their shops.”

***

Perhaps, one of the earliest Indians to come to this city was in the 1880s — an elephant named, what else, ‘Maharajah’. Bought in an auction by a rich Englishman, Maharajah was much-admired and his remains are now at the Manchester museum. Soon after the maharajah, around the 1850s, humans started pouring in from the subcontinent.

The Manchester migration story is an old one. The city’s reliable power supply from the Pennines rivers, its soft water that was perfect for washing and bleaching clothes and the damp air which ensured the cotton threads didn’t snap as easily as it did in some other places, ensured that it became the Cottonopolis of the world. Thousands of Pakistanis and Indians were employed in “dark, satanic (textile) mills”, with several iconic black-and-white photographs freezing that image of smoke swirling out of its tall chimneys. A BBC documentary records the health hazards to the workers — the loss of fingers, breathing problems due to cotton dust and how children were entrusted with the dangerous job of crawling under machines to pick any loose bits of cotton threads. At its peak in 1853, Manchester had 108 cotton mills and in 1912, eight billion yards of cloth were produced. The World Wars slowed down the process before another cotton boom in the 1950s had Pakistanis and, to a lesser extent, Indians pouring in to the city again.

Sarbani’s husband Barun Chatterjee, who works in the tax and revenue department, has a wry smile when he talks about how the English bastardised “Chattopadhyay” to ‘Chatterjee” in the colonial years because they couldn’t pronounce it. “But now, they can’t even pronounce Chatterjee — most here call me ChatterGEE.”

***

“Yeh sab dono mulk key siyasaton ka problem hai (Problems created by governments in both countries),” says Aamir,the kebab shop owner, as he sits down for a chat after slicing the meat hanging from a hook. “After the English, our second largest customers here are Indians. Then Pakistanis. We don’t talk about Kashmir or whatever — even when it comes up, it’s usually talked about as failures of governments. We have no problems between ourselves. All of us get along well here.”

The Tatas have a base at Manchester and quite a few Indians work and live in the city. A couple of weeks ago, there was a bit of a ruckus at the shop. Almost as if a scene from Crime Patrol had spilled out. “A ‘gora’ walked in and started to shout ‘Paki’ at our staff. A few Indian customers then helped us to send the man out. I must add that even the English are usually okay. One in ten create some problems now and then. Unka desh hai, we have come to work here — I guess some might have problem with that. Jaayiz hai (It’s natural).”

Identity and nationalism is a subject that has been avidly discussed in this country, in the times of Brexit. Ironically, for an imperial nation that once ruled the world, it’s now trying to define itself. Podcasts, broadsheets, intellectual magazines like LRB sweat a lot about “Englishness”. The writer Madeleine Bunting wrote, “Why does that make us shiver? What is about Englishness that makes polite society nervous? The definitions of English nationalism has been abandoned to football hooligans and the far right.”

How then do Indian- and Pakistani-orgin people in Manchester deal with questions of identity and nationalism?

At the Manchester temple, Shivanjali Pandya, a 20-something dentistry student, who is here to offer her gratitude at how her exams have gone so far, was born in England. “Whenever someone asks me, I say I am an Indian. I am from a Gujarati family. I started to speak English only after I went to school,” she says in a British accent.”

And what about when no one asks? “Hmm… mixed identity, I guess. Part-Indian, part English. That’s fine, right?” Sitting next to her, Ishaan, the 10-year-old son of the priest, pipes up: “I see myself as mixed too. I am not Indian, I am not English, I am mixed.”

At the Stockport Road, inhabited by Pakistani establishments sprinkled alongside three mosques, a bustling market, called Longsight, is nestled. 150-200 shops, lined in rows, sell everything from clothes, jewellery, fruits, and Pakistan mangoes — two boxes for 10 pounds. Mohammad Shaghir has a shop that sells kurtas and other traditional dresses. 20 years ago, he moved from Mirpur in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. “Azad Kashmir,” as he says.

He lives in Bradford, a multi-racial town with Muslims forming quarter of population and some 40 miles from Manchester and drives 90 minutes to come and set his shop here every day.  The uncle of England’s leg-spinner and World Cup squad member Adil Rashid is a friend, he says. As the talk veers to Imran Khan, Narendra Modi and his hopes of peace between Pakistan and India, he suddenly says: “Ek baat bolun? Lahore aur Dilli kaun hota hai Kashmir ka takdeer decide karne wale? Yeh inki baap ki zaagir nahi hai (Who is Lahore and India to decide the fate of Kashmir? It’s not their father’s property) Ours is a small country; let us live independently and peacefully. That’s my honest opinion.”

***

An elderly man is walking around the temple hall, collecting Indian flags to be carried for the game. “There were so many but people never return them. Vaapas hi nahi dete.” Priest Joshi calms him down. “Hota hai uncle. Apna log hi hain (It happens, they are our own).” “Bhai, these things aren’t cheap. I need them now as NDTV guys called. They want me to come to the ground on Saturday with the flags.” Nationalism and religion in a temple.

Trilok Sain came to England 50 years ago. He started off as a sales representative of encyclopaedias, then did this and that. His wife, who was a teacher in India, joined the post office in Manchester and retired as its head and gets a “good pension”.

In his telling, it was because India insisted on proper passports and documentation in the 1950s that there are more Pakistanis than Indians in Manchester. “They just loaded themselves into ships and planes and left. Not us. This happened because of Nehru’s idealism. Else, we would have been more (than the Pakistanis). Now that Modiji is here, everything will be fine.”

A mini-rant about the familiar Indo-Pakistan political thorny issues ensues. Even he admits there aren’t too many problems between Pakistanis and Indians in England. “Kya hoga idhar? Na desh hamara, na zameen hamari — idhar hi jeena hai ek saath, idhar hi marna hai (What will happen here? Neither is this country ours, nor the land — we live here together, we die here.)”

Shahid Hashmi, a senior AFP journalist from Pakistan, talks about how he met a dhabawala at Bristol. “Rana ka Dhaba, born in Rawalpindi, brought up in Amritsar, and he has now been running a dhaba in Bristol for many years. He told me, “I don’t serve just food. I serve love from our two nations.’”

Aamir, the kebab shop owner, has done his bit to extend that love in Manchester. Four years ago, when a travelling Indian journalist was struggling to find a way to get raakhi from his sister as he didn’t have a fixed address, Aamir suggested to use his shop for the thread that binds siblings. The courier arrived soon.

Meanwhile, a lot of banter is swirling up at the University of Manchester. Between Indians and Pakistanis. Shivanjali, the dental student, says they have had a match for a while now — Indians vs Pakistanis. Mixed teams of boys and girls, born and brought up in England, playing the age-old cricketing rivalry.

“It has been great fun. First we used to keep count of our wins and losses — but as it went on, that stopped.”

Even at a dentistry college, some old tropes refuse to die: “The Pakistanis seem to have the better bowlers,” Shivani laughs. “Our games usually become bowlers vs batsmen.” The group of Indian and Pakistani youngsters went to the Oval to catch the India vs Australia game. Some also went to one of the Pakistan matches. No one in that group, though, could afford to get hold of a ticket for the India-Pakistan game on Sunday. “I guess, it might be rained out, anyway,” Shivani says.

Interestingly, her WhatsApp cricket group has been silent about the match. “Because my Pakistani friends think India is a much stronger team and that we will win! I am sure the messages will start coming in on match day — and depending on which team is on top, it will escalate. Whoever wins, we shall all celebrate later.”

The Big encounter

Since the inaugural 1975 World Cup, India and Pakistan have played against each other six times. India has won all of them.

March 4, 1992, SCG

By 1992, the insurgency in Punjab was nearing its end. At the SCG, some spectators in the Pakistani section of the crowds raised posters supporting the Khalistan movement. But as always, players from the two sides were friends off the field and Javed Miandad’s slapstick jumps to protest Kiran More’s hyperactive appealing was more comedy than attrition. For the record, India won by 43 runs.

March 9, 1996, Bangalore

The World Cup quarterfinal between India and Pakistan was played at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The 1996 World Cup was co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and before the tournament, when Australia and West Indies decided to pull out of the matches in Sri Lanka due to security fears, Jagmohan Dalmiya ensured that a joint India and Pakistan team played an exhibition match against the Sri Lankan XI. However, in the quarterfinal match, India won by 39 runs against Pakistan.

June 8, 1999, Manchester

The two teams played a cricket match against each other at the World Cup Super Sixes clash at Old Trafford as their countries

fought the Kargil War. News channels beamed footages of the armies exchanging gunfire on the peaks of Kargil, while the sports channels captured the charged up real-time action. The players of both the teams conducted themselves brilliantly on the field. In the stands, posters were raised: “Cricket for peace”. Yet again, India beat Pakistan in a World Cup fixture, this time 47 runs.

March 1, 2003, Centurion





The two teams met after a long time for a World Cup match at SuperSport Park in Centurion, South Africa. Before the game, the ICC briefed both teams about on-field conduct and the cricketers acted in a responsible way. For a change, India won this time after batting second, by six wickets.

Follow the Cricket World Cup 2019 live updates and real-time analysis on IndianExpress.com. Check the ICC Cricket World 2019 Schedule, Teams and Points Table.

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Number of fatalities due to trespassing rly. track increases

208 persons have died in five months in Salem division

Despite repeated efforts and awareness by the Railway security forces, there has been a significant increase the number of fatalities due to railway track crossing in Salem division.

According to statistics, till May this year, 208 persons have died due to trespassing railway tracks at various places in the Salem division, while 140 persons died during the corresponding period last year. According to officials, 247 persons died due to negligence including trespassing and falling from trains in the division. In 2018, till May, 192 persons died. During the whole year in 2018, 471 cases were recorded and in 2017, 487 cases were recorded.

According to railway officials, despite repeated efforts and awareness programmes at accident prone areas, fatalities continue to increase due to negligence from the part of the public.

H.Srinivasa Rao, Divisional Security Commissioner, said that the public were not realising the seriousness of the issue. Following the increase in incidents, places where such incidents were occurring at large numbers were identified and awareness programmes were conducted in the area. The trains would also whistle at such places to alert persons on or nearby tracks.

He added that at nights, the public would not be able to judge the speed of the train based on the headlight or the sound. Often, people think that the train was a few distance away based on its light, but by the time they moved away from the tracks, the train would have run over them.

According to analysis conducted by the railway officials, the Tiruppur – Uthukuli section was found to be most vulnerable in the Salem division with 23 incidents getting reported in five months.

The Railways is aiming at reducing the run over cases by 50% by 2020. Based on various drives they have conducted, Railway security forces have arrested 95 persons for footboard travelling in five months and imposed a fine of ₹48,000. They have also arrested 146 persons for trespassing railway tracks and collected fines up to ₹86,000.

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