1. Surat Coaching Centre Fire: 20 Students Killed, Some Fell to Death
At least 20 students were killed on Friday, 24 May, after a massive fire engulfed a three-storey commercial complex in Surat. Some of the students, the youngest aged 4 and the oldest 21, died when they jumped off the building while most could not escape and were killed by the fire.
The fire broke out around 5 pm on the roof of the Takshashila complex, which had covered the terrace to run summer classes for students along with other coaching centres. This space, run by various operators, had a fashion designing class, a class for mental mathematics and a gymnasium among others.
Once the fire started, it quickly enveloped a wooden stairway — the only access to the summer classes on the terrace forcing students to plunge out of windows and the roof. Officials said that those killed in the blaze were aged between 15 and 21 years apart from a four-year-old girl, who is yet to be identified. Of the 20 victims, police have identified 17 bodies.
(Source: Indian Express)
2. Surat Fire: Guj CM Orders Fire Safety Audit of Schools, Malls
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday, 24 May, ordered a fire safety audit of schools, colleges and coaching centres following a massive blaze which engulfed a four-storey commercial complex in Sarthana here, killing at least 19 teenage students, many of whom jumped and fell to their deaths while some were suffocated.
Visiting the site of the tragedy, Rupani said the audit would find out if educational establishments in the state have proper equipment and facilities to deal with fire incidents.
He said the fire audit would also cover hospitals, malls and other commercial buildings of major cities and towns in the state.
"Nineteen youngsters, all in their 20s, have died in the fire incident here. I'm told these youngsters were trapped in the building as the fire destroyed the staircase. Around three to four died after they jumped off the building," he said.
(Source: Business Standard)
3. Surat Coaching Centre Fire: After Tragedy, Clampdown on Coaching Centres Across Cities
In a knee-jerk reaction to the massive fire incident in Surat Friday, 24 May, municipal corporations across Ahmedabad and Vadodara issued orders to close all coaching centres in these cities till further orders, while Rajkot civic body went a step further and directed its officials to seal all such premises where fire-fighting equipment was not in place.
The Gandhinagar administration, meanwhile, will begin inspection of all coaching centres and libraries on Saturday, 25 May.
Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra has issued orders to close all tuition centres in the city till further orders.
“These will remain closed till the owners comply with Building Use (BU) norms, get a fire No Objection Certificate (NOC), install all safety equipment and employ trained manpower to operate them. Harsh action will be taken against those violating these norms,” Nehra said.
(Source: Indian Express)
4. Over 4 Lakh Voters Opted for NOTA in Gujarat
More than 4 lakh voters in Gujarat, which amounts to 1.38 per cent of the eligible votes, have chosen to express their dislike for all the contesting candidates in the parliamentary elections held in the state on 23 April by selecting the None of the Above (NOTA) option.
NOTA garnered the third highest votes on 17 seats after BJP and Congress, surpassing the votes received by the candidates of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which had contested all the 26 seats in the state.
The number of electors choosing the NOTA option in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls has actually declined as compared to the general elections held in 2014 and the assembly elections held in 2017.
As compared to the slightly over 4 lakh votes under the NOTA option in 2019, 4.49 lakh votes were polled in the general election of 2014, which was 1.74 per cent of the total votes polled.
(Source: DNA Ahmedabad)
5. Tension in Vadodara Village: Upper Caste Men ‘Attack’ Dalit Couple over Facebook Post
A mob of 200-300 upper caste people allegedly attacked the house of a Dalit couple in Mahuvad village in Padra taluka of Vadodara, after the husband allegedly put up a Facebook post saying that the government does not permit the village temple to be used for Dalit wedding ceremonies.
While the police have filed an FIR against 11 persons and the mob of unidentified persons, the person who put up the social media post has also been booked for allegedly “promoting enmity between different groups”.
On Thursday night (23 May0, a Dalit woman Tarulataben Mackwana, 46, complained to Vadu police and got an FIR registered against 11 people and a mob of 200-300 people for attacking her house, pelting stones, thrashing her husband Pravin Mackwana and threatening them over his Facebook post.
(Source: Indian Express)
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