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Briefly

By Our Staff Reporter

Lightning kills three

DINDIGUL MARCH 25. Three persons were killed and two others injured when lightning struck them while they were lifting sand in the Sandhanavardhini river at Rajakkapatti near Dindigul town last night.

The bodies of Chinna Kamu (35), Virumandi (42) and Easwari (27), all residents of Rajakkapatti, were taken to the Dindigul Government Hospital for post-mortem. Kaliammal and Marikalai were admitted to the hospital.

Dindigul town and suburbs received summer rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Electricity supply to Cooperative Nagar and the NGO Colony was snapped as a big tree fell on main power line. Lamp posts were also uprooted in strong winds. The showers lasted for three hours.

Lawyers stage protest

CHENNAI MARCH 26. Rival groups of lawyers in the Madras High Court today staged demonstrations, took out rallies and shouted slogans for and against the proposal to inaugurate the Madurai Bench next month.

The Bench, having jurisdiction over 14 districts, is scheduled to be inaugurated on April 13.

This morning, pursuant to a resolution passed by the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA), lawyers led by the Association president, S. Prabakaran, held a dharna on the court premises after taking out a campus procession against the move to create a permanent Bench at Madurai and to bring 14 districts under it. There was commotion and lawyers almost came to blows when another group of advocates, led by Anaiyur Mohandoss, raised slogans in support of the Bench. Both the groups lodged complaints against each other with the High Court Police Station in the evening, alleging assault and intimidation.

Two die as earth caves in

Krishnagiri March 26. Two workers who were digging a pit on the Pethanapalli riverbed here were killed when earth caved in on them on Thursday. The police said Ramaswamy (28) of Krishnapuram and Maanickam (35) of Veppanapalli were buried under a heap of earth.

Jha in hospital

Pondicherry March 26. The Lt Governor of Pondicherry, N. N. Jha, who slipped and fell in the Raj Nivas here around 7 a.m. today was taken to the Government General hospital for a check-up. He subsequently left for Chennai for advanced treatment, an official source said.

(A Raj Nivas source said Mr. Jha slipped and fell in the bathroom. He was getting ready to go to Vishakapatnam to participate in a seminar there. All his engagements were cancelled.) In a press release, the Director of Health and Family Welfare said Mr. Jha's vital parameters were normal and there was no focal neurological deficit.

A CT scan (brain) was performed on him and it was normal. In view of the `transient ischemic attack' with a history of diabetes and hypertension a more detailed diagnostic check-up was done in the hospital.

Mr. Jha subsequently left for Chennai for treatment in the Sri Ramachandra hospital. The Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy, the Health Minister, E. Valsaraj, and other leaders called on him.

Released by Sri Lankan court

Ramanathapuram March 26. A magistrate in a Sri Lankan court today ordered release of 15 Rameswaram fishermen, arrested by the Island Navy on a charge of crossing the Indo-Sri Lankan International Boundary Line.

According to Arulanandam, president, Pamban Fishermen Federation, the Sri Lankan Navy personnel arrested 67 fishermen from various parts of the State. Later, they were handed over to the Sri Lankan police.

Meanwhile, the magistrate today ordered the release of 15 out of the 67 fishermen. They will be handed over to the Indian Coast Guard personnel within two days at mid-sea.

Held on charges of extortion

PERAMBALUR MARCH 26. A cadre of the banned Tamizhar Viduthalai Iyakkam (TVI), R. Mathi (30) of Keezha Kudi Iruppu near Jayamkondam, was arrested on Thursday on charges of extortion and obscene activities at public places.

The Jayamkondam police registered a case under section 384 (extortion) and 294 (c) (obscene activities) of the IPC.

The police said he allegedly intimidated merchants at thoroughfares at Jayamkondam and extracted money. He was produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Thaniarasu, who remanded him to 15 days' judicial custody.

2 held for cultivating ganja

NAGERCOIL MARCH 26. The forest officials today prevented an attempt by a three-member gang from reaping the harvest of the cannabis they raised about a couple of months ago on the prime forest area in the Mahendragiri Reserve forest of Kanyakumari district. Two persons were arrested. They also destroyed the ganja plants raised on about 0.75 acres.

Nearly 250 ganja plants, raised little below the lofty Mahendragiri peak, were completely destroyed and all the three hailed from Idukki district of Kerala, the district forest officer I. Anwar Deen, said. He told The Hindu here a team of forest officials who patrolled the Mahendragiri peak detected the cannabis plants and arrested Thomas Mathew (55) and Joey Mathew (45) and recovered about one kg of dried ganja leaves from them. A hunt has been launched for another person. Cases under Forest Act and Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act have been registered.

Telecast on Kanchi Mutt

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI MARCH 26. A documentary on the history of the Kanchi Mutt, `Jaya Jaya Sankara,' produced by Krishnaswamy Associates, will be telecast on Podhigai channel at 9-25 p.m. on March 28.

Inspection

PUDUKOTTAI MARCH 26 . The Collector, Hiteshkumar Makwana, inspected development works being implemented in Viralimalai Union today.

At Kalamavur, he inspected community houses constructed for the Adi Dravidas under the Indira Awas Yojana at a cost of Rs. 2.56 lakhs, and individual toilets constructed under the Total Sanitation Programme (TSP).

After visiting the child labour special schools at Viralimalai and Seethappatti, he instructed the officials to shift the Viralimalai school to a spacious area, an official release said.

He directed the Tahsildars and Block Development Officers to erase election graffiti drawn on government buildings.

Appointed

KARAIKAL MARCH 26 . A.V.J. Selvamuthukumaran, nephew of the Deputy Speaker, A.V.Subramanian, has been appointed president of the Karaikal District Youth Congress (KDYC).

Mr. Selvamuthu kumaran, who is now general secretary of the Pondicherry Youth Congress and a follower of the former Pondicherry Chief Minister, Shanmugham, succeeds the ousted KDYC president, P.R.N. Thirumurugan.

Customer service centre

PERAMBALUR MARCH 26. The telecom centre here has been converted as a `customer service centre'.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited said in an official release here that this would help to tone up customer services.

The telephone exchange at Valikandapuram near here had been upgraded with a remote switching unit, to provide value-added services and phone-plus facilities, the release added.

Water level

TIRUCHI MARCH 26 . The level in the Mettur dam stood at 24.67 feet today. The inflow was 55 cusecs, and the discharge 43 cusecs.

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