29 April 2020

29 April News: ICJ slams India for discrimination against Muslims, other minorities, failing to meet hunger needs during lockdown. 'Will continue to speak against bigots', Delhi minorities panel chief defends ‘Hindutva’ post. Considerable relaxation in lockdown in many districts from May 4: MHA. US panel says India should be placed on religious freedom blacklist; India rejects


29 April 2020: 5 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 194


ICJ slams India for discrimination against Muslims, other minorities, failing to meet hunger needs during lockdown

Sounding the alarm bells, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has warned India that it is on the brink of a hunger crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic adding that the Govt has fallen short in ensuring the right to food of its inhabitants. ICJ has also red-flagged “discriminatory” enforcement of laws against Muslims and other minority communities during the lockdown. ICJ has released a briefing paper warning of the food crisis.In the briefing paper, ICJ slammed the Indian Govt for failing to provide a plan for meeting the food requirements of all people when it announced the lockdown. ICJ criticised the Govt for allowing citizens a very limited notice period to prepare for the lockdown. ICJ briefing paper argues that the first phase of lockdown gave only four hours of notice, while the second phase of lockdown was introduced with only one day’s notice.ICJ briefing paper also noted various media reports that highlighted how various workers, trying to access community kitchens, were often beaten and brutalized by local police.The papers also alleged that Govt was failing in uniform application and enforcement of laws, in the enforcement of laws. Citing various media reports, the briefing paper pointed out that Muslim persons, in particular, have faced severe discrimination. The paper states that informal sector workers and homeless are facing increasingly high levels of hunger during the lockdown. As per an ILO estimate, 400 million people in India are at risk of falling deeper into poverty during the crisis. ICJ has highlighted that India is bound under ICESCR to protect and fulfill human rights such as the right to food. cnbctv18


'Will continue to speak against bigots', Delhi minorities panel chief defends ‘Hindutva’ post

New Delhi: After receiving condemnation from BJP for his "Hindutva bigots" post on social media, Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Zafarul Islam Khan has asserted that he hasn't said anything wrong and stands by the post he shared. He also said that he still supports televangelist Zakir Naik since none of the charges against him has been proven to be true yet.Responding to BJP's criticism, Khan said he has saved the country at many forums but there comes a time when certain things have to be done. "We haven't complained yet but we can't say this for the future. Muslims are being accused of spreading coronavirus and attacked in India. I have said nothing wrong and I will continue to speak against bigots," he added.Earlier, BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli hit out at Zafarul Islam Khan for "inviting" foreign intervention in India's internal affairs and questioned the Delhi Govt's stand on his comments. He also slammed Delhi minorities panel chief for mentioning the name of Zakir Naik among honourable Indian Muslims. Hitting out at Kohli's remarks, Khan said that he supports Zakir Naik since he is just an accused and hasn't been pronounced guilty.Zafarul Islam Khan earlier in the day shared a post thanking Kuwait for "standing with the Indian Muslims" and saying  “Thank you Kuwait for standing with the Indian Muslims! The Hindutva bigots calculated that given the huge economic stakes involved Muslim and Arab world will not care about the persecution of Muslims in India.”He further said that the “bigots forgot that Indian Muslims enjoy huge goodwill in the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world” for their services over centuries to Islamic causes, excellence in Islamic and Arabic scholarship, cultural and civilisational gifts to world heritage. DMC chairman also counted names like Shah Waliullah Dehlavi, Iqbal, Abul Hasan Nadwi, Wahiduddin Khan and Zakir Naik, who - according to him - are “respected household names in the Arab and Muslim world.”He further warned that Indian Muslims were not complaining to the Arab and Muslim world about the hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. However, the day they will be “pushed” to do that, it will follow an “avalanche” for people who he termed as “bigots”.“Mind you, bigots, Indian Muslims have opted until now not to complain to the Arab and Muslim world about your hate campaigns and lynchings and riots. The day they are pushed to do that, bigots will face an avalanche,” Khan added to the post.


BJP Muslim leaders slam Delhi minority body chief remarks

New Delhi:BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain has hit back at Delhi Minority Commission Chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan, demanding an investigation against him after he created a row by "thanking" Kuwait for its "support" to Indian Muslims against what he called "Hindutva bigots".Stressing on Khan''s alleged political affiliation to AAP, BJP leader and former Union minister said, "I condemn the language used by AAP leader; there should be a probe against him."Calling it a "big crime", Hussain alleged, "few people have now taken upon themselves to defame India."Hitting back at the statement of the Delhi Minority Commission chief, Hussain said, "No nation has the right to intervene in India''s internal matters, even if that is an Arab nation. Because worldwide, the largest Muslim population lives in India after Indonesia. And for them, there cannot be a better nation than India to live in and a better leader than Modi."Hussain said Prime Minister Narendra Modi doesn''t discriminate among the people. Yet, India is being defamed based on few incidents and no country has the right to intervene in India''s internal matters.Meanwhile, another BJP leader, Shazia Ilmi, has also demanded Khan''s resignation."This bigot must resign immediately," she said.IANS


 Considerable relaxation in lockdown in many districts from May 4; details soon: MHA

As the second phase of nationwide lockdown nears an end, the Minstry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said that the new guidelines to fight the Coronavirus will come into effect from May 4 and "shall give considerable relaxation to many districts"."New guidelines to fight #COVID19 will come into effect from 4th May, which shall give considerable relaxations to many districts. Details regarding this shall be communicated in the days to come," MHA said in a tweet. Home Ministry held a review meeting on the lockdown situation on Wednesday. "There've been tremendous gains and improvement in the situation due to lockdown till now. To ensure that these gains are not squandered away, the lockdown guidelines should be strictly observed till 3rd May," it said added. outlookindia


Stranded migrants, students, tourists can now get back home: MHA issues fresh guidelines

Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued a fresh set of guidelines to let migrant workers, students, tourists and pilgrims stranded get back home.The interstate movement of these stranded people will be facilitated by the state/UT Govt. Anyone willing to be transported back home will have to be medically screened at source as well as destination and will be kept in a home or institutional quarantine on arrival, the home ministry guidelines."All states to designate nodal authorities and develop standard protocols for receiving and sending such stranded persons. Stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students will be allowed to move with conditions during the lockdown,"MHA order said.Transportation of such individuals will be done via buses, as train or flight services are currently unavailable for passengers. The buses shall be sanitised and the authorities will follow protocols of social distancing while seating passengers in the vehicle, MHA order said.While the states receiving and sending such travelers must consult on the action plan, the states or UTs on the transit route will allow passage to the buses."On arrival of their destination such persons would be assessed by the local health authority and kept in home quarantine unless the assessment requires keeping the persons in institutional quarantine," MHA order said. After arrival, the passengers will be kept under watch with periodic health checkups.indiatoday


India reports over 31,000 coronavirus cases, records 71 deaths in one day

The total number of novel coronavirus cases climbed to 31,787 on Wednesday while Covid-19 deaths in India crossed 1,000-mark.According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India recorded 71 deaths in the last 24 hours, ending Wednesday morning, taking death toll to 1,008. Of this 31 fatalities were from Maharashtra, 19 from Gujarat, 6 from Madhya Pradesh, 5 each from Rajasthan and UP, 2 from West Bengal and one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.As of Wednesday morning, total cases of coronavirus in India include 22,982 active Covid-19 cases while 7,796 patients have been cured or discharged and one patient migrated. The total number of cases includes 111 foreign nationals.Thus, around 24.52 per cent of the patients have recovered so far," a Health Ministry official said.Of the 1,008 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 400 fatalities, followed by Gujarat at 181, Madhya Pradesh at 119, Delhi at 54, Rajasthan at 51, UP at 36 and Andhra Pradesh at 31.indiatoday


Over 2 lakh farmers in Maharashtra sit on piles of unsold cotton due to COVID-19 lockdown; stock worth Rs 5,500 crore yet to be procured

The last 5 days have been chaotic for farmers in small town of Pathri in Maharashtra's Parbhani district. 4 hours, from 7 am to 11 am, see a deluge of farmers frantically lining up to sell their harvested cotton to the local traders.Gajanan Ghumbare, a farmer with 10 acres of land where he grows cotton, says, "The procurement of cotton began last week for the first time since lockdown. 60 quintals of stock is lying in my farmland since the harvest in Jan. Farmers are panicking at the thought of being unable to sell their crop."Among the several constituencies of people struggling due to the lockdown enforced in India since 25 March to contain the spread of COVID-19, cotton farmers in Maharashtra are not left behind. Much of the harvest, which begins at the end of November and goes on for two months after that, remains unsold even by the end of April.firstpost


Navy, Air Force Give Final Touches to Biggest Evacuation Plan Ever to Bring Back Indians Stranded in Gulf Nations

New Delhi: Navy is in the advanced stages of preparing at least 3 of its ships to evacuate thousands of stranded Indians, particularly migrant labourers, from Gulf countries. INS Jalashwa, Navy’s second-biggest amphibious transport dock which can carry dozens of tanks, is among the three ships modified to accommodate as many passengers as possible, while following strict social distancing norms. Each ship will have a quarantine facility and medical teams to monitor the health of those onboard. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain are home to 70% Indians living abroad. Embassies in these 6 countries are in the process of putting together details of those who need to be evacuated in a phased manner. According to sources, Govt of India has decided to give priority to migrant labourers whose work permits have either expired or are about to expire as they might be running out of resources after month-long lockdowns.“With thousands of Indians in Middle East wanting to come back, this could be the biggest evacuation ever by India. Navy ships will have to make multiple trips as one ship would be able to accommodate about 500 people at a time. Social distancing norms are sacrosanct,” said a source close to developments.News18


Communal Tweets Saga Continues Online, But India Assures All Is Well With Kuwait

New Delhi: India’s relations with Gulf countries continues to be under spotlight, with the Indian MEA asserting that “misuse” by “non-official” social media accounts based in Kuwait should “not be given credence,” while adding that the Kuwaiti Govt was committed to friendly relations with New Delhi.India’s statement on Monday night came after a day of social media buzz over a ‘leaked’ 2-month old letter of the secretary general of Kuwaiti council of ministers. The letter, dated March 2, which has been circulating online, is addressed to Kuwaiti foreign minister and asks him to approach OIC over alleged atrocities against Indian Muslims. The current controversy started over posts by certain Twitter handles belonging to Indian nationals based in the region, which railed against Muslims for allegedly “spreading coronavirus.” These tweets came to the attention of eminent Arab intellectuals, largely from UAE, over a week ago. Since UAE has strict laws against the abuse of any other religion, most of these Twitter handles disappeared soon after. Among those who was leading backlash on Arab Twittersphere were Kuwaiti activist Abdur Rahman Nassar, who had posted screenshots of old tweets of an MP from India’s ruling party. The letter, surfacing after over 6 weeks, adds to concerns about India’s relationship with Gulf states, but is not related to the current fracas due to the date of its creation. MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that govt was aware of “certain references to India in non-official social media handles in Kuwait”. “Kuwait has assured us that they are deeply committed to friendly relations with India,” he said. the wire


Not Just Blood Plasma, Ready to Sacrifice Our Life also for Country if Needed: Tablighi Donors

NEW DELHI:Tablighi Jamaat members, who have been cured of Coronavirus, are happily donating their blood plasma at different quarantine centres in Delhi for past some days. At Sultanpuri quarantine centre, over 100 Tablighi members were seen standing in queue till late night on Tuesday to sign up for donation. Around one dozen of them were able to donate their blood plasma yesterday.After donating plasma, many of them shared their experience and feeling. All are filled with happiness and enthusiasm to donate their blood plasma to save the humanity and help the country.“Islam and our Prophet (PBUH) have taught us that the purpose of our life is to benefit the humanity. Leave aside blood, if needed we are ready to sacrifice our life for our country, our brothers and people of our country. We are always ready for it. That’s why we donated blood plasma today,”said a Tablighi member Hashmuddin Ansari, who hails from Ranchi in Jharkhand. Ansari and hundreds like him are the same people who were called names by media and politicians for the past one month and charged for ‘deliberately’ spreading Coronavirus. Jabbar Hasan comes from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. He also donated plasma. “I am happy that my plasma will help somebody, anyone among human beings.”M.Abbas from Sagar in MP said: “I am donating plasma for the humanity. If someone gets cured with my plasma, Allah will be happy with me.”Mohammad Murtuza from Madhubani district in Bihar said:“I have donated plasma to help others with my body. I am happy that someone’s life will be saved with my plasma.” Salimuddin from Allahabad said: “It will be great and I will be fortunate if someone gets cured with my plasma. With that intention I have donated my plasma.”India Tomorrow


Two Muslim Doctors Become First Donors of Plasma in Indore for Trial Treatment of Covid-19 Patients

Bhopal: Two Muslim doctors, who have fully recovered from coronavirus and have completed their 14-day quarantine period, became the first donors of plasma in Indore for trial treatment of three patients.With COVID-19-positive cases surpassing the 1,200 mark in the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, doctors turned to plasma therapy from Sunday.The therapy was started at the Aurobindo Hospital, a couple of days after Health Minister Narottam Mishra sought permission for the same from his counterpart at the Centre, Harsh Vardhan, during a video conference.Dr Izhar Md Munshi and Dr Iqbal Qureshi donated their plasma for the treatment of three patients -- Kapil Bhalla, an engineer with Indore Development Authority, and locals Priyal Jain and Anees Jain. The first doses were given by Dr Ravi Dosi and Dr Satish Johi.PTI


UP: Another BJP MLA Rajput Harasses, Threatens Muslim Vegetable Vendor

New Delhi: There appears to be no way to stop BJP leaders from targeting Muslim vendors in UP during the COVID-19 lockdown. Just a day after the state BJP issued a show cause notice to a party legislator for urging people not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors, a video of its MLA Brijbhushan Rajput has emerged. Rajput can been seen harassing a vendor and threatening him to go away after it was revealed that he was from the minority community.In the video, which has gone viral, Rajput is seen harassing the vegetable vendor and asking him to enter to his colony again after it is revealed by a minor accompanying the man that he was actually a Muslim.In the video, which was shot by one of Rajput’s neighbours, MLA is seen asking the vendor for his name.thewire


BJP MLA appeal to not buy vegetables from Muslim vendors; another MLA blames AMU for virus spread

ABJP MLA in eastern UP has appealed to the people of his Assembly constituency not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors.Another BJP MLA from western UP has alleged that Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of AMU was responsible for spreading coronavirus.In a video clip, Suresh Tiwari, MLA of Barhaj, is heard telling a gathering in Hindi: “As I am telling you openly, you all should keep it in mind that you do not buy vegetables from a miyan (Muslim).”Tiwari confirmed to reporters in Deoria, that he had made the statement last week but insisted he was playing a peacemaker. The allegation against AMU’s medical college was levelled by Dalveer Singh, MLA of Barauli in Aligarh.“There is a hub of the coronavirus at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. The college doesn’t inform the administration on time about Covid-19 patients. UP govt must order an inquiry,” a video clip shows Singh, 75, telling a group. Asked, Singh told The Telegraph that he stood by his remarks.Hamza Malik, a member of the resident doctors’ association of the college, said: “We are testing 250 patients every day free of cost. MLA may not be aware of Covid-19 tests we are conducting.”S. Kidwai, spokesperson for AMU, said: “The allegation of the MLA is baseless.”The Telegraph


VHP to distribute ‘Hindu Shop’ banners to Steel City fruit-sellers

Jamshedpur: VHP’s Jamshedpur unit said it will launch a campaign to distribute banners and posters saying “Hindu Shop” to fruit and vegetable sellers in the Steel City. The announcement comes soon after the police removed similar banners put up outside four shops in city’s Kadma market. The controversial banners put up by the vendors read ‘VHP Ki Anumodit Hindu Fal Dukaan’ (‘fruit shop approved by VHP). Police took down the banners on Saturday evening after chief minister Hemant Soren issued a directive regarding the issue on social media.BJP has criticised the Hemant Soren-led mahagathbandhan Govt for directing the police to take action against the vendors. Former chief minister Raghubar Das on Sunday visited the market and met the fruit vendors, assuring them BJP’s full support. He also told them and they should not be afraid of displaying their religious identity. Congress, meanwhile, accused BJP and VHP of trying to create a communal divide in the society.TOI


Mosque vandalised, muezzin among 3 attacked in Gorakhpur village

Gorakhpur:A group of 6 men allegedly vandalised a mosque and attacked a muezzin (a man whose duty is to call Muslims for prayer from a mosque) there when he did not stop giving prayer calls (azan) on a loudspeaker during the lockdown as demanded by them and showed them police permission for the same instead at Bankata village under Sikriganj police station limit of the district on Sunday noon, police said on Monday.Muezzin Abdul Rahman, 35, who suffered minor injuries in the incident, said there were only three persons in the mosque as permitted by police during the lockdown. The holy month of Ramzan began on April 25.HT


BSP MP asks up Chief Justice to lift ban on azaan

Afzal Ansari, MP from Ghazipur has written a letter to Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court highlighting the prohibitory order banning 'azaan' by the district magistrate. 'Azaan' alerts people about the time of prayer, especially 'sehri' and 'iftar'.He urged the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court to protect the fundamental rights of the people of his constituency and direct that 'azaan' may be allowed since it involves only one person ('Moazzin'). BSP MP, who is in Delhi since lockdown, said in his letter that the people in his constituency have been diligently following the lockdown rules and Ramzan prayers were being held in the confines of their homes.MP said that from April 24, "azaan" in mosques have been prohibited by the Ghazipur administration.IANS


Gujarat: Minority group protests loudspeaker ban

Ahmedabad: A day after the state Govt put a ban on use of loudspeakers at religious places to arrest the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, an outfit for minority rights protested on Tuesday against decision and demanded its revocation during the month of Ramzan.Minority Coordination Committee has made a representation to the chief minister saying that prohibition on use of loudspeaker for recitation of azan and announcements for initiation and end of fasting is violation of the constitutional rights. Committee’s convener Mujahid Nafees wrote, “The state Govt is trying to snatch away the constitutional rights under the guise of Disaster Management Act, which is not appropriate.”The committee said that the Muslim community had accepted the closure of religious places since the beginning of the lockdown. But with the advent of Ramzan, there is a requirement of loudspeakers in mosques for proper observance of fast. He requested the chief minister to revoke the rule introduced on Monday.TOI


Andaman Journalist-Zubair Arrested For Questioning Police Through Tweets, Court Grants Bail

New Delhi:A freelance journalist Zubair Ahmed, working in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, was arrested on April 27 after he tweeted, asking why are families kept under home quarantine for speaking over phone with Covid-19 patients just to know about their welfare.However, he was granted bail by District and Sessions Court the next day. Zubair had tweeted after reading a news item in Andaman Chronicle, a leading daily newspaper of the island, in which a woman had told the newspaper that her entire family was home quarantined after her 79-year-old father-in-law had spoken to a relative who is Covid-19 positive.India Tomorrow


FAKE  news: Rooh Afza Company Hamdard Gives Jobs Only to Muslims and Tablighi Jamaat Members?

New Delhi: Social media is flooded with fake news around Rooh Afza, rose-flavoured sherbet (drink) mostly used at iftar during Ramzan. Certain posts calling for a boycott of Rooh Afza have gone viral on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The viral posts claim Rooh Afza is a product by Tablighi Jamaat and its producer Hamdard India only hires Muslims. These posts are widely shared on social media platforms. Viral Audio Clip Claiming Vegetable Vendors Are Spreading Coronavirus by Licking, Spitting on Items is Fake.As far as the claim of Hamdard India only hiring Muslim employees is concerned, the same claim had gone viral in 2017. At that time, Aaj Tak news channel had visited Hamdard's one of its offices to verify the claims. From the receptionist to Chief Finance Officer, the office had a number of non-Muslim employees.latestly


Waris Pathan didn’t threaten police to open mosque amid lockdown, viral video is 4 years old

A video of former Maharashtra MLA Waris Pathan arguing with a police official over offering namaz at a mosque has been widely shared on social media to falsely claim that he is “threatening” police to let the mosque remain open amid the nationwide lockdown.In the 55-second video, Pathan, ex AIMIM MLA from Byculla in Mumbai, is asking the police official not to trouble those offering namaz. “Deshmukh sahab, I have never disrupted law and order. These are innocent people who have been offering namaz at this mosque for 40 years. Don’t try to shut down the mosque or the loudspeakers. Don’t enter our mosques with shoes on,” Pathan says in video, which went viral on Facebook.theprint


PFI files 1015 cases against news orgs for anti-Muslim hate

New Delhi: As social media floods with hate posts alleging that the coronavirus was a planned conspiracy of Muslims, Popular Front has attempted to respond to this hate campaign by Hindutva forces to demonize the Muslims.With an objective to counter the mainstream TV and social media anti-Muslim hate speech, Popular Front has initiated legal action with the help of its cadre network and legal volunteers. The organization’s state and district units have filed 1015 complaints against mainstream media and social media accounts in 8 states, identifying the hate mongers posting on online media or airing on broadcast media.TCN


Delhi Police rebuts National Herald article on Wazirabad quarantine centre; NH correspondent responds

On April 27, National Herald had published a report titled ‘Muslims with no link to Tablighi Jamaat detained by Delhi Police, sent to quarantine’.The Delhi Police has issued a rebuttal, which states that ‘the allegations published in the newspaper are false and hence denied’. However, the National Herald correspondent Ashlin Mathew stands by the story and raises some points and asks some questions for Delhi Police to answer. The questions follow the Delhi Police’s rebuttal which is produced verbatim here. National Herald correspondent Ashlin Mathew responds:"In our article, we had mentioned that Delhi Police randomly picked up more than 20 Muslim men from north-east Delhi (Shastri Park and Khajuri Khas) on April 1 allegedly for being associated with the Tablighi Jamaat conference. None of them had gone for it and most of them tested negative for COVID-19. The readers, we believe, need no reminder that north-east Delhi saw the worst riots in a few decades as recently as March 2020. Currently, Delhi Police have been arresting Muslim men and women for reportedly instigating the riots."The reporter had called Delhi Police PRO, MS Randhawa, who said that all questions regarding those who have been quarantined must be put to the Delhi Govt. The reporter then spoke to SDM of the area, who has been quoted in the article.However, in the rebuttal sent to NH, the police have stated that men were picked up after a contact-tracing activity. Some of them were picked up as they had gone for religious activities (Jamaat) in Maharashtra and Bulandshahr in UP, the police said. According to the police, others from Shastri Park had come in contact with Tabligh Jamaat attendees.nationalheraldindia


No proper suhoor, iftar: Ramadan inside Delhi quarantine centres: Al Jazeera report

Izhar Ahmad has completed almost a month under quarantine, double the period he was supposed to be in the Govt isolation ward in the Indian capital, New Delhi, but he wonders why has he still not been allowed to go home."It has been almost a month and three coronavirus tests done on me which came out negative, but I am still here in this centre, not allowed to meet my family or friends," Ahmad, 40, told Al Jazeera from the quarantine centre in Delhi's Wazirabad area.Ahmad is among thousands of members of a Muslim missionary organisation, Tablighi Jamaat, who were quarantined across the country, after a Jamaat event in Delhi they attended in early March was linked to coronavirus infections.aljazeera




First Covid-19 death in CRPF, Amit Shah says Mohammed Ikram's contribution to national security was inspiring

A 55-year-old sub-inspector with CRPF succumbed to COVID-19 infection on Tuesday in Delhi.According to CRPF, sub-inspector, Mohammed Ikram Hussain, a resident of Barpeta in Assam, was attached with the 31st battalion of CRPF. Home Minister Amit Shah paid tributes to the sub-inspector, saying he kept fighting with coronavirus till his last breath and his contribution to national security was inspiring. “I am extremely saddened by the news of death of CRPF’s brave sub-inspector Mohammed Ikram Hussain while fighting coronavirus infection. He kept fighting with the epidemic with great courage till his last moment,” Shah tweeted in Hindi. He said he had spoken to the kin of the deceased only 2 days ago. “Day before yesterday, I had enquired about his well-being from his family members. To lose a brave soldier is an irreparable loss to all of us. I express my condolences to his family members. In this hour of grief, the entire country and Union Govt stands by his family, ” he added.indianexpress


Hindus arranging roza-iftar for Muslims kept in isolation at Hanumangarh dist hospital

Jaipur: Bhatner city in Hanumangarh district has become an example of brotherhood with Hindu youths arranging roza-iftar for Muslims admitted to the district hospital during the month of Ramzan.Most Muslims, who have been kept in isolation to check spread of Covid-19, are keeping fast in the hospital.Bhatner Kings Club and district-level committee of ‘Koi Bhuka Nahi Soye’ have been helping these Muslims who were observing roza-iftar at hospital by serving them fruits.‘Koi Bhuka Nahi Soye’ committee chairman Tarun Vijay, Bhatner Kings Club president Kulbhushan Jindal, patron Ashish Vijay, vice-president Rohit Aggarwal are spearheading this campaign in their areas fostering brotherhood among communities. Tarun Vijay said, “We have decided to distribute fruits to Muslims who are fasting at the hospital for Ramzan.” He said there has always been a feeling of communal harmony in Hanumangarh district and they want to reinforce this with a small gesture.TOI


UP: Muslim woman donates blood to Hindu patient after first ‘roza’

Lucknow:29-year-old Alisha Khan displayed a rare show of humanity and brotherhood, when soon after her first ‘roza’ (during Ramzan) she decided to donate blood to Vijay Rastogi, one she hardly knew.On Saturday, Jaspal Singh Pali who runs an NGO, under the aegis of Shahid Bhagat Singh Nishwarth Seva Samiti, to help those in urgent need for blood approached her.She was well-aware that her ‘O-negative’ blood group was rare to find, so without paying even a little attention towards the identity of the person, she told Jaspal to just wait till she is done fasting. And just as promised, immediately after completing her fast she reached the district hospital herself.Tripti Awasthi, a social activist said, “Vijay Rastogi, an inverter-battery shop owner was suffering from serious liver infection since long. A few days back his condition deteriorated with a sharp decline in hemoglobin level. The doctor advised his family members to arrange for blood at the earliest but despite several efforts at various blood banks in Kheri, they couldn’t get ‘O negative’ blood.”HT



Post-lockdown challenge for Bihar: 6 lakh migrants

Patna :Even as the Bihar Govt has left it to the Centre to take a call on extending the lockdown, it is gearing up to face the next big challenge — the return of migrants after the lockdown is lifted.DGP Gupteshwar Pandey told The Indian Express that at least six lakh migrants are expected to return to the state. “We do not want to fritter away the advantage of door-to-door screening,” he said.


Covid-19: Workers on IIT Hyderabad campus attack police, demand wages and permission to go home

Hundreds of migrant workers employed at a construction site on IIT’s Hyderabad campus on Wednesday attacked officials of the construction companies, demanding wages and permission to go home amid the lockdown, PTI reported. The angry workers also threw stones at a police vehicle and injured three policemen.Nearly 2,400 workers from 10 different states have been employed by two companies at the construction site. The labourers alleged that they had not been paid wages for the month of March and were told to resume work from Wednesday.Sangareddy District Collector M Hanumantha Rao told PTI that the management of the construction companies have assured the protesting workers that they will be paid their outstanding wages by Thursday evening, after which they agreed to resume work.scroll


Madras High Court Moved for Transportation of Tamil Nadu Muslims from Delhi Quarantine Centre

New Delhi:A writ petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking directions for the central and Tamil Nadu govts to ensure transit of Tamil Nadu Muslims who are kept in a quarantine centre in Delhi even after serving the mandatory period and having been found negative for Coronavirus.One Umar Farook filed the petition in High Court, through lawyer A Raja Mohamed, and sought directions for Tamil Nadu Govt “to interfere in the matter of stranded Tamil Nadu Muslims who are quarantined at Sultanpuri quarantine centre in Delhi.”“Though all of them were found negative for Covid-19, they were quarantined and treated very badly without food and medicine which resulted in the death of two persons for lack of food and medicine,” the petitioner charged.India Tomorrow


Thank labourers by observing fast on May Day: activists

New Delhi:A group of activists on Wednesday launched a campaign to express gratitude to workers and raise an awareness on the plight of labourers during the lockdown by observing a fast on International Labour Day.They appealed to people to observe a fast from sunrise to sunset on Friday, terming it a “fast of gratitude, empathy and Constitutional responsibility”, a statement from Dr. Baba Adhav, Ulka Mahajan, Subhash Lomte, Mukta Srivastava, Chandan Kumar and Nitin Pawar said.thehindu


After death she helped others get freedom from lock down captivity

Adilabad:Strange as it may sound but Jamlo Madkam’s death has undoubtedly brought relief for thousands of migrant workers from central and north Indian States who have set out for their distant homes on foot from various parts of Telangana and States further south. They are now able to cover a better part of their journey hitching a ride on trucks with the active support of authorities.The death of the 12-year old girl, a migrant worker from Chattisgarh due to dehydration on April 18, has jolted the conscience of authorities. Instead of holding them back, authorities are now requesting crews of lorries passing on NH 44 to carry the migrant labourers on their long journey home.


W. Bengal: Lockdown violators attack police in 'red zone' Howrah

Kolkata: 2 policemen were injured after a mob attacked a police party that was enforcing the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus at Tikiapara in Howrah district, a ‘red zone’, an official said on Tuesday.The incident also triggered a war of words between the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP. While TMC said stern action would be taken against the culprits behind violence, BJP claimed that state Govt’s “politics of appeasement” has led to this episode.PTI


22 flights, 17 destinations: Bengaluru facilitates transit for 3,000 foreigners

Bengaluru :As thousands of international passengers remain stranded across the world due to the lockdown, Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport claims to have facilitated transit of nearly 3,000 foreign nationals to 17 destinations across globe.According to Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) officials, as many as 22 flights carrying foreign nationals took off from the airport in the last month.While the first evacuation from Bengaluru airport was to Frankfurt with Air India operating a flight on March 31, Tokyo emerged as the destination with the largest number of passengers, with JAL operating three flights over three consecutive days.The other destinations to which passengers flew from Bengaluru include Incheon (South Korea), Azerbaijan, Baghdad, Cairo, Colombo, Doha, Frankfurt, London, Male, Muscat, Paris, Paro (Bhutan), Riyadh, Rome, Stockholm and Tbilisi (Georgia).indianexpress


Punjab Announces 4 Hours Relaxation In Curfew; Lockdown Extended By 2 More Weeks

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday announced to extend the curfew for 2 more weeks till 17 May to check the spread of coronavirus in the State."Though the curfew has been extended by two more weeks, there will be relaxation from 7 am to 11 am every day. During this time, people can come out of their houses. Shops will also be allowed to open," said Chief Minister Singh in a video address to the State's people. outlookindia


Lockdown Should Be Lifted In Phased Manner: Economist Pronab Sen

Economist Pronab Sen says the assessment of world economy plunging into depression is flawed as the current crisis is an exogenous shock. In an interview with Outlook, Sen, who is currently Country Director, India Programme of the International Growth Centre, says India should lift nationwide lockdown in a phased manner so that it helps in generating production and consumption. He said, "lockdown should be lifted in a phased manner. The advantage of easing restrictions in a phased manner is that you are allowing the system to come back to normal gradually. It is better to have this process move sequentially. So, you first have production that generate income, income, and then generate consumption."outlookindia


COVID-19: Wedding party stays at bride’s home for 35 days

Patna: A wedding party has been staying at the house of bride for the past 35 days in Bihar, leaving the bride family in a peculiar situation. The procession has got stuck due to lockdown over coronavirus, which resulted in suspension of all transport services. Wedding party had arrived at Mathia village in Bihar’s East Champaran from Ghaziabad in UP on March 20 to solemnise marriage of Salma with Abid.Salma’s father Anwarul Miyan was on cloud nine when the wedding party, which comprised 30 members arrived at his home to perform the wedding. However, right on the day when the wedding group was to return, a nationwide lockdown was enforced. This left the guests with no choice but to stay at the bride’s home.Initially, the family head tried to arrange food on his own, but as he faced limits due to the lockdown, he sought help from neighbours and village council officials.But now all have expressed their helplessness to extend further help to the family. Anwarul, said, “the situation is such that for the past 10 days, I am able to serve food to the guests only once in 24 hours.”gulfnews


Bombay HC grants relief to man, who accused Tablighi Jamaat for assaulting and spitting over him

In a temporary respite for a 42-year-old Muslim man, Bombay High Court has granted him interim protection from arrest till May 20. The man was booked by Police after he posted a video on social media accusing Tablighi Jamaat for assaulting and spitting on him.A bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing a plea filed by resident of Shahu Nagar, who has been booked for inciting communal violence, defamation.According to FIR, the man had prepared a video clip making false allegations against Jamaat. He had made false allegations that he was assaulted and some members of the Jamaat had spat on him.freepressjournal


Centre orders all Govt employees to download Aarogya Setu app

Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on Wednesday asked all central Govt employees to install the Aarogya Setu app on their phones and come to office only when the application shows “safe” status for commuting, PTI reported.Aarogya Setu is a contact tracing mobile application that informs people if they have come into contact with a Covid-19 infected person.


Covid-19: Only 3 of 529 mediapersons tested positive in Delhi, announces Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that only 3 out of 529 mediapersons who were screened for the coronavirus tested positive. Delhi has so far reported 3,314 Covid-19 cases and 54 deaths. Delhi Govt began testing last week after several journalists had tested positive for the coronavirus in Mumbai and Chennai.Several other states such as UP and Karnataka also began to test journalists after these incidents. scroll


Portals of Kedarnath temple open; first puja performed on behalf of PM

Dehradun :The portals of the Kedarnath temple were opened on Wednesday with first puja performed on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and only members of the shrine’s committee and administrative officials attending it amid COVID-19-induced lockdown.The doors of 11th jyotirlinga at Kedarnath in Garhwal Himalayas were opened at 6.10 am. The temple was decorated in a grand way with 10 quintals of flowers, temple committee officials said.Only priests of the temple, and officials of the temple committee and administration were present during the puja. PTI



Coronavirus : Over 200,000 H-1B Visa Holders Could Lose Legal Status by End of June, says Report

Layoffs in US due to coronavirus pandemic that is having an adverse effect on businesses could endanger H1-B visa holders, who could run risk of losing their status.Around 250,000 guest workers trying to obtain a green card in US, with 200,000 of them on H-1B visas, could potentially lose their legal status by June end,Jeremy Neufeld, an immigration policy analyst with Washington DC-based think tank Niskanen Center told Bloomberg.Additionally, scores of more individuals, who are not looking for resident status, may also be compelled to go back home, Neufeld added. Close to 3-quarters of H-1B visas are given to those employed in the technology sector, report said.Over last 2 months, millions of Americans have been laid off. However, workers on visas are more prone to hardships. This is because H1-B visas are linked to location and an employer who agrees to award the recipient a basic salary. Pay cuts and even work from home arrangements often go against the visa rules. H-1B workers who are fired have 60-days to find a new job, shift to a different visa type or return home. Even for workers who are able to hold on to their jobs, Covid-19 has posed a great challenge as they won’t be able to get their visas renewed.news18


Coronavirus hammered US economy in first quarter

US economy contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since the Great Recession as stringent measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus almost shut down the country, ending the longest expansion in the nation's history. Commerce Department said gross domestic product fell at a 4.8 percent annualised rate in the January-to-March period after expanding at a 2.1 percent rate in the final three months of 2019.The first-quarter decline was the steepest pace of contraction in GDP since first quarter of 2009.The decline reflected a plunge in economic activity in the last two weeks of March, which saw millions of Americans seeking unemployment benefits.The number of people around the world confirmed to have the coronavirus has risen to more than 3 million, and at least 217,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 929,000 people have recovered. aljazeera


6 more months of lockdown may lead to 7 million unwanted pregnancies, claims UN body

UN Population Fund has projected around 7 million unwanted pregnancies due to lost access to contraceptives if the coronavirus-related lockdowns in most countries remain in place for the next 6 months.In such a situation, Over 47 million women in 114 low- and middle-income countries may not be able to access contraceptives, UN body said. Also, an additional 13 million child marriages are likely between 2020 and 2030 since the lockdowns will hit the efforts to curb them, said the organisation.As health systems are overloading and facilities are limiting services, many women and girls are skipping important medical check-ups as they fear contracting Covid-19, said the report of the research, which was conducted by UN Population Fund along with others.scroll


Turkey ranks third worldwide in supplying medical aid

Turkey is the third biggest supplier of medical aid worldwide amid coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.  The country also provides largest amount of humanitarian aid in the world, he said. The country's defense ministry has sent medical aid to US, Spain, Italy, UK, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Libya and Somalia.Anadolu Agency


US panel says India should be placed on religious freedom blacklist; tags it as 'CPC’ which is subject to sanctions

A US Govt panel has called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist over a “drastic” downturn under PM Narendra Modi.In an annual report, the bipartisan panel said that India should join the ranks of “countries of particular concern” that would be subject to sanctions if they do not improve their records. It called on the US to impose punitive measures, including visa bans, on Indian officials believed responsible and grant funding to civil society groups that monitor hate speech.US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, “countries of particular concern” (CPC) in its 2020 report. The report, released in Washington by federal Govt commission that functions as an advisory body, placed India alongside countries, including China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. India was categorised as a “Tier 2 country” in last year’s listing. This is the first time since 2004 that India has been placed in this category.“India took a sharp downward turn in 2019,” commission noted in its report, which included specific concerns about CAA, NRC, anti-conversion laws and the situation in J&K. “National Govt used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national-level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims.” The panel said that CPC designation was also recommended because “national and various State govts also allowed nationwide campaigns of harassment and violence against religious minorities to continue with impunity, and engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence against them”.The commission also recommended that US Govt take stringent action against India under IRFA. It called on administration to “impose targeted sanctions on Indian Govt agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into US under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations”. USCIRF report makes a specific mention of Home Minister Amit Shah, for not taking what it deemed as sufficient action to stop cases of mob lynching in the country, and for referring to migrants as “termites”. Nadine Maenza, Vice Chair for the religious freedom watchdog said that CAA "potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when Govt completes its planned nationwide NRC"theguardian, thehindu/BBC

US religious freedom body tags India a 'Country of Particular Concern'. What does it mean?

India rejects scathing US religious freedom report as 'biased'

India has rejected the findings of a US religious freedom panel which has named it a "country of particular concern", since the Hindu nationalist BJP was re-elected.Delhi said the report was "biased" and a "new level of misrepresentation". "We reject the observations on India in USCIRF annual report. Its biased and tendentious comments against India are not new," said external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. "On this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels. We regard it as an organisation of particular concern and will treat it accordingly."


Indian Americans welcomes US Commission report on India as top violator of religious freedom

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) welcomes report on religious freedom issued by USCIRF placing India among the top violators of religious freedom.“India being categorized as a top violator of religious freedoms while unfortunate, is expected and justified,” said IAMC head Ahsan Khan. IAMC endorses annual report by USCIRF where it has designated India as taking a “sharp downward turn in 2019” in terms of religious tolerance and treatment of minorities. IAMC, along with its partners, International Christian Concern (ICC) and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) had written to USCIRF in March urging it to bring India to its worst offenders of violations in world.IAMC has extended its full support for USCIRF’s 3 key recommendations for growing human rights violations and religious intolerance in India. TCN/BBC


White House unfollows PM Modi on Twitter

White House has unfollowed Prime Minister Modi, President Ramnath Kovind and PMO on Twitter, a report in NDTV said.Official residence of US President, has also unfollowed Indian Embassy in the USA.White house has over 21 million followers on Twitter.According to NDTV, PM Modi was the first global leader followed by the official Twitter handle of US administration 3 weeks ago.Now after unfollowing three Indian accounts, White House now follows 13 Indian account, the report said.


Delhi Police invokes UAPA against JNU student Sharjeel

 Delhi Police today invoked stringent UAPA against JNU PhD scholar Sharjeel Imam, months after arresting him in connection with violence at Jamia Millia Islamia in Dec.The development comes two weeks after the police accused Imam, 31, of allegedly instigating riots at the university on Dec13 and 15 through “seditious” speeches outside campus, during protests against CAA and NRC last year.indianexpress


Delhi violence: AISA claims police visited state unit chief Kaur’s home, seized phone

All India Students’ Association on Tuesday claimed that Delhi Police had seized the mobile phone of its state unit president Kawalpreet Kaur on previous day. In a statement, AISA claimed that police had visited Kaur’s house and seized her phone “in the name of inquiry into Delhi communal violence”.“The seizure memo given to her cites an FIR with a slew of charges including the draconian UAPA – a supposed anti-terror law that is basically an excuse to lock up students and activists who are critical of the Govt – without trial, without bail – and throw away the key,” AISA’s National President N Sai Balaji said.Kaur also took to Twitter to note that her phone was seized and highlighted her work. “Delhi Police action of seizing my phone is outrageous and is an attempt to instill fear among us all,” she tweeted. “Worse that all this is happening in a time when the entire world is in lockdown faced with a pandemic and it’s difficult to hold mass protests and access legal help.”scroll


Delhi violence: follow SC guidelines on arrests, HC tells police

Delhi High Court has directed that arrests in connection with the recent riots in the national capital shall be done in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines related to arrest and detention.The direction was issued by a bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, which also issued notice to the Centre, Delhi Govt and the police seeking their stand on a plea alleging that arrests in connection with the riots were being made during the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic.telegraphindia


Jamia Researcher Safoora Zargar Kept in Solitary Confinement in High Security Tihar Jail

NEW DELHI:Safoora Zargar, a 27-year-old researcher at Jamia Millia Islamia, who was arrested on April 10 in connection with Feb.violence in northeast Delhi, has been kept in solitary confinement in high security Tihar Jail. Superitendent of Jail(Women’s Cell) Sarita confirmed India Tomorrow that Safoora was kept in a separate room of the woman’s section of the jail. She said that she was kept in a separate room due to Covid-19 infections. Carrying three month’s old pregnancy, Safoora, who was also media coordinator of Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), a group of Jamia’s alumni and current students to protest against CAA, was slapped several charges including those under the dreaded UAPA. India Tomorrow


‘They Want to Silence Me’: Surat Lawyer Spends 8 Hours in Lockup For Demanding FIR

New Delhi:A human rights lawyer in Surat, Gujarat complained that he was sent into lockup by an officer at Kusumba police station where he had gone to seek a copy of a FIR on an alleged case of arson in a mosque in Kasumba village.The incident occurred on April 19 when Bilal Kagzi, a lawyer who deals with human rights cases in rural areas of Surat, had gone to Kasumba police station to collect the copy of FIR at instance of his client (head of mosque committee). According to Kagzi, members of the mosque committee got a FIR registered at the police station on April 16. Besides giving them a tentative number to check FIR report online, the police told them that they can come the next day to collect the copy of FIR.  But the next day when the committee went there, a police inspector on duty at the station refused to hand over the copy of the report.“The inspector told them that it was a small incident and there was no need for any FIR,” Kagzi said. “The inspector had torn apart FIR police had written last night.”Thereafter, the mosque committee informed Kagzi about the refusal of the police to file FIR. Kagzi called DySP of the area to apprise him of the matter. He also wrote an email to top police officials of the state. The incident of arson as well as police refusal to file FIR were covered by local media.Clarion India


CAA protests: Lucknow authorities put on hold recovery notices to 53 people for alleged vandalism

Lucknow district administration in UP has put on hold recovery notices served to 53 people who allegedly indulged in vandalism against Govt property during the protests against CAA in December, PTI reported. The process to recover Rs 1.41 crore has been halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.“The process to recover damages and of attaching properties of those involved in the state capital is on hold as only essential activities are going on,” Lucknow DM Abhishek Prakash said. “Once, the lockdown is over, action will certainly be taken.” scroll


Dalit seeking lodging of FIR harassed; Delhi HC orders action against police officials

Delhi High Court has directed for initiating proceedings against police officers under section 4 of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, who wilfully did not register FIR upon receiving complaints of abuse and harassment of a Dalit man.While directing the trial court to initiate proceedings against such police officers, Single Bench of Justice Suresh Kait noted that the aggrieved Dalit man ran from pillar to post to get justice, but present case exemplified the height of deafness of Delhi Police, especially SHO of the concerned police station, legal news website has reported.


Congress accuses BJP of weakening bank architecture ‘fiscally, imprudently’

Congress on Wednesday attacked the Modi Govt over RBI’s list of wilful defaulters, and accused the Centre of weakening the entire banking architecture fiscally and imprudently.The central bank’s information revealed that top 50 defaulters have alone accounted for loans worth Rs 68,607 crore being written off in the banking system until Sept.2019. The central bank released the data in its response to a Right to Information query.scroll


Technical loan write-off route should not be applied for fugitives: Chidambaram to govt

New Delhi :Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday asked the Govt why it had taken the technical loan write-off route for fugitives like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya.His remarks came after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that wilful defaulters were beneficiaries of ‘phone banking’ under the UPA regime and the Modi Govt is chasing them to recover the dues.She was responding to the opposition party’s allegations of loan waiver worth Rs 68,607 crore in the form of write-offs to the top 50 wilful defaulters during the first half of the financial year ended March 2020.PTI


UAE  8 Billion Bank Fraud : Indian Billionaire BR Shetty’s Banks Accounts To Be Frozen

Dubai: Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) has instructed financial institutions to search and freeze all bank accounts of Indian billionaire BR Shetty and his family along with those of companies where he has a stake.The apex bank has also blacklisted several firms associated with Shetty along with their entire senior management.Financial institutions have been directed to stop transfers from these accounts and deny access to deposit boxes.Currently in India and facing a string of charges, Shetty is the founder of NMC Health.The heathcare provider was placed into administration by a UK court recently following an application by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) which alone has an exposure of $981 million (Dh3.6 billion).Overall, UAE banks have a combined exposure of more than Dh 8 bn to NMC which owes money to Oman-based banks and financial institutions as well. Central Bank has also blacklisted several companies associated with Shetty. Key staff members of these firms have been similarly blacklisted.gulfnews


NEET Will be Only Medical Admission Test, SC Rules as it Rejects Minority Institutions' Objections

New Delhi: Putting an end to all speculations, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that NEET shall remain the only uniform entrance test for medical admissions in the country.It further held that minority institutions, deemed universities and all other private colleges must also abide with these regulations and that they cannot claim violation of their rights to admit students since NEET is in larger national interest."The regulatory measures by prescribing NEET is to bring the education within the realm of charity which character it has lost. It intends to weed out evils from the system and various malpractices, which decayed the system. The regulatory measures in no way interfere with the rights to administer the institution by the religious or linguistic minorities," held a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. The chief contention of the petitioners was that NEET took away the right of religious and linguistic minority institutions to administer their business, including the right to admit students from the minority community in terms of their own standards. news18


UBS projects negative GDP growth for India this yr, lowest in 4 decades

The nation-wide lockdown, which has dragged for over a month now, is set to plunge India into a recession this year, according to UBS' projections.IANS reports: "India is likely to post a negative GDP growth rate in financial year 2021, making it the lowest in four decades, according to an estimate by UBS.It estimates that Covid-19 shock-related mobility restrictions will drag FY2021 growth sharply.UBS is downgrading India’s growth forecasts on a looming global recession and domestic economic activity being much weaker than expected due to the lockdown imposed until May 3. “We now expect India’s real GDP to contract to -0.4 per cent in FY21 (previously +2.5 per cent), compared with 4.1 per cent year on year (previously 4.5 per cent) estimated in FY20. In our base case, we expect current mobility restrictions remain in place until mid-May and then get lifted, and activity is largely back to normal by end-June,” UBS said.In alternative scenarios where virus containment fails, UBS estimates that disruptions could last longer and the economic weaknesses in the short term could intensify and the significant secondary impacts (job losses, reduced income levels, corporate defaults, rising NPLs, rating downgrade, etc.) could delay a potential recovery. “There is a risk India’s real GDP could contract by a much larger magnitude of 3-4 per cent YoY,” it said.


Ratings agency Moody’s slashes India’s GDP growth forecast from 2.5% to 0.2% for 2020

Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service cut India’s growth forecast for the year 2020 from 2.5% to 0.2% as nation grapples with economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported. The agency also projected that all advanced economies of G20 group would shrink by 5.8% during year.In its report titled “Global recession is deepening rapidly as restrictions exact high economic cost”, the credit rating agency said that India, China and Indonesia are the only three G20 countries that are likely to grow in the current financial year.


Planters fear loss of 110 million kg tea

Siliguri:An association of tea planters has said the ongoing countrywide lockdown is likely to result in a production loss of around 110 million kilos of brew, which means a monetary loss of around Rs 1,200 crore.“A conservative estimate with inputs received from S. J. Thomas & Co Pvt Ltd shows a loss to the tune of 110 million kg tea in the country,” said Raj Bansal, head of Tea Association of India.In Bengal and Assam, tea production had resumed in February after the lean season. However, it came to a halt in the third week of March as the nationwide lockdown was announced by the Centre to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.The halt in production prompted stakeholders of the industry to approach the central and state Govts. Eventually, Centre came up with a directive that maximum 50 per cent of the work force can be engaged at any time.


J&K: 3 militants killed in encounter with security forces

Security forces killed 2 militants in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, the police said today. A joint team of Indian Army, police and CRPF launched a search operation in Melhora village in Shopian on Tuesday, following which the gunfight began.“As the combing [operation] was underway, hiding militants opened fire which triggered a gunfight,” an unidentified police officer said, according to The Tribune. “In the operation, 2 militants were killed.” Later, another militant was killed.The militants are yet to be identified. Defence spokesperson Rajesh Kalia said the operation was still underway and more militants could be hiding in the village, Rising Kashmir reported.There have been a series of skirmishes between security forces and militants in J&K over the past week.scroll


‘They all spoke in Hindi’: When Mizoram CM hit translation hurdle at meeting with PM Modi

Mizoram CM Zoramthanga’s virtual meeting with PM Narendra Modi earlier this week seemed to have hit a translation hurdle.PM Modi had held a meeting with chief ministers of nine states on coronavirus lockdown extension Monday, but Zoramthanga was unable to understand a word anyone was saying in the meeting. “They were all speaking in Hindi,”CM  said, a language he didn’t know.



Palestinians slam Saudi TV series promoting ties with Israel

Palestinian factions and figures have slammed a Saudi TV drama series that promotes normalising ties with Israel, a state regarded as an illegal occupying power under international law.The shows, Umm Haroun and Exit 7, are being broadcast by Dubai-based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), a Saudi TV network. They are among many dramas and soap operas that air each night during Ramadan, which began last week. Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, said TV dramas should be "expressive of the people and their ideas" and not the other way round. "Some Arab dramas that were produced this year do not respect this matter, and they tend to spread strange ideas that call for coexistence with the occupation, and dare to question the Palestinian cause," he told Anadolu news agency.Qassem affirmed that "Israel is a threat and will always remain the first enemy of the Arab nation". Musab al-Braim, the spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, also condemned the broadcast, terming it "a historic blow" to all Arabs and Muslims.Salama Marouf, head of Govt Press Office in the besieged Gaza Strip, said the use of television this way demonstrated the desire to change the impressions of Arabs towards the Palestinian cause.aljazeera

Ramadan TV dramas signal shift in Arab-Israeli relations:the guardian


Ex-Saudi spy head Prince Turki denies foreign hand in King Faisal's assassination

 A former Saudi intelligence chief has said assassination of King Faisal was an individual act of vengeance without involvement of any foreign agency.In an interview, Prince Turki Al Faisal said he was tasked by former King Khalid to head the investigation on the assassination. He said he "held contacts with all the available sources at that time internally and externally"."The probe that continued for two months concluded that the assassination of King Faisal was an individual act and no foreign party had any links with it,” he said, as quoted by Saudi Gazette.King Faisal was shot dead by his nephew Prince Faisal bin Musaid in 1975 while he was in a meeting with a Kuwaiti delegation in Riyadh. He confirmed that the motive behind the killing included "both personal as well as King Faisal’s policies."Anadolu Agency


Khashoggi fiancé: stop Saudi takeover of Newcastle United

Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancé Hatice Cengiz has asked the Premier League to stop the takeover of Newcastle United Football Club by the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund. Her lawyer, Rodney Dixon, sent a letter to the League in Cengiz's name asking to stop a Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund-led consortium from buying Newcastle Utd. Cengiz shared the letter on Twitter and demanded that all steps possible be taken by the Premier League administration in order to prevent the acquisition.UK director of Amnesty International, Kate Allen, last week demanded that the takeover be prevented in a letter to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.Anadolu Agency


Rights group calls on Egypt to release 2 disappeared women

Egyptian authorities arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared two women in recent days, according to HRW, which called on Govt to fully disclose their whereabouts. New York-based rights group identified the two women as 27-year-old Marwa Arafa, a translator and management consultant who had no known political affiliation or activist work over the past 5 years, and Kholoud Said, 35, a senior translator at Alexandria Library.


UN Special Rapporteur calls for war crimes probe in Myanmar

A UN human rights expert on Wednesday called for an investigation of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine and Chin States.In a statement issued from Geneva, UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee said the world is battling with COVID-19 while Myanmar military continues to escalate its assaults in the country's western Rakhine state and targeting the civilian population. "Tatmadaw [Myanmar military] is systematically violating the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian law and human rights. Its conduct against the civilian population of Rakhine and Chin States may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Lee, who is concluding her tenure as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.She called for an accountability to end the conflict and said the military continues to operate with impunity. Anadolu Agency


Dozens killed in fuel-truck blast in Syrian town of Afrin

At least 46 civilians were killed, including 11 children, when an explosive-rigged fuel truck detonated in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, which was seized by Turkish forces more than two years ago.Another 50 people were wounded in the explosion in a crowded street of Afrin. Turkey's defence ministry blamed the attack on the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia. Tuesday's blast was one of the deadliest to hit a region under the control of Turkish-backed forces. Ankara frequently blames the YPG for the attacks, while the militia says it does not target civilians.aljazeera


*views, Articles, FEATURES*

Delhi Riot Conspiracy Theory: Aim Is To Make Every Muslim Guilty:Manisha Sethi, outlookindia

Our children need a happy and congenial environment to grow up in, not a climate of fear and hatred:S Y Quraishi

‘Hitler’ alert shows the gulf:Anita Joshua , telegraphindia

Palghar Lynching Case has Exposed Deadly Cocktail of Communal Poison, Fake News & Mob Culture in India:Abdul Hafiz Gandhi

Curious case of vanishing wealth and social distancing of food grains:SHUBHANGI MISRA

Dearness allowance freeze during Covid a good move. Privileged India can’t grudge pay cut:YOGENDRA YADAV

Current crisis consolidates populist rapport between a leader and a fictional representation of people: Christophe Jaffrelot , Jean Thomas Martelli , indianexpress

Holding Hunger at Bay During Lockdown: Stories From Bengaluru and Nilgiris:Mari Marcel Thekaekara

The Supreme Court of India is a Court of Rights, Not of Contempt;Mahua Moitra

Arnab Goswami crosses all limits of civility:Tathagata Bhattacharya


*Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:18 PM)*


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