31 May 2020

31 May News: Coronavirus | Public health experts accuse government of blundering on migrant workers policy. Saudi reopens 90,000 mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown. Nepal Parliament Set To Clear New Map Which Includes Indian Territory


31 May 2020: 07 Shawwal 1441: Vol: 12, No: 220


Coronavirus | Public health experts accuse government of blundering on migrant workers policy


New Delhi:A group of public health experts, two of them part of a government-constituted committee to advise it on containing the pandemic, has accused the government of blundering on its policy of migrants.They have also said enforcing the lockdown ‘indefinitely’ would be too disruptive and “overtake lives saved due to lockdown-mediated slowing of COVID-19 progression”. The govt on Friday announced a series of relaxations called Unlock-1 that limits lockdown to containment zones until June 30 and a spate of relaxations after June 8.Second joint statement on COVID-19 by Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Indian Association of Epidemiologists “Had the migrant persons been allowed to go home at the beginning of the epidemic when the disease spread was very low, the current situation could have been avoided. The returning migrants are now taking infection to each and every corner of the country; mostly to rural and peri-urban areas, in districts with relatively weak public health systems [including clinical care],” says the letter jointly authored by the Indian Public Health Association, the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and the Indian Association of Epidemiologists.The govt relied on modellers, or theoreticians, rather than field-level epidemiologists who are better acquainted with disease transmission dynamics. “From the limited information available in the public domain, it seems that the government was primarily advised by clinicians and academic epidemiologists with limited field training and skills,” the letter underlines.India is paying a heavy price both in terms of humanitarian crisis and disease spread. The incoherent and often rapidly shifting strategies and policies especially at the national level are more a reflection of ‘afterthought’ and “catching up” phenomenon on part of the policy makers rather than a well thought cogent strategy with an epidemiological basis.Dr. D.C.S. Reddy, Former Professor & Head, Community Medicine, IMS, BHU, and Dr. Sanjay Zodpey, President, IAPSM and Vice President-Academics, Public Health were among those who were advising the government and signatories to the letter.


Uttar Pradesh extends lockdown till 30 June; shops, offices, Salons, Parlours to open in phased manner



A day after the government announced the extension of nationwide lockdown till 30 June with several relaxations for the citizens in a phased unlocking plan, the Uttar Pradesh government has also extended the state's lockdown till June-end, but with several relaxations. : Salons, beauty parlours and supermarkets can open during the fifth phase of the coronavirus lockdown provided they follow recommended precautionary measures, Uttar Pradesh govt said as it extended the shutdown in its territory to June 30.According to the press briefing by UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Awanish Awasthi, starting tomorrow, all government offices will operate with 100% workforce but in staggered shifts. However, the offices need to follow staggered timings - 9 am to 5 pm, 10 am to 6 pm and 11 am to 7 pm.livemint

NCR Offices Can Open With All Employees, Restricted Entry from Delhi: Phased Easing of Lockdown in UP



UP lockdown guidelines: No entry of people from Delhi containment zones to Noida, Ghaziabad


While issuing a fresh set of guidelines for lockdown, UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Awanish Awasthi confirmed that prohibition on entry of people from containment zones or hotspot areas in Delhi to Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida, Greater Noida) and Ghaziabad will remain in effect till further orders.He added that state buses will be allowed to operate on the condition that only passengers according to the seating capacity of the bus travel in it. No passenger can travel while standing in the bus, stressed Awasthi.timesnownews


Bihar Extends Lockdown Till June 30, Day After Centre's Unlocking Plan


Bihar today extended its lockdown till June 30, going by the Centre's guidelines declared yesterday. Centre has announced the fifth phase of lockdown, which will continue till June end. But this time, there is also a phased plan to open up the economy and public life. This morning, an order issued by the Bihar government read: "Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Govt has issued guidelines to check the spread of the coronavirus and extended the lockdown till 30 June. After discussions, the state government has decided to implement Home Ministry's order and its guidelines".There was no detail on how the state plans to proceed.


Maharashtra extends lockdown till 30 June; religious places, malls, hotels, inter-district bus services to remain shut


Maharashtra Govt extends COVID-19 lockdown till 30 June in the state. Movement of individuals to remain strictly prohibited between 9 pm to 5 am except for essential activities. According to the latest guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government, malls, theatres bars, hotel, restaurants religious places, metro rail services, barber shops, beauty parlours will remain closed across the state. Intra district bus services will be allowed outside areas earlier designated as red zones with 50 percent capacity but inter-district buses will not be allowed to run. Under Maharashtra's 'Begin Again Mission', outside containment zones of areas earlier marked as red zones, shops will be allowed to open between 9 am to 5 pm on odd-even basis.


Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till June 30; hotels, malls to remain closed


Tamil Nadu government on Sunday extended the lockdown to rein in the coronavirus outbreak till June 30 but announced significant relaxations, including resumption of limited public transport in the state, The News Minute reported. This came a day after the Centre relaxed the lockdown rules to allow malls, restaurants, and religious places to function in all areas except containment zones from June 8. Places of worship, hotels, theatres, gyms and educational institutions will remain closed in Tamil Nadu. Most of the restrictions will continue in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu and containment zones due to a rise in the number of coronavirus cases. However, special permissions have been granted to Chennai under the new rules that will come into effect from Monday.


Lockdown extended in Telangana till June 30


Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has decided to extend the lockdown in the State till June 30. Rao held discussions with Chief Secretary Sri Somesh Kumar, DGP Mahender Reddy and other senior officials against the backdrop of the Centre's issuing new guidelines on the Lockdown. It was decided to implement the relaxations given to the guidelines by Centre in all the areas except in the Containment Zones. Chief Minister has instructed officials concerned to implement strictly the lockdown in the containment zones. He wanted the night-time Curfew to be implemented from 9 PM to 5 AM daily. The shops should be open till 8 PM only, Rao said. He also said that there should not be any restrictions on inter-state travel.


Punjab extends lockdown till June 30 with ‘certain relaxations’


Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday announced extension of Covid-19 lockdown in the state till June 30 with certain relaxations subject to the guidelines issued by the Centre. The announcement came following Centre extending the lockdown in containment zones till June 30, releasing fresh guidelines for resumption of economic activities outside these zones. The fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown, necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, was scheduled to end on May 31.Announcing the decision during his weekly Facebook live session, the Punjab chief minister said that Covid-19 wasn’t ending any time soon and if necessary, he would take tough measures to save the lives of people, news agency PTI reports.


Lockdown restrictions extended in J&K until June 8


Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday extended the lockdown until June 8 and said the Centre's new guidelines on some relaxations require a fresh assessment of spread of COVID-19. In an order, Chief Secretary and Chairperson, State Executive Committee, BVR Subrahmanyam said the guidelines or instructions issued on May 19 and 24 with regard to lockdown would continue until June 8.PTI


Karnataka: Lockdown extended till June 30, malls to open from June 8


Karnataka government has decided to extend the lockdown in the state till June 30. However, shops, markets and shopping malls will reopen from June 8. Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday has issued guidelines for unlock 1.0. As per these guidelines, religious places, shopping malls and markets will open from June 8.abplive


Lockdown: Food grains rot as poor battle hunger


New Delhi:As lakhs of poor battle hunger, their share of food grain is rotting in the godowns. India Today TV has found tonnes of wheat damaged as it was stored in the open at a govt warehouse in Nagura of Jind district of Haryana. The investigation has also revealed that flouting storage norms, tonnes of old stock of wheat is kept in the open godowns along the highway between Rohtak and Jind. In 2019-20, only 1,930 tonnes of food grain was damaged. But food experts doubt this figure as close to 132 lakh tonnes of food grain is stored at open godowns of Food Corporation of India. Center has approved more godowns with a capacity of 90 lakh tonnes in major wheat-producing states including Punjab, Haryana, UP, and MP. Technically called Cover and Plinth (CAP) facility, tonnes of wheat from old stock has been stored at this open godown. We found plinth damaged and the cover of stacks torn and blown away that has left the wheat exposed to rainwater seepage through the stacks causing damage to it. Such is the extent of damage that wheat stored in some stacks has turned black and become unfit for human consumption. Ashok, godown in-charge said that since the covered godowns at Nagura facility are full, so they have no option but to store wheat in the open.He accepted that wheat kept in open is getting damaged as it has not been lifted by FCI and they cannot do much about it. "We are just keeping this stock for FCI, storm often blows away the covers and waterlogging due to rain damages the plinth," he said. "Open godown is also exposed to monkeys and birds which damage the wheat," he added.indiatoday


Railways’ treatment of migrants borders on barbarism, violation of rights: NHRC


New Delhi :Saying that treatment of migrant workers “by Railway authorities borders around barbarism”,NHRC has issued notices to Railway Board chairman, Union home secretary and chief secretaries of Bihar and Gujarat.It has asked them to submit a report, within four weeks, on the steps taken to ensure basic facilities to migrants.NHRC, which issued the notices, said it was taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on trains taking days to reach their destination and how “many migrant labourers lost (their) lives during the journey by train due to longer duration and no arrangements for drinking water and food etc.”It said the govt had failed to “protect the lives of poor migrants on board trains”. “It is a matter of concern… they are being subjected to such treatment by Railway authorities, which borders around barbarism. The poor labourers cannot be treated in such an inhuman manner just because they are poor and the govt has paid for their tickets. Any shortcoming on the part of the government agencies cannot be covered under excuse of unprecedented situation amid countrywide lockdown,” NHRC said.indian express


'Namaste Trump' Event Behind Covid-19 Spread In Gujarat: Sena MP Sanjay Raut


Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday alleged that the event held in Ahmedabad to welcome US President Donald Trump in Feb.was responsible for the spread of coronavirus in Gujarat and later in Mumbai and Delhi, which some of his delegates had visited. Raut also hit out at the Centre saying that the lockdown was implemented without any planning, but now the responsibility of lifting the curbs was left to the states.Sena MP said that despite the opposition BJP's attempts to pull down MVA government, there was no threat to it as its survival is the'majboori' (compulsion) of all 3 ruling allies-Sena, NCP and Congress."It can't be denied that the spread of coronavirus in Gujarat was because of the massive public gathering held to welcome US President Donald Trump. Some of the delegates, who accompanied Trump, also visited Mumbai, Delhi, which led to the spread of the virus," Raut said in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'.PTI


‘Govt relying on bureaucrats, not epidemiologists’: Top health experts slam Covid handling


New Delhi: Modi govt has come under heavy criticism from three major medical professional associations for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, even as the country readies itself for ‘unlock phase 1‘.A joint statement issued by the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine, and Indian Association of Epidemiologists on 25 May says that community transmission has already set-in.“It is unrealistic to expect that Covid-19 pandemic can be eliminated at this stage given that community transmission is already well-established across large sections or sub-populations in the country,” the health experts have said.This is in stark contrast to the Modi government’s claims that there is no community transmission in the country yet. On Sunday, the total Covid-19 cases in India crossed the 1.83 lakh-mark.Some of the notable signatories of the statement include Dr Shashi Kant from the Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Dr D.C.S Reddy, former professor at Banaras Hindu University. While Reddy chairs the Indian Council of Medical Research’s group on epidemiology and surveillance for Covid-19 that was constituted in April, Kant is a member of it.


Mumbai: 7 ICU patients of a hospital die within 1.5 hours, allegedly due to low oxygen level


7 patients died at a hospital in Mumbai with one-and-a-half hour on Saturday, Mumbai Mirror reported. All seven patients died in identical fashion – the indicator attached to the oxygen line would indicate “low oxygen level”, the patients would begin gasping, and die before medical help could be provided, a doctor at Jogeshwari Hospital said.The hospital has no intensivist. On Saturday night, two new MBBS graduates and two nurses were present in the intensive care unit. However, the MBBS graduates, who were standing in for two senior doctors on sick leave, were also not present when the patients died.When the oxygen levels began to fall, the nurses alerted a senior doctor posted in the isolation ward. But before he could stabilise the oxygen levels with the help of a technician, the patients had died.“Apart from fixing the oxygen supply, which is such a basic requirement, this hospital needs more senior doctors,” an unidentified nurse said. She said that ICU beds have been added to admit coronavirus patients without increasing the number of staff.“No doctor will want to work in a hospital where he has to watch his patients die because of lack of oxygen,” a doctor said.


‘No money to pay salaries’: Delhi govt seeks Rs 5,000 crore aid from Centre to deal with Covid-19 crisis


Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said that the Delhi government has no money to pay salaries for its employees and sought Rs 5,000 crore in aid from the Central government to deal with the crisis situation emerged due to the virus outbreak.Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard.Sisodia, who also holds the finance department charge, said the Delhi government needs around Rs 3,500 crore per month to pay salaries to its employees and to bear office expenses.


Lockdown Suicide: Under Severe Financial Strain, Jobless Man Jumps in Front of Speeding Train


New Delhi: A case of suicide was reported from Maigalganj UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Friday. According to police, an unemployed man took his own life by jumping in front of railway tracks. A suicide note has been recovered from the spot.The deceased, identified as Bhanu Prakash Gupta, was a resident of Maigalganj. He used to work at a restaurant in Shahjahanpur but due to lockdown he was rendered jobless and remained confined to his house.In his suicide note, Bhanu cited extreme financial strain as reason for taking the drastic step. He revealed his struggle to cope with the situation ever since he returned home after the lockdown. in the absence of a regular income, he was finding it hard to feed his four children and bear medical expenses of his ageing mother. Bhanu, along with his mother, was suffering from respiratory disorder.Clarion India



Saudi reopens 90,000 mosques after 2 month coronavirus lockdown


Across Saudi Arabia 90,000 mosques have reopened for the first time in more than two months, Saudi state SPA reported. Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.The government has asked people to keep a distance of two meters between rows, wear face masks and to bring their own prayer mats.Mosques were cleaned and sterilized by local authorities, including Qurans and Quran holders. Precaution has also been taken when opening doors and windows during prayer times and when worshipers enter the mosques. Mosques will be opened 15 minutes before the call to prayer and will close 10 minutes after prayer. The first call to prayer on Fridays will start 20 minutes before prayer time, and mosques will be opened 20 minutes before and will close 20 minutes after. The Friday sermon prayer should not exceed 15 minutes, authorities warned.


Coronavirus: Al-Aqsa Mosque reopens after more than 2 months


Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has reopened to worshippers and visitors after more than two months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.Council of Islamic Waqf, which oversees Muslim sites on the complex, cited the virus's slowed local spread in lifting entry restrictions on Sunday.But the Jordan-appointed council also imposed some precautionary measures to reduce the risk of contagion at Islam's third-holiest site. Worshippers must wear face masks and bring personal prayer rugs should they wish to pray in the mosque or on the grounds.Chanting "God is greatest, we will protect Al-Aqsa with our soul and blood", tens of Muslims gathered in front of the large wooden doors, where they were welcomed by mosque director Omar al-Kiswani, who thanked them for their patience.aljazeera


Dozens of Israeli settlers tour Al-Aqsa as site reopens


Dozens of Jewish settlers on Sunday forced their way into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, shortly after the site was reopened, according to the mosque director."Around 105 Jewish settlers have entered the compound since early morning under protection of Israeli police," Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Anadolu Agency.He said the move "came to upset the worshippers" after the mosque was reopened for prayers. The flashpoint site was reopened to worshippers early Sunday after more than two months of closure due to the outbreak of coronavirus.Kiswani said Israeli forces also arrested three Palestinians – a youth and two girls – from inside the site.No reason was provided for the arrests.


Iran's mosques to resume daily prayers as lockdown eases


Government employees went back to work in Iran on Saturday, and President Hassan Rouhani said mosques would resume daily prayers across the country, even though some areas are seeing high levels of coronavirus infections.Rouhani also said on state television that shopping malls would be able to stay open beyond the 6pm closing time imposed as part of the lockdown, a further step in the government's plans to steadily ease the curbs."Doors to mosques across the country will open to the public for daily prayers," Rouhani said, adding that worshippers should observe social distancing and other health protocols. He did not say when mosques would reopen.Authorities are taking tougher measures to ensure health regulations are observed, such as barring people from buses and metro trains if they do not wear face masks, Iranian media reported.aljazeera



Nepal Parliament Set To Clear New Map Which Includes Indian Territory


 The move to update Nepal's new map -- which includes a stretch of land high in the mountains that India claims as its own -- has gathered momentum, with the ruling Left alliance moving a constitution amendment bill today. The opposition Nepali Congress has said it would vote in favour of the amendment, amid friction with India over the issue.In Nepal, it usually takes a month to pass a constitution amendment bill. But this time, in view of the people's sentiments, the Nepali parliament may bypass several procedures to get the bill passed in the next ten days, sources said. The opposition assurance means the bill - which requires two-third majority -will get passed.Earlier this month, the ruling party had cleared the map, drawing fierce reaction from India, which described the move as "unilateral" and not based on historical facts."Such artificial enlargement of territorial claims will not be accepted by India," Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, had said. "Nepal is well aware of India's consistent position on this matter and we urge the Government of Nepal to refrain from such unjustified cartographic assertion and respect India's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he had added.

Supporter turned antagonist: The problem posed by Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli : Suhasini Haidar, thehindu



Senior Indian, Chinese military commanders set to meet to defuse Ladakh tensions


New Delhi: Top tactical commanders from the Indian and Chinese armies are set to meet again “soon” in eastern Ladakh to ease tensions that have arisen from an unprecedented troop build-up since early May.Sources said divisional commander-level talks will be held soon, and will be in continuation of the two rounds of talks held on 22 May and 23 May. Diplomatic talks are also being held between the two countries to ensure the issue is settled peacefully. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had in an interview to news channel Aaj Tak Saturday said “there are perceptional differences with China over the LAC”.


Don’t air visuals likely to vitiate border situation:Indian  Army


Indian Army Sunday said Indian and Chinese military commanders have been in talks to address differences. It urged the media “not to air visuals that are likely to vitiate the current situation on the borders”.Army statement came in the wake of a video clip doing the rounds of social media. It said “currently no violence is happening “.“It has been brought to our notice that a video is doing the rounds in social media on an incident on the borders. The contents of video being circulated are not authenticated. Attempt to link it with the situation on the Northern borders is malafide. Currently no violence is happening,”Army said in its statement. “Differences are being addressed through interaction between military commanders, guided by established protocols on management of borders between the two countries. We strongly condemn attempts to sensationalise issues impacting national security. The media is requested not to air visuals that are likely to vitiate the current situation on the borders,” it stated.indianexpress


Link between virus, 'Chinese incursions', say Indian military experts:Anadolu Agency report


Indian military experts say there was a link between China’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its latest military incursions into the Ladakh region, resulting in a face-off between the armies. "Globally, China is losing its leverage as it is believed to have caused the pandemic. Industries are looking to move out of China. This is causing China to divert attention from the COVID-19 situation," Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia, India’s former director-general of military operations (DGMO), said. He said post-COVID world will be a big opportunity for India, as the fulcrum of power will shift from West to East.“This issue is a long haul. Military-to-military talks have not been successful, diplomats are now discussing the issue. We cannot rule out that the politicians may have to get involved,” said retired Gen. Ved Prakash Malik, the former army chief who led Indian forces during 1999 Kargil War.He said that India’s joining the global outcry to investigate origin of coronavirus and then the construction of a military post on its side of LAC triggered the incident. The former army chief said that the promotion of China's dream by President Xi Jinping, where he wants to make China a superpower both military and economy-wise may have aggravated the incursion.“Isolated incidents have occurred in the past because of an undefined grey area at LAC. This time, however, it is different as Chinese soldiers have dug-in and sat down at various disputed areas,” said Malik. “Transgressions are a normal occurrence, with about 350 occurring every year. But what is different this time is their simultaneous intensity, scope, and the nature of the activity. Hence the ongoing incursions are a cause of some concern. Early indicators show that PLA [People’s Liberation Army] is preparing for a long haul,” said Lt. Gen. Bhatia.


Kashmiri Pandit, Jammu organisations slam delimitation move


Centre’s decision to redefine Assembly constituencies through a delimitation exercise has come under criticism from Kashmiri Pandit leaders and pro-Jammu organisations, who said that it excludes Kashmiri Pandits and is an act of “internal sabotage”.Satish Mahaldar, Chairman of Reconciliation, Return, and Rehabilitation of Migrants, demanded that the process be stopped as the 2011 census, which is being taken as the basis for conducting the exercise in J&K, does not take into account a large number of Kashmiri Pandits. He said the names of 2 lakh Kashmiri Pandit migrants have been erased from electoral records and are not registered with the migrants and relief department either. He asked how the delimitation exercise can be fair using the current data.“We condemn this fraudulent exercise in which the rights of the people are not protected,’’ he said, demanding representation for Kashmiri Pandits in the delimitation panel.Sanjay Dhar, a Kashmiri Pandit leader who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag, expressed anguish over the Central and local governments “deliberately neglecting” the community in the constitution of the delimitation panel. He demanded inclusion of at least one representative of the community into the delimitation panel and reservation of two Parliamentary and 10 Assembly seats for them.Ankur Sharma, chairman of the right-wing organisation IkkJutt Jammu, claimed the decision “will perpetuate slavery of Jammu” as 2011 Census was fudged in favour of Kashmir. He demanded that the Centre should wait for the 2021 Census before the exercise.National Conference, whose president Dr Farooq Abdullah was among four MPs from Jammu and Kashmir nominated as associate members to the Delimitation Commission, has already refused to be part of the exercise.




Solicitor General, 2 others appointed as SPP/ special counsel in Delhi riots case


New Delhi: 3 senior law officers — Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor Generals Maninder Acharya and Aman Lekhi — have been appointed special public prosecutor/ special counsel in a case involving the arrest of a 25-year-old woman in relation to the Delhi riots.The submission was made by Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra before the Delhi High Court, which was seized of a habeas corpus petition filed by the brother of Gulfisha Fatima, an MBA student, who has been under continued detention since she was arrested on April 9. Mehra said Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain had made an endorsement approving the appointment of special public prosecutor/ special counsel to represent the Delhi police in the present case.He stated that the above law officers/ special counsels would represent the Delhi government and police in the case since the approval of Delhi government was specifically obtained. The central government submitted that the approval of the Home Minister was obtained by the Delhi police so as to avoid any controversy.Submission was made in response to a query made by the High Court, on the date of the previous hearing, seeking clarity on who will represent the police and government in the case.The petition was filed by Aqil Hussain over the continued detention of his sister under UAPA when Special Courts that could extend custody were not functioning due to the COVID-19 lockdown.Ms. Fatima, along with others, was initially arrested over an FIR lodged in Jafrabad police station for allegedly instigating a crowd to block the road near Jaffrabad metro station on February 22 to protest against CAA and NRC.  Hussain had stated that even though his sister was granted bail in an initial FIR, she remains in custody due to the alleged charges against her under UAPA.thehindu


SG’s remark that HCs are running a parallel government’ smacks of govt arrogance: Congress


Congress on Sunday questioned Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's remarks that high courts are "running a parallel government in the country", and asked whether the statement was meant to browbeat the courts.Accusing the government of displaying an arrogant attitude, former law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said while addressing the media through video conferencing, "I wonder if this is meant to browbeat the courts. This is certainly a very arrogant attitude that should not be articulated in this fashion."The Congress also said that the government had displayed a similar arrogance in the past, with Sibal citing instances and alleging that some judges were transferred after they delivered judgements that were "uncomfortable". "This govt has in the past displayed this kind of arrogance", he said, noting that both the courts and the government should take note of this."Unless the courts are alive to what is happening on the ground, this kind of attack and expression is not conducive to a democratic environment," he said. Sibal added that this govt also called a journalist a "vulture", and in saying so "I feel the government has forgotten its culture and we condemn this".He said journalists are committed by their profession "to clean up the vicious environment" in this country.


Amnesty India demands release of activists over virus


New Delhi:Amnesty International India has demanded immediate release of human rights activists detained in India as undertrials under the repressive UAPA. As part of a massive crackdown on human rights defenders in India, nine prominent activists -- Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao -- were arrested by the police. Two years later, the crackdown on human rights defenders continued with the arrests of Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.Amnesty on Saturday said these human rights activists suffer from comorbidity, putting them at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. In a statement, Amnesty said: “Overcrowded Indian prisons have become hotbeds of coronavirus cases. At least 3 people have died and 200 infected across Maharashtra prisons because of COVID-19.""Yet NIA continues to oppose bail pleas filed on medical grounds by these human rights activists," it said.Across India, the 11 are hailed as brave activists, committed to the causes of the poorest and most marginalized communities in the country, noted Amnesty India, adding that the activists have been fearless vocal critics of the government for the sake of the people.


15 women organizations in Telangana demand release of all persons arrested for anti CAA-NRC-NPR protests


Telangana: Over 15 women’s organizations from Telangana on Friday strongly condemned the arrests of anti-CAA-NRC-NPR protestors by Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs and demanded their release. The recent arrest of Pinjra Tod members Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, both of who had actively participated in anti-CAA-NRC protests urged the city’s feminist groups to join hands against the government’s backing of police to serve their political motives. The group outlined that despite Duty Magistrate at Mandoli Jail granting 2 Pinjra Tod activists bail on the grounds that they were “merely protesting against NRC and CAA,” police hasn’t released them.“Feminist solidarities must be celebrated and defended in times of fascism,” the collective statement said and added that “police custody has been extended twice for the two Pinjra Tod members under the pretext that they would be required for interrogation in another FIR with serious charges.”


'Pinjra Tod' condemns arrest of its members under 'draconian laws'


New Delhi:'Pinjra Tod' group, a collective of women students and alumni of colleges from across Delhi, on Sunday condemned the "usage of draconian laws" against its members after two of them were arrested in connection with violence during anti-CAA protests in New Delhi in December. While 'Pinjra Tod' activist and JNU student Natasha Narwal has been booked under UAPA under the same FIR as filed against Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Umar Khalid and others, its other member Devangana Kalita booked in connection with violence during the protests in old Delhi's Daryaganj area.This is the third case under which Kalita has been arrested by the police, of which 2 are related to northeast Delhi riots. Condemning Kalita's arrest, the group said, "she has now been taken into police custody at the Daryaganj police station. This reveals the completely misinformed nature of the charges being made against the protesters."The Daryaganj protest was among the first massive protests against CAA in Delhi, where 'Pinjra Tod' members, among thousands of others joining the call, were caught in a "brutal lathicharge by Delhi police", members alleged.PTI


11 digit phone numbers are coming to India


Reports have suggested that TRAI will soon consider changing the numbering schemes for mobile phones in India to accommodate 11-digit phone numbers. A major reason for this is the steep curve in the rising number of mobile connections in the country. Among other options, the most likely one TRAI will choose is to increase a digit on the current 10-digit phone numbering scheme. The new scheme might also push fixed line connections from eight to 10 digits. Currently, the country has 10-digit mobile phone numbers beginning with 9, 8 and 7. These numbers can accommodate 2.1 billion connections, which does look like a big number, but is actually not enough to accommodate everyone in the near future. Reportedly another 2.6 billion phone numbers will be needed to manage the needs of the country’s growing number of connections by 2050.AsianAge


'No Point Continuing After SC Verdict On Land Dispute': Babri Masjid Plaintiff Wants Demolition Case Closed


Ayodhya: Babri plaintiff Iqbal Ansari has sought closure of the Babri Masjid demolition case at the earliest.Ansari told reporters on Saturday that he does not want any more arguments over Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute. “Now that the Supreme Court has given its verdict in the dispute and everyone has accepted the same, there is no point in continuing with the demolition case,” he said.Iqbal Ansari has clearly stated that the special CBI court, overseeing the Babri Masjid demolition case, should also work for the speedy closure.“Now, there should be no fight over Ram Janambhoomi and Babri Masjid and communalism should not exist in our country. All such disputes should be put to rest and not pursued any further,” he said.The special CBI court is scheduled to record statements of those accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case on June 4.Among those whose names feature in the list of the accused are BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, among others.IANS


Parts Of Taj Mahal Complex Damaged In Thunderstorm, Main Structure Safe


Agra: A deadly thunderstorm that rolled across northern parts of the country damaged sections of the Taj Mahal complex, including the main gate and a railing running below its 5 lofty domes, officials said Sunday.One of New 7 Wonders of the World, the country's top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to try and combat coronavirus pandemic. Images showed workers assessing the railing of the main mausoleum, after the storm on Friday night battered Agra."One sandstone railing which was a part of the original structure has been damaged," Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, told AFP."One marble railing which was a later addition, a false ceiling in the tourist holding area and the base stone of the main gate has also been damaged."He added there was no damage to the main structure of the monument to love -- built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.AFP


"Brutal" Mob Attacked 2 Young Men In Assam's Jorhat District, Killed 1


Jorhat: In a tragic incident on Saturday, a mob of around 50 people attacked two young men in Assam's Jorhat district after the duo, who were on a two-wheeler returning from a day trip amid the coronavirus lockdown, hit two women near a tea garden.Debashish Gogoi, 23, died from injuries sustained in the attack, which took place near the town of Mariani, while his friend, Aditya Das, survived and was taken to hospital with severe injuries. The two women did not receive any major injuries.The two made a brief visit to Gabhoru Parbat, a popular tourist site, the police said, before they were attacked near Gabhuro Pahar Tea Factory. Locals said the mob gathered almost immediately after the men "slightly" hit the women and started assaulting them without any discussion, cause or confrontation. "The mob turned so brutal that it did not even stop beating the youth even when Debashish's father and sisters rushed in and tried to talk," a police official said.


Bajrang Dal leader booked for assault, forcing minor to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ in Karnataka


A 25-year old Bajrang Dal leader in Bantwala taluk was booked on charges of threatening and assaulting a boy and forcing him to chant 'Jai Sri Ram' in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka, police said on Friday.The accused Dinesh is reportedly a leader of the Bajrang Dal. Along with him were minors, one aged 17, and two others aged 16 years old. The three minor boys have also been booked by the police, Deccan Herald reported.The incident occurred in communally sensitive Bantwal taluk a few days ago. After a video of the incident was spread widely on social media, the victim along with his parents filed a complaint with the Vittala police on Thursday. Reports say that the boy did not tell anyone about the attack, but when the video went viral, his parents decided to act.Based on the complaint received, a case was registered at Vittala police station against Bajrang Dal leader Dinesh of Kanyana and 3 minor boys.


Casteist Remarks Made During Phone Call, Away From Public View, Not An Offence: Court


Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the use of the casteist words during a phone call, away from public view, does not amount to an offence under SC/ST Act.Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill passed the order on May 14 on a plea challenging the framing of charges against two persons from Kurukshetra who allegedly made casteist remarks over mobile phone against their village head. “Merely uttering such wrong words in the absence of any public view does not show any intention or mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing that constitutes part of a crime) to humiliate the complainant who besides being Sarpanch, belongs to Scheduled Caste community.PTI


Trolls Force Zaira Wasim to Quit Social Media After She Quotes from Quran on Locusts


New Delhi: Former Bollywood actor Zaira Wasim had to deactivate her social media pages in the wake of an intemperate attack from Internet trolls over one of her tweets. Her only fault was that in a reaction to the locust attack, she had shared a verse from the Holy Quran on her Twitter account On May 27.However, she is back on social media after a brief interval.The verse Wasim tweeted was lifted from seventh chapter of Islamic holy book that read: “So, We sent upon them the flood and locusts and lice and frogs and blood: Signs openly self-explained: but they were steeped in arrogance– a people given to sin.”Her tweet drew a wave of adverse and hostile response with swarms of social media trolls unleashing a barrage of hostile comments accusing her of justification of the locust attack under the cover of religion. Questioning her motive behind sharing the verse, they mocked at her faith. When it became too much to handle, she opted to quit social media.Clarion India


In a fortnight, second cyclone heading towards Indian coast


In a span of two weeks, Indian coast is bracing for yet another cyclone, this time along the west.IMD has turned on its cyclone-watch over a low pressure system that formed on Sunday. It presently lies over Southeast and east-central Arabian Sea, just off north-Kerala and Karnataka coast as on Sunday afternoon.Cyclone Amphan, formed in the Bay of Bengal, had hit West Bengal and Bangladesh on May 20.“The low pressure is likely to concentrate into a depression over the next 24 hours and most likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by Tuesday,” the latest bulletin issued by IMD read.



George Floyd: Curfews defied as demonstrations escalate across US


Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have spread to even more cities across the United States as people in many parts of the country defied curfews to protest against the killing of George Floyd.The days-long protests sweeping the nation have reawakened outrage over years of deaths of Black people at the hands of police, renewing long-standing accusations of institutionalised and systemic racism.After a night of unrest on Friday, racially diverse and largely peaceful protests took over streets in major cities throughout country during Saturday's daytime hours.Participants held signs saying "Black Lives Matter" and chanted "I can't breathe" - some of Floyd's last words before he died on Monday shortly after a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, pinned him down with a knee to the neck for several minutes.In New York, a city that is yet to emerge from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, a series of protests took place across its five boroughs."I'm here for George Floyd; I'm here for all those who have lost their lives [to] police brutality," Paige Porter, a protester in New York, told Al Jazeera."America is sick and we have to root out racism," Caroline Nixon, a white demonstrator, said. "I think that white people need to stand up and do something instead of sitting on their couch."By late on Saturday, many of the nationwide demonstrations turned violent amid tense standoffs between police and protesters. The unrest saw some police cars set ablaze and stores ransacked as officers used tear gas and rubber bullets during confrontations.Authorities in a number of cities imposed overnight curfews in a bid to control the escalating situation, affecting millions of people including in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.In Minneapolis, hundreds of protesters were still out as an 8pmcurfew began on Saturday. The demonstrators have promised to continue taking to the streets at least until all four officers involved in Floyd's death have been charged. So far, only one officer - Derek Chauvin - has been arrested in connection to Floyd's death.


Egypt says 19 fighters killed in Sinai; 5 casualties among troops


Egyptian military says it has killed at least 19 fighters during security operations in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, which also resulted in five casualties among troopsThe army said in an online video statement late on Saturday that the fighters were killed in raids and attacks that took place last week in the towns of Bir al-Abed, Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.The statement said the army had killed three "extremely dangerous" fighters as well as 16 others in precision air attacks on their "terrorist hideouts".Troops also recovered troves of automatic rifles, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the army."Two officers, a noncommissioned officer and two soldiers were killed and wounded in the operations," the statement said.


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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:36 PM)

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