13 May 2020

13 May News: 84% households suffer decline in income, over 1/3 households may run out of resources by next week; Over 2.7 crore in their 20s lost jobs in April: CMIE. 67% of workers lost jobs during lockdown: Survey. Modi gave us a ‘headline and a blank page’: Opposition leaders question Centre’s economic package


13 May 2020: 19 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 207


84% households suffer decline in income, over 1/3 households may run out of resources by next week; Over 2.7 crore in their 20s lost jobs in April: CMIE

Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) in its study has stated that more than one-third of Indian households may run out of resources in another week and face distress without assistance after that, a report in Economic Times said. The study is based on the impact of lockdown on Indian household income that was released on May 12. It also stated that 84% household has suffered a decrease in monthly income and that more than one-fourth of the country’s working-age population is unemployed. “Across India, 34% of all households report being able to survive for no more than one week without additional assistance,” said study co-authored by CMIE chief economist Kaushik Krishnan. It also highlighted the urgent need to support households at the lower end of the income spectrum.“These figures suggest that the rapid distribution of in-kind or cash transfers is needed to prevent a sharp increase in malnutrition and severe deprivation,” study said.Data in the study unveiled urban-rural divide, with 65% of urban households reporting enough provisions for a week while only 54% of rural households said they have enough provisions. Over 27 million (2.7 crore) youngsters in their 20s lost jobs in April, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data showed, highlighting the pain inflicted by Covid-19 and the lockdown imposed to combat its spread.The unemployment rate slowed to 24% from 27% in the week ended May 10. Job losses among the vulnerable are likely to raise the proportion of households in debt, CMIE said. “This has serious longterm repercussions. It is during this age that young India builds its career in the hope of a bright future,” said Mahesh Vyas, MD and CEO of economic research house CMIE.It said 33 million men and women in their 30s lost jobs in April and 86% of job losses were among men. According to CMIE, job losses have been registered in every age-group of 5 years. Job losses are disproportionately high among younger age groups.nationalheraldindia/ET/TOI


67% of workers lost jobs during lockdown: Survey by Azim Premji University

New Delhi: About 2-thirds, or 67 per cent, of workers lost employment during the ongoing lockdown to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, with urban India posting loss in employment for 8 in 10 workers and almost 6 in 10 workers in rural areas, as per initial findings of a phone survey of nearly 4,000 respondents conducted by Azim Premji University in collaboration with 10 civil society organisations. The survey was conducted in AP, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra (Pune), Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, and West Bengal to gauge the impact of the lockdown on employment, livelihoods and access to government relief schemes.Loss of employment was the worst for self-employed in urban areas, with 84 per cent of them losing employment, compared with 76 per cent salaried workers and 81 per cent casual workers. In rural areas, 66 per cent casual wage workers reported loss of employment, followed by 62 per cent of salaried workers and 47 per cent of rural workers. Average weekly earnings for non-agricultural self-employed workers who were still employed fell by over 90 per cent from Rs 2,240 to Rs 218. For casual workers who were still employed, average weekly earnings almost halved from Rs 940 in Rs 495 during lockdown, the survey noted. Half of all salaried workers, or 51 per cent, saw either a cut in their salary or received no salary. Nearly half (49 per cent) of households reported that they did not have enough money to buy even a week’s worth of essential items, while 80 per cent of urban households and 70 per cent in rural areas reported consuming less food than before. indian express


PM Modi gave headline, blank page: Chidambaram on financial package

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday mocked the prime minister's announcement of a ₹20 lakh crore financial package as a "headline and blank page", and said he was looking forward to the finance minister filling the blank page.Chidambaram said he would count every additional rupee the government infuses into the economy and examine what the poor, hungry and devastated migrant workers get after walking hundreds of kilometres to their home states.""Today, we look forward to FM filling the blank page. We will carefully count every ADDITIONAL rupee that the government will actually infuse into the economy," he said on Twitter.The former finance minister said "We will also carefully examine who gets what?"."And the first thing we will look for is what the poor, hungry and devastated migrant workers can expect after they have walked hundreds of kilometres to their home states."We will also examine what the bottom half of the population (13 crore families) will get in terms of REAL MONEY," he said in a series of tweets.Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also slammed the prime minister's announcement. "Last night the Prime Minister did what comes to him best. Maximum packaging, Minimum meaning.It was a case of classic NAMO. No Action Message Only," he said on Twitter.PTI


Mamata slams Rs 20 lakh cr economic package, calls it ‘a big zero’

 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday slammed Union government, claiming the special economic package announced by it has nothing of help to the states and is “a big zero”.Banerjee alleged the central government was “misleading people” during the COVID-19 crisis.PTI


Economic package math: It’s 10% of GDP but about half is already factored in

Rs 20-lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounds big but will burn only a small hole in the government’s finances. A large part of it, or as much as Rs 8.04 lakh crore, is additional liquidity injected into the system by the Reserve Bank of India through various measures in February, March and April. Add to this the Rs 1.7 lakh crore fiscal package announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 27. The balance of the economic package, details of which are not yet known, then stands at Rs 10.26 lakh crore. It is expected that the Finance Minister will announce the details at the earliest since this has a bearing on the bond markets.Sources familiar with discussions within the government said the fiscal outgo may not be more than Rs 4.2 lakh crore during the year, taking cues from the revised borrowing calendar announced just three days back. “On May 9, the government revised its estimated market borrowings to Rs 12 lakh crore from Rs 7.8 lakh crore as announced in Budget 2020-21… In a way, this puts a ceiling to the size of the fiscal package at 2.1 per cent of GDP (Rs 4.2 lakh crore),” source said.indianexpress


70% of Modi’s COVID-19 package outlined with little relief in sight:national herald india

The migrants, on painful, long walks home, would have thought there would be some relief for them on their way when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his Rs-20-lakh-crore COVID19 package. Day 1 of the ‘series of policy announcements’ provided no hope. The informal sector is also wondering what comes next.Half the money of the PM’s Rs 20 lakh crore relief package has already been spent without much impact. On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made announcements adding to Rs 4.4 lakh crore but they were mainly credit guarantee schemes for MSMEs (Rs 3 lakh crore) and power sector (Rs 90,000 crore) and reduction of TDS rates by 25% (Rs 50,000 crore). This means roughly 70% of Prime Minister’s Rs 20 lakh crore has now been outlined or spent but does not provide much relief to the stressed unorganised sector and the poorest of the poor who have lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 crisis.The question is what will happen to the remaining half and how much of it will actually reach the people. About 12 crore Indians have been rendered jobless by the crisis, more than 9 crore in the informal sector, and about 40 crore need govt support to get by. The govt did not announce anything that would help them. We only hope that there would be some relief in coming days.nationalheraldindia


Centre widens definition of MSMEs; FM announces 30,000 cr special liquidity scheme for NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs

In a major move to benefit several businesses in the country, Centre has decided to review the definition of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and announced increase of investment limits.Addressing the media in Delhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the additional criteria of turnover has also been introduced for recognition of an MSME.Further, government has also done away with the distinction of services and manufacturing MSME.As per the new changes, businesses with investment of less than Rs 1 crore and turnover of Rs 5 crore would be classified as micro enterprises. Under the existing criteria, a company with investment of less than Rs 25 lakh in the manufacturing sector and less than Rs 10 lakh in the services sector were considered micro enterprises.The investment limit of small enterprises has been increased to Rs 10 crore, and the companies would have to have turnover of less than Rs 50 crore.Further, the investment limit for medium enterprises has been increased to Rs 20 crore and the turnover limit has been kept at Rs 100 crore. Among other measures for MSMEs, she also announced a collateral free automatic loans for businesses including MSMEs up to Rs 3 lakh crore. Sitharaman on Wednesday detailed six measures for supporting the country's MSME sector under Centre's massive stimulus programme.Centre has also decided not to go in for global bidding for govt procurement for tenders up to Rs 200 crore, thereby, promoting the participation of MSMEs, she said. The finance minister announced a Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), housing finance companies (HFCs) and micro-finance institutions (MFIs).IANS

Sitharaman announces EPF relief, TDS rate cut; ITR filing deadline extended


Nothing for lakhs of poor migrants in what Finance Minister said today, says Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said, "there is nothing in what Finance Minister said today for the lakhs of poor, hungry & devastated migrant workers walked & many thousands are still walking back to their home states. It's a cruel blow to those who toil everyday."  Chidambaram further said, "there is also nothing by way of cash transfer to the bottom half of the population - 13 crore families who have been pushed into destitution." He stated, "Finance Minister announced some support measures for MSMEs, although my comment is, the measures were skewed in favour of the larger MSMEs - about 45 lakh MSMEs. I think the bulk of the 6.3 crore MSMEs were left high and dry." nationalheraldindia


Centre’s inclusion of IT refunds in economic package irks Opposition leaders, social media users

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced details of the Rs 20 lakh crore package as part of measures to combat the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The minister said the announcements were based on the existing foundation of reforms.“Within hours of lockdown, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package was announced,” Sitharaman said at the press conference. “We ensured refunds of Rs 18,000 crore was given to all taxpayers...Ration also distributed to non-card-holders. Ujjwala gas connections were given, and cash transfers were made to Jan Dhan accounts.”

Modi gave us a ‘headline and a blank page’: Opposition leaders question Centre’s economic package


'Betrayal By Elected Govts': Activist Aruna Roy On Suspension Of Labour Laws

Madhya Pradesh and UP governments have moved to relax a string of labour laws with the stated objective of attracting more investment and making industry operations smoother during the economic crisis induced by the covid-19 lockdown. After these changes, the employers can increase workers’ daily shifts from 8 hours to 12 hours and are not bound to provide basic working conditions to workers such as ventilation, toilets, protective equipment, etc. The working hours have been raised in a few other states as well, namely Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. Aruna Roy, one of the oldest members of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, argues that the suspension of fundamental rights of workers to privilege employers is exploitation. In addition, an expansion of Employment Guarantee Act in villages, and even extending it to cities, she suggests, would be the most inexpensive way of rebuilding the economy. She spoke to outlook about the implications of this move and how it will impact the labourers. She said, "The perverse disregard for workers was heralded with the proposed changes to labour laws by Parliament in 2019. This use of Covid-19 lockdown to pass these immoral and inherently undemocratic orders by UP and MP govts will push India back many decades, reducing the worker to bondage. Workers are the worst hit by Covid-19 restrictions on travel and are beaten and detained like criminals fleeing from authority. This is betrayal by a democratic govt, elected by a large number of working people. "outlookindia


Virus Is From A Lab, Not Natural: Union Minister Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, reacting to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announcements for small businesses hit by coronavirus crisis, said creating positivity in the circumstances was a challenge."We have to understand the Art of Living with Corona. It is not a natural virus, but a virus from the laboratory. Countries are struggling to create a vaccine. With this vaccine we can alleviate fear and resolve problem," Nitin Gadkari said in an interview to NDTV.ndtv


With no govt help forthcoming, migrants with blisters on their feet forced to walk thousands of miles

Officials in Uttar Pradesh administration say that buses will take migrant workers to home. In daily press briefings, senior government officers churn out numbers of trains that have arrived in UP and the number of migrants workers being brought back. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asks officers to be polite with these workers and provide them transport. However, the grim reality is that thousands of migrant workers are forced to walk and cycle back to their homes. High sounding assurances are coming from both Centre and the state govt, but these workers do not want to wait any longer. So, they opted for the most challenging option: to walk back home.Mohammad Imran, a native of Farrukhabad in UP, was seen walking back to his village from Ajmer with his pregnant wife, children and parents. He walked almost 400 km and reached Agra where he was stopped on Wednesday. “If I get a ride it is okay, otherwise I will walk with my family. It is better to walk than to die on the roads,” he said. There are hordes of people who are walking or cycling back to their homes from Gujarat,Rajasthan, Karnataka, MP and Haryana to their native villages in Uttar Pradesh. A majority of them tried the helpline number publicised by the govt but either it remained busy or nobody was available to receive calls.nationalheraldindia

With no transport available for onward journeys, scores left stranded on roads outside New Delhi station

Scores of people, who arrived on first batch of trains since the partial resumption of railway services amid a lockdown, were today left stranded on the roads outside the railway station with no transport available for onward journeys. Special trains from Ahmedabad, Patna and Mumbai reached the New Delhi Railway Station before 9 am on Wednesday. Indian Railways resumed passenger train operations from May 12, initially with 15 pairs of trains, weeks after these were suspended due to lockdown. Thought the train journey remained smooth for most of the passengers, their excitement to reach home disappeared as they stepped out of the station premises.There was no bus, cab or any other transport option available for onward journeys.PTI

Mumbai : Going Home, Said Migrant Driving Mohmmed Javed Packed Tempo. Hours Later, He Was Dead

Mumbai: A 1,400-km journey, which had barely begun for a group of 20 travelling from Mumbai to Lucknow in a tempo or a goods carrier, came to a grinding halt in the most tragic manner on Monday. The driver of the tempo, who had spoken to NDTV just hours earlier, is now dead. His family survived with injuries after their vehicle was hit by a speeding car on the Mumbai-Nashik highway.The group had said they were returning to their home villages as they had nothing to eat. "We are all relatives. The tempo had broken down. We left at 8 pm (on Sunday). It broke down at 11 pm. There was no option but to wait till morning when we went to Bhiwandi. From there, we got it repaired and came here," Mohmmed Javed, driver and the father who died, had told NDTV before their accident. He was seen in a blue face mask.Migrants are leaving cities like Mumbai in hordes in whatever transport they can find.While returning from Nashik at around 4 pm, the green tempo was spotted on the same highway, overturned. The white car that hit the temp was also at the spot.ndtv


Stranded in Delhi for last 50 days, over 250 poor construction workers appeal for help

Over 250 migrant workers stranded for over 50 days at the site of an under-construction hospital in Delhi being built by L&T have issued an emotional appeal for help after a minor scuffle broke out between them and police on Tuesday morning. Demanding payment of salary due to them, the stranded construction workers have issued a letter pleading to authorities to make arrangements for their transportation to their native places. They have alleged that the company, with the help of the local administration, has put them in a “detention like situation” and despite many efforts, they were not being allowed to go to their native places. Seeking help, the construction workers, hailing largely from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, have released a video and photos with a letter in Hindi, saying, “We are stranded in Sector 9, Dwarka at the Indira Gandhi Hospital construction site. On April 3, the staff of L&T and some police personnel came to us and they promised to give us our salary. However, we have not received our salary yet”.


Migrants Block Highway In Gujarat's Kutch, Throw Stones In Protest: Police

Gandhidham: Desperate to travel to their home states amidst lockdown, hundreds of migrant workers on Wednesday blocked a main highway passing through Gandhidham town in Gujarat's Kutch district and threw stones at some vehicles, an official said.These migrants claimed that though they had finished the necessary registration process, there was no response from administration about their repatriation.The stone throwing damaged the windscreen of a truck besides forcing vehicles to stop near a cargo area on Gandhidham-Kandla highway.In a video of the incident, police can be seen rushing towards the mob and Kutch-East superintendent of police Parikshita Rathod asking migrants to calm down using a loud speaker mounted on a police vehicle.


Data From Cremation, Burial Grounds Contradicts Delhi's Official COVID-19 Death Toll: Report

While Delhi government has claimed that only 68 people have died so far in the city from COVID-19, 225 cremations have been performed under the protocol designed for the handling of dead bodies of coronavirus patients at Nigambodh Ghat and Punjabi Bagh crematoriums and 89 burials had been carried out in adherence with the protocol at the ITO graveyard for Muslims. So the actual death count from cases of the novel coronavirus stood at 314 by Saturday.Previously, reports on data from hospitals indicated that there were twice as many deaths from COVID-19 in Delhi than those reported by the Delhi government. The chief secretary had admitted that the discrepancy could be due to the failure on the part of hospitals in promptly sending the data to Death Audit Committee. According to a report in the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, the alleged discrepancy was discovered when the figures available with the authorities at the burial and cremation grounds were tallied against those being provided by Delhi government.



‘Our Dreams Are Dead’: India’s Migrant Workers Just Want A Shot At Survival Now

New Delhi: Debasis Parida, an embroiderer in a garment factory, counts the day he stood for 14 hours to get three kilograms of rations and a packet of salt as one of the hardest and most humiliating of his life. The 28-year-old fell so sick that he had to go to a hospital and ended up spending Rs. 200 getting treated for dehydration in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. It was days before he felt well enough to leave the room that he rents with the six other migrant workers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. A native of Odisha, Parida said the cooked food the municipality in the city of Surat was giving migrant workers in his part of town stopped a few weeks after Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on 24 March, leaving him scrounging for food. After cutting out one meal from the day and reducing the portions that he eats, Parida says he always feels hungry.“I don’t know which is worse. Feeling hungry or waiting in line from six in the morning to eight in the night,” said Parida, speaking to HuffPost India over the phone on Monday.


'Beaten For Looking for Food,' Jaipur's Muslim Migrant Workers Agitate to Go Home

Jaipur: Over 10,000 Muslim migrant workers from Bihar and West Bengal residing at Painters’ Colony in Jaipur’s Nahri ka Naka area, who have only been given dry ration packets since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, took to streets on Sunday asking to be sent back home. They claimed that only around 400 packets, each containing a total of seven kilograms of flour, pulses, rice and salt, was distributed among 10,000 people last month. This, too, only came after volunteers of the CPI(ML), CPM and CPI in the area intervened. Left parties had started a helpline, “Samarth,” in the city, from the first day of the lockdown. “We spoke to collector several times but nobody intervened. Even the dry ration supplied to them was not adequate even for half of them,” Rahul, a CPI(ML) volunteer in the area told The Wire.In this Muslim dominated locality of Nahri ka Naka, between 10 and 20 workers usually rent small rooms at about Rs 400 per month. Most of them are daily wage workers and since the lockdown, have run out of money.


68-year-old migrant worker travels 1,600 km to UP, dies 30 km from home, tests Covid-positive

Sant Kabir Nagar:Ram Kripal, a 68-year-old migrant labourer who worked at a Mumbai factory, travelled 1,600 km in a truck over 4 days to reach home in Sant Kabir Nagar, UP. But before he could traverse the last 30 km to his village, he collapsed and died.Kripal was tested positive for coronavirus a day later. Kripal was one of the thousands of migrant labourers who have been leaving urban centres like Delhi and Mumbai in droves to escape job loss and uncertainty about livelihoods. Desperate to get home as soon as possible, according to his family, Kripal shunned the special Shramik Express trains launched by the govt on 1 May.

Himachal : 10 FIRs Against 6 Journalists For Reports, Posts on Lockdown

At least 6 journalists have been booked by Himachal police for comments and ground reports on problems being faced by migrant labourers, businesses and citizens during lockdown. According to a report on Newslaundry, reasons behind these cases filed against the journalists ranged from their reporting on hunger among migrant workers, lack of proper food distribution, to their social media activity which involved sharing reports of other newspapers, to criticising the district administration for laxity in areas such as quarantining inter-state travellers.In some instances police action came after political leaders entered into arguments with journalists for their reporting on a particular situation.


For Monk's Welcome In MP, Huge Crowd, No Social Distancing

Banda: Amid an inexorable and worrying rise in coronavirus cases in India - number of COVID-19 cases rose by 3,525 over the past 24 hours, govt data showed this morning, hundreds gathered in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district on Tuesday, in blatant violation of social distancing protocols, to celebrate the arrival of a Jain monk. No social distancing, attempted or otherwise, was in evidence in the city of Banda yesterday, with visuals from news agency showing thousands of men and women swarming around the monk Pramansagar and his retinue. "Directions have been given to investigate and take action against the organisers," Praveen Bhuria, ASP (Sagar), said, adding that both social distancing norms and orders banning large gatherings (under Section 144), were apparently violated.  ndtv


Coronavirus: ICMR to start household survey to estimate prevalence of infection among Indians

ICMR has said it will begin antibody testing at the household-level to estimate prevalence of Covid-19 infections among Indians. The survey will include 24,000 adults, distributed equally over four strata of districts that will be categorised on the basis of spread of the infection. The exercise will be done in collaboration with Department of Health and Family Welfare, Centre and the National Centre for Disease Control, the medical body said in an official statement. It will also get support from state health departments and key stakeholders, including the WHO.


Mandatory COVID-19 Testing at Delhi's Apollo Hospital Leaves Daycare Patients in a Bind

New Delhi:71-year-old K.P. Mehta* has been going to Apollo hospital thrice a week for dialysis for his kidney treatment for the last four years. In the first week of this month, the hospital asked him to get tested for COVID-19 once every week before his weekly dialysis sessions.Mehta, who is a retired man and preferred to go to Apollo for his treatment since it was the hospital closest to his home, paid an additional Rs 4,500 (the price of the RT-PCR COVID-19 test) along with his dialysis fee for the first time. In the following weeks, patients paid Rs 3,500.At least three patients who frequent Apollo Hospital at Delhi’s Sarita Vihar for day-care treatment services like dialysis and chemotherapy said that they were being asked to get RT-PCR tests for COVID19 every week before their procedures.


Aarogya Setu scores 2 out of 5 points in MIT review for Covid tracing apps

New Delhi: As part of a new database called ‘Covid Tracing Tracker’, MIT Technology Review has given India’s Aarogya Setu app two out of 5 points. The review is based on an index developed to track and assess various contact tracing apps that are backed by governments across the world.The database asks five basic questions — is it voluntary, will data be destroyed after a period of time, are there limitations on how the data gets used, is data collection minimised and is the effort transparent. If after review, the answer is yes, an app gets a star. If the answer is negative, or cannot be answered due to lack of information, the rating is left blank.


Army man who tested positive for Covid-19 commits suicide at Base Hospital

New Delhi: A 31-year-old army jawan who had tested positive for Covid-19 hanged himself from a tree at the army’s Base Hospital in west Delhi’s Naraina in the early hours of Tuesday, the police said.The jawan was being treated for lung cancer and had been admitted to the army’s Research and Referral (RR) Hospital in Dhaula Kuan before being moved to the Naraina hospital on May 5 after testing positive for Covid-19, said Deepak Purohit, DCP (west).


1,225 Nanded returnees test COVID-19 positive: govt

Among the 4,216 returnees from Nanded in Maharashtra, 1,225 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported, according to government data.The information was shared by Dr. S.K. Singh, Director National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), during a video conference with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Wednesday.The meeting was part of a series of one-to-one discussions with various States and UTs’ Health Ministers and Collectors of red zones and high priority districts to take stock of the preparedness and the action being taken for the management of the pandemic. “As on May 12, 2020, all 22 districts stand affected by COVID-19 with 1,913 cases; Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala districts are in the red zone and 15 are in the orange zone. The samples collected are 43,999 with sample positivity rate at 4.3%. Nanded Hazoor Sahib returnees constituted the bulk of cases,” said an official statement.


UP govt scraps 7 allowances for staff, to save Rs 1500 cr yrly

Facing financial constraints owing to the lockdown, the state government on Tuesday decided to scrap seven allowances given to its employees, including the police force. The government expects to save at least Rs 1,500 crore a year through the move.Earlier, the government had decided to freeze these allowances for nearly a year but later during a review it was noticed that these allowances were being given over and above the 7th pay commission’s recommendations and thus, as per a notification issued by the State Finance Department on Tuesday, all these allowances have been “abolished” altogether.


Centre has Eased Guidelines: UP to stick to previous strict protocols on home isolation

A day after the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare eased the home isolation guidelines for novel coronavirus patients, the UP government is planning to stick to the previous protocols for the infected people.Vice-Chancellor of KGMU, which is the nodal institute of UP for dealing with the current pandemic, that asymptomatic Covid-19 patients would not be allowed to stay in home isolation and be admitted to hospitals.Revising home isolation guidelines, the Centre on Monday said that “there is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over”.indianexpress


10 Agra jail inmates Covid positive, all prisoners and staff may be tested

Lucknow :After at least 10 inmates of Agra Central Jail tested positive for novel coronavirus following the death of a convict, the authorities are considering to test all the 1,350 prisoners and 112 jail staffers.Samples of the 12 inmates were collected after a 60-year-old prisoner tested positive on May 6, three days after he was rushed to S N Medical College following complaints of high blood pressure. The inmate, who had also suffered a brain stroke, died on Friday.


Delhi Police Opposes Plea To Transfer Maulana Saad's Case To NIA

 Delhi Police Wednesday opposed a plea in Delhi High Court seeking direction that NIA be handed over the investigation of a case against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad for holding a congregation in alleged violation of the orders aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani, conducting the hearing through video conferencing, asked the petitioner to place the judgements in support of his plea to transfer the investigation from Delhi Police Crime Branch to NIA.The petition, filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay, has also sought direction to the NIA to investigate the matter in a time-bound manner and the probe be monitored by the high court. It alleged that Delhi Police has failed to arrest the leader despite the lapse of considerable time.Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain opposed the plea saying Delhi Police was conducting the investigation in a fair manner and argued that the petitioner has no locus standi to file the plea.The court listed the matter for further hearing on May 28.PTI


Delhi Police seize passports, other documents of 700 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members

Delhi Police today confiscated documents, including passports, of around 700 foreigners who attended religious event held by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin of Delhi.Last month, MHA had blacklisted 960 foreign Jamaat followers in the country for flouting visa norms. According to the ministry, these people were present in India on tourist visas, but involved in the activities of the missionary.theweek


Ranchi: Court rejects bail plea of 16 foreigners with Tablighi Jamaat links

Ranchi: The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Faheem Kirmani, on Tuesday rejected bail plea of 16 foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat, who were arrested from Ranchi’s Hindpiri. The court, however, granted bail to Haji Meraj, a local who was booked under the sections of IPC and the Epidemic Act.timesofindia


In UP Temporary Jail, Rizwana Miscarries & Waits 3 Days for Hospital

"This is the first time I participated in Jamaat, I was hoping it would bring me closer to my god and at the same time I would get blessings for me and my unborn child," 29-year-old Rizwana's hopes met a heart-wrenching end when she suffered a miscarriage while staying at Shri Ramswaroop College of Engineering and Management,declared a temporary jail by UP government, in Lucknow district on 9 May night.She and her husband Mohammad Rafi left Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh with eight other people on 14 February. Towards the end of March and early April, when several Tablighi Jamaat members had begun to test positive for COVID-19 leading to a spike in cases across India, they were in Mehmoodnagar in Lucknow. UP police picked all ten of them, including Rizwana, on 3 April.thequint


Plea In Karnataka HC Says Statements And Media Reports After Covid-19 Outbreak Among Tablighi Jamaat Attendees Constitutes 'Hate Speech'

A petition has been filed in Karnataka High Court seeking directions to take action in accordance with law against media houses and political leaders who have made 'hateful statements' against the Minority Community after several members of Tablighi Jamaat tested positive for Coronavirus. Campaign Against Hate Speech, through its founders Siddharth Joshi, A.R. Vasavi and Swati Swathi Sheshadri have moved the court claiming that respondents have in failing to act against the various hateful statements and reports made by the media and political reports has resulted in violation of Fundamental Rights, in particular the Right To Life and Livelihood of various people.A division bench led by Chief Justice Abhay Oka on Monday, directed the registry to place matter before a bench headed by Justice B V Nagarathna for further hearing.livelaw


Malegaon BJP MP blames ‘Tablighi Jamaat for bringing COVID-19 infections to city’, draws flak

Malegaon: A sitting BJP MP from Dhule constituency has stirred up controversy after making discriminatory remarks in a video statement against shifting of COVID-19 patients from Malegaon Central, which is predominantly Muslim, to Dhule and Nashik.Dr Subhas Bhambre is a sitting BJP MP from Dhule. In BJP’s first tenure (2014 to 2019), he was Minister of State for Defence for 3 years.TwoCircles


RSS playing communal politics by blaming Tablighi Jamaat for spread of coronavirus: Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister and senior Congress leader S Siddaramaiah on May 12, Tuesday accused RSS of playing communal politics by blaming Tablighi Jamaat for spread of coronavirus in the country. While addressing a press conference, the Karnataka Congress strongman said, "Today they (RSS) are doing politics alleging that it is spreading through Tablighi in India...Giving political colour to the issue is RSS strategy. It is communal politics at play."The Congress leader attacked the Modi govt at the Centre saying, who gave the permission to Tablighi Jamaat to hold the event in Delhi's Nizamuddin area in March. He smelled conspiracy behind the permission given for the congregation.timesnownews


Gujarat High Court Directs State Govt. to Distribute Food Packets among Migrant Workers, Others in Ahmedabad

Gujarat High Court has taken suo motu notice of the reported miseries caused by the weeklong complete lockdown in Ahmedabad and directed the state government to distribute food packets among hungry migrant workers and other people in the city, on its outskirts and in other parts of the state.On May 7, the state authorities had imposed a complete lockdown in the capital city for a week. Barring milk and medicine shops, everything was ordered to shut down till May 14 as the Coronavirus cases witnessed heavy surge in the city in the previous week. On Monday (May 11), the High Court took suo motu notice of media reports on the miseries of people, particularly migrant workers and daily-wagers, who were hungry for some days due to the complete lockdown.India Tomorrow


Air India Schedule Ready! Special Domestic Flights Between May 19 and June 2 to Ferry Stranded Passengers

New Delhi: As India is preparing for lockdown 4.0 with a plan to resume movements in a staggered manner, reports claimed that Air India will operate special domestic flights from different cities between May 19 and June 2 to help passengers reach home. The flights, according to a TOI report, will connect Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Jaipur etc. However, the carrier is not seeing this as the beginning of the domestic operations as yet. According to the report, senior Air India officials are considering this as part of Air India’s evacuation operations that have been going on.



Special passenger trains depart from Delhi but leave behind those who can’t afford e-tickets

New Delhi: Railways Tuesday cautiously resumed passenger service after more than 50 days, beginning with three trains out of New Delhi and five others heading for the national capital. Each train had around 1,100 passengers, who were first screened. Passengers were also asked to report 90 minutes before departure time. Since the trains are being operated amidst the ongoing lockdown, only those with confirmed e-tickets were allowed to enter stations. There were queues approximately 1.5 km long outside the station as people waited to be screened. However, among that crowd, there were some who could not afford the ticket to their homes and had to remain in Delhi. The fares of these trains are equivalent to that of Rajdhani trains and passengers can book tickets up to seven days in advance.theprint


Why DU, BHU, AMU or JNU students don’t want to go home despite trains and buses resuming

New Delhi: Students living in hostels at central universities across India, from Delhi University to AMU, are wary of going back to their hometowns despite the resumption of trains and buses for stranded people. Lack of social distancing inside public transport, the potential risk of exposing their families to the coronavirus, and the prospect of institutional quarantine are the primary fears holding them back. Some students, who have been advised by institutions to vacate hostels but are scared of travelling amid Covid-19 pandemic, have even taken shelter at the homes of their friends and acquaintances. Several central universities have reportedly asked students to vacate hostels. While BHU and JNU sent advisories in this regard before lockdown kicked in, AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia reportedly did so this month, as the central govt started special trains to get migrant workers, tourists and students home.States have, however, also been individually arranging buses since April to bring back students.Beginning earlier this month, AMU started arranging buses for its students to go back home even as it insisted that they had the choice to stay back. Over 1,000 students have already been taken home within Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar.One such student taken back to Saharanpur, UP, said they were lodged at a quarantine centre with “abysmal facilities” upon their return.  “We were kept in a rough structure with a tin shed, for several hours. After we complained incessantly, they asked for our guardians to come and pick us up,” the student said.theprint


SIO writes to UGC Chairman, demands revision of Exam-Guidelines and Academic Calendar During Lockdown

New Delhi: Student Islmic Organzation (SIO) has urged UGC and Ministry of HRD to revise its newly issued guidelines on Examinations, Academic Calendar in view of COVID-19 pandemic.In this regard, SIO President Labeed Shafi wrote a letter to UGC chairman and urged him to make it more convenient and student-friendly. SIO also issued a statement with its 3-point demand to revise the exam-guidelines and academic schedule in the light of pandemic Covid-19 lockdown.TDN World


Fake message attributed to ICMR lists 21 dos and don’ts post lockdown

A WhatsApp text that lists 21 dos and don’ts on how to resume life after the lockdown has been ascribed to ICMR, New Delhi. It is being widely forwarded on WhatsApp. Alt News spoke Dr Rajani Kant, director, ICMR Regional Medical Research Centre, Gorakhpur and head of Research Management, Policy Planning & Coordination at ICMR HQRS, New Delhi. He said, “WhatsApp message is fake news. All updates by ICMR are communicated in the form of a press release on our website under the media section.” The last update on ICMR website’s media page was ‘National community based sero-survey for COVID-19’ on May 12. Thus viral WhatsApp text hasn’t been drafted by ICMR.altnews


India's carbon emissions fall for first time in four decades:BBC

India's CO2 emissions have fallen for the first time in four decades - and not just as a result of the country's lockdown. Falling electricity use and competition from renewables had weakened the demand for fossil fuels even before the coronavirus hit, according to analysis by the environmental website, Carbon Brief. However, it was the sudden nationwide lockdown in March that finally tipped the country's 37-year emissions growth trend into reverse.The study finds that Indian carbon dioxide emissions fell 15% in March, and are likely to have fallen by 30% in April.Virtually all of the drop-off in power demand has been borne by coal-fired generators, which explains why emissions reductions have been so dramatic.



Saudi to enforce nationwide 24-hour curfew for Eid holiday

Saudi Arabia will enforce a countrywide 24-hour curfew during the five-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday later this month to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.The curfew will apply from May 23-May 27 following the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.Until then, commercial and business enterprises will remain open as they now are and people can move freely between 9 a.m. local time and 5 pm, except in Mecca which remains under a full curfew, the statement published by state news agency SPA said.Saudi Arabia had earlier imposed 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities but eased them for the start of Ramadan. It did not loosen the full isolation lockdowns implemented in some areas with high numbers of coronavirus infections.The kingdom has so far recorded 42,925 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease and 264 deaths.


England relaxes lockdown as UK economy shrinks

England has tentatively begun easing its lockdown, with some people who cannot do their jobs at home urged to return to work, as stark economic data showed the disastrous impact of the pandemic.The worst-hit country in Europe with most deaths from COVID-19 according to official data, UK has been in extensive lockdown since March 23.As of Wednesday morning, people in manufacturing and certain other sectors were being asked to return to work if they could.However, there were concerns for low-skilled workers and people from ethnic minority backgrounds, especially Black Britons, as recent data from the UK's official statistics office has suggested both groups were more at risk of dying from COVID-19.GDP data released on Wednesday showed the economy shrank by a record 5.8 percent in March compared with February, and the April data is likely to be even worse as the country was under lockdown for the entire month.


World's biggest tour operator TUI is shedding 8,000 jobs as it rethinks the future of tourism

London:TUI, world's biggest tour operator, has announced plans to scale back its global operations and cut up to 8,000 jobs as it prepares for a weaker travel and tourism market following the coronavirus pandemic.But the company is hopeful that it can begin reopening hotels in Europe in the coming weeks as governments gradually lift lockdowns."TUI is ready for an early resumption of travel activities in Germany and Europe," the company said in a statement Wednesday, adding that hotels and clubs on the continent are "ready to welcome holidaymakers."CNN

2020 is a catastrophe for tourism businesses. Here's what the industry needs to get back on its feet


No new coronavirus cases recorded in West Bank

Palestinian Health Minister May Kila announced on Tuesday that no new coronavirus cases have been recorded in the occupied West Bank for five consecutive days.“After testing 1,000 people from all governorates,” she told a press conference, “it appears that no one contracted the virus in the past five days.”Kila noted that 15 people have recovered from the virus: eight in Jerusalem, one in the outskirts of the city, five in Hebron and one in Ramallah.Of the 547 coronavirus cases recorded in the occupied Palestinian territories, only 17 are in the Gaza Strip, which has not recorded any new cases for more than two weeks.


Pak thinks Bill Gates will install nano tracker chips in Covid vaccine against Islam : abplivereport

Pakistan has ended its 5-week-long lockdown enforced to contain coronavirus crisis. The shops and other services are getting back to normal now. However, it seems like Pakistan continues to propagate fake claims about coronavirus and its vaccine as one of the news channels in Pakistan was seen talking nonsensically about the same. The person in the debate said that Bill Gates is preparing to hide a nano tracker chip in the coronavirus vaccine against Islam.  abplive



China claims its troops patrolling on Chinese side of LAC

Beijing:Amid tensions between the Indian and Chinese soldiers at Pangong Tso lake area, China said on Wednesday that India should refrain from taking any action to “complicate” the issue and claimed that the PLA troops were conducting “normal patrol” on the Chinese side of the border.Asked about the continued tensions along the border and whether the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops action was anyway related to the disagreements with the Indian government’s plan to lure business out of China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said both the countries were in diplomatic contact over the face-off between their troops.“China’s position on the border issue is consistent and clear. Chinese border troops have been upholding peace and tranquillity along the border areas,” Zhao told a media briefing here.tribuneindia


In Hizbul’s Kashmir team, ‘military adviser’ is most brutal: Cop

Hizbul Mujahideen boss Syed Salahuddin’s move to name three terrorists from across the Line of Control to lead the terror group in Kashmir has prompted security agencies to reset the search for the outfit’s new leadership in the valley.Riyaz Naikoo, Salahuddin’s prime point person in Kashmir till last week, was killed in a joint operation of Kashmir police and Rashtriya Rifles that traced the 32-year-old to a secret bunker in a Pulwama village, not far from the house where he lived before picking up the gun.Salahuddin picked Ghazi Haider aka Saifullah Mir as the Hizbul’s so-called chief commander in Kashmir.Zafarul Islam, believed to be the nom de guerre for 55-year-old Ashraf Maulvi would be Ghazi Haider’s deputy and Abu Tariq Bhai, his so-called chief military adviser.Of the three, a top official in Jammu and Kashmir said, Abu Tariq Bhai has been the most brutal in the choice of his killings and its execution.


Two CRPF officers commit suicide in Kashmir

Srinagar: Fearing he was infected with coronavirus, a CRPF sub-inspector (SI) killed himself in Anantnag district on Tuesday. In Srinagar, an assistant sub-inspector with the force also committed suicide the same day, but the reason behind his extreme step is yet to be known, Srinagar-based CRPF spokesperson Pankaj Singh said.SI Fatah Singh, a resident of Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer, returned to his unit after a day-long duty at a checkpoint and shot himself dead with his service rifle in Anantnag’s Mattan area. Soon after Singh killed himself, his colleagues rushed to the spot and found him in a pool of blood. “They rushed him to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him brought dead,” said the spokesperson.timesofindia     



Kashmiri Killed After CRPF Opened Fire At Vehicle That Jumped Checkpoint, Mobile net Suspended In Budgam

A man was killed when CRPF personnel opened fire on his vehicle which jumped a security checkpoint in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, police told PTI.Journalists in Kashmir reported that mobile internet had been suspended in Budgam following the incident.A police official told PTI: “At around 10:45 am, a naka party of CRPF signalled a vehicle to stop at Kawoosa in the jurisdiction of police station Magam in district Budgam, but the driver of vehicle tried to run away from the spot.”The official said the vehicle’s driver was injured after CRPF troops fired shots.The driver, identified as Mehrajudin, a resident of Makhana Beerwah, was rushed to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to injuries, the official said.huffingtonpost


J&K political parties condemn killing of civilian in Budgam CRPF firing

Political parties in Kashmir on Wednesday condemned the killing of a civilian by CRPF personnel in Budgam district and called for an impartial enquiry to punish the guilty.(JKPCC, in a statement, strongly condemned killing of Mehrajuddin.“The firing should have been avoided. The loss of innocent lives has the potential to lead to further alienation of the people,” JKPCC said. While reacting to the incident, the PDP called for an inquiry.Former chief minister Omar Abdullah termed the incident as unfortunate.PTI



Pregnant student Safoora Zargar at risk in jail: BBC

Delhi: It was 2:30 in the afternoon when a group of policemen arrived at Safoora Zargar's home in south-east Delhi. 27-year-old sociology student at the prestigious Jamia Milia Islamia university was taking a nap, her husband, who didn't want to be named, told BBC. The couple had married 19 months ago, and Ms Zargar had discovered just weeks earlier that she was pregnant."She'd been suffering from nausea and was generally feeling lethargic," he said.The officers told them they were from "special cell" - anti-terror wing of Delhi police - and asked her to go with them to their office in central Delhi. At the police station Ms Zargar was questioned for several hours, and at 22:30 she was arrested. That was on 10 April. So for a month now, she's been lodged in Delhi's overcrowded Tihar jail - at a time when India is under a strict lockdown and the govt's own advisory says pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to infection. Since her arrest, she's been allowed to make 2 five-minute calls each to her husband and her lawyer. She has been denied both visits and letters on account of Covid-19 restrictions. Critics say the authorities are using a false narrative to link the protests with the riots."In my view, this is mala fide persecution," lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan told BBC.The govt, he says, is trying to suppress all dissent, and by arresting the students and activists, they are trying to suppress all future protests."Muslims were at the receiving end of the violence and they are the ones who are being persecuted," he said.And many commentators have described riots as "an organised pogrom against Muslims". But, campaigners say, instead of taking action against BJP politicians and the mobs, police have gone on a witch hunt against Muslim students and protesters, charging them with sedition and throwing them in jail under UAPA, at a time when the courts are hardly functioning because of Covid-19 restrictions.One report says 800 people have been arrested in connection with the February riots, including dozens who have been picked up during the lockdown.


HC order a relief, BJP’s IT army threatening & humiliating me: Delhi minority panel chief Zafarul-Islam Khan

Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul-Islam Khan expressed relief at the Delhi High Court granting him interim protection from arrest until 22 June but continues to stand by his controversial tweet.  He, however, told ThePrint that in his official capacity as the head of a minority panel, the tweet could have been avoided and was ill-timed. In an interview with ThePrint Tuesday, Khan said the Delhi High Court order was a relief in that police “won’t gather in large numbers” outside his house.  “I am not afraid of these things but relieved in the sense that cops won’t gather outside my place in large numbers to take me with them to the station,” he said.  Khan added that last week, Delhi Police officials spent two hours trying to convince him to go with them to the police station, insisting it was for his own good, but he knew that wasn’t the case.  The minorities commission chief said he told the police he won’t accompany them until he was sent a written notice. The police later sent a notice asking Khan for his device/laptop that was used to share the Twitter and Facebook posts.  “I submitted my laptop to the police, but I have said in writing that I am doing it under duress, as I fail to understand why they need it as there is a record of the tweet or social media post available online,” he told ThePrint.  He added that there was “nothing in the case” and that the FIR was malafide.  ThePrint


Drop "Baseless" Charge of Sedition Against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan: 'Hum Bharat Ke Log'

New Delhi:‘Hum Bharat Ke Log’(We The People of India), a coalition of over 100 organisations, has demanded that sedition charges against Delhi Minorities Commission  Zafarul Islam Khan be dropped.In a statement, the coalition said that the charges against Dr. Khan were “baseless”. It said that the charges against Dr. Khan was a part of “a sustained campaign to attack, arrest, persecute and spread hate against Muslims under the cover of COVID-19 lockdown”.The coalition said that he was being framed for “a pro-active role he took to protect minority rights at a time when other democratic institutions have abdicated their constitutional responsibilities”.India Tomorrow


Public petition to Home Ministry demands action against “real culprits” of Delhi violence

With prominent individuals and organizations displaying their outrage at the recent arrests of Muslim activists, the common public is no different to extend support to the student activists.A new petition has been created by the user Aazaad Lab targeting 2500+ signatures has challenged the government’s harassment of protestors who were slapped with UAPA.The petition involves common people as signatories who are enraged by the selective targeting of activists who participated in non-violent protests against CAA. It is supported by a coalition of global student resources groups and associations like The Boston Coalition, Hindus for Human Rights, Council on Minority Rights in India, International Action Center, Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, Coalition Against Fascism in India, Students Against Hindutva Ideology and more.twocircles


90 UK Academics Condemn Crackdown on Anti-CAA Activists, Want Charges Dropped

90 Academics from UK’s universities, including Oxford University, condemned the arrests and the invocation of the draconian anti-terror law, UAPA against anti-CAA activists Safoor Zargar, Meeran Haider, Shifaur Rahman and Umar Khalid. Terming it a “brutal crackdown on the dissent and protest”, they pointed out that while the activists are being linked to the Delhi violence, the real reason for targeting them was that they raised voice against the discriminatory CAA. “Their real ‘crime’ is that they participated in the massive, peaceful pre-lockdown protests and sit-ins against new laws and procedures that alter the secular basis of Indian citizenship, effectively excluding Muslims and violating India’s Constitution. These changes are seen by many in India, across religious and regional divisions, as the first step towards ethnic cleansing. Absurdly, those charged have been accused of instigating the February ‘riots’ in northeast Delhi, which have been widely recognised as a state-sponsored pogrom against Muslims,” reads the joint statement.They expressed their shock over the jailing of pregnant women Safoora, who is a research scholar at the Jamia Millia. “Safoora Zargar is pregnant and therefore vulnerable to Covid-19. Shockingly, she has been incarcerated in Delhi’s overcrowded Tihar Jail,” they said.


Civil Liberties Committee appeals Kejriwal to stop ‘malafide campaign against Dr Khan’

Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee (CLMC) of Telangana has written to CM of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, condemning the “witch hunt of Dr Zafarul Islam Khan by Hindutva brigade.” CLMC General Secretary Lateef Mohammed Khan called out to the “well-planned campaign of defaming rights workers and police action against Muslim activists”, reminding that Dr Khan had only reported the anti-Muslim hate sentiments on Arab social media owing to his duty of a minority rights protector. He praised the Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman for his “prompt action” and commendable work “beyond religion, caste and creed.” He stated that sedition charges and raids at Khan’s house is a “malafidely motivated campaign targeting him to suppress his voice,” and any attempt to suppress his voice is violation of the Indian spirit.


Muslim League to give legal support to anti-CAA protesters in Delhi

Malappuram: IUML has decided to give legal support to the student leaders in Delhi who were arrested in connection with anti-CAA protest in Delhi.A national committee meeting of the party held at Panakkad in the district on Wednesday has taken a decision regarding this.A statement issued by the party after the meeting said that the arrest of Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider who are student leaders of Jamia Millia University, Jamia alumni president Shifa Ur Rehman, and Gulshifa, who was leading Shaheen-Bag model protest in Seelampur is unjustifiable. It also alleges that there is a move from the part of government to arrest Zafarul Islam, who is chairman of minority commission of Delhi, JNU student leader Umar Khalid and research scholar Chingiz Khan, imposing sedition charge.TOI


#ShaheenBaghZindaHai Trends; Crackdown Fails to Break Activists’ Spirit

New Delhi:#ShaheenBaghZindaHai trended on twitter on Monday as activists reiterated their resolve to protest against CAA even as the governmental agencies are carrying out a systematic crackdown on their leading lights amidst the coronavirus lockdown.A number of twitterati posted massages with the hashtag that highlighted the “spirit of Shaheen Bagh”.Clarion India

Gujarat Editor Charged With Sedition for Article Saying CM May Be Replaced

The editor of a Gujarati news portal was charged with sedition and questioned by the police after he published a report that suggested the chief minister could be changed by ruling BJP due to rising number of coronavirus cases in the state. FIR says that Patel published on May 7 stating that BJP was looking to replace chief minister Vijay Rupani with Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya due to the mishandling of COVID-19 crisis. The article also claimed that Mandaviya has been summoned by the BJP party leadership to discuss this change.The Hindu reported that after the report in Face of the Nation, all local media in Gujarat followed up on the news report, which led Union minister to issue a statement denying the same.Patel was picked up by a crime branch police constable on May 11 based on FIR, which stated that the article was “baseless” and incited “instability and atmosphere of fear” in the state during the pandemic.Gohil also stated that Patel was sent to SVP for a COVID-19 test.thewire


Editors Guild says Delhi Police questioning Indian Express journalist is misuse of criminal laws to intimidate

New Delhi :Editors Guild of India has criticised the Delhi Police for its highhandedness for threatening Indian Express Special Correspondent Mahender Singh Manral with legal action if he does not join a probe. The Guild noted it with “concern” as part of a “growing pattern of misuse of criminal laws to intimidate journalists in different parts of the country”.In a statement issued on Wednesday it said called Delhi Police’s action “egregious and high-handed”. Manral had been issued a notice on May 10 after he reported that the police had found that there was a possibility of an audio clip of leader of Tablighi Jamaan Maulana Saad may have been doctored. Delhi Police asked Manral to join the probe on May 10. “While Manral wasn’t charged under any law, he was threatened that failure to join the probe could result in legal action under Section 174 of the IPC with punishment of a prison term and fine. This appears to be a little more than a fishing expedition to try and extract the journalist’s source and, thus, warn other reporters.” The Guild stated.It also mentioned the instance of a Gujarati journalist being booked for sedition and being detained on May 11.


Nagpur: Orthopaedic surgeon arrested for calling for genocide of Muslims, later released on bail

Nagpur Police on Tuesday arrested an orthopaedic surgeon for calling for the genocide of Muslims. Dr Satish B Sonar was arrested for a tweet he had made on April 23.“Now, since radical, Islamist and anarchist journos and illegitimate citizens are talking about so called Islamophobia and Genocide...So let’s begin it, prove them right,” Sonar tweeted. “Wipe out the [expletive] from the map.”He had tweeted several other hate messages from his Twitter account but later claimed that it was hacked.Gittikhadan Police Station SI Sunil Gangurde said that Sonar was produced before a local court, which released him on bail.


Section 144 Imposed in Bengal’s Telinipara After Clashes

At least 150 people were arrested after fresh clashes broke out at Telinipara area of Hooghly in West Bengal, the area where unrest between two communities has been brewing since Sunday after a few people tested positive for COVID-19 there.Section 144 of CrPC has been imposed in the area since Tuesday.According to local sources, crude bombs were hurled in the area as two groups clashed over COVID-19 containment in area. There was massive police deployment in the area and as per the last report, RAF was conducting peace marches.“This incident started on Sunday. There were clashes between two communities and that is how this law and order situation began. We had managed to bring the situation under control. It was all fine on Monday, but on Tuesday things flared up again. There was definitely some planning because we took control on Sunday itself and things relapsed again on Tuesday", Subrata Gangopadhyay, DCP Headquarters, Chandannagar, told The Quint.Local sources say that the trouble began when a few people of Telinipara tested positive a few days back. After this, the police had asked the entire area to maintain the lockdown. However, on Sunday, when they saw that the lockdown was being violated, the police tried to take those who tested positive to an isolation ward. In the process, the area was also barricaded.thequint

‘They hit a pregnant lady with a baton’: Ahmedabad's Shahpur Muslims accuse police of using brute force

Gujarat police are under fire for their alleged high-handedness during a violent clash in a Muslim-dominated locality in Ahmedabad on 8th May. 120,000-strong Gujarat police, who have been on toes by strictly enforcing lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, are facing criticism over their use of force in Shahpur area of Ahmedabad.Reacting to the incident, NCW has written a letter to DGP Shivanand Jha demanding strict legal action against the uniformed men who assaulted a young pregnant woman after the violence.A PIL has sought Gujarat High Court’s directions to restrain the cops from beating up citizens found on streets during the shutdown.NCW, which has asked the state police chief to probe the attack on the expectant mother, had come across a viral YouTube video showing sobbing women complaining how men in uniform gate-crashed into their homes, smashed doors, beat up occupants and collared menfolk. Gyasuddin Shaikh, lawmaker representing and living in the communally sensitive area, confirmed the Iftar-eve incident believed to have been sparked by a heated exchange between patrolling policemen and 3 men sitting outside their homes in the containment zone.Soon, the scuffle attracted others and the people accused the law-enforcers of harassing the minority community in the holy month of Ramadan blaming them for enforcing a stricter lockdown than elsewhere in the city – where a sudden ban on the sale of fruits and vegetables was announced two days ago with only milk and medicines available.According to Gujarat Today, the incident was triggered by harassment of 2 Muslim women who had come out on road in search of fruits and vegetables but were forced by the police to return to their homes. In another incident reported in Gujarat Today, Jenul Shaikh said his infirm 65-year-old father was beaten up and dragged out of the house after accusing of being involved in stone-pelting. “My old mother tried to stop the cops but she was also caned. Children in our areas are now so scared that they just don’t step out,” he said. High Court advocate Iqbal Masud Khan, whose kin stay in Shahpur, said that the police atrocity had not surprised him as “cops are under orders from above to use brutal force”. Some 30 people have been arrested for Shahpur stone-pelting and IPC sections have been invoked against a 2,000-strong


Mumbai Police Land at Arrested Activist’s House to Inquire About His Whereabouts

Mumbai: In a strange turn of events, two policemen from Mumbai’s crime branch landed at civil rights activist and lawyer Susan Abraham’s residence in Andheri asking the whereabouts of her husband Vernon Gonsalves, who has been in jail since 2018. Gonsalves, who was arrested in August 2018 for his alleged involvement in the Elgar Parishad case, is currently lodged at Taloja central prison located in Thane district.Soon after the visit, Abraham wrote a letter to Mumbai police commissioner Parambir Singh and Bombay high court Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta narrating the entire episode. In the letter, Abraham says that she and her son Sagar were at home when the two policemen arrived at her housing society in Andheri. “My son Sagar and I were shocked and disturbed at this uncalled for visit at a time when the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between police and community members is very high,” Abraham says in the letter.The sudden visit, Abraham says, created a stressful atmosphere in the housing society, where members are already battling fears of the pandemic.


Ghani orders troops to resume offensive against Taliban; ' Fully prepared to counter', warns Taliban, while denying involvement in attacks

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered military to move to an "offensive mode" against Taliban and other armed groups after dozens of people, including newborn babies, were killed in 2 separate attacks in the war-ravaged nation."I am ordering Afghan security forces to switch from an active defence mode to an offensive one and to start their operations against enemies," Ghani said in a televised address. At least 24 people were killed - including newborns and nurses - when gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in the capital, Kabul early on Tuesday, officials said. Shortly afterwards, ISIL armed group claimed it carried out a suicide blast at a funeral in the country's restive east, which left two dozen mourners dead."Today, we witnessed terrorist attacks by Taliban and Daesh groups on a hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar, as well as other attacks in the country," Ghani said. Taliban, which signed a peace deal with US in Feb, denied its involvement in the attacks. In a statement on Wednesday, Taliban warned it was "fully prepared" to counter any offensive by Afghan forces."From now onwards the responsibility of further escalation of violence and its ramifications shall fall squarely on the shoulders of the Kabul administration," it said. So far, the Afghan govt has released nearly 1,000 Taliban prisoners while about 100 government prisoners have been set free by the Afghan armed group. Tuesday's first attack saw gunmen storm Barchi National Hospital as parents brought infants and children for appointments. The death toll rose to at least 24 people from 16 on Wednesday, Deputy Health Minister Waheed Majroh said, with 16 others wounded. The three attackers were eventually killed in a lengthy clearance operation. Heavily armed security forces were seen carrying infants - at least one wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket.More than 100 - including three foreign nationals - were rescued, interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian said. Hospital is supported by the humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders, and a number of foreigners work there.About an hour later, a suicide bomber killed at least 24 people at the funeral of a local police commander in eastern Nangarhar province, provincial spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said.


Big blow' to peace process; Taliban, Ghani should cooperate against perpetrators: US Secretary Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned " two horrific terrorist attacks" in the strongest terms, and noted that Taliban had denied responsibility and said the lack of a peace deal left the country vulnerable to such attacks. "Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice," Pompeo said. The violence came just a day after four roadside bombs exploded in a northern district of Kabul, wounding four civilians including a child. Those bombings were later claimed by the ISIL group. Victoria Fontan, professor of peace studies at the American University of Afghanistan, said the latest violence was a "big blow to the peace agreement".aljazeera


Pompeo arrives in Israel for talks on Iran, annexation plans

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Israel for talks with the country's PM Benjamin Netanyahu and former rival Benny Gantz who is now part of Israel's new unity government that will be formed.Pompeo wore a red, white and blue face mask when he landed at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning for his first trip abroad in nearly two months amid the coronavirus pandemic.During his visit, Pompeo is expected to discuss Iran, the coronavirus and Israel's possible annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, a move expected to enrage the Palestinians and many of Israel's Western allies. Netanyahu and Gantz postponed the swearing in of the new government to accommodate Pompeo's one-day visit. After battling to a deadlock in three inconclusive elections over the past year, Netanyahu and the former army chief, Gantz, agreed last month to form a joint government.


UN officials call on Israel to release Palestinian children from prison

In a joint press statement sent to MEMO on Sunday, senior UN officials have called on Israel to release Palestinian children from prison in the light of the spread of Covid-19.“We are seriously concerned over the continued detention of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities,” said Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory; Genevieve Boutin, UNICEF Special Representative in the State of Palestine; and James Heenan, Head of UN Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory.“At the end of March, 194 Palestinian children were detained by the Israeli authorities in prisons and detention centres, mainly in Israel, according to data released by Israeli Prison Service… This is higher than the monthly average number of children detained in 2019. Of the total, the vast majority of these children have not been convicted of any offence but are being held in pre-trial detention.”


Most Israeli Jews support annexation of Palestinian territory

A slim majority of Israeli Jews — 52 per cent of those polled — support the annexation of large parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, a new survey has revealed. Only 32 per cent believe that it will happen this year, though.The annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank forms part of the coalition agreement signed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz when they formed the new government.The survey was conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute. It revealed that 71 per cent of right-wing Jews support annexation. The figures for the centre and left of Israeli politics are 31 per cent and eight per cent respectively.


Palestinian teen shot in the head by Israel forces

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces during an army raid of the Al-Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron, in the southern occupied West Bank, according to Wafa news agency.The Health Ministry announced that Zaid Qaysia, 15, was “killed by a live bullet in the head fired by the Israeli soldiers in Al-Fawwar camp”, with a further four Palestinians injured during the raid. The Palestinians were “wounded with live bullets, one in the abdomen and the other in the chest, and the rest in the lower limbs.”According to local sources, camp youths protested as soldiers stormed the camp and opened fire at them using live rounds. Abdelfattah Najjar, a resident of Al-Fawwar and Qaysia’s neighbour, told Al Jazeera that dozens of Israeli soldiers entered the camp to arrest a teenager.


UK should stop granting Israel preferential access to British markets: House of Lords

A Committee within the British House of Lords is urging Number 10 to stop granting Israel preferential access to UK markets if the planned annexation of the West Bank, as laid out in the incoming unity government’s coalition agreement, goes ahead.The issue of the preferential treatment granted to Israel was raised in a letter to the Minister of State James Cleverly by Baroness Joyce Anelay, Chairwoman of House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee. Anelay, a former Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is reported in Haaretz of having argued that annexation of the occupied territory is a violation of international law and that such a move by Israel should be met with a stiff response from the UK, namely by cancelling Israel’s preferential access to UK market.


Scholars ban watching Saudi TV programmes which whitewash Israeli crimes

Association of Religious Scholars in Palestine issued a fatwa on Tuesday that bans the watching of Saudi television programmes which encourage and praise the normalising of ties with Israel. Details of the Islamic legal opinion were provided at a press conference.“Association looks with great doubt at the series which encourage and hail the normalisation of ties with the Israeli occupation,” explained Dr Marwan Abu Ras, the group’s lead official. “We condemn the frenzied campaign of the TV channels run by Arabs and Muslims, and subsidised by Muslim money, against Islamic values and culture.”Such channels, added the Sheikh, are the mouthpiece of Zionist entity and are dedicated to fighting against virtue and spread vice. “Watching these series is haram [forbidden] and boycotting them is a religious duty because they oppose the real principles of the Muslims, Arabs and the Palestinians.”The fatwa was prompted by a number of drama series produced by Saudi TV channels to be aired during holy month of Ramadan. The programmes praise the occupation state of Israel and whitewash its crimes against Palestinians while encouraging normalisation.


Israel extends closure of Palestine TV office in E.Jerusalem

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erden extended for six more months an earlier decision to close Palestine TV’s office in East Jerusalem and ban the station’s activities in the Holy City and in Israel.Gilad first issued the closure in November, under the pretext that Palestine TV is affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA); banning the crew from working in occupied East Jerusalem.


Palestinians face discrimination, even inside Israel:HRW

Israel discriminates against its own Palestinian citizens, sharply restricting their access to land for housing to accommodate natural population growth, HRW said. “Decades of land confiscations and discriminatory planning policies have confined many Palestinian citizens to densely populated towns and villages that have little room to expand,”New York-based rights group explained. Israeli policies nurture the growth and expansion of neighbouring predominantly Jewish communities, many of which are built on the ruins of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948.


Iran Shura Council approves ‘urgent' anti-Israel bill

Iranian Shura Council approved an “urgent bill” aimed at confronting Israeli practices and preserving Palestinians rights, IRNA reported.According to the agency, the council unanimously voted in favour of the bill which includes 14 articles.The head of National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Mojtaba Zonnour, said labelling the bill as “very urgent” allows the Shura Council to vote on it as early as next week.Zonnour explained that passing the bill this early aims to thwart Israel’s attempts to take advantage of the current regional and global conditions to harm the Iranian national interests.


US envoy: Sanctions forced Iran to reduce forces in Syria

Iran is withdrawing some of its forces and militias from Syria as a result of US and foreign sanctions, American envoy James Jeffrey said today, revealing apparent effectiveness of the economic sanctions.Speaking at a virtual panel hosted by the Washington-based think tank the Hudson Institute, the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh stated: “We have seen the Iranians pulling in some of their outlying activities and such in Syria because of, frankly, financial problems…in terms of the huge success of the Trump administration’s sanctions policies against Iran. It’s having a real effect in Syria.”His comments were made following reports by Israeli media that Iran is reducing its military presence in Syria, particularly after a series of sustained Israeli air strikes conducted on Iranian targets within the country.


Syria: Alawite activist movement was ‘created by British govt’                 

An online movement run by Syria’s Alawite community targeting Assad regime was created on behalf of the British government, it has been alleged by Middle East Eye, which has apparently had access to official documents.Sarkha (“The Cry”) claimed to be a grassroots movement created by “Alawite community” — from which Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad hails — and was reportedly launched in the coastal city of Tartus in 2014. It emerged to protest against the high casualty rate of Alawite men serving in the Syrian army in the ongoing civil war.With a Facebook page, leaflets, posters on the walls of the local area and its short videos showing the campaign’s slogans being sprayed on walls, Sarkha reportedly spread to other areas along the coast. That is the heartland of Syria’s Alawite community, especially the city of Latakia and the island of Arwad.middleeastmonitor


Saudi-backed Yemeni forces recapture Abyan from UAE-backed group

Forces loyal to the internationally recognised Yemeni government yesterday took back control of a military camp run by UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Abyan Governorate, south of the country.A government source who preferred not to be named said pro-government forces took back control of the Haidrat El-Sidr camp after violent confrontations with the STC militiamen in Abyan.According to the source, the Yemeni army forces captured 15 STC militants and killed and wounded a number of them.The government forces have also seized ten military vehicles used to transport personnel and equipment.


Saudi issues new public prosecution system

Saudi Arabia on Monday issued a new system for the Public Prosecution and introduced an amendment to Article 112 of Penal Procedures regulation.The new system gives public prosecution complete and independent powers to identify major crimes that require detention.Saudi government adopted the new system after consultations with the Ministry of Interior and the Presidency of State Security. Saudi Attorney General, Sheikh Saud Al-Mujib described the new system as a “qualitative move” which aims to further organise the judiciary’s systems, allowing it to carry out its tasks with complete independence and impartiality.


FBI 'mistakenly reveals Saudi official linked' to 9/11 attackers

FBI has accidentally disclosed the name of a Saudi diplomat suspected of directing support to two al-Qaeda hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Yahoo News reported.The mistake about the identity of the Saudi embassy official was made in a declaration by an FBI official in response to a lawsuit by families of 9/11 victims who accuse Saudi Arabia's government of involvement in the attacks, the report said on Tuesday.


Saudi Arabia: Just how deep are its troubles?BBC

Once famous for being tax-free,Saudi Arabia has announced it is trebling its VAT from 5% to 15% and cancelling the monthly living subsidy from next month.The moves come as global oil prices have crashed down to less than half what they were a year ago, slashing government revenues by 22% and putting major projects on hold.Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, has already seen its net profit fall by 25% in the first quarter of this year, mainly due to the collapse in crude oil prices."These measures reflect a drastic need to rein in spending and to try to stabilise weak oil prices," says Gulf analyst Michael Stephens. "Kingdom's economy is in a terrible state and it will take some time to recover any sense of normality."Covid-19 is currently wreaking havoc with an economy that depends in large part on millions of unskilled expatriate workers from Asia, many of whom live in crowded, unsanitary conditions.Meanwhile the crown prince, while still largely popular at home, remains something of a pariah in West due to lingering suspicions over his alleged role in killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. International investment confidence has never fully recovered from his grisly murder.Then the war in neighbouring Yemen has bled Saudi coffers for more than 5 years now with no tangible gains, and a spat with Qatar has wrecked the surface unity of the six-nation GCC.


Iraq: ISIS kills 5 security personnel, 3 civilians in Diyala, Saladin

ISIS  has killed 5 Iraqi security personnel and 3 civilians, and injured others, according to Iraq’s Security Media Cell.A 16th infantry division guard post came under direct fire from a Daesh group on a road in Baiji, in Saladin governorate, which resulted in the killing of 2 fighters and the injury of one from the Iraqi forces, Security Media Cell said in an official statement.An explosive device detonated on a vehicle belonging to Popular Mobilisation Forces’ 23rd Brigade in the village of Makhyas near Khanaqin in Diyala governorate, which resulted in the killing of two fighters belonging to Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), statement added.MEMO


Myanmar army admits prisoner abuse after beating video emerges

Myanmar's military has conceded its troops abused prisoners in Rakhine state after a video of soldiers battering blindfolded detainees spread on social media - a rare admission of wrongdoing by a force often accused of acting with impunity.The video, which emerged on Sunday, shows plain-clothed men punching and kicking the heads of handcuffed and blindfolded detainees.The five detainees had been arrested on suspicion of being Arakan Army (AA) fighters and were being transferred to Rakhine state capital Sittwe by boat on April 21 when the incident occurred, according to the army chief's office website.Myanmar's armed forces are locked in an increasingly brutal war with the rebels, who are fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.aljazeera


75 Boko Haram fighters killed in two operations: Niger

Approximately 75 members of the Boko Haram armed group have been killed in the southeast Sahel state of Niger and in neighbouring Nigeria.Twenty-five "terrorists" were killed on Monday south of Diffa, the main city in southeast Niger, while "about 50 ... were neutralised" on the same day on Nigerian soil in the Lake Chad region in two operations by a regional force, the defence ministry said in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency on Wednesday.


Ennahda:Prez is encouraging chaos and anarchy in Tunisia

Tunisian President Kais Saied is encouraging his supporters to call for chaos and anarchy, the Ennahda party has warned, adding that his recent speeches “intersect with anarchistic trends that some seek to create in Tunisia”.The warning comes as Saied visited a field hospital set up to tackle the coronavirus in the city Kebili in the south of the country. During his tour, the president criticised the debates and skirmishes in parliament.“If the alliances change from one hour to another, then we will adhere to our pledge and we will continue the same approach,” he said, adding that “the Tunisian people can accomplish miracles if they are allowed.”


Turkey accuses UAE of sowing chaos in the Middle East

Turkey accused UAE of bringing chaos to Middle East through its interventions in Libya and Yemen, the latest in a war of words between the two countries that is likely to inflame tensions.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was responding on Tuesday to criticism of Turkey's role in the Libyan conflict, shortly after the foreign ministry in Ankara dismissed a declaration by Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, and UAE that described Turkish military activity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Libya as seeking "regional chaos and instability". aljazeera


Sri Lanka: Facebook apologises for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots

Facebook has apologised for its role in the deadly communal unrest that shook Sri Lanka two years ago after an investigation found that hate speech and rumours spread on the platform may have led to violence against Muslims.The riots in early 2018 erupted as anti-Muslim anger was whipped up on social media, forcing Sri Lankan govt to impose a state of emergency and block access to Facebook. The tech giant commissioned a probe into the part it may have played, and investigators said incendiary content on Facebook may have led to violence against Muslims.aljazeera


*views, Articles, FEATURES*

‘Sarkar is Only for the Rich, the Poor Are Meant to Die’:Ajaz Ashraf

The virus of authoritarian strain:DIVYA TRIVEDI, frontline

Delhi Communal Violence Case: Jail for Pregnant Safoora, Bail for 'Gun Supplier' Sirohi:Seemi Pasha

Dirty Game Pro-Hindutva TV Channels And Their Anchors Play: SK Husain, Special to India Tomorrow

Supreme Court Verdict on 4G in Jammu and Kashmir Undermines the Rule of Law:

Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj

Hindi news anchors such as Rubika Liyaquat and Sayeed Ansari are like Muslim leaders of BJP:DILIP MANDAL

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:04 PM)*


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