Wednesday, 15 April 2020

15 APRIL NEWS: 170 Districts includes all 6 metros Coronavirus Hotspots, Another 207 In Danger, Says Centre. New Guidelines for lockdown: Rrestrictions on agricultural activities, goods movement eased from 20 April. No such study published that says over 8 lakh case count if no lockdown: ICMR.


15 April 2020: 20 Shaban 1441: Vol: 12, No: 182


170 Districts includes all 6 metros Coronavirus Hotspots, Another 207 In Danger, Says Centre; splits rest of India into green zones, non-hotspots

Centre today classified districts across country into 6 categories – hotspots, non-hotpots, and green zones, health ministry said in its daily press briefing. A list of 170 hotspot districts was released this evening by Centre, which includes all six metros and most large cities. The list marked 123 districts as "large outbreaks" -- which includes all nine districts of national capital Delhi. Parts of Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru Urban, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur and Agra were also on list. A "hotspot (red zone) classification" would be districts or cities contributing to more than 80 per cent of the cases in the country or the state. Places that show a high rate of infection -- doubling rate less than 4 days - will also be in this category.All six metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad - currently have a high number of cases.  Of the 170 hotspots, 47 shows cluster outbreaks, the government said. Cluster outbreaks are ones where the virus spreads in clusters, over 15 cases are reported and infection shows no sign of stopping.Besides, the list also mentions districts where there have been cases, but the numbers were limited. These 207 districts have been marked as potential hotspots, the government has said, tasking the states with ensuring that outbreak be contained in both red and the orange buffer zones. Scroll/NDTV


New Guidelines for lockdown: Rrestrictions on agricultural activities, goods movement eased from 20 April

Agricultural, horticultural-related activities, farming and procurement of agri-products will be allowed from April 20 even as India remains under a nationwide lockdown till May 3, Ministry of Home Affairs in its latest guidelines said. The exemptions given from April 20 will not be applicable in COVID-19 hotspots/ containment zones.In its lockdown guidelines, MHA also said that wearing masks in all public places and workplaces was compulsory and spitting in public would invite punishment. Courier services will also be permitted, irrespective or essential or non-essential. Centre said that manufacturing, industrial units with access control in SEZs, Export Oriented Units,industrial estates, townships too will start functioning from April 20. Highway 'dhabas', truck repairing shops, call centres for government activities to remain open from April 20. Grocery stores, fruits, vegetables shops/ carts, milk booths, poultry, meat and fish shop to remain open during lockdown.Services provided by self-employed electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters to allowed from April 20. outlookindia


No such study published that says over 8 lakh case count if no lockdown: ICMR

In an April 10 broadcast, ABP News claimed that confirmed coronavirus cases in India would have reached 8.2 lakh by April 15 had govt not imposed a complete lockdown. The claim was made based on a purported report by ICMR. ABPNews anchor stated that COVID-19 cases in India would have surpassed those in China and Italy if not for the curfew.BJP Karnataka shared ABPNews broadcast and promoted same claim about an ‘ICMR research’. Newslaundry published an article stating that ABPNews report is false since ICMR has published no such research. In response, channel anchor Rubika Liyaquat shared a video of Joint Secretary in Ministry of Health, Lav Agarwal. In the video, Agarwal says that ICMR did not publish any study but the numbers are based on a satistical understanding of ICMR data. That same day,ABP News published a report on an “internal assessment” by ICMR. It further stated, “…foreign ministry additional secretary Vikas Swarup has said that if it wasn’t for the lockdown implemented by PM Narendra Modi then the country would have had the same condition as Italy.”A search on ICMR website does not throw up any results of a study as quoted by Swarup. Speaking with Alt News, head of ICMR Dr Rajnikant said, “ICMR has not published any such study..” Therefore, it is clear that Vikas Swarup quoted an ICMR study which was never published by organisation. His statement was reported as the truth by ABP News without finding out whether such a study exists or not. Newslaundry was not mistaken that ABP News carried a misreport. Interestingly, PIB tweeted a chart on April 11 which also states that number of confirmed cases of coronavirus would have reached 8.2 lakh had govt not imposed a lockdown. PIB claimed that its source is the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. PIB is yet to provide a methodology for its chart which can be examined to derive its accuracy. altnews


COVID-19: Any changes in migration pattern from Gulf will affect 80 lakh people in Kerala, says expert

Kochi :Through a series of sustained contact tracing measures, relatively high testing of symptomatic patients and observance of strict quarantine, Kerala’s health department has been largely successful in flattening the curve of new infections and thus contain the spread of the pandemic in its second wave.But experts and govt officials are wary about a new challenge: when a significant proportion of its 20 lakh-strong expatriate population in the Middle East start to return home once the national lockdown is lifted.For now, Kerala’s govt officials have requested the local authorities in UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to ensure proper supply of food and medicines for its expatriates. “Stay where you are right now. Once the lockdown is lifted and flights begin to operate, you can come home,” is the message. However, officials are bracing for wave of returnees and possible job losses.indianexpress

 Coronavirus puts 20 lakh jobs at risk in Indian aviation: Industry Body

Over 20 lakh jobs are at risk in India's aviation space and dependent sectors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to global airlines' grouping International Air Transport Association (IATA).Commercial flight services have been suspended till May 3 as the government has extended the nationwide lockdown in continuing efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus infection, which has already affected more than 11,000 people in the country.Faced with challenging business conditions, some domestic airlines have resorted to leave without pay and layoff of expat pilots. IATA on Wednesday said that airlines globally are now facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.ndtv


Urgent need for policy action by India, stimulus package a step in right direction:IMF

There is more scope for more “urgent” policy actions in India as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to be “large”, a top IMF official said, noting that fiscal stimulus package unveiled by govt to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 is a step in the right direction.In an interview to PTI, Vitor Gaspar, Director of Fiscal Affairs Dept of IMF, said the balance of risks is tilted to downside, given uncertainty surrounding the pandemic that has halted economic activities across the world.“India has limited fiscal space, but also a need to support the health and economic well-being of its citizens. In current exceptional circumstances, the need for policy action is urgent,” Gasper said. Thehindu


Growth may slip into negative in Q1: Ex-RBI governor C Rangarajan on lockdown

Predicting that growth rate in the first quarter of the current fiscal may slip into negative, ex RBI governor C Rangarajan has expressed the view that PM Narendra Modi's lockdown extension announcement should have included plans to address the issues of migrant labourers and daily wagers. HE said though there may be negative growth in GDP during the first quarter, if the situation recovers during next 3 quarters, growth rate may be closer to 3.5 percent.PTI


Hell on Yamuna as hundreds starved for days after Delhi shelters went up in flames

The banks of the Yamuna in Delhi have swollen up with men who cannot go home. On Tuesday afternoon, some lay curled over nothing more than a gamcha or cloth towel. A few guarded their bags and belongings by using them as pillows. Others had nothing on them apart from their clothes. Hundreds of these daily-wage earners are now confined to the garbage- and excreta-laden shores of the river near Kashmere Gate, less than 10 km from where PM Narendra Modi delivered a speech telling Indians why a 3-week lockdown aimed at containing the coronavirus had to extended. These men are rural migrants who survived in the nooks and crannies of Old Delhi, picking up whatever work came their way – construction, plumbing, loading goods, pitching tents for events. But no one has earned a rupee since March 21 – the last day work was permitted in Delhi before lockdown began. Their meagre savings have run out. With transport shut, they have no way to get back to their families in villages across North India.They are utterly and completely dependent on the Delhi govt for food.Yet, for nearly three days, they said, the govt did not feed them.“No food has been served to us since the night of the fire,” said a middle-aged man, who requested anonymity. “For two nights, I slept on water.” Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal today said that government has made arrangements to shift hundreds of migrant workers and daily-wage earners who were living on the banks of the Yamuna river in Delhi during the nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus. scroll


Migrants Defying Lockdown At Mumbai's Bandra Station Given Communal, Islamophobic Spin

An incident where a large gathering comprising of labourers flouted a nationwide lockdown to protest outside a railway station in Mumbai, is being given communal overtones on social media. Several news channels including Republic TV, News Nation and editor-in-chief of India TV, Rajat Sharma highlighted that the crowd gathered near a mosque. BOOM spoke to Mumbai police and local reporters present at the scene who said a mix of rumours drew migrant labourers to gather at the spot. The crowd then grew larger when locals from nearby Muslim areas near the station joined in. The videos went viral as incident occurred hours after PM Narendra Modi announced extension of lockdown. Multiple images and videos from the scene showing the crowd gather close to a nearby masjid soon went viral with a large section of Twitter users adding a communal spin to the incident. Although several mainstream news reports stated that the people gathered were labourers and did not mention any religious angle, tweets claiming local Muslims sabotaged efforts to contain COVID-19 in Maharashtra and deliberately defied lockdown, started surfacing. Leading English and Hindi news channels like Republic, India TV, News Nation and ABP News also highlighted that labourers gathered outside a mosque and gave a communal tone to the incident by linking the mosque to gathering. Republic Bharat in its show titled, 'Mumbai ke lockdown ka dushman kaun?' hinted at a conspiracy asking "Ät whose directions did the crowd gather? and "How did a crowd gather in Masjid?". ABP Hindi named the masjid and asked 'whether the masjid was responsible for the gathering of the crowd?Rajat Sharma, editor in chief of India TV tweeted a communal post calling it worrying that so many people had gathered outside "the Jama Masjid in Bandra'' and asked why the migrants did not have bags if they wanted to go home.The channel also reported on the same lines calling it a sazish and said, "Who asked 1500 people to gather outside Jama Masjid in Mumbai?"BOOM spoke to Zonal DCP Abhishek Trimukhe who confirmed that those gathered were mainly migrant labourers who stay in nearby areas of Patel Nagar. A local reporter from a leading national daily said,"I reached there and saw the police and local community leaders trying to control the situation." BOOM confirmed both the rumours with a senior Mumbai police official who said that those gathered were migrant labourers and just wanted to go home. BOOM analysed images and videos from the scene in tweets that alleged a communal spin to the incident since the crowd had gathered close to a mosque. BOOM found that the masjid seen in the video is Sunni Jama Masjid and is less than a minute's walk from Bandra station. In video, the local can be heard saying, "I understand there is trouble and hardship. But we are people of faith, this (hardship) is from Allah's side. Those who say this is not from Allah's will, then you don't have faith." At this point one can hear someone in the crowd say, "Allah ki taraf se nai, Modi ke taraf se hai". Then man with the microphone then continues to say, "We bear a little trouble. I know parents are there and children are there but this is happening in the whole world. We have had to close mosques, Church, Mecca. This year there will be no Haj, isn't that a big thing?" BOOM asked a local reporter who was at the spot who said the man speaking is a local who was helping police manage the situation.



Mumbai:  Vinay Dubey Held for Social Media Posts Which Police Claim Led to Migrants Gathering

Mumbai Police have arrested a man for posting messages on his social media accounts which allegedly led to a gathering of a large number of migrant workers in suburban Bandra. Vinay Dubey, a resident of neighbouring Navi Mumbai, was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday after he was questioned over his posts on Facebook and other social media platforms, a police official said.He had uploaded a video on social media in which he demanded that the Maharashtra govt make travel arrangements for migrants, who are stranded due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown and want to go back to their native places, he said.PTI


ABP Majha reporter Kulkarni arrested for allegedly spreading false information that prompted Bandra chaos

A journalist with ABP Majha, Rahul Kulkarni, was arrested for allegedly reporting that some trains had “restarted”, which purportedly prompted chaos at Bandra station, Mumbai, due to the sudden influx of migrant labourers who have been waiting to go home. Kulkarni is based in Osmanabad district and is now being produced before the court by police.Pranaya Ashok, DCP, Mumbai, told HT: “We have...registered a separate FIR against Rahul Kulkarni, a journalist from [a] Marathi news channel, for running news about a special train running for migrant workers.We are calling him for inquiry today.”newslaundry


Covid-19: Mumbai Police arrest 25 migrant workers travelling to Uttar Pradesh in a mini truck

Mumbai Police  today arrested 25 migrant workers, who were crowded into a mini truck and on their way to UP, from Santacruz suburb. The labourers, all residents of Bhaiyya Wadi in Santacruz, were upset that the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus has been extended to May 3.scroll


Consider If Migrant Workers Can Return Home Within Maharashtra: Bombay High Court

 Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government to consider if stranded migrant labourers can travel back home within the state after undergoing medical tests.Justice RK Deshpande made suggestion while hearing two petitions raising concerns about the condition of migrant workers and daily wage labourers amid the coronavirus pandemic.The court said the government can consider permitting such workers to return to their native places within the state, as it would ease the burden on the administration.NDTV


If we don’t get food, we will leave for home again, say migrant labourers stranded in Pune

Pune :A group of around 150 people — comprising migrant labourers and their families, staying in and around Katraj area of Pune and natives of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, started their journey home, about 1,000 km away, on foot. Their journey was, however, cut short by police even before they could cross the city limits Wednesday. They had walked for 2 hours carrying just the bare minimum needed for the journey, when, around 3.30 am, police stopped them and gave them 2 options: either go back to their rented houses in Katraj, or stay in a govt shelter for migrants.There are 60-70 families of migrant daily wagers from Damoh and Jabalpur districts in MP and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh who stay in tin-houses in Babaji Nagar,Anjali Nagar, Sachhai Mata Mandir, Sund Mata Mandir localities of Pune near Katraj and Wadgaon Budruk areas.indianexpress


In Lockdown Desperation, Migrants Pick Bananas Trashed Near Delhi Cremation Ground

New Delhi: Discarded bananas rotting in the sun made for an unexpected feast for a group of men on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon. They picked through the trash for any good ones, adding one more gut-wrenching visual to the montage from across the nation of migrant workers pushed to the edge in the extended coronavirus lockdown.The bananas were thrown near Nigambodh Ghat, one of the main cremation grounds in the capital, and possibly used in rituals for the dead. While scavenging for slightly more edible ones, the workers came across an occasional rotten roti."It is a banana... usually these don't go bad easily. If we pick well, they will last us a while," said a man, stuffing a bag.ndtv


Delhi: Many jhuggi jhopdi clusters near Sarita Vihar face shortage of food, get stale food packages

Many jhuggi jhopdi clusters across National Capital region face imminent hunger and starvation. Dry ration is still not available to most people without ration cards. The cooked food that is being sent is in short supply and spoilt in some cases. In Rajasthani Camp, near Sarita Vihar, less than 600 packets of food are sent when there are at least 5,500 people living. Additionally, the packaged food which was sent on Tuesday was spoilt and had to be thrown away. 600 food packets that were sent to the colony gave off a putrid odour and were not fit for consumption. “The food arrived late today and when we opened it, it gave off a rotten smell. IF we had consumed it, we would have fallen ill. There was rice and dal in the boxes. We don’t know what we can do with all of this as no one will eat it. We will have to go hungry till night,” said a resident of Rajasthani Camp.nationalheraldindia


Thousands of students stranded in Rajasthan's Kota as native states refuse to let them in during lockdown

Kota:Vikas Kumar, a student from Jharkhand, is currently stranded in Rajasthan's Kota. He does not know when can he return home to be with his family members.Aayush, a student from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, too, is stranded. He wants to return home as his family is under great distress and concerned for him.Thousands of students, like Vikas and Ayush, currently in coaching hub Kota, are stranded after native states refuse to let them in during lockdown.The district administration in Kota had earlier allowed the students to leave for their native states. However, in the wake of refusal by the states to let these students in, the permission was withdrawn on Tuesday, leaving several students stranded.indiatoday

Rajasthan: Crop Procurement Portal 'Suspended' Amidst Lockdown, Rates Fall Below MSP

 After Ministry of Home Affairs said that agricultural activities would continue during the lockdown period, ICAR issued a advisory enumerating precautions that farmers must take while harvesting, threshing,storage and marketing produce.Despite this, states like Rajasthan have not taken up any effort to initiate procurement operations.In Rajasthan, E-mitra,an e-governance service platform, has been suspended amid the lockdown, making it impossible for farmers to begin registering themselves for the procurement process.thewire

Tablighi Jamaat leader booked for culpable homicide after attendees die of coronavirus infection: Delhi Police

New Delhi: Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi has been booked for culpable homicide after some of the attendees of religious congregation died due to coronavirus, Delhi Police said. “After several attendees of Tablighi Jamaat event succumbed to coronavirus, we added IPC section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in FIR against leader,”a police official said.PTI


Tablighi Jamaat meet: 46 foreigners jailed for violation of visa norms

Patna:As many as 46 foreign nationals from Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kazakhstan have been arrested from 3 districts of Bihar and sent to jail for violation of visa norms.According to police officials 18 foreign nationals were arrested from Araria district, 17 from Patna, and 11 from Buxar district.Among them, 20 are from Malaysia, 9 each from Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan, 7 from Indonesia and one from Kazakhstan.“All had come to Bihar after attending Tablighi Jamaat event  in New Delhi recently,” said official.thehindu


Dead man alive: Republic’s coverage of a coronavirus patient from MP gets several facts wrong

During an April 8 broadcast, in the usual Republic Bharat mannerism, channel anchors Shweta Shrivastav and Shweta Tripathi yelled a piece of ‘breaking news’ into TV screens. As camera shifted focus from Shrivastav on the top floor of the studio to Tripathi on the ground, viewers were told that 8 family members associated with Tablighi Jamaat tested positive for coronavirus in MP’s Khargone. The anchors contacted their correspondent Satyavijay for further details. He blamed Noor Mohammad for spreading the infection to his family and claimed that Mohammad had visited Nizamuddin in Delhi after returning from a foreign trip. He subsequently came back to Khargone where he did not inform local authorities that he showed symptoms for COVID-19, added Satyavijay further stating that Noor Mohammad died on March 28.He also said that Mohammad’s mother passed away. “Jamaat is the root of coronavirus cases in MP,” declared channel correspondent. Shrivatsav concurred with Satyavijay’s opinion and termed members of Tablighi Jamaat “shameless” – a word that was continually flashed on TV screens along with similar words such as ‘badtameez (ill-mannered)’, ‘behudi (stupidity)’ and ‘besharam jamaati (shameless jamaati)’. While Noor Mohammad indeed visited Nizamuddin Markaz after a foreign trip (South Africa) and later returned to Khargone, he is not dead. Alt News spoke with Mohammad who informed that he and his wife returned to Khargone on March 21 and his entire family was examined by district health officials in their residence on March 24. altnews


 ‘Star Of Mysore’, Daily Newspaper Which Called For Getting ‘Rid’ Of Muslims Temporarily Shuts Down

‘Star Of Mysore’, a daily evening newspaper which had referred to Muslims as “bad” and “rotten apples” in its editorial dated April 6th and had called for getting “rid” of the community, has temporarily shut down publication, the management announced on Sunday.“A time comes when every industry has to face unpredictable circumstances making its production management difficult. Such a time has come for Star of Mysore now because of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown,” editorial said.thecognate

Media Companies 'Using Lockdown' to Lay Off Employees, Cut Salaries

New Delhi: In view of large number of lay offs and salary cuts announced by several media organisations, National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ) and Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) have accused media owners of using nationwide lockdown announced to combat spread of COVID-19 as “an excuse for retrenchment and arbitrary pay cuts”.In a statement, they said coronavirus was “a national crisis and the pain of dealing with this crisis must be accepted by media companies and their shareholders, not passed on to vulnerable employees.”Pointing to the crisis that has emerged in the print newspaper industry in particular, NAJ-DUJ president S.K.Pande, DUJ general secretary Sujata Madhok, NAJ secretary general N. Kondaiah and APWJF general secretary G. Anjaneyulu said:“It is reprehensible that the richest media company, the Times of India group, should resort to firing employees although it can well afford to keep them on the payroll.  Employee costs are a small percentage of the huge profits the company makes. Those sacked now include people who have dutifully worked for them for over 2 decades, contributing to the growth and wealth of company.”NAJ-DUJ office bearers also referred to cutting of pay by the Indian Express group.The statement also mentioned how the web media was also cutting salaries, making staffers go on leave without pay or simply laying them off. “The Quint has sent almost half its staff on leave without pay besides enforcing pay cuts for the rest,” it said. NAJ-DUJ representatives also raised the issue of problems faced by the electronic media. thewire



Coronavirus: Ahmedabad hospital separates patients into Hindu-Muslim wards

Ahmedabad :The coronavirus patients and suspected cases at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, where 1,200 beds have been set aside for COVID-19, have been segregated into wards depending on their faith. While Medical Superintendent Dr Gunvant H Rathod said a ward for Hindu patients and another for Muslim patients had been created as per a state government decision, Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister Nitin Patel denied any knowledge of it.Dr Rathod said, “Generally, there are separate wards for male and female patients. But here, we have made separate wards for Hindu and Muslim patients.” On being asked the reason for such a segregation, Dr Rathod said, “It is a decision of the government and you can ask them.”According to sources in the hospital, at least 40 of the 150 are Muslims.Deputy CM Patel said, “I am not aware of such a decision (on wards as per faith). Generally, there are separate wards for males and females. I will enquire about it.”indianexpress


Image of Muslims offering namaz on rooftops in groups is from Dubai

An image of a group of people offering namaz together on the terrace of buildings is going viral on social media. Film director Vivek Agnihotri tweeted the image and asked, “Any idea where is this? #Quarantine”. Facebook page Hukka aur Khat posted the image with the message, “ये मजहब से वफ़ादारी हो सकती है परन्तु क्या यह वतन से गद्दारी नही.? (This might be loyalty towards the religion but isn’t it being a traitor to the country -translated)”.  While the text doesn’t mention the location where the image was shot, it implicitly targets the Muslim community in India.It is important to note that the image tweeted by Agnihotri has been cropped to remove certain structures in the background which are visible in other posts that have tweeted the full photograph.With a Google reverse image search, Alt News found that this image was earlier shared in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The image from Dubai where Muslims are seen offering namaz has been shared in India with an implied attack on the community for violating lockdown protocol.altnews


Another Video of fruit vendors in Indore shared with false anti-Muslim angle

A video has been shared with the following text in Hindi: “Check all fruit and vegetable vendors properly. Since 2-3 days around 6-7 am, 2 vendors were seen in Mahalaxmi Nagar. Since they were coming early in the morning, people had their doubt. When some people asked their names, they went mum. In a matter of a few minutes, they said their name is Shiva, Mukesh, Dinesh and said they didn’t have identity cards on them. Vendors were stopped. When the police came to enquire they found out the boys were Muslim. That means, there is something really wrong. Please be alert.”A Twitter user posted the video with a different Hindi text but the same anti-Muslim narrative. He claimed that viral video is from Indore.Alt News spoke with Vivek Sharma, IG, Indore Police. He stated that the video is at least a week old and the claims made on social media are false. altnews


Hawkers Federation, Activists condemn “discrimination against Muslim vendors”

National Hawkers Federation, National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation and a group of activists, academics and lawyers on Wednesday condemned the reported “discrimination against Muslim vendors” during the lockdown.“We are alarmed and disheartened to learn that hawkers continue to be intimidated and physically attacked in various parts of the country...These incidents seem to have been spurred by a maelstrom of disinformation and propaganda campaigns being run by motivated agents and spread amongst people through social media... The rumours and hoaxes particularly seem to be targeting those belonging to the Muslim community,” the statement read.It said Muslim vendors were being discriminated against and being stopped from selling fruits and vegetables in some non-Muslim localities.thehindu


Bhopal: All 5 Who Died of COVID-19 Were 1984 Gas Tragedy Survivors

Bhopal: All 5 persons who died due to coronavirus in Bhopal were victims of the 1984 gas tragedy, an official said today.On March 21, some organisations working for survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy had written to the authorities concerned, saying such people were 5 times more vulnerable to coronavirus infection.“All the 5 persons who died after contracting COVID-19 here were victims of Bhopal gas tragedy,” official said.A hospital in the city dedicated to the treatment of gas mishap survivors has been turned into a facility for coronavirus patients, causing hardship to these people, Rachna Dhingra, a member of NGO Bhopal Group for Information and Action, told PTI. PTI


UP: Hundreds attack health workers, police in Moradabad; CM Adityanath directs action under NSA

A team of health workers and police officials were allegedly attacked with stones in a Moradabad locality in Uttar Pradesh, where they had gone to put family members of a COVID-19 patient under quarantine.CM Yogi Adityanath directed that action will be taken against the accused under NSA and cost of property damage will also be recovered from them.“ Cost of property damage will also be recovered from the accused. The police officials have been asked to identify the accused,” said Yogi Adityanath. According to an official, the incident occurred in Nawabpura area, where people in huge number attacked the medical personnel and policemen.indianexpress


PM's Address to the Nation "Disappointing", Devoid of Action Plan: Welfare Party

Welfare Party of India (WPI) president Dr. SQR Ilyas has said that PM Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on Wednesday was very “disappointing” as he once again failed to provide any road map to address the problem of Covid-19 pandemic effectively. Welcoming the extension of the lockdown until May 3 as there is no other option available, Dr. Ilyas said that PM called daily wagers as his family but did nothing concrete to improve their plight.Dr Ilyas said that with no proper planning and mechanism the problem has escalated and the number of people facing food insecurity crises have risen to 40 million.India tomorrow

Coronavirus: Mumbai police cracking whip on fake news to protect public, says HC

Bombay High Court on Wednesday ‘prima facie’ observed that order issued by Mumbai Police last week cracking whip on WhatsApp group admins and against fake content on social media was to genuinely protect persons from false information during COVID-19 pandemic and refused to pass an urgent direction in a plea challenging the circular.A single judge bench heard a PIL by one Pankaj Rajmachikar, who challenged Mumbai Police circular through advocate Sandeep Parikh and claimed that directions issued to prohibit persons from disseminating information through text messages and social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram among others be set aside.indianexpress


118 booked for spreading rumours, 60 arrested: Jharkhand top cop

Jharkhand Police has booked 118 people for allegedly spreading rumours and hatred on social media amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown, a senior officer tweeted. Of 118, 60 people have been sent to jail, the officer added.These cases include those lodged against people spreading misinformation and communal posts regarding March congregation of Tablighi Jamat in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin.Jharkhand DGP MV Rao tweeted on Tuesday: “All those spreading rumours and hatred on social media are warned that Jharkhand Police is keeping a close watch on you. So far, 78 cases were filed against 118 accused and 60 were sent to jail. None of them will be able to get employment anywhere as we have enough evidence to secure their convictions. In our fight against Coronavirus, we have been systematically eradicating this hate virus in social media. Don’t be the next one to go to jail. We will be extremely tough no matter which community you belong to. Better behave and enjoy your freedom.”indianexpress


9,756 active COVID-19 cases in India; 11.41% people recovered: Health Ministry

Union Health Ministry today said that 11.41 per cent of coronavirus patients have recovered from the infection and a total of 170 districts have been identified with hotspots, while 207 have been identified as non-hotspots. Total number of confirmed cases in India is 11,439, while 377 people have succumbed to the disease and 1,305 people have been cured. The total number of active cases in the country is 9,756. A total of 1,076 cases have been added in the last 24 hours, said the Health Ministry.IANS


 India reaches out to China for 15 million PPEs

To meet its requirement of 15 million personal protection equipment (PPEs), which includes gowns, masks, gloves and goggles, India has now reached out to China and has placed orders. New Delhi is also in process of procuring 1.5 million rapid testing kits from China, some of which have already been delivered. These were revealed by Indian ambassador to China Vikram Misri in an online briefing from Beijing on Tuesday. This essentially means that India is depending on China for PPE overalls as Indian doctors have complained of shortage of PPEs in hospitals.indianexpress


Aggressive contact tracing, enhanced testing, GPS tracking: Srinagar is fighting to keep COVID-19 at bay

Sringar :On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar was included in a list of 16 districts to share best practices in an effort to contain spread of COVID-19, with representatives of 700 districts of the country.The key factors that distinguish Srinagar in dealing with the pandemic, include early response, aggressive contact tracing and use of information technology alongside enhanced testing and surveillance.Nearly 15,000 policemen and 1000 surveillance teams scan the city every day to enforce stringent lockdown.Official sources said, Srinagar identified about 800 individuals, who were traced and quarantined in connection with the Tablighi Jamaat event in the national capital.

Delhi Containment Zones Rise To 55, Up From 47

New Delhi: The number of coronavirus containment zones in the national capital was raised to 55 on Tuesday with the identification of eight new neighbourhoods with a high number of COVID-19 cases. These areas are being completely sealed off with only home delivery of food and basic supplies being allowed. Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes.The new additions include localities in Central Delhi's Nawabganj and Bara Hindu Rao and South Delhi's Khirki Extension.Delhi registered 51 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours taking the number of total cases to 1,561. 2 new deaths were reported, taking the count to 30. ndtv


Coronavirus: Man dies outside Indore hospital, family alleges hospital refused ambulance

The family of a 60-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city have alleged that they were forced to carry suspected coronavirus patient on a two-wheeler after the hospital refused to provide an ambulance, NDTV reported . He died outside the hospital.Pandu Chandane, a resident of Indore’s Badwali Chowki, had trouble breathing and visited the hospital on Monday. His brother claimed that the staff at the hospital only prescribed some medicines and sent him home. However, his condition worsened the following day but the hospital allegedly refused to send an ambulance. scroll



 Noida Man Shot At After He Coughs During Ludo Game

Noida: Coughing in times of coronavirus is bound to invite fearful stares, but when a 25-year-old man in Greater Noida coughed during a ludo game, he was shot and injured by a fellow villager who accused him of "trying to spread the disease", according to police.The incident occurred around 9 pm on Tuesday in Dayanagar village under Jarcha police station, where four people, including the man who received gunshot injuries, were playing the board game.The injured man, Prashant Singh who goes by the name Pravesh, was hospitalised, and is now out of danger, while the accused, Jai Veer Singh also known as Gullu (30), is yet to be arrested, the police said today.NDTV


UP Ration Dealer Rapes Woman While Home Delivering Order: Cops

Muzaffarnagar: A ration dealer in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district was arrested for allegedly raping a 30-year-old married woman at her home today, police said.The woman had requested the accused to deliver the rations to her house amid the nationwide lockdown, they said. According to the complaint lodged by the woman, she had gone to fair-price shop where accused promised her to deliver the items to her home. Once he reached her home with the rations, the man found her alone and raped her.The woman's husband is stranded in Punjab,where he works.PTI


PIL in SC seeks use of simple blood test as screening tool, home quarantine instead of hospitalisation

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Union of India to in turn require all state govts to mandatorily start the rapid anti-body test as a screening tool for COVID, as urged by ICMR in its April 4 advisory, reports legal news website The petitioner-doctor, through advocate Rishi Jain, has submitted that after discussion in detail with technical experts from the Ministry of Health and after considering the several inputs, final decision as to the advisory on anti body testing was prepared. The advisory was issued to start Rapid anti body blood test for Covid-19, in clusters with containment zones and in large migration gatherings. nationalheraldindia



Pak clerics including Mufti Taqi Usmani to resume group prayers in mosques even as govt extends lockdown

In Pakistan, defying govt directives, clerics have announced they would resume congregational prayers in mosques, even as coronavirus cases in the country rose to nearly 6,000.The government has banned prayer congregations of more than 5 people as part of its measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.Despite govt's pleas to observe social distancing, a group of clerics held a meeting in Karachi to discuss the issue of ban on such prayers and made the announcement before media at the Karachi Press Club. Mufti Taqi Usmani, a religious scholar and former judge of Federal Sharia Court, who was part of consultation, said it was decided that five time prayers as well Friday prayers would be held in mosques.He, however, said that “precautionary measures” of govt would be taken to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.The clerics’ decision came as the government announced to extend the lockdown for another 2 weeks until April 30.Those present at a press conference after the meeting included representatives from Jamiat-e-ulema Islam, Jamiat-e-ulema Pak, Jamaat-i-Islami Pak and Tanzeem-e-Islami among other religious parties.On Monday, over 53 senior clerics of Rawalpindi and Islamabad belonging to Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia held a meeting in Jamia Darul Uloom Zakria to discuss ban on prayer congregations, Dawn reported.The Monday meeting—attended by clerics representing various seminaries, groups and political and non-political parties—warned the authorities against the ban and said government leaders should abide by religious norms and seek forgiveness.Pir Azizur Rehman Hazarvi, head of Jamia Darul Uloom Zakaria , said, "closure of mosques, shutting down Friday prayers and Taraweeh is unacceptable to the countrymen."Hazarvi, who is also the patron of JUI-F, insisted that in order to get rid of virus, it was imperative to seek forgiveness from Allah and increase the populace in mosques.A video clip released by clerics on Tuesday showed leaders of various political and non-political organisations—including JUI-F, Aalmi Tanzeem Khatam-i-Nabuwat, seminaries such as Taleem ul Quran Raja Bazar and a representative of banned group Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat—sitting in close proximity of each other.Lal Masjid's cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz also continued to challenge the authority of Islamabad administration by openly flouting stipulated precautionary measures, the report said.PTI


'Pakistan pushing COVID-19 people into PoK': Indian Army’s claim angers Islamabad

An interview of the commander of Indian Army's 15th Corps with BBC has triggered a furious response from Pakistan Army.Lt General B.S. Raju heads 15th Corps of the Indian Army; the unit is responsible for security along LoC and operations inside Jammu and Kashmir. In the interview with BBC Hindi on Wednesday, Raju said, he could not see a major change in "pattern of deployment" of Pakistan Army despite coronavirus.  The interview of Raju with BBC Hindi evoked a response from Pakistan Army's ISPR wing. In a series of tweets, Pak Army declared, "Indian insinuations about infiltration and CFVs (ceasefire violations) by Pakistan are not only baseless but are also patently designed to divert global and domestic attention from the unending fiasco post - 5 Aug 2019...," referring to the abrogation of Article 370 last year.The ISPR claimed, "No less delusional are the allegations about Pakistan infiltrating COVID-affected individuals into IOJK. Pakistan has always extended unhindered UNMOGIP access to CFV sites. We will continue to do that most transparently." UNMOGIP is the United Nations monitoring group overseeing Kashmir.theweek


Global coronavirus cases exceed two million

The total number of coronavirus cases in the world has surpassed two million, according to the data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.US has the largest number of cases with 609,685, followed by Spain at 177,633 and Italy at 162,488.The number of people dying from coronavirus in US rose by at least 2,228 - the highest in a single day - on Tuesday to exceed 28,300. The country also has more than 600,000 reported cases, 3 times more than any other country. Deaths from the coronavirus in Italy rose by 578 in the past 24 hours, down from 602 the day before, while the number of new cases slowed to 2,667 from a previous 2,972, continuing the recent downward trend.aljazeera


China shuts largest makeshift COVID-19 hospital in Wuhan as number of new infections drops sharply

Beijing: With the number of coronavirus cases sharply falling, China on Wednesday shut down one of its largest makeshift field hospitals built in just 10 days to treat the surging COVID-19 infections in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic.Thousands of medical workers deployed in the capital of central Hubei province from across the nation also left Wuhan after completing their mission, the official media reported.The makeshift Leishenshan Hospital ceased operation in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Wednesday as coronavirus epidemic wanes, state-run Xinhua reported. It was one of the two over a 1000-bed capacity hospitals built in 10 days in February to treat COVID-19 patients amid a glare of national and international publicity to curb the virus.PTI


Trump accused of ‘politicising’ aid by halting US funding of WHO

President Donald Trump is facing a backlash after he announced that he is halting US funding of WHO. Accusing UN body of having “failed in its basic duty,” Trump said that a review of the WHO will be carried out to determine its conduct during the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Only then will a final decision about funding be made.“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency,” Trump told reporters, “the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death.” Middleeastmonitor


2nd Wave Of Job Loss Coming, Only Few Are Safe: Report

Not just aviation and hospitality sectors which bore the brunt of the first wave of job losses and salary cuts due to Coronavirus, millions of white-collar jobs spanning across industries are now at stake as longer shutdowns have risked a repeat of the deep and prolonged labour downturn that accompanied 2007-2009 recession.According to a Wall Street Journal report, higher-paid, higher-skilled jobs are now at risk as new contracts/clients are dried up, sales have plummeted, cash flow is restricted and no one is now safe in US."The consensus of 57 economists surveyed this month by Wall Street Journal is that 14.4 million jobs will be lost in the coming months, and the unemployment rate will rise to a record 13 per cent in June, from a 50-year low of 3.5 per cent in February," report said.Altogether, about 16.8 million American workers, making up about 11%of US labour force, have already filed jobless claims for unemployment benefits. Gregory Daco, chief US economist of Oxford Economics, projects 27.9 million jobs will be lost.IANS


IMF says 'worst recession since Great Depression' is likely

IMF did not mince words on Tuesday about its dire outlook for a coronavirus-ravaged world economy, and the manifold financial challenges facing low-income countries."It is very likely that this year, the global economy will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the financial crisis a decade ago," IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath wrote in the foreword for the fund's World Economic Outlook.


Israel Shuts Palestinian Coronavirus Testing Clinic in East Jerusalem

Israeli police raided a coronavirus testing clinic in the East Jerusalem Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan and arrested its organizers on Tuesday night because clinic was operated in collaboration with Palestinian Authority.According to clinic's managers, there is a shortage of coronavirus tests in Silwan, where doctors say there are 40 confirmed cases and where overcrowded living conditions could lead to a rapid spread of virus. The coronavirus tests were meant to be processed by Palestinian Authority in West Bank. However, Israel prohibits any PA activity in Jerusalem and last month also prevented PA workers from disinfecting public spaces in the capital. haaretz


UN envoy asks Israel to release Palestinian tax revenues to combat Covid-19

UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov has asked Israel to release Palestinian tax revenue that it is withholding to allow Palestinian Authority to combat the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.On Monday, Mladenov met with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to discuss coordination with the PA to mitigate the negative impact of virus.MEMO


Coronavirus: Turkey makes treatment and medicine totally free of charge

facebook sharing buttontwitter sharing buttonwhatsapp sharing buttonmessenger sharing buttonemail sharing buttonsharethis sharing buttonCoronavirus treatment and medicine for patients in public hospitals in Turkey has been made free of charge following a presidential decree on Tuesday.The decree says that all patients, even if they failed to pay state insurance, will be granted protective gear and testing, as well as free medicine in state hospitals and medical centres.A Turkish official, speaking anonymously according to government protocol, told Middle East Eye that the government had already begun allowing every citizen to use health services for free.middleeasteye


Air conditioner may have caused spread of coronavirus to 3 families at China restaurant, finds study

A study in China has suggested that the deadly coronavirus may have spread among people at a restaurant due to its air conditioning. The study was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.Researchers examined 10 coronavirus patients from 3 families who had visited the same restaurant in China’s Guangzhou for dinner.firstpost


Coronavirus may turn seasonal, social distancing needed till 2022: Harvard study

The term ‘social distancing’ entered the common parlance of pretty much the entire world about two months ago, thanks to the novel coronavirus outbreak, and it may be here to stay for at least 2 more years. That is one of the ominous findings of a computer simulation study done by researchers at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study was published in Science magazine. theweek



3,500 Jurists, Scholars, Actors, Artists, Writers Condemn UP Police's Charges Against The Wire

New Delhi: More than 3,500 jurists, academics, actors, artists, writers and people from all walks of life have endorsed a statement expressing shock at the action of Uttar Pradesh government and police under Yogi Adityanath in filing criminal charges against The Wire and one of its founding editors, Siddharth Varadarajan, for an entirely factual story on COVID-19 and religious events.The statement has called it, “a direct attack on freedom of the media.” The signatories called upon the government of UP to withdraw FIR against Varadarajan and The Wire, and drop all criminal proceedings. They also urged the government of India and all state governments not to use the pandemic as a cover to trample upon media freedom. “A medical emergency should not serve as the pretext for the imposition of a de facto political emergency,” the statement said.The signatories also called upon Indian media to not communalise pandemic.The signatories include Justice Madan B. Lokur, former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice K. Chandru, former judge of the Madras high court, and Justice Anjana Prakash, ex judge of the Patna high court.  2 former Chiefs of Naval Staff, Admiral Ramdas, and Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat have also signed, along with Yashwant Sinha, ex external affairs and finance minister. thewire


UP advisory board confirms NSA charge against Dr Kafeel Khan

UP Advisory Board has confirmed NSA invoked by Aligarh police and administration on Dr Kafeel Khan, suspended paediatrician at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital, who was arrested for allegedly making a “provocative speech” to students at AMU in Dec. Kafeel has been lodged at Mathura district jail since January.Dr Kafeel’s younger brother Adeel Khan said they would move the Allahabad High Court against the advisory board’s decision. On Feb.10, Kafeel was granted bail in the case and before he could move out of the jail, Aligarh district admin. invoked NSA against him 3 days later.indianexpress





FIR Against Bhushan, Gopinathan in Gujarat

Gujarat police, upon the complaint of retired army jawan Jaydev Joshi in Rajkot, have filed an FIR against lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan and ex IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan for ‘hurting religious sentiments’ and ‘commenting on government orders’. respectively.The details of FIR have not been disclosed.Gopinathan said, “I don’t even have the details of what FIR is about. I’ve got information only from the media which says I’ve been booked for posting some government orders on social media to mislead people. I’ve no idea which order is FIR about and whichever order be it, if government orders mislead people what could be done?”News editor at National Herald Ashlin Mathew has also been booked along with Gopinathan, allegedly for sharing the same govt order.“During this time, when so much is happening in the country, just look at how govt is using its resources to look into stuff like this, even consider them, file an FIR, investigate and transfer it to SOG. Just imagine, the priorities of this government,” added Gopinathan. Prashant Bhushan has been booked for allegedly using objectionable language against the Ramayana and Mahabharata.thewire



Egypt activists decry govt narrative on Cairo terror shootout

A number of Middle East news sites have republished pro-govt narrative on the alleged shooting of terrorists in a gun battle between security forces and a “militant hideout”.The police officer, who was allegedly killed in the shootout, was identified as Lt. Col. Mohammed Fawzi Al-Houfi but alleged terrorists have not been named.Activists say the dead officer was a perpetrator of torture and arrest of activists.“National Security Officer Mohamed Al-Houfi was the cause of sadness in many houses, I know children who were orphaned because of him, and mothers whose hearts were broken as a result of what he did to their children,” Haitham Ghoneim wrote on Facebook.The story, promoted by Egyptian pro-govt channels, has raised concern given govt’s reputation for forcibly disappearing citizens and then publishing photos of the shootouts online and labelling the victims terrorists.Earlier this month Human Rights Monitor announced that Egyptian authorities had extrajudicially killed 100 people already during the first quarter of 2020. In March a graphic video of a soldier in Sinai cutting off the finger of a corpse then setting fire to his body went viral. The govt said he was a terrorist but several rights organisations said he was a civilian. At the beginning of this month, Sinai resident Um Ibrahim told MEMO that her husband was arrested from their home as a punitive measure against the family; a photograph of his corpse later appeared on Facebook where he was labelled a terrorist. Muslim Brotherhood, Sinai Bedouin, Coptic activists– anyone who opposes the Egyptian regime – have all been labelled as terrorists by Egyptian govt as a way to justify their crackdown on dissenting voices. According to govt’s narrative on this most recent shootout, the suspects were planning an attack on Coptic Christians during their Easter celebration which falls on 19 April. As activist Ahmed El-Attar wrote on Facebook: “Are the churches closed or open? I mean, the whole world knows that everything is closed and that the headquarters of the churches have only a few guards and monks, why would he attack empty and closed churches?”middleeastmonitor




Saudi carried out 800 executions under King Salman

Saudi Arabia has conducted its 800th execution under the 5-year reign of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz last week, the UK-based human rights organisation Reprieve reported.This is double the amount of executions recorded since 2015 when the king succeeded to the Saudi throne following the death of his predecessor King Abdullah. In 5-year period between 2009 and 2014, the Saudi government conducted 423 executions.The staggering figure comes in spite of the king’s son Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman repeatedly stating over the years that executions will be decreased and limited in the kingdom, Reprieve said.middleeastmonitor

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian MP in West Bank raid

Israeli forces arrested seven Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Monday, including Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Mohammed Abu Tir, local media reported.He was detained from his home residence in Ramallah, de facto administrative centre of Palestinian Authority (PA).Abu Tir, 68, is a member of Hamas who was elected to parliament in 2006. Just a month after his election that June, he was arrested by Israeli forces and sentenced to four years in prison.While he was elected to serve as an MP for annexed East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities revoked his Jerusalem residency in 2010, forcing him to move to the occupied West Bank.Abu Tir has spent a total of 35 years in Israeli prisons for his political activism against the occupation. Middleeasteye


Israel: Netanyahu, Gantz coalition talks end with no deal

A meeting between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, on formation of a national emergency government, ended without result. 2 parties announced, in a statement issued after nearly six hours of talks, that “they will meet again on Wednesday evening after Jewish Passover holiday” .President Reuven Rivlin extended Gantz’s deadline to form a govt to tomorrow evening, after receiving a letter from Netanyahu and the leader of Blue and White party, in which they informed him of tangible progress towards the formation of a coalition. Rivlin extended the deadline “as the two parties are very close to reaching a deal.” MEMO


*views, Articles, FEATURES*

Rise of a Hindu Vigilante in the Age of WhatsApp and Modi: MOHAMMAD ALI

Anatomy of an ‘investigation’: How India Today’s madrasa sting misled its viewers: Chitranshu Tewari

As coronavirus starts to hurt Indian media, journalism students worry about job prospects:By Vasudha Bachchan

Hindi Newspapers Look Away as Anand Teltumbde Is Arrested:Aman Abhishek

BJP Only Pretends To Respect Ambedkar, Or Else Anand Teltumbde Would Not Be In Jail:Kancha Ilaiah

Solidarity is a potent weapon against pandemic, prejudice weakens us all:Harsh Mander

COVID-19, Aadhaar-DBT and a Reminder of the Issues With Transaction Failure Data:Srinivas Kodali

In a Global Pandemic, Is it Fair for Govts to Abandon Citizens Stranded Across Borders?Rita Manchanda

Amartya Sen on The Wire, the Police and Beyond

Arrivals Dropped 50% Post Lockdown. When Will Delhi's largest Azadpur Mandi’s Supply Return to Normal?Matt Lowe and Ben Roth

90 km with migrant hope: Capturing exodus of migrant workers in 13 stills

We must never forget Israel’s massacre in Jenin:Yvonne Ridley

Siddharth Varadarajan On Police Summons: Coronavirus Has Deepened The Worst Tendencies Of Indian Governance: Betwa Sharma


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 11:20 PM). 

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