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COVID-19: Increase funds to hotspot states: Ahmed Patel

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, April 5 Congress leader Ahmed Patel has demanded that the central government increase disaster risk management funds to states with high number of cases of coronavirus.

“Central government must consider number of Covid-19 cases and hotspots to decide allocation of state disaster risk management fund to states,” he tweeted.

The Congress leader said that under the present situation, states like Delhi, Kerala and Punjab have a large number of positive cases but were receiving very little money from SDRMF.

“I request Union Home Minister Amit Shah to include Covid-19 as a criterion apart from the Finance Commission criteria for disbursement of funds to states,” said Patel.

The Health Ministry on Sunday said 77 deaths had been reported across the country due to coronavirus so far, with the total cases up to 3,374.

India

Palghar lynching: SC asks Maha police to file chargesheet for scrutiny

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Supreme Court

New Delhi, Aug 6 : The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra Police to produce a chargesheet in the Palghar lynching case before it for scrutiny.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy asked the Maharashtra government about the action taken against the erring police officials as months have passed after the lynching incident. The top court asked for inquiry reports, details of investigation and also asked the police to file a chargesheet in the case before it for scrutiny.

A group of petitioners, all Juna Akhara priests and some of the relatives of two ‘sadhus’, who were lynched at Palghar, stated in a petition that they have no faith in the Maharashtra government or the police, and also do not expect a fair and just investigation into the case, as they suspected their involvement in it. Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha who claimed to be the main petitioner in the case, contended before the bench that Maharashtra is a land of Sadhus but they were literally handed over to the mob by the police itself.

Justice Bhushan asked advocate Rahul Chitnis, appearing for Maharashtra government, regarding the progress made in the inquiry conducted against the policemen in the lynching of the two Sadhus and their driver in Palghar. Jha contended that the state government must file relevant excerpts of the chargesheet and also file an affidavit on the progress of the investigation so far.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said “Let all chargesheets come on record and let the court decide what is relevant or not.” The top court has posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

On June 11, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the lynching of sadhus in Palghar, and sought a response from the Maharashtra government.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian also issued notice on a separate plea seeking a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe to ensure evidence in the matter is not destroyed.
“There is a reasonable apprehension of bias, if Respondent No. 2 (Maharashtra Police) proceeds with the investigation. It is judicially acknowledged that right to fair and just investigation is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, the petitioners have approached this court inter alia, seeking transfer of investigation of the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation”, argued the petitioners.

Maharashtra government counsel opposed the petitions and contended before the top court that similar matters are pending before the Bombay High Court too. The counsel for the petitioner seeking an NIA probe argued “our apprehension is that the evidence will disappear.” Counsel appearing for the Juna Akhara argued, “Witnesses are committing suicide. We have reasons to believe that the investigation is not taking its course.”

The plea contended that the mob started beating the sadhus, Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, aged 70, and Sushilgiri Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri, aged 35 in front of the police officials. The plea contended the possible complicity of the Maharashtra Police and the state governmentthat in the lynching of the sadhus.

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As India inches towards 2 million cases, Harsh Vardhan says, coronavirus spread contained in country

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, with Health Ministers from the region, the health minister also alluded to efficacy of the govt’s containment strategy

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Harsh Vardhan

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asserted that the spread of coronavirus has been contained in the country, citing how half the total cases are from three states only and another 30 per cent from seven others.

His remarks come as the country is inching towards the grim mark of two million cases. It has already logged over 40,000 deaths and is recording more than 50,000 daily cases since the past few days.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh with Health Ministers from the region on maintaining essential health services and public health programmes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harsh Vardhan alluded to the efficacy of the government’s containment strategy.

“The strategy has been successful in that 50 per cent of the cases are from three states and 32 per cent of the rest are from seven states. The spread of the virus thus has been contained.”

The Minister said that the lockdown was effective in slowing down the rate of growth of cases and gave the government time to augment the health infrastructure and testing facilities.

“From one lab in January, India has 1,370 labs today. Indians anywhere can access a lab within three hours travel time. 33 of the 36 states and UTs (Union Territories) exceed WHO’s recommendation of testing 140 people per million per day.”

Harsh Vardhan also said that the country was “preparing for the pandemic as soon as China informed the World Health Organisation on January 7”, over three weeks before the first case emerged.

India had reported its first coronavirus case on January 30 when a student from Kerala, who was studying in China’s Wuhan University, came back to India and tested positive for the deadly virus.

Harsh Vardhan also stressed that earlier viral outbreaks like the Avian Influenza, H1N1, Zika and Nipah had provided institutional memory in designing containment and management strategies.

“India’s proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to Covid-19 made it possible to have very low cases per million and deaths per million in spite of having a high population density, and low fractional GDP spending, per capita doctor, and hospital bed availability as compared to other developed countries,” he contended.

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Couple Found Dead In Lucknow Hotel

Girl’s family had filed a complaint at the Sarojini Nagar police station, alleging that the girl had been lured away by Rahul.

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Couple Died in Lucknow

Lucknow: A young couple was found inside a hotel in Krishna Nagar in the Uttar Pradesh capital. No suicide note has been recovered.

According to ACP Deepak Kumar, the staff of the hotel informed the police about the couple after they discovered their bodies in one of their rooms.

The girl has been identified as Nancy while the boy is Rahul. Nancy’s body was found on the bed while Rahul’s was found hanging from a hook in the ceiling.

Nancy’s family had filed a complaint at the Sarojini Nagar police station, alleging that the girl had been lured away by Rahul.

The identification was done by respective families after which the bodies were sent for post mortem.

A forensic team was called to collect samples from the spot.

“We are interrogating the two families and also the hotel staff. We have learnt that Nancy and Rahul knew each other since the past four years,” the ACP said.

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