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Govt Lifts Curbs On PF Withdrawal After 62 Injured In Protests Across Bengaluru

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The government on Tuesday lifted the restrictions on Provident Fund (PF) withdrawal with immediate effect after 62 people, including 24 policemen, were injured in Bengaluru. Police had opened fire after a protest by garment workers against the government norms turned violent and spread across the city.

As protesters set vehicles parked inside the Hebbagodi police station on Hosur Road ablaze, the police opened fire. A Garvebhavipalya resident, who was not part of the protest, is said to have injured in the crossfire while an 18-year-old college student, Preethi, was hit by a bullet in her thighs.

 

A 49-year-old garment worker, Manjunath has suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and is currently on artificial ventilation and will undergo an operation soon. However, the hospital authorities are yet to ascertain whether he got injured by a stray bullet or not. People were protesting against the curbs imposed by the government on withdrawal of employer’s contribution of PF up to the age of 58. The government had put the tighter rules for withdrawal of PF money on hold till July-end, initially. In February, the government had said PF subscribers would not be allowed to withdraw their fund after attaining the age of 54 years, but will have to wait till they are 58 years old. The protest that started on Monday was confined to the highway at Hosur Road but on Tuesday it spread to all major highways including the Mysore Road, Bannerghatta Road and Tumkur Road. Traffic came to a standstill on all these roads as protestors blocked vehicles.  

The police had to call in large forces to manage the protestors at major junctions of Hosur Road.
As the protestors started pelting stones at the police at Begur cross and Parappana Agrahara central jail junction, the cops had to resort to caning in which many protesters were injured. Companies were not spared by the protestors and they pelted stones at vehicles parked on Biocon campus.

 

The situation was initially brought under control following prompt police action but in the afternoon mobs gathered near Hebbagodi, about 20 kilometres away from the city, started torching vehicles, forcing the police to open fire.

City police commissioner NS Megharikh said that additional forces have been deployed and the situation in the city was under control.

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Congress’s women wing to observe ‘Mahila Kisan Diwas’ on Monday

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

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Mahila Kisan Diwas

The women wing of the Congress has decided to observe “Mahila Kisan Diwas” (Women Farmers’ Day) on Monday, to show solidarity with the thousands of farmers’ protesting against the three controversial farm laws.

All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said: “The All India Mahila Congress which has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights wholeheartedly welcomes this and will support this call to observe Mahila Kisan Diwas.”

The Congress’ women wing said that the farmers have played a critical role in the fight for justice and have shown the country the importance of women in agriculture and in revolution.

They have not only left their homes to protest against the farm laws, but also worked to ensure more awareness amongst people on how these legislations will destroy their livelihood.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Rahul Gandhi said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respect the farmers… the party is in farmerss support till these laws are withdrawn.”

Slamming the BJP, the Congress leader said the government is working for businessmen and these laws are not in favour of the farmers.

The Congress on Friday staged protests at all Raj Bhavans (Governor’s House) across the country and demanded the withdrawal of the farm laws.

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31 years on, Kashmir still home Pandits long for

“The government is not serious about the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits,” he said. “For making a concrete policy for return of Pandits, it is important to include inputs of the representatives of Kashmiri Pandits.”

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Kashmiri Pandit

Jammu, Jan 17 : Sixty-five-year-old Pyare Lal Raina’s wish is to return to Kashmir, the land where he was born and spent the best years of his life.

Raina’s family is among more than 4,000 families that moved into a township for Kashmiri Pandits at Jagti, 25 kms from Jammu after the exodus of Pandits following outbreak of militancy in 1989.

Life has been tough for the Rainas in Jammu. The family had to move houses and in rented accommodations several times before settling down in Jagti township eight years ago.

At Jagti they were allotted two-room sets which were meant to make their lives a little more comfortable. But the colony of Kashmiri Pandits presents a picture of neglect. The houses are dilapidated, the walls damp with water seeping from blocked pipes.

“Some apartments for Kashmiri Pandits at Jagti are in a bad shape with water leaking,” Raina said. “We don’t get clean water. Nothing is being done to change our lot.”

Around three lakh Kashmiri Pandits left the valley in the early 1990s after militancy erupted. Most of them settled in cramped transit camps for Pandits in Jammu.

But it is not just the accommodation issues alone that have been worrying Raina. He stopped working three years ago after his wife fell ill. His two daughters holding masters degrees are unemployed.

“We are tired now, the government is doing nothing for us. I have lost hope, one of my daughters is an MBA and the second daughter has done MCA, but both are jobless.”

Raina says he is looking for a day when the Pandits can return to Kashmir but for that the government has to be serious and come up with a road map for their return.

“The situation has not changed much for us since we came to Jammu, there is no progress,” Raina said. “We have been hearing about our return for 30 years. We are ready to go back to Kashmir but the government has done nothing about it.”

A little away from Raina’s house, Pintoojee, another Kashmiri Pandit at the Jagti township, says the government has failed to fulfil the expectations of Pandits since they left the valley and the community members must be involved to draw up plans for their return.

“The government is not serious about the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits,” he said. “For making a concrete policy for return of Pandits, it is important to include inputs of the representatives of Kashmiri Pandits.”

Kashmiri Pandits settled outside Kashmir are now hoping their problems would eventually come to an end even as the sentiment for returning to the valley remains strong.

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Delhi reports 51 cases of minor adverse events post vaccination

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

Hours after the Health Ministry announced on January 16 that India has reported no case of post-vaccination hospitalisation yet, 51 persons complained of minor adverse events in Delhi. Another person developed severe adverse event following immunization and had to be referred to the AEFI centre.

Out of a total of 4,319 healthcare and frontline workers who were vaccinated on Jnauary 16 in the National Capital, two healthcare workers at NDMC’s Charak Palika Hospital reported mild adverse event post-vaccination including mild tightness in the chest. They were kept under observation by AEFI team and discharged 30 minutes later after they felt at ease. The two other cases were reported from Northern Railway Central Hospital, of which one was referred to the AEFI centre, the Delhi government has informed.

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

Beneficiaries from 11 states and union territories across India received Covishield or Covaxin shots on the first day of the vaccination drive, namely, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

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