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Jats to continue agitation after stand-off with Khattar

Jat leaders accused Khattar and his government of going back on assurances made to the Jat community on Thursday and earlier.

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Chandigarh, March 17 : Accusing the BJP government in Haryana of hatching a “conspiracy” to weaken their agitation, the Jat community on Friday said they will continue with their protests across the state and will also lay siege to the national capital on March 20.

Talks between top Jat leaders and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, which were scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Friday, could not be held.

Jat leaders accused Khattar and his government of going back on assurances made to the Jat community on Thursday and earlier.

Jat leader Yashpal Malik told the media in Rohtak town, 70 km from Delhi, that the BJP government had hatched a conspiracy to weaken the Jat agitation by misleading the Jats.

He said Khattar left Delhi on Friday for Chandigarh without meeting the Jat leaders.

The meeting had been announced by the seniormost minister in the Haryana government, Ram Bilas Sharma, in Panipat on Thursday.

“The state government hatched a conspiracy against us and misled the people in order to weaken the agitation. The cancellation of the meeting with the Chief Minister has left us with no alternative but to continue the agitation,” Malik said.

The Jat agitation, which began on January 29, completed 48 days on Friday.

The Haryana government on Thursday held talks with Jat leaders in Panipat and claimed that the discussions were “positive”.

Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, who led the Haryana government panel in the talks, said a final breakthrough was likely to be achieved by Friday.

The Jat leaders were earlier in talks with a five-member panel of senior government officers but the talks had remained inconclusive.

The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) had earlier announced that the community would intensify its agitation by taking their protest to Delhi on March 20.

The Jat leaders said that they would gherao entry points of Delhi from seven sides and protest at the Parliament complex.

The AIJASS, led by Jat leader Yashpal Malik, has been agitating to press for its demands in Haryana since January 29.

Talks between the state government and the Jat leaders hit a roadblock last month as the Haryana government made it clear that it has no jurisdiction to withdraw cases being investigated by the CBI against some Jat leaders over violence during the agitation last year.

Khattar accused the Jat leaders of changing goalposts.

Their demands include reservation for Jats, jobs to the next of kin of those killed in violence in the Jat agitation last year, compensation to those injured, withdrawal of cases against them and action against the officers, who ordered action against the Jats, among others.

Violence during the agitation last year had left 30 people dead and over 200 injured. Government and private property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was damaged during the violence in February 2016.

Khattar said in Chandigarh that the Jat leaders had backed out of the Friday talks.

“I am always prepared if the Jat leaders want to have a dialogue with me. Although my schedule for tomorrow is already fixed, I will be available for meeting Yashpal Mailk and other Jat leaders tomorrow in Chandigarh or Sonipat or Delhi.

“My sole purpose is to restore and maintain peaceful atmosphere in the state. The government is keen to move forward with all sections of the society,” Khattar said.

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Covid Cases Decreasing In Delhi Since November 10 Peak: Arvind Kejriwal To PM

Kejriwal told the prime minister that Delhi saw the peak of 8,600 coronavirus cases on November 10 during the third wave

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Arvind Kejriwal

At a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the high severity of the third wave of Covid-19 in the national capital is due to many factors, pollution being an important one, sources said.

Kejriwal told the prime minister that Delhi saw the peak of 8,600 coronavirus cases on November 10 during the third wave and since then, the number of cases as well as the positivity rate are steadily decreasing, the sources said.

The chief minister hoped that the trend would continue in the national capital.

“The high severity of the third wave is due to many factors. Pollution is an important factor. The chief minister sought the prime minister’s intervention to get rid of the pollution caused by stubble-burning in adjoining states, especially in view of the recent bio-decomposer technique,” a source said.

At the meeting with the prime minister, Kejriwal also sought the reservation of the additional 1,000 ICU beds in the central government-run hospitals in Delhi for coronavirus patients till the third wave of the infection lasts in the city, the source said.

Modi on Tuesday interacted via video-conferencing with the chief ministers of the states that are witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases to review the pandemic situation.

Delhi recorded 4,454 fresh Covid-19 cases and a positivity rate of 11.94 per cent on Monday, while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll due to the disease to 8,512 in the city.

This was the sixth time in 12 days that the daily number of deaths crossed the 100-mark in the national capital.

Authorities reported 121 deaths due to Covid-19 on Sunday, 111 on Saturday, 118 on Friday, 131 on November 18, the highest till date, and 104 on November 12.

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UP To Test Every Traveller From Delhi For Coronavirus

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

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COVID-19 antibody testing

The Uttar Pradesh government will test all travellers from Delhi for coronavirus, an official said on Sunday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R K Tiwari said the state government is also considering restrictions on the number of people at weddings and other social programmes.

Tiwari said infection cases have increased in UP districts bordering Delhi.

It seems the second Covid-19 has hit the national capital, he said, pointing to a spurt in cases there.

So, we are testing everyone coming from Delhi, be it by air, train or bus, he said.

When asked about the kind of curbs that may be imposed at social gatherings, Tiwari said the decision will be taken on the prevailing situation.

“Districts in western UP like Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad have restricted social gatherings to 100. Necessary steps will be taken as per the prevailing situation in various places to stop the spread of the infection,” he said.

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Rajasthan govt hikes penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday announced to increase the penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.

Chairing a meeting to review the steps taken to contain COVID spread in the state, he said administration and police personnel should take rounds in the market to ensure all due protocols are being followed with due care in reference to night curfew announced on Saturday as well as to ensure that set number of people’s limit is not crossed.

The wedding organisers should also be updated in this context that more than 100 people are not permitted in the wedding function, he added.

District collectors, superintendents of police and other senior officials have been given responsibility to ensure night curfew norms are maintained in eight districts as announced and not more than 100 people are gathered in the crowd. Every person should wear masks and social distancing norms should also be followed, the Chief Minister said.

Notably, the state government announced night curfew in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Alwar, Udaipur, Alwar and Ajmer.

Also the penalty for those not wearing masks was increased to Rs 500 from Rs 200 on Saturday.

The Chief Minister on Sunday said that the state government’s major objective is to save lives of people.

On Sunday, a total of 3,260 new COVID cases and 17 deaths were reported.

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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