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“Kashmir is ours,” says Rajnath, promises “permanent” solution

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Pelling (Sikkim), May 21 : “Kashmir is ours, Kashmiris are ours and Kashmiriyat is also ours,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today, asserting that the Modi government will find a “permanent solution” to the Kashmir problem.

The home minister’s assertion came amid continued unrest in the Kashmir valley.

Addressing a public reception here in this tiny northeastern state, Singh accused Pakistan of trying to “destabilise” India by fomenting trouble in Kashmir.

“But I want to tell all of you that our government will find a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue,” he said, without elaborating.

Kashmir is in a vice-like grip of violence since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in July last year. Though there was a brief lull, violence erupted again on April 9 this year when the bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was held. Normalcy has eluded the state since.

Eight people were killed in firing by security forces on the polling day and a paltry 7.14 per cent of the electors came out to vote, the lowest ever in the valley since the rise of militancy in 1989.

Bypoll for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was first deferred and then cancelled by the Election Commission which said the situation in the region was “scary”.

Students have joined the protests like never before with even girls taking to streets, and fighting pitched battles with security forces.

Around 80 people had lost their lives as violence held the valley in a prolonged stranglehold in the aftermath of the killing of Burhan Wani, who had emerged as the posterboy of militancy in Kashmir.

Rajnath Singh said heads of government of all neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, were invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi government in 2014 in an indication that India wanted friendly relations with them.

However, he deplored, there was no change in the “attitude” of Pakistan which wanted to “destabilise” India.

“We hope that Pakistan will change. If it does not change, we will have to change them. After globalisation, one country can’t destabilise another country as the international community will not forget it,” he said.

The home minister is on a three-day visit to Sikkim during which he attended a conference of Himalayan states to review the security situation and development activities along the Sino-Indian border.

He also visited the Nathu La border post, besides a few posts of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and SSB along the Sino-India and Indo-Nepal border respectively.

India

Cong demands fund boost for states with high Covid-19 cases

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New Delhi,  The Congress has demanded increase in the state disaster risk management fund (SDRMF) for states that have registered maximum number of Covid-19 cases.

“The Centre must consider number of Covid-19 cases & hotspots to decide allocation of State Disaster Risk Management Fund to states,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted.

Under the current scheme, states like Delhi, Kerala and Punjab that had large number of Covid-19 cases were receiving little funds from SDRMF. “I request Home Minister Amit Shah to include Covid-19 as a criterion apart from the Finance Commission criteria for disbursement of funds to states,” he said.

The Union Health Ministry on Sunday said 77 deaths were reported due to coronavirus, and total number of cases had risen to 3,374.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra increased by 26, taking the total from 635 to 661. At least two persons are suspected to have died due to Covid-19 in Pune and Thane on Sunday, but the health authorities declined to confirm or share details.

Till Saturday, Maharashtra had recorded 32 covid-19 deaths, with maximum 22 deaths in Mumbai. The Congress Working Committee on Thursday reviewed the coronavirus pandemic and demanded a “common minimum relief package”.


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Railways’ PPE kit passes DRDO test

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New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The railways has passed the test conducted by DRDO for the Personal Protection Equipment manufactured by Jagadhari workshop to fight Covid-19.

A statement issues by Deepak Kumar, CPRO Northern Railways, said: “Northern Railway Jagadhari Workshop becomes the first workshop whose two PPEs/ Coverall sample passed the DRDO test. This will be helpful in fighting the war against Covid-19.

“The railways can now contribute to mitigating the shortfall in PPEs to the extent possible by manufacturing it in-house.” said the statement.

There are reports of shortage of PPE and many videos have hone viral where doctors are facing lack of PPE.

The opposition Congress on Sunday hit out at the government on shortage of medical equipment, saying the country needs at least 62 lakh PPE kits.

The Delhi government has given the nod for procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits by city hospitals from local manufacturers and suppliers at market rate not exceeding Rs 1,087.47, amid an increasing demand.

Speaking to IANS, a Delhi Health Department official said on Sunday that the decision was taken as the city hospitals were facing severe shortage of the kits.


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Corona cases reach 3,577, Delhi emerges worst-affected

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New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The Union Health Ministry on Sunday said the total tally of cases in Delhi has left behind the worst-hit Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. With 503 in the national capital, the total tally of coronavirus cases reached 3,577. The updated data was put out by the Health Ministry in the evening.

At least 274 people have recovered from the deadly coronavirus across the country. However 83 deaths have also been reported from different states. The total number includes 65 foreign nationals and one person has migrated. There are now, 3,219 active cases of COVID-19, said the ministry.

According to Health Ministry data, Delhi has left behind the worst hit state of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and has 503 cases, while there are 490 cases in Maharashtra, 485 cases in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala has 306 cases, Telangana reported 269 cases, Uttar Pradesh has 227, Rajasthan has 200 cases so far. Other states and UTs that have reported the novel coronavirus cases, are Andhra Pradesh (190), Gujarat (122), Jammu and Kashmir (106), Karnataka (144), Madhya Pradesh (165), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (10), Arunachal Pradesh (1), Assam (26), Bihar (30), Chandigarh (18), Chhattisgarh (9), Goa (7), Haryana (59), Himachal Pradesh (6), Jharkhand (3), Ladakh (14), Manipur (2), Mizoram (1), Odisha (20) Puducherry (5), Punjab (57), Uttarakhand (22) and West Bengal(80).

Speaking to media, Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said, “The doubling rate, which means in how many days the number of COVID-19 cases double, at present is 4.1 days. But if cases reported due to the Tablighi Jamaat event had not come, then the doubling rate would have been 7.4 days.”

He said at least 274 districts have covid cases in India. According to the Health Ministry, at least 472 new cases and 11 new deaths have been reported since yesterday.

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