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Low key Janmashtami celebrations in Agra as corona cases surge

District officials indicated that a programme for conducting large scale random sampling would be started in the rural areas to break the chain.

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Janmashtami celebrations

Agra, Aug 12 : Gloom and despair greeted Krishna Janmashtami festival in the entire Braj Mandal battling with Covid-19.

Temples in Vrindavan and Mathura were closed as cases of Covid-19 were being reported in double figures daily. Mathura reported 41 new cases in the last 24 hours, while Mainpuri district had an alarming tally of 52, with 23 from one area of the city. Etah reported 28 while Kasganj had 20 fresh cases.

In Agra, the tally has gone up to 2,177 with 41 new cases. So far 1,739 have recovered. With one more death of an elderly person, the tally has gone up to 102.

The spread of the infection in the rural areas continues to remain a worry. Of the 15 development blocks in the Agra district, 11 are in the containment zones.

Officials said the rural medical infrastructure was being upgraded and more health officials were being posted at the Public Health Centres (PHCs). Only serious cases were now being referred to the S.N. Medical College Covid hospital in Agra.

District officials indicated that a programme for conducting large scale random sampling would be started in the rural areas to break the chain.

Meanwhile, the drizzle that started late Tuesday evening continued till Wednesday morning. A few spells of heavy showers were reported from the rural areas.

The festival mood is sombre. “Due to the scare of corona, few people are venturing out of their homes. Since temples are closed, the Sri Krishna bhakts will probably watch online puja or remain glued to the TV sets. This time children also do not seem to be keen on decorating ‘Hindolas’, part of the festivities associated with Janmashtami,” senior citizen Sudhir Gupta of Vijay Nagar colony said.

The priest of the famous Sri Mathuradheesh temple in Agra, Nandan Shrotriya told IANS, “All ritualistic pujas will be conducted closed doors, as the temple is not open to public.” In Vrindavan, the ISKCON temple has arranged live streaming later in the evening. The festivities at the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple will also be low key.

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Another earthquake jolts Jammu and Kashmir

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Earthquake Strong

An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale jolted Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the tremors were felt at 12:02 pm today.

The epicentre of the earthquake was yet not known.

There were no immediate reports of any loss of life or damage to property due to the earthquake.

More to follow…

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UP farmers join nationwide bandh over 3 farm bills in a big way

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

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Kisan Tractor Rally
(File PIcture)

New Delhi: Farmers in Uttar Pradesh, like their counterparts in Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country, on Friday took to the streets in protest against the contentious farm bills passed by Parliament recently.

Friday’s was the first major protest in UP, unlike Punjab and Haryana that have been on the boil since the bills cleared the Parliament hurdle.

Responding to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by various farmers’ bodies and supported by opposition parties, the farmers blocked state and national highways, organised tractor rallies and held demonstrations disrupting traffic for three-four hours in several districts of the state with police having a tough time dealing with protesters.

There were reports of clashes between police and protesters in some districts, including Shrawasti and Kannauj.

The opposition parties, who lent their support to the farmers by joining the cause in various districts, included Samajwadi Party, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and left parties.

With Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a farmers’ organisation with a strong presence in several states of north India, being in the forefront, the impact was most visible in the Jat-dominant western UP districts that were on high alert with heavy police deployment.

BKU state president Rajveer Singh Jadaun claimed Friday’s ‘chakka jam’ was completely successful with wide support from traders and the public. He regretted that police tried to sabotage the peaceful agitation at some places.

“Ours was a totally peaceful agitation and we ensured no emergency services, like movement of ambulances, were disrupted but some policemen, who wanted to spoil the state government’s image, unnecessarily misbehaved with and lathi-charged our people at some places,” he alleged.

Reports of protests started trickling in right from the morning, with a group of Lucknow-bound farmers blocking the Lucknow-Ayodhya highway in Barabanki and burning crop waste on the road in protest. The farmers intensified the agitation as the day advanced. The protests lasted till about 3 pm.

In Lucknow, farmers protested at the Shahid Path crossing as well as in Bakshi Ka Talab while other groups demonstrated on the highway near Akbarpur Mati in Kanpur Dehat and blocked the national highway in Gursahaigunj in Kannauj.

In western UP, farmers blocked the Delhi-Noida highway, NH 58 in Muzafarnagar, Delhi-Saharanpur highway in Saharabpur, Meerut-Karnal highway in Shamli, Delhi-Pauri highway and Falauda road that connects Delhi to Haridwar and Dehardun etc. At some places, farmers were seen riding tractors with loudspeakers blaring patriotic songs while at others they were seen cooking food sitting on the road itself. In many cases, they parked their tractors on the roads to cause a blockade.

Reports of similar road blockades came from Mahoba and Jalaun in Bundelkhand too.

SP members joined the protests in various districts, including Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Agra. They submitted memorandums for the governor through the district administration demanding that the Centre withdraw the ‘anti-farmer’ bills.

Congress workers took out a march in Varanasi, while AAP members and Allahabad University students staged protests separately in Prayagraj.

CONTENTIOUS BILLS

Farmers have strong reservations over some provisions of the three Bills— the Farmers’ Produce and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill — all passed by Parliament recently.

“The three proposed laws, if enacted without suitable amendments, will be a sure recipe for disaster of small farmers,” Jadaun said. “We have three specific demands. First, it should insert clauses in the new Bills, stating that the minimum support price (MSP) system will continue. Second, maximum stockholding limit for traders will not be done away with and third, mandi fee will be abolished for all agri products sold and purchased within the mandi yards,” Jadaun stressed.

He said BKU’s national executive will hold its meeting in a day or two to take a call on further course of action.

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Thousands of farmers across Maha protest agriculture bills

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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Maharastra Farmers Protest
Maharashtra Farmers Protests (File Picture)

Mumbai, Sep 25 : Thousands of slogan-shouting, and banner/poster-carrying farmers took to the streets all over Maharashtra on Friday to protest against “the anti-farmers” law recently passed by the Parliament and vowed to fight them with all vigour.

The agitation has been supported by the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the All India Kisan Sabha, the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, major farmers’ organisations, various national and state level trade unions and student unions.

Spearheaded by AIKS President Ashok Dhawale from Palghar, in Mumbai, the protests were led by Mahendra Ugade, by Sunil Kharpat in Thane, by Subhash Dake in Beed, by Govind Ardad in Jalna, by Sudam Thakre in Nandurbar, and by Arjun Ade in Nanded.

In Kolhapur, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana President Raju Shetti urged farmers in the state and all over the country to protest the laws with full vigour, and led an agitation in which a bonfire was made of the copies of the law.

“These laws are detrimental to the very survival of the farming community. The government has pushed through these laws undemocratically and it was a black day when it was passed in Parliament. We will not tolerate the injustice meted out to the farmers,” he said.

State SSS President Sandeep Jagtap led farmers in Nashik where they protested by burning an effigy of the centre and shouted slogans condemning the government.

Similar protests were carried out in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik, Nandurbar, Jalna, Beed, Aurangabad, Nanded, Yavatmal, Buldhana with thousands of farmers taking part in the agitation and marching to offices of the local Collectors or tehsildars.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ leaders addressed small rallies of protesters and explained the contentious issues in the revised farm laws which could be detrimental to the agro-communities and consumers while benefitting corporate houses.

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