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Maharashtra govt to appeal in SC against Salman’s acquittal

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The Maharashtra government on Wednesday informed the Bombay High Court that it will appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Bollywood star Salman Khan in the 2002 accident case.

A special leave petition (SLP) challenging the actor’s acquittal will be filed soon before the apex court, said government pleader A. Vagyani during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by journalist-activist Nikhil Wagle seeking compensation for the accident victims.

Vagyani said the state law and judiciary department had granted sanction to file the SLP in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict, which would be done in due course.

In Nagpur, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reiterated that the state government will study the verdict and then take a decision to challenge it.

Almost a decade ago, Salman had deposited the compensation amounts for the victims as per the high court’s directions, and Wagle’s PIL revolves around enhancement of punishment in drunken driving cases and related procedures to serve as an effective deterrent.

The Bombay High Court had set aside a sessions court judgment and acquitted the 49-year-old actor of all charges including ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ on December 10.

Justice A.R. Joshi also held that the prosecution failed to prove that Salman was either drunk or driving at the time of the accident in the early hours of September 28, 2002, which left one pavement dweller dead, and four others injured in Bandra area.

The high court ruling came on an appeal filed by Salman, challenging the verdict of the sessions court last May which had found him guilty on various counts and awarded him a five-year jail term for the accident.

Meanwhile, legal experts, social activists, former police officials and others welcomed the state government’s decision to challenge the high court verdict acquitting the actor.

Wefornews Bureau

Cities

Earthquake of magnitude 4.1 strikes Jammu and Kashmir

They said while the tremors caused panic among people, there were no reports of any loss of life or injury or damage to property.

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Earthquake Strong

Srinagar, Jan 16 : An earthquake of magnitude 4.1 hit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, but there was no report of any damage, officials said.

At 10:01 pm, the earthquake struck at a latitude of 33.03 degrees north and a longitude of 75.93 degrees east — 93 kms east of Katra, they added.

The depth of the earthquake was 10 kms, the officials said.

They said while the tremors caused panic among people, there were no reports of any loss of life or injury or damage to property.

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India

Agriculture laws akin to ‘death warrant’, says farmer leader

“If you want your rights, then reach Delhi on 26 January, she said, adding that the “black laws enacted by the Centre were a “death warrant for farmers”.

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Poonam Pandit

Shahjahanpur (UP), Jan 16 : Farmer leader Poonam Pandit here on Saturday described the agriculture laws enacted by the Centre as a death warrant and urged farmers to reach Delhi on January 26.

The farmer leader said this addressing a Kisan Mahapanchayat in the Banda area of Shahjahanpur, which according to police was held without permission and amid the imposition of prohibitory orders.

“If you want your rights, then reach Delhi on 26 January, she said, adding that the “black laws enacted by the Centre were a “death warrant for farmers”.

“The way in which farmers are being stopped, it appears that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is also anti-farmer,” she said.

To stop the mahapanchayat, the administration had approach farmer leaders.

On Saturday, personnel from the Provincial Armed Constabulary were deployed at the site earmarked for the event.

After this, farmers started gathering in an empty field behind the site. Farmer leader Poonam Pandit arrived on a bike and addressed the panchayat for about 25 minutes.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Puvya Navneet Nayak told PTI over the phone that “prohibitory orders were in place in the district and farmer organisations had written on their letter heads that the mahapanchayat has been cancelled.”

“It is not proper to have a mahapanchayat and no permission for this was taken from the administration,” he added.

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Health

Doctors at Delhi’s RML Hospital reject Covaxin, say we want Covishield with valid trial results

Doctors of Delhi’s premier RML Hospital have shot a letter to the hospital superintendent saying they do not want to take the Bharat Biotech vaccine – Covaxin – and would instead prefer the Covishield vaccine of Serum Institute of India.

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COVAXIN Corona Covid vaccine

Resident doctors at New Delhi’s Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital have written to the Medical Superintendent asking for them to be vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Covishield vaccine instead of Covaxin.

In the letter dated January 16, the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) said its present members are a “bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin.” The doctors said that Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech was being preferred at the hospital’s vaccination site over Covishield produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII). Covaxin is still undergoing phase-3 trials.

The association further claimed that due to this apprehension, resident doctors “might not participate in huge numbers, thus defeating the purpose of vaccination.”

“We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of the trail before its rollout,” the letter reads.

India began its massive COVID-19 vaccination exercise on January 16. Priority is being given to healthcare and frontline workers, who had already been registered on the purpose-built CoWIN application.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved both vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – for restricted emergency use. However, beneficiaries will not be able to choose between the two jabs.

While launching the vaccination drive on January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked the people to be aware of propaganda and rumours about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for public use in India.

“Our Indian scientists and experts have guaranteed the safety of the vaccine, so the people of the country must not listen to any kind of propaganda and rumours surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine,” PM Modi said.

As of January 16, India had reported more than 1.05 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at over 1.52 lakh. While more than 1.01 crore patients had recovered, 2.11 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.32 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 20 lakh people have died so far.

A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. More than 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.

The Centre is hoping to vaccinate 30 crore people by July, in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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