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UN Secretary General Guterres invokes ‘spirit of Gandhi’ to ask for community reconciliation

Guterres has been following the situation and is “saddened by the reports of death that we have seen over the past few days in New Delhi”, he said.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Feb 28 : UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday invoked the “spirit of Gandhi” to ask for community reconciliation in Delhi that has been wracked by communal violence, according to his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“Throughout his life, the Secretary General has been deeply inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and today the spirit of Gandhi is needed more than ever and it is essential to create conditions for true community reconciliation,” Dujarric said.

Guterres has been following the situation and is “saddened by the reports of death that we have seen over the past few days in New Delhi”, he said.

The Secretary General “again reiterates, as he has done in other places, his calls for maximum restraint and violence to be avoided,” Dujarric added.

As per the latest figures, at least 37 people have been killed in the violence this week sparked by protests against and counter-protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act designed to open an expedited pathway for victims of religious persecution from neighbouring Islamic or Muslim majority countries.

Mosques, residences and businesses have been attacked.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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Banks to recycle inward currency notes only after 48 hours on corona threat

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New Delhi, April 2 : As the corona pandemic turns multifaceted, concerns are arising over the use of currency notes and banks have been advised not to recycle inward currencies and do so only after 48 hours.

As a per a circular issued to banks in Kerala, all member banks of the SLBC that the inward currencies at branches should not be recycled. The inward currencies are to be separately wrapped in packets with date and to be recycled only after 48 hours.

“We infer that currency notes are a probable threat for spread of coronavirus. Health Department has also opined that coronavirus could sustain on infected currency notes for about 12 hours.”

Canara Bank has issued a circular today to the SLBC member banks in Kerala.

The staff in the branches have been asked to take precautions including wearing masks, gloves, using sanitisers and ensuring social distancing.

Earlier, Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has made an appeal to people to wash their hands after touching or counting currency.

IBA had also asked customers to use online and mobile banking channels for making their transactions and avoid visiting bank branches.

“Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after physical banking/currency counting/AEPS (Aadhaar-enabled payments),” IBA had said in a public appeal.

Traders body, the Confederation of All India Traders had also flagged these concerns to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about the possible spread of coronavirus through currency notes.

CAIT had said that usage of paper currency which is (the) most dreaded carrier for different viruses and infections due to rapid change of hands between unknown people and thus becomes a health hazard.

It cited the safety of polymer currency, mentioning 13 countries who have switched entirely to these notes, ditching paper variants, and more than 15 countries in line to do so.

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COVID-19: 5 more positive cases found in Gujarat; state total 87

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Gandhinagar, April 1 : Wednesday recorded the highest COVID-19 positive cases in a day, 13 in Gujarat, taking the total positive cases in the state to 87.

Jayanti Ravi, the principal secretary, Health and family welfare Department, Gujarat said, “Apart from the eight positive cases registered on Wednesday morning, during the day, we have had five more positive cases in the state. Two are from Surat, two in Porbandar and 1 in Panchmahals.”

With this, the total positive cases in the state have climbed to 87 with 6 deaths. The highest positive cases are in Ahmedabad -31, followed by Surat -12, Gandhinagar -11, Rajkot -10, Vadodara -9, Bhavnagar -6, Porbandar -3 Gir-Somnath -2, Kutch, Mahesana and Panchmahals one each.

Seven positive cases, after undergoing treatment have been discharged.

Eight new positive corona cases were recorded in Gujarat on Wednesday morning, all of them in Ahmedabad which has been declared as a hotspot for the outbreak by the ministry of health and family welfare.

“Out of the 8, male (52) having inter state travel history to Indore, male (18) travel history to Indore, female (45) interstate travel history and a female (65) having got infected locally have been admitted in Ahmedabad Civil hospital. A male (68) with inter state travel history, male (54) with an international travel history and a female (58) infected locally have been admitted in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP)AHospital. Another male (67) who got infected locally has been admitted in the Sola Civil Hospital,” Ravi said.

The total persons under quarantine are 19,206. The persons quarantined at home are 18,487 and those in government institutes are 743 while 253 are quarantined in private facilities. 418 FIR have been filed against persons violating the quarantine conditions. “We have conducted test of 1,586 samples out of which 1,501 have turned negative, 82 positive and the results of three are pending,” added Ravi.

So far, six deaths have been reported in Gujarat due to the coronavirus infection. First case was that of a male from Surat with comorbid conditions. On Wednesday night an 85-year-old female from Ahmedabad died also due to comorbid conditions . A 70-year-old male from Bhavnagar with a travel history to Delhi, succumbed to the virus on Thursday. Three more deaths were reported on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a male (47) and female (46) from Ahmedabad and a female (45) from Jesar block in Bhavnagar respectively.

All the deceased patients were suffering from comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac ailments and other several complications.

“Even before the central government had declared Ahmedabad as a hotspot, we had identified Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Gandhinagar as hotspots for the outbreak and started working on the cluster containment strategy,” said Ravi.

The health authorities with the help of the police department, is cordoning the clusters in densely populated areas of these five cities, where positive cases have been found and started surveillance.

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FIR lodged against Editor of The Wire for derogatory remarks against UP CM

The FIR says that the Editor of the Wire wrote a blog in which he spread rumours and enmity in society. The FIR has been registered in the name of the Editor of The Wire.

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Yogi Adityanth

New Delhi, April 1 : An FIR has been registered on Wednesday against the Editor of digital media outlet, The Wire, for a blog about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath which allegedly made derogatory remarks against the CM which spread hatred in the society.

The media advisor to UP Chief Minister, Mrityunjay Kumar, had earlier tweeted about the Wire blog responding to a tweet by the Editor of the Wire, Sidharth Vardarajan.

“Don’t try to spread lies. CM Yogi Adityanath has never said such a thing. Delete this immediately otherwise action will be taken on this and a defamation case will also be registered. Apart from running the website, you will have to seek donations for fighting the case also,” Kumar said.

He was responding to a tweet by Vardarajan in which the extract of the blog for which the FIR has been registered was enclosed.

The FIR was registered on Mondy by Nitish Kumar Shrivastav, the SHO of Kotwali Nagar in Ayodhya.

The FIR says that the Editor of the Wire wrote a blog in which he spread rumours and enmity in society. The FIR has been registered in the name of the Editor of The Wire.

“On the day the Tablighi Jamaat event was held, Yogi Adityanath insisted that a large fair planned for Ayodhya on the occasion of Ram Navami from March 25 to April 2 would proceed as usual while Acharya Paramhans said that Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus. One day after Modi announced the curfew like lockdown on March 24, Adityanath violated the official guidelines to take part in a religious ceremony in Ayodhya along with dozens of people,” he wrote in the blog.

The FIR said that at the time of the coronavirus pandemic when the entire country is under lockdown and Section 144 is imposed in the district, the Editor of The Wire was making derogatory remarks against the UP Chief Minister, which has led to great anger among the people.

This act is punishable under Section 188/505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code. It is directed that a FIR be registered on the directions of Nitish Kumar Shrivastav, SHO, Kotwali Nagar, Ayodhya, it stated.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Varadarajan said that the FIR was politically motivated.

“I have come to know through social media that an FIR has been registered under Section 188 and 505(2) of the IPC against The Wire. A bare perusal of the FIR shows that it is politically motivated and the offences invoked are not even remotely made out. The registration of an FIR is a blatant attack on the freedom of the press,” he added.

He said the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh does not seem to have learnt anything despite the strictures passed against it by the Supreme Court in June 2019 when the court ordered the release of journalist Prashant Kanojia whom the state had illegally arrested. The right to liberty is a fundamental right and non-negotiable, the court had said.

“What the FIR says I have stated — that Chief Minister Adityanath attended a public religious event in Ayodhya on March 25 after the Prime Minister had announced a national lockdown — is a matter of record,” Varadarajan added.

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