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Delhi Police issues arrest warrant against 3 ‘toolkit conspirators’

Aditya Nair

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Delhi Police on Monday said that it has identified Nikita Jacobs, Shantanu Muluk, Puneet and Disha Ravi as the creators of the “Toolkit” which was shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on her Twitter account.

Thunberg had shared the toolkit to lend her support to the farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws. In the document, various urgent actions were listed which were needed to be taken to support the farmers’ agitation. The toolkit has been cited by some as a proof of conspiracy to fuel protests in India.

During a press conference, Joint Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Prem Nath said that Disha Ravi made a WhatsApp group to spread the toolkit and then later deleted it. He also stated that Nikita and Shantanu attended a Zoom meeting organised by “pro-Khalistani” group Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF).

“Disha, Shantanu and Nikita created and edited the toolkit. Disha sent the toolkit to Greta Thunberg through the Telegram app. Disha recently deleted a WhatsApp group which she created to spread the toolkit,” said Nath.

The police said Puneet, a Canada-based woman, had put Nikita, Disha and Shantanu in touch with Poetic Justice Foundation. They had a zoom meeting on 11 January.

According to the officer, many screenshots of the toolkit were available on open source Internet and were investigated, following which a search warrant was obtained on 9 February against Nikita Jacob.

The police further mentioned that Disha, Shantanu and Nikita held the Zoom meeting before Republic Day to plan a social media buzz on the tractor rally. While Disha has been arrested, warrants with non-bailable charges are out against them. Nikita Jacob has approached the Bombay High Court for protection from arrest for four weeks. 

Regarding allegations that Disha Ravi, a college graduate from Bengaluru, was arrested and taken to Delhi without the knowledge of her parents, the police said “all guidelines were followed”.

“Disha was arrested in the presence of her mother, SHO from local police, and a female officer,” an officer said.

The BJP and its leadership have been extremely critical of this toolkit and its propagators. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij called for the “destruction” of Disha Ravi and said, “If seeds of anti-nationalism have been sown in somebody’s thought process, he/she should be destroyed from roots… whether she is Disha Ravi or anyone else.”

Meanwhile, the arrest has sparked widespread outrage on Sunday, with politicians, academics, activists, authors and poets among those condemning the police action.

US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris tweeted: “Indian officials have arrested another young female activist, 21-year-old Disha Ravi, because she posted a social media toolkit on how to support the farmers’ protest. Ask why activists are being targeted and silenced by the government.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted screenshots of articles talking about the arrest of Disha and quoted Faiz Ahmed Faiz in his tweet, “Speak because your words have freedom. Speak because truth still lives. They are fear, not the country. India won’t be silenced.”

His sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also wrote in Hindi, “The ones with guns fear an unarmed girl. The rays of courage have been spread by an unarmed gun.”

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted in support and said that: “If seeds of anti-nationalism have been sown in somebody’s thought process, he/she should be destroyed from roots… whether she is Disha Ravi or anyone else.”

“A ‘took kit’ to support the farmers’ protest is more dangerous than the intrusion by Chinese troops into Indian territory! India is becoming the theatre of the absurd and it is sad that the Delhi Police has become a tool of the oppressors. I strongly condemn the arrest of Disha Ravi and urge all students and youth to raise their voices to protest against the authoritarian regime,” said former Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

“The question is when will those people be arrested who continue to issue a literal ‘toolkit’ to break the national and social unity of India morning and evening, giving rise to hatred and division among the masses,” Samajwadi Party chief and former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav posted in Hindi.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body spearheading the farmers’ protests that Disha Ravi supported, also demanded her immediate release.

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Kerala logs 3,792 new COVID-19 cases, 4,650 recoveries in last 24 hours

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 27 (ANI): Kerala on Saturday reported 3,792 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the cumulative count of cases in the state to 10,56,149.
With 18 deaths registered in the last 24 hours, the death toll in the state reached 4,182.
At present, the state has a total of 50,514 active cases. As many as 4,650 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the total count of recoveries in the state to 10,01,164.
India has a total of 1,59,590 active cases as per the latest update by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (ANI)

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Odisha passes resolutions on Jagannath Heritage Corridor project

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 27 (ANI): The Odisha Assembly on Saturday unanimously passed three resolutions regarding the Jagannath Heritage Corridor project, informed the state government.
The three resolutions were moved by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and were supported by both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
The first resolution was to work with determination to complete the Srimandir Parikrama plan and make a sincere effort to complete the work as soon as possible.
The second resolution was related to the participation and contribution of all people in Odisha and devotees of Lord Jagannath for the Heritage Corridor Project.
The third resolution was to extend gratitude towards the residence of Puri who have supported and sacrificed for the project.
Addressing the house, Patnaik said: “The greatest identity of Odia community is Lord Jagannath, our history, culture, traditions and our beliefs are all based on the Lord. He is the symbol of Odia esteem.”
“All devotees who come to the temple to see the Lord have a desire to see the Lord in a peaceful, beautiful and spiritual environment. Millions of devotees pray to visit the Jagannath Temple once in a lifetime and get a glimpse of the Lord. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that all devotees return with a divine feeling,” the Chief Minister said.
He informed that on the recommendation of Justice BP Das Committee, the Sree Mandir Hermitage Corridor was considered with three objectives in mind – security of the temple and safety of the millions of devotees who come to see the Lord Jagannath and to create a spiritual environment for the devotees.
“I firmly believe that this plan is not only for the government but also for the temple administration. The is the plan of 4.5 crores Odias,” he said. (ANI)

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Residents of Chhattisgarh village depend on drain water for drinking

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Balrampur (Chhattisgarh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Residents of Kundru village in Balrampur district of Chhattisgarh have to use water from streams and drains for drinking purposes due to the unavailability of other sources of water and said their complaints to the authorities have gone unheeded.
Kundru village is located in Ramchandrapur block and the majority of the 200 residents belong to the Pando Para scheduled tribe. Villagers said the public representatives think of them only during elections. Their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In the past a handpump was installed but that stopped functioning after a while. Many years have passed since then and they have to use dirty water for drinking.
Zila Panchayat CEO Toolika Prajapati said a district level team will be constituted and sent to the village which will conduct a survey and then arrangements will be made for drinking water there. If villagers drink drain water, their health would be affected, Prajapati said.

A villager said that they complained to the panchayat officials but no solution has been found. He said the government functionaries remember them only during elections.

The Kundru sarpanch said officials did not pay heed to the complaints of Pando Para residents. (ANI)

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People with these 20 co-morbidities to be prioritised for next COVID vaccination drive: Govt

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): People with the presence of one of the 20 co-morbidities, including diabetes and heart failure with hospital admission in the past one year, will be prioritised in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the government said on Saturday.
The simplified system of certifying people with these co-morbidities within the 45-59 years age group was explained to the States Health Departments.
This comes as India is going to start the vaccination of people above 60 years and individuals above 45 years of age having comorbidities against coronavirus, from March 1.
The co-morbidities which have been prioritised include diabetes, heart failure with hospital admission in the past one year, post-cardiac transplant, moderate or severe valvular heart disease, end-stage kidney disease on haemodialysis, a severe respiratory disease with hospitalisation in the last two years, primary immunodeficiency dieases/HIV infection and angina and hypertension/diabetes on treatment.
The simplified one-page certificate to be signed by any registered medical practitioner. The certificate can either be uploaded on Co-WIN 2.0 by the beneficiary while self-registering or a hard copy can be carried by the beneficiary to the COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC).
The states and UTs were explained the simplified process of registration, which shall be through three routes. The first is advance self-registration under which the beneficiaries will be able to self-register in advance by downloading the CO-Win 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Arogya Setu etc.
This will show the government and private hospitals serving as COVID vaccination centres with the date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination.
Second is on-site registration — Facility of on-site registration allows those who cannot self-register in advance to walk into the identified COVID vaccination centres and get themselves registered on-site and then vaccinated.
Third, is facilitated cohort registration — Under this mechanism, the State/UT governments will take a proactive lead. Specific date(s) for COVID vaccination will be decided where target groups of potential beneficiates will be vaccinated.
The State/UT health authorities will ensure that that the target groups are actively mobilised and brought to the vaccination centres. ASHAs, ANMs, Panchayati Raj representatives and Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be utilised for mobilising the target groups. (ANI)

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Board of Governance System to be introduced in University of Agriculture in Karnataka

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 27 (ANI): The University of Agriculture will witness a sea of changes soon and the Board of governance system through autonomy will be implemented in Karnataka, Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwatha Narayana, who also holds the higher education portfolio, said on Saturday.
Speaking at an award presentation ceremony organized by the Alumni Association in the Hebbal veterinary college campus, he said that the administrative, academic and financial structures of the university will be entirely changed as in the line of Vishweshwaraiah Engineering College (UVC).
The new system will be introduced to ensure higher transparency in the appointment for higher posts which will be free from political influences and nepotism, he told.
At present, the government is spending Rs 30 crores annually to run an engineering college and Rs 1,200 crores for an IIT institution. The government also intends to develop the Vishweshwaraiah engineering college and spend Rs 150 crores annually, he informed.
Narayana who stressed that he also hails from an agricultural family explained, “the farming acts recently introduced be central and state governments are farmer-friendly. The Cess imposed on farmers for transactions has been reduced from 1.5% to 0.60 Re. (60 Paise). Agritech and the application of Biotech to agriculture are being promoted at the policy level. Digital Technology is being made use of to analyze and assess about climate, soil composition, rain prediction.” (ANI)

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IAF carries out multi-aircraft sortie to commemorate Balakot Operations’ second anniversary

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday said it has carried out a long-range precision strike against a practice target to mark the second anniversary of the Balakot Operations.

The strike was carried out by members of the same squadron who carried out the actual operations.

Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria flew in an upgraded Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft during the multi-aircraft sortie to commemorate the second anniversary of the Balakot Operations.

On February 14, 2019, Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) targeted a CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama in South Kashmir killing 40 CPRF personnel.

Days later the IAF launched an air-strike on a JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The air-strike was launched in the early hours of February 26 and Pakistan’s efforts to launch an offensive the next day to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir was thwarted by an alert the IAF.

In the dogfight, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, flying a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane and chasing Pakistani jets, crossed over to PoK where his aircraft was shot down. He was taken into custody by Pakistan. India also shot down a Pakistani fighter jet. (ANI)

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