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Fadnavis in a row after relative took the vaccine

Preeti Sompura

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Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday came under severe fire after it emerged that his 22-year-old nephew Tanmay Fadnavis managed to get a Covid-19 vaccine jab, allegedly violating Centre’s norms.

Youth Congress leader Srivatsa was the first to point it out on Twitter. In a series of critical tweets, he lashed out at Fadnavis and his nephew, who is apparently an actor. “Dear @Dev_Fadnavis, is your nephew Tanmay 45+ years old? If not, how is he eligible for taking the vaccine? Just like Remdesivir, are you hoarding vaccines and giving them to your family members? People are dying. There is vaccine shortage. But Fadnavis family is safe,” tweeted the former Karnataka Congress Social Media Head. Srivatsa added that Tanmay has “committed a crime” and “must be immediately arrested”. He requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to arrest him and “set an example”.

Now, Devendra and his wife Amruta Fadnavis have reacted to the controversy. The former Maharashtra Chief Minister admitted that Tanmay is his “distant relative” and claimed that he was not aware of how the 22-year-old managed to get the vaccination dose.

“Tanmay is my distant relative. I have no idea under which criteria he received his dose. If it has been taken as per guidelines, then there should be no objection. But if it violates guidelines, it is completely improper. My wife and daughter have also not received vaccination as they don’t qualify for it. I am of the firm opinion that everybody must follow the rules,” told Devendra.

Meanwhile, Amruta has demanded action against Tanmay. “Priority for any service should be based on decorum or prevalent policy. No one is above rules and law. The law can take its course and we stand for justice always. We are with you on this issue, please take action which will stop future queue breaking occurrences,” she tweeted.

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PUNJAB’S LAST CHANCE FOR RESURRECTION: SIDHU WRITES TO SONIA GANDHI

He seeks time to present her with a 13-point agenda that can be the basis of the ‘Punjab model’ ahead of the Assembly elections next year.

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P unjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu has written a letter to the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi, seeking time to discuss issues related to the 2022 Assembly elections. He shared on Twitter on Sunday a copy of the letter dated 15 October, Friday. Talking of the “priority areas that Punjab government must deliver upon” Sidhu requested for a meeting to present his 13-point agenda, which he thinks should be made part of the Congress election manifesto. Calling this “Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption”, he said that he has come to this conclusion “after multiple deliberations and consultations with party workers from across Punjab and with a deep understanding of the public sentiment over 17 years of public life”. “I express with a lot of pain in my heart that this is Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption,” he added. “The issues at Punjab’s heart as understood very well by you, and signified by the 18-Point agenda given to the last Chief Minister are equally relevant today. I stood for each point in that agenda through the responsibility vested in me of the organization, keeping the executive under check, to be the guardian of Punjab’s rights,” said Sidhu in his letter. Sidhu stated that Punjab for decades was the richest state of the country and today it is the most indebted state. He further said that Punjab is submerged under lakhs of crores of debt due to gross financial mismanagement over the last 25 years and diversion of public resources making a few powerful people rich while leaving the state “debt-distressed”. Sidhu in his letter further alleged, “It has been supplemented by 7 years of BJP rule discriminating against Punjab while paying its financial dues such as GST payments, Rural Development Fund payments, Post-Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes payments etc. Subsequently, the increasing debt overhead Punjab has led to our financial resources being

used for merely paying off the old debt and interest upon it.”

Sidhu said in his letter, every year, Punjab has to take new debt to support basic development works, to invest in 60:40 shared Central development schemes, providing healthcare, education and infrastructure needs of the stat.

He added that Punjab has nearly one lakh vacant government posts, caused by the “lack of resources”. Government hirings are at “lowest wages” and contractual, school teachers have to work on probation for 4 years on minimum wages, “delays in implementation” of 6th Pay Commission by five years are all due to “state not having enough resources”.

Sidhu also mentioned drug menace in his letter, writing, drugs have “plagued almost an entire generation” of Punjab. He suggested a solution to the problem by writing, “This requires a stern action, as I always reiterate all corruption flows from the top, thus heads must roll from the top. The Big-Fish behind drug trafficking in Punjab as mentioned in the STF report must be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment.”

On agriculture, the Punjab Congress chief says that while agriculture is the backbone of Punjab, “as we all protest against the Centre’s three black laws, the government of Punjab must reject them completely by announcing that they will not be implemented in Punjab at any cost. As we did in the case of Satluj Yamuna Link Canal (SYL), such stern resolve is needed today. This resolve must be supported on the ground by bringing in structural changes.”

Raising the issue of electricity, Sidhu writes that cheap and 24 hour electric supply should be provided to all domestic consumers, especially urban domestic consumers who suffer the most due to cross-subsidy burden upon them, as power tariff for industrial and commercial use, and give free power for agriculture is decreased. He further said that fixed power subsidy must be given to all domestic consumers, be it the decreasing price of power to 3 Rs per unit or 300 units of free power to all.

Writing on his 13-point agenda, Sidhu also mentioned, “Release White-Paper on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and cancellation of all faulty PPAs as promised along with considering the present coal-shortage in the country, Punjab must move towards smart, cheap and efficient PPAs to meet state’s power demands, with a special focus on cheap solar power and aggressively pursuing grid-connected roof-top and institutional solar.”

Writing on Scheduled Caste and Backward Class welfare, Sidhu wrote, “Even after High Command’s progressive decision of appointing a Dalit Chief Minister to give the under-privileged more voice in the Government, it has not been supported in the State in equal measure, we should have at least one Mazbhi Sikh in Cabinet, representation to Dalits from Doaba, at least two representatives from Backward Caste Community in the Cabinet. Special package of 25 Crore for development of reserved constituencies.”

“We must fulfil our promise of 5 Marla plots to SCs, money for pakka ceiling for every Dalit household, agricultural lands to landless poor, fixing responsibility and initiating an inquiry into Post-Matric scholarship scam, while clearing dues to the Dalits students for pursuing their education further,” he added.

Stressing on the issue of employment generation, Sidhu suggested filling up of thousands of vacant government posts on a regular basis, while also addressing the grievances of the employees’ unions. “More than 20 Unions are protesting across the state. We must take their demands under compassionate consideration. The government must open doors for discussion, consultation and deliver what it can, considering its fiscal means,” Sidhu’s letter reads. He suggested that more emphasis should be given to bringing industries to Punjab especially in areas such as agro-processing, knitting and hosiery.

The immediate focus should be on implementing more reforms to promote Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), enabling time-bound single-window clearances, supporting MSMEs with a specific focus on employment-generating industries, he wrote

He also recommended that Punjab must bring in a youth policy to increase participation of the youth in governance, adding that emphasis should be on enhancing and enabling infrastructure on sports, skill development and startup culture. Concrete measures should be taken to increase the participation of women in politics, governance and opportunities for employment, he added.

He also raised the issue of liquor by writing, “I have been fighting for this cause since the first Cabinet meeting of our government in 2017, Punjab must monopolise liquor trade in the State, by bringing it under a state-run Corporation, as in case of Tamil Nadu, Punjab should own distilleries and liquor vends, giving at least 20,000 crores more revenue to the state along with thousands of jobs.”

He added, “I further request you to kindly give me a personal audience to present to you the Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress Manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections, which is separate from this by means of its long-term vision to be implemented over a longer period of time, have crafted it through years of consultations with academics, civil society, party workers and feedback from the People of Punjab.”

Following are the issues raised by Sidhu: justice for sacrilege, drugs, agriculture, electricity, PPAs, Scheduled Caste & Backward Caste welfare, employment, single window system and comparative advantage, women and youth empowerment, liquor, sand mining, transport and cable mafia.

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Two non-locals shot dead, one injured in south Kashmir

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On Sunday evening, two non-locals were shot dead and one injured after unidentified gunmen fired upon them in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. The security forces have cordoned off the area. The three non-locals have been identified as Raja Reshi Dev (dead), Joginder Reshi Dev (dead), and Chunchun Reshi Dev (injured)—all belonging to Bihar. Dr Mohammed Iqbal Sofi, Medical Superintendent GMC Anantnag said that the injured non-local labourer has a ballistic trauma in his arm and is stable for now.

“#Terrorists fired indiscriminately upon #NonLocal labourers at Wanpoh area of #Kulgam. In this #terror incident, 02 non-locals were killed and 01 injured. Police & SFs cordoned off the area. Further details shall follow. @JmuKmrPolice,” Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.

The horrific attack took place after two non-locals were shot dead in Srinagar and Pulwama. Of late, there has been a spike in the targeted killings of civilians in the valley.

A week after a series of attacks on civilians, a state of panic gripped Kashmir once again, as on Saturday evening, unidentified gunmen carried out an attack killing two non-locals.

On Saturday, Arvind Kumar Sah, a gol gappa vendor from Bihar, was shot in his head from point-blank range in Srinagar. Minutes later, reports came of Sagheer Ahmad, a carpenter belonging to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, being shot at in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. Ahmad later succumbed to his injuries.

Virendra Paswan, another non-local vendor from Bihar was shot dead in Srinagar on 5 October, besides renowned Kashmiri Pandit chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo, while Mohammad Shafi Lone, president of the local cab drivers’ association in Naidkhai was killed in Bandipora district. Other civilians who have been killed recently include Parvez Ahmad, Majeed Guru, Shafi Dar, Satinder Kour, Deepak Chand, and Arvind Kumar.

Amid the spate of killing of non-combatants, especially non-local labourers, in Kashmir, the region’s police chief Vijay Kumar was said to have issued an emergency advisory, directing police officials to give protection to all non-local labourers in their jurisdiction in police stations, and several other security establishments. The report was circulated over social media on Sunday evening. However, moments later, The Daily Guardian confirmed from IGP Vijay Kumar that the circulated report was fake, and there were no orders given as such.

Meanwhile, top leaders of several major political parties in J&K have condemned the civilian killings.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and the president of JKPDP, Mehbooba Mufti, took to Twitter to say, “There are no words strong enough to condemn the repeated barbaric attacks on innocent civilians. My heart goes out to their families because they leave the comforts of their homes to earn a dignified livelihood. Terribly sad.”

Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of J&K and vice president of National Conference also tweeted condemning the killings that took place on Saturday: “Strongly condemn the killing of Sageer Ahmed in Pulwama today. Another man who came to the valley in search of an income, in this case as a carpenter. His death in the 2nd terror attack today is a grim reminder of the precarious security situation in Kashmir these days.”

IGP Kumar, few days earlier, had denied that the incidents were the result of any security lapses. “I have been saying time and again that there was no security lapse… (The militants) attacked soft targets, whom we had not provided security. It is not possible to provide security to every soft target,” he told journalists.

“We have identified them (suspected assailants behind the killings of civilians). Two have been neutralised. Three others will also be neutralised soon,” he added.

Meanwhile, police on Friday claimed to have killed two militants in separate gunfights in Srinagar and Pulwama—Shahid Bashir and Tanzeel Ahmad, both residents of Srinagar—as “collaborators” in the recent killings.

In the month of October so far in Jammu & Kashmir, nearly 38 persons have lost their lives in armed violence, which include 9 members of Indian Army (including two Junior Commissioned Officers), 12 non-combatants, 13 militants, and three government soldiers who died by suicide.

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Jaishankar visits WWI cemetery in Jerusalem, pays homage to Indian soldiers

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External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar on Sunday visited the Indian cemetery in Jerusalem and paid homage to the Indian soldiers who died during World War I.

Jaishankar arrived in Israel on Sunday on a three-day visit. He is scheduled to hold talks with Israel’s top leadership. “Visited the Indian Cemetery at Talpiot as my first engagement in Jerusalem. Paid homage to the brave Indian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice during World War I,” Jaishankar tweeted.

This ongoing visit is Jaishankar’s first to the country as the External Affairs Minister.

After reaching Israel, the minister wrote on Twitter: “Shalom Israel! Arrived on my first visit as External Affairs Minister. Looking forward to a great visit.”

During his three-day visit, Jaishankar will hold a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Israel Yair Lapid and will also call on Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

India and Israel elevated bilateral relations to a Strategic Partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July.

Earlier on Saturday, the Ministry of External Affairs said that Jaishankar will interact with the Indian-origin Jewish community in Israel, Indologists, Indian students who are currently pursuing their education in Israeli universities, and business people, including from the hi-tech industries.

The visit will also be an occasion to pay tribute to the valiant Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the region, especially during the First World War.

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Around 53 Egyptian vultures spotted on Yamuna river in Delhi

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As many as 53 Egyptian vultures were spotted two days ago by an ecologist on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna river in Delhi.

While talking to ANI, TK Roy, who is an ecologist, said, “I found 53 Egyptian vultures here two days back in Delhi, which is the largest number in the last five years. This place is suitable for them.”

Roy further informed us that there are around 47 Egyptian vultures in the area at present.

“The population is slowly rising because of a ban on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that has a toxic effect on vultures and awareness among people on vulture conservation,” the ecologist added.

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TRAFFIC FREE, PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY ‘EK SHAAM CHARMINAR KE NAAM’ PROGRAMME BEGINS

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun, and frolic event.

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A traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly “Sunday Funday” programme titled “Ek Shaam Charminar ke naam” is being held at the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun and frolic event. This event will also be used to spread awareness about various issues of public importance.

The event is inspired by the continuation of a similar programme for eight weeks now at the upper Tank Bund road of Hyderabad.

“With the success of Sunday Funday programme at upper Tank Bund road which has been happening in Hyderabad for last eight weeks now, we felt that the iconic place of Charminar is also another place which can be used for similar entertainment, fun and frolic and intermingling of people,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad.

“Through such events, communities can be educated and made aware about several things such as how to prevent theft by servant, drivers theft, and other similar programmes. So we look forward to have a successful program at Charminar,” he added.

The event was inaugurated with the performance of the Hyderabad police band.

“The police department is also actively participating in this programme, the event was inaugurated with Hyderabad police band which is quite famous and subsequently it will be used for various police initiatives which are citizen-centric,” said the Police Commissioner.

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PEOPLE HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT SEX EDUCATION MEANS: KARISHMA SWARUP

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Karishma Swarup opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

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Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology pieces that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”

The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how condoms work and how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include the LGBT community, it includes one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion influences you, how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture that goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.

Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, I was referring to. I went and studied geology biology while I was at Brown University as well. A large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there, we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, which had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.

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