Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], February 11 (ANI): Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary, on Thursday, urged the National Women Commission (NCW) to immediate intervene for releasing Nodeep Kaur, a 23-year-old member of the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan from the state of Punjab, whose medical examination conducted after her arrest revealed injuries on her body and private parts.
Nodeep Kaur was arrested on January 12 after she had participated in the peaceful farmer’s protests at Kundli in Haryana.
“Manohar Lal Khattar led-BJP government in Haryana has been trying to annihilate farmers’ agitation from day one. Under its threatening theatrics, and at the behest of the Union government, the Haryana government forcibly picked up Nodeep Kaur and other labourers, who were peacefully protesting,” Chaudhary said in an official release.
“Kaur has been charged under section 307 (attempt to murder) and extortion, which is not acceptable at all,” she added.
Chaudhary appealed to the NCW that the Punjab government, through Punjab State Women’s Commission, will lend legal assistance to Nodeep Kaur and the Haryana government should be directed to arrange a meeting of the Punjab State Women’s Commission’s delegation with the labour rights activist.
She said, the allegations of outraging the modesty of Punjabi trade unionist Nodeep Kaur in police custody as per her family members and not even granting bail after four weeks, is a horrifying moment for the entire womanhood. (ANI)
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INDIA SLAMS US WATCHDOG’S ‘PARTLY FREE’ REPORT, CALLS IT ‘DISTORTED, INACCURATE’
A report by ‘Freedom House’ claiming India’s status as a free country has declined to “partly free” is “misleading, incorrect and misplaced”, the government said on Friday in a sharp rebuttal to the assessment of the US-based watchdog.
That the ranking was faulty was evident from the fact that “many states in India are ruled by parties other than the one at the national level, through an election process which is free and fair and which is conducted by an independent election body,” said the government in a point-by-point rejoinder.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Political judgement of Freedom House are as inaccurate and distorted as their maps, example on the covid situation there is widespread appreciation of the response of our recovery rate and low fatality rate.” Freedom House, which is also funded by the US government, also drew criticism for showing a distorted India map on the cover of its report.
The government in a press release on Friday denied the report’s findings saying it was evident from the fact that many states in India under its federal structure were ruled by parties other than the one at the national level, through an election process “free and fair and which is conducted by an independent election body.” According to the Centre, this reflected the working of a “vibrant democracy”, which gave space to those who held varying views.
Freedom House put attention to the Northeast Delhi riots, increase in use of sedition laws against the government’s critics, Internet shutdowns and the migrant crisis post the nationwide lockdown announcement in its report.
Responding to these findings, the government said, “Government of India treats all its citizens with equality as enshrined under the Constitution of the country and all laws are applied without discrimination. Due process of law is followed in matters relating to law and order, irrespective of the identity of the alleged instigator.”
“With specific reference to the Northeast Delhi riots in January 2019, the law enforcement machinery acted swiftly in an impartial and fair manner. Proportionate and appropriate actions were taken to control the situation. Necessary legal and preventive actions were taken by the law enforcement machinery on all complaints/calls received, as per law and procedures,” the government said.
The government also rebutted the allegation in the report that the Covid-19-induced lockdown “left millions of migrant workers in cities without work or basic resources” and “resulted in the dangerous and unplanned displacement of millions of internal migrant workers”.
The government said that the lockdown was announced to control the spread of Covid-19 and the period allowed the government to ramp up production capacity of masks, ventilators, personal protection equipment (PPE) kits, etc, and thereby effectively prevent the spread of the pandemic. India has, on per capita basis, registered one of the lowest rates of active Covid-19 cases and pandemic-related deaths globally, the statement added.
Man linked to explosive-laden SUV near Ambani home found dead
MUMBAI: The case of an abandoned car laden with explosives near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house has taken a twist after the owner of the vehicle was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Friday.
On 26 February, about 20 gelatin sticks—which is used in explosives—along with a handwritten threat letter had been recovered from a suspicious Scorpio SUV parked 1.4 km from the Ambani residence on Mumbai›s Altamount Road, sending security agencies into a tizzy.
The registration number on the vehicle›s number plate was the same as that of an SUV in Ambani›s security detail, the police had said. The police had later identified the owner of the SUV as Hiren Mansukh, a spare car parts businessman, who had told the investigating teams that his vehicle had been stolen.
On Friday, Hiren›s body was found near a creek in the Reti Bandar area of Thane. According to reports, he had been missing since Thursday night and was going to meet some ‹sahab›. A case of accidental death has been filed.
The BJP, which sits in the opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, demanded that the probe be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis described the whole chain of events as ‘fishy’ and accused the Uddhav Thackeray-led government of taking the case lightly and ignoring Mukesh Ambani’s security.
“The CM and the home minister must make a statement in the Assembly regarding the incident. A car filled with explosives was found outside Ambani’s house, this shows how serious the government is regarding the safety and security of people,” Fadnavis said in the Assembly.
Fadnavis also mentioned Hiren in his speech, saying, “The person who had lodged a missing complaint for the car made some phone calls to a number that is registered in the name of a person called Sachin Hindurao Vaze.”
“Sachin Vaze was the first police officer to reach the spot and then he was appointed as the Investigation Officer (IO). Three days ago, he was removed as the IO and I fail to understand why he was removed,” he added.
Maharashtra Police officer Sachin Vaze, also known as the ‘encounter specialist’, was last seen inside his cabin on Friday and has not been taking any visitors.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader and minister Aditya Thackeray told reporters, “We just learnt about this. It is a very big incident and the police are investigating.” When asked whether the state government would hand over the investigation to the NIA, he said, “We can, according to the rules. It will be more appropriate for the state home minister to speak on this.”
Significantly, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that Hiren was not the owner of the car and had been commissioned to work on it.
According to police sources, CCTV footage showed the car moving through the city, followed by an Innova which is also being investigated, and being parked by a man in a mask and a hoodie.
Sources have also shared that the gelatin found in the car is of the commercial kind, which is usually used in construction, digging or mining.
‘MADE-IN-INDIA’ COVID VACCINES PROVIDED TO 50 COUNTRIES: PM MODI
Swedish PM Lofven appreciates India’s role as ‘pharmacy of the world’.
Reiterating India’s massive contribution in fighting the coronavirus pandemic across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines have been provided to more than 50 countries.
Speaking at a virtual India-Sweden summit alongside Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, PM Modi said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, on a regional and on a global level, we have understood the importance of collaboration. India has provided medicines and other essential items to over 150 countries. Along with this, with the help of online training programmes, we shared our experiences with frontline workers and lawmakers of Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.”
The Prime Minister added, “We have provided ‘Made in India’ vaccines to around 50 countries so far. We are committed to supplying vaccines to even more countries in the days to come.”
As New Delhi has supplied ‘Made-in-India’ Covid-19 vaccine to countries around the world, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has appreciated India’s role as the pharmacy of the world. “Swedish Prime Minister greatly appreciated India’s role as the pharmacy of the world,” Secretary (West) in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Vikas Swarup said during a briefing on India-Sweden Summit.
India, a world pharmacy, is at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19.India has so far supplied 476.26 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine globally, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
Swedish PM Lofven announced his country’s decision to join the International Solar alliance, Swarup said, adding that Prime Minister Modi has welcomed the decision. The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a treaty-based inter-governmental organisation working to create a global market system to tap the benefits of solar power and promote clean energy applications.
“Welcoming the decision, Prime Minister Modi said that Sweden expertise and experience in clean and renewable energy will contribute significantly to the solar alliance and our collective effort to meet the challenge of climate change,” he said.
PM Modi and Lofven held India-Sweden virtual Summit on Friday, which lasted for nearly an hour, said Vikas Swarup. They held a “wide-ranging discussion” during the summit.
This was the fifth interaction between the two leaders since 2015. PM Modi had visited Stockholm in April 2018 for the first India Nordic Summit. Lofven had visited India in February 2016 for the special ‘Make in India’ week. Earlier, the two leaders had met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2015. In April 2020, the two Prime Ministers had a telephonic conversation to discuss the situation arising out of the pandemic.
With agency inputs
AS COVID NUMBERS SEE A SURGE, INDIA PUTS VACCINATION DRIVE IN FAST LANE
With the country witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the government has put the vaccination drive in the fast lane.
India administered 1.4 million vaccine doses in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed on Friday, the highest in a day since the campaign began on 16 January. The country still has to nearly double its current rate of vaccination to meet its target of covering 300 million people by August. India has so far given 18 million doses to about 15 million people.
The vaccination pace increased this week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off an expansion of the drive to include the elderly and those aged 45-59 suffering from medical conditions. The government has also roped in many private hospitals, allowing them to run vaccinations throughout the day and assuring there is no shortage of shots in the world’s biggest vaccine-making country. Unlike earlier when health and frontline workers had to get their shots in assigned vaccination centres, people are now free to choose their site.
What also gave the exercise an impetus was PM Modi himself opting for the jab. The Prime Minister on Monday opted for Bharat Biotech’s government-backed vaccine Covaxin.
Amid all this, India reported 16,838 fresh coronavirus cases on Friday and the tally has climbed to 1,11,73,761 while the number of recoveries has surged to 1,08,39,894 on Friday. The death count due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,57,548 in the country with 113 more fatalities reported in the last 24 hours.
Delhi reported 312 new coronavirus cases and three deaths, taking the total number of cases to 6,40,494 and the death toll to 10,918. The total tally of recoveries is 6,27,797, meanwhile, the national capital has 1,779 active cases.
Maharashtra recorded over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total infection count to 2,198,399. With 53 new deaths, the toll reached 52,393. Over 6,400 discharges have been recorded during the same period.
Rajasthan recorded 195 fresh coronavirus cases, raising its tally to 3,21,123 while the death count reached 2,789 with one more fatality. A total of 1,584 patients are under treatment while 3,16,750 have recovered from the infection.
Kerala logged 2,776 fresh coronavirus cases including 10 health workers and 16 related deaths, taking the caseload to 10,72,785 and the death count to 4,271. As many as 3,638 people were cured of the disease, taking the total number of recoveries to 10,24,309. A total of 66,103 samples were examined on Friday, taking the overall number to 1,17,79,163. The test positivity rate stood at 4.20%.
Odisha’s Covid-19 tally mounted to 3,37,620 as 91 more people tested positive for the infection. Of the fresh cases, 53 were reported from quarantine centres and 38 were detected during contact tracing. The death count remained at 1,917 as no new fatality has been reported since Wednesday.
Puducherry logged 30 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall tally to 39,824 on Friday. No fresh fatality was reported from any of the four regions – Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam. As many as 20 patients were discharged after treatment.
Telangana recorded 166 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the total positives to over 2.99 lakh while two deaths pushed the tally to 1,639. The total number of cases stood at 2,99,572 while with 149 patients are being cured, the total recoveries are at 2,95,970. The state has 1,963 active cases and 40,443 samples were tested on Thursday.
Tamil Nadu on Friday saw its daily new infections crossing the 500-mark once again, the last being in early February, with 543 people testing positive for the virus, pushing the tally to 8,53,992. Five more deaths took the toll to 12,513. Recoveries, however, eclipsed new cases with 562 patients being discharged taking the cumulative number to 8,37,525, leaving 3,954 active cases.
With agency inputs
CPI gets 6 seats in DMK alliance for Tamil Nadu
Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 6 (ANI): Communist Party of India (CPI) has been allotted six seats in the alliance with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for the 2021 assembly election in Tamil Nadu which is scheduled to be held on April 6.
DMK chief M K Stalin on Friday signed the seat-sharing agreement with the CPI state President R Mutharasan in the presence of senior members of both the parties at DMK headquarters in Chennai.
On March 1, the DMK announced a seat-sharing alliance with IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) allotting them three seats for the upcoming polls.
“Indian Union Muslim League has got three seats in DMK-led alliance for 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly elections,” KM Kader Mohideen, National President, IUML said after finalising the deal with the DMK.
The DMK has also allotted six seats to the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and two seats to the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK).
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2. The term of the 15th legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2.
However, with just a month left in the elections, cracks are appearing in the Congress- DMK alliance in the state.
Sources inside Congress told ANI, Tamil Nadu Congress president KS Alagiri broke down in front of party members after feeling humiliated by DMK during the seat-sharing discussion.
“KS Alagiri was addressing the executive committee members of Congress when he broke down in tears and said DMK have shamed Congress in seat sharing. He said he had not felt such shame in his lifetime,” the source said. (ANI)
KTR SLAMS CENTRE FOR TAKING MANY U-TURNS
HYDERABAD: Telangana minister and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) slammed the Central government over taking a U-turn on setting up a railway coach factory in Kazipet in Telangana. “No promises are being implemented by the centre doing injustice to the southern states in the country,” the minister said.
Speaking at CII conference in ITC Hotel of Hyderabad, the Telangana government has given 150 acres when the centre demanded 60 acres for the railway coach factory at Kazipet. “However, no factory has been given by the centre yet and also cancelled ITIR corridor. The centre came up with ‘Make in India’ but no industrial zone has been granted to Telangana,” he added. Also Read – BJP denies constitutional right of Telangana people .
He went on to ask that to whom the state governments should approach when the centre takes a U-turn. “One should serve for the people and country not for the elections,” he said. Rama Rao also questioned if the companies would come to India through the ‘Make In India’ programme when the tariff on imports are enhanced. The minister added that the centre is doing injustice to Telangana even after making huge revenue from the state. He also asked if the bullet train service is only for Gujarat.
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