New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): Lauding the efforts by India in the fight against COVID-19, country representative of World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Roderico Ofrin on Thursday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making it a Jan Andolan (people’s movement).
“The access, affordability and the speed which you get the result of the test, communicating and engaging with the community to be able to do COVID-19 appropriate behaviours– it was all on the call of Prime Minister, the Jan Andolan,” Dr Ofrin told ANI here.
The WHO country’s representative also said that the Government of India should be proud of the resilience shown during the pandemic.
“Considering the magnitude of the population, 1.3 billion, 37 states and UTs, 770 districts and multiply the key public health actions into that for that government of India has to be very proud of,” he added.
Ofrin further remarked the vaccination drive by the country is successful.
“Bringing diligence and disciplined response to vaccination is another area of responsibility. We see that it has been successful as six million have been vaccinated and it is the fastest rate of vaccination happening,” he said.
India recently became the fastest country to vaccinate six million beneficiaries against COVID-19, the union health ministry said on Monday. While USA took 26 days to reach this mark, the UK took 46 days, India achieved the feat in the fastest 24 days.
Speaking about the nature of the virus, Ofrin said, “We have already seen that they (virus) are smart and mutate and manage to adapt like human beings. We should be able to live with the virus managing these risks. Knowing what we know about COVID-19 and know that key basic intervention that all of us can do I call it 3 Ws– wear a mask, wash your hands and watch out the distance especially in crowds– then you are able to stop transmission.”
The WHO representative called India as a responder and a resource for their world especially in vaccinations and the knowledge can be shared with the globe as he terms “a prepared India is a prepared world.”
“It is a whole of society approach and India is a responder and a resource especially for vaccination now. That knowledge can be shared with the world and we can think of ancient Vedic philosophy of ‘Sarve Santu Nirmaya’ which is let all be healthy and a prepared India is a prepared world,” Ofrin said. (ANI)
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Cong in ‘troubled waters’ as seniors leaders head ‘north’ in show of strength
By Siddharth Sharma
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Days after a controversy erupted over comments of Rahul Gandhi comparing politics in North and South India, the party seems to be fishing in troubled waters.
While Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is headed towards the poll-bound Tamil Nadu on Saturday, the party’s dissenters, also known as G-23 will be holding a show of strength in Jammu.
Even as former Congress President Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to start his Tamil Nadu tour from the Toothukudi district, the senior leaders who have repeatedly shown their discontent with the party will be in Jammu attending a programme organised by Gandhi Global Family foundation on Saturday.
Sources stated that the foundation, whose National President is Gulam Nabi Azad, will be hosting senior leaders like Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Vivek Tankha, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who have been open about their displeasure with the party leadership over the past few weeks.
Ahead of their Jammu meet, the leaders also met at Azad’s residence. Sources stated that the meeting was attended by Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda while other leaders were contacted on the phone.
According to sources close to G-23 leaders, the event will not be the only programme as rallies and programmes are also under planning in other states to highlight the issues and Congress Party view on those issues.
The group of senior leaders have been demanding a revamp in the party and had earlier written a letter to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, showing their dissent with the present system being followed by the party.
Gulam Nabi Azad, who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and the post of Leader of Opposition, will be on a three-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir.
Interestingly, the dissenters are seemingly opening a separate front as they have not invited the Pradesh Congress Committee chief so far to the Gandhi Global Family foundation programme.
Speaking to ANI, Jammu and Kashmir PCC chief Gulam Ahmed Mir confirmed that the PCC office bearers and PCC Chief have not been invited yet by the Gandhi Global Family.
Sources stated that the Congress leadership is closely monitoring the move of dissenters as till now nothing has been said and written by the senior leaders which can be counted as anti-party activity.
The move by senior leaders of the Congress is significant as leaders like Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal have raised uncomfortable questions regarding Rahul Gandhi’s comments. Although most of these leaders didn’t criticize Gandhi outrightly for his remarks on politics in North and South India. They, however, indirectly expressed their views and put forth the Congress ideology in their statement.
Anand Sharma had told ANI earlier, “Rahul Gandhi had made an observation, perhaps sharing his personal experiences and not disrespecting any part of India or dividing. In what context he made that observation, he can clarify that so that there’s no conjecture or misunderstandings, Congress never divided the country. Each part of India is equally important. North India has also contributed a lot.”
Commenting on Rahul Gandhi’s comments earlier, Sibal also said “I’m nobody to comment on what he said. He said it and he can explain in what context he said this. I can only say that elector in this country is wise, we must respect his wisdom, wherever he may be located. It’s the elector that ultimately votes for you & puts you in the saddle of power. We must respect electors in the country and we must not denigrate their wisdom.”
Rahul Gandhi had said in Kerala, “For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the north. I had got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was very refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues not just superficially but they like to go into detail about issues. I was talking to some students in the United States and I said to them I really enjoy going to Kerala. It’s not just affection but the way you do your politics, the intelligence with which you do your politics. So, for me, it’s been a learning experience and a pleasure.”
The BJP had latched onto the comments of Rahul Gandhi and cornered him by alleging that the statement reeked of a bias against North Indians.
Rahul Gandhi’s is touring the poll-bound states like Assam, Tamil Nadu and Pudducherry. It will be interesting to see what the dissenters will say in Jammu on Saturday. However, the solidarity of senior leaders of G-23 with Gulam Nabi Azad is being seen as an indication that all is not well in the party. (ANI)
Did not participate in violence, pacified crowd during Red Fort incident on Jan 26: Deep Sidhu tells Court
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu on Friday urged the Delhi Court to preserve the CCTV footage of the Red Fort, which is already with the Investigating Agency and visuals, to show that he did not participate in any act of violence and rather he was helping the police in pacifying the crowd on Republic Day in New Delhi.
Appearing for Deep Sidhu, advocate Abhishek Gupta told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gajender Singh Nagar that the accused applicant is apprehensive that the CCTV footage of Red Fort from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm will not be considered by the Investigating Agency.
Sidhu, therefore, sought direction from the Court to preserve the CCTV footage, call and made part of the record so that it would help him to prove his innocence.
Sidhu’s lawyer, advocate Gupta also sought to conduct a fair and impartial investigation in the matter.
The lawyer also told the court he was falsely implicated in the matter and made a victim of the circumstances.
Gupta also apprised the court that Sidhu had shared various videos in the public domain with the Investigating Agency which show his innocence, however, there was no interrogation done with respect to the said videos while in police custody.
Therefore, the applicant is apprehensive that fair and impartial investigation may not be done in the instant case. That all the videos/proof of the innocence of the applicant/accused were provided to the investigating agency in a pen drive, he informed.
“That during the investigation/interrogation it was clearly stated by the applicant/accused that no call was ever made by him in connection with going to Red Fort on the Republic day nor did he join any tractor rally (All videos containing the statement of applicant shared with the Investigating Agency). It was also indicated that there were certain videos wherein some others were calling upon farmers to reach Red Fort on Republic Day (All videos containing such statements shared with the Investigating Agency),” Sidhu’s defence lawyer submitted.
He also told the court that during the investigation, it was also disclosed by the applicant Sidhu that he was at a hotel at Murthal till 12.00 pm on January 26 and that he left for Delhi only after checking out.
He also stated that the CCTV footage of the concerned hotel, which was in working condition, and the checkout bill showing the time/payment details, as online payment was made, be obtained to ascertain the said fact (CCTV footage of Hotel Shree Ji Murthal of January 26 from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm along with bill paid and mode of payment along with its accurate time).
He told the court that Sidhu reached the area around Red Fort only around 2.00 P.M and he also gave the entire route from Murthal. A huge crowd had already gathered at the spot before Sidhu reached there. For the said purpose, Sidhu had asked the Investigating Agency to obtain his own phone location and also the car navigation system, however, the investigating agency has chosen not to check the said evidence which completely belies the case thrusted upon the applicant, the lawyer said.
The court has reserved its order on Sidhu’s plea and said that it will announce it at 4 pm today.
Sidhu was arrested by the Delhi police special cell on February 9 for his alleged involvement in 26 January violence in the national capital after which was he was sent to seven-day police custody the same day.
Currently, he is undergoing judicial custody in the matter.
Delhi Police had earlier told the court that Deep Sidhu was the main instigator of the violence. He allegedly instigated the mob not to follow the permitted route of the Kisan parade and to breach barricades with tractors on that day.
Delhi Police had also told the court that there was video evidence to show that Sidhu entered Red Fort with supporters carrying lathis and flags. The Police also told the court that he was at the rampart of the fort where a flag was raised.
On Republic Day, protestors did not follow the prearranged route and broke barricades to enter Delhi, clashed with police, and vandalised property in several parts of the national capital during the farmers’ tractor rally. They also entered the Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.
Farmers have been protesting at the different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)
Man brandishing firearm at wedding ceremony arrested in Delhi
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Delhi Police has arrested a man who allegedly brandished a firearm at a wedding ceremony in Delhi’s Indira park area on February 17, and recovered a loaded pistol along with two live rounds from his possession.
The accused, identified as Ashish, 32, was arrested from Roop Nagar area near Ramjas College Chowk in the national capital.
“During the investigation, the accused admitted that he was involved in many crimes. He had purchased a pistol from six months ago to show off in the vicinity and made a firing at the wedding ceremony of his cousin on February 17, after that the video of the firing went viral,” police said in a statement on Thursday.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)
Effects of trader union’s nationwide strike seen in West Bengal, Odisha
Birbhum/Bhubaneswar/Mumbai (West Bengal/Odisha/Maharashtra) [India], February 26 (ANI): The effect of a nationwide strike called by the Confederation of All India Traders was visible in some parts of the country like Odisha and West Bengal where most shops and business establishments remained closed on Friday.
The Confederation of All India Traders called for the strike today in protest against rising fuel prices, new e-way bill, and GST.
There were hardly any vehicles on the roads and highways in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar, while most shops remained shut in the Birbhum district of West Bengal.
However, the All India Motor Transport Congress distanced itself from the strike.
Speaking to ANI in Mumbai, Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman, Core Committee-All India Motor Transport Congress said they are not part of this strike, but will call for a Chakka-Jam if the government does not listen to their demands in the next few days.
“All India Motor Transport Congress had a meeting on February 14 where it was decided we will give 14 days to the government to accept our demands about price control of fuel prices, and e-bill tax relief among other promises made to us. If our demands are not met within 14 days, we will call for a nationwide Chakka Jam. We forwarded our demands to the government on January 16. However, we have nothing to do with today’s strike,” said Singh. (ANI)
NIA files charge sheet against ISI Agent in connection with espionage case in UP
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Friday said that it filed a supplementary charge sheet against an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent in connection with an espionage case in Uttar Pradesh.
In a press release, NIA said that the accused Rajakbhai Kumbhar, is accused of meeting and conspiring with ISI agent Hamid alias Asim and is also tasked with transferring funds to co-accused Rashid for the information he had provided to the ISI operatives in Pakistan.
Kumbhar was arrested on September 30, 2020, when the NIA took charge of the case.
The case was registered in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow on January 19, 2020, in which Rashid was arrested on the same day for his role in supplying sensitive information, photos and videos of vital installations of strategic importance to ISI operatives based in Pakistan. The NIA has re-registered the case on April 6 last year and taken up the investigation, according to the press note.
A charge sheet was filed against Rashid in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow on July 16, 2020, for his role in supplying important information to his ISI operatives based in Pakistan, according to the press note.
Further investigation by NIA revealed that Kumbhar had visited Pakistan twice on legal documents.
“During his second visit, he met and conspired with ISI agent Hamid alias Asim. Rajakbhai transferred funds to Rashid for the information he had provided to the ISI operatives in Pakistan,” read the press release.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)
COVID-19 vaccination sessions not scheduled on Feb 27, 28 due to transition from Co-Win 1.0 to 2.0
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): COVID-19 vaccination sessions are not scheduled on Saturday and Sunday (February 27 and 28) in wake of the IT System Transition from Co-Win 1.0 to Co-Win 2.0, informed the Union Health Ministry on Friday.
As per a press statement from the Ministry, the COVID-19 vaccination was launched on January 16 by the Prime Minister. The country-wide vaccination exercise is being exponentially expanded to include those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with co-morbidities, from March 1.
On the coming Saturday and Sunday, the Co-Win digital platform will be transitioning from Co-Win 1.0 to Co-Win 2.0. In view of this, COVID-19 vaccination sessions will not be scheduled during these two days. The States and Union Territories have been already informed about this transition, it said. (ANI)
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