Scroll.in - The Latest https://scroll.in A digital daily of things that matter. http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification python-feedgen http://s3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/scroll-feeds/scroll_logo_small.png Scroll.in - The Latest https://scroll.in en Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:32:26 +0000 Thu, 06 Aug 2020 00:00:00 +0000 Beirut twin blasts: Toll rises to 135; government imposes two-week emergency in city https://scroll.in/latest/969542/beirut-twin-blasts-toll-rises-to-135-government-imposes-two-week-emergency-in-city The Lebanese government gave the military the power to put any citizen under house arrest in connection with the explosion.

The toll in the twin explosions in Lebanon’s capital Beirut rose to 135 on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing local media. Around 5,000 people have been injured in the explosions. The government declared a two-week state of emergency in the city.

The Lebanese government gave the military the power to put any citizen under house arrest in connection with the explosion. Lebanon’s Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi had said earlier in the day that the explosions were most likely caused by a blow-up at a warehouse at the Beirut port where ammonium nitrate was being stored. The compound is commonly used as an industrial chemical and also as an explosive in mining.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had exploded in the Beirut port, AFP reported.

The country’s government had allocated 100 billion Lebanese ($66 million or approximately Rs 494 crore) to deal with the aftermath of the explosion.

Videos of the powerful explosion on Tuesday showed an orange cloud in the city’s skyline that devastated the harbour and shattered windows several kilometres away. Buildings 10 km away from the site of the blast were damaged.

The country’s health system, already struggling with the coronavirus crisis, has been overwhelmed by the casualties in the explosion. Several countries have offered help to Lebanon amid the crisis.

The explosions came a day ahead of a court verdict in the trial connected with the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A tribunal of the United Nations is expected to give its verdict in the case of Hariri’s death in 2005, which involves four suspects.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969542/beirut-twin-blasts-toll-rises-to-135-government-imposes-two-week-emergency-in-city Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:47:52 +0000 Scroll Staff
Covid-19: India records highest one-day recoveries of 51,706 patients; fatality rate dips to 2.09% https://scroll.in/latest/969462/coronavirus-global-toll-nears-7-lakh-with-us-registering-over-1300-deaths-in-last-24-hours Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava said three vaccine candidates in India were progressing well.

10.50 pm: Read Wednesday’s top updates.

10.41 pm: Nagaland’s coronavirus case count rises to 2,498 after 93 more people test positive, reports PTI.

10.39 pm: Thirty seven people, including an Army jawan, test positive for coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh, state’s tally rises to 2,917, reports PTI.

10.35 pm: Chhattisgarh records 205 new coronavirus cases, two more deaths, reports PTI, citing a health official.

9.50 pm: Goa’s tally rises to 7,423 with 348 new cases on Wednesday. The toll stands at 64.

9.47 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 10,128 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours. The state’s tally rises to 1,86,461 and the toll stands at 1,681.

9.41 pm: Mumbai’s tally crosses 1.19 lakh with 1,125 new cases. The toll rises to 6,588 with 42 more deaths.

9.39 pm: Maharashtra records 10,309 new coronavirus cases and 334 deaths on Wednesday. The state’s tally rises to 4,68,265 and the toll reaches 16,476.

6.55 pm: Denmark’s Copenhagen Airports may lay-off over 650 staff members as the aviation sector remains adversely impacted by the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reports.

6.51 pm: World Health Organization official Edwin Salvador says North Korea’s test results for a man suspected of being the country’s first coronavirus case were inconclusive, Reuters reports.

6.45 pm: Delhi’s overall count of cases crosses 1.40 lakh with 1,076 new cases on Wednesday. Eleven more deaths push the Capital’s toll to 4,044.

6.42 pm: Tamil Nadu records 5,175 new cases and 112 deaths on Wednesday. The states’s overall count rises to 2,73,460 and the toll reaches 4,461.

6.39 pm: Kerala reports 1,195 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Wednesday.

5.50 pm: All passengers arriving in Goa are required to be in 14 days of home or paid institutional quarantine, reports ANI.

5.37 pm: Israel says India’s support in developing a rapid test for the coronavirus could bring “good news” to the world within a few months, reports PTI. Both the countries are jointly working on an project to develop a rapid test that can provide results within tens of seconds.

5.33 pm: Mumbai’s Dharavi area records one new coronavirus case, taking the total number to 2,589, according to ANI.

4.33 pm: India registers the highest single-day recoveries of 51,706 patients, the Centre says. The country’s recovery rate stands at 67.19%.

4.31 pm: Karnataka’s Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar inaugurates the state’s first Indian Council of Medical Research-approved mobile coronavirus testing labs, reports ANI.

3.02 pm: Over 10,000 personnel of the Maharashtra Police have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, PTI reports. “Of them, 107 personnel, including 10 officers, have died,” an unidentified official tells the news agency. The official adds that over 50% of the fatalities were reported from the Mumbai Police force.

2.58 pm: Playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam tests positive for the coronavirus and is currently admitted to a hospital in Chennai, NDTV reports. However, the singer says he is “perfectly alright except the cold and fever” and adds that he will be discharged from the hospital in two days.

2.56 pm: Puducherry registers 286 new coronavirus cases and seven deaths on Wednesday, ANI reports. With this, the total tally of infections in the Union Territory rises to 4,432 and the toll is 65.

2.55 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who tested positive for the coronavirus, has no fever and his vital parameters are stable, ANI reports, quoting a statement from Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru, where he is admitted. The hospital says his symptoms have improved since admission and he is comfortable at present.

12.42 pm: Himachal Pradesh’s total count of cases rises to 2,879, including 12 deaths.

12.30 pm: Carmaker BMW records its first quarterly deficit since the global financial crisis of 2009, between the months of April and June, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reports.

12.23 pm: Local leaders of Congress in Rajkot, Gujarat, announce they would go on a week-long token hunger strike from Wednesday onwards in protest of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation’s decision to not disclose names of persons testing positive for Covid-19, The Indian Express reports.

The RMC had stopped revealing the names of those who contracted the viral disease on July 26. Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Udit Agrawal had said that the decision was taken after the civic body received complaints from people saying that declaring their names constituted a breach of their right to privacy.

12.20 pm: Odisha’s tally of coronavirus cases crosses the 39,000-mark, after 1,337 infections were reported on Wednesday, PTI reports. Nine more fatalities push the toll from the disease to 225.

12.00 pm: The Surat Municipal Corporation has sought additional funds to the tune of Rs 128.36 crore from the Gujarat government to continue its fight to contain the coronavirus outbreak, The Indian Express reports.

“It is a routine procedure for municipal corporation to ask the state government for funds,” Municipal Commissioner BN Pani tells the newspaper. “Later, when funds are allocated, we have to give them details of expenses.”

11.58 am: Zenara Pharma, a subsidiary of Biophore India Pharmaceuticals, receives approval from the Drugs Controller General of India to manufacture and sell Favipiravir tablets for treating patients with mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19, NDTV reports. The tablet, to be sold under the brand name “Favizen”, will be manufactured at Zenara’s facility in Hyderabad.

11.53 am: Police of Kolkata check vehicles on the first day of a bi-weekly lockdown enforced in the city to contain the spread of the coronavirus, ANI reports.There will be a complete lockdown in West Bengal for two days every week till the end of August.

11.50 am: Telangana registers 2,012 Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total tally of infections in the state to 70,958, PTI reports, quoting the state health bulletin. The total number of people who recovered from the infectious disease touches 50,814, while 19,568 are under treatment.

11.47 am: Human embryos could be susceptible to Covid-19 as early as the second week of pregnancy if the mother falls sick, found a study conducted by scientists at the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge, and US’ California Institute of Technology, PTI reports. While initially recognised as causing respiratory disease, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19 disease, also affects many other organs, they said.

11.46 am: The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index stood at 34.2 in July, slightly higher than 33.7 in June, PTI reports. However, despite the rise, the Indian services sector activity contracted for the fifth successive month in July, the survey says. A print above 50 means expansion and a score below that denotes contraction.

“With such a prolonged and significant downturn, any substantial recovery will take many months, if not years, says Lewis Cooper, economist at IHS Markit. “Latest IHS Markit estimates point to an annual contraction in GDP of over 6% in the [financial] year ending March 2021.”

11.26 am: Arunachal Pradesh reports 32 fresh cases including 13 security personnel. With this, the state’s tally rises to 1,790.

11.01 pm: Rajasthan registers 593 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths on Wednesday, ANI reports. With this, the state’s total tally of infections rises to 47,272 and the toll stands at 742.

10.18 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan discharged from Bhopal’s Chirayu Hospital after recovering from Covid-19.

10.08 am: Uttar Pradesh Cabinet minister Brajesh Pathak tests positive. In a tweet in Hindi, Pathak says he got tested after he showed symptoms for Covid-19. He also appeals to people who came in contact with him to quarantine themselves.

9.28 am: India records 52,509 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 19,08,254. The toll rises by 857 to 39,795.

9.24 am: Germany’s tally rises to 2,12,022 with 741 new cases, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. The toll climbs up by 12 to 9,168.

9.23 am: India tested over 6.19 lakh samples on Tuesday, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.

7.45 am: Novavax Inc says its experimental Covid-19 vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the coronavirus disease, according to early-stage clinical trial. The firm adds that it could start a larger Phase III trial by late September, and adds that it could produce 1 billion to 2 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021.

7.34 am: The United States adds 1,302 deaths to its tally in the last 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country registers 53,847 new cases.

7.31 am: As many as 150 police personnel who have recovered from Covid-19 will be deployed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security when he lands in Ayodhya for the Ram temple event today. “It’s in the protocol for protecting the prime minister that he must be guarded by healthy personnel,” UP deputy inspector general of police Deepak Kumar tells Hindustan Times. “Now what can be healthier in these times than a Covid-19 warrior.”

The larger security detail will comprise 400 additional personnel who have tested negative for Covid-19 in the past 48 hours and then been isolated.

7.25 am: Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava says three vaccine candidates in India are progressing well. “Inactivated virus vaccine candidate by Bharat Biotech and the DNA vaccine by Zydus Cadila have completed phase I studies in 11 sites and started phase II trials,” he tells Hindustan Times. “Phase I and II trials are for safety studies and very early efficacy studies.”

Bhargava adds that phase II/III clinical trials for the Oxford University vaccine candidate will begin within a week at 17 sites across India. The Serum Institute of India will conduct the trials.

7.20 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday

  • India recorded 52,050 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 18,55,745. The toll rose by 803 to 38,938.
  • The number of active cases in Delhi went below the 10,000-mark. The Capital’s coronavirus tally stood at 1,39,156, including 1,25,226 recoveries and 4,033 deaths. Maharashtra’s case count rose to 4,57,956 after 7,760 new infections, and the toll went up by 300 to 16,142. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu has 2,68,285 cases and the toll stood at 4,349.
  • Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he has tested positive for Covid-19. He added that he has been admitted to a hospital on doctor’s advice. Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb said he has tested negative for the coronavirus. Deb on Monday night said he was going into self-isolation after two of his family members tested positive.
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in its revised guidelines for Unlock 3, allowed shops in the city to remain open on all days on both sides of the road. Earlier, the shops had to follow an odd-even formula for opening up. The civic body has also permitted the sale of alcohol.
  • United States President Donald Trump said that his country was doing “very well” in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic while India is having a “tremendous problem” battling the health crisis. “Don’t forget, we’re much bigger than India and China,” Trump said. “China is having a massive flare up right now. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems.”
  • The global coronavirus count crossed 1.81 crore on Monday morning, and the number of deaths rose to 6,91,642, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As many as 1.08 crore people have recovered.
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https://scroll.in/latest/969462/coronavirus-global-toll-nears-7-lakh-with-us-registering-over-1300-deaths-in-last-24-hours Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:44:42 +0000 Scroll Staff
Top 10 coronavirus updates: Delhi’s case count surges beyond 1.4 lakh with 1,076 infections in a day https://scroll.in/latest/969504/top-10-coronavirus-updates-mp-cm-shivraj-singh-chouhan-recovers-global-toll-crosses-7-lakh A look at the biggest developments of the day.

  1. India crossed the 19-lakh mark on Wednesday morning with 52,509 new coronavirus cases. The country’s total number of infections are now 19,08,254, while the toll rose by 857 to 39,795. As many as 12,82,215 people have recovered.
  2. India registered a record 51,706 coronavirus recoveries. The country’s recovery rate stood at 67.19%, according to the Union health ministry. India’s fatality rate is now 2.09%.
  3. Delhi’s overall count of cases crossed 1.40 lakh after 1,076 new infections were reported. Eleven more deaths pushed the Capital’s toll to 4,044. Tamil Nadu recorded 5,175 new cases and 112 deaths, taking the state’s overall count to 2.73 lakh and the toll to 4,461. Maharashtra registered 10,309 new cases and 334 deaths. The state’s tally rose to 4,68,265 and the toll reaches 16,476.
  4. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was discharged from Bhopal’s Chirayu Hospital after recovering from Covid-19. He has been advised to isolate himself at home and monitor his health for seven more days.
  5. Veteran playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to a hospital in Chennai. The singer said he was “perfectly fine” and claimed that he would be discharged from the hospital in two days.
  6. The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government and the administration of Surat to explain why the coronavirus situation in the city has “gone from bad to worse”. The court said they were informed that the authorities’ delayed response was responsible for the crisis.
  7. The global toll crossed the 7-lakh mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As many as 7,02,045 people have died across the world so far, while the global coronavirus count crossed 1.86 crore. As many as 1.11 crore people have recovered.
  8. Uttar Pradesh Cabinet minister Brajesh Pathak tested positive for Covid-19. In a tweet in Hindi, Pathak said he got tested after he showed symptoms for Covid-19. He also appealed to people who came in contact with him to quarantine themselves.
  9. Sri Lankans began voting for the country’s parliamentary elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. The country has so far reported 2,823 cases and 11 deaths.
  10. Brazil recorded 51,603 new cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours, the country’s health ministry said on Tuesday. As many as 1,154 people died during that period. The country has so far registered more than 28 lakh cases of the virus, while the official toll stands at 95,819.
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https://scroll.in/latest/969504/top-10-coronavirus-updates-mp-cm-shivraj-singh-chouhan-recovers-global-toll-crosses-7-lakh Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:29:07 +0000 Scroll Staff
Congress also responsible for Babri demolition, ‘secular parties’ exposed, says Asaduddin Owaisi https://scroll.in/latest/969521/congress-also-responsible-for-babri-demolition-secular-parties-exposed-says-asaduddin-owaisi Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that he did not think Congress ‘has any stand when it comes to secularism’.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday criticised the Congress and said that the party was equally responsible for the demolition of the 16th-century Babri Mosque, reported ANI. He criticised other “secular parties” and claimed they had been completely exposed, as the foundation ceremony of a Ram temple took place in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, earlier in the day.

Owaisi also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he had violated his oath of office by attending the ceremony in Ayodhya. “India is a secular country,” he said. “This is the day of the defeat of democracy and secularism and success of Hindutva.”

Modi on Wednesday participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony to formally launch the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, 28 years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque at the same site. The prime minister laid a symbolic 40-kg silver brick in the sanctum sanctorum, or innermost sanctuary, to mark the start of the temple construction.

In reference to Modi’s remarks on it being an emotional day, the AIMIM chief said he was also feeling emotional as he believed in “coexistence and equality of citizenship”. “Mr Prime Minister, I am emotional because a mosque stood there for 450 years,” he added.


Follow live updates from the event in Ayodhya here

Also read:

  1. ‘Ram is everyone’s and resides in everyone,’ says PM Modi after laying foundation for Ayodhya temple

Owaisi said the prime minister had failed to uphold the Constitution and that his attendance at the Ayodhya event represented the “victory of Hindutva over secularism”. “Today is a victory of majoritarianism over liberty and equality,” he said, according to PTI. “By attending, the prime minister has not only laid the foundation of a Mandir, but also the foundation of a Hindu Rashtra.”

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Congress was following the “soft Hindutva” of Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao. “I don’t think Congress has any stand when it comes to secularism,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “There is nothing new in Rahul or Priyanka Gandhi’s stand on Ayodhya.”

The Indian Union Muslim League, an ally of the Congress, passed a resolution criticising Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s statement on the Ram temple ceremony, PTI reported. The Congress leader had said on Tuesday that she hoped the ceremony would become an occasion to celebrate India’s unity, fraternity and cultural congregation.

In his address at the Ram temple ceremony, the prime minister claimed that just as August 15 symbolised the end of India’s freedom struggle, August 5 was the culmination of the fight for a Ram temple for centuries.

Several politicians across party lines welcomed the temple’s construction. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the deity Ram “can never appear in hate”. Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the people of the country and said that the deity’s blessings “will get rid of hunger, illiteracy and poverty” and that India would become the most powerful nation in the world.

Some social media users also agreed with Owaisi’s accusations against other political parties.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969521/congress-also-responsible-for-babri-demolition-secular-parties-exposed-says-asaduddin-owaisi Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:18:04 +0000 Scroll Staff
Jamia violence: Delhi Police oppose setting up of Special Investigation Team in High Court https://scroll.in/latest/969531/jamia-violence-delhi-police-opposes-setting-up-of-special-investigation-team-in-high-court The police argued that setting up an SIT or a fact-finding committee would amount to superseding the law.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday opposed the setting up of a Special Investigation Team to look into the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia University after an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in December, PTI reported. The police voiced its opposition before the Delhi High Court, which was hearing several pleas related to the violence.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the Delhi Police, told the court that setting up an SIT would amount to “supplanting the law”. The police also objected to setting up a Commission of Inquiry or a fact-finding committee.

On Tuesday, a batch of petitions had been filed in the Delhi High Court, asking for an independent probe into the excessive use of force on students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in December. Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves had said that the police’s investigation in the case was “not independent”.

The petitioners also demanded that the students be given medical treatment, compensation and interim protection from arrest. They also asked for the registration of first information reports against the police officers who used force on students.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the Delhi Police told the court that the petitions were not maintainable. He added that the plea’s demands could not be approved since the police had filed chargesheets in connection with the violence and the petitioners should have asked a subordinate court for compensation. He added that the petitioners’ case was based on an “assumption of wrongdoing” by the police and it was “grossly misconceived”.

The Delhi High Court, then, listed the matter for hearing on August 14.

On December 15, violence had broken out near the Jamia Millia Islamia University after an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest march by students ended in a pitched battle with the police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured. The police were accused of using excessive force to quell the demonstrations, and storming the campus. The police claimed its action was justified as the protestors had allegedly injured its personnel and set buses on fire. CCTV from the university showed Delhi Police personnel assaulting students in a reading hall.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969531/jamia-violence-delhi-police-opposes-setting-up-of-special-investigation-team-in-high-court Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:58:05 +0000 Scroll Staff
Sushant Singh Rajput death: ED summons Rhea Chakraborty in money laundering case, say reports https://scroll.in/latest/969537/sushant-singh-rajput-death-ed-summons-rhea-chakraborty-in-money-laundering-case Last week, the ED had filed a case against the actor over suspicious transactions amounting to Rs 15 crore from Rajput’s account.

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday summoned actor Rhea Chakraborty in connection with its investigation into the money laundering case related to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, ANI reported. Chakraborty was asked to appear before the probe agency on Friday.

Chakraborty’s chartered accountant has been summoned on Thursday, according to NDTV.

Last week, the Enforcement Directorate had filed a money laundering case against the actor over “suspicious transactions” amounting to Rs 15 crore from Rajput’s account.

On July 28, Rajput’s father Krishna Kumar Singh had filed a first information report against Chakraborty, accusing her of cheating his son and driving him to suicide. His FIR alleged that Rs 15 crore was siphoned off from Rajput’s account in one year “to bank accounts of persons not known or connected to the late actor”.

Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14, in what the police said was a case of suicide.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Centre accepted the Bihar government’s recommendation to initiate a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into Rajput’s death. The Nitish-Kumar led government had been facing increasing pressure from allies and opposition leaders to suggest a CBI probe into the case. The Bihar government had recommended the CBI investigation on Tuesday after the state’s director general of police spoke to Rajput’s father and took his approval for the investigation.

Chakraborty, who has denied all the accusations against her, had also urged Home Minister Amit Shah to order a CBI inquiry into Rajput’s death. In a video statement released on July 31, she had tearfully expressed faith in the judiciary. “A lot of horrible things are being said about me across the media but I refrain from commenting on it on my lawyers’ advice,” she had said. “I believe i will get justice.”

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https://scroll.in/latest/969537/sushant-singh-rajput-death-ed-summons-rhea-chakraborty-in-money-laundering-case Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:36:31 +0000 Scroll Staff
In pictures: Rain lashes Mumbai, waterlogging and traffic disruption in many areas https://scroll.in/latest/969529/in-pictures-rain-lashes-mumbai-waterlogging-and-traffic-disruption-in-many-areas Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to citizens to stay home and venture out only if essential as heavy rain is expected on Thursday.

Heavy rain hit Mumbai and its surrounding areas on Wednesday, causing damage, severe waterlogging and traffic congestion in several areas. The India Meteorological Department said that the city will continue to receive heavy downpour on Thursday.

Pictures and videos shared on social media showed people wading through knee-deep water, with trees falling on cars and overhead wires catching fire amid the heavy rain. The rainfall even caused the signboard on the Bombay Stock Exchange building to collapse. The city’s Hindmata and Girgaon localities were among the areas that experienced significant waterlogging.

Train services on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Vashi and CSMT-Thane route were suspended due to the heavy rain, ANI reported, quoting the central railway.

The weather department said that Mumbai’s Colaba area received 22.9 centimetres of rain while Santacruz received 8.8 centimetres between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm, ANI reported. “Presently strong winds with speed reaching 70 Kmph along the coast are prevailing and likely to continue during next three to four hours,” the weather department said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with Mumbai’s civic authorities and asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to stay on high alert for Thursday. “Since India Meteorological Department predicts heavy rains will continue till tomorrow, chief minister has appealed to the citizens to stay home and venture out only if essential,” the official account of Thackeray’s office tweeted.

Thackeray also reviewed the situation in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Kolhapur, Thane and Raigad districts that experienced heavy rainfall. The Mumbai Police also advised residents to stay indoors and only step out for essential tasks.

Here are some of the visuals:

Floodlights at Wankhede stadium

Gateway of India

Cranes collapsed at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Navi Mumbai.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969529/in-pictures-rain-lashes-mumbai-waterlogging-and-traffic-disruption-in-many-areas Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:49:10 +0000 Scroll Staff
Ayodhya event: Digital billboard of Ram temple up at Times Square in New York https://scroll.in/latest/969484/ram-temple-ceremony-pm-modi-arrives-in-lucknow-up-chief-minister-adityanath-at-venue The prime minister formally launched the construction of a temple at Ayodhya, where Hindus believe deity Ram was born.

9.04 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury says today’s Ram temple event retrospectively legitimised the violence of the Babri Masjid destruction and the communal riots that followed. He adds, “This ‘bhumi pujan’ function is a naked exploitation of people’s religious sentiments for partisan, political purposes and brazenly violates the letter and spirit of the Indian Constitution.”

9 pm: CPI leader Binoy Viswam says Modi has forgotten about the lives lost because in the events that led up to today’s temple event, adding that the BJP ruling party has disregard for the constitutional values that shape India.

Meanwhile, CPI’s D Raja says “Today’s ceremony and participation of RSS chief has confirmed that RSS runs the government.” He added that Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s participation at the event “makes one religion the de facto religion of our country putting the secular democratic nature of our Republic in danger.”

8.59 pm: The Communist Party of India says today is a dark day for democracy, reports PTI. The party says Modi should not equate the Ram temple with India’s fight for independence, and that by doing that, the prime minister glorified acts that disrupted the secular fabric of our country.

8.44 pm: The prime minister tweets calling today a “blessed day in Ayodhya”. “This day will remain etched in the memory of every Indian,” he says.

8.40 pm: Modi tweets that Ram has taught people to grow with time, and that India is growing by taking inspiration from him.

8.15 pm: A Ram temple digital billboard is up at Times Square in New York, reports ANI.

5.58 pm: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar says the laying of foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is a “happy and historic moment” for every Indian, reports PTI.

5.48 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh congratulates the people of the country on the foundation laying of Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it fulfills the “long cherished desire” of every Indian.

5.44 pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma says construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya has been the demand of the people for the last many years, reports ANI. “Congress welcomed the decision of Supreme Court with an open heart,” he says. “Lord Ram is loved by all and he is above any political consideration. Politics and faith must be kept apart.”

5.38 pm: Union minister Arjun Munda says the Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh has been a symbol of faith for Hindus all over, reports PTI. “Ram devotees have struggled for a long time for construction of Ram temple and even sacrificed their lives,” he adds. “This day is also to remember them.”

4.20 pm: Bengaluru South MP and BJP leader Tejasvi Surya says that control over the state by Hindus is “absolutely essential” for the “sustenance of dharma”. “When we didn’t control [the] state, we lost our temple,” he tweets. “When we regained, we rebuilt. The 282 [seats] in 2014 and 303 [seats] in 2019 to Narendra Modi made today possible!”

4.16 pm: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s family has donated Rs 5 lakh each, to combat Covid-19, and for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, reports ANI.

4.15 pm: Owaisi adds that he is emotional as he believes in “coexistence and equality of citizenship”. “Mr Prime Minister, I am emotional because a mosque stood there for 450 years,” he says, according to ANI.

4.14 pm: All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi says the prime minister has violated the oath of office by attending the foundation ceremony. “India is a secular country,” he tells ANI. “This is the day of the defeat of democracy and secularism and success of Hindutva.”

4.12 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath thanks Prime Minister Narendra Modi for attending the ceremony in Ayodhya, and describes the event as the “most awaited moment” in 500 years, reports ANI. “We have to implement the work plan prepared by PM Modi,” he adds. “This temple will not only be the epitome of Lord Ram’s greatness but of India’s too.”

3.58 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari recites “Ram Raksha” and performs rituals with his family in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city on the day of the foundation-laying ceremony of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, ANI reports.

3.56 pm: Karnataka minister KS Eshwarappa says that a beautiful temple will come up in Ayodhya, but adds that the Kashi Vishwanath and Krishna Janmasthan temples still “have to be liberated”, ANI reports. “In both these places, when we offer prayers, there are mosques on sides, which say that you are still a slave,” he adds. “It is necessary to liberate these temples.”

3.53 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says the dream of a Ram temple in Ayodhya has finally come true, ANI reports. “We are proud of Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi who has fulfilled this dream,” he tells the news agency. “This temple will strengthen peace and humanity in [the] country.”

3.51 pm: Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij congratulates Indians on the beginning of the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, ANI reports. “The 500-year-old wait is over,” he says. “The construction of Ram temple has started...the decades-old hard work has paid off.”

3.49 pm: Union minister Prakash Javadekar says that the foundation-laying of the Ram temple has shown that “the 500-year-old dispute has been resolved peacefully”, ANI reports.

2.35 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says construction of the Ram temple shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong and decisive leadership. “My heartiest congratulations to all Indians on this unforgettable day,” Shah says in a tweet. “Modi government is committed to protecting and preserving Indian culture and its values.”

2.32 pm: President Ram Nath Kovind congratulates everyone after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. “Being built in tune with law, it defines India’s spirit of social harmony and people’s zeal,” he tweets. “It will be a testimony to ideals of Ram Rajya and a symbol of modern India.”

2.15 pm: The prime minister ends his speech by talking about the importance of physical distancing and of wearing masks to control the coronavirus crisis.

2.12 pm: Modi continues that Ram temple in Ayodhya will become a symbol of India’s heritage and unwavering faith. “It will also become a symbol of resolve of crores of people,” he adds. “We have to ensure that fraternity and friendship cements the brick of this temple. We have to respect the sentiments of everyone.”

2.08 pm: The prime minister tells the gathering in Ayodhya that Ram temple will be the harbinger of a prosperous India.

2.05 pm: “Ram is within us,” says Modi, adding that the deity is the thread of India’s unity in diversity.

2 pm: Modi says just as every section of the society supported Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle, today every section has supported the Ram temple. “Indonesia, which has the maximum Muslim population in the world, has unique Ramayan,” he adds. “Lord Ram is still worshipped there.”

He also mentions that references to Ramayan can be found in Iran and China.

1.55 pm: Modi says India is creating a golden chapter in Ayodhya. “Bow my head and thank those who were struggled, sacrificed in the movement for the temple,” he adds.

1.52 pm: “Whenever we have to do something, we have looked towards Ram,” says Modi in his address. “Efforts were made to destroy lord Ram’s identity, but he still reigns in our hearts.”

The prime minister also says that the Ram temple will be a symbol of national sentiment and collective faith.

1.50 pm: Modi says in the movement to construct Ram temple, there was offering, sacrifice, resolution and struggle. He adds that just as August 15 symbolises the end of our struggle for freedom, today symbolises the culmination of the fight for a Ram temple for centuries.

1.48 pm: “Today Ram Janmabhoomi breaks free of the cycle of breaking and getting built again,” says the prime minister.

1.47 pm: “Crores of people may not believe that they are witnessing this event,” says Modi. “For years, Ram Lalla who has been under a tent will see a grand temple.”

1.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the country is emotional today as years of wait for temple is finally over.

1.37 pm: The prime minister urges attendees to chant “Jai Siya Ram” and “Ram Chandra Ki Jai”. He adds: “This chant is not just echoing in Ayodhya but in the entire world.”

1.35 pm: Modi addresses the gathering at the ceremony. He congratulates devotees and says he is honoured to be invited to the event by the Ram temple trust.

1.33 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils the plaque of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

1.30 pm: Das says the Ram temple will be constructed soon now. “The wishes of devotees will be fulfilled,” he adds.

1.29 pm: Nritya Gopal Das, head of the trust in charge of building the Ram temple in Ayodhya, says the construction of the Ram temple is equivalent to the construction of India.

1.27 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav says that he hopes the future generations will follow the dignity of Hindu deity Ram for the “welfare and peace” of all.

1.25 pm: Bhagwat hails the ground-breaking ceremony as the result of 20 to 30 years of work, adding that many people have made sacrifices to see this day.

1.22 pm: A physical Ram temple will be built, but it is important that we build a Ram temple in our hearts and minds too, says RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

1.20 pm: “So many couldn’t be invited because of the [coronavirus] situation...but they are here in spirit,” says Bhagwat.

1.18 pm: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat says it is a moment of great satisfaction after the ground-breaking ceremony concludes.

1.12 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath says the power of India’s democratic values and its judiciary has shown the world how matters can be resolved peacefully.

1.10 pm: Adityanath praises prime minister for the Ram temple construction. “Today is an auspicious day,” he says. “This marks the end of the struggle of decades. A journey of over 500 years has been ratified by the Indian judiciary and constitution.”

1.02 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath speaks at the Ram temple event.

12.52 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says Hindu deity Ram is the manifestation of the best human qualities. “Ram is love, he can never appear in hate,” he tweets. “Ram is compassion, he can never appear in cruelty. Ram is justice, he can never appear in injustice.”

12.50 pm: The Ram temple foundation laying ceremony has concluded. A stage event will start shortly.

12.49 pm: The BJP has organised live telecast of Ram temple ceremony in Delhi.

12.45 pm: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor says Hindu deity Ram epitomises justice for all, righteous conduct, fairness and firmness in all dealings, moral rectitude and courage. “These values are much needed in such dark times,” he tweets. “If they spread throughout the land, Ram Rajya would not be an occasion for triumphalist bigotry.”

12.42 pm: “May we continue to receive Lord Ram’s blessings,” tweets Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “May his blessings also help the country get rid of poverty, starvation and poverty and India emerges as the world’s most powerful country and guide the world in the coming times.”

12.35 pm: “Nine bricks are kept here...these were sent by devotees of Lord Ram from around the world in 1989,” says a priest at the ground-breaking ceremony in Ayodhya. “There are 2 lakh 75 thousand such bricks out of which 100 bricks with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ engraving have been taken.”

12.30 pm: Tamil Nadu BJP members and workers perform special prayers at the party office in Kamalalayam. The ground-breaking ceremony is underway in Ayodhya.

12.20 pm: Prime Minister Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and Governor Anandiben Patel are the main guests taking part in the rituals for the temple construction.

12.12 pm: Visuals of bhoomi pujan ceremony for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.

12.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat join the rituals for Ram temple construction.

12.05 pm: The prime minister plants a Parijat sapling, considered as a divine plant, ahead of the ground-breaking ceremony.

12.03 pm: Modi offers prayers at the shrine to “Ram Lalla” in Ayodhya.

12 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches Ram Janmabhoomi complex.

11.50 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is presented with a turban and a crown at Ayodhya’s Hanuman Garhi temple.

11.44 am: Modi prays at the Hanumangarhi temple before the ceremony.

11.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Ayodhya to attend the Ram temple foundation laying ceremony.

11.28 am: Police block a road before the arrival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

11.26 am: The Ram temple foundation laying ceremony is scheduled to start at 12.45 pm.

11.22 am: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati credits the Supreme Court for paving the way for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya and advises everyone to accept the decision.

“As everyone knows, Ayodhya is a holy city of different religion,” she tweets. “But it had been embroiled in a controversy for years due to Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land dispute. The dispute was ended by the Supreme Court and it has also stopped to some extent politics around it played by some political parties.”

She adds: “Due to the Supreme Court verdict, foundation of Ram temple is being laid and a lot of its credit goes to the SC. BSP from the beginning has said that it would accept the SC decision. It should be accepted by all. This is advice of BSP.”

11.15 am: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat at the Ram Janmabhoomi site.

11.11 am: The prime minister will begin Ayodhya visit from Hanumangarhi temple, where he is expected to pray for 10 minutes.

11.02 am: BJP leader Uma Bharti says Ayodhya has united everyone. Bharti, who had earlier said she will not attend the event, is present at Ram Janmabhoomi site now.

10.55 am: Yoga guru Ramdev, one of the invitees, says it is India’s biggest fortune to witness the bhumi pujan or the ground-breaking ceremony for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, reports ANI. “To establish ‘ram rajya’ in this nation, Patanjali Yogpeeth will make a grand ‘gurukul’ in Ayodhya,” he adds. “People from all over the world will be able to study Ved, Ayurved here.”

10.47 am: Ahead of the Ayodhya ceremony, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the country has always upheld the age-old legacy of unity in diversity and it must always be preserved.

10.45 am: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says the willpower and resolve shown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made him the tallest leader of India in the last 500 years, reports ANI.

10.32 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Ram temple, reports ANI.

10.22 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel and BJP National Vice President Uma Bharti arrive at Ram Janmabhoomi site for the ceremony in Ayodhya, reports ANI.

9.40 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for Ayodhya. His office shares a picture of Modi boarding an Air Force plane.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969484/ram-temple-ceremony-pm-modi-arrives-in-lucknow-up-chief-minister-adityanath-at-venue Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:36:58 +0000 Scroll Staff
J&K: BJP allowed to celebrate but some of us cannot meet in my father’s lawn, says Omar Abdullah https://scroll.in/latest/969528/j-k-bjp-allowed-to-celebrate-but-some-of-us-cannot-meet-in-my-fathers-lawn-says-omar-abdullah Abdullah said his father Farooq Abdullah had called a meeting of mainstream parties but they were not allowed to convene.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for not allowing his party to hold a meeting even as members of the saffron party gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370.

On August 5, 2019, the BJP-led central government had revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and split the region into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The Centre had also passed a bill repealing Article 35A, which ensured specific rights and protections to residents of the state. Since then, the region has been placed under the strictest lockdown in its history, with 4G internet services still suspended.

Abdullah shared an image of Gupkar Road outside his father Farooq Abdullah’s residence and tweeted: “One year on, this is Gupkar road today – police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals and no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of mainstream parties to deliberate on the current situation.”

The National Conference leader said that it seemed like their meeting was not going to be allowed, but the BJP was instead allowed to declare a “15-day celebration to mark” a year since the Centre’s August 5 decision. “...a handful of us are not allowed to meet in my father’s lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity,” he said.

“One year later the authorities are still too afraid to allow us to meet much less carry out any normal political activity. This fear speaks volumes about the true situation on the ground in Kashmir,” Abdullah tweeted.

The Kashmiri politician also hit out at BJP leaders in the region and said they were “displaying hypocrisy”. “They can gather and celebrate,” he wrote in a separate tweet. “The rest of us can’t even meet to discuss what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir.”

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete curfew in Kashmir ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of special status. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order said they had received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”. But by late evening, the curfew was lifted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said the order, lifting the two-day curfew, was a mere hogwash.

Also read:

J&K: Lifting of curfew on anniversary of Article 370 is ‘mere hogwash’, says Mehbooba Mufti

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https://scroll.in/latest/969528/j-k-bjp-allowed-to-celebrate-but-some-of-us-cannot-meet-in-my-fathers-lawn-says-omar-abdullah Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:19:53 +0000 Scroll Staff
EIA 2020: Karnataka High Court directs Centre to not publish draft notification till September 7 https://scroll.in/latest/969524/eia-2020-karnataka-high-court-directs-centre-to-not-publish-draft-notification-till-september-7 The court noted that the people had not been given sufficient time to file their objections amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Environment to not publish the final draft notification of the Environmental Impact Assessment 2020 till September 7, Live Law reported. The court’s order came on a petition alleging that the notification was not being sufficiently publicised amid the coronavirus crisis.

The court noted that since the draft Environmental Impact Assessment, 2020, was published on March 23, two days before the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to control the coronavirus, people had not been able to file objections to the document. “Prima facie, it appears to us that the Right of Citizens to file objections has been taken away,” the division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi said.

The bench, however, said that if the Centre is willing to grant sufficient time to the people to file their objections, it could apply for vacating the interim relief. The court’s next hearing in the case will be on September 7.

The Karnataka High Court bench also objected to the Centre’s decision to publish the document only in Hindi and English. “It cannot be disputed as far as the State of Karnataka is concerned, there may be many citizens who are not well conversant in Hindi and English language and would like to file objections.”

Advocate Shiva Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told the court that the government was not obliged to publicise the draft notification in regional languages.

In June, the Delhi High Court had also rebuked the Centre for not addressing the ambiguity in its order to extend time granted for submission of objections to the proposed EIA till June 30. The court said the Centre’s May 8 notification about extension mentioned a “further period” of 60 days and also said that the window to file objections would close on June 30. The court had extended the time to submit objections to the draft 2020 Environment Impact Assessment notification till August 11.

The new updates to the draft 2020 Environment Impact Assessment notification prescribe the procedure for industries to assess the ecological and environmental impact of their proposed activity and the mechanism, whereby these would be assessed by expert committees appointed by the environment ministry.

Several environmentalists and organisations have alleged that the draft notification does away with the requirement for public consultation for a number of projects that could create an adverse ecological impact.


Also read:

EIA 2020: Over 50 environmental groups, activists call for withdrawal of notification

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https://scroll.in/latest/969524/eia-2020-karnataka-high-court-directs-centre-to-not-publish-draft-notification-till-september-7 Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:04:26 +0000 Scroll Staff
Kerala nun rape: SC rejects ex-bishop Franco Mulakkal’s request for discharge, says no merit in plea https://scroll.in/latest/969520/kerala-nun-rape-sc-rejects-ex-bishop-franco-mulakkals-request-for-discharge-says-no-merit-in-plea The deposed bishop has repeatedly claimed that he has been falsely implicated in the case.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed deposed bishop Franco Mulakkal’s petition seeking discharge in the rape case filed against him by a nun in Kerala, Live Law reported. Mulakkal allegedly raped the nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

A top court bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde told Mulakkal that there was no merit in his petition, according to NDTV.

In his Supreme Court petition, Mulakkal repeated the claim that he had been falsely accused of rape by the nun after he raised questions about her financial dealings. Mulakkal told the top court that he wanted the accusations against him to be cleared as he was innocent.

The deposed bishop moved the Supreme Court after the Kerala High Court rejected his petition for discharge on July 7.

A week later, the Kottayam Additional District Court cancelled his bail and issued a non-bailable warrant against Mulakkal. The case was scheduled for hearing on July 1 but Mulakkal did not appear in court. His lawyer had claimed that he was in a coronavirus containment zone in Punjab’s Jalandhar district and could not make his court appearance because of restrictions.

The case against Mulakkal was filed in June 2018 after a nun in the Missionaries of Jesus congregation accused him of raping her. He was arrested in September 2018 and removed from his post.

In February this year, another nun who is a witness in the rape trial against Mulakkal alleged that he had made unwanted physical contact with her. In her statement, which is part of a chargesheet filed by the Kerala Police last year, the nun alleged that the incident took place in Mulakkal’s room at a convent.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969520/kerala-nun-rape-sc-rejects-ex-bishop-franco-mulakkals-request-for-discharge-says-no-merit-in-plea Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:44:06 +0000 Scroll Staff
J&K: ‘Modi undid decades of darkness,’ says Piyush Goyal on anniversary of Article 370 abrogation https://scroll.in/latest/969517/j-k-modi-undid-decades-of-darkness-says-piyush-goyal-on-anniversary-of-article-370-abrogation Meanwhile, BJP leader Altaf Thakur accused those protesting the constitutional changes of being sympathisers of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Union minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the one-year anniversary of the revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Ushering in justice, peace and prosperity for common man,” Goyal tweeted. “PM Narendra Modi ji undid decades of darkness to bring development and opportunities to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Abrogating Article 370, Home Minister Amit Shah ji unified nation and empowered people of these UTs to shape their future.”

A year ago, the Narendra Modi government abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution, and divided the state into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Article 370 of the Constitution granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limited Parliament’s power to make laws concerning it. The Centre also put many Kashmiri politicians under detention, many of whom have still not been released. The region has been attempting to go back to normalcy since then, even as high speed internet services remain inactive in the Valley.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kashmir unit celebrated the day by unfurling the national flag and distributing sweets, PTI reported. The saffron party accused those protesting the constitutional changes of being sympathisers of the Islamic State terrorist group.

“We are celebrating the completion of one year of abrogation of Article 370 and the positive changes that it brought in Jammu and Kashmir,” BJP leader Altaf Thakur told reporters at the party office in Srinagar. “There used to be stone pelting during encounters that has stopped. There used to be ISIS flag, Pakistani flag that has stopped. That is what we are celebrating.”

Asked about those observing August 5 as “Black Day”, Thakur said they should think what they are supporting. “Those who are in love with black are sympathisers of ISIS,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday night lifted the two-day curfew which was imposed on Monday. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order had said they have received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”. However, after criticism, the curfew was removed.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the order to lift the curfew was a “mere hogwash”. A tweet from her account, which is managed by her daughter Iltija Mufti since her detention last year, also shared a post by a journalist that alleged that even ambulances were not allowed to pass the barbed wires in Srinagar.

The administration in the new order emphasised that movement restrictions imposed across the region were due to the coronavirus crisis. Police and the Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been deployed in heavy numbers across the Valley.

Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – were put in detention. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13 but Mufti still remains in detention.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969517/j-k-modi-undid-decades-of-darkness-says-piyush-goyal-on-anniversary-of-article-370-abrogation Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:31:29 +0000 Scroll Staff
Jammu and Kashmir: India’s move to strip special status ‘illegal, invalid’, says China https://scroll.in/latest/969513/jammu-and-kashmir-indias-move-to-strip-special-status-illegal-invalid-says-china India on Wednesday marked the first anniversary of the revocation of the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370.

China on Wednesday said that India’s move to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status under Article 370 was “illegal” and that the dispute must be resolved peacefully through dialogue, Hindustan Times reported.

“China follows closely the situation in the Kashmir region,” the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference, in response to a question on the impact of India’s decision to strip Kashmir of its autonomy a year ago. “China’s position on the Kashmir issue is clear and consistent. Any unilateral change to the status quo is illegal and invalid. This issue should be properly resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultations between the parties concerned.”

“This issue is a dispute leftover from history between Pakistan and India,” the spokesperson added. “That is an objective fact as laid out by the UN [United Nations] Charter, UN Security Council resolutions and the bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.”

China added that peaceful coexistence would be in the best interest of both India and Pakistan. “Pakistan and India are neighbours that cannot be moved away,” the foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Hindu. “China hopes that they [India and Pakistan] can properly handle the differences through dialogue, improve relations, and jointly safeguard peace, stability and development of both countries and the wider region.”

A year ago, the central government had passed two bills in Parliament that split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, stripped it of special status under Article 370 and repealed Article 35A, which ensured specific rights and protections to residents of the state. Since then, the region has been placed under the strictest lockdown in its history, with 4G internet services still suspended.

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had announced a complete curfew in the region ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of its special status.

China had in October criticised India’s decision to bifurcate the state into Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as “illegal and invalid”. China had said that India’s unilateral move challenged its sovereignty. India and China both claim sovereignty over the disputed Aksai Chin region, which Beijing controls. India, on the other hand, had sternly asked China to not interfere in its internal matters.

The tensions between India and China have heightened after the Galwan Valley clash. Twenty Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in a violent face-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh in June. Since then, four round of talks have been held between the commanders of the two armies to work out details of disengagement from the stand-off areas. India maintains that China has not disengaged from the disputed areas despite the talks.


Also read:

  1. What exactly did the August 5 decisions achieve in Jammu and Kashmir?
  2. J&K: Lifting of curfew on anniversary of Article 370 is ‘mere hogwash’, says Mehbooba Mufti
  3. Five Scroll articles on what Kashmir looks like in the fourth month since special status was revoked
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https://scroll.in/latest/969513/jammu-and-kashmir-indias-move-to-strip-special-status-illegal-invalid-says-china Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:13:59 +0000 Scroll Staff
‘Ram is everyone’s and resides in everyone,’ says PM Modi after laying foundation for Ayodhya temple https://scroll.in/latest/969508/ram-is-everyones-and-resides-in-everyone-says-pm-modi-after-laying-foundation-for-ayodhya-temple He claimed the temple would be a symbol of national sentiment and collective faith, adding that August 5 was as important to India as August 15.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony to formally launch the construction of a Ram temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya city, 28 years after the demolition of Babri Masjid mosque at the same site.

The prime minister laid a symbolic 40-kg silver brick in the sanctum sanctorum, or innermost sanctuary, to mark the start of the temple construction. He also unveiled a plaque and released a commemorative postal stamp to mark the occasion. He was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, among others.

Modi addressed the invitees after the ceremony by chanting “Jai Siya Ram” and said the Ram temple will be the harbinger of a prosperous India. “Today, this chant is not only reverberating in Ayodhya but across the world,” he claimed. “Ram is everyone’s and Ram resides in everyone. He is synonymous with India. We have to ensure that fraternity and friendship cements the bricks of this temple. We have to respect the sentiments of everyone.”

The prime minister claimed that just as August 15 symbolises the end of India’s freedom struggle, August 5 symbolises the culmination of the fight for a Ram temple for centuries. “India today is creating a golden chapter,” Modi added. “Today, the entire country is immersed in Ram. Today, the entire nation is emotional as the wait that went on for centuries ended. Crores of people may not believe that they are witnessing this event. For years, Ram Lalla who has been under a tent will now reside in a grand temple built by devotees. Today, Ram Janmabhoomi has been liberated.”

Modi was referring to a temporary construction that had housed the idol of Ram Lalla or infant Ram for more than three decades as the 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya was claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. In November last year, the Supreme Court permitted the construction of the temple and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.

He added that many people made sacrifices for the temple construction and paid his respects to them. “Witness the remarkable power of Ram,” he told the gathering. “Buildings were destroyed, attempts were made to destroy his very existence. But Ram is still entrenched in our minds and is the heart of our culture.”

The temple, Modi said, will be a symbol of national sentiment and collective faith. “It will inspire generations for centuries and guide them,” he added. “The way Dailts, Adivasis and all the members of the society helped Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle...the same way, the construction of Ram temple has started due to the support from people across the country. India’s faith, the collective of the people and the strength of this collective, has been a subject of research by many across the world.”

The prime minister said deity Ram was the thread of India’s unity in diversity. “Indonesia, which has the maximum Muslim population in the world, has unique Ramayan,” he said. “Lord Ram is still worshipped there.”

He told the invitees that references to Ramayan can be found in Iran and China, adding that Sri Lanka has its own Ramayan, while Nepal’s tradition is attached to Mother Janaki.

Modi, who in 1990 was one of the organisers of the nationwide campaign for Ram temple, said the entire economy of the region will be transformed after its construction as people from all over the world will come to the city.

Ram temple will become a symbol of our heritage, our unwavering faith and the resolve of crores of people, the prime minister said. “This day is a unique gift of truth, non-violence, faith and sacrifice to India, a country that loves justice,” he claimed. “There’s hardly any aspect of life where we can’t draw inspiration from Lord Ram. There’s no national sentiment that doesn’t reflect his values. India’s faith has a reflection of Lord Ram, India’s ideals have a reflection of him. India’s divinity has Ram... when one visits a country, he can sense Lord Ram.”

Before the ground-breaking ceremony, Modi offered prayers at the Hanumangarhi temple and visited the Ram Janmabhoomi site. He also planted a Parijat or Indian night jasmine sapling, considered as a divine plant.

Adityanath praises Modi for construction of temple

Meanwhile, Adityanath claimed that Modi’s foresight and wisdom led to the fulfilment of the dream to build Ram temple in Ayodhya. He added that the power of India’s democratic values and its judiciary has shown the world how matters can be resolved peacefully.

The chief minister said that people have struggled for 500 years to witness this day. While the current ceremony was being held in a smaller scale due to coronavirus-induced restrictions, it still acknowledges the dreams and faith of all devotees, Adityanath added.

Moment of ‘great satisfaction’, says RSS chief

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, speaking at the ceremony, hailed the ground-breaking ceremony as the result of 20 to 30 years of work and said it is a moment of “great satisfaction”.

He also mentioned Veteran BJP leader LK Advani and former Vishva Hindu Parishad chief Ashok Singhal for their contribution to the temple movement. “Advaniji who led the Rath Yatra must be watching it at his home,” Bhagwat said. “Circumstances are such that they cannot come for the ceremony...but they are here in spirit.”

Bhagwat said a physical Ram temple will be built, but it is important that people build a Ram temple in their hearts and minds too.

Political leaders hail temple construction

Political leaders across the spectrum welcomed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Ram temple, hoping the development would pave the way for national unity and harmony.

President Ram Nath Kovind said the temple is being built in tune with law. “It defines India’s spirit of social harmony and people’s zeal,” he tweeted. “It will be a testimony to ideals of Ram Rajya and a symbol of modern India.”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said construction of Ram temple is a testament to Modi’s strong and decisive leadership. “My heartiest congratulations to all Indians on this unforgettable day,” he tweeted. “Modi government is committed to protecting and preserving Indian culture and its values.”

Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad it is a historic day. “The grand Ram temple is also the temple of the country,” he said. “It is also a celebration of India’’s pride, self respect and our spiritual inheritance.”

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that Ram is the manifestation of the best human qualities. “Ram is love, he can never appear in hatred,” he tweeted. “Ram is compassion, he can never appear in cruelty. Ram is justice, he can never appear in injustice.”

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Hindu deity Ram epitomises justice for all, righteous conduct, fairness and firmness in all dealings, moral rectitude and courage. “These values are much needed in such dark times,” he tweeted. “If they spread throughout the land, Ram Rajya would not be an occasion for triumphalist bigotry.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the citizens. “May we continue to receive Lord Ram’s blessings,” he tweeted. “With his blessings, our country will get rid of hunger, illiteracy and poverty, and India becomes the most powerful nation in the world. May India show the path to the world in times to come. Jai Shri Ram! Jai Bajrang Bali!”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the legacy of the country is unity in diversity and that “we must preserve this to our last breath”. Banerjee, however, did not refer to the Ayodhya event. The Trinamool Congress has remained silent on the Supreme Court order on the construction of the temple and developments related to the construction of the temple.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969508/ram-is-everyones-and-resides-in-everyone-says-pm-modi-after-laying-foundation-for-ayodhya-temple Wed, 05 Aug 2020 11:28:48 +0000 Scroll Staff
Coronavirus: Veteran singer SP Balasubrahmanyam tests positive, admitted to hospital in Chennai https://scroll.in/latest/969510/coronavirus-veteran-singer-sp-balasubrahmanyam-tests-positive-admitted-to-hospital-in-chennai The singer said he was ‘perfectly fine’ and claimed he would be discharged from the hospital in two days.

Veteran playback singer SP Balasubrahmanyam on Wednesday tested positive for the coronavirus and was admitted to a hospital in Chennai. The singer said he was “perfectly fine” and claimed that he would be discharged from the hospital in two days.

The 74-year-old singer, who has worked across Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam film industries, shared the news in a video message on Facebook. Balasubrahmanyam said he was experiencing chest congestion and had intermittent cold with fever, following which he decided to get himself tested.

“Last two to three days, I have been having a little discomfort,” he said. “Discomfort means little chest congestion, which for a singer is nonsense. Had cold and on and off fever. These three things, otherwise no problem.”

“They [the health officials] said it is a very mild case of coronavirus positive,” the singer added. “They said you can stay at home and self quarantine and asked me to take some medications. But I didn’t want to do that with all my family members being very concerned for me. So, I got admitted to a hospital, my friends are here and taking good care of me.”

The singer also asked his fans and well-wishers to not panic about his healths as he was “in good hands and good health”. “Nobody should worry,” he added. “I’m perfectly fine, except for the cold and fever, which has also subsided. In two days, I would be discharged and back home. Thank you for the concern.”

SP Balasubrahmanyam has won six National Film Awards for his work in the music industry, according to NDTV. He has also been honoured with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Since his singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu film, Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, Balasubrahmanyam has recorded over 40,000 songs in 16 Indian languages.

India recorded 52,509 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 19,08,254. The toll rose by 857 to 39,795.

  1. Read today’s top 10 updates on Covid-19 here
  2. Follow today’s live updates of the coronavirus here
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https://scroll.in/latest/969510/coronavirus-veteran-singer-sp-balasubrahmanyam-tests-positive-admitted-to-hospital-in-chennai Wed, 05 Aug 2020 10:37:09 +0000 Scroll Staff
Sushant Singh Rajput death: Centre accepts Bihar government’s recommendation of CBI inquiry https://scroll.in/latest/969496/sushant-singh-rajput-death-centre-accepts-bihar-governments-recommendation-of-cbi-inquiry The solicitor general told the Supreme Court this while it was hearing Rhea Chakraborty’s plea seeking a transfer of the FIR against her from Patna to Mumbai.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the Centre has accepted the Bihar government’s recommendation of an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Bar and Bench reported. Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14, in what the local police said was a case of suicide.

The top court was hearing a petition filed by actor Rhea Chakraborty, seeking the transfer of the first information report filed against her from Patna to Mumbai. Mehta submitted that the notification for the CBI investigation will be issued soon, preferably by the end of the day.

A bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy said the “truth should come out so far as actor’s death is concerned”, according to PTI. The court also observed that the quarantining the police officer who arrived in Mumbai to lead the Bihar Police’s investigation “does not send a good message”.

“Quarantining of the Bihar Police officer has not sent good message despite the fact that Mumbai Police has good professional reputation,” it observed. “The confinement... does it send a good message? Especially when the case has garnered so much media attention? State of Maharashtra has to ensure that everything is done in professional way.”

The Maharashtra government, however, argued that the Patna High Court has no jurisdiction to lodge an FIR to investigate the case. “There is no cause of action for Patna to register the FIR,” it said. “Nothing has happened in Patna. This is a political case. There is no jurisdiction of Bihar Police here. Principles of federalism are being tampered with.”

Meanwhile, Rajput’s father KK Singh alleged that the Maharashtra Police has been destroying evidence in the case. “The investigating officer was quarantined,” advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for KK Singh, said. “This is unbelievable.”

The court asked the state governments in Bihar and Maharashtra, the Centre and Sushant Singh Rajput’s father to file their responses to Chakraborty’s petition in three days. It also directed the Mumbai Police to file a status report on the inquiry conducted so far.

On Tuesday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that the state’s director general of police spoke to Rajput’s father, who gave his approval for a CBI inquiry.

On Monday, Rajput’s father had accused the Mumbai Police of inaction in the case. “On February 25, I informed Bandra Police that he [Sushant Singh Rajput] is in danger,” Singh had said. “He died on June 14 and I asked them to act against people named in my complaint. No action was taken even 40 days after his death. So I filed an FIR [first information report] in Patna.” However, the police refuted the allegations.

The Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra had rejected the recommendation of a CBI inquiry, saying the move encroached upon the rights of another state. They claimed it would only help the Bharatiya Janata Party in the “destruction of the Constitution”.

The Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar has been criticised by Opposition leaders and allies alike for not helping the actor’s family in the case.

The Bihar Police had launched an investigation into Rajput’s death after his father filed a first information report against Chakraborty and her relatives in Patna on July 25. Singh accused Chakraborty of cheating his son and driving him to suicide.

Chakraborty’s lawyer, meanwhile, said that the transfer of the case to CBI had no legal sanctity. “There can’t be transfer of a case which had no legal basis for Bihar to get involved,” Satish Maneshinde has said. “At most, it would be a ‘Zero FIR’ transferable to Mumbai Police.”

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https://scroll.in/latest/969496/sushant-singh-rajput-death-centre-accepts-bihar-governments-recommendation-of-cbi-inquiry Wed, 05 Aug 2020 10:13:49 +0000 Scroll Staff
Coronavirus: Situation in Surat gone ‘from bad to worse’ says Gujarat HC, cites delayed response https://scroll.in/latest/969507/coronavirus-situation-in-surat-gone-from-bad-to-worse-says-gujarat-hc-cites-delayed-response The bench observed that Surat has become the state’s hotspot of the pandemic with one in every five cases being reported from here.

The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government and the administration of Surat to explain why the coronavirus situation in the city has “gone from bad to worse”, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The court said they were informed that the authorities’ delayed response was responsible for the crisis.

A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala was hearing a clutch of petitions pertaining to the escalating coronavirus outbreak in Surat, as the city has been reporting daily record highs in infections for over a month.

“The delayed response from the state and city administration is responsible for the current situation in the city of Surat, which has gone from bad to worse,” the High Court order, which was made public on Tuesday, stated. “The health department of the state government knew that Surat would erupt in a matter of time. We are informed that the testing was not ramped up…”

The bench observed that Surat has become the state’s hotspot of the pandemic with one in every five cases being reported from here, even after it reported an exodus of nearly 18 lakh migrants. It said that as Surat has “gone from bad to worse”, its effect will be seen in the entire south Gujarat, especially in rural areas. The High Court also observed that Surat’s mortality rate was “quite high”.

“After having witnessed what happened in Ahmedabad, the state should have been more careful in tackling the situation in the city of Surat,” it added. The court cited experts who said that Surat had to only replicate the “readily available and lauded Ahmedabad Model”, which had managed to bring the Covid-19 situation under control.

The High Court noted that Ahmedabad had managed to reduce its Covid-19 case burden from 65% to 42.2% as of July 24, the day of the hearing. In comparison, Surat’s caseload increased from 14.5% to 28.8% within a fortnight, the court said, warning that this was something that “should not be ignored”.

Also read:

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  2. Hard Times: ‘The people in the middle suffer the most’ says yarn trader from Surat

“To keep Ahmedabad safe, it is important that for the time being, a travel ban is imposed between Surat and Ahmedabad…,” the court added.

The High Court has sought a report from the state government at the earliest on eight core issues. This includes preventive taken by the health department in Surat, hospitals providing Covid treatment, details of isolation beds and other critical care facilities, price regulation and bed availability for poor patients, number of active patients in hospitals, Covid care centres, home isolation facilities, and the measures taken to prevent Covid deaths.

It further demanded to know about the action taken by the government to control the spread of infection in rest of the state along with the steps taken to ensure workers’ safety in Surat’s diamond and textile industries.

On migrant workers returning to Gujarat, the court said that it expects the state government “to help and support all such migrant workers who are returning for the purpose of employment”. It further directed the state government to enhance the fine for not wearing mask in public places “to a minimum of Rs 1,000” across the state. Besides this, the court asked to take steps against rickshaw drivers who permit passengers to board without face masks.

Follow today’s live updates of the coronavirus here.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969507/coronavirus-situation-in-surat-gone-from-bad-to-worse-says-gujarat-hc-cites-delayed-response Wed, 05 Aug 2020 09:53:47 +0000 Scroll Staff
Rajasthan Police transfer MLA horse-trading cases to Anti-Corruption Bureau, drop sedition charges https://scroll.in/latest/969467/rajasthan-police-transfer-mla-horse-trading-cases-to-anti-corruption-bureau-drop-sedition-charges The police said that the documents pertaining to the cases were transferred to the bureau on legal advice.

The Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan Police that is investigating the alleged cases of horse-trading of Congress MLAs aimed at toppling the Ashok Gehlot-led government transferred them to the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau on Tuesday and dropped the sedition charges, PTI reported. The police said that the documents pertaining to the cases were transferred to the bureau on legal advice.

According to legal advice, no case of sedition could be made out against any legislator under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. The Special Operations Group said the alleged offences pertaining to the Prevention of Corruption Act would be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“Prima facie, the crime was proved to be committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a police statement said. “Hence the case papers and all other documents have been sent to the ACB for further necessary action.”

The Rajasthan Police, which first registered a case on July 10, had arrested an alleged middleman on July 17, and a court remanded him in police custody.

The Rajasthan Police alleged that the man, Sanjay Jain, was heard talking to rebel Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma and one Gajendra Singh, who the Congress claimed was Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The Congress also alleged that Jain was a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a claim that the saffron party rejected.

The transfer of the cases happened on the same day the Rajasthan High Court was scheduled to hear Sharma’s plea seeking quashing of the case against him, or their transfer to the National Investigation Agency, as sedition charges had been filed against him, Hindustan Times reported.

“The hearing on the petition would be held on August 13,” said Anil Upman, special public prosecutor. “We informed the court that the SOG has filed an application in the lower court that investigation of the cases should be done by the anti-corruption bureau since the preliminary investigation reveals only corruption charges.”

Vivek Bajwa, Jain’s counsel, said the defendant has requested the local court that sent him to police custody to grant him bail, as the remaining charges against him relate to a bailable offence.

BJP state chief attacks Congress

Rajasthan Bharatiya Janata Party President Satish Poonia said, “There were no legal grounds to get the first information report registered under sections of sedition.” He attacked the Congress, saying, “Congress was afraid that the FIR may be quashed by the High Court. The withdrawal reveals the moral defeat and exposure of Congress’ plan to create fear in independents and MLAs of an independent party.” He added that the Special Operations Group and the Anti-Corruption Bureau were being misused.

The Rajasthan crisis

The crisis began last month when former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot left for Delhi with several MLAs who supported him. Pilot was subsequently asked as the deputy chief minister. Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi disqualified the MLAs, but the High Court put this move on hold. The Congress has alleged that the BJP is part of a conspiracy to bring down its Rajasthan government.

The MLAs supporting Gehlot were shifted after an 18-day stay in Fairmont Hotel in Jaipur to Jaisalmer last week. This was ahead of a scheduled vote of confidence for the Gehlot-led government on August 14.

Before Pilot left, the Congress and its allies had 126 MLAs in the 200-member Assembly. The Gehlot camp may also be compromised by the six former BSP legislators, who defected to the Congress last September, but are now facing a court case filed by an enraged party chief Mayawati, who has also threatened to sack them if they vote for the Congress.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969467/rajasthan-police-transfer-mla-horse-trading-cases-to-anti-corruption-bureau-drop-sedition-charges Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:57:01 +0000 Scroll Staff
Heavy rain continues to batter Mumbai, IMD issues red alert for seven districts of Maharashtra https://scroll.in/latest/969476/heavy-rains-continue-to-batter-mumbai-imd-issues-red-alert-for-seven-districts-of-maharashtra Local trains and bus services in some parts of Mumbai and its outlying areas came to a halt.

The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert for Mumbai even as heavy rain continued to batter the city on Wednesday morning, the Hindustan Times reported. “Intense rain is likely in Mumbai today,” the IMD said. “The city received heavy rainfall at isolated places in the last 12 hours. More impact was on western suburbs with rainfall more than 150 mm.”

The red alert was issued for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts of Maharashtra. For Thane, Palghar and Nashik, the red alert has been sounded for both Wednesday and Thursday.

Local train services were once again affected in Mumbai on Wednesday, PTI reported. Bus services in some parts also came to a halt.

Western Railway Chief Spokesperson Sumit Thakur said there was “minor disruption” at Palghar from 5.40 am to 7.10 am due to 266 mm rain in two hours, and hence, a few trains had to be “regulated”. But he said train services between Dahanu Road and Churchgate were running properly.

On the Central Line, there was water logging on the tracks in Sion and Kurla. But Central Railway Chief Spokesperson Shivaji Sutar said suburban services, from Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Kasara, Khopoli and Panvel were operational.

Bus services of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport had to be diverted on 30 routes, including two in Thane, by 9 am.

Water logging continued at many places in the city on Wednesday. Chembur, Parel, Hindmata and Wadala areas were particularly affected.

On Tuesday, Mumbai had recorded 268.6 mm of rain, the highest for a single day in August in 10 years. In 12 hours from 8.30 am on Tuesday to 8.30 pm, the Santacruz observatory recorded 251 mm of precipitation. One person was electrocuted in Thane and four people fell into a drain in Santacruz.

The total rainfall this season has been over 2,000 mm (200 cm), and the city has already received over 53% of its average August precipitation.

The weather station at Dahanu in Palghar recorded 364 mm rainfall in the 12-hour period from 5.30 pm on Tuesday to 5.30 am on Wednesday, according to IMD Mumbai centre Deputy Director General KS Hosalikar. The weather station at Bhayander in Thane recorded 169 mm rainfall while the one at Mira Road reported 159 mm, according to IMD.

The Bandra and Kurla suburbs of Mumbai received between 30 mm to 70 mm of rainfall in the 12 hours till 5.30 am. Thane city, Dombivli and Kalyan areas, which are part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, received 120 mm of showers.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said that the western suburbs of Mumbai received 82.43 mm rain from Tuesday night, followed by eastern suburbs with 69.11 mm and the island city, which saw 45.38 mm precipitation.

“Radar showing intense clouds around Mumbai now,” Hosalikar tweeted in the morning. One more intense rain day likely today. Please take care.” He said that the formation of a low-pressure area in North Bay, as predicted by the weather department, has strengthened lower level southerly winds over the Arabian Sea. This has brought heavy to very heavy rainfall to parts of Mumbai, he said.

Hosalikar added that heavy rain was also likely in Thane and Palghar and North Konkan region. Parts of South Central Maharashtra and Marathwada will also see heavy precipitation.

Pune

Pune district received 59 mm rainfall in the 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday morning. Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said if the rainfall is good as per IMD projections, there will be no need for water cuts in the city till Ganesh Chaturthi, which falls on August 22 this year.

The catchment areas of four dams – Varasgaon, Khadakwasla, Panshet and Temghar – which provide water to the city received good rainfall too. In western Maharashtra, 1,139 cubic feet per second water was discharged from Koyna Dam.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969476/heavy-rains-continue-to-batter-mumbai-imd-issues-red-alert-for-seven-districts-of-maharashtra Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:52:08 +0000 Scroll Staff
Beirut twin blasts: Toll crosses 100, world leaders offer condolences, medical help https://scroll.in/latest/969501/beirut-twin-blasts-toll-crosses-100-world-leaders-offer-condolences-medical-help More than 4,000 people have been injured, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

The toll in the twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, rose to over 100, with more than 4,000 people injured. “Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives,” the Lebanese Red Cross said in a statement on Wednesday, AFP reported. “Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas.”

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said earlier in the day it was likely that ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse at Beirut port caused the first blast. The second one sent an orange fireball into the sky, devastating the harbour and shattering windows several kilometres away. Buildings 10 km away from the site of the blast were damaged.

Global reactions

United States President Donald Trump said his military generals told him they “seem to feel” that the massive explosion was in fact a bomb attack. “I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was [an attack],” Trump told reporters at the White House. “This was not a – some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of a event...they seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences. “Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property,” Modi tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured.”

The United Nations said it was actively assisting in the response to the disaster. “The Secretary-General [Antonio Guterres] expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Lebanon, following the horrific explosions in Beirut today,” Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for Guterres, said in a statement. “He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured, including several United Nations personnel working in Lebanon.”

Qatar promised to send field hospitals to help provide medical services, AFP reported. Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished “a speedy recovery for the injured”. Kuwait also promised to send emergency medical aid.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Amman was ready to provide any assistance, an offer repeated by the Iranian government. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. “Stay strong, Lebanon.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and United Arab Emirates Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum offered condolences. On the other hand, Egypt expressed “deep concern” at the destruction.

Israel, which is still officially at war with Lebanon, offered medical assistance. “Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on behalf of the State of Israel, have offered the Lebanese government – via international intermediaries –medical and humanitarian aid, as well as immediate emergency assistance,” a statement from the Israeli government said.

Vladimir Putin said that Russians “share the grief of the Lebanese people”. “I ask you to convey words of sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, as well as wishes for a speedy recovery to all affected,” he told the Kremlin in a statement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the pictures emerging from Beirut shocking. “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,” he tweeted. “All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident. The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”

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https://scroll.in/latest/969501/beirut-twin-blasts-toll-crosses-100-world-leaders-offer-condolences-medical-help Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:19:21 +0000 Scroll Staff
Jamia violence: Delhi Police acted with ‘sheer vindictiveness’ against students, says Indira Jaising https://scroll.in/latest/969477/jamia-violence-delhi-police-acted-with-sheer-vindictiveness-against-students-says-indira-jaising The lawyer cited Section 124 of the Delhi Police Act to argue that there was no impunity provided to the police for using disproportionate force.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that the city police had acted with “sheer vindictiveness” by resorting to violence against the students of Jamia Millia Islamia university in December, Live Law reported. She said the use of excessive force by the police resulted in an act of “unconscionable conduct”.

Violence had erupted in the area around Jamia Millia Islamia University during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest march by the students on December 15. The Delhi Police have been accused of using excessive force to quell the demonstrations and of storming into the campus.

The police, however, claimed their action was justified as the protestors had allegedly injured their personnel and set buses on fire. Following the violence, several videos purportedly show students pelting stones, and the police entering the university, allegedly assaulting students.

Jaising, who was appearing before the court in a plea seeking an independent investigation into the alleged police brutality at the campus, said the police had violated the principle of using minimum force that day.

“The use of force was not with the intention to disperse crowd, as police chased students who had taken shelter in libraries, hostel rooms and toilets,” she said “Despite the provocations, police were only supposed to use minimum possible force. This principle was violated when they barged into the campus.”

The advocate added that the police had entered the campus without the permission of the university vice-chancellor. “Where is the demand from the police to enter the University campus?” she said. “They had the loudspeakers, phones, walkie-talkie, but they didn’t make a demand for entering the campus. When no student was arrested, what was the purpose of entering the campus? The intention was sheer vindictiveness, teaching a lesson to the students with a danda”.

Jaising cited Section 124 of the Delhi Police Act to argue that there is no impunity provided to the police for using disproportionate force or causing unreasonable violence. She said that an independent inquiry headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court was needed.

Earlier, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves told the High Court that the police investigation into the matter was one-sided. “How can we expect the police to conduct fair enquiry when their chargesheet states that not a single police officer carried out any illegal activity during the violence?” he asked

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for another petitioner, also sought an independent inquiry into the matter, saying “the police cannot be a judge in their own cause”.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for another petitioner, submitted that police have committed illegal acts by acting beyond the protocols. He alleged the police was withholding materials from the petitioners, by submitting them in sealed cover before the court. “The entire exercise of the police needs to be seen from the prism from an intention to suppress dissent,” he said.

The High Court will continue hearing the matter on Thursday.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969477/jamia-violence-delhi-police-acted-with-sheer-vindictiveness-against-students-says-indira-jaising Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:08:11 +0000 Scroll Staff
Ahead of Ram temple bhoomi pujan, BJP leader Vijay Goel defaces Babar Road sign in Delhi https://scroll.in/latest/969491/ahead-of-ram-temple-bhoomi-pujan-bjp-leader-vijay-goel-defaces-babar-road-sign-in-delhi Goel demanded that the Centre rename the road ‘5 August Marg’.

Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Goel on Tuesday defaced the Babar Road road sign in the national Capital, ahead of the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, The Indian Express reported. He demanded that the Centre name the road “5 August Marg”.

Goel wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, asking that the road be renamed. “Babar was an invader who attacked Hindustan and demolished Ram mandir,” Goel said. “The PM [Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to perform a groundbreaking ceremony for a grand temple in Ayodhya tomorrow. At such a time, it will be an appropriate move to rename Babar Road as 5 August Marg.”

Goel, a former Delhi BJP president, went to the area in Lutyens’ Delhi with some of his supporters, and pasted a black cross over the name “Babar Road” on the signboard. He also made sure the name was replaced with “5 August Road”. The BJP leader said that he would also begin to write “5 August Road” on his letterhead from now on.

Last year, the Hindu Sena fringe group had blackened the Babar Road signboard in New Delhi’s Bengali Market.

“We got to know that some group had pasted a sticker on Babar Road board, but we have removed it now,” NDMC Senior Engineer (Roads) TM Meena said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat and Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya case, are among the main invitees to the ground-breaking ceremony. Over 50 VIPs will attend the ceremony.

Hindu extremists demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, alleging that it had been built on sacred land where a temple once stood. The incident had triggered riots around the country in which around 2,000 people were killed.

In a landmark verdict on November 9 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court also said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal, but directed the government to acquire another plot of land to build a mosque.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969491/ahead-of-ram-temple-bhoomi-pujan-bjp-leader-vijay-goel-defaces-babar-road-sign-in-delhi Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:02:33 +0000 Scroll Staff
TikTok founder says sale to Microsoft is ‘only way’ to prevent app from getting banned in US https://scroll.in/latest/969502/tiktok-founder-says-sale-to-microsoft-is-only-way-to-prevent-app-from-getting-banned-in-us Zhang Yiming said the action needed to be viewed in context of the rise in anti-Chinese sentiment around the world, including in US and India.

The founder of ByteDance, the Chinese social media giant behind TikTok, on Wednesday said a deal with Microsoft was the “only way” to prevent the popular video app from getting banned in the United States, BBC reported. Zhang Yiming said that those critical of the acquisition do not see the “full context”.

Microsoft had on Monday said it was in talks with ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok after US President Donald Trump reversed course on a plan to ban the video app on national security grounds. Trump said he would allow the app to keep operating if it was sold to an American owner and gave Microsoft 45 days to strike a deal.

However, the move has drawn widespread criticism from people in China. Many took to the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, to express their displeasure against Zhang’s compliance and cooperation in selling TikTok to an American firm, The Business Insider reported. Some also described Zhang as a traitor.

In a letter to the company’s Chinese staff, Zhang acknowledged the criticism but claimed that “many people misunderstand the current, complex situation”. “As a company, we have to abide by the laws of the markets where we operate,” he said. “It feels like the goal was not necessarily a forced sale, but given the current macro situation, a ban or even more.”

The Chinese entrepreneur also reminded the employees of the firm’s “global ambitions”, which he said needed to be viewed in context of the rise in anti-Chinese sentiment around the world, including in the US and India. Chinese apps were also banned in India in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley clash, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

In a statement issued on Sunday, ByteDance had reiterated its commitment of going global. “In the process, we are facing all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties,” the company had said. This included “the tense international political environment, the collision and conflict of different cultures, and the plagiarism and smear of competitor Facebook”.

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday said it will not accept “rogue country” United States’ attempts of acquiring TikTok. In an editorial published in state-run China Daily, Beijing said it considered Microsoft’s pursuit of purchasing the company a “theft” of its technology, adding it had “plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab”.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969502/tiktok-founder-says-sale-to-microsoft-is-only-way-to-prevent-app-from-getting-banned-in-us Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:02:13 +0000 Scroll Staff
Rajasthan HC issues notice to Speaker on plea against merger of BSP legislators with Congress https://scroll.in/latest/969497/rajasthan-hc-issues-notice-to-speaker-on-plea-against-merger-of-bsp-legislators-with-congress The High Court asked CP Joshi to reply to BJP leader Madan Dilawar’s plea by Thursday.

The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, over Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madan Dilawar’s petition challenging the merger of six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs into the Congress in September last year, ANI reported. The court directed Joshi to reply by Thursday, when it will hear the petition once again.

Former Bahujan Samaj Party legislators Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha applied to join the Congress last year in an effort to beef up its numbers amid infighting within the ranks. Joshi accepted these applications.

A crisis erupted in July when former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot walked out with 18 MLAs, travelling to Delhi. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot then sought a trust vote in the Assembly. However, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati warned the six legislators against voting for the Congress, in the trust vote scheduled for August 14 – saying that if they did so, their party membership would be cancelled.

On July 27, the Rajasthan High Court rejected Dilawar’s first petition against the merger. Dilawar filed a second petition on the following day. Dilawar sought quashing of the merger of two political parties at the state level, claiming that it was unconstitutional. He also challenged the inaction of Joshi in not deciding on his plea, seeking the disqualification of the six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969497/rajasthan-hc-issues-notice-to-speaker-on-plea-against-merger-of-bsp-legislators-with-congress Wed, 05 Aug 2020 07:19:24 +0000 Scroll Staff
Delhi HC rejects plea of Army officer seeking withdrawal of ban on 89 apps https://scroll.in/latest/969490/delhi-hc-rejects-plea-of-army-officer-seeking-withdrawal-of-ban-on-89-apps It dismissed the petition filed by Lieutenant Colonel PK Choudhary, who said that he was finding it difficult to connect with his family without social media.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea challenging the Indian Army’s directive to all personnel to remove 89 mobile applications, including Facebook and Instagram, Live Law reported.

A bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon dismissed the petition filed by Lieutenant Colonel PK Choudhary, who said that he was finding it difficult to connect with his family which resides outside India without being able to access the social network.

The Army officer had sought permission to retain his Facebook account in a deactivated form till the court decided whether to entertain his petition after going through the Indian Army’s policy under challenge, according to PTI. However, the High Court refused to entertain the plea and while pronouncing the order, said, “Sorry we are dismissing. Thank you.”

Choudhary had submitted that he used Facebook “responsibly in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Indian Army from time to time”. He added that he had not shared any classified or sensitive information pertaining to his role and duties as an Indian Army officer over Facebook or any other social networking platform.

“Soldiers rely on social networking platforms like Facebook to address various issues arising in their families while posted in remote locations and often use the virtual connect to compensate for the physical distance existing between themselves and their families,” Choudhary’s plea stated.

The plea also contended that the ban violated various fundamental rights of a citizen guaranteed by the Constitution, including the right to freedom of speech and expression and right to privacy. It argued the power to modify fundamental rights of members of armed forces rests with Parliament alone.

Therefore, Choudhary had sought a withdrawal of the “draconian policy”. He had also sought a declaration that the Director General of Military Intelligence is not empowered under the Constitution or under any other law to modify, amend or abrogate the fundamental rights of the members of the armed forces.

Earlier on July 15, the Delhi High Court had asked the senior Army officer to either follow his organisation’s directive to all personnel to remove 89 mobile applications, or resign from service. The court said the Army’s directive was concerning the safety and security of the country.

The Army’s ban order covers a range of apps across domains such as messaging, content sharing, web browsers, video hosting, gaming, e-commerce, dating, anti-virus, news and music among others. Last month, India banned 59 mobile applications, including TikTok, which have Chinese links, as diplomatic relations between India and China plummeted after a violent clash on the Line of Actual Control.

There have been several cases of personnel being virtually honey-trapped on social media platforms, leading to risk of sharing of sensitive information.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969490/delhi-hc-rejects-plea-of-army-officer-seeking-withdrawal-of-ban-on-89-apps Wed, 05 Aug 2020 06:34:51 +0000 Scroll Staff
Chinese envoy to US says border dispute should not dominate relations between New Delhi and Beijing https://scroll.in/latest/969487/chinese-envoy-to-us-says-border-dispute-should-not-dominate-relations-between-new-delhi-and-beijing Cui Tiankai also said that Beijing hoped to avoid a confrontation with Washington over the closure of consulates in each other’s countries.

China’s Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said on Tuesday that the border dispute with India should not dominate relations between New Delhi and Beijing, Reuters reported. “I don’t think this issue should dominate in relations between China and India, and I don’t think this is the view of our Indian friends,” Cui said at the Aspen Security Forum in the United States.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the border conflict with India should be seen in a proper bilateral context, and urged New Delhi to ensure that differences do not escalate into disputes. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, at a press conference, called for “stronger solidarity and cooperation” between India and China, saying that it would help the development of the two countries as well as “add stability and positive energy to world peace and prosperity”.

Relations between India and China have soured after a violent clash between armies of the two countries in Galwan Valley, Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control on June 15. As many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unidentified number of Chinese counterparts were killed in the clash.

China hopes to ‘avoid confrontation’ with US over consulates’ closure

Cui also said that Beijing hoped to avoid a confrontation with Washington over the closure of consulates in each other’s countries, ANI reported. On July 27, the United States shut its consulate in Chengdu in China following a directive from Beijing. The Chinese move was retaliation for the US closing the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, citing security concerns.

“I do not think a new Cold War would serve anybody’s interest,” the ambassador said on Tuesday. “It was really unfortunate for the US to close the consulate.” He said that Beijing was forced to respond to Washington’s move.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969487/chinese-envoy-to-us-says-border-dispute-should-not-dominate-relations-between-new-delhi-and-beijing Wed, 05 Aug 2020 05:57:06 +0000 Scroll Staff
Ram temple: PM Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone today, Ayodhya decks up for grand event https://scroll.in/latest/969463/ram-temple-pm-narendra-modi-to-lay-foundation-stone-today-ayodhya-decks-up-for-grand-event A special ring of protection comprising 150 security personnel who have recovered from Covid-19 will be thrown around Modi when he lands in the city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Wednesday lay the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya in a bhumi pujan, or ground-breaking ceremony.

Modi will fly from Delhi to Lucknow in the morning, from where he will take a helicopter to Ayodhya, NDTV reported. After a brief ceremony at a Hanuman temple, he will proceed to the makeshift temple at Ram Lalla, and then to the site of the new temple for the ceremony around 11.30 am.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, one of the key invitees, will be unable to attend as he has contracted the coronavirus. So will the chief priest of the disputed site. The guest list has also been trimmed in view of the spread of the contagion.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat and Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya case, are among the main invitees. Over 50 VIPs will attend the ceremony.

Bharatiya Janata Party veterans LK Advani, who was at the forefront of the movement for a Ram temple way back in the 1990s, and Murli Manohar Joshi will be present via videoconferencing. Uma Bharti, who was also at the forefront of the movement, will not attend the ceremony but will camp nearby and will go to the site once the programme is over.

BJP’s erstwhile ally, the Shiv Sena, and the Opposition Congress have not been invited to the event.

The temple will be 161 feet tall – almost double the size of what was originally planned, according to its architect. Modi will lay a special, 40 kg silver brick in the ground as a symbolic way of starting the construction of the temple. The prime minister will plant an Indian night jasmine and then perform the bhumi pujan, News18 reported. He will also release a commemorative postage stamp on “Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir”.

Special ring of protection for Modi

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Inspector General of Police Deepak Kumar said that when Modi lands at the Saket College helipad in Ayodhya, he will have a special ring of protection around him. It will comprise of 150 security personnel who have recovered from the coronavirus, the Hindustan Times reported. “It’s in the protocol for protecting the prime minister that he must be guarded by healthy personnel,” he said. “Now what can be healthier in these times than a Covid-19 warrior?”

Kumar said that the larger security detail of the prime minister will comprise 400 additional security personnel who have tested negative for the coronavirus, and been isolated. “Our aim is that every police personnel that the PM’s eyes fall on, is either a Covid-19 warrior or has been tested in the last 48 hours,” Kumar said.

Even the people who put up the tents at the site, and the drivers of motorcades have been tested and found negative, Kumar said. “We are confident now that no one will be infected because we have tested anyone who will come within eight feet of a VIP,” District Magistrate Anuj Jha said.

Ayodhya has been decked up for the event for days, with the city illuminated in Diwali-like colours since August 3. Earthen lamps were lit and Ram bhajans sung at various places in the city on Tuesday in anticipation of the event.

Adityanath says temple is for everyone

Adityanath told the Hindustan Times in a telephonic interview that the ceremony is a “dream come true”, but added that the shrine is for everybody. “This is a beginning of a new epoch – Ram Rajya – in which there will be no caste or community, something which the prime minister has displayed in his functioning during the last six years,” Adityanath said. “Whosoever has faith in Ram will come and contribute. I don’t foresee any tension or disturbance.”

Adityanath also claimed that the bhoomi pujan was being conducted at an “auspicious time”, according to the saints in Ayodhya. “But we are abiding by the pandemic protocol from the very beginning, social distancing will be maintained and it will be followed in the future also,” he added.

Adityanath alleged that the Opposition was silent about the event because it had realised that opposing the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya will further jeopardise their prospects at the polls. “But the temple is for everyone,” he added.

In a landmark verdict on November 9 last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The court said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.

Also read

Harsh Mander: With the Ayodhya ceremony, has the inclusive India of my dreams been lost forever?

Ayodhya from the margins: Three contrarian snapshots from the temple town in the eye of the storm

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https://scroll.in/latest/969463/ram-temple-pm-narendra-modi-to-lay-foundation-stone-today-ayodhya-decks-up-for-grand-event Wed, 05 Aug 2020 05:43:53 +0000 Scroll Staff
J&K: Lifting of curfew on anniversary of Article 370 is ‘mere hogwash’, says Mehbooba Mufti https://scroll.in/latest/969483/j-k-lifting-of-curfew-on-anniversary-of-article-370-is-mere-hogwash-says-mehbooba-mufti On Tuesday evening, the administration had lifted the two-day curfew imposed on the anniversary of the revocation of special status of J&K.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said the order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration to lift the two-day curfew imposed in light of the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, was a mere hogwash.

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete curfew in Kashmir ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of special status. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order said they have received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”. But by late evening, the curfew was lifted.

“Last night’s order withdrawing curfew was hogwash,” read a tweet on Mehbooba Mufti’s official account, which is managed by her daughter Iltija Mufti since her detention last year. “When it comes to collective punishment, J&K admin and [the] police prefer not leaving a paper trail and yet ensure people are caged by imposing an unofficial curfew.”

The post had a tweet shared by a journalist that alleged that even “ambulances were not allowed to cross the barbed wire” in Srinagar.

Also read:

  1. What exactly did the August 5 decisions achieve in Jammu and Kashmir?
  2. J&K: BJP sarpanch shot by suspected militants in Kulgam, two policemen injured in attack in Pulwama

Even though the curfew imposed in Kashmir was lifted on Tuesday, restrictions on “movement of more than three persons” remains in place. Additionally, a complete lockdown has been enforced in containment zones to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Police and the Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been deployed in heavy numbers across the Valley.

A year ago, the Centre had passed two bills in Parliament that split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, stripped it of special status under Article 370 and repealed Article 35A, which ensured specific rights and protections to residents of the state. Since then, the region has been placed under the strictest lockdown in its history, with 4G internet services still suspended.

Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – were put in detention. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13 but Mufti still remains in detention.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969483/j-k-lifting-of-curfew-on-anniversary-of-article-370-is-mere-hogwash-says-mehbooba-mufti Wed, 05 Aug 2020 05:37:46 +0000 Scroll Staff
J&K: BJP sarpanch shot by suspected militants in Kulgam, two policemen injured in attack in Pulwama https://scroll.in/latest/969466/j-k-bjp-sarpanch-shot-by-suspected-militants-in-kulgam-two-policemen-injured-in-attack-in-pulwama National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, meanwhile, has called an all-party meeting at his residence in Srinagar on Wednesday.

A sarpanch associated to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir, was allegedly shot by suspected militants on Tuesday, The Indian Express reported. Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Altaf Thakur called it a “barbaric attack”.

This came a day before the first anniversary of the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019, and amid sweeping restrictions placed across the erstwhile state. Police and the Central Reserve Police Force personnel were deployed in heavy numbers across the Valley.

The police said the incident occurred in Akhran village of the district when the militants barged into the house of sarpanch Arif Ahmad and opened fire from close range.

“He was shifted to emergency hospital Qazigund,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told the Hindustan times. “He had a firearm injury in the neck and condition is critical.”

According to The Indian Express, Ahmad was admitted to the Government Medical College in Anantnag. “He has a bullet in the chest… His condition remains critical,” said Mohammad Iqbal, the medical superintendent of the hospital.

Meanwhile, two police personnel were also injured in a separate attack by suspected militants in Pulwama. The police said the militants lobbed a grenade on Special Operations Group personnel in Wanpora village.

“Both the policemen received splinter injuries,” an unidentified police official told The Indian Express. “They were immediately evacuated and are stable.” The injured policemen have been identified as Head Constable Khurshid Ahmad and Special Police Officer Ishfaq Ahmad.

Also read:

  1. Modi’s Ayodhya visit on August 5 is an attempt to cover up failure in J&K, says Iltija Mufti
  2. J&K administration tried to make me sign a bond to stay silent, says Omar Abdullah: The Wire
  3. What exactly did the August 5 decisions achieve in Jammu and Kashmir?

Farooq Abdullah calls meeting

National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, meanwhile, has called an all-party meeting at his residence in Srinagar on Wednesday. Senior leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party , Peoples Conference, the Congress and some smaller parties have been invited.

The Hindu reported that the meeting was an apparent move to revive the Gupkar declaration signed at Abdullah’s residence last year. On August 4, Kashmiri political parties had met at Gupkar and vowed to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. It came to be known as the Gupkar Declaration, the last political statement to come out from Kashmir before communications were snuffed out for months.

“The crucial meeting at Abdullah’s residence will deliberate over the prevailing political mess across J&K from August 5, 2019,” an unidentified NC official told the newspaper. “A future strategy will be chalked out.”

However, the meeting is unlikely to take place as most of the political leaders of the Valley are still under detention. Besides this, even though the curfew imposed in Kashmir was lifted on Tuesday, restrictions on “movement of more than three persons” remains in place. Additionally, a complete lockdown has been enforced in containment zones.

Abdullah told The Indian Express that he had planned the meeting but was uncertain how it would progress. “But you see, they have already stationed [security] vehicles outside our houses, they have closed it [the entrance],” he said. “Is this the government?”

The Congress and National Conference on Tuesday had said that August 5 would go down as the “darkest day” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The parties held a joint meeting in Kargil. In the statement, they said the Bharatiya Janata Party had also been invited to attend, but did not do so.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969466/j-k-bjp-sarpanch-shot-by-suspected-militants-in-kulgam-two-policemen-injured-in-attack-in-pulwama Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:29:53 +0000 Scroll Staff
Former Maharashtra CM Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar dies at 89 https://scroll.in/latest/969464/former-maharashtra-cm-shivajirao-patil-nilangekar-dies-at-89 The Congress leader served as the chief minister from 1985 to 1986.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar died on Wednesday morning, The Indian Express reported. The newspaper said Nilangekar, who was the Maharashtra chief minister from 1985 to 1986, had contracted the coronavirus but had recovered and been discharged from hospital. He was 89.

Persons close to Nilangekar’s family said he died due to kidney-related complications, The Indian Express reported. His last rites will be conducted in Nilanga town in Latur district of Maharashtra later on Wednesday.

Nilangekar, a Congress leader, had resigned from the chief minister’s post in 1986 when the Bombay High Court passed strictures against him, in a case related to fraud in the MD examination of 1985, PTI reported. Nilangekar was accused of enabling the fraud to help his daughter and her friend pass the exams.

Nilangekar’s son Sambhaji Patil is a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and was the labour minister in the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Nilangekar served the state diligently. “Shri Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar Ji was a stalwart of Maharashtra politics,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. “He served the state diligently, especially working for the welfare of farmers and the poor. Anguished by his demise.My thoughts are with his family and supporters. Om Shanti.”

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https://scroll.in/latest/969464/former-maharashtra-cm-shivajirao-patil-nilangekar-dies-at-89 Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:17:45 +0000 Scroll Staff
Lebanon: At least 73 dead in two explosions in Beirut; Donald Trump says it may be an attack https://scroll.in/latest/969461/lebanon-at-least-73-dead-in-two-explosions-in-beirut-donald-trump-says-it-may-be-an-attack As many as 3,700 people were injured in the blasts.

Two explosions killed at least 73 people in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, on Tuesday, AFP reported. As many as 3,700 people were injured in the explosions, which destroyed Beirut’s port, according to the Health Ministry.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said it was likely that ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse at the port caused the first blast. The second one set an orange fireball into the sky, devastating the harbour and shattering windows several kilometres away. Buildings 10 km away from the site of the blast were damaged.

United States President Donald Trump said his military generals told him they “seem to feel” that the massive explosion was in fact a bomb attack, AP reported. “I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was [an attack],” Trump told reporters at the White House. “This was not a – some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of a event...they seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in the Beirut port warehouse, AFP reported. “It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures,” he said at an urgently convened defence council meeting, according to a spokesperson. “It is unacceptable and we cannot remain silent on this matter.” Diab announced a day of national mourning on Wednesday.

The blast came a day ahead of a court verdict in the trial connected with the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A tribunal of the United Nations is expected to give its verdict in the case of Hariri’s death in 2005, which involves four suspects.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969461/lebanon-at-least-73-dead-in-two-explosions-in-beirut-donald-trump-says-it-may-be-an-attack Wed, 05 Aug 2020 02:15:29 +0000 Scroll Staff
At least 25 dead in massive explosion in Beirut, thousands injured https://scroll.in/latest/969458/massive-explosion-in-beirut-widespread-injuries-reported Ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse at the port is likely to have caused the blast.

At least 25 people died in a huge explosion in Lebanon capital Beirut on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Videos showed a large mushroom cloud over the city, after a blast so strong that the earth shook.

More than 2,500 people have been injured. The toll and number of injuries are likely to rise.

Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said it was likely that ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse at the port caused the blast, reported Al Jazeera.

There was speculation about a second explosion as well. The second explosion may have been at the Hariri residence in the city, according to BBC.

Videos reportedly showed people trapped under the rubble as fire services personnel conducted rescue operations.

Windows across the city were shattered by the impact of the explosion, and many buildings were damaged.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced a day of national mourning on Wednesday, reported AFP.

Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hassan instructed all hospitals around the neighbourhood to be prepared to treat the injured. However, AFP said that hospitals in Beirut were turning away people “with blood streaming down their faces because they’re too full or damaged to take them in”.

Al Jazeera reporter Zeina Khodr spoke of “chaos in the streets”. “I was kilometres away, the glass broke everywhere around me,” Al Jazeera quoted her as saying.

Buildings as far away from the explosion spot as 10 km were damaged, reported CNN. This included former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s headquarters.

The blast came a day ahead of a court verdict in the trial connected with the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A tribunal of the United Nations is expected to give its verdict in the case of Hariri’s death in 2005, which involves four suspects.

The incident also came amid political turmoil in Lebanon, where there have been protests against the government’s management of the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. Besides this, there have also been reports of tension along the border with Israel as well, according to BBC.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969458/massive-explosion-in-beirut-widespread-injuries-reported Tue, 04 Aug 2020 20:37:37 +0000 Scroll Staff
Chinese mobile manufacturer Vivo pulls out of title sponsorship for IPL 2020: Report https://scroll.in/latest/969432/chinese-mobile-manufacturer-vivo-pulls-out-of-title-sponsorship-for-ipl-2020-report With growing calls around the country for boycotting Chinese goods, there were question marks over the yearly Rs 440 crore title sponsorship.

Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo will not be the title sponsor for Indian Premier League’s 2020 season, due to start on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates, PTI reported on Tuesday.

The development has not been confirmed yet by the Board of Control for Cricket in India or Vivo.

Vivo is reportedly in talks with the BCCI for an “amicable separation” amid border tensions between India and China. The one-year pullout could be treated as a moratorium period and if the relations improve, BCCI may look at inking a fresh three-year deal with the company from 2021 to 2023 on revised terms.

“Yes, the discussions are on between BCCI office-bearers [president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah] with the representatives of the company. There is a possibility that Vivo will not be title sponsors for one year,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.

After repeatedly delaying the tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic, the IPL announced on Sunday that the the 13th edition will start in UAE. While the official release did not mention anything about sponsorship deals, PTI had reported that all sponsors were retained for this edition. The decision was met with widespread backlash on social media.

It is worth noting that Vivo’s deal was worth Rs 440 crore per year. After coming on board for the first time in 2015, Vivo retained the IPL title sponsorship rights in June 2017 for five seasons (2018 to 2022). Their winning bid was Rs 2199 crores which represented an increase of 454% over the five-year contract that was signed by BCCI in 2012.

On June 19 this year, in the aftermath of the Ladakh stand-off, the IPL had said: “Taking note of the border skirmish that resulted in the martyrdom of our brave jawans, the IPL Governing Council has convened a meeting next week to review IPL’s various sponsorship deals.”

The Times of India reported on Tuesday that one of the eight IPL franchises informed the other teams of “Vivo’s impending exit given the hostility towards Chinese brands that has been around post the border skirmish between the two countries some time ago.”

With growing calls around the country for boycotting Chinese goods, there were question marks over the yearly Rs 440 crore title sponsorship deal IPL had with Vivo. Having won the bid first in 2015, the mobile phone manufacturer retained the title sponsorship rights for the IPL for a five-year period starting from 2017.

“All I can say is that all our sponsors are with us. Hopefully you can read between the lines,” an IPL Governing Council member had told PTI on Sunday.

The Confederation of All India Traders, which claims 70 million small business members, said the Indian government should block the IPL tournament for showing “utter disregard” to public anger over the border deaths.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the cultural arm of the influential Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang threatened a boycott of the IPL unless the Chinese sponsor was dropped.

“We want to urge the IPL organisers to reconsider their stand on sponsorship by Chinese companies,” read an SJM statement. “Please remember the nation’s pride and security above all,” it added.

The Indian government had banned 59 Chinese apps, including video sharing platform TikTok, citing national security and privacy concerns. The order by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology came two weeks after Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with their Chinese counterparts in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control. Following the incident, there had been outrage in India, and calls for banning Chinese products. There were protests around the country, with some people destroying and burning Chinese-made goods

Explainer: What you need to know about India’s ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps

Chinese officials have also expressed concern at other measures taken by the government which they see as freezing Chinese enterprises out of the Indian market of 1.3 billion people.

Some opposition politicians have however blamed the government for the decision to keep the Chinese sponsors for the key cricket contest which is a huge revenue earner.

Congress party spokesman Randeep Surjewala accused the government of “profiteering and double standards” in the cricket case by not forcing the IPL to act.

“In different circumstances, if the sponsors don’t keep commitment, BCCI can encash the bank guarantee which it had earlier done in case of errant franchises. But here, both parties are looking at an amicable escape route,” the official told PTI.

“These are sensitive times and need a cautious approach. Once you had said that you will review sponsorship and then did nothing about it, would raise a question mark over your intent on dealing with the Chinese companies.”

The BCCI is understood to be in talks with a couple of Indian companies who are believed to be interested in a short-term sponsorship deal – one year period.

“It will be difficult to make up the full amount (Rs 440 crore) in such a short time with the tournament being held overseas. Also, there won’t be much traction in an empty stadium. But we will come to that once Vivo officially quits,” the official said.

(With PTI and AFP inputs)

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https://scroll.in/latest/969432/chinese-mobile-manufacturer-vivo-pulls-out-of-title-sponsorship-for-ipl-2020-report Tue, 04 Aug 2020 19:38:40 +0000 Scroll Staff
Top 10 coronavirus updates: Delhi’s active cases fall below 10,000-mark, Capital’s toll at 4,033 https://scroll.in/latest/969396/top-10-coronavirus-updates-ex-karnataka-cm-siddaramaiah-tests-positive-indias-tally-now-18-5-lakh A look at the biggest developments of the day.

  1. India recorded 52,050 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 18,55,745. The toll rose by 803 to 38,938.
  2. The number of active cases in Delhi went below the 10,000-mark. The Capital’s coronavirus tally stood at 1,39,156, including 1,25,226 recoveries and 4,033 deaths. Maharashtra’s case count rose to 4,57,956 after 7,760 new infections, and the toll went up by 300 to 16,142. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu has 2,68,285 cases and the toll stood at 4,349.
  3. Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he has tested positive for Covid-19. He added that he has been admitted to a hospital on doctor’s advice. Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb said he has tested negative for the coronavirus. Deb on Monday night said he was going into self-isolation after two of his family members tested positive.
  4. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the high population density of the state makes it more vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, a three-member central team, which visited Bihar to assess the coronavirus situation, had warned that the state’s low testing rate may affect its case fatality rate the number of deaths among the cases detected.
  5. The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and the states to continue providing timely old-age pension, masks, sanitisers and essential goods and services to all senior citizens living alone.
  6. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in its revised guidelines for Unlock 3, allowed shops in the city to remain open on all days on both sides of the road. Earlier, the shops had to follow an odd-even formula for opening up. The civic body has also permitted the sale of alcohol.
  7. United States President Donald Trump said that his country was doing “very well” in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic while India is having a “tremendous problem” battling the health crisis. “Don’t forget, we’re much bigger than India and China,” Trump said. “China is having a massive flare up right now. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems.”
  8. A nationwide antibody tests conducted in Italy showed that about 2.5% of the country’s population have had the coronavirus. The figure is six times the number of confirmed cases in Italy’s official tally.
  9. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic has created the largest disruption of education in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion (160 crore) students in all countries and continents. He added that an additional 23.8 million (2.38 crore) children and youth could drop out or not have access to school next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact.
  10. The global coronavirus count crossed 1.81 crore on Monday morning, and the number of deaths rose to 6,91,642, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As many as 1.08 crore people have recovered.
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https://scroll.in/latest/969396/top-10-coronavirus-updates-ex-karnataka-cm-siddaramaiah-tests-positive-indias-tally-now-18-5-lakh Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:30:56 +0000 Scroll Staff
Coronavirus: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan tests positive; cases in UP cross one-lakh mark https://scroll.in/latest/969364/coronavirus-who-warns-there-might-never-be-a-silver-bullet-as-global-count-rises-to-1-81-crore Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who tested positive for Covid-19, is asymptomatic and his condition is stable.

10.55 pm: Here are the top updates of the day.

10.54 pm: Manipur’s coronavirus tally crosses 3,000-mark. The state’s active case count is 1,197, reports PTI.

10.53 pm: Mizoram government prohibits entry to paramilitary personnel till August 15 due to rising coronavirus cases among the force, reports PTI.

10.52 pm: Haryana records eight more deaths, taking the state’s toll to 448, reports PTI. The case count of the state stands at 37,796, of which 6,122 are active.

10.51 pm: Jammu and Kashmir decides to open religious premises, places of worship from August 16, reports PTI. The administration has extended other standard operating procedures for coronavirus containment till August 31.

9.01 pm: Maharashtra registers 7,760 Covid-19 cases, 12,326 recoveries and 300 deaths on Tuesday, ANI reports, citing a state health department bulletin. The state tally rises to 4,57,956, including 1,42,151 active cases, 2,99,356 recoveries and 16,142 deaths.

8.54 pm: Uttarakhand records 208 new cases, taking the state’s case count to 8,008, reports ANI. There have been 4,847 recoveries, 3,028 active cases and 95 deaths in the state so far.

7.58 pm: Delhi records 674 new coronavirus cases, 972 recoveries and 12 deaths on Monday. The Capital’s case count rises to 1,39,156, including 1,25,226 recoveries and 4,033 deaths.

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7.56 pm: Jammu and Kashmir’s coronavirus tally rises to 22,396, including 7,123 active cases, 14,856 recoveries and 417 deaths.

7.51 pm: Tamil Nadu registers 5,063 coronavirus cases, 6,501 recoveries and 108 deaths on Tuesday, reports ANI. The overall tally in the state rises to 2,68,285, including 2,08,784 recoveries and 55,152 active cases. The toll stands at 4,349.

7.43 pm: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan says he has tested positive for Covid-19. “I got myself tested after exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 and the results came back positive. I am admitted to a hospital on the advice of doctors, but I’m doing well,” he tweets.

5.41 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Uttar Pradesh cross the one lakh-mark, as the state registers 2,948 new cases on Tuesday, PTI reports, quoting a statement from the state government. A total of 41 fatalities were recorded in 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,817. The state’s total tally of infections is now 1,00,310.

5.37 pm: The Union home ministry says that out of 60,000 ventilators being produced in India, 50,000 are funded from the PM CARES Fund at a cost of about Rs 2,000 crore. “The ventilators have GPS chips embedded in them, and therefore they can be tracked,” the ministry adds.

5.33 pm: The Union health ministry says the Covid-19 infection has spread to new areas in India but 82% of total cases are still reported from 10 states and Union Territories, PTI reports.

5.27 pm: The Chief Scientist of World Health Organization, Soumya Swaminathan, says India has a low testing rate for Covid-19 when compared to some of the countries,who have done well like Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, PTI reports. Swaminathan says that as of now, 28 vaccine candidates for Covid-19 in the world are under clinical trial stage. Of these, five are entering Phase-II and over 150 candidates are in pre-clinical trial stage, she adds.


5.19 pm: Bhushan says India’s current fatality rate at 2.10% is the lowest since India went into a complete lockdown on March 25. “The fatality rate has see a progressive decline and its continuing,” he adds.

5.18 pm: “Many states have increased their testing capacity, both RT - PCR and Rapid Antigen tests,” Bhushan adds. “Goa, Delhi, Tripura, & Tamil Nadu have increased their testing capacity,” he says.

5.16 pm: “More than two crore Covid-19 tests have been conducted, including more than 6.6 lakh tests in the last 24 hours,” Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, health ministry, says. He adds that India is currently conducting 479 tests per day per million (10 lakh) population.

5.15 pm: “At the present moment we have three Indian vaccine which are in different phases of clinical testing,” Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research Balram Bhargava says. “The two 2 – Bharat Biotech vaccine and DNA vaccine of Zydus Cadila – have completed phase 1 of clinical trials and will begin phase 2 soon, while the third candidate is the Oxford vaccine,” he adds.

5.10 pm: The health ministry says the number of recovered cases in India stands at 12.30 lakh, which is twice the number of active cases. Currently, there are 5,86,298 active Covid19 cases in the country, it says.

5.00 pm: Union health ministry addresses the media about the coronavirus situation.

3.22 pm: The number of cases in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands rises to 830 after 86 new infections were reported on Tuesday, PTI reports. One more fatality pushes the toll to 10.

3.15 pm: The coronavirus disease can bring on neuromuscular complications in patients who previously had none, and exacerbate symptoms in those with preexisting conditions on therapies to stimulate the immune system, says a review of studies published in the RRNMF Neuromuscular Journal, according to The Indian Express.

2.52 pm: At least 26 infants from the newborn care unit of state-run Gajra Raja Medical College in Gwalior were shifted to private nursing homes, after some staff members from paediatrics department tested positive, PTI reports.

4.48 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says the government will have to extend the serological survey in the Capital by two more days, ANI reports. Around 15,000 samples are to be collected during the survey, he adds.

2.43 pm: Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu holds a meeting with doctors of the Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru, where Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Congress leader Siddaramaiah are receiving treatment for the coronavirus, ANI reports. “The chief minister is asymptomatic,” Sriramulu says. “His condition is stable and he is responding to the treatment. Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah has high fever and doctors are treating him.”

2.41 pm: The Rajasthan government announces that gymnasiums and yoga institutes in the state will be allowed to function from August 5, ANI reports.

1.27 pm: Tripura has so far recorded 5,523 Covid-19 cases as 131 infections were reported on Tuesday. The toll has increased to 28, PTI reports.

1.20 pm: The Delhi High Court refuses to hear a PIL seeking directions to the state government to waive off school fees amid the pandemic, ANI reports.

12.37 pm: Puducherry records 168 new coronavirus cases and one death on Tuesday, PTI reports. The union territory’s tally rises to 4,146 and the toll reaches 57.

12.29 pm: Odisha records 1,384 new cases on Tuesday, ANI reports. The state’s tally rises to 37681 and the toll stands at 216.

12.26 pm: The Maharashtra police report three coronavirus deaths and 231 cases in 24 hours.

12.13 pm: United States President Donald Trump on Monday said that his country was doing “very well” in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic while India is having a “tremendous problem” battling the health crisis, PTI reports. “Don’t forget, we’re much bigger than India and China,” Trump said. “China is having a massive flare up right now. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems.”

11.45 am: Rajasthan reports 551 new coronavirus cases and 8 deaths as of 10:30 am on Tuesday. The state’s tally rises to 46,106 and the toll reaches 727.

11.43 am: The Supreme Court directs the Centre and the states to continue providing timely old-age pension, masks, sanitisers and essential goods and services to all senior citizens living alone, ANI reports.

11.41 am: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb tests negative for the coronavirus.

11.39 am: Arunachal Pradesh records 60 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, PTI reports. The state’s overall count rises to 1,752.

10.45 pm: At least 41 passengers and crew on a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, BBC reports. Hundreds more passengers who travelled on the cruise, known as the MS Roald Amundsen, are in quarantine and awaiting test results, the company that owns the ship said.

10.40 pm: Telangana registers 1,286 coronavirus cases and 12 deaths as of 8 pm on Monday, taking the the state’s total tally to 68,946, ANI reports. The toll stands at 563.

10.40 pm: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the coronavirus pandemic has created the largest disruption of education in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion (160 crore) students in all countries and continents and an additional 23.8 million (2.38 crore) children and youth could drop out or not have access to school next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone.

10.35 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in its revised guidelines for Unlock 3, allows shops in the city to remain open on all days on both sides of the road, Moneycontrol reports. Earlier, the shops had to follow an odd-even formula for opening up. The civic body has also permitted the sale of alcohol.

9.57 am: The United States adds 46,321 new cases in the last 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The total count of cases in the US now stands at 47,11,323, with 1,55,366 deaths.

9.56 am: Mexico reports 4,767 new cases and 266 additional deaths. The country’s tally is now 4,43,813 cases and 48,012 deaths.

9.55 am: Over 900 new cases were registered in the United Kingdom in the past 24 hours, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. With this, the total number of infections in the country now stand at over 3,05,600.

9.53 am: Markets reopen in Bhopal after 10 days of complete lockdown.

9.22 am: India records 52,050 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 18,55,745. The toll rises by 803 to 38,938.

9.12 am: The total number samples tested for the coronavirus till Monday is 2,08,64,750, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.

8.20 am: Hong Kong reports 78 new cases.

8.14 am: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tests positive.

Also read

Covid-19: Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah tests positive, Tripura CM goes into self isolation

8.11 am: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former MLA Sunnam Rajaiah dies of coronavirus, reports The Hindu. Rajaiah had tested positive on Monday.

7.49 am: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb goes in self-isolation after two of his family members test positive. Deb says he is waiting for the results of his Covid-19 test.

7.30 am: Latin America and Caribbean surpass 5 million coronavirus cases, according to a tally by AFP.

7.28 am: The chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive, reports Reuters.

7.24 am: California governor says cases, hospitalisations are trending down, reports Reuters.

7.21 am: As many as 6,61,715 samples were tested in India in the last 24 hours, ANI reports citing the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

7.20 am: Assam’s tally rises to 45,275 with record 2,371 new cases. The toll in the state now stands at 109.

7.19 am: A nationwide antibody tests conducted in Italy show that about 2.5% of the country’s population have had the coronavirus, reports AP. The figure is six times the number of confirmed cases in Italy’s official tally.

7.14 am: Here are the top updates from Monday

  • India recorded 52,972 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the total number to more than 18 lakh. There have been 18,03,695 confirmed cases of the virus in the country now, of which 11,86,203 patients have been discharged.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the standard operating procedure for the reopening of gymnasiums and yoga centres from August 5 amid the coronavirus crisis. The new guidelines include spacing out equipment, staggering session timings and disinfection of the premises.
  • Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is in home quarantine. On Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, along with one BJP leader and a Uttar Pradesh Minister. Meanwhile, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad began self-isolation as he met Shah on Saturday.
  • The chief priest of the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya has gone into self-quarantine after one of his assistants tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
  • Maharashtra recorded 8,968 cases, taking the state’s case count to 4,50,196, including 2,87,030 recoveries and 15,842 deaths. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu registered 5,609 coronavirus cases and 109 deaths in 24 hours. With this, the state’s tally rose to 2,63,222 and the toll stood at 4,241. Andhra Pradesh reported 7,822 new cases, taking the state’s overall cases to 1,66,586 and the toll went up by 63 to 1,537.
  • One in every four or five coronavirus patients does not develop effective antibodies to keep them immune from the coronavirus in the long term, Dr SK Sarin, the director of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences said in an interview with News18.
  • The global coronavirus count crossed 1.80 crore, and the number of deaths rose to 6,87,930, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As many as 1.04 crore people have recovered.
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https://scroll.in/latest/969364/coronavirus-who-warns-there-might-never-be-a-silver-bullet-as-global-count-rises-to-1-81-crore Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:27:41 +0000 Scroll Staff
Ram temple event: ‘Historic and emotional day,’ says veteran BJP leader LK Advani https://scroll.in/latest/969455/ram-temple-event-historic-and-emotional-day-says-veteran-bjp-leader-lk-advani Advani said he felt humbled that destiny made him ‘perform a pivotal duty in the form of the Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990’.

Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani on Tuesday called the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya a “historic and emotional day” for him, reported PTI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the event on Wednesday and perform the “bhoomi pujan” or the ground-breaking ceremony.

“Sometimes significant dreams take a long time to fruition, but when finally realised, wait becomes worthwhile,” Advani said in a statement. “One such dream, close to my heart is getting fulfilled. PM Modi laying the foundation of Ram Mandir is a historic and emotional day not only for me but all Indians.”

Advani said that he felt humbled that destiny made him “perform a pivotal duty in the form of the Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990”. He added that the movement had helped in rousing the passion among the numerous participants.

The Ram Janmabhoomi movement mobilised support to build a temple at the spot where the 16th-century Babri Masjid stood before it was demolished in 1992 by BJP-led Hindutva groups. These groups believe this is the spot where Ram was born.

“Shri Ram occupies an esteemed place in India’s cultural and civilisational heritage and is an embodiment of grace, dignity and decorum,” the BJP leader said. He also highlighted that a grand temple for the deity Ram was a mission for his party.


Also read:

  1. The Political Fix: What will the August 5 Ram temple ceremony mean for the BJP – and India?
  2. Ram temple: 175 guests to attend ceremony, only PM Modi and four others to be allowed on stage

He further expressed happiness about the “decisive verdict” of the Supreme Court in November, which paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, reported News18. The court had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya would be handed over to a government-run trust for the construction of a Ram temple. The top court had also said that the demolition of Babri Masjid was illegal and directed the government to acquire an alternative plot of land to build a mosque.

The Ram temple trust on Monday said that 175 guests have been invited for the foundation stone-laying ceremony to be held in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya city. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel and Mahant Nritya Gopaldas – the head of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra – will be the only five people on stage at the ceremony.

The guest list was prepared after consultations with Advani and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. The two veteran politicians will reportedly join the ceremony only through videoconference, due to coronavirus fears. Another senior leader, Uma Bharti had on Monday said that she will go to to Ayodhya but skip the ceremony due to health risks.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969455/ram-temple-event-historic-and-emotional-day-says-veteran-bjp-leader-lk-advani Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:21:20 +0000 Scroll Staff
Coronavirus: Delhi’s active cases drop below 10,000, Arvind Kejriwal says ‘proud of you, Delhiites’ https://scroll.in/latest/969451/coronavirus-delhis-active-cases-drop-below-10000-arvind-kejriwal-says-proud-of-you-delhiites In the past day, the city reported 674 new cases, 12 deaths, and 972 recoveries. However, 838 fewer tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday praised the residents of the Capital after the number of active coronavirus cases fell below the 10,000-mark. The Capital’s case count stands at 1,39,156, with 9,897 active cases, 1,25,226 recoveries and 4,033 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, the city reported 674 new cases, 12 deaths, and 972 recoveries. The Capital’s recovery rate stood at 89.98%. However, 838 fewer tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, according to Tuesday’s bulletin.

“Active cases left in Delhi less than 10,000 today,” Kejriwal tweeted, tagging the health ministry bulletin. “Delhi is now at 14th position in terms of active cases. Number of deaths have come down to 12 today. I am proud of you, Delhiites. Your ‘Delhi model’ being discussed everywhere.”

The chief minister did also caution against getting complacent.

The state health department’s bulletin showed that 2,954 people are in hospitals, 654 patients are in Covid-19 care centres and 154 are in coronavirus health centres. The remaining 5,461 are in home isolation.

Delhi has registered a steady fall in the number of active cases as per its R-value, or the infections recorded that can be traced to a person who has had Covid-19. Delhi’s R-value stood at 0.66, according to NDTV.

On June 23, the Capital had recorded its highest single-day rise in cases with 3,947 new infections. Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, the Delhi government’s biggest coronavirus facility, did not report any deaths on two days in a week. The hospital’s medical director Suresh Kumar told Mint that the number of people on ventilator support had reduced by 25% when compared to the previous month.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969451/coronavirus-delhis-active-cases-drop-below-10000-arvind-kejriwal-says-proud-of-you-delhiites Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:23:14 +0000 Scroll Staff
China asks India to ensure differences over border do not escalate into disputes https://scroll.in/latest/969449/china-asks-india-to-ensure-differences-over-border-do-not-escalate-into-disputes Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said it was in India’s own interest to keep trade between the two countries going.

China on Tuesday said the border conflict with India should be seen in a proper bilateral context, and urged New Delhi to ensure that differences do not escalate into disputes. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, at a press conference, called for “stronger solidarity and cooperation” between India and China, saying that it would help the development of the two countries as well as “add stability and positive energy to world peace and prosperity”.

“The two sides should always place the boundary issue in an appropriate position in bilateral relations and avoid differences escalating into disputes,” Wang said. “It is hoped that India will work with China in the same direction and jointly safeguard the overall interests of bilateral relations with concrete actions.”

Wang was responding to a question about Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s comment on August 2, that “reaching an equilibrium with Beijing is not going to be easy” and that New Delhi must stand its ground and make Beijing value it more, the Hindustan Times reported.

Asked by Reuters about India considering measures to prevent its trading partners in South East Asia from rerouting Chinese goods to India with little added value, Wang said it was in New Delhi’s own interests to keep imports from Beijing going.

“Chinese products exported to India meet the demand of India’s domestic market and the needs of production and life for the Indian people,” Wang said. “Practical cooperation between the two countries is mutually beneficial and win-win. It is not in India’s own interest to sabotage this pattern of cooperation.”

Relations between India and China have soured after a violent clash between armies of the two countries in Galwan Valley, Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control on June 15. As many as 20 Indian soldiers and an unnamed number of Chinese counterparts were killed in the clash. On June 29, India banned 59 Chinese-linked apps, citing security concerns. It has also taken measures to cut down on Chinese imports.

Earlier on Tuesday, China had asked India to treat Confucius Institutes and higher education cooperation between the two countries in an “objective and fair manner”. The Confucius Institute programme – administered by the Chinese government agency Hanban – teaches Mandarin and runs hundreds of those institutes abroad.

Indian intelligence agencies have expressed security concerns about the institutes, which include Mumbai University and the Vellore Institute of Technology.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969449/china-asks-india-to-ensure-differences-over-border-do-not-escalate-into-disputes Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:20:25 +0000 Scroll Staff
Modi’s Ayodhya visit on August 5 is an attempt to cover up failure in J&K, says Iltija Mufti https://scroll.in/latest/969419/modis-ayodhya-visit-on-august-5-is-an-attempt-to-cover-up-failure-in-j-k-says-iltija-mufti Mufti said the media would only focus on the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram Temple tomorrow.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti on Tuesday said it was not a coincidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was going to Ayodhya for the Ram temple ceremony on August 5.

Iltija Mufti, in an interview with The Hindu, claimed this was an attempt to “obfuscate the reality and entire fallout” of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, which was done on the same day last year. “It covers up the huge colossal failure in J&K [Jammu and Kashmir],” she said. “The whole day the press is going to be focussed on Ayodhya.”

On July 31, the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended Mehbooba Mufti’s detention under the Public Safety Act by three more months. The former chief minister is reportedly the only mainstream political leader of the region who is still detained under the stringent law, since the Centre stripped Jammu and Kashmir of special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, and split it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Iltija Mufti claimed her mother’s detention was extended because the government wanted to make “an example of her”. “It wants people to know if you speak against Article 370, you show dissent, if you don’t agree with what we did, then we are going to detain you indefinitely, arbitrarily, and illegally, put you behind bars, humiliate you,” she said. “Also, it is aimed at creating a fear psychosis, which is prevalent for the past one year now, stronger.”

‘Forced to sign a bond to be silent’

She added that her mother was also told to sign a bond for her release on the condition that she remained silent on the developments in Jammu and Kashmir after August 5. “If you read the terms and conditions of the bond sheet, it sounds like we live in a dictatorship or an autocratic government,” Iltija Mufti said. “This bond was patently illegal.”

However, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister refused to sign the bond, Iltija Mufti added. “They took her away, put pressure overtly, covertly...they orchestrated a split in the party, where [intelligence] agencies were used,” she said.

Mufti added that authorities had also blackmailed her about speaking to the media. “I used to get threats indirectly,” she said. “I was told if I keep talking, ‘we are going to slap PSA on your mother.’”

Also read:

  1. J&K: ‘Are we animals in a cage?’ asks Iltija Mufti on Mehbooba Mufti’s detention, Article 370 move
  2. J&K administration tried to make me sign a bond to stay silent, says Omar Abdullah: The Wire

‘Mainstream faces credibility crisis’

The mainstream political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir needs to understand the agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Iltija Mufti said, adding that it “faces a crisis of credibility” in the region.

Domicile rule is going to affect all of us,” she said. “This is a time of unprecedented crisis and the role for a leader is to show the way...The mainstream must realise it might exist for another election term but after that what is going to be the future of this place and their own parties?”

‘A grim, bleak picture’

The former chief minister’s daughter said that even a year after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the situation was grim. She claimed this was because the BJP’s idea of India included hatred against the minority communities.

Mufti called the saffron party’s idea of “Naya Kashmir [New Kashmir”] weird and warped, saying that it disempowered residents – mostly Muslims – of the region. However, she cautioned that once the situation crossed the tipping point, it will no longer be the same.

She also debunked the Centre’s claims that militancy has been waning in Jammu and Kashmir and that normalcy has been restored in the region. She questioned the reason Section 144, which bans the assembly of over four people, has been imposed if there is peace in the region. She asked the administration to let people be free and “see what they do”.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969419/modis-ayodhya-visit-on-august-5-is-an-attempt-to-cover-up-failure-in-j-k-says-iltija-mufti Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:46:05 +0000 Scroll Staff
Imran Khan unveils new map showing J&K, Junagadh in Pakistan; India ridicules move https://scroll.in/latest/969445/imran-khan-unveils-new-map-showing-j-k-junagadh-in-pakistan-india-ridicules-move The Indian government said that the release of the new map shows Pakistan’s ‘obsession with territorial aggrandizement’ through cross-border terrorism.

India on Tuesday ridiculed a new “political map” of Pakistan, that includes Jammu and Kashmir, and Junagadh in Gujarat, in Pakistani territory, ANI reported. The Indian government called the move an “exercise in absurdity”.

“This is an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and our union territories of Jammu Kashmir and of Ladakh,” India’s statement said. “These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility.” The statement added that the release of the new map confirms Pakistan’s “obsession with territorial aggrandizement” supported by cross-border terrorism.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier in the day unveiled the new “political map”, Dawn reported. Khan’s move came a day before the first anniversary of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Khan said in an address to the people of Pakistan that the new map will now be the official map of the country, and will be used for teaching in schools and colleges. Khan, who appeared in a video alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said the map rejects the “illegal steps” India took on August 5 last year.

The Pakistan prime minister added that the Kashmir problem can only be solved by following United Nations Security Council resolutions, which call for the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people. “Their right to self-determination, given to them by the world community, has still not been given [by India],” Khan said. “And we clearly want to say to the world that it is the only solution.”

Khan claimed that Pakistan will participate in a “political struggle” in Kashmir, as it does not believe in “military solutions” to the conflict. The Pakistan prime minister also upbraided the United Nations, alleging that it had failed in its promise to the people of Kashmir.

Khan said the map clearly demarcates the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed, and shows Siachen as a part of Pakistan. The Indian Army had captured the Siachen Glacier in 1984, pre-empting a similar, planned Pakistani operation.

Khan said that Pakistan also does not recognise India’s position on Sir Creek, an estuary that separates Gujarat state in India from Sindh province of Pakistan. “We have said that our border is towards the eastern bank; India had claimed that it goes towards the west,” he said. Khan claimed that India was trying to “capture” several acres of Pakistan’s “exclusive economic zone” by its reading of the map.

Qureshi claimed that the “Kashmiri leadership” has also endorsed the government’s move. “This gives a clear message to the people of Kashmir, that the government of Pakistan was with them in the past and will stand with them in the future,” he said. “Our destination is Srinagar.”

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https://scroll.in/latest/969445/imran-khan-unveils-new-map-showing-j-k-junagadh-in-pakistan-india-ridicules-move Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:25:09 +0000 Scroll Staff
Ayodhya event: Over 300 citizens urge Modi not to participate, say PM should uphold secular values https://scroll.in/latest/969444/ayodhya-event-over-300-citizens-urge-modi-not-to-participate-say-pm-should-uphold-secular-values The prime minister should take special care to ensure that ‘he is not seen as partisan towards one faith or religion’, the group said.

Over 300 individuals, including activists, lawyers and members of the National Federation of Indian Women, have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not attend the foundation ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday.

The signatories, including Aruna Roy, the president of the National Federation of Indian Women, and Sutapa Bhattacharya from the Communist Party of India, expressed disappointment at Modi’s participation in the ceremony. “The matter of faith and freedom of religion is a personal choice and a fundamental freedom of every citizen,” the statement said. The group added that the principles upheld by the Constitution applied to Modi as well.

“The Constitution of India makes it clear that the government and Prime Minister should remain neutral to, and above, all religions, thus upholding the values of secular India,” the signatories wrote. “The Prime Minister going to Ayodhya to lay the foundation of the temple undermines our secular framework, and clearly endorses the majoritarian Hindutva agenda, despite his claims of building an inclusive India. It implies the negation of the Constitutional values.”

The prime minister should take special care to ensure that “he is not seen as partisan towards one faith or religion”, the group said. The statement also highlighted the Centre’s guidelines under “Unlock 3” that prohibits large gatherings. “The Prime Minister’s participation in a ceremony of this kind is bound to send a message of double standards practiced by the highest public functionaries of India,” the statement said. “The priorities of the government today should be to confront the economic and health crisis.”

Follow today’s updates on Covid-19 here

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https://scroll.in/latest/969444/ayodhya-event-over-300-citizens-urge-modi-not-to-participate-say-pm-should-uphold-secular-values Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:15:55 +0000 Scroll Staff
J&K administration announces 4% reservation in engineering, medical colleges for Ladakh students https://scroll.in/latest/969435/j-k-administration-announces-4-reservation-in-engineering-medical-colleges-for-ladakh-students Under the new policy, 24 seats from engineering and 35 from medical institutes will be allotted to students from the Union Territory of Ladakh.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday announced reservation of 4% seats in its engineering and medical institutions for students from Ladakh.

“4% seats in professional institutions of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir will be reserved for students of Ladakh for the academic year 2020-’21; these include 24 seats in engineering, 35 in medical colleges; this was stated in a meeting chaired by CS BVR Subrahmanyam,” the official account of Jammu and Kashmir’s Department of Information and Public Relations tweeted.

Under the new reservation policy, 24 seats from engineering and 35 from medical institutes will be deducted from the total seats available. The government said that reservation for residents of Jammu and Kashmir will be calculated on remaining seats under provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act and Rules.

Reservation in professional institutions is governed through Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act and Rules that were amended as part of the erstwhile state’s reorganisation, the administration said. The legislations do not apply to Ladakh.

“Keeping in view the non-availability of professional institutions in the Union Territory of Ladakh and recommendations of the Advisory Committee constituted by the Government of India, a decision was taken earlier to reserve 4% seats in both engineering as well as medical colleges of Jammu and Kashmir for students from UT of Ladakh,” a government statement said.

The administration’s chief secretary instructed the Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examinations to discuss the matter with the Ladakh authorities in terms of admission and reservation policies for applicants.

On August 5 last year, the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and divided the erstwhile state into two Union Territories. Internet services were completely stopped and movement was restricted for several months after the Centre’s decision. A year after the administrative changes were made in Jammu and Kashmir, thousands of students and scholars continue to struggle due to low speed internet connection.

Meanwhile, a day ahead of the first anniversary of the withdrawal of the special status, a curfew has been imposed across the Kashmir Valley as authorities fear protests and violence.

Also read:

A year without high-speed internet ravaged health, education, entrepreneurship in Kashmir

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https://scroll.in/latest/969435/j-k-administration-announces-4-reservation-in-engineering-medical-colleges-for-ladakh-students Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:51:05 +0000 Scroll Staff
Covid-19: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan tests positive, admitted to hospital https://scroll.in/latest/969443/covid-19-union-minister-dharmendra-pradhan-tests-positive-admitted-to-hospital Pradhan tweeted that on developing coronavirus symptoms, he got himself tested.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday tested positive for the coronavirus. He is the second Cabinet minister, after Home Minister Amit Shah, to have tested positive for the virus.

“On developing symptoms of Covid-19, I got tested, and my results returned positive,” Pradhan tweeted. “I have been admitted to hospital on doctors’ orders and am in a stable condition.”

Pradhan has been admitted to Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, where Shah was admitted on Sunday, PTI reported. Union minister Babul Supriyo, who had met Shah last week, has gone into home isolation.

Apart from the two Cabinet ministers, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit are among political leaders who have been found infected.

India recorded 52,050 new coronavirus cases earlier in the day, taking the total number of infections to 18,55,745, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The toll rose by 803 to 38,938.

Also read:

After contracting Covid-19, most Indian ministers are being treated in private hospitals

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https://scroll.in/latest/969443/covid-19-union-minister-dharmendra-pradhan-tests-positive-admitted-to-hospital Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:36:58 +0000 Scroll Staff
Theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi dies at 94 https://scroll.in/latest/969436/theatre-doyen-ebrahim-alkazi-dies-at-94 The former National School of Drama director suffered a massive heart attack on Monday, his son said.

Theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi died in New Delhi on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack, the Hindustan Times reported. He was 94.

“Dad died this evening at 2.45 pm after a massive heart attack,” Alkazi’s son Feisal Alkazi told PTI. “He was admitted to the Escorts Hospital the day before yesterday.”

Alkazi took charge of the National School of Drama in 1962 and was its longest-serving director. He was known for producing plays such as Girish Karnad-directed Tughlaq and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug. He had been a mentor to theatre and film actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Surekha Sikri and Pankaj Kapoor.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered their condolences to Alkazi’s family.

“Ebrahim Alkazi, doyen of Indian theatre, mentored and inspired generations of artists,” Kovind tweeted. “His death leaves a void in the world of performing arts. A Padma Vibhushan recipient, his legacy will live on. My condolences to his family, students and art lovers.”

The National School of Drama mourned Alkazi’s death in a tweet. Actors Naseeruddin Shah, Nandita Das and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub among others paid tribute to the deceased legend, and offered condolences to his family.

Here are some of the reactions:

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https://scroll.in/latest/969436/theatre-doyen-ebrahim-alkazi-dies-at-94 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:14:46 +0000 Scroll Staff
Article 370: Congress, National Conference call August 5 ‘darkest day’ in history of J&K, Ladakh https://scroll.in/latest/969431/article-370-congress-national-conference-call-august-5-darkest-day-in-history-of-j-k-ladakh CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said all promises made by the Centre at the time of revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had been belied.

The Congress and National Conference on Tuesday said that August 5 would go down as the “darkest day” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. On August 5 last year, the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and divided the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.

The Congress and National Conference held a joint meeting in Kargil on Tuesday. In the statement, they said the Bharatiya Janata Party had also been invited to attend, but did not do so.

“These two parties [Congress and National Conference] have strongly condemned the division of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir and has appealed for reintegration of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and complete restoration of statehood to it,” the statement read. “...These parties have appealed to the people of Kargil to mark 5th of August as a black day to denounce the Central Government’s decision as a mark of strong protest.”

The two parties also condemned the loss of social and political rights of the people of Ladakh, and the region’s cultural identity. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, Ladakh does not have a legislature but is ruled centrally.

The Congress and National Conference also said they will formulate a course of action “in the very near future”, and appealed to religious and social organisations in Kargil for support.

Meanwhile, Iltija Mufti, the daughter of Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted a meme from her mother’s account with the words “democracy on red alert”. The caption read: “Curfew in Jammu and Kashmir on 5th August. Because people are overjoyed over abrogation of Article 370 and might come in huge numbers to celebrate it.” Mehbooba Mufti has been under detention since August 5 last year.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete curfew in Kashmir ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of special status. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order said they have received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”.

‘All promises have been a mirage’: CPI(M)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday said all the promises made by the Centre at the time of revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had been belied, PTI said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah justified the decision on the floor of the house, that it would end decades-long militancy, separatism and corruption in the region and bring development, jobs and prosperity,” Tarigami said. “However, one year down the line, promises proved to be a mirage and the claims a hoax. None of the aforementioned claims pass the test of reality.” Tarigami questioned the need for using laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Public Safety Act in the Union Territories if the situation on the ground was normal.

Tarigami also brushed away the Centre’s claims of job creation and investments in the Kashmir Valley, pointing out that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and the security situation. He said the back of the Jammu and Kashmir economy has been broken over the last year, and many businesses have bitten the dust.

“Not only people of the Valley, but residents of Jammu and Ladakh regions too are suffering because of the wrong policies of the BJP government,” the CPI(M) leader alleged. “The uncertainties and uneasy calm combined with alienation poses a greater threat to the sociopolitics of the state.”

Tarigami added that the only thing the revocation of special status had achieved was “abrogation of democracy” in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. “On this dark anniversary and at this critical juncture of our history we must resolve to unitedly safeguard the interests of our people and resist the attempts of the government to throttle democracy and rights of the people,” he asserted.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969431/article-370-congress-national-conference-call-august-5-darkest-day-in-history-of-j-k-ladakh Tue, 04 Aug 2020 13:50:20 +0000 Scroll Staff
Covid-19: WHO chief scientist says India’s testing rate is very low compared to many other countries https://scroll.in/latest/969426/covid-19-who-chief-scientist-says-indias-testing-rate-very-low-compared-to-many-other-countries Soumya Swaminathan said the number of tests being conducted was not enough if the positivity rate is more than 5%.

World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Tuesday that India has one of the lowest coronavirus testing rates in the world, PTI reported.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 6,61,892 samples were tested on August 3, and the total number of tests carried out stands at 2.08 crore. India’s population is 138 crore.

“India as a whole, the testing rates are much lower compared to some of the countries who have done well like Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan,” Swaminathan said at an online interactive session, moderated by Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao. “Even the United States is testing a huge number of people. So we need to have some benchmark and every public health department needs to have benchmarks on what is the rate of testing per lakh or per million, what is the test positivity rate.”

Swaminathan added that without adequate testing, combating the coronavirus is like “fighting fire blindfolded”. She said that the number of tests being conducted is not sufficient if the positivity rate is above 5%.

She said there were eight to 10 indicators that the governments around the world need to focus on, to assess whether facilities for coronavirus patients need to be ramped up. Governments need to constantly monitor the availability of beds, quarantine facilities, Intensive Care Units and oxygen supplies in district hospitals, she added.

Swaminathan said the virus has spread to every country in the world, and there is clear evidence of community transmission. “We know that lockdowns are temporary measures or a temporary measure which reduces the spread because it prevents people from getting closer together and the idea of the lockdown is to buy time for the government to put in place the system needed to tackle the virus,” she said.

On the ongoing vaccine trials, Swaminathan said that according to the World Health Organization, if the efficacy rate of the dose is 70%, it is considered to be a good vaccine. The WHO chief scientist added that the COVAX facility, a mechanism designed to ensure quick, fair and equitable access to coronavirus vaccines for people around the world, will deliver two billion doses by the end of 2021. She opined that all 194 member countries of the health body should come together to plan the equitable and fair distribution of the vaccines.

In India, trials of Covaxin, a vaccine being manufactured by Bharat Biotech, have reached the human trial stage. The country has the third-highest number of cases in the world. India recorded 52,050 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 18,55,745. The toll rose by 803 to 38,938.

Globally, 1,83,16,072 people have been infected, and 6,94,715 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University.


Follow today’s live updates on Covid-19 here

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https://scroll.in/latest/969426/covid-19-who-chief-scientist-says-indias-testing-rate-very-low-compared-to-many-other-countries Tue, 04 Aug 2020 13:25:37 +0000 Scroll Staff
US Food and Drug Administration approves nasal spray for use by individuals at risk of suicide https://scroll.in/latest/969422/us-food-and-drug-administration-approves-nasal-spray-for-use-by-individuals-at-risk-of-suicide Unlike traditional antidepressants, Spravato acts on the glutamate system in the brain rather than on serotonin or norepinephrine.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Spravato, a nasal spray produced by American multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson, for use as an antidepressant for actively suicidal persons, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. As many as 11% to 12% of 1.7 crore Americans with major depressive disorder are known to have suicidal thoughts.

Michelle Kramer, vice president of Johnson & Johnson’s US neuroscience medical-affairs unit, said the spray has been used by about 6,000 individuals for treatment-resistant depression since its launch in March 2019. Unlike older antidepressants whose effects take weeks, Spravato is a quick-acting medication, Kramer said. In its trials, Johnson & Johnson found that those who used the spray had a rapid reduction in the severity of their thinking.

Suicide rates in the United States have risen by 30% from 1999 to 2016. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the situation. But many clinical testing sites began to conduct research into Spravato.

“Relatively rapidly within a few weeks we saw the numbers stabilise, which was pretty interesting for us and validating in the sense that clinic and patients alike were continuing to make this available,” Kramer said. “We certainly see more and more sites sign on and more and more patients are treated.”

Spravato is similar to the anaesthetic ketamine, which acts on the glutamate system in the brain rather than on serotonin or norepinephrine, unlike traditional antidepressants. United States President Donald Trump had last year promoted use of the drug by American war veterans. The drug is being produced by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969422/us-food-and-drug-administration-approves-nasal-spray-for-use-by-individuals-at-risk-of-suicide Tue, 04 Aug 2020 12:11:00 +0000 Scroll Staff
Tripura BJP MLA enters Covid-19 care centre allegedly without authorisation, case registered https://scroll.in/latest/969418/tripura-bjp-mla-enters-covid-19-care-centre-allegedly-without-authorisation-case-registered Barman visited the clinic after a pregnant patient posted videos on social media, showing lack of medical facilities there.

A suo motu case was filed against Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and former Tripura Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman on Sunday for unauthorised entry into a coronavirus care centre in Agartala, wearing personal protective equipment, NDTV reported. Barman visited the clinic after a pregnant patient posted videos on social media, showing lack of medical facilities there.

“The deplorable living conditions at the centre had moved me,” Barman claimed. “Whatever the reasons may be, strict monitoring is needed for the patients’ safety and comfort.” The MLA also distributed fruits to the patients at the Bhagat Singh Yuba Awas.

West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme N held Barman guilty of violation of guidelines set by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He said that only “authorised and trained persons or those designated to work in these areas” are allowed to enter the Covid-19 care centre.

The magistrate asked Barman to go into self-quarantine, but the legislator refused to do so. He alleged an ulterior motive, wondering why the magistrate’s order had reached the media before he got wind of it.

“Firstly, I ought to have been clinically assigned as very mild/mild, moderate, severe pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic Covid-19 patient by a medical officer for going into quarantine,” Barman told reporters. “Secondly, I had put on the PPE Kit advised by trained doctors posted at the Bhagat Singh Covid care centre and had taken all precautionary measures so that I don’t get contaminated and had maintained more than 1 metre of distance with patients.”

Barman added that his visit to the clinic was known to the Directorate of Health Services and the medical supervisor of GB Pant Hospital. “Since prior intimation had reached the persons concerned, that is the reason immediately after my arrival, the main gate was opened and the doctors present there took me to the changing room wherein the PPE [personal protective equipment] kit was given to me,” he claimed.

The MLA, a vocal critic of Chief Minister Biplab Deb and his government, had been sacked from the cabinet last year.

Tripura has so far recorded 3,675 cases of the coronavirus, including 28 deaths and 1,802 recoveries.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969418/tripura-bjp-mla-enters-covid-19-care-centre-allegedly-without-authorisation-case-registered Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:58:38 +0000 Scroll Staff
Sushant Singh Rajput case: Bihar government recommends CBI probe into actor’s death https://scroll.in/latest/969393/sushant-singh-rajput-case-bihar-government-recommends-cbi-probe-into-actors-death The NCP and the Congress rejected the recommendation, saying the move encroaches upon the rights of another state.

The Bihar government on Tuesday recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, ANI reported. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told the news agency that the state’s director general of police spoke to Rajput’s father KK Singh, who gave his approval for a CBI probe.

On Monday, Rajput’s father had accused the Mumbai Police of inaction in the case. “On February 25, I informed Bandra Police that he [Rajput] is in danger,” Singh told ANI. “He died on June 14 and I asked them to act against people named in my complaint. No action was taken even 40 days after his death. So I filed an FIR [first information report] in Patna.” However, the police had refuted the allegations.

The Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra, meanwhile, rejected the recommendation of a CBI inquiry, saying the move encroached upon the rights of another state, PTI reported. They said it would help the Bharatiya Janata Party in the “destruction” of the Constitution.

NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said Kumar was “probably trying to divert attention from its failure in combating the coronavirus outbreak in Bihar”. He added that the decision of the Bihar government undermines the federal structure of India.

“Do they [Bihar government] have jurisdiction over a crime that has taken place in Maharashtra?” Malik said. “Tomorrow, suppose a case is registered against a person living in Mumbai for a crime that has taken place in Uttar Pradesh, will the Maharashtra government too register a case in Mumbai and go for investigation in Uttar Pradesh?”

Meanwhile, Congress leader Sachin Sawant accused the BJP, an ally of Kumar in Bihar, of “destroying the Constitution” for dismal political gains.

“[The Narendra Modi-led] government and the BJP [are] destroying the democratic structure in India,” he tweeted. “Sad to see BJP’s alliance partners helping them in this destruction of the Constitution which will permanently damage our federal structure for dismal political gains. Hope our courts share our concern for the country.”

The Kumar-led government has been criticised by Opposition leaders and allies alike for not helping the actor’s family in the case.

The Bihar Police had launched an investigation into Rajput’s death after his father filed a first information report against actor Rhea Chakraborty and her relatives on July 25. Singh accused Chakraborty of cheating his son and driving him to suicide.

Chakraborty’s lawyer, meanwhile, said that the transfer of the case to CBI had no legal sanctity. “There can’t be transfer of a case which had no legal basis for Bihar to get involved,” Satish Maneshinde was quoted as saying by ANI. “At most, it would be a ‘Zero FIR’ transferable to Mumbai Police.”

Rajput was found dead in his apartment in Mumbai on June 14, in what the police said was a case of suicide.

The discord between the Patna and Mumbai police over Rajput’s case has also intensified over the last few days. On Monday, Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey said that Indian Police Service officer Vinay Tiwari, who was sent to Mumbai to investigate Rajput’s death, had been “forcibly quarantined” by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation officials.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969393/sushant-singh-rajput-case-bihar-government-recommends-cbi-probe-into-actors-death Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:31:45 +0000 Scroll Staff
Mumbai rain: Man electrocuted in Thane, local train services partially resume https://scroll.in/latest/969365/mumbai-heavy-rain-causes-waterlogging-in-many-areas-imd-issues-red-alert-for-two-days The IMD has issued a red alert, predicting heavy rainfall in parts of Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra.

Heavy rain led to waterlogging in several areas of Mumbai on Tuesday and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation urged residents to stay indoors. “Mumbaikars are requested not to venture out unless extremely necessary and stay away from the shore and waterlogged areas,” the BMC said.

The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert with forecast of “extremely heavy” rainfall in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra over the next 48 hours, PTI reported.

The traffic on Western Express Highway in suburban Kandivali was severely affected due to a landslide. No casualty was reported in the incident, a fire control room official said. The vehicular movement from the area towards south Mumbai was disrupted after authorities closed some portion of the road for clearing the debris.

The civic body said all offices and other establishments will remain shut on Tuesday, except for emergency services. A high tide hit the city as predicted by the weather department amid heavy rainfall, ANI reported. The BMC has alerted all concerned departments and people to not go near any beach or low-lying areas.

Goregaon, King Circle, Hindmata, Dadar, Shivaji Chowk, Shell Colony, Kurla ST Depot, Bandra Talkies, Sion Road 24 have been waterlogged. The BEST buses on these routes had to be diverted. BMC Mayor Kishori Pednekar visited Dadar and Hindmata to inspect the areas, The Indian Express reported.

A portion of a road collapsed at Rajendra Nagar, Borivali East, the Hindustan Times reported. But there were no casualties.

Four people, including two girls, fell into the Vakola Nallah (drain) in Santacruz East on Tuesday. One of the persons was rescued, but the girls have not been found yet, Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said. Two fire engines and one ambulance were engaged at the spot. He added that the Mumbai Fire Brigade has requested help from the National Disaster Response Force.

Meanwhile, Western Railway services, stopped due to the rain, partially resumed. “Water level at all places has started receding,” Western Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Sumit Thakur said. “The first slow train from Churchgate started at 12.05 hrs and the one from Andheri started at 11.40 hrs. Fast lines will also shortly resume after inspection of points.”

Separately, the Bombay High Court also adjourned its virtual hearings on various cases as many staff members could not reach the court. The High Court will hear the matters on Wednesday, an official said.

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar visited the mini pumping station at Bandra Kurla Complex and inspected the water pumps, Mumbai Mirror reported. The pumping station draws water from Kalanagar area. Pednekar also visited Hindmata in Dadar in knee-length water for an inspection.

Man electrocuted in Thane

A man died in Thane city after he accidentally touched an electric pole. An official from Kasarvadavali police station said that the deceased is yet to be identified, adding that his body has been sent for postmortem.

In another incident, a part of the ceiling plaster of a building in a housing complex in Vartak Nagar fell down, but there were no casualties reported. Thane Municipal Corporation’s regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said that relief work is underway. He added that throughout the night, fire stations in the city received more than a dozen calls of tree falling incidents.

The civic body has put fire brigade, pumping stations and operating staff on alert, reported Hindustan Times. According to BMC, Mumbai city received 140.5 mm rain from 8 am on August 3 to 3 am on August 4. The eastern and western suburbs recorded 84.77 mm and 79.27 mm of rainfall respectively.

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https://scroll.in/latest/969365/mumbai-heavy-rain-causes-waterlogging-in-many-areas-imd-issues-red-alert-for-two-days Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:18:12 +0000 Scroll Staff