Thursday, 26 March 2020

26 MARCH NEWS: Friday prayers in all mosques suspended across India as death toll rises to 17, total cases above 650. Thousands Face Starvation in as Lockdown Leaves Daily Wage Workers Helpless. Global Coronavirus death toll tops 21000 with over 4,71,000 cases


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING
26 March 2020: 30 Rajjab 1441: Vol:12, No:165

Coronavirus india
India: Friday prayers in all mosques suspended
New Delhi: All Muslim groups and sects have suspended Friday prayers in mosques and urged the faithful to follow the government decision for a complete nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.However, the calls for prayers will continue to be made from mosques at the designated hours.Jamaat-e-Islami Sharia Council said in a statement: "Friday prayers should be observed (only by Imams, muezzins, khadims, and administrators of mosques). The prayers and the 'khutbah' (speech) should be completed in the minimum possible period whereas the remaining public should conduct 'Zohar' prayer at home."The religious leaders too decided to suspended the Friday prayers across the country and asked the followers to remain indoors.Maulana Ashraf,Imam of Mumbai, said: "We have suspended the Friday prayers and daily prayers in mosques since last week. This arrangement will continue till the government desires as the primary objective should be to save human lives and follow the government directive. We are appealing to the people to remain indoors from mosque loudspeakers and social media."Kashmir's Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam said that he had also appealed for the suspension of Friday and daily prayers and it's allowed in Islam. Mosques in the national capital and elsewhere are only giving calls for prayers to the faithful whereas only three to five persons offer prayers on the premises while adhering to social distancing norm, said a muezzin. IANS
Kerala:  organisations suspend Friday prayers in mosques
Considering Covid-19 lockdown, Sunni organizations in the state have decided to suspend Friday prayers in mosques across the state.The announcement was made in a statement issued on Wednesday by EK and AP factions of Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama. The different factions of Mujahid organizations had earlier announced suspension of prayers in mosques.
No prayers in Kashmir Mosques on Friday
Kashmir''s Grand Mufti Nasirul Islam on Thursday said that there should be no Friday prayers in any Mosque or shrine across the valley on Friday in the wake of the coronavirus threat.Talking to IANS, the Grand Mufti said on Friday people should not hold congregational prayers in Mosques and shrines across Kashmir."The situation is very grave," he said. "I appeal to people including Imams and Khateebs and managing bodies of all Masjids and shrines across Kashmir not to hold Friday congregational prayers." IANS
 Mosque Imam Arrested For Violating Restrictions As 4 More Test Positive In Kashmir
As four more persons, all from Bandipora district of north Kashmir, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the number of positive cases to eight, the government has started acting strictly against religious gatherings and is asking people to avoid going to mosques. At the same time, the Jammu and Kashmir Police registered an FIR against a mosque imam and eleven others for violating the orders.  A day after three persons, including a religious preacher of Tableegi Jamaat, tested positive for Covid-19, J&K government said that four more persons have tested positive for the virus.In his tweet, J&K Government’s spokesman Rohit Kansal said “Preliminary findings suggest they were in close contact with Srinagar patient who tested positive yesterday. All 5 reported to have participated together in religious event.”outlookindia
Coronavirus in India: Death toll rises to 17, total cases above 650
New Delhi:As authorities prepare to fight coronavirus pandemic, the number of coronavirus cases climbed to 656 in India on Thursday and the death toll rose to 17.Over 20 new Covid-19 cases from different parts of the country were reported on Thursday along with 4 casualties. According to the health ministry data, total number of cases included 47 foreign nationals. In Kashmir a 65-year-old man, an Islamic preacher from Hyderpora neighbourhood of Srinagar, who tested positive 3 days ago, died this morning at the Government Chest Disease Hospital in the city. He had recently travelled around the country, visiting mosques in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh's Deoband before returning home on March 16."As we share the sad news of our first COVID-19 fatality, my heart goes out to the family of the deceased. We stand with you and share your grief," Junaid Azim Mattu, the Srinagar mayor tweeted. Entire neighbourhood in the city has been sealed and contact tracing is underway, amid concerns alleged mishandling of the case may have led to others being infected. 4 others who came in contact with the man who died also tested positive on Wednesday and have been quarantined, as have over 70 others, including 7 doctors.In Goa, 3 persons, all with travel history abroad, tested positive for coronavirus, health department officials said. This is the first time tourist state has reported coronavirus positive cases.With 5 more people testing positive for coronavirus in Indore, the total number of cases in the city have risen to 10, taking the Madhya Pradesh tally to 15 on Thursday. A 35-year-old man who had earlier tested positive for Covid-19 died in Indore on Thursday. The first death was that of a 65-year-old woman from Ujjain. In West Bengal, an eldlerly tested positive for the coronavirus making him the 10th case of the deadly viral disease in the state. The 66-year-old from Nayabad in Kolkata had no history of travelling abroad or outside West Bengal.Cases in Delhi rose to 36 on Thursday after a doctor, his daughter and wife and one other person tested positive. The doctor had come into contact with a woman who had returned from Saudi Arabia.As per data by Health Ministry, updated on Thursday morning, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases so far at 128, including three foreign nationals, followed by Kerala which has recorded 118 cases, including 8 foreign nationals.Karnataka has reported 41 cases of coronavirus patients, while cases in Gujarat rose to 38, including one foreigner.Cases in Uttar Pradesh rose to 42, including a foreigner. 3 more persons test positive for coronavirus in Noida, taking the cases in Gautam Buddh Nagar district to 14.The number of cases in Rajasthan increased to 38, including 2 foreigners, while the positive cases in Telangana stood at 42, including 10 foreigners. Punjab reported 33 cases while In Haryana, there are 30 cases, including 14 foreigners. Ladakh has 13 cases, while Tamil Nadu has reported 26 cases, including 6 foreigners. AP and J&K have reported 11 cases each. Chandigarh has reported 7 cases. Uttarakhand has 5 cases, including one foreigner. Bihar has four cases. There are three cases in Chattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh while there are 2 cases in Odisha. Puducherry, Mizoram and Manipur have reported a case each.Later in the day,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today join a virtual summit of G-20 leaders chaired by Saudi King Salman to discuss COVID-19 pandemic. In a tweet, Modi said, “#G20 has an important global role to play in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to productive discussions tomorrow at the #G20VirtualSummit, being coordinated by the Saudi G20 Presidency.”  Indiatoday/ NDTV/indian express
Special flight to take Iran-returned Indians to Jodhpur quarantine facility
SpiceJet said Thursday that it will fly a special flight Sunday to take 142 Iran-returned Indians from Delhi to Jodhpur so that they can be taken to a government quarantine facility there. “The special flight will be operated as per Government of India’s request and the airline will deploy its Boeing 737 aircraft for the assignment,” the low-cost carrier said in its press release. INDIAN EXPRESS
Govt to provide 5 kg grains, 1 kg pulses for free over next 3 months, says FM Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free-of-cost every month for the next 3 months for 80 crore poor across the country to deal with the economic impact of the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak.As many of 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get Rs 500 per month for next three months to run their households.For poor senior citizens, widow and disabled will get an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000.Also, the daily wage under MNREGA has been increased to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 5 crore workers.The minister said the government will front-load Rs 2,000 payment to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kishan Yojana to benefit 8.69 crore farmers.Also, the beneficiaries of Ujjwala LPG scheme will get free cooking gas for the next three months, she said.PTI
2 Days Into Lockdown, Sitharaman Announces Rs 1.7 Lakh Crore Package to Help Poorest
Government to pay employer, employee’s PF contribution for 3 months
The government will pay the employee provident fund (EPF) contribution both of the employer and the employee (12% each) for the next three months, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.The move will benefit over 4.8 crore employees in the organised sector.PTI
DGCA suspends all international flights till April 14
DGCA said, "It has been decided that scheduled international commercial passenger services shall remain closed till April 14, will not apply to approved international all-cargo operations and flights."
With 75% economy under lockdown, analysts see sharp fall in GDP
New Delhi :21-day shutdown announced by the Modi – led govt due to coronavirus pandemic has put nearly 75 per cent of the Indian economy under lock and key, which is likely to strain the government’s finances and see the fiscal deficit for financial year 2020-21 (FY21) rise by one per cent from the 3.5 per cent target set in the Union Budget presented in February, says the latest report from Nomura.“Our initial estimates suggest that around 75 per cent of the economy will be shutdown, resulting in a direct output loss of nearly 4.5 per cent. We expect the central government to soon announce a stimulus package of around 0.7-1.1 per cent of GDP. Along with the growth hit and poor tax collections, we expect the fiscal deficit for FY21 to balloon by over 1 per cent of GDP,” wrote Sonal Varma, managing director and chief India economist at Nomura in a co-authored report with Aurodeep Nandi.A sensitivity analysis of the adverse impact of lockdown by Motilal Oswal Research suggests that a single day of complete lockdown could shave off 14-19bp/55-75bp from annual/quarterly growth. “With 14 days of complete lockdown in April (assuming things normalize from mid-May'20), GDP could decline 12.2 per cent YoY in 1QFY21, first ever de-growth since the quarterly data became available since late 1990s. With two consecutive quarters of GDP decline, India could see its first recession since 1990s,” said Gautam Duggad, head of institutional research at Motilal Oswal.
Post lockdown, rise in mercury may prevent spread of COVID-19 in India: Top microbiologists
Top Indian microbiologists are hopeful that after the 21-day lockdown, when summer approaches, the rise in temperature would play an important role in preventing the drastic spread of COVID-19 virus in India."My biggest hope is that an expected rise in temperature by the end of April (this year) would certainly give a leverage in prevention of this pandemic in the country," said Professor J.S. Virdi, an eminent microbiologist and Chief of the Association of Microbiologists in India (AMI), one of the oldest scientific organisation in the country.Studies by various prestigious institutions around the world reveal that various types of coronaviruses showed "marked winter seasonality".In simpler words coronaviruses are more volatile between December and April. Several virologists are hinting that by June this year, the impact of COVID-19 would be less than what it appears at present."Yes some scientists are talking about June theory which obviously relates to rise in temperature. I have spoken to some of our Chinese collaborators and they told us that its (COVID-19) resistance power cannot tolerate high temperature," Professor Pratyoosh Shukla, General Secretary of AMI told IANS."Usually all types of viruses, including SARS or Flu, have maximum impact from October to March. Reason being that temperature plays an important role in the spread of viruses," said Prof Pratyoosh Shukla.A detailed study conducted by the Centre for Infectious Diseases, Edinburgh University, found that three types of coronaviruses obtained from patients of respiratory tract infections showed winter seasonality.The viruses, study revealed, seemed to cause infection between December to April, a pattern observed in spread of Influenza. The microbiologists are of the view that there are early hints that COVID-19 may also vary with the seasons. The outbreak of the new virus suggests that it has preferences over cool and dry regions.IANS
Following social media scare on COVID-19, Karnataka man with no symptoms commits suicide
Bengaluru:Following panic and scare on social media over COVID-19, a 56-year-old man in Karnataka’s Udupi district committed suicide Wednesday. According to the district police, a man identified as Gopalakrishna, an employee in Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), was found hanging from a tree in the backyard of his house in Uppoor village in the district’s Brahmavara taluk.According to police, Gopalakrishna left a suicide note saying he had contracted the COVID-19 disease and asked his family to be safe. Speaking to Indianexpress.com, a police officer from Brahmavara Police Station said, “According to the preliminary investigation, he had committed suicide after reading extensively about coronavirus on social media which led to the fear about pandemic and mentally depressed.”Quoting a family member’s statement, police said the man didn’t have any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. The man spoke to his family about the virus a night before he committed suicide. When his wife didn’t find him in his room the next morning at 5:30 am, she assumed he might have gone for a walk. When he did not return, his family began to search, only to find him hanging from a tree. indianexpress
No transport and no money, migrants take long road home
Antresh Kumar, 21, started walking at 3 am on Wednesday from Dharampuri in Najafgarh, South West Delhi. Facing prospect of no work due to the 21-day lockdown, the daily wager decided that heading home to Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh was his best option. Even if it meant walking most of the 175 km, spending two days on the road, and risking police wrath.Antresh isn’t the only one. Left stranded by a nationwide lockdown, which has halted all public transport, hundreds of labourers devoid of work have started leaving big cities on foot.In Ahmedabad, a majority of the estimated 2,000-plus migrant labourers left Tuesday evening, around the time Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his speech announcing the lockdown. Headed for villages in Rajasthan, they had reached Bichhiwara tehsil, 125 km away from Ahmedabad, by Wednesday afternoon, walking and hitch-hiking.“Scores of people can be seen walking along the Rajasthan border with MPand Gujarat,” Dr Hira Lal Tabiyar, chief medical and health officer, Banswara, Rajasthan, said. “So far we have received 4,500 migrant workers. We are screening each before letting them enter. The district administration has also arranged for buses at the Banswara border to take them to their villages.”Rajasthan officials confirmed that over 2,000 people from Ahmedabad had reached the bus station by Wednesday morning, and lined up at ticket counters, despite the lockdown. “We arranged three Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation buses and 15-20 private mini buses and vehicles. They are being transported ensuring social distancing,” said Bichhiwara tehsildar Amrit Patel. Antresh, who is going from Delhi to Moradabad, said, “We would earn Rs 200-250 daily, now we have no income. Yet the landlord kept asking for rent.” With shops shut, they were finding it difficult to get even food, he said.In Ahmedabad, labourers from Madhya Pradesh were stuck in Odhav area. On Wednesday, police arranged 15 vehicles for over 500, to take them to Godhra and Dahod. “From there they can cross the border,” said R G Jadeja, incharge, Odhav police station. indianexpress
Thousands Face Starvation in Delhi as Lockdown Leaves Daily Wage Workers Helpless
New Delhi: The poor and destitute daily wage labourers in Delhi, who have lost their source of livelihood due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, are now staring at uncertainty as they know not where their next meal will come from. Several food rights activists have pointed out that while the Delhi government is providing meals at 234 night shelters, it is clearly not enough for the thousands who are now facing starvation.Food rights campaigner Anjali Bhardwaj of Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, who tweeted a video of hundreds lined up outside the night shelter near Nigambodh Ghat for lunch this afternoon, said the situation is alarming.Bhardwaj said most people landing up at these shelters are homeless or do not have any money or both. “Many of them are also daily wagers who have not been able to earn anything over the past week or so and their meagre savings appear to have run out. Also, you mostly find men in these places, which raises the question as to what women and children among poor families must be enduring,” she said.The rights activist said that in the absence of any public transportation and due to the imposition of the curfew, it is difficult for many poor people to access the food being provided at these shelters. “After all, they can only walk so far,” Bhardwaj said. thewire
Kejriwal urges people to provide food to needy near their homes
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday reiterated his appeal to people to assist the government in arranging for food for the poor. “Please be responsible, ensure no one in your colony or street goes hungry. This is our duty to society and a true act of patriotism,” he said.
'Stay Home': Coronavirus Shows How the Government Has Failed Homeless Persons
Mumbai: In the past week, PM Narendra Modi, in every speech he made, stressed on the importance of staying home right now. Given the urgency to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country, PM Modi said, “Ghar main rahiye, ghar main rahiye, ghar main rahiye (stay home, stay home, stay home).” A similar message was repeatedly broadcasted by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in his daily video bulletins. “Ghari raaha, surakshit raaha (stay home, stay safe)” was how he ended each of his speeches. These sermons, however, had no meaning for the 20-odd Pardhi families that were brutally attacked and evicted from the footpath outside Bahar cinema in Ville Parle. During the early hours of March 21, when Dhansingh Kale and his family were sleeping, the police from the Ville Parel police station began beating up old and young alike. Even toddlers were roughed up, Kale says. This attack, he says, was unprovoked and the police wanted the streets to be “clean”.The Pardhi community, a highly stigmatised and criminalised tribe in Maharashtra and other central Indian states, has always attracted the ire of the police. This Denotified Nomadic Tribe (DNT), some subcastes of which are classified under the Scheduled Tribes category in Maharashtra, live on the fringes, with very little state support.Since the attack on March 21, the families have dispersed. While some have moved out of the city limits, others have gone to stay with their relatives. Similar cases of the police attacking homeless people have been reported in many states.Homelessness is symptomatic of every large city which witnesses both inter and intrastate migration. Many nomadic and denotified tribes, continue to lead a nomadic life, traveling to different places in search of work and shelter. They have for years made footpaths and spaces under the flyovers their houses. thewire
Coronavirus lockdown: Hundreds of people stranded at AP-Telangana checkpoints
Hundreds of people were left stranded at various checkpoints on AP-Telangana borders since Wednesday night as authorities refused to let them into the state in view of the coronavirus lockdown, exposing communication gap and lack of coordination between the authorities of the 2 States. After frantic SOS calls by the stranded persons, including pregnant women and children, AP authorities finally agreed to let them in, on the condition that they be shifted to a quarantine facility. While those who accepted the government directive were allowed in, others were left at the border points.PTI
Money transfer, food aid: States announce schemes for daily wagers, vendors
New Delhi :From free ration to cash in bank accounts, UP, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are among a number of states that have stepped up to help the unorganised labour sector — construction workers to street vendors — get through weeks without work under the coronavirus lockdown.In most of these states, the workers will get Rs 1,000-1,500 as one-time relief through direct cash transfers, apart from ration assistance.These targeted measures for the poor and daily wage workers, along with a series of other steps for companies and the banking sector, are being finalised to ease the extraordinary disruption in economy, which is forcing the Centre to let fiscal deficit expand and borrow more.
Uttar Pradesh – Rs 235 crore by March 31
Benefit: Rs 1,000 per month for daily wage labourers, rickshaw pullers and street vendors, etc., under the Shramik Bharan Poshan Yojna for about 35 lakh beneficiaries — the scheme was launched Tuesday to cover the lockdown.
Andhra Pradesh – Rs 1,000 for daily wagers, auto & cab drivers
Benefit: Rs 1,000 per family during lockdown for BPL holders, daily wagers, autorickshaw and cab drivers, weavers, cobblers, construction workers, labourers, and others in the unorganised sector. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan. Reddy said Rs 1,500 crore has been set aside for this package.
Gujarat – Free ration for 60 lakh families
Benefit: Free ration, including foodgrains, for daily wagers — about 60 lakh families consisting of 3.25 crore people — from April 1. Each person will get 3.5 kg of wheat and 1.5 kg of rice, and every family 1 kg each of sugar, dal and salt.
Telangana – Rs 1,500 per family
Benefit: Rs 1,500 per family for white ration-card holders, BPL families, unorganised sector workers, etc. They will also get 12 kg of free rice instead of 6 kg for April. Telangana has set aside Rs 2,417 crore — Rs 1,103 crore for 3.36 lakh tonnes of rice and Rs 1,314 crore for the compensation.
Rajasthan – Rs 1,000 for labourers, vendors
Benefit: Rs 1,000 each to 25 lakh construction workers and registered street vendors not covered under the social security pension scheme. The relief will be extended to 36.51 lakh BPL, state BPL and Antyodaya beneficiaries. The compensation is part of a Rs 2,000-crore relief package.
J&K – Rs 1,000 for construction workers
Benefit: Rs 1,000 each for 3.5 lakh people registered with the Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board for purchase of ration during the lockdown. All 2.26 lakh workers in the unorganised sector registered under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme will get relief, including wages.
Uttarakhand – Rs 1,000 for vendors
 Rs 1,000 each for non-registered labourers, street-shop owners, fruit and vegetable vendors, and daily wagers. The government will utilise Rs 30 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Indianexpress
"Ashamed": UP Officer On Cops 'Punishing' Men On Roads During Lockdown
Lucknow: 2 days into the "total lockdown" ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, videos of police punishing those who violate curfews and ignore restrictions on movements have begun to emerge from across the country.One such video - from western Uttar Pradesh's Budaun town - shows a group of young men forced to hop down a main road with bags strapped to their backs.Reports from the town suggest they are migrant workers trying to return home amid the lockdown. They were caught by the cops, who refused to listen to their pleas, and humiliated by being made to hop and crawl in this heat."Policeman seen in the video is a probationer with about a year of experience. Senior officers were present but manning other spots. Corrective action will be taken. I apologise for the video and am ashamed about what happened," AK Tripathi, the Budaun police chief, said.Across the country heart-breaking pictures and videos have emerged of migrant labour, mostly daily wagers, being forced to return home by walking hundreds of kilometres in the absence of public transport that has been shut as a result of the "total lockdown". ndtv
West Bengal: Man Who Was Buying Milk Dies Hours After Police Thrash Him
New Delhi: A 32-year-old man in West Bengal’s Howrah district died hours after he was thrashed by police for stepping out of his house to buy milk during the nationwide lockdown on Wednesday. According to India Today, his family says the man died of the injuries sustained during the police’s assault on him.News reports identified the man as Lal Swami, a resident of Howrah. He had reportedly left his residence to buy milk, when was lathi-charged by policemen who were “clearing a gathering on the streets”.The victim was rushed to a local hospital, where was declared brought dead.As of Thursday morning, West Bengal has so recorded 10 confirmed coronavirus cases and has also reported one death. thewire
Bhopal: Journalist Who Attended Kamal Nath, Shivraj Press Conferences Has COVID-19
Bhopal: A Bhopal journalist who attended several press conferences called by Kamal Nath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the lead up to the political upheavals in the state has tested positive for COVID-19, following which all journalists in the city have been quarantined. The journalist’s daughter had recently returned from the UK and had become the first person in Bhopal to test positive. He was present at Kamal Nath’s final press conference as chief minister.It has created panic in the media fraternity in Bhopal and all journalists have decried the journalist’s behaviour as “irresponsible”. Journalist associations have issued statements accusing him of attending the press conferences despite knowing that his daughter had the disease. Both father and daughter have now been quarantined in AIIMS, Bhopal after test results on March 24 showed they had the viral infection.The journalist is a Bhopal veteran who runs a newspaper called Kshitij. Thewire
Delhi police withdraws order allowing online retail firms to re-start services
Hours after allowing several online retail firms to re-start their delivery services, the Delhi police on Thursday withdrew its previous order with “immediate effect”, officials said.The police had issued a statement directing its personnel to allow persons and vehicles engaged in essential services to operate in Delhi and listed names of retailers and online delivery services that should be allowed to function.However, the order was withdrawn with immediate effect hours after it was issued, stating that the revised guidelines will be released and all traffic, picket and beat staff would be briefed accordingly.The police did not cite any reason for withdrawing its previous order, but a senior police official said essential supplies would continue and a uniform order across states would be issued soon.
900 Quarantined After Delhi Doctor Tests COVID+. Chain Began With Woman
New Delhi: After a doctor of a mohalla or community clinic in Delhi tested positive for coronavirus, close to 900 people who came in contact him have been quarantined, a city minister said on Thursday. The chain of infection started with a woman who returned from Saudi Arabia on March 10, and visited the clinic with symptoms of COVID-19.They have all been isolated for 14 days, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told NDTV. He said the number of coronavirus or COVID-19 cases in Delhi is now 36. The doctor's wife and teen daughter tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.The doctor was exposed to the virus when the 38-year-old woman visited the clinic on March 12, the minister said. Five days later, she tested positive. That day, the doctor was also admitted in hospital. Five more persons have tested positive for the virus from direct contact with the woman - her mother, brother and two daughters, and a relative who picked her up from the Delhi airport on her arrival. Some 74 persons in her neighbourhood are also under watch.ndtv
Coronavirus: 5,103 people detained in Delhi for violating lockdown orders
New Delhi: More than 180 cases were registered and 5,103 people detained on Wednesday for violating government orders during the coronavirus lockdown, Delhi police said.According to the data shared by the police, 183 cases were registered under section 188 (for disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code till 5pm.A total of 5,103 people have been detained under section 65 (persons bound to comply with reasonable directions of police officers) and 956 vehicles have been impounded under section 66 of the Delhi Police Act, they stated.On Tuesday, 299 cases were registered and 5,146 people were detained. In total, 1,018 vehicles were impounded on Tuesday, according Delhi police.PTI
Dr Kafeel Khan writes to PM Modi, suggests road map for fight against Coronavirus, requests for release
Dr. Kafeel Khan, a well-known pediatrician who was arrested during anti-CAA protest has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to order his release so that he can serve India by joining the fight against COVID-19.Kafeel is currently lodged in Mathura jail. Dr Khan in a two-page-letter offered a road map on how to deal with the deadly Corona stage-3, which will most probably hit us by the end of April. Coronavirus could affect 2-4 millions of Indians with morality rate of around 3.4% .Dr Kafeel Khan has written a letter  to the Prime Minister fm Jail on 19-3-2020 in which he has requested that In order to save Indians fm this deadly disease he has Provided a road Map to how to gear up against Carona Stage-3@narendramodi @PMOIndia @UN.Khan wrote, “we should increase the testing strength ( 1 in each district), isolation wards (1000 in each districts), opening of new ICUs, extensive training of the doctors/paramedics, support groups including AYUSH and private sectors, curb the rumours avoid unscientific views and mobilise all resources as soon as possible.”
17 states earmarking hospitals for dedicated treatment of COVID-19 patients: Health Ministry
Health Ministry on Thursday said that 17 states have started work on earmarking hospitals for dedicated treatment of COVID-19 patients.Briefing the press on the coronavirus situation, Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said, “There is still no hard evidence to say there has been community transmission of coronavirus in India.” Mr. Agarwal said.He also denied that the virus spreads through mosquitoes.PTI
Police detain 11 clerics from foreign countries staying at Ranchi mosque
Ranchi:11 maulvis (Islamic scholars) from different countries were staying at a mosque near Rargaon village in Ranchi district's Tamar, Jharkhand.Bundu DSP on Tuesday recieved information that 11 maulvis from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries were staying at the mosque.Bundu DSP, with his team, raided the mosque and the 11 maulvis have been sent for quarantine at Musabani Police Training Centre.If they tested positive is not clear as of yet.Their passports have been seized and now, the police are investigating into the matter.indiatoday
Coronavirus lockdown: Marriages take a beating, many in trouble
Apart from the tourism industry that has taken a hit with the arrival of COVID-19, it's the marriage industry that has also taken a huge toll, as apart from the families, where marriages are to take place, the worst affected are the florists, caterers and event management companies.While with the Christian community which is observing the Easter lent, during which no marriages take place, but after April 12, Easter day, all the marriages that are fixed after that now is hanging fire, as the present three week lockdown ends on April 14.But for the Hindu community, numerous marriages have been postponed, while some have been held with the participation of a handful.So is the case with the Muslim community, where marriages are generally held in grandiose style.Incidentally, a glance through any of the frontline vernacular dailies, which have thinned down with no advertisements, there are numerous notices that come in a box wherein it states that so and so marriage that was planned for a particular day, has been postponed indefinitely.
IANS
Ghaziabad BJP MLA asks cops to shoot down lockdown violators
BJP MLA from Ghaziabad, Nand Kishore Gurjar, has asked the state police to "break their legs who violate the lockdown orders".In a video that is now going viral on the social media, the MLA can be seen saying that the police can even "shoot them in the legs if people do not listen"."Such people should be treated like anti-nationals. If they are not following government orders, they are terrorists," he said.Gurjar further said that every constable who breaks the legs and shoots the violators would be given a reward of Rs 5,100 by him.IANS
Human life is priority, sports has to take a backseat: Wasim Jaffer on India's coronavirus lockdown
Former India opener and recently-retired Ranji Trophy legend Wasim Jaffer has said that the current coronavirus-enforced nationwide lockdown in the country resembles an "emergency-like situation but believes that it's the only way to fight the fast-growing pandemic.In the wake of the outbreak, indiatoday.in spoke with Jaffer, who himself is following the lockdown guidelines and maintaining social distancing at his Bombay home. When asked about his current emotions, Jaffer compared it to the National Emergency imposed in 1975 but added that it's probably the first such emergency "due to disease"."Obviously it's an emergency-like situation. Something which nobody expected. I'm sure everyone is experiencing such a situation for the 1st time in their lives. An emergency was also imposed in 1975 I think, but that was for some other reason but it's the first time this is happening due to a disease."indiatoday
*Coronavirus World*
Global Coronavirus death toll tops 21000 with over 4,71,000 cases; Wuhan now prepares to emerge from lockdown
The number of Covid-19 cases surged to over 4,71,000 worldwide with Spain reporting the second-highest death toll after Italy, and surpassing China where the infection originated.The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, AFP reported. It was a 19 per cent increase on figures released on Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188 in Spain, which has the world’s second-highest death toll from the disease after Italy. Italy has witnessed the maximum fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 7,503 people have died from the infection in barely a month. The overall global death toll has crossed 21,000.Wuhan, meanwhile, is prepared to emerge from the months-long lockdown after the province, which was initially the epicentre of the outbreak, recorded no fresh case.Iran has started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference on Thursday, a day after Iran’s government spokesman warned the country might face a surge of cases in the coronavirus pandemic, news agency Reuters reported. Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.The outbreak has killed 2,234 people in Iran where there have been 29,406 reported cases of the virus so far.Surpassing China in the global toll, Spain on Wednesday recorded 738 deaths while a third senior minister tested positive for the virus. With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second-highest number of deaths globally after Italy’s 6,820.The country’s parliament voted in favour to extend the state of emergency by two weeks in order to curtail the outbreak. The parliament met with fewer than 50 of its 350 members in the chamber, with the rest voting from home to reduce the risk of contagion.
104 new cases in South Korea
South Korea has reported 104 fresh cases, taking the total number of infections to over 9,000. More than 130 people have been killed so far. The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention has linked the fresh cases to recent arrivals as several Koreans continued to return from the US and Europe.From Friday, the country will enforce 14-day quarantines on South Korean nationals and foreigners with long-term stay visas arrives from the US. Similar measures will be applied to those arriving from Europe. South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun have directed officials to employ a “no-tolerance” policy on those who violate quarantines, adding that the South Korean nationals will be sued while foreigners could be expelled.
Wuhan prepares to emerge from lockdown
Even as no fresh cases were reported in China’s Wuhan, the provincial capital where the virus broke out in December, residents are preparing to emerge from the months-long lockdown. Wuhan citizens are allowed out of the city but cannot leave the province until April 8. The country, meanwhile, reported 67 new cases, all of which the National Health Commission said were imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad.As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to skyrocket in the US and Europe, China’s ruling Communist Party has declared victory over the epidemic and is relaxing restrictions to revive the economy.
Foreign ministers spar over calling China source of Covid-19 pandemic at G7 meet
Foreign ministers from the Group of 7 leading industrialized democracies sparred Wednesday over whether to call out China as the source of the coronavirus pandemic. Meeting by video conference because of the outbreak, the ministers agreed on the need for joint efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease being called COVID-19. But US and European diplomats said the ministers were unable to agree on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s call for the virus to be identified by name as the “Wuhan virus.”As a result, just a day after G-7 finance ministers and central bankers issued a joint communique referring to the COVID-19 virus, the foreign ministers opted against releasing a group statement. US, officials pointed to Tuesday’s finance ministers’ statement to reject suggestions of G-7 disunity and said the foreign ministers had never intended to release their own communique. indianexpress
Coronavirus death toll passes 1,000 in US
US has registered more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths as the country confirmed more than 69,000 cases. US Senate passed a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses, and the healthcare system. It has gone back to lower house for approval.Meanwhile, UN  chief Antonio Guterres has launched an appeal for $2bn in international humanitarian aid to help poorer countries tackle the coronavirus pandemic. aljazeera
Coronavirus cases record big jump in Turkey as 2,433 diagnosed, 59 dead
The number of coronavirus patients in Turkey increased by 561 on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 2,433, while the death toll topped 59.Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the figures with a bit of a warning, saying that “precautions bind us to life.”“Some 5,035 tests have been conducted in the last 24 hours, 561 of which returned positive,” Koca said. “15 of our patients have passed away,” he added.“Number cannot explain the grief of loss or anxiety. Let’s try to live with zero risks,” he stated.Turkey has so far conducted nearly 28,000 tests.President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan said the country was monitoring a further 53,000 people at their homes and 8,554 others in hospitals.DAILY SABAH
Mass prayers to continue in mosques across Pakistan: clerics
All the mosques in Pakistan will remain opened and the mandatory five-time and Friday prayers will be offered there, Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman announced Wednesday.A meeting of prominent religious clerics from all school of thoughts was held in Karachi, where they discussed various issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Rehman read out a joint statement before the media at the end of the meeting.“All the people [should] perform ablution at home,” he said. “The sunnahs before and after [the Farz prayers] should be offered at home.”The announcement came as the death toll from the virus rose to eight, with over 1,000 infected all over Pakistan. The situation prompted provincial governments to close schools, markets, restaurants and other public places.Many countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have already suspended mass prayers. In Pakistan, many prominent personalities, including President Arif Alvi, had urged the clerics to suspend them too.Mufti Muneeb, however, urged prayer leaders to stop making Urdu speeches on Fridays and keep their sermons short.He advised people to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from the virus. “Remove the carpets from mosques and wash the floors,” the cleric said, adding that hand sanitizers should be installed at the entrances of mosques.Mufti Taqi Usmani, another prominent cleric, said that it was obligatory for every Muslim to take precautionary measures against the virus.He said that people needed to consult Allah and apologize for their sins.SAMAA
Al-Azhar University issues edict banning prayers in mosques
On the request of Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi, Supreme Ulema Council of Al-Azhar University, Egypt, has issued a formal Fatwa banning congregational and Friday prayers in mosques to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus in the country.“I am thankful to Grand Imam Shaikh of Al Azhar and Supreme Council for responding to my personal request to provide guidance to us with regard to Farz Jamaat & Juma prayers in mosques during coronavirus attack,” president said in a video message on Wednesday.In view of the global outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, President Alvi through Egypt’s ambassador in Pakistan had sought guidance from Al- Azhar institution, an authority on Islamic injunctions, for a word on suspension of congregational prayers at mosques amid spike in coronavirus cases.nation.com.pk
Coronavirus panic grips Rohingya camps in Bangladesh
Experts and activists have warned that about one million Rohingya refugees living in the crowded and cramped camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar are vulnerable to coronavirus infections.The wretched conditions in the camps, where most of the Rohingya Muslims arrived in 2017 to escape a Myanmar military crackdown across the nearby border, are fertile ground for any disease, experts say.The public in other countries is being told to keep two metres (six feet) apart. That is the width of most paths in Kutapalong, the world's biggest refugee camp with 600,000 Rohingya, that are clogged each day with people out on the daily hunt for food and fuel.Masks that have become a daily essential in much of the world are rarely seen. Sanitiser is unheard of.aljazeera
China poses substantial threat to Americans' health, way of life: Mike Pompeo
Washington:China's ruling Communist Party poses a substantial threat to Americans' health and their way of life, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday, blasting Beijing for the intentional "disinformation campaign" and trying to deflect from its handling of the coronavirus crisis.Pompeo, a known critic of China, said China's delay in sharing information about the virus had created risks to people worldwide.PTI
Saudi releases 250 immigration offenders
Saudi Arabia has released 250 foreign detainees held on non-violent immigration and residency offences as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, state-backed Human Rights Commission (HRC) said."Releasing them for eventual repatriation will help decrease the threat for inmates of the detention centres without compromising public security in any way," HRC President Awwad al-Awwad said in a statement, adding that more releases were expected. aljazeera
Iran death toll rises to 2,234
A total of 157 people in Iran have died of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll up to 2,234, said Iranian health authorities.Health Ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,389 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 29,406.Also, 10,457 people have recovered from COVID-19, according to health officials. aljazeera
Indonesia reports 103 new cases, 20 more deaths
Indonesia has confirmed 103 new coronavirus cases, bringing the Southeast Asian country's total to 893, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.The number of new deaths due to coronavirus rose by 20, taking the total number of deaths to 78, he said, adding that a total of 35 people had recovered from the virus. aljazeera


Malaysia reports 235 new cases
Malaysia reported 235 new coronavirus cases in its biggest daily jump, bringing the total number of cases to 2,031.The number of deaths from coronavirus rose to 23, the health ministry said.Malaysia's total number of cases has now doubled in a week. On Wednesday, the government extended curbs on travel and movement to until April 14th to contain the spread of virus. aljazeera
 *OTHERS*
Adityanath’s Role in Shift of Ram Idol at Temple Site Upsets Some Ayodhya Sadhus
Lucknow: The shifting of Lord Ram’s deity from the makeshift temple atop the rubble of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya to a new wooden structure in the neighbourhood during the early hours of Wednesday is not only a violation of the prime minister’s 21-day nation-wide lockdown on account of the coronavirus but a political act that has ruffled feathers in the ancient temple town.The action was carried out personally by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. And even though the absence of Ayodhya’s most prominent sadhu, Mahant Nrityagopal Das, from the ceremony is being officially attributed to his indisposition, reports from Ayodhya claim he deliberately kept himself away from the function.Apart from heading the decades old Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas and facing trial in a CBI court for the crime of conspiring to demolish the Babri Masjid, Nrityagopal Das was also formally appointed chairman of the new Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust – constituted by the Union government last month in pursuance of Nov.9, 2019 order of the Supreme Court.Both in his earlier role as a prominent face in the Ramjanmabhoomi campaign and now in his official capacity, Nrityagopal Das saw himself as a natural custodian of everything that pertains to Ram’s claimed. birthplace and, of course, the proposed Ram temple. And since the shifting of the idols was deemed necessary in order to start construction of the new temple, he considered himself the rightful religious person to carry out the ritual.While he was not available for comment, sources close to him claimed that he was upset over the fact that this task of shifting of the deity was carried out by Adityanath.Indeed, Ayodhya on Wednesday was agog with murmurs that even by virtue of being head of a very popular religious (Nath) order in Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath was not qualified or entitled to do the job. In any case, a chief minister was not expected to be personally undertaking such a task.While Nritya Gopal Das remains tight-lipped on he whole issue, his displeasure is being communicated by others.thewire
Oppn says UP CM flouted social distancing during Ramlalla shifting
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath shifted the Ramlalla idol to a new site at Manas Bhavan on Wednesday , following which he drew criticism from the Opposition for reportedly not adhering to the social distancing norm amid coronavirus outbreak. Congress state president Ajay Kumar Lallu questioned his visit to Ayodhya amid the lockdown across the country.In a tweet, Lallu said in Hindi, “It was the first day of Navratri and it was my wish too to visit the goddess’s court.But I listened to the PM’s appeal. The CM of UP does not. He went for darshan amid a crowd. In a scenario like this, why will the people of the state listen to the PM?”Other Opposition party leaders also criticised the CM for not presenting a “good example” by attending the ceremony.“Yogi is telling people not to go to temples and mosques, and in view of the coronavirus epidemic this is absolutely right,” said Samajwadi Party’s state President Naresh Uttam. “But the chief minister himself is flouting what he is saying.”AAP’s state chief Sabhajit Singh said responsible people were not following the appeals they were making. He said even if all precautions were taken at the event, there would have been “some people” present there. “There would also have been officials in large numbers during the chief minister’s programme,” Singh pointed out. “It would have been better had the chief minister postponed this programme.”indianexpress
Petition filed in Delhi HC to direct Delhi govt to reopen Mustafabad relief camp
Questioning the move by the Delhi government to arbitrarily close down the Mustafabad relief camp for the victims of the pogrom in northeast Delhi, a writ petition has been filed in Delhi High Court to direct the Delhi government to re-open the relief camp at Eidgah in Mustafabad and to provide inmates with food supplies, water, proper sanitation, and adequate security. The case is set to be heard on Friday, March 26.The petitioners had initially moved the Supreme Court, but were directed by it to approach Delhi High Court. The writ petition has requested the court to direct the state government to publicly announce the re-opening of the camp.The petitioners have also pleaded for appointment of a court commissioner to visit the riot-affected areas, relief camps and to file a report about the conditions and make recommendations on what is required immediately.The petitioner has submitted in court that even though the Delhi government had agreed to set up three more camps, the state government did not inform the court about the forcible closure of the existing camp. “The Delhi government erroneously insists that the persons took small amounts of money and left voluntarily when the PM had announced a lockdown. It is disgraceful to suggest this. The victims were left to fend for themselves. This is despite contrary promises being made to the court,” stated the petition.This prayer comes after several of those involved in providing relief material to those at the Eidgah camp at Mustafabad were harassed on Thursday by the Delhi Police.
Anti-CAA Protesters from Rajasthan’s Baran Languish in jail
Amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic and a countrywide lockdown, attempts are being made to suppress the anti-CAA protests across the country. In Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, the months long protest was called off this week, while the graffiti in Jamia Millia Islamia were whitewashed. Both these places had become the epicenters of the opposition to the discriminatory law in the country.  Meanwhile, in Rajasthan’s Baran district, 18 activists are now languishing in jail after their nearly two month long struggle against the CAA, and are allegedly facing serious charges. The protest, inspired by the Shaheen Bagh protest of the national capital, is now under threat.The arrests are reportedly a result of previous clashes between pro-CAA people on the ground and the protesters. Reportedly, a month ago, the women returning from the protest site in Baran had been involved in a fight with a pro-CAA group and were also allegedly harassed by them. The women were accompanied by a local religious leader, Maulana Imtiaz, as the two sides opposed each other. The police had then arrested some people except Maulana Imtiaz. A few days later, a similar incident was allegedly repeated on March 18, 2020, by CAA-NRC supporters. This time, 54-year-old Liaquat Ali's father Shaukat Ali was reportedly injured in the attack. Police filed a case on his complaint. But no one has been arrested yet. newsclick

Coronavirus: Plea to CJI seeks release of ‘declared’ foreigners in Assam
A plea was submitted to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, seeking the release of all those who were “declared” foreigners from the six detention centres in Assam amid the escalating crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, Live Law reported on Wednesday. The plea was submitted by Justice and Liberty Initiative, an organisation that provides legal aid to people who were unable to prove their citizenship during NRC exercise carried out in Assam.Citing Article 21 of the Constitution, the plea claimed that even if the people lodged in detention centres are deemed as foreigners, they are human beings who have the “basic right to live” and not die of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The organisation highlighted the “despicable living conditions” there and said that many of the detenus are old and ailing.On March 11, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told Rajya Sabha that there are 802 people in six detentions centers in Assam. Ten people detained in these centres have died in 12 months between March 2019 and Feb.2020, the organisation observed. In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, the detainees will be “more vulnerable in the already crowded detention centres”, the plea added.Referring to the Supreme Court order directing all states and Union Territories to release a section of prisoners on parole to avoid congestion in jails and increasing the risk of spreading the Covid-19 infection, the petition demanded that similar benefits should be extended to those “declared to be foreigners facing perpetual detention” in Assam.The Assam government should also be directed not to detain anymore “declared foreigners” until the health crisis in the country subsides, it added.It highlighted that detention in foreigners detention centre is not an imprisonment due to a criminal act, but is tantamount to civil imprisonment. Detention is supposed to be a temporary measure before the deportation of the person to the country of origin. “Moreover, many of the detenus have challenged the Foreigners Tribunals orders which are pending either before the High Court or the Supreme Court”, the plea claimed.The Assam government recently announced that it had postponed the process of issuing rejection slips to those who have been excluded from the final NRC because of the coronavirus pandemic, NDTV reported. The rejection slips will mention the reason for the exclusion of the person from the register.
‘All students passed except…’: Jamia teacher tweets a row on CAA, suspended
New Delhi:A social media post by a Jamia faculty member that spoke about failing students who did not back the protests against the amended citizenship law has led to a huge controversy. On Wednesday, Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia announced that the faculty member had been suspended and an inquiry ordered.AP Siddiqui, registrar of the university, issued the suspension order for the teacher. It said the faculty member had tweeted that all students “except 15 non-Muslims have been passed as they did not support” CAA protests.The university authorities felt that the social media post incited communal disharmony which is unbecoming of a teacher and against the spirit of the code of conduct. It classified the tweet as a case of serious misconduct.Siddiqui’s order said that the vice chancellor had decided to place Ahmad under suspension with immediate effect pending an inquiry.Abrar Ahmad, an assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering, however, insisted that his post had been misunderstood and was only meant as satire and not a factual assertion.Ahmad turned to Facebook to argue that it was a satire to explain how minorities were targeted by CAA and he couldn’t have failed anyone since there were no exams.“It was a satire, parody, a co-relation to explain how minorities are being targeted by CAA and it would be as bad as a teacher saying all minority students are failed and have to reappear,” he wrote.He added that no such examination had taken place and thus failing non Muslim students was out of question.H
Kashmir: US welcomes release of Omar and Farooq Abdullah, urges India to free other detained leaders
US has welcomed the release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and urged the government to release the political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir who are still in detention. It also urged the government to restore internet services in the region amid intensifying measures to combat coronavirus. “We welcome the release of former Jammu and Kashmir CMs Omar Abdullah and Dr Farooq Abdullah,” Acting Assistant US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells said in a statement. “We encourage the release of all Kashmiri political leaders and the full restoration of internet services as the coronavirus fight intensifies.” The Abdullahs, Mahbooba Mufti and several other politicians have been under detention since India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year and imposed prohibitory orders. scroll
Muslim, Sikh and Christian Leaders Condemn Terror Attack on Kabul Gurudwara, Demand Thorough Probe to Expose Perpetrators
New Delhi:Strongly condemning the dastardly attack on a Sikh Gurudwara in Afghanistan capital Kabul on Wednesday resulting into the killing of about 25 Sikhs, leaders belonging to Muslim, Sikh and Christian community expressed their sympathy with the victim families and the entire Sikh community and demanded independent probe into the attack to bring out the truth behind the gory crime.Reacting to the incident, Syed Sadatullah Hussaini, President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, India’s largest Muslim socio-cultural organisation, said, “We are extremely saddened by the brutal attack on the Sikh community in Kabul, Afghanistan. Violence is the weapon of those who are weak. These types of attacks are an open violation of human rights and international humanitarian law and deserve maximum condemnation. Those who are behind this attack must be brought to justice and deserve strict punishment.”Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind (Arshad Madani group) president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said: “We condemn the attack. Taliban has also condemned this attack.Demanding an in-depth probe into the attack, India’s prominent Sikh leader Paramjit Singh Sarna, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi), said, “What happened yesterday was completely unexpected for us. When America, Afghanistan and Taliban have signed a peace pact, such attack on people is an act of cowardice.”Sikh leader also condemned the remarks of Delhi Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DGPC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa, linking the Kabul attack with the anti-Muslim violence in northeast Delhi recently.Christian leader Dr John Dayal also joined to condemn the attack in Kabul. Condemning the Kabul attack, Imam of Shahi Fatehpuri Masjid, Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, also demanded strong action against the culprits. “Islam grants right to everyone to worship as per his/her belief,” said Maulana. Delhi Minority Commission Chairman and Islamic scholar Dr Zafarul Islam Khan slammed the attack as “un-Islamic” and sought stringent action against the culprits. indiatomorrow
*WORLD*
Taliban, Afghan govt to discuss prisoner release
Officials from the Afghan government will meet with Taliban members to discuss an initial release of prisoners, Afghanistan's National Security Council (NSC) said.Wednesday's announcement came after the two sides met earlier via video conference."To carry out these further discussions, a Taliban team will meet with the government face-to-face in Afghanistan in the coming days," the NSC said on Twitter.Taliban said on Wednesday that the release of prisoners by the Afghan government would begin by the end of March.The development could remove a key factor in the deadlock holding up negotiations between armed group and the Afghan government under a US-brokered peace process."The meeting decided that the release of the prisoners will practically start by end of March," Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, said on Twitter, referring to a virtual meeting that included Taliban and Afghan govt officials.Also at the gathering were American and Qatari officials and members of International Red Cross, Shaheen said, adding the Taliban would send a team to the Bagram detention centre where many of its prisoners were held. aljazeera
Turkey ready to mediate intra-Afghan talks amid revival of hopes for peace
On Feb. 29, a “historic” deal took place with the potential to shift the destiny of one of the globe's most war-ravaged countries, Afghanistan. The deal, reached between the U.S. and the Taliban, neither of whom represents a ruling party in Kabul, has been regarded by many as a crucial step toward peace. Although progress now seems to have been stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic which has quickly transformed into a global crisis, despite one of the premises of the deal itself outlining the launch of intra-Afghan peace talks as a follow-up to the process. Having proven itself to be a neutral actor with cultural and historical bonds to the people of Afghanistan, Turkey has already set an eye to hosting the talks, expressing willingness to mediate between the conflicting parties."Turkey has generally opted to put itself forward as a neutral venue for intra-Afghan talks and to play a mediator role," said Tanya Goudsouzian, an Istanbul-based Afghanistan affairs specialist, underlining that this is not a new idea for Turkey.dailysabah
'Yes, guilty': New Zealand mosque shooter admits carrying out deadly attacks that killed 51 World
In an unexpected reversal, the Australian accused of murdering 51 Muslim worshippers in last year's mass shooting at 2 New Zealand mosques pleaded guilty to all charges on Thursday.Brenton Tarrant, 29, had previously denied 51 charges of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of engaging in a terrorist act but changed his plea after a hurriedly arranged court hearing."Yes, guilty," Tarrant told Christchurch High Court via videolink from Auckland Prison as the charges were read out to him.Tarrant, wearing a grey top, stared intently at the camera while making his plea.No reason was given for the change, which means Tarrant will no longer stand trial, a process authorities had feared he would use as a platform to promote his racist ideology.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the admission of guilt would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered in the attack.AFP
*views, Articles, FEATURES*
It's Essential to Sift Through Hate-Driven Misinformation on Coronavirus:Joyojeet Pal and Syeda Zainab Akbar
Let Poor People Die. Only You Should Survive:Sutputra Radheye
Shaheen Bagh: A History of The Iconic Protest Before the Virus Hit:AROOP MISHRAPADMINI VAIDYANATHAN
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:22 PM).


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