Sat, 25 January 2020
PMO reviews India's coronavirus preparedness
21:46 PMO reviews India's coronavirus preparedness
The Prime Minister's Office on Saturday reviewed India's preparedness to deal with deadly coronavirus amid mounting global concern over increasing number of cases in China, the epicentre of the outbreak, and several other countries.
At a meeting chaired by P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the prime minister, health ministry officials presented an update about response measures being undertaken in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak in China, official sources said.
The meeting was held on the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The cabinet secretary, home secretary, foreign secretary, defence secretary, health secretary, civil aviation secretary and several other top officials attended the meeting.
They said health ministry officials briefed Mishra on the preparedness of hospitals, laboratories as well as on measures being taken for the capacity building of rapid response teams to deal with possible cases of coronavirus.
The principal secretary to the PM also reviewed the various preventive measures taken by other ministries like the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The officials assured Mishra that the situation is being closely monitored by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs, in coordination with various other Union ministries as well as state governments and Union Territories.
So far, 20,000 people from 115 flights at seven international airports in the country have been screened.
The sources said the National Institute of Virology labs are fully equipped to test the virus and that all state and district health authorities have been alerted. -- PTI
21:06 Padma awards for Sushma, Jaitley, Parrikar
Here's a selected list of Padma Awards this year:
Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and George Fernandes (posthumously), MC Mary Kom.
Manohar Parrikar (Public Affairs) awarded posthumously. Anand Mahindra (Trade and Industry) and P V Sindhu (Sports).
Cricketer Zaheer Khan, hockey player Rani Rampal, shooter Jitu Rai, actor Kangana Ranaut, director Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor, singer Adnan Sami and 14 others.
Cricketer Zaheer Khan, hockey player Rani Rampal, shooter Jitu Rai, actor Kangana Ranaut, director Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor, singer Adnan Sami and 14 others.
20:11 China urged to let Indian students leave Wuhan
As the coronavirus turned virulent, India is understood to have requested China to permit over 250 Indian students stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of the new SARS-like virus, to leave the city, sources in Beijing said on Saturday.
About 700 Indian students, mostly medical students, are believed to be studying in different universities in Wuhan and its surrounding areas. Authorities have prevented anyone from leaving Wuhan, the city of 11 million people at the heart of the viral outbreak which has so far infected nearly 1,300 people and killed 41 others.
While majority of the Indian students left for home on Chinese New Year holidays, over 250 to 300 students are said to be still in the city and its surrounding areas.
Besides the students, the fast spreading virus has become a major worry for their parents back home.
Some students managed to leave the city just before it was sealed off on January 23.
India has stepped up monitoring of passengers arriving from China, especially from Wuhan.
The sources here said that in view of the prevailing situation, India has requested both the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the local officials in Wuhan to consider making arrangements for the Indian students to leave.
Asked whether China would consider any request of countries to move their citizens out of Wuhan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media in Beijing on Thursday, "We always help foreign consular officials in China in their official jobs, we offer them all the assistance and convenience necessary and we work to guarantee foreign citizens legitimate rights and interest in China."
While specific detailed would be provided by local officials, he said China in principle always handles issues according to domestic laws, international laws and bilateral consular agreements.
Authorities have extended transport bans to 17 other cities around Wuhan in an effort to control the SARS-like virus, restricting travel for around 56 million in Hubei province.
On Saturday, the city officials have also banned all private transport in the city as part of stepped up measures to ensure little movement in the city.
While India has earlier issued travel advisories to Indians travelling to China in view the coronavirus, the Indian Embassy in Beijing in the last few days has set up hotlines for the students in Wuhan to extend assistance and has talked to local officials about proper supply of food and other necessities for them. -- PTI
19:01 Delhi building collapse: 3 students missing
13 people have been shifted to a hospital and three students are still missing when a building collapsed in New Delhi's Bhajanpura area on Saturday, officials said.
An under-construction coaching centre was being run in the building, a Delhi Fire Service official said.
At least 13 people have been shifted to a hospital and three students are still missing, Atul Garg, Chief of Delhi Fire Service, said.
The Fire Department received a call around 4.30 pm, following which seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot, the official said, adding that rescue operations are underway. -- PTI
18:26 Delhi building housing coaching centre collapses
An under-construction building collapsed in the Bhajanpura area in New Delhi on Saturday.
A coaching center was being run in the building, claims police.
As many as 12 students have been rescued while more are feared trapped.
Immediately after the collapse, seven fire units rushed to the spot for the rescue operation.
More information is awaited. -- ANI
18:20 NBF condemns attack on Deepak Chaurasia at Shaheen Bagh
The News Broadcasters Federation on Saturday condemned the alleged attack on News Nation consulting editor Deepak Chaurasia by protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and demanded police action against perpetrators of the violence.
In a statement, the News Broadcasters Federation said it is extremely concerned about the repeated instances of violence directed at journalists in the line of duty at Shaheen Bagh.
These attacks have been fuelled by a growing spirit of intolerance by those claiming to be protestors at Shaheen Bagh, NBF president Arnab Goswami said in a statement.
'The most recent attack on senior journalist Deepak Chaurasia and his camera crew at Shaheen Bagh, which was recorded on camera, reflects the growing hostility of some of those at Shaheen Bagh towards journalists unwilling to toe their line,' he said.
In recent weeks there have been similar attacks on several other TV journalists in the course of which camera equipment has been broken and destroyed and some journalists, including those who were victims of Friday's attack, have had to be hospitalised, Goswami said.
The NBF, which is the largest such organisation of news broadcasters pan India, demands immediate police action against those who have perpetrated the violence and seeks solidarity among all members of the Indian media against this relentless attack on reporters, and editors of news media organisations, he said.
Police said Chaurasia, 51, complained to them saying he was beaten up and his camera was snatched by a mob at the protest site.
A first information report has been registered under sections 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) and 34 (common intention) against unknown persons at the Shaheen Bagh police station, a senior police officer said.
On his Twitter handle, Chaurasiya uploaded a one-minute video in which he was seen surrounded by protestors and later manhandled by them.
They tried to remove him from the spot and also snatched his mic. In another part of the video, a group of men can be seen trying to snatch a camera from the cameraman. -- PTI
17:28 Omar's first photo since detention posted online
A photo of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been under detention since August 4, has emerged on the social media and has since caused a sensation thanks to Abdullah's new, drastically changed look.
The usually clean-shaven Omar Abdullah is sporting a greyish-white long beard in the photo which has been shared by many Twitter users.
The source of the photo, however, could not be ascertained.
Omar Abdullah, who has been under preventive detention along with his father and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah since August 4, a day before the Centre announced the scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, is seen smiling in the photo.
While some users appreciated Omar Abdullah's new look, saying he was looking 'damn smart' in his new get-up, others sympathised with him with statements like, 'Although I have huge political differences with the NC and Omar Abdullah, I cannot but condemn his continuous detention'.
This is Abdullah Junior's first photo that has emerged since his detention.
Most of the Twitterati, however, wanted to see the former CM back in action and urged him to not lose hope.
The central government has placed almost all the prominent political leaders of Kashmir from different parties under detention including former chief minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti.
However, as part of the move to progressively release detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, the government on January 10 revoked the detention warrants of 26 persons detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
The 26 persons whose detention has been revoked are mainstream political activists.
They include Rouf Ahmad Dar from Pulwama, Abdul Salam Rather from Baramulla, Mohammad Arif Lone from Pahalgam and Javid Kalas, a resident of Shopian district. -- ANI
16:34 Coronavirus: 7 more under observation in India
Seven more people who returned from China have been kept under observation following screening for a possible exposure to novel coronavirus even though no positive case has been detected in the country so far, Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.
Samples of these seven passengers have been sent to the ICMR-NIV Pune Lab.
The Union Health Minister has directed for multidisciplinary central teams to be sent to the seven states where thermal screening is being done at the seven designated airports -- New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi.
Vardhan, who held a review meeting to analyse the preparedness for prevention and management of novel coronavirus in India, also spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand on Saturday and assured all support for screening at the border with Nepal, where a confirmed case has been reported.
Eleven people -- seven in Kerala, two in Mumbai and one each in Bengaluru and Hyderabad -- who are among hundreds of passengers who returned from China in the recent days were under observation in hospitals to check for possible exposure to the deadly novel coronavirus, central and state officials said on Friday. -- PTI
16:19 Assault case against Naseeruddin Shah's daughter
The Versova police have registered a non-cognisable offence against Heeba Shah, daughter of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, for allegedly assaulting two employees of a veterinary clinic in Andheri in Mumbai last week.
According to police, the incident was captured on a CCTV camera installed at the premises.
In the video of the incident on January 16, Heeba can be seen allegedly assaulting the veterinary clinic employees.
Further details are awaited. -- ANI
15:45 Raj govt tables anti-CAA resolution in assembly
The Congress-led government in Rajasthan on Saturday has tabled a resolution against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the state assembly.
If it goes through, Rajasthan would become the third state in the country to pass an anti-CAA resolution after Kerala and Punjab.
The discussion over the Act is underway in the Rajasthan assembly. -- ANI
15:19 Uddhav Thackeray to visit Ayodhya on March 7: Raut
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will visit Ayodhya on March 7, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut announced on Saturday.
'Ayodhya mein jallosh! March 7, 2020,' Raut said in a tweet.
Raut had announced on Wednesday that Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, will visit Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to mark the completion of 100 days in power.
However, he had not specified the date at that time.
This will be Thackeray's first visit to Ayodhya after becoming the state chief minister.
He was sworn in as the CM on November 28, 2019. -- PTI
14:50 Nirbhaya convict challenges mercy plea rejection
One of the convicts in Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, Mukesh Kumar Singh, on Friday approached the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of mercy petition by the President of India.
"Convict Mukesh Kumar Singh has moved the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of mercy petition by President of India," advocate Vrinda Grover, lawyer of the Nirbhaya convict, told ANI on Saturday.
President Ram Nath Kovind had, on January 17, rejected the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh, a convict in the Nirbhaya case.
After the mercy petition was rejected, a Delhi court has issued a fresh death warrant against the four death-row convicts in the December 2012 gang-rape and murder case, for their execution at 6 am on February 1. -- ANI
14:28 NIA stooges can't erase Bhima-Koregaon: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the Centre alleging that anyone who opposes the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's 'agenda of hate' is dubbed as an 'Urban Naxal'.
A day after the Centre handed over the Bhima-Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency, Gandhi attacked the central agency saying its 'stooges' can never erase 'the symbol of resistance'.
'Anyone who opposes the MOSH agenda of hate is an 'Urban Naxal'.
'Bhima-Koregaon is a symbol of resistance that the Government's NIA stooges can never erase,' he said on Twitter.
The NIA took over the probe into the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima violence on Friday, a day after the Maharashtra government held a review meeting with senior Pune police officers to take a call on pursuing the matter.
The Centre's decision has angered the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra, which was seen to be preparing to withdraw all cases against intellectuals and social activists accused of inciting the clashes.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said handing over the Koregaon-Bhima probe to the NIA is against the Constitution and condemned it. -- PTI
14:24 India, Brazil ink 15 pacts to expand ties
India and Brazil on Saturday inked 15 agreements to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas like trade and investment, oil and gas, cyber security and information technology after talks between Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi said an action plan has been finalised to further expand strategic ties between the two strategic partners.
"Your visit to India has opened a new chapter in bilateral ties between India and Brazil," Modi said in his media statement in presence of Bolsonaro.
Calling Brazil a valuable partner in India's economic growth, the prime minister also said both the countries are together on various global issues despite geographical distance.
On his part Bolsonaro said the two countries have further consolidated already strong ties by signing 15 agreements providing for cooperation in a range of areas.
Bolsonaro arrived in New Delhi on Friday, accompanied by his daughter Laura Bolsonaro, daughter-in-law Leticia Firmo, eight ministers, four members of the Brazilian parliament and a large business delegation.
The Brazilian president will grace the Republic Day Parade as chief guest on Sunday.
India's ties with Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, have been on an upswing in the last few years.
The country has a population of 210 million with $1.8 trillion economy. -- PTI
13:37 Delhi BJP leader gets notice over campaign song
Poll authorities have issued a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party's Hari Nagar candidate Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga over his campaign video song, asking why its expenditure should not be added to his poll expenses, officials said on Saturday.
The notice was issued on Friday by the Hari Nagar constituency's Returning Officer.
"The Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) of West Delhi district had sent an email raising suspicion of paid news in his campaign video song 'Bagga Bagga Har Jagah', following which the notice was sent," a senior official said.
In the notice, he has been asked why the expenditure on the song shouldn't be added to his poll expenses.
Bagga was asked to reply within 48 hours, failing which the 'decision of the MCM will be final', the notice said.
The video song uploaded by Bagga on his Twitter handle has garnered over 12,000 likes and more than 3,000 retweets.
"We are waiting for his response to the notice. Once we receive that then we will decide the future course of action," the official said.
Bagga took to Twitter to say, 'Complaints are being given to EC against me as Kejriwal ji is scared of me. Sanjay Singh has been sent to Hari Nagar 40 times in last 4 days. I am a common man and Kejriwal's candidate pitted against me has assets worth Rs 50 crore.' -- PTI
13:16 Chennithala to move resolution against Kerala Guv
Targeting Governor Arif Mohammed Khan over the Citizenship Amendment Act issue, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday said he will move a resolution in the Kerala Assembly, seeking his recall for 'violating' all democratic principles and 'publicly questioning' the pride of the legislature.
The senior Congress leader said he has given a notice to Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan seeking his permission to move the resolution in the Assembly under the rule 130 of the legislative business.
He accused the Governor of publicly challenging the unanimous resolution passed by the state Assembly against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 enacted by the Parliament during its winter session.
"Even the single member of the BJP in the Kerala Assembly did not cast his vote against the resolution passed by the Assembly against the CAA. But, the Governor has made public statements saying it was unconstitutional," he told a press conference in Kochi.
Terming as 'highly improper' the statement of the Governor over the issue, Chennithala said by adopting such a stand he has questioned the pride of the State Assembly and undermined its special power and rights. -- PTI
13:06 Man commits suicide at five-star hotel room in Delhi
A 24-year-old man allegedly committed suicide inside a five-star hotel room in New Delhi, police said on Saturday.
The victim was identified as Karan Chandra, a resident of Malviya Nagar, they said.
According to the police, they received information around 4.10 pm on Friday that a guest was unresponsive and a foul smell was coming out of his room.
Police personnel, along with hotel staff, opened the door and found Chandra lying dead.
A suicide note was recovered from the spot.
Some medicine strips were also found there, a senior police officer said.
During investigation, it was found that he had been staying in the hotel since January 19.
On January 20, he put a tag of 'do not disturb' out of his room, the police said.
On the day of his scheduled checkout, the duty manager tried to contact on his mobile number and intercom, but no response came.
The hotel staff went to the room and knocked the door but he did not give any response, the police said.
The body has been taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for further proceedings, they said. -- PTI
12:17 Plea of Nirbhaya convict's lawyer rejected
A Delhi court on Saturday said no further directions were required on a plea by the lawyer of the death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case alleging the prison authorities were not handing over certain documents required to file mercy and curative petitions, and disposed of the petition.
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Jain said the convicts' lawyer can take pictures of the relevant documents, diary and paintings from the Tihar jail authorities.
The public prosecutor, appearing for the Delhi Police, told the court that the Tihar jail authorities have supplied all the relevant documents sought by the lawyer of the death row convicts in the case.
He claimed that the convicts are only adopting 'delaying tactics'.
"The entire process is to defeat the law. We have already supplied all the documents. We procured all the documents from all the jails where they went," the counsel said.
He then produced before the court the diary of one of the convicts, Vinay Kumar Sharma, which he had named 'Darinda' (monster), and several paintings and other documents.
"These are all we have. If the court directs, we can hand these over to the convicts right now," the counsel said.
Advocate A P Singh, appearing for the convicts, alleged that Vinay was being slow poisoned and was hospitalised, but his medical reports are not being supplied to him.
He further said though he had received some documents Friday night from the jail authorities, Vinay's personal diary and medical documents have not been supplied.
"They (Tihar jail authorities) say there is no such record. Vinay was being slow poisoned. That's why he was sent to hospital. Vinay made several paintings about that and we want to inform the President about it. Also, what he earned from those paintings needs to be informed," Singh said.
He also alleged that another convict Pawan Singh's head was 'split open' in Mandoli jail and he was shifted to a hospital but those documents were not supplied to the counsel too.
The documents related to the third convict Akshay Kumar Singh's health were also not supplied and were required to file his curative and mercy petitions, the lawyer said.
Singh had moved an application alleging that the jail authorities were yet to give the documents which are required to file the mercy petition for Vinay, 26, and curative petitions for Akshay, 31, and Pawan, 25.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed the curative petitions of other two convicts -- Vinay and Mukesh Singh, 32.
Mukesh's mercy petition was rejected by the President earlier this month. The hanging of all four is to take place on February 1 at 6 am, according to the court order. -- PTI
11:05 Not violated law: Mishra on 'India vs Pak' tweet
Bharatiya Janata Party's Model Town candidate Kapil Mishra on Saturday said that he has not violated any law over his 'India versus Pakistan' tweet.
"The Congress and the AAP are losing polls on ground so they want to fight it in police station, court and on paper. I haven't violated any law and have spoken the truth," Mishra said against whom the Delhi Police on Friday lodged a first information report over his controversial tweet in which he likened the upcoming Assembly elections to an India versus Pakistan contest.
The FIR was filed following directions of the poll authorities.
It was lodged at the Model Town Police Station under Section 125 (promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the sources said.
In his tweet on Thursday, Mishra, a former minister in the Arvind Kejriwal Cabinet, had likened the February 8 Delhi election to a contest between India and Pakistan, sparking a controversy.
10:54 People will vote on basis of work in Delhi: AAP
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have "irritated" the people of Delhi by raising the amended citizenship act and National Register of Citizens during election campaign and it would "backfire" on them, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and minister Gopal Rai has said.
In an interview to PTI, Rai said, "BJP has not done any work and is raking up these issues which has in turn exposed the negativity of the saffron party."
"People are getting irritated by the way BJP is raking up CAA, NRC and it is showing the BJP in bad light. The people who voted for the BJP in Lok Sabha polls are also supporting AAP in the upcoming polls," he said.
BJP leader Amit Shah has raised the issue of CAA and NRC in his election campaign and accused the Opposition of saying the same things as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Rai, who is seeking re-election from the Babarpur assembly constituency, asserted that the Lok Sabha polls were fought on national issues but the upcoming assembly election will be contested on local issues.
"The only thing people are talking about is the work done by the AAP. People are in the mood to vote on the basis of work done by our government," he said.
Ruling out any possibility of any post-poll alliance with the Congress, Rai asserted that the AAP would be winning over 67 seats in the upcoming polls so no such question arises.
"Congress is not in competition this year. Congress is not in competition and people are with AAP and there is no doubt among people on it," he said.
"If Congress is able to win a single seat in Delhi then it will be a big thing so there is no relevance to what they are saying," he said.
Rai said in the last five years his focus has been on providing basic facilities in his constituency.
"We have constructed roads, old cement pipelines have been replaced and opened 16 mohalla clinics, installed 2,000 CCTV cameras among other things," he said.
But in the next five years, he said he would focus on big projects. -- PTI
10:48 Encounter breaks out in J-K's Pulwama
An encounter broke out between terrorists and security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, police said.
On a credible input, security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the Hari-Pari area of Tral in the south Kashmir district in the morning, a police official said.
He said as the forces were conducting searches in the area, the militants fired upon them triggering an encounter.
The exchange of firing was going on when last reports came in, the officer said.
Further details are awaited, he added. -- PTI
09:38 Pak, B'deshi Muslims should be thrown out: Sena
The Shiv Sena has said that Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims who have entered the country should be thrown out and "there is no doubt about it".
The party made the statement in the wake of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray's remarks that his party will take out a huge rally on February 9 in Mumbai to drive "illegal infiltrators" from Pakistan and Bangladesh out of India.
In its mouthpiece Saamana, the party attacked Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray for his change of stand with respect to the Citizenship Amendment Act and his shift towards Hindutva.
"Yesterday, the MNS said that they support the CAA. However, just a month back, they were against this act," Shiv Sena said.
"Our party has never given up its ideology of Hindutva and also worked for Marathi people. This is the reason why people in the state have accepted us," the party added.
The Sena also questioned whether Thackeray's change of stand will be accepted by the people or not.
"Some people use the name of Hindutva for their benefit, but even if some party does that we have the large heart to accept them. Go ahead if possible." -- ANI
09:34 Right decision to transfer Koregaon-Bhima probe to NIA: Fadnavis
Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said that the Central government took the correct decision to handover the Koregaon-Bhima case to the National Investigation Agency as this will expose the urban Naxals.
"It is the correct decision because this case isn't confined to Maharashtra. We see it is spread all over the country. The Central government has taken the right step. This will expose the urban Naxals," Fadnavis told ANI.
"When the United Progressive Alliance was in power, UPA minister had given a statement in Lok Sabha that these are urban Naxal organisations but today they are trying to protect these people. This is extremely wrong," he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader further asserted that in the Koregaon-Bhima case, any matter that has come up in the context of urban Naxals has gone before the Supreme Court.
"Chargesheets have been filed according to the orders given by the Supreme Court from time to time. Despite this, these types of statements are being made deliberately," he added.
However, Congress leader Sachin Sawant on Friday stated that sudden taking over of Koregaon-Bhima case by the NIA clearly substantiates conspiracy of the BJP.
"Sudden taking over of Bhima Koregaon riot case by NIA after #MahaVikasAghadi govt started reinvestigation into inquiry of Pune police, clearly substantiates conspiracy of #BJP. Why it took two years for NIA to find that case is fit under its jurisdiction? Strongly condemn!" Sawant tweeted.
09:28 'Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji' actor Sejal Sharma commits suicide
A 25-year-old television actor allegedly committed suicide at her residence in Mira Road in Thane district of Maharashtra, police said on Saturday.
Television actor Sejal Sharma was found hanging from the ceiling of her rented flat in Royal Nest society at Mira Road (east) by a friend in the early hours of Friday, an official said.
Sharma was rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival, he added.
The police have recovered a suicide note, in which Sharma has stated that she was taking the extreme step due to personal reasons, the official said.
A native of Udaipur in Rajasthan, Sharma had come to Mumbai a few years ago to pursue a career in acting, and was working in the TV serial Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji, he said.
Following an autopsy, the actor's body was handed over to her family for last rites, the official said, adding that a case of accidental death has been registered at Mira Road police station. -- PTI
08:58 668 candidates in fray for Delhi polls
Around 668 candidates are in the fray in the high-stakes Delhi Assembly polls as about 30 people withdrew their nominations on Friday, officials said.
Nominations of nearly 700 candidates for the February 8 Delhi elections were found to be valid by poll authorities after scrutiny on Thursday.
"About 30 candidates withdrew their nomination on Friday," a senior official of the CEO's Office said.
As many as 1,029 candidates had filed 1,528 nominations for the Delhi Assembly elections, according to data shared by the Delhi CEO's Office on Wednesday.
On the last day of filing nominations on Tuesday, over 800 nominations were filed for the 70 assembly constituencies.
"Nominations of 698 candidates have been found valid for the February 8 Delhi elections by poll authorities after scrutiny," the official had said.
Of the total 1,029 candidates, 187 are women, he had said on Wednesday.
These nominations also include the 'cover' candidates. The last date to file nominations was January 21 and the same can be withdrawn by Friday.
The election will see a triangular fight between the Aam Aadmi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.
Polling will be held on February 8 and the results declared on February 11.
According to the final electoral roll, over 1.46 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise. -- PTI
08:21 China coronavirus outbreak: Death toll hits 41
The deadly Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in China and aborad as the death toll due to it in this Far East country rose to 41 with 1287 confirmed cases, China's National Health Commission announced on Saturday.
Of the 1,287 confirmed cases as of Friday night, the condition of the 237 is stated to be critical, the commission announced.
The confirmed cases have crossed 1,000 mark for the first time with many Chinese cities struggling to fight the afflictions.
The pneumonia situation had resulted in 41 deaths, including 39 in central China's Hubei province and one in northeastern province Heilongjiang, it said.
Additionally, a total of 1,965 suspected cases have also been reported, it said.
The virus has spread to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Nepal, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States as of Thursday. Japan on Friday reported a second confirmed case.
It has triggered a cause of concern for India too as many of the 700 odd Indian students studying in universities of Wuhan and Hubei provinces are still stuck up there.
The Indian Embassy has established hotlines to keep close contact with them.
Battling the fast spreading Coronavirus, China has begun building a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan which is expected to be completed in less than ten days.
It also began deploying military medics to step up the treatment facilities in Wuhan and 12 other cities in Hubei province which are under total lock-down with suspension of all public transport.
The fast spreading virus dampened the celebrations of China's Lunar New Year which began today.
On Friday Chinese bid goodbye to "the year of the pig" to welcome "the year of rat" on Saturday.
In Chinese lunar calendar, years are grouped into a 12-year cycles, with each year assigned an animal symbol: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
In view of the virus scare, several cities, including Beijing, have cancelled special events.
The festival is also known as the Spring Festival.
Large cultural activities during the spring festival in Beijing such as temple fairs were cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus.
China's biggest city Shanghai raised the emergency response to public health safety to level 1, the highest, following Beijing, and Hubei, Hunan, Zhejiang, Anhui and Guangdong provinces as more cases were reported.
Beijing so far has reported 34 confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection, official media reported. -- PTI
00:21 Delhi polls won't be fought on basis of religion: Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said votes in the coming assembly polls would be cast on the basis of work done by the Aam Aadmi Party government in the last five years and not on the basis of caste or religion.
Addressing a public meeting in Rohini, Kejriwal said he was very happy to hear Home Minister Amit Shah talk about unauthorised colonies, education and health in his speech as it shows the AAP government has changed the narrative of politics in the country.
"It shows that while in rest of the country the BJP seek votes on the basis of caste and religion, in Delhi they are forced to seek votes on the basis of development work like health and education," he said.
For the first time in 70 years, Kejriwal claimed, a party is asking for votes in the name of development.
"No party has ever asked for votes in the name of improvement of schools, hospitals, free and cheap electricity. They ask for votes in the name of religion and castes. The BJP asks for votes in the name of Jat and non-Jat in Haryana, in the name of Maratha and non-Maratha in Maharashtra, Patel and non-Patel and Hindu-Muslim in states like Gujarat," he said.
Kejriwal said his party has changed the discourse and narrative of politics in the state.
"Now people will talk about Delhi's development and work instead of religion or caste. People will only vote for parties that will improve schools, hospitals, roads, provide free electricity and water," he added.
Kejriwal appealed to the supporters of BJP, Congress and other parties to vote for AAP as it will contribute towards development of Delhi.
"We have made a lot of effort in improving schools and hospitals in Delhi, voting for any other party will again deteriorate their condition. We have to keep the development speed constant throughout. Vote for us keeping the welfare of your family in mind," he added.
Kejriwal said he has worked how an elder son in a family works.
"I have worked as an elder son of the family in the last five years. It is he who shoulders the responsibility of managing the household, paying electricity and water bills, taking his parents to a pilgrimage, taking care of the education of the children of his family, taking care of the health of his family. I have tried to take all these responsibilities on my shoulder by being an elder son of every household in Delhi in the last five years," he said. -- PTI