Tue, 04 May 2021
Bengal: NCPCR seeks probe into attack on kids
23:33 Bengal: NCPCR seeks probe into attack on kids
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to the chief secretary of West Bengal raising concerns over post-poll violence in the state affecting children and sought an inquiry into the matter after it received a complaint regarding the same.
West Bengal was in the throes of widespread violence on Monday that allegedly left several BJP workers dead and injured in clashes, and shops being looted, prompting the Centre to seek a factual report from the state government on the incidents of attack on opposition workers.
The commission said that it had come across several media reports regarding the death of some people in the post-poll violence in West Bengal on May 3.
Since the conclusion of election polls in the state of West Bengal on May 2, there are many incidents of violence being reported across the state which has made the people vulnerable and at imminent risk of danger and harm, especially children, Chairperson, NCPCR, Priyank Kanungo said in the letter.
In relation to these incidents of violence, the Commission has received a complaint concerning the safety and security of children in the state in these present incidents of violence.
The complainant has stated that during this widespread attack against the people in the state, the children are being targeted and are being subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, Kanungo said.
It also said that the complainant has claimed that many children have been recruited to participate in the incidents of violence.
The commission has attached a copy of the complaint with the letter. -- PTI
IMAGE: BJP president J P Nadda meets family of party worker Abhijeet Sarkar who was killed in post-poll violence, in Kolkata on Tuesday. Photograph: ANI Photo
23:28 Deshmukh seeks to link Param Bir to SUV case
Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday alleged a 'very suspicious' role of ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh in the case related to the placing of an explosives-laden SUV near Mukesh Ambani's residence in Mumbai.
The Nationalist Congress Party leader said Singh had made false corruption allegations against him out of revenge which prompted him to move the Bombay high court for justice.
Deshmukh said officers from the police department and a few businessmen have levelled allegations of extortion and corruption against Singh, who is now Director General of Maharashtra Home Guard.
"The CBI has filed a case against me based on false allegations made by Param Bir Singh. Hence, I have approached the High Court seeking justice," Deshmukh told reporters at the Nagpur airport.
"New allegations of corruption against Param Bir Singh are now surfacing in newspapers and TV channels daily. Many things have come out that make the role of suspended cop Sachin Waze and Param Bir Singh in the case of placing gelatin sticks-laden SUV in the vicinity of Mukesh Ambani's residence and the murder of (Thane businessman) Mansukh Hiran very suspicious. I feel the NIA will also probe his (Singh's) suspicious role in the case," Deshmukh said.
Waze, an accused in the SUV-Hiran murder case, and Singh had made 'serious mistakes' which were unpardonable, the former minister said without elaborating.
"When the NIA started investigating the matter (SUV-Hiran murder case), to avoid any hindrance I had transferred Singh from the post of Mumbai police commissioner. As a revenge for his transfer, Singh made false allegations against me," Deshmukh claimed.
The NCP leader said his decades-long political career has been blemish-free.
"In my 30 years of political career, there has not been a single accusation against me. The CBI has filed a case against me based on false allegations made by Param Bir Singh," he said.
Deshmukh resigned in early April after the high court ordered a CBI probe against him into allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled by Singh. -- PTI
22:13 PM talks extradition of Mallya, Nirav with Boris
The issue of extradition of Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi figured in a virtual summit between India and the United Kingdom on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that economic offenders should be sent back to the country at the earliest for trial.
India has been pressing the United Kingdom to extradite Mallya and Modi to face trial in India for their alleged involvement in cases relating to financial fraud.
At a media briefing, Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Sandeep Chakravorty said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has mentioned that the authorities in the UK will do whatever possible to make sure that the economic offenders are extradited.
"They discussed the extradition of economic offenders and the prime minister (Modi) said such offenders should be sent back to India at the earliest for trial," Chakravorty said.
"Prime Minister Johnson said he faces some legal hurdles because of the nature of the criminal justice system in the UK, but he is aware of it and they will do whatever is possible to make sure that these people are extradited at the earliest," he added.
The joint secretary was replying to a question on the issue.
Mallya has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard.
In May last year, the fugitive businessman lost his appeals in the British Supreme Court against his extradition to India to face money-laundering and fraud charges.
Subsequently, India urged the UK not to consider any request for asylum from Mallya as there appeared to be no ground for his persecution in the country.
Last month, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed off on an order to extradite Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money-laundering charges related to the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
In February, the Westminster Magistrates' Court had concluded that the fugitive diamond merchant has a case to answer before the Indian courts.
To a separate question on whether the UK asked India to take back the Indians who are staying in that country illegally, Chakravorty referred to the migration and mobility partnership inked by the two countries on Tuesday.
He said India is against illegal migration as it 'prejudices legal migration' and indicated that it will take back those who were not given nationality or resident permits.
"The migration and mobility partnership is a very comprehensive document. India never encourages illegal migration, we are against illegal migration because that prejudices legal migration.
"So the migration and mobility partnership is a comprehensive document where we will take back Indian nationals," he said.
"It is our solemn duty. Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress abroad and are not being given nationality or resident permits have to be taken back and I think we will do that.
"I think this agreement systematises that but more than that, it creates opportunities for legal migration and I think that is the aspect we would like to focus on. We would be very much keen to see that the numbers that have been offered by the UK are increased in the future and a large number of Indian professionals find opportunities in the UK," the joint secretary added. -- PTI
21:58 Lankan Navy apprehends 86 Indians for trying to illegally enter its waters
Sri Lankan Navy on Tuesday apprehended 86 Indians on board 11 fishing boats while they were trying to illegally enter its waters, amidst enhanced vigilance against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the island nation.
The Navy on Monday said it has deployed additional naval units to patrol the northern and western sea waters to prevent the illegal entry of migrants, including from India, which could heighten the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The announcement comes as military personnel apprehended 21 Indian nationals on four Indian boats for allegedly trying to enter the island nation in the last fortnight.
'By virtue of special patrols being conducted in the sea area close to the Palk Strait these days to prevent illegal immigrants from entering Sri Lankan waters, the Navy was able to prevent 11 Indian fishing vessels with 86 individuals, from their suspicious attempt to enter into Sri Lankan waters today (4th May),' the Navy said in a statement.
The patrol was carried out in the sea area south of Mannar, it said.
'Upon informing the Indian High Commission and Indian Coast Guard, arrangements are in place to hand over the 11 Indian fishing vessels and 86 persons to Indian authorities for onward action,' the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Navy continues to increase surveillance in northwestern and northern waters to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country by sea, it said.
The Navy has urged the local fishing community to remain vigilant and refrain from having any contact with foreign fishing vessels at sea and to provide information on any smuggling groups.
For the eight consecutive day on Tuesday, the daily number of coronavirus cases reported in Lanka crossed the 1,000-mark.
The country has recorded several cases of the deadly United Kingdom variant.
Health authorities have issued new tough guidelines, including banning wedding receptions and gatherings at religious sites, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the deadly virus has so far claimed 709 lives and infected 113,676 people in the island nation. -- PTI
21:32 Mumbai sees 2,554 new Covid cases; 62 deaths
Mumbai on Tuesday reported 2,554 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 62 deaths, taking the count of infections to 6,61,420 and the toll to 13,470, an official from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
This is the second consecutive day that the country's financial capital has recorded less than 3,000 cases.
As compared to Monday, the number of infections dipped by over 100 and the number of fatalities by 10.
The day before, the city had witnessed 2,662 cases and 78 deaths.
This is also the third consecutive day that the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in the city remained below the 30,000-mark.
According to the BMC, 29,076 COVID-19 swab samples were tested in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of tests administered so far to 55,42,859.
The count of recoveries in the city rose to 5,94,859 after 5,240 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, the official said, adding that Mumbai's recovery rate has improved to 90 per cent.
As per the civic body's update, the city currently has 51,380 active cases.
According to the BMC, the city's average growth rate of COVID-19 cases went down to 0.58 per cent between April 27 to May 3, while the doubling rate improved to 116 days.
The city currently has 98 containment zones in slums and chawls while 753 buildings have been sealed, the BMC said. Mumbai had reported the highest number of 11,163 COVID-19 cases in a day on April 4. -- PTI
IMAGE: A health worker collects swab sample for COVID-19 testing at Andheri, in Mumbai, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Photograph: PTI Photo
20:58 Stalin elected DMK legislative party leader, swearing-in on Friday
DMK president M K Stalin was on Tuesday unanimously elected as legislature party leader and he is to be sworn-in as chief minister on May 7.
"Party president @mkstalin was elected leader of the DMK legislature party," DMK said on its official Twitter handle.
The party said a resolution was adopted unanimously electing Stalin as the legislature party leader.
The meet to elect him was held at headquarters 'Anna Arivalayam' and it witnessed participation of 133 DMK MLAs, which includes eight from alliance parties like the MDMK.
The government meanwhile said in a release that the swearing-in ceremony would be held on May 7.
Stalin had already said that the ceremony shall be held in a simple manner in the Raj Bhavan premises in Chennai.
The DMK top leader is expected to call on Governor Banwarilal Purohit and stake a claim to form the government.
20:54 Strict Covid curbs imposed in 3 Maha districts
Strict curbs will be imposed in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts of western Maharashtra amid the rise in Covid-19 cases, an official said on Tuesday.
State Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil on Tuesday announced a strict eight-day lockdown in Sangli district from the midnight of May 5 in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Patil, who is also the guardian minister of the district, said the region had recorded 1,568 Covid-19 cases and 40 casualties on Monday. There was no option, but to impose a complete lockdown to save lives, he said.
"After discussions with the district administration, it has been decided to go for a complete lockdown for eight days from midnight of May 5. There is shortage of oxygen and medicines in the district, and it is necessary to break the chain," Patil said, adding that only essential services will be exempted.
Meanwhile, the administration in Satara district on Tuesday announced stricter restrictions for a week to contain the spread of coronavirus in the region. As per the fresh curbs, shops selling essential commodities such as milk, groceries, vegetables and fruits will remain closed and only home delivery of these items will be permitted.
Under the earlier guidelines, shops selling essentials were allowed to operate from 7 am to 11 am in the district.
"In view of the rise in Covid-19 cases, a decision has been taken to make the lockdown stricter in the district. As per the new restrictions, shops selling essential commodities such as milk, groceries, vegetables and fruits will remain shut, and only home delivery of these items will be permitted till 11 pm," said Ramchandra Shinde, officiating collector, Satara district.
The restrictions will remain in place in Satara till May 10, it was stated.
Shop-owners selling essential commodities will have to obtain passes for delivery boys from the administration, the official said.
Medical shops will remain open from 8 am to 8 pm, while chemists attached to hospitals will operate round the clock, he said.
"Shops selling agriculture-related products will be allowed to remain open till 11 am," the official added.
Similarly, the administration in Kolhapur has imposed certain curbs for 10 days starting from 11 am on May 5 till May 13, an official said.
The authorities have urged citizens not to step out of their homes unnecessarily and opt for home deliveries of essential commodities, he said.
Satara has been reporting 2,500 Covid-19 cases per day over the last few days and the positivity rate in the district stands at 35 per cent, while Kolhapur is seeing a daily tally of 800 to 1,000 cases.
20:16 91 held in Delhi for hoarding Covid medicines
The Delhi Police has registered over 70 cases in connection with hoarding and black-marketing of medicines and medical equipment amid COVID-19 outbreak and arrested 91 people, officials said on Tuesday.
According to the data tweeted by Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava on Tuesday, 13 oximeters, 18 oxy pumps, two Remdesivir empty injections, three ambulances, nine open pressure regulators, 213 pulse oximeters, seven gas pipes, seven double gauge regulators and 1,591 other things were seized by police during separate raids.
A total of 73 cases were registered in this regard. Of these, 49 cases were registered in connection with black-marketing and hoarding and 24 for cheating, he tweeted.
The top cop also said that 425 Remdesivir injections, 90 Favipiravir tablets, 213 oxygen cylinders, 225 oxygen concentrators and 82 oxygen flow regulators were seized by the security personnel.
As the national capital witnesses a spike in coronavirus cases, the city police has arrested many for allegedly hoarding or selling oxygen cylinders, Remdesivir injections and other medical equipment, at exorbitant prices to COVID-19 patients.
The police had on Monday urged the people to call on COVID-19 helpline number, 011-23469900, to report such incidents of overcharging by ambulance providers, harassment faced at cremation grounds, black-marketing of life-saving drugs, oxygen and medical articles, and cheating and fraud in the name of supplying coronavirus drugs.
The police added that 86 Remdesivir vials, 90 Favipiravir tablets, 170 oxygen concentrators and other medical items seized have been released to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment. -- PTI
19:55 Plea in SC seeks Prez rule in Bengal
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday alleging widespread violence in the aftermath of assembly polls in West Bengal and sought imposition of President's rule, deployment of central forces and a probe by a retired apex court judge into the 'targeted pogrom'.
Earlier in the day, senior advocate and Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia also moved the top court seeking Central Bureau of Investigation probe into violent incidents in the state during and after the poll process.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress party stormed back to power in West Bengal this week.
The new plea has been filed by Tamil Nadu-based 'Indic Collective Trust' through lawyer Suvidutt M S in view of the widespread violence and disruption of law and order in the state pursuant to the Assembly election.
At least six people were killed in post poll violence in different parts of the state including one in Kolkata, police said.
The BJP has alleged that TMC-backed goons have killed a number of its workers, attacked its woman members, vandalised houses, looted shops of the party members and ransacked party offices.
The TMC has denied the charges. The petitioner-Trust has requested for a direction from the apex court to the Centre to deploy central protection forces, including armed forces, for restoration of law and order in West Bengal.
Declare that the Constitutional machinery has broken down in the state of West Bengal within the meaning of Article 356 of the Constitution in order for His Excellency the President to take appropriate action under the said Article, the plea stated.
Under Article 356 of the Constitution, if a state government is unable to function according to Constitutional provisions, the Centre can take direct control of the state machinery.
The plea requested the court to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by retired Justice of the top court to look into involvement of politicians, if any, in the alleged targeted pogrom in West Bengal.
Indic Collective Trust also sought for immediate arrest and prosecution against all individuals involved and responsible for the commission of heinous offences in the aftermath of the assembly elections.
It also demanded directions for setting up or establishing a special court to adjudicate and dispose of matters pertaining to the prosecution of political miscreants, or any individuals involved in the commission of heinous offences.
A day after the ruling party won polls, BJP alleged that four of its workers were killed by TMC workers.
The petitioner claimed that the members and supporters of the opposing political parties have been brutally murdered, with their houses and personal property being destroyed.
There have been instances of heinous crimes including bombing of localities, murders, violations against the modesty of women, riotous looting, kidnapping, arson and destruction of public property, the plea said.
The petition also alluded to reports cite instances of gang rape and physical assault against women who support the opposing parties in the state. ...miscreants have turned the State into a complete lawless zone, it stated, adding that the violence was an organized and premeditated crime against a targeted group of people who exercised their political choice against the ruling party. -- PTI
IMAGE: BJP national president JP Nadda meets family of party worker Abhijeet Sarkar who was killed in post-poll violence, in Kolkata on Tuesday. Photograph: ANI Photo
19:35 Modi-Boris virtual summit brings 1 bn pounds worth of deals
Britain has finalised 1 billion pounds worth of new trade and investment with India, creating over 6,500 jobs in the United Kingdom, to be signed off at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
The investments confirmed by Downing Street on Monday evening form part of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which will set the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
"Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer," Johnson said.
"Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies.
"In the decade ahead, with the help of [the] new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs," he said.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) President and British Indian entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria said the Enhanced Trade Partnership will usher in a new era of UK-India relations.
"It shows the world the strength of our relationship, Bilimoria said. "Paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement and setting the ambition of more than doubling bilateral trade from the current level of GBP 23 billion by 2030.
"As leaders in tech and innovation, this enhanced partnership will unlock opportunities for businesses, boost job creation and growth across the country," he said.
The trade and investment package unveiled by Britain contains over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK, covering areas such as healthcare and technology.
This includes a 240 million pounds investment by the Serum Institute of India in the UK into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over $1 billion. -- PTI
19:14 Mamata holds meeting on post poll violence
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday held a meeting with the top administrative and police officers of the state on the post poll violence in the state, an official said.
In the meeting, which was held at Banerjees Kalighat residence. she took stock of the situation, he told PTI.
Present in the meeting were Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay, Home Secretary H K Dwidevi, Director General of Police P Nirajnayan and Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra, the official said.
The state has witnessed a number of incidents of violence since Sunday when the results of the assembly election was declared and rivals TMC and BJP have traded charges for it.
At least six people were killed in post poll violence in different parts of the state including one in Kolkata, police said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has alleged that Trinamool Congress-backed goons have killed a number of its workers, attacked its woman members, vandalised houses, looted shops of the party members and ransacked party offices.
The TMC has denied the charges.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had telephoned him and expressed anguish over the law and order situation in the state following reports of post-poll violence from several districts.
Banerjee had on Sunday asked people to show restraint and not be involved in any form of violence.
The Union home ministry had on Monday sought a factual report from the government on attacks on opposition workers and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had summoned state home secretary, director general of police and Kolkata Commissioner of Police and directed them to restore peace. -- PTI
18:59 Jaishankar meets UK minister Priti Patel to sign Migration and Mobility Partnership
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met British Home Secretary Priti Patel in London on Tuesday to sign a new Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, which he said would strengthen the 'living bridge' between the two countries.
According to the senior Indian Cabinet minister, the agreement will facilitate legal travel and encourage talent flows between India and the UK.
It is one of the outcomes related to a Virtual Summit between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled for Tuesday.
"A fruitful meeting this morning with Home Secretary Priti Patel. Signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement that would facilitate legal travel and encourage talent flows, Jaishankar tweeted alongside images of his meeting with the British-Indian Cabinet minister.
"The living bridge between India and UK will get stronger as a result," he said.
While details of the agreement have not yet been released, it is expected to enhance student numbers coming into the UK in return for illegal migrants being deported back to India.
The issue of illegal Indian migrants in the UK has long been on the agenda of bilateral negotiations, with both sides failing to agree on the numbers in question.
While the UK maintains around 100,000 Indians are living illegally in the country, India has questioned the veracity of those numbers in the past because that figure is believed to also cover nationals from other parts of the Indian subcontinent.
The two sides were close to signing an agreement on the issue in 2018 before it fell through over this ambiguity.
Jaishankar's meeting with Patel follows an announcement by Downing Street on Monday revealing details of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which has been agreed and is to be signed off between the two Prime Ministers.
The UK government said it has finalised 1-billion pound worth of trade and investment with India and that the ETP sets an ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Jaishankar, meanwhile, is in London for the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers Meeting on the invitation of host UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and will join other guest nations at a working dinner later on Tuesday evening to agree on action on critical issues such as threats to global democracy. -- PTI
18:45 NCW asks Bengal DGP to probe attacks on women
The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday said it has taken suo motu cognisance of videos purportedly showing women being beaten up in West Bengal's Nandigram after the assembly election in the state.
West Bengal was in the throes of widespread violence on Monday that allegedly left several Bharatiya Janata Party workers dead and injured in clashes, and shops being looted, prompting the Centre to seek a factual report from the state government on the incidents of attack on opposition workers.
In a letter to the director general of police (DGP) of the state, the NCW has sought immediate action against those accused in the violence, and demanded a time-bound investigation in the matter.
'The National Commission for Women (NCW) has come across several Twitter posts wherein some goons can be seen beating up women in Nandigram, West Bengal, post elections. The commission is deeply perturbed and has viewed this incident seriously as it questions the safety and security of women in the state,' a statement from the commission said.
'Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to Director General of Police, West Bengal, to take immediate action and arrest the accused persons without any delay,' it added.
A team headed by the NCW chairperson will be visiting West Bengal for further inquiry into the matter, the statement said. -- PTI
IMAGE: BJP chief J P Nadda meets family of party a worker who was killed in post-poll violence, in Sitala Tala Lane, Beliaghata, Kolkata. Photograph: ANI
18:14 Centre slams report on aid being unused
The Govt of India reacts to media reports of foreign aid lying unutilised in Delhi. "A media report alleges that while the 1st consignment of COVID19 assistance arrived in India on April 25, 2021, Centre took 7 days to frame SOP of distributing these life-saving medical supplies. The story misinterprets factual information and is totally misleading."
Meanwhile, another IAF aircraft arrives in Chennai from UK in a short span of a few hours. This one is carrying another 450 oxygen cylinders.
18:12 Delhi to receive 244 T of oxygen tomorrow
Delhi will receive 244 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) on Wednesday and with this, the total amount delivered to the city in 24 hours will be nearly 450 tonnes, the railways said.
On Tuesday morning, 'Oxygen Express' trains from Hapa in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal delivered 85 tonnes and 120 tonnes of LMO to the national capital.
The railways said two more trains, one from Mundra in Gujarat and another from Hapa, carrying 140 tonnes and 103.6 tonnes of LMO, respectively, will reach Delhi in the early hours of Wednesday.
"With this, 'Oxygen Express' trains would deliver nearly 450 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen to Delhi alone in 24 hours, counting from deliveries that took place in the early hours of today," it said.
The total daily quota of oxygen for the city is 590 tonnes. So far, the Indian Railways has delivered around 1,585 tonnes of LMO in 103 tankers to various states. Twenty-seven 'Oxygen Express' trains have already completed their journey and six more carrying around 463 tonnes of LMO in 33 tankers are on way to their destinations, the railways said. Telangana has received its second 'Oxygen Express' carrying 60.23 tonnes of LMO from Angul in Odisha.
Lucknow will receive on Tuesday 79 tonnes from oxygen Bokaro in Jharkhand. Of the 1,585 tonnes, Maharashtra got 174 tonnes, Uttar Pradesh 492 tonnes, Madhya Pradesh 179 tonnes, Delhi 464 tonnes, Haryana 150 tonnes and Telangana 127 tonnes. PTI
17:58 Losers and gainers as Sensex plummets
After a gap-up opening, the 30-share BSE index succumbed to profit-taking in afternoon trade to finish at 48,253.51, down 465.01 points or 0.95 per cent.
On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty slumped 137.65 points or 0.94 per cent to close at 14,496.50.
Dr Reddy's was the top loser among the Sensex constituents, retreating 2.26 per cent, followed by Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, HDFC twins, Infosys, M&M and Bharti Airtel.
On the other hand, ONGC, Bajaj Finance, TCS, SBI, Kotak Bank and Nestle India were among the gainers, climbing up to 1.86 per cent.
Family members of Covid patients wait at an O2 filling centre
17:48 Give Delhi 700 MT of O2 immediately: HC to Centre
The Delhi HC directs the Centre to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for failing to comply with their order on supply of oxygen to Delhi.
"You can put your head in the sand like an ostrich, we will not,: HC tells Centre on shortage of oxygen in Delhi to treat COVID-19 patients.
HC rejects the Centre's submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 MT of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.
Supreme Court's April 30 order shows it directed Centre to provide 700 MT of oxygen and not just 490 MT. "There's an SC order, now we also say Centre will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means," HC orally observes.
17:32 French oxygen plant installed in Delhi hospital
Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia visits Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital where an oxygen plant is being installed.
He says," We are thankful to France that they have sent us an oxygen plant which is being installed here. This will be functional by tomorrow."
Delhi HC tells Centre that we need compliance of Supreme Court's order relating to oxygen supply to Delhi. "Contempt may be the last thing but it is there. Enough is enough. There is no way that you won't supply 700 MT right away. We won't hear anything except compliance" says HC.
The Delhi government has said that it has been getting only 40 per cent of its oxygen requirement.
17:25 'Post-poll violence is Didi's idea of democracy'
BJP chief JP Nadda in South 24 Parganas, WB: "After the results, TMC goons went to the house of Haran Adhikari (BJP worker), vandalised it, threatened women and children, attacked them, and broke his wife's teeth. They then dragged Adhikari out of his house and beat him up. He died.
"Mamata ji, what your party did after winning, speaks about your belief in democracy. TMC workers and leaders are saying that all these incidents on social media are fake. You've seen how Haran Adhikari's wife and son were crying. I request media to tell truth to the nation."
State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, national general secretary Bhupender Yadav and state general secretary Locket Chatterjee were also present.
JP Nadda at a BJP booth worker's home which was vandalised
16:56 Violence in Bengal like Partition: Nadda
BJP president J P Nadda on Tuesday said the widespread post-poll violence in West Bengal is reminiscent of the atrocities people had to face during the country's Partition, and exhorted party workers in the state to democratically fight the "savagery".
Nadda, who arrived on a two-day visit to Bengal, said BJP workers across India have expressed solidarity with their activists in the state, who are "facing violent attacks".
"We are committed to democratically fight this ideological battle and the activities of the TMC, which is full of intolerance," he told reporters at the NSC Bose International Airport.
"I had heard of the immense atrocities committed during the Partition, but I have never seen such post-poll violence that is occurring in West Bengal after the declaration of election results (on May 2)," the senior BJP leader said. Nadda said he will visit the residences of BJP workers "killed" in attacks in South 24 Parganas district and speak to their kin.
"We want to give this message that crores of BJP workers across the country are with them," he said. The BJP has claimed at least six of its workers and supporters, including a woman, were killed in violence allegedly unleashed by the Trinamool Congress following its victory in the assembly elections. PTI
NCW chief Rekha Sharma
16:33 NCW team to visit Nandigram
Taking suo motu cognizance of violence against women in Nandigram, West Bengal, National Commission for Women demands inquiry into the matter. In a letter to West Bengal DGP, Chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought immediate action against the accused persons. A team headed by Chairperson Rekha Sharma will be visiting the state for further inquiry.
16:29 BJP polling agent's home vandalised in WB
Several shops and residences allegedly vandalised by TMC workers in Gopal Nagar area of South 24 Parganas. "On May 2, TMC goons attacked my home as my husband was BJP's polling agent. They even threatened us to sell our property and leave this place," says Shefali Das.
16:28 Lions in Hyderabad zoo test +ve for Covid
In perhaps the first such reported incident, eight Asiatic lions in the zoo here have tested positive for COVID-19 after their saliva samples were thoroughly examined by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, Rakesh Mishra, advisor of the premier research institute said on Tuesday.
"The saliva samples of the Asiatic lions were thoroughly tested and they turned out to be positive. As they were living closely it must have been spread among them," Mishra told P T I.
"Now we are developing a method to test the samples of their faeces. This method would be useful in future as every time it is not possible to collect saliva samples from wild animals," he added. He further said the virus which is present in the lions at the Nehru Zoological Park here is not any new variant.
"They have mild symptoms and they are eating well and they are fine," he said. Replying to a query, he said there is every possibility of animals contracting the virus as they are also mammals like human beings. Mishra further said these animals must have got infected through zoo-keeping staff.
16:08 Pawar to work for opposition unity: NCP
Against the backdrop of the results of the West Bengal assembly polls wherein the local TMC romped home by defeating its close challenger BJP, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday said its chief Sharad Pawar will try to form a united front of opposition parties, especially of regional outfits.
Speaking to reporters, NCP national spokesman and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik referred to the statement of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee who reportedly said that the unity of the Opposition is necessary.
"Sharad Pawar was also trying to unite all opposition parties before the Bengal elections. In the next few days, Pawar will work for the unity of opposition parties, especially of regional parties,'' Malik said.
When asked about the post-poll violence in Bengal, he said such incidents need to be condemned. "West Bengal was under the charge of the election commission for the last 100 days. Reports of violence came during the poll campaigning as well...Responsibility needs to be fixed. Violence during the campaign and after the poll result needs to be condemned," he said.
Targeting the BJP, Malik said the saffron party should stop its politics of hate and allow the Mamata Banerjee government to function. Malik also lashed out at Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil for his comments against state minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and demanded his apology.
He said the court should take suo motu (on its own) cognizance of the comments and take action. Patil had reportedly reminded Bhujbal that he was out on bail in a (money laundering) case when the latter praised Banerjee and slammed the BJP on Sunday. "It is true that Bhujbal 's case is sub-judice. But what exactly did Chandrakant Patil want to convey when he made those remarks?' Malik questioned. PTI
15:33 Nadda in WB to visit violence-affected homes
BJP national president JP Nadda, in Kolkata: "Incidents which we saw after the results of the West Bengal poll shock us and make us worried. I had heard of such incidents during India's partition. We had never seen such intolerance after the results of a poll, in independent India.
"We're committed to fight this ideological battle and the activities of TMC which is full of intolerance. We are ready to fight democratically. I will go to South 24 Parganas now and visit the houses of those workers later whose lives ended a few hours after the results."
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him and expressed his "serious anguish and concern" at the alarmingly worrisome law and order situation in the state following the culmination of the assembly elections.
"PM called and expressed his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law & order situation @MamataOfficial I share grave concerns @PMOIndia given that violence vandalism, arson loot and killings continue unabated. Concerned must act in overdrive to restore order," tweeted Dhankhar.
15:13 Amma canteen in Chennai vandalised
An Amma Canteen, the AIADMK's celebrated subsidised canteens for the poor, has been vandalised. "Today we got a message, Amma canteen was vandalized in Chennai. We got to know that 2 people were involved in this. These two are just ordinary DMK cadres, they don't hold a post in DMK. We ourselves gave a complaint about these two and they were arrested," Ma Subramanian, DMK MLA.
The concept of the Amma canteen named after the late J Jayalalithaa is to provide cheap, nutritious, local food to the poor. The scheme has been copied by Maharashtra as well with the establishment of the Shiv Bhojan where a full meal costs Rs 10.
15:05 India produces 1.05 cr Remdesivir vials a month
The production of Remdesivir has gone up nearly three times to 1.05 crore vials per month as the government works hard to enhance the availability of the antiviral drug in the country, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviaya said on Tuesday.
The production capacity of the drug has crossed 1.05 crore vials per month as on May 4, a nearly three-fold increase from 37 lakh vials per month on April 12 this year, Mandaviya said in a tweet. The minister said the antiviral drug is now being produced across 57 plants in the country compared to 20 facilities a month ago.
Production of Remdesivir is being enhanced and in the few days, India has seen the manufacturing capacity of the antiviral drug go up by three times, Mandaviya said.
"Soon, we will be able to cater to increase in demand," he added. Mandaviya also noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is trying hard to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for Remdesivir has gone up manifold in the country amid a massive spike in COVID infections.
The government has already waived customs duty on Remdesivir, its raw materials and other components used to make the antiviral drug in order to help augment domestic availability and reduce the cost of the injection. On April 11, in view of increased demand for Remdesivir, the Centre banned the export of the injection and its APIs till the situation improves.
Various drug companies have also cut the prices of Remdesivir injection following intervention of the government. India's total tally of COVID cases has crossed the 2-crore mark with over 50 lakh infections being added in just 15 days.
The tally rose to 2,02,82,833 with 3,57,229 new infections being reported in a day while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday. PTI
14:52 TMC should establish peace: Raut
A day after BJP office in Asansol was allegedly vandalised by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday said since the TMC won the recently concluded assembly elections by a huge mandate, the maximum responsibilty goes to the party to calm the people down and establish peace.
"Mamata ji's party won the election by huge majority. Therefore, the maximum responsibility is that of the TMC leaders to calm down the people, make them understand and establish peace," said Raut.
Hinting at the Cetral government, Raut stated that since Mamata Banerjee tendered her resignation yesterday, the law and order is in the hands of the Central Police Forces, adding that if any untowardly incident happens in the state, then everybody should take responsibilty for it.
"Currently the state is under the control of the Central Police Force, no government has been established there yet. Yesterday Mamta ji has submitted her resignation. The Election Commission and the Central Force which has been sent there (West Bengal) by the Centre have law and order in their hands. If something happens then everyone has to take the responsibility."
Hours after BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh warned West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to stop violence in the state over the attack, Raut further questioned that if such war of words continues between both the sides then what will happen to the law and order in the state?
"If similar statements keep coming from both the sides, then what will happen to the law and order. Who will appeal for peace? The central government which is the greatest, the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and JP Nadda who is going to West Bengal, should request the people to stay calm and maintain peace," said Raut.
Raut's remarks came after BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh had earlier in the day warned West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to stop violence in the state. -- ANI
14:40 PM calls guv on post-poll violence in Bengal
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him and expressed his "serious anguish and concern" at the alarmingly worrisome law and order situation in the state following the culmination of the assembly elections.
"PM called and expressed his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law & order situation @MamataOfficial I share grave concerns @PMOIndia given that violence vandalism, arson loot and killings continue unabated. Concerned must act in overdrive to restore order," tweeted Dhankhar.
He also said that concerned authorities must act in overdrive to restore order.
Earlier in the day, the West Bengal Governor directed the police and the Kolkata Commissioner to end "senseless political violence, vandalism, arson, killings and intimidation that shames democracy".
He further stated that the Bengali diaspora across the globe has expressed concern over the alarming lawlessness in the state.
BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta has also appealed to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court to take suo moto action directing the administration to stop the wave of political recriminations in West Bengal following the assembly elections.
Violence was reported from Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar on Monday. BJP's party office was vandalised in Nandigram.
On Sunday evening, mediapersons were assaulted by unknown miscreants in Haldia.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress won 213 seats in the just concluded West Bengal assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party garnered 77 seats in the 294-seat state assembly. However, elections for two seats in Murshidabad are postponed due to the demise of candidates due to COVID. -- ANI
14:37 Elgar case: HC notice to NIA on medical bail plea of Stan Swamy
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to file a reply to the medical bail plea of tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, an accused in the Elgar-Parishad Maoist links case.
A bench of Justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale also directed the Maharashtra government authorities to file a report on Swamy's current health condition by May 15.
Swamy, 84, had approached the HC challenging a special NIA court's decision in March this year when the latter rejected his plea for bail sought on medical grounds and merits of the case.
Swamy's counsel and senior advocate Mihir Desai told the bench that the Jesuit priest was arrested in October 2020 and has since been at the Taloja prison hospital.
"He is in the advanced stage of Parkinson's disease. He has lost the ability to hear. Given the raging COVID19 pandemic, our request is to at least grant him temporary bail," Desai said.
The bench then said Swamy was "certainly entitled to bail", and asked what were the charges against Swamy and at what stage was the Elgar-Parishad case hearing before the special NIA court. Desai said Swamy had been charged under several stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
BCCI secy Jay Shah
13:58 Didn't wish to compromise on safety of people involved in IPL: BCCI Secretary
The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League has been postponed as the country battles the second COVID-19 wave. BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has made it clear that safety of each and every person involved with the league was the priority.
Speaking to ANI, Shah said that keeping an eye on the current COVID-19 situation, the BCCI and IPL Governing Council decided to postpone the league.
"The BCCI and the IPL GC have unanimously decided to postpone the 2021 season till further notice. We don't wish to compromise the safety of the players, the people involved, the employees, the groundsmen, the match officials, every single person involved," he said.
13:55 Whites enslaving brown person: Kangana reacts
Kangana Ranaut reacts to Twitter permanently blocking her account for 'hateful and abusive behaviour'.
"Twitter has only proved my point they're Americans and by birth, a white person feels entitled to enslave a brown person, they want to tell you what to think, speak or do. I have many platforms I can use to raise my voice, including my own art in the form of cinema.
Twitter said today that Kangana's Twitter account has been permanently suspended after a controversial tweet related to the post-election result violence in Bengal. The actor's account repeatedly violated Twitter policy on "hateful conduct and abusive behavior", the social media site said today.
Kangana added, "But my heart goes out to the people of this nation who have been tortured, enslaved, and censored for thousands of years, and still, there is no end to the suffering."
13:44 Delhi vaccinates at this massive centre
The BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital launches a vaccination centre at Radha Soami Satsang Beas, Pusa Road. "This is one of the largest vaccination centres in India. Our target is to vaccinate 10,000 people in a day," says Abhay Soi, Chairman & Managing Director, Max Healthcare.
There is a crippling shortage of ambulances across India
13:34 Maha govt deploys 50 Trax ambulances in Nanded
The Maharashtra government has deployed 50 Trax ambulances in Nanded, manufactured by Pune-based automaker Force Motors, to strengthen the healthcare delivery system and fight the spread of COVID-19.
The vehicles were flagged off on May 1, and will be used in ferrying patients from all parts of Nanded district in the state, a release said. The Force Trax Ambulance is a rugged and reliable patient transport ambulance with all terrain capability.
This fully factory-built ambulance is built on an all new modular next-gen utility vehicle platform with new body and interiors, Force Motors said. The ambulance complies with all the latest regulations and is ideal for state government health departments, government hospitals, emergency service providers and corporate, it said.
13:32 Fight Covid, don't build PM's house now: Priyanka
Slamming the Centre over its Central Vista project, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said that at a time when people are grappling with the shortage of oxygen and vaccines in the country, it would be better if the government deploys all resources in saving lives instead of building a new house for the prime minister.
Her attack on the government came over reports that the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has informed a government-appointed expert panel that the construction of the prime minister's residence under the ambitious Central Vista project will be completed by December 2022.
"At a time when the people of the country are struggling with shortage of oxygen, vaccines, hospital beds, medicines, it would be better if the government deploys all resources in saving the lives of the people, instead of building a new house for the PM at Rs 13,000 crore," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
"Such expenses send a message to the public that the priorities of the government are in some other direction," the Congress general secretary said.
The CPWD, which is the project developer, informed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) that the expansion of the Parliament building and the construction of a new Parliament building will be done by November 2022 and the prime minister's residence will be constructed by December 2022.
The Ministry of Environment has already granted the clearance for the expansion and renovation of the existing Parliament building, which is part of the Rs 13,450 crore Central Vista Redevelopment Project.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista -- the power corridor of the country -- envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a Common Central Secretariat and the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president. The Opposition has been strongly opposing the project, demanding that all resources should be deployed in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI
Aid from Israel arrives in India
13:24 Foreign aid for battling Covid continues to pour in
Amid the unprecedented rise in coronavirus cases in India, COVID-19 assistance, in form of oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical aid continued to come from countries around the world at the beginning of May, as the infections in the country reached the grim mark of 20 million cases on Tuesday.
A total of seven ISO tankers with 20 MT Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) each arrived from United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Mundra Port in Gujarat today to help augment India's oxygen availability in the fight against the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
The fifth in a series of consignments carrying 545 oxygen concentrators also arrived from the United States on Tuesday.A shipment of 282 oxygen cylinders, 60 oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies from Kuwaiti reached India on Tuesday to help the country fight the second wave of coronavirus.
The first batch of 900 oxygen cylinders offered by the British Oxygen Company was airlifted by Indian Air Force (IAF) to India on Monday. The British Oxygen Company has offered 5000 oxygen cylinders to India to help the country in its fight against rapidly spreading second wave of COVID-19.
13:13 SRH team told to stay in room
Update on Wridddhiman Saha testing positive.
Sunrisers Hyderabad's wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has tested positive for COVID-19.
"He had fever and had been in isolation for the past five days. We are also being asked to stay in the room," a source told PTI.
This comes after Wednesday's IPL game between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals was postponed after CSK bowling coach L Balaji tested positive for the virus. On Monday, the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore was also postponed after KKR bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy tested positive for the infection. PTI
13:10 BCCI suspends IPL 2021 indefinitely
BCCI has indefinitely suspended IPL 2021 after SRH's Wriddhiman Saha and Amit Mishra tested positive for Covid-19. Amit Mishra also has tested positive as per reports. Earlier, Balaji had also tested positive. The SRH team is in isolation since yesterday.
The BCCI has also received a lot of flak for continuing to hold the IPL as India struggles to survive in the midst of a raging second wave of Covid infections.
12:59 Delhi govt to provide aid to auto, taxi drivers
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that the Delhi government will provide free ration to 72 lakh ration card holders in the city for the next two months and financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers to help people tide over the COVID-19 crisis.
However, he said, this does not mean that the lockdown imposed in the national capital to break the chain of transmission will last for two months.
Kejriwal said he hoped the situation in Delhi will improve and lockdown will not be needed.
The Delhi government provided financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to each of 1.56 lakh auto and taxi drivers during last year's lockdown and will do so again to help them, Kejriwal said.
The national capital is under lockdown till May 10 due to a steep rise in number of COVID-19 cases. PTI
12:28 Plea in HC to waive trials of foreign vaccines
A PIL in the Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a direction to the Centre to waive clinical trials of foreign vaccines so that they are available for use without any delay and to give priority in vaccination to those who have already taken the first dose.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh, however, said it will hear the matter on May 13 as issues raised in the petition are already being considered by the Supreme Court which has also passed a detailed order regarding the same on April 30. The court decided to adjourn the matter after the central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the Union Health Ministry, said a similar issue was before the Supreme Court and it has issued directions to the Centre regarding the same. Ahluwalia also told the bench that the apex court was going to hear the matter again on May 10.
The plea, by a lawyer, said India should not just depend on the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd -- manufacturer of COVISHIELD -- and Bharat Biotech International Ltd -- which makes COVAXIN -- to fight COVID-19 as they might not be able to cater to everyone and therefore, foreign vaccines should also be put to use. Petitioner Nazia Parveen has also urged the court to direct the Centre and Delhi government to add more vaccination centres and upgrade the infrastructure for streamlined vaccination. Advocate Sanjeev Sagar, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that there was a huge difference in the number of people who took the first dose of vaccine and those who took the second dose. -- PTI
12:07 SC strikes down 'unconstitutional' WB Housing Act
Update: The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down West Bengal's law on regulating the real estate sector in the state, and said it was unconstitutional as the statute encroached upon the Centre's Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act,.
A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act (HIRA), 2017 is more or less identical to the Centre's RERA and hence repugnant to Parliament's law.
The state law has encroached upon domain of Parliament, the verdict said. It, however, said that homebuyers', who purchased properties under the state law before today's verdict, will not have to worry as their registration and other acts would remain valid.
The judgement came on a plea of Forum For People's Collective Efforts' , an homebuyers association, challenging the constitutional validity of the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, 2017, which is more or less identical to the Centre's RERA. PTI
11:26 Just 4L people in 18-44 age group vaccinated
More than four lakh beneficiaries, belonging to the age group of 18-44 years have been vaccinated till date since the third phase of the vaccination drive commenced on Saturday, informed the government on Tuesday morning. 4,06,339 people were vaccinated across 12 states and union territories as on May 3.
According to the official release by the union health ministry, Chhattisgarh administered 1,025 vaccine doses, Delhi - 40,028, Gujarat - 1,08,191, Haryana - 55,565, Jammu and Kashmir -5,587, Karnataka - 2,353, Maharashtra - 73,714, Odisha - 6,802, Punjab - 635, Rajasthan - 76,151, Tamil Nadu - 2,744 and Uttar Pradesh - 33,544."As on Day-108 of the vaccination drive (May 3, 2021), 17,08,390 vaccine doses were given," it added.
"The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 15.89 crore today," said the health ministry.
Cumulatively, 15,89,32,921 vaccine doses have been administered through 23,35,822 sessions so far, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Tuesday.
The ministry further stated that ten states accounted for 66.94 per cent of the cumulative doses given so far in the country.
India recovery rate now stands at 81.91 per cent with 3,20,289 recoveries being reported in the last 24 hours. Country's cumulative recoveries recorded is now 1,66,13,292.
11:00 Rahul pushes for all-India lockdown to tame Covid
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the Central government over the surge in COVID-19 deaths and said that full lockdown is the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He further accused that the Centre's inaction is killing many innocent people.
"GOI doesn't get it. The only way to stop the spread of Corona now is a full lockdown- with the protection of NYAY for the vulnerable sections. GOI's inaction is killing many innocent people," the Congress leader tweeted.
Last month in his address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the state governments to use lockdowns only as the last option and focus only on creating micro-containment zones.
Meanwhile, India registered a slight dip in COVID-19 cases as it registered 3,57,229 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.
10:52 Yashraj to bear costs to vaccinate 30,000 workers
Yashraj Films, through The Yash Chopra Foundation, will bear all costs for procurement and immunization to vaccinate all 30,000 registered workers in the Mumbai film industry.
Yashraj Films has asked CM Uddhav Thackeray for permission to buy Covid-19 vaccines for the 30,000 workers.
The foundation will bear all the costs for setting up the vaccination infrastructure.
Now, for the government nod and of course, the scarce vaccines.
10:43 Lockdown flouters made to do sit ups as punishment in Ambala
Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Haryana, violaters of lockdown restrictions in Ambala were made to do sit-ups on the street by the police as punishment on Tuesday morning.
The police said that the violators were later let off with a warning.
They were also asked to say 'Lockdown ka paalan karenge', while doing the situps.
The Haryana government on Monday imposed a complete lockdown for seven days, starting from May 3.Haryana Home and Health Minister Anil Vij took to Twitter to inform about the restriction and said, "From May 3, there will be a 7-day long lockdown in the entire state."
Speaking to the media, he said, "A complete lockdown for 7 days will help break the chain of COVID-19 infection. During the lockdown, essential services will be allowed."
10:34 Mumbai reports lowest single-day Covid cases
Mumbai on Monday logged 2,624 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, registering its lowest one-day spike in over 5 weeks.
The number of Covid tests also saw a sharp dip - from a daily average of 50,000 to 38,000 on Sunday, according to official data.
The city's death count stands at 13,372 with 78 new deaths being reported in 24 hours. Mumbai's total number of infections reached 6,58,621 on Monday.
Mumbai had reported 2,377 new coronavirus cases on March 17. After that, the daily figures spiralled to thousands of cases per day as the more dangerous second wave of the pandemic gripped Maharashtra and rest of the country.
Last month, Mumbai was among the worst-hit cities in the country.
The 5th consignment of US aid reaches Delhi
10:25 Where are the 300 tonnes of emergency Covid-19 supplies that have landed in Delhi in last five days?
No domestic flights have taken off to carry the supplies to other parts of India, nor have states been informed about their share by the Centre. Read the report here.
10:14 Slater leaves IPL bio-bubble, lands in Maldives: Report
Cricket-turned-commentator Michael Slater has left the Indian Premier League's bio-bubble and flown to Maldives after Australia suspended flights from India till May 15 because of the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases there.
The Australian newspaper reported that Slater has escaped to Maldives after the government made it clear that Australians, who are engaged in the IPL will have to make their own arrangements to return.
It was after reaching Maldives that Slater launched a scathing Twitter attack on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not allowing its citizens to return from India, calling the travel ban a "disgrace".
"If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It's a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect," Slater had tweeted.
Morrison said Slater's comments were "absurd".
"No, that's obviously absurd. This is about getting more people home safely, preventing the third wave here in Australia," Morrison told the 'Nine Network'.
"Every system is going to face its stresses and I'm not going to break the system. What I'm going to do is take proportionate action to protect the system so I can bring more Australians home and keep Australians safe for the longer term," he said.
Australia has shut its borders and not allowing any commercial flights from India because of the massive COVID-19 surge there. India is currently recording over 3 lakh cases everyday and more than 3,000 daily deaths.
Threatening a five-year jail term or hefty fine, the Australian government temporarily barred its citizens from entering the country if they happened to be in India within 14 days of their intended arrival.
Three Australian players left the IPL before the travel ban came into force. As many as 14 Australian players were competing in the IPL. -- PTI
10:06 India's COVID-19 tally crosses 2-cr mark
India's total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 2 crore mark with 3,57,229 infections being reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday.
The total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country has climbed to 2,02,82,833.
Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 34,47,133 comprising 17 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 81.91 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1, 66,13,292, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.10 per cent, the data stated.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of 1.50 crore on April 19.
According to the ICMR, 29,33,10,779 samples have been tested up to May 3 with 16,63,742 samples being tested on Monday.
09:48 Bill and Melinda Gates divorce after 27 years of marriage
Bill and Melinda Gates said that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage.
The Microsoft co-founder and his wife, who launched the world's largest charitable foundation, said they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the two said in a statement posted on Twitter.
"We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," the statement said.
Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, 65, is the world's fourth-richest person.
Melinda Gates, 56, is a former Microsoft manager who's become an outspoken advocate on global health and equality for women in her role co-running the foundation.
09:27 Serum Institute to invest 240mn Pounds In UK
The Serum Institute of India will invest GBP 240 million in the United Kingdom to expand its vaccine business and set up a new sales office creating a large number of jobs, Downing Street has announced as part of plans for a GBP 1 billion India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership creating around 6,500 jobs in Britain. The Pune-based vaccine manufacturer is among a list of nearly 20 Indian companies across sectors such as healthcare, biotech and software services to announce significant investment plans in the UK.
It was also revealed that the Serum Institute of India has started phase one trials in the UK of a nasal vaccine against coronavirus.
"The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over USD 1 billion, GBP 200 million of which will be invested into the UK," Downing Street said on Monday in reference to SII's plans for the UK market.
"Serum's investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases. Serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC," it said.
In the field of healthcare, another Indian investment highlight includes GBP 59 million by biotech firm Global Gene Corp over the next five years.
It will create 110 highly skilled jobs in the UK, mostly based in the R&D centre at Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge, which is the site of the Human Genome Project.
"I'm very pleased that Global Gene Corp has decided to join the legions of Indian companies investing in the UK, boosting our healthcare sector and driving economic growth," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a statement.
Sumit Jamuar, Chairman & CEO of Global Gene Corp, said the ambition with the investment is to make an "exponential leap" into the healthcare of the future through genomics -- from discovering the next generation of drugs to precision medicine a task "even more critical" in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The UK is at the forefront of the genomics revolution with her Genome UK strategy. We are delighted to be investing in cutting-edge capabilities at the intersection of genomics and machine learning to achieve our vision," he said.
Invest India CEO Deepak Bagla said in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Ayushmaan Bharat and National Healthcare Mission, "we truly believe that the genomic revolution will have an impact on the lives of billions. Global Gene Corp will make this revolution a reality".
Other Indian investments announced on Monday ahead of a virtual summit between Johnson and Modi on Tuesday include Q-Rich Creations at GBP 54 million, creating 667 UK jobs; Wipro at GBP 16 million, creating 500 jobs; I2 Agro at GBP 30 million, creating 465 jobs; Mastek creating 357 jobs; and Sterlite Technologies at GBP 15 million, creating 150 jobs.
09:19 US flights with COVID-19 aid to India delayed
United States Air Force flights that were scheduled to leave for India with essential life-saving supplies have been delayed till Wednesday due to maintenance issues, the Pentagon said on Monday.
We just received word from USTRANSCOM that the flights for India are "delayed until at least Wednesday due to maintenance issues", a Pentagon spokesperson said.
So far, only two US Air Force flights have landed in India.
Three US Air Force C-5 Super Galaxies and one C-17 Globemaster were scheduled to leave for India Monday to deliver critical supplies amid a surge in coronavirus cases there.
Officials, however, did not say how this would impact the emergency aid supplies to India, in particular life-saving oxygen cylinders and concentrators.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that the US will continue to fly its planes with health care supplies for India, which has faced one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the world.
Three US Air Force C-5 Super Galaxies and one C-17 Globemaster are continuing to deliver critical healthcare supplies to India, which is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19, the Pentagon said.
"We continue to assist the government and the people of India as they continue to struggle with their COVID outbreak," Kirby said.
US Transportation Command and its components continue to demonstrate their capability to provide immediate assistance to a partner nation, he said.
The United States will continue to assess the situation, he said.
"We'll stay in touch with our counterparts in India, should there be a need for additional help. The (defense) secretary was very clear in speaking to his counterpart in India that we'll continue to do whatever we can to help," Kirby said.
Meanwhile, Senator Amy Klobuchar said the tragic crisis in India is a reminder that "we can only beat COVID-19 if we beat it everywhere".
The United States, she said "is stepping up and providing relief and aid to our ally in this time of tremendous and heart-breaking need".
Congressman Alan Lowenthal said the Biden Administration has taken early positive steps but the scale of the tragedy in India is simply unbearable.
"We must do more to facilitate access to vaccines. We have a duty to save lives and to reduce the risk of terrifying new variants," he said.
"The COVID crisis in India is heartbreaking and could have huge implications for the rest of the world. The fight against this pandemic is a global one and we must do our part to help combat this surge and save lives," Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton said in a tweet.
"India is in crisis. President Biden's decision to send supplies and vaccine doses to India is a necessary one. But we must also eliminate vaccine patents -- and work to expand vaccine production and availability globally. We must work to save lives everywhere," Congresswoman Cori Bush tweeted. -- PTI
09:17 Former J-K Governor Jagmohan passes away
Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Jagmohan passed away after a brief illness in Delhi on Monday.
He was 94.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday condoled the death of the former Governor and termed his death as 'monumental loss for the nation'.
Condoling his death, PM Modi in a tweet said, "Jagmohan Ji's demise is a monumental loss for our nation. He was an exemplary administrator and a renowned scholar. He always worked towards the betterment of India.
His ministerial tenure was marked by innovative policy making. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti."
Born on September 25, 1927, Jagmohan Malhotra (born 25 September 1927), better known as Jagmohan was a former civil servant who held several key posts in his career, including the Governorship of Jammu and
Kashmir and Goa and Lieutenant Governorship of Delhi.
Jagmohan served two terms as Jammu and Kashmir Governor - from 1984 to 89, and then from January to May 1990.
He was also elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1996 and served as the Union Minister for Urban Development and Tourism.
He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1971, Padma Bhushan in 1977 and Padma Vibhushan in 2016. -- ANI
08:58 Israel to send medical equipment to India
Israel will be sending life-saving equipment to India throughout the week to assist it in the fight against coronavirus, a statement issued said.
The medical equipment to be sent to India include oxygen generators and respirators.
The equipment will be delivered through a series of flights throughout the week starting Tuesday, the press release said.
"India is one of Israel's closest and most important friends. We stand with India, particularly during these difficult times India is experiencing, and are sending life-saving equipment to our Indian brothers and sisters," Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said in the statement.
"Israel and India share strategic ties that span a wide range of political, security, and economic issues. India is one of the most important countries for Israel broadly in the international arena and particularly in Asia-Pacific," the Foreign Minister said, adding that the emergency assistance is an "expression of deep friendship" between both countries.
He thanked all those who cooperated in arranging the comprehensive package.
The economic division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is said to have roped in key economic bodies, including the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce, Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturers' Association of Israel, Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce and the Israel Export Institute for the aid package.
Separately, Amdocs has announced to donate 150 oxygen generators, which will be sent to India as part of the Israeli aid package, the press statement said.
The JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) is said to have also joined Israel's aid efforts and will donate oxygen generators and other equipment.
"We recall that at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis last year, India mobilised to assist Israel and within this framework approved the air delivery of masks, gloves and raw materials for medicines to Israel and also helped arrange the repatriation of Israeli citizens," the statement said. -- PTI
08:18 Clamp nationwide lockdown: Dr Fauci to India
Expressing concern over surging coronavirus cases in India, America's top public health expert and White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Monday recommended a nationwide lockdown, massive vaccination drive and the construction of a large number of makeshift hospitals.
"It is quite obvious to everyone that the situation in India is extremely serious," Dr Fauci, who is considered one of the world's top infectious disease specialists, told PTI in an interview.
"When you have so many people getting infectedthe lack of the capability to take adequate care of everyone; when you have shortages of hospital beds and oxygen and shortages of supplies, that really becomes a very desperate situation. Which is the reason why we feel it's important for the rest of the world to help out, to the extent they can," Dr Fauci said.
Keeping a close tab on developments in India, given that US President Joe Biden has geared up the administration to help India, The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said there are certain things that India can do immediately, mid-term and long-term basis.
"First of all right now, they should start getting as many people vaccinated as they possibly can, with both the vaccines that they develop themselves in India as well as supplies of vaccines that they may be able to procure from other suppliers, be that the United States, be that Russia whatever country is willing whenever companies are willing to supply vaccine," Dr Fauci said.
However, getting someone "vaccinated now" does not solve today's problem, he noted, adding that it helps prevent a problem several weeks from now.
"But the solution immediately right now is, and I know India is already doing it, so I'm not telling you something that you are not already doing. A few days ago, I recommended and I believe at least parts of India are doing it, that you shut down the country in lockdown," he said.
"Because other countries, including for example what China did last year, what Australia did when they had an outbreak, what New Zealand did, what other countries did is to completely lock down for a relatively limited period of time. You don't have to lock down for six months. You can lock down for a few weeks. Because when you walk down, it is well known, with the experience of other countries that locking down, definitely interferes with the dynamics of the viral outbreak and you could interfere with the continuity and the transmission of infection," Dr Fauci said.
He also recommended taking the help of the armed forces to immediately build makeshift field hospitals.
"You will recall, last year when China had a very serious problem, they marshalled their resources to very, very rapidly build new hospitals, to be able to handle all the people who required hospitalisation," he said.
Referring to media reports, he said there is a drastic shortage of hospital beds and people are being taken care of in makeshift arrangements.
"So, it would be possible, perhaps, with the help of your own military, to put up field hospitals as you would do as if in a war time setting, so that people who are sick and require a hospital bed, will have a hospital bed," he said. -- PTI
00:12 Britain to send 1,000 more ventilators to India
Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to India, the British government said, stepping up its support as India's healthcare system struggles to cope with a huge surge in cases of COVID-19.
The British government had previously agreed to send 600 medical devices, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
Other nations, including the United States, Germany and Pakistan, are also providing support.