Indian Sikh Pilgrims Stuck In Lahore Amid TLP Protests

A group of Sikh pilgrims who left Amritsar to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal on the occasion of Baisakhi, are stranded in Lahore amid rising violence in Pakistan.

“A group of 818 Indian Sikh Yatrees arrived in Pakistan on April 12 via Wagah border to participate in Baisakhi festival at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal. The Yatrees would also visit other Gurdwaras including #Kartarpur during their stay in Pakistan,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry tweeted.

India is in touch with authorities in Pakistan regarding safety of over 800 pilgrims due to violent protests in several cities, including Lahore.

India is closely tracking the developments in Pakistan and will do “utmost” to ensure security and safe return of the Sikh Pilgrims who have gone to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Lahore, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

“Closely tracking developments. In touch with Pakistani authorities and Sikh Jatha. Will do utmost to ensure security and safe return of pilgrims,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

His comment came after Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, tweeted about the pilgrims visiting Lahore amid rising violence in Pakistan.

“We request MEA @DrSJaishankar to take up the matter of Sikh pilgrims stranded in Lahore on Baisakhi amid clashes in Pak This 818-member jatha left from Amritsar to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Panja Sahib. Also urging @IndiainPakistan to extend them immediate help,” Sirsa wrote in a tweet.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry said, “Adequate arrangements for their traveling, lodging, food, security & medical assistance, particularly given Covid situation, have been made by relevant authorities to facilitate yatrees and to ensure their comfortable stay,” the ministry said.

It further said that Pakistan remains committed to facilitating Sikhs from around the world, including from India, for visiting their religious sites.

Last week, Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi had issued over 1,100 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations from April 12 to 22.

“These visas have been issued as a ‘special gesture’ by the government of Pakistan in view of the importance of Baisakhi for Punjabis and Sikhs marking the start of their new year. Pakistan High Commission extends special felicitations to all those celebrating this auspicious occasion and wishes the visiting pilgrims a fulfilling yatra,” the Pakistani High Commission had said.

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is a traditional harvest festival celebrated by Sikhs, as the day marks the new spring year and also the formation of Khalsa Panth under the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, in 1699.(ANI)

51 Children Killed In Myanmar Protests, UN Pleads Restraint

The United Nations is calling on the Myanmar security forces to refrain from violence against children after at least 51 children were killed since the military coup in February, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

“As of April 13, at least 51 children have been killed by the Myanmar security forces and almost 1,000 children have been arbitrarily detained,” Dujarric said. “The UN country team continues to call on security forces to refrain from violence and to keep children and young people out of harm’s way.”

Dujarric noted that reports of ongoing use of force against children, including live ammunition, are of grave concern to the United Nations.

The Myanmar military overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency on February 1 and at least 707 people have been killed since, according to the United Nations. (ANI/Sputnik)

RSS Gen Secy Vows To Resettle Pandits In Kashmir

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale on Wednesday said that a “sankalp” (resolve) was made during the three-day Navreh programme here that Kashmiri Hindu families will be resettled in Kashmir again in the coming days and Navreh will be celebrated with joy next year in the Valley.

Speaking at the concluding event of the three-day Navreh Mahotsav here, Hosabale said the government should take steps to create an environment for the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.

He said the purpose of organizing the function was special this year as Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are at an important point in history today.

He said Hindus from Kashmir had faced difficulties for the past many years and they have now reached an important point.

“During this three-day programme on Navreh, a ‘sankalp’ was taken that in the coming days, families (Hindu) will be resettled in Kashmir again and Navreh will be celebrated with joy next year,” he said.

“Our Hindu brothers and sisters, who have lived in Kashmir for many years, have overcome many crisis and have progressed towards development,” he added.

Kashmiri Hindus were forced to migrate from the Valley due to terrorism about three decades back.

Hosabale stressed that values like love, devotion, determination and valour are crucial for development and for uplifting any society.

He also referred to the valour of 8th century king of Kashmir, Lalitaditya Muktapida.

“It (India) was a ‘sone ki chidiya’ (golden bird). There was wealth and prosperity here. Foreign attackers invaded India to loot its wealth. They felt that no other religions should exist on the planet, that their religion was the only religion. There was heavy bloodshed. Our ancestors fought these foreign attackers for years and never conceded defeat. Lalitaditya was one such leader,” he further said.

Hosabale termed the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir as a milestone and said the government was carrying out tasks pending for several years for development of the region.

He also recalled the sacrifices made by security forces while fighting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)

Will Ensure Sikh Pilgrims Safety Amid Pak Protests: MEA

India is closely tracking the developments in Pakistan and will do “utmost” to ensure security and safe return of the Sikh Pilgrims who have gone to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Lahore, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

“Closely tracking developments. In touch with Pakistani authorities and Sikh Jatha. Will do utmost to ensure security and safe return of pilgrims,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

His comment came after Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, tweeted about the pilgrims visiting Lahore amid rising violence in Pakistan.

“We request MEA @DrSJaishankar to take up the matter of Sikh pilgrims stranded in Lahore on Baisakhi amid clashes in Pak This 818-member jatha left from Amritsar to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Panja Sahib. Also urging @IndiainPakistan to extend them immediate help,” Sirsa wrote in a tweet.

After the arrest of TLP’s chief Rizvi, who was demanding that the French ambassador be sent home and import of goods from France over alleged blasphemous caricatures published in Paris, violence erupted in Pakistan, resulting in the death of three and several others injured.

Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, meanwhile, on Wednesday said that the government has decided to ban the radical Islamist TLP, whose supporters and workers have been carrying out violent protests across the country for three days.

According to Dawn, he said the religiopolitical outfit would be banned under Rule 11(b) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. (ANI)

100 Days To Go: Olympic Rings Unveiled On Mount Takao

Tokyo 2020 and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) on Wednesday celebrated 100 days to go to the opening of the showpiece event with an unveiling of the Olympic Rings on Mount Takao.

“For the last year, athletes around the world have kept the faith and continued to train despite huge challenges. Soon we will all be able to celebrate what they have accomplished,” the tokyo2020.org quoted Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto as saying.

“The Games will be a celebration of resilience, of solidarity, and of our shared humanity. Together, the world has faced an unprecedented crisis and Tokyo 2020 is committed to offering a light of hope and solace this summer,” Hashimoto added.

Tokyo Olympics will go ahead from July 23-August 8 this year. The Games were slated to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, with 100 days to go for the Tokyo Olympics, both Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Dhruv Batra said on Wednesday that they are expecting India to bag medals in double digits at the prestigious quadrennial event.

Rijiju said, “With just 100 days to go for the Olympics, every day is important to all of athletes from here on. We want to make these Olympics very memorable for every athlete. India with its vast population must play a bigger role in the Olympic Movement and that is possible by winning more medals. India must cross double digits (in medals). All the best to all the athletes, there will be no shortage of facilities to any Olympic-bound athletes from SAI.”

Batra said, “Our sportspersons are single-mindedly devoting their time and efforts to bring laurels to the country. I expect the medal haul to be in double digits this time. NSFs, SAI and TOPS are doing their best to provide the best training and support to athletes to train in India and abroad. We are expecting 120-130 athletes to qualify for the Olympics this year and we expect the Indian contingent to be about 185-190 people, including coaches and support staff.” (ANI)

UP Raising Capacity Of Crematoriums, Not Hospitals: Priyanka

By Siddharth Sharma

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the COVID-19 situation in the state, saying that his government is increasing the number of crematoriums instead of capacities in the hospitals.

On Wednesday, she held an emergency meeting of UP Congress leaders also and asked them to help people in this hour of crisis as much as they can. She said promised that Congress ready for all possible help to the people of the state. The opposition’s religion is to fight for public questions and Congress is committed to it, she added.

“The news that is coming from all over the state is very sad and shocking. This morning I discussed the disaster arising out of the coronavirus from the advisors and members of the strategic committee of the UP Congress, the party MLAs, the senior state office bearers and the Mandal in-charge in each corner of the state,” she said.

“The Congress party is standing with the people of the state in the hour of this calamity. Our party is committed to supporting the public in every way. At the same time, we owe it to the government to provide better health facilities to the infected people. Fight for their questions. This is the religion of the opposition and we will play it firmly,” she added.

Lashing out at the UP government, the Congress leader said: “If the UP government had been conscious since the first day of the coronavirus epidemic, it would not have seen such days today. In this epidemic, instead of having a better health system from day one, the government has kept the number of infections and number of deaths continuously. There is no system and the non-planning of the government is visible, instead it seems that the people of UP are getting a two-pronged attack – COVID-19 from one side and the Yogi government’s failure from the other side, with its insensitive and irresponsible arrangements.”

“All these situations have also happened due to the short-sightedness and inflexibility of the government and the Chief Minister. Yet, he is still only concerned about his image. Today the situation has become such that dead bodies are queuing up in Lucknow. There is a shortage of wood at crematoriums. The common man of the state is helpless to perform the last rites of his family in a dignified manner. People are cremating their dead loved ones in the crematoriums and cemeteries from morning till late night,” Priyanka further remarked.

The General Secretary of the Congress said that in the letter of the State Law Minister, it is clearly written that there is no investigation in private hospitals in Lucknow. The situation in government institutions is that the COVID-19 investigation report is taking several days.

“According to the news, permission is being taken from the DM for Remdesivir in private hospitals, which is taking too much time. Moreover, admission in hospitals cannot be done without the CMO slip ironically. This majority government did nothing to increase the capacity of hospitals throughout the year and today they have to increase the capacity of cremation grounds,” she said.

At the end of her statement, Priyanka said that hiding the truth in this catastrophe will spread the infection more quickly, stressing that this was not a time to celebrate but a time to save people’s lives.

She also called on the government should with immediate effect, such as implementing proper arrangements for oxygen in hospitals, checking reports arrived within 24 hours, allowing testing facilities, availing Remdesivir injections, financial assistance to victims, funeral arrangements for deceased patients and increasing speed of vaccinations, among others. (ANI)

Govt Vows Action Against Hoarders Of Remdesivir

By Nishant Ketu

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday called for stringent action against those found indulging in black marketing and hoarding of anti-viral drug Remdesivir used in Covid-19 treatment, in wake of a sudden spike in demand due to surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

Responding to a question on Remdesivir shortage, Dr Harshvardhan told ANI, “Shortage of Remdesivir happened because its production was reduced as COVID19 cases were decreasing. Our drug controller and ministry held a meeting with stakeholders and asked manufacturers to strengthen the production. In case of any complaint of black marketing or hoardings of doses stringent action will be taken by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Stringent action should be taken against those who are exploiting people by inflating the price of Remdesivir.

Union Health Minister emphasised that there are no shortage of vaccines and the Centre gives it to every state and added, “It is the job of states to provide the vaccine at the centre in a time-bound manner along with monitoring the drive and meticulous planning.”

Replying to the question on Kumbh Mela, the health minister said, “It is clear that it is a new virus of COVID-19 and the most important COVID appropriate behaviour is with masks, distancing and using sanitisation. Wherever it is not followed then it is dangerous in terms of COVID-19. We should go back to COVID appropriate behaviour and only then we can lower down the cases.”

On the use of Remdesivir, NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul said, “It is an investigational drug. Its role has been clearly defined in the clinical management protocol. There is no question of the use of Remdesivir in home settings. That is unethical. It is only required for those hospitalised patients who are on oxygen. That is the pre-condition.”

The second wave of coronavirus has witnessed an unprecedented demand for Remdesivir injection.

India has banned the export of Remdesivir injection and Remdesivir Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in view of the sudden spike in cases. (ANI)

Class X Board Exams Cancelled, Class XII Postponed

Board Exams for Class 10th have been cancelled and 12th exams have been postponed, said the Union Ministry of Education on Wednesday after a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Results of Class 10th will be prepared on the basis of an objective criterion to be developed by the Board. Class 12th exams will be held later, the situation will be reviewed on 1st June by the Board,” it added.

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Wednesday said that the decision was made due to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Speaking to ANI, Union Education Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given instruction to cancel the CBSE 10th Board Examination due to COVID -19 Pandemic.

Union Education Minister further told ANI that students of class 10th to be promoted on basis of internal assessment. If student not satisfied with the internal assessment then can give examination once situation will be Normal

“CBSE 12th board examination has been postponed till 31st May. The new date of 12th board examinations will announce after assessment of the prevailing situation of COVID-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with the Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Education Secretary, and other important officials earlier today to discuss the issue of CBSE board exams, said sources.

On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had urged the Centre to cancel the CBSE board examinations amid a rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital.

21,50,761 students were scheduled to appear in Class X CBSE borad exams while 14,30,243

students are supposed to take the Class XII exams.

CBSE, in normal circumstances, schedules Board exams for Classes X and XII from February 15 to the first week of April. (ANI)

UP CM Yogi Tests Covid-19 Positive, In Isolation

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

“I got tested for COVID-19 after showing some symptoms. The report is positive and I am in self-isolation and following all medical instructions. I am doing my work virtually. All the functions of the state government are running normally. Whoever came in my contact, please get their COVID test done,” Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on Tuesday went into self-isolation after coming into contact with some officials who tested positive for COVID-19.

Uttar Pradesh reported 18,021 new COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths on Tuesday. (ANI)

Fearing Lockdown, Migrants Returning To Native Places

By Gaurav Arora

Amidst the spike in coronavirus cases, people at Delhi’s Anand Vihar bus station were seen returning to their native places as they were fearing that the government may announce another lockdown soon like last year.
The national capital recorded 13,468 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday — the highest single-day spike so far.

Speaking to ANI, Subhash, a passenger who is a migrant worker and going to Hardoi said: “Lockdown is going to get imposed. So we are going back home, everyone is saying that lockdown is going to happen even our neighbours are saying so. I will start doing any work in Hardoi.”

He further said last year, when the lockdown was imposed he had to go back by walking. “We thought that if it happens again it would be better to leave early otherwise the situation will be the same,” he explained.

He added, “Now I am not in a mood of coming back to Delhi again.”

Another passenger, Chhedi Lal who works as a painter here said he is going back to his home town because of Assembly elections and as a premptive measure before any other lockdown.

“Everyone is saying the same thing, I am going back to my home and will do small work over there rather than staying in Delhi,” he added.

Some alone with backpacks, while some with their families, migrant workers were seen leaving for their home at the bus stop.

In view of the rapidly rising cases, the Delhi government has imposed a night curfew in the national capital from 10 pm to 5 am on April 6 till April 30.

The city witnessed a new surge of 13,468 COVID-19 cases — the highest single-day spike so far — and 81 deaths were reported in Delhi in the last 24 hours.

According to the health department bulletin released on Tuesday evening, the total number of active cases in the city has gone up to 43,510.

A total of 1,02,460 tests, including 64544 RTPCR, were conducted in the last 24 hours.

The cumulative positivity rate in the city has gone up to 4.76 per cent. A total of 7,972 people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours taking the recovery rate to 92.67 per cent.

Yesterday, Maharashtra government also announced a series of strict restrictions in the state till May 1 including the imposition of Section 144 from Wednesday in view of rising COVID-19 cases. (ANI)