President Kovind, PM Modi extend greetings to countrymen on Rakshabandhan

Agencies
August 3, 2020

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New Delhi, Aug 3: President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday extended warm greetings and good wishes to the countrymen on the occasion of Rakshabandhan.

The President in his message said, "Greetings on Raksha Bandhan! Rakhi is the sacred thread of love and trust that connects sisters with brothers in a special bond. On this day, let us reiterate our commitment to secure the honour and dignity of women."

"Many wishes to all the countrymen on the auspicious occasion of Rakshabandhan," Prime Minister Modi tweeted in Hindi.

Rakshabandhan, which is being celebrated today, is a celebration of the unique bond between brothers and sisters. Tying of the Rakhi by sisters, symbolises love, affection and mutual trust between brothers and sisters. 

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Attacking the Centre over the alleged rise in unemployment, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said employment is dignity and asked for how long will the government "deny" this to people.

In his attack against the government on Twitter, Gandhi also tagged a media report which claimed that over one crore people had registered on a government portal seeking jobs, but only 1.77 lakh jobs were available.

"Massive unemployment has forced the youth to call today #NationalUnemploymentDay. Employment is dignity. For how long will the govt deny it?" the former Congress chief tweeted.

Gandhi has been critical of the Modi government's handling of the economy and has called on the Centre to provide jobs to the youth.

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Agencies
September 27,2020

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New Delhi/Madurai, Sept 27: The CBI has chargesheeted nine Tamil Nadu policemen for murder, conspiracy and other offences in the custodial death case of the father-son duo who were arrested on a "fake" charge of violating the lockdown and tortured in Sathankulam police station in June this year, officials said Saturday.

The policemen have also been accused of destruction of evidence in the charge sheet filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Madurai on Friday in the alleged torture and murder of shopkeepers J Benniks and his father RP Jeyaraj, who ran a mobile phone shop in Thoothukudi district.

The ghastly crime had triggered a massive outrage prompting the chief minister to seek a CBI probe in the matter.

In its charge sheet, the CBI has named the then Inspector and SHO S. Sridhar, Sub Inspectors K. Balakrishnan, P. Raghuganesh, Head Constables S. Murugan, A. Samadurai, and Constables M. Muthuraja,  S. Chelladurai, X. Thomas Francis and, S. Veilumuthu posted at the police station.

The CBI rushed to file the charge sheet as the three-month custody of the accused is getting over on September 30 making them eligible for bail, sources said.

The agency has alleged that after the torture of the two victims in the police station which led to their death, the police officials destroyed evidence and filed "fake" charges against them of violating the coronavirus lockdown by keeping their shops open beyond the permitted time, they said.

When asked what was the motive behind the incident, the officials said the probe is being kept open.

During the investigation, nine CBI officers contracted COVID-19 while one of the accused sub-inspector died.

All the remaining accused police personnel are under judicial custody, they said.

"A CBI team camped continuously at Madurai and worked untiringly in the cases, even through the odds of COVID 19 pandemic," CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.

"The CBI investigation revealed that the father-son duo were arrested in the evening of 19.06.2020 and allegedly tortured at the Sathankulam Police Station by the accused in the evening as well as in the intervening night, consequent to which both of them succumbed to the injuries and died in the intervening night of June 22, 2020 and June 23, 2020," he said.

After investigation, a combined charge sheet in both the cases has been filed, he said.

"Further investigation is continuing to look into the role of other persons in the case," he said.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Magistrate probing the incident had told the Madras High Court that the policemen thrashed the deceased father-son the whole night in the police station. "Lathis were used" for allegedly assaulting them and a table carrying bloodstains bears testimony to the grisly crime.

The findings were based on a statement of a woman police personnel attached to the police station where the alleged crime took place.

After the alleged torture, Jeyaraj and Benniks were sent to sub-jail under remand at around 2.30 AM on June 20 where they were kept as prisoner number 3636 and 3635 respectively.

In the morning at around 7.45 am, Benniks complained of a wheezing problem and was taken to Kovilpatti government hospital in an autorickshaw. The doctors declared at 9 AM that he could not survive, the FIR had alleged.

Two days later at around 10.20 PM on June 22, Jeyaraj complained of fever and was taken to the government hospital.

In the morning at around 5.40 AM the next day, doctors told the authorities that treatment failed and Jeyaraj too had died, it said.

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Agencies
September 13,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 13: India said on Sunday it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country's number of reported infections passed 4.75 million.

India, which has consistently reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August.

"India is considering emergency authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccination," said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. "If there is a consensus we may go ahead with it, especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings."

Vardhan said the timeline on Phase III trials could be shortened by giving emergency authorisation, but stressed no corners would be cut in clinical trials and that a vaccine would only be made available when the government could ensure its safety and efficacy.

He said no date has been set for a vaccine launch, but added results of trials should be clear by the first quarter of 2021.

"A vaccine expert group has been established recently by the government to look into various issues related to the delivery of vaccines to vulnerable populations,"

The comments came as the Indian health ministry reported 94,372 new Covid-19 cases and 1,114 deaths on Sunday.

The government's efforts to kickstart the economy, which saw a 23.9% contraction in the April-June quarter, have been hamstrung by the surge in cases.

The western state of Maharashtra, the nation's richest and a key industrial hub, has recorded more than 1.03 million infections.

In a briefing on Sunday, the state's chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray, urged residents to wear masks, maintain social distancing and avoid crowds, amid growing fatigue over a drawn-out lockdown that has made many people lax about precautions.

The state has been easing various restrictions gradually and it recently allowed hotels to operate under certain conditions, though many businesses remain shut. Thackeray said Maharashtra was considering reopening dine-in restaurants and gyms following appeals from business owners.

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