At JNU, P Chidambaram says there should be ‘huge mass movement’ is any Muslim is sent to detention camps because of CAA

News Network
February 14,2020

New Delhi, Feb 14: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said there must be a "huge mass movement" if any Muslim was sent to detention camps in case the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Speaking at the JNU campus, the former Union minister said the CAA was an outcome of the "NRC fiasco" in Assam that left 19 lakh people out of the document.

The CAA was brought to accommodate the 12 lakh Hindus among the 19 lakh people who could not be included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, he claimed.

Replying to a question by a student on the best course of action if the CAA was upheld by the apex court, Chidambaram said, "When they touch the excluded...they will only be Muslims, to identify and throw them out, declare them stateless, there must be a huge mass movement, resisting any Muslim being thrown out or kept in detention camps."

He also said the Congress believed that the CAA must be repealed and there should be a political struggle so that the National Population Register (NPR) was pushed beyond 2024.

Claiming that the NRC, CAA and NPR were "closely connected" to each other, Chidambaram said, "The CAA was brought due to the NRC fiasco in Assam and the opposition to the CAA gave way to the NPR."

He asserted that the Congress was protesting against the CAA and the NRC across the country, but had consciously avoided going to Shaheen Bagh, as in that case, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would brand the demonstration against the amended citizenship law as a "political" one.

"See, we are not going to Shaheen Bagh because that would be falling into the BJP's trap. If we go there, they (BJP) will say it is political," the senior Congress leader said.

Slamming the CAA and the NRC as instruments undermining the very basis of the formation of India, he said the country, instead, needed a "broad law" on refugees.

Speaking at an event against the NRC, CAA and NPR hosted by the Congress's student wing, NSUI, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Chidambaram accused the BJP of spreading lies against Opposition parties.

"The BJP says the Congress, the Left and other liberal parties are against citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs from Pakistan, Bangladesh. But we are not against those included, our opposition is against exclusion," he said.

Questioning the rationale behind the CAA, the former finance minister said it excluded people on the basis of religion.

"Why only three countries, what about other neighbouring countries — Nepal, Bhutan, China? What about others treated much worse? The Ahmadiyas and Shias of Pakistan, the Rohingyas of Myanmar, Tamil Hindus are equally persecuted, why are they left out?" he questioned.

Chidambaram also said the CAA did not cover persecution based on language, political ideology and economic deprivation.

Slamming the NRC, he wondered which country would accept those left out of the document.

"Which country is going to accept them? How will they go? Where will you send them? (Home Minister) Amit Shah saying that they are termites and he will throw them out by 2024 is talking through his hat," the senior Congress leader said.

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ICC postpones Men’s T20 World Cup 2020

News Network
July 20,2020

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia 2020 has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

At today’s meeting of the IBC Board (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC), windows for the next three ICC men’s events were also agreed to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19.

The windows for the Men’s events are:

1. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October – November 2021 with the final on 14 November 2021

2. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will be held October – November 2022 with the final on 13 November 2022

3. ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be held in India October – November 2023 with the final on 26 November 2023

The IBC Board agreed to continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and assess all the information available in order to make a considered decision on future hosts to ensure the sport is able to stage safe and successful global events in 2021 and 2022.

The IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand in February next year. In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled.

The Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021.

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We have undertaken a comprehensive and complex contingency planning exercise and through this process, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport.

“The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world.

“Our Members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket. Moving the Men’s Cricket World Cup to a later window is a critical element of this and gives us a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the qualification process. This additional time will be used to reschedule games that might be lost because of the pandemic ensuring qualification can be decided on the field of play.

“Throughout this process we have worked closely with our key stakeholders including governments, Members, broadcasters, partners and medical experts to enable us to reach a collective decision for the good of the game and our fans. I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to a safe return to cricket.”

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Serum Institute of India gets nod for phase 2,3 trials of Oxford covid vaccine

Agencies
August 3,2020

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given nod to the Serum Institute of India (SII) for conducting phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the Oxford University developed Covid-19 vaccine candidate in the country.

Government officials said that the approval for conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials by the SII was granted by DCGI Dr V G Somani late Sunday night after a thorough evaluation based on the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on Covid-19.

"The firm has to submit safety data, evaluated by the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), to the CDSCO before proceeding to phase 3 clinical trials," a senior official said.

"As per the study design, each subject will be administered two doses four weeks apart (first dose on day one and second dose on day 29) following which the safety and immunogenicity will be assessed at predefined intervals," the official said.

As a rapid regulatory response, the expert panel at the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Friday, after a detailed deliberation and considering the data generated on the vaccine candidate in phase 1 and 2 of the Oxford University trial, had recommended granting permission for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the potential vaccine, 'Covishield', on healthy adults in India,  the officials said.

Currently, phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine candidate is going on in the United Kingdom, phase 3 clinical trial in Brazil and phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in South Africa.

The officials said that the SII had submitted a revised proposal on Wednesday after the SEC on July 28, following deliberation over its application, had asked it to revise its protocol for the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials besides seeking some additional information.

The panel had also recommended that the clinical trial sites which have been proposed for the study be distributed across India.

According to the revised proposal by the SII, 1,600 people aged above 18 years will participate in the trials across 17 selected sites, including AIIMS-Delhi, B J Medical College in Pune, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) in Patna, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, AIIMS-Jodhpur, Nehru Hospital in Gorakhpur, Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam and JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in Mysore.

"According to the application, it would conduct an observer-blind, randomised controlled study to determine the safety and immunogenicity of 'Covishield' on healthy Indian adults," the official said.

The SII, which has partnered with AstraZeneca, for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for Covid-19 had submitted its first application to the DCGI on July 25 seeking permission for conducting the phase 2 and 3 trials of the potential vaccine. 

Initial results of the first two-phases of trials of the vaccine conducted in five trial sites in the UK showed that it has an acceptable safety profile and homologous boosting increased antibody response, sources had said.

To introduce the vaccine, SII, the world's largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold, has signed an agreement to manufacture the potential vaccine developed by the Jenner Institute (Oxford University) in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. 

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Don't insist on mobile nos., ID proof for Covid-19 testing of mentally-ill homeless: HC to ICMR

News Network
July 24,2020

New Delhi, Jul 24: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the ICMR to come out with a clarification that mobile number, government-issued identity card, photographs or even a residential proof ought not to be insisted upon for Covid-19 test of mentally ill homeless persons.

According to an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advisory of June 19, every person who was to be tested for Covid-19 has to provide a government-issued identity proof and should have a valid phone number for tracing and tracking the individual and his/her contacts.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan said that ICMR should issue a clarification by way of a circular or an official order that the identity proof, address proof and mobile number are not required for testing mentally ill homeless persons.

The high court said a camp can be organised for testing such persons as is being done across Delhi for others.

"Guidelines have to be given by you (ICMR). You put it in black and white for the states'' benefit. You only need to clarify in two-three lines that mobile number, address proof and identity cards are not required for testing mentally ill homeless persons," it said.

"Use your powers for the public at large. Once you do so (issue the clarification), all states will comply," the bench added.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for ICMR, sought time to take instructions from the government regarding the observations made by the bench.

The high court, thereafter, listed the matter for further hearing on August 7.

The bench was hearing a PIL moved by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking directions to ICMR and Delhi government to issue guidelines for Covid-19 testing of mentally ill homeless persons in the national capital.

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The high court on July 9 had asked the ICMR to consider the plight of the mentally ill homeless persons and see whether they can be tested without insisting upon a mobile number, government issue identity card and residential address proof.

The bench had said to ICMR that many homeless mentally ill persons are institutionalised or in shelter homes and therefore, traceable, so there was no need for their identity proof or phone numbers to test them for Covid-19.

In response to the court''s query, ICMR has filed an affidavit stating that the purpose behind the submission of government identity card and telephone number was to ensure proper tracking and treatment of positive cases and their contacts as ''Test/Track/Treat'' is the best strategy for control of Covid-19 pandemic. 

It further said that since health was a state subject, the concerned state health authority may consider adopting a suitable protocol to ensure that the strategy of ''Test/Track/Treat'' is followed and the grievance raised in the PIL is also addressed.

ICMR, in its affidavit, has said that it has only advised facilitating contact tracing as well as tracking of the Covid-19 infected patients.

"The modalities regarding the contact tracing as well as tracking of the Covid-19 infected patients completely falls under the domain of IDSP. NCDC and state health authorities. 

"ICMR is a research organization and the contact tracing, as well as tracking of the Covid-19 infected patients, is not under the domain of ICMR," it has said in its affidavit.

Bansal has claimed in his petition that the Delhi government has not taken seriously the lack of guidelines with respect to Covid-19 testing of mentally ill homeless persons.

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He has said the high court had on June 9 directed it to address the grievances raised by him in another PIL with regard to mentally ill homeless persons in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy.

He said that on June 13 he also sent a representation to the Chief Secretary of Delhi government for providing treatment to mentally ill homeless persons in the national capital who have no residence proof. 

However, nothing was done by the Delhi government, he had told the court.

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