Varanasi court allows excavation by ASI at historic Gyanvapi Masjid amid Kashi temple row

coastaldigest.com news network
April 8, 2021

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Varanasi, Apr 8: In a controversial decision, a local court in Varanasi has ruled in favour of excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Varanasi's Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the adjacent Gyanvapi Masjid. The ASI is likely to set up a five-member team that will visit the campus soon. 

A petition was filed in December 2019 by advocate Vijay Shankar Rastogi on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar in the court of civil judge. The petitioner requested for a survey of the entire Gyanvapi compound by the ASI. He had filed the petition as the 'next friend' of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar. In January 2020, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee had filed an objection against the petition.

The petitioner had contended that the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built by Maharaja Vikramaditya about 2,050 years ago, but Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the temple in 1664 and used its remains to construct a mosque, which is known as Gyanvapi masjid, on a portion of the temple land. The petitioner requested the court to issue directions for the removal of the mosque from the temple land and give back its possession to the temple trust.

The first petition was filed in the Varanasi civil court in 1991 on behalf of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga Bhagwan Vishweshwar seeking permission for worship in Gyanvapi.

The petition contended that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act was not applicable on the suit as the mosque was constructed over a partly demolished temple and many parts of the temple exist even today. In 1998, Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee moved the high court contending that the mandir-masjid dispute could not be adjudicated by a civil court as it was barred by the law. The high court stayed the proceedings in the lower court which had continued for the past 22 years.

In February 2020, the petitioners approached the lower court again with a plea to resume the hearing as the high court had not extended the stay in the past six months. The Gyanvapi mosque shares a boundary wall with Kashi Vishwanath temple.

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News Network
May 1,2021

Mangaluru, May 1: The intensity of the second wave of the covid-19 has forced the Mangalureans to rush to the vaccine centres. All the vaccination centres are witnessing long serpentine queues.

Many eligible beneficiaries had gathered in large numbers in front of District Wenlock Hospital and at Urban Health Care Centre in Bejai to receive the vaccine. The Covid-19 situation has reached an alarming stage in Dakshina Kannada, with the district reporting as many as 1,175 positive cases on Thursday.

In the meantime, the Dakshina Kannada district administration has made it mandatory to register online to receive the first dose of vaccine for Covid-19.

“The vaccines are not available as per the demand. There is pressure to administer the first dose, along with the second dose, for the eligible. Hence, the district administration has made online registration mandatory for receiving the first dose,” said officials.

A few had reached Wenlock hospital as early as 7 am to receive the token for the vaccine. RCH Officer Dr Rajesh, who is in charge of vaccines, said, “500 people availed vaccinations by availing token at Wenlock Hospital. Those who had availed the first dose of vaccine should avail the second dose within the time frame.”

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News Network
May 6,2021

Mangaluru, May 6: Dakshina Kannada District in-charge of Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary has instructed officials to form medical teams to take care of Covid patients in home isolation as over 85.70 per cent of covid patients in the district are in home isolation.

Presiding over a meeting of experts here on Thursday in the backdrop of the rising Covid cases in Mangaluru, he said of the 8,414 active cases in the district, 1,204 are being treated in hospitals while the rest 7,210 patients are in home isolation.

The Minister directed the Deputy Commissioner to form 78 teams comprising even doctors so that those in home isolation can get good treatment. He also said special care should be given to Covid patients over 45 years of age.

The Minister said any complaints regarding private hospitals charging exorbitant fees for Covid treatment can be lodged at the office of the District Health Officer so that strict action could be taken.

Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra who also spoke, said some religious organisations and private institutions are coming forward to open Covid care centres. The officials should first inspect if the places have all facilities before permitting the centres.

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Agencies
April 25,2021

Bagdad, Apr 25: A fire that ravaged a Covid-19 hospital in the Iraqi capital killed 82 people and sparked angry calls for the sacking of officials, in a country with long-dilapidated health infrastructure.

"At least 82 people died and 110 were wounded in a Baghdad Covid-19 hospital fire overnight Sunday," the Iraqi interior ministry said in a new toll.

"The interior ministry announces the death of 82 people and injury of 110 in the Ibn al-Khatib fire accident," it said in a statement carried by state media.

The blaze at Baghdad's Ibn al-Khatib hospital started with an explosion caused by "a fault in the storage of oxygen cylinders", medical sources said.

Flames spread quickly across multiple floors in the middle of the night, as dozens of relatives were at the bedsides of the 30 patients in the hospital's intensive care unit where most severe Covid-19 cases are treated, a medical source said.

"The hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products," the civil defence said.

"The majority of the victims died because they had to be moved and were taken off ventilators, while the others were suffocated by the smoke," it added.

Medical and security sources told AFP some 50 others were injured in the blaze, and the civil defence said it "rescued 90 people out of 120 patients and their relatives".

Videos on social media showed firefighters battling to put out the blaze as patients and their relatives tried to flee the building.

"It was the people who got the wounded out," Amir, 35, told AFP, saying he saved his hospitalised brothers "by the skin of his teeth".

Iraq's hospitals have been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines and hospital beds.

The incident sparked outrage on social media and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khademi called for an investigation into the cause of the blaze, and declared three days of national mourning.

After daybreak, dozens of tall oxygen cylinders that had been evacuated could be seen lined up outside the building, alongside gurneys and scattered debris, an AFP photograph said.

More than 200 patients in all were rescued, according to the health ministry, which pledged to release an official toll of the dead and wounded later.

The fire -- which according to several sources was caused by negligence often linked to endemic corruption in Iraq -- sparked anger on social media, with a hashtag demanding the health minister be sacked trending on Twitter.

Baghdad Governor Mohammed Jaber called on the health ministry "to establish a commission of enquiry so that those who did not do their jobs may be brought to justice".

In a statement, the government's human rights commission said the incident was "a crime against patients exhausted by Covid-19 who put their lives in the hands of the health ministry and its institutions and instead of being treated, perished in flames".

The commission called on the prime minister to fire Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and "bring him to justice".

Kadhemi responded by calling for "an investigation" -- echoing President Barham Saleh and parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi -- and said he wanted results "within 24 hours".

The prime minister also suspended the health director for the eastern sector of Baghdad and the head of Ibn al-Khatib, as well as the hospital's heads of security and technical maintenance teams.

They are being questioned and nobody, Kadhemi said, will be released "until those who have done wrong are brought to justice".

The UN top representative in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, expressed "shock" at the tragedy and called "for stronger protection measures to ensure that such a disaster cannot reoccur".

On Wednesday, the number of Covid-19 cases in Iraq surpassed one million, the highest of any Arab state.

The health ministry has recorded more than 15,000 deaths since the country's first infections were reported in February 2020, and has carried out around 40,000 tests daily from a population of 40 million.

Rather than go to overcrowded or run-down hospitals, patients who can afford it have often set up oxygen tanks for their use at home.

Iraq rolled out its vaccination campaign last month and has received nearly 6,50,000 doses of different vaccines -- the majority by donation or through the Covax scheme.

Around 3,00,000 people had received at least one dose as of Wednesday, the ministry said.

Health authorities have faced an uphill battle to convince Iraqis to get vaccinated, in the face of widespread scepticism over the jab and public reluctance to wear masks since the start of the pandemic.

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