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Covid deaths 5-6 times higher, 3rd wave could be worse: Rahul Gandhi




Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the Covid death numbers could be five to six times higher in India, but the focus should be on vaccination, as the second wave was bad, the third wave could be worse.

Rahul Gandhi, during his virtual press conference, was responding to a question on data being fudged on Covid deaths.

Rahul Gandhi said, “It is sure and there is no doubt that the government is hiding the truth. In my view, the number of death is five to six times of the reported figure, but it is not productive for us to get into discussion of number of deaths as to how many people died. Of course, the compensation is critical and there are ways in which figures can be verified but the discussion should not be on the numbers, but it should be on what we should do next.”

“We can attack the government after the pandemic is over — that you lied on the numbers but today is the time and again I am repeating myself, if you think the second wave was bad, then the third wave is going to be worse. So focus should be on vaccination and we should ensure that virus should not be given space to regenerate,” he added.

The Congress leader said that the only way out is to vaccinate 100 per cent of the population and the focus should be on it, while saying that it’s good that more than 80 lakh people took vaccines on Monday, but this should be an ongoing process.

He said that the government should allow as many vaccines as possible and refused to join issues on efficacy and time period and stated that it should be left to the experts.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, released a white paper of the party on the Covid pandemic and said that the aim of the report is not to finger point at the government but to help the nation prepare for the third wave.

He also asked the government to make Covid fund for the families who lost their kin and implement the NYAY scheme.

The Congress leader said that the entire country knows that before the second wave, the scientists and doctors warned us. “Government did not take the necessary action to prevent the second wave of Covid,” he said, adding that today again we are standing here.

“Entire country knows that the third wave is going to come as the virus is mutating. And we are saying again that the government should prepare immediately, the requirements of medicines, infrastructures, oxygen supplies and hospitals,” he said.

“The purpose of this white paper is to help the government to prepare for the third wave,” Rahul Gandhi said.

He said that this is our intention to provide the government the insights on what to be done. He also pointed out that it is clear that management of the first and second wave of Covid was disastrous, and we have tried to point out the reasons behind it. He asserted, “I would even go so far as to say that there might be waves even after the third wave of Covid-19 as the virus is mutating”.

He also said that the central pillar of fighting Covid is vaccination.

Stressing on providing financial assistance to the people, the Congress leader urged the government to implement the NYAY scheme and come up with Covid fund to provide monetary support to people who lost their kin due to the pandemic.

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Assam to withdraw FIR against Mizoram RS member





Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday asked the police to withdraw an FIR against Mizoram Rajya Sabha member K. Vanlalvena which was lodged in the wake of the July 26 border row.

In the wake of the July 26 clashes, the Assam Police had issued summons to K. Vanlalvena and six Mizoram state officials for their alleged role in the violence.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Sarma said: “To take this goodwill gesture ahead, I have directed the Assam Police to withdraw the FIR against K. Vanlalvena, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha from Mizoram.

“However, cases against other accused police officers will be pursued. He (Vanlalvena) was not in that area on that day. We had booked him only for provocative statements.

“I have noted statements in the media by Hon’ble CM Zoramthanga wherein he has expressed his desire to settle the border dispute amicably. Assam always wants to keep the spirit of North East alive. We are also committed to ensuring peace along our borders.”

Zoramthanga retweeted his Assam counterpart’s posts.

Monday’s development came a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday spoke to the Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram and requested them to resolve the border issue amicably through meaningful dialogue.

Regarding thewithdrawal of the FIR, Assam Police’s Special Director General G.P. Singh also in a tweet, said: “This has been done at the instruction of Hon CM Office, Assam Sri Himanta Biswa Sarma in the interest of de-escalation of the tension along the border.

“However, criminal proceedings against erring police personnel of Mizoram Police and other miscreants shall continue.”

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo on Sunday that following Zoramthanga’s advice, the state administration would “relook” into the FIR registered against Sarma.

He said that Zoramthanga did not approve of the inclusion of Sarma’s name in the FIR, adding that he too was not properly aware of the Assam Chief Minister’s name being included in the FIR before it was lodged.

Besides Sarma, who is accused of “attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy”, six other officials, including an Assam IGP, DIG and the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Cachar district and 200 unidentified Assam Police personnel, were named in the FIR lodged at the Vairengte police station in Kolasib district on July 26.

Chuaungo also said that the state government had taken up the issue of “economic blockade in Assam”, which stopped supplies, including transport fuels, with the Union Home Ministry.

The most violent clashes, seen so far, along the Assam-Mizoram border on July 26 left six Assam Police personnel dead and around 100 civilians and security personnel of the two neighbouring states injured, including an Inspector General of Police in Assam and Cachar Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Chandrakant Nimbalkar, who subsequently shifted to Mumbai.

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Karnataka cabinet expansion: CM Basavaraj Bommai to meet Nadda in Delhi



J.P. Nadda and Basavaraj Bommai.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is likely to get consent for cabinet expansion after meeting the party Chief J.P. Nadda on Monday. Bommai is scheduled to meet Nadda in the first half of the morning hours.

Party sources said that the list of ministers will be finalised. Chief Minister Bommai had earlier requested the high command to approve the appointment of 12-13 ministers as the state is facing multiple issues in the form of floods, heavy rainfall and the Covid crisis.

Chief Minister Bommai, who was expecting a call on Monday, was called again to New Delhi on Sunday within 24 hours of his return from his maiden trip after taking charge as the Chief Minister.

He had already held a long meeting in an undisclosed location with a BJP top leader who is also a Union Minister in connection with cabinet expansion.

The list is going to be finalised in the meeting with party Chief Nadda and the state cabinet will be expanded in one or two days, sources explain.

Chief Minister Bommai had submitted a tentative list of the cabinet ministers to the BJP high command. However, the party top leaders did not give consent and the high command has changed the list, sources said.

It is also learnt that, it has been decided to create more than two Deputy CM posts, and in the first phase 12 to 15 cabinet ministers will take the oath.

Chief Minister Bommai is also likely to meet Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi and National Organising Secretary B.L. Santhosh, both hail from Karnataka.

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Karnataka lays down rules for travellers from Kerala, Maharashtra



The Karnataka government has started taking stringent measures to deal with the Covid threat in the state from Monday onwards. Special teams have been formed to ensure proper surveillance on travellers coming from Kerala and Maharashtra into the state especially to Bengaluru.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta has passed an order to check and enforce the RT-PCR tests on travellers coming from Kerala and Maharashtra, which are witnessing a surge in Covid cases.

The special drive will be carried out in Bengaluru and the responsibility is fixed on zonal commissioners and health inspectors. Officers from the revenue department have also been roped in to conduct checks and ensure testing at all entry points in Bengaluru.

Revenue department officials will check whether travellers have a certificate of RT-PCR test of 72 hours. Health department officials will conduct an RT-PCR test for those who do not have the certificate.

Majestic Railway station, bus station, Mysore Road Satellite bus terminal, Yashwanthpur Railway station and bus stop, Kengeri Satellite bus terminal, Shivajinagar bus terminal, Cantonment Railway station, K.R. Puram railway station, which are considered entry points for the travellers coming from these states. They will be strictly monitored on these points.

Guidelines have been prepared by the health secretariat and the government has given strict orders to contain the Covid crisis.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has already announced that after watching developments in the state for 15 days, the government will take a call on imposing restrictions that were lifted recently.

Karnataka logged 1,875 fresh Covid-19 infections and 25 deaths on Sunday which took the total cases in the state to 29,06,999 and death toll to 36,587.

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