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Curfew relaxed in Dibrugarh, flag march continues in Guwahati




An indefinite curfew which was imposed in Assam’s Dibrugarh municipal area, was relaxed for five hours on Friday, while the Army and security forces have continued flag marches in Guwahati city, a day after two persons were killed during the violent anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2019 protests.

Sources said that the curfew in the Dibrugarh municipal area has been relaxed from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There were no reports of further violence from Guwahati where cultural personalities and civil society members were on fast for 10 hours following a call given by the All Assam Students Union, which is leading the protests.

On Thursday evening, the Assam government had imposed night curfew in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts and imposed fresh curfew in Assam’s Tezpur and Dhekiajuli towns.

On Thursday, thousands of people defied the curfew and took to the streets as the raging agitation saw the house of an MLA and a Circle Officer being set ablaze, while the government removed two key police officers.

The two protestors with bullet wounds were taken to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, where one was declared dead before the other succumbed while being treated. At least 11 others were injured during the protests.

The authorities also extended the suspension on Internet services for another 48 hours. Most airlines have also cancelled flights to and from Dibrugarh and Guwahati, and train movement was halted.

In an appeal to the people, Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal called for maintaining peace and calm.

As per the Bill, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

The legislation was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by the Lok Sabha in a midnight sitting little past Monday.

It got President Ram Nath Kovind’s nod on Thutsday night.


As Covid soars, Maharashtra hints at more stringent lockdown norms



As Covid-19 cases and fatalities continue to soar, leaders of Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Monday hinted at even more stringent lockdown norms likely to be clamped to break the chain of the virus.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that given the current situation, the government is also contemplating restrictions on all outlets selling essentials like groceries, fruits, vegetables, etc.

These may be permitted only for limited hours from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. to reduce the crowds on the roads with many people claiming they are out to buy essential supplies.

Transport Minister Anil Parab and Social Welfare Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is in consultations with officials and other stakeholders on the current Covid situation.

The CM is likely to take a decision on further tightening the existing lockdown norms in a bid to break the virus chain.

Maharashtra currently has a case tally of 38,39,338 and 60,473 deaths notched in the past 13 months, besides a staggering 670,388 active cases, all figures highest in the country.

Till date, Mumbai has notched the highest deaths (12,354) while Pune has recorded the maximum tally of cases (594,460) in the country.

A total of 37 lakh plus people are presently in home isolation or institutional quarantine while 31,06,828 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals till date.

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India’s 2nd Covid wave more infectious, lower fatality



With the Covid-19 continuing to march aggressively, the Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) is all prepared to provide rail coaches for isolation of asymptomatic patients, officials said here on Friday.

While the WR has kept on standby 128 coaches, CR has reserved 25, totalling to 153 coaches where the patients can be shifted as Mumbai’s ‘active cases’ inches close to the one-lakh mark.

It may be recalled that last year, at the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, the Indian Railways had converted over 5,000 rail coaches for Corona patients across the country.

However, till now railway coaches were not utilized in Mumbai or Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) – both the worst-hit in the country – but this year in view of the steep increase in Covid patients, the isolation coaches may be used, officials said.

These coaches are parked at different railway sidings in and around the city, and can be quickly shunted around for medical use after washing, cleaning, installing oxygen cylinders inside, etc.

“We can deploy them at short notice after we get the request from the concerned medical authorities, and take them to the designated locations by adhering to all the government protocols in this regard,” said the official, declining to be identified.

The Mumbai tally has shot up to 553,404 cases and 12,197 deaths, besides 84,753 ‘active cases’.

The Mumbai Circle (MMR) has recorded a total of 11,50,776 cases and 21,416 deaths and the state tally is 36,39,855 cases and 59,153 fatalities till date.

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41 people dead in shipwreck off Tunisia: UN




A shipwreck off the coast of southeast Tunisia killed at least 41 people, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a joint statement.

The UN agencies said in the statement issued on Friday that three survivors have been rescued and the search effort was still underway, reports Xinhua news agency.

Based on initial information, the UN agencies said that all those who died were from Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to enhance and expand state-led search and rescue operations across the Central Mediterranean, where some 290 people have lost their lives so far this year,” said the statement.

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