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Friday,27-November-2020

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MHA extends September re-opening guidelines till November 30

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Ministry-of-Home-Affairs

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order on Tuesday extending the guidelines for re-opening, issued in September, to remain in force till November 30.

Most of the activities outside the containment zones were permitted, some involving large number of people, with some restrictions and subject to SOPs being followed regarding health and safety precautions. These activities include metro rail; shopping malls; hotel, restaurants and hospitality services; religious places; yoga and training institutes; gymnasiums; cinemas; entertainment park and others.

In respect of certain activities, having relatively higher degree of risk of COVID infection, state or UT Governments have been permitted to take decisions for their re-opening, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs.

These activities include schools and coaching institutes; state and private universities for research scholars; allowing gatherings above the limit of 100 among others.

Meanwhile after the last MHA guidelines in September, activities such as international air travel of passengers, swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons, exhibitions halls for business to business (B2B) purposes, cinemas/ theatres/ multiplexes upto 50% of their seating capacity, social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations, in closed spaces with a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity and subject to ceiling of 200 persons are also permitted but with restrictions.

“Further decision regarding the above activities will be taken based on the assessment of the situation,” said the MHA.

The MHA said that the essence behind graded re-opening and progressive resumption of activities is to move ahead. However, it cautioned, it does not mean the end of the pandemic.

“There is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by every citizen in their daily routines,” the MHA order added.

“There is an urgent need to instill a sense of discipline and ownership amongst citizens in order that the resumption of activities is successful and gains made in the management of the pandemic are not diluted,” it read.

The MHA has already advised Chief Secretaries or Administrators of all States or UTs that they should endeavour to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing mask, washing hands and maintaining physical distancing extensively at the grass root levelA

Meanwhile National Directives for Covid-19 management will continue to be followed throughout the country, so as to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

Strict enforcement of lockdown in Containment Zones to stay till 30th November. Moreover, Containment Zones will be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission.

“Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.A
These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.

Meanwhile, the MHA strongly stressed once again that any vulnerable person, who is above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years should stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

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No chance of settlement of Mhadei issue out of court: Goa CM Pramod Sawant

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Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday ruled out any possibility of an out-of-court settlement on the ongoing Mhadei interstate river water dispute with Karnataka.

Sawant also said that his government was firm on its contempt petition filed against Karnataka for diverting the flow of the Mhadei river.

“There is no question of an out-of-court settlement. We have already filed a contempt petition. We are firm on it,” Sawant told reporters.

Sawant’s comments come days after overtures by the Karnataka government’s special representative Shankargouda Patil, who had said that the Chief Ministers of both states, namely BS Yediyurappa and Sawant should meet and resolve the river dispute, instead of letting the courts decide on the matter.

Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river in Goa and Mahadayi in Karnataka, is considered a lifeline in the northern parts of Goa.

It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.

While the river runs 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is over 50 km in length in the state Goa. Goa, Karnataka are battling out a two decade-long dispute over the sharing of the Mhadei waters.

Last month, the Goa government filed the contempt petition in the Supreme Court, alleging Karnataka had illegally diverted water from the Mhadei river basin via the newly constructed Kalasa-Banduri canal.

The Goa government had filed a special leave petition in the apex court last year, challenging the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal award in 2018, which allowed Karnataka to divert 13.42 TMC water from the river basin. The SLP had also said that Karnataka was diverting more water than what was allotted.

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New ordinance has been praised by every section of society: UP Law Minister

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Brajesh-Pathak

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has taken strict measures to curb the incidents of ‘love jihad’ and ‘religious conversion for marriage’ in the state.

As promise of a crackdown on forcible conversions, the UP cabinet has recently passed the UP Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance, 2020. In this regard, UP Law Minister Brajesh Pathak has said that the new ordinance has been brought in to honour the sisters and daughters in the state.

Speaking to IANS about the ordinance, the Law Minister said that although there is no mention of ‘love jihad’ in this ordinance, it will take strict action against those who ruin the lives of sisters and mothers forcing them to convert in the garb of marriage. The new law has been welcomed by religious leaders too.

Pathak said that in recent years, the state has witnessed scores of incidents of forcible conversion and exploitation. In many instances, the woman has been made to change her name after marriage and then they were deserted. With the enactment of the new law there will no such situation.

He said that this is is a praiseworthy law. Barring exceptions, every section of society has praised it.

“It is the habit of some to oppose every matter. In recent years, this has emerged as a major social issue. Some people use deceitful means or sometimes they hide their religion and marry the girl from another religion. As a result, the girl and her family’s reputation are tarnished.”

Sometimes, such incidents bring social disharmony. The new law will put a brake on such acts. If people of two different religions want to get married through mutual consent, then the District Magistrate has to be informed two months prior to the wedlock.

In case of fraudulent or forcible conversion, the convict will face a sentence of between one and 10 years. This legislation is necessary to keep the law and order situation normal in UP and to ensure justice for women. In this way, everyone’s sisters and daughters will get a chance to lead a life of dignity.

On the question of the Brahmin society being upset with the government, the Law Minister said, the allegations made against the government related to caste are baseless. The results of the recently held Assembly by-elections has exposed the opposition’s allegations.

“Sabka Saath is not only a slogan to us but also a guiding mantra. The government is working accordingly. We consider the entire state as a family.”

On the workers’ displeasure, Pathak said, “Our party believes in taking everyone along. We are with the workers in every happiness and sorrow. No one is angry, everyone is happy.”

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Forgery case: Allahabad High Court rejects bail pleas of Azam Khan, son

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Abdullah-Azam-Khan

The Allahabad High Court has denied bail to senior Samajwadi Party leader and MP Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan in two cases relating to alleged cheating and forgery.

The allegations against the applicants were that they had forged PAN to show the wrong date of birth of Abdullah to enable him to contest the UP Assembly elections from the Suar constituency in Rampur in 2017.

Justice Suneet Kumar, who rejected the bail plea on Thursday, asked the trial court to expedite the trial.

He said that the applicants are at a liberty to approach the high court again for bail after the witnesses are examined in the trial.

The court observed, “Having regard to the allegations that the applicants did not cooperate with the investigation and court proceedings, consequently, coercive measures had to be adopted against them.”

“Further, having regard to the position and status of the accused persons, the repetition of the offences, and the deep-rooted and pervasive influence, applicants exercise in the various departments of the state, there is reasonable apprehension of the witnesses being tampered with, and danger to the course of justice being thwarted. In the circumstances, grant of bail at this stage would not be in public interest,” the court added.

It may be recalled that FIRs were lodged against the Azam Khan and Abdullah Azam in 2019 alleging that on January 24, 2017, Abdullah had filed nomination papers for contesting from Suar Assembly constituency.

In the nomination papers, Abdullah Azam’s date of birth was wrongly mentioned as September 30, 1990, to make him eligible for contesting elections, and in support of it, a forged PAN card was also obtained with the help of Azam Khan.

Azam Khan, his son Abdullah Azam and wife Tanzeen Fatima are lodged in Sitapur jail since February this year.

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