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Friday,05-March-2021

Maharashtra

Mumbai Mayor hits the streets, orders people to wear masks

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As the state apparently hurtles towards a second lockdown, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Wednesday took to the streets and with folded hands, appealed to the people to follow all Covid-19 protocols in public interest.

Reiterating her warnings since Tuesday, Pednekar said that nearly 60 percent of the people are violating Covid-19 protocols like not wearing face-masks, maintaining physical distancing and cleanliness.

“I appeal to you all Do not force the government to impose another lockdown. Please maintain all protocols very strictly Its in your hands to avoid another lockdown,” the Mayor appealed.

Pednekar, accompanied by a couple of officials and security personnel, caught a suburban train from Byculla to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and approached commuters who were not wearing face-masks to comply forthwith.

She repeated this on the foot overbridges where many people could be seen sauntering without face-masks and not adhering to physical distancing norms.

Outside Byculla and CSMT, she went to a paan shop, local street-vendors and shopkeepers urging them to wear masks and insist that customers follow suit.

“The Corona danger has not subsided yet We must all remain extremely vigilant, any let-up could lead to another lockdown in the city and state,” Pednekar warned.

In a related development, Buldhana district authorities clamped full restrictions till Feb. 28 in view of the increasing Covid-19 cases in the district.

The health and police officials in Pune, Nashik, Solapur swooped down on people roaming around without face-masks or in crowds and imposed fines on them.

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Crime

Maharashtra Oppn red-faced as probe dubs ‘naked dance’ incident false

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Anil Deshmukh

There were red faces in the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a probe revealed that the alleged incident of cops forcing women to ‘dance naked’ in a Jalgaon hostel was false, here on Thursday.

After the probe by a 6-member women’s panel, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Women & Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur and Water Supply Minister Gulabrao Patil, who is Jalgaon Guardian Minister stated in the Maharashtra Assembly that “no such incident” ever happened there.

The House was shocked and rocked on Wednesday after BJP MLA Shweta Mahale raised the issue and was supported by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, senior leader Sudhir Mungantiwar and others.

After a ruckus, Deshmukh had announced a probe into the purported incident that took place in the government-run Ashadeep Hoste, and its report would be submitted within 48 hours.

“The initial probe report is available. It was investigated by 6 women officers. There are 17 women inmates and statements of 41 witnesses have been recorded. The entry registered were scrutinized. It is found that there is no truth in the allegations. No male police official was present, it’s a women’s hostel and policemen are not permitted inside,” Deshmukh said.

He added that a woman who reportedly made the complaint was ‘mentally unstable’ and her husband and family members have complained about her medical condition.

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Maharashtra

Uddhav Thackeray compared with Rahul Gandhi, inciting Owaisi

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Uddhav-Thackeray-5

A day after his thundering speech in the Maharashtra Assembly, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader compared Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while a Congressman claimed it would serve to incite AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, here on Thursday.

Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam slammed Thackeray’s statements taking pride in the demolition of the disputed structure at the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, demanding what aspect of it was part of the Common Minimum Programme of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

“When the CM was ‘celebrating’ the razing of the Babri Mosque, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party ministers and members present were enjoying his speech Doesn’t it (CM’s speech) have enough fertilizer to spur the growth of Owaisi’s poisonous saplings?” Nirupam asked.

Taking umbrage to Thackeray’s statement that the Centre puts nails on roads to stop the farmers’ protests, but flees when China comes before them, BJP Mumbai legislator Atul Bhatkalkar slammed the CM for “insulting” the Indian soldiers guarding the borders.

“Uddhavji has become the ‘Rahul Gandhi of Maharashtra’. The CM should apologise to the country for his slurs against the soldiers. The people will definitely teach him a lesson for this ‘Rahul Gandhi-giri’,” warned Bhatkalkar.

In the Assembly on Thursday, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar warned that the MVA should not “cry” if President’s Rule is imposed in the state for its alleged failures on various fronts.

Soon after Thackeray’s speech on Wednesday evening where he took sharp potshots at the BJP and its top leaders, the state Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis retorted by accusing the Chief Minister of resorting to falsehoods on China, the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya, and other issues, which were aimed at misleading the people.

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Maharashtra

Congress admits 1975 Emergency ‘error’, now BJP’s turn: MVA

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Rahul-Gandhi

Lauding Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s candid admission, that the Emergency imposed 45 years ago was a mistake, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) jumped to its feet and said “now it’s the turn of the ruling party at the Centre to own up its mistakes”, here on Wednesday.

State Congress President Nana Patole, Nationalist Congress Party Spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik, Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari and Samajwadi Party state President Abu Asim Azmi made near-identical demands from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after Gandhi’s surprise statement on Tuesday.

Patole said that the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has owned up that the 21-month long Emergency imposed in 1975 was a ‘mistake’.

“Now, will Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP also admit that the 2002 Gujarat riots were a blunder and own up their responsibility?” Patole demanded.

Malik said that after the Congress’ submission that somehow the Emergency was not the right step, it’s now the turn of the BJP to reciprocate and accept its own mistake of the Gujarat riots.

“Earlier, the Congress had even apologized for the anti-Sikh riots (1984) in Delhi and now they feel imposing the Emergency was wrong They are attempting to improve upon their mistakes. When will the BJP similarly admit and apologise for the Gujarat riots,” Malik asked.

Welcoming Gandhi’s assertion, Tiwari, accorded a Minister of State status, said that it was a magnanimous gesture on the part of the Congress and its time for BJP to follow suit in a democratic spirit.

“Not only should Modi say sorry, he should also make suitable amends towards all the affected people, if necessary, even resign to prove his sincerity The Congress has realized and trying to erase its past errors, the BJP must also do the same to improve its credibility with the masses,” said Tiwari.

Azmi said that the BJP has become a ‘Bharat Jalao Party’ and it is engaged in blatantly destroying the country on all fronts daily in the past 7 years.

“They must categorically apologise for the Gujarat riots, plus the manner in which minorities are being targeted, for the lynchings of Muslims, Dalits and other poor people, for the harassment of ‘love-jihad’ the list is long,” said Azmi.

The ruling parties’ reactions came after Gandhi – in conversation with Cornell University’s economic Kaushik Basu – termed the Emergency imposed by the then PM Indira Gandhi, as a ‘mistake’.

“I think that (the Emergency) was a mistake. Absolutely, that was a mistake. And my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) said as much.”

However, he also added that there was a fundamental difference between what happened during the Emergency which was wrong, and what is happening in the country currently.

Tweaking the Congress’ ears further, the SP leader (Azmi) said merely admitting mistakes or saying sorry after the irreparable damage wreaked for past errors or horrors, is not enough, and they (Congress) must go a step further to promise that such things will not recur in future.

“There were many riots even during the Congress rule, they failed to protect the Babri Mosque, and committed other atrocities against minorities or deprived sections of the society The Congress should categorically assure that if they return to power, they will not repeat such things and help to improve the lot of the downtrodden,” Azmi said grimly.

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