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Omicron cases rise to 1,892 in India, Maharashtra worst-hit

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With 192 new cases of highly transmissible Covid variant Omicron detected in the last 24 hours, India’s Omicron tally on Tuesday rose to 1,892 cases.

With 127 Omicron infected people discharged in the last 24 hours, a total 766 people have recovered from the new strain so far.

Maharashtra and Delhi continue to be the worst-hit states with this new variant.

Among total 23 states and union territories that have reported the Omicron infection so far, Maharashtra tops the list with 568 cases of this variant. Of them, 259 patients have been discharged as per the health ministry data on Tuesday.

The national capital, Delhi has the second highest cases of Omicron infection at 382. However, 57 of them have been discharged from the hospital. Delhi is followed by Kerala with 185 Omicron cases. The Union health ministry on Tuesday morning said that the Omicron infection has so far spread into 23 states and UTs.

Among other states, Rajasthan has detected 174 Omicron infection with 88 discharged so far. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have so far reported 152 and 121 cases of Omicron respectively.

Telangana continues with 67 Omicron patients. In Karnataka, 64 people so far have been detected with Omicron infection while the number of infection remains 63 in Haryana and 37 and 20 cases respectively in Odisha and West Bengal. Andhra Pradesh also continues with 17 Omicron patients so far.

However, the Omicron case count continues in single digit for Madhya Pradesh at nine and Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand at eight cases each. Goa has reported four more cases of Omicron taking the tally to five. Chandigarh and Jammu & Kashmir also continue with three cases each. Andaman and Nicobar Islands also continue with two cases so far. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, Manipur and Punjab continue with one case of this variant each so far.

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Victim opposes actor producer Vijay Babu’s anticipatory bail plea

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The actress, who has accused actor-producer Vijay Babu of rape, on Thursday asked the Kerala High Court not to grant him anticipatory bail, as an accused cannot decide the terms of bail.

The court, after hearing both the sides, said the plea of the actor-producer, who is on the run ever since the allegations came out, will not be considered if he fails to return to Kerala on May 30, and posted the case for Friday.

The Kerala Police has been trying their best to bring back Vijay Babu, who slipped out of the country last month to Dubai and from there – after the police began steps to issue a red corner notice – headed for Georgia and is now there.

His counsel has already informed the court that he will be landing in Kerala on Monday.

The actor-producer was on the run after the actress from Kozhikode filed a complaint in Ernakulam on April 22 that she was raped and beaten up by him several times in a flat in Kochi.

She has also accused him of giving her intoxicants before sexually abusing her.

Soon after the news surfaced, Vijay Babu appeared live on his social media handle claiming that he was the “real victim” in this case, adding that he would take appropriate legal steps against the complainant whom he also named.

The police, apart from the initial complaint, have registered a second case against him for disclosing the name of the complainant.

With his anticipatory bail plea likely to be disposed of on Friday, if the court fails to give him bail, then it remains to be seen if he will land in Cochin on Monday or not.

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Thousands protest in Gujarat’s Palanpur for water reservoirs

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Thousands of farmers on Thursday gathered in Palanpur of the Banaskantha district in north Gujarat to demand the state explore the possibility of filling the water reservoirs — Karmavat Lake and Mukteshwar Dam with Narmada water to resolve water shortage of the area.

More than 20,000 farmers of 125 villages of the Vadgam and neighbouring Taluka joined the protest rally. “People of the area are facing severe water shortage for more than two decades as annual rainfall is less and underground water is depleting. The only solution is — these two reservoirs should be filled with Narmada water,” said M.M. Gadhvi, member of the farmers protest organising committee.

Giving details about the water reservoirs, farmer leaders said that Karmavat lake is spread over 98 hectares, Mukteshwar dam water capacity is around 30 million cubic meter. If water is drawn from Narmada canal, from Didrol village of Sidhpur Taluka, the pipeline can be first laid up to Mukteshwar dam and from the dam to Karmavat lake. At present the underground water level is at 800 feet.

“Their demand is genuine, the region has been facing water crisis for a long time. There is no permanent solution, as it is rain fed. Annual rainfall is very less due to which the water shortage has become acute,” said Shankar Chaudhary, BJP leader, chairman of the Banaskantha District Milk Producers Union (Banas dairy).

He added that in crisis, farmers have to purchase water tankers to feed domestic animals. If these water reservoirs are filled with Narmada water, it can recharge underground water, because of which groundwater level can increase.

He said Banas dairy too has launched a programme to dig lakes in the region with people’s participation. This will reduce dependency on Narmada waters, if there is good rain.

“Technical possibilities will be explored, such as how to lift water from the Narmada canal and take it up to the said reservoirs,” said Anand Patel, Banaskantha Collector.

A meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Wednesday, in which irrigation and water supplies engineers too were present. They were asked to work on technical possibilities. Soon the problem will be addressed, said Anand Patel.

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Malali mosque row: Will not allow disturbance, say Karnataka Police

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The Karnataka Police department has said that they will not allow any disturbance in the law and order situation over the Malali Masjid row in Dakshina Kannada region.

Additional DGP (Law and Order) Alok Kumar stated on Thursday that no room for disturbance would be given in the region in the backdrop of the row that surfaced following the finding of temple structure during the renovation of the mosque.

“The matter of Malali mosque is in the court. The court has ordered status quo till June 3. Necessary steps have been taken to ensure peace in the region,” he said.

“Mangaluru is a sensitive place. The elections are going to take place next year. Necessary action would be taken to ensure peace by holding meetings with officials,” he said.

“There is a spurt in the number of crimes related to social media in the region. Mangaluru police have initiated action in this regard,” he said.

The row took a political turn after former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy ridiculed the Hindu activists’ attempt to ascertain the history of Malali Masjid through ‘Tamboola Prashne’, a traditional religious method to ascertain the history of the temple.

“All decisions will be taken at Keshva Krupa (RSS headquarters in Bengaluru). These persons will follow instructions from there. There is no future for the country and there is possibility of disturbance of peace and harmony in the state,” Kumaraswamy stated.

BJP MLA Bharat Shetty slammed Kumaraswamy and said, “Kumaraswamy, who conducts ‘yagnas’ and ‘homas’, will question the practice of ‘Tamboola Prashne’…We know what questions he asks the Kerala priests,” he said.

Meanwhile, during ‘Tamboola Prashne’, the priest has confirmed the existence of the temple before the mosque and also talked about resolving the matter amicably. After ascertaining facts through religious methods, the Hindu activists have decided to take up a legal course of action for reclaiming the mosque.

The Hindu activists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal have decided to ascertain the truth about the mosque in the form of traditional way by posing “Tambula Prashne” before the priests on Wednesday.

Temple structure was found on April 21 during the renovation of Malali mosque, stirring up a controversy. Following the controversy, the court had ordered the mosque management to stop the work.

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