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When Maharashtra joint family of 21 fell ill together to Covid




The second wave of Covid-19 has been devastating, with some families losing multiple people to the virus. The scenario could have been just as tragic for Ashok Rohidas Jagtap, a farmer from Pune district.

The 21 members of his joint family comprising four generations, however, overcame the ordeal with love, care and timely medical intervention.

Hailing from Mandavgan Farata village in Shirur taluka, 100 km from Pune city, Ashok tested positive on April 21. As the remaining members of his family include four people aged over 65, the village panchayat decided to conduct a Covid test on all of them.

Following Ashok, 20 members of the family tested positive, with just three spared from the infection. The youngest patient included a one-and-a-half-year-old boy and the oldest, a 75-year-old man.

Ashok, who is a member of the gram panchayat of Mandavgan Farata, said his family is big as his father, his uncle and their families all live together. The 24 members include eight women, seven men, and nine children.

As a melon-farmer, he was the only member of the family who used to step out of the house during the pandemic in order to sell the family’s farm produce. He said he would quarantine himself in a separate room to keep the rest of the family safe from the infection.

The 53-year-old used to visit the market yard in Pune and came in contact with adatdars (brokers), other farmers, vendors, as well as customers. “During the week (before I was tested), I had fever and body pain, but I ignored it as I thought it may be because of exhaustion.

“When the pain increased, I visited a family doctor, who suggested a Covid test. On April 21, my report came positive. As I was serious, my doctor suggested I get admitted to a private hospital,” he said.

Ashok’s diagnosis left the entire family worried. That is when the gram panchayat decided to test everyone. Of the 20 other family members who tested positive, 15 had mild symptoms and five were admitted to the Covid-19 centre in Mandavgan Farata.

Ashok, on coming to know that nearly all of his family had been infected, was overwhelmed with guilt. “I felt I would be the only one responsible if any of them succumbed to the virus. I could not have forgiven myself if anything had happened to them,” he said.

All the household and family responsibilities then fell on the three who were not infected — Pooja Suraj Jagtap, Adika Santosh Jagtap and Akash Bapusaheb Jagtap. Pooja and Adika were busy in the kitchen most of the time, cooking immunity-boosting food for the patients. Akash would deliver the food to the Covid centre and hospital.

When he would get time, Akash would go to the fields, but he could not finish many of the tasks as the farmworkers hired by the family refused to come to work out of fear of catching the virus.

Ashok’s son, Suraj Subhash Jagtap, 27, said that his wife, Pooja, and brother’s wife, Adika, looked after the whole family. “My one-year-old son Aditya lived with us, and without his mom, for more than 10 days. We were all scared at first, as negative news was pouring in from outside. But our grandfather and grandmother motivated us, they never showed any kind of anxiety. All the time, they would talk to us and tell us that nothing would happen. Their positive words inspired all of us,” he said.

Kantabai Rohidas Jagtap, 70, Ashok’s mother, said they were scared, but did not show it. “Everyone started to take care of each other. Daughters, sons-in-law, nephews, and other relatives also helped us. With the love and support of each other and our relatives, we got through the hard times. I have seen humanity in this critical situation. Now, senior members of the family will take the vaccine and others will too,” she adds.

Ashok’s uncle, Subhash Mahadev Jagtap, 70, said the family’s farm suffered losses as workers stayed away from their farm and Akash could not harvest the melons or water the crops alone. “It is a big loss to the family, but at least all of us are together,” he said.

Manoj Bhosale, a doctor at the Varad Vinayak Hospital, Mandavgan Farata, said it is important for patients to stay optimistic. “A doctor tries to save every patient, but patients should also believe in themselves. This is the thing I saw in the Jagtap family.

“As a farming family, they had strong immunity. But also, no one in the family panicked in this critical situation. They took care of each other. This is when I saw the benefit of a joint family. Their love for each other makes them strong. Now I always give the example of the Jagtap family to every patient,” he said.

Looking at the prediction of a third wave in India, Ashok said the virus is bound to infect everyone eventually. “The key is not to delay treatment, be optimistic and love each other. Also, get vaccinated. We are getting the jab too.”

(The author is a Pune-based freelance journalist and a member of, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)


Odisha police seizes live pangolin, arrests one




The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha police has seized one live pangolin and arrested one wildlife criminal in Bolangir district, police said on Wednesday.

“STF, with the help of Balangir forest officials, seized/ rescued one live pangolin near Baragaon, Balangir. One accused was arrested. Further investigation is on,” the STF informed through twitter.

According to police officials, the STF team conducted a raid on the road near Baragoan Chhaka under Deogoan police station of Bolangir district on Tuesday and rescued the pangolin. Later, the police handed over the pangolin to DFO, Bolangir for safe custody, they said.

The accused, identified as Ajit Kumar Budek of the same district, has been handed over to Bolangir forest officials for legal action at their end.

During the last one year, the task force has seized 10 live pangolins and 16 kg pangolin scales and arrested the wildlife criminals involved in the illegal trade.

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Punjab sand mining case: ED recovers Rs 10 cr cash, documents




 The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday recovered more cash during ongoing raids in connection with illegal sand mining case of Punjab. The ED team conducted raids in Pathankot and in other areas.

“We have recovered around Rs 10 crore cash so far. The team has also found few documents which connect Bhupinder Singh Honey with shell companies,” said a source.

The sources in ED have claimed that Bhupinder Singh Honey has alleged connection with sand mafia in Punjab. The ED has recovered a few documents during raid on Wednesday. A source said that the documents recovered by them have confirmed that Kudratdeep was running two firms and Bhupinder was joint director in them. The firms are basically shell companies but ED has found a lot of money transactions.

The ED had on Tuesday recovered Rs 6 crore cash during the raids.

About Rs 4 crore was recovered from the house of Bhupinder singh Honey, the nephew of Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi. And Rs two crore was recovered from the house of one Sandeep Kumar.

On Tuesday, the raids were conducted by the ED at more than ten locations including Honey’s home.

On Wednesday, the ED team again started conducting raids in Punjab. The ED official were tight lipped over the raids.

As of now they have not shown any arrest in the case.

This is a two years old FIR on the basis of which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at ten different locations including one belonging to Punjab Chief Minster Charanjit Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey.

Punjab Police had on March 7, 2018, lodged a case against more than ten accused. The ED initiated a money laundering probe on the basis of this FIR.

The FIR has been accessed by IANS which was filed under several sections of the IPC.The ED found that money was being laundered by the accused involved in the case and they started probing the matter.

The ED team that started raids at different premises including of residence of Bhupinder Singh Honey which is at Homeland Heights on Tuesday morning, went on till late Tuesday evening.

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Bajrang Dal workers allegedly beat Muslim man in MP




A group of Bajrang Dal workers allegedly beat a Muslim man, who was travelling with a married Hindu woman, in an Ajmer-bound train and was forcibly picked up from the train at Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain railway station.

Bajrang Dal members assaulted the Muslim man, accusing him of being involved in ‘Love Jihad’ and they (woman and man) were made to sit for several hours at the Ujjain railway police station until their family members reached there from Indore and said that they were family friends known to each other.

The man and the woman were let off by the police after parents’ statements that the Muslim man was travelling with Hindu woman because they were known to each other and there was no angle of alleged ‘Love Jihad’.

Bajrang Dal workers not only deboarded both friends forcibly from the train but thrashed the man in the name of ‘Love Jihad’ and after handing him over to the railway police, one of the Bajrang Dal workers briefed the local media.

In one of the videos of the incident, which went viral on social media, three men who identified themselves as Bajrang Dal workers are seen dragging Asif Shaikh out of the train coach. As they take him to the police station, the woman is seen walking behind them. In another video recorded inside the police station, the woman is seen screaming at the Bajrang Dal men.

“Your one misunderstanding can spoil my life. I am an adult and work as a teacher in a school, I teach children,” the woman was heard saying in one of the videos. One of the Bajrang Dal men identified as Pintu Kaushal is seen telling her that he was not talking to her.

They (Hindu woman and Muslim man) have not lodged any complaint against Bajrang Dal members. The incident had occurred on January 14, said the railway police.

While the man was identified as Asif Shaikh, owner of a small electronic shop, the woman is a private school teacher.

Government Railway Police (GRP) Superintendent of Police (SP), Nivedita Gupta said Shaikh and the woman were family friends and had known each other for years.

“Bajrang Dal members had brought the man and woman alleging Love Jihad, however, when questioned it was found that they were family friends and both adults, and there was no offence. They were let scot-free after the statement of their parents were recorded,” Gupta added.

Railway Police said they were not aware that the man was beaten up while being brought to the police station.

“Neither man nor the woman said that they were thrashed during the interrogation, hence no case was registered. It was just an incident that occurred due to misinformation,” the GRP SP said.

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