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Section 144 imposed in Maharashtra: Only the following groups are exempted from the rule that prohibits mass gatherings

The state government implemented Section 144 across Maharashtra on Sunday to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 strain. This means that mass gatherings are strictly prohibited in the state, and it’s your duty as a citizen to ensure that the disease is not spread at this time. While the WHO has said that isolation will not entirely help the spread of the disease, it certainly is a way to keep the spread of the virus under check.

Pranaya Ashok, the deputy commissioner of police, Greater Mumbai issued a circular discussing Section 144 of the IPC and what it entails. This will go on till March 31 and can extend, depending on the situation in the state on that day.

According to Ashok, the police will prohibit the movement of five or more people in public or private places, including religious places and also any vehicles carrying such persons for any reason whatsoever.

However, the order does not apply to the following exempted entities

- Emergency services:

- Essential services as follows:

a) Food, vegetable, milk, supplies, ration and grocery

b) Hospitals, medicines, pharma-related establishments, pathology laboritries, medical/nursing colleges

c) Telephone and internet services

d) Banking, stock exchange clearing corporations, depositories, stock brokers, SEBI-registered participants operating through these institutions

e) IT and IT-enabled services and data centres providing services for national and international infrastructure

f) Media

g) Electricity, petroleum, oil and energy-related

h) Port

i) Services providing home delivery of food, groceries

j) Drinking water supply and maintenance

k) Godowns and warehousing-related to all the above

l) Trucks and tempo services

- Government and semi-government agencies

- Zonal DCsP are empowered to grant special permission


From cash transactions to clearing cheques: How banks will provide essential services during the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak

The government has decided to put a complete lock down in 75 districts where coronavirus cases have been detected and as these places go into a lock down it is important to know that the finances are in track and managed properly during such times.

Well, during this lock down bank will offer fewer services like cash deposit and withdrawal, clearing of cheques, remittance and other government transactions from Monday.

Indian Bank's Association I(IBA) appealed to its customers and requested them to bear with them as other non-essential services may be suspended. However, ATMs across the country will be operating, it said.

Now, bank have asked about 50% of their work strength who are required to attend their job at the works place while others have been asked to work from home.

IBA also asked its bank customers to visit the branch only if its important. IBA said that most of the services are available online and customers should use mobile and net banking facilities for non-essential services.

The IBA committee has also been in talks and have discussed various options to support their customers by providing emergency credit during difficult times.

Following a high level meeting on Sunday, officials have decided to put 75 districts from where individuals have tested positive for the novel coronavirus under a state of near-complete lock-down.

The decision was taken at a meeting on Sunday morning with the Chief Secretaries of all the States and the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The only exceptions will be emergency services and shops selling commodities such as shops selling grocery, vegetables, milk, medicines etc.


Coronavirus Update in Mumbai: No community-based transmission recorded as yet in Maximum City

Mumbai: In a good news for Mumbai and its citizens, out of the 4,000 people visiting COVID-29 OPDs, only one person was found positive. This comes as a ray of hope, as the city has not yet entered category 3 or community-based transmission yet.

According to Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, COVID-19 OPDs in the city see a footfall of 500 patients daily. “But only one patient with a foreign travel history has been detected to be positive with the deadly virus,” he said.

Notably, community-based transmission of the virus is on a larger scale in countries like Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan. City health officials claim that the virus has not begun spreading at a community level in the city yet. In Mumbai, all the reported 36 positive cases fall in the category of risk factors. “So far, we have not found any patient with community-based infection,” confirms Dr Padmaja Keshkar, executive health officer (EHO), BMC.

Although doctors claim that some infections may go unnoticed and that it is currently the season for respiratory diseases. Influenza and common cold have symptoms similar to COVID-19. Against this backdrop, the state health department has asked doctors to inform them in cases where patients develop acute pneumonia.

Not all pneumonia are caused by COVID-19. The pathogen of coronavirus affects the respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs. In some patients, it may only affect the upper respiratory tract with mild symptoms. When it reaches the lungs, the patient develops pneumonia with breathlessness.

“To ascertain, we need to check the travel history or the possibility of contact-based infection among patients. Without these two risk factors, it is extremely tough to differentiate the symptoms of pneumonia from coronavirus acquired pneumonia without tests,” said Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of Chest Research Foundation.


Tope disagrees

Meanwhile, five of the ten people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Maharashtra on Sunday got the infection through local transmission, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

The remaining five had a history of foreign travel, he added.

"Today, as many as 10 people tested positive of which five got the infection locally. Remaining five got infected abroad and returned to India," Tope said at a press conference here.

"It is certainly a matter of concern as cases of local transmission are increasing," he added.

The total number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra has now risen to 74.

Of the 10 new cases, six are in Mumbai and four in Pune.

A health official informed that the Centre had decided to stop flights into the country, starting from tonight. "But those who are carrying the infection should be identified, tested and treated. We need cooperation of people in terms of travel history so that further transmission can be stopped," the official said.


Coronavirus: 96 MPs scared after Kanika Kapoor tested positive

New Delhi: After Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor tested positive for coronavirus, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son Dushyant Singh have gone into self-isolation after coming in contact with her but the news has also caused concern among 96 MPs.

These 96 MPs are from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were present at a breakfast meet at Rashtrapati Bhavan two days ago which Dushyant Singh also attended. Now, who ever came into contact with Dushyant Singh has started going into self-isolation. Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel was the first to do this.

On March 18, President Ram Nath Kovind invited 96 MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to breakfast. Dushyant Singh, an MP from Jhalawar-Baran, also came to the breakfast and interacted with the other MPs. Just two days before this, on March 16, Dushyant Singh had returned from Lucknow after attending Kanika Kapoor’s party.
After Kanika Kapoor tested positive for coronavirus, Vasundhara Raje and Dushyant Singh announced going into self-isolation. But as the news spread, the other MPs who had attended the breakfast got scared. Former Union Minister and Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel, who was present at the President’s breakfast, has also announced going into self-isolation.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh, General V.K. Singh, Gajendra Shekhawat, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Kailash Chaudhary, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Goyal, Om Mathur, Ravikishan, Hema Malini, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Sakshi Maharaj had attended the breakfast meet among others. Sources said the other MPs who were present there are also preparing to undergo a coronavirus test and go into self-isolation.

Kanika Kapoor, who came from London to Lucknow on March 15, organised a high-profile party in Gallant apartment on the same day in which senior officials were also present along with many political leaders. Kanika Kapoor also hosted parties at two other places including a five star hotel in Lucknow. She also went to a relative’s house in Kanpur.

It took me 2 days to get tested: Kanika Kapoor
Talking to mediaperson, Kanika Kapoor claimed that it took two days for her to get tested for the coronavirus. The singer further alleged that she called 20 times to get tested.
Meanwhile, Taj Hotel in Lucknow where the singer attended a party has been closed till further orders.

After Kanika Kapoor tested coronavirus positive, Vasundhara Raje tweeted: “A few days ago I went to a dinner in Lucknow with Dushyant and his in-laws. Kanika Kapoor, who is found to be corona infected, was also involved in that dinner. I was present as a guest. As a precaution, I and Dushyant are in self-isolation and we are following all the necessary instructions”.

Dushyant participated in Standing Committee meeting
Dushyant was involved in meetings in Parliament after returning from Lucknow on March 15 and took part in Lok Sabha proceedings on March 16. He raised issues related to tourism that day. On March 18, the plight of the farmers of Jhalawar parliamentary constituency was raised in the Lok Sabha. Dushyant Singh also participated in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and Culture.

Thus, wherever Dushyant Singh went, all the MPs who came into contact with him have now become worried about their health. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien has also said that he will go into self-isolation.

President to undergo corona test
President Ram Nath Kovind will undergo coronavirus test on Saturday, according to Rashtrapati Bhavan sources.

Sources said the President would follow all the directives of the government. The President has postponed all his programmes till further orders, the sources added.

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COVID patients share experience, spread awareness

New Delhi: COVID patients shared their experience to clear myths about the diseases. They also made an attempt to spread awareness.

There is a common belief that elderly people or children get affected by the disease. In order to rule out it, a COVID patient, Kelly Abagat shared her age and symptoms she witnessed.
She wrote, “Hello, I want to share my symptoms of COVID-19 to raise awareness and to make people calm.
I am a 24-year old Filipina who is currently residing in Berlin, Germany.

LAnother patient sharing his age wrote, “I’m 22 years old and I tested positive for COVID-19.”.

asPeople have another myth i.e., persons who have travel history to virus-affected countries should only get tested for COVID.

In order to dismiss this myth and make it clear that anyone can get infected with the virus and everyone who either has symptoms or came in contact with infected persons should also get tested, a COVID patient shared his experience.

t Saturday, I had sore throat (which is usual for me) cause I love sweets and cola. So, I ignored”.

As the number of coronavirus cases in India climbed to 223, it is the responsibility of everyone to contain the spread of the virus by taking precautionary steps
Globally, there is a total of 246,275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while the death toll has crossed 10,000.

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We, the People of India: Hammered in from three sides

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

Ask an Indian Muslim what is it in India’s public life that s/he dreads most, wants to get rid of this socio-political plague as quickly as possible and wants to elect to power only such a party, or group of parties, that does not make anti-Muslim mass violence a vote-catching strategy. You will be amazed to find that (barring a few men like Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, MJ Akbar and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi) nearly 100 out of 100 Muslims will tell you that it is anti-Muslim violence.

It finds a reflection in the classic Sachar Committee Report (in the “Perceptions” section). Why in the “Perception” section? Because, over the last 73 years of our independent existence, every influential politician has tried to deny this truth, because truth does not suit them. So, Gujarat 2002 does not matter because Delhi 1984 did not matter. Because they did not matter, regular lynchings of Muslim since 2014 did not matter, and the well-planned massacre of Muzaffarnagar 2013 did not matter, also because it was a curtain raiser for BJP victory and rule from 2014.
In BJP rule nobody should expect anything good for Muslims. That was the message.Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has observed in an article published in The Indian Express of March 20: “the attacks on poor, working people, mainly Muslims, in Delhi cannot be separated from the attempts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to redefine Indian citizenship and who is eligible for it, via the recent CAA, and the proposed NPR-NRC.

This would appear in compatible with Article 14 of India’s Constitution, which clearly states that all citizens are equal before law. Together, these developments pose searching questions about India’s democratic future and its place in the global family of nations.” 


The devastation of an anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi late last month came at a time when the economy was already nose-diving, with the annual growth at 4.7 percent and the deepest unemployment in 42 years. Instead of addressing the deepening slowdown in the village economy where rural wages have been falling and resentment rising.

The government decided to humiliate Muslims on Babri Masjid, triple talaq and, finally an attempt to either disenfranchise them, banish them, put them in Nazi-like camps, torture or kill them under the garb of new citizenship laws. Muslims all over India took it as an existential threat and decided to oppose the combined web of CAA, NPR and NRC in legally and constitutionally-approved ways: sit-ins and demonstrations countrywide. 

Despite its unquestionable legality and constitutional sanction the Centre tried to quell it with indiscriminate lathi-charge and firing, including in the library and hostels of Jamia Millia, causing serious injury to students, reminiscent of a goonda mob attack on students and teachers of JNU on police watch earlier. Later, in its FIR the police named the victims of the attack as perpetrators at JNU. It said there were two attackers from the RSS-affiliated students union, ABVP, but did not name them.

It was clearly a police-sponsored violence against students and teachers with leftist leanings.  The same continued at Jamia and Shaheenbagh, the administration’s favourite goondas firing at protestors as police blatantly protected them. The Jamia shooter was described by police as a “juvenile” within a couple of minutes of his shooting a student through his forearm.

He was described as a juvenile to protect him from harsh punishment. Soon he was found out to be over 20 as his father had died 20 years ago.

This man had also voted in the last election. Such was the partiality of the state. BJP-run UP killed about two dozen demonstrators, heavily fined others and put a Rs one crore fine on an Urdu poet, Imran, for reciting an Urdu poem in public. Such ludicrousness with such brutality was seen in the handling of the protests in all BJP states as other states showed restraint.  


Amid all this chaos, injustice and state involvement in demolishing public faith in a just order promising Sab ka saath, Sab ka vikas, Sab ka vishwas the economic slowdown is deepening. The Delhi episode of mass violence has clearly been declared a pogrom by Atlantic journal as well as academics specialising in riots, pogroms and genocides, including Prof. Ashutosh Varshney.

It means mass violence with police participation, which indicates a compromised state.  As the corona virus strikes with full force in coming weeks the entire chain of production, distribution and consumption will break down. Schools, factories, offices and other work places will shut down, bringing the economy tumbling down and many lives destroyed or badly displaced and impoverished Now is the time to close our ranks.

The government also must remove laws targeted at Muslims (as Amit Shah has repeatedly reassured people that no Hindu will be touched). Such things are in bad taste, bringing ignominy to all of us, as reflected in world media.

The government must initiate national reconciliation and move forward to take the pandemic head on, with our support and best wishes. Further economic decline also will be checked if we check the pandemic.

The government needs to focus on checking the expanding pandemic by improving public health service, in which India figures at 154th position among 195 countries, according to Lancet Research. We must get down to construction rather than division.

Detailed account of the police brutalities in UP: CAH report

Hyderabad: Citizens against Hate (CAH), a Delhi-based NGO, released a report titled “Everyone has been silenced” which gives the most comprehensive and detailed account of the police brutalities in UP, the anatomy of the cover up, with damning evidence of political complicity. The report is based on extensive research and testimony from victim families. The report is prepared by a team human rights experts, defenders and lawyers.

In the Foreword, Madan B. Lokur Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India New Delhi states: “As the report brings out, for a nation that professes non-violence, it is distressing that the State machinery has been dormant in several documented instances and sometimes insensitive in reacting to situations that disturb peace and tranquility.

State-wide crackdown against protestors
According to report, at least 23 persons have been killed, 83 injured by the state’s own admission, and hundreds detained in a state-wide crackdown against protesters. Entire communities are under pressure, with arrests and detentions continuing to this day. Authorities are trying to intimidate citizens in an effort to prevent further protests against CAA 2019, and to cover up police’s crimes.
Stifling dissent

The report observers: “Just after CAA 2019 was passed, large parts of UP, especially its Muslim concentrations in western and central districts of Bijnor, Firozabad, Kanpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, Sambhal and capital Lucknow, were put under lockdown. Restrictions on assembly and movement were imposed, through orders passed under Section 144, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). At the same time, authorities continue to permit gatherings and rallies in favour of CAA, or themselves organise events to promote CAA. This discriminatory application of the law is arbitrary and mala fide.
Human Rights Defenders were targetted
Internet services were suddenly suspended in various districts. Protests at Aligarh Muslim University on 13th and 15th December 2019, and later in Lucknow, were met with disproportionate brutal force. Public warnings, house arrests and preventive detentions were then carried out against persons that authorities accused of coordinating protests, often the human rights defenders (HRDs). HRDs who were targeted include, Dr. Kafeel Khan  Gorakhpur doctor, Dr. Sushil Gautam member of Blue Panthers, S R Darapuri social activist and former IPS officer, Mohammad Shoaib, a senior lawyer and President of forum Rihai Manch, Sadaf Zafar a former teacher and political activist, Dr. Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay Awardee and social activist, Dr. Pawan Rao Ambedkar, an academician and social activist, Dr. Anoop Shramik, a Dalit rights activist, Omar Rashid, the UP correspondent of the national newspaper The Hindu, Robin Verma, an academician and social activist, Deepak Kabir, a theatre actor, director and social activist, Mohammad Faisal, a lawyer practicing in the sessions court in Kota, Rajasthan and several others.

Live bullets were shot at protestors
According to eyewitness and survivor testimonies, police personnel shot live bullets at protesters. Firing resulted in at least 22 deaths and several grievous injuries across several districts. In Firozabad alone, 7 persons were killed, 5 in Meerut, 3 in Kanpur, 2 each in Bijnor and Sambhal, and 1 each in Muzaffarnagar, Rampur, and capital Lucknow. Additionally, an 8-year-old child died in stampede caused by Police action against protesters in Varanasi, taking the count to 23.

Homes ransacked private property destroyed
UP Police also ransacked homes and destroyed private property in Muslim neighbourhoods in Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Lucknow and Firozabad. In Muzaffarnagar, they also attacked an Islamic seminary, ransacked the property, beat up its staff members and students, and arrested 55 persons. At least 14 were minors, all under the age of 18.

Minors detained, subjected to custodial torture
A fact finding report on violence against minors in the police crackdown against anti-CAA protesters provides shocking revelation of police lawlessness, violating existing laws and regulations regarding children in conflict. Police detained close to 41 minors, and subjected them to custodial torture. Of these, 22 minors were detained and tortured in Bijnor and 14 in Muzaffarnagar.

CM Yogi’s revenge
In post violence crackdown purportedly to exact revenge, as the UP Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath publicly promised, UP Police detained individuals arbitrarily, followed by invoking serious charges against them, in complete violation of provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015. There has been widespread complaint of custodial torture and inhuman treatment – including beatings as well as food, water and sleep deprivation.

Authorities sealed shops and properties of those they accused of involvement in protests and issued recovery notices on others accusing them of having destroyed public property.

Deceased’s families receive threats and intimidation
Families of the deceased from across districts report a pattern of threats and intimidation by police, from the time of registration of complaints to conduct of autopsies. Police in several instances did not allow bodies to be taken home for burial, rather forced burials at distant locations, in hurried funerals, with the intent to dispose off bodies speedily.

Victim families were not provided copies of FIRs or PM reports immediately, as required. All PM reports confirm deaths due to bullet injuries, all to upper part of the body. Comparing FIRs against respective PM reports, reveal glaring gaps, if not contradictions, in police’s recording of the alleged offences. When these are triangulated with survivor testimonies, the extent of the subversion seems nothing but deliberate and systematic.

UP Police have also been using the criminal justice system to target community members and HRDs, slapping false or exaggerated charges against them, to deter further protests and to silence survivors and witnesses of police crackdown. Many FIRs record involvement of thousands of ‘unknown troublemakers’, without specifying their names or descriptions. Testimonies by community members and affected persons reveal that these ‘open FIRs’ are being used by police currently to target those that might have been witness to police crimes – protesters and bystanders, and those injured on the day – as well as victim families and activists seeking justice.

Targeted surveillance and harassment of Muslim Community
Police FIRs mention that they were ordered to ensure heavy deployment outside mosques. There was heavy deployment of police in riot gear around the Eidgah Maidan area, and posters with passport size pictures of alleged protestors, are pasted all around. Locals claimed that many of these alleged protestors haven’t lived in Kanpur for years, and the police were engaging in religious profiling.

Enabling impunity
The deadly use of force against civilians by UP Police has been encouraged by the UP CM, Yogi Adityanath, who has issued public threats against protesters to exact ‘revenge’, and slap sedition charges against them. His office has celebrated the silencing that this use of the iron fist to repress citizens has had.

The report notes, “Police reprisal against survivors, and their subversion of criminal proceedings vitiates the justice system, for which the police and state authorities are directly liable.”

The report recommends immediate compensation to families, remedial measures like, fresh registration of cases against policemen, timebound investigation on those, and fastrack trials and punitive measures like time-bound independent enquiry to establish police complicity.

Background of bias against Muslims
Giving the background of bias against Muslims, the reports points out: “Police bias against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh is being weaponised by the current BJP government, led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. BJP took power in the state in March 2017. In elections that were run on an Islamophobic campaign, the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate among the 403 seats it contested to the state assembly. (UP has 19 % Muslim population, numbering 38 million, 2011 Census). On assuming power, Adityanath targeted Muslims economically, by dismantling previous government’s efforts to include Muslims and others in public provisioning and hitting at their livelihoods by disrupting the meat supply chain business that employs mostly Muslims and Dalits. He has also sought to give police a free hand to fight crime. In the event, Police have come down disproportionately against Muslims and others from vulnerable groups.”

siyasat .com 

Justice has prevailed: PM Modi hails the hanging of the four accused in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took to Twitter to hail the hanging of the four convicts guilty of gang-raping and murdering a physiotherapy student in New Delhi in December 2012.

“Justice has prevailed. It is of utmost importance to ensure dignity and safety of women. Our Nari Shakti has excelled in every field. Together, we have to build a nation where the focus is on women empowerment, where there is emphasis on equality and opportunity,” the PM tweeted.

Narendra Modi

Justice has prevailed. 

It is of utmost importance to ensure dignity and safety of women. 

Our Nari Shakti has excelled in every field. Together, we have to build a nation where the focus is on women empowerment, where there is emphasis on equality and opportunity.

10:46 PM - Mar 19, 2020
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After seven years of waiting in jail, four out of six accused in the gang-rape and murder of a physiotherapy student in December 2012 were hanged at 5.30 am on Friday morning. Another accused hanged himself in Tihar jail, while the final accused, a minor, was sent into a remand home.

As soon as the news was confirmed of the hanging of the accused, media personnel thronged outside the victim's house to meet the mother and see what she had to say about it.

The girl's mother, who has waited with baited breath to see the day when finally her daughter's rapists would be hanged, could not contain her satisfaction when the confirmation of hanging of four convicts in the gang rape and murder case came in a little after 5.35 a.m. on Friday.

In her first reaction, she expressed satisfaction that justice was finally delivered.

Speaking to the throng of media personnel waiting outside her residence, The victim's mother Asha Devi said that her faith in the judiciary had been vindicated.

A visibly relieved Asha Devi said that the hangings of the four convicts would send a strong signal for deterrence. "Our fight for security of daughters across the country will continue" she said.

"I returned from the Supreme Court, hugged my daughter's photograph and told her: 'Today, justice has been delivered'."

"I dedicate this day -- March 20 to all the women in the country because my daughter got justice, today," she said.

She said: "Proud to be known as her mother. She fought so hard. And I have waited long to see this day. The flaw in our justice system was exposed. But finally all four were hanged in one go. A first of its kind of justice, which will definitely be a lesson to others."

"Will continue this struggle for other daughters in the country," she said and remembered all the unfulfilled dreams of her child, whom she could not save.

Friday morning's hanging of the four convicts brings to an end the seven year quest for justice by the parents of the young girl who was brutally gang raped by six persons in Delhi, in December 2012.

Same old: Pak doctor in US arrested for trying to help ISIS

A Pakistani doctor on Friday was arrested for allegedly trying to help ISIS and expressing his desire to conduct "lone wolf' terrorist attacks in the US, officials said.

Muhammad Masood, 28, made several statements to others between January and March, including pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) and its leader, and expressing his desire to travel to Syria to fight for the terrorist group, according to Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and Attorney Erica MacDonald for the District of Minnesota.

Masood also expressed his desire to conduct "lone wolf' terrorist attacks in the US, they said.

He was arrested at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport and made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge David Schultz in the US District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for March 24.

Masood is a licensed medical doctor in Pakistan and was formerly employed as research coordinator for a medical clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, under an H-1B visa.

On February 21, Masood purchased a plane ticket from Chicago, Illinois to Amman, Jordan, and from there planned to travel to Syria. On March 16, 2020, his travel plans changed because Jordan closed its borders to incoming travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the complaint.

Masood made a new plan to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with an individual who he believed would assist him with travel via cargo ship to deliver him to ISIS territory, it alleged.

On Thursday, he travelled from Rochester to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport (MSP) to board a flight bound for Los Angeles, California. Upon arrival at MSP, Masood checked in for his flight and was subsequently arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, officials said.

Despite WHO praise, US-based think-tank tells BBC that 300 million people in India will end up with coronavirus

India will have 300 million cases of coronavirus recorded, a BBC report has said. Quoting the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in Washington, D.C Director Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, the article said that India could soon be dealing with a "tsunami" of coronavirus cases.

Currently, India has recorded 198 cases across the country. Government data says that of this, 172 have been hospitalised, and 2 cases are in intensive care. 20 people have recovered and 4 people have died. 119 people have brought the virus into India, while the rest of contracted it locally, the data suggests.

The BBC report’s claim suggests that if the case is indeed 300 million people, which is approximately 25 per cent of India’s population, then one in every four individuals will have contracted coronavirus. However, the World Health Organisation has praised India’s efforts in tackling the disease. Earlier this week, WHO hailed the efforts taken by Narendra Modi-led government in combatting the novel coronavirus pandemic which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, killing more than 7,177 people worldwide so far.

Speaking to reporters after holding a meeting with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Henk Bekedam, the WHO Representative to India, said that the commitment of the Indian government has been very impressive. He also appreciated the Indian Council of Medical Research (IMCR) for managing to isolate the strains of Sars-Cov-2.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation to discuss the coronavirus pandemic that has caused panic across the world.

In his speech, PM Modi told people to adhere and cooperate with their respective state governments, and not venture out unless it is absolutely necessary.

However, the Prime Minister called for a novel exercise called the 'Janta Curfew on Sunday between 7 am and 9 pm. This basically means that the entire nation will be locked down on that day.

I am seeking one more support from every countrymen today. This is a public curfew. Janta curfew means for the public, curfew imposed by the public on its own. Every citizen must follow Janta curfew on this Sunday, March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm," Modi said in his address to the nation."If possible, please call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the 'Janta curfew' as well as the measures to prevent coronavirus," he said.

"I request people over the age of 60 to not venture out for the next few weeks," PM Modi added.

The prime minister also requested people not to go out and have routine check-ups in hospitals. "In case there is an emergency surgery, I request you to postpone it by a month," PM Modi added.

Earlier, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that he hoped that India did not face a similar situation to what Italy or Spain went through. "If you look at what happened in Italy and Spain, leave out China, you will find that it’s in the third week when the number crossed hundred then it jumped dramatically. Now, I’m sincerely hoping that it won’t happen in India. But we must be careful to ensure that it does not happen in India," he told the daily.