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Farooq asks people to wait and watch centre’s approach towards removing mistrust in J&K


Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were talking to media persons in Srinagar after returning from New Delhi where they participated in the All Parties meeting of J&K leaders with Modi.

National Conference President and sitting MP Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that people need to wait to see if the central government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes concrete steps to remove the mistrust existing on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were talking to media persons in Srinagar after returning from New Delhi where they participated in the All Parties meeting of J&K leaders with Modi.

Dr Abdullah described the meeting as “satisfactory” and said there is a level of mistrust that has to be removed and it is for the government of India to decide how it removes it. “Let’s see what they do to remove that mistrust or will they continue with the same situation”.

Dr Abdullah said that he reminded them that the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru promised us a plebiscite and went back on it. Thereafter, PV Narsimha Rao on the floor of the House promised us autonomy and said the sky is the limit. Where is it?”, he asked.

He said that all leaders were invited to the meeting in their individual capacity and not as part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). The National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) leaders were there in their individual capacity and none violated the agenda of the PAGD while putting forth their viewpoint before the PM.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is Vice-President of the NC, said his party will keep pushing for delimitation first, statehood second and elections later. “Not delimitation- election-statehood” as was being proposed by the centre.

Referring to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks in the meeting with Modi, Omar said that even before the PM’s address, Azad expressed the view on behalf of all of us that the timeline of delimitation- election- statehood is not acceptable to us. The PAGD members made it clear that they don’t accept the decisions of 5 August 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and J&K split into two UTs.

“We will continue to fight peacefully, constitutionally, legally and politically to undo what was done on 5 August. We don’t want to betray people. If we tell people that we are seeking reversal of 5 August decisions from Modi sahib, it would be a betrayal, he said. The struggle for restoration of J&K’s special status is a long one. It took BJP 70 years to fulfill their agenda of scrapping the status. If it takes 70 weeks or 70 months or whatever time it takes, we will not retract from our mission”.

Omar said that two leaders, Azad and Muzaffar Hussain Beig described the debate on Article 370 as sub-judice and therefore beyond discussion during the meeting with the PM. “When the BJP could on various forums talk about the Ram temple and Babri Masjid demolition despite it being before the court, why can’t we talk about Article 370? It is a subject of discussion and we will continue to agitate on the issue”.

He said it was unfortunate that the people of Kashmir were facing an unbridled bureaucracy. People are being harassed and arrested for questioning bureaucrats.

Omar said that Dr Abdullah has been authorized by the party to take the decision on participation in the meeting of the delimitation commission. Meanwhile, J&K Congress chief GA Mir, who also attended the meeting with PM, said that the ball now is in the court of the centre. The Congress placed the aspirations of the people before the PM.




India logs 48,698 new COVID-19 cases, 1,183 deaths


The death toll stands at 3,94,493.

India recorded 48,698 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

In the same time span, 1,183 deaths were reported across the country, according to data released by the Union health ministry on Saturday.

India crossed the mark of over three crore caseload of Covid on Wednesday.

This is the ninth consecutive day in the last two months when the death toll has been below the 2,000-mark.

The Covid-19 caseload in the country now stands at 3,01,83,143.

Active cases are now below 8 lakh mark at 5,95,565.

The death toll stands at 3,94,493.

It is also the 19th consecutive day when India reported less than one lakh new coronavirus cases. On March 23, India had recorded 47,262 cases while on June 22 India reported 42,640 cases.

According to the Union health ministry, a total of 64,818 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of patients recovered to 2,91,93,085 till date.




Karnataka on alert in border areas to keep track of Delta+ strain


After a meeting with ministers and bureaucrats concerned to discuss strategies to curb the spread of new mutant – Delta Plus – of coronavirus’ Delta variant, he, in a statement, said that there is need to increase surveillance on border areas to keep check on its carriers entering from neighbouring states.

Raising concern over the intensity of the second wave not declining in neighbouring Maharashtra and Kerala, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Friday directed officials intensify its surveillance on border areas to keep track of passengers those arriving from these states

After a meeting with ministers and bureaucrats concerned to discuss strategies to curb the spread of new mutant – Delta Plus – of coronavirus’ Delta variant, he, in a statement, said that there is need to increase surveillance on border areas to keep check on its carriers entering from neighbouring states.

“We need to subject everyone who arrive from Maharashtra and Kerala to tests as in these states, Covid cases are still on the rise and cases related to Delta Plus mutant were also recorded more in number in these states than in southern states,” he said

Yediyurappa contended that at least in Karnataka, the Delta Plus strain has not yet appeared on large scale as of now and things are under control in this regard.

He also instructed the authorities concerned to identify malnourished children and provide them nutritious food and medical care that is required.

Earlier in the day expressing similar concerns, Health Minister K. Sudhakar observed that there is a surge in cases in Kerala where the positivity rate is more than 10 per cent.

“We need to be cautious as we share a border with this state. Same is with Maharashtra too. We need to conduct more tests in border areas. We have instructed the district administration to conduct more tests in border areas to keep tight vigil on the spread of Delta Plus strain,” he said.

However, the minister firmly ruled out sealing down borders. “It is not appropriate to close the borders. We need to be extra cautious at bus and railway stations,” he said.

He said that there are two cases of Delta Plus variant in the state, one in Bengaluru and the other in Mysuru, both with mild symptoms.

“The one in Mysuru is completely recovered. There was no severity in both the cases. Primary contacts of these cases have tested negative. Therefore, there is no need to panic about this mutant,” he said.

The minister reiterated that genome sequencing is carried out regularly to detect new strains.

“We are planning to set up six genome sequencing labs at Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi, Mangaluru and Vijayapura,” he added.




Goa-Delhi Rajdhani Express derails, major mishap averted


The incident occurred around 4.15 a.m. as the train sped between Ukshi and Bhoke stations in the Karbude Tunnel on the Konkan Railway route.

The front wheel of the locomotive hauling the Nizamuddin-Madgaon Rajdhani Superfast Special, derailed while it zoomed through a tunnel in Ratnagiri, officials said here on Saturday.

The incident occurred around 4.15 a.m. as the train sped between Ukshi and Bhoke stations in the Karbude Tunnel on the Konkan Railway route.

The mishap occurred owing to a boulder crash in the tunnel, but there are no injuries to any passengers, most of whom were sleeping at that time in the train.

A KRC official said that am accident relief van with re-railing equipment has started for the accident site to ensure early clearance of the blocked coastal rail route.




Health ministry asks CS to adopt measures as Delta plus variant found in Surat


After the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus was found in two victims in Gujarat on Friday, Rajesh Bhushan (IAS), from the DOH, has written to Mukim to take immediate containment measures in Surat and other places where clusters of Delta variant have been found.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare (DoH) of the Union Ministry of Health on Friday asked Gujarat Chief Secretary (CS) Anil Mukim to adopt immediate containment measures in Surat district, where the new variant of the Delta variant — the Delta Plus — has been found.

After the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus was found in two victims in Gujarat on Friday, Rajesh Bhushan (IAS), from the DOH, has written to Mukim to take immediate containment measures in Surat and other places where clusters of Delta variant have been found.

Besides, one of the infected was found to be from Surat, but according to the information available, even the Maharashtra administration found that out of the total 20 persons identified in Maharashtra to be infected with Delta Plus variant, two had a travel history to Surat.

Indian SARS-CoV-2Genomics Consortium (INASCOG), the consortium of laboratories, has been entrusted to not only carry out the whole genome sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants, but also has been told to give timely inputs on appropriate public health response in regions where the variant has been found.

Bhushan has said that INASCOG has informed that the Delta Plus has following characteristics like increased transmissibility, stronger bonding to receptors of lung cells and potential reproduction in monoclonal antibody response. The consortium has also informed that the variant has been found in Surat.

The Gujarat CS has been instructed to take immediate containment measures like preventing gathering of crowds and inter mingling of people, carry out widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccination on a priority basis.

It is also requested to ensure adequate samples of Delta Plus positive persons are sent to the designated laboratories of INASCOG promptly, so that clinical epidemiological co-relationships can be established.




DRDO successfully test-fires Enhanced Range 122mm Caliber Rocket


Four enhanced range version of 122mm rockets were test-fired with full instrumentation and they met the complete mission objectives.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired enhanced range versions of indigenously developed 122mm Caliber Rocket from a Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) on June 25, 2021, at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

Four enhanced range version of 122mm rockets were test-fired with full instrumentation and they met the complete mission objectives. These rockets have been developed for Army applications and can destroy targets up to 40 km.

All the flight articles were tracked by Range instruments, including Telemetry, Radar and Electro Optical Tracking System deployed by ITR and Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE).

The rocket systems have been developed jointly by Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) with manufacturing support from M/s Economic Explosives Limited, Nagpur. This enhanced rocket system would replace the existing 122mm Grad rockets.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO and the Industry on the successful launch of 122mm Caliber Rocket. Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy commended the efforts of the teams involved in successful trials.




India logs 51,667 new COVID-19 cases, 1329 deaths in last 24 hours


This is the eighth consecutive day in the last two months when the death toll has been below the 2,000-mark.

India recorded 51,667 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

In the same time span, 1,329 deaths were reported, according to data released by the Union health ministry on Thursday.

India crossed the mark of over three crore caseload of Covid on Wednesday.

This is the eighth consecutive day in the last two months when the death toll has been below the 2,000-mark.

The Covid-19 caseload in the country now stands at 3,01,34,445.

Active cases are now below 8 lakh mark at 6,12,868.

The death toll stands at 3,93,310.

It is also the 18th consecutive day when India reported less than one lakh new coronavirus cases. On March 23, India had recorded 47,262 cases while on June 22 India reported 42,640 cases.

According to the Union health ministry, a total of 64,527 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of patients recovered to : 2,91,28,267 till date.

(With IANS inputs)




UP completes ‘Mission June’, 6 days ahead of deadline


The state government had set a target of inoculating one crore beneficiaries in June with an average of more than 3 lakh doses per day.

Uttar Pradesh has vaccinated one crore people, six days before the end of its ‘Mission June’ deadline.

Nearly 1,03,11,049 persons had been vaccinated by 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The state government had set a target of inoculating one crore beneficiaries in June with an average of more than 3 lakh doses per day.

The next goal is to vaccinate 10 crore people in the next three months.

This is the fastest vaccination exercise conducted anywhere in the country, say Uttar Pradesh health officials.

“So far, Maharashtra is the only state which is ahead of UP in terms of total doses given. But the western state has been able to dispense about 70 lakh doses in the past 24 days. UP’s achievement came at a 30 per cent faster rate,” said the government spokesperson.

Uttar Pradesh is also way ahead of the other states like Gujarat which has undertaken about 63 lakh vaccinations in June so far.

Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have achieved 67 lakh and 52 lakh vaccinations respectively, in the same period.

Although the target was achieved in 24 days, technically it took just 21 days as only a few private centres hold immunization sessions on Sundays, a senior officer said.

Speaking about the achievement, additional chief secretary, health and family welfare, Amit Mohan Prasad said, “It is a matter of pride that the state has been able to achieve the target before time. The credit goes to the hard work put in by every single person in the field who translated the plan into action.”

He added that concerted efforts made under ‘Mission June’ like dedicated booths for guardians, women special centres, drive-ins and employee camps were taken to the next level through the cluster approach.

“The journey towards the goal was accelerated through the cluster approach which we will launch in full swing from July,” he said.

Under the cluster approach, started from Barabanki district, focused and intensified vaccination drives are being taken in small geographical units. Also, the camps are being organized inside the villages along with the health centres to make it easier for the people.

In addition, the issue of digital divide was addressed by elimination of the necessary prerequisite of registration through app.

Instead, the electoral rolls are being used to identify the eligible persons and vaccinate them.

The dry run for the cluster was rolled out on June 17 with communication and mobilization activities while the vaccination began on June 21.

The total number of jabs given in the past four days is nearly 31 lakhs.

Prior to the cluster formula, the average number of vaccinations per day in the state was about 3.25 lakh.

The data also revealed that over 55 per cent of those vaccinated under Mission June are from the 18 to 44 years age group.

Meanwhile, the total number of vaccinations undertaken in the state reached 2.89 crore by Thursday evening.

Of them, 2.47 crore have taken at least one dose while 41.91 lakh are fully vaccinated in the state.

Sources said that if Uttar Pradesh gets a sustained supply of vaccines, it will be able to inoculate 13.6 crore people by the end of August.




Official theme song for Indian Olympic Team launched


The song has been composed and sung by popular playback singer Mohit Chauhan and lyrics are penned by his wife Prathna Gahilote.

Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju launched the official theme song of the Indian Olympic Team of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on the occasion of Olympic Day in New Delhi.

The song has been composed and sung by popular playback singer Mohit Chauhan and lyrics are penned by his wife Prathna Gahilote.

Launching the theme song, Kiren Rijiju said, “It is the vision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that the entire nation must come together to support and motivate Indian athletes going to Tokyo Olympics. The launch of the official Theme Song today is a step in that direction. The high energy song composed and sung by Mohit Chauhan encapsulates the spirit of every athlete’s dream to bring glory for the country at the highest podium. The Sports Ministry has launched a nation-wide #Cheer4India campaign through various activities like quizzes, selfie points, debates and discussions on Olympics. I urge every Indian to come forward and join in this movement to cheer for India’s top athletes as they put their best to bring glory to India.”

IOA President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra said, “With the launch of the theme song, I want all our athletes to know, this is not only an inspirational song. It is the resonation of 1.4 billion prayers behind you, and I strongly believe that you will give your best and bring glory to our nation.”

Delivering a vote of thanks at the launch ceremony, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said, “The Theme Song is quite motivating and I hope it will bring a great deal of enthusiasm and energy for athletes to do well at the Games.”

On behalf of IOA, he thanked Mohit Chauhan for composing the awe-inspiring theme song for the Indian Contingent who is set to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics. So far athletes from 15 disciplines have qualified for the Olympics.

Mehta also announced IOA’s partnership with former Indian Badminton player and Chief National Coach of the Indian Badminton team, Pullela Gopichand and ‘Dhyana’ Sports to provide wearable meditation devices for all the athletes and every member of the Indian contingent to Tokyo to help the athletes keep their minds fit and happy while they are in isolation at the Olympic Village in Tokyo.




Former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s residence raided by ED


A huge group of police and central police forces also arrived at Deshmukh’s residence with the ED team.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided the house of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for the second time in a month.

A huge group of police and central police forces also arrived at Deshmukh’s residence with the ED team.

It is to be noted that Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had resigned after facing allegations of corruption levelled by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh set off a major row in March when he alleged that Deshmukh had asked suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore from Mumbai’s restaurants, bars, and hookah bars.

Further details of the ongoing ED action were awaited.





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