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2,167 positive COVID-19 cases in Haridwar in last five days; Kumbh Mela to continue

(Asian News Hub) – Amid the country reporting over 2 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases, as many as 2,167 people have been found positive in Haridwar, the place where the month-long Kumbh Mela is going on, in the last five days.

As per data from the Uttarakhand State Control Room, there were 254 COVID-19 positive cases on April 10, 386 on April 11, 408 on April 12, 594 on April 13 and 525 on April 14.

Meanwhile, officials have said that despite a record surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Kumbh Mela will continue till April 30.

“Kumbh Mela used to begin in January but looking at the COVID-19 situation, the state government decided to start this in April.

The Centre’s SOP said that in the wake of the situation the period (of Mela) be reduced. I have no information if it’s being curtailed,” Haridwar District Magistrate and Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

Serious questions are being raised over the decision to continue with the Kumbh Mela, as India reported over two lakh new cases on Thursday, the highest-ever spike since the beginning of the pandemic.

Around 14 lakh devotees took a holy dip in the River Ganga at the Haridwar Mahakumbh on Wednesday on the occasion of Baisakhi Shahi Snan, the third royal bath in this Kumbh.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had said on Tuesday that there is no comparison between the event held at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last year and Kumbh in Haridwar as the former was held in a closed space while the latter is being held in a vast open area.

“There is no comparison between Markaz and Kumbh. Markaz was in a closed hall. All the people slept in a single hall with close contacts. They shared blankets.

On the contrary, there are 16 ghats in Kumbh. Not just Haridwar, Kumbh is spread from Rishikesh to Nilkanth. Devotees take bath in different ghats at different times,” he had said.

With ANI inputs

National

Incessant rain leaves 135 dead in Maharashtra

(Asian News Hub) – Last week, heavy rains in Maharashtra and Karnataka have caused massive damage to the people living near the coastal areas in both states.

Incessant rains causing landslides and floods left over 140 dead and thousands displaced. The destruction seems irreversible in cities, districts and villages.

While districts like Raigad and Ratnagiri were among the worst-hit areas of Maharashtra, parts of the coastal, Malenadu and the north-interior region of Karnataka were battered by torrential rains.

Since the rains began, 135 people are dead in Maharashtra and nine have been killed in Karnataka in incidents like floods, landslides etc. Over 1,35,313 people have been shifted to safer places, including 78,111 in Sangli district, followed by 40,882 in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. At the same time, in Karnataka, 31,360 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas, while 22,417 people are taking shelter in 237 relief camps.

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BSF, Pak Rangers resolve to maintain peace on border in first meeting after Ceasefire

Meeting held on Islamabad’s request, lodged strong protest over Drone activities: BSF

(Asian News Hub) – Border guards of India and Pakistan on Saturday resolved to remain committed to each other to maintain peace and harmony at International Border in Jammu.

Border Security Forces (BSF) said that Sector Command level meeting, first after New Delhi and Islamabad decided on steadfast holding of ceasefire, was held on request of Pakistan Rangers on International Border in Suchetgarh area of the Jammu.

The BSF delegation was led by Surjit Singh, DIG, Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers delegation was led by Brig Murad Hussain, sector commander Pakistan Rangers, Sialkot Sector , S P S Sandhu (DIG), a spokesman of the BSF, said in a statement cited by GNS.

“It was the first Sector Commander level meeting between two border guarding Forces, after declaration of cease fire agreement by DGMOs.”

“During meeting, Commanders of both the border guarding Forces, discussed various issues with main emphasis by BSF delegation on Pak Drone activities, (militant) activities by Pakistan from across the border, digging of tunnels by Pakistan and other issues related to Border management,” the spokesman said, adding, “A very strong protest was lodged by BSF delegates regarding drone activities by Pakistan authorities in Jammu area.”

The spokesman said both the forces “decided to re-energize instant communication between field Commanders, whenever required, to resolve the ops matters.”

“ Meeting was held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere and both side agreed for expeditious implementation of the decisions taken in the earlier DG level talks and committed to each other to maintain peace and harmony at International Border,” he added.

GNS

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Raj Kundra made erotica, not porn: Shilpa Shetty to police

(Asian News Hub) – Actor Shilpa Shetty has claimed she has nothing to do with ‘Hotshots’ – the mobile app involving Raj Kundra, and claimed that her husband used to make erotica, not porn.

“Shilpa Shetty has said her husband is innocent and that erotica is different from pornography. Her husband Raj Kundra wasn’t involved in producing porn content,” according to ANI.

Shilpa Shetty said that Pradeep Bakshi, the London-based wanted accused and Raj Kundra’s brother-in-law, was involved with the app and its functioning, the officials told ANI.

Kundra, 45, was arrested by the crime branch on Monday night in a case, which it said, related to alleged creation of pornographic films and publishing them through some apps.

According to the police, there were several WhatsApp chats that revealed that Kundra was involved in the financial dealings of an app and its contents.

The police also said three women have come forward with complaints in the case, saying they were “forced to act in pornographic movies”.

The accused persons took advantage of struggling models, actors and other workers and made them work in these movies, the police added.

Kundra was taken into custody on Monday night by the city police”s crime branch after being booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

On Friday, Shilpa Shetty urged to her fans to watch her latest comedy “Hungama 2” and not let the film “suffer” in the wake of her husband, businessman Raj Kundra, was arrested in a porn films case.

Shetty, whose comeback film “Hungama 2” released on the steaming platform Disney + Hotstar on Friday, said the Priyadarshan-directed comedy is a result of “relentless” hard work of the entire team and should not suffer.

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