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4 shot dead as violent clashes erupt between TMC, BJP workers in Bengal

(Asian News Hub) – Four persons have been shot dead in Bengal’s Cooch Behar following violent clashed between the TMC and BJP workers.

PTI quoting sources said that the CISF allegedly opened fire after coming under attack in Sitalkuchi in Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.

As polling for the fourth phase of the West Bengal elections began at 7 today, tension gripped polling booth number 285 in Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar as bombs were hurled. Some groups allegedly opened fire when the police recovered several crude bombs from the area. The police had to resort to lathicharge to defuse tensions.

Earlier the TMC wrote to the Election Commission stating that across several booths in Sitalkuchi, Natalbari, Tufanganj and Dinhata, BJP workers were creating a ruckus and preventing the TMC agents from entering the booths.

North Bengal, with its 54 seats spread across seven districts, has all the wherewithal to be a game-changer this election, with the BJP striving hard to hold its fort in the region, and the TMC seeking to recover its lost ground amid changing political equations.

Once considered a bastion of the Congress and the Left Front, north Bengal districts – mostly dominated by tribal and minority communities — have largely remained out of bounds for the TMC, barring a brief period of time.

The ruling camp had managed to fare well in 2016 state polls, when it bagged 25 seats in the region, but the subsequent general election in 2019 changed the course of the wind in favour of the BJP, which won seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats and stayed ahead in 35 assembly segments.

National

Kangana Ranaut tests positive for COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – Actor Kangana Ranaut on Saturday said she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is under home quarantine.

The 34-year-old actor, whose Twitter account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of rules earlier this week, shared her diagnosis on Instagram.

“I was feeling tired and weak with slight burning sensation in my eyes for past few days, was hoping to go to Himachal so got my test done yesterday and today the result came I am covid positive.

“I have quarantined myself, I had no idea this virus is having a party in my body,” she wrote.

Terming COVID-19 a “small time flu”, Ranaut said she is determined to “destroy” the virus from her body.

“…Now that I know I will demolish it, people please don’t give anything any power over you, if you are scared it will scare you more, come let’s destroy this Covid -19 it is nothing but a small time flu which got too much press and now psyching few people,” she added.

On Friday, Mumbai reported 3,040 new COVID-19 cases and 71 fresh fatalities.

PTI

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COVID situation going from bad to worse; PM, health min refuse to own responsibility: Chidambaram

(Asian News Hub) – Asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic situation is going from bad to worse, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are refusing to own responsibility and are making a “mockery of democratic principles”.

His remarks came after the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday showed a record 4,14,188 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day in India, raising the country’s tally to 2,14,91,598. The active cases have crossed the 36-lakh mark.

“The pandemic situation is going from bad to worse. The insufficient supply of vaccines is a hard, bitter truth, but the government is in denial,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“In Tamil Nadu, not all among 45 plus are getting the first dose and a small number the second dose. Nobody between 18 and 44 is getting the vaccine,” he claimed.

The situation in other states is not very different, Chidambaram added.

“The PM and the Health Minister refuse to own responsibility and are making a mockery of democratic principles,” the former Union minister alleged.

PTI

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Govt’s failures have made another national lockdown inevitable: Rahul Gandhi to PM

(Asian News Hub) – Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the government’s alleged failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable, and called for providing financial and food support to the most vulnerable.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he suggested that the government should not be concerned about the economic impact of the lockdown as the human cost of the spread of of the virus would have tragic consequences for the people.

“Your government’s lack of a clear and coherent Covid and vaccination strategy, as well as its hubris in declaring premature victory as the virus was exponentially spreading, has placed India in a highly dangerous position: today the disease is growing explosively.

“It is currently on the verge of overwhelming all of our systems. GOI’s failures have made another devastating national lockdown almost inevitable,” he told the prime minister.

India has seen a record number of 4.14 lakh fresh Covid cases and around 4000 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Gandhi said it is critical that our people are prepared for such an eventuality of a lockdown. He has been demanding that the government provides Rs 6000 in the accounts to each poor family to tide over the crisis.

“To prevent a repeat of the manifold suffering caused by last year’s lockdown, the government must act with compassion and provide critical financial and food support to our most vulnerable people,” he said, adding that it must be also ready with a transportation strategy for those who will require it.

The former Congress chief said that when the COVID-19 tsunami continues to ravage our country unabated, the people of India must be your foremost priority in such an unprecedented crisis.

“I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the needless suffering that our people are going through,” he said.

Gandhi also called for rapidly vaccinating the entire population and dynamically assess the efficacy of all vaccines against all new mutations as they are identified.

He also called for scientifically tracking the virus and its mutations across the country using genome sequencing as well as its disease patterns.

Gandhi also urged the government to be transparent and keep the rest of the world informed about our findings.

“I am aware that you are concerned about the economic impact of a lockdown. Inside and outside India, the human cost of allowing this virus to continue its march unimpeded will result in many more tragic consequences for our people than any purely economic calculations your advisors are suggesting,” he said in his letter to PM.

PTI

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