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States can impose local restrictions to check Covid spread: Home Ministry

(Asian News Hub) – The Centre on Tuesday issued a fresh set of COVID-19 guidelines for the month of April asking the states to strictly enforce Test-Track-Treat (T3) protocol, other containment measures and step up the speed of ongoing vaccination drives in the country.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its order said the Government of India has launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against COVID-19, which is going on smoothly, but the pace is uneven across different states and Union Territories (UTs).

“The slow pace of vaccination in some states/UTs is a matter of concern. Vaccination against COVID-19, in the present scenario, is critical to break the chain of transmission.

Therefore, all state/UT governments should rapidly step up the pace of vaccination, to cover all priority groups in an expeditious manner,” the MHA said.

Talking about the main focus of the guidelines, the MHA in its order said states and UTs collectively need “to consolidate the substantial gains achieved in containing the spread of COVID-19”, which was visible in the sustained decline in the number of active cases, continuously for about five months. 

It, however, said, “Keeping in view a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, which is being witnessed in some parts of the country, the guidelines mandate the state/UT governments to strictly enforce the Test-Track-Treat (T3) protocol in all parts of the country and ensure observance of COVID appropriate behaviour by everyone.”

The MHA has also asked that in states and UTs, where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less, they should rapidly increase it to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more.

“The new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated at the earliest and provided timely treatment. Even their contacts have to be traced at the earliest and similarly isolated,” it said.

Asking for listing of containment zones, the MHA said they should be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the states/UTs. This list will also be shared with MoHFW on a regular basis, it added.

Asking for fixing accountability at the local level, the MHA in the guidelines said district, police and municipal authorities “shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed”.

“For strict enforcement of wearing face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, states and UTs may consider administrative actions, including imposition of appropriate fines,” the MHA said. 

The guidelines have allowed restrictions only at the local level, based on the assessment of the authorities at district/sub-district and city/ward level, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19.  

AGENCY

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Active Al-Badr militant found dead in Soura, Sgr

(Asian News Hub) – Body of an active militant from Al-Badr outfit was found in Soura area of Srinagar on Saturday late evening, officials said.

They said police came to know about the body of an active militant of Al-Badr lying on a roadside near Soura area of Srinagar. A police official told that the body of the militant identified as Amir Ahmed Malik, 23, a C category A-Badr militant.  “Malik was active since November 2020. He hails from Hyder Gund, Zainapora area of Shopian,” the official said.

A police official said it seems that the militant was killed in a “group clash” even as further investigations are on.

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Lady dies, minor boy injured in Doda road accident

Anzer Ayoob

(Asian News Hub) – A lady died while a minor boy was injured after a vehicle they were travelling in met with an accident near Police Station Assar in Doda district on Sunday.

An official said that a swift vehicle bearing registration number JK02CC-8873 was on its way from Jammu to Bhaderwah when it skidded off the road and rolled down from National Highway.l, leaving a lady dead on the spot and also left a minor boy wounded.

He said that the deceased lady identified as Babita Manhas, wife of late Krishan Manhas and injured minor identified as 11-yr-old Rehan Manhas are residents of Gandoh area of Doda district and presently residing at Jammu.

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4 including 2 civilians, 2 cops killed in Sopore militant attack

Police officer among 4 others injured; Injured civilian critical; Militants targeted police party enforcing Covid lockdown; Lashkar behind strike, have identified attackers, says DGP Dilbagh Singh

Peerzada Waseem

(Asian News Hub) – MilitantsSaturday attacked a police party at main chowk of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in which two policemen and two civilians were killed while a police officer among four others sustained bullet injuries.

Among two injured civilians, the condition of one is stated as critical. A police official told that militants targeted a police party at main chowk Sopore when they were enforcing carona curfew in the area. “The militants fired indiscriminately at the police party killing two policemen and two civilians. Two more cops and two civilians sustained injuries who are being treated in the hospital,” the officials said.

The injured, police official said, were first shifted to Sub-District Hospital Sopore wherefrom one policeman was shifted to SMHS hospital Srinagar for treatment. Hospitals sources at SDH Sopore told that two policeman and two civilians were brought to hospital in multiple bullet injuries after which they succumbed.

The slain policemen were identified as Constable Waseem Ahmed son of Muhamamd Saqiq Bhat of Narbal, Srinagar and constable Showkat Ahmed son of Abdul Gani, resident of Goripora, Beerwah Budgam. The dead civilians were identified as Bashir Ahmed Khan son of Ghulam Hassan of Mohalla Taliyan, Sopore and Showkat Ahmed Shalla son of Ghulam Qadir of Shalimar Colony Sopore.

Sources identified the injured Sub-Inspector as Mukesh Kumar and SPO Danish Ahmed. The injured civilian has been identified as Nayeem Ahmed Khan son of Muhammad Maqbool, a resident of Maharajpora, Sopore, who has been referred to SMHS hospital Srinagar where his condition is stated as critical. “He has received bullet injury in his thigh and abdomen,” hospital sources said. Police, however, said that four civilians sustained injuries of which two succumbed. The identity of second injured civilian couldn’t be ascertained.

A pall of gloom descended on Sopore, Srinagar and Beerwah localities when bodies of four—two cops and two civilians reached their respective homes. The bodies of two slain cops were first taken to District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar where police paid rich tributes to them.

Director General of Police (J&K) Dilbagh Singh, who paid floral tributes to the slain cops at DPL Srinagar, said that Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit was behind the Sopore attack, in which two cops and two civilians were killed and three others were injured. Talking to the reporters on the sidelines of wrath laying ceremony of two cops here, Dilbag Singh, said that LeT outfit was involved in this attack and they have identified the attackers, however, further details will not be shared at the moment.

Singh said that to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, a party from Sopore police station under the charge of sub-inspector Mukesh Kumar was deployed in the chowk when the attack took place.

He said that the firing was retaliated by the police party during which some personnel were injured and civilians who had set up their fruit and vegetables stalls nearby also got injured.

“Subsequently, two injured cops succumbed to their injuries, identified as constable Waseem and constable Showkat and sub-inspector Mukesh and SPO Danish got injured. Three civilians were also injured of whom two later succumbed while another one was referred to Srinagar hospital for treatment,” he said

He said they were looking into all the angles of the attack and forces have also launched a follow-up operation in the area and the perpetrators of the crime will be soon brought to justice.

Replying to a query, Singh said that militancy was declining and control of the forces in all the areas was very good while operations were also being carried out. “However, due to Covid-19 there has been a decline in anti-militancy operations but the forces still have an upper hand and we are launching operation in all the areas as well,” he said.

He said that under these circumstances these incidents happen and all those who are involved in these attacks will be not be spared at any cost.

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