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Three days before Balakot, Arnab told ex-BARC chief ‘something big will happen’

New Delhi, Jan 17: Three days before the Indian Air Force’s Balakot strike, Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami told his friend and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta ‘something big will happen’, indicating that he knew about the confidential military action, transcript of WhatsApp messages between the two, which is part of the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police investigating the TRP tampering case reveals.

On February 26 2019, the IAF hit a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot town. The government claimed that this was in response to the February 14 terrorist attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, where 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed after an explosive-laden car driven by a suicide bomber rammed into their bus.

At 10 p.m. on February 23, three days before the Balakot strike, the conversation begins with Mr. Goswami boasting about Republic TV bagging then Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s first-ever interview after the Pulwama incident.Mr. Goswami during a conversation texted to Mr Dasgupta, ‘On another note something big will happen’. To which Mr. Dasgupta asked, ‘Dawood?’. Mr. Goswami responded, saying, ‘No sir Pakistan.

Something major will be done this time.’ Mr. Dasgupta, in response, said that ‘it’s good for big man in this season’ and that ‘he will sweep polls then.’ The 2019 general election was just a few months away. Mr. Dasgupta pressed for further clarity, asking Mr. Goswami, ‘Strike? Or bigger’. And Mr. Goswami responded, saying that it would be ‘bigger than a normal strike’. Then he went on to add, ‘And also at the same time something major on Kashmir.

On Pakistan the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated. Exact words used.’


Congress leaders raise questions

The Congress party, did not hold an official press conference on the issue, but few senior leaders have raised questions on this conversation. Party spokesperson and senior supreme Court lawyer Abshishek Manu Singhvi said, ‘Arnab’s chats dated 23.02.2019 refer to sharing of Intel reaction along the Pak border.

It means someone very senior in Govt is leaking highly confidential info which may endanger the lives of our soldiers and so that mercenary considerations can add to TRPs.’

Party general secretary and Assam in charge Jitendra Singh in a tweet called it a major breach of ‘national security’.

‘Arnab Goswami is not only the mouthpiece of the government but has access to defence secrets as if he was the Chief of Army Staff himself. This is a major breach of national security.

Furthermore ‘people will be elated’ just goes to show the intent of the BJP behind the attacks, he tweeted.


The article was first published in The Hindu

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Bodies of suspected Covid-19 victims found floating in Ganges in Bihar

(Asian News Hub) – Several bodies, decomposed, bloated and suspected to be of people who succumbed to Covid-19, were on Monday found floating in the river Ganga in a Bihar district.

Officials in Chausa block of Buxar, which borders Uttar Pradesh, rushed to the spot of the unseemly sight upon hearing the news.

“We were alerted by the local chowkidar that many bodies have been spotted floating from upstream. We have so far recovered 15 of these. None of the deceased happens to be a resident of the district,” Chausa BDO Ashok Kumar told over phone.

He said “many Uttar Pradesh districts are situated right across the river and the bodies may have been dumped in the Ganges for reasons not known to us. We cannot confirm whether the deceased were indeed Covid-19 positive. The bodies have started decomposing. But we are taking all precautions while ensuring that these are disposed of in a decent manner”.

Some news channels claimed the number of bodies to be as high as 100, which the BDO dismissed as “highly exaggerated”.

Many local residents, who spoke before cameras with their faces masked, claimed that the district administration was “in denial over many such unfortunate incidents involving residents of Buxar”.They alleged that those manning 
cremation ghats were charging a fortune whenever people reached there with the body of a near and dear one who died of the coronavirus.

“There is also a shortage of wood and other material required for cremation. Availability of these has taken a hit because of the lockdown. So many bereaved family members are impelled to immerse the bodies of their departed relatives in the river,” one of the residents said.

Often family members of a Covid victim are not handed over the body by the administration which claims it would perform the last rites observing the protocol in place for the deadly virus, another local stated.

“What indeed happens is that the officials develop cold feet later and fearing that they might catch the infection themselves, they dump the bodies in the river and flee. Little do they realize that they are also polluting the river,” he added.

PTI

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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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