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BJP MLAs demand suspension of Tripura DM over wedding raid

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As many as 5 BJP MLAs have written a letter to the Chief Secretary of the state Manoj Kumar to demand immediate suspension of West District Magistrate Shailesh Kumar Yadav for his “absolutely boorish” and “uncultured behaviour” in two marriage parties in the name of enforcing COVID protocol.

“We the members of Tripura Legislative Assembly would like to draw your attention to absolutely boorish and uncultured behaviour DM (west) Shailesh Kumar Yadav and the state terrorism indulged by him last night in the ‘Manikya Court’ and ‘Golap Bagan’, in the name of enforcing COVID protocol though both the marriage parties were being organised in full compliance with the COVID protocol notified by Centre and DM (West)”, the letter informed.

The letter was signed by five ruling BJP MLAs—Dibachandra Hrangkhwal,  Ashish Kumar Saha, Ramprasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, and Ashis Das.

The letter by the BJP MLAs

The five MLAs, in their letter, alleged that DM Shailesh Kumar Yadav had himself given permission for both the wedding ceremonies with the conditions that not more than 50 people can attend the marriage and four vehicles each would be allowed for which car passes had been issued. The letter alleged that both the marriages were conducted in full compliance with the COVID-19 protocols and regulations notified by the Centre and the state government and yet the DM raided and physically assaulted and abused the people, including the bride and the groom.

“But the DM with his security guards suddenly materialized in the marriage halls and started threatening and intimidating all and sundry including elderly people as to why they were organizing the marriage party in violation of COVID protocol. When the letter of permission given earlier by the DM was produced Shailesh Yadav tore it up on the face of those attending the marriage party”, it reads.

It further said, “…Shailesh Yadav physically assaulted the bride & groom, physically pushed out the elderly priest and also jostled all elderly people using vile abuses. He also openly abused the police personnel, manhandled police on uniform and declared that he would have the officer-in-charge of West Agartala police station suspended. Finally he proclaimed that all those present in the marriage parties would be proceeded against under different sections of IPC and CrPc. Even the women present on the occasion were not spared from misbehaviour by the DM (west).”

The letter by the BJP MLAs

The letter alleged that all the guests, including women were taken to the police station and when the arrests were being made, not a single women police officer was present at the spot, violating the order of Supreme Court that no women can be arrested in the midst of night.

“We urge upon your kind self to order a high-level investigation into the matter and suspend Shailesh Yadav from service pending completion of investigation. This is urgently needed in public interest before Shailesh Yadav who is unfit to hold the responsible post of DM is removed from this post,” the MLAs demanded.

Chief Minister Biplab Deb has taken cognizance of the incident and instructed the Chief Secretary to submit a report of the entire matter.

Tripura DM Shailesh Yadav raids wedding, thrashes guests, beats up Purohit, grabs groom by collar

In a brazen display of highhandedness, Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav on Monday was seen dragging a groom and a priest by their collar, thrashing the guests, while ordering the police to arrest them all for violating COVID-19 norms. The incident reportedly happened at around 11 pmat Manikya Court in Palace Compound, North Gate area in Agartala, Tripura.

In a video that went viral on social media, Yadav enters a hall where a wedding ceremony was underway. Yadav in a firm voice orders attendees to vacate the hall. “Chalo bahar niklo”, says the West DM Yadav and the state police officials accompanying him threaten the guests to leave or face consequences.

Speaking to the media, Yadav said that all the people assembled at the wedding hall had violated prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC and would be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC.

Following the incident, Shailesh Kumar Yadav ordered the closure of two marriage halls in Agartala, for flouting COVID-10 norms, for 1 year and the suspension of the Officer-in-Charge of the West Agartala police station for being hand in gloves with the flouters.

Tripura DM brazens out his decision of thrashing guests at wedding before eventually apologising for the same

Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav came under criticism from several quarters, especially for his use of force against the guests who had come to attend the wedding. However, unfettered by the blowback, Yadav was later seen brazening out his decision of thrashing guests at the wedding. He invoked ‘principles of natural justice’ when questioned regarding the atrocious conduct with the guests.

However, as the situation got out of control, the District Magistrate tender his apologies for the incident. “If anyone got hurt due to my action, I am apologising for that. I have done this for the larger interest of society and the people. I have taken the strict action to give a message to the people to maintain the government SOP,” Yadav told local television on Tuesday night.

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Surge Tests, Vaccine Measures as B1.617.2 Covid-19 Variant Spreads Rapidly in Parts of UK

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The case numbers related to the B1.617.2 variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, have more than doubled within a week in the UK, resulting in further surge testing and enhanced vaccine measures to be deployed in parts of the country where the strain is beginning to spread increasingly rapidly. Public Health England (PHE) said on Thursday that its latest analysis shows the number of cases of the highly transmissible variant first detected in Maharashtra has risen from 520 last week to 1,313 cases this week.

Most cases are in the northwest of England, with some in London, and additional measures are being put in place to “rapidly break chains of transmission”. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the health authorities are monitoring the situation very carefully and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary, indicating that the roadmap to lifting all lockdown measures from June 21 may have to be reassessed.

This data demonstrates why our swift and decisive measures are in place. Everyone has a part to play in controlling this variant, from participating in surge testing, to following the rules, to getting the jab, said Hancock. We are committed to working with local areas and deploying our world-leading genomic sequencing to get this variant under control. We are supporting areas where the cases of this variant are rising, he said.

The minister said it is imperative that people who live in one of the 15 areas currently covered by surge testing processes get a free PCR test and everyone who’s eligible needs to come forward and get their vaccine. PHE said that while there is no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on the severity of disease or that it evades vaccines, the “speed of growth is concerning”.

UK Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the authorities are looking at how to best utilise the vaccine roll-out to protect the most vulnerable in the context of the current epidemiology, including the possibility of bringing forward the second doses for the most vulnerable in some of the most affected areas. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, one of the hotspots of the variant, has also called for a speeding up in the age eligibility criteria for vaccines in the affected areas. The National Health Service (NHS) is now offering a jab to all over the age of 38.

Cases of this variant are rising in the community and we are continuously monitoring its spread and severity to ensure we take rapid public health action, said Dr Susan Hopkins, Covid-19 Strategic Response Director at PHE. Testing and isolating when required not only limits spread, it helps us to better understand how the variant behaves in the community which is vital to taking effective and proportionate action moving forward “The way to limit the spread of all variants is the same. Keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, cover your nose and mouth when inside, keep buildings well ventilated and meet people from other households outside, she said.

The variant was confirmed as a “Variant of Concern” by PHE on May 7 after a rise in cases and evidence of spread in some areas. Since then across the northwest of England, significant work is underway with local councils and partners. In Bolton, mobile testing units have been deployed and door to door PCR testing has been offered to 22,000 residents. A vaccine bus has been established in the heart of the community to increase vaccine uptake as part of a wider drive.

PCR testing, whole genome sequencing and enhanced contact tracing are being used throughout London to target the many small dispersed clusters. All positive tests in London with a high enough viral load are also being prioritised for genomic sequencing to check for variants, and surge testing can begin immediately if it is needed. Taking this community-led approach has already proved effective in reducing transmission of variants in London to date, PHE said.

To help identify variant cases, surge testing is being deployed in 15 areas across England to suppress transmission, with more than 800,000 additional PCR test kits distributed. According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), over 4,400 cases and over 14,000 close contacts have been traced and instructed to self-isolate.

Over 200 existing test sites and 130 schools have distributed test kits, with Mobile Testing Units deployed to provide PCR testing for people without symptoms. The public is also being urged to continue to take up the offer of two free rapid tests a week, to help identify asymptomatic cases. Anyone who does test positive in this way should take a follow-up PCR test, which can be sent for genome sequencing to help catch new variant cases.

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National Platform to Determine Impact of Covid-19 Vaccines to Be Established Soon

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A national tracking platform will be established soon to determine the impact of the jabs against COVID-19 and the breakthrough infections that are likely to occur among those with complete and partial immunisation, official sources said. The recommendation of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) to establish such a platform has been accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 and the Union Health Ministry, they said.

“The COVID-19 Working Group which is part of NTAGI has strongly recommended to urgently establish a national vaccine tracking platform to determine the impact of the COVID vaccine(s) and the breakthrough infections that are likely to occur among those with complete and partial immunisation,” said Dr N K Arora, the INCLEN Trust chairperson who heads the COVID-19 Working Group. The vaccine tracker will be particularly important to monitor the impact of increasing the dosing schedule of Covishield, he said, as the government on Thursday accepted the working group’s recommendation to extend the gap between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks.

The current data harmonisation work of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other agencies can be leveraged to set up this facility for review of ground realities on real-time basis, the NTAGI has recommended. The government panel has also recommended that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any of the COVID-19 vaccines and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery.

The NTAGI has also stated that those having laboratory test proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer COVID-19 vaccination for six months after recovery, the sources said. According to the health ministry’s current protocol, vaccine is to be taken four to eight weeks after recovery from COVID-19 infection and pregnant and lactating women are not to be administered the shots.

The NTAGI recommended that all pregnant women visiting for antenatal care (ANC) may be informed about risks and benefits associated with Covishield and Covaxin. Based on the information provided, a pregnant woman may be offered the choice to take any of the vaccines. An educational tool comprising information on risk of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, benefits associated with the vaccination and rare complications associated with vaccines like thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (with Covishield) may be developed.

In case of individuals who have received the first dose and before completion of the dosing schedule if they test positive for COVID-19, they should wait for 4-8 weeks after clinical recovery from the illness. Also, COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma may defer vaccination for three months from the day of discharge from hospital, the recommendations stated.

Individuals having any other serious illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the vaccine, it added.

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Delhi Police Quiz Youth Congress President Srinivas BV Over Covid Assistance to Public

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Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president Srinivas BV on Friday said the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch questioned him about the assistance being provided by him to people during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Police called me this morning and came to my office around 11.45 am. They questioned that how you are doing it,” he said.

However, the Delhi Police said the questioning has been done following a Delhi High Court order. The high court has directed the city police to conduct inquiry into politicians involved in distribution of COVID-19 medicines and other items, and take steps for lodging of FIR in case of offence, a senior police officer said.

In compliance with the directions of the high court, inquiry is being conducted into several people, the officer said. On May 4, the Delhi High Court had asked the police to examine the instances of politicians allegedly procuring and distributing Remdesivir, used in treatment of COVID-19 patients, in the national capital and take steps for lodging of FIR in case of offence.

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