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CORONAVIRUS THREAT: Govt to screen foreigners flying to Kashmir

Orders setting up of control rooms, isolation wards

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Jan 28: Announcing a slew of measures to check any suspected cases of Corona Virus, the government of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday ordered screening of people at airports arriving from China, Nepal and other countries, where the confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported.

As part of an action plan to prevent the spread of the virus in JK, the government ordered establishment of Control room in the office of State Surveillance Office at Srinagar and Jammu, quarantine of suspected patients, advisory to all the districts and announcements to be made on railways stations, airports besides other measures.

The decisions in this regard were taken during an extraordinary meeting chaired by Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo at Civil Secretariat here to discuss the action plan to check the spread of Corona Virus in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The newly identified coronavirus called 2019-nCoV has been spreading in China, and has now reached several other countries claiming many lives.

The FC said that adequate measures are being made to identify passengers with symptoms of the disease and directed the officers to make arrangements to isolate any suspected case to curb the spread of the virus.

He said that an advisory will be issued to all the Deputy Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir to step up their preparedness to tackle any suspected cases. The advisory includes designating of rapid response teams, enhanced surveillance, capacity for laboratory diagnosis, and earmarking isolation wards.

It said that isolation wards will be established at Government Medical Colleges of Jammu and Srinagar, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura and other districts where a special team of doctors and paramedics will be constituted and trained accordingly.

In the meeting, directions were issued for activating Multi-disciplinary Research Units (MRUs) at Government Medical College Jammu and Srinagar and the samples of the suspected cases to be drawn immediately and sent to the National Institute of Biologicals, Pune for confirmation.

Emphasizing the need for adopting preventive measures, the FC directed for Information Education and Communication (IEC) strategy to be adopted so that people are educated about the preventive measures to be taken. He said that preventive measures are a key to success to contain the virus and asked for generating mass awareness through print and electronic media, hoardings at prominent places like hospital premises, airports and railway stations to detect the suspected cases with fever, cough, cold malaise etc.

The government also plans for distribution of pamphlets to be provided to the tourists coming from such destinations which are affected by the virus. It also said that awareness regarding personal hygiene, screening and detection cases at the community level will be started through ASHA workers.

The FC also directed the officers that sizable inventory of personal protection equipment, N-95 masks and other logistical arrangements be kept in place and buffer stock be also maintained.

 Officer on Special Duty to FC, Dr Shafqat Khan has been designated as nodal officer to coordinate with the Government of India and various health care institutions in JK to monitor all the activities regarding the spread of the disease.

The meeting was attended by Director Health Services, Jammu, Dr Renu Sharma; Director New Medical Colleges J&K, Dr Yashpal Sharma; Principal, Government Medical College, Jammu, Dr Sunanda Raina; Joint Director (Planning) H&ME, Madan Lal; and other officers.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo; Director SKIMS, Dr AG Ahangar; Principal, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Dr Parvaiz Shah and other Kashmir based officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.


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Resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits utmost priority: Shah

Agencies

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New Delhi, Feb 18: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits was the utmost priority of the government and assured them on their phased resettlement amid adequate security in the Valley, from where they were forced to flee in late 1989 and early 1990.

The Minister gave the assurance to a seven-member Kashmiri Pandit delegation that met him for an hour at his residence around 12.30 p.m.

The delegation included Surinder Kaul, International Coordinator of Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora (GKPD); Utpal Kaul, GKPD India Coordinator; Anil Kachroo, GKPD USA; Taj Tikoo, President of the All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS); Dileep Mattoo, President Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch (JKVM); and AJKVM members Sanjay Ganjoo and Parikshit Kaul.

 

“The Minister promised to resettle all Kashmiri Pandits in their respective districts. He also assured that the resettlement process will be done in phases amid tight security,” Utpal Kaul told IANS.

Kaul said that the Home Minister also assured the delegation that the age limit for government jobs vis-a-vis Kashmiri Pandits will be increased up to 50 years and the government will help reclaim and reparation of their encroached properties in the Valley.

“All temples in the Valley will also be renovated,” Kaul said quoting Shah.

The delegation handed over a memorandum to him to thank the Union government for abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution relating to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The delegation members expressed heartfelt thanks to the Minister for maintaining a consistent position on its promise to rehabilitate the displaced Kashmiri Pandits in the Kashmir valley.

“The delegation also thanked the minister for abrogating Article 370 and 35A whose pernicious impact has destroyed the Kashmiri society, culture, civilization, economic progress and the ability to lead a peaceful life in the valley,” the memorandum read.

The delegation demanded the formation of an advisory council of Kashmiri Pandits to work under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs to come up with a plan for full restorative justice for the Kashmiri Pandits.

“The advisory council will have representation from mainstream community bodies, youth, women, eminent community think tank members, Jagati, rural and urban residents from the community and even overseas representation,” the memorandum added.

The delegation requested Shah to accept the community’s demand for a single concentrated rehabilitation plan, including employment and other rights, enshrined in the Constitution as well as restoration and rebuilding of temples, shrines and community assets, including crematoriums.

The Kashmiri Pandits also demanded setting up of a commission to investigate the cause of the genocide and ethnic cleansing faced by them in the Valley, with proactive steps to initiate legal proceedings and secure conviction of those responsible.

“The Minister gave a patient hearing to our demands and conveyed that rehabilitation of our community is an utmost priority with the government. He sought help from our community to compile a database of all the properties that have been either occupied or encroached upon so that the government can initiate redressal mechanisms to restore the property to the rightful owner,” the delegation said.

He assured the delegation that the temples, shrines and all other community assets will be restored and made operational at the earliest, it said.

Shah informed the delegation that a massive drive is underway to generate employment and ensure heavy investment in various sectors of the new union territory’s economy. (IANS)

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Student trio sedition case: Transfer case from Hubli to Bengaluru city: 24 lawyers approach Karnataka HC

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Feb 18:  A day after lawyers thrashed three Kashmiri students, a group of 24 advocates filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing the resolution of Hubli Bar Association prohibiting its members from appearing for accused, and prayed for transferring the sedition case from Hubli to Bengaluru city for free and fair trial.

 “That the ruckus caused in the Court premises and the resolution passed by the Bar Association effectively denies the accused their right to a free trial. These turbulent conditions put the physical safety of the accused at risk and may jettison public justice hence it is just and necessary for transfer of the case from that place. The transfer of the criminal case outside of Hubli to Bengaluru city will secure a free and fair trial”, reads the petition filed by B T Venkatesh and others.

The petitioners said the resolution passed by the Hubli Bar Association is illegal, without the force of law and violates the fundamental right of the accused under Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India.

 

“The petitioners are all advocates practicing within the State of Karnataka. They are filing this petition as PIL, as the issues involved in this petition affect the right of legal representation of accused and the dignity of the legal profession. The issues raised herein affect the larger public interest and the fundamental right to all persons to legal representation,” reads the petition

The petitioners said the Hubli Bar resolution has resulted in the creation of an atmosphere of fear and intimidation due to which none of the advocates feel safe and secure to appear before the court. This has had a chilling effect on advocates coming forward to represent the accused, they said.

Three Kashmiri students studying Civil Engineering at KLE Institute of Technology in Karnataka on Monday were re-arrested on sedition charges and sent to judicial custody till March 2. They were first arrested on Saturday immediately after the college filed a complaint about a video in which they allegedly were chanting pro Pakistan slogans.

Earlier on Sunday, Karnataka police had released the students after they executed a bond under Section 169 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under Section 169 of the CrPc, an accused is let off when the investigating officer is of the view that there was no sufficient evidence to produce him before a court for remand.

 “There are quite a few lawyers ready to fight legal battle for the accused. But the condition in the court is not good. So we have filed a petition seeking for protection and the case is posted on Thursday,” said advocate Maitreyi Krishnan, one of the petitioners. 

Ahmad, brother of one of the accused students admitted they have committed a mistake but prayed for leniency. “We appeal to the government not to take any harsh step against them. Their career is at stake,” he said.

Nasir Kheuhami, spokesperson of J&K Students Association said they condemn their statement in the harshest of words. “We urge Kashmiri students to focus on their education. We appeal all students not to write provocative things on social media which could add fuel to the fire,” he said.

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All party meeting: NC, PDP, Cong say no to Panchayat polls till leaders are released

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Feb 18:  Efforts to convince political parties to participate in the Panchayat polls suffered a major setback on Tuesday when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Conference (NC) and Congress reiterated their decision to stay away from the election citing prolonged detention of its leaders.

Chief Election Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar held an all party meeting on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming election for vacant Panchayat seats in the Union Territory.

However, the representatives of National Conference, Congress and PDP told the CEO to release the mainstream leaders in order to their participation in the election.

 

PDP’s Surinder Chaudhary, who was flanked by Narinder Singh Raina, walked out of the meeting claiming that they are not allowed to conduct political activities freely in J&K.

“I walked out of the meeting, when we realized that Chief Election Officer was bereft of any agenda. I clearly told him that the meeting was called very late as two phases of Panchayat elections were already over. We demanded release of our president,” he said.

Chaudhary said they told the CEO that democracy is nowhere seen on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir. “Our leaders are detained under Public Safety Act. Only BJP is being allowed to carry out activities while security and vehicles of rest of the political leaders have been withdrawn,” he said.

National conference leader Ratan Lal Gupta said the party is of the view that the situation is not conducive for holding elections. “The meeting should have been called much earlier to know the view of political parties about holding the polls,” Gupta said.

Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga, who was accompanied by Party Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, said they raised issues of freeing detained leaders and allowing parties to conduct political activities.

“We asked CEO to ensure releasing detained leaders, their free movement and lifting of restrictions on political leaders, if they want us to participate. Otherwise the government should defer or postpone elections,” Monga said.

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