The COVID-19 pandemic has dampened the spirit of celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr. The entire country is facing a crisis amid the pandemic as most of the states are undergoing lockdown while the others are following restrictions in order to curb the infection. People across the country have been asked by their respective Imam to offer prayer at their homes instead of going to masjid or Eidgah maidan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted people on Eid-ul-Fitr and expressed the wish that the nation overcomes the COVID-19 pandemic and works towards furthering human welfare with collective efforts. Amid the shadow of the second wave of the disease, Eid is being observed across the country. Modi tweeted, "Best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. Praying for everyone"s good health and well-being. Powered by our collective efforts, may we overcome the global pandemic and work towards furthering human welfare. Eid Mubarak!
Senior journalist and noted litterateur Sivasaran Kalita succumbed to COVID-19 on Friday morning at a private hospital in Guwahati. He was 81. Sivasaran Kalita was under treatment at Gate Hospital and breathed his last today at around 7.40 AM. It may be mentioned that Assam on Thursday reported 5,468 new cases of Covid-19, taking the active caseload to 42,144. The positivity rate today is 9. 18 per cent.
Assam Forest & Environment Minister Parimal Suklabaidya on Friday visited the site of Bamuni Hills in Nagaon under Kothiatoli Range to take stock of the painful death of 18 elephants which was killed on Thursday due to electrocution. Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma asked Forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya to visit the site to take stock of the death of elephants. Dr. Sarma on Thursday took stock of the devastating deaths of the elephants. 18 elephants were killed due to electrocution by lightning strikes atop Bamuni Hills in Nagaon on Wednesday night. The elephants were found dead lying on the foothills of the Kundoli proposed reserve forest in the Kathiatoli range. Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that he was deeply pained by the death of the elephants. In this connection, former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the incident was "unfortunate" and it is an immense loss to the wildlife and biodiversity of the state.
Animals that move in herds are always in danger during lightening as they instinctively make a tight formation to save their calves and become one entity and in the process become one conductor of electricity especially when they are either on the top of the hills or in a vast open field, becoming the tallest object of that area and attract the lightening for which the animals don't survive. Unlike the elephants which were killed due to lightning in Nagaon, similar incidents happened across the world. 323 rain deer died at one go in Norway on 26 August 2016. Moreover, a 40-year-old elephant died after it was struck by lightning at a Pattaya elephant camp earlier this month. Mahout Somnuk Tidsandod, 46, reported May 7 that he found the carcass of Boonklong under a tree. The elephant had electrical burns on two ankles, the exit point for the lightning.
In an unfortunate incident, a person died while two others have been injured at a grenade blast at Tingrai Bazaar in Digboi. Two motorcycle-borne miscreants lobbed the grenade in front of a hardware shop owned by a person named Puranmal Agarwala. As per initial reports, the deceased was the owner of the shop while two others have sustained serious injuries. Police reached the spot immediately after the incident and an investigation has been started. Meanwhile, the Army and Police have cordon off the area. It may be mentioned that A 14-year-old boy was killed on May 12 in a grenade explosion in a village in Tinsukia district. According to authorities, the blast took place when the minor picked up an abandoned grenade near the Burhi Dihing River in Kotha Adarsha Gaon in Jagun. Terming it an "unfortunate accidental blast", the Assam Police said in a statement that the "grenade may have been dropped mistakenly by security forces during routine movement in the area."
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday visited areas of Assam bordering West Bengal where he interacted with the people who escaped from Bengal during post-poll violence. Dhankhar said it was a matter of shame that the people of West Bengal had to take shelter in adjoining States to escape violence. "Nothing can be more shameful for us than people of West Bengal taking shelter in other States," Mr. Dhankhar said, speaking to journalists in Siliguri. The Governor, who visited Cooch Behar district on Thursdayagainst the advice of the State government, said that the government had not done anything to contain the post-election violence. "Even the media did not do anything. It is an open secret who the perpetrators were," he said. Asked about the law and order situation in the State, the Governor said that he was not in favour of confrontation but believed in cooperation.
From now on, posters would be put outside the residences of COVID-19 patients who are in self-isolation or home quarantined in Assam. This was informed in a fresh order issued by Assam government amid surging COVID-19 cases in the state. According to the order, the decision was taken as there have been some reports of COVID patients not observing COVID appropriate behaviour leading to further spread of the virus among those who are uninfected. It also said that the posters would be removed later after the said COVID patients recover from the virus.
While lockdown in the entire state of Assam may not be in the cards, it might be enforced in few parts of the state if COVID cases are on a steady surge, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday. Speaking to reporters in Guwahati, CM Sarma said that lockdown will be imposed in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia if the COVID-19 situation doesn't improve. He added that the state government will be compelled to impose such sanctions to contain the virus which is on a second wave now, wrecking havoc in the country as a whole. Just after a meeting with doctors and officials of Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) and National Health Mission (NHM), CM Sarma spoke to reporters outside and made the statement. He also stressed on the fact that the Indian-origin COVID variant is much more deadlier than the previous one and urged people to be more careful.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has condoled the death of two persons who tragically died in a grenade attack that took place at Digboi in Tinsukia district earlier today. This was informed by newly-elected Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter. He said that Shah had enquired about the grenade blast and condoled their demises."Home Minister Amit Shah called me to enquire about the grenade blast at Tingrai Market in Tinsukia District. He condoled the death of two civilians. I apprised Home Minister on the matter and informed that Assam Police has been asked to take stern measures against perpetrators and nab them immediately," CM Sarma tweeted.
A militant of the People's Liberation Army of Manipur (PL-MP) was apprehended by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday. As per a report, the militant, one Mayanglambam Siromani, was involved in an ambush leading to the death of one Assam Rifles jawan and severe injury to another. Two militants were also killed in the encounter that followed. PLA-MP or PLAM is a proscribed insurgency group based in Manipur. The ambush took place in 2017 at the Record of Proceedings (ROP) of 4th Assam Rifles at Chamol-Sajik Tampak Road. A case was also initially registered as FIR No. 3(11)/ 2017 dated November 15, 2017 at Chakpikarong police station in Chandel district. Soon after the ambush, Siromani and his co-accused escaped to Myanmar. He was an active operative of PLA/RPF in 252 Mobile BN of PLA/RPF based in Myanmar. He hails from Kakching Khunou Angom Leikai under Waikhong police station in Kakching district in Manipur.
Assam on Friday reported 4,078 new cases of COVID-19, taking the active caseload to 41,978. The positivity rate today is 9. 26 per cent. The state also recorded 4,168 discharges and 76 Covid-related deaths. A total of 44,057 tests were detected today, of which, 1, 107 new cases were recorded in Kamrup Metro, 352 cases in Dibrugarh, 323 cases in Kamrup Rural, and 224 cases in Nagaon. Meanwhile, with a recovery rate of 85.80 per cent, the recoveries have touched 2,74,247.
Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister and BJP legislator Trivendra Singh Rawat made a shocking statement on Thursday saying that coronavirus is a living organism and has the right to live. The comment comes amid a devastating second wave of COVID-19 which has gripped the nation with many losing their lives. "Seen from a philosophical angle, coronavirus is also a living organism. It has the right to live like the rest of us. But we (humans) think ourselves to be the most intelligent and are out to eliminate it. So it is constantly mutating itself," he told a news channel. Rawat said in order to stay safe, humans need to outpsace the virus. "Hence, we now have to keep our distance from it. It is also moving and we are also moving, but we have to move faster than it so that it gets left behind," he further said.
K P Sharma Oli, who recently lost a crucial vote of confidence, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Nepal for the third time on Friday. Oli, 69, took the oath of office as the 43rd Prime Minister of Nepal at the presidential palace today. The ministers of his cabinet were also sworn in during the ceremony. The oath was administered by President Shital Devi Bhandari. On Thursday, he was reappointed to the post as the Opposition parties failed to secure majority seats in Parliament to form a new government. He lost the trust vote in the House of Representatives earlier on Monday. The Chairperson of CPN-UML will now have to take a vote of confidence at the House within 30 days, failing which, an attempt to form a government under Article 76 (5) of the Constitution would be initiated.
Petrol and diesel prices on Friday touched record high levels across the country after rates were increased for the fourth time this week. Petrol price was hiked by 29 paise per litre and diesel by 34 paise a litre, according to a price notification by state-owned fuel retailers. The increase propelled rates in Delhi to climb to an all-time high of Rs 92.34 a litre for petrol and Rs 82.95 per litre for diesel, said a PTI report. Rates had already crossed the Rs 100-mark in several cities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and with the latest increase, prices in Mumbai too were inching towards that level, the report stated. A litre of petrol in Mumbai now comes for Rs 98.65 and diesel is priced at Rs 90.11 per litre. Fuel prices differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes such as VAT and freight charges. Rajasthan levies the highest value-added tax (VAT) on petrol in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh.
A Delhi Solidarity Group has constituted an All India Fact-Finding Committee to monitor the setting up a 15 MW solar power plant forcefully at Mikir Bamuni Grant Village of Samaguri Revenue Circle, Nagaon. The indigenous people and the farmers have been protesting against setting up the power plant unofficially.