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Solan burn victim Muskan adopted for treatment, social rehabilitation, education



SHIMLA- On April 7, HW had posted a message requesting people to extend help to save a little girl, Muskaan, who is struggling for her life at IGMC, Shimla after receiving over 50% burns as her father threw kerosene stove on her during a domestic quarrel. We immediately approached her and offered little help that we could and also posted a message on HW’s FB Page and Twitter requesting others to come ahead. We are happy to know that this little angel is now slowly recovering and has been adopted by the Umang Foundation for her treatment, education, and social rehabilitation

The message was shared a lot on social media but, you see; only a few actually appeared to help her. Other than some individuals including HW members, who visited Muskan to offer help, the issue was picked up by the Chairman of Umang Foundation, Ajai Shrivastva.


Also, Child Helpline Shimla (Helpline No. 1098) approached for the help on the same day and delivered immediate monetary assistance.

Solan burn victim Muskan adopted for treatment, social rehabilitation, education

Ajai Shrivastva made sure this poverty stricken laborer family receives free medicines and food. Yesterday, Umang Foundation raised the issue regarding the lack of protection of rights and appropriate health services for the migrant laborers. Addressing a press conference today, Ajai Srivastava, chairman of the Foundation, announced that the organization will adopt ‘Muskan’ for her treatment, social rehabilitation and education.

Umang Foundation said that Muskan is struggling for her life in the Indira Gandhi Medical College hospital. Her father, who is suffering from mental sickness, all of a sudden spilled kerosene in the chullha (mud stove) in Solan, resulting in severe burns to her. The Foundation has urged the chief minister to create a policy to protect right to life of migrant labourers and their families by ensuring free hospitalization and treatment in case of any medical emergency.

A few days ago another girl child Shreya (8), daughter of a migrant labourer from U.P. had died of poisoning in the same hospital and her father had to sell out his small land to meet the expenses of her treatment. Thousands of poor migrant labourers from Bihar, U.P., Jharkhand and other states are playing a major role in the development of Himachal Pradesh. But when they or their family members need hospitalization, there is nobody to bear expenditure of the treatment. The support from hospitals in shape of medicines is negligible.

muskaan case
The Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees right to life to every citizen of the country, and right to health is an inseparable part of right to life. It is a constitutional duty of the government to protect every fundamental right of individuals including right to life and health. The Supreme Court of India in its numerous judgments, including Pt. Paramnand Vs Union of India case (1990), has emphasized that it is an obligation on the government to protect life because it’s the most precious gift of God.

Ajai Srivastava, in a letter to chief minister Virbhadra Singh, said that the government must come out with a policy to provide free medical treatment to migrant labourers and their families. He suggested him to create an online data base and profile of all migrant labourers and their family members and issue identification number to every such individual because they don’t have BPL or IRDP cards. All civil hospitals should have a cell to take care of poor migrant labourer patients and their family members in need of hospitalization and ensure free treatment. Cases of medical emergency with migrant labourers and their family members are common in all the districts.

Sharing the horrifying tale of Muskan, he said that the incident occurred on 5th April when her mentally sick father immediately ran away from the spot after spilling out kerosene in the chullah. Muskan received severe burn injuries. On the same day she was admitted to IGMC. Her condition is still critical. She has an elder brother (11) and a sister of 16 months with her in the hospital. Her maternal uncle Roopesh, who repairs cycle punctures in Motihari district in Bihar, has come for help. Umang Foundation has ensured every humanitarian support to Muskan and others in the family. It has also decided to adopt little Muskan for her treatment, education and social rehabilitation.

Ajai Srivastava has also written to the District Magistrate of Solan for mental health examination of Muskan’s father under the provision of the Mental Health Act, 1987 and to ensure his treatment so that he does not harm himself or others in future.

We are thankful to all who came ahead to extend assistance to this poor family. However, we have serious question regarding HP Govt.’s handling of people suffering from mental disorders. Often, they are chases away from police station instead of referring them for proper checkup. Not only police, but people also lack awareness regarding mental health, and negligence on the part of our Govt. results in such disasters as it happened with Muskaan.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Art & Culture

Wah Re Corona: Himachali Folk Artist’s Lyrical Satire is Factual Rendition of India’s Agonizing Catastrophe



wah re corona

Shimla-Otherwise blatantly vocal and distinctively mass-mobilizing government of India is suddenly in the most subdued self after its proclaimed victory over the deathly virus; participation in uncontrolled election rallies; and permitting maha melas. The stalwarts are in the hiding, while helpless citizens – who voted them into power not once but in landslide victories twice – are dying due to lack of oxygen, poor – unavailable – medical facilities, and the denial stance of the ignorant in the helm.

Drawing a comparison between the fatal coronavirus and the mismanagement of the entire situation by the appalling government; a Himachali folk artist has released a factually appropriate lyrical satire that will tickle your mind and leave you to imagine what has brought this catastrophe onto us. The song is written by Rameshwar Sharma and music by Lalit Sauta. 


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HP Govt Faces Backlash Over Fake Covid e-Passes Issued in the Name of Trump and Amitabh



Fake e-covid pass himachal pradesh government

Shimla-Two fake COVID e-passes in the name of Donald Trump and Amitabh Bachchan for obtaining permission to enter Himachal Pradesh, which were approved by the state government, have raised questions over the validity of the registration process. The passes reportedly cited addresses of  Sector 17,Chandigarh, and had the same Aadhaar number and phone number. The vehicle is also registered in Chandigarh. 

The Himachal Pradesh Government has made it mandatory to obtain permission through Covid e-pass registration on its official web portal in order to enter the state. 

Pertinent to mention that the state government is already facing flak over flexible rules of corona curfew imposed in the state at a time when the fatality rate is spiking massively.

The state police, through its Twitter handle, confirmed receiving a complaint and has registered an FIR under relevant sections and the IT Act.  

The Covid e-pass software has been developed by the State Information Technology Department The purpose is to keep records, the department says. People desirous of entering the state are supposed to get the names and addresses registered in the software so that their travel history could be tracked and traced. However, the current incident of approval to fake passes has brought the system under the scanner.

After facing a backlash on social media from people and opposition, Urban Development and TCP Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, and Information and Technology Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda issued a statement today.

Without clarifying the cause, the statement said,

“State Government has allowed free movement to the State from other parts of the country with few conditions, but at the same time was also ensuring to maintain a proper record of those visiting the State.”

“It was unfortunate that some mischievous elements with ulterior motive and nefarious designs were furnishing fake names and addresses while applying for Covid e-pass which was unfortunate and uncalled for. Such cheap deeds  were not only unlawful and illegal but were also against the safety and security of the people,” the statement said.

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With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt



curfew in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government may not have imposed restrictions on tourist movement, but the industry is facing the heat of second wave of coronavirus pandemic, which has now reached an alarming level.  Alarmed by massive spike in new cases and fatalities, Delhi yesterday imposed a curfew for six days. 

Further, with neighboring states including Panjab and Haryana going into a lockdown-like situation with the imposition of weekend curfews, tourist influx in Himachal Pradesh has dropped drastically, hitting the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh. Last weekend the hotels claimed the occupancy was almost zero. The hoteliers and other stakeholders said the current situation is similar to what they faced during the lockdowns last year. After lockdowns spoiled the peak tourist season of the last year, the industry is hardly in a position to take another blow, hoteliers said. 

Conditions in Himachal are no better. In 19 days of April month alone, the state has recorded over 14,000 cases and the infection has claimed 155 lives, which is a massive surge in a very short duration. The rates of the surge in new cases and fatalities have also been recorded to be much higher as compared to the previous year.

The state government on Monday said that all educational institutions of the State would remain close till May 1 2021, and faculty of schools, colleges and universities wouldn’t have to come to duty.

The State Government also decided to put a complete ban on transfers of field functional staff.

Right after getting a nod from the Centre, the state government had also postponed the board and UG examinations.  Further, the HP Board of School Education is reportedly mulling over promoting class 10 students.

Chief Minister on Monday also said that the government could take more decisions to contain the spread in the meeting to be held on April 22. Some media reports said that the state government has hinted at the imposition of a curfew. While interacting to media yesterday, Chief Minister had also said that there are no plans for a complete lockdown, but if the situation continues to worsen, a curfew can be imposed. The Chief Minister had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort as it would hurt the tourist influx, thus, cause economic damages.  

However, if the businessmen and hoteliers are to be believed, currently keeping the state open for tourism is hardly providing any relief. Moreover, they are not able to differentiate between a curfew and lockdown. They have begun to seek relief from the state government.  

On the other hand, in case the state decides to impose a curfew, the situation would get quite difficult for the poor, especially migrant workers, daily wagers, and small street-side vendors too.  

Further, fear of the collapse of health infrastructure haunts the state as the government is still in the phase of passing directions to the officers to enhance the bed capacity in the hospitals.  As per the statement given by Chief Minister on Monday, the state is yet to take steps to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and staff.

“Steps would be taken to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and medical staff in the State.  Bed capacity would be enhanced in Nerchowk Medical College, IGMC Shimla, Zonal Hospital Dharamshala, Tanda Medical College, Sunder Nagar Hospital and various other hospitals. Health workers would be posted in appropriate number for the care of Covid-19 patients,” Chief Minister said.

Chief Minister is being condemned for not completing make-shifts hospitals during the lockdown period along with strengthening the health services the way the it was required.

With the re-notification of Shimla’s DDU hospital- one of the busiest in the state- as a dedicated COVID care hospital, the OPDs has been closed. With the ongoing surge in new cases, more hospitals are likely to be re-notification as dedicated COVID care hospitals, and regular OPDs would be closed for other daily patients.

Moreover, for setting bad examples for the people, all political parties and their leaders, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, had faced severe criticism over blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols during campaign rallies for the elections to the Municipal Corporations. As a result, the public is hardly taking the second wave seriously and lowering their guards against the infections, which is only worsening the situation.

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