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Swine Flu:No Let Up in Himachal, Death Toll Rises to 18

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Swine flu deaths in Himachal Pradesh in 2019

Shimla- Swine Flu continues to claim lives in Himachal Pradesh as two more deaths were reported on Sunday from Mandi district. The total count of deaths in two months due to Swine Flu has now risen to 18. About 150 people were reported to have tested positive for the Flu, while about 450 persons have been sampled for testing after they displayed symptoms of the Flu.

Both deaths were reported from the home district of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.  While a female died at the PGI, Chandigarh, after being referred from the Ner Chowk Medical College, a male died at the IGMC, Shimla.      

Kangra and Mandi districts have reported the highest number of deaths with a death toll of five for each. Shimla, Hamirpur, and Una reported six deaths, two deaths in each district. Two deaths were reported from Bilaspur and Solan, one from each district.  

The panic has also gripped the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) after Rajeev Bindal, the Speaker of HP Vidhan Sabha, which is in the middle of the Budget Session for 2019-2020, was tested positive for Swine Flu. Panicked MLAs reportedly demanded that they all should be tested for the Flu.

Earlier, former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was also said to have caught Swine Flu. However, during the budget session, he had denied having any such disease.

A highly contagious, pandemic disease, the Flu claims lives every year during winters.  However, the death toll for the last year was only two as compared to 18 in just two months of the new year. 

Considering the fact that nowadays  Swine Flu is not considered a major medical situation due to easy treatment, it is highly shocking that the State has reported 18 deaths in a period of a mere two months.  

On February 2, 2019, the Chief Minister had held a meeting to review arrangements to deal with the Flu.  Despite the assurances of the CM regarding effective preventive and curative steps to contain and curb the Flu, there seems to be no let up in the situation.

He had also assured the availability of medicines and establishment of isolation ward with 12 beds facility in IGMC Shimla and one more ICU of four beds facilities in the existing infrastructure to manage the disease. As per the CM, the Swine Flu incidents were decreasing.

  Despite a decline in the incidents of Swine Flu, the State Government has prepared itself with an advanced stock of 8000 capsules in IGMC Shimla to meet out any untoward impact of the swine flu outbreak,

the CM had stated in the meeting.

He had also assured providing immunity drugs to the family members of the affected patient to check further spread of the diseases.

The officials were directed to take curative steps including sensitizing the people about the symptoms, cause and treatment of swine flu so that immediate and timely treatment could be provided to the patient.

The Health Department, HP, was also asked to make optimum use of print and electronic media to create awareness. The CM had also assured deployment of special medical teams in areas where maximum number of cases have been reported.

However, so far, the Department is only struggling to contain the disease.

Campus Watch

HPBOSE +2 Exam Results Declared, Private Schools Grab Top Positions in All Streams

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HPBose results 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh School Education Board, Dharamshala, on April 22, 2019, has declared the class 12th result, examination for which was held between 6 to March 29, 2019.

As per the Board, out of total 95,492 students appeared in +2 for science, commerce and arts streams, 58949 students passed the exam and 16102 were placed under compartment. The overall result dropped to 62.1 % from 70.18% in 2018 and 72.89% in 2017. Total 49, 136 male students appeared in the exam and 28,375 passed it.  Among total 45,784 female candidates, 30, 574 cleared the exam.

Students of private schools have grabbed the top positions in all the streams. However, the number of students of government schools is reported to be higher than private schools in the merit list.

In Arts, Ashmita Sharma (DAV School Una) became the topper by obtaining 482/500 (96.4%) marks.  In Science, Anil Kumar (Sai Star School Dhalpur, Kullu) secured the first position by obtaining 493/500 (98.6%) marks. In Commerce, Preeti Birsanta (Career Academy School, Nahan) topped with 494/500 (98.8%) marks.

Candidates can visit the HPBOSE official website to check their results. However,  with the declaration of the results, the official website of the HPBOSE has become non-responsive due to high traffic.

Students can also check the result via SMS. One can send a message to 56263 — HP12 <space> roll number to access the result via text message. In addition, the results are also available HPBOSE’s partner websites like examresults.net and indiaresults.com

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Kotkhai Custodial Death: After Zaidi, Ex-SP Shimla DW Negi Gets Bail Too

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dw-negi-granted bail in custodial death

Shimla-Ex-Superintendent of Police, Shimla, DW Negi, who is an accused in the custodial death in Kotkhai’s Gudiya case, is also out on bail after Ex IG Zahur H Zaidi. Zaidi was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India on April 5, 2019. He had pleaded to the court that over 19 months have passed since the filling of charge-sheet but nothing was proved in the trial so far.

On April 18, Justice Sureshwar Thakur of Himachal Pradesh High Court, granted bail to DW Negi on the same pretext. He appealed to the court that CBI has recovered nothing from him in relation to the case. Now, the chances are high that remaining seven accused police officials would also get bail using the same argument.

The conditions of his bail included furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 3 lakhs and two local sureties. He would have to deposit his passport with the CBI. He will have to co-operate in investigation whenever the agency requires him.

A three-member team of CBI had arrested Negi on November 16, 2016, and was in jail since then. Before Negi, CBI had arrested ex-IG Zaidi and seven others on August 29, 2016.  All seven accused police officials were booked in relation to alleged conspiracy and custodial death of a Nepalese labourer Suraj.

Suraj was among the six initial accused arrested by Zaidi-led Special Investigation Team that was formed to probe alleged gang-rape and gruesome murder of a 16-year-old school going girl in July 2016. Later, when the case was transferred to CBI, the agency found that these six accused were innocent and were framed under a police conspiracy.


CBI had filed a chargesheet against the SIT members, I.G. Zahur H. Zaidi, D.S.P Theog Manoj Joshi, the then SHO Kotkhai Rajender Singh, ASI Deep Chand Sharma, Head Constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal and Rafiq Ali and constable Ranjit Singh was filed in the special CBI court in November 2017.

The accused were charged under Section 302, 330, 331, 348, 323, 326, 218, 195, 196, 201 and 120 B. The chargsheet contains 600 pages including annexes and statements of about 50 eyewitnesses.

While granting Zaidi a bail, the Apex Court had stated in its order that;

  …Our attention has been drawn to the allegations against the accused-appellant and that he is in custody for the last 19 months. Though the accused-appellant is facing charge under Section 302, we are told that the trial has not made substantial progress beyond the framing of the charge. Completion of trial will take some time…

…the period of custody suffered and likely time that may be taken for completion of trial, we are of the view that the accused appellant should be released on bail in connection with FIR No.RC SI 2017 S0009 CBI/SC-I/New Delhi, on satisfaction of the appropriate condition(s) as may be imposed by the learned trial court…

The CBI had also pleaded in the court to shift the hearing of the case from H.P High Court to Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal. The Court did not adhere to this request and observed that the same would be considered after hearing all the accused.

Further CBI had also raised doubts that if the police officer was granted bail, he could influence and intimidate witnesses in the case as he was a high-rank police official. To this, the court observed that this cannot be a reason to deny bail at this juncture, and if such incidence comes to light then it is always open for CBI to apply for cancellation of Bail in the competent court.

The reason of delay in trial with a remark that nothing substantial had been done in the case after framing of charge had come to a major blow to the CBI.

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India’s Rank in World Press Freedom Index Drops to 140 in 2019, Report Points Out Hindutva and Nationalism Agendas

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India in world press freedom index 2019 report 2

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released today. As a matter of huge concern in the list of 180 countries surveyed, India has dropped down to 140th position from last year’s 138.  Norway was ranked at number one.

India has been placed close to Pakistan at 142, and Bangladesh at 150.

The overall findings showed hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media

As per the Index, threats, insults and attacks are now part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists in many countries.

“In India, where critics of Hindu nationalism are branded as “anti-Indian” in online harassment campaigns, six journalists were murdered in 2018,”

the RSF said in its Index.

Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India, the report said.

As per the RSF report, at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.

“Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,”

the report said.

“The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,”

the report noted.

Further, the RSF report said that the emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. It also said that criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.

 The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship.

Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there,

RSF report said.

It also suggested that when not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence.

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