Double Standards

A remarkable job was done by India by flying in Indians from abroad. But questions are being raised about the marginalised and lakhs of daily wagers who had to walk hundreds of miles to get home. When they in desperation were walking towards their villages hundreds of kilometres away, one was aghast to see a number of VVIP flights taking off for global cities. In fact, one cartoon summed it up perfectly. It showed a BJP leader advising some of the urban migrant workers with the quip, “If you can somehow reach Iran, I can get you air lifted from there.” It aptly summed up their plight.

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Oath Of RS members can wait

In view of the lockdown, newly elected Rajya Sabha Members have been informed that there is no requirement of subscribing Oath or Affirmation immediately. An elected MP is entitled to take oath and take his seat in the House only upon the commencement of his term of office under the relevant provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951. However, the Constitution (Article 99) and Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha do not prescribe any time limit within which a newly elected Member has to subscribe the Oath. A new Member is not entitled to sit, participate and vote in the House or in a Committee until he has taken the Oath. Neither the Rajya Sabha nor any of its Committees is likely to meet till the lockdown period is over.

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Corona ‘myth’

Myths are creating problems in the fight against coronavirus. One such myth is that virus in the infected body of the dead will “explode” if cremated. With great difficulty, the mortal remains of Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa (62), former Hazuri Raagi of the Golden Temple, were consigned to flames at village Shukarchak on the outskirts of Amritsar on Thursday night amidst the presence of a large police force and administration officials. He had recently returned from abroad and tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. The administration had to struggle hard since morning to perform his last rites, as it was facing severe opposition from the villagers, including some doctors. They said that when infected body would be consigned to flames, the fluid from it would explode and create infection through fumes in the air. At the cremation ground at Verka village, a huge crowd had gathered despite curfew and prevented the administration to cremate the body. Finally, the cremation was done at a short distance away from the cremation ground.

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A Quarantine app

Many states are adopting innovative means to contain the coronavirus. The BJP-ruled Karnataka government has asked suspected coronavirus patients for hourly selfies. The order said that suspected patients would have to download a yet-to-be-released Quarantine Watch app and upload their selfies on an hourly basis to update officials of their whereabouts. The image uploaded will store the person’s GPS coordinates as metadata.

If a quarantined person fails to send a selfie every hour (except from 10 PM to 7 AM), the government response team will move such “defaulters” to “mass quarantine,” Karnataka medical education minister K. Sudhakar warned.

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Bengal Opens sweetshops

The West Bengal government has ordered the opening of sweetshops as “essential”—from 12 noon to 4 pm, on the condition that people will not be allowed to sit and eat in the shops and that they will follow social distancing. The shops opened after a week of lockdown. For the sweet manufacturers, it has come as a “Durga Ma’s ashirvad”. West Bengal has 17,500 people associated with the sweet making business and has more than one lakh such shops across the state. There are said to be 17 sweetshops per kilometre stretch of the state, the highest of anywhere in the country.

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Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com 

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