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Nearly seven months after abrogation of Article 370, broadband services restored in Kashmir Valley

SRINAGAR: Nearly seven months after the Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, the Jammu and Kashmir Administration on Thursday (March 5, 2020) restored the broadband services in Kashmir Valley. Earlier this facility had only been restored for government offices and other essential services in the Valley. Mobile internet services were earlier restored in Kashmir by…

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SRINAGAR: Nearly seven months after the Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, the Jammu and Kashmir Administration on Thursday (March 5, 2020) restored the broadband services in Kashmir Valley. Earlier this facility had only been restored for government offices and other essential services in the Valley.

Mobile internet services were earlier restored in Kashmir by the J&K Administration. The Centre had suspended the internet services in the region following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year. 

The move to restore broadband services comes a day after the J&K Administration on Wednesday (March 4) lifted restrictions from the usage of social networking sites across the Union Territory. The directions to restore social networking sites on 2G in the Union Territory came after a review of the situation by the Jammu and Kashmir Home department.

The order issued on Wednesday is without the requisite whitelisted websites and it also stated that internet access shall be available across Jammu and Kashmir at 2G speed and “these services shall not be made available on pre-paid sim cards”. 

The order also added that for fixed-line internet, connectivity shall continue to be made available “with mac-binding at unlimited speeds”.

It may be recalled that landlines, postpaid mobile services, and internet facilities to essential services like hospitals were restored in phases in Kashmir in January 2020. The Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to ease the restrictions after the Supreme Court, on January 10, asked it to “review all orders suspending internet services forthwith”.

Ruling that “freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of Internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 19 (1) (g)”, the Supreme Court had said that “an order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible”.

The government had said, “Restriction upon such fundamental rights should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19 (2) and (6) of the Constitution, inclusive of the test of proportionality.”

On January 18, 2020, pre-paid cellphone service (voice and SMS) was restored across the Union Territory and 2G mobile internet connectivity to 153 white-listed sites on post-paid cellphones in 10 districts of Jammu and two districts of Kashmir was also restored on the same day.

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Tamil Nadu govt issues new testing guidelines for all incoming travellers, amid spike in coronavirus COVID-19 cases

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In view of the rising coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, considering the risk of increased transmission given the high number of inter-state, inter-district travellers (based on government-issued E-passes) and ongoing repatriation of Indian nationals from foreign countries, the state government has issued a new set of guidelines for testing incoming travellers.

So far, nine persons who had landed in Chennai via Vande Bharat repatriation flights had tested positive for the coronavirus. While there is a sharp spike in cases over the last week, the state government has permitted a gradual return to normalcy. This has meant that private companies and most standalone shops are open in all non-containment zones of the state, as per stipulated timings and social distancing norms.

Persons from other countries: All persons to be tested on arrival and if tested positive the individual(s) would be admitted in a hospital. In case of a negative result, they will be kept in government-provided institutional quarantine/hotels (on a paid basis). A follow-up test would be taken after the initial 7-day quarantine, and if that result is also found negative the person/s can be sent for home quarantine for the next 14 days. 

Persons from other States/Union Territories: 

Tests will be conducted on all persons coming into Tamil Nadu from all states and Union territories. In case of a positive result, they would be admitted to hospitals. In case of a negative result, the passengers would have to be under government-provided institutional quarantine facility for 7 days (for persons coming from hotspot states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi). After 7 days if they display no symptoms, they can be sent for home quarantine for 7 days, or they can continue in government quarantine if they do not have facilities at home to be under quarantine. 

Persons from non-hotspot states who test negative may be sent into a 14-day home quarantine or institutional quarantine (in case of facilities are not available at home).

Persons travelling between Tamil Nadu’s districts: Testing to be done only for those coming with symptoms, all individuals to undergo home quarantine for 14 days.

Exemptions: 


* Terminally ill patients, individuals requiring immediate medical attention in a hospital 


* Persons who are due to attend the funeral and ritual associated with the death of an immediate family member


* Pregnant women 


* Elderly persons over the age of 75 years and requiring assistance 

All the above categories claiming medical emergency will be subjected to check up by a medical team to confirm the emergency. Relaxation will not be given for any other category. Persons who seek an exemption in the above categories must submit full detail along with their representation in advance to concerned authorities. 

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Avalanche hits Indian Army post in north Sikkim, soldier missing

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Sikkim

  A soldier went missing after an Indian Army post was hit by an avalanche in North Sikkim on Thursday.

SIKKIM:  A soldier went missing after an Indian Army post was hit by an avalanche in North Sikkim on Thursday.

According to reports, am Army patrolling-cum-snow clearance party of 17-18 personnel was hit by snow slide in the Lugnak La area of Sikkim on Thursday.

Except for one soldier, all others trapped under snow had been rescued, the Army said.

“A patrolling-cum-snow clearance party, comprising 17-18 soldiers, came under snow slide. All recovered except one soldier. Intense search is in progress,” the army said.

In a similar incident earlier, Lance Naik Sanjeeva Reddy, who was operating a dozer in the snowbound high-altitude areas of Sikkim, was hit by an avalanche on April 11.

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Maharashtra government likely to extend lockdown till May 31 amid rising cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in state

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In view of the increasing cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to extend the lockdown till May 31, said sources on Thursday. However, the government’s decision will be officially announced within a couple of days.

A two-day meeting of the ministers of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress reviewed the situation arising out of the deadly virus in the state. Simultaneously, there was a discussion on extending the lockdown and bringing the economy back on track in a phased manner in the state.

According to sources, in the meeting, it was agreed to extend the lockdown. Also, it was decided to relax the areas which are not in the containment zones, but the areas which are in the red zones will not be given any exemption. 

Extending the lockdown doesn’t harm the state’s economy, so business establishments and industry businesses may be given a conditional exemption to start their operations in areas where coronavirus has little impact.

It is worth noting that the first lockdown in Maharashtra began on March 25, just like the entire country. The second lockdown began on April 14. The third lockdown began on May 3, ending on May 17. After this, the fourth phase in Maharashtra can be from May 18-31.

Significantly, Maharashtra is the most coronavirus infected state in the country. On May 13, the number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra increased to 25,922. By evening, the death toll from coronavirus in Maharashtra had risen to 975. As far as Mumbai is concerned, by the number of coronavirus positive patients stands at 15,747. At the same time, a total of 596 people have lost their lives from coronavirus in Mumbai.

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