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India to fly back Bengal residents from Dhaka, days after Centre-state spat over evacuation

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Air India special flight carrying the first batch of Indian passengers from Wuhan (China) reached New Delhi airport on Saturday | ANI
Air India flight returning after rescuing passengers | Representational image ANI


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New Delhi: A total of 169 Indians will be coming back to their homes in West Bengal from Bangladesh Monday even as the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee-led state government continue to squabble over the repatriation of its residents.

According to sources, the 169 Indians are returning by an Air India flight from Dhaka to Kolkata on 18 May under the Vande Bharat Mission.

Since a large number of residents from West Bengal are in Bangladesh, special efforts have been undertaken by the High Commission of India in Dhaka to identify those with compelling reasons to return and accord them due priority, the sources said.

The passengers on the first flight to Kolkata include 73 students, 16 elderly people, 45 stranded tourists, 16 patients with medical emergencies, and one pregnant woman.

Indians who are coming back on this flight were stranded across 18 districts of Bangladesh.

In West Bengal, after completion of quarantine, they will travel to their homes spread across more than 20 districts, right from Paschim Bardhaman in the west to North 24 Parganas in the east and from Purba Medinipur in the south to Jalpaiguri in the north, the sources added.


Also read: India plans to expand repatriation from 15 May to bring back citizens from more countries


Centre-state Twitter spat over evacuation 

The decision comes days after the Centre and the state were engaged in a public spat on Twitter over the issue of arranging flights to bring back stranded residents of West Bengal to the state.

The Centre and the Trinamool Congress have been sparring over several issues emerging out of the pandemic — from testings to adequate lockdown measures and number of deaths being registered.

Last week, West Bengal’s Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee tweeted, “Is the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) asking us to believe that there are enough people to come from Georgia to Gujarat but none want to come to Kolkata? Also, there are enough people to come back to Bihar from Kyrgyzstan but not enough to bring back to Bengal?? Stop this injustice !!!”

To this, the MEA responded by saying it “does not discriminate between states”.

“Will gladly facilitate flights to Kolkata if state government will confirm arrangements to receive and quarantine. Will also help in return of WB residents through land borders with neighbors. We hope to receive an early response on the matter,” tweeted Anurag Srivastava, Spokesperson, MEA.

In the first phase of the Vande Bharat Mission, India has brought back 15,000 citizens from over 12 countries. The second phase, which is now under way, began 16 May. In this phase, Indians from 31 countries will be brought back by operating 149 special flights, including feeder flights.


Also read: 15,000 Indians stranded abroad to be brought back on ‘compelling grounds’


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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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