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All four accused of beating up Kashmiris in Lucknow arrested



 All four accused of thrashing three Kashmiri dry fruit sellers here after calling them “stone-pelters” on Wednesday have been arrested, police said on Thursday.

Briefing the media about “the unfortunate incident”, Director General of Police (Law & Order) Anand Kumar and Additional Director General of Police (Lucknow) Rajeev Krishna, said they had arrested the accused, who were identified as Bajrang Sonkar, Amar, Himanshu and Anirrudh.

Sonkar, who was arrested earlier, is affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Dal (VHD) and has a dozen criminal cases registered against him including one of murder, Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani said.

The attackers were initially booked under the Indian Penal Code, but non-bailable offences have also been included now, he added.
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The officials also said that the victims have been assured of security to carry out their business and have been provided medical care and compensation for the losses they incurred.

The attack took place on Wednesday when a group of saffron-robed youths came out of a car and pounced on the Kashmiri men who were selling dry fruits on the Daliganj Bridge. The vendors were beaten up mercilessly, witnesses said, and their wares were thrown around.

The attackers called the victims “stone-pelters” and asked them to produce their Aadhaar cards. The Kashmiris obliged but the attackers continued to beat them.

No one came to the rescue of the victims. It was only after someone called the police that the Kashmiris were saved.

Two of the injured vendors went away before police arrived there but a third, identified as Afzal, was taken to the local police station. Afzal was questioned for over an hour before an acquaintance vouched for him.

No FIRs were registered against the attackers initially. It was only after a video of the incident went viral on the social media that police did so.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condemned the brutality. “Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in Jammu and Kashmir than videos like these,” he said in a series of tweets along with the video post.

“Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons and then try to sell the idea of ‘atoot ang’ (unbreakable part), it simply won’t fly.”

He called upon Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the Lucknow MP, to punish “those guilty of this assault”.



Maha’s Covid-19 deaths stay high, recoveries improve



Maharashtra’s Covid-19 deaths remained on the upswing, staying past the 100-mark although new infections dropped and recoveries improved, health authorities said on Friday.

The state reported 127 deaths, taking up the toll to 47,599, while new infections remained above the 5,000-mark with 5,229 fresh cases taking the tally to 18,42,587.

While 11 of the state’s 36 districts reported fatalities – and all reported new infections – the bulk of deaths came from the Mumbai-Pune regions.

The state recovery rate improved from 92.07 per cent to 92.81 per cent – while the mortality rate stood stable at 2.58 per cent.

Another chunk of 6,776 fully recovered patients returned home – taking the total number discharged from 17,03,274 to 17,10,050 till date – against the 83,859 active cases.

Of the new deaths, Pune again led the state with 25, while there were 16 in Ahmednagar, 14 in Mumbai, nine in Nagpur, eight each in Thane, Sangli, and Osmanabad, five in Aurangabad, four each in Satara and Bhandara, three each in Nashik, Solapur, Jalna, Chandrapur, and Gadchiroli, two each in Parbhani, and Latur, and one each in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Hingoli, Akola, Amravati, Yavatmal, and Buldhana.

Mumbai, remaining in the sub-50 fatality range for over a month now, saw its toll climb to 10,945 now, while fresh cases remained below the four-figure mark, with 813 new infections took its total to 284,509.

Mumbai circle (MMR) saw 23 new deaths, pushing up the toll to 18,625 and with another spike of 1,672 new infectees, the total cases shot up to 636,877.

Pune circle recorded 32 fatalities and the death toll rose to 10,898, while the daily infections increased by 1,062 to 460,110 cases now.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine decreased to 547,504, while the number of those in institutional quarantine also went down to 5,567.

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