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Assam cancels annual Kamakhya temple fair, largest Hindu event in NE — a first in centuries




Kamakhya temple
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint

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New Delhi: For the first time in recorded history, the ‘Ambubachi Mela’ in Assam’s Kamakhya temple will not be held this year. The decision has been taken in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mela, considered the largest Hindu religious congregation of eastern India, is held every year from 22-26 June to mark the annual menstruation cycle of the temple’s presiding goddess.

The event draws over 25 lakh people annually from across the country and abroad.

“This is, perhaps, for the first time that we will have the rituals without the congregation of people. Even during the historic Assam Agitation of the early 1980s, we had this Mela although the turnout of devotees was very small,” Mohit Sarma, head priest at the Kamakhya temple, was quoted as saying in a report.

Perched atop the Nilachal hill in Guwahati, the Kamakhya temple is said to have been built by the demon king Narakasura. But records are available only from 1565, which say the temple was rebuilt by Nara Narayan from the Koch dynasty.

Also read: Arunachal girl Niki Lego — from PR executive to US Army officer, and now a social media star

Snake species named after Salazar Slytherin from Harry Potter

Discovered in the dark and deep forests of Arunachal Pradesh, a new species of snakes has been christened after Salazar Slytherin, a character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Salazar Slytherin is the founder of the fictional ‘House of Slytherin’ at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and can speak a snake language called ‘Parseltongue’.

The researchers have called the new snake Trimeresurus salazar or commonly Salazar’s viper pit.

“Childhood experiences largely stay with you. When I was growing up, Rowling was a big part of my childhood, and perhaps everyone else who has read the book. Now what better way to honour and thank her than naming the species after one of her characters?” Zeeshan Mirza has been quoted as saying.

The five-member team of researchers had travelled to Arunachal Pradesh between June and August 2019. The new species was discovered sometime in July last year.

New China map includes Arunachal as part of its territory

The latest version of Sky Map, which is China’s authority on digital maps, shows Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory.

Chinese authorities have earlier destroyed 30,000 world maps that showed Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India and which referred to Taiwan as a ‘country’.

While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Tibet, which it occupied in 1951, India lays its claim to Aksai Chin. Arunachal Pradesh was formally included in India when the McMahon Line was established as the border between India and Tibet in 1938.

Pointing out the ‘anomaly’, Arunachal Pradesh’s Pasighat West MLA Ninong Ering has urged the central government to protest China’s move and also “raise the issue at international forums”.

Nagaland vendor’s ‘jar of trust’ win hearts on social media

The Kohima administration in Nagaland has put a stop to street vending in order to minimise public gatherings. But a city vendor has found an ingenious way of earning his livelihood by placing fresh green vegetables outside a closed shop and a jar beside for people to put money.

A handwritten note has also been kept that says Rs 20 for a bunch of the edible greens.

The Kohima administration has allowed only wholesale shops selling perishable goods to remain open at specific locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Manipur villages build bamboo huts as quarantine facilities

Residents of Manipur’s Oinam village have been busy building eco-friendly huts, made of bamboo and wild leaves, in the nearby woods. These e-huts are to be used as quarantine facilities for every incoming resident to the village.

While vegetables and other essentials are to be provided by families of the inmates, fresh water has been sourced from a nearby stream by fixing bamboos — a practice used by the villages’ ancestors.

Not only Oinam, several other interior villages have also built similar facilities, apart from the district-wise quarantine centres in the state.

Also read: Passengers screened, borders closed, tough quarantine — 4 states & a UT halt Covid-19 march


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




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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