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Congress leader stirs commotion, asks to overhaul Mandal politics

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New Delhi: Ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, Congress’s former Union Minister Jitin Prasad’s comment on the party’s Mandal politics is all set to unleash commotion; he has asked the party to fend off its age old Mandal politics wherein a handful of OBCs get advantages. He has also asked the party to overhaul the same, most backward castes and poor upper castes in job reservations get hold of privileges, according to reports.

Picture Credit: dnaindia.com
Picture Credit: dnaindia.com

He further added that Congress should look into the reservation policy for the backward caste people and formulate a more for “imaginative and politically daring inclusion and exclusion of groups from the benefits of reservation”, as quoted in a Times of India report.
The above statement is bound to unleash tremor in the political milieu considering the fact that Bihar assembly elections are awaited. His indirect reference to the more assertive OBCs like the Yadav and the Kurmi community might dent the alliance between RJD, JD(U) and Congress as both these parties have OBC supremos helming the affairs.

He has sought deliberation on the issue during the Rahul-Gandhi’s Chintan Shivir in Mathura on September 21.

“This is the only relevant political plank for the party’s revival in a political market cramped with ossified ideas revolving around caste and religion. If Congress is to break fresh political ground for itself in UP, it can only do so by carving up a social bloc based on progressive branding of the social justice system,” he said in a letter, as quoted in a TOI report.

“The poor among the general castes have to be brought into the ambit of reservation. It is an idea whose time has come given the abysmal state of being for a vast section among them. They suffer the same fate as the weaker backwards — victims of the flawed social justice system,” the letter further added.

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India Struggles with Encephalitis Outbreak in Eastern State of Bihar, One of Its Poorest Regions

In 2014, an outbreak of encephalitis killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur

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India, Encephalitis Outbreak, Bihar
Children showing symptoms of encephalitis undergo treatment at Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar state, India, June 18, 2019. VOA

At least 152 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak during the month of June in India’s eastern state of Bihar, according to local health authorities. Following a petition, India’s supreme court ordered an investigation into the epidemic.

Acute encephalitis syndrome, sometimes referred to as ‘brain fever’, has claimed lives in 20 of Bihar’s 38 districts.  In particular, the disease has gripped the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, reaching epidemic proportions in a region already stricken with poverty and poor child health.

In 2014, an outbreak of encephalitis killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur.

A petition filed to India’s supreme court sought to end the current epidemic, accusing local and regional governments of being negligent in their response.

India, Encephalitis Outbreak, Bihar

At least 152 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak during the month of June in India’s eastern state of Bihar. Pixabay

“[Encephalitis] is completely curable and lives of young children are being lost due to the inaction of state machinery,” the petition read.

“Most of the deaths are occurring due to lack of medical facilities in the area of outbreak,” it continued.

In response to the petition, Indian supreme court justice Sanjiv Khanna said “We issue notice to the Bihar government seeking a detailed response.”

State and national officials must respond within seven days on health conditions, according to India’s top court.

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India’s health ministry affirmed its earlier promise to open a children’s ward in the district and monitor the epidemic, as state health official face sharp criticism for what has been seen as indifference and negligent behavior.

India’s health minister Harsh Varadhan insisted that the Indian government was providing “all possible support” to combat the epidemic.

Since June 1, more than 700 cases of the disease have been recorded, though there are signs that the disease has been slowing, with no new deaths reported on Monday. (VOA)