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Chennai, April 20, 2016:
For Gowri Shankar and Kamna Gautam, an inter-community couple from Tamil Nadu in the south of India, the state government’s decision to provide protection to couples like them has come as a huge relief.
Shankar, an upper caste Brahmin from Kumbakonam, married Kamna, who belongs to a lower community of Brahmins, in 2010, against the wishes of their families. The couple was forced to live apart from relatives until two years ago when the families “finally relented.”
Shankar said he was lucky.
“It could have been a lot worse,” he said, referring to a string of recent “honor killings” in his state.
Honor killings, in which couples are attacked because their families disapprove of their relationships over caste or religion, have emerged as a major debate in the last two decades in officially secular but historically caste-conscious India.
Shankar hailed last week’s High Court order, which directed the Tamil Nadu government to build safe shelters and set up a 24-hour helpline, among other measures, for inter-caste couples who fear for their lives.
“Such an order was long overdue because there is no place for caste discrimination in modern-day India,” he said.
“It is a big relief for us and many other couples that don’t care about the caste of their partner, but still have to live each day in fear of being attacked or killed by their own families,” Shankar, a software engineer, told BenarNews.
However, Shankar expressed doubt about how the order would be carried out.
“Tamil Nadu police officials are also caste-ist. So, I’m not sure how they’re planning to implement this,” he said.
Government seeks data
A senior state official said Monday that the government had already begun work to implement the High Court order.
Raj Shekharan, deputy secretary of the Department of Social Welfare, told BenarNews: “We have already directed our field officers to send us the data for ‘honor killings’ from their respective areas. After we receive their reports, we will consult the law department and other concerned agencies before preparing a draft proposal (to address the problem).”
Evidence, a Tamil Nadu-based organization working to secure rights of the Dalit community, which forms the lowest rung of the Hindu caste hierarchy, claims there have been more than 80 honor killings in the state in less than three years.
Although India-specific figures are unavailable, U.N. statistics show that 1,000 of 5,000 such killings annually occur in India, a majority of them in the country’s rural pockets.
Hacked to death
In the latest such incident, V. Sankar, a 22-year-old engineering student, was hacked to death allegedly by members of his wife’s family in broad daylight in Tamil Nadu’s Udumalpet town last month.
Sankar, a Dalit, had married Kausalya, 19, who belongs to the upper Thevar caste, eight months before the brutal attack, which occurred in full public view and was caught on closed-circuit cameras.
Sankar and Kausalya, who was critically injured in the attack, had approached police on several occasions, citing threat to life, but no action was taken to provide them with security, Sankar’s brother, Vigneswaran, had told BenarNews then.
Last week’s court ruling is set to change that.
Among the court’s nine-point directive, the state government has been ordered to establish a special cell in each of the state’s districts to ensure the safety of inter-caste couples who fear attacks from family or community members.
These cells, which have to be set up within three months, must comprise a Superintendent of Police, District Social Welfare Officer and District Adi Dravidar (Dalit) Welfare Officer, according to the directive.
The government must also create a special fund to protect inter-caste couples who elope fearing a threat to life, the court said. The fund is to be utilized for providing shelter to the couples and rehabilitating them.
A bill that calls for harsher punishment for honor crimes has been debated since 2010 but has yet to be tabled in parliament for clearance.
“Legislation to take stringent action against those involved in honor killings should be brought forward,” G. Ramakrishnan of the left-wing Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) told reporters recently.
“Without considering the political affiliation or vote bank politics, it is the responsibility of all parties to put an end to such heinous crimes,” he said.
Calls for similar setup across India
Priyanka Gupta, a social development officer from Rajasthan state who married her upper-caste colleague Laxman in 2012 against the wishes of his family, said a system to protect inter-caste couples should be put in place across India.
“We don’t need moral policing. What we need is awareness campaigns all over India,” Gupta told BenarNews.
“It is strange that the country believes you can choose your government at 18 years, but your family and community members don’t give you the right to choose your life partner,” she said.
Neeraj Pandey, a lawyer in the High Court of north India’s Uttar Pradesh state, which has one of the highest rates of honor killings in the country, agreed with Gupta.
Each day the Uttar Pradesh court hears about 80 cases pertaining to honor crimes, Pandey told BenarNews.
“Soon, we will move a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to the state government to take stringent measures to curb honor killings,” he said. (BenarNews)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest. Mitul Gajera / Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : chief, guest, Republic Day, parade, India, January, pandemic, 2022, host, nation, guest, invite, foreign, occasion, presence, celebrate.)
A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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By Anna Melnikova
The Indian cricket lovers have been waiting for a ton from Virat Kohli for a long time, and he finally has made it. However, not in the batting as most fans expect, but in catching balls.
The second day of the 3rd Test in Capetown between local Proteas and the Men in Blue was rich for interesting occasions. Thus, South Africa was waiting for a good scoring result after stopping all Indian batters on the first day. Their opponents, however, have been looking for nice bowling not to lose the game just in the first innings. And while Bumrah added five wickets to his score, one of the dismissals should go to Virat Kohli. By the way, if you want more cricket news in India, we recommend subscribing to the specified site using the link.
Also Read : Acts of good sportsmanship
The legendary captain was great in batting but now can not score a ton for more than two years. But the three-digit result came from another side, where he is also quite successful. And while most of his catches came from opponents' misses, he proved he can be effective in the outfield parts of the pitch. According to experts, Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch and still be concentrated for long shots by opponents, which rarely come in Test format.
Kohli has a unique ability to be energetic on the pitch. Unsplash
Even a legendary Gavaskar, who was the first Indian with such a result, praised the ability of the recent captain to catch. He admitted the ability to grab slipping balls, which are hard to cope with. Interestingly, Virat became only the sixth Indian to achieve a milestone in this component in the Test format. Kohli needed 99 games to find the needed number, although he is focused on making the 28th century first of all.
Another three-digit achievement can happen just today. He opened the 3rd day of the Test in Capetown along with Pujara and stayed alive at the moment of writing this article. If you are fond of sports betting, we recommend that you go to the rating of sports betting sites in India and choose a reliable bookmaker.
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article and includes some commercial links.)
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