Hundreds of devotees, including nine top saints, have tested positive for Covid-19 in India’s Haridwar city where huge crowds have gathered to participate in the Kumbh Mela festival. More than three million Hindu devotees bathed in the Ganges river on Tuesday to mark one of the most auspicious days of the two-month-long festival. India reported 184,372 new cases on Tuesday – its highest-daily spike yet.
A new double mutant variant of the coronavirus and 771 others have been detected in samples collected from 18 states across India. Of the 10,787 samples, 736 were positive for the UK variant, 34 for the South African variant and one for the Brazilian variant. The report comes amid a recent surge in Covid cases in India. But the government said there was no link between the spike in cases and these variants.
A former Indian minister has lost a defamation case against a journalist, in a ruling with huge implications for the country’s #MeToo movement. MJ Akbar was accused by Priya Ramani and several other women of alleged “predatory conduct”. On Wednesday, a judge ruled that “a woman cannot be punished for raising her voice against sexual abuse”.
Indian police have charged a 22-year-old climate activist with sedition over accusations she edited and circulated a document tweeted by climate activist Greta Thunberg relating to India’s ongoing farmer protests. Swedish climate activist Thunberg tweeted her backing this month for the farmers, who have been demonstrating since December against agricultural reforms they say will harm their livelihood but benefit large corporations.
At least 18 people are dead and 200 missing after a piece of a Himalayan glacier fell into a river and triggered a huge flood in northern India. The floodwaters burst open a dam and a deluge of water poured through a valley in the state of Uttarakhand. Hundreds of troops, paramilitaries and military helicopters have been sent to the region to help with rescue efforts.
Pop star Rihanna led a growing list of high-profile figures from across the world to express their support for the massive farmers’ protests that have rocked the country for months, prompting a furious backlash. Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out in the Indian capital New Delhi to protest new agricultural laws they say could destroy their livelihoods and leave them open to exploitation by large corporations.
Rihanna has shown her support for Indian farmers protesting in New Delhi over new agriculture laws they say will destroy their livelihoods. The pop star – who has 101m followers on Twitter – shared a CNN article about the protests on the social media site, with the message: “Why aren’t we talking about this?! #FarmersProtest”. Her post took the farmer’s fight global and has been liked more than half a million times in less than 24 hours.
Thousands of Indian farmers protesting against agricultural reforms breached barricades on Tuesday to enter the historic Red Fort complex in the capital and hoist flags after clashing with police. Growers, angered by laws they say help large, private buyers at the expense of producers, have camped outside New Delhi for almost two months, posing one of the biggest challenges to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he came to power in 2014.
At least one person has died and 200 others are in hospital in India due to a mystery illness. The first cases were detected on Saturday evening in the ancient city of Eluru, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Patients are suffering from symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to seizures, convulsions and loss of consciousness, doctors said, but they have tested negative for COVID-19.
The United States and India have reaffirmed their defensive and security relationship, as Washington continues to rally allies in Asia amid concerns over increased Chinese military activity in the region. During a press conference Tuesday in the Indian capital, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh announced the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), enabling greater information-sharing and further defense cooperation between the two countries.