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Durga Puja ends in Bengal

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Kolkata October 11, 2016 : Teary-eyed devotees bade an emotional farewell, as idols of goddess Durga and her children were immersed on Tuesday in lakes, and rivers and ponds of West Bengal on Vijaya Dashami, bringing to an end five days of revelry and celebration associated with eastern India’s biggest festival.

However, as decreed by the state government and the court, idols worshipped in the households or apartment complexes were to be immersed till a deadline of 6 p.m. Four household pujas were given extension till 8.30 p.m.

But reports from the 17 ghats (each having a set of stairs leading to the river) on the banks of the Hooghly said lot of idols were in the queue for the immersion even at 8 p.m.

The idols of community pujas would be immersed from Thursday. The government has decided not to allow any immersion on Wednesday on account of Muharram.

There was a festive look on the banks of the Ganga and other water bodies. With drums playing the immersion beats “Thakur thakbe kotokshon, thakur jabe bisarjan (How long will the goddess stay on earth, She will now be immersed)”, children, young and the old joined hands to slowly put the idols into the water.

At Babughat, one of the prominent immersion banks in Kolkata, the rituals picked up pace from around 3 p.m. With the large scale community puja organisers opting to immerse their idols after Moharram, mostly idols of household and apartment complex puja were immersed here on Tuesday.

“We are feeling a bit sorry as today is Dashami. Durga Puja is the time for reunion and merriment for our entire complex. We all get together and enjoy for these four days,” said Debasis Sarkar, one of the organisers of Sahana Association Puja Committee of Rajdanga.

Sad at the festival getting over for the year, there was some consolation from the loud cries of “asche bochor abar hobe (See you next year)”.

A salient feature at Babughat was the alacrity with which the premise was being promptly cleaned by the 20 KMC workers after each idol was placed in the river. The flowers and debris are washed away and the structures removed to prevent river pollution.

“We are working to keep the river clean. Separate space has been created to dump the flowers and other puja materials. The idol structures will be removed by tomorrow during the time of low tide,” said Sahahjahan, a KMC worker busy removing the earthen lamps from the river bank.

A check-in competition was seen at the Babughhat premises.

Social media portal like Facebook and Instagram went into a tizzy as the young brigade from mostly residential apartments flashed out their selfie sticks and were seen glued to their smart phones announcing their presence before anyone else on arrival to the ghat.

“There is a lot of competition among para (locality) pujas. So we thought of outshinig Athe others by checking in first and posting selfies. This is for fun as we are hooked to social media,” said Sanju, a 19-year-old devotee.

#BijoyaDashami trended heavily on Twitter all through the afternoon along with #Dussehra as posts flooded notifications of one and all.

Facebook’s new Live video facility were also used to the optimum as many were seen filming the entire immersion ceremony and huddling in groups to see the comments.

With Mahanavami over, it was now time for the goddess to return to her husband Lord Shiva at their heavenly abode in Mount Kailash after the annual sojourn to her paternal home.

Tight security arrangements were made at the rivebanks and launches were kept ready to rescue people in case of emergencies, police said.

The Dashami rituals in the morning saw married women preparing the goddess and her children for their long journey back home by smearing the deities and each other with red vermilion.

They also offered sweets to the god, and prayed for the well-being of their families and long lives of their husbands while performing these rituals.

There were long queues before sweet shops as people started visiting relatives and friends to wish each other “Shubho Bijoya (Happy Vijaya Dashami)”.

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India

No country thought of exit strategy, says Swedish physician to Rahul

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New Delhi, 27 May : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, continuing with series of talks on Covid-19 crisis, interacted with Johan Giesecke, a well-known Swedish physician and Professor Emeritus at the Karolinska Institute at Stockholm. Giesecke said that no country thought of exit strategy prior to announcing the lockdown.

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IAF operationalises no.18 Squadron, equips it with LCA Tejas

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New Delhi, 27 May : The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Wednesday operationalised its no.18 Squadron, the “Flying Bullets”, at Sulur near here, equipping it with the fourth generation Mk1 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas.

The indigenous tailless compound delta-wing aircraft was inducted at an official ceremony in the presence of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria at the Sulur Air Force Station.

The No.18 Squadron will be the second one to have the home-made Tejas, after the 45 Squadron based here.

An all-faith prayer was held and a coconut broken to mark the induction of Tejas today.

The No 18 Squadron, formed in 1965 with the motto “Teevra aur Nirbhaya” meaning “Swift and Fearless,” was earlier flying MiG 27 aircraft.

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COVID-19: Death toll rises to 4,337; total cases reach 1,51,767 in India

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New Delhi, 27 May : The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 4,337 and the total number of cases climbed to 1,51,767 in the country, registering an increase of 170 deaths and 6,387 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The number of active coronavirus cases stands at 83,004, while 64,425 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, it said. “Thus, around 42.45 per cent patients have recovered so far,” a senior Health Ministry official said. The total confirmed cases also include foreigners.

Of the 170 deaths reported since Tuesday morning, 97 were in Maharashtra, 27 in Gujarat, 12 in Delhi, nine in Tamil Nadu, five each in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, three in Rajasthan and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Telangana and Uttarakhand.

Of the total 4,337 fatalities, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,792 deaths followed by Gujarat with 915 deaths, Madhya Pradesh with 305, Delhi with 288, West Bengal with 283, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with 170 each, Tamil Nadu with 127 and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with 57 deaths each.

The death toll reached 44 in Karnataka and 40 in Punjab.

Jammu and Kashmir has reported 24 fatalities due to the disease, Haryana 17 deaths while Bihar has registered 13 and Odisha has seven deaths.

Kerala has reported six deaths, Himachal Pradesh five while Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and Assam have recorded four deaths each so far.

Meghalaya has reported one COVID-19 fatality so far, the ministry data said.

According to the ministry’s website, more than 70 per cent of the deaths are due to comorbidities.

According to the Health Ministry data updated in the morning, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 54,758 followed by Tamil Nadu at 17,728, Gujarat at 14,821, Delhi at 14,465, Rajasthan at 7,536, Madhya Pradesh at 7,024 and Uttar Pradesh at 6,548.

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