Indian Express Morning Briefing
05 MAY 2021 View in browser

Good morning!

The Big Story

In a scene that appears to be repeating across West Bengal, Trinamool Congress workers stand accused of barging into the houses of BJP supporters to beat up residents and, in some cases, even kill them. The post-poll violence has so far claimed at least 14 lives in two days, including four Trinamool workers.

Only in the Express

At least one of the Election Commissioners was against the poll panel’s plea before Madras High Court to gag the media from reporting oral observation of judges and its subsequent plea in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s “murder-charges” remark. His feedback, however, was overruled.

As part of its corruption probe against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, the CBI is examining the financial records of over half-a-dozen companies owned by Deshmukh’s two sons. Under its lens is a Kolkata-based firm operating from an address that’s a known hotspot of shell companies.

Following its decision to stall the IPL in view of a rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Indian cricket board is exploring the possibility of holding the remaining 31 matches of the tournament in October-November after the World T20.

Family members of Covid-19 patients wait to fill their empty cylinders outside an oxygen filling centre in New Delhi. (📸 by Amit Mehra)

The Second Wave

The recent ban on industrial oxygen has led to production coming to a grinding halt in the country’s largest oxygen cylinder manufacturing units, mostly in Gandhidham, Gujarat. According to some in the industry, while the MHA issued instructions for exempting cylinder manufacturers from the ban, state authorities were not executing these orders.

The Delhi High Court warned the Centre of contempt proceedings for not complying with judicial orders on oxygen supply to the Capital. Noting that people are dying, the HC asked the government: “Are you living in ivory towers?”

And the Allahabad High Court, hearing a PIL on Covid crisis, said the deaths due to lack of oxygen were "no less than a genocide".

Over the last five days, rural districts on Odisha’s western border with Chhattisgarh, which has been ravaged by the virus, have struggled to combat the second wave with limited resources and inadequate manpower. In Kalahandi, for instance, a 23-year-old spent three days under a banyan tree outside his village because there was no provision for isolation in his small, thatched home.

From April 7 to 9, when several districts in Maharashtra had to shut down their vaccination centres on account of shortage of vaccines, Jalna stood out, with a surplus that would last at least 10 more days. Home to Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Jalna district received 60,000 vaccine doses more than its allotment of 17,000 when fresh supplies of 26.77 lakh doses were received by the state from the Centre on March 31.

And Finally…

BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal addressed the decision to postpone IPL: “Who would have imagined such a situation will arise? Had we known, we could have held the IPL overseas. It was during the time when things were getting normal that we took the call. We were quite confident that we will pull it off.”

Delhi Confidential: A team from the National Commission for Women will visit Nandigram to investigate images on social media showing women in West Bengal’s Nandigram being beaten up purportedly by TMC workers in post-poll violence.

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at the LDF’s victory in Kerala, the role of the double mutant variant in India’s second surge, and finally, the latest Covid updates from the country.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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