In­dia world’s lep­rosy epi­cen­tre, de­spite its elim­i­na­tion in 2005 A CAUSE FOR CON­CERN Pragya Thakur, 7 oth­ers ac­quit­ted in mur­der case 12-year-old boy shot dead at baby shower in Am­ber­nath

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Aayushi Pratap aayushi.pratap@hin­dus­tan­ HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ Arvind Walmiki arvind.walmiki@hin­dus­tan­

The num­ber of lep­rosy pa­tients with se­vere de­for­mi­ties has in­creased by 50% in the past six years, in­di­cat­ing that many cases of the cur­able dis­ease are be­ing de­tected late. This ris­ing trend of late dio­g­no­sis is a cause for con­cern, es­pe­cially af­ter the gov­ern­ment had de­clared lep­rosy had been elim­i­nated from In­dia in 2005.

WHO norms say lep­rosy is elim­i­nated if the preva­lence of the dis­ease is less than one case per 10,000 peo­ple.

The fig­ures re­leased by the gov­ern­ment-run Na­tional Lep­rosy Erad­i­ca­tion Pro­gramme show that 5,851 lep­rosy cases with ‘grade 2’ dis­abil­i­ties were de­tected be­tween 2015-2016 as CRI­TE­RIA FOR ELIM­I­NA­TION com­pared to 3,865 in 2011-2012. Grade 2 dis­abil­i­ties re­fer to the pres­ence of vis­i­ble and of­ten per­ma­nent de­for­mi­ties caused by dam­age to the pa­tient’s ‘pe­riph­eral ner­vous sys­tem’, which ex­cludes nerves in the brain and the spinal cord.

These de­for­mi­ties, for ex­am­ple, in­clude mus­cle dam­age in the fin­gers, toes and vis­ual im­pair­ment, which af­fect ba­sic day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties such as hold­ing ob­jects, wear­ing slip­pers, cook­ing and typ­ing.

A lo­cal court in Mad­hya Pradesh’s Dewas on Wed­nes­day ac­quit­ted Pragya Thakur and seven oth­ers ac­cused of killing for­mer Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Su­nil Joshi.

Joshi, a close as­so­ciate of Thakur, was shot dead on De­cem­ber 29, 2007, when he was walk­ing back to his hide­out at Chuna Khadan lo­cal­ity in Dewas. The for­mer RSS pracharak was on the run for his al­leged role in the mur­der of a tribal Congress leader.

He was also al­legedly in­volved in both the Male­gaon and Samjhauta blast cases.

Those present in the court and their rel­a­tives broke down when the judg­ment was pro­nounced.

Thakur, who is un­der­go­ing treat­ment in a Bhopal hospi­tal un­der ju­di­cial cus­tody, was not present in the court when the judg­ment was pro­nounced.

She is also one of the prime ac­cused in the 2008 Male­gaon blast case.

A 12-year-old boy was shot dead at a baby shower on Wed­nes­day. Three peo­ple, Atish Ashok Gaik­wad, 25, Ashish Ashok Gaik­wad, 21, and Kabir Naresh Gaik­wad, 30, have been ar­rested in the case, while the po­lice are look­ing for a fourth sus­pect, Satya­jit Naresh Gaik­wad, 26, who is ab­scond­ing. All of them, in­clud­ing the boy, Pratik Bhaskar Gaik­wad, live in the same lo­cal­ity. At the time of go­ing to press, the po­lice were yet to as­cer­tain the mo­tive for the shoot­ing.

On Wed­nes­day, around 2pm, Pratik was at a baby shower held near a tem­ple in Am­ber­nath (East). The four sus­pects were also part of the cel­e­bra­tions and had been drink­ing, the po­lice said.

“Satya­jit fired three rounds from a coun­try-made re­volver. He fired two rounds in the air and a third di­rectly at Pratik, fa­tally in­jur­ing him on the chest,” a po­lice of­fi­cer said, on con­di­tion of anonymity. Pratik was taken to a nearby hospi­tal, where he was de­clared dead, the po­lice said.

The po­lice said the four sus­pects then de­stroyed CCTV footage in and around the area, be­fore run­ning away. One of the sus­pects, Kabir, how­ever, was at the hospi­tal where the boy was taken and told the po­lice the where­abouts of the other three, the po­lice said. While the po­lice found two oth­ers, Ashish and Atish, in the next vil­lage, Satya­jit is still on the run.

“The gun was bought il­le­gally,” said Gu­la­brao Patil from Shivaji Na­gar po­lice sta­tion. The po­lice sus­pect Satya­jit was the one who fired the gun, while the other three were picked up for de­stroy­ing ev­i­dence, al­though none of them have told the po­lice about who fired the gun.

Pragya Thakur:

Pratik Bhaskar Gaik­wad:

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