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
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.
Pratik Bhaskar Gaikwad: