Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi addresses packed UAE stadium

The Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Indian National Congress politician spoke to non-resident Indians (NRIs), reached its crowd capacity an hour before the event was due to start. (Photo: Indian overseas conference)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Indian opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi addresses packed UAE stadium

  • Gandhi was speaking in the same stadium where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the community during a visit in 2015
  • Earlier on Friday, Gandhi was greeted by leading UAE government officials, visited labor camps to meet Indian workers and held talks with members of the Indian business community

DUBAI: Around 15,000 supporters of Rahul Gandhi, the president of India’s leading opposition party, on Friday were turned away from a packed rally in the UAE, ahead of his address to thousands of expatriates.
The Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where the Indian National Congress politician spoke to non-resident Indians (NRIs), reached its crowd capacity an hour before the event was due to start.
Stadium officials were forced to turn away disappointed followers of the party leader, many of whom had traveled long distances from cities throughout the UAE to hear Gandhi speak.
Those who secured a seat inside the venue cheered and waved banners during Gandhi’s address, which lasted for more than 40 minutes.
With elections due to take place in India later this year, Gandhi spoke of the important role he hoped NRIs could play in shaping India’s future.
Gandhi said: “I am so proud of NRIs living in the UAE, and their major contribution to the development of this beautiful country. Now, I want you to play the same role in developing your own homeland.”
He spoke of India’s “great religions and cultures,” and the need for communities to work together to tackle key economic challenges, such as unemployment and the agricultural sector. He also promised the crowd that when his party gets into power, it will designate special seats in the upper Parliament for NRIs.
Gandhi was speaking in the same stadium where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the community during a visit in 2015.
Earlier on Friday, Gandhi was greeted by leading UAE government officials, visited labor camps to meet Indian workers and held talks with members of the Indian business community. He is also scheduled to visit the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.


Fears grow as ‘chamki’ fever kills 100 children in Bihar

Updated 11 min 3 sec ago
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Fears grow as ‘chamki’ fever kills 100 children in Bihar

  • Multi-disciplinary institute planned to identify reason behind disease
  • Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, caused by viruses. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting

NEW DELHI: When Arun Ram took his four-year-old daughter Sandhya Kumari to hospital in late May, he thought she was suffering from fever brought on by a seasonal virus.

But within 12 hours of her admission his daughter had died.

The initially mild fever had run out of control, causing mental disorientation, seizures and delirium.

Kumari was among more than 100 children who fell victim to acute encephalitis syndrome in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

The state’s central districts of Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Sheohar and East Champaran are worst affected. Official estimates suggest a death toll of 130, with 15 children under the age of 10 dying on Sunday alone.

Locally, the syndrome is known as “chamki” fever.

“In my hospital, 291 patients have been admitted, 91 have been discharged and 83 have lost their lives up until Monday,” said Dr. Sunil Kumar Sahi, medical superintendent of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur.

“The cause of the death is not known,” he told Arab News.

“This is matter of research. We follow a medical protocol in treating such patients because all the children are suffering from inflammation of brain or encephalopathy.

“We are telling the people that they should not come out in the heat, and they should eat on time. If there is a fever, they should take a cold bath and take medicine.” 

Sanjay Kumar, Bihar government’s principal secretary, said that the disease had affected 222 blocks in 12 districts in central Bihar.

On Sunday, a five-year-old girl died in front of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan while he was visiting the hospital.

“The situation is really grim in the area adjoining Muzaffarpur. The death toll has reached 127, but government data is still not giving a clear picture,” Raj Kumar, a local reporter, said.

The government has announced it will set up a 100-bed hospital to ease the growing concern in the region. 

A team of doctors has been deployed in central Bihar’s main hospitals to handle the growing number of cases.

“A multi-disciplinary institute will be set up here in the next year to identify the reason behind this disease,” the health minister said.