Here are the top 5 stories of December 7, 2020:
1. After farmer organisations' call for 'Bharat Bandh' tomorrow, Centre sends countrywide advisory
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi against the new farm laws. Talks between the government and protesting farmers remained inconclusive on Saturday even after five rounds of discussions as union leaders stuck to their demand for the repeal of the new farm laws and went on a 'maun vrat' seeking a clear 'yes or no' reply, forcing the Centre to call for another meeting on December 9 to resolve the deadlock.
Against this backdrop, various farm groups have given a call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8. This call to action has received widespread support from many opposition parties including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Meanwhile, the Centre has asked all states and union territories to tighten security during Tuesday's 'Bharat Bandh', while asserting that peace and tranquillity must be maintained on that day, officials said.
In a countrywide advisory, the Union Home Ministry also said the state governments and UT administrations must ensure that the COVID-19 guidelines issued with regard to health and social distancing are strictly followed.
2. Kisan Yatra: SP chief Akhilesh Yadav sits on dharna; detained
Uttar Pradesh Police took Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav into custody on Monday after party leaders led by him broke through security cordon to sit on a dharna in Lucknow to oppose the three farm bills.
With UP police laying a virtual siege to the area around the Samajwadi Party headquarters, a defiant Yadav sat on dharna on the road for some time joined by several party leaders, before he was detained by the UP cops and bundled into a police van to remove him from the spot.
"If the new farm laws are intended to help the farmers, then why are they on the war path? Why is the government so adamant? If farmers don't want the new laws, the government should take these back," Yadav said at the protest site.
The SP chief was scheduled to go to Kannauj to lead farmers protest there after the party gave a call for statewide 'Kisan Yatra' against the farm laws on Monday, but he was not allowed to leave his residence and proceed further.
Yadav said the government should bring laws which can ensure doubling of farmers income, "but the government's intention is not clear".
3. Serum Institute of India seeks emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield'
The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) has applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine "Covishield" in the country.
The Serum Institute is the first indigenous company that has sought emergency approval for the vaccine developed along with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawala also expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government for the support. "As promised, before the end of 2020, Serum Institute India has applied for emergency use authorisation for the first made-in-India vaccine, COVISHIELD. This will save countless lives, and I thank the Government of India and Sri Narendra Modi ji for their invaluable support," Poonawala tweeted.
4. Central Vista project: SC slams Centre for going ahead despite pending pleas; allows 'Bhumi Pujan' of new Parliament building
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Centre to proceed with the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Central Vista project on December 10 after the government assured it that no construction or demolition work would commence till the apex court decides the pending pleas on the issue.
"You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees," the Supreme Court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The Central Vista revamp, announced in September last year, envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day.
5. Mystery disease takes at least one life in Andhra Pradesh's Eluru, 290 fall sick
A mystery disease that hit Andhra Pradesh's Eluru town this weekend has taken at least one life while 290 have fallen sick with symptoms such as nausea, fainting and signs of fits.
Dozens of people, including children, suddenly fell unconscious after suffering from symptoms of fits and nausea on Saturday, but all of them turned normal within a few minutes.
However, the number rose rapidly with hospitals admitting nearly 300 patients. More than 140 of the patients have returned home after treatment at hospital while the condition of others was stable, the West Godavari district medical and health officials said.
(With inputs from agencies)