NEW DELHI: The Delhi government announced on Wednesday that it is keen on lending a helping hand to the Bihar government to deal with the crisis in whichever form required. “The entire country is distraught and concerned by the visuals being played by the media. The images of children crying and suffering in Bihar’s hospitals have been heartbreaking for all of us. In this time of difficulty, on behalf of the Delhi government, I want to offer any help needed by the Bihar government in tackling this crisis. Delhi can offer help in the form of medical teams, paramedics, ambulances — and anything else that may be required,” said Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkOver 100 children have lost their life in Bihar after consuming toxic lychee fruit. According to several reports, the fruit was found to be infested with virus and the patients showed symptoms similar to that of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), a deadly brain disease. Meanwhile, the Delhi government held a fresh attack on BJP-led Centre over the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed the Ayushman Bharat scheme as a white elephant. He said that the scheme has failed the people of the country and is not practical as what is required is to strengthen our healthcare infrastructure and access for all to healthcare. He said that this scheme is more about paying the insurance companies, than taking care of the health of the people. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe Bharatiya Janata Party and their Central government ministers have been advertising the Ayushman Bharat scheme lately. Unfortunately, this crisis has proven that the scheme is a white elephant. The scheme does not provide healthcare coverage to most ordinary citizens since the eligibility requirements mandate that persons who own telephones, 2-wheelers or fridges are not covered under the scheme. Moreover, the scheme does not provide coverage for primary healthcare and Out-Patient treatment,” said the Deputy CM. He added that a strong network of healthcare infrastructure, not insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat. Instead of enriching insurance companies, the government should have focused on building Mohalla Clinics, Poly Clinics, adding capacity to existing hospitals and building more hospitals. “Delhi has provided a model to the country by setting up Mohalla clinics, Polyclinics, and hospitals. More beds, more ICUs, more modern machinery is the need of the hour. That is the solution for today’s healthcare problem,” he said. Health Minister Satyendra Jain raised the question of why children suffering from AES in Bihar are not being treated at private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat scheme. He said, “Most of the children suffering [from AES] would have qualified under the eligibility requirements of Ayushman Bharat. Yet we find that all children are being treated at the government hospitals. What has happened to scheme in this case?”
The Crown Prosecution Service has been accused of caving in to pressure from animal rights campaigners after a second huntsman was cleared of assaulting a female protester in a matter of months.Hunting enthusiasts insist the case against Mark Melladay, who was filmed riding his horse towards the woman, should never have come to court – and said the decision to charge riders were being made “on the basis of who can shout the loudest”.Cheltenham Magistrates Court heard protester Elaine Barnett was trying to disrupt the hunt in February last year, by whipping the road to distract a pack of hounds with the Ledbury Hunt in Gloucestershire. Members of the Ledbury Hunt gatherCredit:DAVID BURGES Mr Melladay, wearing a red hunting jacket, followed the hounds through a break in the hedgerow and then tracked Ms Barnett across the road and into a thicket. However the court said that there was no evidence of contact.The verdict came weeks after Taunton Crown Court cleared Peter Doggrell of maliciously inflicting bodily harm by galloping through a gate and knocking a female protester to the ground, at a hunt in Somerset.Nicola Rawson, 43, suffered seven broken ribs in the incident which was filmed on a hunt saboteur’s camera.According to The Times, the police who investigated the videos in both instances decided to take no further action, but the CPS brought prosecutions after they were re-examined under the victims’ right to review.Tim Bonner, chief executive of Countryside Alliance, which campaigns in favour of bloodsports, accused the CPS of bending to mob rule.He told The Times: “It is very worrying that there appears to be an increasing number of cases where charging decisions are made on the basis of who can shout the loudest, not the quality of the evidence provided by the complainant.”Even the protesters who filmed the alleged assault by Mr Melladay were surprised to see him charged with such a serious offence, insisting a lesser charge would have been more appropriate.Emma Phipps, a member of the Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs who filmed the video, said: “We didn’t think it was going to go anywhere.”If we had had any say in it all, there’s no way we’d have pushed for [assault by battery] when there would be much more of a chance of getting a prosecution for common assault.“He definitely should have gone to court. What he did was wrong.”Louise Daly, the master of the Ledbury hunt, said: “We are over the moon by the verdict. It has caused a lot of stress for poor Mark and everyone involved.”The CPS disputes claims it made the decision to charge Mr Melladay – insisting the case was charged by police.A spokesman said: “”This case was charged by the police. The evidence was then reviewed by the CPS in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and we agreed there was a realistic prospect of conviction and the case proceeded to trial.”Any suggestion the CPS is influenced in its charging decisions by outside bodies is entirely incorrect.”Fox hunting was banned in 2004 but hunts are allowed to follow dogs on horseback if they are following a false scent, in a practice known as trail hunting.Animal rights campaigners, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), claim this is just a ruse to let them break the law. If the hounds pick up a fox’s scent and catch it, it is almost impossible for the police to gather enough evidence to show it was done deliberately.Hunt saboteurs routinely try to disrupt hunts with tactics that include blowing bugles to distract the hounds and using sprays to mask the scent of a fox.Recently their tactics have evolved to target local businesses associated with fox-hunting. A hotel near Blackburn had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat when it was hosting a hunt ball, while other activists have made softer attempts to disrupt with tactics such as making fake reservations at restaurants. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.