CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 31 JANUARY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 SENSEX 36,033.73 -249.52 WEATHER Mainly clear sky with morning mist in some areas. Max and min temp will be 28 and 16 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.94% Min. 31% Max: 27.3°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:16 hrs MOON RISES 17.17 hrs Min: 14.4°C (0) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 05:49 hrs TEMPERATURE Full moon today THUMBNAILS West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and actor Soumitra Chatterjee during the inauguration of the 42nd Intenational Kolkata Book Fair at Central Park Mela Complex in Salt Lake, Kolkata on Tuesday. SNS India beat Pak by 203 runs in U-19 WC, play 1 Aus in final: India entered the final of the U-19 cricket World Cup after thrashing Pakistan by 203 runs in the semifinals in Christchurch on Tuesday. India will now meet Australia in the summit clash on February 3. Australia had beaten Afghanistan by six wickets in the first semifinals on Monday. Opting to bat first, India rod on Shubman Gill's 102 not out of 94 balls to pile on 272/9 in their allotted 50 overs and then bowled Pakistan out for a mere 69 in just 29.3 overs. Gill, who was bought by KKR for Rs 1.8 crore in IPL auction, had hit a match-winning 86 in the quarterfinals vs Bangladesh. P12 SUSHMA TO VISIT NEPAL TO WOO NEW LEADERSHIP PAK COURT REJECTS SHARIF’S OBJECTIONS TRUMP RULES OUT TALKS WITH TALIBAN P9 NIFTY 11,049.65 -80.75 COUNTY CALL-UP FOR TWENTY20 CAST-OFF P3 ` vs $ 63.60 -2 PAISE GOLD 29,265.00 00.00 P12 SILVER 39,300.00 -250.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 69.09 -0.37 Murs bus accident HC asks EC to state death toll rises to 42 facts behind AAP MLAs' disqualification STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE DAULATABAD (MURSHIDABAD), 30 JANUARY The death toll in yesterday’s bus tragedy here rose to 42 today with six more bodies fished out of the Bhairab river into which the state bus had plunged after hitting the bridge wall. A senior government official said some of the bodies were found stuck in the waterbed, while others were floating. The search operation that had been called off last night due to poor visibility, resumed at 7 a.m. today, the district magistrate P Ulaganathan said. “The search will continue till the time we are convinced that there are no bodies stuck anywhere underneath the water,” he said. Thirty six bodies had been retrieved and eight persons rescued in the nine-hour rescue operation yesterday by divers of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Management personnel. “We have so far managed to identify 39 persons. The bodies of six unidentified persons are kept in the morgue of Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital. We have been Poll panel told to file affidavit after it said it wanted to reply to charges PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY receiving calls from relatives of passengers” he said adding those rescued are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Among the dead were seven school teachers mostly hailing from Karimpur area of Nadia district, sources said. “The district magistrate and senior police officers, including the SP are mon, itoring the situation,” Mr Ulaganathan said. Asked about eye witnesses' claims that the bus driver was talking over his mobile phone and speeding, the DM said, “It is still not clear what the reason was. But there was fog in the morning and visibility was poor. We are investigating the matter.'' Another state administration official said forensic tests would be conducted on the bus to ascertain the causes of the accident. “Forensic experts will check whether there was any problem with the engine of the bus,” he said. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered an inspection of the bridge from which the bus fell into the river. “We completed handing over the bodies to family members by midnight,” she said, referring to the 36 bodies pulled out yesterday. “The DM has already distributed Rs 5 lakh to each family of the deceased as we had announced,” Miss Banerjee added. SNS adds from Kolkata: The West Bengal government has decided to ban the use of mobile phones while driving following the bus tragedy in Murshidabad which calimed 42 lives. Flouting the rule would attract fine and suspension, officials of the state transport corporations said today. elhi High Court today asked the Election Commission (EC) to state the facts behind its decision to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit by filing an affidavit. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar asked the poll panel to file the affidavit after the EC said it wanted to respond to some of the allegations made in the MLAs' pleas challenging their disqualification from the Delhi Assembly. The Commission also told the court that it would rely upon the opinion it gave to the President to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries. When the matter was taken up for hearing initially, the court asked the petitioners to go through the poll panel's synopsis of the case and then decide if affidavits are needed. Subsequently, the matter was taken up again after D everyone perused the EC's synopsis. In the second round of proceedings, the bench said that the 250-page long synopsis, containing various documents, was very big and asked the EC to file a shorter one on affidavit. “A synopsis of 250 pages. It cannot be that big,” the court observed. After the brief proceedings, the court listed the matter for further hearing on February 7 by when the MLAs have to file their responses to the EC affidavit. It allowed advocate Prashant Patel, on whose plea the EC had recommended the MLAs dis- qualification which received the presidential nod, to state his stand on the MLAs' pleas.The court also extended till February 7 the interim order restraining the EC from issuing any notification announcing bye-elections to fill the vacancies of the 20 assembly seats whose legislators have been disqualified. The matter was transferred to a division bench yesterday after Patel moved an application for transfer of the petitions to a division bench. The high court had on January 24 refused to stay the Centre's notification disqualifying the MLAs, but restrained the EC from taking any “precipitate measures” like announcing dates for by-polls. It had earlier summoned the entire records pertaining to the proceedings leading to the recommendation of the EC for the disqualification of the 20 legislators which received the President's assent on January 20. The 20 disqualified MLAs include Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) -- who is also a minister -- Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura). The others are Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar). Telcos commit over Rs 74,000 cr to curb call drops: Leading telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, have committed to investing over Rs 74,000 crore to upgrade and expand their infrastructure to curb call drops, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said on Tuesday. “Telecom operators raised issue of non-availability of sites for installing mobile towers along with some other problems. “Bharti Airtel said that they have invested Rs 16,000 crore on infrastructure and will be spending another Rs 24,000 crore. Reliance Jio has said that they will invest Rs 50,000 crore in installing 1 lakh towers in the coming P8 fiscal,” Sundararajan told reporters. ‘Major was not at Shopian firing spot’ SNS & PTI MEA reverses its decisions; no orange colour passport: The external affairs ministry on Tuesday night announced that it has reversed its decision on the issuance of a orangecoloured passport to those who have ECR status as also on printing of the last page with personal details. The decision was taken at a meeting, chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and attended by one of her two deputies V K Singh among others, on Monday, the ministry said. Based on the recommendations of a three-member committee comprising officials of MEA and the women and child development ministry, it was decided not to print the last page of the passport booklet, the MEA said in a release. Adityanath breaks silence over Kasganj violence, assures action against trouble makers PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LUCKNOW, 30 JANUARY Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today broke his silence on Kasganj violence promising action against those involved even as politics brewed over the clashes with Union minister Giriraj Singh claiming that media would have chosen a “different” line if the killed youth was from the minority community. Another BJP hardliner Vinay Katiyar, known for his controversial utterances, also waded in the row saying there were some “miscreants who support Pakistan” who could go to any extent to defy the tricolour. “Our government is committed to provide security to each and every citizen. Anarchy has no place in the state,” Chief Minister Adityanath told reporters here, his first comments on the clashes. Adityanath warned of “strict action” against the perpetrators of violence. Meanwhile, Union Minister Giriraj Singh said that he felt the violence was pre-planned. “Had the deceased been Mohammad Ismaayil instead of Chandan Gupta, there would be been a different debate in the media... We have to change this mindset,” Giriraj Singh told reporters here. The Union minister said he felt the Kasganj incident was “pre-planned” adding that the Adityanath government would not spare anyone involved. Giriraj Singh also referred to Bareilly District Magistrate Raghvendra Vikram Singh's comments on Facebook that appeared to blame right-wing groups for provoking communal clashes. “I have come to know that a bureaucrat has made some remarks on why some are raising 'Pakistan Murdabad' slogans. I want to ask why not raise Pakistan Murdabad slogan. We raise this slogan as Pakistan kills our soldiers and is involved in spreading cross border terrorism,” the minister said. The DM's now-deleted post said a “strange trend” that had begun of late was to visit Muslim majority areas and raise slogans against Pakistan. “Why? Are they (Muslims) Pakistanis?” The same thing had happened in Khailam village of Bareilly. Then stones were thrown, FIRs lodged,” the officer's post had said. A short service commission Army officer before joining the civil services, Raghvendra Vikram Singh, 59, was last year posted as the district magistrate of Bareilly, about 100 km from Kasganj. He put up the Facebook post on Sunday, just two days after 22year-old commerce student Chandan Gupta died in communal clashes that broke out in a Muslimmajority locality of Kasganj during a 'Tiranga bike rally' by members of the local unit of the RSS-affiliated students' group ABVP . Minister of State for Food Processing Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said the incident should not be politicised. BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, however, told a news channel that those who “support Pakistan” were behind the violence. “Earlier, there were no communal clashes in Kasganj district as all lived in harmony. But it has come to light that there are some miscreants who support Pakistan and will go to any extent to defy the tri- Yashwant launches Rashtra Manch, Shatrughan and others join, says not anti-BJP activity PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY After months of snapping at the BJP a disgruntled Yashwant , Sinha today launched a political platform, joined by a number of politicians led by BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha. The new political platform 'Rashtra Manch' seeks to take the Centre on and would start a movement against its policies, former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha said. Shatrughan Sinha said he had joined the platform because he had not been given a forum in his party for expressing his views, but added that his decision to back the front should not be seen as an anti-party activity as it was in national interest. Trinamul Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, NCP MP Majeed Memon, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta and JD(U) leader Pavan Varma were among those who attended the event marking the launch of the front. RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary and former Union ministers Som Pal and Harmohan Dhawan were also present. Yashwant Sinha likened the present situation to that which prevailed 70 years ago when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, on this day, and said democracy and its institutions were under attack. He claimed that the Narendra Modi government had reduced farmers to “the status of beggars” and accused it of presenting “made to order” statistics to suit its interests. The senior leader, however, claimed that the 'Rashtra Manch' would be a non-party political action group, and insisted that it was not against any party but would work to highlight national issues. “It is not an organisation but a national movement,” he said, hitting out at the government's economic and foreign policies. “Everybody in the BJP is living in fear. We are not,” he said. Dialogue and debate in the country had become “coarse, one-sided and dangerous”, he added. “It seems mob has the job of giving justice,” he claimed. The first leg of the Budget Session of Parliament would effectively have only four working days, something that was unprecedented, he said. Taking up farmers' issues would be the top priority of his organisation, said the 80year-old leader, who had held the finance and external affairs portfolios in the first NDA government. Sinha has publicly criticised the Modi government's economic policies and style of functioning. Last year, in an opinion piece for The Indian Express, Sinha wrote, “I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy.” He had added that many within the BJP were aware of the situation, but feared speaking up. In the no-holds barred piece, Sinha had also said that demonetisation had proved to be an “unmitigated economic disaster”. CMYK colour. They need to be dealt with strictly,” he said. Katiyar claimed Gupta, who died of a bullet injury, was killed by the “supporters of Pakistan”. “Nothing like this had happened in the state under Yogi Adityanath's government, this is a first such incident which has taken place,” Katiyar asserted expressing confidence that action will be taken. Stray incidents of violence were reported from the western Uttar Pradesh town which continued to be tense with a heavy deployment of RAF and PAC personnel to keep a check on rumour mongers and trouble makers. A shopkeeper's store was burnt down in the communal violence-hit district last night. “I have been living and working here for the past 20 years. Even though I am the only Muslim among a Hindu majority, we never had any problems,” the shopkeeper said. NEW DELHI, 30 JANUARY The Army major, who was mentioned in the FIR over death of two civilians in the firing incident in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, was not present at the spot of the incident, Army sources claimed today. The Army has launched an investigation into the incident, they added. “The major was not present at the site of the incident. He was around 200 metres away from it... He was in the vicinity of the spot,” a source said. Two civilians were killed when Army personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob in Shopian on Saturday, triggering protests and prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to order an inquiry into the incident. On Sunday, the police registered the FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) against the personnel of 10, Garhwal unit, of the Army. The Major, who led the Army personnel at the time of the incident, was also mentioned in the FIR. J-K Police chief S PVaid said yesterday that registration of the FIR in the Shopian incident is just the beginning of the investigation and the Army's version would be taken into account as well. A defence spokesman on Sunday had said in Srinagar that the troops opened fire when a mob tried to lynch a junior commissioned officer and snatch his service weapon. “An Army administration convoy was passing through Ganovpora when it came under unprovoked and intense stone- pelting by a group of 100-120 stone-pelters. Within no time, their number swelled to 200-250 persons,” the spokesperson said. US lifts ban on refugees from 11 countries PRESS TRUST OF INDIA WASHINGTON, 30 JANUARY The United States has announced it was lifting its ban on refugees from 11 “high-risk” countries, but said those seeking to enter the US would come under much tougher scrutiny than in the past. Applicants from 11 countries, unnamed but understood to include 10 Muslimmajority nations plus North Korea, will face tougher “riskbased” assessments to be accepted. “It's critically important that we know who is entering the United States,” said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more risk-based approach to pro- tecting the homeland.” The 11 countries, hit with a ban in October in the Trump administration's revised refugee policy, have not been identified officially. But refugee groups say they comprise Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Speaking anonymously, a senior administration official told journalists that the policy of enhanced security assessments for the 11 countries was not designed to target Muslims. “Our admissions have nothing to do with religion,” the official said, adding that there is “nothing especially novel” about tougher screening for countries deemed to have a higher level of risk. Donald Trump has pursued a much tougher stance on immigrants and refugees from all countries since becoming president one year ago. His predecessor Barack Obama set refugee admission in fiscal 2017, which began on October 2016, at 110,000. When Trump took office a year ago, he slashed that to 53,000, a number that was cut again to a maximum of 45,000 in fiscal 2018. But refugee arrivals this year could come in significantly lower than that, due to the backlog from the 120-day halt and a slowdown in processing because of generally tougher applicant reviews.
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