CMYK MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 06 AUGUST 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 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky, A few spells of rain or thundershowers very likely. Temperature will be in the range of 32-26°C RAINFALL: 43.8 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.95% Max: 33.6°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:11 hrs MOON RISES -- P11 Amit Shah dares Cong on OBC bill Charges Opp parties with playing politics on NRC issue Min. 74% TEMPERATURE SPAIN DIVIDED OVER FRANCO LEGACY KOHLI ON TOP IN TEST BATTING RANKINGS TRUMP KEEPS UP ATTACK ON MEDIA PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 26.8°C (N) SUN SETS 18:15 hrs MOON SETS 13:15 hrs Moon phase: 3rd quarter on 7 August THUMBNAILS A waterlogged Central Avenue after the heavy rain in Kolkata on Sunday. DILIP DUTTA Indonesia earthquake: A major earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok killed at least 19 people, injured dozens and damaged buildings on Sunday. The seven-magnitude tremor struck just 10 kilometres underground, according to the US Geological Survey. It was followed by two light to moderate secondary quakes and nearly two dozen aftershocks. P10 CHANDAULI, 5 AUGUST JP chief Amit Shah today dared the Congress to clarify its stand on the amended OBC bill when it is taken up in the Rajya Sabha, saying it will expose whether the party was really for the backward communities. He also charged the opposition with playing vote bank politics on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue. The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, commonly known as OBC bill, was passed in the Lok Sabha on 2 August and will now go to the Rajya Sabha for passage. The proposed legislation seeks to grant the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status on a par with the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. “The Modi government has got the OBC bill passed in the Lok Sabha. This will go to the Rajya Sabha. Will (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi clarify his stand before the country that B whether his party will help in the passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha or not? This will make it clear whether the Congress was really for the welfare of the backward,” Shah said. He was here to attend a function on renaming of Mughalsarai junction after RSS stalwart Pt Deendayal Upadhyay. On the NRC issue, the BJP chief said, “We have to push out each and every Bangladeshi infiltrator from the country.” “Mamata Banerjee and Congress say that NRC should not be done. I ask Rahul Baba whether NRC should be conducted in the country or not. But, he does not answer. You all should tell that whether the Bangladeshi infiltrators should be pushed out (from India) or not.” “Today I would like to ask the SP the BSP and the , Congress whether they want the infiltrators to stay in the country or they should be driven out. I know the answer of the people of UP The answer is that . not even a single infiltrator should be allowed to stay in India,” he said. Shah attacked the opposition parties on their efforts to forge unity and said, “Today the entire opposition is hell-bent upon spreading the rumour about impact on the poll equation in UP if the SP and the BSP come together.” “Even if Bua (BSP chief Mayawati), bhatija (SP chief Akhilesh Yadav) and Rahul join hands, our tally of seats (in Lok Sabha from UP) will be 74 instead of 73 now and will not be 72,” he said. He exuded confidence that the BJP and its allies will perform better than in 2014 when the saffron party bagged 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state and two went to ally Apna Dal, taking the NDA tally to 73. “I throw a challenge to them that in the plains of Ganga-Yamuna, apart from the BJP's victory, nothing else will happen,” the BJP chief said. A Santa for slum children RANJEET JAMWAL Who: Bhan Singh Jassi PATIALA (PUNJAB) It’s raining. A road clogged with filthy water leads to a small room (just 12 feet by 10 feet) in the Tafazalpura slum area in Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh’s home city, Patiala. The room, two sides of which are walled with roofing sheets, the other two with brick, is full of children up to 18 years old. Some are in school uniform and others in casual clothing. They wait anxiously for a man who has been playing Santa for them not just at Christmas but all year round. When the unassuming, modestly-built Bhan Singh Jassi enters, the children’s eyes light up. Simply dressed in a Punjabi kurta-pyjama, the turbaned Sikh has travelled about 100 kilometres from his home in Sangrur to visit the children of the centre run by his non-governmental organisation (NGO), Guru Nanak Dev Charitable Slum Society. A few turbaned men are already waiting for Jassi and are ready with their gifts for the children who live in the slum ~ mostly just makeshift single rooms with tarpaulin roofs. Their parents are engaged in rag-picking or do odd jobs. Among the donors invited today by Jassi is a young Sikh, Harsimranjit Singh Turi, who has come to donate plastic chappals to over 150 children of the study centre in memory of his grandfather. Another person donated notebooks for the children after getting to know of the centre when five of its children recently made news for their achievements in the 10+2 examination results. Of these five children, Rahul, the son of a casual labourer scored 88 per cent marks, a record at least for the slum where going to school was unthinkable till a few years back. Eighteen-year-old Kartik is another success story of the slum. She has just completed a Bachelor’s in Computer Applications (BCA) and intends to pursue a Where: Punjab What he does: Help slum children acquire an education Bhan Singh Bassi with slum children in Patiala. PARDEEP SAINI Masters’ degree. Some others are pursing degrees in science and Arts streams. “Besides providing us the space to study, teachers here help us by clarifying concepts and doubts about the syllabus taught in the class,” Kartik said. Slowly but surely, such success stories are becoming common in the study centres run by Jassi in slums. It all started way back in 2003 in Jassi’s hometown, Sherpur (Sangrur). Working as a linesman with the Punjab electricity department, he would see scantily dressed, barefoot slum children while taking his two children to be picked up by the school bus. “It was painful to see little children in such a pitiable condition and not going to school. So, one day I went to the slum near my house and asked the parents (mostly snake charmers and ragpickers) to send them to school. But they refused. They told me it’s not in their destiny to go to school and like them, rag-picking was their future as well,” Jassi told The Statesman. Refusing to give up, Jassi befriended slum children by distributing toffees to them for a week and then told them to join evening classes at a place in the slum. “As children started coming to my class in the evening, I eventually got them admitted to the nearby government school by financing all their expenses. Now the number of children at the study centre in that slum is 125.” Employing 20 part-time teachers, Jassi now runs similar evening study centres at six places - Sherpur, Barnala, Longewal, Sangrur, Dhuri, Patiala and Sirhind in four districts without any government help. Besides providing free tuition to about 1,000 children, Jassi arranges finance to cover their other expenses, including fees for colleges Having won the trust of some other good Samaritans including non-resident Indians, Jassi regularly gets shoes, chappals, school bags, reading material, stationery, sweaters and uniforms for the children. One such donor, Yadvinder Singh Kala said, “I heard about Jassi and his work. Then I found out about it on my own. I talked to my son in the USA and he is sending money for five years now,” he said. A teacher at Patiala centre for over 10 years, Baby Sharma said it took time for them to mentally prepare the children for education. “They had tangled hair and there was hardly any hygiene. Now these children are so clean and well-turned out that people don’t believe that they live in a slum,” she said. Sharma lamented the fact that the centre lacks a toilet and doesn’t even have a tap. “It’s very difficult for the girls to go out for toilet as they face harassment. We request Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, to give us a toilet. We can teach anywhere but a toilet is a must,” she added. As Jassi prepares to leave the centre, two girls - who have just cleared Class 10+2 - urge him to arrange their college fee: Rs 9,000 (OBC student) and Rs 800 (for SC students). With a broad smile, he asks for some time to arrange this. “It was difficult for slum children to clear a single class in the past, but these children are doing so well in studies. I am happy that we are working in slums where people don’t enter without covering their nose. We are contributing where even the government’s initiatives for universal education have failed,” he said. CMYK P10 Kashmir shutdown over Article 35A total JAMMU, 5 AUGUST Normal life came to a halt on Sunday in the Kashmir valley where a two-day shutdown called by separatists began on the issue of the petitions against Article 35A that will be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday. However, there was hardly any response to the shutdown call in Jammu and Ladakh regions. The shutdown call for 5 and 6 August has been given by separatists against any “tinkering” with Article 35A that prohibits people from the rest of the country to own property in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir-centric political parties, including the National Conference and PDP are also against abro, gation of the Constitutional provision. The Congress was also in favour of continuing status-quo but the J&K unit of the BJP was demanding its abrogation. Shops and business establishments in the valley remained closed no untoward incident was reported from anywhere. Officials said security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable places in Srinagar and elsewhere in Kashmir. SNS ASENSIO MAKES A SPLASH WITH A DOUBLE STRIKE P12 India hands over Choksi extradition request to Antigua PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 5 AUGUST India has handed over a request to Antigua for extradition of bank fraud fugitive Mehul Choksi who has obtained citizenship of the Caribbean nation. Official sources said a team from India was sent to Antigua a few days back to pursue Choksi’s extradition with the authorities there. “The team met the Foreign Ministry officials of the island nation yesterday and handed over the request to extradite Choksi to India,” an official source said. Choksi is one of the alleged masterminds of the $2 billion scam in state-run Punjab National Bank and is uncle to fellow fugitive Nirav Modi. Both are wanted in India by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate probing the fraud, the biggest banking scam in the country. As per reports, Antiguan authorities cleared his citizenship in November 2017 after India did not give any adverse report to stall his application. Choksi had fled India on 4 January this year and took oath of allegiance in Antigua on 15 January. President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, which is intended to deter fugitive economic offenders from trying to evade the legal process in India and flee the country The CBI had sent its request to the Ministry of External Affairs for extradition of Choksi. Choksi's application for citizenship in Antigua in May 2017 was accompanied with clearance from the local police as required by norms, Antiguan newspaper Daily Observer reported, citing a statement from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of Antigua and Barbuda. Choksi and his companies allegedly availed of credit from overseas branches of Indian banks using fraudulent guarantees of PNB given through letters of undertaking (LoUs) and letters of credit issued by one of its branches, which were not repaid, bringing liability on the bank. Venezuela’s Prez escapes ‘assassination attempt’ CARACAS, 5 AUGUST Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said today he escaped an “assassination” attempt using an explosive-laden drone, after a live broadcast showed him looking confused when a bang went off during a Caracas military parade and dozens of soldiers scuttling for safety. His government said seven soldiers were wounded in the incident, blamed on Colombia by Maduro and later claimed by a mysterious rebel group. “It was an attack to kill me, they tried to assassinate me today,” Maduro, who was unharmed, said in a later state broadcast, speaking of a “flying object (that) exploded in front of me.” Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said there was “an explosive charge... detonated close to the presidential podium” and in several other spots along the parade held in AFP central Caracas. Details on Page 10
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