CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 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 SENSEX 38,024.37 +136.81 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with 1/2 spells of rain/th shower. Max-min temp likely to be around 34-27 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: 0.2 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.92% Min. 67% Max: 32.6°C (0) SUN RISES 05.12 hrs MOON RISES 03.41 hrs Min: 26.9°C (0) SUN SETS 18:12 hrs MOON SETS 17:22 hrs TEMPERATURE New moon today THUMBNAILS Chief of the Army Staff Bipin Rawat during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in the Capital on Thursday. SUBRATA DUTTA Parliament passes SC, ST Bill: Parliament has given its approval to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, with the Rajya Sabha passing the Bill on Thursday, thereby overturning the 20 March Supreme Court ruling that was widely criticised for "diluting" the stringent provisions of this law. By passing the SC/ST amendment Bill, Parliament set aside the restrictions imposed by the apex court on registration of FIRs and launching investigations under the original Act. TRAI chief’s tenure extended: Amid the row over TRAI chief Ram Sewak Sharma making public his Aadhaar number with the dare to hackers to invade it, the government extended his tenure by two years. The extension till Sept 30, 2020, a day before his tenure was to come to an end, coincides with the Supreme Court adjudicating on the issue of safety of personal details relating to Aadhaar with government claiming the security systems are foolproof. Following the dare by Sharma, hackers had made public the personal details of his and some others related to him. US to impose sanctions on Russia: The US said it will impose tough sanctions on Russia after determining that Moscow used a military-grade nerve agent to kill an ex-Russian double agent and his daughter in the UK. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised and treated for a nerve agent attack in March. While Yulia was discharged from a UK hospital in April, her father recovered and left the hospital in May. The US said the sanctions were in response to P10 the use of a 'Novichok' nerve agent. PAK POLL BODY DEMANDS IMRAN APOLOGY RIVAL KOREAS TO MEET FOR LEADERS’ SUMMIT GUTERRES TAPS CHILE’S 1ST WOMAN PREZ TO HEAD UNHRC P9 NIFTY 11,470.70 +20.70 P9 ` vs $ 68.68 -5 PAISE GOLD 28,465.00 +40.00 NDA’s Harivansh elected Deputy Chairman of RS STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 9 AUGUST The NDA candidate and Janata Dal (United ) leader Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected Deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha on Thursday, beating by 20 votes the Opposition’s joint candidate B K Hariprasad of Congress. Elected to the Rajya Sabha on a JD-U ticket in 2014, Harivansh is the only first-time parliamentarian to have occupied the August seat of deputy chairman of the Upper House. The post of the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman was lying vacant since the retirement of Congress MP PJ Kurien from Kerala, earlier this year. The proceedings to elect a new deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha began with the NDA moving four motions for its candidate and the Opposition moving five for Hariprasad. With support coming from Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the TRS, it was smooth sailing for the BJP-led NDA candidate who secured 125 votes in a House requiring only 119 for a win. The absentees and the abstaining members had reduced the effective House strength from 244 to 232, thus making 119 the majority mark instead of 123. While the BJP-led NDA was present in full strength in the House, two members each of the Congress, Trinamul and the DMK were not present. One member of the Samajwadi Party too was absent from the House at the time of voting. While two members of YSRCP abstained from voting, the PDP with two and the AAP with three members, did not participate in the voting, sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said. Following his election, Harivansh was conducted to his seat beside the Leader of Opposition, by Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. A close favourite of Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan and former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, Harivansh (who uses only one name) brings with him an experience of a banker and a seasoned journalist. Azad was the first to congratulate Harivansh saying “In elections, someone wins and someone loses. But the Deputy Chairman is no longer a part of any single party. He belongs to the country now… I ask the deputy chairman to pay attention to the left of the centre and hope that Harivansh will discharge his duties in a non-partisan manner and work for all sections of the society irrespective of caste, creed and religion and that his experience in journalism would benefit the House.” Congratulating Harivansh for his victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Harivansh ji is well read and has written a lot. He has served society for years… With him in the Rajya Sabha, things are now hari bharose, hari kripa". “There were two ‘Haris’ in the race and hoped that there will be "harikripa "(God's blessings) in the House,” said the PM, adding "I also want to congratulate B K Hariprasad for being a part of the election." Jaitley, who attended the Rajya Sabha for the first time in the ongoing monsoon session after a kidney transplant surgery a few months ago, also congratulated Harivansh. Harivansh assured MPs he will conduct the proceedings in a non-partisan manner. After Harivansh's speech, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu invited him to conduct the House proceedings. "The House stands adjourned to meet again at 2 p.m.," Harivansh said in his first words. NEW DELHI, 9 AUGUST A senior government bureaucrat alleged “racial discrimination” and “rude behaviour” by the British Airways, which offloaded him and his family from a flight last month because his three-year-old son was crying, prompting Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to seek a detailed report into the incident. The family was travelling on the BA flight to Berlin from London on July 23 when the incident reportedly took place. “I have directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to obtain a detailed report from British Airways on the issue,” the Minister tweet- ed. The DGCA is the aviation watchdog in the country. The bureaucrat, in a letter to Prabhu on August 3, alleged that another Indian family, sitting behind them, was also offloaded as they offered biscuits to the child to console him. The bureaucrat alleged that the crew got the plane (BA 8495) to return to the tarmac, where the security personnel took their boarding passes away. The customer care service manager did not give reasons for offloading them nor did the management take action against the crew despite lodging a complaint, he claimed. “We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a very hefty amount,” he said, adding that the other Indian family was given tickets for a flight the next day, without any accommodation though. The bureaucrat is a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. When contacted, a British Airways spokesperson said, “We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We have started a full investi- SILVER 38,150.00 +150.00 PATNA One man from Bihar has launched a crusade to save the Ganges, India’s most sacred river which nourishes over half a billion people who live on its banks. In over two decades since he launched this campaign, the man with a flowing beard has earned wide applause for his dedication to save the river. Vikas Chandra, more popular as Guddu Baba, is a veritable one-man army. He has taken upon himself the task to save the Ganges which flows by Patna. Such has been his affinity for “Mother Ganga” that he left the job of a college lecturer for good and became a full-time campaigner. But that didn’t happen all off a sudden. “On a winter night in 1998, I was returning home after my daily rit- ual of meditation before the lighted pyre on the other bank of the Ganges. Hardly had I alighted from the boat, a stray dog on the river bank caught my dhoti by its mouth and kept dragging me in a particular direction. I found it quite unusual. Friends suggested I ignore the dog but I was curious," he recounts. He left his colleagues and allowed the dog to lead him. “After some time, the dog stopped at a place just behind the postmortem house of the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) which touches the bank of the Ganges. What I saw there was appalling and heartrending - piles of rotting, unclaimed corpses floating on the water and polluting the holy river. Soon, I took a vow to save the river,” he adds. Thus was born the mission to save the Ganges. On any day now, Guddu Baba can be seen leading a group of volunteers armed with spades and baskets and cleaning the river banks from waste or worship material thrown away by devout Hindus. “The Ganges has become a victim of faith,” he mourns in a freewheeling interview with The Statesman. But, he finds the drain water and industrial wastes more responsible than faith for polluting the sacred river. “The drain water’s contribution in polluting the Ganges is a huge 74 per cent whereas 24 per cent pollution has been caused by industrial waste. The devout contribute two per cent," he explains. However, he rues the way the system runs. For every challenge to be overcome, he had to move the court. It was the result of his constant campaign that the Patna High Court directed the government to cremate the dead PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 9 AUGUST eeking to allay fears that a proposed law which makes the practice of instant triple talaq illegal and imposes a jail term of up to three years on the husband could be misused, the government today approved certain safeguards in it such as adding a provision of bail for the accused before trial. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here that the Union Cabinet has approved three amendments to the 'Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill' which has been cleared by Lok Sabha and pending approval of Rajya Sabha. Tomorrow is the last day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament and the government could introduce amendments in Rajya Sabha. If the bill is cleared by the upper house, it will have to go back to Lok Sabha for approval of the amendments. While the proposed law will remain “non-bailable'', the accused can approach a magistrate even before trial to seek bail. Under a non-bailable S gation and are in contact with the customer.” The spokesperson later said, “It is a safety requirement for all airlines that passengers are seated and have their seat belt fastened for take-off”. Narrating his family's ordeal in the two-page letter to Prabhu, the officer demanded a thorough investigation and strictest possible action against the British Airways staff. He said while his wife managed to calm their son, an “aggrieved” crew member approached them and started scolding the boy, asking him to get back to his seat. The boy had a window seat, but the mother had taken him into her arms to console him. Vikas Chandra alias Guddu Baba (with flowing white beard) cleaning the bank of the Ganges in Patna. with dignity. The order was passed on 16 July 2001. “Now, no body is thrown into the Ganges by this hospital,” he says with confidence. Yet he was not satisfied. He wanted to get a similar order implemented in the entire country and so he filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2013. Acting on his complaint, the top court has now asked the Union home ministry to issue an order in this regard. “A guideline in this regard has already been made CMYK BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 72.70 +0.42 Safeguards include provision of bail for accused before trial law, bail cannot be granted by police at the police station itself. Prasad said a provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail “after hearing the wife”. “But the offence of instant triple talaq under the proposed law remains non-bailable,” he clarified. Sources later said the magistrate would ensure that bail is granted only after the husband agrees to grant compensation to the wife as provided in the bill. The quantum of compensation will be decided by the magistrate, as per the bill. “There were fears and we have plugged the holes ... nothing has been done under pressure,” Prasad said in response to a question. Another amendment makes it clear that the police would lodge FIR only if approached by the victim (wife), her blood relations or people who become her relatives by virtue of her marriage. Kerala flood situation grave, 20 dead Law minister said a provision has been added to allow the magistrate to grant bail after hearing the wife. But the offence of instant triple talaq under the proposed law remains non-bailable, he clarified “This would settle fears that even a neighbour can file FIR as is the cases in any cognisable offence. This would check misuse,” the minister said. The third amendment makes the offence of instant triple talaq “compoundable”. Now, a magistrate can use his powers to settle the dispute between a husband and his wife. Under a compoundable offence, both parties have the liberty of withdrawing the case. Giving instant triple talaq will continue to be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Prasad wondered whether the Congress, the BSP and the TMC would continue to oppose the bill even after insertion of provision of bail. SNS & PTI Heavy rains in Kerala today claimed 20 lives, leaving a trail of destruction across the southern state. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost its maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water. Of the total deaths, 11 people were killed in a massive landslide in high range Idukki, six in northern Malappuram district, two others in Kannur and one in Wayanad district since last night, disaster control room source said here. Five members of a family were killed in IdukPTI ki's Adimali town. The Supreme Court modified its earlier order on the 'one state, one vote' policy for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) members today and granted permanent membership of the board to the cricket associations of Mumbai, Saurashtra, Vadodara and Vidarbha. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also approved the draft constitution of the cash-rich apex cricket body in the country with certain modifications and asked the registrar general of Tamil Nadu Societies to bring on record the approved BCCI constitution within four weeks. The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandra- and according to my information has been sent to the Union cabinet for its approval,” he said. He also fought for putting a ban on dumping of animal carcasses in the river. His fight bore fruit in 2010 when the court ordered for the installation of incinerators for the disposal of carcasses. His constant fight to save the Ganges from pollution has also kept all three oncedefunct water treatment plants running although they are unable to do so properly now. The Ganges may not still be clean but his sustained campaign has seen scores of people joining him. “I have done whatever I could have at my own level and without any financial support,” he says “Under the Dowry Act, Muslims and others go to jail ... they are also jailed under the Domestic Violence Act ...why oppose jail for triple talaq,” he said. He said the bill should not be opposed by Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee as it seeks to achieve gender equality. The minister said in 2017, a total of 389 cases of instant triple talaq were reported. Between January and August last year, 229 cases were reported. “This shows that the bill is required even after the Supreme Court struck down triple talaq as illegal.” Even after the bill was introduced, 160 cases were reported. Provision of bail was one of the demands of the opposition parties. The proposed law would only be applicable on instant triple talaq or 'talaqe-biddat' and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children. A woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue. SC modifies BCCI ‘1 state, 1 vote’ policy THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 9 AUGUST Battling to save a river MANOJ CHAURASIA P11 Govt adds safeguards in triple talaq Bill Indian family offloaded from BA plane, racial bias alleged PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ‘NOT-AT-HIS-BEST’ NADAL FINDS THE GOING EASY NEW DELHI, 9 AUGUST WHO: Vikas Chandra aka Guddu Baba WHERE: Patna What he does: Battles to save the Ganges with a sense of satisfaction. Guddu Baba is a fighter to the core. He never took things lying down. Also, he did not care about the money involved in fighting court cases or fret about the slow pace of justice delivery in the country. “Nothing moves in the country without the intervention of the court. For every big thing to be done, I had to rush to the court, and I am thankful to the court that it took cognizance of my cases,” says Guddu Baba who hails from Goriakothi village in north Bihar’s Siwan district. At present, a total of 63 cases related to various issues chud, restored permanent membership to Railways, Services and Universities. It also directed state cricket associations to adopt the BCCI constitution within 30 days and warned them that noncompliance would invite action in accordance with its earlier order. Dealing with the issue of a cooling-off period and disqualification of BCCI office-bearers, the bench said a person would have to go through a cooling-off period after holding a post in the board for two consecutive terms. On July 5, the Supreme Court had restrained all the state cricket bodies from holding elections till it pronounced the verdict on finalisation of the draft constitution of the BCCI. See also page 12 of social interest filed by him at different points of time are pending in courts. Of them, 58 are pending in the Patna High Court whereas the rest are in the Supreme Court. Every week, he can be seen making the rounds of courts. One room of his two-bedroom rented house in Patna is filled with court papers. How does he manage to fight cases? “Benevolent people donate money to fight such cases. I have never had paucity of funds,” he claims. His transformation from lecturer Vikas Chandra to Guddu Baba - the nickname which he earned for fighting for the environment - took place when he landed in Patna in 1998 after the local district administration began harassing his family members when his brother got into a dispute with the then DM. Prior to reaching Patna, he had been teaching at the BBN College, Bagha in West Champaran having done his post graduation in political science and public administration.
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