CMYK www.thestatesman.com FRIDAY FIND US ONLINE 28 DECEMBER 2018 Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 SENSEX 35,807.28 +157.34 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature likely to be around 24-11 degree celsius, resp RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P4 NIFTY 10,779.80 +49.95 BOULT TAKES 6/4 IN 15 BALLS TO SWING A TEST P7 ` vs $ 70.35 -29 PAISE GOLD 30,440.00 +85.00 Min. 31% Max: 23.6°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:15 hrs MOON RISES 23.02 hrs Min: 11.5°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:01 hrs MOON SETS 10:57 hrs Next quarter of moon tomorrow THUMBNAILS India's Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates his century with captain Kohli (not in photo) during day two of the third cricket Test match between Australia and India in Melbourne on December 27, 2018. AFP India in command: The redoubtable Cheteshwar Pujara produced yet another classy hundred and combined with captain Virat Kohli (82) to put India in command on the second day of the third Test against Australia in Melbourne on Thursday. The scoring rate was a shade better than the overnight effort, which fetched them 215/2, and India declared at 443/7 before Australia responded with 8/0 in P12 six overs. 2 Navy personnel killed in freak mishap: In a freak mishap, two Navy personnel were killed on Thursday when a door of an aircraft hangar collapsed at the naval base in Kochi, the Navy said. The two, sailors attached to the aviation electrical branch, were “tragically killed when one of the hangar doors of the Indian Naval Air Squadron 322 collapsed at INS Garuda,” a defence statement said. Capital infusion in PSBs soon: The government is likely to infuse Rs 28,615 crore into seven public sector banks (PSBs) through recapitalisation bonds by the end of this month, sources said on Thursday. The amount infused will help the banks meet regulatory capital requirement, and its disbursement might take place before December 31, sources said. BoI is likely to get the highest of Rs 10,086 crore. P8 Mumbai building fire kills 3: Three people, including two women, died and one person was injured in a major fire that broke out in a residential high-rise building in Mumbai on Thursday evening, a civic official said. The 16storey building is located in Tilak Nagar, where a search and rescue operation by the Mumbai Fire Brigade is underway, said the official from the Disaster Management Unit of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). SILVER 37,850.00 +600.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 53.55 -0.92 LS passes triple talaq Smoke engulfs Metro coach, passengers ill bill, Opp walks out PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BJP & Cong trade barbs NEW DELHI, 27 DECEMBER or the second time in less than a year, the contentious triple talaq bill criminalising instant divorce by Muslim men was passed by the Lok Sabha after a heated debate on Thursday, with the government projecting it as a matter of “Insaaniyat aur insaaf” for Muslim women, and rejecting the contention that it was aimed at targeting a particular community. The Opposition, including the Congress, objected to many of its provisions as “unconstitutional” and claimed that its real purpose was not to empower Muslim women but to penalise Muslim men, as it demanded the revised legislation to be sent to a joint select committee of Parliament for greater scrutiny. With the government rejecting their demand, the bill was put to vote and passed after an over five-hour debate with 245 members voting in its favour and 11 against it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not present during the debate. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed by LS in December 28 last year but got stuck in the Upper House amid protest by opposition parties. The government had then cleared some amendments, including introduction of a provision of bail, to make it more acceptable. However, as the bill continued to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha, the gov- F NEW DELHI, 27 DECEMBER ernment issued an ordinance in September, incorporating the amendments. The fresh Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace the ordinance. Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Key Opposition parties, including the Congress and Trinamul Congress as also AIADMK, which has often been an ally of the government in Parliament, staged a walkout soon after Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad concluded his reply. The BJP is set to use today's passage of the bill as a major talking point ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The saffron party and its ideological affiliates, including the RSS, have long railed against the practice of instant divorce, projecting it as an evidence of its Congress-led “secular” rivals' vote bank politics. However, the bill's fate remains uncertain as it will now go to the Rajya Sabha, where the govern- ment lacks numbers and it cannot become a law unless passed by both Houses. Piloting the bill, Prasad rejected the contention of some Opposition members that it was aimed at targeting any community. It is about “insaaniyat aur insaaf” (humanity and justice), he said, adding that it should not be weighed on the scales of politics. Over 20 Islamic countries have also barred the practice, he said, adding that over 477 cases of triple talaq have been reported since January 2017. It has continued despite the Supreme Court declaring the practice “unconstitutional”, he added. Leader of Congress Party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said the bill was against the spirit of the Constitution and has violated several articles dealing with the rights of individuals. Congress MP Sushmita Dev said the real purpose of the bill was not to empower Muslim women but to “penalise” Muslim men. Demanding that the bill be referred to the Parliamentary panel, Dev said criminalisation of triple talaq goes against the SC verdict. The BJP and the Congress traded barbs on Thursday over the passage of the triple talaq bill in Lok Sabha, with the ruling party demanding its rival's apology for “decades of injustice” towards Muslim women and the Opposition party alleging that the legislation was passed in haste keeping in mind the 2019 polls. The government rejected the contention that it was aimed at targeting a particular community. The Opposition, including the Congress, which had been demanding that the bill be referred to a 'joint select committee', staged a walkout when its demand was rejected by the government. Soon after the bill was passed in Lok Sabha, BJP president Amit Shah hailed it as a historic step to ensure equality and dignity of Muslim women, and demanded an apology from the Congress for “decades of injustice”. In a series of tweets, Shah congratulated the PM and the government for successfully passing the bill in the Lok Sabha. “This is a historic step ensuring equality and dignity for the Muslim PTI women”, he said. Gujarat govt to take action against official ‘leaking’ corruption STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, 27 DECEMBER In a bizarre response to allegations of corruption, the Gujarat Government has decided to shoot the messenger rather than take note of the message. After a nine-minute audio clip of a government officer admitting corruption went viral, the weekly Cabinet meeting discussed the issue and decided to take strict action against the official. Deputy CM Nitin Patel told newspersons after the Cabinet meeting that strict action would be taken against officers who illegally leak government information with ulterior motives. The audio clip purported to be the conversation of an officer, Anil Patel, former secretary of the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board (GPYVB), telling an RTI activist about corruption in some projects at Pavagadh, a pilgrimage site atop a hill in central Gujarat. Mr Patel, currently additional secretary, rural development, is also heard saying in the audio clip that there had been corruption and poor quality of work at Dwarka, Bahucharji, Surat and Dangs, the places where pilgrimage centres have been built by the GPYVB set up by the BJP government when it came to power first time in 1995. He also disclosed during the same conversation with RTI activist Kishor Nathwani that he had written to the authorities pointing out the corruption issues during his tenure in the GPYVB. “I have also faced inquiries for my stand on corruption issues”, the officer told the RTI activist in the audio clip. This embarrassing audio clip has gone viral just a week after video clippings in the social media had shown concrete bridge portions coming off with a little push of bare feet and newly tarred roads being peeled off with bare hand. The deputy CM said it was ‘improper’ for the officers to make false allegations after getting sidelined postings. The GPYVB said in a press release that it has received a representation by RTI activist Kishor Nathwani and the quality of work at the pilgrim centre would be assessed. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 27 DECEMBER Commuters of Metro Railway had a nightmarish experience during evening peak hours today when smoke started billowing from a coach of a Dum Dum-bound air conditioned train between Rabindra Sadan and Maidan Stations around 5 p.m. Several passengers travelling in the train were taken ill after they inhaled noxious fumes, while some others were injured in their desperate attempt to get off the train by breaking open the glass panes, with the spiralling smoke threatening to engulf the coaches. Metro services not only went haywire for the next three hours, the city’s surface transport system along the north-south arterial roads also collapsed. Scores of buses, taxis and other vehicles stood bumper to bumper for hours unable to move an inch. Thousands of homebound metro commuters, including women and children, were stranded as they helplessly moved about and vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt for over three hours. The panic-stricken, trapped passengers in the affected Metro coach alleged the Metro Railway authorities’ response was woefully inadequate, which compounded their miseries. Many passengers complained they had dialled the emergency number provided by the Metro authorities, but no one picked up the phone. They screamed and cried, but no Metro rescue team was in sight. As the doors of the rake remained closed and not even any announcement was made about how they were to be rescued, the trapped passengers tried to break open the glass panes of the win- Forget about bullet train: Ex-BJP veteran AGENCIES Former Punjab Minister and BJP leader Laxmi Kanta Chawla has rapped Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for the alleged apathy towards the common man and urged them to forget about the “bullet” train. In a video that went viral on Wednesday, Ms. Chawla is seen aboard a train, appealing to the Modi government to “have mercy on the common man”. “I am on board the Saryu Yamuna Express for 24 plus eight hours. This train is running nine hours behind schedule. For God’s sake, forget about bullet train, focus on the trains that are already running,” she said in the video. “Modiji, the public is dis- P12 Govt says bill not aimed at targeting particular community Max.91% TEMPERATURE NEPAL’S ELECTIVE DICTATORSHIP PROPOSED STEEL PLANT IN AP BONE OF CONTENTION ‘AMERICA CANNOT BE WORLD’S POLICEMAN’ tressed. Whose achche din [good times] have come, we don’t know. But most certainly, achche din have not come for the common man, for the poor and the unem- ployed. I have myself seen engineering diploma holder youth doing menial jobs. What have you given them?” she said. She also took on Mr Goyal, saying the claims that milk is arranged for babies and doctors attend to the sick travelling on trains if they just tweet their needs seemed to be merely a “publicity stunt”. “We have been dialling railway helplines 138 and 139 and sending you [Mr. Goyal] emails but there is no one out there to listen to our woes. There is no food on this train, the seats are broken, toilet seats CMYK are dirty and doors have to be opened with a lot of difficulty,” she said. She asked the Railway Minister to travel sometimes like a commoner in a train to see the hardships the traveller faces. “What if Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains are good? These are for rich people. What about trains like this one in which the labourers, farmers, soldiers and their families travel? Hundreds are sleeping in the open at railway stations in this bitter cold for want of waiting rooms,” she said. Meanwhile, Train 18, India's fastest train, will begin operations in January 2019 at a speed of 130 kmph, sources said. Train 18, which is set to replace the Shatabdi series, has the potential to run between 160 kmph and 200 kmph. (Top) A sick Metro passenger being taken away for treatment at Maidan Station after smoke engulfed a coach on Thursday. A passenger, who fell ill due to suffocation caused by the smoke, being helped to breathe with an oxygen mask . BISWAJIT GHOSHAL dows. ” We were terribly scared after the word spread that there was a fire in one coach and we saw smoke coming out. We could not understand from where the fire had originated. What we could see was thick black smoke engulfing the tunnel. Many felt suffocated inhaling the smoke. We had tried every means to dial the emergency number, but in vain. We had to wriggle ourselves out by breaking open the windows”, said a passenger. “I was inside and became panicky. I was at a loss. We had a traumatic wait for about 40 minutes before a disaster management team appeared and helped us get out of the train,” said a woman, who was sobbing. Metro chief public relations officer Indrani Banerjee said , “ The incident happened at 5 p.m. We had received complaints at 5.02 p.m. We couldn’t allow passengers to alight till we could control the fire. We did make announcements through the public address system. We first had to switch off the power. “The Disaster Management Group of Kolkata Police immediately swung into action. Metro Railway has order a high-level inquiry to ascertain the reason and the source of the fire.” “We were inside the third coach of the DumDum -bound train when we noticed a spark and thick smoke billowing out. Then my mother began to cough severely after inhaling the smoke. I can’t describe the horror we felt during the 40 minutes we were in the closed rake,” said Pinak Bhattacharya. DG Fire Mr Jagmohan said: “The source of the fire was from RPCC third rake. Fifteen people have been taken ill due to suffocation and one or two people got injured”. Meanwhile, chief minister Mamata Banerjee has asked mayor Firhad Hakim to look into the matter, while the state PWD minister Mr Arup Biswas supervised the treatment of the affected passengers who were taken to SSKM Hospital. Kolkata Metro rail, the country's first, has been plagued by frequent snags over the last couple of years. It is mainly blamed on the metro's ageing fleet, stressed infrastructure and delay in induction of new coaches. Indian-origin police officer shot dead in US AGENCIES NEW YORK, 27 DECEMBER An Indian-origin police officer was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman while he was conducting a traffic stop in the US state of California. Corporal Ronil Singh, 33, of the Newman Police Department was shot and killed during a traffic stop just before 1:00 AM (local time) on December 26. Singh had called off on a traffic stop in Newman and a few moments later he called out “shots fired” over the radio. Multiple agencies responded to assist and Singh was found at the scene with gunshot wounds, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said in a Facebook post. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, it said. It said the suspect had fled the scene in his vehicle before the police arrived. The department is leading the investigation and has released surveillance photographs of the suspect, asking for any information on the identity of the attacker. Police recovered the suspect's vehicle but had not positively identified the man by Wednesday night. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) described him as Hispanic. “Suspect is considered armed and dangerous and may be in possession of a firearm,” it said. Singh was a more than 7-year veteran of the Newman Police Department.
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