CMYK SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 10 FEBRUARY 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 | `5.00 |LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR THE DIFFICULT DIALOGUES 2019 SUMMIT IN GOA AIMED TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY FORMULATION AND ON-GROUND IMPLEMENTATION IN THE INDIAN EDUCATION SECTOR SWIRL UP EXCITING, SEDUCTIVE MOMENTS WITH FINE GOBLETS ACROSS EXCLUSIVE WORLD LOCALES AT UNFORGETTABLE LOCALES THIS VALENTINE'S SEASON WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Max and min temp to be around 28/15 degrees Celsius, resp. RAINFALL: 0.8 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.86% TEMPERATURE Min. 51% Max: 27.1°C (-1) Min: 19.2°C (+3) SUN SETS SUN RISES 17:31 hrs 06:11 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 09:31 hrs 22:04 hrs Next quarter of moon on 16 February THUMBNAILS A man reading The Statesman newspaper in the vintage car during the 2nd day of PreJudging for the "53rd The Statesman Vintage & Classic Car rally-2019" at Modern School in the Capital on Saturday. RITIK JAIN Circuit bench re-inauguration: Even after i being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Calcutta High Court's Jalpaiguri circuit bench will be re-inaugurated next month. The decision came a day after CM Mamata Banerjee condemned Mr Modi for inaugurating it without informing the state government or the court. The circuit bench will have jurisdiction over four districts ~ Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. Hooch tragedy death toll 70: The death toll in the hooch tragedy that hit two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh has risen to 70 with more people dying of the spurious liquor they drank at a Haridwar village, officials said on Saturday. The viscera examination on 11 more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcoholrelated deaths, the state's Additional Director General (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said. Nuns transfer: Days after nuns protesting against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mullakkal were asked to move out of their convent, the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church has assured them that there will be no move to oust them as long as they as they are needed for the court case. An e-mail was sent to five nuns, who are staying with the survivor nun, by current apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese Bishop Angelo. Mayawati asks BJP leaders, media to not distort oral observation of SC: A day after the Supreme Court said BSP chief Mayawati may have to reimburse the public money spent on erecting her statues, she asked BJP leaders and the media not to “distort” the observation of the court. The final hearing in the case against the former UP chief minister is on April 2. “Humble request to the media please don't distort oral observation of the Honorable court. Sure to get justice’’, she said. Twitter CEO to skip Parl panel meeting, cites ‘short notice’ AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 9 FEBRUARY Citing "short notice" period, top Twitter officials, including its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Dorsey, have declined to appear before a parliamentary committee on Monday. The panel is deliberating the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media platforms. "Given the short notice of the hearing, we informed the committee that it would not be possible for senior officials from Twitter to travel from the United States to appear on Monday," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday. The Twitter officials were earlier asked to appear before the panel on February 11 for alleged bias against "nationalist" accounts. However, Twitter's letter has not gone down well with the panel members and is perceived as "lack of seriousness". "We have suggested that we work with the Lok Sabha Secretariat to find mutually agreeable dates for this meeting so that a senior Twitter official can attend," the Twitter spokesperson said. "We have also offered representatives from Twitter India to come and answer questions on Monday. We await feedback from the government on both of these matters," said the statement. The parliamentary committee on information technology, headed by Anurag Thakur (BJP), had issued summons to Twitter through a letter on February 1. It had said the head of the organisation has to appear before the panel and may be accompanied by another representative. The 31-member parliamentary panel had also summoned representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The meeting will go ahead as scheduled, sources said."We want to reiterate that we not only have deep respect for India's parliamentary Trinamul MLA shot dead in Nadia district STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KRISHNAGAR, 9 FEBRUARY Satyajit Biswas, a sitting MLA from Krishnagunj in Nadia, was shot dead by unidentified goons near his house at Dakshinpara in Fulbari under Hanshkhalu police station limits at around 8.10 tonight. Police officers said Satyajit had gone to inaugurate a Saraswati puja organised by a local club at Fulbari along with minister Ratna Ghosh Kar. Following a brief cultural programme, the minister Ms Kar left the place, but Satyajit stayed back and was seen speaking to his associates after leaving the dais. At that time, some unidentified goons fired at him from close range and he fell on the ground. The assailants escaped. Police said Satyajit was immediately taken to the Saktinagar district hospital where doctors pronounced him brought dead. A bullet hit his right ear and he died on the spot, a police officer said. Tension gripped the locality soon after the incident and hundreds of his followers rushed to the hospital. A large contingent of police was deployed at both Fulbari and Saktinagar hospital to prevent any untoward incident. Local residents and eyewitnesses said the assailants are known to him. Almost all Trinamul Congress leaders, including Gouri Dutta, Ashim Saha, former chairman of Krishnagar municipality, Ujjal Biswas, a minister, rushed to the hospital soon after he was taken there for treatment. China firmly opposes Modi's Arunachal tour MEA says Arunachal Pradesh is an ‘integral and inalienable part’ of India PRESS TRUST OF INDIA process and we are also committed to serving the people who use Twitter in the Indian market," the statement by the microblogging site added. Twitter had said on Friday it was proactively working with political parties to verify candidates, elected officials and relevant party officials whose accounts will be active in public conversation. Meanwhile, the BJP on Saturday warned Twitter of “repercussions” after the social network company's CEO and top officials declined to appear before the parliamentary committee on information technology, saying no agency has the right to disrespect institutions of the country. The parliamentary panel had summoned Twitter CEO and officials over the issue of safeguarding citizens' rights on social media platforms.“In any country, no agency has the right to disrespect the institutions of that country. In this situation, if Twitter is disrespecting the established institution of Parliament, then there are repercussions,” BJP spokesperson and MP Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters. BEIJING, 9 FEBRUARY hina on Saturday “firmly opposed” Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, asserting that it has never recognised the sensitive border state and the Indian leadership should refrain from any action that may “complicate the boundary question”. Prime Minister Modi on Saturday inaugurated and laid foundation stone of projects in Arunachal Pradesh worth over Rs 4,000 crore and said his government was giving a lot of importance to improve connectivity in the border state. Modi said his government was giving importance to improve the highway, railway, airway and power situation in Arunachal Pradesh, which was neglected by the previous governments. In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs reacted sharply to China's remarks, saying the state of Arunachal Pradesh is an “integral and inalienable part” of India. “Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from C time to time, as they visit other parts of India. This consistent position has been conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions,” the MEA spokesperson said in a statement. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in response to a question on Modi's visit said, “China's position on the China-India boundary question is consistent and clear-cut. The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh' and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader's visit to the East Section of the China-India boundary.” China urges the Indian side to bear in mind the common interests of the two countries, respect the interests and concerns of the Chinese side, cherish the momentum of improvement in bilateral relations, and refrain from any action that may lead to the escalation of disputes or complicate the boundary question,” she said in her reaction posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website. China claims the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet. India and China have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute. The India-China border dispute covers 3,488-kmlong Line of Actual Control (LAC). China routinely objects to Indian leaders visiting Arunachal Pradesh to highlight its stand. Addressing at function at the IG Park in Itanagar, the PM said his government was giving importance to Bill agitators raise black flags, nude protests greet PM in Assam PRESS TRUST OF INDIA GUWAHATI, 9 FEBRUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi's second day in Assam saw nude protests, a bandh, raising of black flags and burning of effigies by agitators over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Six Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) activists were taken into police custody on Saturday when they stripped naked in front of Janata Bhawan -- the state secretariat here. The KMSS activists had arrived in cars and stripped naked before holding the protests. The Tai Ahom Yuba Parishad had called a 12-hour bandh in the state to protest against the prime minister's visit and its impact was felt in the upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur and Jorhat with vehicles remaining off the road and shops and business establishments closed. The bandh was supported by the KMSS along with 70 other organisations jointly protesting against the bill. The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) claimed that police resorted to mild lathi-charge to disperse its activists who had assembled with black flags and black balloons at the Amingaon-Hajo Road, about 10 km from Modi's rally at Changsari. The protesters burnt effigies of the prime minister and released black balloons into the air in different districts across the state. Modi was shown black flags in at least two places here on Saturday for the second consecutive day while on his way to the airport from the Raj Bhawan here. Protesters, belonging to the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP), showed black flags to Modi at Machkhowa area. Minutes later, a group of students of the Gauhati University too waved black flags at Modi in the Jalukbari area. Both the groups were detained as soon as they lodged their protest, police said. A few students of the Gauhati University alleged that they were manhandled by police. Amid protests across the Northeast over the citizenship bill, National Peoples Party(NPP) president and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma threatened that his party will quit the BJP-led NDA if the Bill is passed in RS. improve the highway, railway, airway and power situation in Arunachal Pradesh, which he alleged was neglected by the previous governments. Terming the state the “pride” of the country, Modi said it is the gateway to the nation as it guards the frontier. It is the duty of the government to develop the state at any cost, he said. “Arunachal is a symbol of faith for the country as it gives us strength. The people used to greet each other with 'Jai Hind' and I salute the people for their patriotism,” the prime minister said adding, India will develop only if Arunachal and the entire northeast develops. “In the past 55 months, I have paid several visits to Arunachal Pradesh and today inaugurated and laid foundation of projects worth over Rs 4,000 crore,” he said. The prime minister said work is going on for projects worth Rs 13,000 crore in the state and alleged that the previous regime neglected the northeast region. “Compare us with the previous government and see the difference,” he told the audience. CP grilled; CBI calls Kumar again and Kunal SHILLONG, 9 FEBRUARY The CBI will continue the questioning of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for the second day on Sunday and former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh will appear in person at the investigating agency's office here for interrogation in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, officials said Saturday. Three senior CBI officers questioned Kumar for nearly nine hours on Saturday about his alleged role in the tampering of crucial evidence in the scam, the officials said. There was no briefing by the CBI on the questioning which began at around 11 am at its highly secured office at Oakland here as per the directions of the Supreme Court.PTI The Ganges ~ the river of life, the river of death SPECIAL TO THE NATION/ANN IN “RIVER of Life, River of Death”, Victor Mallet takes the interactions between the Ganges River and the people of India as his focal point in exploring the impact that economic growth has on the environment. Mallet was the Financial Times’ South Asia bureau chief based in New Delhi from 2012 to 2016, and the newspaper has always kept India high on its agenda. In 2008, Mallet’s predecessor, Edward Luce, examined India’s multitude of contrasts in “In Spite of the Gods”, drawn from his five years as the New Delhi bureau chief. Mallet, currently the Times’ Asia news editor based in Hong Kong, says in his preface that his principal aim was to tell “at least part of the almost impossibly complicated but exciting story of contemporary India”. In Bangkok recently to introduce the book at Open House at Central Embassy, he fascinated the audience with tantalising photos from his field trips, including one of the source of the Ganges in a Himalayan glacier. Other images showed the ashrams of Bhujbas and a 19th-century painting of a gharial, the fisheating crocodile. This book arrives coinciding with news reports about the degradation of the Ganges, even in the face of India’s ascent in global importance. A 2015 News Week report was headlined “The Ganges is dying under the weight of modern India”. Reuters kicked off 2019 with a lavishly illustrated investigative report titled “The race to save the Ganges”. Both pointed to grim prospects. Mallet approaches the subject with an abiding love for the Ganges and the other great rivers of the world. He takes us on a long journey to explore India’s holiest waterway, the religious festivals associated with it and people who depend on it for their livelihoods. As well as its glacial source, we travel to Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad and the vast delta where it empties into the ocean. Mallet should have had a film crew |tagging along. A documentary about his trip to Pinahat, for instance, would surely be great with its population of gharials thriving in the Chambal River, a tributary of the Yamuna, in turn the second-largest tributary of the Ganges. Assiduously researched, incisively written and carefully argued, “River of Life” reveals how the Ganges has been relentlessly subjected to abuse. These days it looks more like an open sewer, far worse than Bangkok’s San Saeb Canal. The pollution is a peculiar combination of the effluents of Kanpur, the sewage of Varanasi and the garbage of Patna and Kolkata. Yes, that Varanasi, which lies at the heart of India’s Hindu identity and where many tourists get the best view of the city from a boat on the Ganges. Some stretches of the Ganges are heavily contaminated with mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium. An environmental campaigner has described the section in Kanpur as “a toxic cocktail of chemicals”. In Haridwar it was so toxic that in 1984 it burst into flames. The upper Ganges also remains unsafe, insists Mallet, despite foreign visitors’ |contrary assumptions. Mallet names the tanneries along the river’s banks in Kanpur and “venal industrialists” as the chief culprits (India is the world’s largest exporter of leather). But ordinary citizens share the blame too. Hindus including priests in their temples and non-Hindus alike dump just about everything into the river, from plastic bags of garbage and untreat- CMYK ed sewage to animal carcasses and partially cremated human bodies. It’s a terrible shame given that the Ganges is by far the holiest of rivers in Hinduism and that most foreigners who have been to Varanasi, myself included, love all that it represents. Why the Ganges could be so carelessly abused might have to do with Hindu thinking. They are reluctant to believe that its holy waters can be sullied. It’s postulated that the Ganges descended to earth from the sweat of Vishnu’s toe when he became overexcited watching a young woman dance. In another legend it came rushing from a sacred cow’s mouth. But everyone agrees it is the personification of the goddess Ganga, or Ma Ganga (Mother Ganga). We are told the government is resolute in its attempt to ameliorate the situation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inserted “Ganga Rejuvenation” into the name of the ministry in charge. But, as Mallet acknowledges, India’s environmental laws are lax and inspectors can be bought off for a few thousand rupees. Nursing the Ganges back to health will be a long slog even if undertaken in earnest, yet, citing the recovery of the Thames, the Rhine and the Chicago rivers, the author appears to be hopeful. The book is a rich store of anecdotes. The quotations and opinions assembled from a cornucopia of contemporary and historical sources require six pages of bibliography and dozens of pages of notes. The reader comes face to face with a range of colourful, notwell-known characters like the Aghoris (numbering 1,500 in all of India). They are the extreme sadhus in the fast lane to moksha (liberation) by virtue of their embrace of the “dark path”. Some of them eat the flesh of human corpses while others eat excrement. Mallet also met one of the few female sadhus – sadhivis – who’d left her daughters behind to pursue her religious goal. But Mallet doesn’t pander to stereotypes. I found the chapter “Foreigners on the Ganges” particularly engaging. Mallet writes of legendary travellers like Xuanzang, the most renowned of the Chinese pilgrims who went to India during the fifth and seventh centuries, of astronomer Abu Rihan Al-Biruni, who visited from central Asia 400 years later, and of the Moroccan-born Ibn Battuta, who stayed for 14 years. Battuta recorded in the 14th century that the Sultan of Delhi ordered Ganges water to quench the royal thirst from a locale 40 days distant. Centuries later the emperor Akbar called the same liquid “the water of immortality”. Xuanzang’s descriptions of the Ganges are likely to stir nostalgia for the idealised rustic Indian landscape, now all but vanished. “The water is dark blue in colour with great waves rising in it … The water is sweet and fine grains of sand come down with the current…One’s accumulated sins can be expiated by taking a bath in it.” This book is a thought-provoking read that tries to raise the alarm: the Ganges is dying. Whether Indians want this to happen or not is entirely up to them and their government.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.