CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 13 APRIL 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 P6, 9 SENSEX 38,767.11 +160.10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Maximum-minimum temperature likely to be around 35-26 degree celsius, respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P7 NIFTY 11,643.45 +46.75 RAMSEY BOOMS AS GUNNERS SAVOUR DOUBLE DELIGHT P10 ` vs $ 69.17 -25 PAISE GOLD 30,555.00 -155.00 P11 SILVER 37,350.00 -100.00 Min. 54% Max: 34.7°C (+1) SUN RISES 05:18 hrs MOON RISES 11.42 hrs Min: 26.1°C (+1) SUN SETS 17:56 hrs MOON SETS 00:28 hrs Next quarter of moon on 16 April THUMBNAILS Russian honour for Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been honoured with Russia's highest state decoration, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle, for his role in promoting deeper cooperation between India and Russia. On Twitter, Modi said he was honoured to receive the award and thanked President Putin and the people of Russia. “India greatly appreciates this honour bestowed upon the PM by the Russian President’’, MEA said. Industry growth at 20-mth low: Industrial outm put growth slowed to a 20-month low of 0.1 per cent in February, mainly due to contraction in the manufacturing sector, official data showed on Friday. Factory output, as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had grown by 6.9 per cent in February 2018, according to Central Statistics Office (CSO). Meanwhile, India's retail inflation P8 ticked up to 2.86 per cent in March. SC orders poll parties to give funding details of electoral bonds: The Supreme Court on Friday directed all parties to furnish in a sealed cover to the EC details of political funds received through electoral bonds and also identity of donors. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that all parties must provide to the EC details of the amount of the bond and bank account of donors by May 30. Pak suicide attack kills 21: At least 21 people were killed and 50 others injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded market in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province on Friday, in an attack believed to be targeting the Shiite Hazara ethnic minority community. Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and ordered an inquiry. The explosion took place at P9 around 7:35 am at Hazarganj in Quetta. BJP MP moves SC against Rahul: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi on Friday moved the SC seeking contempt action against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for allegedly attributing his remarks on the recent Rafale verdict to the apex court. A bench headed by the CJI said it will hear the plea on 15 April. Lekhi in her plea alleged that Gandhi has attributed his personal remarks to the top court. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 12 APRIL Something “very very serious” seems to be going on inWest Bengal, the Supreme Court said on Friday as it agreed to hear a plea alleging harassment of Customs officials at Kolkata Airport for checking the luggage of a Trinamul Congress leader's wife. The top court asked the West Bengal government to file its reply on the plea within four weeks. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “Someone has drawn our attention to something very very serious. We don't know yet whose claim is bona fide but we would like to go into the root of the matter.” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Customs department and assisted by advocate Ravi Prakash, told the bench that the plea pertains to the incident of 15-16 March when Customs officials were obstructed from carrying out their duty. The obstruction was caused to the officials, when two women including one Rujira Naroola Banerjee, wife of Abhishek Banerjee who is TMC MP and nephew of chief min- SUPREME CONCERN ‘Someone has drawn our attention to something very very serious. We don't know yet whose claim is bona fide but we would like to go into the root of the matter.’ SUPREME COURT BENCH OF CJI JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI AND JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA ister Mamata Banerjee, was intercepted at the airport for checking. Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi objected to the issuance of notice and said that the petition is not maintainable as the petitioner Rajkumar Barthwal is a member of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and has no locus standi to file the plea. To this, the bench observed that it does not know the bona fide of the petitioner but “We cannot ignore what is going on in Show-cause on Maneka for controversial ‘vote’ remark West Bengal. If required we can ourselves take suo motu cognizance of the events and get to the bottom of the issue”. On 29 March, the Centre had told the apex court that Customs officials at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata were “intimidated, harassed and threatened” by the local police for checking the baggage of the wife of the TMC MP. It had also alleged that “institutional anarchy” and “complete lawlessness” Passengers hit as Jet operates only 11 planes have been prevailing in West Bengal. Mehta had told the court that on the intervening night of 15-16 March at around 1.10 am, two women arrived from an international flight, and their luggage were checked by the Customs officials. “They were asked to allow checking of their baggage but they resisted. They were asked to show their passports after which they abused the officials present there,” he had said. Mehta had added that soon after the ladies left the airport, a huge contingent of police personnel entered the premises and tried to arrest the Customs officials for checking the baggage of the women. “This is institutional anarchy and complete lawlessness going on in West Bengal,” he had said, adding that Customs officials tried to lodge an FIR but no case has been registered by the police so far. A letter was written by Assistant Commissioner of Customs to Inspector incharge of Airport police station on 22 March, seeking registration of an FIR for interfering, obstruction and criminal intimidation by the West Bengal police, he had said. The Customs commis- BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 71.46 +0.63 SC rejects puja in old temples on undisputed land Something serious going on in West Bengal, says SC Seeks state's reply on ‘Customs’ harassment’; police claim they have received a complaint Max.93% TEMPERATURE TRUMP CONSIDERED IVANKA FOR HEAD OF WORLD BANK ‘STRONG MOVEMENTS WILL HELP FARMERS’ 30 YEARS OF ANGER! PRESS TRUST OF INDIA sioner has narrated the entire incident and said that one of the ladies whose baggage was checked was the wife of the TMC MP the , nephew of the West Bengal CM, as per the letter. The Commissioner alleged that police officers who entered the airport in different batches tried to intimidate, harass and threaten the Customs officials with arrest. The commissioner has said that West Bengal police wanted a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by the Customs officials where VIPs were not “checked” and “a safe passage of their VIPs without any interception by Customs”. Police personnel, who arrived at the airport, have claimed that they have received a complaint from one of the two women who were checked by Customs officials alleging harassment, intimidation and extortion by them, the letter said. In another development, the West Bengal unit of the BJP withdrew from the Supreme Court its plea alleging that helicopters carrying the party's national president Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi Adityanath were not being allowed to land in the state. NEW DELHI, 12 APRIL “You will never let this country remain in peace,” the Supreme Court said on Friday while dismissing a plea seeking permission to carry out religious activities in nine ancient temples situated on the undisputed acquired land adjacent to the Ram Janambhoomi-Babari Masjid site at Ayodhya. “There will always be something,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. The bench was hearing an appeal filed against the January 10 order of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed the plea seeking its nod to offer prayer in the nine temples there and had also imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner. The apex court, while hearing the appeal, told petitioner Pandit Amar Nath Misra to “stop poking” around with the issue. Misra, who is a social activist, had claimed before the High Court that authorities have turned a “blind eye” to the initiation of religious activities in ancient temples which are situated on the acquired but undisputed land in Ayodhya since the last 25 years. ‘You will never let this country remain in peace’ SC BENCH HEADED BY CJI JUNKING A PETITION FOR WORSHIPPING AT AYODHYA SITE The apex court recently appointed a panel of mediators headed by former top court judge Justice F M I Kalifulla for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement to the vexatious land dispute. Spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living Foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Shriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, are the other two members of the panel of mediators. Fourteen appeals have been filed in the apex court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties. HIGH SPIRITS PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SULTANPUR (UP)/NEW DELHI, 12 APRIL In a controversial remark, Union minister Maneka Gandhi has told Muslims to vote for her as they will need her once the Lok Sabha elections are over. We are not Mahatma Gandhi's children that we keep giving and not get anything in return, she said in Sultanpur's Muslim-dominated Turabkhani area on Thursday. District poll authorities issued her a show cause notice. The Election Commission in Delhi is also examining the transcript of the minister's speech, which was condemned by the Congress. Maneka Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency, claimed she is all set to win and told the Muslim audience that you NEW DELHI, 12 APRIL might need me tomorrow. I am winning. I am winning because of the help and love of the people, Gandhi said at the meeting in the constituency earlier held by her son Varun Gandhi. But if my victory is without the Muslims, I will not feel very good, she said, adding she will be left with a bitter feeling. If Muslims come for some work after this, I will think why bother, what difference will it make. Suggesting that it was matter of give and take, she added, We are not Mahatma Gandhi's children to keep giving without getting anything in return. The crisis in Jet Airways deepened as the airline could operate only 11 aircraft on Friday, leaving passengers stranded at various domestic and international airports and prompting the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the situation. According to sources, the meeting was called after Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu asked the secretary of the department Pradeep Singh Kharola to review issues concerning Jet Airways. After participating in the PMO meeting, Kharola held a meeting, through video conference, with the Jet Airways officials. Kharola said Jet will fly six to seven aircraft on both days this weekend on PTI domestic routes. Delhi Capitals beat KKR by 7 wickets in the Indian Premier League at the Eden Gardens. BISWAJIT GHOSHAL (REPORT P 12 ) Veterans’ plea to President for apolitical Armed Forces SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 12 APRIL Expressing outrage over the “use” of the Armed Forces for “political purposes”, over 150 military veterans have written to President Ram Nath Kovind to seek his intervention in preserving the apolitical character of the services. The letter, dated 11 April, carries the names of eight former service chiefs but two of them ~ former Army chief General (retd) S F Rodrigues and Air Chief Marshal (retd) N C Suri ~ said they have not signed it. Former Army vice chief Lt Gen (retd) M L Naidu also said his consent was not taken before listing his name as one of the signatories. When contacted, several veterans, including former Army chiefs Gen (retd) Deepak Kapoor and Gen (retd) Shankar Roy Chowdhury, acknowledged writing the letter. Chowdhury said the letter was written expressing sentiments of the military veterans on an important issue. The veterans said they chose to write to the President as he is the custodian of the Constitution as well as the supreme commander of the armed forces. Referring to Rodrigues and Suri denying signing the letter, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called the allegations “fake”. “It is absolutely condemnable that names were mentioned without taking permission,” he said. The letter cites several examples of the military being used for political purposes, including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath referring to the Armed Forces as “Modiji ki Sena” and the display of images of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at political events. Varthaman was captured by Pakistan after an air combat with India and subsequently released. In their rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a number of BJP leaders have been referring to IAF's Balakot strikes besides mentioning the valour of the Armed Forces in defending the country. The Election Commission has already taken note of the PM's comments asking firsttime voters to dedicate their votes to those who carried out the air strike in Balakot. “We refer, Sir, to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and even going so far as to claim the armed forces to be 'Modi ji ki sena',” the veterans wrote. CMYK “This is in addition to media pictures of election platforms and campaigns in which party workers are seen wearing military uniforms and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and specially of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, displayed,” accord- ing to the letter. They said such misuse of the Armed Forces would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving men and women in the uniform. “It could, therefore, directly affect national security and national integrity. We, therefore, appeal to you to ensure that the secular and apolitical character of our armed forces is preserved,” the letter says. The veterans urged the President to take all necessary steps and urgently direct all political parties to desist from using the military for political purposes or to further their political agendas”. The letter also lists former Navy chiefs Admiral (retired) L Ramdas, Admiral (retired) Arun Prakash and Admiral (retired)Vishnu Bhagwat as signatories. It mentions the Election Commission's notifications to those violating the model code of conduct, including to Adityanath, but adds that the actions don't have any impact on the ground. “Indeed a notification has been issued asking for an explanation for those responsible for these statements including from the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,” the letter says. “However, we regret to state that these do not appear to have resulted in any substantive change of behaviour or practice on the ground,” it adds. In his reaction, Air Chief Marshal (retired) Suri said Armed Forces are apolitical and they report to the democratically elected government. He added that his consent was not taken before his name was mentioned in the letter.
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