SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 26 SEPTEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘GOVERNORS WON’T BE SPECTATORS’ KIM JONG-UN MAKES RARE APOLOGY TO SOUTH KOREA P7 CRUSADER FOR FREEDOM P11 P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Strong surface winds during the day. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 36 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively. Min: 40% TEMPERATURE Max: 37.4°C (+3) SUN RISES 06:12 hrs MOON RISES 15:12 hrs Min: 25.4°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:13 hrs MOON SETS 01:50 hrs THUMBNAILS Participants display placards during a demonstration as a part of the "Fridays for Future" movement in New Delhi on Friday. AFP Paris stabbings: French terrorism authorities are investigating a double-stabbing outside the former Paris offices of a satirical newspaper where a dozen people were killed in 2015, and two suspects have been arrested in Friday's violence, authorities said. French authorities said they suspect a terrorist motive because of the place and timing of the stabbings: in front of the building where Charlie Hebdo was based until the Islamic extremist attack on its cartoonists at a time when suspects in the 2015 attack are on trial across town. P10 NMC replaces MCI: The National Medical Commission (NMC) came into existence from Friday as the country's apex regulator of medical education and profession replacing the Medical Council of India (MCI). With this, the nearly 64-year-old Indian Medical Council Act stands repealed and the Board of Governors appointed in supersession of the MCI has also been dissolved with effect from September P4 25, the health ministry said. Bharat Bandh: Farmers block roads in many states PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Three-phase Bihar polls from 28 October, counting on 10 November Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Opposition of “misleading” farmers and “using their shoulders to fire” at his government over the farm bills for selfish political interests, and said the reforms brought in the agriculture sector will benefit small and marginal farmers the most CHANDIGARH/NOIDA, 25 SEPTEMBER F armers blocked roads in several parts of the country Friday, protesting against the three agri-marketing bills passed recently by Parliament. The most widespread protests were in Punjab and Haryana, but demonstrations were also reported from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka as part of the Bharat bandh call given by several farmer unions. Over 30 organisations had given a separate Punjab bandh call, leading to farmers blocking roads and traders shutting shops and vegetable markets for the day. The bandh in the state appeared to be near total. Hundreds of farmers ~ on foot, two-wheelers and tractor-trolleys ~ were stopped at Delhi's border with Uttar Pradesh as they tried to press ahead into the national capital, their agitation disrupting traffic in Noida and Ghaziabad. Stopped from entering the city, the farmers staged ‘panchayats’ at the road blocks where they were addressed by Bhartiya Kisan Union office-bearers. Addressing BJP leaders and workers on the birth anniversary of party's ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi again made a pitch for the new laws meant to deregulate the sale of farm produce. But farmer unions and opposition parties say they will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system. In West Bengal, farmer (Above) A 'Chakka Jam' called by farmers at the Delhi/Noida border, in the capital on Friday. DEEPAK (Left) Farmers and Left Front supporters during a road blockade demonstration protesting against the farm Bills recently passed by Parliament at Habra in North 24-Parganas. Bengal on Friday. SOUVIK DAS bodies loyal to the Left parties staged protests. CPI(M) farmers' wing ‘Sara Bharat Krishak Sabha’ and those of other left partners such as CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP took out rallies in Hooghly, Murshidabad, North 24-Parganas, Bankura and Nadia. In Karnataka, there were demonstrations across the state and many farmers arrived in capital Bengaluru to take part in protests against amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act and the Karnataka Land Reforms Act. Farmers under the umbrella of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) staged protests in Kerala, including outside the Raj Bhavan in capital Thiruvananthapuram. In Punjab's Barnala, a tractor was set on fire by protesters. Punjab farmers blocked the Sangrur-Patiala, Chandigarh-Bathinda and AmbalaRajpura-Ludhiana and Moga-Ferozepur roads, triggering traffic diversions and hardship to commuters. Buses run by the state-owned Pepsu Road Transport also went off the roads in Punjab. Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal drove a tractor while his wife and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal sat beside him in Muktsar district. He led a tractor march from his Badal village to Lambi, where the party had organised a protest against the bills. At several other places, party workers blocked roads. Prominent Punjabi singers like Harbhajan Mann and Ranjit Bawa took part in a farmers' protest in Nabha. A three-day rail roko that began Thursday is also underway in Punjab, with farmers squatting on the tracks at many places in Punjab and the railways suspending many trains. Gavaskar lands in trouble after India’s Covid tally crosses 58 lakh Kohli swipe STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 25 SEPTEMBER DUBAI, 25 SEPTEMBER Sunil Gavaskar on Friday found himself in the midst of a controversy for a comment on India skipper Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma but the legendary batsman asserted that his remarks, construed as sexist, were misinterpreted. Kohli had a bad day in office on Thursday when he led Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kings XI Punjab in an IPL match. He dropped two catches of rival skipper KL Rahul and managed only a run off five balls in RCB's chase. While Kohli was still at the crease, Gavaskar, speaking in Hindi, said 'India captain is keen to improve and he knows that he can do so only by practicing more and more'. He added that ‘during the lockdown Kohli faced only Anushka's bowling and it is evident that it did not help much’. The comment did not go down well with Kohli and Anushka's fans. Some even demanded Gavaskar’s sacking from the Star Sports commentary panel, lashing out at him on social media. Anushka also issued a statement on her Instagram page, saying that Gavaskar's message was “distasteful”. She wrote, “That, Mr P12 Most widespread protests in Punjab, Haryana; protests also in UP, Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 87% THE KUMBLE PLOY THAT LEFT KOHLI, PEERS STUPEFIED Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband's game?... I am sure over the years you have respected the private lives of every cricketer while commentating on the game. Don't you think you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?” Gavaskar, though, said his comments were misinterpreted. The remark, he said, was in reference to a video clip where Kohli and Anushka were seen playing tennis ball cricket in their compound. “...Where am I blaming her? I'm not blaming her. I am only saying that the video showed she was bowling toVirat.Virat has only played that much bowling in this lockdown period,” Gavaskar told India Today channel, explaining that he’d meant that Kohli was rusty due to lack of practice during the lockdown. He also rubbished the allegations on social media that he had made a “sexist comment”. With India reporting 86,052 new Covid19 cases and 1,141 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total tally of Coronaviru infection cases crossed a tally of 58,18,570, the Ministry of Health and FamilyWelfare said on Friday. The country's coronavirus count now stands at 58,18,571, while the death toll has mounted to 92,290, the ministry’s data showed. Of the total cases, 47,56,165 have been successfully treated. There are 9,70,116 active cases of Covid-19 in India. A senior officer in the ministry stated that a total 81,177 people were discharged from various hospitals and quarantine centres in the last 24 hours across the country. So far, a total 47,56,164 people have recovered from the deadly viral infection. The recovery rate from coronavirus in India at 81.74 per cent is the highest in the world. The fatality rate stands at 1.59 per cent, the data showed. Maharashtra continues to be the worst Delhi logs 3,827 virus cases, over 59K tests, 24 deaths SNS & PTI affected state with its Covid-19 tally nearing the 13 lakh mark. MORE REPORTS ON PAGE 5 The Election Commission on Friday announced a three-phase poll for the 243member Bihar Assembly on 28 October, 3 November, and 7 November, with counting on 10 November. This is going to be the first Assembly elections during the Covid-19 pandemic and Election Commission said it has tried to minimise the phases of polls in light of the pandemic and has substantially increased the deployment of security forces. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said in the first phase, polling would be held in 71 assembly segments, mostly including Maoist-affected areas, in 94 Assembly segments in the second phase and in 78 Assembly segments in the last phase of polling. He said that notification for the first phase of polling would be issued on 1 October, for second phase on 9 October, and on 13 October for the third phase of polling. The last date for filing nomination would be 8 October, 16 October, and 20 October for the first, second and third phases respectively. The last date of withdrawal is 12 October, 19 October, and 23 October for phases I, II and II respectively. The CEC said elaborate sanitisation and social distancing protocols have been put in place for one of the biggest electoral exercises in the world amidst the pandemic. Bihar State Election Office has arranged 700,000 units of hand sanitizer, 4.6 million masks, 600,000 personal protective equipment suits, 760,000 face shields, and 2.3 million gloves for the polling staff. The Election Commission has also increased polling hours by an hour as polling would be delayed due to Covid-19 procedures for sanitisations. From Friday the model code of conduct has also come into effect, the Election Commission said. The code of conduct would remain in force till the elections are over, he added. The CEC further said that the Election Commission would take stringent measures to enforce the code, especially related to the declaration of the criminal antecedents of the candidates. The Supreme Court in February has already made it mandatory for all political parties to make public why they pick candidates with a criminal history to contest an election. Vodafone wins arbitration fight over retro tax demand PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 58,18,570 NEW DELHI, 25 SEPTEMBER Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is battling double infections of Covid-19 and dengue, has been administered convalescent plasma therapy and his condition is better now, his office said today. Meanwhile, Delhi today recorded 3,827 fresh Covid cases, which took its cumulative total of such patients to 2,64,450. The count of the tests conducted to identify these coronavirus cases was 59,134, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. The positivity rate (SEE PAGE 2) was 6.47 per cent. The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee on Friday announced its extension by another three days. Buses run by state owned Pepsu Road Transport Corporation also remained off the roads on Friday. In neighbouring Haryana, farmers blocked the Karnal-Meerut, RohtakJhajjar and Delhi-Hisar and other roads. Apart from Noida and Ghaziabad which border New Delhi, there were scattered farmer protests in western Uttar Pradesh and in districts like Deoria, Kushinagar and Maharajganj districts. The Samajwadi Party said its workers held protests in all UP districts, submitting memorandums addressed to the Governor to the district magistrates. The Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, now await presidential assent. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 25 SEPTEMBER 9,70,116 86,052 81,177 92,290 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2020 NEW DELHI, 25 SEPTEMBER British telecom giantVodafone Group Plc on Friday won an arbitration against the Indian government over a demand for Rs 22,100 crore in taxes using retrospective legislation. An international arbitration tribunal ruled that India's demand in past taxes was in breach of fair treatment under a bilateral investment protection pact. “Vodafone confirms that the investment treaty tribunal found in Vodafone's favour,” the British firm said in a statement. “This was a unanimous decision, including India's appointed arbitrator Rodrigo Oreamuno. The tribunal held that any attempt by India to enforce the tax demand would be a violation of India's international law obligations.” It was not immediately known if the Indian government will abide by the arbitration award. The government’s liability will be restricted to about Rs 75 crore in cost refund, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. As per the award, the government has to reimburse Vodafone 60 per cent of its legal costs and half of the 6,000 Euros cost borne byVodafone for appointing an arbitrator on the panel. Vodafone had before the arbitration tribunal challenged India's usage of a 2012 law that gave it powers to retrospectively tax deals like Vodafone's $11 billion acquisition of 67 per cent stake in the mobile phone business owned by Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. It challenged the demand of Rs 7,990 crore in capital gains taxes (Rs 22,100 crore after including interest and penalty) under the Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty. The tax demand was on the UK-listed company and Vodafone's India venture faced no liability. Vodafone merged its India operations with Kumar Mangalam Birla's conglomerate but the combined entity Vodafone Idea Ltd is facing a $ 7.8 billion bill in past statutory dues. Legendary singer S P Balasubrahmanyam succumbs to Covid-19 1 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 25 SEPTEMBER The ethereal minstrel is no more. But SP Balasubrahmanyam will live forever in millions of hearts through his mesmerising voice. The versatile singer, who also donned the roles of music director, actor and dubbing artist, died at 1.04 p.m. on Friday in MGM hospital in Chennai, where he was under treatment for Covid-19 and related ailments for more than a month. The legend is believed to be contracted the coronavirus during a reality show in Hyderabad, which he attended as a judge. His mortal remains will be cremated Saturday morning at 7.30, at Thamaraippakkam, a suburb of Chennai. Though four different public homage programmes were planned earlier, the government authorities curtailed them, keeping in view the pan- demic situation. Balasubrahmanyum’s body is being kept in his residence at Kamdar Nagar in Mahalingapuram in Chennai, where his close relatives and friends paid their last respects. SPB, as he is popularly known, sang over 40,000 songs in 16 different languages in a career of 54 years. The humble and simple man, according to his admirers and colleagues, made extraordinary efforts to perfect his art, which so many times landed him in hospital for treatment for laryngeal corrections. The singer started his carrier in the Telugu cinema industry; his memorable performances were in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. The songs of Sanakrabharanam, a multilingual movie, secured him a national award for the first time. While songs of legendary music directors M S Viswanathan and Ilayaraja made him a cult figure in South Indian cinema, Ek Duuje Ke Liye heralded his rise in Bollywood also. His prowess in singing earned him numerous accolades including a Padma Bhushan from the President of India and a Guinness record for recording the highest number of songs in a day. Born on June 4, 1946 in Nellore in the erstwhile Madras Presidency, to Harikatha exponent S P Sambamoorthi and Sakunthalamma, he had a powerful voice, but no formal training in any kind of music. SPB was the voice for Telugu superstars Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Balakrishna and Venkatesh for many popular hit numbers. Particularly, he had been the voice of Rajinikanth in his superhit film songs for a long time, and was considered the ‘singing voice’ of the superstar. One of the only singers to have worked with legends across eras ~ MSViswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja and AR Rahman ~ SPB also had his moments in front of the camera. He has acted in over 70 films doning various roles in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. The 74-year-old singer was admitted on August 5 to MGM Healthcare Hospital after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He had been on life support since August 14, when his condition became critical. He is survived by wife Savithri, son SPB Charan, also a singer, and daughter Pallavi. OBITUARY ON PAGE 5
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.