CMYK WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 NOVEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR TRUMP ACCEPTS TRANSITION TO BIDEN MUST BEGIN MYTH AND MAHATMA P10 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with fog/mist in the morning. Temperature will be in the range of 27-17 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.94% TEMPERATURE FAROOQ IN GOVT’S ‘LAND GRABBERS’ LIST P6 THUMBNAILS Left Front leaders Biman Bose and Suryakanta Mishra paying homage to Soumitra Chatterjee at his residence in Kolkata on Tuesday. SNS SC seeks Centre's response on PIL seeking to fix maximum rate for RT-PCR test: The P Supreme Court Tuesday sought the Centre's response on a PIL seeking direction for fixing the maximum rate for the RT-PCR test for COVID-19 uniformly all over India. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Health Ministry and listed the PIL filed by lawyer Ajay Agrawal for hearing after two weeks. Land-attack version of BrahMos successfully a test-fired: India on Tuesday ‘successfully’ f test-fired the surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile BrahMos as part of a series of planned trials of the weapon, known for its precision strike capabilities, official sources said. The range of the new land-attack version of the missile has been extended to 400 km from the original 290 km but its speed has been maintained at 2.8 Mach, they said. PERFORMANCE NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 24 NOVEMBER rime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned states and Union Territories (UTs) against any laxity in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and called for reducing the positivity and fatality rates by focusing on curbing the virus transmission. Interacting with chief ministers, the prime minister also called for more RT-PCR tests, even as he underlined that India’s Covid-19 situation is more stable than other countries in terms of recovery and fatality rates. Modi asked them to work towards bringing down the positive rate to nearly 5 per cent and the fatality rate to under 1 per cent and called for more RT-PCR tests. “We need to speed up our efforts to reduce transmission of the virus. Testing, confirmation, contact tracing and data must be given top priority,” he said. Modi said the government is keeping a close watch on the development of vaccines and is in contact with Indian developers and manufacturers, along with global regulators, governments of other countries, multilateral institutions and international companies. He added that it will be ensured that the vac- P cine for citizens will meet all necessary scientific criteria. He underlined that just like the focus in the fight against Covid-19 has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. The meeting was also attended by Union Home minister Amit Shah and Health minister Harsh Vardhan, while the chief ministers who participated in the virtual interaction included Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel and Gujarat’sVijay Rupani. A massive network of testing to treatment is running well in the entire country and it is being regularly widened, Modi said, who has held several rounds of virtual meetings with states over the coronavirus situation so far. The modalities of Covid-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were also discussed during the meeting. India saw 37,975 new infections being reported in a day taking the country’s Covid-19 caseload to 91.77 lakh, while the recoveries crossed 86 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. Total cases mounted to 91,77,840 and the death toll climbed to 1,34,218 with 480 new fatalities. The number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the fourteenth consecutive day While the national daily Covid-19 case count has remained below 50,000 for some time, several urban centres have witnessed a surge, resulting in enforcement of several measures, including curfews in some cities. Modi explained how people have reacted to the pandemic, broadly, in four stages. The first was of fear, when people reacted in panic, while the second stage saw apprehension about the virus, when several people tried to hide that they had been afflicted. The third stage was of acceptance, when people became more serious about the virus and displayed greater alertness, while in the fourth stage, with increasing recovery rate, people have developed a false notion of security from the virus, thus leading to rise in instances of negligence. He emphasised that it is of utmost importance Nadu, Puducherry CMs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI, 24 NOVEMBER 91,77,840 4,38,667 37,975 42,314 1,34,218 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. TUESDAY 24 NOVEMBER 2020 to increase awareness about the seriousness of the virus in this fourth stage. He noted that the trend of increase in the spread of the pandemic in countries where its impact was earlier lessening, is being seen in some states as well, which necessitates greater alacrity and caution by the administration. 3,545 new cases, 49 deaths in Bengal:West Bengal today registered 3,545 fresh cases and 49 deaths due to the infection, taking total caseload to 4,63,463 and death toll to 8,121. Kolkata recorded 867 fresh cases and 11 deaths and North 24 Parganas recorded 816 cases and 15 deaths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry ahead of the impending cyclone ‘Nivar’ that is going to cross into the state and UT by Wednesday. “Spoke to Tamil Nadu CM Shri @EPSTamilNadu and Puducherry CM Shri @VNarayanasami regarding the situation in the wake of Cyclone Nivar. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety and wellbeing of those living in the affected areas," the PM tweeted. TN CM Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a public holiday on Wednesday as cyclone Nivar is expected to make landfall on Wednesday. According to the IMD, cyclone Nivar is likely to cross TN and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram late on Wednesday evening. The cyclone will cross as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph, said IMD. Palaniswami also requested people to stay at home and follow government guidelines. “People should be safe and stay at home.We have cancelled bus services in seven districts for the safety of the public. Not only this, the state will have a public holiday on Wednesday. Government offices will also stay closed since extremely heavy rainfall is predicted,” he said. “People working for essential services will alone report for duty. The decision on extending the leave will be taken based on the scenario after the Centre bans 43 Chinese mobile apps Russia says Sputnik Vover 95% effective against Covid over national security concerns INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 24 NOVEMBER Continuing with its ban orders on Chinese apps, the Indian government on Tuesday blocked 43 new mobile apps, including shopping website AliExpress owned by e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. Other popular apps that have been banned include WeWorkChina, CamCard and Snack. These apps have been banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for engaging in activities which are "prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence, security of the state and public order". The ministry banned these apps based on reports received from the Indian Cyber Crime Co-ordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs. The central government had on September 2 banned PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 118 apps on national security concerns, including the immensely popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Baidu and couple of virtual private networks (VPNs) that allowed access to TikTok that was banned earlier. Other popular banned apps were Baidu Express Edition, ShareSave by Xiaomi, WeChatWork, TencentWeiyun, Tencent Watchlist, Alipay, GO SMS Pro, ZAKZAK Pro and Live, Smart AppLock and Ludo World-Ludo Superstar, among others. In July, the government barred 47 Chinese apps from operating in the country, which were largely clones of the 59 apps that were banned in June. On June 29, the government banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and Xiaomi's Mi Community, over national security concerns amid the NEW DELHI, 24 NOVEMBER border tussle in Eastern Ladakh which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a bloody clash with Chinese PLA troops in the Galwan Valley in June. Other Chinese apps in the banned list were Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, BIGO LIVE and more. Russia on Tuesday said that the efficacy of its Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine is over 95 per cent and the cost of one dose of the shot for international markets will be less than $10 (around `740). Preliminary data from volunteers obtained 42 days after the first dose (corresponds with 21 days after the second dose) indicates the efficacy of the vaccine above 95 per cent, the Gamelya National Centre andthe Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a joint statement. “The cost of one dose of the Sputnik V vaccine for international markets will be less than `10. It is a double dose vaccine,” the statement said. The efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine is 91.4 per cent, based on the second interim analysis of data obtained 28 days after administering the first dose (seven days after the second dose), it added. Thepositive results were obtained during the second interim data analysis of the largest double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trials in Russia's history involving 40,000 volunteers, the statement said. In October pharma major Dr Reddy's Laboratoriesand RDIF had received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct an adaptive phase 2/3 human clinical trial for SputnikV vaccine in India. The next interim data analysis will be conducted upon reaching the third control point of 78 confirmed coronavirus cases among the study participants. Final data analysis will be available by the end of Phase III clinical trials, the statement said. Covid more lethal for Bhopal gas tragedy survivors GAURAV CHANDRA BHOPAL, 24 NOVEMBER For the survivors of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, Covid-19 seems to be lethal as they comprise 56 per cent of total deaths due to the virus in Bhopal, till now. The Covid-19 death rate amongst the gas-exposed population of Bhopal is 6.5 times more than unscathed population. Of the 450 deaths due to Covid-19 in Bhopal, 254 have been of the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, one of the worst industrial disasters of the world. According to data collected by some organizations fighting for the rights of sur- P12 Cyclone Nivar: Modi Bring fatality rate assures support to Tamil below 1%: PM to CMs SNS & PTI Max: 26.6°C (-3) Min: 15.4°C (-3) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:56 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 14:00 hrs 01:30 hrs New moon on 30 November COMBATIVE P5 Says priority will be to ensure the vaccine reaches everyone Min. 46% SMITH HINTING AT vivors of the Bhopal gas disaster, the population of the Bhopal district in 2020 is estimated to be about 28 lakh, out of which the number of gas victims is about 4.63 lakh. Data shows the mortality rate per one lakh population due to Covid-19 amongst the non gas-exposed population of Bhopal is 8.39. However, the death rate amongst the gasexposed people is 54.85. About 200 people have succumbed to Covid-19 out of the 23.36 lakh non-gas affected of the district. Of the 4.63 lakh gas-exposed survivors, 254 have died after getting infected by the virus. Gas victims appear to be more susceptible to life-threatening critical conditions due to Covid-19 as their lung efficiency is already compromised due to gas exposure and most of them are suffering from other comorbidities. “Going by the state health department’s data, which shows a death rate of 8.39 amongst the non-gas exposed population of the district, there should have been 74 deaths amongst gas victims. But that number is 254. It shows that at least 180 excess deaths have been reported amongst gas victims and those deaths are directly attributable to the ill-effects of being exposed to the gas tragedy,” gas activist Rachna Dhingra told The Statesman on Tuesday. “It is a pity that it took a glob- al pandemic to highlight the injustice meted to the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster,” lamented Rachna Dhingra, who is the convener of the ‘Bhopal Group for Information and Action’. Leaders of four such gas rights organizations have demanded that the Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical pay additional compensation for the long-term injuries to the gas-exposed people, as evidenced in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic has exposed the official lie that 93 per cent of those exposed to the poisonous gases had only temporary injuries,” averred Rashida Bi, President of the ‘Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh’. “The gas exposed population, which is 17 per cent of Bhopal district’s population of 2.8 million has contributed to 56 per cent of the Covid-19 deaths in the district so far,” she said. Nausheen Khan of ‘Children Against Dow Carbide’ accused the industrial giant saying, “Dow Chemical has used the pandemic to cut thousands of jobs and make more profit by producing hand sanitizers, but it looks CMYK the other way when Covid-19 exposes the lasting damage its subsidiary caused in Bhopal.” “Dow Chemicals continues to evade the pending civil, criminal and environmental liabilities of Union Carbide in Bhopal,” Khan alleged. The disturbing data has come out just about a week before the 36th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy which took place on the intervening night of 2 and 3 December 1984. Over 6,00,000 people were exposed to the leakage of nearly 42 tons of the toxic gas methyl isocyanate (MIC) from the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide factory, located in the heart of the city amidst slums and densely populated localities. cyclone. The government has provided directions to set up relief camps and provide essentials including milk powder for children,” he added. He will hold a review meeting in Chennai on Wednesday. TheTN government has also cancelled 24 train services from Egmore to the southern parts of the state. The suburban train services have been partially cancelled since 3pm on Tuesday until 10 am on Wednesday. From 10 am on Wednesday, suburban train services have been fully cancelled until further notice. The bus services are cancelled in Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvaru, Cuddalore, Vizhupuram and Chengalpattu from 1 pm of Tuesday. At 12.30 pm today, the cyclone was 450 kilometres away from Chennai, and the city has been receiving heavy rainfall since today morning. Several populated neighbourhoods, including Parrys Corner and Vyasarpadi were flooded. Further, beaches, which have been closed since lockdown, are squally, indicative of the approaching storm. Six teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are stationed in Cuddalore district while two teams are stationed in Chennai. Earlier on Monday, Union Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to review the status of the impending cyclone through video conferencing with the chief secretaries of AP , TN and Puducherry. Gauba had told officials that the NCMC is aiming at “zero loss of life” and early restoration of normalcy in the affected areas. He has ordered strict implementation of the advisories. A deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm, centred about 410 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 450 km southeast of Chennai, said IMD on Tuesday. Religious conversions draft ordinance gets Yogi Cabinet approval INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE LUCKNOW, 24 NOVEMBER The Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday approved the draft ordinance dealing with forced religious conversions, also known as ‘love jihad’. Interestingly, the ordinance does not mention the term ‘love jihad’ and the draft has been named 'Vidhi Virudh Dharmantaran 2020'. The Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday gave its nod to the proposed draft. The Bill is considered to be an anti-conversion law and it will stop individuals from converting people to other faiths by enticing or threatening. Justice Aditya Mittal, the Chairman of the Law Commission, said, "The term 'love jihad' has not been used in the Bill, and conversions related to all religions will be covered under the new law. To be precise, it will not just be focused on Hindu-Muslim conversions or conversions for the specific purpose of marriage." In the proposed Bill, there is a provision of five to 10-year jail term for a person convicted in such a case. Mittal, however, added that under the prospective law, inter-religious marriages will be encouraged to go through the Special Marriage Act. Under the Act, a consenting couple needs to reach out to the district magistrate's court expressing a desire for marriage. Subsequent to such a request, the administration will issue a 30-day notice during which objections can be raised to such a proposed marriage. Under the proposed legislation, anyone found guilty of having lured another person for conversion through marriage could face trial in the court after registration of an FIR by the police. In case the charge is proven, the accused can be awarded rigorous imprisonment for up to five years, if the woman is from the general category. The quantum of punishment can go up to 10 years in case the victim is a minor or a Dalit. In another important provision, the family courts will have the power to adjudicate under the proposed law. An aggrieved person will be able to approach a family court in case he or she feels cheated. The court in turn will have the power to nullify such a marriage. The Uttar Pradesh Law Commission had submitted a draft for the proposed law in November 2019. It was under the consideration of the Home and Law Ministry over the last year. Last week, the Yogi Adityanath government had given its consent to the draft of the new law. Some saffron groups and BJP leaders have used the term 'love jihad' to target interfaith marriages, accusing Muslim men of engaging in a mass conspiracy to turn Hindu women away from their religion by luring them. Earlier, the Allahabad HC had struck down its previous judgement in which it had held that religious conversion "just for the purpose of marriage" was unacceptable. The court said that essentially it does not matter whether a conversion is valid. The right of two adults to live together cannot be encroached upon by the state or others.
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