SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 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 IMRAN KHAN TO SKIP SCO MEET UK NAMES VACCINES MINISTER TO OVERSEE COVID INOCULATIONS P10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 29 °C and 17 °C respectively. ‘PREFER NATIONS WITH TRANSPARENT TRADE MECHANISMS FOR FTAS’ P4 P8 SNS & AGENCIES Farmers at Delhi borders stay put, most refuse to go to designated site Max.82 % SNS & PTI TEMPERATURE Max: 29.5°C (1) Min: 18.6°C (2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:59 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON SETS MOON RISES 04:49 hrs 16:14 hrs Full moon on 30 November THUMBNAILS Telangana Congress workers during campaigning for the GHMC elections, in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills on Saturday. IANS Maritime security: Top security officials of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Saturday agreed to further strengthen cooperation and ensure peace for common benefit as they took stock of the current maritime security environment in the region during a high-level trilateral dialogue in Colombo which was held after a gap of six years. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval took part in the dialogue along with Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Major Gen (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne and Maldivian P5 Defence Minister Mariya Didi. Coal pilfering racket: The CBI carried out multiple raids at about 45 locations, including in Kolkata and other parts of the state, across the country on Saturday in connection with a coal pilfering racket in which alleged kingpin Anup Majhi alias Lala is said to be in cahoots with senior Eastern Coalfield Limited (ECL) officials and security personnel. An ECL security officer died after suffering a heart attack at his residence during one of the raids this P3 morning. NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH, 28 NOVEMBER housands of farmers dug in their heels at Delhi's border points, their numbers swelling through the day as many more joined them, and hundreds gathered at the city's Burari grounds on Saturday, disparate but united in their determination to hold protests against the new farm laws. After a restive Friday that saw police using teargas shells, water cannons and multi-layer barriers to block the protesters and some farmers pelting stones and breaking barricades in their determination to push through as part of their Delhi Chalo' march, it was a quieter Saturday. But the tension persisted with restless crowds milling around the city's edges and beyond and settling down from another night out in the cold. Though there was no clear roadmap, the farmers, belonging to multiple groups, including 30 from Punjab, appeared clear in their resolve, some saying that they would not disperse till the laws were repealed and others that would ensure their voices are heard. They were mostly from Punjab and Haryana but also from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. At the Singhu and Tikri borders, thousands of farmers in trucks, tractors and other vehicles that had braved the water cannons and batons and had been there for three days, refused T Farmers from Punjab during a protest against the farm reform bills at Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border on Saturday. SNS to budge. As police personnel swarmed the area, many said they would not go to the Sant Nirankari ground in Burari that was offered to them for peaceful protests. Settling down for another night on the road, some said they would wait for the outcome of a crucial meeting on Sunday to decide the next course of action. “Tomorrow, there will be another meeting at 11 am. Till then, we are at Singhu,” said Baljeet Singh Mahal, the Jalandhar unit president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union Kadia. We have still not decided on going to the Burari ground. We will have a meeting in the evening to decide the next course of action, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal told PTI over the phone. Another faction, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), one of the largest farmer organisa- tions in Punjab, agreed that they would not go to Burari. The faction's leaders claimed that over one lakh farmers, including elderly women, were marching towards the national capital in tractor-trailers, buses and other vehicles. Numbers swelled at the Singhu border point, one of the main access points into the capital from Punjab, and at Tikri a few kilometres away. “We will continue to protest here. We will not move from here. Several other farmers are yet to join us from Haryana. They are on their way,” said Sukhwinder Singh, who had been camping at Tikri since Friday evening. “We want to go to Jantar Mantar and hold a peaceful demonstration there. Meetings are being held, and until the next course of decision is taken, we will continue to protest here at the border peacefully.” The farmers came pre- pared for a long haul, their vehicles loaded with rations, utensils, quilts and blankets for the cold and equipped with even charging points for their phones. We will not return till the Centre scraps the new farm laws, a protesting farmer said. Some farmers from Uttar Pradesh gathered at the Ghazipur border too, ready to join in. Elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh, over 500 farmers staged a sit-in at the Jhansi-Mirzapur National Highway in Kulpahad to demand the rollback of the three laws. Though many groups were unwilling to go to Burari, hundreds of farmers did make their way to the ground where the government had allowed them. Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern range) Surender Singh Yadav told reporters that around 600 to 700 farmers had reached Burari and hoped that more would go. More reports on P5 UP notifies law banning forcible religious conversion PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LUCKNOW, 28 NOVEMBER The Uttar Pradesh ordinance aimed at curbing forcible or fraudulent religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage has got the assent of state Governor Anandiben Patel with the new law providing for a jail term of up to 10 years for any violations. The law, which has been published in the UP gazette, comes into force at once, an official spokesperson said on Saturday. The ordinance was promulgated by the Governor on Friday with immediate effect. Under the law which deals with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate. The Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday approved the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, which also curbs religious conversions only for the sake of marriage, dubbed by BJP leaders as 'love jihad'. “The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard, Cabinet minister and UP government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh had said. Conversion for the alleged purpose of marriage is, however, only one aspect of the ordinance. The new law was opposed by the opposition Samajwadi Party. Hours after the governor's nod, SP president Akhilesh Yadav said his party will oppose the Bill when it comes up in the state Legislature for passage. “The Samajwadi Party is not in favour of any such law. We will oppose it (when it comes up in the assembly),” the former chief minister told a press conference. The new law also has a provision under which if someone Sebi bars NDTV promoters, others in insider trading case PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 28 NOVEMBER Sebi has barred NDTV promoters Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy from the securities market for two years and also directed them to disgorge illegal gains of over Rs 16.97 crore for indulging in insider trading more than 12 years ago, while the company denied the charges, saying it will appeal against the ruling. Besides, the market watchdog has barred seven individuals and entities for insider trading in the shares of the company for a period varying from one to two years. Also, some of them have been asked to disgorge illegal gains made from trading in the shares when they were in possession of Unpublished Price Sensitive Information (UPSI). NDTV in a statement on Saturday said Sebi's order against its founders Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy is based on an inaccurate assessment of facts and that the company will immediately appeal against it. It further said that the Sebi's ruling will not withstand scrutiny in appeal. “The appeal will be filed immediately,” the statement said. The statement was issued by the lawyers led by Fereshte Sethna, Senior Partner at DMD Advocates, who represent NDTV founders Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy. The Sebi directions follow a probe conducted by the markets regulator between September 2006 and June 2008 wherein various violations of insider trading regulations were found. The amount has to be paid jointly or severally by them along with 6 per cent interest from April 17, 2008 till the date of actual payment. All the entities have violated Prohibition of Insider Trading (PIT) Regulations, Sebi said in three separate orders. Sebi noted that Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy together made a gain of Rs 16.97 crore while indulging in insider trading in the shares of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) while in possession of UPSI relating to the proposed reorganization of the company. returns to their original religion, it shall not be deemed a conversion. The onus to prove that the conversion has not been done forcibly will lie on the person accused of the act and the convert, it said. In cases of violations of the law, the ordinance stipulates that the court shall grant appropriate compensation payable by the accused to the victim of conversion which may extend to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh in addition to the fine. The ordinance mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any per- P12 PM reviews Covid vaccine development at 3 facilities Another night of farmers’ protests RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Min. 42 % SYDNEY SHOWDOWN SHOWS SMITH MEANS BUSINESS son abet, convince or conspire such conversion. Minister Sidharth Nath Singh on Tuesday told reporters that the punishment under the new law is a jail term from one to five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000. But if the woman involved is a minor or belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the jail term would range from three to 10 years, he said. The fine would increase to Rs 25,000. In the case of mass conversions, the punishment is from three years to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 on the organisations which indulge in it,” he added. An aggrieved person, his/her parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him/her by blood, marriage or adoption may lodge an FIR about such conversion, according to the new law. AHMEDABAD/HYDERABAD/P UNE, 28 NOVEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities. He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune. “The Prime Minister expressed pride in the fact that India’s indigenous vaccine development has progressed at such a rapid pace so far,” an official statement said. Modi stressed that India considers vaccines as not only vital to good health but also as a global good, and it is India’s duty to assist other countries, including the nations in our neighbourhood, in the collective fight against the virus, it said. Modi began by visiting pharma major Zydus Cadila's manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Modi flew by helicopter to the Changodar plant of the Zydus group from where he proceeded to the Zydus Biotech Park a few kilometres away. The Prime Minister went round the laboratories and reviewed the efforts of scientists and researchers who Prime Minister Narendra Modi after landing at Hakimpet air force station near Hyderabad. SNS are developing vaccine. “He shared very valuable inputs on how to further strengthen the vaccine development programme and ensure a Covid-free world,” said a press release by the Zydus Cadila group. ZyCov-D, the vaccine being developed at the Zydus Cadila facility is India’s first DNA-based vaccine, added the press release. Zydus Cadila chairman Pankaj Patel recently said the company is aiming to complete the vaccine trial by March 2021, and could produce up to 100 million doses a year. Modi later flew to Hakimpet Air Force station near Hyderabad and proceeded to pharma major Bharat Biotech's vaccine manufacturing facility at Genome valley, around 20 km from the air station, by road. At the facility, he reviewed the progress of Covaxin, a vaccine candidate being developed by the company. He interacted with Bharat Biotech Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella, scientists and senior management. Covaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology, is undergoing phase-3 trials. Modi landed in Pune at 4.30 pm on the last leg of his three-city vaccine work review visit. He then proceeded by helicopter to the campus of the Serum Institute of India (SII) at Manjari, located 17 km from the airport, where the ‘Covishield’ vaccine is being manufactured. Modi interacted with scientists at the Serum Institute and had a walkthrough of the facility. Serum Institute of India has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University for the vaccine. (See also P4) 8 states, UTs reported 69 p.c. of new Covid cases in 24-hr span SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 28 NOVEMBER Over 69 per cent of the 41,322 new Covid-19 cases reported in a span of 24 hours are from eight states and Union territories with Maharashtra recording the highest number of new infections followed by Delhi and Kerala, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. With11,57,605tests conducted in a span of 24 hours, India's cumulative tests surged to13.82 crore, while the number of tests per million population has crossed the 1-lakh mark and now stands at1,00,159.7, the ministry said. The active Covid-19 caseload of the country is 4,54,940, making up 4.87 per cent of the total coronavirus infections. The ministry issued a statement saying “69.04 per cent of the daily new cases of Covid-19 are contributed by eight states/UT i.e. Maharashtra, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Chhattisgarh”. Maharashtra leads the tally with 6,185 new Covid cases. Delhi has recorded 5,482 cases, while Kerala follows with 3,966 infections. Total Covid-19 recoveries have surged to 87,59,969 with41,452 recoveries being registered in a day in the country, it said, adding 76.55 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states and UTs. India's Covid-19 caseload stands at 93,51,109 and the death toll has climbed to 1,36,200, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. West Bengal today registered 3,459 fresh Covid cases and 52 deaths due to the infection. The total Covid case count is 4,77,446 while the death toll is 8,322 in the state till now. There are 24,537 active cases. Kolkata recorded 890 cases and 14 deaths and North -4 Parganas recorded 863 fresh Covid cases and 9 deaths during the previ- 93,51,109 4,54,940 41,322 41,452 1,36,200 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 28 NOV 2020 ous 24 hours. In the last 24 hours, 3,487 patients were discharged from hospitals taking the number of recovered patients to 4,44,587. A total of 45,183 people were tested for Covid in a single day. The current test positivity rate is 8.25 per cent. Enthusiastic turnout in J&K’s DDC elections STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 28 NOVEMBER Braving bone chilling cold weather in the Kashmir valley and other mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir, large number of people turned out on Saturday to cast their votes in the first of the eight phase election for the District Development Councils (DDCs). Enthusiasm among the electorate was far better than what was anticipated in view of attempts of Pakistan-backed terrorists to create fear by intensifying attacks at security forces and civilians during the past few days. The UT recorded 51.76% voting in the first polls after Article 370 was abrogated on 5 August last year and the state split into two Union Territo- ries (UTs). This is also the first time that elections for the DDCs are being held under the Panchayati Raj in J&K. As polling began at 7 a.m, the turn out was low but voting picked up later as the day progressed and the weather improved. Polling percentage in the first two hours was 5.25% but it increased to 39.69% at 1 p.m. Terrorism-hit Shopian district in south Kashmir recorded lowest turnout of 6.83% till 1 p.m, an hour before close of polling. Srinagar and north Kashmir witnessed brisk polling. Highest polling percentage was recorded in Samba district of Jammu where 59.29% votes were cast by 1 p.m. Polling was brisk also in other areas of Jammu division. Social distancing norms were flouted in Kashmir valley where voters were seen standing close to each other in the queue. The polling staff took all Covid-related precautions and wore Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Polling is being held in total 43 constituencies - 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu. Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah tweeted; "It’s encouraging to see voters come out to participate in the DDC polls despite the cold weather. I hope as the day progresses more people choose to cast their votes". The DDC election is being seen as a triangular contest between the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) led by Farooq Abdullah, BJP and Apni Party floated by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari. However, the Apni Party is considered in Kashmir as friendly towards BJP . The PAGD has been claiming that the authorities were allowing only the BJP and its friendly parties to campaign for the election. State Election Commissioner KK Sharma said 2,146 polling stations were set up for the smooth conduct of elections. Sharma said there are total 280 constituencies in the UT (14 in each district) out of which voting was conducted in 43 constituencies from 7 am to 2 pm in phase I. Polling for the last phase will be held on 19 December and counting of votes will be done on 22 December.
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